A Report from the Front Line and More Media from New Zealand

by Andrew Rundle-Keswick

Yesterday Guy McPherson met with a group of us at Tapu te Ranga Marae in Wellington, New Zealand. Guy’s presentation is embedded below, along with subsequent discussion.

We had a very interesting and lively discussion.

Part way though the discussion one of the participants, Robert Atack raised up the subject of the possibility that any child born today, won’t make it past their 20th birthday, and asked the question why are people still having kids. (This is not a direct quote, just the essence of the discussion that I remember.) The response from the room was very loud and strong against him and I wanted to jump in and offer my support for a conversation exploring the issues he was raising. At the time, as I was sitting there listening to the strong back forth flow of discussion, I couldn’t think of anything to say. It’s only now (at 3am) that the points that I would have liked to have raised have come to mind.

If I had not had a brain freeze and had had the courage to stand up and comment to the angry room, this is what I might have said.

During the tea break some of us were discussing the film “The Road” based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. As a parent when I watched that film I tried to decide what I would do for my children if (or when) the world degrades to that level of Anarchy (state of disorder). If you haven’t seen “The Road” substitute your favourite Hollywood dystopian film (“Book of Eli” through to “Mad Max”).

If I was in a world similar to “The Road”, where cannibalism was rife, what would I choose for my children, the way out (of suicide) that the character of the mother did in that film, by walking out on her husband and child to freeze to death in the snow. Or would I be more like the father and try to struggle on in a slowly deteriorating world trying to bring up my child in that horrible world where a highlight of my child’s life is to have the experience of having a coke with my dad. (Even in a dystopian movie coke has to get its advertising in.) Or is there a 3rd choice, which is to have the guts to help my son and daughter to commit suicide (IE some sort of family drink the kool-aid thing), or be willing to kill them my self. When my wife and I finally got to grips with all the information from “Nature Bats Last” and other such sites, we had a conversation about if we had known earlier would we still have had our children? Don’t get me wrong, I love my 2 children very dearly and now that I have them I wouldn’t give them up, so I guess my choice would be to do as the father did in “The Road” and do my best to give my children the best life I can provide.

These are the sort of questions I think we need to be willing to talk about and I know this is not an easy subject to talk about and I was very disappointed that a room of people (many of whom had listened to Guy’s talk on Friday night at the Dowse) were not more willing to be open to discuss these issues.

So I wish to apologise to Robert for not standing up and supporting him and encouraging the room to be willing to consider his point of view.


23 October 2014 podcast with Tim Lynch in New Zealand: Dr Guy McPherson – Collapse, Disruption, Runaway Greenhouse Gases and Ecological Overshoot

Comments 165

  • ‘not enough people study basic biology’ sigh. The implication being that I am ignorant of basic biology.You are clearly a nasty piece of work,and i won’t be continuing this discussion.

  • Daniel says: “But let’s not let something like climate, latitude, geology, time, flora, fauna, technology, trade, etc….stop us from desperately looking for something in the past that validates our reasons to blame everything on this current round of one percentiles.”

    Social Class and Doom

    The poor, who are barely maintaining,
    Will notice their hope for change waning
    When they’re more aware
    That their unfair share
    Won’t improve in the time remaining.

  • 18000days and David Higham,

    Thanks for the clarification re Easter Island, etc.

  • Better title for above: “Doom and Social Disruption.”

  • The equilibrium I am referring to is what exists in a complex system, what is often referred to as a complex dynamic equilibrium (and the result of a long integration over a dynamic trajectory). It is not the same as thermodynamic equilibrium, which rarely occurs within a complex system. Complex systems and complexity theory, as well as nonequilibrium thermodynamics, have often been brought up here and that’s what I do 24/7 (even in my dreams): research complex biological systems and protein folding. Using your language, the constant rising and falling is integrated over time and the overall risings measured to the overall fallings to evaluate whether the system is in equilbrium or not. Even in chemical equlibrium, it is a dynamic equilbrium (measured over a population), but in complex system, it could include nonlinear feedback loops also.

    My point generally is that it is possible within complex systems to achieve a complex dynamic equilibrium over an arbitrarily large number of steps and biological systems (nature) provides amazing evidence of that. I see it all the time with simpler examples of complex systems. Humans are no exception to this within the context of the complex system we call Earth but whether the human species will survive their directed perturbations of the Earth system remains to be seen (and is looking unlikely at this point I’d say).

    The climate system is also a complex system like the biological system (and vice versa), and together they help make up the Earth system. When people refer to measures like equilibrium climate sensitivity, that’s what they’re talking about. It is an emergent property.

    The Australian aborigines or the Native Americans may well have existed in an equilibrium with their environment, depending on the variable(s) being assessed, but one doesn’t really have the data to evaluate it properly. You need very complete data and/or start/end states of the systems. I also feel the time is too short to do a proper evaluate. Millions of years may be necessary to make claims about existing in equilbirium with their environment: doing it for 50,000 years isn’t impressive when you consider that bacteria (not all species) have been doing it for billions of years and plants (not all species) have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years.

  • Gail: It isn’t a question if stone age tribes lived in harmony with their environment nor if human beings could build space arks and blast off to Alpha Centauri using faster than light drive engines: neither scenario helps us in any way here and now.

    It certainly does get boring hearing about how this or that group managed to get along because everybody everywhere from the most saintly vegan Wiccan priestess to the most depraved city dweller is facing extinction. I see limited value in being able to “survive” for six months longer than anyone else.

    The choice now is to try one’s best to get on with whatever amount of life one has left as enjoyably as possible. Echoing Guy McPherson this doesn’t mean having daily New Years Eve parties, but trying to connect to others in meaningful ways — something that is more or less impossible to do online. Face to face communication and exchange of ideas is all we have left. Becoming a better neighbor is more vital than being absolutely sure on all the details.

    Who knows? Maybe the most dire of predictions is actually off by a decade. In that unexpected decade one might actually die of natural causes and miss out on the great collapse. Maybe everything starts shutting down at midnight tonight. There is absolutely no reason to be cringing in remorse and terror over either possibility.

  • Gai Z:
    “Not enough people study basic biology…sigh..”

    You obviously haven’t. Evolutionary biologists such as the award-wiinning Lynn Margulis have demonstrated quite extensively that symbiosis is a far more basic dynamic in evolution and species formation/survival than is competition, regardless of what know nothings keep asserting. Social Darwinism was repulsive even to Charles Darwin in fact.

  • Return again to IPHUS – In summary, the entire continent of North America resembled a well managed natural park for the benefit of the population (see as late as Lewis and Clark reports) which was not hell bent on dogmatic “be fruitful and multiply” overshoot. These people lived in villages and were mostly farmers. They were not hunter gatherers. Let me repeat once more THEY WERE NOT HUNTER GATHERERS. There was an already existing well established north American road network. That’s the record, if you want to look or care to. Propositions to the contrary will obviously follow confirmation bias as they have now for several years. People need to do their own research and make up their own minds for themselves regarding this interpretation or any other claim on science, history, or philosophy that includes any linguistic permutations of the verb “to be”.

  • In the long term, species try to increase their numbers and biomass. They face limits from disease, predation or starvation, or more nuanced and complex limits deriving from societal influences, as in present day Western Europe, Russia and Iran; and for elephants (both Asian & African) in captivity.

    Fire, stone and other tools, projectile weapons, domestication of animals, cultivation of plants, solar, wind and water power each helped to defeat some limits through control of existing modest energy flows. Extraction and release of the sequestered, fossilised energy of bygone sunshine ushered in an age of theretofore unknown profligacy knocking down limits to where we now have 7+ billion of us. Control of disease, while easing some limits, allows for a greater role for starvation and predation (on every scale from individual crime to imperial war).

    When resources are plentiful, most people can be kept happy. Violent conflicts are mostly a contest for resources. It applies to bands of hunter-gatherers and to empires.

  • I will leave these two quotes and desist. If NTE is your excuse for depression or a need to see all humans as neo-calvisits pre-determined robots following a fixed Newtonian path to oblivion thereby ovbviating your responsibility, then OK. That’s your game. It’s not mine. After Calculus, I moved on to Quantum Physics, which is the study of the fundamental structure of all that is. Einstein, Heissenberg, Paulie, Planck, Schrodinger, Bell and Bohm offer a fine and more contemporary counterpoint to Mr. Newton and Monsieurs DesCartes and LaPlace.

    Quote 1 – Indigenous People’s History of the United States

    “By the time of European invasions, Indigenous peoples had occupied and shaped every part of the Americas, established extensive trade networks and roads, and were sustaining their populations by adapting to specific natural environments, but they also adapted nature to suit human ends. Mann relates how Indigenous peoples used fire to shape and tame the precolonial North American landscape. In the Northeast, Indigenous farmers always carried flints. One English observer in 1637 noted that they used the flints “to set fire of the country in all places where they come.” They also used torches for night hunting and rings of flame to encircle animals to kill. Rather than domesticating animals for hides and meat, Indigenous communities created havens to attract elk, deer, bear, and other game. They burned the undergrowth in forests so that the young grasses and other ground cover that sprouted the following spring would entice greater numbers of herbivores and the predators that fed on them, which would sustain the people who ate them both. Mann describes these forests in 1491: “Rather than the thick, unbroken, monumental snarl of trees imagined by Thoreau, the great eastern forest was an ecological kaleidoscope of garden plots, blackberry rambles, pine barrens, and spacious groves of chestnut, hickory, and oak.” Inland a few miles from the shore of present-day Rhode Island, an early European explorer marveled at the trees that were spaced so that the forest “could be penetrated even by a large army.” English mercenary John Smith wrote that he had ridden a galloping horse through the Virginia forest. In Ohio, the first English squatters on Indigenous lands in the mid-eighteenth century encountered forested areas that resembled English parks, as they could drive carriages through the trees.
    Bison herds roamed the East from New York to Georgia (it’s no accident that a settler city in western New York was named Buffalo).

