Edge of Extinction Episode #4

With my thanks, this episode of Edge of Extinction was created by Ivey Cone at Fuki Cafe

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Please visit the DONATIONS tab. I’m wide open to non-monetary donations, subject only to your creativity. For example, I would appreciate your generosity with respect to frequent-flyer miles.
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Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. Tune in every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here.

This week’s show featured a long interview with award-winning poet Cameron Conaway. It’s archived here. Next week we’ll interview Paul Craig Roberts.

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19 February-4 March 2015, In and around New York City, New York (details below, more forthcoming)

24 February 2015, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m., Spoonbill Books, 218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, telephone 718.387.7322. Reading and signing books, with plenty of time for Q&A, wine, and cheese. Details here.

27 February 2015, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., Project Reach, 39 Eldridge Street, Suite 4, New York, New York

1 March 2015, 6:00 p.m. Woodbine Books, 18-84 Woodbine Street, Flushing, New York. Reading and signing books, with plenty of time for Q&A.

4-16 March, northern California. Details to follow.

22 March – 3 April Boston, Massachusetts. Details to follow.

6-30 April 2015, western Europe (additional details forthcoming, and follow the tour on Facebook)

European tour spring 2015
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McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available.

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If you have registered, or you intend to register, please send an email message to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. Include the online moniker you’d like to use in this space. I’ll approve your registration as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience.

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Tech note, courtesy of mo flow: Random issues have been appearing with posting comments. Sometimes a “Submit Comment” click will return a 404 Page Not Found, or another error, for no apparent reason. To ensure you don’t lose a longer comment, you can right-click select all, and right-click copy, in the comment box before clicking “Submit.” If that hasn’t been done, the comment text will likely still be in the comment box when clicking the back button, or the forward button — depending on the error — on your browser.

Comments 43

  • Eh

    The times are not pleasure anointed:
    Everything’s fucked and disjointed;
    If I were, to let’s say,
    Not wake up the next day,
    I don’t think I’d feel disappointed.

  • Well said, Guy. I was thinking the same thing when I watched the address to the Nation. It proves all the more that the Human Experiment on Earth is doomed to fail as we will never change our ways. And still, I’m waiting for the biggest headline of all to hit the newspapers, “NTHE Coming Soon.” Instead, it’s all about jobs and oil. SIgh…

  • Good video, when the big O says climate change, he means green energy.
    General Electric = GE = Green Energy

    Could you make your video shorter, I have a hard time following them.

    Is the head of the Church of Euthanasia still alive? If so, why? Typical hypocrisy.

    Greens Vs. Thorium

    Tar Sands co-opts Thorium
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPpJicP7EkY

    Molten Salt Reactors in Five Years?

    An unbiased look at Molten Salt Reactors

  • Working with mo flo, trying again to post Part 3 from my 1/19/2015 comment that would not post due to Page Not Found errors. I changed one letter in the word penicilin (thus producing a misspelling). Note that that word came from text copied from Pauline’s comment quoted:

    Pauline,

    You wrote “The population only began to grow after the invention of penicilin, fossil fuel heating, and better medical care to treat the several thousands of years old maladies that came with living in cities as slaves for the owners (kings & queens).” I think that this summary provides an interesting partial truth. While on one hand, yes, it seems pretty clearly true concerning GLOBAL-scale human population growth, at the same time it works as an over-simplification that hides the important dynamic that human population boom-bust cycles appear to have played in many geographic areas when competition between groups of humans occurred over tens of thousands of years of human expansion over Earth before European agriculture developed. Though I do not presume to know, you seem to hold some of the romantic notions about early humans and their allegedly peaceful, ecological friendly nature made popular by Jean-Jacques Rosseau in the mid 1700s. If you do hold these romantic notions, I wonder what you would think after a careful reading of Ian Tattersall’s book Masters of the Planet, Steven LeBlanc’s Constant Battles, Lawrence Keeley’s War Before Civilization, Garry Hogg’s Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice, and Jared Diamond’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee. Consider just these two paragraphs from The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee:

    “In non-social species, murders are necessarily just of one individual by another. However, in social carnivorous species, like lions, wolves, hyenas, and ants, murder may take the form of coordinated attacks by members of one troop on members of a neighbouring troop — that is, mass killings or ‘wars’. The form of war varies among species. Males may spare and mate with neighbouring females, kill the infants, and drive off (langur monkeys) or even kill (lions) neighbouring males; or both males and females may be killed (wolves). As one example, here is Hans Kruuk’s account of a battle between two hyena clans in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater:”

    […]

    “Of particular interest in understanding our genocidal origins is the behaviour of two of our three closest relatives, gorillas and common chimpanzees. Two decades ago, any biologist would have assumed that our ability to wield tools and to lay concerted group plans made us far more murderous than apes — if indeed apes were murderous at all. Recent discoveries about apes suggest, however, that a gorilla or common chimp stands at least as good a chance of being murdered as the average human. Among gorillas, for instance, males fight each other for ownership of harems of females, and the victor may kill the loser’s infants as well as the loser himself. Such fighting is a major cause of death for infant and adult male gorillas. The typical gorilla mother loses at least one infant to infanticidal males in the course of her life. Conversely, thirty-eight per cent of infant gorilla deaths are due to infanticide.”

