Clarifying the Gift Economy: What It Is and Isn’t

by Carolyn Baker

Gift ImageIt’s been a long time since I’ve written an essay. A number of projects are demanding my attention, but recently, I have encountered so many misconceptions about not only the Gift Economy, but the role of money in the new paradigm, that I must respond.

In current time, the term “Gift Economy” is frequently used by individuals who are familiar with the writings of Charles Eisenstein, and in particular, his masterful book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society In The Age of Transition. Charles not only writes extensively about the Gift Economy, but endeavors to practice it in all aspects of his life. The concept is not a novel one, as Charles repeatedly points out, but was inherent in relationships among and between members of some of the earliest human societies. Before proceeding, I wish to emphasize the word relationships—an emphasis I will repeat throughout this essay. As with concepts both novel and recycled, their definitions and intentions become skewed over time, and the Gift Economy concept is no exception, as can be noticed in countless misinterpretations of it one finds everywhere.

One of the first misconceptions about the Gift Economy is that money is inherently evil and that Sacred Economics unequivocally seeks to banish it from the face of the earth. In fact, Charles opens the book with “The purpose of this book is to make money and human economy as sacred as everything else in the universe.” (XI) Notice the assumption inherent in this statement: Everything in the universe is sacred. And of course, the next question invariably is: What is sacred? Charles’ response: “It has two aspects: uniqueness and relatedness. A sacred object or being is one that is special, unique, one of a kind. It is therefore infinitely precious; it is irreplaceable. It has no equivalent, and thus no finite ‘value,’ for value can only be determined by comparison. Money like all kinds of measure, is a standard of comparison.” (XV)

Nowhere in Charles’ definition of money does he state that money is evil. Granted, it is virtually impossible to live in an avaricious, growth-obsessed, predatory, usurious culture in which the rape, pillage, and plunder of the planet is axiomatic, without concluding that money is evil. And indeed, the prevailing manner in which money is acquired, hoarded, spent, and wasted is evil. Yet Charles argues that money is “…an invisible, immortal force that surrounds and steers all things, omnipresent and limitless.…” (XIII) He calls it an “abstraction” that “exists in a realm far removed from materiality.” What has made money profane, dirty, tainted, and corrupt is its estrangement from the sacred. As a result, it has become larger than life in the human psyche, constellating a variety of archetypes, and reverberating with the trauma of parental and cultural wounding. Sacred Economics is about re-sacralizing all forms of exchange and appreciating them as originating, like all forms of energy, in a Source superior to the human mind and ego with which we are inextricably connected.

“I have therefore written this book,” states Charles, “to describe a system that restores to money the sacredness of the gift.” (13) To what “gift” is he referring? Indeed he is not referring to a specific gift such as when one person wants to gift another with a bushel of apples, but rather, the assumption that all of life is a gift. To exist, to be alive on this planet, even if one was born into and still lives in abysmal conditions, is a precious gift. In other words, all of life is a gift—the good, the bad, the horrific, the glorious, and everything in between. Therefore, gratitude is natural to us, and when we feel grateful, we feel connected. Why is that?

To feel grateful is to experience a sense of relatedness to something or someone. Now certainly, the word grateful can have negative connotations. This very natural, primal, innocent feeling of gratitude can be jaded by people who have abused or shortchanged us in some way and then told us that we should feel grateful. However, an essential aspect of our humanity is gratitude because gratitude affirms our relationship with the other and our interdependence with all of life.

Nevertheless, it is not enough to simply feel grateful. Gratitude must register on the heart and in our relationships as we verbalize it, and particularly as we express it through action. We may want to offer kindness to the person who gave the gift, or we may want to pass the gift on to someone else outside the relationship between the giver and receiver. In the case of gratitude for life, as opposed to gratitude toward a specific person, we may choose to live our lives in such a manner that our work, creativity, home, leisure—every aspect of our time on earth is an expression of gratitude.

Sometimes it is very difficult to feel grateful and live accordingly. Loss in every form can chip away at or cut deeply into our sense of gratitude. Loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a pet, loss of a body part, a house burned to the ground, a terminal diagnosis—all of these can inundate the soul with grief, bitterness, anger, despair, and unimaginable vulnerability. Often “why me?” and not gratitude is the first response. In fact, if we do not consciously work with the loss with the intention of finding meaning it, viewing it only as a profoundly unwanted scourge, we are at risk of becoming buried by loss and unable to even partially emerge from it enough to savor life and reconnect with gratitude.

Often one of the most healing experiences a person inundated with loss can have is to spend several hours in pristine, unmanicured nature. Our archetypal, bone-marrow connection with the earth is perhaps humanity’s most fundamental global positioning system. From the beginning, humans have referred to the earth as “she”—the feminine, the Mother, Gaia. To be in close proximity with her is to instinctively feel her abundance. A few hours in nature leave us brimming with a sense of abundance, no matter how much or how little our bank account registers. The ancients knew this, of course, which is why the earliest humans did not have a money system. They gave each other gifts, they bartered, they hunted, gathered, created, and cared for each other together—in community. Indeed, this is why Charles wrote Sacred Economics: “We can embody in our money new agreements about the planet, the species, and what we hold sacred.” (36)

Again, money is not the enemy. How we relate to it and to each other around it is what makes for relationships based on scarcity or relationships based on abundance, generosity, and mutual caring. Thus, the new story of money, gift, and exchange is a new story of relationships. We cannot change how we relate to money without changing how we relate to each other.

The Gift Economy can function in a number of ways ranging from simply making everything free to creating gift circles to bartering to negotiating the value of objects and activities and requesting payment accordingly. Where we tend to distort the Gift Economy, and thereby recreate the old story of money and relationships, is when we assume that money is evil and people should not charge money for anything.

Malpracticing The Gift Economy

Occasionally, I am challenged by individuals when I charge money for events, sell my books, or ask for donations. Often, the challenge is issued with considerable arrogance and resentment. For example, recently I offered an online webinar which featured five other presenters besides me. Upon advertising one of the sessions online, I received a message that said, “Are you doing this out of the goodness of your heart or for money?” I was struck by the hostile tone of the question and the polarization inherent in it as if goodness of the heart and charging money could not happen at the same time. In other words, if one has a good heart, one will not charge money, and if one charges money, this proves unequivocally that one does not have a good heart.

I responded to the message with “The webinar is not free. It is a six-session event involving several presenters besides me, and there is a fee.” I was then countered with a message that said, “I’m grateful that you are able to help people with money. It is unfortunate that we all do not have it.” More hostility.

When I am confronted with these kinds of statements around money, I never cease to be amazed at the lack of relationship in them. For example, the individual challenging me never says, “Hi Carolyn. I’d really like to attend your event, but I don’t have the money. Could we talk about this? I would like to offer an alternative way of compensating you for your service.” Yet again, I reiterate: The Gift Economy is about relationship. It is not about assuming that money is evil, that the person charging money is hypocritically mired in the old story, and that it is OK to fire off a hostile zinger then walk away.

Entitlement Rules

Everyone living in the belly of the beast, also known as the crux of industrial civilization, must subsist to the best of her ability by living with at least one foot in the old story. Unless one is able to grow all of one’s food, live entirely rent or mortgage-free off the land, provide one’s own health care, and construct a lifestyle in which money is not needed, one is compelled to engage with money. I readily admit that I do not inhabit this corner of industrial civilization. In order to do the work I do in the world, I must meet basic material needs. As long as the current money system persists and I reside in industrial civilization, this will be so. While in recent years, I have adapted much of the offering of my work to the principles of the Gift Economy, I am not able to do what I do for free—nor do I particularly want to. Why?

In his recent article “Shadow, Ritual, And Relationship In The Gift,” Charles Eisenstein offers some examples of attempting to practice the Gift Economy from shadow motivations which really do not represent a departure from the old story:

One of the shadow motives for doing work by gift is a desire for exculpation from the crimes that a money-driven society has perpetrated on human beings and the planet. No longer can anyone accuse you, nor need you accuse yourself, of greed, profiteering, or exploiting others. You get to be blameless. Unfortunately, guilt avoidance is not real generosity; it is a kind of narcissism that motivates only the trivial levels of action sufficient to alleviate one’s personal guilt. Moreover, it expresses a kind of scarcity thinking: a conditionality of self-acceptance. It leaves a subtle stink of self-righteousness, and it results in the gift business model not working, since the goal of guilt absolution is best served by being the innocent martyr.

It may be tempting to pride oneself in operating outside the traditional money system when charging for services. “Ya see, I’m not one of those money-grubbing self-help gurus who actually charges people money. I am so enlightened, so adept at practicing the Gift Economy that I can rise above mindlessly practicing the old story.”

Additionally, Charles offers this scenario:

Another shadow motivation is the desire to simply wash one’s hands of the whole fuss-and-bother around money, to avoid the complicated and uncomfortable issues that come up when it is confronted. We are all familiar with the discomfort that arises when the time comes to “talk about the money”; we have all noticed how the cost for various events or products is kept hidden until the last moment or hidden on the bottom of the page. How nice it would be not to have to deal with it at all! Unfortunately, by doing this we sweep under the rug thorny issues that do not thereby go away. Money can be a means for the negotiation of social relationships, for the defining of roles and boundaries. It comprises, in fact, some of the chief rituals of our culture. To discard it without a substitute leaves both parties in a state of limbo, not understanding what their relationship is supposed to be. Perhaps that is why a homeopathic doctor friend of mine struggled to find clients when she was operating without fees, and why those patients she did have were not compliant, not really seeing her as a doctor. The situation improved when she started charging professional fees. On the other hand, the disappearance of normal means of negotiating role and relationship can be quite fertile, inviting the deconstruction and rethinking of those roles, but eventually some other means must emerge. To let go of conventional money arrangements (such as a set fee for service) is not an exit from the messiness of that negotiation; it is an entry into a new one.

If everything is free, you don’t need to struggle with your relationship with money, and I don’t need to struggle with mine.

The concept of the human shadow, of course, is one of the priceless contributions of Carl Jung. It simply refers to parts of self that we disown because they are not congruent with the ego identity we have constructed for ourselves. Thus, sometimes, we may be so eager to distance ourselves from the current money system that we unconsciously resort to these kinds of shadow motivations for doing so.

One aspect of the shadow of every inhabitant of industrial civilization is entitlement. Individuals who “demand” that presenters and authors charge nothing for their offerings are living out the shadow of massive entitlement. The hostility lingering around the edges of “It’s nice that you can help people with money” suggests that while they may grasp some aspects of the Gift Economy, others completely escape them.

So how do we heal our deeply enculturated sense of entitlement?

The Gift Economy is about giving, so when considering an event or an offering in which one would like to participate, the first question that should come to mind is not, “How much is this going to cost?” but rather, “What do I have to give?” Rather than judging the person with whose work you wish to engage, if at all possible, communicate with them privately that you do not have the funds to pay for this particular offering, but you do have time and talents to offer in exchange for admission. Some suggestions may include:

  • Making a commitment to publicize the event or promoting it as much as possible locally and through social media
  • If the event occurs in your local place, offer to serve on the support staff to register participants, set up beverage and snack areas, run errands, provide lodging for the presenter
  • Organize child care for others who may want to attend the event and have a safe place for their child to be while they do so
  • Organize transportation for participants
  • Help cook or serve food

Whenever anyone negotiates fees with me, I discover that we both have something to learn from each other. If an individual chooses not to negotiate, they miss an opportunity to engage in a teaching/learning relationship with another human being, and I miss the opportunity as well.

 

 

Asking For Donations

Yet another misconception regarding the Gift Economy is the notion that people of integrity should not ask for donations. In addition, the person asking or wanting to ask may resist doing so because the ego says that “real men or women” or “successful professionals” do not ask for money. After all, isn’t this really begging? One could adhere to that notion, or one could step into the new story of the Gift Economy. In recent years I have discovered that when I give money or time or energy to someone or to a worthy project other than one of my own, the gift comes back to me not once but many times. Thus, I no longer perceive giving money to a cause with which I resonate as a hardship, but rather as a privilege. Without exception, I have found it to be an opportunity, in one form or another, to receive a return on my investment. However, if I give out of guilt or “shoulds,” nothing comes back, but when I give generously because I really want the cause or person to whom I am giving to thrive, my generosity is rewarded. I support people asking for donations. If their asking rubs me the wrong way, then the discomfort probably isn’t about them; it’s probably about me.

The Bottom Line of The Bottom Line

In recent years I have been blessed to have been introduced to a number of tools that have proven useful in re-sacralizing our relationship with money, including healing our sense of entitlement and our many shadows with respect to money. The transformation of our relationship with money is an integral part of the spiritual journey and our desire to live in the new paradigm. The Gift Economy is not some intellectual concept in which we can dabble then pontificate about how others are using it incorrectly. It is nothing less than an emotional and spiritual practice, and practice is by definition, imperfect. There is absolutely no way to “do it right.” However, authentically practicing the Gift Economy will affect every aspect of our lives, particularly, our relationships. The most priceless “gift” in the “Gift Economy” is the relationships that are formed as we endeavor to live a new story with kindness and creativity. The Gift Economy is a momentous opportunity to experience personal and community transformation if we are willing to engage in difficult dialogs, alter our relationship with money, and express gratitude for the gifts that are ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives.

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Comments 99

  • merry new year
    Mass Extinction Manifesto
    solar-wind-batteries are the bic lighters of the environmental phenom.
    billions of tons of toxic exotic minerals that need continual replacement for part-time energy.
    we have to go green thorium-solar urban-rural permaculturist.
    using carbon-fiber gas tanks as batteries for clean fuels instead of
    billions of tons of heavy toxic lead, liquid metal or molten salt batteries.
    no more flying to climate conferences to do nothing in a wired world.

