On Ownership

Occasionally I see this question, usually in a social-media forum: If you were to eliminate one thing, what would it be?

For me, there is no question: ownership. The living planet faces many predicaments. To me, most seem to be rooted in ownership.

As nearly as I can distinguish, ownership did not exist until civilization arose. Millions of years spent sharing and nurturing led to a relatively benign human existence. A few thousand years into civilization, and everybody wants more. Ownership is a fundamental concept underlying the pathology of capitalism.

More of everything. More for me, not for you. As Gordon Gekko pointed out in the 1987 film Wall Street, it’s a zero-sum game. Every bit for me means less for you. I can’t have you taking any, because you’re taking it away from me.

Contemporary neo-classical economists proclaim a contrary message. The rising tide of economic prosperity, they say, floats all boats. Blinded by the ridiculous assumptions of an experiment gone horribly awry, they continue to promote the pathological system that has led to our extinction. Driven by the love of money and its underlying monetary system, they will continue to benefit from the system until, surprisingly to them, it no longer delivers power to them.

It wasn’t always this way, even after civilizations arose. The Greek Cynics were noted for the notion of using what was available even across the boundaries of ownership. They believed humans were motivated by selfishness, but they also believed (1) virtue was the only good, (2) the essence of virtue is self-control, and (3) surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity. Yes, they considered dignity a worthy pursuit. Perhaps more important than the acquisition of personal power.

I’m not suggesting, as many will protest, that indigenous people or the Greek Cynics were faultless. Rather, I am indicating there is more than one way to live. There are numerous examples, still, of societies filled with people who live beyond obsessions with possessions. There is more than the singular approach we take … to, well, take. But in this culture, takers vastly outnumber leavers (to use words popularized by Daniel Quinn).

Nor am I suggesting I haven’t benefited from the concept of ownership. As a heterosexual white man, I lived at the apex of ownership — i.e., patriarchy — for far too long.

Where does ownership come from? Where does it lead?

The word itself dates only to the Sixteenth Century. Obviously, the roots go much deeper. As is often the case, I turn to the ancients for perspective.

The opinions of Plato and Aristotle differed significantly with respect to ownership. Plato believed the idea created divisive inequalities. Historical and contemporary events support Plato’s view, rather than the view of his student, Aristotle. The latter believed private property enabled people to receive the full benefit of their labor (and also that of their slaves, of course). Aristotle’s ownership of slaves indicates an inherently strong personal motivation to support the idea of ownership.

Where does ownership take us? We need only investigate reality, based on recent trends, to see where we’re headed. And that place, I’m afraid, is right here, to the edge of extinction. To the notion that might makes right, and only power is needed to justify the acquisition of more power. Because more is all there is. Because more is its own reward in a culture that values power over justice and more over better. When quantity becomes the only quality worth having, more is all we have. In a culture that values accomplishments over relationships and acquisitions over emotions, more is the only attribute worth pursuing. How could it be any different?

Culturally, it cannot be different now. It’s too late for different. It’s too late for this culture to correct its errors, and there’s no motivation in this culture to make the necessary corrections. This culture will never know justice because the values were transcribed onto proverbial tablets of stone many generations ago.

As individuals, it can be different. As individuals, we can seek freedom from the straitjacket of culture. We can seek love over power, relationships over accomplishments, and better over more. A high price will be paid for such pursuits, however. There will be no reward beyond freedom from insanity, which comes with the prevailing sentiment that the sane are insane. As Krishmurti pointed out, “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

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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, 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.” sometimes, if that hasn’t been done, the comment text will still be in the comment box when clicking the back button on your browser.
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I was interviewed for UK Collapse Radio on 7 January 2015. The result is embedded below.

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I was interviewed for Raw Voices Podcast Friday, 9 January 2015. The result is linked here.

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My approach represents the “bottom line” in an essay posted today at Truth-out: “Guy McPherson could be said to have one of the most reasonable approaches: Make the most, imperatively, of what we have and can do now, with an emphasis on excellence in every endeavor, all while accepting that everything is telling us that we are on our way to extinction (sooner rather than later), and prepare to take leave of the good earth without losing our humanity — graciously, with dignity.”

The comments include the usual drivel. I notice one of Scott Johnson’s fan boys showed up to smear my name (without evidence, of course).

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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.

We’ll interview Katie Goodman for our next show, on Tuesday, 13 January 2015. Near-future guests include poet Cameron Conaway and Paul Craig Roberts.

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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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Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction Love Group on Facebook here

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Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction SUPPORT Group on Facebook here

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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.

Comments 109

  • Dear Guy,

    I do agree, and, as far as I’m concerned, your analysis is faultless.

    It’s the last paragraph of your essay, however, which is the most important and sums up my own thoughts perfectly.

    As ever, it’s good to know you’re out there.

  • Guy, read the first two paragraphs on page 18 of The Easy Way and get back to me when you have.

  • Terrific essay, thank you Guy.

    Re: whales and plankton – whales actually make MORE plankton, so the more whales we have the more plankton we have.

    Re: 72 virgins: Christopher Hitchens speculated there is a mistranslation of the Koran, and it should have read 72 raisins made from white grapes. Love to see their disappointment when receiving a bowl of raisins instead of virgins.

  • Thank you Dr. McPherson __ Now we have a picture of the whole picture. Ownership and it’s overship. Wow the latest radio show [Raw voices podcast 9] is the [ climate war of the world,] on the mark,get set, gone! Condolence ” Words fall short, may your heart and soul find peace and comfort in this time of the lost”

  • A comment by “mooco219” to the truthout article says…
    Read “Already Extinct” by Kyo. Grim reading . We are over the brink in free fall

    My search resulted in…

    Already Extinct: A Parrhesiastic Statement
    by Minoru Kyo (published in 2012)

    Overview
    Already Extinct is a critical analysis of the state of the environment, and a provocation for anyone who wants to create a sustainable society. Many argue that knowing the grim truths of our current relationship with the natural environment will lead to social paralysis. Minoru Kyo believes otherwise, and contends: We don’t understand the problem; we couldn’t do anything about it if we did; and we wouldn’t do anything about it if we could.

    Excerpt at: http://assets.booklocker.com/pdfs/6266s.pdf

    From Amazon.com: Minoru Kyo is an educator, researcher and activist involved in environmental engineering, planning, and advocacy. He calls himself an imbecile who thinks he can walk without a stick. But don’t we all?

    Now, if only I had a stick

  • The first time I heard Guy was on Eco-shock, maybe some several years ago. I was impressed. I rarely actually listen to his presentations anymore, because I’ve heard so many, and usually just skip to posting my usual obsessive compulsions.

    But, I watched this following video this morning and was once again very impressed to see his three-against-one presentation. I was also very impressed with the other three panelists’ narrow-mindedness, and these people are so-called professionals. I was particularly irked by Dr. Rick Nolthenius’ cheap-shot emotional appeals, although he had the best argument against Arctic methane rates, not that I necessarily agree with him, or Guy for that matter. I was also very impressed with how flaky the other two panelists were. I used to think academics were smart, now I think they’re mostly pompous arrogant assholes. Thanks for your work Guy.

  • The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In My Wind.
    Guy, I just want to say how impressed I was with the following video.
    Dr. Rick Nolthenius made the best argument against methane rates, but also made some very cheap shots and emotional appeals. The other two were just plain flaky and affirmed for me that having some letters before and after your name does not make you world smart.

  • Like Ken-doll says, math is hard! Sorry for the double post.

    Colin,
    Minoru Kyo is spot on. There are all kinds of extremely simple and overwhelmingly effective ways we could reduce varied warming emissions, low fruit on the tree etc., but we have done abso-fucking-lutely bupkis except fly around the world every year to kick the can down the road.

  • Guy, I agree with you regarding ownership. It requires violence. In my traditional family we “owned” very little. We had adopted mainstream ways enough that we did pass on the towels and furniture after people died, but the entire attitude toward ownership was quite different.

    We owned ourselves, and we owned whatever we made. Of course, my grandparents owned their house and car, also, but that was a different kind of “ownership.” That was an agreement.

    The other kind of ownership is a living ownership, of responsibility and relationship. What we make of ourselves as human beings, and our ability to create with our hands and those things we create, are the only things we ever truly “own.”

    As such, those are the things that require our attention. This is why North American native people put so much care and artistry and intuitive engineering into their everyday, practical items, such as their clothing and shoes, canoes, carvings, jewelry, etc. It was the appropriate cultural expression for human creativity.

    When I was a teenager in the 60s my great-great-uncle told me a story of a Christian minister trying to get him to go to church when he was a very young man in the 1920s. He said he pointed to a Joshua tree and told the minister, “That tree right there is my church.” He also told me that this culture “destroys everything it touches.”

    The destruction has always been visible to some people. It has also always appeared insane. It has to me, also. I see people as being like two photographs side-by-side. One is a photo of a huge metropolis full of high-speed roads and high-rise buildings, art, human creations overwhelming every natural square inch. The other photo is of life, a living world, absent human devastation, a thriving world of living change.

    Most people I’ve known in my lifetime have looked at the human made world and have been enamored, thrilled, proud, and religious in their belief in their superiority, their intelligence, their progress and technology.

    I’ve never been able to live that way. I’ve never seen anything that humans do as being more interesting, more intelligent, more creative, or more beautiful than the living Earth and the wealth of life it contains. Kudos to Queenie for the lovely poem about that sense that the entire world is alive and moving and shining and feeding us every moment in a way that nothing else can.

  • tech note: random issues have been appearing with posting comments. sometimes a “Submit Comment” click will return a 404 Page Not Found, 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.” sometimes, if that hasn’t been done, the comment text will still be in the comment box when clicking the back button on your browser.

  • Tech Note:

    This serves as a test response to mo flow’s tech note. Here I manually entered all text into the comment box, not copying any of it. I presently receive Page Not Found errors when I copy plain text from a plain text Word doc file I have created. I wonder it this will take.

  • Tech Note:

    For me, obviously, direct keyboard entry into the comment box works for small amounts of text. Meanwhile, pasting larger amounts of text copied from a plain text file does not work now, even though for many weeks that copying and pasting process worked without a hitch. I will try copying and pasting smaller amounts of text to see it that will work.

  • Bud –

    I’d be really careful with copying stuff out of Word and thinking it is plain text – even if you think you might be sure it is plain text – just sometimes hard to tell with Word. possibly better to use something like Notepad.