    The American bison was indigenous to the northern and southern plains of North America, not the East, yet Native peoples imported them east along a path of fire, as they transformed forest into fallows for the bison to survive upon far from their original habitat. Historian William Cronon has written that when the Haudenosaunee hunted buffalo, they were “harvesting a foodstuff which they had consciously been instrumental in creating.” As for the “Great American Desert,” as Anglo-Americans called the Great Plains, the occupants transformed that too into game farms. Using fire, they extended the giant grasslands and maintained them. When Lewis and Clark began their trek up the Missouri River in 1804, ethnologist Dale Lott has observed, they beheld “not a wilderness but a vast pasture managed by and for Native Americans.” Native Americans created the world’s largest gardens and grazing lands—and thrived.

    Native peoples left an indelible imprint on the land with systems of roads that tied nations and communities together across the entire landmass of the Americas. Scholar David Wade Chambers writes:

    The first thing to note about early Native American trails and roads is that they were not just paths in the woods following along animal tracks used mainly for hunting. Neither can they be characterized simply as the routes that nomadic peoples followed during seasonal migrations. Rather they constituted an extensive system of roadways that spanned the Americas, making possible short, medium and long distance travel. That is to say, the Pre-Columbian Americas were laced together with a complex system of roads and paths which became the roadways adopted by the early settlers and indeed were ultimately transformed into major highways.

    Roads were developed along rivers, and many Indigenous roads in North America tracked the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Columbia, and Colorado Rivers, the Rio Grande, and other major streams. Roads also followed seacoasts. A major road ran along the Pacific coast from northern Alaska (where travelers could continue by boat to Siberia) south to an urban area in western Mexico. A branch of that road ran through the Sonora Desert and up onto the Colorado Plateau, serving ancient towns and later communities such as those of the Hopis and Pueblos on the northern Rio Grande.

    From the Pueblo communities, roads eastward carried travelers onto the semiarid plains along tributaries of the Pecos River and up to the communities in what is now eastern New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, and West Texas. There were also roads from the northern Rio Grande to the southern plains of western Oklahoma by way of the Canadian and Cimarron Rivers. The roads along those rivers and their tributaries led to a system of roads that followed rivers from the Southeast. They also connected with ones that turned southwestward toward the Valley of Mexico.

    The eastern roads connected Muskogee (Creek) towns in present-day Georgia and Alabama. From the Muskogee towns, a major route led north through Cherokee lands, the Cumberland Gap, and the Shenandoah Valley region to the confluence of the Ohio and Scioto Rivers. From that northeastern part of the continent, a traveler could reach the West Coast by following roads along the Ohio River to the Mississippi, up the Mississippi to the mouth of the Missouri, and along the Missouri westward to its headwaters. From there, a road crossed the Rocky Mountains through South Pass in present-day Wyoming and led to the Columbia River. The Columbia River road led to the large population center at the river’s mouth on the Pacific Ocean and connected with the Pacific Coast road.

    …This brief overview of precolonial North America suggests the magnitude of what was lost to all humanity and counteracts the settler-colonial myth of the wandering Neolithic hunter. These were civilizations based on advanced agriculture and featuring polities. It is essential to understand the migrations and Indigenous peoples’ relationships prior to invasion, North and South, and how colonialism cut them off, but, as we will see, the relationships are being reestablished.”

    ~~~~Are we there yet?~~~~

    Quote 2 – Acts of Rebellion

    “As longterm participants in the national liberation struggle of American Indians,” I said, “we have been forced into knowing the nature of colonialism very well. Along with you, we understand that the colonization we experience finds its origin in the matrix of European culture. But, apparently unlike you, we also understand that in order for Europe to do what it has done to us—in fact, for Europe to become ‘Europe’ at all—it first had to do the same thing to all of you. In other words, to become a colonizing culture, Europe had first to colonize itself. To the extent that this is true, I find it fair to say that if our struggle must be explicitly anticolonial in its form, content and aspirations, yours must be even more so. You have, after all, been colonized far longer than we, and therefore much more completely. In fact, your colonization has by now been consolidated to such an extent that—with certain notable exceptions, like the Irish and Euskadi (Basque)nationalists—you no longer even see yourselves as having been colonized. The result is that you’ve become self-colonizing, conditioned to be so self-identified with your own oppression that you’ve lost your ability to see it for what it is, much less to resist it in any coherent way.

    “You seem to feel that you are either completely disconnected from your own heritage of having been conquered and colonized, or that you can and should disconnect yourselves from it as a means of destroying that which oppresses you. I believe, on the other hand, that your internalization of this self-hating outlook is exactly what your oppressors want most to see you do. Such a posture on your part simply perfects and completes the structure of your domination. It is inherently self-defeating because in denying yourselves the meaning of your own history and traditions, you leave yourselves with neither an established point of departure from which to launch your own struggle for liberation, nor any set of goals and objectives to guide that struggle other than abstractions. You are thereby left effectively anchorless and rudderless, adrift on a stormy sea. You have lost your maps and compass, so you have no idea where you are or where to turn for help. Worst of all, you sense that the ship on which you find yourselves trapped is rapidly sinking. I can imagine no more terrifying situation to be in, and, as relatives, we would like to throw you a life preserver.

    “So here it is,” I went on. “It takes the form of an insight offered by our elders: To understand where you are are, you must know where you’ve been, and you must know where you are to understand where you are going.’59 For Indians, you see, the past, present and future are all equally important parts of the same indivisible whole. And I believe this is as true for you as it is for us. In other words, you must set yourselves to reclaiming your own indigenous past. You must come to know it in its own terms—the terms of its internal values and understandings, and the way these were applied to living in this world—not the terms imposed upon it by the order which set out to destroy it. You must learn to put your knowledge of this heritage to use as a lens through which you can clarify your present circumstance, to ‘know where you are,’ so to speak. And, from this, you can begin to chart the course of your struggle into the future. Put still another way, you, no less than we, must forge the conceptual tools that will allow you to carefully and consciously orient your struggle to regaining what it is that has been taken from you rather than presuming a unique ability to invent it all anew. You must begin with the decolonization of your own minds, with a restoration of your understanding of who you are, where you come from, what it is that has been done to you to take you to the place in which you now find yourselves. Then, and only then, it seems to us, will you be able to free yourselves from your present dilemma.”

    There you go.

  • Wester,
    Thank you for bringing my attention to the IPHUS book ,and also ‘Columbus and other Cannibals’.I have made a note,and hope I get to read them. Thanks also to Bud Nye for notes a while back on a couple of other books.

  • China has produced a bit over 6 gigatons of cement in the last 3 years.
    U.S. has produced a bit over 4 gigatons of cement in the last 100 years.
    China’s banks have produced $15 trillion of debt in the last 5 yers.
    U.S. commercial banks have produced $15 trillion of debt in the last 100 years.
    China plans to build 500 nuclear plants in 35 years.
    China and India are in a crash course program to produce thorium energy.
    Crazy Inventor thinks solar and wind power will produce his computers.

  • @Gail
    The book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn makes a very convincing argument that such an equilibrium did in fact exist pre agricultural revolution. ( I enjoyed your post on the reality of HG life-very rosy indeed!)

  • “To understand where you are are, you must know where you’ve been, and you must know where you are to understand where you are going.”

    Starting with the tnree characteristics of existence, all composite things are transient, all entities are without any abstractable essence (soul), and all composite things are sources of sorrow.

    Neither mind nor thought has any awareness: all flowers are black in the absence of light.

    Nothing subject to the constraints of time or space has awareness: it is all insentient. As one source of sunlight illumines a flower bush and a sewer, so too the same conscious awareness illumines all apparent and apparently separate beings.

    Insentient entities such as a body-mind complex have a past, a present and a future, a here and a there but not so conscious awareness, which belongs to no one (no “my consciousness”) but is the being of everyone (each apparent “I-consciousness”). It has not been nor is anywhere, and going nowhere; it has neither a past, nor a present nor a future. It is unaffected by all that it illuminates with awareness like the sunshine. In the absence of what it illuminates, it is Void, just as the sunshine has no shape or form.

  • @ Ram Samuldrama

    I have a vague understanding of Prigogine’s work on how open systems evolve- basically not in spite of entropy but because of it. Is this correct? Does any of this have a tie in with what you are describing with complex systems? I can see how increasing order and chaos forces the human brain to evolve over time to a higher level of functioning..


    As far as I can see no outcome can be known with absolute certainty

  • @Robin Datta

    ‘It’ is ‘you’ :)

  • Sorry Gail zawacki but I don’t agree. John Zerzan as some compelling arguments gathered from more recent anthropological research. The evidence suggests that before the advent of civilization humanity was very well adapted to living in the ‘wild’ for at least 1 million years. That is quite stable adaption. It is when civilization makes its appearance that every ill you describe to the hunter-gatherer makes an appearance.


  • “As far as I can see no outcome can be known with absolute certainty”

    Do you need absolute certainty that the sun is going to rise in the morning or is every night a fearful event of expecting doom?

  • wester re, iphus, we have a town called ‘buffalo’ i have a friend here, middle alabama, who is a local historian and here is his reply after i send him a snippet of your post from iphus.

    ‘Thanks for this item. Yes there were buffalo here. Buffalo here got its name because it was a
    Wallow , a place where the Buffalo rolled in the dirt. Originally it was called Buffalo Wallow. This is what I have been told.’