    THE KICKER!
    100% private carbon taxes no share for governments & corporations.
    A new world e-carbon currency phase in to eliminate national boundaries.
    tie organic food into the currency worldwide to kill Monsanto before they kill us.
    circumvent corporate government quickly.
    or gm trees may be all that survives us.
    unless our food eats us first .)

    Mass Extinction Vs. Green Energy (watch extinction video)
    http://www.reddit.com/r/Permaculture/comments/2qdpuf/mass_extinction_vs_green_energy/

  • Rare Snow to Blanket Las Vegas, Desert Southwest on New Year’s Eve

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/cold-snow-to-invade-the-desert/39714926

    For more hour-to-hour extreme weather updates, use the Earth Wind Map which provides real-time NASA wind and ocean current data refreshed every three hours.

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-95.46,30.23,481

    Today you can see the long arm segment of jet stream from the North Pole to the Gulf of Mexico which will bring a severe cold wave to the high-plains and southern regions in a day or so.

    As Paul Beckwith points out, the warmer Arctic and thus weaker temperature gradient in the Northern hemisphere combined with the Earth’s rotation (angular momentum) has stretched the Northern jet stream into long waves (“polar vortex”) and subsequent extreme weather patterns.

    Return to the map from time to time and notice how the northern jet stream is associated with high surface wind, as well as bringing cold air from the north or bringing warm air to the north.

    PS: Clicking a spot on the map yields coordinates and wind speed. Click the “Earth” label to view the controls and click the help section to obtain more details.

  • We need centralized thorium type power to clean up uranium and provide
    the clean base power renewable energy needs to grow clean, not green.

  • Native Americans just say, “We share what is given.” When you get rid of the word “economy” altogether, things become much clearer. Sharing isn’t a “gift” or an “economy” at all, is it? We share as the Earth shares with us.

    In Alaska, the Native people routinely give gifts, especially those things that are useful, pretty wrapping not required. Traditional healer and elder Rita Blumenstein has four freezers full of salmon, moose, caribou, seal, and other traditional foods that she receives as gifts from her community.

    Everything else is of the moment, and context based. These are things we teach to two-year-olds.

  • Money is inherently a problem, indicating that people do not have direct relations between one another but relations mediated by what is ultimately a fetish, whose very existence necessarily indicates that we are split into competing interests, instead of forming a community which shares what the earth shares with us. See this article written by “my twin brother” (:-)), which i referenced in my article about Resistance which was posted at NBL in May ’13.
    http://www.dailybattle.pair.com/2012/occupy_target_destroy_ruling_money_fetish.shtml

    And regarding the thorium hype, again see the numerous posts i’ve made exposing it.

  • Live naked in a jungle with zero net carbon footprint, taking only what you need and sharing whatever you have with others

    Get driven off the land by a government, eager to promote the short-term interests of corporations and promote rapid planetary meltdown, or get murdered by agents of a corporation.

  • .
    Anais Nin Revisited

    And the day came, when doom was widespread
    (Even worse, when looking ahead),
    That the pain and the strife
    Of everyday life
    Was worse than remaining in bed.

  • Further evidence the global economic system won’t last much longer:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-29/brazils-economy-just-imploded

    (Pity there are now over 200 million humans living in Brazil, between 10-fold and 100-fold population overshoot.)

  • I haven’t had time to read this post yet but if it is about money and gifts, here is a money gift we might be grateful for:

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/12/29/outlook-new-year-paul-craig-roberts-2/

  • kevin moore,

    December 29th, 2014 at 10:40 am you wrote, “Live naked in a jungle with zero net carbon footprint, taking only what you need and sharing whatever you have with others. Get driven off the land by a government, eager to promote the short-term interests of corporations and promote rapid planetary meltdown, or get murdered by agents of a corporation.”

    Great concise summary of the essentials of our situation regarding the past few hundred years! For a much longer-term, broader frame, which extends to the beginnings of our species around 250,000 years ago all over Earth:

    Live naked in a jungle with zero net carbon footprint, taking only what you need and sharing whatever you have with others.

    Get driven off the land by a larger or in other ways more powerful group eager for access to the land, water, wood, high quality rocks, your women, or other things that you have or have access to that they want in order to support their moving and growing population, or get massacred by them. (Notice how this broad frame includes the picture you painted.)

    Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow: “Your moral feelings are attached to frames, to descriptions of reality rather than to reality itself. The message about the nature of framing is stark: framing should not be viewed as an intervention that masks or distorts an underlying preference. Our preferences are about framed problems, and our moral intuitions are about descriptions, not about substance. …Broader frames and inclusive accounts generally lead to more rational decisions.”

  • Paul Craig Roberts is an enigma BUT i sure hope he is correct about Russia and China ganging up on this pathetic part of the world.

  • Charles Eisenstein has not holstered his firearm – has not abjured initiating the use of coercive violence. Once one sees the gun, one cannot unsee it.

    Any postulated Divine is not lumpy: hence either everything is equally and uniformly sacred, or its equivalent, nothing is sacred. As a corollary, nothing can be consecrated, desecrated or resacralised.

    The conversion of gifts to transactions occurs the instant either party mentally valorises – assigns a value to – the gift: the gift thenceforth is one arm of a transaction, even if the other arm is no more than an expression of gratitude.

    Such transactions are the warp and weft of society, building a sense of obligation, but contribute little to community. Soceital obligations are intellectually mediated by the mammalian and primate brain, with some equivalent of a spreadsheet or a balance sheet. If the figures don’t match up, the deal is off.

    The motivations of community are not in any sense of obligation, but arise from the feeling of “it’s the right thing to do”: this comes not from the intellect, but from emotions and values in the non-verbal, non-rational reptilian brain. It is what motivates parents to care for offspring, adult offspring to care for aging parents, and even soldiers on the battlefield to lay down their lives for their comrades-In-arms. The Armed Forces have no commensurate reward for these latter acts, and therefore award “medals”, in a carefully cultivated package of aura and ritual.

    “Relationships” suggests something that can be intellectually quantified and valorised; indeed society tries to do just that, but has no handle on the coherence of communiny.

    Money traditionally had two functions: a medium of exchange and a store of value. The physical tokens used as money had to be hard but not too had to come by. Today’s manipulative mischief by those who have monopoly control on money, detracts from its store of value, and thereby from its effectiveness as a medium of exchange: larger and larger quantities of it have to be used. The solution is to remove monopoly control, allowing manifold currencies to flourish and/or perish.

  • I have now read almost half of John Gottman’s Principia Amoris, presently learning about influence functions, basins of attraction, attractors, stable and unstable steady states, and so on. Some principles that seem critical to me and that relate directly to working with and getting along with others—especially important given the multiple collapses now well in progress—include these:

    Within the behavioral possibilities relationships usually have two “attractors” or “basins of attraction”, both of them “influenced steady states”, both stable steady states. Each of these steady states has its own basin of attraction, so the situation works kind of like two valleys with a ridge (the “separatrix”) between them, one basin positive in nature, and the other basin negative. If people begin interacting on one side of the ridge, in one basin of attraction (even though far away from the attractor), then, over time, the sequence of their interactions will tend to approach that basin’s attractor, kind of like a marble rolling around inside a bowl approaching the stable steady state at the bottom of the bowl.

    Notice the implications of this. It implies that the eventual trend a conversation follows over time DEPENDS STRONGLY ON THE INITIAL CONDITIONS, where the ball starts rolling from, on which side of the ridge it begins. Does it begin rolling on the positive or negative side?

    All of this points to the critical role of how one STARTS a conversation! Do you start with a HARSH start-up, negative from the other person’s perspective, or do you start SOFTLY and GENTLY in the positive basin from the other person’s perspective? I have noticed in blog comments, interactions among friends, and in ESG and other meetings, that some people tend habitually to start harshly, whether they consciously intend that or not. When someone does this, a high probability exists that the subsequent interactions will tend over time to progress ever closer toward the negative attractor like the marble approaching the bottom of the bowl over time. On the other hand, if they begin with a soft start-up then over time the interactions will tend to progress toward the positive attractor in the positive bowl.

    So, this seems critically important to me: We can all pretty easily learn to begin all conversations, feedback, requests, and so on, VERY SOFTLY, VERY GENTLY, in ways that the other person, or other people, will most often perceive as lying within the positive basin of attraction, not in the negative one. Based on a HUGE amount of observational evidence and strong scientific theory related to it, I don’t think one can overstate the importance of this simple, easily learned habit in all relationships, whether in writing, talking on the phone, or in face-to-face interactions.

  • @ dairymandave Says:
    December 29th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for that link to the PCR prognostication which, in turn, led to the profoundly eye-opening, yet disturbing, essay by Larchmont! If the observations and analysis of the latter is even half correct, kevin moore’s time-frame appears more than reasonable. In any eventuality, interesting times are, indeed, dead ahead.

  • http://www.countercurrents.org/prupis281214.htm

    Critical Glaciers Melting Under ‘Continuous Warming’

    “In 2002, Chinese scientists released the first full inventory of the country’s glaciers, the largest glacial area outside of Antarctica and Greenland. The data came from topographical maps and aerial photographs of western China’s Tibet and Xinjiang regions taken from the 1950s through the 1980s. That record showed a total glacial area of 59,425 square kilometers. The Second Glacier Inventory of China, unveiled here last week, is derived from high-resolution satellite images taken between 2006 and 2010. The data set is freely available online. http://westdc.westgis.ac.cn/data/f92a4346-a33f-497d-9470-2b357ccb4246 Liu and his colleagues calculated China’s total glacial area to be 51,840 square kilometers—13% less than in 2002.”

    — So, if the glacial cover is vanishing at 1% per year, then it will all be gone shortly. Probably well before 2100. 1% yearly is just getting ramped up. With less cover, the constant rate of melt will result in larger areas vanishing at larger % as time progresses.

    To cats like the FP ‘haters-gonna-hate’ crew:
    Where is the mitigating good news? Anywhere?

  • Very timely essay, Carolyn.
    Money or currency has been around for thousands of years as a means of exchanging goods and services. Once most humans shifted from nomadic lifestyles where every member of the group pretty much had to have multiple skills to survive, to the city lifestyle and specialized skills (quite the dumbing down if you ask me), it was inevitable that some kind of currency would be needed.

    It is precious when people expect to receive a service for free. I wonder if they are aware that they, in essence, are expecting a form of payment by wanting a service for free?

    Jesus allegedly said “Render unto Cesar, that which is Cesar’s.”
    So as long as we live in “Rome”, well, you know the rest. And we all know what happened to Rome. And this time it won’t be replaced.

    But even when money becomes worthless (soon, my loves, soon) there will always be the need to barter for goods and services. Because of skill specialization.
    So the more skills a person has, the richer he/she is.

  • Children of Tomorrow

    Children of tomorrow
    I apologize to you
    On behalf of those in my time
    For the things we didn’t do

    We didn’t stop the tyrants
    So your fate could be prevented
    We watched them steal our freedom
    By our silence we consented

    We didn’t choose to circumvent
    The doom you’ve not escaped
    While the Bill of Rights was murdered
    And the Constitution raped

    Some of us were lazy
    Others too afraid
    To think about our children
    The ones we have betrayed

    I guess we were too busy
    To be concerned or care
    To try to ease the burden
    Of the chains we made you wear

    We could have been good shepherds
    When the wolf got in the fold
    But we watched the flame of freedom die instead
    And left you cold

    I’m sorry we were timid
    My selfish generation
    We left you but a remnant
    Of a free and prosperous nation

    I’m sorry for our actions
    Like cowards we behaved
    We could have left you freedom
    Instead you are enslaved

    Children of tomorrow
    Descendants of our land
    I’m sorry we allowed this
    The fate you now with stand

  • I think the only time jesus got mad in the bible was when he overturned the tables of the money changers,now we are the money changers.I like to come here for info. [news] and its good [some times w/links]. I go back to the nightly news [TV news] and its mostly bullcrap w/ crappy commercials. If the NTHE message would go viral most everywhere” there is nothing like an idea whos time has come” this would crater the economey, therefor denying climate change is crucial they must deny, they must make up there own science and repeat it endlessly, to disprove abrupt climate change or it’s crater time. It’s as important as keeping the heat engine going how about thoughts bananas!

  • IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT……..

    “A scene on Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom recently struck me, at first, as simply an astute and amusing commentary on global warming… until the real world chimed in with one of those life-imitating-art occasions suggesting that R.E.M.’s apocalyptic song is destined to be the soundtrack of our future.

    First, the HBO moment: Anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) interviews an EPA administrator (Paul Lieberstein, who will always be Toby Flenderson from The Office no matter what role he’s playing) about a report that carbon dioxide levels have hit extremely dangerous new highs.

    McAvoy begins in the usual mode for this sort of story, poised to emphasize the urgent threat of climate change while reinforcing the conventional platitudes that people need to take this seriously and work hard to remediate the problem.

    His conversation, though, quickly goes off the rails.

    “If you were the doctor and we were the patient,” the anchor asks, “what’s your prognosis? A thousand years, two thousand years?” The scientist’s response takes him aback: “A person has already been born who will die due to catastrophic failure of the planet.”

    McAvoy: You’re saying the situation is dire?

    EPA guy: Not exactly. Your house is burning to the ground, the situation is dire. Your house has already burned to the ground, the situation is over.

    McAvoy: So what can we do to reverse this?

    EPA: Well there’s a lot we could do…

    McAvoy (interrupts): Good…

    EPA: …20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. But now, no.

    McAvoy (becoming increasingly uncomfortable): Can you make an analogy that might help us understand?

    EPA: Sure. It’s as if you’re sitting in your car, in your garage, with the engine running and the door closed, and you’ve slipped into unconsciousness. And that’s it.

    McAvoy: What if someone comes and opens the door?

    EPA: You’re already dead.

