A Deep, Deep Sadness

by Reese Jones

Whether one believes in climate change or not, or that humanity can indeed scale back greenhouse gas emissions and maintain stable, livable global temperatures, there still seems to be a prevailing undercurrent of sadness, hopelessness and even despair for many around the globe. Are we on the path to annihilate ourselves, or not?

In the following essay-article, I explore the inner turmoil that seemingly affects so many of us and the conditions that preclude our idyllic fantasies that all is well.


Warning: Perhaps not for the faint of heart …

In the last few audio-videos I’ve conducted with Dr. Guy McPherson of near-term human extinction fame, we share a laugh or three as he presents information whilst in between his teachings, we contemplate the human condition.

Dr. McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona and has published a few books that address climate collapse. He believes that human civilization on the fast track to complete annihilation as we will be unable to avert planetary warming enough to prevent cataclysmic consequences.

Listening to our recent conversations, one might think we were being blithe and blasé. But, underneath it all, be assured within us there resides a deep, deep sorrow.


Let me begin by sharing a personal experience.

Not long ago, to my utter horror, I discovered, mangled within a trap that had been put out for rodents, a beautiful blue jay who often frequented our property. As his small body lay there crumpled, his little legs impossibly askew, he looked a terrible and grotesque parody of his former, splendid little self, once so vibrantly alive, so stunningly gorgeous.

The sorrow that overcame me was indescribable. It was a deep, wrenching, terrible suffering, for he had been only partially caught in the trap; his suffering one can only imagine. To this day, I find myself desperately trying to convince myself he must have lost his breath and thus, perished quickly.

Not long after, I heard about 43 missing students in Mexico. It was beyond my imagining what the parents must have been going through. And when they discovered the bodies … their agonized, collective suffering might have had the force to move a small universe. The loss of this one, precious little bird, would pale in comparison. Nonetheless, my sorrow remains, and only grows with every new iteration of terrible news.

Sorrow and sadness are not new to me. From earliest memories, I came to understand there is terrible injustice and horrific cruelty upon this world. For some, the discovery of all this may have been in the form of something they read in a book or saw on a wildlife show. Or, perhaps they may have suffered the withering taunts of a cruel brother or sister, attacks from a ravishing relative, or beatings and curses from a vicious, drunken parent.

As for those who may have experienced a more idyllic childhood, there are always the first realizations that all is not right and fair with the world. It may come in the form of errant whispers as friends or loved ones come to blows and tears behind closed doors. Or, it may be going to school and seeing others bullied, or being bullied one’s self for no apparent reasoning.

Realizations of the unfairness of life can come in the loss of a beloved pet, the very confrontation with death itself. And of course, such indoctrination into harsh reality can be as simple as suffering a physical injury that can render one reeling from pain. There are always the first, wrenching, terrible hurts that tell us the world is not as we would wish it to be.

But, we go on. We trip the light fantastic down the paths of our young lives, sorrows and injustices faint memories, far apart from our self-involved and hopefully pleasant, new little adventures.

Luckily, perhaps for all living creatures, is that we have a sense of… forgetfulness.

However, these days, almost every day, I am struck by news stories of double, double, toils and troubles. Wars and rumours of wars; reports of innocent children and animals raped, tortured, murdered; prisoners subjected to nightmare atrocities by our own, august governments. There are images of abysmal starvation and abuse. Terrible greed amongst grinding poverty. Enslavement. Atrocities upon atrocities.

And then there is the toll of devastating loss of life and limb from storms, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, droughts, pestilences, plagues, you name it. There are the diseases and illnesses and accidents that turn people we know into death knells of our own fragile vulnerabilities and portending demise as they shrivel away to dust before our very eyes. And of course, there are our own illnesses and accidents. Indeed; we can be besieged by the toils and troubles of fickle folly and feckless fate at the mere drop of a hat.

And then, to top off the seeming madness, amongst all this dark, cacophonous mess, there are those who trumpet in the dark, “but wait!” There are glorious secrets to our happiness! Life is beautiful, rich and overflowing with possibilities; joy and peace can indeed be spread throughout the world, hopes and dreams can be fulfilled with just our mere intentions and, perhaps, just a bit of meditative prayer. We can manifest our dreams by loving what we do, and doing what we love. Just wish it, and it can be so.

I have a dear relative who saw the irony of all this at the rich age of 12, and decided then and there that he would relinquish his own will, chuckle his way through the rest of his seeming meaningless and comparatively meager little life, cast his fate to the winds. There was no real future in the mere 100 years he could possibly live; logic and reason would never prevail amongst the roiling body of raucous humanity that he had come to observe. It all seemed to boil down to the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure, of which neither he would allow to hold him sway. He has no special wants, needs, desires; he lives only to serve others, and find pleasant reverie in game machines and coding. Perhaps he understands more than one might suspect. Or not. I’m not sure …

And then …

There is the story to top all stories; and that is, the story of our own self-immolation, the very real possibility of our very extinction much sooner than later, possibly brought about by our very selves. We are talking about the end of everything we know, we ever knew, we could ever come to know.

Good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, we crave life. And to realize that everything we hold dear will come to naught is a ludicrous, hard-to-fathom proposition. But WAIT. Think THEN, of this …

WE ARE the ones who ignored the trap. It is our loved ones, ourselves, who contributed to the setting of the trap. It is US for whom the bell was cast, it was for US that the cow was milked from which our bread was buttered. We may not have been the ones who set the bait or pulled back the spring. But … we knew … we ignored … we denied. And most of all, we were the RECIPIENTS OF ALL THE LARGESSE.

We are the receivers of the spoils, the partakers. The bird was killed so that I, amongst others, would not suffer a plague of rats.

I am the one who should have found the trap that caught the bird that destroyed his precious, precious little life. Underneath, I knew it all.

It is me. With every action I take, every breath I take, I help bring on destruction. My very breath is an affront to all I cherish and love; for when I take, I destroy. And that is the terrible dichotomy of existence of life itself; this give and take, the winning, the losing, the living, the dying.

And so, beneath the layers of my soul, there is a deep, deep sadness. And so, what do I do? Why, I laugh. I joke. I smile, I sometimes grimace through the pains, the heartaches, the perplexities of this thing called life. I … continue.

I hope you can forgive me for the chortles … believe me … the laughter merely keeps the sadness at bay for mere, mere moments.

One more thing … there are those who find utter peace in their faith, the promise of a heavenly forever. I, too, believe this is possible. But nonetheless, the sorrows of the world are my sorrows, and I wear them with every smile I make, every resource I take. And, I continue.

If there is any consolation, it is truly love that remains my one, saving grace.


Interview from 15 December 2014 is embedded below in five parts.


Catch McPherson on the radio tomorrow, 7 January 2015. Link is here.


An excellent write-up in anticipation of McPherson’s near-term visit to Rhode Island and New York has been posted by the Brooklyn Culture Jammers. It’s here.


Embedded below is an interview from late June 2014 with Michael Harris on the Living Green television show

Comments 86

  • @Paul

    One sniff is all that’s required! and then as you suggested the enquiry into it proceeds by itself. Sounds like you’re done ;) (not to imply there is an end or any resting place)

  • It all could have been prevented with birth control, and if we kept humans at 2 billion mark. But no, everybody thinks its THEIR RIGHT TO HAVE AS MANY BABIES as they wish. And of course, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too, as in USA which was okay with pillaging other countries resources, as long as crumbs from the masters table were trickling down.

    Look in the mirror, human – you are own salvation and demise.

  • @ Reese

    Beautifully written!

    A suggestion: Look and see if it’s not true that you are neither helped not hurt (in any fundamental sense) by any of the parade of phenomena? What am I really?

  • Well that certainly sang a note of empathy within me for what it is worth, it is indeed time to be the best human you are ….. just this last week i noted that the joys and love are more precious but the sadness and the darkness are also sadder and deeper. Thank you, I admit I did get that belly welling *I don’t know what to call it ness* that just comes out of no where that bittersweet strong background hum of sadness.

  • @ Diarmuid Galvin

    Thank you… your words mean much to me. : ) As for your suggestion; not exactly sure what you meant, would you mind explaining more?

    @ Wendy Bandurski-Miller

    The belly welling and heart aching… Yes! That bittersweet strong background hum of sadness… beautifully said.

  • Farley Mowatt:
    ” We’re under some gross misconception that we are a good species, going somewhere important, and that at the last minute we’ll correct our errors and God will smile on us. It’s delusion.”

  • @ Reese

    (I hope Guy will forgive the 3rd post)

    The suggestion is offered to anyone (and this may or may not be the case with you) who feels that life is a problem to be solved (obviously not the day to day problems)- anyone who feels sorrow is a problem- anyone who feels they are at stake in this life- the feeling that if I could just shape this persona in just the right way – the feeling that I haven’t yet found what I’m looking for or as the rolling stones say ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ :) -the daily agony and torment of it all – mostly just a faint hum of anxiety in the background and other times great distress and suffering.

    Sometimes I am caught in the grip of deep sorrow- sometimes I am caught in the grip of peace- but throughout it all ‘I’ remain- untouched, unharmed, unhelped, unchanged by any of it.
    My suggestion is to look and see if this is not the case- just to look directly for yourself (unmediated by thought or understanding) at this ‘youness’ that you are intimately familiar with- just to taste it for a nano second whenever it occurs to you to do so.
    If you will make an earnest effort to try this simple act – my claim is that life exactly as it is will reveal itself to be all that you have ever wanted- with all its pain, all its sorrow, all its wonder and all its beauty.

  • Thank you Reese.

    I for one needed that.

  • Oh, and one other thing, Reese.

    Do not blame yourself or us for what they have done.

    Please (Choose Your Trances Carefully – 2).

    Otherwise you are kicking the Blue Jay for being trapped.

  • Reese, thanks for this essay–but there’s more to be said about how these feelings of regret translate into action. I’m sure you’ve stopped putting out rodent traps where birds could find them. Maybe you’ve also cut back on driving, heating, using electricity, excess consumption–not necessarily because any acts of self-denial will save the living planet, but because you realize that having lived so comfortably ignorant of the destructiveness and violence implicit in our way of life, it’s the least we can do. Sadness is a meaningful way-station on the road to understanding, but unless it translates into action, it’s just a charming sentiment.