  • Gail Zawacki has a point . That HG system is unfeasible at this point totally we still have them thou some tribes in the amazon and india they are still doing it when they show it on tv you can see their whole existence in a 40 minute segment and thats all they do their whole lifetime … It is fcking boring . WIth my iphone or tablet in my hand i can experience many times more stimuli in that same time frame than those guys do in a lifetime so give me cities art technology and at the end a big chrash vs a lifetime of bore i take that deal before stupid HG-existence . And anyway we did that what ?! 100-200 thou years wasn`t that enough ? Terence Mckenna used to ask “What last longer a million years with no or little change, or 10 seconds with 50.000 processes crammed in it?! i take the exciting 10 seconds before that boring 1 million for sure

  • Can you believe this bull shit? Of course it was put out by the Daily Caller (a conservative organization based out of Washington, D.C.). Those Climate denialists just won’t let it go.


  • Gail,

    Having now spent significant time, money, and effort learning primitive (Stone Age) skills, and planning to continue that learning and practicing process into the future, I want to reinforce your point regarding the emotional and physical difficulties involved with learning and practicing that life-style. By far, most of even the most highly skilled and accomplished people who have learned, practice, and teach those skills today REMAIN HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH AND DEPENDENT UPON FOSSIL FUEL-BASED TECHNOLOGY including: computers, trucks, manufactured clothing, industrial agriculture foods, today’s housing, telephones, transportation systems, and so on and on. Similarly, based on my experiences in Alaska (among other things, I spent a year living in a small Yupik village on the Bering Sea, a year in the interior near Fairbanks, and some time traveling recently in SE Alaska), few indigenous people who have used fossil fuel-based technologies and materials will voluntarily go back to using the much more physically demanding—and existentially risky!—traditional methods. To me, this emphasizes how physically dependent we have become on the ultimately fatal, civilizational trap we have constructed.

    Regarding your points about romanticizing earlier cultures and their not living in ecological equilibrium, I have copied four paragraphs from LeBlanc’s book, Constant Battles, The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage here:

    “Previously uninhabited islands are an even better place to examine human impact on the environment. Island ecological situations tend to be less complex, and the absence of other social groups makes the situation clear. Our information about the colonization of islands derives from archaeology, historical accounts, and modern studies of island fauna and flora. Dating the charcoal from ancient forest fires makes it possible to record changes in the frequency and intensity of the fires. Paleontologists determine which animal species were extincted, and geomorphologists can find cycles of soil erosion. If humans were really capable of conservationist behavior, one would think they should be particularly so on islands, because there is nowhere else to go if they get it wrong. Just the opposite usually happens. Madagascar, for instance, was initially settled by a small group of people from Southeast Asia around A.D. 1. The first settlers were living along the coast of this very large island off Africa, but in about seven hundred years they had spread across the entire island and in the process extincted almost all large game, including hippos, tortoises, giant lemurs—some two dozen species in all.

    An almost identical story can be told for the Caribbean islands, including Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. The initial settlers reached the islands by boat between 3000 and 2000 B.C. Modern studies have shown that some twenty-one genera, including ground sloths and giant rodents, were extincted on the islands, and all show evidence of the use of fire for clearing vegetation. When Columbus reached these islands, the people were far from being in ecological balance, as evidenced by ample warfare and cannibalism. The word cannibal derives from Carib, one of the linguistic groups then occupying some of the islands.

    The Hawaiian Islands, initially occupied around A.D. 300, provide a repeat of the same story. Researchers have shown that thirty-five species of birds were extincted—more from habitat transformation than as food sources. In addition, large flightless waterfowl and ibis, which were very useful food sources, were wiped out. By the time of Captain Cook’s arrival in the 1700s, there was considerable food stress and warfare among the Hawaiians. The same thing happened on the islands of the Mediterranean, but initial settlement occurred so early on those islands that the cases are not as clear-cut. On all these islands, the human impact was probably slow enough that no single generation would have perceived what was taking place.

    The evidence from such island colonizations is quite damning. What better place to be a successful conservationist? One would assume that the initial colonizers were few in number, so social rules could be easily enforced; the island land masses are small enough that the inhabitants should be able to see what overexploitation was causing; and there was no reason to grow the human population rapidly to be able to defend against human competitors. Examples of similar island colonizations by Europeans, Asians, and American Indians are available, and the pattern is worldwide—and always the same: A few people occupy the new land, they exterminate many species, they heavily modify the landscape, AND THEIR NUMBERS GROW. They never remain in anything approaching ecological balance.”

    Does it make sense to reason that things worked differently on the mainlands?

  • Diarmuid Garvin, Prigogine was a pioneer in the field of complexity. What his work indicated was the thermodynamic view of biology isn’t feasible helped explain how the reversal of entropy seems to happen in biological systems: biological systems exist far from thermodynamic equilibrium but their very existence and organisation implies another kind of equilibrium (Prigogine’s dissipative structures). Gail’s comment about biology could apply to many biologists themselves who have yet to incorporate the work of people like Prigogine into biology. As a computational biologist, I am forced to deal with complexity when I attempt to do any kind of sophisticated modelling of biological systems.

    Again, I think assigning human moral or aethestic qualities to these processes is of limited value. Whether HG systems were better than current IC system isn’t a human judgement call, but a call about long term survivability. You could take EtyerePetyere’s viewpoint and say “give me one second of mind blowing experiences over a million years of boring civilisation” and to people like him/her, that would be “better”. But it looks like the fossil fuel driven IC system isn’t sustainable in our world for many reasons beyond climate change and therefore some may say the opposite.

    I think there are other options as well, besides HG, IC, etc. I’m not sure we’re done with evolution and evolution is done with us. I also think there is value in understanding why/how/what we are an came to be if for no reason other intellectual curiousity.

  • @ Bud Nye Says:
    October 29th, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Outstanding comment, sir, as seems to be your wont. Given your personal experience, involvement and practice of primitive skills, I would ask if you have ever seen any of the “Naked and Afraid” episodes on the Discovery channel? If so, in general terms, what is your perspective of the show and/or its participants? Otherwise, I find all the disagreement/discussion of bygone cultures/societies amusing. :)

    @ Ram Samudrala Says:
    October 29th, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Indeed, intellectual curiousity[sic] seems to be the only merit(?) of these discussions. Personally, I concur with the perspective that however our ancestors survived/thrived, the current, ongoing and accelerating degradation of the ecosystem, in conjunction with the life-long indoctrination to IC of the current populace, preclude any future return to those methods/forms of living.

  • @ the jimmy carter lover,

    here is a quotation for you: “…in 1979 when (Andy) Young’s laudable outreach to Palestinian critics of Israel led to his forced resignation by the Carter Administration. and then, mr andy turned corporate mongrel. all politicians are the exact same

  • @Bud

    “Not only was it commonly assumed that the past had been peaceful, but there was a very strong belief that it had also once been a land of plenty, a veritable Garden of Eden. This pristine past world is believed to have been peopled with inherent conservationists, inhabitants who carefully managed and took care of their environment and made sure they never misused or over-exploited any precious resource.”

    Your is the academic perspective and is so slanted culturally that you do not and cannot understand Native American cultures. There is a great deal about this commonly accepted perspective among a great many people, especially people who consider themselves knowledgeable on the subject, like yourself, that is so wrong the gap cannot be bridged.

    First of all, arguing against the entire “Noble Savage” supposed myth is entirely irrelevant. It means absolutely nothing.

    I have made this analogy many, many times. This culture is technologically advanced. This culture is the master race of engineers, mechanics, fact seekers who then attempt to make the sum of the parts exactly equal to the whole, and it is materialistic perspective that Native Americans did not share in any way whatsoever.

    Yes, they a tremendous, spiritual-based respect for nature. Yes, they were conservationists. The problem with your view is that you only consider white, European “conservation” to be valid, like you generally think everything white and European is valid. What white Europeans have done is the standard for all humanity, no matter how different indigenous people were in their relationship to the world around them.

    They were also highly gifted horticulturalists, agriculturalists, and astute and highly knowledgeable biologists concerning the living world around them. Yes, they were. Europeans learned hybridizing and genetic dominance from Native Americans. Mendel didn’t “discover” genetic dominance, he learned it from the agricultural knowledge gained from American Indians. They had “science.” At the time of Columbus, the Mayans were better astronomers than the Europeans, even without telescopes. My goodness, how did they do that?

    The truth is they were not dividing things up, separating them out like machine parts, killing things and chopping them up, and having arrogant and insane discussions about human greatness at the expense of the natural world. They just focused on “science” that was beneficial, and was passed down culturally. Their science was part of their living cultures, and it can be seen in numerous ways. No, it’s not like science as this culture does it, but it was very, very intelligent, and in a world that was balanced, it would be superior science.

    They did not have be “peaceful” people to be accomplished anymore than anyone else does. The problem with the Noble Savage devaluing argument is its logic. This culture is mechanically, technologically gifted. It’s undeniable. This culture is so far from “peaceful” that it’s ridiculous. This culture is a death machine everywhere it goes. Can we say that this culture is not technologically advanced because the people are not “peaceful”? Where did that Noble Savage delusion come from? This culture. It’s your frame.

    And every time anyone points out anything about Native American environmental perspectives or their love of the earth, well, they’re just trotting out that old 17th century nonsense about the Noble Savage.

    Saying they did not consciously conserve the world is so incorrect as to be insane. They absolutely did. If you want to know how much, read Touch the Earth, which is an anthology of Native American comments in connection with their relationship with the earth that were recorded from early colonial times to the present.