    McAvoy: What if the person got there in time?

    EPA: Then you’d be saved.

    McAvoy: OK. So now what’s the CO2 equivalent of the getting there on time?

    EPA: Shutting off the car 20 years ago.

    McAvoy: You sound like you’re saying it’s hopeless.

    EPA: Yeah.

    McAvoy: Is that the administration’s position or yours?

    EPA: There isn’t a position on this any more than there’s a position on the temperature at which water boils.

    Then last week, an actual piece of journalism, the lead story in Monday’s New York Times, confirms that things are indeed pretty much as desperate as Sorkin depicted on his pretend newscast. As the latest UN summit on greenhouse gases convenes in Peru, climate scientists report that a 3.6 degree rise seems inevitable, which they believe is “the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding.”

    Flipping back to one last bit of patter from The Newsroom: The EPA administrator tells McAvoy, “The last time there was this much CO2 in the air the oceans were 80 feet higher than they are now. Two things you should know: Half the world’s population lives within 120 miles of an ocean.” “And the other?” “Humans can’t breathe under water.”

    I propose that it is time for us to accept as a premise in whatever environmental discussions we have — or indeed, in any deliberations on anything taking place in the future — the fact that the world is coming to an end.

    Well, not the world itself: The planet is actually pretty resilient, and will likely continue on its orbit unbothered by the warm spell; it’s just people, along with most other life forms, that will disappear. Geologically, there’s not so much to worry about; biologically, on the other hand, we have a situation.

    Over the past decade — since Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth brought global warming into the mainstream consciousness — the rhetoric has been dire, but at least minimally hopeful: If we start doing this and stop doing that now, we can perhaps just barely salvage what is left of our ecosystem.

    For a while it made sense, as Will McAvoy was trying to do on his newscast, to cling to a thread of hope in order to motivate reform and prevent people from descending into a paralyzing sense of helplessness.

    But now it’s time to accept our impending demise. Those are profoundly difficult words to write, but they are necessary: Our times demand a new rhetorical honesty. It is deceitful and irrelevant to sustain the charade that things may improve. Instead, it’s time to start talking about how we will die.

    (Maxine Kumin has a poem called “Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief.” It was.)

    As depressing as this is, it has at least the virtue of being true, unlike the kick-the-can-down-the-road policies that pretend the solution for global warming lies in producing (someday!) cars that get 150 mpg and cities powered by wind farms. And expecting Westerners (the 12 percent of the world’s population who consume 60 percent of its resources) to use less stuff.

    If there’s a silver lining, it is not a very satisfying one, but for what it’s worth: I think it may prove refreshing, even exhilarating, to develop a new trope, a new truth, that lets go of the pretense that things will turn out ok.

    “The progress narrative” that has undergirded Western culture for millennia was nice while it lasted, but it’s also responsible for getting us where we are today, as it stoked the fantasy that we were invincibly moving ever forward, and that our rampantly voracious overdevelopment (exploration, imperialism, conquest, growth, “civilizing” nature) had no costs, no limits, no consequences.

    As an English professor, I find it exciting to consider the possibilities for a new voice, a new style, a new writerly consciousness that may accompany and chronicle the winding down of our sound and fury.

    Other cultures at similar points in their trajectory — past the zenith, clearly waning yet close enough to the glories of the past — have often produced keenly insightful literature and art. Being on the cusp of decline provokes incisive self-reflection — as the Greeks called it, anagnorisis: recognition.

    Cervantes achieved this in Don Quixote toward the end of Spain’s Golden Age, as did T. S. Eliot in “The Waste Land,” his report from the front lines of the cultural disintegration that accompanied the collapse of European imperialism and the War to End All Wars: “These fragments I have shored against my ruins.”

    On a personal level, we have lately begun to do a better job of dying, and of accepting death — writing “death plans,” forsaking heroic measures of resuscitation. So too as a species we may learn to accept the inescapability of our impending ecological fate. We can celebrate the bright spots from our past human heritage, acknowledge our follies, and finally, deal with it: It is what it is.

    There will be a limited future audience for this brave new art, since we’re hovering on the verge of extinction, but it will leave an interesting time capsule for whoever might come to recolonize the planet after we’re gone.

    “Anthropocene,” a recently coined term for our present epoch, reflects the unique phenomenon of human impact that has changed (disrupted, ruined) the earth. Complementing this scientific assessment, a parallel aesthetic movement must acknowledge, better late than never, that we have irreparably fouled our nest.

    We might demarcate our cultural expressions of this period as “epitaphal”: our last words, as on a gravestone, inscribed with a solidity that will outlast our mortal frames and will announce for eternity (even in its conscribed scope) what kind of people we wanted to be and how we hoped we might be remembered.”

  • Please share above Huffington Post article with Scott Johnson, et al.

    Guy, proof positive the message is getting disseminated into the mainstream.

  • pauline Says:
    December 29th, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    “Very timely essay, Carolyn.
    Money or currency has been around for thousands of years as a means of exchanging goods and services. Once most humans shifted from nomadic lifestyles where every member of the group pretty much had to have multiple skills to survive, to the city lifestyle and specialized skills (quite the dumbing down if you ask me), it was inevitable that some kind of currency would be needed.”

    Wrong, very wrong! Only a tiny portion of the population was involved with money till the advent of capitalism. The vast majority directly produced their survival needs. It wasn’t until the advent of capitalism and the IMPOSITION of capitalist social relations via the Enclosures in late medieval England that most people had to have money to buy their survival needs. The account you provide is typical mainstream brainwashing.
    See
    http://monthlyreview.org/1998/07/01/the-agrarian-origins-of-capitalism/

  • It’s the end of the line.
    We are the witnesses.
    It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this
    or so we thought, believing all the myths, living in the dream.
    It turns out like this for many many species and now it’s our turn.
    There was no “other” way “it” could have gone.
    Population, chemistry and physics, among other factors, “determined” our fate.

    We were evolved to do precisely what we’ve done, as others like the Maya or the dinosaurs did in the past. We live the lives we are given, have “good” times and “bad” while “making mistakes” and “doing good.” It’s all one thing happening at the same time and there isn’t anything else. All the actors on the world stage, that’s US, are doing what they’re/we’re genetically, biologically, psychologically, spiritually, morally, systemically, culturally, geographically, chaotically “doing” by being what we are at each “moment.”

    There’s no choice – we’re here and we’re being. Our actions are proscribed and every breath has an effect, as does every thought – “it’s” all connected and finely balanced to last until “it” must change to another reality. From here on out is our curtain call. Play your part and don’t be afraid.

  • Colin: Regarding your comment below, yes, eye-opening but it also shows how dumb smart people can be, how blind. Larchmont has no clue about ecosystems. He is pro growth, pro progress. He doesn’t know that nature bats last. Doesn’t know there even is a nature. Russia-China progress is just more pedal to the metal thinking. However, I would like to see the Hegemon get its rewards without war.

    “Thanks for that link to the PCR prognostication which, in turn, led to the profoundly eye-opening, yet disturbing, essay by Larchmont! If the observations and analysis of the latter is even half correct, kevin moore’s time-frame appears more than reasonable. In any eventuality, interesting times are, indeed, dead ahead.”

  • Gift economy is typically the way religious orgs acquire income too. And it is tax free typically in the USA.

    A religious war is brewing over climate change proclamations by the Vatican.

    The upcoming ideological religious war (Koch Industries vs. Pope Francis) concerning climate change involves religious hermeneutics, but it may also have an impact on Vatican economy (up or down).

  • The stoicism some are expressing here is sublime, indeed. Here is something like-minded:

    >>>

    Everyone gets stressed out from time to time. Whether you’re having a bad day at home, or something isn’t going your way at work, anxiety is simply unavoidable. At times it can even feel overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that many of your worries are unfounded, and that the best course of action is often just throwing up your hands and letting it slide—because there’s absolutely no use sweating the things the parasitic alien lifeform that’s latched onto your brainstem can’t control.

    Sure, you can get worked up about project deadlines, traffic, even the weather—but if it’s beyond the scope of what the slug-shaped alien parasite that burrowed inside your brain via your ear canal has any effect over, then what’s the point? Some things the powerful extraterrestrial organism can control, some things it can’t; the key is to recognize the difference.

    The fact is, endless worrying about what you said in a meeting or a past social faux pas will gnaw at you. Becoming a nervous wreck over such small things doesn’t help anyone—not you, not the alien lifeform that impels all of your actions, not your family, no one.

    Instead, focus on what the growing creature in your brain can influence, like your motor functions, your desires, and the vital minerals you must seek at prescribed intervals to sustain it. Don’t pull your hair out stressing about getting older, or whether you’ll be approved for that mortgage—the alien that’s pulsing inside your brain even now can’t make that stuff go away. Remember, you can’t change the outcome of these things any more than you can change the fact that that comet crashed into the earth 10 years ago and cast an army of alien spores into the water supply.

    Just take things one day at a time, because at the end of the day, the alien’s there, but it’s not Superman, and it can’t just make all your troubles disappear. It has full control of your central nervous system, and it’s just trying the best it can.

    I know that letting go of your concerns isn’t easy. Believe me, just this morning, I spent the better part of an hour stressing over a missed conference call with a West Coast client. My assistant got the time wrong, and we rescheduled, but I still worried about it all morning—until I remembered to take a deep breath and remind myself that the gelatinous, hyper-intelligent creature wrapped tightly around my thalamus and optic nerve couldn’t have foreseen this, and it can’t change how my client feels about it.

    Its plans are far greater than that.

    When you’re feeling stressed out, remind yourself that everyone’s in the same boat. Your boss, your colleagues, your spouse—they all have issues with their parents, they’re all dealing with interpersonal conflicts at work, they all have a three-inch, olive-brown creature in their brain that’s extending its piercing tendrils deeper into their cerebellum every day, rendering them hypersensitive to light and turning them against their loved ones. The next time you’re frustrated with a coworker, just remember that he’s got a parasitic alien lifeform feeding on his brain matter, too. Just think, he might be cranky because he spent the better part of last night foraging for the quartz he’s compelled to grind into dust and rub into his skin, fortifying the life-sucking organism—so cut him a little slack.

    Life is short, and you can’t fritter away your precious time stressing about things the constantly oozing parasite will never be able to change—promotions you didn’t get, investments you passed up, loves that were lost so many years ago. Doubts and anxieties will sap your energy and drain your will to live faster than the aggressive alien creature that’s suckling your body’s nutrients from your cerebral fluid against your will, so just let them fall by the wayside.

    The fact is, you have good days when the alien’s using your brain as a yolk sac to nourish its gestation, you have bad days when the alien’s using your brain as a yolk sac to nourish its gestation. All you can do is just stay positive and take care of only those things you are able to. Just keep your head down and follow the creature’s bidding until it crawls out of your throat for good, rendering you a desiccated, lifeless husk.

    That’s all any of us can do.

  • I’ve greatly enjoyed this post and ensuing comments. Thank you, Carolyn, for sharing this with us. Sacred Economics had a profound effect upon me. Prior to my reading I had the belief that money was evil and that greed and envy were its manifestations. But I’d like to offer some excerpts from Chapter One that helped change my mind:

    “In the beginning was the gift-the beginning of the world, at the beginning of our lives, and in the infancy of the human species. Gratitude is natural to us. The feeling of having received a gift and the desire to give in return was a key feature of early society.

    The conventional explanation of how money arose was as a means to facilitate barter transactions between competing individuals, seeking to maximize their self-interest. But this view is not supported by anthropology. Primitive barter was rare; the most common mode of economic exchange was the gift. While gift exchanges did occur, (a step towards barter), gift circulation was a better way of describing it. Gifts can be reciprocal but often flow in circles. The gift moves along until it finds an empty place—a need. A gift transaction is open-ended, creating an ongoing tie between the participants.

    So if money did not arise from economist’s imaginary world of calculated, interest-maximizing barter, how did it arise? It arose as a means of facilitating gift giving, sharing and generosity. It was part of the sacred nature of society. To recreate that society will require that money be restored to that original spirit and function. At its core, money is a beautiful concept. I have something you need and I wish to give it to you. You feel grateful and wish to give me something in return. But you don’t have anything I need right now. So you give me a token of gratitude like a piece of silver or a beaded necklace. That token says, “I have met the needs of other people and earned their gratitude.” Later, when I receive a gift from someone else, I respond with that token. This facilitates gift giving across vast social distances.

    Money became necessary as society grew. Traditional, decentralized gift networks evolved into centralized systems of redistribution with temples, and later the royal palace as the hub. The gift mind-set diverged as contributions became forced, quantified and unequal. So already, four thousand years ago in ancient Sumaria, money had changed to where it failed to meet its initial role of creating greater abundance by facilitating the meeting of gifts and needs.

    By facilitating trade, motivating efficient production, and allowing the accumulation of capital to take on large-scale projects, money should enrich life. It should give us ease, leisure, freedom from anxiety and an equitable distribution of wealth. Conventional economic theory predicts these results. So what happened?”

    Concerning the comments:
    Thank you, Kevin, for your continuing struggle to battle the forces of darkness and keep us informed.
    Thank you, dairymandave for the link to Paul Craig Roberts (I think!)
    Thank you Bud Nye–I continue to learn much from you. I’ve appreciated all your work. I especially like your SOFT AND GENTLE approach to starting a conversation. Makes a great deal of sense.
    John-your Children of Tomorrow says it all. I have the privilege of being a school bus driver, and I feel the same way every day. It is so hard to see the hope and dreams within the eyes of my kids while knowing what I know. Almost indescribable pain.
    And thank you, everyone. Your words have helped me, beyond measure, on my journey.

  • http://www.sott.net/article/290704-Large-volumes-of-methane-being-released-in-Arctic-Ocean

    Large volumes of methane being released in Arctic Ocean

    Researchers from Norway and Russia have found significant amount of the greenhouse gas methane is leaking from an area of the Arctic seabed off the northern coast of Siberia.