    Would we best conclude that many other animals, apes, and other Hominids, prior to Homo sapiens, killed each other in various forms of warfare and competition, but earlier humans presumably did not for tens of thousands of years prior to the invention of agriculture (because philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau and many people like the idea)? This conclusion does not make much sense to me.

    Jeff S.,

    January 18th, 2015 at 10:40 pm you wrote “And i won’t bother arguing with all the usual apologists for capitalist social relations who try to portray these relationships as being encoded in the human DNA.”

    No one I know of has presented any such ridiculous idea, other than you. DNA does not “encode” any such relationships. I for one do not, and have not, “apologized” in any way for capitalist social relations, which I consider for the most part insanely destructive. Neither do I wish to support patriarchy, which I also consider incredibly destructive. Please help me and others reading here to understand what motivates you so outrageously to make such suggestions. Do you really have such little understanding of the things that I and others DO write? Has someone hired you and others, who make similar outrageous suggestions, to do your best to produce horizontal hostility among commenters here at NBL? Do you just enjoy attempting to generate hostility among others, getting an emotional kick out of it when you succeed? Do you think it helpful in some way, or a strong argument, to attack the character of people who do not share your opinions, for example by insisting that they support industrial capitalism and/or patriarchy? I do not presume to know, so I ask you simply and directly: What motives you to make outrageous suggestions like this?

    kevin moore,

    Regarding your January 19th, 2015 at 11:39 am comment: Yep. Well put. We ALL remain fallible human beings with many weaknesses, much ignorance, and who make many mistakes. I think it obvious that despite many people’s wishes to the contrary, no mere human, or group of humans, has served, or ever will serve, as an infallible authority or leader. Each of us can only do our best knowing what little we know. Or so it seems to me. Just my opinion.

  • Colin,

    Thanks for your January 19th, 2015 at 2:54 pm comment. I do always work hard to use a minimum number of words, and minimal jargon to express and support an idea. Meanwhile, I think that over-simplification can, and often does, cause as much trouble as too much or too detailed information. So I try to strike a good balance that most of a particular reading audience can follow and will go to the trouble of reading. In this process, I always remember that no matter WHAT I might write, say, or do, some people will understand it and some will not, some will like it, and some will not. I do know, as you put it so well, that “Delusions and hallucinations are solely subjective and, seemingly, will never be eliminated by such scrutiny.” My motives for writing for the most part do not include trying to change or convince people who prefer their delusions, hallucinations, fantasies, wishful thinking, and so on. In my experience, Albert Ellis had it spot on when he insisted that we do WELL to please half of other people half of the time, and we will drive ourselves nuts if we try to please everyone all of the time. Again, I do appreciate the heads up.

    Ed,

    Regarding your January 19th, 2015 at 5:58 pm comment: Cracked me UP! I love the way you summarized things, here, very well thought out and written! I expect that this paragraph captures the heart of the issue about as clearly and in as few words as possible:

    “Some think that nature bats last; while others think that consciousness actually bats last. In other words, even after sentient life ceases to exist on our little blue ball, the transcendentalist is confident that the primal consciousness that manifested itself here in countless forms, some of which were capable of self-sentient awareness, will continue to exist and manifest itself elsewhere. The materialist has no such confidence.”

    Yep. Pretty close to spot on regarding my materialist thinking about it. I write “pretty close” because I would write not that I have NO such confidence, but that I have VERY LITTLE such confidence. I acknowledge that the transcendentalists just might have it “right” and we materialists may have it “wrong”, though I consider that a very low probability indeed.

    Though I like your use of the Plato’s Cave allegory—very funny!—I do disagree with it in that in my opinion the blind people and elephant allegory fits our situation much better. To me, for all practical purposes we all remain blind and trying to touch different parts of the elephant in different ways, thus we come to different conclusions about the nature of the beast. So, based on this allegory, how do I see us materialists differing from the transcendentalists? I see us as doing our best actually to touch the elephant (though we really cannot), trying to touch much more of it, and trying to touch it in ways such that others can also touch it and either confirm or disconfirm our always tentative conclusions. Meanwhile, the transcendentalists do not actually try to touch it at all. Instead, they CONTEMPLATE touching it. (Yes, much more often than not confusing their symbols [their contemplations], with the thing symbolized [the actual elephant].) They behave like the alleged philosophers of old who argued for many years about how many teeth a horse supposedly has in its mouth, and then angrily threw out the young upstart who joined their group and subsequently suggested going out and counting them. Finally: “We report. You decide.”!

    Thanks Ed. I hardly know you, but I LIKE you! Very perceptive, great summary, and great sense of humor!

  • Good posts so far Benjamin,[Nla] pilot Robert,Funny and for Real,Wish I knew how to post a video let alone how to write. Learning. Hey Dr. McPherson could you do a another short and call it THE STATE OF THE PLACATION on the Edge of Extinction, A counter culture rebuttal to the establishment,with gallows humor or just plain brutal whatever,Please You will have to where a suit ! Thanks!just an old fool

  • Bud keeps doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result with each iteration. As are others.

  • More of this hyper-cynical, reductionist “Humans are savages”, “Humans are robots pre-programmed to rip each other to shreds” ennui. And from the social darwinist center of the planet, too. Bunk and piffle. it’s like Wilson’s “Social Conquest of Earth” never existed. Sheesh. People really need to get out more. Really.