    I was born in the early 50s, and was the first child in the fifth generation of five living generations in my family at that time. My great-great grandmother was a full-blood Cherokee who had been born in the 1860s. She lived until I was eight. My great-grandmother was my caregiver a great deal of the time when I was small. She, too, was a traditional woman who spoke her own language and grew up in her culture.

    The way they do things is not like you think they should be done, so you say they aren’t really doing it. Like you did with religion, and education, and language, and land, and everything else you’ve ever done to them.

    Yes, the North American Native Americans absolutely were lovers of the earth and the premier conservationists of the earth and among the most biologically knowledgeable of all cultures on the earth.

    You just cannot see it, like you can’t see so many great truths in life. Think about this: their names were in a large majority reflective of animals, as were their clans. They mimicked the animals in their dances, emulating their movements beautifully, like the Raven Dancers of the Pacific Northwest. They cited the animals and nature constantly as their guide for how to live in the world, and they were not separate from it all, but integral.

    “I wish all to know that I do not propose to sell any part of my country, nor will I have the whites cutting our timber along the rivers, more especially the oak. I am particularly fond of the the little groves of oak trees. I love to look at them, because they endure the wintry storm and the summer’s heat, and – not unlike ourselves – seem to flourish by them.”
    Sitting Bull

    We did not think of the great open plains , the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth as “wild.” Only to the white man was nature a “wilderness,” and only to him was the land “infested” with “wild” animals and “savage people.” To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it “wild” for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from hi approach, then it was for us that the “Wild West” began

    Luther Standing Bear

    “The Lakota was a true naturist – a lover of nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. . . .

    Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. For the animal and the bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them and so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.”
    Luther Standing Bear

    “We love quiet; we suffer the mouse to play; when the woods are rustled by the wind, we fear not.”
    Indian leader to the governor of Pennsylvania, 1796

    “The white people never cared for the land or deer or bear. When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don’t ruin things. . . . We don’t chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. The tree says, ‘Don’t. I am sore. Don’t hurt me.’ But they chop it down and cut it up. The spirit of the land hates them.”
    An elderly California Indian woman

    Luther Standing Bear was born in the 1860s, so his views of the Lakota relationship to the earth represent traditional cultural perspectives. In my experience with many, many Native Americans, and in my experience in my own family, Standing Bear’s attitude of the Native American relationship to the earth was universal among North American tribes.

    You guys just can’t see it. You cannot even comprehend such love for the earth. Therefore, it didn’t really exist. And they weren’t morally perfect individual, therefore it didn’t really exist, because you know, they set fires to the plains to attract buffalo, and they got in their little canoes and traveled all around the world killing megafauna to extinction thousands of years ago, even megafauna they never hunted. (Well, that’s controversial but don’t let that stop you.)

    There are very, very good reasons the earth is dying under this culture’s watch but not theirs. And it’s not because they were “primitive” or unable to do as much damage as European cultures, and would have if only they’d had the technology.

    For all its advances, this materialistic culture is the biggest lie on earth. European cultures are so uncomfortable with life, that death pours from their hands everywhere they turn. It’s a psycho culture, psychotic and psychopathic, that believes its “knowledge” is the Holy Cosmic Truth, and in fact you dissect, you analyze, you tear apart and hold committees and make plans to “better the world,” and you are still complete failures at seeing reality. Still churning out those intellectual models in your brains, and real people who actually lived the realities, like the statements I have quoted here, don’t count as much as your idiotic research and theorizing.

  • Those who use the term “basic biology” most often next talk about human evolution (Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

    Thus, they leave out BY FAR the most of evolution, which is a concept of Abiology, not Biology (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion – 27, The Uncertain Gene – 9, On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses – 11).

  • Hunting gathering …foget`bout it ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If4GHUkPIDk You kidding yourselves !?

  • That’s brilliant, Gail. Seriously, you can see it in a Petri dish, the rise and fall of civilizations.

    Side note. To prove my study of basic biology, I’ll tell you what the background was as the credits ran at the end of each episode of the Dexter series: It was the bottom of a Petri dish covered with a thin layer of the uncontaminated sterile medium called Agar.

  • @ oldgrowthforest,

    great comment. what I hate is the term ‘savage’, much less ‘noble savage’. wtf.

  • Since Guy is in the process of completing his visit to New Zealand and there has been further going over old ground with respect to sustainability or otherwise of hunter-gatherer societies, let me remind everyone that New Zealand was the last major land mass to be discovered and invaded by pre-industrial humans (even that term no longer rings true because we know that people living in what is now China performed complex industrial procedures and had their version of the military-industrial-complex more than 2000 years ago, as did the Romans, so perhaps we should use the term pre-heat-engine-humans) was pristine at the time of the arrival of the ‘canoe people’.

    Within 600 years the human population had risen from a few hundred to many tens of thousands (maybe 200,000 -I would like to see a good estimate) and several large species had been hunted close to extinction or to complete extinction, most notably moas.

    Once the human population had risen significantly, competition for resources led to conflict between various tribes, and military campaigns were regularly waged to take possession of land, and the capturing of hostages and slaves seems to have been fairly common, with instances of cannibalism being recorded.

    To counter the threat of attack by rival tribes, most pas (villages) were constructed on high ground with good all-round visibility and access to water, resembling the hill-forts of Iron Age England.

    Food consisted of vegetables grown within the pas, medium sized birds, eggs, and seafood collected from the shores, and by through the use of canoes etc. (No large mammals or reptiles in NZ.) Pas were frequently littered with masses of shells from seafood and the evidence of large quantities of shellfish being collected and transported to pas remains to this day.

    Had metallurgy and inventiveness not combined to allow the production of muskets, cannons and subsequently heat engines, the Maori would probably have continue to live as they had before Europeans arrived for at least another 600 years, and perhaps for 60,000, mirroring the non-industrial occupants of Australia and numerous pacific Islands. On the other hand, it is conceivable that they might have adopted some strange religious beliefs that required industrial-scale statue building, and that they would have gone on to completely denude the North Island of trees. (The South Island, having very much colder climate, was generally unattractive to Maori, and was primarily only regarded as a source of materials such as greenstone.)

    The current population (approaching 4.5 million) is miniscule in global terms but nevertheless represents population overshoot by a factor lying somewhere between 10 ans 100.

    More significantly, the short-term productivity of the land is being maintained via massive inputs of fossil fuels (urea from natural gas and diesel transport systems) and the importation of phosphate fertilisers. Even worse, from the perspective of getting through the first bottleneck, is the fact that the seashores have been largely stripped of the huge quantities of shellfish that sustained the pre-European Maori population.

  • @ Grant
    Yes, that is the point I was making. If one puts the question ‘can I absolutely know it’s true?’ to any thought, belief, theory, fact- ultimately the answer has to be no. My intent is not philosophical speculation but the fact that this can be used to cut through the attachment to any perceived fearful outcome. Life is what’s happening now and the future if and when it arrives will be another moment .(which is not to deny taking action based on perceived trajectories)

  • @ Ram
    Yes-i remember the term dissipative structures. Does this mean their capacity to throw off entropy? I also remember the term bifurcation point where an open system would spontaneously evolve to a higher level of functioning or cease to exist as a viable system. I remember some of the binaural beat technology being based on this principle in the form of supplying the nervous system with a stressful input ( 2 offset sine wave tones) and forcing it to adapt over time to handle the input.

  • Robert Scribbler is now pushing the “Lockheed Martin fusion breakthrough” bullshit. I posted the article from the UK Guardian about this claim, he has so far not allowed the post to go through. Others have posted dissenting comments, he’s basically calling them all “luddites.
    Colin posted this in this forum,
    “”One of the top scientists at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) told the Guardian: “Let’s just say that since they don’t provide any technical details of what their ‘breakthrough’ actually involves, I am very sceptical. It’s amazing how much publicity you can generate with minimal information.”
    It appears that this is because the reactor in question has not been built and tested yet. “Some key parts of the prototype are theoretical and not yet proven,” Nathan Gilliland, CEO of General Fusion who are working on their own fusion reactor, told Wired.”
    Yep, pure, unadulterated BS, especially since the world will be very much differentten years from now, probably even sooner, and not in a good way.”
    From Robert Scribbler’s article
    JoeT / October 29, 2014
    “I’ve been in this field for the last 30 years. Rather than critique the whole article, I want to make 3 points.
    1- Hydrogen and helium are not the fuels that fusion reactors will use. The easiest reaction, which only takes temperatures of 100 million degrees use deuterium and tritium, which of course are hydrogen isotopes. There is a reaction which needs even a higher temperature and uses deuterium and helium-3. This form of helium is very rare. Some advocate mining it on the moon. No one on earth even considers using hydrogen.
    2- Lockheed did not achieve fusion. Not even close. If someone told you this they are misinformed.
    3- To my great disappointment fusion will not even begin to solve the climate crisis. Although astonishing progress has.been made, I don’t see it impacting the electrical grid until 2080. By then it’ll be too late.”
    And a couple of posts earlier, this reference, https://grist.org/climate-energy/fusion-wont-save-us-from-climate-change/?utm_source=syndication&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feed

  • What about geothermal? I have heard the TZM people cite references saying there is enough in the earth’s core to power current consumption levels for the next 4000 years and that this technology is already available? Interested to hear the drawbacks/downside to this if any..

