Interview with Andrew Harvey

I was interviewed via Skype by Andrew Harvey on Saturday, 24 January 2015. Harvey is founding director of the Institute for Sacred Activism and he also wrote wrote the foreword for Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind. The one-hour interview is embedded below, courtesy of filmmaker Pauline Schneider, via YouTube and Vimeo, respectively.

Andrew&Guy from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

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New in the CLASSIFIEDS, upon request from Shep:

Sustainable is Beautiful! Wear Shoes Like An Antiquarian

Felted wool slippers are made through an ancient process that is known throughout the Middle East and Europe, especially Russia and Scandinavia. They are unsurpassed in warmth and comfort. In my own efforts to live more peaceably with the Earth, I began a cottage industry from my home making these slippers. The slippers are 100% natural, sustainable, renewable, and can be 100% locally produced (once I get a sheep or two).

These slippers are not knitted and then felted. Felting is accomplished through a process using water, soap, and pressure and rubbing. The slippers are made from premium Merino and Corriedale wools, using the Merino for the lining. There are a minimum of four layers of wool roving on the top of the slippers, and six layers in the soles. The Corriedale wool is also quite soft, but it has a slightly larger micron than the Merino, and a longer fiber, making it more durable, therefore Corriedale is used on the outer layers of the slipper. Leather soles are applied for a non-slip surface.

Sometime poster and doomer, oldgrowthforest, is the “Shushu” behind Shushu’s slippers. Slippers can be viewed and purchased online via Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShushusSlippers

I can also be reached directly through email at shushus@mtaonline.net or oldgrowthforest@mtaonline.net Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the slippers or felting. While almost all the pairs seen on the site at this time are floral designs, I also do solid colored slippers and a number of more gender-neutral designs for men and women.

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Please visit the DONATIONS tab. I’m 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. This 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 120

  • I hope we do not forget that when there is a murder of a civilization there are both murderers and victims.

    And that extinction by murder is not natural or genetic (On The Origin of Genieology – 3).

    The essential nature of NTHE, then, also needs to be studied in the context of crime science.

  • Awesome!

    i really liked the way you two interacted. Though he’s really religiously focused, which he exudes, he was very open to what you said, agreed with and appreciated your work, and you were like two gurus speaking together. That was well worth watching Guy, thank you.

  • Dredd: only if that’s what you love. i wouldn’t waste what little time i have left. It isn’t going to matter, we were all complicit (though i really appreciate Paul C’s worldview on this) in that we are the agents of it all (by continuing to go along), and we should spend our time being trying to live in the present and amend our behavior accordingly, being kind to each other and working to end all the destruction and pain – ESPECIALLY, if it’s expressing a personal vision and knowledge like you and Guy, [Paul, Ram, ulvfugl, Cathy C, kevin moore, Benjamin the Donkey and many others] do on your respective blogs through posts and comments.

    Keep up the good work everyone!

  • Sabine,

    Thanks for your January 25th, 2015 at 5:47 am response. Now I follow your reasoning a little better. I expect, though, that a significant percentage of people have used “romantic” in the negative sense in which you describe it, and at least as intensely as some people do today, for as long as the concept has existed. Why wouldn’t they? Such philosophical arguments have persisted, often with great intensity and important social consequences, for at least two thousand years. I do not think that we find today any difference in that regard.

    Meanwhile, it seems just common sense to me to realize that no such thing as “common sense” exists. It seems to me that a person’s appealing to common sense mainly amounts to their claiming that most other people supposedly agree with their views thus presumably giving them a degree of social power or credibility based on numbers. For the most part by far, people believe both individually and in social groups, without limit, whatEVER they wish to believe in order to feel good emotionally—usually related ultimately to minimizing their anxieties about death and dying. In this process, even as we often see in comments here at NBL among a group of people probably significantly more rational than average, people often emotionally strongly resist appeals to evidence and reasoning based on it. We exist first and foremost as emotional animals, not rational ones, and certainly not wise in any deep, long-term, wide-spread ecological sense. It seems just common sense to me that no “special” group of humans in the past, or today, escaped our highly emotional irrationality.

    Or so it seems to me. You certainly may, and probably do, disagree.

  • I love the message from Andrew and Guy that stuck with me (beginning at about @31:30 …):

    “… resistance is not futile …”

    that is, RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE !!!

    That ends my two post limit for today …

    love and peace …

  • there is something going on about energy from sound.
    it looks like more zero-point free energy stuff to me, but i don’t know.
    if anybody knows anything about this stuff please enlighten us.

  • git ur doom on here
    http://truth-out.org/news/item/28702-mourning-our-planet-climate-scientists-share-their-grieving-process

    if you’re rich, give Guy some money, i’ll a take 5% finders fee.
    Guy should make a crowd sourced documentary to make the mass extinction case hit home, i’ll take 5%.
    how’s that for creative?

  • The documentary is done, Robert. The attendant debt remains. As it turns out, extinction isn’t an easy sell. Check it out here.

  • Dredd,

    Regarding “… resistance is not futile …” futile means something to the effect of producing no result or effect, or unproductive of success. If one means to refer to a result, effect, or success as reversing our present ecological course in any significant or timely way for humans, then I disagree and consider resistance futile indeed. On the other hand, if one means to refer to a result, effect, or success concerning HOW WE LIVE AND DIE, then I agree that “… resistance is not futile …”. From the conversation, it seems crystal clear that Andrew and Guy mean resistance in the latter sense of how we live and die (yes, resisting this Earth-killing culture, and yes, resisting by living and dying with dignity, pursuing decency and compassion).

    More generally,

    Regarding the Harvey-McPherson interview and its focus on most people’s strong resistance to the idea of NTHE: of course most people very strongly resist and protest. Given most humans’ strongly narcissistic self-focus and sense of self-importance (“MY way, or our way, is the RIGHT way!”), plus our often pathological avoidance and denial of death and dying, even just of one’s own dying, how could people possibly integrate NTHE without first coming to terms with their own, personal mortality? Perhaps I have this backwards, but it seems to me that the former cannot occur until after the latter has. Given that past behavior serves as the most reliable predictor of future behavior, and the tens of thousands of years old, consistent pattern we have demonstrated regarding death denial, it seems highly unlikely to me, indeed, that very many humans will come to terms even with their own, personal mortality, much less NTHE, which few religions or philosophies have prepared us for. For example, Harvey suggests that in our death “we will be born in divine consciousness”. In my view this nicely expresses our age-old denial of death by insisting that, presumably, we will not really die. This idea may express the greatest extent most people can come to “coming to terms with” death: some form of belief in some kind of “afterlife”.

    I think that the prospect of NTHE tends strongly to push many people to stop avoiding and denying their mortality and instead to look at it and consider it seriously. And, yes, these processes—facing personal mortality and NTHE—both may occur as a “shattering” experience for many people. On a positive note regarding this, George Bonanno and other’s research observing how people actually experience and go through their bereavement processes versus just hypothesizing about it, described in The Other Side of Sadness, What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss, has produced some surprising results, some nicely summarized in these two paragraphs:

    “One of the most consistent findings is that bereavement is not a one-dimensional experience. It’s not the same for everyone and there do not appear to be specific stages that everyone must go through. Rather, bereaved people show different patterns or trajectories of grief reactions across time. I’ve depicted the three most common patterns in Figure 1. Some bereaved people suffer from CHRONIC GRIEF reactions [10 to 15 percent]. The pain of loss simply overwhelms them, and they find it all but impossible to return to their normal daily routine. Unfortunately, for some, this kind of struggle can endure for years. Others experience a more gradual RECOVERY. They suffer acutely but then slowly pick up the pieces and begin putting their lives back together.”

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

  • @ Jeff S……..and Wester while we’re at it.

    From the previous post, Jeff states:

    “….stress about people here who don’t wish to believe that ancient people behaved differently than homo hi-techus. It’s easier to believe that than to accept that our current behavior is changeable.”

    Well, aside from the obvious fact that ancient people lived differently given they lived during a different time. This sentence alone has many implications, and all of them are rather silly on your end.

    First, what a waste of a time, “stressing” about the beliefs of complete strangers, given there are over 7 billion people who think differently than you.

    What a waste of time defending how ‘ancient people’ did or did not behave in context to overwhelming contrarian evidence to pretty much any point you’ve ever made in this space.

    What a waste of your time even thinking your hopelessly outmoded prescriptive solutions have any import whatsoever at this very late stage of ecological destruction.

    But aside from your continuous display that you have little to do other than moralize over some imagined human agency–which sounds awfully similar to quoting scripture–how tragic that you can’t figure out anything better to do with your life than hold fast to a 19th century hopium pipe that human behavior can change within a timeframe relevant to intractable abrupt climate change.

    Your critical thinking skills need to be seriously updated Jeff, or rather maybe you might want to honestly question yourself as to what exactly you’re hoping to achieve here when you obviously don’t accept the near term timing of NTE. You might as well be blogging on an apple tree growers forum, as to the superiority of oranges.

    After all this time, you haven’t yet connected the dots that this blog isn’t your best option for even remotely walking your antiquated talk? (same goes for Wester). Do you both like to imagine you’re somehow ‘sticking it to the man’ by blogging on your personal computers just like everyone else who hasn’t a clue?

    You both have been trolling this space with THE most tired analysis I think anyone has ever offered. You both have said nothing here, that wasn’t already well worn before either of you were even born. So I guess I’m not surprised that at least for you Jeff, that you think people can change, given it’s debatable as to whether you even know what century it is.

    One would think that more than a century in a half of identifying the systemic problems within our capitalist system, there might be a few relevant sustainable solutions well in effect by now beyond just continuing the generational theorizing about “what if….”. But to no avail! Hmmm, I wonder why that is Jeff? Could it be you’re choosing to overlook a few things that might undermine your very frail perspective?

    How about you romantically rehash Marx for us just one more time. I’m sure you’ve unearthed something long overlooked, revealing we’re just around the corner of overcoming collective greed, ignorance, indifference, classism as well as endless cultural barriers, not to mention that little thing called ecological overshoot. Oh yes Jeff, please tell “us” how 7 billion people change, I sure you ‘believe’ you’ve got it all figured out.

    Stop hiding behind endlessly identifying “the problems”. That’s just too easy, especially given we’re faced with insoluble dilemmas. At this point, we’re all painfully aware of how we got here. Why not start detailing exactly how, our “current behavior is changeable”. But before you do that, please explain who “we” are exactly. Go ahead Jeff, what are you waiting for, it’s not like most of life on earth isn’t well advanced in the process of going extinct. I’m sure those 19th century social theorists had their finger on the pulse of melting methane hydrates.

  • I’m getting popcorn for this

  • Daniel,,
    Guy posts an essay by Satish on pre-civ.people.People comment You don’t comment,then lambast people for having the temerity to comment on it. You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.Why not lambast Guy for having the.temerity to post the essay.The only thing that would keep you happy is if we only discuss your essay and whether to commit suicide or not.

  • While I may agree Daniel’s post presents as arrogant and condescending – I can relate to his frustration.

    Blog comments seem to have gone from heartfelt testimonials and problems of dealing with NBL to non-stop mental masturbation. Seems every phrase now demands 5k of text to sell or refute (with footnotes OFC).

    But hey – who am I to say ?? Maybe it is of paramount importance how many angels fit on a pin.

  • Diarmuid Galvin,

    “I’m getting popcorn for this.” Cracked me up! I wanted to reply “I’ve already got mine; kicked back with it and my Pepsi in hand” but I did not want to violate the two-post per day rule.

    david higham,

    Now I will violate the two-post rule. You wrote to Daniel, “You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.” You may disagree with what Daniel wrote, but he did write in a respectful way. If you said or wrote something like this in a Tacoma ESG meeting or email, we would immediately ask you to apologize and, if you did not, remove you from our email list and/or ask you to leave the meeting. Would you care to explain what you had hoped to accomplish with this incredibly disrespectful, vicious character attack? Please help me and other readers here to understand how this contributes in any positive way to the discussion here at NBL—and also please apologize to Daniel.