    I have never seen this error myself, and I always work directly in the comment box.

    I haven’t researched the possible cause of this error yet.

  • Regarding the recent focus on other animals’ near-certain intelligence and emotional responses, many here might find Animal Wise, The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell, 2013, well worth reading.

    In addition to the Kahneman presentations I recently mentioned, and related to a number of things discussed recently, including “free choice” and “control”, at least some will find this 19-min TED talk by Michael Shermer titled “The pattern behind self-deception” educational and entertaining: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_6-iVz1R0o .

    “If you were to eliminate one thing, what would it be?” For me, no question exists: I would end the general, long-term inability of various groups of humans to manage their population within the limits of the long-term carrying capacity of their local land bases (which of course includes air and water). I think that this would have prevented or otherwise resolved the ownership and consumption insanity, which developed as just one way, among many other social “experiments” over time, to attempt to live with the inevitable consequences of competition for shelter, fuel, water, food, and so on, which occurred, and continues to occur, when expanding and competing groups of animals, both human and non-human, encounter one another with survival requirements. Indeed, I think that our chronic inability to manage our population has probably served as the single most important, most fundamental motivator for large-scale warfare. In that regard, we have demonstrated no more intelligence or wisdom than a cohort of bacteria growing in a petri dish—and I expect with about the same amount of “free will”. Yep; I would end our inability to manage our population. Therein lies the fundamental cause, I think, of our self-annihilation trap and our tragic destiny.

  • Tech Note:

    That copied, smaller amount of text took. Now I will try copying and pasting the second half of the comment.

  • I would like to imagine that the concept of ownership is “the one” thing that needs to be removed. But unfortunately, I believe the need to stake personal claims is preceded by a litany of far more innocuous and nefarious motives, similar to jealousy. Is it stand alone act, or does it emanate from something deeper within the human psyche? The same goes for most human behavior. Is anger just anger, or is it an expression of a greater obscured fear?

    The concept of ownership is a complex concept based on a series of cultural presumptions that probably have their roots buried all the way back in verdant hunting grounds. If a neighboring tribe was venturing into “your” territory, what’s the difference between a general boundary and a distinct property line? I believe the concept of trespassing is ancient.

    The need for distinction, esteem, power and just basic insecurity seems to be the stew of human yearning from which abstract concepts like ownership arise. Again, I do not see the fault within the human race coming from outside of us, but from within. The human heart is riddled with greed, whether it be measured in property or rare beads. Or maybe something closer to the truth, is just enough human hearts are riddled with insecurity to ruin it for all the rest.

    But then again, not all river banks are equal. Some have a perfect bend that allows for plenty of sunlight, while other banks are mired in shadow all the year round. Any long hike in wilderness reveals plenty of advantageous areas of land compared to others. One could say there is just a natural inequality inherent in geography.

    Where would you want to pitch your tent, and why, if given the opportunity?

    What if someone else in your tribe wanted the extra sunlight for themselves? If all things were equal in a mating ritual, wouldn’t the one with access to a more abundant fishing hole win out for no other reason than the biological imperative?

  • Tech Note:

    The second copied and pasted half did not take. I will divide IT in half and try again.

  • Second 1/3 of previous comment copied and pasted here to see if it will work:

    Two paragraphs from Bonanno’s The Other Side of Sadness, What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss relate directly to this, my comments in brackets []:

    “Yet another means by which we control our fear of death, the Terror Management Theorists (TMT) hold, is to DENY OUR ANIMAL NATURE. When we acknowledge that we are animals, we have to face the fact that all animals die. To counter this threat, we convince ourselves that human existence means more in the grand scheme of things than does mere animal existence. If the TMT perspective is correct, this defense should be exaggerated whenever we are reminded of our own mortality. This is precisely the result that the TMT researchers have found. A group of subjects exposed to a mortality salience prompt tended to overstate the differences between themselves and other animals, and to prefer essays that emphasized a greater distinction between humans and [other] animals. In keeping with the symbolic immortality WE MAY ACHIEVE THROUGH PROGENY, discussed earlier, mortality salience questions have also been shown to EVOKE IN PEOPLE A GREATER DESIRE TO HAVE CHILDREN.”

    “The great discovery of TMT research is that most of us have, somewhere, simmering just below the surface of conscious awareness, a vague and fleeting dread of our own vulnerability and mortality. Even the simplest reminder of our mortality may dramatically alter our attitudes and behavior in ways that appear to be consistent with some of the larger claims of the theory.”

  • The last 1/3 of previous comment (hopefully!) copied and pasted here:

    Two paragraphs from the Prologue to Jared Diamond’s 1991 book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee also relate to this:

    “There is nothing new about prophecies to the effect that the end of the world is near if we do not repent. What is new is that such a prophecy is now true, for two obvious reasons. First, nuclear weapons give us the means to wipe ourselves out quickly: no humans possessed this means before. Second, we already appropriate about forty per cent of the Earth’s net productivity (that is, the net energy captured from sunlight). With the world’s human population now doubling every forty-one years, we will soon have reached the biological limit to growth, at which point we will have to start fighting each other in deadly earnest for a slice of the world’s fixed pie of resources. In addition, given the present rate at which we are exterminating species, most of the world’s species will become extinct or endangered within the next century, but we depend on many species for our own life support.”

    “It is not the goal of this book to propose specific solutions to our predicament, because the solutions we should adopt are already clear in broad outline. Some of those solutions include HALTING POPULATION GROWTH, limiting or eliminating nuclear weapons, developing peaceful means for solving international disputes [thus the importance of John Gottman’s and Susan Johnson’s relationship work, among others], reducing our impact on the environment, and preserving species and natural habitats. Many excellent books make detailed proposals on how to carry out these policies. Some of these policies are being implemented in some cases now; we ‘just’ need to implement them consistently. If we all became convinced today that they were essential, we would already know enough to start carrying them out tomorrow. What is lacking is the necessary political will. Hence I seek to foster that will, by tracing in this book our history as a species. OUR PROBLEMS HAVE DEEP ROOTS TRACING BACK TO OUR ANIMAL ANCESTRY. [I don’t think they lie mainly in our very recent ownership arrangements for controlling access to fuel, water, food, land, shelter, and so on.] They have been growing for a long time with our increasing power and numbers, and are now steeply accelerating. We can convince ourselves of the inevitable outcome of our current short-sighted practices just by examining the many past societies that destroyed themselves by destroying their own resources, despite having less potent means of self-destruction than ours [probably most often including not having or using any ownership concepts]. Political historians justify the study of individual states and rulers by the opportunity to learn from the past. That justification applies even more so to the study of our history as a species, because the lessons of that study are simpler and clearer.”

  • Tech Note:

    All of longish comment now successfully copied and pasted. The Page Not Found error appears to relate to the length of the comment.

  • The ownership of objects that can be moved and relocated does not raise issues of the validity of ownership. The person who claims ownership of a spear, through making it oneself, or by receiving it as a gift or through barter can expect his claim to ownership respected.

    How about the person that plants seeds to grow vegetables? And improves the land with manuire and mulch, tends the plants by weeding and digging irrigation and drainage ditches? Birds, squirrels, deer, plant-eating insects and others don’t give a damn about all this, and will joyously chow down on it all.

    But humans have claims to ownership of the land quite independent of any work they or their forbears might or might not have done on the land. One result of this is sharecropping, seen for several generations after the American Civil War. Plantation owners wanted to keep production going, and the newly-freed slaves had no options besides working the land. So they were offered to work the (plantation owner’s) land for a share of the harvest. The owner of the land may not have set foot on it in decades. A similar situation seen today is that of tenants and absentee landlords.

    The connection to the fruits of one’s labour was seen in the Soviet Union, where 10% of the cultivable land allowed for private growing produced 60% of the agricultural output.

    “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs” works in communities (cohering through voluntary horizontal interactions, in effect an extended family). In societies (hierarchies of channels for vertical transactions enforced by coercive violence), the sense of belonging is replaced by a sense of status, one’s place in the pecking order. Indeed, one cannot belong without a place in the ordained pecking order. One does not have to “own” anything if the doctrine forbids it: lavish estates of the Soviet elite and the luxuriance of the elite of the Catholic Church are examples.

    “I used to think academics were smart, now I think they’re mostly pompous arrogant assholes.”

    It is said in Medicine that “Those who can, practice; those who can’t, teach”. But in Medicine, every physician is a teacher: of patients, of nursing and other staff, and indeed of other physicians, all of this unwittingly, without specific plan or intent. That is why one of the original meanings is “teacher” And at the same time a student – of all of those.

  • Bud –

    thanks for the tests, but “The Page Not Found error appears to relate to the length of the comment.” I somewhat doubt that – given the recent successful posting of things like RC’s long comments, full of links and whatnot. feel free to try copying a very long comment out of Notepad, and see if you get a 404 Page Not Found (I wave my magic admin wand and give you a temp free pass on post limit for all this – it could be useful.)

    I suspect (perhaps more likely) that there is something coming out of your Word copying that is mucking it up.

    if at all possible, use something more trustworthy than Word:

    http://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=best+text+editor+for+windows

  • Bud –

    and if you do test with Notepad (I would actually like to see this) then only txt format of course. no rtf or any other format that may be possible.

  • mo flo,

    I know. I have copied and pasted much longer comments many times over the past few months—using plain text format generated in Word. Then this popped up, randomly it seems. I understand that Windows default plain text, or MS-DOS plain text, all remains the same no matter what software generates it. Even so, if the problem occurs again I will generate the plain text using Notepad to see if that makes a difference. (I hypothesize that it will not.)

    Thanks for the feedback and ideas!

  • Guy,
    Just thought I would add a few goodies to your article. Your analysis is quite thorough, but I think our ownership syndrome started when we were still hanging from a few branches. Those of us who ventured away from deep forests just continued to exercise what works best in nature, a survival condition. As simplistic as it may appear, survival is the number one priority for all living things, including our own survival. Although our first thoughts while dressing up to go to work may not be.. ‘How am I going to survive today,’ that thought is nevertheless unconsciously the main reason why we do anything. Without survival, everything else is a moot point…

    Darwin introduced most of humanity to the concept that nature operates on a survival of the fittest agenda. Unfortunately his suggestion has largely been ignored. Instead of realizing what makes us tick, and doing something about it, we have been arguing for 150 years on whether or not we are from Divine origins or from more humble beginnings. Darwin did point out that in nature the strong are more likely to survive, and that the weak perish. One would think that we would have toyed with that idea a little more, and perhaps thought it for long enough to figure out that it makes us do what we have always done best — survive.