  • @ Diarmuid Galvin

    yes… yes! How very interesting, and beautiful. Though i wish to care but not carry, the distress can indeed overtake. To find that peace in just ‘being’; perhaps learning how to be a ‘singularity,’ a single point without the painful parts? Sometimes, these things do seem so beyond me.

    @ Dredd

    Thank YOU for the privilege. : )

    What a thoughtful article… At this moment, i do not know if i fully understand or agree, but indeed there are so many interesting points. It seems our lives have been designed by a mere handful of powerful people throughout the eras.

  • Reese,
    Thanks for your essay. I understand the kind of sorrow you write about.
    Woven in and out of all the every day moments.
    I do wildlife rehabilitation and I once had a blue jay that was brought to me caught in a rat trap. It’s foot was completely crushed.I was able to set the foot and it took 2 months, but the bird was able to use the foot again and be set free. The women who found it was mortified because she had no idea that anything else besides a rat would be attracted to a rat trap. We don’t know what we know until we know it.

    I have a parrot that lives with me because the people bought him no longer cared to care about him. He has been with me for 20 years now
    and his is a source of great love and sadness for me. He is a wild caught parrot that was stolen out of his nest for someones profit and when I look at him I often imagine what his real life was supposed to be.Trees,sky,a mate,offspring.
    One year we had a major rat infestation at our chicken coop and I was setting rat traps with cheese on the kitchen table without giving it a second thought that Chico (The parrot) was on a chair next to the table. I turned my back for a moment and when I turned around the parrot was seconds away from helping himself to the cheese in the set trap.
    I was able to knock the trap away in time but the heartache, remorse and utter sadness of this thing that did not happen comes back to me often and is almost as painful as if it did happen.

  • @ Reese

    (I’m in trouble now for over posting :) )

    A suggestion : the goal is not to find peace – peace comes and goes – nor is the goal to become a singularity or become anything for that matter ( you – in the sense that I am speaking can’t ‘become’ anything- you already are everything). The goal is simply to move your attention onto the simple feel of your presence here- this faint feeling of you that is always here- just for a second- just to touch off it whenever it occurs to you to do that. That simple movement of attention does the work. Nothing else is required. The outcome: sanity, self reliance and a falling in love with your life.

  • What a sweet interviewer. The last video was good.

    Royal Society Snubs Arctic Methane Monster
    Methane slo-mo dude, Gavin (There’s-nothing-to-worry-about) Schmidt, who loves his computer models way more than Arctic reality, was invited to the Royal Society to present his views on Arctic methane releases, but Doctors Shakhova and Semiletov, who spent years actually in the Arctic witnessing the releases, were not invited. Maybe they had better hurry up for the next IPCC AR6 report, if there ever is one.

    On a personal note. Since everyone likes to pour their fucking hearts out around here at Mass Extinction Anonymous, I figure I might as well chime in. My mother died when I was four years old, I grew up in a hyper-abusive step family, father mostly absent, was homeless until I was 36 years old, lcukily married a nurse practitioner, and have been deliriously happy for the last 20 years, but only because I know how fucking bad things can be, can I accept how bad things will soon be.

    I guess that’s why I am attracted to this site. I don’t necessarily agree with how quickly Guy thinks things will go to rat shit, but I don’t necessarily disagree either. But, now I live in a beautiful log cabin far in the woods of northern Canada ready to face disaster. I can no longer deny life is good. I guess I just want a few more years of the good stuff.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Reese. The Third Characteristic of Existence, “All composite entities are sorrow” is a segue to the First of the Four Noble Truths, “The Truth of (the existence of) Suffering.

    One can select the objects of one’s compassion to include blue jays and exclude rats (I would!); that reduces one’s mental suffering, but does not alleviate the suffering of the rats.

    Now one may say that it isn’t the rat’s fault that it is a rat, but some in the Vedic, Buddhist and Jain traditions will chalk it up to karma. All these traditions hold that there is no difference between the sentience of the rat, the blue jay and the human; indeed some also posit that it is the same sentience everywhere.

    With regard to future Climate Talks, they can be called Climate Reality Acceptance Process: Secular Holistic Insight Talks.

  • Thanks Reese, that was beautiful.

    If there is danger in the human trajectory, it is not so much in the survival of our
    own species as in the fulfillment of the ultimate irony of organic evolution: that in the
    instant of achieving self-understanding through the mind of man, life has doomed its most
    beautiful creations.
    —E. O. WILSON

  • Reese-

    I enjoyed your article, but with one notable exception. I abhor speciesism as evidenced by your regretful comment, “The bird was killed so that I, amongst others, would not suffer a plague of rats.”

    Too many people lose sight of the fact that the main purpose of science is to investigate the unexplained, not to explain the un-investigated. As William S. Burroughs observed, “There is a fear of finding the truth behind the UFO enigma; however, the understanding that we are not alone in the cosmos will knock down our wall of misunderstanding with a sledgehammer.”

  • Excellent essay Reese, thank you. Lovely and heartfelt.

    As humans, we do not occupy any special place in the larger scheme of things, except for the fact that we held the power of life or death over our fellow creatures, and indeed the web of life! We held… past tense. We no longer hold that power, as the die is cast, the trap is tripped, and all we can do is wait and watch what we have wrought.

    But the rats, why do we hate them so? They are us in microcosm, just not as destructive.
    One of the most unique and interesting books I have ever read is “Rat, a Novel” by Andrzej Zaniewski. It is narrated in first person by the rat, without anthropomorphizing, except for the fact that this rat was a very good writer! It is an excellent translation from the original Polish. To say that the book is dark is an understatement, but reading it will change you, and I would put it on the required reading list of every high school.

    Your essay took my mind back to a moment of regret and sorrow that lives on in my memory and involves a “have-a-heart” trap that I set to capture and relocate a groundhog – a large beaver size burrowing rodent very fond of vegetables. When I checked the next day, the trap was gone! I assumed it had been stolen as it was nowhere to be seen. Then about a year later, I was hiking down the gorge and found the trap almost a quarter mile from the garden. In it were the bones of the groundhog. On the outside of the trap were deep teeth marks where her mate had tried in vain to free her, most likely rolling the trap end over end down the creek bed. To think what the two of them must have endured, the pain, the sadness, is overwhelming. It was my fault. It was avoidable. I should have secured the trap to the ground, or been content to share the vegetables. The lesson in it for me was to really Really think things through when dealing with the lives of others.

  • Hi Wren-

    MANY thanks for recommending the book “Rat, A Novel”, which I just purchased from Amazon.com via the search engine Ecosia. Ecosia is exactly the same as Google, but all proceeds are directed to reforestation campaigns.

  • great thoughts and word play, great essay, reese. simply great. thanks for sharing.

  • Reese,
    I loved bluebirds. They are with us most summers in our part of the world, playful, not the best song birds, but look happy to be what they are. Raucous, territorial, they somehow make me feel like the world is alright, as if their happiness and satisfaction with being blue birds is catching.
    Freud, our cat, has a different perspective. He did manage during the 10 years he has been alive to catch one bluebird, and it seems that the rest of them have never ceased to chastise him whenever the opportunity is there. I see the frustration in his movements as he cowers from the dive bombing skills of his tormentors. And so I understand your feelings about the bluebird in your trap.

    I once roamed the forests of my youth with my .22 Browning, adventures which provided me with squirrel tails pinned to my wall. I have always regretted the part of me that felled the innocent little twitchers, but they did manage to rile me whenever they could, reminding me that I was the cad in the woods. I even hunted a few ducks in my earliest years of freedom, and thankfully most of them were wise enough to avoid me.

    But during those years I learned to love this planet, and the life that came with it. I was presented with wildlife and lived in a wilderness Shangri-La. I was spoiled, and I think I knew it. But that was then, and this is now. Rachel Carson, the person in my life who allowed me to wake up to the reality that we are polluting the Earth, must be turning over in her grave right now. The problems that were important then, have been obliterated by the passage of time. Acid Rain, DDt, and water pollution, while still significant issues, have ben trumped by deforestation, acidification of oceans, a global Warming/Dimming catastrophe in waiting, environmental destruction, and the ever-present danger of nuclear war, with 500 or so nuclear plants ready to rain their lethal contents on everything.

    Your sadness permeates your story, and the wars that are being fought in the enclaves of humanity seem to have no end, with the death of so many children from demonic drones, and by the death and suffering of women whose only crime is that of being a female imprisoned by religious fanatics gone wild. The hordes of homeless refugees and starving masses, as well as the homeless in the lands of the rich, have no place have no place to call home, to the slavery that is imposed on all of us by the rest of us.

    Nevertheless, thank you for such beautiful thoughts. I share your feelings in many ways. We are all suffering from such encounters, while we should be rejoicing in the freedom that we should all possess. Freedom is our salvation, but it seems that we prefer to enslave ourselves instead.

    Take care, and great writing…

  • @ Nina Parker

    Absolutely agree… for me, it is the actions that have become the antidote to my despair. True… our kind sentiments, bereft of action, lovely though they are, do little for others. : )

    @ TheStormCrow

    How your stories resonated with me. That you understand so fully leaves me feeling not so all alone. Thank heaven, thank you and all that is good that you were dexterously able to your parrot from the trap. And taking such pains with the Jay’s little foot… inspiring, and bless you. I will wager a farmstead he knew EXACTLY what you had done for him.

    As for life in the wild… my little blue jay had a beautiful mate. She appeared days after and perched atop a tall tree in complete silence, searching for her beloved mate. In the wild, she and he had a deep, true bond, once they came together, they were seldom apart… and I’m absolutely positive their love was as grand as any 2 human, star-crossed lovers. Bless you for your kindness and cherishing of our brethren creatures. <3 PS: i haven't seen her since… i can only hope she finds another mate and lives a beautiful life. Meanwhile, perhaps your parrot finds in you his heaven on Earth.

    @ Diarmuid Galvin

    Thank you for that! Now that read what you wrote, am thinking have felt that in my dreams. It was as if I was completely present, and all that around me was as it should be. It's a feeling of complete freedom and full comfort in the moment. Perhaps that is not exactly what you speak of, but I will re-read your post and try to understand more clearly this wonderful method to "fall in love with my life." How beautiful.