  • I’m almost ready to stop reading about the accelerating rate of NTE. I wish that you could be spared gathering more evidence, although thank you once again for all you have done along those lines and still do. I’ve learned a lot from your psychic transformation in the last year or so, too, and now (sometimes) I’m at the point where I can think about what’s ahead and sit with it. Someone I’ve never met–you–has had a huge impact on my life. I’m going to try to move on to the remainder of that life now.

  • Bud Nye,
    You want some truth?Tou are a fucking pompous windbag.Read Daniels comment.Dripping with condescension.

  • Total awesomeness! My favorite interview so far! Both of you in such fine form, speaking from the heart and giving us so much.

    Thanks, thanks and thanks!

  • I would like to thank Guy for his generosity in posting my ad so prominently in this page, and Shep for suggesting that I communicate my shop to others. I appreciate it very much.

    Bud,

    “Please help me and other readers here to understand how this contributes . . .”

    I have seen this type of comment frequently. Do you believe the people here are incapable of asking for clarification on anything if they wish?

    Do you believe we all share your concerns regarding “positive contributions”?

    In my culture we would say that you can ONLY speak for yourself unless you have specifically been asked to represent others. There is no other reality possible. All humans speak for themselves.

    I find myself uncomfortable with such, dare I say it, presumptions. Therefore I would like to make it quite clear to all the readers of this blog, that I have no such questions. I don’t think I even know what he is talking about because I didn’t read the original post.

    I feel like I have too much to say.

    Paul, I really appreciate how you expressed yourself recently discussing your journey and the changes in your perspective. I so respect that you have taken the time learn and make your own decisions. I also respect that you express your views as that and are not evangelical about them, attempting to convince others that yours is the right way. You might come full circle again. It only takes a tiny glimpse of another reality, even a moment can change everything. :O)

    Lidia, I have three furs. I wear them most of the year when it’s “cool” outside, as one my acquaintances recently described zero degrees. One is a close-cut shearling and I’ve worn it throughout Washington and Oregon and never had so much as a sideways glance. Funny, that. It is my favorite coat of my life, below the knee length, hooded, black with silver fleece lining, big cuffs. It’s beautiful. Another is a mink of the same length and style, that I found on craigslist and got for $50. It’s got a lot of damage where the fur is patched together at the shoulders, but it’s still warm. I wear it for chores in the yard and running to the grocery store when it is what works best with the temperature.

    And I have a native-style parka that is made of mouton, and it is my warmest coat and suitable for -20F and even colder temps. Native people in Barrow recommend mouton for tender outsiders when in their climate. It’s too warm for the Natives, however. When I wear my furs all I receive is admiration and people wanting to touch them, and I wear them grocery shopping. Everyone does. They aren’t fashion, they are warmth. The mink and the mouton are both vintage, from the 70s, early 80s. Even though they are both old, the mouton is in excellent condition. It has a beautiful hood and fur ruff.

    Same with boots and hats, fur. I’ll never buy UGG’s again. I am a vegetarian and have been for years.

    I don’t think there is anything we can do that can come from outside of us. You are correct, and you will find suffering in every culture and place on earth, and some of that suffering will be caused intentionally, and with malice and/or indifference by very bad human beings. What is there after accepting that? Not, what can we do, but what is there . . . in every way, once we accept how “imperfect” life is with its inherent suffering. That is how we see it, that it must be imperfect if it entails suffering.

    I have no answers, other than be here now. Live the life before you; do good where you can and where your heart speaks to you. I have found many answers for myself in philosophy, in religion, and more so in my experiences. There is a great deal to letting go of even a need to know.

    As for the genocide, I still agree with Wester. Before we launch into all this academic white guy stuff, whose land are we on? Who was here for many thousands of years and LOVED this land, and they are not here now? Where are we standing? Something’s wrong already with this conversation.

  • Diarmuid Galvin Says:
    January 25th, 2015 at 3:09 pm
    “I’m getting popcorn for this”

    No need to bother, because….

    david higham Says:
    January 25th, 2015 at 4:37 pm
    “Daniel,,
    Guy posts an essay by Satish on pre-civ.people.People comment You don’t comment,then lambast people for having the temerity to comment on it. You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.Why not lambast Guy for having the.temerity to post the essay.The only thing that would keep you happy is if we only discuss your essay and whether to commit suicide or not.”

    Says it well, so much that i see no reason to add anything.

  • Doomer Prayer

    In the time left before my last twitch,
    There’s the things unimportant to ditch
    And the things which are not;
    I hope that I’ve got
    The wisdom to know which are which.

  • @Daniel

    You quote Jeff from the previous thread:
    “…stress about people here who don’t wish to believe that ancient people behaved differently than homo hi-techus. It’s easier to believe that than to accept that our current behavior is changeable.”

    Jeff can correct me if I’m wrong, but my simple reading of “here” in his first sentence means “here at NBL” as opposed to the “here on Earth” that your reference to over 7 billion people clearly refers to.

    And you seem to be putting words in Jeff’s mouth when you conflate “our current behavior” with “our planetary trajectory”.

    Guy and many others here (you know, “here”) clearly believe that some/many of us can modify our individual behavior. The exhortation to lead a life of excellence in the face of the current dominant system is not based on the idea that leading such a life will change the current planetary predicament.

    For some, leading a life of excellence involves trying to determine where we went off track as a species or society. It may seem to you like ancient theologians and their angels v. pins, but some folks just want to know what went wrong. Think of it as a social version of the part of experimental science usually referred to as “error analysis”. If you’re more interested in the anguish angle, it looks to me like there’s some of that still here from various posters…just scroll past the HG v. IC stuff and you’ll be fine. (Oh, just read ogf’s post that came in while I was composing this…better scroll past all the ‘tedious’ [to you, maybe] stuff about racism, colonization, and the like, too.)

    You said: Stop hiding behind endlessly identifying “the problems”. That’s just too easy, especially given we’re faced with insoluble dilemmas.

    For some of us, insoluble dilemmas open up the gameboard rather than narrow the move options. My late friend, Ron Shock, had a comedy routine whose message was “Have a drink. Smoke a joint. Fuck a stranger. Eat a Twinkie. You’re gonna die anyway!” Light(en) up, wouldja? Somewhere far away, there might be a civilization that digs the “Johnny B. Goode” song on that golden NASA album and comes looking for the source. We’ll be long gone, but they might find some record of the squabbles being hashed out here at NBL. It might give them something new to think about after they’ve finished eating all of the Twinkies, most of which which will probably survive (the ones in break rooms at nuke facilities might not make it through the bottleneck).

    Oh, and Daniel…you’re messin’ with the god of biscuits (or cake, I forget).
    .
    .
    .
    @ogf
    So, unlike the old beer commercial, that Bud’s not (speaking) for you ?
    Don’t read too much into this…the title’s just too perfect to resist.
    .
    .
    Dance Mix

    .
    .
    Extended Version

  • USA Today, In total decay Earth our mum, gee were dumb Almost over, why bother Day to day, get out play Be here no, no sacred cow Grateful Dead back together! Get ready for some really shitty weather Doc said get into poetry

  • Smokey is smokin’

  • http://time.com/3677814/greenland-ice-sheet-lakes-drainage/?xid=newsletter-brief
    By Rishi Lyengar, 1/22/15

    “Two lakes underneath the ice in Greenland that previously held billions of gallons of water were rapidly drained, probably in a matter of weeks, researchers discovered recently.

    Researchers from various universities involved in a comprehensive mapping effort of the Greenland Ice Sheet discovered two craters over a mile wide that used to be sub-glacial lakes, Science Daily reports.

    The findings, published separately in scientific journals The Cryosphere and Nature, signal an environmental shift that Ohio State earth sciences professor Ian Howat described as “catastrophic.””

    __________________
    infanttyrone Says:
    January 25th, 2015 at 8:01 pm
    “@Daniel

    You quote Jeff from the previous thread:
    “…stress about people here who don’t wish to believe that ancient people behaved differently than homo hi-techus. It’s easier to believe that than to accept that our current behavior is changeable.”

    Jeff can correct me if I’m wrong, but my simple reading of “here” in his first sentence means “here at NBL” as opposed to the “here on Earth” that your reference to over 7 billion people clearly refers to.

    And you seem to be putting words in Jeff’s mouth when you conflate “our current behavior” with “our planetary trajectory”.”

    You are totally correct, Infanttyrone, regarding what i meant. I think it’s pretty clear, amazing how wrong Daniel got it, but perhaps not.

    But you are wrong, i’m not the god of either biscuits or cake, but of pancakes.:-)

  • guyo smith Says:
    January 25th, 2015 at 8:54 pm
    “USA Today, In total decay Earth our mum, gee were dumb Almost over, why bother Day to day, get out play Be here no, no sacred cow Grateful Dead back together! Get ready for some really shitty weather Doc said get into poetry”

    Grateful Dead back together? NO WAY! Jerry is DEAD!!

  • Jeff S.

    Well, I scoured the archives and found where you were promoted (albeit horizontally) from biscuits to cake (on a probationary basis).

    I must have been out of sorts after telepathically convening with Eddie about that move, because I completely missed your request for reassignment to the pancake gig.

    Consider it done…but don’t say you’re tired of pancakes and now you want to be the god of s’mores…recent studies confirm that rifts in the space-time continuum can result from moving out of the frying pan and into the fire.
    .
    .
    .
    ogf,
    Now we’re cookin’…
    .
    .

    .
    .
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMwK7lHFKic

  • Almost two years ago(!), in “The irreconcilable acceptance of near-term extinction,” Daniel says:

    “…NTE ends in only one of three ways for everyone: predation, starvation or suicide.”

    The irreconcilable acceptance of near-term extinction

    NTE Options

    Once you get it, that you won’t abide,
    There’s still something else to decide:
    Unfortunately,
    The choices are three—
    Predation, starvation, or suicide.

  • david higham,

    You wrote to Daniel, “You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.” In response to my request that you apologize, you then wrote to me “You are a fucking pompous windbag.” You may disagree with what Daniel wrote, but he did write in a respectful way. You may disagree with what I write and with my writing style, but I do write in respectful ways. I would never even consider writing in any such way to you, even in the face of your disgusting remarks. (After four years in the Marine Corps, with one in Viet Nam, trust me, david, I can use foul, insulting, violent language with the “best” of you.) Your rationalization notwithstanding, in my opinion you clearly and dramatically crossed a completely unacceptable line regarding verbal violence. If you said or wrote something like this in a Tacoma ESG meeting or email, we would immediately ask you to apologize and, if you did not, we would remove you from our email list and/or ask you to leave the meeting, as appropriate for the situation. I have copied here the Tacoma ESG statement regarding respectful interaction:

    “Respectful interaction: During our meetings and in other communication we intend this group democratically to give equal time and ‘power’ to all opinions, including all religious and non-religious perspectives, whether we agree with each other or not. People who stay with this group will surely need to have a high tolerance for openness, flexibility, honesty, and respectful, non-violent dialog, including active listening and empathy. We have an important, fundamental rule: no one will attack another person’s character, nor use insult-intended, abusive language in their speaking or writing to each other. Per John Gottman and others, we do not work to ‘resolve’ conflict, but to manage it in productive ways.”

    Do you and others here really consider this too much to ask? Would you care to explain what you had hoped to accomplish with your disrespectful, vicious character attacks? I feel extremely curious to know, as I expect many other readers here do as well. Please help me, Guy, and other readers here to understand how comments like this contribute in ANY conceivably positive way to the discussion here at NBL. Please also demonstrate an intention to repair by apologizing to Daniel, and now to me as well.

