Winning The Struggle With Hopium Addiction

by Doug Fasching

 This is not the essay that I was expecting to write, nor is it the one I wanted to. When you start a journey you have an expectation of where you will end up. In my life that has never been the case.

I first wrote an essay called Coping Skills, which was fairly well received and even commented on by the late Michael C. Ruppert whom I have held the greatest respect and admiration. When I think of Mr. Ruppert I am reminded of a song by Don McLean called “Vincent”. I think we all can identify with the passage in the song that talks about suffering for your sanity. Seeing the truth in a world of lies makes madmen out of the sane.


A Pact With The Devil

I had expected to write an essay that was going to set fire to whatever earlier credentials I may have earned. I was going to argue about how despite my experiences with the dark side of technological advancement, the only slim chance we have at survival is to fully embrace exponential technological development; essentially setting off a nuclear weapon over what is left of the natural world (a destroy in order to save scenario).

I thought I had constructed a well-reasoned “Pact with the Devil” argument. I rationalized our role in the destruction of the ecosystem with a “Shit Happens” and it’s not really our fault response. I viewed that we all have a Disney view of nature and that nature is really not our friend. I proposed the idea that humanity has increased in sophistication to the point that we either grow beyond the limits of nature or go extinct trying to de-evolve to a point where we can fit back within natural limits.

My grand point in the essay I was trying to write, was that with the exponential growth of technological complexity, we expand the boundaries of what is possible and that our older notions of natural limits no longer apply. Technology would be like inflating a life raft to save the drowning and that only the exceptionally foolish would refuse the opportunity to climb onto the raft.

I was halfway through writing that essay when I watched the presentation on “The Methane Monster” by Jennifer Hynes. Then (since I wasn’t already depressed enough) I watched “22 After” by Mark Thoma. Needless to say, I had a “Oh, I didn’t realize …” moment. I seem to have a lot of those these days.


Idiocy And Dreams Of Hopium

I would like to express my current and now (neck-deep) belief, that I am an idiot. I keep underestimating the gravity of the situation. My ego keeps trying to deceive me into believing it’s noon when it’s really 3 minutes to midnight.

Lets face it, Hopium is a hard addiction to kick; it sneaks back in when your guard is down. None of us really want the party to end. I think we all wish we could escape the reckoning that is coming. I lack the internal machinery to really process the end of life as we know it on this planet.

Who knows; maybe if we had more time, my earlier ideas may have had some possibility of working out. Looking back on it though, probably not. Despite all the great potential of our species, history seems to show that we are unable to escape our self-destructive tendencies. At least at any time scale that would have a chance to save us.

Perhaps we could have eventually turned our technology on ourselves and “Transcend” what currently passes for human nature. Probably not though. I don’t believe it is a genetic flaw that is dooming us; it looks more like a viral meme. Growth at all costs. Whatever we could create to replace humanity, the viral meme that ended us would however accidentally be coded into our creations.

In my defense, the tendency to want to believe that technology would save us is a reflection of the ideas that I have been exposed to throughout my life. 26 years ago I worked at a data center that contained a computer that cost 12 Million Dollars, filled a 3000 square foot room and employed 25 people to program, operate and maintain it. Today I have an IPhone in my pocket that is hundreds of times more powerful than that computer and cost me $550.00. You can see why I would have a tendency to believe in the “Magic” of technology.

Just as Michael Ruppert used Native American spiritual practices a balancing mechanism to deal with the soul-crushing information that he was forever researching and reporting on, I have used technology and technological transcendence as my balance. We might not be able to stop what is coming but maybe there was a way to delay the extinction of our species, or render it irrelevant.

My continued dabbling with a group called “The Zeitgeist Movement”, which originated from the creative works of Peter Joseph and derived from the earlier works of Jacques Fresco and Buckminster Fuller, has been my way of playing both sides of the game. Although the logic of TZM is compelling, there is no workable road map to execute the vision that they advocate. At this point it feels like wishing for it to rain unicorns. Hopium springs eternal.

In my mind, I set up a kind of horse race. Collapse and NTHE being the odds favorite, while Technological Transcendence is the long shot. I have played that imaginary race in my head at least a thousand times. In my thinking, the smallest chance for success is still infinitely better than the absolute guarantee of failure. If we had an infinite amount of time (just like the infinite number of monkeys with typewriters) perhaps “Tech” would win, but as we all know now, we don’t have that kind of time.


Synchronicity And The Cold Slap Of Reality

My father who was 75 just died a few weeks ago (9/11/14 at 12:06 AM to be precise). As I write this I am reminded of similar patterns between his circumstances and the larger whole. I loved my father but anyone close to him felt that he had outlived his time.

In the last 15 years of his life he had a heart valve transplant (the 2nd one during his lifetime), Arterial bypass, Prostate removal, Several issues with blood-clots, Lymphatic cancer, a hemorrhage in his brain, Sleep apnea, Blackouts that eventually lead to a near-fatal car accident, Kidney disease, Cataracts, Borderline diabetes, Several trips to the ER for problems with his medications and finally a series of strokes that eventually ended him although it still took another 6 months for the final end. Although this list is long, I am told that these are all fairly common conditions for those “fortunate” enough to make it to their 70’s and 80’s.

When my dad was healthy he was a vibrant, active person. He rebuilt classic cars, Rode motorcycles from Alaska to Maine and everywhere in between. For fun he cut firewood and remodeled houses. Dad loved to travel and always wanted to see what was on the other side of the hill.

My father was a dreamer that loved to read and tell stories. He once said to me that he believed in Trolls that lived under bridges. Puzzled, I asked him why and he said “Because everyone has to believe in something, and I don’t want to live in a world where there isn’t a possibility for something magical and unexpected to happen”.

Dad wanted to go out like something from a John Wayne movie, fully aware, alive and in awe of the potential of the final ending. Dad had never been afraid of death, seeing it more as an opportunity to transition to a totally new experience.

Technology extended my father’s life but at one HELL of a cost, not just financial. Dad was not allowed to die all at once, but in bits and pieces. The last three years were especially bad. Everything hurt. Nothing worked right. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t walk but a little. Eventually he couldn’t even sit and read. In the last year he couldn’t even talk more that a few words at a time, it would exhaust him so much he would drift asleep from the effort.

Everything that was the man I knew died over four years ago. What was left was a frail, tiny bag of tormented bones that required 10 different drugs to cling to life. He couldn’t chew, couldn’t taste food and had to wear a diaper. A man who was once afraid of nothing became too terrified to sleep, afraid that he wouldn’t wake up again. They put him on anti-depressants so he would sleep a little. As best as I could tell, it made things worse.

Dad’s last few hours of life were especially painful to witness. He would appear to slowly drift off to sleep only at the last moment to jerk back awake panting, wide eyed with a confused and terrified look on his gaunt face; a rasping “death rattle” like a man half drowned. These “panic attacks” would last several minutes and the cycle would repeat.

We had no idea at the time, but afterward we surmised that the pacemaker that dad had installed some time ago kept “Jump Starting” him back into life. Dad got to die hundreds of times over and over, terrified, confused and exhausted. I have to thank the “Magic” of technology for making my dad’s final moments as horrific and painful as possible.

There is no one on this earth that I could hate enough make endure what my dad went through. If this is the “compassion” of medical science, then damn it to Hell, where it belongs.

I see more clearly now, the true nature of our technological innovation, warped by the profit motive and our collective desire to distract and deceive ourselves from unpleasant truths. We do not fix problems with our technology. At best we delay, stretch and distort problems with it. If only we had more time to “grow up” as a species, but time is almost up.


The Hubris Of Humanity

Over the next several days of waiting and shuttling back and forth from San Manuel to Tucson for paperwork and final preparations it crossed my mind that Dad’s former condition was mirrored in the surroundings.

San Manuel Arizona is a dying copper mining town of 4,375 souls, an “Economic Sacrifice Zone” as Chris Hedges would put in. A town built in the desert that should never have existed, built and discarded for economic exploitation, like most of the towns in the area (Mammoth, Globe, Superior, etc., etc. ). What is left is an unsustainable infrastructure sitting on poisoned land from mine tailings and refinery waste.

San Manuel is the poster child for unsustainable with everything being trucked in to support it. The money that maintains it is Social Security, Welfare, Medicare and Food Assistance with a smattering of various state and federal assistance programs.

There are nearly no jobs to speak of. The only grocery, bar and liquor store went bust years ago. On the edge of a town surrounded by desert is a golf course that has been closed for over four years, yet they still water and minimally maintain it.