    @ Robert Callahan

    Oh it feels so good to pour one's heart out… hearts seem to overflow just so they can be poured out i believe. : ) I used to hear mockingbirds pour their hearts out after finding a mate and building a nest. One little fellow would sing all night while his wife slept away. he seemed so proud – so happy, so over-the-top joyous. I will not ever forget it… we no longer have mockingbirds anymore around. :(

    It felt so good to hear about your 20 years of happiness after a challenging past. I smiled to hear of it. And I smile now.

    @ Robin Datta

    You raised another grievous sorrow for me. We went to war over traps and rats. We opted for living traps, but it would have been illegal to set the captives free, even in the wild where they would have only wrecked havoc upon the natural wildlife. Our neighourhood was forced to become a killing machination. These days, I gently try to remove all little spiders from indoors to cozy spots, outdoors. I'm often tempted to leave water out for the daddy long-legs. There are some people for whom ALL life is precious. They step cautiously so as not to harm any insects. I have a reverence and appreciation for these people.

    Re: Climate Reality Acceptance Process: Secular Holistic Insight Talks: LOL! Let me be the first to sign up. Poop is the stuff of life. :D

    @ Kirk Hamilton

    Thank YOU. And, what an absolutely poignant, yet beautiful quote. Is the gentlest, the loveliest, the most fragile and the most temporal?

    @ FriedrichKling

    You raise such a good point. The plague reference was not so much mine, but that of my neighbourhood. They multiply so readily, rather like us. As rats can be a "plague," so can we humans… it is a harsh reality of life, is it not, that some of us are cherished, and some of us are held in disdain, no matter that we are all dear creatures, all of us.

    As for the LOVE BIRD video – truly touched. Thank you for that! He loved with a love that was greater than love… i think of Poe.

    @ Wren

    YES… you are so right. Perhaps it is the very success of the rat that we hold him in such… "disdain." They are so smart and personable, so clever and intelligent in so many ways. They can be affectionate and adorable. But, as competitors, we cannot seem to abide them. In the wild of course, the native rat is held in check. I am, in my own mind, a murderess of sorts by association. And it tears me apart. There is absolutly nowhere we're allowed to take our neighbourhood's rats.

    I was heartbroken to hear of your little groundhog. I, like you, am INFINITELY more conscious of every action I take for the sake of, as you put it, the lives of others. I try to take daddy-long-legs out so they'll have dew in the mornings rather than shrivel indoors. I have seen them come to drink from our faucet. Yes, every life is precious. And, oftentimes, cruelly short-lived.

    @ the virgin terry

    Thank you so much for reading, can't tell how much I appreciate your words! They just touched me.

    @ Jean Turcot

    What beautiful words… i cherished every one. You reminded me of my little duck… he was impossibly sweet and dear. Yes the things we do or have done!

    And I so agree with you. Rejoicing is what we should be doing. But most of all, I want to be of value to all my little brothers and sisters who sport such beautiful feathers and gorgeous fur coats, and the little smooth-skinned lizard darlings that scurry about. All of them, great and small. And also, the smooth-skinned darlings that we are, too, of course. Ahem. Thank you Jean, for your great writing.


    I treasure every comment from every person. And apologies for writing so much here – but I can NOT, NOT respond to each comment that addresses me. Your responses, feelings and involvement are the entire purpose of having written the article in the first place.

    And that is the beautiful side of life… sharing, caring and loving i think. And, thanks to Jean, rejoicing. <3

  • Reese-

    Thank you for responding. Please take a moment and check-out ecosia.com, which is nothing more than a search engine, but rather than enrich stockholders whenever you conduct a search via ecosia, the profits are directed to reforestation projects. Each time you do a new search, there is a small window displaying a real time record of the number of trees you have planted.

    I realize that some on this site believe everything is hopeless so why give a shit; however, I refuse to surrender and I will fight the good fight until my last breath. With thanks to my German parents and grandparents for instilling this solid determination.

  • When I was a baby, I cried. It was one of the first things I ever did. It came easily. I practiced a lot, and I got pretty dam good at it. It was good. But I got older and tired of being ridiculed as a silly cry baby. So I cried less and less. Long periods went by when I never cried at all.

    Years went by without feeling much at all. Society declared: Emoting is Unprofessional. Rulers rules rule. The least harried path of timid obedience was clearly marked. So were the danger zones, the banishments for the unacceptable. The I who could cry was buried deeply and forgotten. Watching thousands murdered on TV drew no tears. Led step by step, by design, from abstract cartoon through slapstick dehumanization, to eventual graduation to graphic violence and full integration into the ranks of society. Subtle and subliminal pressures inured the majority to torturing, to support it. To relish it. Compassion is fueled by a feeling I. Clarified I’s are unprofitable and dangerous to the privileged. Mumbo jumbo is heavily applied. I was crushed.

    Time passed. Terrible, deep, deep losses carved other integral parts of life away. Pain accumulated behind a high dam. One day it was all too much and something cracked. A barrier installed layer upon layer leaked, and it happened… on a shockingly sad dark cloudy day the seal was breached… and tears arrived like a storm. Instinctively. Badly. Spastically. Wetting a neglected parched riverbed through my heart. Those strange tears and convulsions did not pass easily. But eventually, with plenty of involuntary intense practice… pressured by pain… through that accumulated murky resistance… all the expertise and experience from vernal baby days reemerged and percolated to the surface – where my consciousness spent its time ignoring the depths and feelings of life. Eventually, with the kind patient guidance of early tender memories, I reappeared… and I cried to my depths. And I remembered something long forgotten – how exhaustive crying cleansed the deepest angst. To keep crying, and crying, and crying for as long as it takes to get it out, to finish it… until your salty tears taste sweet.

    My I returned. The storm passed. Perhaps you’re recalling the utility of crying. It’s ok, cry. Cry until you’re done. Cry until you flush away that stinking heap of emotional garbage and repression. Cry when you sniff the decay. Cry for your integrity.

    Even people who have been trained, drained, pummeled and desensitized can remember how to cry… and find their long lost I. I’m proof.

  • Reese you have such a nice voice and way of speaking, and your essay wonderful. Made me cry. And all the replies, made me choke up again. You all are such great writers and thinkers,I’m speechless, Thanks to you all ! In Climate Update 4, Reese you say “In the end we will be going extinction, so I guess it does not matter” and Dr. Mcpherson says “it matters to us, here, now, and that is enough for me” this is taken out of context but it touched me. Thanks Again

  • Reese, I love your style and poise. It is not easy to interview people, you make it sound natural. Guy, you always have a place to stay in Chicago if you are planning another trip this way.

  • Five Warmest Years (Anomalies)
    1st. 2014(+0.27°C), 2nd. 1998(+0.22°C), 3rd. 2013,2010(+0.20°C), 5th. 2005(+0.17°C)

  • You have touched my soul Reese!

    This having been said, I will offer to you absolutely no recommendations or suggestions. To know is to have knowledge …knowing what to do with the knowledge is wisdom. In this regard we are indeed kindred spirits.

    My best to you!


  • Dina Strange

    says close to the top of the comments:

    “It all could have been prevented with birth control…”

    It could not have been prevented!
    What we are living through is what was chosen, yes in a crazy collective manner, but still chosen. There was no other way to get here that how we got here.

    Some argue that if only those in those special powerful positions had chosen some ‘better’ options we wouldn’t be here.

    Although in a circumstantial situation, that may have some traction, however the larger conscious, and unconscious forces that have governed human interactions have been competitive, and no other choices tipped the scales.
    My view is that the real deciding factor is the idea that we are material in nature, and that comes from fear, just as fear makes animals breed more often.
    The archives at NBL are full of opinions on what got us started on the ride of our life. We are at a unique point where we can take some decisions that effect where we personally journey to from here.

    My advice, for what its worth, is to take the road less travelled, and you may find some have gone that way before.

    We are here because of what we are.
    What will one do now?


  • Thus far, no attempt, strategy or mind-game (philosophy, religion, science, etc.) has put an end to or has changed the fact that in this Universe the innocent suffer senselessly, unjustly and unbearably. Thus far in this Universe, there is no end to unjust suffering and no justice (no reparation) for the innocent.

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

    In the meantime, all we can do for everyone (not just humans) and for ourselves, is to do no harm, to the fullest extent possible to each of us, given our circumstances.

    As for the individual, all we really have (to paraphrase what Paul McCartney sang) is that, in the end, it truly might just be the case, that the love (the justice) we get is only equal to the love (the justice) we make.

    One is what one does.

    What one does is one’s life.

    A just life is it own reward.

    Evil (causing suffering, injustice) is its own punishment, because by doing evil, one makes one’s own life and oneself evil (devoid of ‘goodness’ and without experiencing the highest potential for our existence and for our being).

    No god necessary. No god there to let you off the hook.

    For sure, so far, no god there to prevent or stop the senseless suffering of the innocent.

    That is the great pain of existence, now, thus far.

    – – – – – –
    “The God A-hole: By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them. (I DON’T LOVE shIT.)”
    by treenoise © 2014, 2015

  • Guy, part 5 above is very effective because you emphasize; “… is happening,” – not could or might happen.

    Although very simple, “is” makes people furrow their brow & ask how do you know?

    When trying to communicate the methane dragon to my friends & acquaintances; I have had the most success by emphasizing, “is happening – the only question being the rate of methane release.”

  • Great essay Reese!

    Paul Chefurka,

    Regarding your comment about the pre/trans fallacy, I sense that you may have misunderstood something I wrote (or I wrote badly). I did not write anything generically about the rationality of pre-Homo sapiens hominids nor the early Homo sapiens. Clearly, they all demonstrated immense rationality! My comment related specifically to symbolic vs. non-symbolic rationality. As I understand it, the Wilber quote relates generically only to rational thinking without making any points regarding the impact of symbolic thinking on hominid rationality, so I fail to see the connection and how the Ken Wilbur pre/trans fallacy applies.

