Forbidden Thoughts and Sacred Obligations

by TDoS at Pray for Calamity

When I was a younger man, I very much wanted to be taken seriously. To be taken seriously was to be asked your opinion. It was to be allowed a seat at the grown-up’s table in politics, economy, and all other matters that intelligent individuals busied themselves with. I wanted to be considered smart by other people who were considered smart. This meant that I had to be skeptical of any claims not supported by the dominant culture, shucking anything deemed mystical or superstitious. To be considered smart meant carrying an attitude of superiority, even open hostility towards anyone who claimed any truth not stamped with approval by the science of the dominant culture. Now I talk to trees.

My younger self would ridicule my present self, haughtily proclaiming the superiority of his well founded, reasonable ideologies. My present self would pity my younger self, and exit the conversation, too tired to expend what little communicative energy I have on someone so seemingly bereft of the ability to even momentarily entertain an idea that ran contrary to their set of inherited cultural dogma.

It is easy now to see that I was in a trap back then. As most young people are, I was attempting to make my way in a culture of accumulation, and thus I had to look and sound the part if I wanted to be accepted into the fold of “productive society.” Since abandoning any ambitions for career I have taken on various forms of employment to get by, and this has meant a lot of work in bars and restaurants. Briefly, I worked in a breakfast cafe in a college town that was home to a popular business school. Working there I would see students, mostly young white men, sitting at tables wearing ties and speaking in the language they were being conditioned to speak. It was strange to witness. I would wonder exactly where the break happened when these young men decided that they wanted to be just like their fathers. They probably wanted to be called “successful” by other people. They probably wanted to be considered smart. This would mean dressing, speaking, acting, thinking and even at their very core believing as their predecessors had initiated them to. They wanted to be taken seriously.

The year two thousand and fourteen was the hottest year ever recorded on planet Earth. Over the course of the year we were bombarded with statistics highlighting the peril of our time: Fifty percent of animal life has been killed over the last forty years, the Antarctic ice sheet melt has passed the point of no return, and coal use is still on the rise globally. Even the timid, watered down, almost entirely feckless mainstream US environmental movement is starting to make a tiny bit of sense, in noting that capitalism has got to go if we are to survive. Of course, much of what these liberal environmentalists are seeking is capitalist reform, but I digress.

The truth of the matter is that of course capitalism has to go in order to preserve the habitability of the planet. That’s just the beginning. All of industrial civilization must go, but because this is a forbidden concept amongst the serious folk who attend conferences, do media junkets, or – I don’t know – hold a senate seat, it will never even reach the table to be laughed at. The maintenance of the dominant culture requires that certain ideas are forbidden. Such restriction of thought is achieved in a myriad of ways, including by what Noam Chomsky termed, the “manufacturing of consent.” By and large, forbidden ideas are boxed out of public discourse by professionals who frame debate very narrowly, permitting only officially acceptable viewpoints, which then filter down to the masses.

We saw this recently with the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri. The people of that city fought the police, and many of them had no problem declaring complete and utter disdain for the police as an institution. Despite the nearly five hundred Americans killed by police every year, and the untold number of assaults, robberies, frame ups, false arrests, and rapes committed by uniformed police officers, the dialog of so-called serious people is forbidden to ever move to a discussion of self defense against these villains, let alone abolishing them from civic life. Peter Gelderloos mentions this in his quinessential three part essay, Learning from Ferguson.

To allow people to fight back against the police, or to allow discussion of eliminating the police is forbidden because the police are a necessary component of a society of haves and have nots. In fact, I would be willing to bet there is a strong correlation between people who adamantly and unquestioningly support the police, and personal wealth, for the obvious reason that the more you have the more you have to lose. That means being happy that the taxpayers subsidize the jackboots who prevent even a public forum that might hint at discussing a redistribution of wealth.

After the Vietnam War, the propaganda ministers in the state realized that showing dead bodies on TV and in magazines had a demoralizing effect on the general public. Apparently the American population had some level of functioning empathy for other human beings, so broadcasting the corpses of dead US servicemen and even half burnt Vietnamese children soured their taste for carnage. Since realizing this, the US has locked out media that isn’t “embedded” from war zones, and despite the over a million dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, ten years of war haven’t found themselves plastered on the nightly news in any unbecoming fashion, despite the plentiful material. The children born deformed due to depleted uranium poisoning caused by US munitions should have been enough to wrench even the blood thirstiest of hawk bellies in the US, but their visages were never given a chance.

Forbidding an image and forbidding an idea are both attempted for the same reason; control. If you control what people think, you can control how they act. Even the most ardent critics of US policy will proclaim up and down their patriotism, less they be banished from serious forums. Sit and think for a few moments and I imagine you could come up with your own short list of forbidden ideas, never to be discussed, not by serious people. Civilization and its dominant culture have been practicing this tactic of control since inception, and there is an idea that has been so terrifying to the rulers of the civilized world that stamping it out has been an ongoing and bloody task for over ten thousand years. The most forbidden of ideas, is that the Earth is alive.

Serious people are concerned with objectivity. They perceive the universe to be a clockwork machine governed by laws and made of various inert bric-a-brac that can be manipulated to serve their purposes. Whether this manifests as a logging company cutting down a forest for timber, a meat packing concern quickening the rate at which they slaughter cows, or bulldozers scraping away layers of Earth in order to access the bitumen deposits beneath, the source of the thinking is the same. The land is dead. Inert. It is raw material waiting to be put to purpose by human hands. Further, knowledge and understanding of the universe and its lifeless bodies is to be achieved only through the application of western scientific principles. Anything that cannot be observed and quantified with the five human senses does not exist.

Even things that are alive, like trees and animals can be reduced with a trick of thinking into nothing but their component pieces. Trees don’t have brains, so they cannot think or feel or experience, so they are worthless except as corpses. Animals may have brains, but those brains lack significant cortex or numbers of neurons, and so they cannot think or feel or experience, so they are worthless except as corpses. Throughout the history of civilization this rationale has been applied to humans as well. Whenever anyone is in the way of some expectation of power or wealth, they are reduced to nothingness, just a fleshy sum of their cells with a measly few watts of current surging through them. Not sophisticated, not refined; much like animals really, and animals are worthless except as corpses, so let the homicide begin. This mental twisting is the death rite of civilization. It is the lullaby people in business suits sing so they can stay focused on the cash while they order another chimpanzee vivisected, purchase a new gas lease, or sign off on limited airstrikes over a civilian population.

In my life I have walked through forests clear cut for oil pipelines. I have driven through the shale plays of West Texas. I have seen copper mines, and coal mines, and all sorts of other massive holes blasted and scraped into the face of the planet. Many people have seen these things. Of course, many people work in these places and on these projects. The difference is that upon the witnessing I feel something very somber that nags at me from the inside. It is the feeling that gripped you as a child when you saw someone joyfully inflict pain upon someone helpless or weak while you were powerless to interfere. Because of this feeling I could never participate in ecologically destructive activities. It would feel wrong, like treachery, like stabbing my mother in the gut for a paycheck.

And I think this feeling matters. This feeling is part of the foundation of my personal ethos from which my principles blossom. In short, my feelings of connectivity with the living world create in me a sense of responsibility to protect her, and a refusal to accept harming her for personal gain. Often I wonder why so few people feel this particular empathy, but then I know the answer. People have been trained by the dominant culture to think of all of these environmentally degrading activities as harmless. They have been raised since childhood by people themselves raised since childhood to believe that the Earth is dead. They have been told by respectable people to believe that forests are not alive and that plants do not feel and that at the end of the day, everything is arbitrary and meaningless. There is an undercoat of nihilism which makes progress possible.

For generations people have been bullied into believing that the nagging in their conscience is an illusion caused by the brain. When a forest makes you feel good, it is you fooling yourself. When you feel deep love for a place or for other living beings, it is an illusion, merely a sudden influx of serotonin in some receptor in your gray matter. And who are you anyway? Just some cells, some neurons, some electricity. What is your love? Your desire? Your fear? They are nothing. Reflexes. Chemicals. The aimless, endless spinning of molecules through space and time. Reduce it all down, break it into pieces. Scatter them until you feel nothing at all. Now go make some money. Be productive. For Christ’s sake, be serious.

My friend is indigenous to the land now called Canada. I ask him what it means to be a warrior, to have as a component of one’s culture a warrior society. He points me to talks given by other first nations people which elucidate that in various indigenous languages the word “warrior” is understood differently than it is in English. It isn’t aggressive, on the offense, macho, seeking to conquer. To be a warrior is to be a shield bearer, a person who takes very seriously their sacred obligation to maintain the health of the land so that it can be passed on for many generations to come. The ethos of such people forms their worldview, and this worldview informs their actions. The end result is a relationship with one’s home that is not about domination and taking, but acting with reciprocity. Such a mindset is a barrier against excess and greed and wanton destruction of the land.