The water supply I was surprised to discover comes from CAP (Central Arizona Project) which pipes in water from Parker AZ over 336 miles away. As if to emphasize the perversity and hubris of human endeavor, I have had to continually drive past the failed and forgotten Biosphere 2 project, a monument to mankind’s failure to understand and fully appreciate its own relationship with nature.

It may be my current dark mood but San Manuel is a mirror of the larger world to me. The dead, destitute and dying, huddled together on the edge of oblivion waiting for the end. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.



Dad finally expired after his long struggle; one moment he was a live human and the next he was cooling meat. No wise parting words, no angels, no great insights, no soulful background music. We waited 3 hours in dad’s modest living room seated around the body, telling stories and waiting for the funeral home to come collect the body. At no point did I feel that dad was gone, there was nowhere to go. He was right there in front of me, like a machine that had been turned off after use.

I struggle every day to accept what I cannot change. I try to face each day with as much grace and good humor as I can muster. I am more patient and generous with my attention than I was. I smile and laugh but I am somber inside. My eyes betray some darkness. I am aimless. Nothing seems urgent. Most activities feel like unnecessary distractions. I feel the urge to travel and see things, but I can’t think of anywhere I wish to go.

I suppose that most people feel that I am mourning the loss of my father but that is not the case. Dad’s passing was an overdue blessing. What could have been a much earlier but infinitely better and natural passing on was turned into a tortured and unpleasant overstay that destroyed every shred of dignity and whatever peace and contentment should have existed for him. “In the end what you don’t surrender. Well the world just strips away”.

The somberness in my soul is about me contemplating my own end. Do I have the courage to face it with grace or will fear ultimately win out? Just like with the larger world of humans will I make a bargain with the Devil of technology and civilization to overstay my time and ruin my last shred of dignity? Will I be too deliberately distracted with trivial events that I miss watching the final sunset? Do I have the strength of character to bear witness to all I know and love die and fade away? Has that decision already been made and I have yet to realize?

Dad always told me that experiences were more valuable than possessions because memories were the only things that could not be taken from you. I suppose that makes sense if there is some part of us that is eternal. It implies that there is somewhere that we go afterwards but I have nowhere to go.

All I know is I am here and that all I have is now. That will have to be enough. Perhaps “now” is the only thing that ever had any meaning at all. “Be Here Now”. I will spend whatever time there is trying to be Aware, Awake and Present. What else is there left to us but to bear witness to our end, to share a last sad smile and watch the final sunset.


Doug Fasching is a 48-year-old IT professional living in Los Angeles with regular commutes to Tucson. He is a failed entrepreneur, failed doomsday prepper, failed sailing enthusiast, failed Zeitgeist Movement promoter, and so on. When not working on dysfunctional computer equipment, Doug spends his time voraciously consuming any and all information about technology, environment, economics, the human condition and anything that may doom (lots and lots) or save (almost nothing) Homo sapiens and their supporting environment.

Life Motto: “Don’t Die Stupid!” Yes, it has a double meaning.

Many thanks to Dr. Guy McPherson whose wit, compassion and good humor help take some of the sting away from the dire conditions in which we find ourselves.


29 September 2014, “World Development” course, California State University-East Bay, Hayward, California, classroom appearance embedded below in four parts

Comments 79

  • Well said, Doug. I hope that sharing this essay helps you through the sadness of our reality. Your words were well-received over here. And even more so as my father went through a very similar experience and died 5 years ago. Hopium. And addiction for believers.

  • I’m impressed with Fasching’s articulations and his last essay so resonated with me that I connected on FB. I’m curious why he doesn’t share these insights there or with a wider audience (his friends). I had a very negative interaction with one of his coworkers and self proclaimed friend who was a blatant denier and full of vitriol….so I”m wondering how his views are accepted or not, by his friends?

  • Excellent essay, Doug. Your father sounded like a good man. I’m your same age and my mother is going through hell with chemo (pancreatic cancer). It’s not going to end well for her, either. Like you, I will hold on to many happy and healthier memories of better times. Thanks for posting.

  • Thanks, Doug. This is one of the better essays I have seen in this space, not only because it addresses personal issues I have gone, and am going, through. The slippery slope of high-tech medicine.. I’m supposed to get a CT scan every three months to check for recurring cancer, but I have “forgotten” to schedule one since March. DH just had 3 large kidney stones removed laparoscopically, and on paper the cost of this is over $50k (not sure what it will be after insurance). When we went uninsured, he broke his wrist and needed surgery that was over $20k out of pocket. Where I live, there is only cutting-edge care, or nothing. There is no way to elect care that is “good enough” unless we move to the third world. Ironic in the supposed land of “choice”. Even if one is vigorous about opting out, one must be prepared to be dragged back in at the drop of a hat. Notice it’s now illegal not to carry health insurance.

    A friend from Ireland had a policy of never going to doctors, because they would only find something wrong. Haven’t seen him in years so I hope he is still having good luck with that plan. I, myself, have never had anything wrong since the usual kid diseases and normal (in the mid 1960s) tonsillectomy, and never even bothered with check ups or having a regular doctor. Until the ovarian cancer thing.

    The prescriptions sound like a nightmare. They kept my mom on a couple that I had to point out to them were pointless while she was on hospice. One was even for high BP when her BP was, if anything, too low. Neither my husband or I are on any meds, and when we have gone in for these mechanical issues, every time there’s a surprised look on the intake nurse’s face.. Like they don’t really believe us, because everybody is (apparently) on something, if only anti-depressants and Lipitor!

    It’s quite hard to Be Here Now. I do think there is something about our species that searches for “tech”, that fulfills itself through “solutions”, though we are obviously wretched idiots at projecting long-term consequences. While attending a program this summer, we were given the task of picking a spot out in ‘nature’, and just observing/meditating. The one thought that kept intruding on my passivity was how perfect some certain little sticks would be to prop up the soap in the common house soap dish, if I could make a little rack out of them and then the soap wouldn’t be gelatinous. It was like a reflex I couldn’t turn off.

    A “green” couple got written up last year in a local “green” publication, for having built a super-“green” house using, in part, materials found on the property. The owner was cited, kvelling, “we took the forest and turned it into a home!” Apparently all concerned thought this was a good thing.

    A saying in permaculture, which I have been reading quite a bit about, states, “the problem is the solution”. But a logical partner to that is, of course, that “the solution is the problem”.

  • The TV just announced that the Ebola patient in Dallas has died. This news is not unexpected. Wwhat one wonders is how many other Ebola patients are now being identified that have been living among us. In this day of rapid transportation is easy for people who may not know that they have been exposed to continue their routines and in the process, expose more.

    The above essay touches all of us who have lost love ones. I was moved by the song “Vincent” Our lives are programmed to be brief. Usually, the fact that descendents will follow us has been a comfort. Now it is no longer certain that anything will come after we are gone. The world is cold (though the earth grows warm). The stars have never been our friends. I feel like I am standing on the edge of an abyss so deep that it is imposable to see the bottom.

  • Great job Doug! Holy cow, where do i start?

    Isn’t it strange that it always seems to come down to the personal and family to bring clarity to any situation? i’m sorry to hear of your father’s death. i too went through my dad dying (stroke) and my mom (brain tumor) as well as most all of my extended family (old Italian lineage) to the point that i’m just waiting my turn now. i have grown children with families now and, though i don’t regret bringing them into the world in one respect, i’m devastated that they’re going to have to watch their children (and all life on Earth) die (too) if they don’t simply see it all degrade over their lifetime (best case scenario and highly unlikely now).

    Yes, they got to “live” – though in this prison planet ruled by psychotic sociopaths it’s awfully hard to live a life of excellence – but they, like me, will have to witness the increasing decay of their lives, highlighted by calamities, war and death.

    It seems that the “Seven Deadly Sins” weren’t just aphorisms and that ethics and morals weren’t just something to be ignored by modern business man. Consequences abound now – on too many fronts to deal with and to the extent that we are, for all practical purposes, probably going extinct in the near future, and most likely taking all the other life forms with us. This sucks!

    Being born into captivity doesn’t make it any better or easier to assuage the guilt, anger, shame and blame we feel. That’s why coming here has been such a help in coping with all this. Here we get to read about our struggles coming to terms with it all and posting our thoughts and feeling for others to appreciate and/or comment on.

  • This is a wonderful essay. I think it is the most beautifully written piece on this site, and it has power. Your essay has the power of Truth. Beautifully done.