  • please delete previous comment:
    holy fuck, i spent my whole life wondering how and why higher biological complexities defy entropy. i will spent the rest of my life wondering how higher biological entities deny entropy.
    Ugo Bardi explains why mining ore grades below energy break even costs fucks you up.

    world energy is to increase 50% by mid-century when it should decrease close to 80% by then. to increase green energy 40% by 2050, we would need 200% more copper with current ore concentrations of 0.2%. We would need 150% more aluminum and 90% more iron at the same time it starts to cost too much money to send the trucks that far down into the pits. batteries not included?

    we can’t have hi-tech green energy without producing thorium as a costly radioactive waste usually discharged into tailings (lake sized) ponds. china is planning to get carbon free energy from thorium to pay for the minerals we need to produce our information green energy dreams.

    China has produced a bit over 6 gigatons of cement in the last 3 years.
    U.S. has produced a bit over 4 gigatons of cement in the last 100 years.
    China’s banks have produced $15 trillion of debt in the last 5 years.
    U.S. commercial banks have produced $15 trillion of debt in the last 100 years.
    China plans to build 500 nuclear plants in 35 years.
    China and India are in a crash course program to produce thorium energy forever to sell us computers, solar panels and wind turbines which wear out in 25 years.

  • “If one puts the question ‘can I absolutely know it’s true?’ to any thought, belief, theory, fact- ultimately the answer has to be no.”

    To doubt everything else, one cannot doubt the doubter.

    The problem with an unlimited source of free energy, by the astrophysicist Tom Murphy in his blog Do the Math:

    Galactic-Scale Energy

    “Earth surface temperature given steady 2.3% energy growth, assuming some source other than sunlight is employed to provide our energy needs and that its use transpires on the surface of the planet. Even a dream source like fusion makes for unbearable conditions in a few hundred years if growth continues.”

  • Diarmuid Galvin, I’d hesitate to the use the words “throw off entropy.” The system will appear to be going against the thermodynamic law of maximising entropy. That is because the entropy of the surroundings is increasing. It fits with what is known about thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The entropy of the universe still continues to increase even as the system reduces its own entropy in exchange for energy (I think Robin has pointed this out). Prigogine’s work was in connecting traditional thermodynamics to these biological systems that seem to operate far from thermodynamic equilibrium and analysing the dynamics of these structures which have what we call complex properties, i.e. have a complex dynamic equilibrium (long range correlations, such as the dynamics between between CO2, O2, H2O emissions and absorption by plants with its environment). It is an answer to those who claim the second law of thermodynamics means there can be no life/order/etc.

    I don’t think we know why trajectories go off the way we do, so much of it seems to be chance to me. Take the examples of the aborigines or the native americans or the maori being offered here – a chance encounter with western peoples seems to have thrown off their development in an unexpected way. This is the thing with these systems, these kinds of things happen all the time. It’s not just the encounters, it’s what happened as a result of these encounters also. People like Washington and Jefferson thought that the native americans could become “civilised” just like the europeans (and why not, we’re all cut from the same cloth, though they did have a double standard with regards to africans) but disease (both mental and infectious) was an issue also. What one people had greater immunity to, the other did not. The fact that different races and cultures developed differently doesn’t attest to the inherent moral superiority of one over the other IMO but it does say something about what trajectory/direction is superior in terms of sustainability. It also says a lot about the randomness of the trajectories. In another wind up, it could’ve been the whites who were the slaves, and so on. (That’s what I think about the trajectories of these systems BTW based on my observations of biological systems; others will disagree and indeed there are attractors and other things that seem to act as anchor points. It’s a highly complex topic, pun intended. :)

    I think Limits to Growth used the principles of complexity theory and a simple world model to show what happens as a consequence of growth of one of these resources. So growth naturally levels off one way or another. Even fossil fuels will end. Even a Dyson sphere will burn out. But it would be nice to have the latter kind of problem I think. Perhaps.

  • Diarmuid Galvin Says:
    October 29th, 2014 at 3:21 pm
    “What about geothermal? I have heard the TZM people cite references saying there is enough in the earth’s core to power current consumption levels for the next 4000 years and that this technology is already available? Interested to hear the drawbacks/downside to this if any..”

    Also includes the article by physicist Tom Murphy doing the calculations.

  • “there is enough in the earth’s core to power current consumption levels for the next 4000 years and that this technology is already available? Interested to hear the drawbacks/downside to this if any..”

    Let’s say that geothermal energy is so damn easy to use it actually provides free energy to all who happen to be plugged in.

    Great! With free energy, there is absolutely no reason to conserve anything, is there? Rabid consumption can go unchecked. I want my night sky as bright as the daylight. I want factories producing electronic goods non-stop. I want half my house to be TV and the other half to be sound system. I want non-stop AC in the summer and non-stop heat in the winter. What could be the downside to any of that?

  • Continued from yesterday.
    8. Deforestation.Did deforestation exist under the HG system?No.Is it a major problem for agricultural and industrial civilisation,leading to soil erosion,siltation of rivers,the increase of atmospheric CO2.Yes.Once the forests are cleared,the deep cycling of nutrients stop,and the system becomes dependent on external nutrient supply,which links to the point about changing the nutrient cycle to a linear one.The loss of large areas of forest can also lead to an altered climate,another major problem.
    The point to remember about the points I have mentioned is that they are unavoidable,systemic flaws of agricultural and industrial civilisation which together guarantee that those civilisations will not have long term sustainability.

  • “Why don’t you dump your computer, your electricity, the food you get from the store and just live the life you hold up as exemplary?”

    Because that life requires the “society” part of hunter-gatherer “societies”. It’s not a lifestyle available to one or two or three people by themselves. I think you know that, too, rendering your question dishonest.

    “Could it be that, in fact you know, that the life of a hunter-gatherer isn’t really the romantic idyll you crack it up to be?”

    Superior social egalitarianism and other cultural strengths that hunter-gatherer peoples possessed is not a romantic idyll or myth, no matter how many times it’s called that by outsiders. Since few people know enough about indigenous cultures to determine what they really were like, deciding that someone else’s perspectives are just romantic myths is invalid. It’s just devaluing and dismissal without any information to back it up. This culture has set up some kind of definitions regarding words like “balance” and “pristine” and “conservationist,” and then decided that Natives don’t fit those definitions.

    They were not “conservationists” because they used fire and burned grasses and stuff, because they did manipulate their environment? Nonsense.

    Maybe…it’s dark and cold and scary at night, and you have no idea why the sun goes up and down, so you can only plan for anything based on wild suspicion, and you are likely to die young of untreated disease or injury, or be attacked by a wild animal, or a vengeful fellow from the next village over because he either thinks you cast a spell on his uncle or else maybe he just wants your wife or daughter? And if you are that wife or daughter you live in constant fear of rape and captivity, toiling in what amounts to slavery to men your entire life?

    There are libraries of information on the Native Americans, including dozens of volumes from their own perspectives of their lives, that answer those questions, as well as numerous volumes written by people with a clue. Why don’t you read some, and then you won’t have to ask those questions and debate what are irrelevant points.

    “Could it be that you spend your days searching for food and frightened you won’t find any?”

    See the above answer. There are still viable subsistence Native societies in the far north of North America who speak their languages, hunt, gather and remain close enough to their historical and traditional cultures to know the answers to all of those questions. There are lots of other people, who know those answers also. In my experience after more than 13 years working in Indian Health Service with those “primitive” people, I literally met dozens of white professionals who never wanted to leave those cultures, even with all their drawbacks. Historically far, far more white people ran away to live with the Indians due to their generally happier and freer existence than there ever were Indians who ran away to live with white people. In fact, in all my years of learning (62)about Native Americans I have come across only one account of an Indian who left her culture to live with non-natives, and it was for religious/spiritual reasons. It is also true that not one captive Indian child ever wanted to stay with settlers, and few captives who were treated well by the tribes ever wanted to leave.

    Your questions cannot be answered within the parameters you set, because your parameters are artificial, as are all purely academic views.

    “Give it a try, anti-civs! Get back to us on your laptop after you do it for 6 months or so, and let us know how gratifying it was.”

    I have in many ways. I built my own home with my own hands. I have subsistence gardened and fished for salmon in Alaska. I have lived without modern trappings for the most part eschewing most modern technologies. I worked in Indian Health Service with some of the few remaining viable Native American cultures remaining. It is beyond gratifying. As I previously wrote, I have encountered psychologists, physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, and scores of others who also find those cultures beyond gratifying and chose to remain within them. Across the nation there are hundreds if not thousands of professional individuals who do the same.

    Why don’t you try giving six months to learning some of the enormous amount of information out there and put yourself out to experience it for yourself, and then you get back to us.

  • Lidia,

    What The Fuckity Fucking Fuck ?

    Was that a Debra Morgan (Dexter) reference ?

    If so…one yesterday and another today.
    Keep ’em coming folks.

  • For Gail (hey, like tiger Mountain, it’s got a tree line)

    When I got back home
    I found a message on the door
    Sweet Regina’s gone to China
    Cross legged on the floor
    Of a burning jet that’s smoothly flying
    Burning airlines give you so much more

    How does she intend
    To live when she’s in far Cathay?
    I somehow can’t imagine her
    Just planting rice all day
    Maybe she will do a bit of spying
    With micro cameras hidden in her hair

    I guess Regina’s on the plane
    A news week on her knees
    While miles below the curlews call
    From strangely stunted trees
    The painted sage sits just as though he’s flying
    Regina’s jet disturbs his wispy beard

    When you reach Kyoto
    Send a postcard if you can
    And please convey my fond regards
    To Chih-Hao’s girl Yu-Lan
    I heard a rumor, they were getting married
    But someone left the papers in Japan

    Left them in Japan, left them in Japan
    Left them in Japan, left them in Japan
    Left them in Japan, left them in Japan
    Left them in Japan

  • “When Columbus reached these islands, the people were far from being in ecological balance, as evidenced by ample warfare and cannibalism.”