Under the dominant culture, there are no sacred obligations. We are told from birth that work, production, and the pursuit of material wealth is the path taken by serious people. Those who rebuff their instruction to accumulate for the sake of accumulation are losers and bums. If one wants to defend their home, such intuitions are bent to the cause of imperial full spectrum dominance. Home is converted to country, and the battlefield is determined by a board of directors. This is not an ethos with a future. It is a toxic set of ideas and myths that will guide human minds to the edge of the world and then over. This idea is a parasite, and its hosts are pushing the ecosystems of the Earth to the brink.

My friend tells me about the deal the wolf made with mother Earth:

The wolf signed a contract with Mother Earth. The contract is this. The wolf may compete with all other life for survival. The wolf may not force other life into extinction for the purpose of eliminating competition. The wolf may not damage habitat to eliminate competition. The wolf may not wage war to prevent other life from feeding on the wolf. If the wolf abides by these laws and is able to compete, the wolf will survive in brotherhood with all other life. All life signs this contract, except for a group of humans. Until those people sign on the dotted line they will be doomed. They may already be doomed.

What strikes me about this is that to make a contract with another is to stand as equals. Speaking of other beings or of the living planet herself as even able to enter into a contract is to grant to them the deference that they exist as you do; alive, dignified, valuable.

The dominant culture never seeks to stand equal with anything. It seeks only to dominate. It never presents obligations to its acolytes to defend other beings or the land. It makes demands of the land. The stark differences between these two perspectives is striking. One asks you to be a warrior and to take up a shield in defense of your mother. The other commands you to take up a sword – or a plow, or an axe, or a bulldozer – and to plunge it into her breast.

I am not in any way suggesting that non-native people need to appropriate native culture. What I am suggesting is that if the ethos of civilization goes unchallenged, then no matter how much awareness is raised and no matter how much people try to convert modern industrial society into a sustainable twin of itself, they will find only failure. After all, as Terrence McKenna said and I have oft quoted, culture is our operating system, and the dominant culture has a starting point where the land is already dead, so how then can it take us anywhere but to a future where this founding principle is materialized? Garbage in, garbage out.

How we go about changing the ethics, myths, and founding truths of people trapped in the cage of industrial civilization is not something I have a prescription for. In “The Road” Cormac McCarthy wrote:

Where you’ve nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.

So I walk my land and I talk to the trees. Maybe they can hear me and maybe they can’t. All of the serious people will laugh at my wasted breath. Smart people will try to convince me that I am only talking to myself. And maybe they are right. Maybe I am a madman babbling over hill and holler. But I can tell you this much for certain; I will never cut these trees down, and neither will my daughter. So in the end, who gives a damn?

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Comments 52

  • this is so good. so very very good! thank you, td0s.

    yes, the trees hear you. no “maybe” there at all. it is all alive, all listening, and wow – when it decides it wants to communicate back, and knows you are listening, available, and there to truly hear then look out. it knows no limit.

    once you enter into that contract… it is over for thinking you can ever take yourself seriously, again. but you can be part of something so wildly amazing, you certainly won’t give a damn about that anymore.

  • Fine summary of our predicament TDoS!

    On a different but indirectly related topic, I have never thought of it this way before but this simple rule, which just gelled for me, seems to apply and work very well:

    *In order to have any chance of encouraging others to think and behave rationally, given that humans exist first and foremost as highly sensitive emotional animals we need to speak and write to others in ways most likely to elicit POSITIVE emotional responses rather than in ways that will likely elicit NEGATIVE emotional responses. (This puts a little meat on the bones of John Gottman’s critical gentle start-up principle, which we spent a little time focused on in our last Tacoma ESG meeting.)

    To some people this may seem obvious, and in retrospect it does seem kind of obvious in a common sense sort of way, for example, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” But I do NOT see most people understanding and practicing this simple principle very often, much less most of the time! If it remains so allegedly “obvious”, then WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE PRACTICE IT FAR MORE OFTEN in writing letters, email, commenting on blogs, and in talking in person than they do? (For those who may care, John Gottman answers that question in great detail in his books, most recently Principia Amoris.)

    Wester,

    January 11th, 2015 at 6:53 pm, you wrote: “Might I suggest that the overpopulation problem is a rank overabundance of overprivileged westerners, their satraps, sock puppets and imitators. Please, please rid us of these vile odious varmints way before you get to the poor farmers in the hills of Laos and South China. This sentiment is way, way to close to “Useless eater” social Darwinism for my taste. If you are still saying that humans are dumb as jello mold in a petri dish, you really, really need to get out more. Dam the carbon and Get out. More. Thanks.”

    In response to this, Jeff S., January 11th, 2015 at 7:36 pm, says: “YEAH!!!”

    So, Wester and Jeff S., here you make it clear that you think exponential human population growth—strongly supported by many rich white guys in order to make more money selling stuff(!)—demonstrates both great human intelligence and free choice. You make it clear that you consider it of little or no importance historically or today regarding global heating with its abrupt climate change, ecological, and nuclear collapse. Furthermore, you suggest the completely nonsensical idea that anyone who has and expresses any concerns about human population growth must have a social Darwinist agenda. In addition to these points, you insist, as you have several times in the past, that only modern-day Westerners have had, and presently have, anything of significance to do with overpopulation on Earth, which actually has, contrary to your opinions, occurred on many various land bases, throughout all of human history, all over Earth.

    Wester and Jeff S., would you please help me and others here to understand your reasoning concerning these points? I, for one, definitely do not follow it at all. Your reasoning seems extremely self-contradictory and confusing to me. Clarification please?

  • What a joke, Bud Nye. You don’t want explanations and clarifications whatsoever, i learned that the hard way trying to have a dialog with you about private property and natural law. You are clearly a social darwinist (an ideology rejected by Darwin) who would rather believe that there is some evil seed within humans than examine the entire web of social relations of which the present state of overpopulation is but a symptom.

  • George Ade; circa 1903

    THE FABLE OF THE CADDY WHO HURT HIS HEAD WHILE THINKING
    One Day a Caddy sat in the Long Grass near the Ninth Hole and wondered if he had a Soul. His Number was 27, and he almost had forgotten his Real Name.

    As he sat and Meditated, two Players passed him. They were going the Long Round, and the Frenzy was upon them.

    They followed the Gutta Percha Balls with the intent swiftness of trained Bird Dogs, and each talked feverishly of Brassy Lies, and getting past the Bunker, and Lofting to the Green, and Slicing into the Bramble—each telling his own Game to the Ambient Air, and ignoring what the other Fellow had to say.

    As they did the St. Andrews Full Swing for eighty Yards apiece and then Followed Through with the usual Explanations of how it Happened, the Caddy looked at them and Reflected that they were much inferior to his Father.

    His Father was too Serious a Man to get out in Mardi Gras Clothes and hammer a Ball from one Red Flag to another.
    His Father worked in a Lumber Yard.
    He was an Earnest Citizen, who seldom Smiled, and he knew all about the Silver Question and how J. Pierpont Morgan done up a Free People on the Bond Issue.

    The Caddy wondered why it was that his Father, a really Great Man, had to shove Lumber all day and could seldom get one Dollar to rub against another, while these superficial Johnnies who played Golf all the Time had Money to Throw at the Birds.

    The more he Thought the more his Head ached.

    Moral: Don’t try to Account for Anything.

  • Jean, Jean the Dancing Machine, Wren, and Others,

    I am happy to send you traditional milkweed seed I have in inventory gratis. This fall I will have available other milkweed seed varieties (swamp milkweed, prairie milkweed, tropical milkweed (will grow in areas that freeze) available.

    If interested, please indicate your variety interest along with the dimensions of the area you will be sowing. My email address is ffkling@sbcglobal.net.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuJHKV

  • Sorry, this is the address:

  • “A revolution can be anything, but I will tell you this: that a revolution, according to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Monroe, and all of the Founding Fathers, is my divine right.” ~ Michael Ruppert

  • Hi Brian,
    You may have read that Monarch butterfly populations have recently crashed, primarily due to a tremendous loss of habitat, and scientists are warning that the species is on the verge of functional extinction. Thus, we must do everything possible to save this beautiful and iconic butterfly. I am happy to mail you traditional milkweed seed now for spring planting, and this fall I will send you other varieties. All I need is your mailing address.

    Another way to make a dramatic impact is summarized in the following article:

    Kindest regards,

    Friedrich Kling

    Monarchs and Milkweeds on Highway, Railroad and Electrical Transmission Lines Rights-of-Way

    In the U.S. alone, there are more than 17,000,000 acres along federal, state and county highways that can potentially contribute to monarch butterfly recovery. The millions of linear miles of roadside right of ways that are dedicated to native vegetation can serve as potential habitat for monarchs as well as other butterflies, if they are positively managed for milkweeds and other nectar plants. In addition, there are more than 186, 400 linear miles of electrical transmission line rights-of-way along utility corridors in the U.S. Depending how they are managed, these linear corridors of public or private lands can provide up to 9,646,000 acres of potential pollinator and nectar plant habitat in the United States [Wojcik and Buchmann 2012].