    According to the team’s report in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, the melting of permafrost on the seafloor of the Kara Sea is releasing previously-sequestered methane.

    “The thawing of permafrost on the ocean floor is an ongoing process, likely to be exaggerated by the global warming of the world´s oceans,” said study author Alexey Portnov at Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (CAGE) at The Arctic University of Norway. [link to original report in article]

  • Laughter is the best antidote:

    Here is the US Congress these days:

  • @ dairymandave Says:
    December 30th, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Yes, of course, you are correct that Larchmont doesn’t mention the cascading climate disruptions or even allude to their contribution, or lack thereof, in his analysis. I also concur that his essay was decidedly “pro-growth,” which we both know is insanity, but I still appreciated his focus on the geopolitical/geo-economic shenanigans that are/could/may play out during the coming year or three. I do not think climatic changes, in that time-frame, will impact people’s lives as significantly as the processes he discusses.

    @ John Says:
    December 29th, 2014 at 10:13 pm
    Children of Tomorrow

    Very nicely said, sir, I tip my cap. In years gone by, I may have said what a crying shame it is that so many of “us” allowed ourselves to be hoodwinked and suckered into believing the delusions, frauds and lies, aka programming (ala E. Bernays & B.F. Skinner), to which we have all been subjected, but then there is…

    @ ed Says:
    December 30th, 2014 at 7:09 am

    … which really is a great summary perspective with an elegantly humorous twist! To you, too, sir, I tip my cap.

  • Friedrich Kling:

    Your comments about writing & art chronicling “the winding down of our sound and fury” (nice turn of phrase there by the way) reminded me of the Dark Mountain Project. It was founded by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine. Some info & a link to their website are presented below.

    “The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it.

    The Project grew out of a feeling that contemporary literature and art were failing to respond honestly or adequately to the scale of our entwined ecological, economic and social crises. We believe that writing and art have a crucial role to play in coming to terms with this reality, and in questioning the foundations of the world in which we find ourselves.”

    http://dark-mountain.net/

    “The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.”

    – From Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Manifesto

  • John Stassek Says:
    December 30th, 2014 at 7:16 am

    “Money became necessary as society grew. Traditional, decentralized gift networks evolved into centralized systems of redistribution with temples, and later the royal palace as the hub. The gift mind-set diverged as contributions became forced, quantified and unequal. So already, four thousand years ago in ancient Sumaria, money had changed to where it failed to meet its initial role of creating greater abundance by facilitating the meeting of gifts and needs.

    By facilitating trade, motivating efficient production, and allowing the accumulation of capital to take on large-scale projects, money should enrich life. It should give us ease, leisure, freedom from anxiety and an equitable distribution of wealth. Conventional economic theory predicts these results. So what happened?””

    Actual history does NOT support any of this, given how few people actually had to use money, as per the article from Monthly Review i linked to in my last post . And capital is not some natural entity, it’s a social relation of production in which the means of producing goods and services are treated as money equivalents and used to produce for sale on the market, with the aim being a larger amount of money equivalent than was started with. Nothing is inherently capital, it’s all a matter of how things are used. See the article about the money fetish i reference in my first post in this topic, way near the top.

  • Hi Tom- Excellent editorial

    Hi islandraider- Thanks for the kudos, but I copied and pasted the article from the Huffington Post. Sorry if I was misleading. In the future, I will more clearly cite the source since quotation marks are not sufficient. Nevertheless, thanks for the link.

  • Jeff S.,

    You come across as smart and very well informed. I’ve enjoyed your comments these past few years. I agree with you about the thorium hype. So I don’t want to antagonize you nor do I feel qualified to get into an argument about economic anthropology. But is it possible you did not notice the period in time that Mr Eisenstein is talking about? I read your link from Monthly Review and I noticed it deals with the period from when agrarian societies with their “producers and appropriators” first appeared up to pre-industrial England. And I also read your link from the occupy movement/money fetish article. I cannot speak directly for Mr. Eisenstein but in reading his book I believe you will discover that he agrees with just about everything you said. The excerpts I furnished do not do justice to the work.

    In talking about a gift economy it appears to me Mr. Eisenstein, in “Sacred Economics”, is speaking of a time long before agriculture when all of nature was considered sacred, before the gods ascended into heaven and when money first came into existence:

    “At its core, money is a beautiful concept. I have something you need and I wish to give it to you. You feel grateful and wish to give me something in return. But you don’t have anything I need right now. So you give me a token of gratitude like a piece of silver or a beaded necklace. That token says, “I have met the needs of other people and earned their gratitude.” Later, when I receive a gift from someone else, I respond with that token. This facilitates gift giving across vast social distances.”

    In other words he is talking about early, tribal, hunter-gatherer societies many tens of thousands of years ago. Long before money’s original purpose was corrupted. So could it be we are seeing this from different temporal points of view?

    (This is just an observation on my part, and an attempt to put Mr. Nye’s advice to good use. I look forward to your response. And thanks!)

  • John Stassek,

    As I read your December 30th, 2014 at 1:25 pm response to Jeff S. I thought: “This is GREAT! Did he read my comment regarding soft startups and apply it here? It sure seems that way.” Then you confirmed this in your parenthetical last three sentences. What a BEAUTIFUL demonstration of understanding with practical application! Thanks so much for the excellent role modeling! I started a comment in which I would give examples of harsh vs. soft start-ups related to NTHE issues on blogs and in groups, and I may still finish that, but now I don’t know if I will.

    Thanks again,
    Bud

  • Chris, I have maintained the view, supported by abundant evidence, that geoengineering is a bad idea

  • Guy,

    You wrote: “Chris, I have maintained the view, supported by abundant evidence, that geoengineering is a bad idea.” I think you meant that comment to go to the Facebook support group in response to Christopher Black’s article posted there. Meanwhile, I consider geoengineering a VERY bad idea, ranking right up there with agriculture, automobiles, and nuclear power as perhaps the worst ideas humans ever conceptually and practically constructed.

  • We have been geoengineering like hell (Delaware-size gas plume over West illustrates the cost of leaking methane).

    That is the problem.

    That is the source of extinction.

    Stop it.

    The geo was here long before us.

    We need to let the geo engineer us.

  • John Stassek Says:
    December 30th, 2014 at 1:25 pm
    “Jeff S.,

    You come across as smart and very well informed. I’ve enjoyed your comments these past few years. I agree with you about the thorium hype. So I don’t want to antagonize you nor do I feel qualified to get into an argument about economic anthropology. But is it possible you did not notice the period in time that Mr Eisenstein is talking about? I read your link from Monthly Review and I noticed it deals with the period from when agrarian societies with their “producers and appropriators” first appeared up to pre-industrial England. And I also read your link from the occupy movement/money fetish article. I cannot speak directly for Mr. Eisenstein but in reading his book I believe you will discover that he agrees with just about everything you said. The excerpts I furnished do not do justice to the work.

    In talking about a gift economy it appears to me Mr. Eisenstein, in “Sacred Economics”, is speaking of a time long before agriculture when all of nature was considered sacred, before the gods ascended into heaven and when money first came into existence:

    “At its core, money is a beautiful concept. I have something you need and I wish to give it to you. You feel grateful and wish to give me something in return. But you don’t have anything I need right now. So you give me a token of gratitude like a piece of silver or a beaded necklace. That token says, “I have met the needs of other people and earned their gratitude.” Later, when I receive a gift from someone else, I respond with that token. This facilitates gift giving across vast social distances.”

    In other words he is talking about early, tribal, hunter-gatherer societies many tens of thousands of years ago. Long before money’s original purpose was corrupted. So could it be we are seeing this from different temporal points of view? ”

    Thanks for your kind comments, John. I have actually communicated with Charles Eisenstein, he can’t see or won’t see my point. And the point he tries to make in the section you quote is something that n fact the Money Fetish article covers. Quoting from the article:

    “Early humans lived by way of hunting and gathering. Tribes occasionally traded with neighboring groups, but this trade was incidental, did not involve survival essentials, but only temporary surpluses, and was not based upon quantitative measures of equivalence. Even as societies developed further and trade expanded and became regular, it involved a very small portion of the population, did not include much if anything of survival essentials, and was governed by custom and other forms of conscious social regulation, not by abstract market forces. Even the markets of medieval Europe were a marginal social phenomenon, involving few people, a very limited portion of total social production (luxuries, for the most part), and noncompetitive buying and selling governed strictly by custom.

    Only under capitalism did markets grow to involve the population at large and the majority of social production, including survival needs. This was not the result of gradual evolution of trade, but of the forceful imposition of the Enclosures in late medieval England and similar steps subsequently taken by ruling elements around the world, leading to the forced separation of the vast majority from the means of directly producing their survival needs. This dispossessed population had no way to survive besides selling its labor power, its ability to perform work. Thus was born the working class.”

    The exchange in such societies thus had nothing to do with money as used in latter exchange, and even less with money as it evolved under capitalism. Using that period in order to cast money as “a beautiful thing” is inaccurate in the extreme. Such exchange did not even require money, not being based upon “quantitative measure of equivalents,” which is what money represents.

  • I understand the hostility with which some people view monetary transactions. There is a certain segment who, for some strange reason, believe everything should simply be given to them.

    We had to throw some trespassers off our land recently. They had set up camp in an old trailer that we used for storage. The trailer was leaky and mouldy, and was arguably a health hazard to anyone living in it for long. There was a poorly installed wood stove in it that had burned through the wall — they had built a fire in that stove.

    As I escorted the young couple out of the trailer, she stomped the ground and shouted, “Who owns this land!”

    I replied that a BC Cooperative Association owned the land and structures on it, and that members and funders had shares in the co-op, and as a Director, I had a fiduciary duty to the members and funders to avoid risk of property damage and injury, and so they had to leave.

    She replied, “No, you do not own this land. A co-op does not own this land. The Crown does not own this land. The Great Spirit owns this land, and it is free to anyone to use!”

    I looked at her nouveau-hippy clothing and newer backpack, wondering how she had wrested those from the Great Spirit, and said, “Well, the Great Spirit isn’t making the mortgage payments, and the Great Spirit doesn’t seem to hold much sway with the RCMP, so if you don’t leave, you’ll be talking to them soon!”

    They walked off down the road, screaming obscenities at us. I’m sure the Great Spirit approved of such behaviour… not!

  • I apologize for my third post of the day. It will never happen again! 🙂

    Jeff S.

    Thanks for your prompt reply. And you are welcome. As Bud Nye and some other posters have regularly shown over the years, there’s really no need, and it’s generally counterproductive, to quibble or argue over what often is a relatively minor point in a discussion. In our particular case I think, (I’m not the brightest crayon in the box), I can see what you are saying and I’m pretty sure I agree with it. Still and all, I can picture what Eisenstein is saying too. Isn’t it plausible that, within a small tribe of related and/or closely knit individuals, the gift of surplus meat by a skilled hunter to a family in need could have been acknowledged by the gift of a beaded necklace or other crafted item, and in time such items could have taken on the role of money as he explains? I don’t have proof. I don’t have a time machine. But I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Irregardless of whether or not you agree, I think Eisenstein does do a good job of indicting usury, externalized costs and the present money system, and showing a pathway to a better system.

    Anyway, I think I missed the point of this post in my first two comments. Carolyn used Eisenstein’s work to talk about the gift economy. Everyone reading can either agree or disagree this was a valid approach. However, I think we can all agree that the concept of a gift economy is a good one—perhaps the best way for dealing with one another.

    Guy not only talks about this but he practices it all the time. Four years ago he endured a late September weekend with my wife and me. He never took a cent for compensation. Not a penny. I am still grateful and amazed for/at what he did. I picked him up from O’Hare in Chicago; drove him to Michigan, where he gave his presentation to some of my friends and neighbors. Twice. And then we drove him back to Illinois. He got a few home-cooked meals, a clean bed in our guest bedroom, and a terrifying trip (both ways) through heavy downtown Chicago traffic in an old beater with bad tires and a nervous driver with a set of glasses that were of the wrong prescription. (Guy-did I ever mention those tires or the glasses? Should I send you some money, now that you know? 🙂 )

    More and more I try to emulate this practice. Where ever I can. And with all who I can. It makes me feel good. I think the recipients would agree. And I think this is at least one of the points to Carolyn’s essay. Although I suppose it’s possible that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Anyway, thanks again.

  • Maybe it’s not the end for us humans? What about the incurably optimistic?

  • Throughout history humans most likely used many ways to foster trade and get essentials.

    This is interesting, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wampum

  • 014-12-29 – Volcano Hunga Ha’apai erupts on new island near coastal Nuku’alofa (Tonga)

    Quote: “A large volcanic eruption is taking place near Tonga’s capital’s Nuku’alofa, sending ash and steam into the sky. It is the same volcano which erupted out of the Pacific Ocean, 63 kilometres north of Nuku’alofa in 2009, creating an island. New Zealand’s Metservice has yet to issue any aviation warning in the region, despite the large plume of ash. Known as the Hunga Ha’apai volcano, Matangi Tonga says it may have been erupting for more than a week.”

    “Note: A new volcanic island has formed in Japan’s waters and one formed near Pakistan too, that I recall offhand. There are 3 million volcanoes on the planet. If you see 100 volcanoes erupting on land, you can be sure that there are 200 more erupting in the oceans too, where the crust is thinnest. Those are the real danger, the subsurface volcanoes, because the heat is helping melt the methane clathrate deposits and creating more ideal conditions for the ancient anaerobic bacteria and archaea that produce hydrogen sulfide…”

    2014-12-29 – Volcano Sheveluch erupts on the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia)

    Quote: “‘The volcano has ejected cinders to the altitude of 6,000 meters above sea level,’ the source said. The aviation authorities have assigned the orange level of aviation risks to the eruption, which means that the volcanic particles ejected from the Sheveluch’s crater pose a potential menace for all types of aircraft and can put out the engines of airliners and helicopters our of operation.”