    Jean Turcot,

    (1) Of COURSE a good idea can come from anyone, anywhere. I don’t think anything I have written suggests otherwise.
    (2) It seems to me that how we determine the “shortest distance between two points” depends on how we define “distance” and the system under discussion. For example, on a flat plane within Euclidean geometry a straight line drawn between two points has an equivalence with the shortest PATH between the points on the plane. On the other hand, given a sphere, an arc will have an equivalence with the shortest path between two points ON THE SURFACE OF THE SPHERE. But if by “shortest distance between two points” we include the interior volume of the sphere, then, again assuming Euclidean geometry, a straight line drawn between the points will have equivalence with “the shortest path distance”. So, we could logically have TWO “shortest distances” for a given situation. If dealing with a non-Euclidean space, or with spaces having many more dimensions, different definitions and principles will surely apply. (That represents about the best I can do with my present understanding of math and physics related to your question.)
    (3) Certainly we can overrate the knowledge, opinions, and judgment of Ph.D.s, and Ph.D.s remain fallible human beings who often say and do nutty things—probably, I would guess, just as often as people who do not have Ph.D.s. I emphasized those points.
    (4) Certainly, also, people can and do often get lucky with their relatively uneducated opinions and guesses. Even a broken analog clock displays the correct time twice each day. In my view, such lucky or random occurrences do not make personal opinion especially valuable or reliable. Worth considering and thinking about? Sometimes valuable? Certainly. Necessarily valuable or reliable? I don’t think so, though apparently you do.
    (5) Of course you have a right to your opinion. I stressed your right, and everyone’s right, to their opinions, whether “experienced” and “educated” or not. Again, the fact that people (presently in our society) have a right to have and to express their opinions does NOT necessarily equate with any validity or reliability of those opinions! On the other hand, I argue that focused experience, study, and education related to a subject in general (not always) greatly increases the probability of validity and reliability of people’s opinions with respect to representing how the world works. I do not agree with your anti-intellectualism regarding this.
    (6) You wrote, “If my university education has taught me anything, it is that the world of higher learning is potentially just as flawed as knowledge anywhere, and that my faith in truths is practically non-existent.” As I suggested before, I agree with you that “the world of higher learning is POTENTIALLY just as flawed as knowledge anywhere”, AND I strongly disagree with you that because of this potentiality, higher learning presumably has little or no value or usefulness compared with average people’s opinions. Certainly “higher learning” does not guarantee validity or reliability, but also, certainly, NEITHER DOES IGNORANCE, which you seem to insist trumps education and experience in producing useful, valid knowledge about the world. I disagree with your anti-intellectualism regarding this.
    (7) I do not advocate, and I do not recall ever advocating, that anyone “…should be dismissed as having no right to one`s opinion unless one is loaded to the max in the particular field of endearment in which one is debating.” On the other hand, I do strongly advocate people’s carefully assessing the quality of evidence and reasoning we incorporate in our opinions and judgments regarding various subjects—and this holds ESPECIALLY true regarding our own, favorite opinions and judgments! (Related to this, reading Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, seems essential to me.)
    (8) Yes, I feel sure that Bill Nye and I have a genetic connection, but I have no interest in genealogy and have not traced the family connection.

    Jeff S.,

    January 6th, 2015 at 10:27 am you wrote “Bud Nye: i continue to challenge you to show us the natural laws. Show us the natural ‘law’ which leads people who need to urinate to seek a bathroom. Show us the natural ‘law’ which causes most men to not rape and a few to rape. Show us the natural ‘law’ which led to the advent of capitalism and the one which is responsible for its subsequent growth and persistence. Sorry, but there are aspects of life which are **immutable aspects of existence**, and there are other facets of living which are NOT immutable and NOT required by the laws of nature. Your insistence otherwise is comical.”

    I have repeatedly pointed to the natural laws that produce our biology, learning histories, thinking, feeling, and behaving as producing our “choices”: the physical, chemical, and biological laws of nature that produced our biological bodies with their integrated nervous systems. (Regarding the details related to natural science and “choice”, I will refer you to the many textbooks written, and courses available, within the fields of psychology, sociology, physiology, and neurobiology. Following Einstein’s dictum to “Explain it to me as simply as possible, but NO SIMPLER”, as much as I would like to I cannot meaningfully summarize all of psychology, sociology, physiology, neurobiology, and several other related fields in a short paragraph or two as you request [demand?]. Oversimplification of a complex process only produces misunderstanding and confusion.) Despite the incredible complexity of human thinking, feeling, and behaving, you continue to insist on making the bold, certain statement that “…there are other facets of living which are NOT immutable and NOT required by the laws of nature.” This bold, certain claim raises my first question to you: How, exactly, do you come by this alleged, omniscience-level “knowledge” regarding the laws of nature, which you state with such confidence and which we all presumably should accept and trust as a valid claim?

    Second, given that this alleged process presumably “is NOT immutable and NOT required by the laws of nature”, how does it NOT fall under the heading of metaphysical, supernatural, or non-physical, as you insist it does not? The term “laws of nature” MEANS that matter and energy behave according to them; if matter and energy do not, then we must have an allegedly non-physical, metaphysical process occurring. When we come to a difficult question in natural science, we do NOT state some variation on the theme of, “Oh. This works as a special case in which the laws of nature don’t apply. It’s a mystery of faith.” We leave that kind of reasoning, that kind of convenient explanation, to religious and spiritual thinkers. If you want to invoke supernatural entities and processes, fine. You can certainly say “God just works that way” if you wish. But please do not try to slip such metaphysical reasoning in under the guise of “special” “laws of natural science that are not immutable and not required by the laws of nature”.

    To consider this further in a meaningful way and in a good bit more detail, let’s perform this gedanken (thought) experiment: Imagine that we can provide two or more DIFFERENT people with absolutely identical biological structures and learning experiences from the moments of their conception. Imagine, as well, that we can eliminate any random variation in their matter and energy flow patterns down to the molecular and sub-atomic levels. In other words, imagine that we have, and exercise, perfect control of all of the physical laws of nature regarding these two or more different people: the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, including sufficient control to eliminate any random variation of the matter and energy flows that compose these people (obviously including all protein folding). Now I ask my third question in several different ways: Please explain to us how and why you would expect these two or more different people to “choose” differently from each other when put in various test situations at different times during their lives. In a given test situation, why would one of these people presumably make “choice” A while another one would, supposedly, have the freedom to make “choice” B, C, or D, and yet another one X, Y, or Z? When, where, and how do the alleged “other facets of living which are NOT immutable and NOT required by the laws of nature”, which you invoke (through some kind of magic), intervene to produce the DIFFERENT “choices” made by these different people, as you insist they could and would “choose” differently based on their “wishes”? Why would not each of them always make exactly the same “choice” as the other(s)—thus demonstrating that the magical “freedom of choice”, which you insist on invoking, exists only as variations on the theme of matter and energy interacting according to the fundamental laws of nature?

    I think I have answered your questions in a reasonably direct and complete way. Now, please answer my questions in a reasonably direct and complete way.

  • @ Tom, thanks (I did the same thing at about the same age but somehow bounced through the air and didn’t get hurt much), but it’s probably actually a little more complicated. For example, in the case of your bicycle accident, you might also have had some “retrograde amnesia,” which doesn’t show up anymore once you’re dead.


    Doomers should not underrate
    Homo sapiens’ irrational trait:
    The unthinking brutes
    Won’t grasp overshoots,
    Just blame folks they already hate.

  • Reese, thank you for your continuing efforts to get the message out.
    Sadly, the vast majority of people living in industrial societies are not interested, and those who could do much to ameliorate the toxic culture of insanity are busy making matters worse faster.

    I encountered a good-hearted woman I have known for about a decade at the Hospice Shop (where goods are donated and sold very cheaply by volunteer staff) yesterday. Having been involved in and having supported a number of movements relating to fighting ‘the fascists’ over many years, she said she had given up activism and was now only concerned with family and friends because the vast majority are “not listening”.

    Huge numbers of people who have not been listening are going to learn the hard way very soon.

    I told Juricz I too had given up talking to people generally but continue to occasionally confront NPDC with the truth (that they are making everything rapidly worse for everyone, including themselves and sabotaging everyone in the district’s future.

    Everything I see and read indicates the period 2015 to 2017 marks the turning point for the whole crazy set-up, and the politics of corruption and failure that have characterised the past several decades will be exposed for what it is -the politics of corruption and failure.

  • Have been watching this.

    There are some very evil people at the heart of American society.

  • Bud Nye, you have not answered ANYTHING. You have not demonstrated to us a LAW OF NATURE which REQUIRES people to proceed to a structure with fixtures using flowing water to take care of their urination needs, which do arise out of IMMUTABLE LAWS of NATURE. Instead, you keep trying to make it out as if i’m saying that such CHOICES are occurring outside physical existence. We can certainly see that other choices are available, people piss in the woods all the time, and in lots of places people piss into devices which do not require water at all.

    And you have not demonstrated any law of nature which requires that land come with mortgage payments, indeed that it be private property. My initial point which set yoyo off. Instead, you go off on rambles which are totally irrelevant to anything. Certainly we see lots of examples of history of land not being regarded as private property, indeed that most societies regarded land as common, not to be owned by individuals and not alienable, i.e. something which can be brought and sold ad infinitum.

    Thus, to quote Gilda Radner, “never mind.”

  • OzMan,

    Nice to hear your thoughts. Best to you and all the others for the New Year. Yes. Collective, and crazy for sure.

    Thank you Reese. Nice to have your continuing presence.

  • At least some readers here will probably have an interest in George Bonanno’s book The Other Side of Sadness, What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss (2009), 204 pp. Bonanno has done for bereavement some of what John Gottman did for relationships: Presented sound reasoning based on good, observational evidence of people, vs. presenting the ever so common “authoritative” intuitions and opinions found in so much popular psychology. From the back cover:

    “The conventional view of grieving, encapsulated by the famous five stages, is defined by a mourning process that we can only hope to accept and endure. In The Other Side of Sadness, psychologist and emotions expert George Bonanno argues otherwise: All of us share a surprising ability to be resilient, and to expect or require grief-stricken behavior from the bereaved simply does them harm. In fact, sorrow can actually DEEPEN interpersonal connections and even lead to a new sense of meaning in life. For survivors, The Other Side of Sadness is a must-read and a refreshingly positive perspective on death and dying. It will be fascinating for anyone interested in our innate ability to thrive in the face of adversity.” And: “George A. Bonanno is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia Uniuversity’s Teachers College. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.”