    When one observes the fate of those who don’t own a piece of the Earth, it should not be surprising that we do what we must to acquire a part of it. Hence bringing ourselves to the brink of extinction. This subject is very close to my heart, as I believe it is the most important subject we have yet to tackle. We are products of evolution but if we are to survive, we must create our own evolution, and considering the fact that changing someone’s mind on anything is like climbing Mount Everest, the chances that we will change in that regard are slim.

    Our sense of ownership is imbedded in our culture. For example, how often have you read the following words, sometimes written by avowed environmentalists :”We need to save our planet””Our oceans are dying’,
    “We must save our forests and our lakes”. Even though this may seem trivial, using the word ‘OUR’ immediately creates a sense of ownership in the minds of most people, most especially in the mind of children. As we grow into adults, the sense of propriety remains, and for very good reasons, which would in probably fact require a few hundred pages to get into.

    Just thoughts…..

  • I totally agree – I think ownership is definitely at the core of a lot of our problems – ownership of land being almost chief among them. But, you said, “But in this culture, takers vastly outnumber leavers” – I disagree. The culture of taking has become the dominant narrative, and the spoils of taking gives the takers more power than their numbers.

    I actually think there are more leavers, but not enough power for us. There’s great evidence, for instance, that the less money you have, the more generous you are.

  • I dunno.

    Garratt Hardin proposed ownership as the antidote to The Tragedy of the Commons. I think there are aspects of ownership that make its impact much worse; things like speculative ownership, anonymous (corporate) ownership; ownership for the purpose of passive income (rentier class).

    If no profit could come of ownership, other than that one gets from one’s own personal labour, I think it’s a good thing. An owner who owes his livelihood to that which he owns takes good care of it. What craftsman abuses his tools? (And lives to continue crafting?)

    Without ownership, who is going to plant walnut trees? Who is going to build soil? The “cut and run” nature of modern corporate ownership is not the only model of ownership possible!

    If I had to pick a word, I’d say “employment.”

    Think of it for a bit. Humans are the only species that has unemployment! Employment for the enrichment of others seems more of an issue than ownership. If everyone had to provide their own livelihood, ownership would not be such an issue. If one were not able to profit from the labour of others, one would take better care of one’s things.

    At least that my theory today. Might be different tomorrow. 🙂

  • Bud –

    I just ran an interesting series of tests. at first, it looked like your hypothesis was going to carry the day. but then it turned out somewhat differently.

    using TextWrangler, I copied your entire post into one comment, and saved it as a text document. then reopened the file, and copied and pasted the comment. three different times, and each time I got the 404 error.

    so it looked like you were correct – just too long (at 1010 words).

    (btw – the back button trick definitely always works. even after the 404 error, going back one page, the text was always still in the comment box).

    I got an inspiration, and deleted just the last long paragraph in your comment, and posted all the rest. that posted successfully. OK, that looked like it was confirming the “too long” hypothesis.

    then I decided to try to falsify that hypothesis, and copied the now remaining last paragraph (“There is nothing new about prophecies…”), and duplicated it, and added it again at the end of your total comment.

    first one extra paragraph. successful post. then two. success. then three, then six. by now your comment was far longer than your original total comment, at 1761 words.

    it posted correctly every time. no 404 errors.

    so, right now, there appears to be something about the very last, long paragraph in your comment that is causing the 404, when combined with the rest of the total comment, as you successfully posted the last paragraph in your last 1/3 comment post above.

    what exactly that combination is, is a total mystery right now. but it is definitely not the case that the “comment is too long” hypothesis is correct. at least up to 1761 words.

  • Bud – one other thing. I deleted the youtube link just for these tests, so I only had pure text to deal with. even without the link, I got the 404 initially, so that isn’t part of the mystery.

    Jan – 🙂 might be.

  • Bud –

    one last note for tonight. rereading all of our exchange, it is clear that your complete hypothesis was actually not just “comment too long” but indeed more complicated than that – involving something to do with both the post length and what exactly is in the post content, as you mentioned above you have successfully copied longer posts than your 404 post today.

    so it looks like your total hypothesis is possibly correct after all – there is some combination of things that is making it screwy, and this may include length. artleads mentioned recently that a longer post he made recently also went kaplooey, but he didn’t say if it was a 404.

    it might be that the clue is somewhere in that last long paragraph. well – it might be that it isn’t possible to track down, without a ton of tests. so just, in general, the answer is to do things to avoid losing posts. or use the back button. 🙂

  • @ Robert Callaghan Says:
    January 10th, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I concur, re: Kyo, especially his points about water viability expressed in that excerpt. Thanks for that link to the new(?) Albert Bates video.

  • Tech Note:

    mo flo,

    Thanks for all of your additional experimentation! When I experienced the problems a few months ago it seemed as though something in a particular message caused trouble (within a Word.doc-generated copy and paste) because when I started copying and pasting using a plain text file the problem went away. I agree: it now SEEMS to involve some combination of comment length AND some code within the copied text (even though plain text generated). It presently seems strange and random to me. Perhaps if we stay on this present testing route if/when the problem occurs again we can eventually track it down and really understand what is happening.

  • Excellent essay, Guy!

    Jean Turcot Says:
    January 10th, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    “Darwin introduced most of humanity to the concept that nature operates on a survival of the fittest agenda. Unfortunately his suggestion has largely been ignored……Darwin did point out that in nature the strong are more likely to survive, and that the weak perish. One would think that we would have toyed with that idea a little more, and perhaps thought it for long enough to figure out that it makes us do what we have always done best — survive.”

    No! Darwin repeatedly stated that this was NOT his notion of some central overarching principle of operation at the heart of nature, and was quite pissed off that people misinterpreted what he had said. This is how the grotesque distortion of Darwin’s work known as social Darwinism was born. By the way, Marx chose Darwin to write the forward to the very first edition of Capital. Modern evolutionary biologists such as Lewis Thomas (Lives of the Cell) and Lynn Margulis (The Symbiotic Planet) have provided excellent analyses of how symbiosis is far more prevalent in the natural world as an organizing principle than is competition.

  • Hi Wren,

    Just received Rat, A Novel and I am having a difficult time putting it down. Already I am viewing our fellow non-human Earthlings from a more healthy perspective, while not quite empathy since I am not a rat, but pretty close. Please feel free to share other book, essay, video recommendations. I am truly impressed by your point of view, and I am not easily impressed.

    Hi Robert Callaghan,

    I watched the presentation as well, and there were some uncomfortable moments, but overall I found the other presenters to be polite and knowledgeable. We must keep in mind that this is truly and earth-shattering topic, which as a consequence causes people to react differently. At the end, I thought the others accepted the potential reality of Guy’s position.

  • “The Greek Cynics were noted for the notion of using what was available even across the boundaries of ownership. They believed humans were motivated by selfishness, but they also believed (1) virtue was the only good, (2) the essence of virtue is self-control, and (3) surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity. Yes, they considered dignity a worthy pursuit. Perhaps more important than the acquisition of personal power…”

    Nice little lesson. This especially, I think: “…humans were motivated by selfishness…” Maybe that’s like saying, motivated by self interest? No problem, AFAICS.

  • Jeff, your tight correction about Darwin is another ingrained historical misconception.

    Darwin originally had much respect for Spencer, who was “The Man” of 19th century deduction.

    Who reads Herbert Spencer today, except to show how perfectly logical deduction can serve up all manner of malicious nonsense.

    “Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence;” & Spencer demonstrated it perfectly – with all its human frailty.

  • Tradition has it that with realisation comes the awareness of Absolute Solitude: that there is no “other”, not even in what appears to be a “separate” and “different” sentient being, even a rat. And one then has an ability to – or rather a constant facility for – “mind-meld” à la Mr. Spock of Star Trek. An example of mind-meld between the author and a beetle is described in Carlos Castaneda’s Journey to Ixtlan. An extension of this is the ability to understand the calls of all creatures, and all languages, with an ability to speak them also, described in another tradition as the “speaktng of tongues”. Bridging the gap between Aramaic and classical Greek, Pharaonic and Southern Indian (Peter & Paul, Mark, and Thomas).

    There are many other descriptors of the realised one. The Satiated: having nothing more to seek. The Accomplished: having nothing left to do. The Hopeless: not hoping for anything. The Non-Doer: without any sense of agency, even though the “meat-robot” continues to act. And many other descriptors, all of which are applicable when any one of them is applicable.

  • Could we say generally that in Hunter/Gatherer existences that, within the group only small items like bows, baskets,spears and huts/teepees/Gunyahs,
    ( see: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/complex-designs-reveal-countrys-first-architects/2007/10/08/1191695822471.html for explanation of ‘gunyah’.),
    …were personally or family owned? And that most other things were shared? What was collectively ‘owned’? was it ancestral hunting/fishing grounds, ancestral ranges from which the food and shelter and spiritual relations to country were served, and looked after?
    Was not that ‘ownership’ a kind of relation that could not be of any other peoples?, and so it is only when a tribe gets bigger than its boots, and ranges beyond it’s watershed, that the acquiring of what others live on, or ‘care for’, becomes something of what we recognise as ‘taking’ from others.
    I am told by some Traditional Owners that there are stories of far greater sharing and cooperation in earlier pre European times, than many have been lead to believe. Stories of war, raiding and intense rivalry no doubt depict real events which occurred in some periods, and between some groups, but as Bill Gamagee suggests in his recent book, ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth’ one of the unique factors about Australia still un-understood by almost everybody, and in particular invading Europeans in 1788, is that Australian Indigenous groups had a singular ‘Universal’ cosmic structure, translating to a universal living relationship to one ‘Dreaming’- nexus of living stories- spirituality/culture. Not to suggest that all peoples across the continent did the same things, more that they shared the same Dreaming, and understanding of the Rainbow Serpent as creator being, ( but not in a linear way, more always present arising of the land, sea and all its features).
    Groups look after their local country areas, and relate to the unique spirits of that region- this is what largely defines ‘their country’, and so to ‘take’ and ‘own’ another’s country, one has to leave behind the spiritual relationship to land, sky, and water, of one’s own region, and see ‘country’ as a thing, easily traded, or sold off to ‘others’. Once that spiritual bond is broken, a whole lot of existential wandering, and bullshit happens to justify continuing to live ‘The Way of Taking’ (IMHO-Koyaanisqatsi: Hopi Indian word meaning:Life out of Balance.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koyaanisqatsi).