    2014-12-29 – Mt. Etna belches out lava and ash in Italy

    Note: MISA Theory keeps on chugging away. Bardarbunga is still erupting and spewing huge quantities of volcanic-winter-inducing SO2 into the atmosphere in Iceland and lava is still moving toward the town of Pahoa in Hawaii too…

    2014-12-29 – Grain bin explodes, shakes homes as far as Chillicothe (Missouri)

    2014-12-29 – Underground electrical explosion and fire at 8:15 PM on Byberry Road hits Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), blackouts ensue

    2014-12-29 – Underground electrical fire breaks out before 3:29 PM on Wynnewood Road in Wynnewood (Pennsylvania), near Philadelphia

    2014-12-29 – Passenger plane bursts into flame at takeoff, makes emergency landing in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)

    2014-12-29 – Utility pole bursts into flame in coastal Hingham (Massachusetts), blackouts ensue

    2014-12-29 – Huge number of fish die in reservoir at Cirata, West Java (Indonesia)

    2014-12-29 – Around 100 tons of fish suddenly die at fish farm at Lake Maninjau, Agam, West Sumatra (Indonesia)

    2014-12-29 – 100,000 sea stars strand and die at coastal Fripp Island (South Carolina)

    2014-12-29 – HazMat event, several people sicken and get dizzy at Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale (Arizona), nothing found

    2014-12-29 – Tropical Storm Jangmi roars into the Philippine Islands, 29 killed, 10 missing

    “Happy” New Year! [the laughter saturated with insanity]

    http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/

  • John Stassek:

    “Jeff S.

    Thanks for your prompt reply. And you are welcome. As Bud Nye and some other posters have regularly shown over the years, there’s really no need, and it’s generally counterproductive, to quibble or argue over what often is a relatively minor point in a discussion. In our particular case I think, (I’m not the brightest crayon in the box), I can see what you are saying and I’m pretty sure I agree with it. Still and all, I can picture what Eisenstein is saying too. Isn’t it plausible that, within a small tribe of related and/or closely knit individuals, the gift of surplus meat by a skilled hunter to a family in need could have been acknowledged by the gift of a beaded necklace or other crafted item, and in time such items could have taken on the role of money as he explains? I don’t have proof. I don’t have a time machine. But I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Irregardless of whether or not you agree, I think Eisenstein does do a good job of indicting usury, externalized costs and the present money system, and showing a pathway to a better system.”

    You appear to be missing a key concept, “quantitative measures of equivalence.” With incidental trade not involving essentials but only temporary surpluses, there is no need for money, whose very existence means regularized trade based upon measured equivalences, namely what Marx called “socially necessary labor power,” meaning the social effort, expressed in time, required to produce a good or service. No role for money in any form unless this measured equivalence becomes the regulator of a trade which has stopped being incidental and has turned purposeful.

    ———————

    Jan Steinman:

    “I looked at her nouveau-hippy clothing and newer backpack, wondering how she had wrested those from the Great Spirit, and said, “Well, the Great Spirit isn’t making the mortgage payments, and the Great Spirit doesn’t seem to hold much sway with the RCMP, so if you don’t leave, you’ll be talking to them soon!””

    Mortgage payments and indeed even the Mounties are now facts of NATURE, are they? Pretty incredible cluelessness.

  • Doomer Holiday Season

    Each year the end seems so near,
    We’re sure that we’ll soon disappear;
    But despite all the tries
    At contingent goodbyes,
    The next year we’re still fucking here.
    ==

    New Year’s Joke

    Humans have always been clever,
    So once we really endeavor,
    We’ll forever be here:
    We’ll adapt, and next year
    Will be the best year ever!

    Bwahahahaha!
    ==

    Happy New Year everybody! ☺

  • New Zealand, first to not see the light.

    New Zealand, first to kick off another year of planet-fucking founded on ignorance and denial (with a bit of stupidity thrown in).

    Happy you here.

  • Christmas in America 2014

    Thanks for the poverty

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for the inequality

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for the police killing people

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for the dissention in society

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for not taking care of the desuetude and the mentally impaired

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for destroying mother earth

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for a shitty health care plan

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for the apathetic citizens that don’t give a shit

    Merry Christmas

    Thanks for the bullshit capitalist propaganda machine

    Merry Fucking Christmas and a shitty new year

  • Jan Steinman,

    December 30th, 2014 at 6:04 pm you wrote: “She replied, ‘No, you do not own this land. A co-op does not own this land. The Crown does not own this land. The Great Spirit owns this land, and it is free to anyone to use!’”

    It makes much better sense to me to ask not who does or does not “own” this land, but WHO CONTROLS ACCESS to it (not only access by other humans, but also access by other species). This broader frame changes the perspective from the narrow “ownership” arrangement, a very recent and only a short-term, thin slice of human history under the major heading of controlling access, to the much longer-term perspective that extends to all hominids throughout the evolutionary history of our genus, and certainly all of our species. Had this incident occurred a few hundred years ago in pre-contact New Guinea, you would probably have simply killed the interlopers for trespassing onto your clan’s territory after they passed through a “no man’s land” region. This killing might have touched off, or served as a continuation of, many generations of revenge killings. Had it occurred on Fiji, you might well have eaten the interlopers after killing them. (One advantage of state-level power involves its ability to stop intergenerational cycles of revenge killings and cannibalism so common among many indigenous peoples in many times and places.)

    Jeff S.,

    You wrote to Jan Steinman: “Mortgage payments and indeed even the Mounties are now facts of NATURE, are they? Pretty incredible cluelessness.”

    I wonder what you meant by this. It seems obvious to me that Mounties do indeed exist as “facts of nature”, just as all humans do. It seems to me that to suggest that all humans, including Mounties, do not exist as facts of nature amounts to accepting the heart of arrogant human supremacism, which suggests that humans (including Mounties) exist SEPARATE FROM and ALIENATED from the rest of nature. I don’t agree with this view at all. It seems obvious to me that humans exist just as much as parts of and forces of nature as bacteria and plants did, and do, which over about two billion years largely produced the gas composition of Earth’s atmosphere.

    It does not seem either incredible or clueless to me, at all, to consider all humans and all human behavior not just “facts of nature”, but also powerful forces of nature, and it now seems at least plausible, if not significantly probable, that we may have killed literally all life on Earth, turning it into another lifeless rock much like Venus—while behaving completely within the natural laws of physics and biology, just as all other life does. It seems to me nothing more than a human supremacist fantasy to believe that life “should” or “must” unfold on Earth in some way as conceived by some individual or group of humans. I agree with Daniel Kahneman in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow that “Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance” and with David Ehrenfeld that “The world is not only more complex than we think, it is more complex than we are capable of thinking.”

    But all of that just remains my opinion. Maybe I have it all wrong.

  • Found this essay on http://www.aeon.com that deals with the Leningrad destruction at the hands of the Nazis during the winter 1941-1942.

    This short quotation from that essay will be our future during our extinction;

    ““By mid January 1942, there were no more plates to lick and no more crumbs to pick-up. Death itself turned into a subject of trade. Some were taking advantage of the corpses. A colleague told Joseph she saw a female body with the buttock carved out with a knife. Others engage in a different economy saving their own energy.”

    Here is another way to approach the terrifying sure death we all face.

    http://aeon.co/video/philosophy/this-must-be-the-place-a-short-film-about-dying-well/

  • May the Stick of Doom fly up your asses and make each and every one of ya’ll walk funny for the rest of your days!

  • mny]

    folk

  • Surprised this oldie-but-goodie has not been brought up, so here it is…

    How Doctors Die by Ken Murray
    It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be

    http://www.rte.ie/radio/mooneygoeswild/pdf/How%20Doctors%20Die.pdf

    Doctors Really Do Die Differently By KEN MURRAY, MD

    http://www.hemlocksocietysandiego.org/doctordie.pdf

  • Another year has come and gone for us to reflect on how the world has changed since we’ve come to accept the reality that most of life on earth will soon perish.

    So, what has NTE provided us, other than a way of looking at both the world and ourselves differently in light of it?

    However, while the world is quickly changing, there is nothing we can do but observe it. Of course we can continue to pretend we have agency where there is none, but that’s just continuing to role play a long held human fallacy, not all that removed from the a belief in divine intervention.

    So, that leaves us with only being able to change the way we see things. And I suspect that in this regard, absolutely nothing has changed. All we’ve ever had power over, is our ability to perceive.

    So, in the spirit of seeing things differently, imagine taking a New Years vow to never complain about anything ever again. Seriously! Imagine consciously deciding that you will never blame anyone ever again. That you will strive to openly, and graciously accept everything you will experience for the rest of your short life.

    Imagine that before you open your mouth or take to your keyboards to complain about whatever you think merits your derision, you first remind yourself that if you at least have a computer and the time to be reading this, you really don’t have anything to complain about at all. Nothing at all, it’s only our presumed sense of entitlement within a future oriented society that leads us to think otherwise.

    If you’re still going through this life looking to blame others, then that’s affording you to think of yourself as some kind of victim. And as long as you see yourself as such, then you’re passively shifting the responsibility of NTE onto others, whereby seeing yourself in a better light. And who doesn’t want that?

    As well as, in light of NTE, it could be argued that the act of complaining about utter futility, might actually be just a passive act of denial at this point.

    There once was a purpose in attaching blame, it was to establish culpability so to seek justice in preventing an injustice from reoccurring or to seek restitution. But in light of NTE, there is never going to be justice for anyone or anything. We are all soon going to be dead! So blame is just an illusion at this point, and continuing the blame game is just a self-serving act that sustains our sense of victimization at the hands of others, and allow us to tell ourselves that we are only participating in the destruction of the natural world because we haven’t any choice.

    Seriously, question the purpose of complaining. Who and what does it serve, especially now given what we’ve come to accept.

    If one has accepted that there is nothing to be done to prevent what has already arrived, or what obviously couldn’t have been prevented from arriving in the first place, then what’s the point of continuing to complain about it? Who are we imaging is being served by our time and energy in doing so? Really. Investing time is finding fault, seems to me at least, to be the opposite of “having the wisdom to accept the things we cannot change”.

    Imagine that every time you feel the need to complain about how life didn’t turn out like YOU somehow thought it should, or it’s not as fair as YOU think it should be. You first stop and ask yourself, what am I hoping to achieve here? If you think complaining is commiserating, please guess again.

    If you find yourself only endlessly repeating what you already know to be true, and what you suspect others already know as well, then all you’re doing is seeking some kind of validation. Something within you is being rewarded, otherwise you wouldn’t be investing the time.

    Now, what aspect of our character is being validated is clearly open for debate, but the old adage of repeating ourselves while hoping for a different outcome being the definition of insanity, definitely holds some weight here.

    Does endlessly complaining about that which we can’t change, even qualify as critical thinking at this stage, or is it just a shallow way of emoting? Blaming others is a complex emotion that obviously many are unable to let go of. Blaming others is obviously serving them in some way.

    It might behoove some to consider the interplay of emotional denial and the need to find blame in others, for as long as you seek it, you’re also passively holding onto being a victim. And that’s so terribly easy to do.

  • Kirk & Robert,

    Nice tunes, fellas.
    In other pop culture news, before “Yesterday” and between “Hang on Sloopy” and “Frankenstein” there was this. Album = Human Ball by The McCoys.

    I remember listening to this around the time I read John Brunner’s “Stand on Zanzibar”…probably before “The Sheep Look Up” came out. If Mr. Kling notices this, he could inform his HuffPost Professor that SciFi authors have been addressing dystopian and apocalyptic issues, themes, and memes since at least the mid-1960’s. Cmon y’all, “A Canticle for Liebowitz” was published over half a century ago. Quite a few college literature departments offer courses in SciFi and have done so for decades. Not surprising that Ursula LeGuin recently commented that in the days ahead we will need artists more than we will need engineers…artists may be able to show us a way forward from, if not a way out of, our predicament.

    But back to the show…

    .
    .
    .
    .
    And here’s who we’re all gonna be, sooner or later…the New Year’s Eve at Winterland clips I found weren’t so hot, so in the spirit of our (well some of us) post-apocalyptic, mandatory return to HG status, here’s a road song…


    .
    .
    .
    and for all’a’y’all, but especially for Guy, as the bit’s tag line adorns one of his favorite t-shirts, here’s my late friend Ron to help put it into manageable perspective…

  • With apologies to the maestro and his esteemed pupils. Be it ever so trite and trivial I find I still have the urge to post this. Have a good year everybody.

    Said the interstellar archeologist,
    of the planet that dissed their ecologists
    “They did it all in
    with hubris and gin,
    and never left so much as an apologist.”

  • Daniel, you wrote: There once was a purpose in attaching blame, it was to establish culpability so to seek justice in preventing an injustice from reoccurring or to seek restitution.

    Looks to me like you’re thinking of Torts and (Minority) Reports…either restitution ala legal compensation for damages done or preventing future damage by determining who was responsible for past damages and locking them away or rendering them powerless to do it again (at least anytime soon).

    As we cycle downward we will see the revisitation of the earlier, more primal reason for blame assessment….retribution. Eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth sorts of re(verse)-tribute…do the etymological math, and it translates into ‘payback’. I’m probably not going to be an agent of it…you’re probably not either (unless your post here is part of a build-an-alibi process)…others here might be, who knows…but somewhere not far down the line some people are going to lose spouses, children, homes, jobs, or other things important enough for them to be driven/ridden directly enough by the reptilian brain module that they go hunting with dire intent for somebody from which to extract revenge.