    A few paragraphs and sentences from early in the book (about three pages):

    “Our approach was straightforward. The originality, if there was any, was that we simply applied standard methods from other areas of psychology to the topic of bereavement. Grief experts had assumed, for example, that it was essential to express one’s pain after a loss. Yet they had never actually tested this idea. Mainstream psychology offered us myriad possible tests. We used experimental paradigms, for example, in which we asked recently bereaved people to tell us about their loss and about other important events in their life, and then we compared the two. As out subjects talked, we recorded their facial expressions and their autonomic nervous system activity as a way of measuring their emotional responses. We also transcribed what our subjects said so that we could measure how often they talked about the loss and how much they described their emotional reactions when they did so. None of these techniques was innovative in itself, but none of them had ever been used before to study the grieving process.”


    “Until recently, most theories about grief and bereavement viewed grief as a kind of progressive work that takes a long time to complete. Bereavement experts have, in fact, used the phrase ‘grief work’ to describe the extensive process that they ASSUME all bereaved people must go through before they can successfully resolve a loss. They have fleshed out this idea in elaborate detail. Books and journals on bereavement often include charts and lists showing the various tasks and stages that [presumably] comprise the normal mourning process. ‘Successful’ grieving, it is often argued, depends on these tasks and stages, and failure to complete them will lead to more pain.

    “Inherent in the lists and charts is also the assumption that grief is more or less the same for everybody and that there is something wrong when people overcome their grief quickly or when they appear to have skipped some of the ‘stages’ of mourning. Armed with these ideas, it is easy to become suspicious when a bereaved person seems too happy or at ease. ‘Is this some sort of denial?’ we might wonder. Or worse, maybe the person never really cared about the loved one in the first place? Or maybe, without help to get in touch with the grief, she or he will suffer some sort of delayed reaction years from now.

    “Remarkably, though, after many years of studying bereavement, I’ve found NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ANY OF THESE IDEAS. A good deal of what my colleagues and I have found, in fact, suggests a completely different picture of grieving.

    “One of the most consistent findings is that bereavement is not a one-dimensional experience. It’s NOT the same for everyone and there do NOT appear to be specific stages that everyone must go through. Rather, bereaved people show different patterns or trajectories of grief reactions across time. I’ve depicted the three most common patterns in Figure 1. SOME bereaved people suffer from CHRONIC GRIEF reactions. The pain of loss simply overwhelms them, and they find it all but impossible to return to their normal daily routine. Unfortunately, for some, this kind of struggle can endure for years. Others experience a more GRADUAL RECOVERY. They suffer acutely but then slowly pick up the pieces and begin putting their lives back together.”

    “The good news is that for most of us, grief is not overwhelming or unending. As frightening as the pain of loss can be, most of us are RESILIENT. Some of us cope so effectively, in fact, we hardly seem to miss a beat in our day-to-day lives. We may be shocked, even wounded, by a loss, but we still manage to regain our equilibrium and move on. That there is anguish and sadness during bereavement cannot be denied. But there is much more. Above all, it is a human experience. It is something we are wired for, and it is certainly not meant to overwhelm us. Rather our reactions to grief seem designed to help us accept and accommodate losses relatively quickly so that we can continue to live productive lives. Resilience doesn’t mean, of course, that everyone fully resolves a loss, or finds a state of ‘closure.’ Even the most resilient seem to hold onto at least a bit of wistful sadness. But we are able to keep on living our lives and loving those still present around us.”


    “I will focus most of this book on the natural resilience of bereaved people, but I don’t want to minimize the great suffering some people experience after a loss. Actually, by taking a perspective that includes BOTH severe pain and healthy resilience, we see these extreme reactions in even starker contrast, and we are better able to examine why some people suffer more than others and what, if anything, can be done about it.”


    “But in a way, I think I’m probably going to be a better person than I would have been had I not lost our daughter. And I guess that’s because you become more aware of how you deal with others, and how you think about others.”


    “Bereavement experts have turned this kind of misgiving into a fine art. It is almost as if we have inverted the ‘burden of proof.’ Criminals are innocent until proved guilty, but bereaved people are suffering until proved healthy. Why so much suspicion? Where did it all come from?”

    I think that for those of us grieving the many losses related to global heating with abrupt climate change, ecological and nuclear collapse, and contemplating near term human extinction, many will consider this an essential read.

  • Well…if we’re doing homages to Gilda, here’s my contribution:

    Scene: SNL set of old with Gilda Raddner as Emily Litella

    Emily Litella:
    What’s all this I hear about the Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to a couple of Europeans who studied hogs and bison ?

    Shouldn’t something like that be covered by a Nobel Prize in Zoology ?

    I mean…pigs are pretty much everywhere, but bison ?

    Couldn’t they at least find an Indian scientist to honor for studying bison ?

    Oh, well…what do you expect from a prize committee based in a country
    that dips perfectly good whitefish in lye ?

    Anyway, I’m Emily Litella and thats…

    Offscreen voice of Don Pardo:

    Miss Litella, the prize in Physics was for work on the Higgs boson, not hogs and bison.

    The Higgs boson allows some fundamental particles to have mass and form atoms.

    Without it, everything would move at the speed of light and have no mass.

    Emily Litella:
    Oh, that’s very different….nevermind !


    On the subject of The Evil Universe:
    Doesn’t it need to be conscious and have a personality of sorts to be called Evil, or is that too Old School ?

    Either way, the SNL/Radio Lampoon folks figured it out long ago…

  • From The Devil’s Dictionary:

    DISCUSSION, n. A method of confirming others in their errors.

  • @ FriedrichKling

    Just added Ecosia to my firefoxes. Thank you – a wonderful find. Will be using for most all my searches. Hoping to help contribute a small forest.

    I’m with you to not ever surrender. There for a while, I absolutely did. (Surrender, that is.) Tins, plastics and waste were defiantly, callously, churlishly tossed in the main bin. But these days, that’s all changed. It’s back to caring, sharing and doing. PS: And, instillation understood. This thing called stubborn determination has turned out to be an asset rather than a worst trait. Castigated for that one! : )

    @ Logspirit

    Absolutely beautiful. In my small bewailings, there has been release. But as of yet, have not had the experience such as yours. Perhaps it will come… thank you. : )

    @ Guyo Smith

    Thank you SO much… sometimes the simplest and briefest of generous words are the most eloquent. YOUR words touch ME to my core. And yes… so true… Dr. McPherson has such a way with expressions. Bless you, Guyo! May you be supremely happy today. That is my wish, as it is for everyone here.

    @ Dave Thompson

    You are so kind! I am smiling, for it. And I hope you and Dr. McPherson do get to meet in Chicago!

    @ Advitiya2U

    Wonders… how absolutely beautiful your words. Truly, i believe the wisdom to be yours. Namaste to you, dear friend.

    @ Ozman

    Had to look up “a road less traveled” to understand what the phrase really meant to the author. It was a lovely find. In his book, he starts with, “life is difficult.” Then, evidently, we are inherently lazy (check!), but when we overcome this impediment… this is a book i think shall hope to order. Thank you for this!

    @ treenoise

    Dear Treenoise… yes. It is these innocents you speak of that have always had my heart… thank you for your beautiful words. <3

    @ Bud Nye

    Ah, that lovely, venerable argument… freedom of choice. I have come to believe in it. That's my choice. : ) You write with such depth… thank you for sharing your comment on grief.

    @ Kevin Moore

    Ah, yes. Indeed. So there's this little thing i now adhere to… the power of one. One person. If it is possible to do some little good that serves just One person, or one other little living creature, then that is a triumph for me. An absolute triumph. With such low expectations and such little effect, I can be so absolutely full of myself lol.

    But yes… it seems there's an inevitability to our self-destruction that cannot be stopped; greed and corruption feed upon themselves; and the die is cast. It is the treasuring and fostering of the innocents and the lovely ones that seem to matter most, now.

    @ Artleads

    Nice to interract with YOU. :)

  • Reese,

    Thanks for your comments regarding my comments to your article. When listening to the interview, I was struck by the reactions, the voice and the perceptiveness of the interviewer, not a common occurrence. Being a little on the slow side of the learning curve when it comes to paying attention to names and so on, I did not realize until now that the person writing this article about the presence of Sadness in our lives was the same person who had done the interview. I now understand the similarities…. Thank you for the perceptions. …

  • This quote is from an extraordinarily doomy book, SHIKASTA, by Doris Lessing.

    “I open this Trial with an indictment. This is the indictment. That it is the white races of this world that have destroyed it, corrupted it, made possible the wars that have ruined it, have laid the basis for the war we all fear, have poisoned the seas, and the waters, and the air, have stolen everything for themselves, have laid waste the goodness of the earth from the North to the South, and from East to West, have behaved always with arrogance, and contempt, and barbarity towards others, and have been above all guilty of the supreme crime of stupidity-and must now accept the burden of culpability, as murderers, thieves and destroyers, for the dreadful situation we now all find ourselves in.”

    -Johor (George Sherban), Emissary (Grade 9)87th of the Period of the Last Days

    Google Shikasta (Canopus’ name for the Earth), if you’re looking for a read that’s profoundly insight filled, tracking the downfall of our planet over millions of years. Doris Lessing is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  • May seem obvious, but here is a new research article describing jet stream induced climate change.

    Also, see the Earth Wind Map to view tonight’s jet steam bringing cold air directly from the North pole down south…



    Environ. Res. Lett. 10 (2015)014005

    Evidence for a wavier jet stream in response to rapid Arctic warming
    Jennifer A Francis and Stephen J Vavrus
    Institute of Marineand Coastal Sciences,Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey,USA

    Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison,Wisconsin,USA
    E-mail: francis@imcs.rutgers.edu
    Keywords: jetstream,Arcticamplification,extreme weather

    New metrics and evidence are presented that support a linkage between rapid Arctic warming,relative to Northern hemisphere mid-atitudes, and more frequent high-amplitude (wavy) jet-streamconfig-urations that favor persistent weather patterns. We find robust relationships among seasonal and regional patterns of weaker pole ward thickness gradients, weaker zonal upper-level winds,and a more meridional flow direction. These results suggest that as the Arctic continues to warm faster than else-where in response to rising greenhouse gas concentrations,the frequency of extreme weather events caused by persistent jet-stream patterns will increase.

    Evidence for a wavier jet stream in response to rapid Arctic warming

  • logspirit, your poignant post last night about losing touch with your inner emotions and the therapeutic benefit of crying reminded me of a fine book i read long ago about a native american who ‘lost his soul’ when forced to adapt to the white man’s civilization, but sort of recaptured it near the end. a bittersweet story:


    i love how posters to this blog are so attuned to nature and the value of ‘wildlife’, for the most part. i can relate to it. i think it’s what makes us tend to be misanthropic, as we see how callously so many of our fellow humans, and societies, destroy that life in the name of ‘progress’ or whatever. it’s nice to have companionship, even if it’s not in sherson.