    So to own is to possess. However, the greater lesson here when we look at the world-wide ‘dis-possession’ of Indigenous Peoples, (ongoing) is that more correctly ‘we’ are possessed by the Land, Sky, Waters and Country- we are ‘of’ or ‘in’ it.

    I am inclined to go with Guy’s single thing to alter as ‘Ownership’, but in closing, I would say there is as much misconception of what is meant by ‘collective ownership’, or ‘shared ownership,’ from today’s materialist fear-view-of-this-world-universe, as there is when Guy speaks of Anarchy.
    To some it sounds like everything they fear, and would fight to keep out, but closer to the truth is a mature co-existence with all the other forms on this Rock.
    We don’t even own our own bodies, for the time will eventually come when the ‘white wings of Death’ come to claim all the cells and parts, scattering them back the the land.
    We don’t own a thing, but thinking makes it so!
    😉

  • Jeff S.

    You suggest that “Symbiosis is far more prevalent in the natural world as an organizing principle than is competition” to counter my suggestion that Darwin supported the concept that nature operates on a Survival of the Fittest Agenda. Really ? You even promote the idea that Darwin was “pissed off” with people who “misinterpreted what he had said”. MMMmmm ???

    First of all, did you read Darwin’s theories ? and if so, where was Darwin ever quoted as being “pissed off” by people who misinterpreted the survival of the fittest Darwinian principle? “Pissed off” is your term, not Darwin’s, and if you read Darwin’s theories you would perhaps recognize that Darwin explained his theories without expecting that the whole world would come around to the idea that we were a lot more like apes than Divine beings, a situation which to this day still governs most people’s perception of themselves…

    Moreover, your objection that a survival of the fittest agenda in nature competes with a symbiosis agenda is a little off the charts when it comes to debating the merits of Darwin’s theories. Case in point: To be symbiotic, (cooperation between species) it is somewhat important for all members of the symbiotic relationships to be alive. Those who live to become symbiotic, as in rhinos thanking the rhino Gods for birds who eat the insects that make their life miserable, must have had a few encounters with members of their own kind before they got around to being ‘symbiotic’. (last time I saw rhinos on my tube fighting for top spot in the river they weren’t exactly of the loving kind) And so my contention (Darwin’s actually) that the survival of the fittest stuff has first priority seems to hold its ground, and symbiosis comes next. There is no competition between the two expressions of existence.

    You further quote Thomas and Margula as evolutionary biologists who write that symbiosis is far more prevalent in the natural world as an organizing principle than is competition.” I have serious doubts that any credible scientist would write anything of the kind, but it seems that you do. The reasons they would not express such a thought is obvious, and it is because the founding principle of survival is to be the first one on the block to get the worm. If you don’t get the worm, you die, ask any robin worth his feathers.

    Since this article is about ownership, my conclusion as far as this particular argument is concerned is that if you are involved in a survival of the fittest agenda, you’re simply not going to own anything because you won’t be around to own it, unless you compete with your bros and you win, starting with the successful little guy who outmuscled a few million sperms to reach the egg. You want to argue Darwin, then perhaps you should read his theories, and by the gist of the arguments you present, I feel that is an endeavour you still have a need to do.

  • I think we have a new interviewee for the NBL radio show!
    Already Extinct: A Parrhesiastic Statement
    by Minoru Kyo (published in 2012)

    Excellent article Guy.

    Ownership could use some defining for there are many ways of seeing ownership, reading through the thread here.
    I think the way you use it is in the strictest sense of a person having control of land, objects, resources and/or people themselves (slaves, employees).

    The territorial aspect of prehistoric humans, i.e. having a territory to range and forage, is not included in this strict, civilized definition of ownership. Nor is the “ownership” of tools made by individuals and passed on to the tribe/family.

    OzMan explained this “territoriality” of the land :
    “Australian Indigenous groups had a singular ‘Universal’ cosmic structure, translating to a universal living relationship to one ‘Dreaming’- nexus of living stories- spirituality/culture.”

    And similarly the idea of ownership of the land to Native Americans was as alien as owning one’s mother, or spouse, or cousin would be to us. (usually)

    Because the cosmology of these indigenous people is/was so different from our monarchic, oligarchic inspired perspective perhaps the best way to describe it for us to better understand where they were/are coming from would be to say we own our internal organs, i.e. they can be bought and sold. Ludicrous! As was/is the idea of owning land and resources to indigenous, nomadic people. (actually, some people DO sell their organs and their blood and their bodies to science, so we have commodified even our organs)

    Unfortunately, ownership is a key component of this life killing culture and most of us are not participants though we are deceived into thinking we are owners. That we have a voice in how things are run around here! (electors make sure you have NO say, only the owners get to say)
    We are encouraged to shop for things on sale, to compete with our neighbors for the newest toys, to buy buy buy. But what do we actually own?
    Is all that crap people buy to fill their homes worth anything at all? No.
    Do we actually own the homes we purchase? No. The banks does.
    And even if you pay it off (big if), the town owns your land and demands a tax for your right to remain there, and demands fees for you to make even the slightest adjustments to the land or your home. In some communities those taxes and fees are actually designed to keep “undesirables” out. Only the highly paid slave-consigliery of the owners get to live in those communities.

    Today most retirees must sell off their homes, even if they built them, and raised their children in because they cannot afford the taxes on their slave-retirement wages.
    The banks benefit from these sales once again, because they own us all.

    But like Guy pointed out, you can’t convince slaves they are slaves when they think they are free. I mean look at the bargains at Walmart! PROOF we are not slaves!

    This condition will never change from the inside.

  • Wren,

    Just received Rat. Best Intro. I’ve read in years. Yes, Kling, u can’t put it down except with my distracted, demented mind, it is tough to keep a thought for long and thus I get antsy no matter the importance.

    Thank you Wren.

  • Jean Turcott,
    much as it pains me to say this, I think Jeff S. is correct in his comments about Darwin and in the most recent analysis of environmental biologists that cooperation/symbiosis is far more prevalent in nature, and far more successful in increasing survivability than the previous masculinist founded idea of competition.

    The idea of Competition being a good thing is a white, male European concept, and prevalent in their scientific and sociological writings. Consider that ancient cave drawings of grasses and grains were mis-interpreted by the white male European archaeologists as spears, “confirming” these European men’s preconception that our prehistoric sisters and brothers were warlike. It took a female anthropologist to reinterpret those images.

    “Survival of the Fittest” was NOT a Darwinian concept that he promoted, it was a misinterpretation of what he was seeing. He was seeing adaptations that ALLOWED for survival, not survival of the strongest. Consider that the new discovery that white skinned northern Europeans are not white skinned to take in more sunlight, but because their food was so depleted of nutritional value once they adopted civilized, agrarian lives, that the ones with paler skin were better able to survive such depletion of nutrients.
    It was not that they were “stronger”, they were just better adapted to a unique situation.
    That “strongest” concept was a European malecentric concept and of course it got all the press, rather than the love, sharing, sacrifice and cooperation concepts that Darwin talked copiously about in his writings.

    From the Darwin Project: http://www.thedarwinproject.com/about/about.html

    “Today the focus is mainly on Darwin’s Origin of Species. But in the 828 page sequel in which he tells us he will now deal with human evolution, The Descent of Man, Darwin writes only twice of “survival of the fittest,” but 95 times of love.

    He writes of selfishness 12 times, but 92 times of moral sensitivity.

    Of competition 9 times, but 24 times of mutuality and mutual aid.

    And of what so often everywhere today seems to be missing in global political, economic, and religious leadership — that is, of mind and brain — he writes 200 times.”

  • Re Native American perspectives of ownership, Native Americans did not feel they “owned” the land, but they did believe the land and they belonged to each other, and it was their land.

    Native Americans viewed the land as something they were a part of, just as the other animals were a part of it. Do the other animals “own” the land? Neither did they take the land from someone else. They are the original human inhabitants of the land, and their view was that it was “their land” because it was what they were given. Other people were given their land according to their histories and origins.

    There is ownership, but there are things that are given, and they are given by higher natural law and principle, just as the salmon are “given” to the bear. The biggest difference between native perspectives and non-native perspectives is that what they saw as “given” by the Creator or Nature wasn’t exactly the same as “ownership,” but it could look like it from the Western perspective.

    They had greater nuance in their perspective, and it was more complex. It was about the origin of things and their entire context, not just who possessed them physically. We use things we don’t “own” all the time.

  • Guy, excellent post. Thank you for this and all you do.

    A quote in keeping with ownership from one of the best books I’ve ever read, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer:
    “In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home of our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us….It belonged to itself; it was a gift, not a commodity, so it could never be sold.”

    Tony Joe White—Closer the the Truth:

  • “ask any robin worth his feathers.”

    This robin has no feathers, but has some idea of the difference between perissodactyl and artiodactyl ungulates (rhinos and hippos). Oxpeckers are not needed by the riverine species as any ectoparasites would be controlled by immersion in water.

    For those who may care to acquaint themselves with RNA

    The resilience of systems including ecosystems depends on three factors: redundancy, diversity and networking. With redundancy, loss of a portion has less effect, as with loss of a part of a food source. Diversity allows others to step in when some go missing. Networking allows alternate relationships to take over when needed, as a different food source. Cooperation among the elements of a system is essential for resilience. Efficiency is the polar opposite of resilience. Biological systems from individual cells to ecosystems optimise their balance between resiliency and efficiency, and this mandates some cooperation at every level.

  • I totally agree – I think ownership is definitely at the core of a lot of our problems – ownership of land being almost chief among them. But, you said, “But in this culture, takers vastly outnumber leavers” – I disagree. The culture of taking has become the dominant narrative, and the spoils of taking gives the takers more power than their numbers.

    I actually think there are more leavers, but not enough power for us. There’s great evidence, for instance, that the less money you have, the more generous you are.

    Ownership is the problem?

    I disagree.