    Or perhaps I find myself completely out of line and alone, here, with my expectation for a reasonably safe and respectful venue for all of us to comment within? Does everyone reading and commenting here, including Guy, REALLY wish to support and reward this kind of outrageous, vicious, disrespectful behavior among commenters through passive acceptance of it, as everyone presently appears to, while also, presumably, advocating for “love, kindness, and compassion”? We not only passively support this Earth-killing civilization, which we have relatively little control over, but we ALSO refuse to stop this kind of disgusting, verbally violent behavior among commenters here, among ourSELVES, by passively accepting it, which we DO have a HUGE amount of control over? Perhaps, after all, I find myself badly and naively mistaken about the character of this NBL site, as well as the character of the people who comment here. I know of a number of people who refuse to comment here. Perhaps I now find myself learning one of the important reasons why: because we—WE, everyone reading this—have created and maintain anything BUT a safe commenting environment here, have no intention of creating or maintaining any such an environment, and all of the passionate words about love, kindness, and compassion amount to nothing more than syrupy, empty rhetoric.

    oldgrowthforest,

    I speak here only for myself regarding the process I see and experience here at NBL. If others agree with me and care to join me, including possibly Guy, then great. If not, that remains fine too. Either way, I speak only for myself, not for anyone else, and I realize that I may find myself completely alone with my concerns. Meanwhile, I do find it appalling that people in your culture condone saying things to one another like “You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit”, your supporting david higman in his writing that, your protesting my asking him to apologize for writing it, and your suggesting that people should just passively sit by and watch other people treat each other in abusive ways. In asking him to apologize, I do not “speak for” Daniel. I speak for MYSELF and my values regarding basic human decency and dignity as expressed here at NBL. I feel sorry if you have some difficulty comprehending any or all of this, or if you strongly disagree with it.

    Guy,

    Over time I have noticed that you often have a small but loud cohort of commenters, here, who have little in the way of socially appropriate and helpful communication skills and/or they lack emotional stability or maturity. Some of these people may well receive payment from government or corporate sources to cause as much trouble as possible at sites like this. Regarding this problem, I wonder if you might consider doing an experiment. You could write and post a policy statement similar to what we use in our Tacoma ESG, and encourage commenters to maintain it among themselves as we do in our ESG. It would, of course, need to have some very clearly stated guidelines, clear boundaries, and specific examples of unacceptable writing (such as david higham’s “You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.”). You could try it for a few weeks and see how it goes. The experiment MIGHT quickly and easily produce a significant increase in the level of emotional safety at NBL while also increasing the commenting quality, in which case you could continue it. On the other hand, it might not work very well for some reason, in which case you could revise it, as needed, or just go back to business as usual, with some people fairly often attempting to insult each other and attempting to produce horizontal hostility in outrageous, infantile ways: so common in junior high and high schools around the country today.

  • http://scitechdaily.com/yale-study-details-recent-shifts-occurrence-cause-magnitude-mass-animal-die-offs/

    Yale Study Details Recent Shifts in Occurrence, Cause, and Magnitude of Mass Animal Die-Offs

    [quotes]

    A newly published study from Yale University shows that an increase in mass animal die-offs appears to be associated with a rise in disease emergence, biotoxicity, and multiple interacting stressors.

    Mass die-offs of animals may be increasing in frequency and — for birds, fishes, and marine invertebrates — in severity as well, according to a study of 727 mass mortality events since 1940.

    Despite the ecological importance of individual mass mortality events, in which a larger than normal number of individuals die within a population, little research has been conducted on patterns across mass mortality events. The new study will help researchers better assess trends in mass mortality events and their causes, according to the authors of the paper in the January 12 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Fey, along with fellow researchers at the University of San Diego and University of California-Berkeley, report that the magnitude of the die-offs has increased in birds, fishes, and marine invertebrates, held steady among mammals, and decreased in frogs and amphibians. The authors recognized that more scientific research has been done on mass mortality events in the last few decades but said even accounting for this “discovery bias” does not explain all of the increase in such events. The increase in mass mortality events appears to be associated with a rise in disease emergence, biotoxicity, and multiple interacting stressors, they note.

    Overall, disease was the primary culprit, accounting for 26% of the mass die-offs. The impacts of direct human activity, primarily from environmental contamination, caused 19% of such events. Another major cause was biotoxicity triggered by events such as algae blooms, rapid increases of algae in water systems. Processes directly influenced by climate — such as weather extremes, thermal stress, oxygen stress, or starvation — also contributed accounted collectively for about 25% of mass mortality events. [read the rest if interested]

    Yet another lake disappearing:

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2015/01/lake-urmia-how-irans-most-famous-lake.html

    Lake Urmia: How Iran’s most famous lake is disappearing

    ABSTRACT: Lake Urmia, one of the largest saltwater lakes on earth and a highly endangered ecosystem, is on the brink of a major environmental disaster similar to the catastrophic death of the Aral Sea. With a new composite of multi-spectral high resolution satellite observations, we show that the area of this Iranian lake has decreased by around 88% in the past decades, far more than previously reported (~25% to 50%). The lake’s shoreline has been receding severely with no sign of recovery, which has been partly blamed on prolonged droughts. We use the lake basin’s satellite-based gauge-adjusted climate record of the Standardized Precipitation Index data to demonstrate that the on-going shoreline retreat is not solely an artifact of prolonged droughts alone. Drastic changes to lake health are primarily consequences of aggressive regional water resources development plans, intensive agricultural activities, anthropogenic changes to the system, and upstream competition over water. This commentary is a call for action to both develop sustainable restoration ideas and to put new visions and strategies into practice before Lake Urmia falls victim to the Aral Sea syndrome.

    All for now, i gotta go shovel snow.

  • Bud Nye: I know of a number of people who refuse to comment here. Perhaps I now find myself learning one of the important reasons why: because we—WE, everyone reading this—have created and maintain anything BUT a safe commenting environment here, have no intention of creating or maintaining any such an environment, and all of the passionate words about love, kindness, and compassion amount to nothing more than syrupy, empty rhetoric.

    >>>

    Just to tie a couple of thoughts together: Syrupy, empty rhetoric is delicious on pancakes!

    Only love remains!

  • Rick Santorum tells CNN: Climate Change is real — but ‘of course, do nothing’” (Raw Story>/a>)

    Holy full blown “I love Jim Jones” style Stockholm Syndrome

  • ** all of the passionate words about love, kindness, and compassion amount to nothing more than syrupy, empty rhetoric.**

    As it has always been and IMO, always will be. As individuals, we have a hard time changing our behavior even when our lives depend on it – odds are against convincing others to live up to [insert any pompous ass’ name] expectations.

    Trying to create a space of cuddles and cream where all is warm and fuzzy – retreat to your mind, because the world outside can be a rough, ugly place – and it won’t change because it upsets some folk.

  • Bud Nye Says:
    January 25th, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Dredd,

    Regarding “… resistance is not futile …” futile means something to the effect of producing no result or effect, or unproductive of success.

    ========================================
    Yes, sometimes resistance does not work in the sense of stopping what is being resisted.

    The purpose of resistance is not to first determine whether it will work or not, but whether it is the proper thing to do or not.

    This is a story for future palaeontologists and those laboring in archaeology to understand a mass-suicide murder on a global scale (a study by alien scientists, perhaps from a civilization far away that mastered living on a planet without killing everything).

    Will the evidence show that many of the human species resisted, but most did not?

    The main themes in their report will likely be about what initiated it, and what did not stop it.

    The social religions and psychopathic scientific groups will be in the latter category.

    –that makes my second post today —

  • It’s a tie!

    And; both the “Literary Artists” and “Sanity” trophies for NBL go to (drum roll) & (ladies first):

    oldgrowthforest and infanttyrone! tah dah!!

    Wowee! Beautimous!

  • @oldgrowthforest,

    Most of what we do here amounts to trading our personal stories: our Story of the World, Story of the People, or Story the Self. The most common motivation for doing this is self-affirmation, either by recruiting others with similar stories or by publicly rebuking those whose stories don’t match our own. The rebukes are a largely futile exercise, because all stories are different – we would need to rebuke 7.2 billion other stories to claim “success”. Recruiting on the other hand is a natural group-formation instinct, honed over tens of thousands of years of human social evolution.

    I’ve accepted that much of my Story of the World, based as it is on thermodynamics, systems science and cybernetics, will be inaccessible to others, either through lack of knowledge or incompatible temperament. So I present it mainly as a curiosity that might interest a (very) few others. As a recruiting tool it’s ineffective for that reason, and of course the rebukes it receives would be inevitable even if it was much closer to a mainstream story. The same goes for my Story of the People, which is based on my Story of the World with the addition of evolutionary psychology and Harris’ Cultural Materialism.

    My “Story of the Self” is becoming progressively thinner as I go through the process of destroying my old Stories of the World and the People, and replacing them with new ones that are more suitable to whoever I am today. Because this process of destruction and replacement is cyclic, I often find myself returning to ideas that I have previously held but then moved away from during my explorations. I find that when I come back to them they no longer hold the same place in my internal narrative as they did before, because “I” am now different. From that point of view the process is more like a spiral than a simple “looping back”. My sense of self appears to be as changeable as the stories that define it.

    There is simply no point in being evangelical about my views. In the first place they seem to be extraordinarily fluid, but more than that, they really make no difference to others or the world at large. They are just stories, after all, and what matters is not our stories, but what we do. My worldview is highly unlikely to change anyone’s behaviour, and I have adapted to that awareness by setting aside any desire that it do so.

    These are all just things that people do while we wait for the Reaper to arrive.

  • snarkfestapalooza. only love remains after the american snipers are done. wow. you guys take all the fun out of mass extinction.

  • While I myself believe in civil discussion without resorting to ad hominems, I am a free speech absolutist and I prefer the forum be maintained in an anarchistic manner. I think love, kindness, and compassion are good and I practice it, but I don’t expect everyone to (for various reasons) and wouldn’t dream of enforcing it on anyone else either through physical or technological means, even if I had the ability to do so. I think freedom is just as important and I think you can support both. If you don’t like something written, you can ignore it (on the actual forum there’s even an “ignore” button and I’ve put a couple of posters here on that list). Why should you abridge anyone else’s freedom to say something based on what you think is “civil”?

    In the end, the decision here is Guy’s since he pays for the forum and can do whatever he wants, but I prefer the forum just the way it is. Censorship is a slippery slope and once you start, it’s easy to find justifications to keep changing the goalposts. Better to have complete freedom and deal with the occasional insult than to have a power structure here and for some “emotional safety.”

    I don’t think civility can or ever should be enforced. It must be achieved via the bottom up. If you cannot make a compelling case for civility through your own words and actions, then you have to live with the consequences. It’s only in such an environment that we can determine if humans can get along or not. It has come from within, not imposed externally.

    This is NOT the same as me condoning lack of civility. I’m just saying the best way to deal with it is to allow it to be expressed and THEN deal with it. Get it out into the light, and let the openness disinfect it. Set an example: there are many ways of being uncivil, even when being polite. In my experiences in the real world, I’ve been harmed sometimes more by people with extremely smooth tongues that said and did stuff behind my back than people who were rude and coarse but at least I knew where I stood with them. Being uncivil doesn’t just mean hurling insults, but also exhibition of arrogance and condescending attitudes. The Internet brings out all kinds of people and that’s what’s great about it.

  • Here’s an interesting experiment to try out in terms of stories: write your story out as it stands now (briefly), and then every five years (or every year or every ten years) write your story out as it stands at that time. Then for each story, think about how the story should ideally have been written (according to you).

    After a while, you will have a set of actual stories and then a recursively expanding set of potential ideal stories. This is your “training set”. From this, you can fast forward however long you think you’ll live (i.e., to the end of the story) and then write a story about how you think the actual story will turn out vs. the actual ideal story you’ll write.

    Continue to iterate (recurse) on this process as you add more stories. What does it mean if your actual story and your ideal story converge and diverge and think about why that is occurring. In my case, the stories overall converge but the details diverge in unexpected ways. I’m happy with the outcome and there’s still a lot of stories left (and already written). 🙂

    I of course would like to write a machine learning program to write my stories…

    There’s a Marvel comics series out called Loki: Agent of Asgard that has some interesting ideas about writing your story.

  • Paul Chefurka; More than one year ago you posted at Natalia Shakhova’s to the point 2012 Youtube video.
    Today you mention my mentor Marvin Harris.