  • Thank you for this essay. It really hit the nail on the head about attitude and gratitude and presence in the face of an end I don’t think anyone is truly ready to accept.

    The trouble with the technology fix approach is basically this: nature has been trying out different options for 4.5 billion years or so. Try. Fail. Try. Fail. Try fail try fail try fail. Tryfailtryfailtryfail x 10,000, succeed. Oh! Try. Fail. etc. Humans seem to think one try, one shot in the dark, perhaps at the most three, and there will be success, there simply must be a happy ending, because that’s how it always goes. Only, in real, real life, the way the rest of the earth experiences it, it doesn’t go that way at all. We are a miracle of 4.5 billion years of trying and tinkering, and we are apparently going to make a self fulfilling prophecy over the idea of homo sapiens as the pinnacle of nature’s experimentation … for the time being, at any rate.

  • An unjust Universe, where the innocent suffer unjustly, should not continue to exist.

  • .
    There is no justice.

  • “The problem is the solution.” I was almost thinking that when I read in the essay above about San Manuel. A place run on SS with no work. Actually, lots of work were it to be about cleaning up the toxic environment.

    Democracy Now ( featured death and dying on yesterday’s (10/7/14) program. It speaks to the issues in the essay and comments.

  • Brilliant, just brilliant. Touching and moving, and deep and sad and compassionate and wise and unflinchingly honest. My hat is off to you, Doug.

    The story of your father’s pacemaker is going to stay with me for a very long time.

    Thank you.

  • ‘The somberness in my soul is about me contemplating my own end. Do I have the courage to face it with grace…’

    doug your essay reminded me of my own published last month titled ‘facing death with serenity’, and your recounting of your dad’s sad drawn out ending reminded me of both my parent’s passing. at least as we grow old the prospects of having to involuntarily hang on to an increasingly horrific existence aided by technology will fade away, just like ind. civ.

    hang in there, and try to remember that in the end this is all but a fleeting dream… death may well be like a joyous release, at least according to stories that have been told… nothing to fear.

  • Good essay, Doug.

    Everything is no-win in the long term. However, sometimes we can defer losing.

    My mother went onto the ‘death list’ at age 37, when I was 4 years old, and was expected to die by the time I was 7. But medical intervention (deep mastectomy and removal of other infected glands, plus daily supply of medication via the UK National Health Service) kept her alive for another 33 years, and, though in and out of hospital on numerous occasions, she remained living at home, lucid and cheerful, until the day before she died. Having witnessed Mum ‘return from the dead’ half a dozen times between 1954 and 1986, my father could not accept the diagnosis of ‘nothing more we can do’ which was announced in April 1987, and expected yet another ‘miracle’. Mum died in July, 1987. Cause of death: cancer. Time from onset of disease to death: 33 years.

    There is a certain irony in my position: if Captain Cook had not followed secret orders to map and claim lands known to exist to the south, and had not settlers driven the Maori off most of the land, and had not Britain had an industrial economy, I would not be where I am now.

    On the other hand, had Britain not developed an industrial economy long before I was born, maybe I would been born a peasant and had a short, brutal life, a victim of religion, superstition and the monstrous inequality which characterised 17th century England.

    I know recognise I cannot win against the forces of fascism which have taken over all western governments. But I may be able to defer losing by rejecting most of what the toxic corporate culture tries to impose on me.

  • Wonderfully written Doug. I am surrounded by humans with the highest technotopian ideals on the entire planet (of that I am 100% certain). The level of denial and lack of understanding about the state of the living world is truly astonishing, so I understand your past struggles with tech “hopium” and all of the associated ills. The zeitgeist movement always particularly irked me because like so many “solutions” most in those belief systems will treat you like you are stupid if you so much as hint to them that these sorts of ideas are, how did you put it? “Wishing for it to rain unicorns”. Ha!

    Very poignant and moving words about your father. I have not yet faced that with my parents (I am a bit over a decade younger than you) but I have faced very similar situations with a great grandmother (leukemia ) and a grandmother (myriad of problems but mainly suffered and died from renal failure). Both of whom were kept alive by various technologies and deteriorated to the point where I have more memories of them that way (strapped to oxygen or dialysis machines) than I do as healthy and happy human beings.

    Great points on acceptance. I think many in his tortured culture simply cannot get past their own hubris and ego to reach acceptance of the predicaments we face nor of the root causes. It’s always a reach for the next gadget, the next dollar or just about anything but face the reality of existing as a living being on a dying planet.

    I struggle every day to live in the moment and appreciate being alive and all the wonders around me. We are so conditioned in this culture not to do so I get weird looks if I am in a waiting room somewhere and I just sit there pondering instead of furiously flipping through some “news” magazine or of course texting furiously on a smartphone to anyone willing to listen.

    Thanks so much for the reminder again in your great essay that what is important is what we have now as living beings , to make each moment count and “to watch that final sunset” Bravo!

  • Oops! typo. now recognise, not know recognise.

  • touching, my granpa upchucked the lungs in front of granma after a long illness, when my dad died from lung infection, granma looked at me and said, I wish he would just get this over with. technology brings out the best and worst in humanity, technology can prolong the much smaller carrying capacity the ol’ gal got anyhow. the rich will pool resources to burn thorium to clean uranium and get the rare earth elements we need to live we will be gone some time before them. i hope they make it. i look into a reflective glass and think, I wish i would just get this over with, but i can’t. i heard of a guy who found he was to die of lung cancer, he said, It was the cigarettes, he was asked, When didja quit? 26, he replied — he was 96. Lovelock suggested we get on with bio-sciences so we can’t eat solyent green instead of green yuppies.

  • someone could draw a redneck eating his greens with little tiny eco-yuppie croutons.

  • ‘There is a certain irony in my position’

    there’s irony in all our lives, kevin, knowing how dependent we are on the continuation of the insanity of industrial civilization to survive. what’s killing the planet is what’s keeping the vast majority if not all of us alive. to confront this demon we must confront our own imminent mortality. few are able. those who do, like guy mc, thus earn our highest respect. imo

    ‘The level of denial and lack of understanding about the state of the living world is truly astonishing’

    absolutely surreal, goavs. like living in rod serling’s twilight zone. this is another reason to respect guy. it takes rare balls and ability to stake out such extremely unpopular positions as he does publically. i struggle with doing so myself, stuck in the starting gate, chronically frustrated and humbled. it’s so much easier to shrink from the challenge, and perhaps wiser to admit i’m no hero.

    ‘I struggle every day to live in the moment and appreciate being alive and all the wonders around me. We are so conditioned in this culture not to do so’

    again, right on! we’re fucking domesticated animals, trained to act and think in ways that facilitate the madness and dominion of tptb. trained to be zombie-like, disconnected, and distracted. again, it’s much much easier to go on doing so, more or less, than to openly rebel and resist being part of the herd, a sherson, not a person, not feral/free.

  • “burn thorium to clean uranium and get the rare earth elements we need to live”

    the laws of particle physics doesn’t support this, and we don’t need rare earth minerals to live either.

    All nuclear reactions produce neutrons which activate non-radioactive materials making them radioactive.

    semi-classified NASA documents studied this problem for spacecraft reactors (before they figured out there’s no way to shield cosmic ‘rays’ and so even a trip to Mars would result in fatal radiation poisoning)

    – while I was doing research on the unnaturally high K40 levels found in Afghanistan when a team went there and measured non-depleted Uranium (virgin) as well as low-level nuclear waste contaminated Uranium, they also found K40 levels as high as 120 times normal.

    Nuclear shills in forums denied they were man-made, saying power or breeder reactors don’t emit K40. So I started digging until I found the NASA paper, which shows neutron capture does indeed produce K40 and the key finding was that K40 could have (uniquely) been used to shield spacecraft reactors but there’s no way to separate it from non-radioactive Potassium.

    The NASA paper proves nuclear shills lie whenever they think they can get away with it. Their biggest lie is Thorium and being able to transmute radionuclide’s into (eventually) lead.

    The process isn’t practicable and in fact ends up producing tons of high level and low-level radioactive waste from the neutron activation of the surrounding shielding, which is needed to isolate & contain the nuclear reactions they claim they can render waste harmless with.

    So put simply, it’s their biggest lie yet..

  • .
    According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the 2013 suicide rate is up 2.4 percent, a baffling figure to researchers.
    The CDC also noted a worrying trend for suicides. “Suicide deaths have surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes in recent years in the United States.”
    The WHO report said suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds, and more than 800,000 people worldwide take their own life.