    Except for McVeigh in OKC (which could have been a false flag of sorts; clearly Vidal had his doubts as to whether McVeigh was even part of the operational team) and the guy who flew his single-engine plane into an IRS building in Austin a few years back, such paybacks have been done on a fairly small scale and were not what I would call coherently focused actions. The reason the small-scale actions aren’t coherent or focused is that they are not political…they are personal. I lost my home…ergo I shoot up the office of the mortgage broker. I lost my wife…ergo I shoot up the office where the insurance company’s real death panel does their work. Way simple analyses…no exponents required…no Leviathanesque quadratic solutions need apply nor be applied. Frontier justice for our new frontier.

    Well, I’m down with your main idea, I think…just wanted to give you a heads-up so you’re not too surprised when the Daily Doom Herald headlines start to feature stories about some folks who are not quite so sanguine and resigned to the inevitable and who start taking it out on folks that they think (whether it’s true or not) should have done better by us, the other species, and the planet in general by virtue of their better education, more leisure time, wealth, power, influence, etc.

    There are some things that, for some people, are so far over the line that no amount of money, whether sacred or profane, is sufficient to equilibrate the bad reaction. It’s only fiction, but here’s a data point…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RfQyR59oiM

  • Tom Says:
    December 29th, 2014 at 11:05 pm
    &
    Daniel Says:
    December 31st, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Amen, brothers!

    And a big gripe:
    This site is defaulting to an abominable mobile view even when I make the shortcut specifically to the desktop view. There is a switch to the desktop view, but some moron designed and/or selected a theme where the switch is at the very bottom after a long scroll, instead of at the top where it is needed.

    The best would be to disable the mobile view altogeher.

  • Daniel,

    I found myself agreeing with much of your comment. Being satisfied with what we have and not complaining about irrelevant and unimportant matters is wise advice. Blaming those responsible for bringing us to this point is a waste of my time. I’m in that group. I did not know. We cannot undue the past. That much is certain.

    But this?:

    “So, in the spirit of seeing things differently, imagine taking a New Years vow to never complain about anything ever again. Seriously! Imagine consciously deciding that you will never blame anyone ever again. That you will strive to openly, and graciously accept everything you will experience for the rest of your short life.”

    No one knows how short our lives are going to be. Evil actions taken by evil people are going to continue. Now that we know and understand where we are, what good are we if we do not try to oppose this, wherever we can by whatever means we can? How can we graciously accept such things and still look at ourselves in the mirror? I do not understand.

  • Even when a sHortcut to the latest comment has the suffix

    /?idx_switcher=false&fdx_switcher=desktop

    added to the URL before saving, NBL defaults to the mobile view. It does it with all the other variants of the suffix that I picked up from iPhone 5 Safari IOS 8.1.2 URL address box. Also IOS Safari’s native request for the desktop view (which can be accessed below the URL address box) does nothing at NBL.

    Too many hoops to jump through!

    And any link to another NBL page from NBL in dektop view also defaults to the mobile view.

  • Bud Nye Says:
    December 31st, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    “Jeff S.,

    You wrote to Jan Steinman: “Mortgage payments and indeed even the Mounties are now facts of NATURE, are they? Pretty incredible cluelessness.”

    I wonder what you meant by this. It seems obvious to me that Mounties do indeed exist as “facts of nature”, just as all humans do. It seems to me that to suggest that all humans, including Mounties, do not exist as facts of nature amounts to accepting the heart of arrogant human supremacism, which suggests that humans (including Mounties) exist SEPARATE FROM and ALIENATED from the rest of nature. I don’t agree with this view at all. It seems obvious to me that humans exist just as much as parts of and forces of nature as bacteria and plants did, and do, which over about two billion years largely produced the gas composition of Earth’s atmosphere.

    It does not seem either incredible or clueless to me, at all, to consider all humans and all human behavior not just “facts of nature”, but also powerful forces of nature, and it now seems at least plausible, if not significantly probable, that we may have killed literally all life on Earth, turning it into another lifeless rock much like Venus—while behaving completely within the natural laws of physics and biology, just as all other life does. It seems to me nothing more than a human supremacist fantasy to believe that life “should” or “must” unfold on Earth in some way as conceived by some individual or group of humans. I agree with Daniel Kahneman in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow that “Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance” and with David Ehrenfeld that “The world is not only more complex than we think, it is more complex than we are capable of thinking.”

    But all of that just remains my opinion. Maybe I have it all wrong.”

    I could quibble about the meaning of “nature.” But instead, i’ll clarify what i said to the point that there is no mistaking what i mean.

    Perhaps there is a better word than “nature” to express the laws of physics, chemistry, biology…. which make up the necessary conditions on planet earth which human life, indeed any form of life, must adapt to, no choice whatsoever involved. Humans need to breathe oxygen. Humans need water, cannot forego it for more than a limited period. Humans need food, likewise cannot go without forever. Someone jumping in their street clothes (or nude) a thousand feet down onto hard cement will not survive. A constructed structure cannot come down in a symmetric manner without all structural joints on a given floor failing virtually simultaneously, with the same thing happening on the next floor down, and so on, and such a structure cannot descend at gravitational free fall acceleration unless it faces zero resistance. This cannot happen without a very deliberate and carefully coordinated demolition process, regardless of what the different versions of the official 9/11 story regarding the 3 WTC towers purport to tell the public. Iron does not melt till temps of 2800 deg F are attained, far higher than anything that even the most efficient hydrocarbon fire can produce, let alone diffuse fires, and thus the presence of molten iron and sphere in the WTC dust and ruins cannot be explained by hydrocarbon fires. Again, regardless of official mythology. OK, these are all examples of constraints which cannot be circumnavigated by human action, laws of physical existence.

    Mortgage payments do NOT fit into this category, and neither do Mounties. In fact, private property to begin with is not a fact of existence dictated by the laws of physical existence. These examples are human social constructs. They were NOT aspects of human existence for the vast majority of our species’ existence. They are aspects of existence only in a society structured by commodity relations. The essay which the article on the Money Fetish is based upon and is linked to goes thoroughly into the distinction between a society structured by commodity relations/fetishism and human society in general. I know that you believe humans are innately violent and expansionary, and in the past i have provided lots of material which refutes this notion, which seems quite parallel with “original sin.” This includes the work of anthropologists such as Richard Lee and Pierre Clastres and evolutionary biologists such as Lynn Margulis.

    Yes, our present-day behavior is driving us and the planet over the edge into ecological oblivion. But this BEHAVIOR is NOT ordained by our genes, or by any laws of physics, chemistry, biology,…. such as the law of gravity. Yes, there are the likes of “Gail” who argue that the very nature of life involves inevitable self-destruction. I maintain there is zero evidence for that perspective, which is mostly an excuse for the present situation and for doing nothing after enjoying the material fruits of “progress” and leaving a mess for the rest of us to deal with.

    —————-
    John Stassek Says:
    December 31st, 2014 at 9:24 pm
    “Daniel,

    I found myself agreeing with much of your comment. Being satisfied with what we have and not complaining about irrelevant and unimportant matters is wise advice. Blaming those responsible for bringing us to this point is a waste of my time. I’m in that group. I did not know. We cannot undue the past. That much is certain.

    But this?:

    “So, in the spirit of seeing things differently, imagine taking a New Years vow to never complain about anything ever again. Seriously! Imagine consciously deciding that you will never blame anyone ever again. That you will strive to openly, and graciously accept everything you will experience for the rest of your short life.”

    No one knows how short our lives are going to be. Evil actions taken by evil people are going to continue. Now that we know and understand where we are, what good are we if we do not try to oppose this, wherever we can by whatever means we can? How can we graciously accept such things and still look at ourselves in the mirror? I do not understand. ”

    RIGHT ON, bro’!! This applies whether we are dealing with a rape, with unarmed people being shot by cops, or with what’s being DONE to the planet in order to enrich the 0.1% rich elite even further.

  • All Best Mr McPherson for 2015, thought you should know, Snowy Owls have made the move again from the Arctic in massive numbers to us here in Ontario, second year in a row, seems that the warming Arctic is disrupting the food source for these wonderful birds…

  • Daniel: So, in the spirit of seeing things differently, imagine taking a New Years vow to never complain about anything ever again. Seriously! Imagine consciously deciding that you will never blame anyone ever again. That you will strive to openly, and graciously accept everything you will experience for the rest of your short life.

    >>>

    I’m sorry, but you’re being a buzzkill.

    I come here for the LULZ, and what’s a bigger source of LULZ than hearing people who actually think we’re all going to be gone real soon pissing and moaning about “disinformation trolls” who don’t want to pay attention to us and our ideas.

    Terrible! Horrible! Disgraceful!

    I mean, that’s some world class comedic value right there.

    And a special shout out to the cat lady from the suicide church, too! We want more of that kind of end of the world whinging in 2015.

  • Most excellent comment and question John!

    You stated:

    “No one knows how short our lives are going to be. Evil actions taken by evil people are going to continue. Now that we know and understand where we are, what good are we if we do not try to oppose this, wherever we can by whatever means we can? How can we graciously accept such things and still look at ourselves in the mirror? I do not understand.”

    “No one knows how short our lives are going to be.”

    I think it is less that we don’t know how long or short our lives will be, and more that we have accepted the probability that most of us will not reach a ripe old age.

    Please remember how ‘acceptance of NTE’ redefines everything that comes after. If you think it doesn’t, then I see no way you will ever understand my perspective.

    “Evil actions taken by evil people are going to continue. Now that we know and understand where we are, what good are we if we do not try to oppose this, wherever we can by whatever means we can?”

    Imagine you ran into a man who told you he was fighting to preserve Dodo habitat in British Columbia. Maybe after staring at him in bewilderment for a moment, you venture to relay the fact that they are extinct and never existed in North America to begin with.

    And where he replies, ” absence of evidence, isn’t evidence of absence”.

    You might think “well shit, I guess he does have a point there”, but you consider him to be bat shit crazy nonetheless.

    Well, that’s pretty much my opinion of looking at NTE as a call for resisting the very thing we have just accepted can’t be, accept in our minds. I haven’t spent my life following truth down the rabbit hole, only to exalt a dead moral imperative because all hope is lost. The rabbit hole was the moral imperative, we just reached the bottom and acceptance of our untimely death is all that’s honestly left us……..it’s just that that thought is so disquieting, it’s actually laughable.

    “How can we graciously accept such things and still look at ourselves in the mirror? I do not understand.”

    Well, if ever there were a million dollar question, that might be it.

    For me, it takes panning back my projected perspective to about a half a day’s walk directly over our heads. All I see is everything, while I actually see nothing.

    As well as, some of the most hideously evil crimes ever committed against humanity have long been forgotten. Remove the memory of something and it ceases to have ever existed. If evil ceases to exist the moment it is no longer remembered, and we’ve accepted that NTE is the erasure of all memory, and the crimes that will be perpetrated from here on out are not only inevitable but mostly predictable. The whole concept of what is “evil” simply gives more power than I think exists to those I mostly consider to just be profoundly misguided. And here I find pity more apropos than blame.

    And here’s another thought. Even the most brutally vile crimes against individuals can be forgiven if one so chooses to accept that no one truly knows who they are, or why “they” do what “we” do. No one truly knows themselves. I think it more serves us as individuals to see evil as a noun. Something to be opposed, rather than found similar.

    I believe the human condition is just predisposed to seek omnipotence in any form, rather than revel in our insignificance like dung beetles in seeing all of humanity to just be collectively stupid beyond belief, and ‘evil’ is just a immovable mathematical byproduct of overshoot.

    Imagine you are being strangled to death. You have fought until you have no more strength to fight back and you are now but seconds from death. Everything in your life that proceeded that moment, will soon no longer matter to you. Imagine that at that very last moment, you found it in your heart to pity and forgive the man strangling you to death.

    Would that not be a more preferable way to die?

    It doesn’t matter who the man is, and in regards to NTE, we’re strangling ourselves.

    John, please know that I thought none of this just a few years ago. There is probably no one here, who would have attacked me more, than myself just a few years back.

    There is a massive lesson to be learned from the mind binding unprecedented truth now before us. I may not know what it is, but I’m pretty sure what it isn’t, and desperately holding onto to blame others, isn’t anywhere close to finding peace with what we can’t change.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, it pushed me to think it through more than I had, thank you!

  • Daniel: There is a massive lesson to be learned from the mind binding unprecedented truth now before us. I may not know what it is, but I’m pretty sure what it isn’t, and desperately holding onto to blame others, isn’t anywhere close to finding peace with what we can’t change.

    >>>

    But…but…EMPIRE!!! PATRIARCHY!!! TROLLS!!! OUR ENEMIES!!!

    I’m with Budsky on this one. Let’s see your tax return…STAT!!!

  • In Ugo Bardi’s Extraction, I learned that minerals in very early times quickly become very tradeable and the defacto first fiat currency. It’s not clear that the first war fought by Giglamesh was even paid for in coin, although the second war was. As soon as currency was adopted, so was capitalism. I suspect capitalism was born of war and is a manifestation of our war on everything.

    All the big sciency hob-knobbers are getting together to solve the world’s problems again. For some reason, they refuse to take me seriously. Funny that. I mean I did attend grade 12 3 years in a row before I was kicked out.
    http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/2014/12/earths-worst-mass-murderers-oxygen-volcanoes-and-humans/?hubRefSrc=email#

    I’ve been reading Baronski’s latest book. I don’t understand why they think conservation corridors are “the answer.” I’ll let u know whenever I finish the damn thing. The next book I’m gonna read is called, Ecocide.
    http://www.amazon.ca/Dodging-Extinction-Power-Money-Future/dp/0520274377
    http://www.amazon.ca/Ecocide-Short-History-Extinction-Species-ebook/dp/B00R6JTUMC/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420121948&sr=1-5&keywords=ecocide

    As peak everything includes peak minerals, water, food, energy, weather, civility etc. and these peaks all coincide with abrupt climate state shift and unstoppable irreversible mass extinction, one would think that may be enough cause for pessimism — but no-o-o! It’s obviously not. So, I’ve included an educational video series on the dark side of humankind.