    Except in a handful of innovativestates such as Iowa [see success stories, below], these habitat corridors have scarcely been managed to provide non-toxic habitat for milkweeds or other nectar and host plants needed by monarch butterflies. However, other states such as Minnesota have passed Reducing Mowing Laws to limit the impacts of roadside mowing on wildlife such as nesting songbirds and gamebirds; these same laws and regulations could also control the negative impact of mowing on monarchs and other butterflies through better timing and reduced frequency of roadside maintenance. Monarch reproduction and migration occur at sonmewhat different times from locality to locality, with the overall “watch period” of heightened concern occurring anywhere from July to the first week in October. Depending where you are, most eggs of the monarch generation that will migrate are laid between July 25th and September 10th so learn to observe within this window the most critical time for refraining from mowing in your area..

    Poorly managed roadside and transmission line right-of-ways can fragment or bisect landscapes into island-like patches too small to support viable populations of threatened plants or animals. They may also be mowed or sprayed at an inappropriate time for the lifecycle of monarchs or for the flowering of milkweeds and other plants. However, the rainwater runoff draining from roadsides into these right-of-ways often creates more abundant plant cover, and enough moisture reaches plant roots to assure their flowering and fruiting. While herbicide spraying of croplands may deplete milkweed and monarch populations on private agricultural lands, the right-of-way for highways and transmission lines can be thoughtfully and capably managed to control exotics, favor milkweeds and other pollinator-attracting plants, and avoid disruptions to the last generation of monarchs before their flight to Mexico or to California.

    What You Can Do:

    · Get to know the innovators and conservation-conscious professionals in your federal, state or county highway authority in order to forge collaborations for activities such as collecting the seed of milkweeds and other nectar plants, or propagating such monarch-attracting species in rights-of-way segments where they have been lost or depleted. They can inform you of protiocols and collaborations you can participate in.
    · Work with your state native plant society, local garden clubs or botanical gardens to propagate an increased diversity of native milkweed seeds, and then transplant out their established seedlings in “plugs” to better-watered patches along roadsides or under transmission lines.
    · Work with highway maintenance crew supervisors to eliminate or reduce the impact of mowing or spraying in both natural and transplanted milkweed and other wildflower populations, reducing the mowed area to the first eight feet off highway pavement, and no lower than a foot from the ground.
    · Encourage highway maintenance supervisors to refrain from any mowing during the peak flowering and fruiting of the nectar, pollen and host plant populations required by monarchs. Cease mowing operations for the period of development for migrating monarchs, which may range from July 7th through late September, depending on the weather in your locality.
    · At all costs, control or eliminate mowing or herbicide spraying of flagged patches of milkweeds where monarch larvae have been found during their later in-star stages, particularly for the final generation of monarchs just before their migration to Mexico or California in late summer.
    · Request that Congress consider a national Reducing Mowing policy as part of the next Transportation Reauthorization Bill that would reconcile the needs of birds, butterflies and bees in mowing protocols for all fifty states, with particular regard for monarch recovery.
    Success Stories

    At the Tallgrass Prairie Center associated with the University of Northern Iowa, the staff propagated milkweeds and collected nine pounds of seed from them in 2013 for outplanting in Iowa highway roadsides. Through the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management programs of the state of Iowa and with the guidance of Monarch Joint Venture biologists, the Tallgrass Prairie Center provides seed, technical assistance, training and education to county and state department of transportation staff. Since 1998, 78 counties in Iowa and adjacent states have received Transportation Enhancement seed that has helped restore 10,000 acres of roadside to natural vegetation, which includes milkweeds in many places. Under the direction of Dr. Laura Jackson, the Tallgrass Prairie Center is “setting the table” for the comeback of monarch butterflies, using native milkweeds [Wines 2013]. This model state program has fostered the kind of collaborations to implement tangible solutions on the ground, ones that are now being replicated in other states.

    The Iowa-based initiative is niot the only effort at transplanting out “milkweed plugs” to highwaysides and other rights-of-way. In 2013, Monarch Watch had 21,000 plus of milkweeds contract-grown for outplantings in right-of-ways and other public spaces. In 2014, Monarch Watch’s Director Chip Taylor anticipates that at least 45,000 to 60,000 milkweed plugs will be propagated for outplanting, and over one hundred thousand milkweed outplantings in public spaces are possible this next summer if non-profit or corporate spoonsors are recruited to underwrite these efforts. Such roadside plantings have already occurred or are are underway in Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia.

  • Stop with the generalizations. When speaking about “population growth” without indicating specifics, you SOUND like a freaking eugenicist. I did not make this up. It’s all over the historical record. Right there in black and white.

    As well Rationality, in general held up as a “good” goal, has led to enslaving animals, dominating the environment, wrecking the planet. Again, the concept needs nuance and cannot be blithely bandied about in simplified absolutist terms. Bite sized, generalized terms. Easy accommodated to one’s biases and prejudices.

    Ongoing systemic terms – simplify and generalize. Dichotomize. Accommodate and foster arguments to accommodate one’s own biases while only claiming others have these issues. Making totalist claims to “the truth” and “what is”…It’s obvious, to me at least, the political and self-serving origin and genesis of this kind of so-called reasoning. I am not going to waste any more time writing an endless graduate level thesis to point out the very obvious and necessary work, psychological conceptual and otherwise, that one needs to do for one’s self. I ain’t doin’ nobody’s homework.

    And RE the free will. After much consideration, I’m not entirely sure if the so-called free will science is actually studying and measuring “free will”, or something very different. If the processes don’t consider the quantifying apparatus as affecting the outcome, similarly as quantum measurements can’t locate speed and position simultaneously.
    As most of what I have seen doesn’t adequately identify “the self”, “the actor” or what is “will” in the first place.

    In any case, the no-free-will ideology has historically led straight to people being routinely lit on fire at the stake in Calvin’s Geneva, witch burnings, genocide, animals tortured and slaughtered. Convenient out that sentiment no-free-will. Sorry boss, I had to cut his eyeballs out, disembowel him and burn him alive because, you know, no-free-will.

    In any case, Libet hypothesized not a free will but a free won’t. An ability to muster a veto no matter how pre-determined one’s circumstances may be. Just say no.

    Cheers.

  • One can have a purely scientific point of view about it and still care. It is not scientific belief that has been the justification of so much damage, it has been superstitious belief pretending to be scientific. And a lot of mystical belief, as well. Those with mystical belief don’t pretend to be scientific, but many people do a lot of damage with the idea that some mystical entity will make it all ok for them in the end. I’m not remotely interested in saying that because of a dearth of ideas about what to do here, that creating ceremonies is the answer. The answer is to confront superstition and point it out for what it is, and point out mechanisms with money markets that practically demand people have superstitious/mystical expectations about the future, and possible alternative systems of value that get rid of this. If people sincerely want to be scientific about reality instead of pretending, they can try this, the rest can see how well their irrational beliefs work.

  • And for anyone who has forgotten, the expectations I’m talking about are that scientists will always find what we need when we need it. The belief is that whatever we use up or damage doesn’t matter, ways will be found to solve the problem. This is felt to be true because in the past, scientists have indeed found ways around limits. But there is no causal relationship between what was found in the past and what might be found in the future. There is the mystical implication with this belief that the universe was made with our desires for infinite expansion in mind, and the ways are there, we just have to find them. There is no objective reason for believing this. But scientists have promoted this view and other scientists have not called them on it.

  • ” you SOUND like a freaking eugenicist”

    POLITICALLY INCORRECT STATEMENT WARNING: I believe there are some basic truths to be found in the study of eugenics. To borrow a well worn cliche, one must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • The human brain is a recombination organ, able to take technological information and rearrange at will. We can explore the space of possible solutions very quickly and grow very quickly, using all energy accessible to our machines. It has been so rapid and so successful in leading us to this over-sized, complex existence that it is very hard to believe that there are not only limits to finite resources, but also limits to technology. Nature, on the other hand, rolls the DNA dice again and again and again trying to come up with something that can survive. It takes a long time, so long, human minds can hardly grasp it. Perhaps that is why we default to a creator, making the world in seven days, because being embedded in the technological system we see everything as a fast creative phenomenon. We see God as a rapid creator like ourselves and in seven days must have blown through a star’s worth of energy to create us. Nah, God rolled the dice for billions of years which yielded the ecosystem and unfortunately the fast growing cancer known as technological man. God rolled the dice and given that great resource gradients existed, it had to be that eventually some protoplasmic life would find a way to exploit them during a short and damaging tenure. Eventually man will roll the dice in one more desperate series, perhaps in an attempt to achieve a fusion reactor or some geoengineering. It will fail, having met the limits of technology, and it will finally be over. The old game, much slower, will continue as it always has, but the playing board will be different with many fewer players.