  • I hear the train’s horn five miles away. Tracks don’t intrude here. The closest approach is that otherworldly place where the train slows and whines. Elsewhere its thoroughfare recedes. Here the distant moan is baffled and low, you won’t hear it if you breathe. This dirt road carries a pace agreeably, it doesn’t rush things. Behind me, without giving up a bit of honor, it meets and crosses those ominous tracks. I’ve been down there, at the mismatched crossroads of dirt and steel where the train wails. Away, in this, the other direction, dirt road narrows to footpath until it slips below woods’ blanket. A leafy comforter. Final bed made.

  • Wester,

    January 21st, 2015 at 6:48 pm you wrote, “More of this hyper-cynical, reductionist ‘Humans are savages’, ‘Humans are robots pre-programmed to rip each other to shreds’ ennui. And from the social darwinist center of the planet, too.”

    I have not written or suggested any such outrageous ideas. This prompts the question: What motivates you to make such claims? Do you really have such little understanding of the things that I and others HAVE written? Has someone hired you and others, who make similar outrageous suggestions, to do your best to produce horizontal hostility among commenters here at NBL? Do you just enjoy attempting to generate hostility among people, getting an emotional kick out of it when you succeed? Do you think it helpful in some way, or a strong argument, to attack the character of people who do not share your opinions, for example by insisting that they support industrial capitalism, Social Darwinism, and/or patriarchy when they deny advocating them? I do not presume to know, so I ask you plainly, simply, and directly: Please help me and others reading here to understand what motives you to make outrageous suggestions like this.

  • Yes, I really have little understanding of the things written since they are, to my mind, verbose, dichotomous and fixed on arbitrary absolutes. Yes, I do have little understanding of the thesis that ALL humans are war-like, that all human society is based on plunder, pillaging and war. Yes, I do have difficulty dismissing clear examples of sensible social construction on the words of music professors who have a grudge against Rousseau, on the words of some US gov sponsored so-called scientist who doesn’t provide meaningful citations and for all we know rips off some anglo war monger masquerading as an archaeologist named Turney-High.

    Dismissing wholesale Native Americans and other indigenous examples of sensible human conduct, on the grounds that they are really just a pack of war mongers ready to destroy and leave scorched earth in their wake is not provocative? Is not incitement?

    Do you even know where you are? On whose land you are living it up partying? Genocide levels at the 95-99%? Indian Boading schools with death rates exceeding Nazi death camps? No concept that your society is the one who openly sterilized native and african people? That your society openly guinnea pigs its own people – its own soldiers? Drops nukes on the Marshall Islands, but oops, forgot to tell anyone living there??? Dropped atomic bombs on two whole cities. Openly massacred 200 women and children at wounded knee and dumped them all in a mass grave? Slavery? Drapetomania? Come on. Unless you know where you have been, you’ll have trouble finding where you are and certainly have no idea where you’re going.

    The US is a slaughterhouse. It is the project that has sunk the human experience. That’s you. Your country. Your so-called society. Your relations. Having wrapped one’s mind around that, I don’t see why one doesn’t immediately run out and burn the institutions and conventions that got us here to the ground. But no-o-o-o-o ….It’s ME….I’m Mr. Horizontal Hostility, not the one who closes and locks all the exists to the burning building and starts shouting that there’s no escape.

    Please spare me the thin skin, and playing the victim there, Bud. If all you are going to do is continue on about how ALL humans are hopeless, about how we are functionally just the same as grape jello mold, that people have no capacity to recognize or change their behavior (so why bother), that these are the TRUTHS that people need to accept and anyone who doesn’t is practicing some sort of human arrogance, that the texts and research that backs up this point of view are, to be polite, somewhat troubled, then whoa surprise that you get some push back. Heaven forbid.

    On second thought, if that’s what you have to tell yourself to make it through the day, then please, keep doing it. And if anything I write makes you unhappy, just quit reading what I write. Thanks.

    Is that two comments for today? Cheers

  • Wester, I adore you. I just do. You are just wonderful. Because you get the most critical moral imperative of all. Humans seem to have varying levels of moral insight and understanding. And a lot of what I experience from people is the wholesale avoidance of this one most important truth about that particular reality.

    I wrote a longer response but once I did I knew what the response to my response would be, and I changed my mind.

  • I find the extreme dichotomy between materialism and transcendentalism to be more of the same tribal divisions humanity faces (D vs. Rs, liberals vs. conservatives, progressives vs. libertarians, Seahawks vs. Patriots, the Borg vs. the Sith, etc.). There are many other possibilities and some cover all these bases.

    All this may be an ultimate test of our civilisation: will we get past our differences and transcend our tribal attitudes, or will we succumb to our base natures and make ourselves extinct (currently most likely)? Perhaps there’re Karadashev Type II (or higher) alien races watching us to see if we’ll make it, which would explain the Fermi paradox. No contact with alien races that don’t make it past the Kardashev Type I civilisation. (Yes, Lidia, thinking about aliens is also a waste of time.)

    Aside from that, I have two queries. The first one is a serious one and the second is rhetorical but feel free to provide your own answers if you wish.

    But if it’s all consciousness, why do we even have physical laws? One thing about my dreams, my visions, and when I still my mind (I’ve done eight hours at a time, which is my maximum) is a distinct absence of any kind of laws. Everything and anything is possible in my mind.

    What kind of an universe requires physical laws? I think there is at least one answer to this question, and evolution across time, is the great function that operates on this answer.