    The problems are Selfishness and Greed. Add to that the biological imperative to reproduce. How many times can a whole be made piecemeal until the parts can’t support a life – and for that part which can no longer be supported – to declare WAR! by demanding another piece of another’s – leading to the demise of both.

    Which is why controls must be established on human reproduction – except no one wants to go first – or they silently cheat – each seeking a larger piece of the pie.

    As for me – I have always remained true to the ideal – sex without reproduction. Ever. Because I always knew.

    I have no guilt over Society being a patriarchy – because the real problem is women – who refuse to restrain their biological imperative to reproduce – then demand that Society as a whole meet their needs – without question.

    Mutual Cooperation and working together for a common ideal is best. Even when it involves abortion and infanticide. Along with the acceptance of death as a part of our natural lives and journey through the Cosmos. That is the pragmatic and realistic evaluation of our current dilemma.

  • One point and one question:

    It seems to me that “enforced access” serves as a broader and significantly more useful frame than the much narrower “ownership” frame. For our entire history as a species it seems clear that various groups of humans have enforced access to various biological survival necessities such as shelter, fuel, water, food, and so on, whether they used an “ownership” arrangement, or not, AND throughout our entire history various groups have OFTEN killed other humans and non-humans, including many forms of warfare, massacres, genocides, and extinctions using the most effective technologies available in order to enforce that access.

    Do most people here seriously believe that healthier beliefs, values, and behaviors related to ownership would have led to ecologically stable human population management in the past, would produce that now, or that it would produce it in the future? Really? If so, based on what evidence and reasoning?

  • Hi Kling and Shep,

    “Rat” was a paradigm shifter for me, as was “Ishmael”. So happy to share this brutally poetic novel with you.

    Kling, thank you for the milkweed seeds. They grew, and I found 2 monarch caterpillars on them at one point, who are hopefully both now warm and safe in Mexico.
    I’ll be raising these every year now and sharing seed for any monarchs that are still around. 🙂

  • @ Tim E.

    You state:

    “I have no guilt over Society being a patriarchy – because the real problem is women – who refuse to restrain their biological imperative to reproduce – then demand that Society as a whole meet their needs – without question.”

    You are correct that an unrestrained biological imperative within a finite environment where most obstacles to reproduction have been overcome is indeed one, if not ‘the’ culprit to our ecological dilemma.

    You are incorrect to presume that women are solely responsible for this, and that your faulty reasoning is somehow a counter to patriarchy.

    If you want to attempt to make a valid point, reassess your position in context to your latent misogyny, and consider how your own personal bias might be clouding your rather daft opinion of global reproduction rights for women.

  • “If you were to eliminate one thing what would it be?”

    I would eliminate the fear of life disease- an unconscious, unseen conviction held by most- that I am at stake in this life- and which is the engine that drives all the madness, hatred, greed, aggression, brutality, callousness and denial.

    The great good news!-it can be done- with a simple act of inward looking.

  • You are incorrect to presume that women are solely responsible for this, and that your faulty reasoning is somehow a counter to patriarchy.

    Upon further thought – Agreed. I find no fault in your reasoning. My innate desire to not pro-create is not necessarily natural – but that is the reality I operate within. Where it came from – might be best concluded as “Unknown”. Within that context – I did have pro-creative activities with fertile females – but exercised prudent cautionary measures to avoid conception.

    Misogny = “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”

    Not true at all. I understand most Women and their biological drive to reproduce and accumulate possessions.

    Your ad hominem attack: If you want to attempt to make a valid point, reassess your position in context to your latent misogyny, and consider how your own personal bias might be clouding your rather daft opinion of global reproduction rights for women.”

    Is recognized and accepted as a limitation to your thought processes.

    Please, inform me more of your claimed “global reproduction rights for women”.

    LOL.

    Seriously?

  • Wise words all gone… Oh Well! Since all my words disappeared for failing to fill in “Leave a Reply’, here we go again.

    Tim E.

    “The problems are Selfishness and Greed.” There is no such thing as greed when the consequences of extreme poverty are obviously hardship and even death. Greed is mistakenly envisioned for good survival skills. When it is obvious that the more moola one has the more chances there are for survival, then that is what we will do.

    Add to that the biological imperative to reproduce. How many times can a whole be made piecemeal until the parts can’t support a life – and for that part which can no longer be supported – to declare WAR! by demanding another piece of another’s – leading to the demise of both.

    “Controls must be established on human reproduction”.MMMMmmm!!! And who will decide what those controls will be, and is our present population, 7 billion and counting, in line with those controls?

  • “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?”

    then answer, of course, is a vast array of a electric devices and several beautiful homes in ideal locations that you never visit. Plus media attention and armies of sycophants and well-wishers. “He who dies with the most toys wins — eternal damnation.”

    What could be better than that?

  • Sorry about the above… forgot to remove the quotes from Tim’s paragraph.. should have read:

    Tim E.

    “The problems are Selfishness and Greed.” There is no such thing as greed when the consequences of extreme poverty are obviously hardship and even death. Greed is mistakenly envisioned for good survival skills. When it is obvious that the more moola one has the more chances there are for survival, then that is what we will do.

    “Controls must be established on human reproduction”.MMMMmmm!!! And who will decide what those controls will be, and is our present population, 7 billion and counting, in line with those controls?

  • Jean Turcot Says:
    January 11th, 2015 at 6:36 am
    Jeff S.

    You suggest that “Symbiosis is far more prevalent in the natural world as an organizing principle than is competition” to counter my suggestion that Darwin supported the concept that nature operates on a Survival of the Fittest Agenda. Really ? You even promote the idea that Darwin was “pissed off” with people who “misinterpreted what he had said”. MMMmmm ???

    First of all, did you read Darwin’s theories ? and if so, where was Darwin ever quoted as being “pissed off” by people who misinterpreted the survival of the fittest Darwinian principle? “Pissed off” is your term, not Darwin’s, and if you read Darwin’s theories you would perhaps recognize that Darwin explained his theories without expecting that the whole world would come around to the idea that we were a lot more like apes than Divine beings, a situation which to this day still governs most people’s perception of themselves…”

    RIDICULOUS! You are getting on my case because Darwin didn’t use the actual words “pissed off” I didn’t quote him to that effect. But yes, he was very upset with the misuse of his comment re “survival of the fittest.” A thorough analysis can be found in John Bellamy Foster’s book Marx’z Ecology.

    “Moreover, your objection that a survival of the fittest agenda in nature competes with a symbiosis agenda is a little off the charts when it comes to debating the merits of Darwin’s theories. Case in point: To be symbiotic, (cooperation between species) it is somewhat important for all members of the symbiotic relationships to be alive. Those who live to become symbiotic, as in rhinos thanking the rhino Gods for birds who eat the insects that make their life miserable, must have had a few encounters with members of their own kind before they got around to being ‘symbiotic’. (last time I saw rhinos on my tube fighting for top spot in the river they weren’t exactly of the loving kind) And so my contention (Darwin’s actually) that the survival of the fittest stuff has first priority seems to hold its ground, and symbiosis comes next. There is no competition between the two expressions of existence.”

    You are just spouting here, and using zero science. In fact, complex organisms, i.e. large than single cell, arose precisely because of symbiosis. Each complex organism involves a high degree of cooperation between simple organisms, numerous ones live within each one of us.

    “You further quote Thomas and Margula as evolutionary biologists who write that symbiosis is far more prevalent in the natural world as an organizing principle than is competition.” I have serious doubts that any credible scientist would write anything of the kind, but it seems that you do. The reasons they would not express such a thought is obvious, and it is because the founding principle of survival is to be the first one on the block to get the worm. If you don’t get the worm, you die, ask any robin worth his feathers.”

    Are you serious? REALLY? Both books, Lives of the Cell by Thomas, and The Symbiotic Planet, by Margulis, are widely available. Lynn Margulis became recognized as one of the prime evolutionary biologists in the world before she died just a couple of years ago. See here for her demolition of the “selfish gene” notion. Lynn Margulis vs selfish gene, March 2009
    http://www.science20.com/gadfly/lynn_margulis_neodarwinism_and_kin_selection
    You actually flaunt your complete lack of scientific knowledge, and i find that amazing.

    “Since this article is about ownership, my conclusion as far as this particular argument is concerned is that if you are involved in a survival of the fittest agenda, you’re simply not going to own anything because you won’t be around to own it, unless you compete with your bros and you win, starting with the successful little guy who outmuscled a few million sperms to reach the egg. You want to argue Darwin, then perhaps you should read his theories, and by the gist of the arguments you present, I feel that is an endeavour you still have a need to do.”

    Just raving some more, Jean. It does NOT pain me in the least to say that pauline nailed this well with her 9:02AM post,

    “The idea of Competition being a good thing is a white, male European concept, and prevalent in their scientific and sociological writings. Consider that ancient cave drawings of grasses and grains were mis-interpreted by the white male European archaeologists as spears, “confirming” these European men’s preconception that our prehistoric sisters and brothers were warlike. It took a female anthropologist to reinterpret those images.

    “Survival of the Fittest” was NOT a Darwinian concept that he promoted, it was a misinterpretation of what he was seeing. He was seeing adaptations that ALLOWED for survival, not survival of the strongest. Consider that the new discovery that white skinned northern Europeans are not white skinned to take in more sunlight, but because their food was so depleted of nutritional value once they adopted civilized, agrarian lives, that the ones with paler skin were better able to survive such depletion of nutrients.
    It was not that they were “stronger”, they were just better adapted to a unique situation.
    That “strongest” concept was a European malecentric concept and of course it got all the press, rather than the love, sharing, sacrifice and cooperation concepts that Darwin talked copiously about in his writings.”

    See the URL which follows in her post.

  • Robin Data

    “This robin has no feathers, but has some idea of the difference between perissodactyl and artiodactyl ungulates (rhinos and hippos). Oxpeckers are not needed by the riverine species as any ectoparasites would be controlled by immersion in water.”

    Perissodactyl, Artiodactyls, Oxpeckers ( I think I get that one) and Ectoparasites.
    Wow! I consulted all my dictionaries on that rhetorical parade but couldn’t find any of them… Oh Well! You may have solved the problem of Earth ownership, but you’ll have to write in the English language to convince this dude that you have.

    I can also understand that as a ‘Robin’ that you may not have any feathers, but do you have a point ?

  • “Controls must be established on human reproduction”.MMMMmmm!!! And who will decide what those controls will be, and is our present population, 7 billion and counting, in line with those controls?