  • One more positive feedback loop…

    The warmer the ocean, the less organic carbon absorbed.

    Attenuation of sinking particulate organic carbon flux through the mesopelagic ocean.


    “Our results suggest that predicted future increases in ocean temperature will result in reduced CO2 storage by the oceans.”

  • Jeff S. –

    “as if i’m saying that such CHOICES are occurring outside physical existence.”

    but that IS exactly what you are saying. or what you are left with.

    based on the parameters (physical existence) you and Bud have agreed on, it seems like you have only two options:

    1. everything occurs in one universe governed by physical law. every possible “effect” has a lawful “cause” – a set of initial conditions at any moment in time – going back to the beginning of time.

    2. there are two realms within the realm of “physical existence.” one realm of immutable physical law, as described, and one realm where human “choice” can occur – something which must be defined thus: given the one universe of physical law, at any moment of initial conditions, two or more possible outcomes can occur. those different possible outcomes are our possible “choices.”

    you would seem to be a proponent of option 2.

    as far as I can see, the only way option 2 could be possible, within the realm of “physical existence” is by some appeal to random quantum effects. if that is the case, then you have just lost the “choice” idea again. more than one outcome is possible, given a set of initial conditions, but that outcome is random, and not based on “choice.”

    if you would still say there is something called “real choice” involved in our existence here, then I would have to put the onus on you to describe where this is possible, and how this is possible, in a universe, that you have agreed, is solely physical and governed by physical law – the one realm of “physical existence.”

    I am in complete agreement with Bud here, as far as this argument goes. giving an example that someone uses a toilet instead of a carpet proves nothing about any actual existence of real “choice.” it only describes that such an event occurs. it is perfectly possible that said event is entirely determined, and all such events are completely determined, and fall entirely within the realm of immutable physical law.

    there is absolutely nothing there, in describing such an event, that says any such thing as a real “choice” ever happened.

    to further the point: presuming real “choice” one must also presume a “chooser.” who or what is that “chooser”? if we are talking about a human, then the “chooser” must the be sum of all physical processes occurring in that human at any moment. how can a sum of physics/chemistry/biology be involved in something like a real “choice”? where, exactly, does that “choice event” occur? what is the nature of the event? what are its physical properties?

    if it occurs within the realm of physical existence, as you claim it does, then the onus is certainly on you to point out, at least hypothetically, where this “choice event” is happening, and how it is happening, while not being an immutably determined outcome of physical law.

  • Another quote from the book, SHAKASTA. This is sort of an ‘Ode to Earth’ (Shakasta) by a planet whose inhabitants thrive on the negative emotions generated by the beings from, well, ‘here’. I’ve shortened the passage some.

    “HOW deep and fine the service of Shikasta!

    From end to end these disgraceful little animals squirm and writhe under our all-seeingness!

    In every land these degraded beasts fight and kill and suffer, the aromas of pain and of blood rising like red smoke above every part of Shikasta, rise to the nostrils of the deserving.

    How strong the nurturing Flow! Stronger every day the Flow that feeds! Ever stronger the millennial link that provides power which is right and due, earned by our tutelage our Superiority!

    Oh Shikasta, bleeding little animal, how we praise you in your willing squalidness, how we applaud you in your subservience, how we succor you, our other self, our sac of blood, our source of strength!

    Day and night, and from moment to moment, roll in your Tributes, oh Shakasta, our slavish one, the Vibrations of hatred and dissention feed us, sustain us, make us exalt!

    Night and day, oh degenerate one, you supply our food to us, the clash of arms, the cries of warriors, the roar of machines in hostility. We take your substance, the perfumes of your anguish, the aromas of your cruelties.

    EVERYWHERE move our magnificent ones, ever aware, ever watching, ever guarding our own.

    We observe he pitiful heavings of your attempts at revolt, we note and we CRUSH!

    We have watched the movements and machinations of our enemies on Shikasta, and have outdone them all, watched them writhe and expire, suffer and die!

    We, the glorious, confirm the Flow is extant, the Flow is stronger, the Flow is ever and eternal, the Flow is for all time, the sustenance
    and food of Us, Lords of the Galaxy, Lords of the Worlds…”

    Well, if you read the book, the planet Canopas is involved too. But that’s another story.

  • Thanks for your essay Reese and it resonates with my own feelings deeply. There are some who are true empaths, hyperaware and that cannot separate themselves from the suffering which they witness around them, and are forever trying to make sense out of the insensible. This ‘existential angst’ has been the bane of my own life ever since I witnessed a terrible act of human inflicted animal cruelty at a very young age.

    No matter how much I may smile on the outside, I carry a deep burden in knowing that 80% of the animal kingdom (and even human) lives a state of constant starvation and struggle. My only way to inoculate myself from this burden at times, is to immerse myself in the non duality of mindfulness and ‘presence practices’ etc. In the meantime, I do feel a certain amount of guilt in knowing what awesome price the planet and fellow inhabitants have to pay so that I may have a comfortable life. I try to offset this by creating awareness, but also know that it is like pissing in the wind in the face of such an ontological juggernaut.

  • Terrific essay, Reese. It is written from your soul. I wish I had been so “in tune” as your twelve year old relative. At the age of 47, I’m STILL not ready to relinquish my own will. This little soul is ahead of their time!

    On another dire note, it looks like (for now) the arctic sea ice has now surpassed (to date) the low season of Fall, 2012, as far as minimum ice. As of yesterday (January 6th), the total coverage was 12,582,633 square kilometers. On this same date in 2012, the coverage of sea ice was 12,582,720 sq. km. That’s a difference of over 36,900 square kilometers of ice!

    Obviously, a great deal can happen between now and peak ice coverage in March. But given the fact that the autumnal sea ice coverage started out with nearly a 2 million sq. km. head start over the 2012 season, it is clearly evident that the Arctic sea ice is still in it’s decline and has never stabilized. September 2015, may very well be our ice free autumn in the Arctic. Stay tuned… Here’s the link from the Univ. of Fairbanks for those who wish to check daily readings.

    P.S. I’ve been a devout tracker with this site since 2007.


  • Correction… sorry folks… the current sea ice coverage is stated the previous amount of 12,582,720. That’s down from the 2012 reading for the same date of 12, 617,633 sq, km. I entered the same amount in twice. My apologies! But the difference is that we’re down over 34,900 sq. km. on this date from the record low season of 2012.

  • Much confusion arises from attributing sentience to brain functions, the mind, emotions, etc.

    This is similar to attributing colours to objects: it is light that carries the colour information from the object to the eye; in the absence of light all objects are black, yet both the objects and their ability to reflect colours remain intact. The ubiquity of consciousness absent the bounds of space & time permit its conflation with entities bound by space and time, such as mind and emotions, and the attribution of sentience to them. An intellectual grasp of this will not do; grokking one’s very being (not WITH one’s very being) is necessary, and the realisation that one’s being is the Being of all beings, which lends an illusion of reality to all individuals.

    Grieving is for the loss of objects held dear, perceived to have qualties that are sought. The sought is a projection of the seeker into the bounds of space & time. Freedom from grief comes with the recognition that the Self of all selves is both the Void and the Plenitude: it is Fullness, everywhere at all times, having no need to seek anything, anywhere, anytime. This does not preclude the continuation of natural processes, constrained as they are by space and time.

    Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II-iv-5

    Then Yajnavalkya said: “Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, hut they are loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the brahmin, my dear, is the brahmin loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, not for the sake of the beings, my dear, are the beings loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self. “Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
”Verily, my dear Maitreyi, it is the Self that should be realized—should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon. By the realization of the Self, my dear—through hearing, reflection, and meditation—all this is known.

  • The designation of a spiritual being among the Dakota differs from the designation often used by English speakers. For example, tunkansida, grandfather, may apply to a human being or a number of human beings as a kinship term, but it also is applied to other spiritual beings. The term may refer to Wakantanka (The Great Mystery), the rocks used in the sweat lodge, or the gigantic granite boulders that appear in our area of the country and whom the Dakota recognize as the oldest, most ancient beings. Interestingly, scientists have now dated those rocks from 3.6 to 3.8 billion years old, identifying them as some of the oldest exposed rocks in the world. Kinship terms are used to discuss all of creation — terms of elder brother or elder sister may be used to describe the animals, the sun may be talked about as grandfather and the moon as grandmother. For those who grow up in a Dakota-speaking household, from the time of birth a different relationship with the universe and all of its beings is developed and then nurtured throughout a lifetime. For a student of the Dakota language, these references and understandings open doors to an entirely new set of values and move stated ideals about kinship from mere rhetoric in an intellectual argument to one based solidly in language and worldview.
    – Waziyatawin Angela Wilson “Remember This! Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives”

    “HAU, METAKUYEAYASI is A LAKOTA PHRASE meaning, “Hello, my relatives.” The operant words here are “relatives,” “relationship,” and, by minor extension, “relations.” I have come to understand that when Lakota people use the word Metakuyeayasi, they are not simply referring to their mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, ancestors, nieces and nephews, children, grandchildren, cousins, future generations, and all the rest of humankind. Oh, these relatives are certainly included, but things don’t stop there. Also involved is reference to the ground we stand on, the sky above us, the light from the sun and water in the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. The plants who populate our environment are included, as are the four-legged creatures around us, those who hop and crawl, the birds who fly, the fish who swim, the insects, the worms. Everything. These are all understood in the Lakota way as being relatives. What is conveyed in this Lakota concept is the notion of the universe as a relational whole, a single interactive organism in which all things, all beings, are active and essential parts; the whole can never be understood without a knowledge of the function and meaning of each of the parts, while the parts cannot be understood other than in the context of the whole.” Ward Churchill Acts of Rebellion

    That’s a hell of a quote from Lessing up above.

  • I suggest that we shut down all the corporations that make Roundup and also shut down all the farms that use it. Likewise, we should shut down all nuclear plants, all coal, and gas fired plants too. Tinkerbelle would be happy.