  • guyo smith,

    i’m not sure if you called me funny,
    i already know i’m funny but
    i have a sense of humor too.

    to insert a video into your comment,
    1) if on youtube, select and copy the address in your browser and paste into your comment
    2) embedded website videos can be selected by clicking on the “share this video” button (looks like 3 dots joined by 2 lines) which opens a dialog box showing the video address that you can select, copy and then paste into your comment.

    if i’m way off base, not to worry, it’s the thought that counts .)

  • guyo you can also right-click a video and left-click on “get url”
    then hold down the “Ctrl” key and tap the letter “C”
    this will copy the video
    you can now insert this into any statement by
    holding down the “Ctrl” key and tap the letter “V”
    and resume typing your message
    cheers

  • Wester,

    Okay. Thanks for your response. You make it clear that you have little understanding, indeed, of what I have written as well as why. I feel sorry that you think this way, and I can hear and feel your pain.

    It seems likely that we have a “perpetual problem” regarding some of our views. Other than emotionally demanding that others should and must share our opinions, avoiding problems, or denying important differences, none of which leads to very productive long-term consequences or positive relationships, and often lead ultimately to repeating cycles of violence, what process do you suggest people use here at NBL and in other areas of their lives to manage such conflicts that inevitably occur among people and to produce positive relationships?

    oldgrowthforest

    In my opinion, life on Earth serves as the Platinum, foundational moral value or imperative. Meanwhile, I recognize this as just my own personal, human supremacist view, based on my massive ignorance, and that no law of the universe suggests that life should or must unfold on Earth as I, or any other mere human, strongly believe it should. I feel curious to know what you consider “the most critical moral imperative of all”.

    Ram Samudrala,

    Of course the extreme dichotomy between materialism and transcendentalism exists as more of the same tribal divisions humanity faces now (and always have in our history), many other possibilities exist, and some may cover all these bases. I just found Ed’s framing well written, an interesting view that added a good bit of light to the discussion, and delightfully humorous.

    Regarding your queries, of course I do not think “it’s all consciousness”. To me, that resolves the question of why we have physical laws: because we live in a physical universe. Yep, I agree: Everything and anything remains possible within our thinking and fantasizing, AND none of those inner, subjective, abstract, symbolic experiences necessarily point to, connect with, or suggest that those things or processes exist outside of our heads or actually work as we imagine them.

    What kind of universe requires physical laws? It seems to me that a physical universe requires physical laws. And I think that evolution across time, works as one great function among many others that operates within this physical universe with its physical laws. Might other nonphysical universes exist, or universes that require different laws? Of course. Meanwhile, I—and we—remain massively ignorant of just this “known” universe, and I have plenty to keep me busy learning about this one without spending a lot of my limited time and energy contemplating the infinity of other possibilities that I cannot know anything about.

  • I hear that you’re curious, Bud. Thank you for sharing.

  • Wester Says:
    January 21st, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    The US is a slaughterhouse. It is the project that has sunk the human experience.
    =======================================
    In addition to what Guy said in the Episode #4 video, about our head of state confusing life with death (“we’re number one” at oil extraction; “we’re number one” at wind energy), a piece by N. Turse points out, as you indicated, that “we’re number one” at slaughter (Petroleum Civilization: The Final Chapter (Confusing Life with Death) – 3).

  • I’ve recently been discovering Guy’s work, and I’m deeply troubled by it, as anyone might be. (My disposition is anti-civilization, and I find myself siding with anti-civilization arguments more often than not.) I apologize for bringing this up on an unrelated post, but after reading the critiques written by Scott Johnson, I’ll admit that I’m very confused about the state of things, and this itself is troubling in itself. As someone who is not intimately familiar with environmental science (or any science, for that matter) Scott’s arguments seem to hold up, at least on the surface, and I don’t really know how to go about disproving (or proving) what he’s saying. I consider myself sort of a layperson in this respect, and I’m sure there are others like me who are fairly new to this subject and might be easily confused by drastically opposing (yet seemingly equally viable) viewpoints. Not being able to feel as if there’s a definite answer is frustrating and anxiety-ridden, of course. This is why, as much as I like Guy, I was somewhat disappointed when he did not refute at least some of Scott’s claims in a point-by-point fashion. I don’t want to place a burden on anyone, but I think that laypersons like myself and others would really appreciate clarification and response, with nuance, to some of Scott’s arguments. A detailed response addressing Johnson’s arguments for what they are would, at the very least, clear up some of the confusion and allow me to think a little more lucidly about this (massive) issue, myself, and my future. I’m sure I can’t be alone on that. Again, I’m sorry for bringing this up on an unrelated post, but it seems that I can’t comment on that old post.

    Thanks a lot, and thanks for the time and effort you put forth in trying to help people. It seems, to me, direly important.

  • Look around you – are you really comfortable with the world economy? If you are wary, that’s good, because a second great depression is about to strike, according to one of the top minds in the U.S. Intelligence Community. It almost happened in 2008, and only emergency one-time bailout borrowing staved it off (temporarily).