    Would someone please explain to me what the fuck warfare or cannibalism have to do with “ecological balance,” and why participating in one means the other must also be true?

    This is exactly what I attempted to point out about purely academic perspectives and the racist illogic that has become the educated white guy’s Cosmic Truth. That sentence does not make sense in any way, shape or form. As I wrote before, it’s like saying that this culture is not technologically advanced because they are so primitive ecologically. Both are true. This culture is technologically advanced and ecologically imbecilic. They are both true, and it was true that Native Americans had warfare and were ecologically advanced. Deal with it.

    This is another one: “few indigenous people who have used fossil fuel-based technologies and materials will voluntarily go back to using the much more physically demanding—and existentially risky!—traditional methods.” What is that supposed to mean? Using fossil fuels, or any other modern trapping has nothing to do with anything. It is not the great measure of their cultures that everyone wants it to be. They have held on to much, also, and retain their independence as much as they are able.

    This culture adopted their ways all over the place, integrated their laws, their foods, their science, their philosophies, many of their traditions and their words. Does that mean that this culture is inferior or white European culture is inadequate because no one wants to go back to the limitations of the 17th century or give up everything they gained from the Indians?

    None of that even makes sense to me. Tell you what. We’ll give up the technology if you give up the land and go away and promise never to come back. Then you won’t have worry yourselves about these inconsistencies that trouble you so much.

    Thank you, Wester, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

  • O.G.Forest,
    Three interesting posts from you.I have done some university level science,but left to live on this 460 acre block of forest which we love.Joanna and I built our house as well when I was 22.(I’m 59 now).In the 226 years industrial civilisation has been in Australia,the effect has been catastrophic,and has left a devastated environment over most of the country.I don’t think I am able to imagine the deep trauma the aboriginal people would have suffered ,seeing what was,from all reports,a magnificent environment being transformed in a short time into a desecrated ghost of it’s former state.The tragedy is beyond words.Our civilisation is not only unsustainable,it is pathological.

  • Hey Bud, Sorry to un-desist.

    RE: Myth of Noble Savage author Ter Ellingson bio page at http://music.washington.edu

    Ter Ellingson is Professor of Music and Adjunct Associate Professor of Comparative Religion and South Asian Studies. He holds an M.A., Religion, from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D., Anthropology/Buddhist Studies, from the University of Wisconsin. Ellingson’s areas of specialization include Tibet, Nepal, Buddhist Cultures; Ritual, Symbolism, History, Notation/Transcription, Visual Media.

    I downloaded a copy of the book and on cursory glance, I cannot say at all that it is in any way scientifically rigorous or data rich. Mr. Ellingson is a musician, a religious scholar with a specialty on India, not American Indians after all. He is not a scientist, biologist or paleontologist. Not that it matters but I’m just saying. I will have to go back and look at some of the arguments and evidence more in depth but I’d much more recommend Rocanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s book which is one of the most amazing and well cited one’s I’ve encountered recently.

  • The emphassis on the natural world as consonant with rectitude can also acknowledge Reality, which is descibed as extending “ten fingerbreadths” beyond nature: beyond the bounds of space, time & causation, beyond the reach of descriptive speech and the intellect.

    Nature is peachy keen. Acknowledging reality does not have to stop there, nor need it.

  • I want to talk again about this book by Ellingson, “The Myth of the Noble Savage”. I read this full chapter at the end called The Ecologically Noble Savage. Wherein we see a quote like this:

    (1) “it seems that Ecologically Noble Savage has managed to attach itself to so many concepts and issues that it appears capable of assuming just about any meaning at all; and we must inevitably wonder whether something so universally meaningful can have any particular meaning.”

    This is a wild generalization, accompanied by two examples that I could find, maybe a third I might have missed, and both citations in regard to theoretical academic rhetoric and zero examples from scientific research or ecological papers – which might arguably impact on the conclusions. Arguably, this hardly translates to universal meaning in any shape. “something so universally meaningful” is a pretty far stretch.

    Another telling quote from the same chapter:

    (2) Indigenous peoples’ –>sometimes<– aggressively exploitative environmental responses to demographic and market forces

    Meaning, in his own language, Ellsington's admitting that the The Noble Savage Myth is not universal. SOMETIMES people give themselves away intentionally or not.

    The entire chapter is basically a critique of white settler invading academics language, with no – Repeat ZERO citations from indigenous authors. The only reference to any here is to Vine Deloria Jr. which is cribbed directly from a Euro-settler academic.

    Quotes Ellsington:

    (3) "…in Douglas J. Buege’s “The Ecologically Noble Savage Revisited”: Professor of political science and Standing Rock Sioux writer Vine Deloria, Jr., once made the seemingly remarkable claim —-

    No direct quotes from Deloria's own works, but analysis of another Euro-settler academic's analysis of Deloria, taking a small remark by Deloria about the Dakota, trashing talking it, with almost nothing to back up the trashing save opinion based on the previous generalizations. There is a heck of a lot that Deloria has to back up his words and claims, if anyone cares to take the time to read Deloria's books and papers which are as easily as accessible as any academic work by Buege.

    I think Edward Said wrote a pretty good book on this kind of phenomenon "Orientalism" back in the 70s.

    There is a profound body of literature from Indigenous academics and authors like Deloria – God is Red being a fantastic one, Waziyatawin – For Indigenous Eyes Only, Russel Means – Where White Men Fear To Tread, Gord Hill – 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance, Jack Forbes – Columbus and Other Cannibals, Songs and spoken word by John Trudell, books by Winnona LaDuke, Caleen Sisk, even razy Horse, Sitting Bull, and Geronimo which were in play in the time periods that Ellsington is trying to critique here. Why are they missing? ….

    The fact that Indigenous Perspective is almost wholly absent from Ellsington's work means that Ellsington is trying to arbitrate the niche settler perspective, and is, I guess, not interested at all in a truly objective analysis that might include the actual reality on the ground as experienced by the very people he and we are trying to come to terms with here.

    That is unless it is the settler's self proclaimed prerogative to cast all definitions of all circumstances in all cases – which might arguably not in actuality be refuting "The Myth of the Noble Savage.

    Also missing from Ellsington's analysis is any comprehension of the environmental dynamics that arose went into play as soon as the Europeans arrived and started interacting. Or rather, scorching the playing field. After 1492, you can't characterize anything that happened without including these effects, traumas and hostile aggressive environmental influences that were operant at that point.

  • Re-hashing the past isn’t going to change what’s going on now, but enjoy yourselves.

    [I know R. Scribbler’s kind of gone off the deep end with his “hope” of fusion tech to “save” humanity, but he still does some good reporting]


    Ominous Arctic Methane Spikes Continue — 2666 Parts Per Billion on October 26th


    Last year during September, the now annual plume of methane emitting from the Arctic Ocean pushed readings as high as 2571 parts per billion at this level of the atmosphere. It was a reading more than 700 parts per billion above the global surface average. A spike fueled by the anomalously high rates of methane emission from the Arctic surface waters and Siberian tundra during the Fall of 2013.

    This year, despite extraordinarily spotty coverage due to cloud interference, the METOP sensor found Arctic methane concentrations in the range of 2666 parts per billion in the mid cloud layer. The spike occurred just this past Sunday and exceeds the September 2013 spike by 95 parts per billion — a level more than 800 parts per billion above current global surface averages.

    [in the comments section, one from Colorado Bob]

    A new study shows that the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three “pulses” in which C02 rose abruptly.

    Read more at: Link

    [read it all, if interested]

    Going ‘hand in hand’ with the above, we have this report from seemorerocks:


    Thursday, 30 October 2014
    Arctic blast for the US

    Arctic Blast Will Bring First Freeze, Record Cold to Parts of the East


    This past week has seen record warmth across much of the East but a big change is on the way. An arctic blast will be arriving this weekend with the first freeze of the season for many, and record low temperatures are possible as well.

    High temperatures early this week were above average from the Northeast to the South. Savannah, Georgia, set a record high of 90 degrees on Monday, which was the latest 90 degree temperature recorded there (the previous record was October 21). Record high temperatures were also tied on Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, (84), Tuscaloosa, Alabama, (85) and Alma, Georgia (89).

    On Tuesday, record high temperatures were set once again, including Rochester, New York, (80), Morgantown, West Virginia, (79), New Bern, North Carolina, (86) and Youngstown, Ohio (77).

    The warmth of earlier this week is coming to an end, and the areas that saw record highs on Monday and Tuesday will see temperatures plummet by this weekend. This is thanks to a cold front that will begin to plunge into the Great Lakes on Thursday night, bringing chilly temperatures and even some snow showers.

    Lows Saturday morning will drop into the 30s all the way into parts of the Deep South, with a freeze possible as far south as the Ozarks and Tennessee. A few record lows are possible, including in St. Louis where the current record is 26 degrees.

    Even with sunshine on Saturday afternoon temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average for this time of year from the Great Lakes to the Sunshine state. Highs will be mainly in the 40s and 50s, with 60s towards the Gulf Coast. It will be windy as well, which will make it feel even colder.

    It will be even chillier on Sunday morning in the South with the northern suburbs of Atlanta possibly dropping below freezing. Temperatures may also dip below freezing in northern Mississippi, Alabama and western parts of North and South Carolina.

    The first widespread freeze of the season is possible in parts of the Tennessee Valley on Sunday morning, as light winds and clear skies are expected behind the cold front. Record low temperatures are in jeopardy in Florida on Sunday, including Miami (54), Orlando (46), West Palm Beach (51) and Fort Myers (49).

  • https://grist.org/climate-energy/climate-depression-is-for-real-just-ask-a-scientist/


    Climate depression is for real. Just ask a scientist


    Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely.