    It is established empirical fact that we have very large brains & that our large human brains have evolved.

    They are our instruments for understanding how the world works.

    Whether they are guiding us correctly now should be the issue.

    Lying, consciously distorting the truth/data, literary fools claiming that there is no truth and/or no objective reality, lawyering culture everywhere, adversarial masquerade as culture, literature as meaningless quibble, money getting as a religion, false witness as an art, continual growth as a religion, compound interest, “public relations,” the news … all from our big brains.
    These are all empirical observations.

    Hoax Culture = some humans using other humans for their own nefarious ends

    Global heating, the greenhouse effect, & climate change/disruptions are in our faces empirically;

    BUT the mainstream media is NOT reporting it.

    The greatest event in all history is NOT being reported.

    Our lives & our deaths are not important?

    This too is an empirical observation.

    Those of us who love science & scientific culture for its truth seeking respect the advance of understanding how the world works – from Euclid to Galileo to Newton to Darwin, to Maxwell, Boltzmann, Planck, Einstein, Soddy, Feynman, Hansen, Francis, Shakhova, Semelitov …

    No lying, no distorting, no bullshit.

    Our scientific culture of truth seeking comes from our big brains too.

    Science is the most unique & precious accomplishment of our big brains & human culture.

    “It is not mere ethnocentric puffery to assert that science is a way of knowing (about the world) that has a uniquely transcendent value for all human beings.” Marvin Harris

    Physicist Percy Bridgeman’s vernacular definition of science; “Doing your damnedest to tell the truth – no holds barred.”

    Bridgeman’s strategy would really help in this time of despair, if only to give us time to make the most of our days left & as petty as it is – maybe listen carefully to our favorite friends.

    All hell is coming & there is no way out.

    Bangladeshies, Inuit, Bolivians, Pakistanis, & the caged Palestinians in the Gaza Concentration Camp are living & dying it now

    We are all in hospice, & there isn’t any way out of confronting the end of civilization, the end of science, & our own deaths.

    BEWARE; “Spirituality can be a refuge for abject scoundrels.”

  • Thermodynamic Haiku

    MEPP

    Exergy nurtures growth.
    More is generally better,
    Until – surprise! – it’s not.

    MPP

    When systems contend,
    The most powerful often wins.
    Losers just evolve.

  • Guy- wonderful discussion with Andrew Harvey. Thanks!

    OldGrowthForest- your slippers sound lovely. We deprive ourselves of the healing connection with the electromagnetic pulse of the planet when we wear heavy soled shoes.

    Here… for your amusement …

    The 2014 Darwin Awards

    “SIXTH PLACE: Goes to a San Anselmo, California man who died
    when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth mountain ski area
    while riding down the slope on a foam pad. 22-year old David
    Hubal was pronounced dead at Central Mammoth Hospital. The
    accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff’s
    department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked
    up a ski run called Stump Alley and removed some yellow foam
    protectors from lift towers, said Lt. Mike Donnelly of the
    Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect
    skiers who might hit towers. The group apparently used the
    pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a
    tower. It has since been investigated and determined the
    tower he hit was the one with its pad removed.

    FIFTH PLACE: Goes to Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being
    disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened
    to call the police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it into
    his mouth and walked out without paying. Police found him
    unconscious in front of the store. Paramedics removed the
    six-inch wiener from his throat where it had choked him to
    death.

    FOURTH PLACE: Goes to poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, who
    shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock and
    was killed instantly when it fell on him.

    THIRD PLACE: “Man loses face at party” A man at a West
    Virginia party (probably related to the winner last year,
    a man in Arkansas who used the .22 bullet to replace the
    fuse in his pickup truck) popped a blasting cap into his
    mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off
    his lips, teeth, and tongue. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid,
    bit the blasting cap as a prank during the party late
    Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne. “Another man had a
    blasting cap in an aquarium hooked to a battery and was
    trying to explode it. It wouldn’t go off and this guy said,
    “I’ll show you how to set it off!” He put it into his mouth,
    bit down and it blew all his teeth out and his lips and
    tongue off, Payne said. Stromyer was listed in guarded
    condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries,
    according to a spokesperson at Charleston Area Medical
    Division “I just can’t imagine anyone doing something like
    that,” Payne said. (Note: Maybe that’s why they call these
    the Darwin Awards)

    SECOND PLACE: Doctors at Portland University Hospital said
    an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is
    lucky to be alive and will be released soon from the hospital.
    Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an
    initiation into a men’s rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous
    (probably known now as Stupid Mountain Men Anonymous) in
    Grants Pass, Oregon. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off
    his head, but the arrow entered Robert’s right eye. Doctors
    said that had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major
    blood vessel would have been cut and Roberts would have
    died instantly. Neurosurgeon, Doctor Johnny Delashaw, at the
    University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through
    8 to 10 inches of brain with the tip protruding at the rear
    of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood
    vessels. Delashaw also said that had Roberts tried to pull
    the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself.
    Roberts admitted afterwards that he and his friend had been
    drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, “I feel so dumb about
    this.”

    THIS YEAR’S WINNER: John Pernicky and his friend, Sal Hawkins,
    of the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local
    Metallica concert at the George Washington amphitheater.
    Having no tickets (but having had 18 beers between them),
    they thought it would be easy to “hop” over the nine foot
    fence and sneak into the show. They pulled their pickup truck
    over to the fence and the plan was for Mr. Pernicky, who was
    100 pounds heavier than Mr. Hawkins, to hop the fence and then
    assist his friend over. Unfortunately for (the late) Mr.
    Pernicky, there was a 30-foot drop on the other side of the
    fence.  Having heaved himself over, he found himself crashing
    through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted (and broken,
    along with his arm) by a large branch that snagged him by his
    shorts. Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he looked
    down and saw some bushes below him. Possibly figuring the
    bushes would break his fall, he removed his pocket knife
    and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the
    tree. Finally free, Mr. Pernicky crashed into holly bushes.
    The sharp leaves scratched his ENTIRE body and now, without
    the protection of his shorts, a holly branch penetrated his
    rectum. To make matters worse, upon landing his pocket knife
    penetrated his thigh. Hawkins, seeing his friend in considerable
    pain and agony, threw him a rope and tried to pull him to
    safety by tying the rope to the pickup truck and slowly driving
    away. However, in his drunken haste, he put the truck into
    reverse and crashed through the fence, landing on his friend
    and killing him. Police arrived to find the crashed pickup with
    its driver thrown 100 feet from the truck and dead at the scene
    from massive internal injuries. Upon moving the truck, they
    found John deceased under it half-naked, scratches on his body,
    a holly stick in his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and his
    shorts dangling from a tree branch 25 feet in the air.

    Congratulations gentlemen. You win. Five more idiots have been
    removed from the gene pool and we are richer because of your
    supreme sacrifice.”

  • COMPLEXITY

    What works is what works
    infinite evolution
    cooperation

    or more poetic but break from the 5-7-5 Haiku structure:

    What works is what works
    infinite evolution
    cooperation not competition

  • Whereas normal rainfall for January is in the range 50 to 300mm, most of New Zealand haws received less than 50mm so far this month, and the forecast is for continuing warm, dry weather.

    With another two months of high-in-the-sky sun, there is a very real prospect of severe drought developing across much of NZ.

    http://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/daily-climate-maps

    The combination of already collapsed milk prices with severely reduced production could prove very ‘interesting’.

    The uninformed fools that make up the bulk of the population think that warm dry weather and lower fuel prices ($1.73 versus $2.15 per litre a few months ago)are wonderful.

    My focus is still personal preparation for the economic storm that is going to hit later this year or in 2016, a ‘tsunami’ which will ‘wipe out’ a large portion of the populace. Infinite growth on a finite planet was always doomed to failure.

  • All the name calling in the world is nowhere near as cruel and violent as censorship.

  • Cooperation fosters growth at the root. Competition prunes unproductive branches. Both are essential.

  • “What works is what works
    infinite evolution
    cooperation not competition”

    Well, until something better comes along, I’ll take this as my mantra.
    🙂

  • “groups seem to have very small tribes to be able to stay out of sight and as far away from civilization as possible? Why?

    I can answer my own question after watching Satish’s movie: I should have know this. I was an OB/GYN (mostly GYN) Nurse Practitioner for a few years.

    LESS OVULATION DUE TO MORE NURSING. ACTIVE LIVING. LESS CARBS.

  • I very much appreciate what Guy says here regarding his intuition. You were a brave man, Guy, but you’re getting braver; there’s a LOT more to come. In connection with grief, few people mention that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s final books were about the reality of spirituality.

    When she began her studies she was treated viciously by her peers. She was called a vulture and other derogatory names. She kept on. For the first many years of her work, I’m not certain how many, at least ten and I suspect more, she was a convinced materialist. She believed that anything the dying said about an afterlife was wishful thinking.

    But then, over the years she and her staff went to hospitals on holiday weekends when there numerous car collisions that resulted in large numbers of people in the emergency rooms dying. She had 10,000 accounts of near-death experiences that she documented.

    Among her last books was The Tunnel and the Light, a description of what people describe of their near-death experiences. Kubler-Ross not only went 180 on the spirituality, she had her own experiences. She states that woman who she knew and who was dead, walked into her office as real as any person she ever saw, and they had a discussion.

    Needless to say, she was once again a subject of ridicule among the medical field, but they didn’t dare speak of her as nastily as they had because she was a legend by then. What a beautiful, brilliant woman.

    I’ve had a near-death experience, and a whole lot more. We don’t know what love is here.

    I wanted a better video with this, but I couldn’t find one with the choir.

  • Forests Precede Us, Deserts Follow
    http://garryrogers.com/2015/01/22/forests-precede-us-deserts-follow/

    Visions of Hell, especially in September
    http://infoamazonia.org/projects/fire/

    Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence
    free download after a few forms you can skip through
    http://nyu.academia.edu/ChristianParenti/Books

    Brazil’s worst drought in history prompts protests and blackouts
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/23/brazil-worst-drought-history

    Brazil’s Deforestation
    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/imageedit_30_3209441348.gif

    If a tree falls in Brazil…?
    Amazon deforestation could mean droughts for western U.S.
    http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S38/31/66M12/index.xml?section=topstories

    China’s Pigs Drive South American Deforestation
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hunger-for-meat-plows-up-brazils-cerrado-plains/

  • Guy, hoping to get you back out my way, this year, again. If you have the time and desire?

  • @Wren
    Maybe the Redding, CA to Grants Pass, OR corridor is something to be avoided.
    I’ll be headed to Seattle from points South later this year, and Hwy 101 is sure looking like a better bet than I-5.

    My late friend, Ron Shock, got much of his comedy material from newspapers.

    Your #2 Darwin award story is eerily similar to one that Ron recounted long before he died nearly three years ago. The YT clip below was posted back in 2008. The arrow story starts at about 2:20 into the clip in case you want to skip over the extrajudicial antics of the satyric (sic) judge in Oklahoma.


    .
    .
    .
    .
    @Bud Nye
    You consider Daniel’s post to Jeff as respectful ?
    We may just have very different ideas of what respectful means.
    And/or maybe your e-prime style makes it difficult for you to detect and/or acknowledge the arrogance and condescension that others noted in his post.
    I doubt that the majority of readers here or anywhere else would consider Daniel’s rhetoric as even ‘polite’, much less ‘respectful’.
    The absence of all of Carlin’s 7 FCC-banned words, or any other words, does not make something respectful.
    If david higham had omitted the phrase “piece of shit” and had only called Daniel arrogant and condescending, would that have been respectful enough to pass your ESG’s verbal standards? And, would it have made you any more likely to agree with his (david’s) assessment ?
    Feel free to answer or not, but please think it over if you’ve read this far.

  • Bob S.,

    You wrote “Trying to create a space of cuddles and cream where all is warm and fuzzy….” Of course I have not suggested any such thing. Not by a long shot.