    But economic collapse is inevitable, and it’s coming fast. Maybe in the next six months. “They” already know, and are preparing their families. Now a CIA insider spells out exactly how and why a 25-year Great Depression is absolutely unavoidable.
    ;
    ;
    ;
    ,
    “Chronic anxiety is a state more undesirable than any other, and we will try almost any maneuver to eliminate it. Modern man is living in anxious anticipation of destruction. Such anxiety can be easily eliminated by self-destruction. As a German saying puts it: ‘Better an end with terror than a terror without end.”
    ― Robert E. Neale, The Art of Dying
    .
    …a breakdown of society could arise from rapid global population growth and unsustainable resource exploitation.
    .
    .
    Just ridin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.
    .

    .
    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.
    .
    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • Thanks for weighing in, threnodies. I encourage people to pursue what they love. I’m taking my own advice by not responding to relatively wealth, white, heterosexual men who misrepresent my work. I follow and present the evidence. As a result of their fear, they disparage me and my work.

    The relevant evidence can be found in ten minutes of video within the initial two “Edge of Extinction” posts. They’re here and here, in chronological order. Please bring to my attention any errors, bearing in mind that many people are now predicting collapse of industrial civilization this year, and a few are predicting an ice-free Arctic Ocean in September 2015.

  • Antarctic glacier dynamics as they’re happening right now.

    “The Fuse is Blown”. Glaciologist’s Jaw Dropping Account of a Shattering Moment:
    https://climatecrocks.com/2015/01/22/the-fuse-is-blown-glaciologists-jaw-dropping-account-of-a-shattering-moment/

    We’re so far beyond screwed we can’t even see it any more from here.

  • Just lessened to the ” The Fuse is Brown” Not very funny anymore The news is taking the fun out of things In Davos they are worried about currency war,they need to see this Jaw Dropping Account from the discouraged,disappointed Glaciologist. Thank you very much Robert Callaghan did not mean to offend Just respect for your comments and help sir, will try and post a relevant video like the one Paul Chefurka just did. I have no agenda here I just don’t want to be kicked off because this is the true place to be for abrupt climate change info. But most make it fun here in between the doom and gloom the reality of the times. We are at War all around the earth the US is the dealer the big banks the brokers of warand not just the currency side show,the .1% thinks they are above us, everything, the fray so good luck in your bunkers Bombs away, no more vision only love. We need need you Doc. we need the facts, forget the attacks haters hate

  • Mr Callaghan: I did not go thru all the vids u posted on thorium. Are u advocating nuclear or or mocking?

    Thanks.

  • Ram –

    “But if it’s all consciousness, why do we even have physical laws?”

    but if it’s not all consciousness, why do we have general mathematical laws, which appear to apply across all time and all space, which are discoverable purely through the processes of “internal” consciousness, and which have absolutely no concrete existence in external “physical reality” whatsoever? where is pi? under a rock? coded in DNA, maybe?

    pi is the same place RED is, and rocks and flowers are – and only there. in mind.

    if pi and RED and rocks and eagles are only in mind, and they all exist just as clearly and eternally (for our purposes) as the experience of gravity exists, why is the “law of gravity” not any more or less persistent for exactly the same reasons things like pi and RED and eagles are so persistent?

    Bud –

    “AND none of those inner, subjective, abstract, symbolic experiences necessarily point to, connect with, or suggest that those things or processes exist outside of our heads or actually work as we imagine them.”

    except when it “necessarily” does. which is pretty much all the time. RED tells us something about light. group theory, invented well over 100 years before QM or the Standard Model, turns out to be essential for both. these are just two examples of a process that happens all the time, and has been going for thousands of years now. minds contemplate things in the realm of pure symbolic abstraction, and they turn out to be bloody useful – astonishingly so – in making sense of the hard core physical universe.

    why is that? this conundrum has plagued thinking humans for a long time now.

    and of course, we have this:

    “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” ~ Einstein

    which is pointing to exactly what I have been saying. this process – sussing out mathematical and physical law – has only just begun. not only that, there is every reason to believe it will never end.

    why? because that “think” called Consciousness is infinitely creative. Bud and others can pretend to be happy within their self-created walls, even pretending they never actually put those walls there in the first place.

    others of course do not have to be either content or happy with those boundaries.

  • Prediction

    The denier made fun of his view,
    And said, “There’s no need to feel blue”;
    The doomer shot back,
    “Things are all out of whack,
    And someday you’ll feel like me too.”

  • Hey Paul! i saw this one earlier today (and completely agree on your assessment):

    http://phys.org/news/2015-01-lakes-beneath-ice-greenland-weeks.html

    Two lakes beneath the ice in Greenland, gone within weeks

    Researchers who are building the highest-resolution map of the Greenland Ice Sheet to date have made a surprising discovery: two lakes of meltwater that pooled beneath the ice and rapidly drained away.

    One lake once held billions of gallons of water and emptied to form a mile-wide crater in just a few weeks. The other lake has filled and emptied twice in the last two years.

    Researchers at The Ohio State University published findings on each lake separately: the first in the open-access journal The Cryosphere and the second in the journal Nature.

    One lake once held billions of gallons of water and emptied to form a mile-wide crater in just a few weeks. The other lake has filled and emptied twice in the last two years.

    Researchers at The Ohio State University published findings on each lake separately: the first in the open-access journal The Cryosphere and the second in the journal Nature.

    Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State, leads the team that discovered the cratered lake described in The Cryosphere . To him, the find adds to a growing body of evidence that meltwater has started overflowing the ice sheet’s natural plumbing system and is causing “blowouts” that simply drain lakes away.

    “The fact that our lake appears to have been stable for at least several decades, and then drained in a matter of weeks—or less—after a few very hot summers, may signal a fundamental change happening in the ice sheet,” Howat said.