    The 3 top traded products in the world are oil, guns and drugs with food and sex vying for top spot. So, here it is. A secret history of the CIA. It starts getting really interesting in the second video. Should keep you out of trouble for hours. Happy New Year.
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/counter-intelligence/

  • Good news, but way too late. The new Pope may expose and, thereby, publically humiliate the corrupt elite for their viciousness, greed, stupidity and destruction of the planet. I would enjoy seeing the blame become direct and publically widespread. I want to see some justice! If evil people are to be *blamed* for their actions, that only makes sense to me. Public ridicule may be the only punishment they get.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/12/31/pope_francis_calls_for_action_on

  • Koch paid scientist finally admits to what an a-hole he’s been. Are the rats beginning to desert the Titanic!

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/2/climate_skeptic_koch_funded_scientist_richard

  • Daniel says: “blame”

    Determinism Invalidates Blame

    To deal with the world going blooey,
    An idea which at first might sound screwy:
    In a causal thought frame,
    There’s no one to blame
    ‘Cause nothing can be causa sui.

  • Robert C

    Is this what you were referring to? Thanks for getting me to look it up! Here’s a start to what I found (below). Also posted on the forum.

    http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art6/ES-2014-6931.pdf

    “ABSTRACT. The problem of institutional fit in social-ecological systems has been empirically documented and conceptually discussed for decades, yet there is a shortage of approaches to systematically and quantitatively examine the level of fit. We address this gap, focusing on spatial fit in an urban and peri-urban regional landscape. Such landscapes typically exhibit significant fragmentation of remnant habitats, which can limit critical species dispersal. This may have detrimental effects on species persistence and ecosystem functioning if land use is planned without consideration of the spatial patterns of fragmentation. Managing habitat fragmentation is particularly challenging when the scale of fragmentation reaches beyond the control of single managers, thereby requiring different actors to coordinate their activities to address the problem at the appropriate scale. We present a research approach that maps patterns of collaborations between actors who manage different parts of a landscape, and then relates these patterns to structures of ecological connectivity. We applied our approach to evaluate the fit between a collaborative wetland management network comprising all 26 municipalities in the Stockholm County in Sweden and an ecologically defined network of dispersed but ecologically interconnected wetlands. Many wetlands in this landscape are either intersected by the boundary between two or more municipalities, or are located close to such boundaries, which implies a degree of ecological interconnectedness and a need for intermunicipal coordination related to wetland management across boundaries. We first estimated the level of ecological connectivity between wetlands in neighboring municipalities, and then used this estimate to elaborate the level of social-ecological fit vis-à-vis intermunicipal collaboration. We found that the level of fit was generally weak. Also, we identified critical misalignments of ecological connectivity and intermunicipal collaboration, respectively, as well as collaborations that represented an adequate alignment. These findings inform on where to most effectively allocate limited resources of collaborative capacity to enhance the level of social-ecological fit. Our approach and results are illustrated using maps, which facilitates the potential application of this method in land use planning practice.”

  • Daniel, your response to John’s remark (which i endorsed) is just the most ridiculous gobbledygook. I won’t waste space, and will simply refer people to my article posted here in May 2013, Resistance is the Only Ethical Response to Near Term Extinction.

  • Artleads, in many of my comments I’ll mention how the lumber mafia in Indonesia would kill all the elephants in a conservation area so that the need for the park will cease to exist, thus allowing companies to clear cut the area, sell the lumber, then plant palm oil plantations destined for cars in wunder-green Germany. This was shown in the video, Our Years Of Living Dangerously.

    In the video, Virunga on Netflix we learn the mineral mafia in the Congo is systematically attempting to kill off the Mountain Gorilla so the need for a park ceases to exist.

    In the face of rampant illegal extraction and the obvious history of evil intent in the Counter-Intelligence video, I don’t see how Conservation Corridors will work in the face of overwhelming odds. What scares me the most is how such obviously intelligent people overcome their own objectivity bias to be so unrealistically hopeful.

    In Kolbert’s book, The 6th Mass Extinction, she says that a biology professor was the last to believe there were no frogs to be found when he sent his students out to extract. Denialism runs rampant even among those trained to avoid it.
    http://www.google.ca/search?q=Conservation+Corridors&oq=Conservation+Corridors&aqs=chrome..69i57&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

  • To: All
    From: One

    One must agree with Jeff…after all (or perhaps before all), he is the god of biscuits, or something…and per Eddie, the inventor of fire, too.

    But, seriously…yeah, what Jeff said.

    HFNY

  • Thanks, Robert C. For the most informative link and for explaining the grim realities for the preserves. How is Jane Goodall’s Roots n Shoots program trying to combat poaching? I know she’s concerned with surrounding peoples having a stake in preservation. Insofar as that is slowing or preventing poaching, might it be tried elsewhere?

  • Why Not?

    It looks like we’re doomed to the max:
    It’s all over; we’re getting the axe;
    Since we’re going to hell,
    We might just as well
    Take off our shoes and relax.

  • “acceptance of our untimely death is all that’s honestly left us”

    An enormous amount hangs on the meaning of “untimely”. The age of 25 years was timely for the neanderthals and our ancestors; not so for us. And what’s timely and what’s untimely is (from our perspetive) what we deign it to be. Extintion or the dinosaurs: timely, from our perspective. And the dinosaurs’ perspective? No dinosaurs; no perspective.

    Bunches of single cells have congregrated temporarily for billions of years, going there separate ways when conditions change. Some such aggregations are biofilms and cellular slime molds. Even in a few types of jellyfish with division of labor and differentiation of cells, every cell retains the ability to transform into every other cell type including free-living cells: so such a jellyfish is in effect another conglomeration of cells that can go their own ways.

    An independent single cell is potentially immortal as it divides itself to form its offspring, although almost all single cells do die. But when the specialised cells in a multicellular organism lose their ability to revert to free-living forms, they lock in their deaths upon disruption of the organism, and with it the death or the orgianism.

    “As well as, some of the most hideously evil crimes ever committed against humanity have long been forgotten.”

    A crime is a violation of a law: assisting fugitive slaves in fleeing; teaching a black person to read & write. Helping a Jew to hide from the Gestapo. The law may be moral or immoral, but the crime is always illegal.

    And immoral acts are immoral from a certain perspective. Preadatory feathered dinosaurs (ancestors to today’s KFC) eating our shrew-like ancestors. Mongol hordes. The Wehrmacht. Europeans in the Americas vs. the “savage” multitudes.

    “If evil ceases to exist the moment it is no longer remembered,”

    Beauty lies in the aye of the beerholder. So does evil and every judgemental call. No recall, no call: no evil.

    “No one truly knows themselves.”

    And for good reason: as they approach that knowledge, the I starts disappearing. When they reach that knowledge, there is no longer an “I” to know about itself.

    “Determinism Invalidates Blame”

    Blame has no validity apart from the blamer.

  • Daniel, that man who was strangling you to death, the one that you forgave…
    as soon as he gets done strangling you he is going to murder your friends, some mountain gorillas and elephants.
    Is that okay since they were all going to die anyway?
    If you had gouged out one of his eyes while you were dying, he would at least be moving a little slower, but you in effect bestowed your blessings on him instead.

    Right now, if someone was trying to harm someone you care about, or your dog, would you sit and do nothing, (except forgive him) because we’re all going to die soon anyway?

    Are you saying that the reason for not blaming anyone, as we all go down together, is for our own peace of mind? Do you think we deserve to die in peace?
    Why is that even an issue at a time like this?
    I can embrace becoming a hospice worker for our dying planet, but that would mean actively protecting and comforting my fellow creatures until my dying breath. Why should I abandon an ethical stance in the face of death and extinction? Why should dying in peace matter more than dying by the code I’ve chosen to live by?

    Antony and the Johnsons:

  • Come here and first thing off the bat for 2015 we see once again loud pronouncements that NTE means everyone needs a complete and absolute descent into moral nihilism, and those who don’t buy in need to be ruthlessly mocked. Nix. This is by now a comedy routine, not much else and certainly nothing helpful.

    Ditto the tired old generalizations that ~all~ humanity is a bloodthirsty robot that can only torment and destroy everything in their path. Nix. Again, not much here and certainly nothing helpful.

    Oh, yeah. We also endlessly hear about that wretched annology of the Kubler-Ross death paradigm of “acceptance”. I find this counter productive as it so often means a complete abrogation and excuse for privileged to sit on their collective butts and enjoy the last few moments of their very superficial, if not soul-annihilating so-called “privileges”.

    These seem to be the two central questions that come up again and again for certain individuals. (Each of whom seems to be firmly ensconced in the heart of the anglo-colonial world-destroying empire.) Let me assure my countrymen that despite Herr Goebbell’s ideas, saying it loudly and over and over won’t stick the verb “to be” onto any of it, except maybe, as far as I can tell, to say of any and all of it that it “ain’t”.

    I look forward to continuously and endlessly addressing these and only these questions as they seem to be the only issues occupying all of certain verbose individual’s minds. I would suggest a lot more getting out in the world and seeing for one’s self how true these things are.

    Here is the list of my resolutions, now two years old with no changes:

    List of Resolutions

    Cheers and Happy New Year

  • GREAT post, Wren!!

    ———
    infanttyrone Says:
    January 1st, 2015 at 1:33 pm
    “To: All
    From: One

    One must agree with Jeff…after all (or perhaps before all), he is the god of biscuits, or something…and per Eddie, the inventor of fire, too.

    But, seriously…yeah, what Jeff said.”

    God of biscuits? can’t i be the god of pancakes?:-) Thanks.

  • “Are you saying that the reason for not blaming anyone, as we all go down together, is for our own peace of mind? Do you think we deserve to die in peace?”

    Peace of mind, dying in peace: neither of these disallows right action. Indeed right action is an integral part of the Eightfold Aryan Path. Anger, hatred, vengeance, or any such mental agitation is not to be conflated with right action; action stemming from any of these is most definitely not right action.

  • And right action may require force. Non-violence does not imply no force. It does imply equanimity of mind.

  • Jeff S.

    Well, I communicated (one way & telepathically) with Eddie and we can move you up to the cake department as long as you convert to Church of England.

    There will be a probationary period during which you have to have zero defects in dispensing the cake/death selections of the congregants. If you do make a mistake and there’s a problem, no doubt you can locate a union rep that will defend you based on the notion that there’s effectively no difference between the two these days. You’ll have to pay out of pocket for such a defense, but the going rate is only $0.0083333.

  • Wren

    Let’s go through this line by line…….and thanks for taking the time to respond.

    “Daniel, that man who was strangling you to death, the one that you forgave…
    as soon as he gets done strangling you he is going to murder your friends, some mountain gorillas and elephants.
    Is that okay since they were all going to die anyway?”

    First of all, I am not here to argue what merits acceptance of NTE. For me, it’s rather self-evident. You either have accepted the probability that most of life on earth will be extinct during many of our lifetimes or you haven’t. If you haven’t, then we really haven’t anything to offer each other.

    Everything I have to say, is coming from a position that my friends, mountain gorillas and elephants are already dead. It’s just a question of perspective; technically the man who jumps off the cliff, is very much alive the second before he hits the ground. I say, in context to the unprecedented orders of magnitude now before us, the man was dead before he was born.

    If this is not your position, then of course you are going to take offense, as you should. If you do not agree with this perspective, then I certainly would hope you would take grave offense. There was a time I would have taken great offense, for I once thought very differently than I do now.

    This is also why anyone who for whatever reason is operating under a moral imperative of “attempting” to poke out the eye of the man to the bitter end, probably could find far greater means of doing so, then spending their limited time and energy writing on a blog about NTE.

    Call me old fashioned, but I’m a stickler for keeping my narratives in order.

    “If you had gouged out one of his eyes while you were dying, he would at least be moving a little slower, but you in effect bestowed your blessings on him instead.”

    Let us not forget, the ‘man’ in this strangled metaphor is human overshoot/NTE. So, the greatest thing I could have done, to slow the man down, would to make sure he was never born, which is something I deliberately did do, for the very reason of not wanting anymore dead gorillas. Everyone who has chosen to have children since………let’s say, 1962, has done nothing but bestow their blessings on planetary serial rape and sodomy of the natural world. Oh but there I go blaming the human race for breeding itself beyond the planet’s carrying capacity. Sorry for the antinatalist rant, please go back to gouging out the eyes of your children.

    “Right now, if someone was trying to harm someone you care about, or your dog, would you sit and do nothing, (except forgive him) because we’re all going to die soon anyway?”

    Of course not, I would without hesitation pick up something heavy, preferably that with a sharp edge and repeatedly bash their head in, all the while thinking to myself, “you sad sorry fuck”, especially if it was over my dog!

    Please remember Wren, I said looking for forgiveness might come only after you know you have lost, after there is no hope of eye gouging. As far as I can glean, acceptance of NTE really has more to do with the concept of hopium than anything else. We have lost Wren. We destroyed ourselves. We spent the last half century poking out the man’s eye, but we just kept breeding more evil men. You are only fighting yourself in this strangling.

    “Are you saying that the reason for not blaming anyone, as we all go down together, is for our own peace of mind? ”

    No. I’m saying we are NOT all equally blameworthy, but that doesn’t mean we are not ALL to blame. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

    “Do you think we deserve to die in peace?”

    No. Humanity deserves exactly what it got.

    “Why is that even an issue at a time like this?”

    If I don’t agree with it, I don’t think it’s my issue.