    Ram Samudrala,

    You wrote “This is NOT the same as me condoning lack of civility. I’m just saying the best way to deal with it is to allow it to be expressed and THEN deal with it. Get it out into the light, and let the openness disinfect it.” I have proposed exactly that: That Guy set a policy—not censorship—and that he encourage commenters THEN to deal with other commenters who fail to follow the policy. As I reflect on it more, I think I have to disagree with your first sentence here. Through their passive acceptance, individuals and groups that fail to set and maintain boundaries DO support and condone processes such as lack of civility, domestic abuse, bullying, and so on—up to and including the Earth killing that so many here claim so loudly to abhor. The more I think about it, the more I feel convinced that we certainly DO condone the things that we COULD fight or otherwise work against quite effectively, but prefer not to bother ourselves with.

    A relevant quote from Jose Ortega Y Gasset:

    “Take stock of those around you and you will…
    hear them talk in precise terms about themselves
    hnd their surroundings, which would seem to
    point to them having ideas on the matter. But
    start to analyze those ideas and you will find that
    they hardly reflect in any way the reality to which
    they appear to refer, and if you go deeper you
    will discover that there is not even an attempt to
    adjust the ideas to this reality. Quite the contrary:
    through these notions the individual is trying to
    cut off any personal vision of reality, of his own
    very life. For life is at the start a chaos in which
    one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is
    frightened at finding himself face to face with
    this terrible reality, and tries to cover it over with
    a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear. It
    does not worry him that his ‘ideas’ are not true,
    he uses them as trenches for the defense of his
    existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality.”

  • @Sabine
    @Ram
    @Bud
    @mo flow
    @ogardener
    @Lidia
    @OzMan
    @Paul Chefurka
    @David Higham
    @oldgrowthforest
    @Jeff S.

    I just realized the discussion on the previous post, Geophilia, ended and my last comment there probably went unread. Apologies for re-posting it here but just wanted to clarify a couple things I said and respond to a few people I have meant to respond before wrapping up. Obviously, I am not familiar with the NBL forum 🙁

    I wasn’t very clear when I said those few words about me being called a “romantic” in an early post. I am aware of the movement in the arts and literature and the time in history that it is associated with. But I was using the word “romantic” in a colloquial sense. As Bud referred to, it’s used to mean “idealistic”, even “impractical”, “irrational”, and “emotional”. This usage is not separable from Rousseau or the movement for it has its roots there, but in colloquial usage, “romantic” has little to do with the Romantic Era or Romanticism and simply means “idealistic” or “sentimental” and when referring to the past, a romantic longs for the past, and grieves for what’s been lost.

    Both Hobbes and Rousseau talked about the “nature of man”. While one viewed our ancestors as inherently nasty, brutish and savage, the other thought of man as inherently good in his natural state. I am in favor of Rousseau’s view because it’s far less individualistic than Hobbes’. Every human being, whether today or in the past, is no more separable from the environment and culture that raises him/her than the health of the heart or pancreas is separable from the health of the rest of the body. A body out of balance leads to heart attacks and pancreatic cancer. A healthy and loving family raises a happy child that grows into a balanced and responsible adult. An out-of-balance family (that itself is part of an out-of-balance culture) puts forth competitive and narcissistic “individuals”. As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals with our own unadulterated free will, we are imprints of our culture and the environment that we live in. If we are such independent individuals, why does it take our culture (government, media and textbooks) to tell us that? Not only are we taught that in grade school, we’re reminded about our individualism again and again throughout our lives. If we were truly individuals, we would figure that out ourselves, wouldn’t we?

    It turns out that we are not exactly skin-enclosed pieces of consciousness distinct and separate from other skin-enclosed pieces around us and the larger culture we are all part of. Even our physical bodies are not that separate from our immediate environment. And our immediate environment is not that separate from the larger one. The skin is more porous than we imagine. There are more bacterial cells in the human body than there are human cells.

    We’d like to think we are separate individuals but we are made and sustained by everything around us. In our natural state of living in close proximity to the land, be it tropical jungles or arid areas, humans were more in balance with their environments. This time of relative balance (even if there are perturbations here and there for some amount of time, there was balance on a planetary scale) constitutes 99.99% of our history on the planet. The tribesman considered himself such an integral part and parcel of the tribe that he took the dreams of his fellow tribesman as seriously as he did his own. And if a tribesman became ill, it was as if the whole tribe was ill. And they looked for clues not in their bodies alone but in their habitats and even their stories. There was no real distinction between them all.

    So is man good or bad? Neither! We are good when we are in balance with what’s immediately around us. And balance breeds good humans. We are bad when the balance is disturbed. There is no blame on anyone in this saga. We don’t really “choose” to be in balance or imbalance. A major natural disaster can easily throw a tribe out of balance. And in that sense, both balance and imbalance are “natural”. Even our out-of-balance culture, at some level, can be seen as a natural phenomenon. And that consoles me and makes me feel less guilty of my role.

    So when I romanticize the past, I long for that healthy balance and grieve over it. Such a balance is probably not coming back. Not for a few million years anyway. What I referred to as a meme that is more prevalent in the more advanced and forward-looking cultures of the world is not “romanticizing the past” itself but, as Sabine indicated, the accusatory connotation behind it when people say it. Even in the US, I am willing to bet that such a connotation is more prevalent in Silicon Valley or New York than in the Midwest or the South. Perhaps it’s related to the liberal vs. conservative debate but let’s not get into that. I don’t put myself in either camp. I prefer to stand outside and listen to and observe all sides. But that’s hard because I’m not really an “individual” 🙂

    @ogardener

    Glad to hear you talk of the Kogi of Columbia. I was surprised last year to find out that there were still indigenous people in Europe. Of course, they are struggling like all other native peoples around the world. I wrote about the Kogi and the Sami peoples here – http://www.goingkuku.com/2014/03/the-kogi-of-colombia-and-sami-of-norway.html

    @Lidia

    Thanks for saying that about epigenetics. Like they say, genes load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger. I often hear, even from physicians, that the reason why we are seeing rising incidence of cancer (1 in 3 chance in one’s lifetime) is that we’re living longer or we’re detecting it with more precision and detecting it earlier, etc. We don’t want to admit that the environment (air, water, soil, food, which today is suffused with carcinogens, toxins, endocrine disruptors, antibiotics, etc.) plays a critical role and throws the body out of balance and health. Again, we’re not skin-enclosed individuals. What we do to our mother comes back to us.

    Talking about autists who like working on “cool” switching mechanisms, it’s also one such engineer who calculated the precise altitude that the atom bomb should be detonated at to maximize damage. From http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2012/08/08/the-height-of-the-bomb/ – “Making the bombs go off at just the right height for maximizing this sort of damage was a high priority — it even required the development of new kinds of bomb fuses just for this purpose.” I have seen my fair share of engineers and scientists who do their cool research far removed from the actual impact of their work. I was trained as an engineer because it was the gateway to a successful career. Sure enough, I found myself working at Google before the metaphorical dam burst open in my head. I was surrounding by what you call “autists” and debated with them at length. I heard of such absurdities as the mathematical formula for happiness. And those who would give no thought to wiping off nature completely, I heard plenty of their conversations as well at Google. Here’s a link to the summary of my final debate on the Economics mailing list there – http://www.goingkuku.com/2013/09/a-battle-of-worldviews.html Needless to say, I am not proud of being an engineer anymore for I have seen what it really entails. Engineers are responsible for much of the mutilation that Mother Earth has suffered.

    @OzMan

    That’s an interesting analogy with adolescence. Perhaps, we as a species, are going through some growing pains as we negotiate our relationship with our Mother. We’re a rather young species after all, compared to many other species around us. But then, our young species couldn’t successfully navigate this period of adolescence and ends up destroying its mother upon which it is still utterly dependent. It’s as if the adolescent has moved upstairs into its own bedroom as the mother continued to bring delicious food to the adolescent’s doorstep day after day. In order to support her beloved son’s addictions to video games, etc. the mother ends up spending her health and life’s savings, falls ill and finds herself at death’s doorstep. The adolescent is none the wiser.

    When I read “Ancient Futures” a couple of years back, it struck me as the author, Helena Norberg-Hodge, talks about her experiences living with a relatively isolated society at the high altitude reaches of Ladakh in Northern India. She talks about the adolescent boys’ affection and love for their mothers. She talks about how tender their behavior toward the elderly was and how it contrasted with what she saw in Western Civilization. Their culture didn’t expect the adolescent boy to rebel against his parents. They weren’t exposed to the “angry young man” image portrayed on TV. In my opinion, it’s civilized people who have the notion that it’s natural for adolescent boys and girls to be rebellious, cantankerous and otherwise unruly toward their mothers and fathers and society in general. In fact, it’s also the work of civilization to apply the reductive approach to a human being’s lifespan and split it up into various stages (infant, toddler, adolescent, young adult, etc.) and ascribe various proclivities to each stage and coach parents on how to address them as they arise. Indian civilization has long done this with its division of a man’s life into 4 stages (bachelor, householder, hermit, and wandering ascetic) so this is not the prerogative of the West or the East but of Civilization in general. Modern PR agencies, marketing professionals and the advertising industry particularly targets the adolescent age group. Get ’em young and they are yours for a lifetime. Propagating this image of a rebellious teenager is highly profitable for them as it helps detach them from the family and drives them into the mall in search of that “unique” outfit that matches their “unique” persona.

    @oldgrowthforest

    “Noble Savage Syndrome”, yes, that’s what I caught in the last few years as I discovered why my own culture is behaving the way it is. We often blame it on “humans” and say humans are flawed. But we only have to look at those who are fast being decimated that there are still people around who know how to live in balance with the Mother. It’s not people who are flawed, it’s the culture. It’s the stories. We’ve forgotten about the cultures and stories that worked well for hundreds of thousands of years. We’d rather talk about how humans are either flawed or “evolving” into adulthood. We have to listen to the likes of Ward Churchill and Morris Berman to understand how much we have devolved.

    Thank you, my friend, and kindred spirit!

    @Jeff S., @David Higham

    Glad to hear what you said. Makes me want to hang out on these forums more and continue to talk about Sahlins and expose the likes of Chagnon who have done much disservice to modern man’s understanding of indigenous peoples. And the apologists for the modern state that Stephen Pinker, LeBlanc and Keeley are. It’s understandable why these men have the bullhorn in their hands. The decline of war and violence? Give me a break 🙂

    @Guy

    Thanks for the opportunity to post on your blog. Geophilia has received nearly 1000 views! Much gratitude!

  • Bud, what I am saying about getting into the open and deal with it has to do with allowing its expression, not setting up rules and punishing people when they fail to follow them. It needs to come from within, not imposed from the outside.

    I think I was pretty clear on what I said, and I’ve thought about it for years, arguing on the Internet since the late 80s (on USENET, which was far more intense and free than web-based forums). It was great and it’s sad it doesn’t exist anymore.

    But you disagree and that’s great to me too. The world would be a boring place if we all agreed.

  • Satish: Thanks! Sahlins needs more exposure, as does Richard Lee, who has done a lot of research amongst the !Kung!, as does Pierre Clastres, author of Society Against the State, Marija Gimbutas, James Mellaart, …… and evolutionary biologists such as Lynn Margulis. It’s quite amazing that the tiny minority who mirror the views of Chagnon, Pinker, LeBlanc and Keeley are being presented as some sort of grand consensus.

  • Satish,

    You are a friend in so many ways. Thank you. You produce huge smiles on me

    Ward Churchill – YES! Morris Berman – not so much.

  • **relevant quote from Jose Ortega Y Gasset:**

    Humor me – how is this word salad relevant? Relevant to what? To who?

  • to PAUL CHEFURKA: THANK YOU. I’m one who get’s your exact points on every level. Thanks for saying everything I would. I say less to save more time to enjoy my sail boat, hikes & research job for the Dept of Energy – Climate & Conservation. Plenty of in global research do understand…that’s why we say almost nothing after decades of trying to say so much.