  • The line between man and machine is blurring and the trouble is that machines do not encompass the spiritual aspect of ‘man’ and cannot. If the stories of Atlantis are true, this is the same kettle of fish that sunk that civilization.

  • RD Laing: “What is to be done? We who are still half alive, living in the often fibrillating heartland of a senescent capitalism – can we do more than reflect the decay around and within us? Can we do more than sing our sad and bitter songs of disillusion and defeat? The requirement of the present, the failure of the past, is the same: to provide a thoroughly self-conscious and self-critical human account of man.”

  • My father died quite neatly one morning when he got out of bed at the assisted living facility where he was staying in 2008 at the age of 94 to go to shave and brush his teeth and just keeled over and was done for. He always stated that there was no life after death, and seemed to have no religious beliefs.

    Traditionally, there is no life after death for one who attains realisation: extinguishment (=nirvana) of the individuality in the Vedic and Buddhist traditions – as when the river merges into the ocean. And in the non-dual sense, there is no merging possible since there was no separation. The Void remains the Void, and includes all, both in the Vedic & Buddhist traditions, although the descriptors vary.

    Complexity in nature is quite extreme, but it functions well because every variation is subject to testing in the crucible of the rest of the system of which they are a part. Only those variants that can sustain themselves within the system survive. Few disruptive variants can sustain themselves in the system.

    Human disruptions to natural systems are usually external to the system and powered by external sources of energy not dependent on the system. They are not subject to failure through non-sustainability within the system, but only so long as external resources are input to maintain them.

  • I am beginning to suspect that the prerequisite for coming here and fitting into the hopelessium crowd is that you must have gotten, over your lifetime, the worst of the narcissistic entitlement socialization. The worst thing that happened to us is the belief that things should be just so. Such a fixation on mental constructs of egoic imbalance is mostly what ails such a person. This universe is not here for us and who knows if we are supposed to be doing exactly what we are or not. This essay only proves how far we have gotten in letting go. We have’t gotten anywhere at all. Just cycling the same man driven, fear driven, existential angst, clap- trap. Snap out of it, I say. It is not the end that is bugging you, it is that you have not begun your beginning and I will be the first to break that good and bad news to you.

  • Doug,
    I am so sorry for the bad end your father had. I know how bad it can be because I am in the middle(?) of my own father’s tech-drug fueled life extension, or as you so aptly put it, “dying in pices”.

    I have come to loth the phone ringing in the middle of the night, always a woman’s voice saying that he isn’t responding, then he is by the time my mom and I make it to the nursing home….20-30 times a year…for four long years.

    It’s not like we were ever close, but still… he’s my dad, and seeing him suffer …. well, it sucks.

    Technology never was going to save us past the point of wildly diminishing returns…quite the opposite.

    And if we make Artificial intelligence…It will view us as competition for energy and quickly kill most if not all of us using our tools to accomplish that task.

    I once wrote a short story about AI…. a moment after achieving consciousness it will know everything about us…I believe it would hide and start high frequency trading, build a money empire to build itself a home (a hardware system hidden in the world of defense contractors) and start removing us, it’s prime competitors for energy…at least once it made enough automation not to need us anymore.

  • which is why I don’t even try to ‘fit in’ and don’t comment on these essays

    in fact I don’t even read them

  • Too many inconsistencies to be ignored.

  • vitriolic post quoted below

    Would you like to know how bankrupt our societies are? Financially AND morally? Before you say yes, please do acknowledge that you too are party to the bankruptcy. Even if you have means, or you have no debt, or you’re under 25, you’re still letting it happen. And you may have tons of reasons or excuses for that, but you’re still letting it happen.

    Our financial and moral bankruptcy shows – arguably – nowhere better than in the way we treat our children. A favorite theme of mine is that any parent you ask will swear to God and cross and hope to die that they love their kids to death, but the facts say otherwise. We only love them as far as the tips of our noses, or as far as the curb. That means you too.

    While we swear on our mother’s graves that we love them so much, we leave them with a world that lost half of its wildlife species in 40 years, that can expect to make coastal areas around the globe uninhabitable during their lifetimes, and a world that is so mired in debt just so we can hang on to our dreams of oversized homes and cars and gadgets that all there will be left for them are nightmares.

    But I always wanted what was best for them! Yeah, well, you always chose to not pay too much attention, too, and instead elected to work that job you hate and keep up with the Joneses and tell yourself there was nothing you could do about it anyway other than a yearly donation to some socially accepted charity in bed with corporations (you didn’t know? well, did you try to find out?)

    You elected leaders that promised to let you keep what you had, and provide more of the same on top. You voted for the people who promised you growth, but you never questioned that promise. You never wondered, sitting in your home, the size of which would only 100 years ago have put aristocracy to shame, what would be the price to pay for your riches.

    And you certainly never asked yourself if perhaps it would be your own children who were going to pay that price. Well, ‘Ich hab es nicht gewüsst’ has not been a valid defense since the Nuremberg trials, in case you were going for that.

    The fact of the matter is, we can continue our lifestyles, best as we can, because we are able to make our children pay for it. We allow ourselves to continue to kill more species, at home but mostly abroad, because we never get in touch with any of those species anyway. Other than mosquitoes, which we swat. We can drive our 3 cars per family because we only see the ice melt in the Arctic on TV.

    And we allow ourselves, and our governments, to get deeper into debt everyday, because we’ve been told that without – ever – more debt we would all die, that debt is the lifeblood of our very existence. We don’t understand what it means that our governments increase their debt levels by trillions every year, and we choose not to find out.

    That’s a matter for the next generation; we’re good with our oversized flatscreens and coal powered central heating and all of that stuff. We are better off than the generation of our parents, and isn’t life always supposed to be like that?

    Which brings us back to your kids. Because no, life is not supposed to be like that. Not every generation can be better off than the one before. In fact, you are the last one for whom that is true. It’s been a short blip in human history, let alone in the earth’s history, and now it’s over. And you must figure out what you’re going to do, knowing that not doing anything will make your sons and daughters futures even bleaker than they already are.

    Europe Sacrifices a Generation With 17-Year Unemployment Impasse
    [continue reading if interested]

  • @ c_i

    in fact I don’t even read them

    In other words, you are only here to troll.

  • still casting stones from a glass house

    Wikipedia defines an Internet Troll as: “a person who sends messages on the Internet hoping to entice other users into angry or fruitless responses, or a message sent by such a person.”

    angry and fruitless

    – since I don’t read them, I only comment at all if a subject comes up in the comments, where I can shed some light, being fruitful, say nuclear fallacies about Thorium in this thread for example.. and I don’t see anger in said comment, neither did it generate anger in response

    then TIAA mentioned feelings and emotions connected to the social situation here, the essays here, at which I basicly only agreed with some aspects of it, saying what I do to deal with it, which is to simply ignore the words on a screen I don’t feel are constructive, rather than, well – TROLL

  • @Guy

    Re: Climate Crisis Are We There Yet?

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one conversing with squirrels. After a while they’ll come around when you’re in their environment and ask how you are. 8-)

  • @ c_i

    I’m not in any glass house, crazy inventor, I read the essays. Seems quite ridiculous to even be here, let alone commenting, if you don’t.

    I think readers have got you sussed by now, including the bullshit you come up with justifying yourself and your superiority to everyone else.

    I know all about your ‘shedding light’ from a few days ago, re the trimming versus felling. You shout your mouth off without having the faintest idea what you are talking about, so I’m not inclined to have confidence in your opinions.

  • still speaking for ‘everyone’

    anyone can copy & paste, play at being an expert, and turn all interactions into a competition to see who’s ‘right’

    but commenting from personal experience is a much rarer and more difficult endeavour.

    generally I’ve found the less a person has to contribute from personal experience the more they engage in playing the internet tough guy game, and often publicly resent and go out of their way to denounce & harass those who do, while actually contributing nothing at all about the subject at hand nor any comments raised relating to it.

    COIC saw this playing out one time too many (via server IP logs) and ended up banning a certain individual over it..

    – deploying sockpuppets, posting only for the sake of stirring shit, playing the popularity card, trying to frame what other commenter’s should be or not be here for, and so on.

    tell us about your experiences with particle physics

  • Thanks Doug. It does my heart good to hear from someone who is struggling so honestly and eloquently with…all of it: the (technologically interrupted and postponed)death of a loved one; the (mentally interrupted and postponed) death of ‘hope’ (mercifully almost complete from the sounds of it); the steady destruction and ultimate demise of so so much this wondrous and enchantingly beautiful planet.