    Parmesan has a pretty serious stake in the field. In 2007, she shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for her work as a lead author of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2009, The Atlantic named her one of 27 “Brave Thinkers” for her work on the impacts of climate change on species around the globe. Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg were also on the list.

    Despite the accolades, she was fed up. “I felt like here was this huge signal I was finding and no one was paying attention to it,” Parmesan says. “I was really thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’” She ultimately packed up her life here in the States and moved to her husband’s native United Kingdom.

    “In the U.S., [climate change] isn’t well-supported by the funding system, and when I give public talks in the U.S., I have to devote the first half of the talk to [the topic] that climate change is really happening,” says Parmesan, now a professor at Plymouth University in England.

    Parmesan certainly isn’t the first to experience some sort of climate-change blues. From depression to substance abuse to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, growing bodies of research in the relatively new field of psychology of global warming suggest that climate change will take a pretty heavy toll on the human psyche as storms become more destructive and droughts more prolonged. For your everyday environmentalist, the emotional stress suffered by a rapidly changing Earth can result in some pretty substantial anxieties.

    For scientists like Parmesan on the front lines of trying to save the planet, the stakes can be that much higher. The ability to process and understand dense climatic data doesn’t necessarily translate to coping with that data’s emotional ramifications. Turns out scientists are people, too.

    Climate scientists not only wade knee-deep through doomsday research day in and day out, but given the importance of their work, many also find themselves thrust into a maelstrom of political, ideological, and social debate with increasing frequency. [read the rest]

  • The latest post includes varied material. It’s here.

  • oldgrowthforest

    Thank you so very much for your continued voice here.

    I enjoyed your response very much to the continued simplistic “noble savage” talking point to any statement about “non-civilized” societies.

    Even more so your follow up to the insulting insinuations that traditional societies are simply a “lifestyle” and not complex cultures evolving much like most other life on Earth over hundreds of millennia.

    Splendid responses by you and Wester, your experiences and voices are why I so enjoy this forum.

    As to the “anti-civ” comment ? Basic principles of ecology render civilization unsustainable. It’s population overshoot, this inevitably results in drawdown and die off. Period. It’s not debatable or negotiable, or anti or pro, if you engage in civilization you ensure there will be a die off. The longer you do so the larger the die off and the more extensive the ecological damage. Almost sounds like exactly where we are.

  • goavs and david, thank you for your responses. I appreciate them. I don’t post often, and this thread exemplifies the reason. The superiority and the academic perspectives on Native Americans in particular is insipid.

    The two sentences I quoted regarding equating warfare with “ecological” balance and the comment about how Native people now use modern technology are great examples of the common bs I encounter from “educated” people all the time. God. No wonder everything is dying.

  • The land was abundant and teeming with game, fish, clean waters in rivers and lakes, and ample forests and healthy ecosystems. Maybe it was not EXACTLY like it would have been if they had never touched it at all, but to say that they were not aware and purposeful conservations is so far from reality that it’s up there with other great fantasies like Zeus and Olympus, but for some reason it is something that modern educated white people desperately want to believe.

    So, it becomes “they were not the great conservationists suggested by the Noble Savage myth.” No shit. That’s because that whole Noble Savage myth isn’t about them. It has nothing to do with the reality of them, their cultures, and their world. It’s a white man’s myth, and they’re not responsible for anything about it and it has no relevancy to anything, except European men pondering themselves and their ideals, and someone else’s land.

    For some reason, people think that because Native Americans don’t and didn’t live down to the myth that is not really about them, there wasn’t anything to them but a bunch of “primitive” people wearing skins and carrying spears as they grazed beside animals on berries and roots. They were scared and didn’t know why the sun came up in the morning; because of course, they were all ignorant and superstitious. In fact, the Mayans knew long before Europeans where the sun was and why it appeared to move, and so did a lot of other people.

  • oldgrowthforest, loved your long comments yesterday, and have placed an amazon order for the book of quotes u recommended.


  • in gail z.’s defense, she writes an awesome blog that demonstrates her love for nature. check out this recent post of hers, especially the video of the wild horses of newbury:


    p.s. gail, i’ve wanted to post comments recently to wit’s end, but have been unable to, so i’ll have to express my appreciation here to u.

  • I’m glad you like the posts. You will love the book. Here are a few more of my favorites.


    The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting kinship of all creatures and acknowledging unity with the universe of things was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization. And when native man left off this form of development, his humanization was retarded in growth.
    Luther Standing Bear

    Behold, my brothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we soon shall see the results of that love!
    Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves to inhabit this land.
    Sitting Bull

    Oh, yes I went to the white man’s schools. I learned to read from school books, newspapers, and the Bible. But in time I found that these were not enough. Civilized people depend too much on man-made printed pages. I turn to the Great Spirit’s book which is the whole of his creation. You can read a big part of that book if you study nature. You know, if you take all your books, lay them out under the sun, and let the snow and rain and insects work on them for a while, there will be nothing left. But the Great Spirit has provided you and me with an opportunity for study in nature’s university, the forests, the rivers, the mountains, and the animals which include us.
    Tatanga Mani, a Stoney Indian born in 1871

    We always had plenty; our children never cried from hunger, neither were our people in want . . . The rapids of Rock River furnished us with an abundance of excellent fish, and the land being very fertile never failed to produce good crops of corn, beans, pumpkins and squashes . . . Our village was healthy and there was no place in the country possessing advantages, nor hunting grounds better than those we had in possession. If a prophet had come to us in those days and told that the things were to take place which has come to pass, none of our people would have believed him.
    Black Hawk, Sauk and Fox

    Thou reproachest us very inappropriately, that our country is a little hell on earth in contrast to France, which thou comparest to a terrestrial paradise, inasmuch as it yields thee, so thou sayest, every kind of provision in abundance. Thou sayest of us also that we are the most miserable and most unhappy of all men, living without religion, without manners, without honor, without social order, and in a word, without any rules, like the beasts in our woods and forests, lacking bread, wine, and a thousand other comforts which thou hast in superfluity in Europe. Well, my brother, if thou doest not yet know the real feelings which our Indians have towards thy Country and towards thy nation, it is proper that I inform thee at once.
    I beg thee now to believe that, all miserable we may seem in thy eyes, we consider ourselves nevertheless much happier than thou, in this that we are very content with the little that we have . . . Thou deceivest thyselves greatly of thou thinkest to persuade us that thy country is better than ours. For if France, as thou sayest, is a little terrestrial paradise, art thou sensible to leave it? And why abandon wives, children, relatives and friends? Why risk thy life and thy property every year? And why venture thyself with such risk in any season whatsoever, to the storms and tempests of the sea in order to come to a strange and barbarous country which thou considerest the poorest and least fortunate of the world. Besides, since we are wholly convinced of the contrary, we scarcely take the trouble to go to France for good reason, lest we find little satisfaction there, seeing in our own experience that those who are natives therof leave it every year in order to enrich themselves on our shores. We believe, further that you are also incomparably poorer than we, and that you are only simple journeymen, valets, servants, and slaves, all masters and Grand Captains though you may appear, seeing that you glory in our old rags and in our miserable suits of beaver which can no longer be of use to us, and that you find among us in the fishery for cod which you make in these parts, the wherewithal to comfort your misery and poverty which oppress you. As to us, we find all our riches without trouble, without exposing ourselves to the dangers in which you find yourselves constantly through your long voyages. And whilst feeling compassion for you in the sweetness of our repose, we wonder at the anxieties and cares which you give yourselves, night and day . . We see also that all your people live, as a rule, only upon cod which you catch among us. It is everlastingly nothing but cod – cod in the morning, cod at midday, cod at evening, and always cod, until things come to such a pass that if you wish some good morsels it is at our expense; and to beg them to go a-hunting that you might be regaled. Now tell me this one little thing, if thou hast any sense, which of these two is the wisest and happiest: he who labors without ceasing and only obtains . . . with great trouble enough to live on, or he who rests in comfort and finds all he needs in the pleasure of hunting and fishing. Learn now, my brother, once for all, because I must open to thee my heart; there is no Indian who does not consider himself infinitely more happy and more powerful than the French.
    Micmac Indian leader statement made in 1676

    As for Gail, she might like to know that the Mayans were using sophisticated astronomy to calculate eclipses and all kinds of other planetary phenomena, and they were doing it when Europe was in the dark ages and Europeans were losing their minds in superstitious terror at the same.

    The real myth is not that of the noble savage. But there’s a myth here in this discussion, and it’s how “advanced” this culture is.

  • The term “Noble Savage” is not even about American Indians specifically. It’s not even a myth. It originated earlier, but its appearance in a play by Dryden in the latter part of the 17th century is considered the first time it captured European attention.

    It was a character in European plays and literature that philosophized about “man’s” innate goodness when separate from civilization. It referred to all societies that were associated with cities and civilization as Europeans defined them.

    But it was not really about the indigenes. It was a fictional ideal that was used to berate and criticize Europeans in their own country for the behaviors and violence they committed, because they slaughtered each other constantly in warfare, so of course the Noble Savage was “peaceful.”

    The term never really referred to Native Americans specifically, nor was it based on any real knowledge of them and how they lived. It was never about them at all.

    However, in the mid 19th Century it was used again as a racist ploy to advance white European land theft in the U.S. It was used exactly as it is used frequently in comments on this blog, comments by Gail and Bud and others. When people questioned the rights of European peoples to continue slaughtering Native Americans, the “Noble Savage myth” was trotted out to assure everyone that no one was doing anything bad, and the Indians didn’t really deserve to own their land because all those *advanced* qualities and achievements of their cultures were just “myth.” White people would put the land to “productive” use, and establish freedom and enterprise, and opportunity with it. It justified the genocide.