    Let it begin with me –

    Who made that voluntary choice. I am now 51. Low carbon footprint. No legacy (children) left behind. I ride a Bicycle every where I can.

    BECAUSE.

    FIRST.

    I LOVED THE EARTH.

    Let it begin with me.

    I am neither a Christian. Or a Mormon. So I share this as a Religion I find myself diametrically opposed to. But I agree with the Sentiment.

  • [quote]Misogny = “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”

    Not true at all. I understand most Women and their biological drive to reproduce and accumulate possessions. [/quote]

    Yet you leave the male half of the species entirely out of the equation in that statement. Nice. The essay was about ownership, and one thing you want to do is take ownership of a woman’s body, as per your previous post, or blame only half the population for what ails all, and the half with the LEAST amount of power at that, and then chalk up your faulty reasoning on it to “biological drives”. That’s patronizing, and yes, reeks of misogyny. A better solution to end unwanted pregnancies would be to provide both access to birth control and protection from rape and the entire culture of forcible sex and ownership of women’s bodies, period.

  • I find it fascinating the extent to which people, even here at NBL, so strongly prefer simply to ignore the fundamental population dynamics issues that have surely played a major, critical role in producing our self-annihilation trap. Yes, a role almost certainly vastly more important than ownership. Indeed, it strikes me that globally this may occur as a significantly more strongly taboo subject even than death. Somewhat ironically, the taboo—the pathological avoidance, denial, and failure to confront and behave appropriately regarding this issue—guarantees mass death in the end for most if not all life on Earth, ownership or no ownership. As I wrote yesterday, we have demonstrated no more intelligence or wisdom regarding this than a cohort of bacteria growing in a petri dish—and I expect with about the same amount of, if not an exactly equivalent amount of, “free will”. Fascinating indeed. Related to this, consider this graph:

    http://scontent-b-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-9/s720x720/10915173_827133384010699_339881853778622821_n.jpg?oh=4b1fcf5fcfe4e1569f097737c74f9b93&oe=55261C19

    Also consider this 11 ½ min, 1/10/15, interview with Paul Ehrlich: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/will-humankind-survive-the-century-382779971582 .

    Actually, pretty obvious stuff, it seems to me. Not that it really matters much, but I do not agree with Ehrlich’s time frame. I think that a very high probability exists that experience will demonstrate the accuracy of Guy’s projected time frame. As an empirical question, time will tell.

  • Ms. Pike –

    I am likely, at this time, violating posting regulations.

    I would rather not do this – but it appears I have created somewhat of a firestorm.

    Once again I restate:

    I have no guilt over Society being a patriarchy – because the real problem is women – who refuse to restrain their biological imperative to reproduce – then demand that Society as a whole meet their needs – without question.

    Mutual Cooperation and working together for a common ideal is best. Even when it involves abortion and infanticide. Along with the acceptance of death as a part of our natural lives and journey through the Cosmos. That is the pragmatic and realistic evaluation of our current dilemma.

    Of course, men must exercise discretion and forethought. It is part of a 50/50 deal.

    Technically speaking – Women own the Womb – So why did you let the Cad in? In the exception of Rape and Incest…. I fail to understand why, in this day and age, there should be so many single Moms. Especially in light of the plight of Planet Earth.

    Unless it is a biological process that Females can’t control.

    I found it a difficult process to wrest control over – but I did. Why can’t you? Especially in light of an overpopulated Planet?

    Let There Be Peace on Earth –

  • Jeff S,

    Seems like you have a problem with opinions that are not presented by people with important scientific credentials. You quote John Bellamy Foster’s book Marx’z Ecology as the go-to expert on Darwin’s inner thoughts, Thomas and Margula ‘Lives of the Cell’ and ‘The Symbiotic Planet’, as the cat’s meow of evolutionary biology. Yet you cannot find a single reason to acknowledge the apparent fact that , in nature, the strong are more likely to survive than the weak.

    I don’t really care how many ‘selfish genes’ rule the roosts, but I damn well know that a stronger lion will get its meal before a weaker one. You state that I “flaunt my complete lack of scientific knowledge.”. MMMMMmmm?? I must agree that I do so probably quite frequently, but that this condition is extremely common in most people, even scientists. While I may not possess the credentials of those who are the recipients of your admiration, to write that I have no scientific credentials may be somewhat debatable. While I do not in fact possess the credentials of someone with whom you are in high esteem, I do have a BSC in science, with a major in Mathematics and several university level courses in Climatology, geology and Geomorphology, as well as Land Use, aside the usual courses involving Physics and Chemistry that are required to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. A I mentioned in one of my first encounters with Nature Bats Last, if I learned anything from my higher education it is that higher does not necessarily imply better, but very often more skewed. I don’t know about the Selfish Gene, but you certainly don’t give me the greatest confidence that you have read Darwin’s theories, and therefore not really well suited to give an opinion of his theories.

    In conclusion, you state that “I flaunt my complete lack of scientific knowledge”, that my point of view regarding Darwin was ‘ridiculous’ that I am ‘spouting my ignorance of genetics (Pauline’s comments are in fact much more professional and distinguished) and that you find my lack of scientific knowledge ‘amazing”.

    MMMmmm !! I don’t really know much about the ‘Selfish Gene”, but I do know damn well that a strong lion is going to rule the roost, and that it will have little to do with the ‘love, sharing and cooperative sharing ‘ which you and your PHDs seem to prefer as Darwin’s legacy of his theories.. Read Them.

  • No social development can be considered in isolation. Private property may have co-evolved with agriculture, according to research done by Sam Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute and Jung-Kyoo Choi from the Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea.

    *********
    Nomadic hunter-gatherers tend to live in small groups and share out all food as it is acquired. By contrast, motivation for the long-term commitment required to grow food depends on the certainty that farmers can benefit from the fruit of their labour. One widely used way of linking effort to reward is to install property rights on the land and everything that grows on it. Bowles and Choi argue that it was the co-evolution of food production and property rights — rather than technological progress based on inventions — that secured the success of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent and the small number of other regions where agriculture evolved independently at later times.

    “To test this hypothesis, Bowles and Choi developed a model that incorporates population dynamics, climate variability, different approaches to food provision, and different approaches to property sharing. Model runs showed that overall the transition to farming is an unlikely one and only succeeds under a small range of conditions. In all successful simulated transitions, the model showed that the property rights among farming populations co-evolved with the introduction of farming methods.

    “The social and demographic aspects of farming, rather than its productivity, were essential to its emergence and initial spread,” Bowles summarises his insights. “This holds especially for its contribution to a sedentary lifestyle enabling population growth, the emergence of private property in dwellings and stores, and the military force to defend all this.”
    ***********
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213009779

    The world is not in need of neither salvation or improvement. Why would we wish (upon a star?) to eliminate any of it? It’s fine just as it is – warts and all.

  • Wren-

    I have more Milkweed seeds for anyone STILL interested in making the world better for non-human life.

    Great news on the Milkweed seeds. Please help me test a hypothesis. You have a general idea of the productivity of the plants for producing Monarchs. Please carefully monitor the plants second season and let me know the results. My experience is that productivity drops off dramatically after the first year, which leads me to believe that the plants need to be disturbed by fire or cutting for them to remain producing the type of milky substance beneficial to Monarchs. Once established, the plants are quite hardy. After the plants have grown about one foot cut one group back to ground level. Then compare their ability to attract Monarchs compared to the undisturbed group.

  • If you were to eliminate one thing, what would it be?

    without a doubt, the “one thing” that needs to go is the marvelously persistent illusion that there is actually anything here.

    anything to own,
    anything to lose,
    anything to give,
    or anything to chose.

    once that is grokked, than anyone who still wants to play in the mind-prison isn’t going to be terribly interested in the concept of ownership – or war, greed, being right, stressing out, dropping out, or flipping out.

    once that is grokked, things just naturally happen – like mindfulness, kindness, appreciation, gentleness, laughter, weirdly shockingly intimate lovely whispers from the inanimate – and lots of just staring at things in childlike wonder. and pretty much inexhaustible love.

    how is this? upon realizing that the universe is in fact non-existent, the most perfect no-thing possible, that it all turns inside out, and becomes everything?

  • Might I suggest that the overpopulation problem is a rank overabundance of overprivileged westerners, their satraps, sock puppets and imitators. Please, please rid us of these vile odious varmints way before you get to the poor farmers in the hills of Laos and South China. This sentiment is way, way to close to “Useless eater” social Darwinism for my taste.

    If you are still saying that humans are dumb as jello mold in a petri dish, you really, really need to get out more. Dam the carbon and Get out. More. Thanks.

  • @mo flow,

    Your approach is the one I prefer as well. Instead of getting rid of myself, get rid of the Self…

  • Jean Turcot: i don’t care what education background you claim, it still does not remotely justify your attempt to deny the FACT that scientists with a great amount of experience in evolutionary biology (and i provided two names, both very prominent, Thomas and Margulis) have come out and stated that cooperation and symbiosis are far more common in the natural world than competition. You might as well deny global warming, on the basis that you don’t think it’s happening, and then assert your lack of background in climate science as irrelevant, and attack scientists who do say that warming is taking place. Come to think of it, you have criticized Guy in exactly the same way.

    This reminds me of numerous experience i’ve had while doing a 9/11 info table at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. People come up and try to argue with me about the scientific facts, and quite a few have stated that they don’t care how many science-based points i can come up with to support the quite obvious fact that the three WTC hi rises were blown up, and not brought down by two planes. because they “know” that this couldn’t happen, because the US government could not be so perverse, or because it is not competent enough to do so,… In other words, their own notions trump scientific facts. That’s exactly what i’m getting from you. You have not advanced any actual science to support your views, aside from a tropically erroneous reading of Darwin, and a feeling that you don’t want the climate situation to be so bad.

    __________________
    Wester Says:
    January 11th, 2015 at 6:53 pm
    “Might I suggest that the overpopulation problem is a rank overabundance of overprivileged westerners, their satraps, sock puppets and imitators. Please, please rid us of these vile odious varmints way before you get to the poor farmers in the hills of Laos and South China. This sentiment is way, way to close to “Useless eater” social Darwinism for my taste.

    If you are still saying that humans are dumb as jello mold in a petri dish, you really, really need to get out more. Dam the carbon and Get out. More. Thanks.”