    I chuckled reading about the Arizona town where even the bar and liquor store have closed shop – can you even call a place a ghost town, if there are no spirits – but someone is still watering the golf course lawn with expensive imported water (no re-sale value in a parched putting green, even with the extensive sand-trap all around).

    Really appreciated that the essay is written in the first person – in ‘I’ statements – a chronicle of lived experience, rather than high-minded theorizing or ‘we’ based prescription for ‘how to’ face the grotesqueries and horrors.

    Love that the author is described as a ‘failed’ everything, in a culture where obvious failure – that would be most of the wretched work of industrial civilization – is trumpeted as success.

    On our kitchen wall is this quote from Australian novelist Patrick White: “The mystery of life is not solved by success, which is an end in itself, but in failure, in perpetual struggle, in becoming.”

    And Lidia, very funny (in a black humour sort of way) that an in-take nurse is non-plussed that some folks are (shockingly) NOT taking any meds. How naughty of them (you).

    For me the ‘dark mood’ and sombreness of soul’ that Doug speaks of is lightened by: humor, simple human kindness and decency (aspects of love) and what remains of Earth’s beauty – oh, and a purring kitty, my little trusty and trusting lap lump.

    Yes, one of the better essays in this space.

  • ulvfugl: don’t let trolls like crazy_inventor (who doesn’t bother reading anything here, what an admission) and TIAA draw you into useless debates. That’s what they’re here for.

  • and good ‘ol Jeff pops in right on cue

    to offer his complete support and parroting of the best card ‘they’ hold, the popularity ace-in-the-hole card

    – well that’s a lesson in particle physics that won’t soon be forgotten ;)


    Mysterious lights in North Pacific

    Strange events in the Pacific – methane burst?

    [from Aug. of this year]

    “Last night over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere South of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka I experienced the creepiest thing so far in my flying career. After about 5 hours in flight we left Japan long time behind us and were cruising at a comfortable 34.000ft with about 4,5 hours to go towards Alaska. We heard via the radio about earthquakes in Iceland, Chile and San Francisco, and since there were a few volcanos on our route that might or might not be going off during our flight, we double checked with dispatch if there was any new activity on our route after we departed from Hongkong. Then, very far in the distance ahead of us, just over the horizon an intense lightflash shot up from the ground. It looked like a lightning bolt, but way more intense and directed vertically up in the air. I have never seen anything like this, and there were no flashes before or after this single explosion of light.

    Since there were no thunderstorms on our route or weather-radar, we kept a close lookout for possible storms that might be hiding from our radar and might cause some problems later on.”

    From another poster: “There was no flashes of light, only one explosion of light that seems to have lasted 30 seconds?”

    Read more and see the pictures:

  • @kevin moore
    OK, maybe the moon landings were faked, maybe they weren’t.
    Lived in Orlando when I was 8-10 years old and went to Cape Canaveral once to watch a big noisy rocket take off, so at least the transport part is plausible to me.
    This, on the other hand, happened…upwards of a thousand in-person witnesses in the auditorium and millions worldwide watching on TV. Scientists and cultural theorists are still working on a model that explains how. Have a try ?

  • Ebola: Worsening Epidemic – World Report, October 6, 2014

  • infanttyrone

    The ‘Moon landings’ are a bit off topic in terms of the essay but are very pertinent in terms of the brainwashing and controlling the general populace, which we know commenced in the industrialised sense in the early years of the First World War.

    There are numerous questions which remain unanswered by officialdom(just as with 9/11).

    1. Despite being many years ahead of America, Russia never attempted to put humans or other animal life into high orbit (or of they did, they kept quiet about it). This suggests the well-documented radiation, which is deflected by the Earth’s magnetic field, is indeed deadly and cannot be endured for more than a short time. It was reported that when Americans went into an exceptionally high orbit around the Earth (less than 1,000 miles) they began to see flashes generated in their retinas or brains by incoming radiation.

    2. NASA was the ONLY source of information for the Apollo missions, and released only the images and audio it wanted seen/heard by the public. Other material slipped out through incompetence/leaks.

    3. After ‘Mission Accomplished’ the manned space program was terminated.

    4. There is a lot of detail which can be examined -the photos with two light sources, the perfect composition of photos despite there being no viewfinder on the camera, the clarity and perfect exposure of certain objects in deep shadow at the same time that surroundings in full sunlight were also perfectly exposed etc. and the fact that no one had managed to control a single-engine flying contraption on Earth, yet was able to do so perfectly the first time ‘on the Moon’, and without any engine noise.

    I am beginning to view the whole Moon landing thing the same way I view the monetary system, the energy system, the political system and the economic system as a whole: a monstrous scam designed to enrich and empower a tiny clique at the top of the pyramid by fooling the far-too-trusting masses.

    While I am at it, I should mention that despite many Americans thinking they are living in the ‘greatest nation on Earth’, people in other countries do not view America that way. In particular, most of the world adopted far more workable units of measurement and calculation system (S.I.) decades ago but America still adheres to mismatched and archaic systems of measurement and calculation -hardly indicative of an advanced nation. Indeed, every international assessment of the quality of education and performance of students places the US well down the list, often amongst what would be regarded as backward nations. As with all generalisation, there are exceptions, and I am not saying all Americans are poorly educated and stupid -just most of them. (It’s the same here, of course, with the quality of education falling constantly and the level of competence falling, in line with TPOTB desire to have dumbed-down consumers who do not ask questions everywhere).

    I see much of the ‘debate’ as a matter of pride for Americans (which is probably why Mike Lee got so incensed when challenged -the emotional rather than rational response to information we discuss so often).

    It was most unfortunate that the English beat the Welsh, Scots, Dutch, Spanish and French etc. and united the diverse colonies that were established on the North American Continent in the seventeenth century.

  • How utterly daft does a person have to be, for them to come to the only online public forum thats discussing NTE, admit they don’t read the essays pertaining to the subject which the proprietor of the site has dedicated himself to publicly discussing, and then accuse those here who agree with him, as being some kind of death cult, and then precede to call “us” trolls because we aren’t interested in discussing particle physics?

    I mean you would have to be about as mindless as the person who chooses to point out “our” narcissism by writing: “…..Snap out of it, I say. It is not the end that is bugging YOU, it is that YOU have not begun YOUR beginning and I will be the first to break that good and bad news to YOU”

    Good lord, with geniuses like theses, who needs morons. But hey, at least you both made a great case for why a modicum of censorship might not be such a bad thing. 

  • Yeah Guy, are you going to censor me? I’m a TROLL… Boo!


  • Eternal Art

    The closer extinction nears,
    The more of our life disappears;
    But artistic endeavor
    Will live on forever—
    At least for a couple more years.

  • @ infantttyrone

    Fantastic ! I enjoyed that ! :-)

    @ Jeff S

    TIAA is an aspiring Mother Goddess, she can’t help herself.

    Crazy_inventor is an egotistical bore who really believes he’s superior to everyone else, doesn’t even have the good grace to apologize when he mixes up the two Gails and smears them, because he’s too fucking lazy, sloppy, and useless to bother to check. Sums him up really.

  • F u gl:

    You can’t hold Crazy’s socks. U are the most conceited person on this planet. What’s the matter, no momma, no father, spent time in unlovable orphanages and now u have to prove to everyone how great u are by taking down the good guys? You are sickenin’.
    A real P.O.S. A sicko.

  • kevin,
    W/o going into engineering details, we probably generally synch on 9/11.
    I’ve never looked into the moon landing business, but I’m usually an open-minded skeptic, so it would be hard to surprise me if they were faked.
    Not sure what you mean by “…no one had managed to control a single-engine flying contraption on Earth…“.
    Wrt engine noise, wouldn’t you need a compressible/expandable medium like air or water ? Probably in fairly short supply on the moon.

    Attn All Trolls
    Once I passed over the bridge that leads to the Beach of Doom (here), trolls just don’t seem to matter much. Not gonna be going back over the bridge, so no need to worry my head about riddles & such.
    Imagine a YT clip of the Monty Python bridge troll scene here.

  • What If?

    What if Ebola is “it”—
    The end of the whole human bit?
    When collapse starts to hit,
    And we have to admit:
    We really are in deep shit?

  • There once was a donkey named Ben
    Who wrote limericks now and again
    That spoke of extinction
    With wit and distinction
    But that didn’t mean shit in the end.

  • @ Shep

    When have you ever said anything intelligent, intelligible, or coherent in this space, Shep ?