    Typical of human history, history is written by the victors, and the dismissal of Native American intelligence, ecological, cultural and social achievements, medicine, everything they did so exquisitely became a “myth” on the part of the educated American’s worldview. It got hardwired into the academic culture, in particular, similar to the culture that birthed it ~ the intellectual, “rational,” educated European upper class of the 17th century.

    Over 400 hundred years later, nothing’s changed. That’s because this culture is fundamentally psychotic in its abstract, intellectual and theoretical, anthropocentric, materialistic, mechanistic world view. It’s delusional about its own greatness, about the value of human achievements, about how intelligent all this technology and academia really is, and all these superior values like equality and non-exploitation and peacefulness are eternally sought but never manifested.

  • Correction: “Noble Savage” referred to all societies that were not “civilized.”

  • The above correction doesn’t count as a post. I really respect Guy and his work, which I have followed for a few years. I read this blog a lot, but as I’ve written, I rarely post. The posts on this blog from the “humans have never lived in balance” sector who are so quick to dismiss any hint of achievement on the part of native people, resemble the points made by the Micmac leader’s statement. Hast thou any sense? As the early traders worked and slaved and lived in squalor and misery while still genuinely believing themselves superior, so do the victims of the culture today. The anti-“primitive” crowd is like those early traders who didn’t like what they had (who would?), but could not see beyond their limited reality and values to live differently. They looked at something very, very beautiful and intelligent and wise in the native cultures and their ecological achievements, and held it all in contempt. It wasn’t good enough for them, because they came from a land of castles and great lords and lots of peasants. They were blind to the point of genuine delusion.

    Here at the end of the world, a great many still have contempt. They know that their way of being is insane, but at the same time there is this myth that no matter how bad it is, it’s the best that humanity could do, because of course, all people have always destroyed their environments, and all people have always overshot their resources.

    I’m going to pick on Guy as an example. Somewhere on this blog Guy wrote that Nietzsche (I think, or some other famous white guy) was the most intelligent human ever. I’m assuming that Guy is not an expert on the cultures, histories, literature, etc., of China, India, Egypt, Native Americans in the western hemisphere, and a number of other societies that have existed. But because a white man was the smartest white man, he must have been the smartest man everywhere in all eras.

    There is an unconscious presumption of superiority and entitlement that IS rampant in this culture, and it is displayed everywhere, and in higher education, in particular at the graduate level, it is extreme.

  • My goodness, it appears that my understanding of “noble savage” is more common than I realized. While we all know that Wikipedia is not scholarly material, clearly the culturally biased and racist use of “noble savage” is not an obscure understanding. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage

    “During the 19th century the idea that men were everywhere and always the same that had characterized both classical antiquity and the Enlightenment was exchanged for a more organic and dynamic evolutionary concept of human history. Advances in technology now made the indigenous man and his simpler way of life appear, not only inferior, but also, even his defenders agreed, foredoomed by the inexorable advance of progress to inevitable extinction. The sentimentalized “primitive” ceased to figure as a moral reproach to the decadence of the effete European, as in previous centuries. Instead, the argument shifted to a discussion of whether his demise should be considered a desirable or regrettable eventuality. As the century progressed, native peoples and their traditions increasingly became a foil serving to highlight the accomplishments of Europe and the expansion of the European Imperial powers, who justified their policies on the basis of a presumed racial and cultural superiority.” [37]

    “Ellingson finds that any remotely positive portrayal of an indigenous (or working class) person is apt to be characterized (out of context) as a supposedly “unrealistic” or “romanticized” “Noble Savage”. He points out that Fairchild even includes as an example of a supposed “Noble Savage”, a picture of a Negro slave on his knees, lamenting lost his freedom. According to Ellingson, Fairchild ends his book with a denunciation of the (always unnamed) believers in primitivism or “The Noble Savage”—whom he feels are threatening to unleash the dark forces of irrationality on civilization.”[56]

    Ellingson argues that the term “noble savage”, an oxymoron, is a derogatory one, which those who oppose “soft” or romantic primitivism use to discredit (and intimidate) their supposed opponents, whose romantic beliefs they feel are somehow threatening to civilization. Ellingson maintains that virtually none of those accused of believing in the “noble savage” ever actually did so. He likens the practice of accusing anthropologists (and other writers and artists) of belief in the noble savage to a secularized version of the inquisition, and he maintains that modern anthropologists have internalized these accusations to the point where they feel they have to begin by ritualistically disavowing any belief in “noble savage” if they wish to attain credibility in their fields.”[57]

  • Wonderful song, Shep. Thank you.

    “Occasionally the concession is made that the Australian aboriginals, the Olmec and the Anasazi, did collapse due to overshoot – however the argument is that they learned from the experience and thus are proof that humans are not inherently doomed. (There’s Hope!)”

    Is that right? I don’t think that’s what is being said at all, but I’m not surprised that is what you think is being stated. The response you characterize as supposed proof that humans are not inherently doomed and that there is hopium (what you really mean) is just another distortion. That’s your need for a god-like declaration of “How Reality Is,” a need through which you interpret everything.

    Your perspective argues that “all people everywhere have done all these things.” When others provide evidence that other people everywhere have NOT done ALL those things, your argument then is that they would have.

    In other words, (1) all people have always done all these things, and people who did not would have, because all people have always done these things. Yes, that is the logic. Dawkins does that a lot in his evangelical berserker activities that he thinks are (1) intelligent and (2) Cosmic Truth. Of course, it is not logical, and it is stupid and self-serving. Dawkins has the same circularity with his god doesn’t exist because gods are imaginary, when the definition of “imaginary” is that something isn’t real. Oh, yeah, I’m way impressed when I read stuff like that.

    ” The point I am trying to make is that the urge to expand, grow, dominate, and prevail is a human behavior evident in every tribe, group, society, economic system or culture. It’s possible that, had the Spaniards not arrived and vanquished the populations in present-day Colombia in the most brutal massacres, sooner or later the Tairona and other indigenous nations would have gone the way of the Aztecs and Incas on their own.”

    More of the god-like omniscience, justified by the same irrefutable illogic noted above, a conclusion, not evidence.

    “elements that would clearly be considered less-than-desirable by most objective standards . . .”

    You are capable of writing this? You think you have the line on “objective” standards, especially moral standards, which your comments clearly imply? This is the new phase of the many faces of the same old insanity. People in WC have been trying to reshape the entire world through the lens of their agreed upon “objective standards” for a couple of thousand years, and not only are people who think like that abject failures at reshaping the world, it is the rational behind the destruction. The valued knowledge and practices of WC for centuries, long before arrival in the West, indicate a culture with members that are unequivocal homicidal failures at morality. No one thinks you have the ability or the authority to judge, much less dictate “objective (including moral) standards” “Objective” moral standards are up there with unicorns, noble savages, and all your other intellectual fantasies that drive the psychopathy and psychosis. You, again, justify your view through a self-justified premise for which there is no evidence, exactly as Ulvfugl points out. You pick facts and frames to reinforce the predetermined view, which is the “noble savage myth.” The noble savage myth is nothing more than a wholesale dismissal and discounting of the achievements, the freedoms, the sophistication, the happiness, and greater respect for and balance with the natural world among some indigenous peoples.

    “To summarize, what I found is that present-day Kogi derived from a society obsessed with material goods, personal adornment and status. Individuals remain in thrall of the supernatural powers wielded by a few elite priests, who control them with threats of disease and death. They Kogi continue with the rigidly misogynist traditions they inherited from their ancestors, with the sexes living strictly separate lives. The training of children from infancy to be priests would be considered extreme ritual child abuse in most parts of the world…and PETA would not have approved of the bird abuse by the Tairona. ”

    All of these are the same old MORAL judgments that came out of Christian Europe that have been used for centuries to justify acts that resulted in genocide. You are not God, and your understanding of misogyny or any other isolated practice that you disapprove of is irrelevant to everything. It’s a presumed premise that is invalid. It’s just more of the ideology of the ideal that justifies pathology and retards, as Tatanga Mani said long ago, your humanity.

    “Across South and Central American, many pre-Colombian societies shared a worship of the sun, moon, rivers, mountains and other aspects of Nature, to which they routinely offered ritual sacrifice of prisoners of war, slaves, children and young girls.”

    What anyone worships is irrelevant. More reshaping of the world in accordance to scientism, more unjustified and delusional superiority, based in a previously Christian religious and now atheistic view that is as fundamentalist as Torquemada.

    Kogi sacrificed prisoners, OMG! Europeans practiced genocide of hundreds of millions of people over the course of three centuries, most of them up close and personal due to the technology of the day. Europeans slogged through rivers of blood, just like IC does today. Obviously, you do know more about “objective moral standards.” Your ability to see and exercise intelligent judgment, in particular moral judgment, cannot be denied. Your focus is on the issues that matter the most, Gail.

    You’re right – the point isn’t to assign blame. In fact, the whole point is to make sure that no one sees any reality but the one you want everyone to see, much less assigns blame for anything. Because at its core your reality is the Big Lie, the reality where not only is there no blame, but also there is no responsibility, no respect, no conscience, no empathy, no real morality, no reason, and no wisdom.

    In short, its more of the same-o, same-o.

  • Couldn’t help but notice the one regret stated by Brittany Maynard (the woman who chise to end her life on her own terms, rather than allow her brain cancer to do so) being that she hadn’t had children. It seems odd to me that she would regret that, being as she knew she would not have been around to raise them. Reproductive urges are truly mysterious!