  • This was posted at Robert Scribbler yesterday, & knocked me over.
    The Beaufort Sea has experienced dramatic sea ice loss.
    Here is some NASA hard science with hard numbers.
    The Beaufort Sea (Barrow, Prudhoe Bay)is now registering “runaway” (my term) solar radiation heating of 50 watts per sq meter.
    … 50 watts

  • I was so whacked out by the Beaufort Sea/all humanity tragedy from NASA that I forgot the site.

  • @ogardner

    Funny you should bring up Jay Hanson. I was thinking about posting his position. In my opinion he provides the most succinct (albeit abstract) description of the IC dilemma.


    Jay Hanson has been working on this for decades and stated his essential position earlier at this URL:


    Once one understands the three simple energy principles outlined in this paper, then one understands that the only way our society could be actually be “sustainable”, would be to continuously reduce our aggregate energy footprint. Put differently, energy laws will force us to continuously reduce our aggregate footprint whether we choose to or not.

    Once one understands human nature as outlined in this paper, then one also understands that continued social stability requires us to continuously INCREASE energy use, which we now know is impossible! It should not come as a surprise that we have been pre-programmed to overshoot and crash just like other animals http://www.dieoff.org/page80.htm .

    There are absolutely no humane solutions available to the ruling elite because it is impossible to solve the problem of human corruption (i.e., the genetic pre-program to violate norms and seek advantage). Unfortunately, the best the poor can hope for is a painless death.

    So, rather than being Meat Robots (sorry Robin), we are highly adapted self-destructing thermodynamic entropy generators.

    BTW, Jay has one of the best descriptions I have read/seen of economics/politics:


  • The latest guest essay in this space comes from oldgrowthforest. With thanks to her and Reese Jones, the latest essay and other tidbits can be found here.

  • @mo flow

    I agree with the way you’ve framed the “physical universe” view of free will.

    I suspect that Jeff S. is operating more out of Daniel Dennett’s interpretation of free will. Dennett defines it so it matches ordinary language – non-coercion, having perceived choice etc. That’s fine so long as we don’t try and use it as a principle of behavior for us and any other life forms.

    We do what we must based upon the the physical nature of our universe, our multi-generational past, our personal experiences since conception and birth, and our present situation. This set of constraints leaves us with little, if any maneuvering room. Free will or “choice” becomes a God of the Gaps. The closer you look, the less space there is in the universe for it to hide.

  • M^3: maybe we’ll reach that state by ‘accident’


    Top experts predict global economic disaster in 2015

    #1 Bill Fleckenstein: “They are trying to make the stock market go up and drag the economy along with it. It’s not going to work. There’s going to be a big accident. When people realize that it’s all a charade, the dollar will tank, the stock market will tank, and hopefully bond markets will tank. Gold will rally in that period of time because it’s done what it’s done because people have assumed complete infallibility on the part of the central bankers.”

    #2 John Ficenec: “In the US, Professor Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted price earnings ratio – or Shiller CAPE – for the S&P 500 is currently at 27.2, some 64pc above the historic average of 16.6. On only three occasions since 1882 has it been higher – in 1929, 2000 and 2007.”

    #3 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, one of the most respected economic journalists on the entire planet: “The eurozone will be in deflation by February, forlornly trying to ignite its damp wood by rubbing stones. Real interest rates will ratchet higher. The debt load will continue to rise at a faster pace than nominal GDP across Club Med. The region will sink deeper into a compound interest trap.”

    #4 The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, which correctly predicted the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble in 2007: “Clearly the direction of most of the recent global economic news suggests movement toward a 2015 downturn.”

    #5 Paul Craig Roberts: “At any time the Western house of cards could collapse. It (the financial system) is a house of cards. There are no economic fundamentals that support stock prices – the Dow Jones. There are no economic fundamentals that support the strong dollar…”

    #6 David Tice: “I have the same kind of feel in ’98 and ’99; also ’05 and ’06. This is going to end badly. I have every confidence in the world.”

    #7 Liz Capo McCormick and Susanne Walker: “Get ready for a disastrous year for U.S. government bonds. That’s the message forecasters on Wall Street are sending.”

    #8 Phoenix Capital Research: “Just about everything will be hit as well. Most of the ‘recovery’ of the last five years has been fueled by cheap borrowed Dollars. Now that the US Dollar has broken out of a multi-year range, you’re going to see more and more ‘risk assets’ (read: projects or investments fueled by borrowed Dollars) blow up. Oil is just the beginning, not a standalone story.

    If things really pick up steam, there’s over $9 TRILLION worth of potential explosions waiting in the wings. Imagine if the entire economies of both Germany and Japan exploded and you’ve got a decent idea of the size of the potential impact on the financial system.”

    #9 Rob Kirby: “What this breakdown in the crude oil price is going to spawn another financial crisis. It will be tied to the junk debt that has been issued to finance the shale oil plays in North America. It is reported to be in the area of half a trillion dollars worth of junk debt that is held largely on the books of large financial institutions in the western world. When these bonds start to fail, they will jeopardize the future of these financial institutions. I do believe that will be the signal for the Fed to come riding to the rescue with QE4. I also think QE4 is likely going to be accompanied by bank bail-ins because we all know all western world countries have adopted bail-in legislation in their most recent budgets. The financial elites are engineering the excuse for their next round of money printing . . . and they will be confiscating money out of savings accounts and pension accounts. That’s what I think is coming in the very near future.”

    #10 John Ing: “The 2008 collapse was just a dress rehearsal compared to what the world is going to face this time around. This time we have governments which are even more highly leveraged than the private sector was.

    So this time the collapse will be on a scale that is many magnitudes greater than what the world witnessed in 2008.”

    #11 Gerald Celente: “What does the word confidence mean? Break it down. In this case confidence = con men and con game. That’s all it is. So people will lose confidence in the con men because they have already shown their cards. It’s a Ponzi scheme. So the con game is running out and they don’t have any more cards to play.

    What are they going to do? They can’t raise interest rates. We saw what happened in the beginning of December when the equity markets started to unravel. So it will be a loss of confidence in the con game and the con game is soon coming to an end. That is when you are going to see panic on Wall Street and around the world.”

    If you have been following my website, you know that I have been pointing to 2015 for quite some time now.

    For example, in my article entitled “The Seven Year Cycle Of Economic Crashes That Everyone Is Talking About”, I discussed the pattern of financial crashes that we have witnessed every seven years that goes all the way back to the Great Depression. The last two major stock market crashes began in 2001 and 2008, and now here we are seven years later.

    Will the same pattern hold up once again?

    In addition, there are many other economic cycles that seem to indicate that we are due for a major economic downturn. I discussed quite a few of these theories in my article entitled “If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States”.

    But just like in 2000 and 2007, there are a whole host of doubters that are fully convinced that the party can continue indefinitely. Even though our economic fundamentals continue to get worse, our debt levels continue to grow and every objective measurement shows that Wall Street is more reckless and more vulnerable to collapse than ever before, they mock the idea that a financial collapse is imminent.

    So let’s see what happens in 2015.

    I have a feeling that it is going to be an extremely “interesting” year.

    [comment from reader: read this last year and the year before, therefore it won’t happen]

    Reece: thank you for your essay. At a young age i was on a train heading into Philadelphia with parents and looking out the window noticed many sad people amidst slum-like conditions, deteriorated housing, trash-strewn streets and my world-view was snapped, causing that same deep sadness you recount. It’s been a learning experience ever since, and it didn’t get any better with education. Some turn their energies to building up and protecting their position in society and become selfish and cruel in the process. Some are crushed BY their initial conditions and suffer their entire lives. The images of abundance and good times provided by tv keep the masses distracted and unable to ‘connect the dots.’ A very few see our plight for what it is and mirror it back to those still looking for truth or direction. You and Guy are doing a great service!

  • Jeff S.,

    And with your “never mind”, of course, you make it clear that you have no intention of responding to my questions in a well-reasoned way. No surprise there. I assumed that you most likely would not respond. I assumed that because your whole argument rests on a concealed, magical mysticism, which you insist on denying instead of forthrightly acknowledging it as most people do. Please do not get me wrong. I do NOT see someone’s honestly invoking mystical arguments as a problem. Humans have commonly done that throughout our entire history as a species. Indeed, humans have done that far, FAR more often than not, and everyone has a right to their beliefs and opinions. On the other hand, I do have a problem with your insistence on CONCEALING what I presently understand as a metaphysical, mystical argument. I do have a problem with your presenting it as a supposedly viable argument within natural scientific reasoning, as “…facets of living which are [presumably] NOT required by the laws of nature”, and yet you insist that these “facets” supposedly DO occur as functions of nature. Your argument that “choice” supposedly occurs within nature—but its occurrence magically escapes influence by the laws of nature—seems both nonsensical and self-contradictory to me, very weak at best. It explains about as much as a Catholic priest responding to a difficult question by saying “It’s a mystery of faith.” As I mentioned before, I disagree with you about this, and I have no problem at all leaving it there with my questions remaining unanswered as you prefer.

  • Almost every day, the NBL website excites the hell out of me. There is more GOOD news of collapse than anywhere else on the internet.

    Justice is, finally, just around the corner!

    Let the chaos begin!


  • Bud Nye: You refused to provide us with the examples of the immutable natural law or laws which compel individuals to seek a bathroom with fixtures in order to deal with a need to urinate, which is indeed compelled by immutable natural laws, or immutable natural laws which compel the treating of land as private property and all the baggage that comes with it, such as mortgage payments and Mounties to defend private property “rights,” just like the immutable natural laws which compel us to deal with land at all. Instead you hide behind abstractions and claims that since everything about human existence occurs in the physical/chemical/biological world, all facets of human existence thus follow the same natural laws. Why should i engage in dialogue when you refuse to, except on your own terms?

  • “Some are crushed BY their initial conditions and suffer their entire lives. The images of abundance and good times provided by tv keep the masses distracted and unable to ‘connect the dots.’ A very few see our plight for what it is and mirror it back to those still looking for truth or direction. You and Guy are doing a great service!”

    I second that, and thank you, Tom, for summing it up so nicely for me. I am very grateful not just for the initial blog post, but for every single one that has followed. Some of us always will be thankful for those who shine a light on the truth, unpalatable as it is.

  • @ Jean Turcot

    I love you. I do! <3 :) You are SO appreciated.