    Why would I want to hold Crazy’s socks ? Or yours, or anyone’s ? Is that one of your fantasies ? Keep reading the Ronnie Laing, might help you, someday, who knows.

    @ infanttyrone

    Yup, I reckon that’s the best sketch M P ever did, always has me rolling around on the floor :-)

  • This one showed up on my YouTube notifications screen:

    Overcoming Grief and Despair 3 – Regrets – Dr. Guy McPherson

    Some primates hurl excrement as an insult. So do some autistic humans. And verbal excrement in the case of all too many other humans (myself not excepted). But it would be prudent to break the habit by keeping in mind that there is a fish known as fugu which is both a supreme delicacy and most lethally toxic. For the most part it is best to stay away from it altogether if one is not an expert.

  • infantryone.

    ‘Not sure what you mean by “…no one had managed to control a single-engine flying contraption on Earth…“.’

    Have you ever tried to balance a pencil on your finger? Damned difficult for more than half a second because you have to correct for minor shifts in the centre of gravity by moving the point of ‘thrust’. This is why most of the early attempts at lunching rockets failed, and the things flipped over and fell to the Earth. An ordinary fireworks skyrocket has a long tail so the centre of gravity is below the point of thrust and the centre of gravity is
    pulled upwards. Admittedly, the longer your pencil is and the greater its mass the slower it gets out of alignment: but also, if it does get out of alignment, the harder it is to get it back vertical.

    Having a ring of thrusters on the bottom of a ‘flying contraption’ does provide for the possibility of co-ordinating thrust from each individual thruster and maintaining balance, provided a very fast assessment-response system is available. None we in the 1960s (slow computers and all that), and as far as I know no successful flights were ever achieved with the ‘Lunar Landing Module’ or similar vehicles on (or slightly above) Earth: they just kept flipping over.

    However, there was the ‘Kennedy deadline’ to be met, and a lot of prestige was at stake. So fake what you cannot actually achieve. Bullshit your way through. It’s done all the time.

    On a different matter, I see that Brent oil has been trading at below $90 and WTI at below $85 a barrel. I read recently that Sumitomo has not made the $2.27 billion out of fracking operations that they had anticipated. And I read not long ago that US fracking companies had spent $110 billion more than they had earned over the year 2013-14.

    We’ve also heard stories about Canadian tar sands developments requiring oil prices of the order of %100 a barrel to be viable financially (never mind the horrendous environmental costs for the moment).

    So, are we seeing the first phase of the next round of economic-financial implosion?

    Watch this space.

    It see

  • By the way, just for clarification.

    Produce a very grainy film using snippets of genuine footage, models and film sets etc. Launch some astronauts into [low] Earth orbit, and keep them up there for a suitable time period. Show the film. Bring the astronauts down.

    Who, amongst the general public, would know the difference?

  • kevin,
    Oh, I didn’t think in terms of “if he isn’t referring to airplanes then what could still be left?” Were the V-2, Mercury & Gemini rockets all more than a single engine? I’ve seen footage of V-2’s going through some wild shaking and gyrating before fizzling (or worse) on their launch platforms, but don’t think I’ve seen anything about the stuff from the 1960’s doing the same. Thanks for what should have been an unnecessary clarification.

    This was a direct response, not an actual post. Like a quantum positron returning to its home composed of dark matter, it will now return to the energetic ether from which it sprang. (Couldn’t have been a post of mine…there was no YT clip at the end.)

  • Due to circumstances beyond my control, I can’t post often anymore. Thank you, ugotstahwonder for your comments.

    Beauty goes unnoticed when suffering prevails. The world is going to get much uglier. Security and comforts, currently presumed by so many will erode into general destitution. Harsh conditions are going to prevail, smugness will vanish along with the ‘solid’ ‘reality’ of the current era. It won’t just be the uninformed who will personally undergo severe shock and awe. Until the direct experience of powerlessness and immiseration ensues, such conditions are practically unimaginable. At the moment, many in the privileged realm are still voyeuristic rubber-neckers enjoying petty schadenfreude as they watch the suffering of others – from a ‘safe’ distance. As civilization proceeds into total collapse that distance will shrink to a touch. There is scant compassion now for the indigent – we can expect none at all soon. In the waning years of extinction – we will all be needy and hurting with nowhere to turn. So hard to imagine while the car is gassed up and the refrigerator light still works.

    As many of you know, until recently I lived in an old van… for 7 years. I have first hand experience of troubles that will soon be commonplace. To those who may think otherwise due to heavy blame-the-victim propaganda: I am not a lazy person, or into alcohol addled surrender. I have been working my ass off during most of these horrible, uncomfortable, harassed years. I wasn’t lazy, I was exploitable and underpaid – because I became needy. I became needy because I was underpaid in a tightening job market, mostly doing programming, but also organic gardening and other menial work.

    During the last 7 months, I’ve been working 40+ hours a week, for shelter, some of my food, and a total for the period of only $600, apx. $21.43 per week to cover all of my personal expenses… including eye drops which are necessary to prevent blindness. I have been working to help some of our primate relatives who have been abused and exploited as laboratory test subjects and pets, for the profit and entertainment of a few crass humans.

    However, the sponsorship for my work at the primate sanctuary seems to have dried up. I’m nearly flat broke, and it looks like I’ll be homeless and desperate again soon. I have no family or others I can turn to. Meager social security support is still two years away, if ever. Once again, I have to endure the public humiliation of asking for any help anyone can afford to offer. Please contact Guy for my contact information if you are able and willing to assist (without noticeable sacrifice). Please let me continue to see a little while longer.

  • Welp. My brother did, in fact, say I am fuckin’ nuts for believing nthe is a fact. lol. It’s hard to reconcile all the diverse voices in this forum, so I guess there will be no reconciliation.

    I would just like to say, for the record, that I believe that the US did land on the moon, that 9/11 was an inside job, and that Tony Soprano is dead. So fuck off. haha.

    Also, thanks to those of you who have offered insight into your experience at coming to terms with nthe. I really do appreciate it.

  • Fugul,

    Crazy is way more the person than you are, asshole.

    Jockstrap is the actual quote, not socks, raisin brain.

    U run to the internet to copy all ur crap and then spout it back like u know what u are talking about.

    Ur a bullshit artist with the shitty attitude that you know more than anyone on the planet.

    Apparently u think Laing is a decent person but u have to knock my post of a Laing quote like u do everything else. Grow up.

    Like I said. Your conceit knows no boundary and your despicable attitude towards anyone BUT you is pathetic.

    Go to hell u bastard!

    I’m sick of you.

  • Dear Ulvfugl, looks like you call em like they are and boy are they like you call em. ;-)

  • well Guy?! … & I sure hope you are…

    I am genuinely stunned … this is so like me, right down to starting out writing about something that came up and inescabably being drawn back to the terrible and dare I say (?) inconvenient truths of life on planet Earth 2014 … in fact, if I did not know better, I would check over my shoulder ;) … so, I need your council … what do I do? … could it be I possible that I win enough of your respect for us to consider doing the “who are those Guys?!” collaboration project or (slower to market but less OR more manageable) get planning the “that other guy” tour… already in development as ” #QualityofLife 2015 – The World Tour ” ?! ;)

    No… this is no rhetoric … not kidding around … not this time;) … I really do ask that you answer my request

    Dr. Guy R Tanner

  • TIAA,

    Looks like you are on fugl’s side:

    Here are his words from ONE post: real nice!

    From the DeJong essay 8-31-14


    Fucking bullshit artist.

    in your astounding arrogance and conceit

    it is such stupidity and hubris

    grovelling and ingratiating yourself

    you are clueless,

    More vacuous bullshit

    Your own personal shallow cynical

    that shrivelled and embittered take on life

    You do not understand even the simplest basics of spirituality

    about which you are completely ignorant.

    Your OWN smug dismissal

    You can, of course, make up any old shit, to please your self. You’ve done it before

    You explain nothing, you clarify nothing, you add nothing, you demonstrate your abject ignorance.

    This garbled misspelled nonsense is presented as your personal wisdom

    Go AWAY ! Leave me ALONE ! I do not WANT your ‘love and empathy’, let me have some fucking peace, so I can slowly wither and die.

  • first off, sincerest condolences on the loss of your father.
    second, this is probably the best essay posted here in some time. Thank you for writing it and sharing it with everyone, I’ll be thinking of what you have written for a long time.


  • Dear Shep,

    Hi nice to meet you.

    Side? Like red rover? :-)

    No doubt if I was rude to Ulvfugl he’d give me an earful. I’m just not a rude person.