    YEAH!!!

  • Pauline,

    My comments regarding your thoughts on ownership involve two of your posts. You are so right about our enslavement. It is so pervasive in our cultures that we just take it as a fait-accompli. Yet people go about their lives living in total denial about that slavery. Moreover, our bureaucracy adds to that burden. The need for jobs confirms our enslavement every day, and yet we serve our masters as a matter of fact, and when we object, we are ‘fired’. Not only are we on the menu for Big Corporate appetites, but we are rated according to our credit scores, our bank accounts, and our devotion to our masters.

    My other comments don’t quite fit the same parameters on Darwin’s ‘Descent of Man’. As far as I can remember, my interest was mostly centered on the similar physical traits of humans and primates, the word which Darwin must have written a million times. It’s been a long time since I read it. I think Jane Goodall wrote a lot more about the emotional and psychological traits of apes than did Darwin, at least in the book which I recall reading.

    I must have skipped the chapter on the moral statistics you have provided. As I recall the physical resemblance, i.e., the eyes especially, seemed at the time a most compelling argument for roof of our ancestry. As far as our psychological resemblance however, I would not value Darwin’s perception with any more weight than I would those made By Skinner or any other clinical psychologist.

    You may well be right as to modern Darwinian philosophy, but I’m still in the dark ages of physical pursuits, and ownership is just an extension of our survival needs. Pretty basic stuff really, but nevertheless an important part of survival, the most important natural legacy of all.

    You wrote: “Today the focus is mainly on Darwin’s Origin of Species.” Not sure I quite understand that time reference because the ‘Origin of Species’ was the first one which got my attention.
    You added: “But in the 828 page sequel in which he tells us he will now deal with human evolution, The Descent of Man, Darwin writes only twice of “survival of the fittest,” but 95 times of love.”
    MMMmmmm ! That’s where I kinda where I get off the Darwin wagon. Sorry!

  • Paul –

    yes, I have seen how your approach and mine are very harmonious. just to clarify, in case of any possible confusion with language (ha)

    – with self/Self and consciousness/Consciousness – basically, for my usage, the first half of one pair is the same as the first half in the other, and same with the second halves.

    so I wouldn’t say “get rid of the Self” but get rid of every possible “thing” that self can identify with, via the realization that there is nothing actually there to identify with (however that realization comes about, I could see zillions of ways) and then all that is left is Self – which is instantaneous and perfect fulfillment.

    the strangest thing in my experience, though, is that it never has to stay that way. it is perfectly fine to completely lose “whatever is was,” find it again, and lose it again, as many times as one wants to. it makes no difference!

    with this I am thinking back to something knarf said in the Forum (I miss knarf), which I really loved. about how as soon as you define it, you lose it. (he said it much better than that). but the striking thing there, for me, is just how incredibly important that is to realize.

    there isn’t anything fixed or frozen about “it” – which means of course there isn’t anything fixed or frozen about anything “ordinary” either, as the “ordinary” is just the mirror-illusion half of “it.” and that is, again, circling around to the idea that there is actually nothing here.

    to have something “here” one has to think of something as “fixed” – on some level. and that is just impossible.

  • Proudhon

    “Property is impossible because it is homicide. Property – after having robbed the laborer through usury – murders him slowly by starvation. Without robbery and murder, property cannot exist. Without robbery and murder, it soon dies for want of support.”

    “That which is just must be useful. That which is useful must be true; That which is true must be possible; Therefor everything which is impossible is untrue, useless and unjust.”

    “Property is impossible, because if it exists, Society devours itself.”

    “Property is the right of increase. To us this axiom shall be like the name of the beast in the Apocalypse.”

    Pierre Joseph Proudhon, What is Property, 1840

  • “Ownership” has always existed as long as physical force upon other members of the same species has existed. Birds, insects, and dogs have a concept of ownership, as do monkeys. Ownership in the days of physical force has meant possession, before legal systems came about to enforce ownership in a legal sense. But even then, the expression “possession is 9/10ths of the law” holds true even today.

    The ownership of so-called “intellectual property” indeed came to prominence with the rise of IC (actually prior to, but if you count IC as starting with the printing press, one of the first big automated enterprises, then in parallel to). This ownership is artificial and doesn’t fit the possession and zero-sum criteria. You can have something and make a copy of it and two individuals possessing two copies means BOTH people have it. And with today’s ability to make an arbitrary number of copies of something, everyone can have something that is “intellectual property.” There’s a Jefferson quote about this, and the entire free software/music/etc. movements (of which I’m a part of) tries to go against this concept of ownership. This kind of ownership is the only one that MAY allow for an economic system capable of arbitrary growth.

    While I think the general concept of ownership has problems, I think IC may have actually improved upon this concept of ownership in theory at least by relying on legal systems to enforce it instead of physical force (in practice, different countries with different legal systems ended up resorting to systematic force against populations to enforce their idea of ownership). However, with the rise of IC and capitalism in particular came about the concept of ownership of labour, which is one of the few things an individual intrinsically possesses (again, possession being key to the natural right of ownership).

    I don’t think ownership per se is the problem—in a complex system this could be sorted out in an egalitarian way if the use of physical force could be abolished (which can be done via technology—it’s amazing how much technology has been used for offensive weaponry instead of defensive weaponry) as well as an economic system based on short term thinking and greed.

  • @ Paul

    In my view at least I see that the whole notion of individual salvation, of individual enlightenment, is false. I see humanity as one creature. And humanity wants to live- just as this local creature wants to live. And while this local mind is free of the fear- it is affected by the insanity of those around- the boundaries are porous-such is the nature of compassion. None are free until all are free. The choice is to head to the hills and get away from human beings – or engage- and share the possibility that freedom is here and suffering is optional.

  • Jeff S,

    You write “I don’t care what education background you claim”. MMMmmm! But yet you wrote in a previous post: “You actually flaunt your complete lack of scientific knowledge”.

    Seems kinda contradictory wouldn’t you say. First you say you don’t care about my educational background, but then in a previous post you write that I actually flaunt my complete lack of scientific knowledge”. So please make up your mind.

    For what it’s worth, not much really, I also have a degree in Education from McGill. But as I explained before, the education I did receive did help me to understand that PHDs know next to nothing in the greater scheme of things, and are usually the most boring of people when engaged in talking about their own importance, one of which almost never fails is the recommendation from a PHD to “read my book”, when discussing an issue, as if the holy Grail of everything is therein contained.

    With that Mr. Jeff, I bid you farewell.

    As far as your comment about my entertaining the thought that we may still have some time to fix what ails us, wouldn’t it be nice to know that we could save ourselves? I think Guy McPherson, as much as anyone, would agree with that position, even though he is convinced that we don’t. Hope is one quality that all humans will always have, and so until the last human takes his/her last breath, let’s not take that away from anyone.

  • here’s to hoping that the two post per day limit will live long and prosper!

  • I haven’t thought this out any great extent. Apologies for inconsistency and illogic, although the idea that the elimination of ownership, or exclusivity of access or use in this world is fantastic. My proposal may only be slightly more fantastic. It was kind of a fun idea.
    Make the right of refusal physiologically and psychologically inviolable. I was thinking about an extension of the anarchist creed- “No masters, no slaves, ” and the writings of Derrick Jensen about the right of refusal extended to the non-human relations. This looks like an abrogation of personal freedom. But I think mostly for the entitled. The right of refusal would bring a certain species of freedom to those who have never had a voice. I’m still thinking this through. Things are what they are, I know. But it’s an interesting exercise.

  • As a meteorologist, I wish you would acknowledge the huge elephant in the sky…namely chemtrails. I have studied the weather and sky for 3 decades and can tell you that 100+ lines in the sky that morph into fake cirrus clouds is NOT a normal weather occurrence. To top it off, this is becoming the norm. I see it in advertisements, TV shows, movies, you name it. They are spraying reflective particles in a mad attempt to block the sun. There is zero doubt in my mind. I just wish you would at least acknowledge that it is happening. I think it is making our collective problems worse by shredding the ozone layer. It has amazed me as I have watched this get more and more intense over the past decade…i.e. once a week versus 5-6 days a week now. Peace to you. We all need peace as the wheels have fallen off the bus.

  • Jean Turcot Says:
    January 11th, 2015 at 8:20 pm
    “Jeff S,

    You write “I don’t care what education background you claim”. MMMmmm! But yet you wrote in a previous post: “You actually flaunt your complete lack of scientific knowledge”.

    Seems kinda contradictory wouldn’t you say. First you say you don’t care about my educational background, but then in a previous post you write that I actually flaunt my complete lack of scientific knowledge”. So please make up your mind.”

    This is called **quoting out of context.** What i said was (using brackets to avoid confusion)
    [i don’t care what education background you claim, it still does not remotely justify your attempt to deny the FACT that scientists with a great amount of experience in evolutionary biology (and i provided two names, both very prominent, Thomas and Margulis) have come out and stated that cooperation and symbiosis are far more common in the natural world than competition.]

    In other words, i was saying that whatever qualifications you have or claim to have do not allow you to claim that prominent biologists didn’t say something, when their saying so is a FACT.

    “For what it’s worth, not much really, I also have a degree in Education from McGill. But as I explained before, the education I did receive did help me to understand that PHDs know next to nothing in the greater scheme of things, and are usually the most boring of people when engaged in talking about their own importance, one of which almost never fails is the recommendation from a PHD to “read my book”, when discussing an issue, as if the holy Grail of everything is therein contained.”

    Oh? “The greater scheme of things”? And what gives you such special insights into the Holy Grail?

    “With that Mr. Jeff, I bid you farewell.”

    Can’t stand the heat of scrutiny, eh? As Foster pointed out in the book i refer to above about Marx’s ecology, Darwin explained his use of the term “struggle for existence” as NOT being about the stubble of individual organisms against one another, on page 116 of “The Origin of Species.” You continue to insist upon a totally crude reading of Darwin and then resort to personal attacks when your lack of understanding and overall knowledge is exposed. How charming!

    “As far as your comment about my entertaining the thought that we may still have some time to fix what ails us, wouldn’t it be nice to know that we could save ourselves? I think Guy McPherson, as much as anyone, would agree with that position, even though he is convinced that we don’t. Hope is one quality that all humans will always have, and so until the last human takes his/her last breath, let’s not take that away from anyone.”