  • As you say James, Nicholas Georgescu-Rogen made this claim in THE ENTROPY LAW & THE ECONOMIC PROCESS IN 1972; “…unfortunately the fast growing cancer known as technological man. God rolled the dice and given that great resource gradients existed, it had to be that eventually some protoplasmic life would find a way to exploit them during a short and damaging tenure.”
    He died an embittered man because he KNEW that his prescient work was largely ignored.
    Our short, damaging, entropic,& DEADLY tenure is up.

  • Jeff S.,

    January 12th, 2015 at 3:06 pm you wrote: “What a joke, Bud Nye. You don’t want explanations and clarifications whatsoever, i learned that the hard way trying to have a dialog with you about private property and natural law. You are clearly a social darwinist (an ideology rejected by Darwin) who would rather believe that there is some evil seed within humans than examine the entire web of social relations of which the present state of overpopulation is but a symptom.”

    From this comment it appears as though you (and Wester?) confirm that you do, indeed, consider exponential human population growth—strongly supported by many rich white guys in order to make more money selling stuff(!)—as demonstrating both great human intelligence and free choice, that you consider it of little or no importance historically or today regarding global heating with its abrupt climate change, ecological, and nuclear collapse, and that, presumably, only modern-day Westerners have had, and presently have, anything of significance to do with overpopulation on Earth. Furthermore, you definitely have, clearly and strongly, reemphasized that you believe that anyone who has and expresses any concerns about human population growth presumably must have a social Darwinist agenda. Thanks for the confirmation and clarification!

    Once again it seems clear that we have quite different opinions about how the world works, how we most reliably go about constructing our knowledge of it, and the principles by which we best, most productively communicate with each other. (You make it clear that you think it best to TELL others what they presumably really think and feel based on your preconceived views; I think it works far better to ASK about other’s views, listen to, and remember their responses.) Again, we find ourselves disagreeing in many ways. I have no problem with that.

    mo flow,

    January 12th, 2015 at 9:22 pm you wrote: “artleads – yes, this is exactly what I had in mind. ‘fate’ and ‘free will’ are in fact the same. they are the same thing, operating on different levels.”

    This does not make any sense to me. Why not? Because “fate” refers to an alleged noun: fate, 1. An event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future; 2. The ultimate agency regarded as predetermining the course of events (often personified as a woman; Verb: fate, 1. Decree or designate beforehand. “Free will” or “free choice”, on the other hand, refers to the mutually exclusive, direct opposite of this alleged fate: an alleged FREEDOM to choose and behave. If an alleged fate existed in the universe, then, logically, free will could not, and vice versa. So to insist that fate somehow equates with free will amounts to a dramatic “paradox” indeed. It simply does not make any logical sense. Meanwhile, we do not rationally resolve a paradox by simply suspending logical reasoning.

    Regarding the alleged “operating on different levels” that you referred to later, it seems to me that if one allows invoking a host of alleged alternative universes, supposed “realities”, “levels”, and so on into the conversation, then “all bets are off” for carrying on any kind of meaningful, rational discussion. We just make our way quickly back to choosing, or inventing, a religion. Why? Because then, when someone runs into a logical or evidence-based problem, they can not only conveniently dispose of logic “as necessary”, but also invent and invoke any kind of non-physical, metaphysical entity or process that they may wish. Why not just say a devil, angel, spirit, soul, witch, or god caused or did it? Or just insist that “This is a mystery of faith.”? Or invoke a different “level” of reality, a kind of reality that has “special”, not-quite-physical qualities, thus, presumably, resolving the problem of the ghost in the machine: the ghost, supposedly, has a “little bit” of physicalness under certain special conditions.

    Humans appear to have used that kind of convenient, inconsistent “reasoning” almost exclusively for many tens of thousands of years, inventing thousands of religions along the way. With natural science, on the other hand, some humans decided to ground themselves in observable, confirmable experience in this one, known universe during at least a significant part of their lives. Many people, of course, want it both ways—and live their lives HAVING it both ways: when they want to, they believe the universe works according to the physical laws of natural science; also, when they want to, they suspend logic and reliance on evidence in this world and invent non-physical processes and entities, or embrace those constructs previously invented and taught by other people around them. Thus each different cultural group tends to have a consistent religious perspective among its members. Thus, also, a significant percentage of highly competent natural scientists have strong religious beliefs and practice various religions. Isaac Newton comes to mind in the past, among many well-known scientists living today. Given the newness of our more rationally thinking forebrain, compared with the much, much older, emotional mid-brain, which REALLY “runs the show” for us to this day, this kind of convenient, “emotional reasoning” inconsistency, or “affect heuristic”, makes perfectly good sense.

    I prefer and put my faith in a more logically consistent and rational “scientific pantheism”, under which umbrella all religions and philosophies occur as expressions or functions within one, at least potentially knowable, physical universe, which consistently follows natural laws, laws that with experience in the world we can construct. This universe has one, physical energy, the energy we study in chemistry and physics, as its most fundamental core. I feel extremely comfortable with the elegant simplicity of this model and its account of life and death, including MY life and soon-coming death. On the other hand, the largest percentage of humans—by far!—strongly and emotionally prefer more traditional religious views and various metaphysical philosophies, most of which promise their adherents the really big, ultimate “payoff”: they won’t “really” die. If they just believe, truly, then they, or their “soul”, can supposedly have “life after death” in some form of many alleged versions. I prefer living and dying conceiving of myself as a fully connected, integrated “part” of one physical universe.

  • Thanks TDoS,

    I don’t think many people could’ve put this any better. Your essay is truly insightful using the best metaphor and humour too. I’ve not read anything for a while that has “summed things up” so well.
    You’re wise.

    The way you describe your feelings for our Earth really resonates with me. This is how I see and experience life too, as do so many others here on this blog. But we’re not even a drop in the ocean, and it’s hopeless – yet you, and I and many of the others here, live caring for the land we’ve got and talk to the trees and all living beings.

    The terrible exploitation you describe is not quite so obvious here in the UK where I live. I only know the horrific scars that our greed inflicts on our Earth from photos. Here, most people can still pretend that the land is “OK”. Not wild, but very green! No big scars and still “picturesque”. After all, what more do you need for “leisure” and the “outdoors”? It’s sickening.

    It seems to me that many more Europeans can pretend this way than Americans and therefore feel good about themselves in their denial. That’s how all my serious, objective, well-educated “friends” and neighbours feel.

  • Hi Sabine,

    Superficially things may seem OK to the masses, but the fact of the matter is that wildlife populations in the UK, particularly songbirds, have plummeted over the past 10 to 15 years.

    “Alarming Drop in UK Bird Numbers: http://www.silversurfers.com/lifestyle/wildlife-lifestyle/alarming-drop-in-uk-bird-numbers/

  • “For generations people have been bullied into believing that the nagging in their conscience is an illusion caused by the brain. When a forest makes you feel good, it is you fooling yourself. When you feel deep love for a place or for other living beings, it is an illusion, merely a sudden influx of serotonin in some receptor in your gray matter. And who are you anyway? Just some cells, some neurons, some electricity. What is your love? Your desire? Your fear? They are nothing. Reflexes. Chemicals. The aimless, endless spinning of molecules through space and time. ”

    Yes. Well said. First take away people’s connection, then they are lost and can be manipulated. But mostly they have lost any (trust in life, in themselves, any gratitude for being). Then provide things. Things. And tell them that thing (and “power over” land, trees, people, ownership of objects, people, beings) can make up for what has been taken, stolen, by religions, politicians. Make them unable to trust, to love. And create religious extremism, saying we are just a piece of meat, a steak for a while until we are thrown in a hole. Tell them this is what life is about. Then tell them, “Carpe diem,” giving the expression the meaning of Eat, drink and be merry in a very narrow sense. Tell them to enjoy the moment by grabbing at everything, closing their fists on things, on water, on people. Tell them to carpe diem by never letting go, never being humble, never be grateful for being, never opening up to anything. To close themselves to life, to close their heart, to be afraid of infinity, their own. Tell them that any effort to connect, to relate (religare) is opium, and that only nihilism saves. Tell them that any Buddha has only attained to nihilism, a kind of thought. And that there is no use seeking anything. And tell them that the only safety is in knowing that millions live the same empty, meaningless lives, dragging themselves from cradle to the grave.

    IF they somehow find something, a spark telling them that all of this conditioning is pure bullshit, they will become wary and protect that spark — and learn a different kind of Carpe diem.

    Love to you

    Still

  • From a few days ago, a few incidents pointing to (increasing) methane/hydrogen sulfide releases all c/o JJFH blog (http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2015/01/event-update-for-2015-01-11.html#comment-form):

    2015-01-11 – Cargo ship ‘Hanyang Ace’ carrying nitric acid explodes while moored near coastal Ulsan (South Korea), 4 injured

    Quote: “In the afternoon of Jan 11, 2015, an explosion occurred on the cargo deck of the ‘Hanyang Ace’, while she was loading nitric and sulphut acid in Ulsan. At the time of an accident there were 14 crew on board, four of whom were injured in the blast and resulting gas leak.”