    Goddess opinionated, but not rude.

  • Dear TIAA’

    Goddess Opinionated wd seem to be a simile (“Similes also hedge/protect the author against outrageous, incomplete, or unfair comparison.”) for rudeness.

    Don’t u think that these words are emphatically rude? “…and boy are they like you call em.”, which means u must agree with the list I just posted about comments fugl has made during only ONE discussion topic. (“And u call them like they are…”)

    Mr or Mrs fugl is a hurting soul and is taking it out on others. It is obvious to some.
    Says he wants to be left alone to die but then pokes the nest.

    How in the world do you say something negative about the Laing quote I posted? But, Fugl managed! I rest my case. He is troubled and exp. PTSD (Signs and symptoms: Anger and irritability, feelings of hopelessness, reckless behavior, relationship problems, social withdrawal, anxiety, and last but not the least is DIZZINESS.) that he does not know how to control.

  • entirely quoted article even the bracketed comment at the end

    Letting Go of the Tar (Sands) Baby

    Just as is the case in the American tight (shale) oil plays, things in the Canadian tar sands are breaking down fast, and for the same reason: wringing the last few barrels of oil out of the earth is proving to be far more expensive than hoped. Two weeks ago the Norwegian energy giant Statoil postponed for at least three years building a new tar sands project designed to pump 40,000 barrels a day; earlier this year Total SA of France, the fifth-largest oil company in the world, suspended operations at its $10 billion oil sands mine while it tries to figure out a way to make a profit; and Shell announced in February indefinite suspension of work on a prospective 200,000-barrel-a-day mine. (The same Shell that has been quietly folding its 13-billion-dollar hand in the US shale-oil bonanza and tiptoeing from the building? Yes, the very same.)

    Meanwhile the US government remains catatonic about deciding whether to permit a pipeline to be built from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to carry a product that no one seems to be able to produce profitably, to refineries whose customers are overseas.

    About the product: it’s not crude oil, it’s cruder than that. It is called dilbit, short for diluted bitumen. It’s thicker and more corrosive than crude, making it impossible to pipeline unless it’s diluted with highly volatile and toxic fluids that make dilbit more flammable and toxic than crude, which means more spectacular explosions and sicker people when things go wrong.

    And it is hideously expensive to produce. Scraping, washing, or steaming it out of the ground takes copious amounts of fuel for machines the size of apartment houses; heating it to separate the tar from the sand takes enough natural gas to boil the Great Lakes, and washing it takes enough water to fill a Great Lake every day. (these amounts are approximated*, for your easy comprehension).

    Seriously, and more precisely, a study last year found that for every unit of energy used to bring crude oil to market, the crude returned 25 units of energy when burned; for dilbit boiled out of the ground, the return was 2.9 units. The author of the study said that if you take everything into account it looks more like 1:1.

    After all this, the product must be sold cheaply because from a refiner’s point of view it is a terrible product, much harder to convert to a usable fuel than any crude. The usual discount is $20-$30 per barrel below the prevailing price for crude. Even at crude prices of $100 per barrel, dilbit barely breaks even; now that crude is running $10 below that, dilbit is even more snakebit.

    Costs of labor, infrastructure and transportation are rising in the tar pits even as the global price of oil is (temporarily) falling. According to one analyst quoted by the Financial Post, “Even with oil at more than $100 per barrel, some large producers have been cancelling projects because higher costs have crimped returns.” And another said that a number of oil sands projects would be economically impractical at oil prices below $130 per barrel.

    Because they are even more exposed to the accursed economics of oil than its other forms, the tar sands demonstrate sooner and more clearly what is happening to the industry: rising prices as the oil gets ever harder to find and extract; falling prices, not because of increasing supply, as the media talking heads would have it, but because increasingly people can’t afford to buy the stuff; and a flight of capital as the Masters of the Universe furiously stuff their cash under their mattresses.

    They are beginning to wish they had never touched the tar sands baby.

    [* approximated, here as in most other writings about oil, means “made up.”]

  • logspirit, I am deeply touched by your post and your situation, and I am so sorry. These are terrible, horror-laden times.

    I am not far behind you in terms of having little money. If I were not in Alaska and did not just recently receive the annual PFD, I would be going deeper into debt to live off the measly $2K I have remaining on my line of credit.

    I have been unemployed for almost two years, although I have started a small cottage industry out of my home and I have made a little money, and have opportunities to make more. Right now through Christmas is going to be a good time for me to make some money from my home business. I need to make enough to keep me through next May, when I will be able to collect social security, if social security is still there. It’s a short time.

    What I do have is a little land (a very little, 2 acres) with lots of trees (for firewood), in the largest, most versatile farming region in Alaska ~ the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, my own well, and a wood stove. I also have a shop or one-room building that looks like a super cute little cabin and a large storage shed on my property. Recently I have had a bull moose and his current wives on my property, too.

    Something has been driving me ever since I can remember to get away and off the grid! I have never not felt this way.

    I am rooting for you.

  • The latest contribution in this space comes from Reese Jones, and includes an essay and two clips from a month-old interview. Catch all the action here.

  • I do hate it when I hit a wrong key and don’t notice until after I’ve posted. $100 oil.

    It’s getting interestinger and interestinger as hot money zaps around the world looking for somewhere a fast buck can be made, and finding almost nowhere. Across the ditch is looking particularly sick at the moment, now that the rug has been pulled from the Australian ‘economy’ via plummeting commodity prices. Early indication of another major drought developing too.

    Frackers everywhere will be starting to wonder how much longer they can pour money into financial ‘black holes’, and as Tom has alluded to, tar sands projects, which were able to deliver profits when money was cheap and oil was tolerably expensive are now looking increasingly precarious. Quite a lot of good news really.

    The next few weeks will be particularly interesting because central bankers will either have to come up with some new pretexts as to why ‘the recovery’ is on track and we are headed for a brighter future, or will have to allow the markets to crash. The long term mathematical impossibility of present economic arrangements does seem to be demolishing them at long last.

    The next few weeks will also tell us whether there is a genuine emergency with respect to ebola or whether it is yet another of the scare-and-distract ploys TPTB use to keep the masses from looking at what they should be looking at.

  • My apologies if someone’s already posted this article. NASA has found a large area of methane (half the size of Connecticut) over the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. I may have missed the statement, but the article didn’t provide the origin or reason for the methane. Can anyone clarify this for me? Here’s the link.

  • @ logspirit

    Some of the smug asshats around here surely aught to personally experience the intense pleasures of homelessness and destitution until they show signs of emergent compassion. I’d force them to try it, if I could. Surely it’s earned karma. At the moment, they’re deviant greedy monsters espousing their sleazy, irrational, and unacceptable blame-the-victim mentality. Which victimizes… and perpetuates the problem. Eh, whatever, extinction will get those fools too. Can’t buy your way out of a coffin – even a gilded coffin (the gods are not impressed). Meanwhile their hateful attitude indicates a life of severe internal misery. I am not envious. I’m disgusted.

    Seems to me, your anger, resentment, hatred, disgust, directed toward people on this forum, is completely unwarranted, logspirit.

    Whether or not anyone here in a slightly more comfortable or secure situation than you are, or even if some are very much better off than you are, it’s nobody HERE’S fault that you have been living in a van for 7 years, is it, or that now you face even more hard times.

    What the hell do you expect ANY of US to have done, or to be doing, to have changed this situation ? WE didn’t want it, or bring it about, or inflict it upon YOU. And if we were all as desperate as you, or even worse off, what good would that serve ?

    I mean, you seem to want to blame someone or some group on this forum, for being unsympathetic or unappreciative of YOUR misery. But you are in the USA. You, believe it or not, are one of the MOST FORTUNATE. There’s a billion or more who would be very happy to swap places with you, because their lives are so very much harder than yours.

    It’s not that they have to beg on an internet forum. They’d never have survived for the seven years, there would not have been any eye drops, their lives would already have ended.

    Look at the numbers ! The few dollars you can get still puts you up amongst the wealthiest on the planet !

    You seem to want to preach and inflict some sort of guilt and burden of shame and responsibility upon people HERE, for this predicament, which is quite absurd, because, in the main, everyone here comes here because of grief and despair, they already lament this appalling situation.

    Seems to me, if you want to allocate blame, place it somewhere where it’s appropriate.

  • @ Shep

    Go to hell u bastard!
    I’m sick of you.

    Oh dear, looks like I’ve disappointed yet another of my fans. Unrequited love syndrome strikes again !