    The two-mile-wide lake described in Nature was discovered by a team led by researcher Michael Willis of Cornell University. Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor of earth sciences at Ohio State, is a co-author of the Nature paper, and he said that the repeated filling of that lake is worrisome.

    Each time the lake fills, the meltwater carries stored heat, called latent heat, along with it, reducing the stiffness of the surrounding ice and making it more likely to flow out to sea, he said.

    Bevis explained the long-term implications. [uh-huh, uh-huh, he said long-term, uh-huh-huh, uh-huh]

    “If enough water is pouring down into the Greenland Ice Sheet for us to see the same sub-glacial lake empty and re-fill itself over and over, then there must be so much latent heat being released under the ice that we’d have to expect it to change the large-scale behavior of the ice sheet,” he said.

    Howat’s team was first to detect the cratered lake described in The Cryosphere, on a spot about 50 kilometers (31 miles) inland from the southwest Greenland coast earlier in 2014. There, previous aerial and satellite imagery indicates that a sub-glacial lake pooled for more than 40 years. More recent images suggest that the lake likely emptied through a meltwater tunnel beneath the ice sheet some time in 2011.

    [there’s more]

  • mo flow, Pi is there whenever there is a shape of a circle (or a sphere, or various other material objects). It’s ALWAYS there whenever a circle or sphere is present in our universe at least and it is ALWAYS the same. In my dreams I’ve dreamt up many variations of Pi, but it’s only in my dreams, not in ALL our dreams. Why is Pi always the same in relation to a circle?

    Red, rocks, etc. are different from Pi, and indeed are as much in the mind as they are in reality. Your red and my red can be different. What you call a rock and what I call a rock can be different. Pi is not like that. I’m not talking about definitions and symbols: I’m talking about relationships: You can safely assume that the relationship between a circle, its radius, area, (and Pi) are going to ALWAYS be the same and NEVER go wrong, in any language, in any mind. There’s only one way to frame this relationship in our universe.

    Which “law of gravity” are you talking about? Do you mean Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation? This is not the same as Pi either.

    The other “laws” are also like Pi if they are true laws, and if they are a theory that has been verified so often that we call it law, then that’s subject to change. With science you never know this for sure, but we’ve yet to see a violation for Pi.

    Of course, dreams and the mind are limitless. The physical universe is limited. That’s my point. Why is it limited if it’s all mind.

    Remember, I said I’d change my mind entirely if you provided me with the evidence I asked for. I’m still waiting.. :/

  • Ram –

    if I am dreaming of the mathematical relationship between a circle’s circumference and diameter, and I am not experiencing precisely pi in that dream, then I am merely having a personal dream experience that cannot be connected to the commonly agreed definition of pi – commonly agreeable say with an alien who lives just across the Milky Way from me.

    if I am dreaming of a group of 1.003 x 10^21 carbon atoms arranged in a diamond lattice crystal structure, then I am dreaming of a 1 carat diamond.

    if an alien who lives across the Milky Way is also dreaming of exactly the same amount of carbon atoms in the same arrangement, she is also dreaming of “a diamond” – or whatever her label would be.

    if I am holding in my hand, right now, a completely pure collection of 1.003 x 10^21 carbon atoms arranged in a diamond lattice crystal structure, then I am holding a 1 carat diamond. this diamond has exact properties – total amount of energy, distance relationship between atoms, an exact number of atoms, etc.

    the same (awake) alien could be holding the exact same structure in her hand right now.

    we are “experiencing” – the alien and I – something that is completely identical in every way, as far as its physical makeup is concerned.

    if that alien “sees” a shape of pure, total blackness in that rock, and I “see” a shape of glittering rainbow colors, that makes exactly no difference to the nature of what that rock is.

    agreed?

    we are both experiencing “something.” we can both agree, to arbitrary precision, using the scientific method (after we harmonized our language to some degree) that this “something” has certain exact properties we both agree on.

    we can also do exactly the same thing with a circle’s radius and circumference, this alien and I.

    now, it turns out this alien and I both have a similar disease. we have fallen into a coma, and will be in this coma for the rest of our lives.

    during our coma, we are dreaming, the two of us, that we live across from each other, in a common galaxy, and we are experiencing this with billions of other beings, each on our own planets, and we both have things like carbon and circles, and science and math, on our planets.

    we “personally experience” our senses differently – she sees a jet black rock where I see glittering rainbows, but other than that, we are exactly stuck in the same kind of coma.

    so, for each of us:

    – where is reality?

    – where is carbon?

    – where is light?

    – where are photons?

    – where are definition and symbol?

    – where is relationship?

    – where is personal experience?

    – does it matter where any of these things are?

    – if it does matter, where is that “mattering” taking place?

    “I’m still waiting”

    I’m still trying to wake up from my current coma.

    hopefully very soon.

    where I will be when I wake up, I have no clue. big mystery. but I will do my best to let you experience, as often, repeatedly, and reliably, as much evidence as I possibly can. rock solid guarantee.