    I actually would prefer to think that we have time, but i would not argue against facts on the basis of such a preference, based upon nothing but hope, while you have absolutely no hesitation to do so, just as you don’t hesitate to argue in favor of a Social Darwinist interpretation of Darwin, in spite of numerous arguments to the contrary by people with strong backgrounds in evolutionary biology. You unabashedly put forth your own preconceived notions as being true because… you hold them, Again, charming.

  • Graciousness seems to come along with Enlightenment even in the darkest of times ….

  • **If you are still saying that humans are dumb as jello mold in a petri dish**

    To say humans are as dumb as jello mold is to insult jello mold.

  • Wester, “rid us of these vile odious varmints way before you get to the poor farmers in the hills of Laos and South China.”

    Those poor farmers are doing everything possible to emulate the lifestyle of the rich, odious varmints you despise. The land, water, and foul become increasingly fouled with each passing day. New species join the oblivion of extinction including most recently the Vietnamese rhinoceros.

    Now what?

  • **here’s to hoping that the two post per day limit will live long and prosper!**

    I concur.

    **Those poor farmers are doing everything possible to emulate the lifestyle of the rich, odious varmints you despise.**

    Yup. You’d think they would have learned their lesson after we dropped 7 million tons of bombs on their commie asses, turned much of their land to a moonscape, poisoned their land, fouled their water and air not to mention sending a couple of million of ’em to the great beyond.

    Maybe if we send ISIS to pay them a visit, they’ll take our lead and kill more people, less rhinos.

  • PHDs usually suck because they are pompous and think they are somehow a better species. The worst ones are the ones that introduce themselves as “Doctor” so in so. The ones that refuse to hide their accomplishments and wear their medals openly are nothing more than conceited General Petraeus (Betray us) fools. Many lack the trump card called intuition.

    In addition, the idea of ownership of intellectual *property* is outrageous too because it is always tied to money and hubris.

  • Ownership in any form sucks.

    Screw the two rule.

  • How do I get the milkweed seeds?? SOS..Thanks for all the books/authors recommended..when I was a child a neighbor told me to get out of her backyard..I told her it was not her back yard,it was God’s back yard..I no longer believe in the Great White Male who owns everything,but when my self esteem is low I sometime like to look back at ow wise I was as a child

  • @Diarmuid

    I consider “freedom” across two contexts. One context is the human collective, the level of the species. At this level there is no freedom whatsoever, nor can there be. Collective behaviour is caged by the iron bars of thermodynamics, complex adaptive systems, evolutionary and social heritage and physical circumstances. After some years of exploring the concept of the Bodhisattva while pursuing an autodidactic education in these sciences, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Bodhisattva has nothing to offer to the liberation of all beings. The collective simply can not be liberated in that sense. IMO, to imagine otherwise is to commit a category error.

    The other context is the individual. Here, out in the thin tail of the Gaussian, there is perhaps some hope for a small degree of freedom – so long as the individual is willing to see the value of it and undertake the necessary inner work. Whether the end result is some small expansion of free will or simply peace of mind is probably irrelevant. I’ve come to the provisional conclusion that the role of the Bodhisattva is simply to model this possibility so that other individuals might recognize it for themselves in turn.

    The concept of “ownership” plays a significant role here of course. Ownership is a common form of attachment, and attachment stands between the individual and whatever degree of freedom might be possible for them.

  • @Guy

    Bravo!

  • Screw the two rule.

    If ya can’t say it in two posts, then ya can’t say it.

  • “If you were to eliminate one thing, what would it be?”

    Anthropocentrism. At least that’s how I feel today!

    We have before us another glaring example of anthropocentrism as evidenced by how many people are taking to the streets in Paris for a “rally for unity against extremism—– the largest demonstration in France’s history”(excerpt from Common Dreams).

    This seems to me to be yet another example of why we are doomed.

    There are so many examples of “massacres” of animals, ecosystems, mountaintops, bodies of water and on and on and on. The latest:

    CBC, Jan 7 2014: More than 100,000 carcasses have been found—–up to 100 times the normal number are washing ashore. “It’s a tragic event, we have never seen a die-off of Cassin’s like this”

    And from Global Research Newsletter, Jan 9: “Unprecedented: Cataclysmic Die-Off of Birds on Entire West Coast—–Beaches Covered with Dead Bodies.”

    Will 4 million people take to the streets over this?

    No. Most will continue to ignore the bigger picture. We’ll all go down, bringing the rest of earths creatures with us all the while fighting over anthropocentric issues that revolve around ownership, power/religion, control, greed and objectification (and more).

    There are some voices of truth still trying to get through the sludge—-see Chris Hedges piece in Truthdig as well as recent articles and interviews by G. Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.

    With that said; Is it possible to identify the main reason why humans are knowingly destroying the air, water, land and creatures that inhabit the planet? If so, does it matter at this point in time if Guy is correct with his time frame for NTE?

    I think it gives people a feeling of control when they feel they know the answer. It may help people feel a bit superior as well —– especially those that—–can I say, boast?—–about not having children, not driving, flying, eating meat and on and on.

    When we argue (operative word; “argue” as opposed to productive discourse) about the reason for NTE (as some do on this blog and elsewhere) does it help bring us closer to a life of excellence where Only Love Remains?

  • Wester,

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

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

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

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

  • Jean Turcot Says:
    January 10th, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Darwin introduced most of humanity to the concept that nature operates on a survival of the fittest agenda. Unfortunately his suggestion has largely been ignored.
    ================================
    Wrong as to scientists, it has been rejected by biologists and geneticists.

    Darwin was a racist: “Lastly, I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”

    (The Evolution of Anthropogenic Extinction by Catastrophe).

    Darwin incited social darwinism which led to, inter alia, Eugenics and other bad science.

  • I’ve posted a guest essay, along with several other bits of information. It’s all here.

  • Dredd,
    I am not disputing the apparent concensus that Darwin did not introduce the final version to all there is to know with respect to the Origin of Species, but he sure got the ball rolling. I’ve read about the notion that Darwin was ‘wrong’, that he was not exactly accurate in his conclusions, and so on, and now that he was, at least according to you, a ‘racist’… And how, pray tell, did you come to that conclusion? We are all racist to a point, and, in a primitive way, so am I. But that does not lessen the discovery that we are basically sophisticated apes, trying as best we can to associate a Creator as the reason for our existence.

    You write that scientists, biologists and geneticists, have rejected the principle of the survival of the fittest agenda in nature. I would disagree. Do you imply that fast cheetahs are less likely to catch prey than slower ones? or that predators who have superior natural physical assets are not more likely to eat than less well-endowed members of such predators?

    I’m all ears…. Please elaborate.. and please spare me the read Whoever’s book as proof… I want your version, not Doctor Whatyoumaycallit’s.

  • “Technically speaking – Women own the Womb – So why did you let the Cad in? In the exception of Rape and Incest…. I fail to understand why, in this day and age, there should be so many single Moms. Especially in light of the plight of Planet Earth.

    Unless it is a biological process that Females can’t control.

    I found it a difficult process to wrest control over – but I did. Why can’t you? ”

    while “technically” speaking, a woman’s womb is indeed part of her anatomy, CULTURALLY SPEAKING, in many parts of the world, she does NOT have control over who she can have sex with, marry, or whether or not she can decide when to have children..that option or choice is simply NOT THERE. Even if it’s not rape by physical force, if a woman’s options are limited or simply not there, it is beyond paternalistic and misogynistic to blame the OPPRESSED half of the population for the problems of the ENTIRE population.

    and what does population control have to do with the marital status of the mother? NOTHING, unless you are making a moral judgement call, but then again, it’s just a “woman’s issue” after all, and if only us slutty women would just keep our legs crossed I’m sure the ice in the arctic would stop melting, because it’s our hot blood that’s really doing it, after all…

    and this is my second attempt at posting and hope this one goes through.

  • If I got it right, Mo Flow recently suggested that fate and free will were, paradoxically, the same. (I’m told that “particles” in physics can be in two places at the same time.)

    IF we assume that Mo Flow is right, there is fate, over which we have no control, and free will, over which we do. Doesn’t that mean, therefore (following the logic), that we must exercise our free will, since that is the part of the choice/no choice equation that applies to us?

  • Wren,

    I cud not find your email in the private message group so I will respond here to ur post above.
    RE: Gypsy Wife – Leonard Cohen

    The word genius isn’t enough for Mr Cohen. Javier Mas in particular is a favorite of mine too as they ALL are. They are so superior.

    Cohen is way above and beyond the firmament.

    *******************************************
    THIS IS FOR EVERYONE Believe it or not I viewed a program about Marijuana sales in Colorado. This is the place to migrate, SOON. They sell recreational stuff in small amounts to out-of-state individuals and 4X as much to residents. It wood be possible to build a small supply in a relatively short time. DAMN! I’m too scared to shoot myself (Mr. Cohen says suicide is “all in the details”) but this would be a way out. Maybe Colorado will be the first to okay barbiturates for suicide?

  • Haven’t been able to keep up lately but did read Guy’s essay through twice. I read it through the second time not because I didn’t understand it the first time. I read it through again because it was such a pleasure to do so! Thanks Guy, for helping us to feel better about ourselves. Many here have suffered a lifetime of rejection and confusion because of truth we saw plainly in front of us. Reading your clear perceptions regarding the dismal failings of culture makes me, and I hope many others, see themselves as somewhat elite. That’s something to be proud of…in a humbling sort of way.

  • artleads –

    yes, this is exactly what I had in mind. “fate” and “free will” are in fact the same. they are the same thing, operating on different levels. that is how the paradox is resolved, and that is just as far as it is ever resolved.

    and yes again, this is a perfect summary: we must use our free will. we have no choice! the logic does indeed follow.

    the logic follows everywhere through the maze of paradox. the maze is multi-dimensional. when hitting an immovable wall, look for a portal in the ceiling.

    this all reminds me of a debate I had with Lidia on some of the now missing Forum posts. (whether they will be back is still an unknown right now, btw).

    I said something along the lines of: free will is your inescapable curse. even after the death of your human animal, you will be left with one thing: choice.

    so why not deal with that reality now, rather than later?

  • “the logic follows everywhere through the maze of paradox. the maze is multi-dimensional. when hitting an immovable wall, look for a portal in the ceiling.”

    I’m a little slow in understanding this. Can you say it another way?