    “Note: I’ve mentioned the nitric acid problem before with other nitric acid explosions at schools, universities, factories, metal businesses, etc. Hydrogen sulfide gas is explosively reactive with nitric acid. If any hydrogen sulfide gas blows over any exposed nitric acid then you’re apt to see a fire or an explosion or both. Normally nitric acid is no great threat unless you touch it, but nowadays, as the atmosphere is increasingly contaminated with hydrogen sulfide, it’s a growing explosion and fire threat. Because it’s sometimes found and used in school science classes, a number of fires/explosions involving nitric acid in classrooms have burned and injured students around the world in recent times…”

    2015-01-11 – Home explodes and burns at 3 AM in Affton (Missouri), near the River Des Peres, 2 injured

    2015-01-11 – Mobile home damaged by explosion and fire at 3:20 AM at metal recycling center in Naples (North Carolina), 1 injured

    2015-01-11 – Underground electrical fire breaks out, pavement shoots flames, in Whitley (Britain)

    Quote: “Fire crews were called to a ‘pavement on fire’ in Whitley at around 6pm yesterday.”

    2015-01-11 – Underground fire breaks out near department store in coastal Dublin (Ireland)

    Quote: “Hundreds of customers were evacuated from Clerys in Dublin after billows of smoke were discovered rising from underground.”

    2015-01-11 – Power lines and poles burst into flame in coastal Malibu (California)

    Quote: “It was at least the third outage in the area in recent months, residents said. High winds were blowing when power went out in the same area on Dec. 31. And on Oct. 22, the area was blacked out when an underground transformer that had just been replaced failed in an explosion-like electrical fire.”

    2015-01-11 – Landfill erupts in flame at 11 PM in coastal New Plymouth (New Zealand)

    2015-01-11 – RV bursts into flame at 6 AM while parked at business, fire spreads to business, in McMinn County (Tennessee)

    Quote: “He said the fire started in a friend’s old Holiday Rambler RV, which had been sitting in front of the shop for about three years. ‘There was no electricity to it. No batteries on it. No source of fuel in it,’ Ward said. ‘It’d sit there three years and not ever decided to burn, so they’re investigating, trying to find out what they can.’ The fire spread from the RV to the shop’s wooden eaves.”

    “Note: It had some rusty iron/steel on it, and hydrogen sulfide is reactive with rusty iron/steel, no other ignition source necessary. The wee hours are when the atmosphere cools and contracts, which will push any methane and/or hydrogen sulfide in the air above closer to the ground, making fires, explosions and animals and people sickening or dying more common during those hours. Also, three years ago, no major cities had been hit by hydrogen sulfide clouds, but since then, Santa Monica (CA), Kuwait City, Seattle (WA), Moscow, Quincy (MA), Meriden (CT), Rayong (Thailand) all have, and more besides, not to mention the ‘unknown odors’ sickening people on planes, in businesses, etc. This man is lucky he only lost his RV and business and not his life. This time. This is a wake-up-or-die situation here…”

    2015-01-11 – Clothes burst into flame in bedroom at home in Unsworth (Britain), nobody there

    “Note: Numerous people have mysteriously burned to death in the last two or three years. It’s their clothes adsorbing methane and/or hydrogen sulfide. If the air mix becomes volatile enough then spontaneous combustion may occur, although many of the people who’ve burned to death may have provided an ignition source too (cigarette, electronic device, static electricity, stove flame, etc)…”

    It’s nice to see another TDoS essay highlighted, thanks!

  • Bud –

    “they are the same thing, operating on different levels.”

    let me parse this out.

    “they” :

    yes,
    – fate: a predetermined course of events.
    – free will: freedom to choose and behave.

    “the same thing” :

    the only thing that actually exists: Consciousness.

    “operating” :

    creating, unfolding, flowing, moving from an “undetermined” state to a “determined” state, interactions in a network, and so on. both linear/sequential and holistic/simultaneous.

    “on different levels” :

    – one one level, within linear time, “inside” our physical universe, it appears as if we have physical law, operating on a consistent basis, creating one moment of time solely from the conditions that existed in the previous moment in time.

    – one another level, we are not bound in any way that forces us to stay “within” the physical universe. where in the physical universe is “mind” that is making a “choice”? one person can say “this is the sum of the electrochemical activity of your brain, and no more.” another can say, as td0s is saying in this post, “no, it is not just the sum of that. there is more. much more.”

    now, just to extremely careful – there is still just One thing. you can go “out” of the physical universe, but you cannot ever go “out” of Consciousness. and how you may find “fate” and “free will” operating in deeper levels of Consciousness – well, that is for each of us to experience in our own way.

    you or anyone else can put your faith in whatever you choose to put it. science is useful for discovering some deeply fascinating principles and astounding facts about the “world around us.” this process, the process of science, is an experience we can all share in and work with and learn from, in some fashion, on our journey.

    there are many other useful methods for gathering additional information and facts about the “world around us” that science has not yet caught up with. if we had the time, we would get there. we are in the earliest infancy of what is possible with science. of course, our path is turning out differently, and it looks like we are not going to have that chance.

    honestly, I couldn’t care less about religion or even spirituality for that matter. they are either manifestations of blind ego on the worst end, or tricky mind-fields of language on the best end.

    if one is really careful, much of the language of spirituality can be useful as a guide for gaining additional experience from the world around us, and the world inside us. many things are useful for that, however: nature, art, music, poetry, long nights of conversation, and so much more. I personally enjoy “having it both ways” that way. it is infinitely enriching to me. and like you say, it makes perfectly good sense.

    I personally have no use for faith, whatsoever. I am only interested in real experience, wherever it comes from. and I am deeply grounded in this multidimensional, multi-experiential, highly paradoxical thing I call Total Reality.

    “So to insist that fate somehow equates with free will amounts to a dramatic “paradox” indeed.”

    dramatic? it is only a question of perspective.

  • As usual, anything I say can be used by anyone, however they like. I’m just an old uneducated egomaniac trying to get the word out to youth. If anyone knows how to help do this, then feel free.

    Here is Dar Jamael’s lastest:
    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28490-the-methane-monster-roars

    Here is my comment there:
    I am overly impressed with this article.
    We are now at 400 ppm of carbon-dioxide in the air.
    It will take thousands of years for earth to finish reacting just to this number.
    When finished, the temperature will rise 17°C not just 2°C like you’re told.
    Oceans will rise 75 feet, not just 3 feet like you’re told.
    The following video link will confirm these statements.
    The pertinent part of this video starts at 17:24

    We have consistently stayed outside the worse-case scenario for emissions set out back in 2007, and we are on track to hit 600 ppm by 2050 and 800 ppm by 2070, and likely sooner, because these projections do not include methane feedbacks. Remember what I said at the beginning of this post? The IPCC said methane feedbacks were too difficult to model, so they didn’t include them in their last report.

    Climate scientists are split on this subject. Gavin Schmidt, who spends all his time playing with climate models on his computer, says there is nothing to worry about. He loves to ridicule anyone who disagrees. Shakhova strongly disagrees. She has spent years actually observing the problem go exponential and she is scared. Here is what she saw.

    It was only in 2009, we were told methane would never escape the ocean because it would dissolve in the water before reaching the surface. In 2011, Shakhova found methane bubbling out of the ocean in pools that were tens of meters wide. A year, or so later, Shakhova found thousands of methane pools up to a kilometer wide. I am not a high school graduate, but even I sense a pattern here.

    You may have heard of runaway climate, but have you heard of runaway mass extinction? That is what we are at the beginning of right now. We have lost 50% of vertebrate species in the last 40 years and are on track to lose another 50% in the next 40 years, and that’s when the strands that form the web of life start to fall apart, leading to catstrophic cascading extinction collapse. You will not recognize your own planet in 30 years. To wit:
    ► 99% of Rhinos gone since 1914.
    ► 97% of Tigers gone since 1914.
    ► 90% of Lions gone since 1993.
    ► 90% of Sea Turtles gone since 1980.
    ► 90% of Monarch Butterflies gone since 1995.
    ► 90% of Big Ocean Fish gone since 1950.
    ► 80% of Western Gorillas gone since 1955.
    ► 75% of River & Riverbank Species gone since 1970.
    ► 60% of Forest Elephants gone since 1970.
    ► 50% of Great Barrier Reef gone since 1985.
    ► 50% of Fresh Water Fish gone since 1987.
    ► 40% of Giraffes gone since 2000.
    ► 30% of Marine Birds gone since 1995.
    ► 28% of Land Animals gone since 1970.
    ► 28% of All Marine Animals gone since 1970.
    ► 1,000,000 humans, net, are added to earth every 4½ days.
    http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/7350/Call-of-Life–Facing-the-Mass-Extinction

    But wait! It gets even worse than you can even imagine. In 30 years, we will live in a post-peak world where there will be massive shortages of food, water, minerals, energy, life, and not least, civility. Green energy will not save us because that type of energy doesn’t rely on the sun and wind like you’re told, they rely on minerals, and mineral extraction is one of the dirtiest, most corrupt businesses on earth. Ask anyone in the Far East or Africa. But relax, economic collapse will happen well before that and surely as night follows day, war follows economic collapse. Soon methane, sea level rise and earth temperature rise will the last of your worries.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/RenewableEnergy/comments/2qg5s9/mass_extinction_vs_green_energy/

    in Dar’s article, I saw the following comment:
    Arctic temperatures during the Eemian (the last interglacial period) were about 4-5C warmer than they are today and we did NOT get massive methane releases. There is no rational reason to expect them anytime in the next century.