  • mo flow,

    I will respond to your January 22nd, 2015 at 12:55 pm response to Ram’s question, “But if it’s all consciousness, why do we even have physical laws?” You responded, “but if it’s not all consciousness, why do we have general mathematical laws, , which are discoverable purely through the processes of ‘internal’ consciousness, and which have absolutely no concrete existence in external ‘physical reality’ whatsoever? where is pi? under a rock? coded in DNA, maybe? I would say:

    *First, we have physical laws that appear to apply across all time and all space. Then, at least in some cases it appears, we invent abstract, logical, mathematical symbol systems that may, or may not, more or less accurately “represent” that physical world outside of our heads. Sometimes our mathematical models “fit” and “work”; as any physics student knows, extremely often they do not. We learn about the (lucky) nature of the fit through testing the models, observational experience, in the world. If the model fits in a useful way, we continue to use it. If it does not, we reject it and try a different model. The apparent paradox of having mathematical laws that fit grows directly out of “counting the hits while ignoring the misses” in our historical model construction and testing processes—an ever-so-common and popular probability and statistics error. When we try enough abstract models, eventually, with LUCK, we come upon one that works.

    You wrote, “if pi and RED and rocks and eagles are only in mind, and they all exist just as clearly and eternally (for our purposes) as the experience of gravity exists, why is the “law of gravity” not any more or less persistent for exactly the same reasons things like pi and RED and eagles are so persistent?”

    *Here you write an assumption that I disagree with: that pi, red, rocks and eagles presumably exist only in one’s mind. You and others may, in a rigidly human-centered way insist on this, but disagree. I think, in a much more humble, less anthropocentric way, that an entire universe of possible mathematical relationships, electromagnetic spectrum frequencies, rocks, eagles, and so on, exist “out there” whether any mere humans exists to perceive and conceive of them or not.

    In response to my statement that “AND none of those inner, subjective, abstract, symbolic experiences necessarily point to, connect with, or suggest that those things or processes exist outside of our heads or actually work as we imagine them.” you wrote:

    “except when it ‘necessarily’ does. which is pretty much all the time.”

    Really? It seems intuitively obvious to me that humans can fantasize or otherwise dream up VASTLY more auditory, visual, taste, touch, and other images and concepts than actually exist in the physical world. This seems blindingly obvious to me.

    Yes, “minds contemplate things in the realm of pure symbolic abstraction”, and ONLY SOMETIMES do they turn out to provide much, if any, use. As I described above, if you count the far greater number of misses, as well as just the hits, nothing seems particularly “astonishing” about this at all.

  • I’m saying Pi (or really the relationship between a circle, its circumference, its radius, area, etc.) are beyond your or an alien’s experience—they exist independent of it. Circles and spheres form in nature (outside of humanity), starting with the quantum world. The relationship between circumference and radius stays the same, which is where Pi comes from. You asked where was Pi encoded, and that’s where it is encoded, in the structure or shape of a circle (among many other objects). The relationships are constant. I’m asking why do we have constants in a pure consciousness world? That’s why it matters. In my dream world, I don’t have any constants. I never do. But even if I did, I’d bet my constants wouldn’t equal yours. I’m asking why do we have constants if it’s all consciousness.

    I believe we have constants because our universe is really like a computing device (Turing’s formal language definition). If there is a universal consciousness, it arose after some of these relationships (and structures) came about (and it requires a sufficient number of interacting objects/units with sufficient complexity to happen). With your “it’s all consciousness” model, it means that the first dreamer dreamt of a circle with exactly these relationships between its radius/diametre, circumference, area, and held it to be the same from then on to forever. Why is it like this?

    I’m not talking about how we talk about these things; I’m talking about physical laws (i.e., laws of physics, not laws related to material or physics things—my argument isn’t limited to the material world). And I mean laws as in constants, not a number but things that are ALWAYS true and have been true before humans even arose on this planet. No exceptions (the “law of gravity” is not really a law).

    Unless you think the objects we call circles and spheres don’t happen independent of humans, i.e., these shapes didn’t exist in nature before the first sentient being, let alone life form, arose. Do you?

    The experiment was designed such that your rock solid guarantee is completely unnecessary. If there is signal relative to control, it is evidence.

  • Ram –

    in my dream world, I have constants I agree on with with billions of other beings, and that we also agree would exist even if we were not here. and in other parts of my dream world, I have experiences that I only experience myself – pure solo.

    and in yet other parts, I am agreeing with billions again, and in other parts, only agreeing with my alien friend across the Milky Way, and in still other parts, there are billions of us arguing heatedly, and in another part, there is zero disagreement, because there is only One of us.

    and then I am back here again, with my alien friend, just the two of us, and we are arguing about whether right now we are actually telepathically communicating with each other, and trying to come to an agreement about our common coma-disease dream experiences, or are we really not dreaming at all?

    or is there actually only one of us, or really two of us, or billions of us, or none of us?

    “your rock solid guarantee is completely unnecessary” – meaning necessary that I make the choice to follow through! I am not going to wake up, and then say “screw this nonsense.” that is my guarantee. I have to take further action at that point, as we have agreed.

    (apologies to myself for the overpost)

  • Well, agree on the constants with me (without me informing you) and you’ll have proven it right? This is why I designed the experiment as I did when you asked what’d convince me. Because right now I don’t agree with you. My relationships and your relationships aren’t the same.