    “I can embrace becoming a hospice worker for our dying planet, but that would mean actively protecting and comforting my fellow creatures until my dying breath. Why should I abandon an ethical stance in the face of death and extinction?

    Why you think I’m suggesting you abandon an ethical stance is completely on you. I am by no means suggesting you abandon your ethics. All I’m saying is if your ethical stance depends on blaming others for NTE, then I consider you to be delusional and most likely still in denial of the circumstances before us.

    “Why should dying in peace matter more than dying by the code I’ve chosen to live by?”

    It doesn’t, nor did I ever say it did.

    Thanks again Wren!

  • ‘Come here and first thing off the bat for 2015 we see once again loud pronouncements that NTE means everyone needs a complete and absolute descent into moral nihilism, and those who don’t buy in need to be ruthlessly mocked. Nix. This is by now a comedy routine, not much else and certainly nothing helpful.’

    Wester, thanks for responding to Daniel’s comment. I read it and thought I should respond but couldn’t be bothered.

    Back in the days of vinyl records the needle would sometimes get stuck in the groove and one section of the recording would be heard over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until someone lifted the needle out of the distorted groove and permitted continuation of the track.

  • The Sixties, IMNVHO

    Humanity’s apex was when
    We were rich, and we wallowed in Zen;
    To transcendence we streaked
    While U.S. oil peaked—
    It’s been downhill ever since then.

  • I love when people, arrogant men usually, tell me I’m “Wrong very wrong!”
    Especially when I’m right.

    Suck it, Jeff S.

    http://www.computersmiths.com/chineseinvention/papermoney.htm

  • Currency/trade/barter, whatever you want to call it, has been recorded used for perhaps 100,000 years.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money

    Ancient history of currency in the four river civilizations.

    Harappan civilization
    http://www.harappa.com/indus/indus8.html

    Egyptian civilization
    http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/online_tours/africa/the_wealth_of_africa/ancient_egypt.aspx

    Mesopotamia
    http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/neareast/ss/052909Mesopotamia_2.htm

    China
    http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/focus/currency.htm

    Money around the world throughout history
    http://listverse.com/2013/06/21/10-strange-forms-of-ancient-currency-2/

    As for bartering and gifting in the USA, it is NOT tax free and the IRS tries very hard to put a price on our barter trades, demanding we pay them taxes for such exchanges.
    This is what happens when Rome is burning.They grasp for every last dime that isn’t theirs.
    This new version of Rome can’t burn to the ground fast enough IMO.

    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc420.html
    http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Gift-Tax

  • Know Thyself

    Because we’re now reaching the end,
    There’s less of a need to pretend;
    But the new doomer view
    Showed myself to me too,
    And it’s something I don’t recommend.

  • ‘No. Humanity deserves exactly what it got.’

    ‘Humanity’s apex was when
    We were rich, and we wallowed in Zen;’

    Actually, there is no such thing as humanity. It is an abstract construction, an imaginary thing promoted by empires and mainstream culture.

    In practice we are all individuals, sharing many particular genes with closely related family members, fewer genes with less closely related family members, even fewer with people of similar genetic background (ethnic grouping or race), and sharing even fewer genes with people in distant lands.

    The fact that I share somewhat more genetic coding with other bipedal apes than I share with chimpanzees or gorillas does not necessarily mean I should empathise more with bipedal apes than with knuckle-walking apes. After all, chimpanzees have been demonstrated to be ‘more intelligent’ than humans when it comes to short term memory.

    Indeed, the real situation is that the vast majority of bipedal apes currently living are competing with me for access to resources; that is true at both the global level and the local level. And they are shitting in my nest.

    I take particular issue with the bipedal apes who are actively wrecking the global environment and the local environment as a matter of policy, largely because they control the media and can get away with lying to the masses; they are actively destroying my genetic line, as well as terminating the genetic lines of millions of other species and individuals……. because they can.

    The psychotic sociopaths, the maniacs, the disgusting creatures with whom I share some genetic material but share no cultural values, the madmen and madwomen who have wheedled their way to the top of ‘the pyramid’, the John Keys. David Camerons, Stephen Harpers, Tony Abbotts, Barrack Obamas, Angela Merkels etc. of this world are also in the process of destroying their own genetic lines, of course. But please do not lump me in with them and call us ‘humanity’.

  • A few short days ago I stumbled across a remarkable paper entitled “‘Responsible Non-action’ in a Natural World”. It was written by Russell Kirkland of the University of Georgia as a contribution to the 2001 essay collection “Daoism and Ecology: Ways Within a Cosmic Landscape”.

    The article had a tremendous impact on me. As I read, I realized that it contained a complete and precise description of the reasons I prefer non-action in the face of the Global Clusterfuck. Drawing on Taoist principles, Kirkland lays out the philosophical foundations of Quietist position I describe as “Don’t just do something, sit there!” In the process he answers, at least to my satisfaction, the facile accusations of nihilism, fatalism and defeatism that generally greet such a position statement.

    This discovery has prompted me to begin a deeper exploration of Taoism, a philosophy that had always taken a back seat to Zen and Advaita in my non-dual journey. The more I find out, the more I suspect that for me Taoism may in fact deserve pride of place.

    Taoist principles as applied to the unfolding socio-ecological crisis are antithetical, even repugnant, to the Western liberal, progressive, humanist value-set represented by the environmentalist movement from John Muir to Derrick Jensen. For me, however, they resonate with a deep truth. So I offer them here for your consideration – to expand the horizons of the discussion or to put the cat amongst the pigeons, take your pick.

    Here’s a short excerpt:

    On the basis on the texts of classical Taoism, I contend that the only possible Taoist position is that humans who foresee impending ecological disaster should, as it were, sit down and shut up, and let the universe work. While it is also true that those who lead an authentically Taoist life are unlikely to contribute in substantial ways to any ecological degradation of the planet, that fact alone does not justify the conclusion that Taoist principles can justify remedial action to correct the effects of less-insightful humans of past and present.

    The Taoist answer to ecological problems, I shall argue, is always to be found in going contrary to the Confucians, who assume humans to have a special wisdom that is nowhere else found among the living things of the world: whereas a Confucian, like Mencius, would feel morally compelled to jump up and dive into the river of life’s events to save a threatened species, a Taoist, like Chuang-tzu, would feel morally compelled to refrain from doing so.

    […]

    The fundamental principle involved is that humans are not the all-knowing beings that we usually take ourselves to be, and that the activities that humans have taken with the intention to govern or improve the world have almost always proven, in the final analysis, to have been misguided and unjustified, and to have actually done more harm than good. The ultimate Taoist principle, I propose, is that there is a reality beyond the comprehension or control of human thought or activity, and that humans of the modern secular age need to beware the arrogant assumption that we are, in Western terms, the “God” of planet earth. The Taoist position, I shall argue, is that planet earth has no “God,” and needs none, not even — or more correctly said, especially not — ourselves.

    Here’s the link to the paper:

    http://faculty.franklin.uga.edu/kirkland/sites/faculty.franklin.uga.edu.kirkland/files/ECO.pdf

  • Daniel,

    I really appreciate your contributions to this sight. Thank you!
    It drives me crazy to see humans stuck in ego driven blame/feeling victimized which is repeatedly (sadly) evidenced here on NBL.
    As if NTE were the fault of the 1% or a specific generation etc. etc.

    It’s been interesting to observe how you and others here have evolved (or in some cases, regressed!) emotionally/intellectually as earth’s ecosystems collapse around us and tipping points toward NTE are reached.

    Based on your comment:

    “Everyone who has chosen to have children since………let’s say, 1962, has done nothing but bestow their blessings on planetary serial rape and sodomy of the natural world. Oh but there I go blaming the human race for breeding itself beyond the planet’s carrying capacity. Sorry for the antinatalist rant, please go back to gouging out the eyes of your children.”

    It seems like you have more work to do in letting go of blame (as you point out; “there I go blaming”) Wow—your words were harsh! Where oh where is Kathy C? I imagine she would be right there with you!

    On another note and a slight rant . . . .

    Just returned from northern Wisconsin where the woods were almost devoid of life—-minimal deer, wolves that were “reintroduced” and briefly thrived over the past few years have been killed by bear hunters/farmers, all but a few birds remain, grouse gone, snowshoe hares gone and on and on and on . . . .
    And here we are talking about the “gift economy”. The word “economy”—–sickens me. It was hard to read the article with the repeated use of that word.

    We continue to obsess about “paradigms” and “economies” and our psychology AND as Daniel points out, who’s to blame while there is so much of the nonhuman world that we haven’t a clue about. I suppose none of this really matters (as some have pointed out) but right now I care more about monarch butterflies (and how to cope with their extinction) than whether or not Carolyn should ask for money for her “webinars” (another term that drives me crazy!!). But that’s me. I come here hoping to hear from others who feel the seemingly bottomless pit of pain over the death of nonhuman life at the hands of humans because in a counterintuitive way, that helps. I still believe we need each other and we can help each other. Is that hopium?

    One specific comment related to this portion of Carolyn’s article:

    “Often one of the most healing experiences a person inundated with loss can have is to spend several hours in pristine, unmanicured nature. Our archetypal, bone-marrow connection with the earth is perhaps humanity’s most fundamental global positioning system. From the beginning, humans have referred to the earth as “she”—the feminine, the Mother, Gaia. To be in close proximity with her is to instinctively feel her abundance. A few hours in nature leave us brimming with a sense of abundance, no matter how much or how little our bank account registers.”

    There is no area on earth that has not been harmed by the pathological behaviors of homo sapiens —-every ecosystem is in a death spiral. There is no pristine “nature” left. Thus, “humanity’s most fundamental global positioning system” is haywire and useless. This is what concerns me more than the gift economy at this point in time. It’s VERY hard to navigate after we’ve broken our compass.

    On that note I’ll sign off ——going to take a walk in the ailing land of northern Illinois where the world is a bizarre shade of brown/green and the oak/ash trees (and more) are dying.

    Thanks to all who contribute here——especially those that are not ruled by their egos. It does help palliate the pain—-albeit temporarily—– that comes with awareness/acceptance of NTE.

  • ‘Thus, “humanity’s most fundamental global positioning system” is haywire and useless’

    Caroline; there is no ‘humanity’. (See above.)

  • I’ve posted a new, short video clip. Catch it here.

  • pauline Says:
    January 2nd, 2015 at 11:25 am
    “I love when people, arrogant men usually, tell me I’m “Wrong very wrong!”
    Especially when I’m right.

    Suck it, Jeff S.

    (URL)

    pauline Says:
    January 2nd, 2015 at 12:03 pm
    “Currency/trade/barter, whatever you want to call it, has been recorded used for perhaps 100,000 years.
    (Lots of URLs follow)”

    AND? You obviously did not understand what i said. Money itself is not new. Neither is trade. I never said otherwise. The question is regarding its importance. The vast majority of the population did not use money till the advent of capitalism, certainly not for survival needs, as almost everyone directly produced their won survival needs. That’s the point of the article i posted at the beginning, here it is again, http://www.dailybattle.pair.com/2012/occupy_target_destroy_ruling_money_fetish.shtml
    The article by Ellen Meiksins Wood referenced in it, linked in my response to you, 12/29/14, 10:52PM, discusses this, as well as the nature of what markets did exist at that point. I discussed barter in responding to John a couple of days ago, here again is my quote from the article about Occupy and the money fetish.

    “Early humans lived by way of hunting and gathering. Tribes occasionally traded with neighboring groups, but this trade was incidental, did not involve survival essentials, but only temporary surpluses, and was not based upon quantitative measures of equivalence. Even as societies developed further and trade expanded and became regular, it involved a very small portion of the population, did not include much if anything of survival essentials, and was governed by custom and other forms of conscious social regulation, not by abstract market forces. Even the markets of medieval Europe were a marginal social phenomenon, involving few people, a very limited portion of total social production (luxuries, for the most part), and noncompetitive buying and selling governed strictly by custom.”

    You wanna prove this, and all the research in Meiksins-Wood’s article wrong? SHOW US!! You’d have to do better than grabbing stuff out of Wikipedia.

    Barter came first, dealing in incidental exchanges. Trade came much later, much more deliberate, and currency grew out of that. You are not only conflating all three, without in the least understanding differences, but think that somehow this historical evidence shows that money is necessary. Again, wrong, very wrong.

  • Hey guys, the blame thing, I get it. I’m with you on that. I work toward peace of mind too. I’m aware of the oneness of all things in spirit and truth. But, unlike you, I haven’t eliminated my ego completely. I have this little fellow in me I call my ‘Calvin’. He’s seen the shit heading for the fan for a long, long time. Slowly, he’s given up. On humanity, hope, all of it, and sometimes he and I really like to get together and piss on the fuckers that are most responsible. Remember the stickers of Calvin pissing on Ford, or pissing on Chevy? Well, Calvin and I get together now and again and take pleasure in watching the evil fuckers of this world have to crawl. See, I’m not like you, in perfect control, all the time. Wow!

  • Jeff S. – thanks!

    Robin – “I” enjoy your posts, but need a definition of terms, as sometimes your words form a slippery slope of semantics.
    “And right action may require force. Non-violence does not imply no force. It does imply equanimity of mind.. ” Nice! What would this actually look like?

    Daniel – I appreciate your gracious response.
    My apologies for a too literal interpretation. You’re at least a year ahead of me on processing all this. Some of my questions were rhetorical, things I ask myself each day, and not an attempt to put words in your mouth.
    Thank you for sharing your journey here and blazing a trail of tears, while holding the lantern.

  • Kevin,

    Re: “humanity”—-I was quoting Carolyn Baker—–in any case, it’s a waste of time to quibble over semantics at this point.
    Cheers!
    Caroline

  • Love your honesty Wren!

    And thank you Caroline.