    I may have the terminology wrong, but what the fuck do I know.
    My response to that comment:
    Apples to Oranges
    There were other inter-glacial periods with methane spikes. The reason they vary so much has to do with orbital forcings, geo-physical and bio-chemical dynamics.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7193/full/nature06950.html

    I suspect most of the readers here are liberal, white old fogies like myself.
    Nevertheless, I expect you to try to get the word out to the young. Reach out where you feel uncomfortable. Don’t just hide here.

  • great links everyone!

    http://www.sott.net/article/291279-More-mass-animal-deaths-occurring-now-than-ever-before-study-claims

    More mass animal deaths occurring now than ever before, study claims

    Three US institutions say mass die-offs are now more common. They have increased by one event per year for 70 years. Pictured are dead tilapia floating near Salton Sea Beach in California, US on 19 Januray 11.
    Mass die-offs of certain animals has increased in frequency every year for seven decades, according to a new study.

    Researchers found that such events, which can kill more than 90 per cent of a population, are increasing among birds, fish and marine invertebrates.

    The reasons for the die-offs are diverse, with effects tied to humans such as environmental contamination accounting for about a fifth of them.

    The research was carried out by three US institutions – the University of San Diego, Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley – and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [more]

  • Bud Nye Says:
    January 13th, 2015 at 7:28 am
    “Jeff S.,

    January 12th, 2015 at 3:06 pm you wrote: “What a joke, Bud Nye. You don’t want explanations and clarifications whatsoever, i learned that the hard way trying to have a dialog with you about private property and natural law. You are clearly a social darwinist (an ideology rejected by Darwin) who would rather believe that there is some evil seed within humans than examine the entire web of social relations of which the present state of overpopulation is but a symptom.”

    From this comment it appears as though you (and Wester?) confirm that you do, indeed, consider exponential human population growth—strongly supported by many rich white guys in order to make more money selling stuff(!)—as demonstrating both great human intelligence and free choice, that you consider it of little or no importance historically or today regarding global heating with its abrupt climate change, ecological, and nuclear collapse, and that, presumably, only modern-day Westerners have had, and presently have, anything of significance to do with overpopulation on Earth. Furthermore, you definitely have, clearly and strongly, reemphasized that you believe that anyone who has and expresses any concerns about human population growth presumably must have a social Darwinist agenda. Thanks for the confirmation and clarification!

    Once again it seems clear that we have quite different opinions about how the world works, how we most reliably go about constructing our knowledge of it, and the principles by which we best, most productively communicate with each other. (You make it clear that you think it best to TELL others what they presumably really think and feel based on your preconceived views; I think it works far better to ASK about other’s views, listen to, and remember their responses.) Again, we find ourselves disagreeing in many ways. I have no problem with that.”

    Your conclusion that what i wrote in the paragraph you quote shows that i “consider exponential human population growth—strongly supported by many rich white guys in order to make more money selling stuff(!)—as demonstrating both great human intelligence and free choice, that you consider it of little or no importance historically or today regarding global heating with its abrupt climate change, ecological, and nuclear collapse, and that, presumably, only modern-day Westerners have had, and presently have, anything of significance to do with overpopulation on Earth.” is BREATHTAKING in its distortion. It is way beyond BULLSHIT! Thanks for illustrating why a dialog with you is impossible.

  • “Thanks for illustrating why a dialog with you is impossible.”

    May I suggest a remedial program at the Argument Clinic? They do fine work!

  • Jeff S.,

    I wrote to you asking for CLARIFICATION and you responded with this: “What a joke, Bud Nye. You don’t want explanations and clarifications whatsoever, i learned that the hard way trying to have a dialog with you about private property and natural law. You are clearly a social darwinist (an ideology rejected by Darwin) who would rather believe that there is some evil seed within humans than examine the entire web of social relations of which the present state of overpopulation is but a symptom.”

    In my further response I simply did my best to make sense of the things you had written, including the harsh response above. I did NOT have any intention of “distorting” anything you wrote. Over the past few weeks, I HAVE spent significant time trying to make some reasonable sense out of the things you have written despite your quite consistent refusal to respond to my questions as I have sought clarification. In my experience, the best people can do in order to communicate as accurately as possible involves their respectfully speaking (or writing) an idea, other’s respectfully listening to (or reading) it, then each respectfully asking questions for clarification, receiving the questions, processing them, then respectfully providing further feedback as needed, and, finally, changing their views, their understanding of the other person’s message, as needed based on that feedback. Perhaps if you would respectfully respond to people’s requests for clarification, answering their questions (mine presently under discussion) instead of harshly ignoring them, you would not find dialog, with me or anyone else, so frustrating, so allegedly “impossible”? As a model for this kind of interaction, might I suggest that you consider the recent exchanges between mo flo and I?

    mo flo,

    Thanks for your long, thought-full, respectful response! You start with the basic premise that “the only thing that actually exists: Consciousness”. This seems a highly questionable premise to me, just a matter of essentially arbitrary, personal opinion. One can claim, with an exactly equivalent amount of certainty and an exactly equivalent ability for anyone to confirm, that: “The only thing that actually exists: God.” “The only thing that actually exists: The Devil.” “The only thing that actually exists: Angels.” “The only thing that actually exists: ______.” Anyone can fill in the blank based on their personal opinion, now potentially 7.1 billion opinions—and all equally valid because everyone has, and has a right to, their opinions.

    In contrast with your premise, I strongly prefer this iteration of the claim because, to a very large extent, many different people in different times and places around the world CAN confirm it: “The only thing that actually exists: Physical energy, which often expresses itself as matter through the relationship E = mc^2.” I will change this fundamental premise as the weight of confirmable evidence suggests.

    This premise serves as the basis of my pantheism. To the very best of our confirmable knowledge, we find everything in the universe composed of this physical energy. This includes you, me, our thoughts, our feelings, and our consciousness, both individual and collective. It includes all plants and other animals, the entire biosphere of Earth, which includes us and everything that we think, feel, and do, yes, including all of our choices. Or so it seems to me. As we have seen here, and surely will continue to see in the future, most people not only disagree with me about this, they strongly disagree, preferring some variation on the theme of your version of what composes the universe and how it functions.

    Given the many, profound differences in the nature of your basic premise as compared with mine, I don’t see much room for discussion. To carry on a meaningful discussion, we would have to find areas of common overlap. Though some overlap surely occurs, I don’t presently see much. Your premise, and all discussion that follows from it, has its basis in unconfirmable personal opinion—which remains 100% valid(!) in the sense that you and everyone else has a right to and, indeed, you can, and will, hold it whether the society you live in gives you that “right” or not. On the other hand, I strongly prefer knowledge constructed as reliably and as confirmable as possible. Reliability and confirmability appear to remain low priorities for you in that personal opinion, far more often than not, has little reliability or confirmability with discussions boiling down to infinite philosophical variations on the bumper sticker theme that “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

    Again, thanks for your long, thought-full, respectful response!

  • Bud –

    thank you for listening to my response, and considering what I am saying. I actually believe we have far more overlap for discussion than you might realize, but everything unfolds over time.

    and just to be absolutely sure: in general, please take everything here, and with the recent previous comments, as not – of course – intending to be any kind of scientific claim. purely a matter of philosophical discussion.

    just a few clarifications on things you mention:

    just a matter of essentially arbitrary, personal opinion.

    while what I am talking about is certainly in the realm of opinion, I didn’t come to hold these opinions in any manner that was arbitrary.

    I came to these personal conclusions through a series of life experiences. these experiences were undeniably real, very consistent, repeated and sometimes shared with others. over a period of time, through a very rational process, I moved my previous worldview (which matches your current world-view) to a new worldview.

    I am personally certain, that given enough time, science would encompass, and confirm – to the best of its ability – a great deal of the “reality” of my current worldview. that’s really for another discussion, though, and pure speculation in the here and now.