    But you still haven’t answered my question. I’m going with your assumption there’s only one. Let’s say it’s your dream we’re all having. In your dreams, why do you have a constant even if there’s only one of you, throughout your entire dream? Why not change it up? Why NEVER EVER change it up? How boring/unimaginative is my point. 🙂

    How many of us there are is a different question actually and it could have multiple answers. There could indeed be only one of us, but that one could be a single being/brain with a physical structure. I’m saying this is what the more likely case is (if it is all consciousness), and it doesn’t start with “all consciousness”, that there’s an underlying set of objects interacting to create it. This is why there are these constants, since they represent some underlying reality that is composed of some geometrical structures (circles, spheres, triangles, etc.) upon which everything rests. A sphere shape alone would be enough to explain many physical laws (a sphere includes a circle).

    Sorry, I misunderstood.

    Apologies to everyone for the overpost. I’ll repost tomorrow if needed.

  • Fuku Still Going Strong

    Long after we’re gone, that excreter
    Will be fouling the sea’s every liter;
    But still, I must say,
    It’s a small price to pay
    For energy too cheap to meter.

  • Pat:

    Outstanding you are back. Your prescient analysis is always fascinating, which is why I frequently copy and paste your contributions onto my favorite quotes page.

    ” Modern man is living in anxious anticipation of destruction. Such anxiety can be easily eliminated by self-destruction. As a German saying puts it: ‘Better an end with terror than a terror without end.”

    ― Robert E. Neale, The Art of Dying

  • Pat wrote: “Now a CIA insider spells out exactly how and why a 25-year Great Depression is absolutely unavoidable.”

    Is he one of the same CIA insiders who completely missed the collapse of the Soviet Union? It is always possible for the CIA to get something right once in while, they have done such a bang up job torturing goat herders and ending the war of terror.

    But of course, economic collapse appears to be a given, and something some people in power apparently want. Getting all the money in the world, even if it becomes worthless, is a goal of sorts.

  • I’ve posted a brief guest essay, accompanied by a short film. Catch it here.

  • oldgrowthforest

    I was wondering about your beliefs and methods of coping as a native american.

    In these times there is no out. I’ve accepted this. I have sort of become immobile. The world is completely breaking down before our eyes. There seems to be no way to approach my children. How wd you handle this? Maybe u would be willing to write an essay for NBL?

    Or, it be a topical discussion in the *Batter Up* section of NBL?

  • .
    Thanks Frank.
    .
    I just pop in every once in a while to see what’s new.
    .
    Just ridin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.
    .

    .
    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.
    .
    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • Ben – knockin’ ’em outta da pahk again! Thanks man – always enjoyable.

  • Hi, Shep. My coping has been to return to my traditions as much as possible. But it has been a work in progress ever since I could remember. I and my former spouse built our house ourselves 23 years ago. So I got out of a mortgage as soon as I could, which was in my late 30s. Even before all this I was subsistence salmon fishing for food, and growing a nice garden. In the summer, we could go for four months buying only milk, eggs, and wheat from the grocery store.

    Of course, with elders being 19th Century Native Americans, consumerism was never even a part of their lives. As a very small child I would “work” beside them in the gardens, Granny made me take the chicken heads to the burn barrel at the back of the yard. They were sometimes still moving. I was only four.

    So, I have built my version of a “mud hut,” something that has sheltered me for many years, that is not nearly as energy efficient as the “mud hut,” but oh, man, did it ever do a lot and for the whole thing, land, septic, well, well pump, elec and phone on the land, a wood stove, cost less than $50K.

    The thing my heritage gave me is a Zen-like simplicity, and a life-long sense that it is “okay” to live that way. For us it wasn’t “poverty,” it was “the way the Indians did it.”

    Also, my heritage prepared me for the evil stupid that has overtaken the world. It’s not new to us. Also, it showed me that people can be quite intelligent, even brilliant, without live in their heads in an artificial reality of abstractions.

    But my heritage was not enough in itself. With a few exceptions, I need other Native people, because it’s just different. Their heads are different, and it’s “okay” with them, too, to be “poor” the way we are. We have our own wealth, and some of it we will take with us when we die, no matter what anyone takes away from us now.

    I don’t think I have a whole essay on this, but maybe.

    Thank you so much for asking, Shep. I’m enjoying our short conversations.

    ogf

  • My bad on excessive posts. Excuse, please. One more thing, Shep, I grew up working with my hands early. All the women in my family with one single exception were gifted at sewing, I mean tailor quality, 3-piece suit level sewing, and at knitting and crochet. They no longer did bead work, or made moccasins, but they brought their skills and their focus on practical, handmade items to the new items they created that were more mainstream. In essence, they were still living their culture, but the external trappings had changed. The dresses were no longer made of deerskin. I sewed my first dress when I was eleven, and made most of my own clothes as a young adult. It was easy then because I lived in hot climates. You wear lighter clothes.

    Anyway, I think that part of my cultural heritage prepared me to be self-sufficient. And always, since we always talked about how Indian people lived, how they grew their food, how they danced together, and how it was good. It was good. It wasn’t “primitive,” it was respect for the earth and life.

    And I created a cottage industry creating something useful with my hands, felted wool slippers, that are 100% natural and sustainable, that are very much in keeping with all my ancestry, the Northern European and the Native American. And now I look like many quite poor Native women and men around me who hawk their goods, their beaded earrings and moccasins, their baleen and their ivory carvings. I go to the hospital and talk my friends and sell my slippers, because the people buy from native people all the time. I go to crafts fairs and farmers markets.

    I think my cultural heritage instilled this way of life in me, and it is really the only one I am comfortable with. It makes sense to me in this world at this time.