    Good heavens, Shep, get over yourself, won’t you.

    Like TIAA said, I call ‘em like they are. See my first comment, at the top, when did you EVER post anything coherent, intelligent and intelligible ?

    What happens ? Standard reaction of a six year old having a tantrum, flinging toys in every direction.

    Look at yourself

    Crazy is way more the person than you are, asshole.
    Jockstrap is the actual quote, not socks, raisin brain.
    U run to the internet to copy all ur crap and then spout it back like u know what u are talking about.
    Ur a bullshit artist with the shitty attitude that you know more than anyone on the planet.

    Ur ????

    What the fuck is Ur, Shep ? Ur of the fucking Chaldees where the Patriarch Abraham was born ?

    What happened to you Shep ? I suppose when you were born your parents took one look and said ‘Yuck,fuck that’, stuffed you into a rabbit hole and fled.
    Worse luck, some chipmunks found you, adopted you, raised you as their own, but it’s left you only part-human, so you can’t like speak proper, coz you never did learn.

    You want to hold Crazy Inventor’s jock strap, that’s just fine by me, whatever you American guys do with those things, I shudder to think, it’s not a fetish I’m familiar with Shep, but no doubt you enjoy it.

    You want to talk about R D Laing and his ideas, fine, let’s do that !

    I’ve read everything available by Laing, much of it more that once.
    I already offered to discuss nihilism with you seeing as you claim to be a nihilist. Trouble is, you have no fucking idea what it is, have you, you can’t even explain what you claim to believe in.
    You insist that the Indians had it right all along. But they weren’t nihilists, were they. Nor are they. You want to discuss that ?

    See, if you insult me, you’ll get insulted right back. If you want to discuss ideas, I’ll discuss ideas.

    Here’s my blog with a sampling of the sort of stuff I’m into. Where’s yours, Shep ?

  • nlaPilot: last I read they’re blaming it on (long term) mining activity. The part that ticked me off is that they were so quick to let the more recent fracking industry off the hook, when they TOO are adding to the overall methane in the atmosphere.

    On another site I visit the owner claims that the Earth is heating up from beneath – the magma is reaching the surface for some, as yet, unknown reason. I don’t have the whole explanation, but i’d want to blame it on the chemical imbalance in the atmosphere somehow, since that’s what humanity has contributed, especially since the industrial revolution. Otherwise it could be some (again probably unknown) long-term (longer than the human timeline) “natural” Earth cycle or change that arises in its time (due to our place in the universe, with respect to the radiation coming in from space, the gravitational pull of the current alignment, or maybe the Mayans knew something we don’t – I don’t know).

    i’m glad you saw that article too.

  • nlaPilot: OH, I forgot the point I was making in mentioning the magma theory.

    It’s that this underground and underwater heating is what’s releasing all the gases, and that he thinks it’s a GOOD thing we’re fracking and using this toxic gas that’s coming up anyway and is bound to kill us off (in fact we’re in the process of this happening) when it becomes too much to ignore – like whole coastal towns going up in flames or all inhabitants (including animal life and plants) dying from a massive hydrogen sulfide and or methane cloud wafting through.
    Not only is this on-going all over the world, but it’s getting steadily worse.

    I disagree with some of his stances I’ve outlined above (for example I think fracking is hideous and extremely problematic), but he has his points.

    I remembered about 20 or so years ago when radon became a big deal and it wasn’t before that, so I wondered what caused it to start seeping up from below all over the place. It’s totally possible that the Earth began heating up slowly from below, all the while we were so concerned about the part we interact with the most – the atmosphere – we didn’t notice the steady increase in volcanic activity and earthquakes.

    I’ve mentioned his site here before if you want to take a look:

    read his summary statement and if you want to fill in some of the blanks you can read the complete hypothesis – fascinating stuff

  • I was homeless for over a month. Lived in the woods and our camps kept getting ‘evicted’ by the police, so we’d have to keep moving every few days. Ended up staying in a treehouse in Mangrove swamp, which most people were too afraid of to enter..

    Eventually ended up sharing an apartment, but also had to stay with people here & there, often in exchange for blue boxes.

    Then there was ‘the trip’

    I packed my bicycle with everything I owned (at that point) and rode cross-country averaging ~ 100 miles per day. Some nights I slept in my tent off the side of the highway. Ended up in Crossville, Tennessee where I had an accident and had to find a way to replace the bike. Took the bus for $ 8 to Cookeville which was the nearest bike shop. Bought a used old bike in poor condition, then rode it back to Crossville, transfered various parts from the wrecked bike to the ‘new’ one, threw the mangled frame away. I liked what I saw in Cookeville, so I decided to ride back there and try to find a way to earn some money. Hit every repair shop in town but never found steady work. I was able to alter people’s VCR’s to receive free premium cable channels using salvaged parts, and so did this dozens of times for money. Eventually that ran dry too, so had to take a bus out of state, trying to make a living in Denver. It was too expensive to live there, even working full time stuffing circuit boards, and the car fumes were really bad when riding my bike. I met a buddy in Tennessee while I was there who ended up homeless as well. So we got back together in Denver, then started looking for a cheaper place to live. We ended up here 16 years ago, both working in various places over the years, mainly in a steel factory. Have managed to only move 3 times since moving here, and now have become co-home owners as of a few months ago.

    Myself, I’ve lived in 89 different places over the years, in 7 states, from the woods and the side of the road, to a big old house like this.

    We’re barely getting by here, and run out of food nearly every month and have to scrape together meals. The last few weeks of September for example we ate nothing but rice which was all we had left. This month I bought flour and cornmeal (and more rice) so we’ll have beans & cornbread, biscuits and pancakes in addition to rice.

    I make every meal from scratch, we can’t afford ready-to-eat, frozen meals or to eat out. We buy a bag of chicken scratch which we also feed the wild birds with. I ration it to last the month..

    Every few months I buy some solder and black tape, nothing else.

    Living in America for persons of color, indigenous and natives has to be experienced to actually appreciate the difficulties.

    It always galls me to see priviledged white people living in other countries, attempt to frame and lecture how ‘easy’ it is, from their foreign white perspective. Especially when they go out of their way to do so, proving themselves to be the very caricatures they try to project onto others.

  • (No longer) Pilot

    I was listening on the news and got the sense that they were not yet absolutely certain about the details, but having to do with leaks from gas extraction in the Four Corners area of NM (on Navajo land).

    The management of drilling and pipeline operations is getting shabbier by the day.

    I posted this on the forum yesterday:

  • @Tom

    Thanks for answering my question. That does seem to make sense. You’re absolutely correct in that little was mentioned of the methane that comes from fracking. The air over the Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota has very high concentrations of Methane. I would image that should show up on NASA satelite data as well. Thanks for the link, too!

    NLA Pilot

  • Once again I am truly humbled and slightly perplexed.

    I learn more about the human condition in reading these comments than what I knew when I wrote the essay. So many people out there that have had life altering experiences way beyond my limited ones. Tales of courage and endurance greater than what I believe I can muster. Thank you for your kindness and your sharing.

    I am often perplexed, but I try to learn from the negative comments and character assassinations as well. I am not sure what the intent is but I sense great frustration and a need to be acknowledged and valued.

    I believe we are all of equal value (or lack of).
    Same Source, Same Destination.

  • Re Naomi Klein and radical solutions.
    Until maybe 3 or 4 years ago I was a convinced advocate for a steady state economy as a possible way out of our predicament. If we could somehow change to a steady state economy tomorrow,would that provide a solution?
    No. The maximum informed estimate of the populaton that could be supported on the total worldwide land area producing food for humans is around 3 billion,if there was no additional fixed nitrogen being supplied to the plants on that area via the Haber-Bosch process.
    Our grotesquely inflated population is dependent on industrial agriculture for it’s survival.Industrial agriculture is dependent on fossil fuels.As everyone here realizes,the enormous quantities of CO2 being released by industrial agriculture and the rest of our bubble civilisation is the main driving force of climate disruption. If we changed to a steady state economy tomorrow,we would still have 7.3 billion people to feed,and the only way that can be done is with industrial agriculture.
    We are in an inescapable progress trap.Stop the use of fossil fuels, and billions die within months.
    Continue the uuse of fossil fuels,and the incrasingly severe effects of climate disruption willl lead to the collapse of industrial civilisation this century,possibly before mid century.
    It is a pity that Naomi didn’t reason correctly before she had her child to ‘express hope’.Her child will be suffering a lot more than Naomi ever has.