    Your premise, and all discussion that follows from it, has its basis in unconfirmable personal opinion

    again, the basis for my premise is experience. and only experience – to be absolutely clear. not anything I have read, or anything whatsoever that I have been told by others. in fact, my premise, in full, is very far indeed from anything you would find anywhere, in even the classic texts, such as the Gita, or the Tao Te Ching, or anywhere else.

    this experience has been, in various ways so far, sometimes confirmed by others. nothing remotely scientific, that is for sure.

    there is an actual difference between “personal opinion,” “personal experience,” and “scientific validation.” pretty much all of td0s’ point here revolves around this difference, and the importance of recognizing it.

    Reliability and confirmability appear to remain low priorities for you

    this is 100% wrong. reliability and confirmability are in fact the most important priorities for me, (aside from things like loving kindness). they have been for as long as I have been able to think. I cherish these things.

    I have had the incredible good fortune of having “the universe” (in the largest sense) co-operate with me enough to give me 100% reliable and confirmable (for me alone) information about the nature of Total Reality. I am going out of my way to bring this “reliability and confirmability” into the larger light. a great deal of my life energy is actually dedicated to just this right now.

    “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

    please don’t attach such utter bullshit to anything I am saying. this couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth of my opinion, as anyone who is actually reading what I am saying would know.

    if you stay respectful, I will!

    thanks, Bud. cheers!

  • possible duplicate…apologies in advance

    @Bud Nye

    “The only thing that actually exists: Physical energy, which often expresses itself as matter through the relationship E = mc^2.”…To the very best of our confirmable knowledge, we find everything in the universe composed of this physical energy.

    The matter & energy you are talking about above represent roughly 4 or 5 percent of the observable universe. Dark matter & dark energy (whatever they are) make up the balance.

    I’m not a crystal-gazing, stare-at-goats kind of guy, so I’m not trying to pull a quantum rabbit out of a metaphysical or M-theory hat here, but wanted to point out that you seem to be limiting your operational bandwidth to one-twentieth of what hard-science folks like particle physicists and cosmologists reckon is out there/here.

    We’ll probably all be landfill before the science crew figures out much about these things, but there’s a lot more energy and mass out there that we don’t know much about, other than knowing that it is different than what we *do* know about.

    I checked Youtube and they don’t have any clips *of* dark energy/matter, although there are plenty about it…so enjoy the text-only rarity here.

  • “the only thing that actually exists: Consciousness.”

    Consciousness exists. Neitner a thing nor an only: both of these require the mirage of duality. Any doubter should start by taking away the conscious substrate of that doubt.

    “One can claim, with an exactly equivalent amount of certainty and an exactly equivalent ability for anyone to confirm, that:”

    First get rid of the witnessirg Consciousness, and then see which of the alternate clatms hold up.

    “The only thing that actually exists: Physical energy”

    Matter-energy exists within spacetime. Take away witnessing Consciousness and “SEE” if you can “SEE” what exists.


    “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

    First deal with the “I”: and then there is nothing to believe. Not a matter of opinion: opinion requires an “I”; this antecedes all “I”s.

    If someone hasn’t been there, trying to tell them about it is like giving algebra lessons to a bullfrog. Does not reflect well on the teacher.

  • Very interesting interview,
    http://lifeboathour.podbean.com/e/lifeboat-hour-011115/

    Talking about climate change, Dmitry Orlov says that China has promised its people that changes will be made to improve air quality. They plan on doing this by switching from the use of coal to the use of natural gas supplied by Russia via pipelines that are under construction. The switch to natural gas is supposed to decrease carbon emissions by two thirds.

    My question is, will the reduction in soot and sulfates on such a massive scale cause a sudden increase in temperature? Guy mentioned once that a reduction as small as 30% could possibly cause average temperature to jump +1C in a very short time.

    So, is China’s switch to natural gas for its industry a good thing or a bad thing? Or does it even matter anymore? I’m thinking that the sooner we reach 4C over base, and humans vanish from the scene, the more other species will survive, and that’s definitely a good thing.

  • Thank you TDoS for another excellent essay.
    “The most forbidden of ideas, is that the Earth is alive.”
    Yes, so true.
    So much communication occurs via the mycelia network underground – it is a vast network transforming and carrying nutrients, messages and things we are not even aware of yet … many of which may be beyond our comprehension. We receive subliminal messages in the form of the fragrances of flowers and trees and water and soil. The use of artificial fragrance in almost everything is just another way ‘they’ try to control/limit our communication with the real world.

    Mo-
    I am trying to understand.
    If you were writing an essay about where your head is ‘at’ and how it got there, what would you say?
    What were the events that led to your epiphany?
    And how does your philosophy(?) manifest in real life?
    Sorry, errrr… I’m not asking for much… just your whole entire life story! 😉
    But anything would help.

  • Robin Datta,
    Thanks for the consciousness v. energy remarks.
    I was thinking along similar lines.
    Decided to leave it at dark energy/matter.
    Thanks for covering the observer angle.

    Well, still no YT clips of dark energy, but at least there are answers to a couple of Big Questions and yet another exhortation to seize the day here…

  • Wren –

    I wrote some stuff about this in the missing Forum posts. my sincerest apologies, but I don’t have the time right now to repeat more than a very small amount, of what was already a very small amount about it.

    I had an overarching and complete enlightenment experience when I was 18. after that experience, I had a series of “extraordinary experiences” in waking physical reality, spanning the spectrum. they all occurred in a state of complete sobriety.

    the most extraordinary of these were so far off the charts, there is absolutely no way I would ever write or talk about it here or probably anywhere. it just does not fit into the realm of anything that can be considered “human” – so it is essentially incomprehensible. I could tell you, it could possibly “make sense” on some level, but it wouldn’t be anything helpful, and it would likely be incredibly unhelpful in the larger scheme of things.

    for just one event that “got my head here”: amongst all these experiences was one experience of perfect, total, multi-lifetime recall. the “block” of spiritual amnesia we all have while incarnated as humans spontaneously vanished in my being, and I was instantaneously and completely immersed in my entire history of incarnated life experience.

    thousands of years worth of living memory, as completely vivid as we experience waking reality, exploded into my conscious awareness at once.

    all of this “hyper-memory” was immediately accessible to me, and all obviously and intimately recognizable as “mine” – all my experience, in total. during this brief time I was simply no longer human, but existed in my true, complete state as a spiritual being. the experience was utterly unmistakable – I “knew what it was” – bizarrely ordinary, and totally real.

    that was just one of a whole slew of things on that scale, on scales larger than that, and literally thousands of things on scales smaller than that, that shaped my philosophy of life – my ideas about Total Reality, and my knowledge of who I really am – and what we all really are.

    one key thing: I never asked for any of these things. I never once tried to “make anything happen.” not once! it was all spontaneous. only a very few of these things even happened while I was meditating, they were still unintentional, and they were all smaller things.

    this means two things that are important to understand, at least for me.

    first, I was not, just speaking as my normal human ego, in any way in charge of this stuff. it was always the larger aspect of my being which took the initiative, or things even beyond that.

    this used to make it extremely difficult to get my normal human ego “head” around, but the reality of the experiences were entirely consistent, and undeniable, so I eventually had no choice in the matter.

    and yes, this gets straight to the heart of what I am talking about with the simultaneous, real truth of both fate and free will!

    but I am very much changing that policy these days, of keeping my everyday human ego in a “hands off” posture with this stuff, as I am driven to take this all to a new level entirely.

    second, the question of perspective. when I said to Bud “dramatic?” as a matter of perspective, I was not alluding to anything hypothetical. I was simply referring to what is for me a very well-known reality of perspective.

    my take on “dramatic” is rather different than a paradoxical question of simultaneous fate and free will.

    I live this stuff every day. it literally manifests in my life every day: my reality is best described as an ongoing experience in a fully-alive-conscious-and-aware-everywhere-universe, completely interactive and communicating, ever-changing, infinitely intimate, and totally surprising, waking dream state.

    much of the time this state looks exactly like what anyone would call “normal reality” – and much of the time it does not. but it is all just my reality now.

    I hope that helps, at least a bit!

    apologies for the overpost!

  • Many thanks mo~flow- Your description felt like the intro to Carlos Castenadas’ first book, intriguing and mysterious.
    The closest I have been to that was a life changing event at age 15, having been given 3 nice large peyote buttons … which I choked down alone in my bedroom at home after my parents were safely asleep. It was like being given the Key to Everything. Even now I’m still processing all that was revealed. It is also very much related to my post above about the ways in which the living world tries, attempts, to communicate with us. All we had to do was listen.

    “Waking Life” 2002, directed by Richard Linklater, an animated film about free will, consciousness, and … ideas!
    This was the first time I’ve liked the rotoscoping animation technique, also one of the first times it was used. In the right hands, it would work well for a film about NTE:

  • The Knower is not the known. The known is entirely sourced from the Knower, as a dream from a dreamer. When becoming aware of other existences, identifying with them, as with the current one, is a way to go astray. Anything known, including past present existences, is not the Knower, but from the Knower. And any sense of identification with any part of the known continues the delusion of finitude through phenomenalisation.