    @ Kirk Hamilton

    Done – just added Shikaska to my Amazon wishlist & shop cart. Thank you for that

    @ Bailey

    i Love that you are creating awareness… is there much else more wonderful than that, as it changes the course of an animal's, many animals, lives? Bless you. <3

    @ (No longer a) Pilot

    Ah dear PilotNoLonger, as with me; my will must love me too much; it refuses to let me go. : )

    @ Robin Datta

    Must confess do not understand the quote, but would like to understand some day.

    @ Wester

    What you wrote tore at me. I cannot believe what was done to the Native Americans. Perhaps one of my greatest sorrows. HAU, METAKUYEAYASI is a new, treasured and cherished phrase. Hello, my relatives… my precious, Onederful relatives. <3

    @ Tom

    What a collection of quotes. Dire…

    Your touching tale reminds me of what my sister once said when the car was passing through poor neighbourhoods in LA – she said, absolutely enraged, "Get me OUT of HERE!" All I could think silently, was, get YOU out of here. And that's a tender, loving family tale shared from yours truly. : )

    @ Amy Pike

    Yes, me too… am so very grateful for those who shine light on the truth. Like you! <3 : )

    @ Dr. McPherson

    "Prove you're on the endangered species list.* LOL.

  • On the question of choice:

    For all practical purposes, there is choice. I can think of things I’ve done that I’m ashamed of. Given the same circumstances, I wouldn’t do them again. Not that they wouldn’t be easy to do and I couldn’t get away with them, just that they are inferior types of behavior and unnecessary. The bigger, more rewarding prize is to abstain from those things. I’m aware of making the effort to change. If there is some hidden determinant behind this choice, I’m not aware of it. I’m working on the premise that everybody can make such choices. I’m sure I’m missing something, and I am genuinely curious about that.

  • A little skill in setting rat traps would have prevented the jay from stepping in it. I ain’t sayin, I’m jest sayin.

  • @ Anthony

    Thank you, absolutely agree with you. Although the trap was set properly, such traps must be placed in locations inaccessible to birds… yes. He was not caught by the foot. Those responsible will not ever let something like this happen again; they, as I, were utterly stricken by the event.

    Believe you me… not a moment hardly goes by when I do not now, to an even greater degree, assiduously enact painstaking consideration for all living creatures around me. Especially in the memory of this little, blue, bird.

    As for the little rats… the only consolation is that their death is swift and instantaneous. That is of small comfort, really, but that we all could die so quickly, and so easily, than the way so many of us finally take leave of our earthly existence.

  • Reese, I’m really glad you wrote this to add your original voice to the work you do in your interviews, and to make it more whole and heartfelt.

    Consideration for all the Life of the world, yes. The past several years I have allowed my previous lawn to return to the native plants that are everywhere around me. Over the summer the tall grasses are covered with dragonflies, butterflies of several kinds, and bees of several species. I can see eight or more dragonflies at a time, and an equal number of swallowtails. It is magic.

    This year, for the first time, I had a family of ravens nesting on the property. For about a week and a half after they left the nest, the babies perched on the tops of spruce trees around the house. They screamed for food all day long, which was about twenty hours a day. Even that had its rewards. I got to know new neighbors. I had no idea fledgling ravens carried on like that, but now I do.

  • When I was maybe five or six years old, living on the outskirts of Donaldson, Arkansas (population 500) in a dilapidated farmhouse that belonged to my paternal grandfather (who was Chancery Judge of Hot Spring County, clerk of the Saline Baptist Association and Vice Grand Dragon of the Arkansas chapter of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – three distinctions among which he apparently experienced no tensions), I has hanging out with one of the local kids in a barn on his family’s property and saw something amazing.

    He cornered a small toad in the barn, tied its hind legs to a length of roped twine, suspended it over an open oil drum, and proceeded to swing it back and forth with all his might against the inside of the drum until it had been reduced to its constituents: bone, blood, guts, skin and so forth.

    I screamed for him to stop and he just laughed at me.

    I think I came to understood something about human nature that day. It might be said that I lost my virginity on that occasion.

  • *understand

  • [If this is posted twice, I apologize.]

    Dear OldGrowthForest,

    There is this dream, you see, in which a young girl understands the deepest yearnings of her soul; that is, to live exactly as you describe where the natural wilds and wild things flourish. In this dream, she follows her fundamental heart to the natural fruition of all her dreams.

    How many, as Dr. McPherson proffered in our Gallows Humour Video, engage in the JOY Project, a Journey of Yearning project, instead? Me, for one. I have yearned for such as you have created, since before forever. I shall never have it, but am so grateful and overjoyed that you have it. Thank you for sharing it! In many ways, as you share your story, others such as I can appreciate vicariously.

    PS: I just went outside to hear the birds sing and recorded a bit of it… they were creating beautiful music while I read your comment. Lovely.

    Dear David Goza,

    Exactly… exactly.

    At this moment, I have very unclean thoughts and impure intentions towards your grandfather. I’m so sorry. Perhaps there’s a part of me that feels towards him, what he felt towards that little toad… a cold, vicious, dark, maliciousness.

    Your story knocked me well. It brought out in me the desire to tie your grandfather’s legs, hang him over the… well, you know… give him a taste, for what he stole from you and the other children.

    I hope you can forgive me for that. As Some hurt the innocent, one might harbour a similar darkness within them that wishes hurt upon the Some; those who are the Perpetrators and Purveyors of Darkness.

    The world can be a difficult place. Perhaps someone did something to a pet of his, and he wanted to give you all a taste of his pain?

    But really, I suppose I just want to know how YOU overcame. I hope you have been able to come to a place of liveliness. Oh… i meant loveliness… but liveliness will do.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Stories like yours just energize me further to do more on behalf of the innocent.

  • Reese,

    When I was 7 I rescued a little blue jay that had fallen from a nest far up in a maple tree. I brought it to my Mom, who put it in a box with a towel in my bedroom. She would feed it hard boiled egg that she moistened in her mouth first. I was absolutely enthralled watching that little bird, and watching my mother feed it. One day I did not make sure to latch the door to my room. One of cats got in, whom I also adored, and ate the bird. All I found was a circle of little blue feathers.
    One does one say to oneself when the fault is squarely and undeniably one’s own?

  • Dear Anthony,

    What an excellent question. I do not have an answer, but will say, in my most humble opinion, that you are wholly innocent. Forgiving others is a thing of beauty and release. Forgiving one’s self is of equal importance. These things happen, will happen, and we must go on. That you so deeply cared, is enough.

    I remember a tale of a young mother who had a pet canary she treasured as one of her own children. One day, while she was baking, the little bird stepped upon the hot stove and shrieked in horrible pain pain. The mother deftly flicked the little bird into the flame to die a fiery, but quick, death.

    There was not ever another word said about this… assuredly the mother felt a anguish that so many of us may understand. She had to let it go and move on… although it seems she never did get another bird.

    These things happen to the best and most noble of individuals. They are… INEVITABLE. Not a one of us, is perfect.

    Like a flame lighting another flame, let our caring and love spread and perhaps, save another little bird or three, and grace the innocent with the blessings of our deep knowing.

    There is a military movie when the sergeant says something to the effect, “Pain is your friend. Pain is your teacher. Pain lets you know that you are still alive. And pain is the rage and motivation to keep you going, when nothing else will.”

    Our pain of sorrow and regret in an indication of some form of nobility of spirit, the signs of a good conscience, a tender heart, a gentle spirit. All of these are a blessing to ALL those around us, if we allow these feelings within us, to grow and expand.

    I apologize, i just don’t know about these things… but again, I see you faultless. It’s over. If I were the spirit of that little bird and saw your sorrow, I would wish you happiness and joy, and every time you were kind and good to another because of the memory of me, I would feel so blessed and overcome with joy.

    And, because of your question, I find some sort of release in writing this to you, and I write to myself, as well.

    Blessings, my friend! Be free! Let us all be free, and be the joy that we would wish for all others, great and small, furred and unfurred. <3

  • @ David Goya

    Hello David, sorry to be a bother. But, I must add to my response. Tonight, Youtube presented a video about a young girl who harmed others. Horrifically abused as a child, she came to the realization through therapy, that she didn’t want to be alone in her pain. Perhaps your grandfather didn’t want to be alone in his pain. A group of happy, playful children… too light for his dark. But after his action, they would be damaged and wounded, as he, and he could revel in their shock and misery, and not be so all alone.

    In trying to understand these things, it seems one might be of greater benefit… It’s late… hope that made some sense.

  • The Old Ones Still Can See it in Their Dreams

    Unending waves of green beneath the sun
    Constantly in motion, change
    From green to gold, this familiar
    inland sea, the land’s own ocean.
    Reflecting in their eyes

    They dream of horses and dogs
    And always the absent buffalo.
    Those great dark beasts, ridden away
    When their world shattered…, doomed
    to roam in scattered pieces.

    Like words of strangers, quickly passed
    Sounds of larks pouring their songs in
    the afternoons – all flown away
    their music gone, forgotten..

    The coyotes wail louder, leftover
    remains of what almost was –
    The lands grow bare.
    Sagebrush teases
    each clumsy attempt
    at restoration –

    The sky is glass,
    the land is tired.
    The old, lost in their dreams
    The young – vanished.

  • very beautiful, Queenie. incredibly evocative. thank you.

  • @ Queenie

    Yes, agree with Mo Flow… so hauntingly beautiful.

    I saw things in my mind’s eye as I read your post. As if reliving things. Thank you…

  • Reese,
    Your words will be my treasures for a long time to come. I can’t remember the last time anyone wrote such beautiful words for me while knowing so little about me. I love you.

  • Dear Jean… i am so humbled. The beauty you saw was the beauty in you…

    As the Lakota might say, Hello, My Sister. ♥

  • Reese,
    I have always had a problem in an English milieu with my name. In Francais, my name is Jean, as in Jean Chretien, an ex Canadian prime minister. It is pronounced the same way as in the word ‘Genre’ but without the re. I apologize if that was misleading, but while changing my name to John solves the problem, I would still prefer using the name I was given, even in English. I am so sorry, and I do hope that you will be able to accommodate that perspective in your heart. As I have argued with many people during my life, gender has nothing to do with one’s love, or love of nature, except that young females don’t usually hunt for squirrel tails…. or maybe they do??? Hope you are not too disappointed….

  • Disappointed? Hardly.

    Hello, my brother. ♥ :)