    Except for a final thought from a former “Titanic” & “AVATAR” marketing expert. 15/15 (Fifteen years left) 2015 + 15 = 0

    Many of us who know what is most likely going to happen would really love to see a good slogan for Dr. Mc Pherson’s message to catch a larger audience. Over 7 billion served ??? Glad you guys keep trying to reach the mass mind set. 15-15

  • http://news.yahoo.com/warm-ocean-melting-east-antarcticas-largest-glacier-071912713.html

    Warm ocean melting East Antarctica’s largest glacier

    The largest glacier in East Antarctica, containing ice equivalent to a six-metre (20-foot) rise in global sea levels, is melting due to warm ocean water, Australian scientists said on Monday.

    The 120-kilometre (74.4 mile) long Totten Glacier, which is more than 30 kilometres wide, had been thought to be in an area untouched by warmer currents.

    But a just-returned voyage to the frozen region found the waters around the glacier were warmer than expected and likely melting the ice from below. [more]

  • If enough ice were added to the worlds oceans to raise the level 20 feet, seems like that much ice would cool the oceans a bit, don’t you think?

  • Checked the list of the top 300+ archaeologists and 500+ anthropologists.

    Keely, LeBlanc, Turney-High aned Ter Eslington ARE NOT ON THESE LISTS.
    Come on. I’m just saying. And Pinker? Gag. You can see one of my only other reviews on Amazon – of Better Angels – was to skeewer and impale Mr. Harvard myopia Pinker. Why the hell are these people propped up here and taken seriously? Even as gospel? Because they are skeezing up a privileged and imperial world view? Because it is much easier for privileged beneficiaries of genocide and systematic plunder to sleep at night if these kinds of well remunerated PR exercises are taken seriously.

    And what of Chagnon? Who spent all his study time with one of the most aggressive and belligerent societies on the planet. Now all these traits specific to Yanomamo are supposed to translate out to the equally “bad”, so-called “war-like” rest of humanity? Bullocks, rubbish and slander. You people *Really* need a vacation. *Really*
    Get out more. Talk to people. See the world. Have a nice day.

  • On a separate note

    Regarding one of the evening talks.

    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.

    FYI If that that address is correct as it appears it is located in the Ridgewood section of Queens, not in Flushing.

  • @Satish, the BLOG comments are what they are, and we try to self-regulate and respect a two-post-per-day limit (since, previously, certain interminable back-and-forths swamped the venue).

    The FORUM used to work well as a container for overflow from the blog; as well as hosting new topics it automatically reproduced the main blog post and its ongoing comments at one time, but late last year became broken, and its past postings cancelled. Still, one can use it to post new threads. Some of its features and history may be recuperated but we don’t know for sure… we are waiting to see if mo flow or someone else can access the wherewithal to make it happen.

    Culture is flawed, to be sure, but humans create the culture. Can a deer see when its browsing is too intense and will result in a population crash? Our issue is that we can “see” it, but we can’t stop it, unlike other organisms who can neither see it nor stop it. Hence our anguish and self-flagellation, which results in nothing but ongoing grief.

    I don’t understand, and never understood Guy’s facile call to an ill-defined “excellence”. Is excellence making digital movies about our demise (for me it is not). Is it increasing human literacy and thus aspirations? (no). Is “excellence” teaching non-Anglos English with a concocted alphabet, or writing sci-fi novels that require thousands of pounds of paper pulp?? Is it spending money on life coaches and gurus? (No, no and no). Is it posting here? No. Electricity hurts our Mother.

    As for engineering, it’s not only that crowd who has it in for the Earth. My BIL is a (now) lawyer who, when my sister asked him to help her shift a couple of bluestones on their patio, barked, “I DON’T TOUCH DIRT!”. I think there might be merit to the idea that humans are in the process of speciating, with a vast number of people completely mentally and physically estranged from a non-artificial environment. My autistic nephew becomes incendiary if he has to walk the two blocks from the bus stop to home in the rain: he expects concierge service, and never spends any time out-of-doors voluntarily. At MIT thirty years ago, an acquaintance would refuse to eat anything green as a matter of principle. Somehow, these non-veggie-eating, non-dirt-touching organisms survive… (badly… but they survive, and even “thrive” to the extent, sadly, of reproducing themselves).

    I’m glad you found Guy’s spot here, though..
    Steven Pinker: brrrrrr~!!!

    What are your personal plans now, ex-Google?

    @jeff S. “Society against the State”: a fantastic book I have kept with me since the 1980s, when I snapped up the MIT Press’ po-mo/Zone output by the armful. Although I never understood their role in sustaining counter-cultural memes… Perhaps that in itself is post-modern as expressed here:
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/12/31/bbcs_adam_curtis_on_the_contradictory_vaudeville_of_post-modern_politics.html

    —-
    I have read valuable things from both Daniel and David Higham, and I don’t want to have to choose between them, even if they don’t like each other. Get a grip, people… it’s the fucking end of the world!

  • @Lidia: Get a grip, people… it’s the fucking end of the world!

    >>>

    A much more apt slogan than “passionately pursue a life of excellence”.

  • For those who liken NBL to be a place where we endlessly ponder ‘how we got here’, it’s hard to get past the opinion that you somehow missed the preceding fifteen years of incredibly thorough collapse preparedness discussions, if not the last half century of environmentalism, which subsequently led up to Guy writing ‘We’re Done’. Which for the uninitiated, initiated the entire discussion about NTE, which Guy has dedicated himself to ever since, and which the ‘blame gang’ has done little other than attempt to co-opt as signifying something other than the likelihood that no matter what you do or think, you and everyone you love is going to perish under incredibly horrific circumstances.

    Yes, it’s a rather disquieting thought, it’s not all that difficult to understand why so many others would very much like to discuss something else.

    So, what are we to make of those who when confronted with the overwhelming and utterly unprecedented evidence of NTE, continue to spout off exactly the same old tired leftist mantra of long dead European social theorist who’s perspectives where only germane to the times they lived? Or those who exalt TPTB to some mythical status in masterfully engineering population overshoot. Or those needing to believe that there was some magical time of ‘ancient peoples’ who never engaged in inner tribal warfare with whatever weapon best accomplished the task of defending themselves?

    @ The Blame Gang

    We don’t have a failure to communicate here, no, we just fundamentally have different perspectives, and I just happen to consider yours to be completely bunk, as well as quite behind the curve of grasping the realty now before us. You also seemingly have agendas contrarian to accepting the near term timing of NTE, which in my opinion makes you all rather disingenuous in continuing to post your antiquate hopium here.

    But, it’s quite clear you all need to feel that your shit somehow doesn’t stink as bad as the rest of us, so you need to blame something/someone else for how “we” got here. I just wish you would all actually discover more proactive ways of walking your talk, because blogging about who you think is more blameworthy, ain’t resisting a single god damn thing now is it?

    @ Jeff S

    First off, NBL is on open forum, which thousands of people visit daily. Over the years, tens of thousands have come and gone. Anyone around the world who has access to the Internet and an ability to interpret English can technically comment in this space…all 7 billion of “us” on any given day.

    But given global access is measured in the hundreds of millions….sure, why not, I’ll concede the point.

    So Jeff, please tell all 600 million of “us” how human behavior changes. Is that better? No? ok, how about just those here reading this right now?

    Let me guess Jeff, you aren’t going to respond to how humanity changes it’s behavior are you?

    Well of course not, because you haven’t a clue as to how that’s even remotely possible. However, that doesn’t stop you from parading your wishful thinking to the disparagement of others. We have a word for that here…..it’s that little thing you’re smokin’.

    Stop hiding behind your bullshit Jeff, and tell us how, when and where humanity could have stopped the spread of civilization. Tell us all how “our current behavior is changeable”. Those are your words. Don’t you stand behind them?

    Come on Jeff, we’re all ears.

    @Wester

    I certainly hope you are doing more in following in the footsteps of Proudhon than teaching the language within the belly of the beast to non-English speakers. There’s a fascist coup in your very backyard son, talk about needing to get out more. But I’m sure finding the time to reiterate the history of land enclosures to complete strangers is worth something in some parallel universe.

    @ infantyrone

    You’re pretty much spot on.

    “Arrogant and condescending”? Absolutely, but only towards some. “..a piece of shit”? Now, David probably could have better tapped his creative writing skills there ;).

    @ Shep

    If you’re intuition is your moral compass, then that probably explains why your head is often up your ass.

    You’re the closest thing to a racist I have ever seen in this space. Or am I mistaken that it was you who stated: “The red man in “superior” to the white man in every way”?

    You actually used the word “superior”!?!?

    Come on now gang, you all seem to have magically staked claims in thin air, you’re not all just sitting in front of your computers just making this crap up now are you?

    Enlighten us!

  • @Lidia
    Thanks for the link to the Curtis short. Russia’s, and now Britain’s, technique of orchestrated obfuscation looks a lot like what we’ve been experiencing in the USA for decades – possibly since the advent of television, and certainly since the 1970’s.

    Guy’s radio guest tomorrow, Paul Craig Roberts, believes that Russia’s stability is being targeted by US-funded-and-controlled NGO’s. Perhaps one benefit to Russia of Surkov’s kaleidoscope of political theater is that it operates as a sort of anti-radar-chaff. Organizations intending to destabilize Russia can’t be sure which targets are real or valuable, and so they must spend money, time, and other resources to pursue each new phenomenon, some of which turn out to be merely feints designed to see if the adversary is paying attention.

    Political theater is the name of the game here, too. In ‘The Yankee and Cowboy War”. Carl Oglesby outlined the struggle between Eastern old-money and Western new-money factions in the USA. In “Grunch of Giants”, Bucky Fuller pretty much felt that the old money (Wall Street) had secured control soon after the end of WW2. Vidal considered our two parties to be only slightly different versions of the Banksmen Party. The Koch’s are just the newest phase of oligarchy (version 3.1415? they do seem to want the whole pie).

    Here are a couple cartoons from an other-wise funny dead white guy…

  • Infanttyrone,

    Do you really, seriously not see any significant difference between anything Daniel wrote and david higham’s “You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.”? Really? And you see no social significance in his failure to apologize?

    You asked “If david higham had omitted the phrase ‘piece of shit’ and had only called Daniel arrogant and condescending, would that have been respectful enough to pass your ESG’s verbal standards? And, would it have made you any more likely to agree with his (david’s) assessment ?”

    Yes, of course, in response to both questions.

    Naïve me, I have found myself a bit confused. But it just came together for me in my old, slow brain! (I may be slow, but I’m sure not fast.) Here at NBL we really CAN all feel totally free to let fly with any completely outrageous insult or other statement toward anyone we wish no matter how emotionally disturbed or pathological the nature of the comments, whether racist, lying, threatening, abusive, or whatever. I did find this contradictory and confusing, but I finally get it: We really can feel free to let go with our worst—and we should reward and support each other for doing that. So:

    David higham, I sit corrected. GOOD JOB! Great job! And I offer you my apology for so boldly and inappropriately requesting your apology. I can now see that I do, indeed, fit the phrase “…a fucking pompous windbag.” I also apologize to you, oldgrowthforest, for discouraging you from supporting david higham and for suggesting that I might have any valid concerns here at all. I can now see the error of my ways and the inappropriate nature of my requests here. I confess that I really did not understand the rules of the game, or rather the total lack of any. Please, david, DO continue telling anyone you disagree with that they are arrogant condescending pieces of shit or fucking pompous windbags. But why stop there? I can think of many MUCH stronger insults and character attacks you could use—especially toward people you know fall into categories such as: female, black, mentally retarded, oriental, American Indian, mentally ill, physically handicapped, LGBT, Catholic, Christian, Buddhist, and so on and on. Just ask me, if you want a rich supply of ideas, and I will feel glad to help. I have many fond memories from Viet Nam to draw on. I thought of ending this comment, in true fucking pompous windbag fashion, with something like “Here’s wishing all of you fucking bitches and retards a good night” but I won’t. Instead, I will leave that to david, others with similar values, and their supporters out there, who so strongly prefer that ever-so-helpful and popular communication style.