  • [please ignore the “no global warming” meme this source continues to propagate despite all the evidence to the contrary; they also claim that 1998 was the warmest year on record – not keeping up with the changes]

    http://www.sott.net/article/291303-Volcano-eruptions-found-to-have-cooled-global-temperatures-since-2000

    Volcano eruptions found to have cooled global temperatures since 2000

    [quote]

    The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year concluded that the deep oceans had been responsible for absorbing an increasing amount of heat, but warned that this could not continue indefinitely.

    However, in a paper published in November last year, atmospheric scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that small volcanic eruptions in the early 21st century, which had been largely overlooked, were responsible for up to a third of the hiatus in warming.

    http://scitechdaily.com/rivers-glacial-meltwater-contribute-rising-sea-levels/

    Rivers of Glacial Meltwater Contribute to Rising Sea Levels

    [UCLA study overview, quote]

    Using satellite and field work after an extreme melt event in Greenland, new research shows that melt-prone areas on the ice sheet develop a remarkably efficient drainage system of streams and rivers that carry meltwater into moulins (sinkholes) and ultimately the ocean.

    The research, published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlights the fragility of the ice sheet as well as the amount of havoc it could create as global warming progresses.

  • https://robertscribbler.com/2015/01/13/dangerously-beyond-350-co2-to-remain-above-400-ppm-for-most-of-2014/

    Dangerously Beyond 350: CO2 to Remain Above 400 PPM For Most of 2015

    http://classic.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

    The 25 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2014

    [read ’em and guess what’s in store for us going forward . . . ]

  • The impressive scale of off-shore drilling rigs

    “To infinity and beyond!” – Buzz Lightyear

  • infanttyrone,

    Thanks so much for the correction, pointing to something I “knew” but failed to include! Based on your observation, I would revise my point to read “The only thing that actually exists: Physical energy, which often expresses itself as matter through the relationship E = mc^2, which represents roughly 4 or 5 percent of the observable universe, as well as dark matter and dark energy, whatever composes them and whatever laws they follow, making up the balance.” Of course, with this revision I assume that dark matter and dark energy remain physical in nature, for if they did not, as “ghosts in the machine” we would never have learned about them.

    Robin Datta,

    Regarding “Matter-energy exists within spacetime. Take away witnessing Consciousness and ‘SEE’ if you can ‘SEE’ what exists.” I think that a universe exists “out there”, including a living Earth, whether I or any other humans with our highly touted “consciousness” exists, or not, and whether any other kind of alleged “consciousness” exists. Just my physically biased, personal, non-human-centered, pantheistic opinion.

    mo flow,

    Regarding my “just a matter of essentially arbitrary, personal opinion” comment, I did not mean to imply some kind of carelessness or casualness on your part, which “arbitrary” certainly could have implied, so I apologize for not making this point clearer. I sit corrected on my poor writing on this point. By “arbitrary”, I only meant to point to how each individual person might—indeed, surely does—have their own, unique experiences and opinion. I meant to suggest that we could arbitrarily choose any human and solicit their opinion with equal reliability and validity—presumably as they came to these personal conclusions through a series of life experiences, they considered these experiences as undeniably real and very consistent, they repeated and sometimes shared their experiences with others, and moved over a period of time through a very rational process to their present worldview. If we carefully polled 7.1 billion people who had gone through this process, I expect that we would find a HUGE number of differences in world views. Indeed, the huge number of religions and philosophies constructed by different people throughout human history points toward this large number.

    You wrote: “I am personally certain, that given enough time, science would encompass, and confirm – to the best of its ability – a great deal of the ‘reality’ of my current worldview.”

    Perhaps; perhaps not. Related to this point, I wonder what percentage of SCIENTIFIC hypotheses have proven valid over time, many of these hypotheses very strongly held by the scientists who constructed them. Only a very small percentage, indeed. I have personally experienced that failure many, many times during my life, and these failures related usually to simple, obvious, easily tested hypotheses. Mainly, though, I wish to stress the point that many of your claims remain not just untestED, but untestABEL, unconfirmABLE, thus they will always remain “just” a matter of personal opinion (whether based mainly on emotion or on long, careful experience-based reasoning).

    In response to my point that “Your premise, and all discussion that follows from it, has its basis in unconfirmable personal opinion” you wrote: “again, the basis for my premise is experience. and only experience – to be absolutely clear. not anything I have read, or anything whatsoever that I have been told by others. in fact, my premise, in full, is very far indeed from anything you would find anywhere, in even the classic texts, such as the Gita, or the Tao Te Ching, or anywhere else. this experience has been, in various ways so far, sometimes confirmed by others. nothing remotely scientific, that is for sure.”

    With all due respect, your personal, subjective experience remains “only” that: your personal, subjective experience, just as mine remains mine, no matter how sincerely we may believe them, or how compelling they may seem. Based on 15 years of experience in psychiatric hospitals as a psychiatric nurse (as well as one week on a psych ward with my own, personal, suicidal depression), I can assure you that people who suffer from schizophrenia have 100% subjectively real and valid experiences with their visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, proprioceptive, equilibrioceptive, nociceptive, thermoceptive and chronoceptive hallucinations and delusions. (For clarity, no, I have never experienced schizophrenia; only major depression and severe social phobia.) Should we trust the undeniably real personal experiences of people with schizophrenia especially when they “know” that science will prove their often extremely detailed and well developed “theories” “right”? Related to this theme, I think that you would find Daniel Kanhneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, very interesting and revealing.

    I agree with you: “there is an actual difference between ‘personal opinion,’ ‘personal experience,’ and ‘scientific validation.’ pretty much all of td0s’ point here revolves around this difference, and the importance of recognizing it.” I largely wish to point to and emphasize exactly those many differences.

    You wrote: “reliability and confirmability are in fact the most important priorities for me, (aside from things like loving kindness). they have been for as long as I have been able to think. I cherish these things.”

    Great! What process or processes do you consider most reliable for us to use in confirming the validity of conclusions in the world outside of our heads, outside of our subjective experiences? What process or processes do you recommend here for us?

    When I wrote “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it” I certainly did not mean it in any disrespectful way, but only as a generic reasoning example. We can all easily and conveniently claim “x said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” In doing this, x might stand for “I”, my father or mother, my priest, a book I read, or any other alleged, supposedly reliable or even allegedly infallible authority. Again I apologize if you found my example offensive. I did not intend it that way.

    Regarding your last comment that you will stay respectful IF I do: I will stay respectful EVEN IF you DON’T. Why will I do that? Because I see no useful, positive point in not doing so, and I see plenty of positive, useful reasons for communicating in respectful ways with you even if you do not do that with me in return.

  • “The Knower is not the known. The known is entirely sourced from the Knower, as a dream from a dreamer. When becoming aware of other existences, identifying with them, as with the current one, is a way to go astray. Anything known, including past present existences, is not the Knower, but from the Knower. And any sense of identification with any part of the known continues the delusion of finitude through phenomenalisation.”

    If the known is like a dream to a dreamer, it’s not clear how you separate it from the knower/dreamer. I do find myself not inclined to identify with other existences, however. What is “…the delusion of finitude through phenomenalisation?”

  • Bud –

    “What process or processes do you consider most reliable for us to use in confirming the validity of conclusions in the world outside of our heads, outside of our subjective experiences? What process or processes do you recommend here for us?”

    the process of science, of course! it is very suitable for investigating these things, and many creative approaches are possible. quite a few of the things I have “personally experienced” – and certainly the kinds of things that were actually experienced by other witnesses – are actually amenable to investigation via the scientific method, done with the all the great carefulness that is required.

    this kind of thing has been undertaken in the barest beginning of ways, by a very few intrepid scientists. some of Sam Parnia’s research on NDEs comes to mind.

    I will look into Thinking, Fast and Slow, and see about getting a copy.

    “I wish to stress the point that many of your claims remain not just untestED, but untestABEL, unconfirmABLE, thus they will always remain “just” a matter of personal opinion”

    perhaps some of my claims are untestable, perhaps not. I think it is far too soon to say, but this kind of blanket belief about testability is probably not the kind of creative thinking required to make any headway.

    “I did not intend it that way.”

    understood! and about the whole question of respect, and constructive dialog. sometimes I have detected a covert undercurrent of anger or emotional provocation in your comments, when the dialog, with whomever, is not going in the direction you may wish it to.

    artleads –

    What is “…the delusion of finitude through phenomenalisation?”

    in plainer language, this would be the ego’s identification with “things” – whatever they may be.

  • I’ve written and posted a new essay. It’s here.

  • Wren –

    yeah – Waking Life! somehow I missed that when it came around. now you got me wanting to watch it. yep – from the trailer, it looks like it covers a wide spectrum.

    “everything is possible.”