    Thanks, everyone, for setting me straight on my obviously screwed up values and concerns regarding helpful versus unhelpful social interactions here at NBL and with people in general! Now, if only we could get these principles to translate more generally into society at large. Consider the possibilities and how much better things would surely work with our children, in our workplaces, with our spouses, with friends, in schools, meetings, churches, with people from other cultures, and so on, with such completely uncensored, interpersonal freedom! The absolute GENIUS of the idea…and for 70 years I completely missed it!

  • @Bud: Naïve me, I have found myself a bit confused. But it just came together for me in my old, slow brain! (I may be slow, but I’m sure not fast.) Here at NBL we really CAN all feel totally free to let fly with any completely outrageous insult or other statement toward anyone we wish no matter how emotionally disturbed or pathological the nature of the comments, whether racist, lying, threatening, abusive, or whatever.

    >>>

    What I’m confused about, Bud, is how you could be so confused.

    When I first found NBL, I went through years of archives, reading them with no little degree of fascination, both for the subject matter and the citizens of NBLtown, starting with the Mayor Himself.

    And I find David’s comments no different in kind than countless things I have read before – some of which used profane language, and others of which were just as contemptuous and dismissive without them.

    Since this has been SOP in the interpersonal dynamic here going back at least 4 or 5 years, I have to wonder how you haven’t seen it clearly up until now?

    And I hardly think it’s just you, btw. I think there is a profound distortion effect at work here which is exceedingly common in many social organizations.

    Closing the circle on that thought, here’s part of that quote you offered above from Ortega y Gasset:

    >>>

    Quite the contrary:
    through these notions the individual is trying to
    cut off any personal vision of reality, of his own
    very life. For life is at the start a chaos in which
    one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is
    frightened at finding himself face to face with
    this terrible reality, and tries to cover it over with
    a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear. It
    does not worry him that his ‘ideas’ are not true,
    he uses them as trenches for the defense of his
    existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality.”

    >>>

    Clearly that nails exactly what happened to you, Bud. So the interesting question here – if you care to explore it publicly – is how did you do it, and WHY did you do it?

    What tricks of the tricky egoic mind led you to this place of delusion?

    Perhaps they are just one more instantiation of the very same mind tricks that have led us to the precipice of extinction, in spite of our individual and common idealism, and the ready availability of empirical data.

    Don’t feel too foolish. I have asked the very same question about why I married the ex.

  • @Lidia

    Oh boy, I’m just finding my bearings out here on the digital equivalent of the Wild Wild West 🙂 My first rule of thumb upon encountering confusion: shut up and listen. So I’m going to stop talking for a while and simply listen to what folks are saying.

    >What are your personal plans now, ex-Google?

    I don’t know… just hoping abrupt climate change will kick in before my savings start running out 🙂

    Got any suggestions?

  • Second try: How much heat will it take to melt a piece of ice large enough to raise the world’s entire ocean level 20 feet? Will this piece of ice remain as one piece or break up into many chunks? Could we stop bashing each other long enough to think about it?

  • dairymandave: Wouldn’t that be great, cooling the oceans with glacial
    meltwater!? Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
    Once the ice melts (into cold water) it doesn’t take
    long for the sun’s rays to warm it up (like the rest of
    the ocean) which causes it to expand some. It’s a
    one-way ticket now. The conditions have changed
    (climate-wise) such that once glaciers and polar ice
    melts there’s no going back to that state until climate
    conditions swing the other way and the next ice age
    kicks in – probably long after all life on Earth is
    destroyed by loss of habitat, pollution, radiation and
    the rest.

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2015/01/leave-fossil-fuels-buried-to-prevent.html

    Leave fossil fuels buried to prevent climate change, study urges – ‘We’ve binged to the edge of our own destruction’

    [begins]

    (The Guardian) – Vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia, and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.

    The new work reveals the profound geopolitical and economic implications of tackling global warming for both countries and major companies that are reliant on fossil fuel wealth. It shows trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s nations. Currently, the world is heading for a catastrophic 5C of warming and the deadline to seal a global climate deal comes in December at a crunch UN summit in Paris.

    “We’ve now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit,” said Christophe McGlade, at University College London (UCL), and who led the new research published in the journal Nature. The work, using detailed data and well-established economic models, assumed cost effective climate policies would use the cheapest fossil fuels first, with more expensive fuels priced out of a world in which carbon emissions were strictly limited. For example, the model predicts that significant cheap-to-produce conventional oil would be burned but that the carbon limit would be reached before more expensive tar sands oil could be used. [read the rest]

  • While global warming may indeed become a terminal condition for our species, there may still exist a few opportunities to prevent such an event. Although resignation and acceptance of the climate status may be difficult to avoid, the very premise of this blog involves the game of baseball, and, as such, even though Nature Bats Last, there is not as yet uncontestable evidence that the last batter has struck out. In other words, the pitcher has yet to throw the last ball, and until the last batter is out, the game is not over.

    Although geo-engineering in my mind has never been an option, the last batter on our team may indeed come in the form of a pinch hitter. I do understand that NTHE is highly probable, but I don’t understand how using a pinch hitter, if all other batters have struck out, could be such a bad idea.

    While the list of positive feedbacks loops are undoubtedly well founded, and maybe even irrefutable evidence of impending doom for our species. we’re still here. In the video discussion however, at the 15:10 mark, Guy suggests that geo-engineering would present a “disastrous and horrific idea”. While I would have agreed with Guy at any other time when recklessly toying with the very elements of life on Earth, I don’t quite understand his position on geo-engineering, especially in the light of an absolute belief in Near-Term Human Extinction. If all else fails, and extinction is indeed the only outcome for humanity, what would we have to lose by trying to avoid extinction via geo-engineering???

  • @Jean Turcot

    Although NTHE seems near certain, life on the planet might still make it through. Microorganisms and perhaps even cockroaches might survive. The living conscious planet might very well survive. But if we try geo-engineering, we might foreclose on the possibility that the planet will make it. There seems to be the possibility of Earth turning into a Venus with runaway warming.

    Given the record, we’re likely to miscalculate something when we try technological feats like geo-engineering thus causing the Venus syndrome.

  • Jean (in answer to your question): the remaining time we have left could be dramatically shortened through geo-engineering. Remember, industrial civilization with its attendant pollution and chemical imbalance is already geo-engineering climate change. Why would more of the same help?
    Besides, according to articles i’ve read recently, that’s the plan and it’s going forward.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MODIFIED_MOSQUITOES_ABRIDGED?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-25-11-57-58&utm_content=buffer6fcbb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Millions of GMO insects could be released in Florida Keys

    KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases.

    Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood.

    “This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment.

    Dengue and chikungunya are growing threats in the U.S., but some people are more frightened at the thought of being bitten by a genetically modified organism. More than 130,000 people signed a Change.org petition against the experiment.

    Even potential boosters say those responsible must do more to show that benefits outweigh the risks of breeding modified insects that could bite people. [read the rest]

  • sorry for the “three-peat” (meant to attach this above)

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/

    Planetary Genocide – Ecocide between 2023 and 2031
    by Malcolm Light

    [click on the image to enlarge it and read the details, if interested]

  • @Satish Musunuru writes:

    “Although NTHE seems near certain, life on the planet might still make it through. Microorganisms and perhaps even cockroaches might survive. The living conscious planet might very well survive. But if we try geo-engineering, we might foreclose on the possibility that the planet will make it.”

    Eggs Actley

  • Hi Tom-

    Re. your three-peat no image appears.

  • Depression is making its way around the climatologist community too (Truth Out).

  • Why Oil-Qaeda and other PTB are pushing genieology (On The Origin of Genieology – 3).

  • Tom: you say “once the ice melts…” You haven’t answered my question. If “once” takes a thousand years to happen, then why are we even talking about 20 foot sea level rise? It takes a lot of heat to melt an amount of ice equivalent to covering the entire surface of the world’s oceans 20 feet deep. There is a big hole in the logic of this, and it’s all simple, straight forward science and math.

  • White House to Propose Allowing Oil Drilling Off Atlantic Coast – From N.Y.Times 01272015

    More geoengineering no doubt.

    The Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes – 1971

  • **If enough ice were added to the worlds oceans to raise the level 20 feet, seems like that much ice would cool the oceans a bit, don’t you think?**

    Perhaps. However, ice isn’t being added. The glacier rests on land – a portion of the glacier touches the warmer ocean and is melting faster than they thought.

    **why are we even talking about 20 foot sea level rise?**

    The article mentions that the glacier is 75 miles long and 20 miles wide and contains enough ice/water to raise ocean levels 20 feet.

    **There is a big hole in the logic **

    What logic? Strawmen have no brains !!

  • This video explains the situation; takes 400 years to melt (theory).

  • Dredd, Genies come from lamps
    dairymandave, We’ve already added enough heat to raise oceans 20 feet.

    Here’s Thomas J Goreau’s opinion:
    The actual climate record says that the world will keep warming for thousands of years. At our current level of 400 parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it may settle out between 17 degrees and 20 degrees C. warmer, at least 30 degrees hotter in Fahrenheit. The seas will be some 27 feet higher, at least. Back in the last great warming period, the Emian, most of the world’s coral reefs died, sea levels were super high, and the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were only 280 parts per million, much lower than today.

    A note of caution when comparing the ice/water levels and CO2 of past geological ages because of the variables in earth’s orbital, geo-chemical and eco-chemical dynamics. Plus, I usually never use ice when drinking and usually drink too fast to answer your question.

  • The latest episode of Edge of Extinction is up, along with a few other bits. Check ’em here.

  • Let me “school” the racists on this blog.

    Racism is a scientific term. That is, it is based on scientific facts, only, the precise view that does not allow for sentiments. Example: Natanyahoo is a racist.

    Definition. Racism: the OPPRESSION of one race over another. Natanyahoo oppresses the Palestinians in numerous ways.

    The word *superior* has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not something is racist or not. Obviously, Native Americans, are far superior than, white fuck bullies. Some whites like me, are not racists nor bullies but we are labelled so because of ignorant people do not understand the definition. There is no way to convince racists that they are racist. They cannot see it because they have the definition screwed up.

    In the Southern US, when the economy collapses, many, many whites will rampage and kill every black person they see. After all, THEY are the problem. If they are eliminated, then WE, can live in peace and harmony.

    Paul Craig Roberts:

    I’m not aware of his position on climate change but he praises, himself, Ronnie Reagan , Milton Friedman, Free Markets, & Pinochet (thinks he got a raw deal from the liberals), to name a few areas. Enough for me to ignore his writings. I will listen to Guy and Mike’s interview this evening. Even a white supremacist (all the people named in this paragraph “OPPRESSED” other races) above can be right on climate change, I hope.

  • Wester Says:
    January 26th, 2015 at 7:37 pm
    “Checked the list of the top 300+ archaeologists and 500+ anthropologists.

    Keely, LeBlanc, Turney-High aned Ter Eslington ARE NOT ON THESE LISTS.
    Come on. I’m just saying. And Pinker? Gag. You can see one of my only other reviews on Amazon – of Better Angels – was to skeewer and impale Mr. Harvard myopia Pinker. Why the hell are these people propped up here and taken seriously? Even as gospel? Because they are skeezing up a privileged and imperial world view? Because it is much easier for privileged beneficiaries of genocide and systematic plunder to sleep at night if these kinds of well remunerated PR exercises are taken seriously.

    And what of Chagnon? Who spent all his study time with one of the most aggressive and belligerent societies on the planet. Now all these traits specific to Yanomamo are supposed to translate out to the equally “bad”, so-called “war-like” rest of humanity? Bullocks, rubbish and slander. You people *Really* need a vacation. *Really*
    Get out more. Talk to people. See the world. Have a nice day.”

    EXCELLENT!!!
    ________________________________________
    Daniel Says:
    January 27th, 2015 at 12:44 am

    “So, what are we to make of those who when confronted with the overwhelming and utterly unprecedented evidence of NTE, continue to spout off exactly the same old tired leftist mantra of long dead European social theorist who’s perspectives where only germane to the times they lived? ”

    Thanks for demonstrating your utter lack of basic understanding of Marx. As to your “challenge,” nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile. Attempts to dialogue with you are clearly a waste of time. You’re just a mountain of self-hate.

  • @GoP(ancakes)
    Smile 3x ?
    I might be out on a limb here, but are you saying Daniel’s a real ‘gone’ cat ?
    Wheel to the storm and fly…

    @Guy
    Yeah, like you said a long time ago…Deadheads everywhere…the music never stops.

    @Bud Nye,

    Do you really, seriously not see any significant difference between anything Daniel wrote and david higham’s “You are an arrogant condescending piece of shit.”? Really? And you see no social significance in his failure to apologize?

    Taking into account the entirety of Daniel’s post to Jeff and in terms of what each (Daniel & david higham) was trying to say to their respective addressees…not really much difference. I could do a compare/contrast exercise and remark on the lack of profanity in Daniel’s post, and if I were using a scoring rubric based on what I infer are your ESG’s communications criteria, he would get no mark-downs in that area. But I would and did mark down for his either lazy or intentional misreading of what Jeff meant by the word “here”, among other rhetorical sleights of hand (intentional or not, these things do muddy the waters). The other post was quite succinct, got its message across economically, and, at least based on Daniel’s remark to me yesterday, seems to have been validated by its addressee with respect to the arrogance and condescension it alleged.

    I’ll let you & david higham work your own thing out at the peace table, or not, and I’ve said my piece to Daniel, so I’m outa here in a minute or two.

    But I’ll try to “nail a dismount”.

    I first encountered your “e-prime” in a post or comment on the late Robert Anton Wilson’s blog. I think it was in reference to Korzybski’s work, but though the spirit is willing, the local storage medium here in my head is organic and possibly corrupted, so it might have been mentioned due to one of Bob’s many other interests. Wilson often referred (reverentially, though not in any religious sense of the word) to comedian George as The Philosopher Carlin. Here’s one of The Late Philosopher’s bits about categories. If you can come up with a more polite, but equal or better, substitute for Carlin’s “full of shit” category, I’m in the market and am always willing to credit my sources.

  • @ dairymandave Says:
    January 27th, 2015 at 7:22 am

    First, a calorie is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree C. The heat of fusion (the amount of added or reduced energy required to induce a phase change from solid to liquid, or vice versa, of a substance, e.g. ice to water) is specified, for water/ice, as ~80 calories/gram. So, while 80 calories of energy is changing 1 gram of ice to water, there is another 80 calories warming 80 grams of water by 1 degree C.

    Also, keep in mind that an increase of 20 ft. in sea-level represents, at most, a 1% change in overall average sea-depth. Moreover, thermal energy, i.e. heat, flows always, only and exclusively from a hot-source to a cold-sink, much like electricity through a conductor or water over a surface unless constrained in some manner.

    Try these experiments. Put some ice in a clear container (shape is irrelevant) then pour in some water until the ice that was touching the bottom of the container just barely floats free from the bottom. Note or mark the level of the liquid and wait for all the ice to melt and recheck that level. It will be virtually identical to the level before the ice melted. Now, in a taller(?), clear container, repeat placing the ice and water as before then ADD as much ice on top of that as you are able, do NOT add more water. Again, note or mark the level of the water and wait. Do you see a difference?

    Just as adding ice by hand to an ice-less beverage, the level of that beverage increases with each piece of ice added long before the ice melts. Most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is already grounded below current sea-level (i.e., sitting on the bottom of the container). This means that the ice that is below the current sea-level, melted or not, will not appreciably contribute to sea-level rise. However, ALL the ice that sits on top of it, ABOVE sea-level, WILL add to sea-level rise regardless of how fast or when it melts. Additionally, the most recent basal topography maps I’ve seen of East Antarctica indicate that it is more archipelago-like than continuous landmass, as previously thought, which merits MORE, not less, concern. It should also be noted that ALL that ice is NOT like your garden variety ice cube. It contains many fractures and, as evidenced by the movement of glaciers, is fluid or plastic, subject to deformation, it flows. Therefore, whether the ice is above current sea-level on ice grounded below sea-level or is sitting on land, when that ice slides into the sea the level of the oceans WILL rise whether the ice is melted or not. This is NOT going to take 1000 years or even several hundred. How long can one dig-out the base of a mountain before what is above collapses? I hope this helps.

    It should be noted, too, that regardless of oceanic temperatures, corals only exist in a very shallow depth range along continental shelves. Put 20 feet or more water above them and they’re just as dead as over-warming those coastal seas.

  • @ Jeff S

    You’re the one making completely unsubstantiated claims that “human behavior is changeable” and then endlessly criticizing those who disagree with you. Well, since many people here don’t agree with that position given we’re well within an intractable extinction event!!!!! It’s not my challenge to you, you’re the one making ridiculous claims, so back them up.

    But you can’t, and many here know you can’t. So of course you’re not going to respond, because that would reveal how much of your position is actually just vapid hopium. So it’s far easier for you to say ‘I’m a pile of hate’ then have to defend an indefensible position.

    Jeff, I’m calling you out on your disingenuous BS. My understanding of Marx is utterly irrelevant to the topic of NTE. Stop hiding behind your wishful thinking by pandering a hopelessly antiquated agenda.

  • @dairymandave, Hanson is funny in that vid., where he says we’ll no longer “have control”.. like we ever did!

    The largest component of sea level rise, as I understand it, is the expansion in the volume of the water as it all becomes warmer generally.

    @Jeff S., I would say a mountain of self-awareness.

    The question remains, “why does everything else exist as it ought to exist, but with man it is the opposite”?

  • @ Shep

    “Obviously, Native Americans, are far superior than, white fuck bullies.”

    Is that right?

    Which “white fuck bullies” are you referring? Would that be all 87 different European ethnic groups?

    Are you sure you’re not conflating the level of melanin in skin pigment with the technological encroachment of a far older culture?

    Never mind that homo-sapiens are 99.99+% identical, and skin cover is only evolutionarily based on degrees of latitude from the equator, and that over 50,000 years skin color has widely varied throughout all of Eurasia, and that there is supportive evidence that as little as 6,000 years ago, many of the ethnic groups in what is now Europe were darker skinned, and that a large percentage of the foundation upon which civilization was built came from non-whites.

    No one is arguing that “white Europeans” didn’t committed horrific genocides throughout most of the southern hemisphere. Now, if only no other genocides had ever been committed anywhere else over thousands of years of civilization, you might be onto something Shep.

    “There is no way to convince racists that they are racist. They cannot see it because they have the definition screwed up.”

    I take it you’ve no mirrors in your house.

  • Daniel Says:
    January 27th, 2015 at 12:55 pm
    “@ Jeff S

    You’re the one making completely unsubstantiated claims that “human behavior is changeable” and then endlessly criticizing those who disagree with you. Well, since many people here don’t agree with that position given we’re well within an intractable extinction event!!!!! It’s not my challenge to you, you’re the one making ridiculous claims, so back them up.

    But you can’t, and many here know you can’t. So of course you’re not going to respond, because that would reveal how much of your position is actually just vapid hopium. So it’s far easier for you to say ‘I’m a pile of hate’ then have to defend an indefensible position.

    Jeff, I’m calling you out on your disingenuous BS. My understanding of Marx is utterly irrelevant to the topic of NTE. Stop hiding behind your wishful thinking by pandering a hopelessly antiquated agenda.”

    Satish and Andrew Harvey have joined me in making the “ridiculous” claim that human behavior is changeable, they and the likes of Wester and others, as well as me, have provided the names and ideas of numerous anthropologists who think likewise. What Wester said re “privileged beneficiaries of genocide and systematic plunder to sleep at night if these kinds of well remunerated PR exercises are taken seriously.”

    And you asserted something about Marx, namely that he was only relevant during his lifetime, if at all, and now you are trying to claim that you don’t even need to understand him in order to say that? The wonders.
    _______________________

    Lidia Says:
    January 27th, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    “@Jeff S., I would say a mountain of self-awareness.

    The question remains, “why does everything else exist as it ought to exist, but with man it is the opposite”?”

    And the proof of this? Is it true because you say so? Is 99.6% of human history irrelevant because you deem it so? I don’t think so.

  • @Lidia

    You asked Jeff S., “why does everything else exist as it ought to exist, but with man it is the opposite”?

    Maybe we’re the only species saddled with ought-ism ?

    Others seem more in tune with Carlin’s Big Electron – they just ‘are’.

    Saddled ? Post time ?
    For the home stretch call (for us anyhow) – this from the Godmother of Punk and maybe now the Grandmother of Doom…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL0AdSr4RhQ
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Can someone here (without incurring the wrath of United Artists’ legal department) make a video using the “White Cliffs of Dover?” video scenes from “Help” and switch out the audio to say “Beach of Doom?”.

  • “why does everything else exist as it ought to exist, but with man it is the opposite”?

    Hi Lidia – I must admit this has peaked my curiosity. I went back over comments – searched google but can’t seem to find this quote to get some context. Taking it at face it is confusing – seems humanity has struggled with *purpose* since images were scratched on cave walls. The above seems to indicate the speaker knows this long sought **purpose** not only for man but for *everything*.

  • Shep

    Thanks for sharing what you feel, based on living in an extremely hostile environment for blacks. It’s important to be reminded, since so much horror is swept under the rug by MSM.

    I have no doubt that what you predict is possible, even likely, to happen. But I have a hard time giving in to the feeling of powerlessness and inevitable isolation. Why wouldn’t it make a difference, large or small, if blacks formed coalitions with other oppressed groups? What about abused women, LGTB groups, Native Americans, Asians, unions? Isn’t that approach what resistance requires?

  • @Ram Samudrala

    Like you, I cut my Internet teeth on Usenet – particularly on alt.atheism. Anyone who has spent some time in those unmoderated flame wars will instantly recognize what’s happening here on NBL. Too bad. I value civility quite highly.

  • Jeff S. says “And the proof of this? Is it true because you say so? Is 99.6% of human history irrelevant because you deem it so? I don’t think so.”

    Your response doesn’t make any sense. I didn’t say anything about proof, or truth, or relevance.

    IT’S A QUESTION.

    Why does mankind always need improving when we don’t talk about other species needing improvement?

    For “99.6%” of human history (N.B., not pre-history, ’cause then it wouldn’t be *history*..) we’ve had no end of religions and philosophies whose main line of thought is that humans are lacking and need external or internal remedial interventions. Marxism is just another in a long line of ideologies trying to “develop” humanity and take it/us to some other level, on a secular rather than religious basis, though, kind of related to the techno-utopians and singularitarians…

    —–
    @Bob S. “can’t seem to find this quote to get some context. Taking it at face it is confusing – seems humanity has struggled with *purpose* since images were scratched on cave walls. The above seems to indicate the speaker knows this long sought **purpose** not only for man but for *everything*.”

    Why do you read that into the quote? I think that comes from your own presuppositions. I don’t know the writer’s position on “purpose”, but I read into it a relinquishing of the *need* for purpose. What is the purpose of a bird?

    Why do only humans (supposedly) need Purpose, when other creatures don’t worry their heads about it? Is “Purpose” a purely societal construct? Can we or might we eliminate it and have greater mental health?

    The quote comes from “The Silence of Animals” by John Gray— a book I picked up last year and fell in love with- but he is citing a guy called Alexander Herzen:

    “In ‘From the Other Shore’… the radical Russian journalist imagines a dialogue between a believer in human freedom and a skeptic who judges humans by their behavior rather than their professed ideals. … [in order to mock it] the skeptic quotes Rousseau’s dictum, ‘Man is born to be free, but is everywhere in chains!’ … What would you say to a man who.. remarked that ‘Fish are born to fly, but everywhere they swim!’?”

    Gray: “Icthyophils are devoted to their species as they believe it ought to be, not as it actually is or truly wants to be.”

    Herzen, commenting on the moral exhortations of John Stuart Mill: “Why does he try to wake the sleepers? What path, what way out has he devised for them?