CO2 emissions are not the same as CO2 ppm

by Elisabeth Robson, author and software developer

In March, 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA), indicated that their data show that “global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of [CO2] that was not tied to an economic downturn.”

Since that hit the press, I have seen numerous people confuse CO2 emissions with CO2 ppm in the atmosphere. These are two very different things.

CO2 emissions is a measurement of the billions of tons of CO2 we emit into the atmosphere, by year. It’s like if you put all the CO2 into big cups, the measurement of CO2 emissions is how many cups you’d fill with CO2.

A graph from the IEA shows the mostly steady increase in emissions through 2012:

Global_Warming_Observed_CO2_Emissions_from_fossil_fuel_burning_vs_IPCC_scenarios

In 2013 we emitted 32.3 billion tons of CO2, and in 2014 we emitted the same amount: 32.3 billion tons of CO2. It’s still a huge amount of CO2! Especially when you compare it to the amount we emitted not that long ago:

Global_Carbon_Dioxide_Emissions_from_Fossil_Fuel_Burning,_1751-2009

So it’s clear that even if our CO2 emissions did not increase in 2014 over the amount we emitted in 2013, we’re still emitting a heck of a lot of CO2.

CO2 ppm

Now let’s look at ppm or “parts per million”. CO2 ppm is a measurement of the number of molecules of CO2 in the atmosphere compared to other kinds of gases. So if you take one million molecules of air, and you sort them into different kinds of molecules, about 400 of those million are CO2 molecules (based on our current CO2 ppm levels of about 400). The rest is a mix of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, plus a few others in very small amounts.  An increasing amount of methane is also present in our air these days, but that’s another story.

You can see the current measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory where the “official” CO2 ppm is measured (although CO2 ppm varies around the world), and you can see trends nicely laid out at the Scripps Keeling Curve web site. At the Scripps web site, if you mouse over “One Month”, you can see that we hit a new record of 403.8 on March 10, and if you look at the “Full Record” you can see the steady incline of CO2 in our atmosphere measured in parts per million. The six-month graph ending mid-March, 2015 is:

keeling

As you can see, CO2 levels measured by ppm in the atmosphere continue to rise overall, with variations on both a daily basis as well as over the course of a year based on winter and summer emissions of CO2 (mostly by plants).

So, it’s certainly true that as we emit more CO2, we find that the level of CO2 goes up—that is, the CO2 ppm level increases. But even if our CO2 emissions flat line, our CO2 ppm will continue to go up, because we’ll still be emitting CO2.  In fact, CO2 levels in our atmosphere, measured by parts per million, will continue to increase as long as we continue to pump unreasonable amounts of CO2 into our atmosphere. What’s reasonable? Well, at this point unfortunately, a reasonable number is actually a negative number. We not only have to stop emitting CO2, we have to start taking it out of the atmosphere so that the CO2 ppm will go down—preferably back down to 300 ppm or below. As long as we continue to emit any CO2 into the atmosphere from industrial civilization—in other words, above and beyond what would normally be emitted by life on the planet without industrial civilization—then we are emitting too much, because we have exceeded the planet’s ability to absorb that CO2 (say into the oceans or into new living plants).

Lots of people are applauding the fact that CO2 emissions in 2014 did not go up over 2013 levels. They say that means economic growth is “no longer tied to emissions,” which is, of course, ridiculous unless we could somehow magically replace all fossil fuels with alternatives overnight. But aside from that issue, even if CO2 emissions really have leveled off (I’ll believe that if/when I see multi-year data — one year does not a trend make!), they are still at levels that will cause CO2 ppm  to continue to climb, and they are still at levels that will cause catastrophic climate change.

In short: CO2 emissions does not equal CO2 ppm!

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Comments 68

  • According to data collected at Mauna Loa, the IEA is incorrect. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.

  • kinda…warm…today…I’d like to enjoy it…but we’re dying.

  • A simple & very rudimentary inference from hard data.

    If just (ONLY) 2 billion tons of Arctic sea bed methane were to burp this summer or next & further pollute our atmospheric commons, IT WOULD MORE THAN DOUBLE THE GREENHOUSE HEATING of the 38 billion tons of CO2 we emit every year.

    Two billion tons of Arctic methane is approximately ONE PER CENT OF THE METHANE AVAILABLE FOR RELEASE just from the Arctic Ocean as the Arctic Ocean heating increases.

    Arctic ice cover reached its lowest coverage this February, & we may well observe the lowest ice cover this summer leading to more heating.

    The effects would be fatally evident in short order.

    Without mincing words or any double-talk, methane release from Arctic stores is now entering our atmospheric commons at a rate of at least one/half billion tons per year or MORE.

    If the fatal data is NOT suppressed, there won’t be much of anything for scientifically informed people to argue about in 6 months to 2 years.

    Methane plumes ninety miles in diameter were observed by CARVE/NASA researchers in 2013.

    No update of these gigantic & catastrophic plumes has been released by CARVE.

    Much fatal data should be readily available this September/October.

  • Science versus the Feelies, great stuff.

    Much of the battle & bewilderment is here.

  • Uh, Guy – didn’t you just make the very error that Elisabeth was warning about? Mauna Loa doesn’t measure emissions, so their data can’t be used to falsify the IEA’s statement.

  • Uh, I think so, Paul. Mistakes have been made.

  • The International Energy Agency has a well-documented record of getting things wrong and of making public announcements which are way off the mark.

    The IEA is a business-as-usual organisation, and as such, is forced to lie and misrepresent most of the time because business-as-usual cannot survive in a world in which truth is promulgated and accepted.

    The continuous misrepresentation and lying of the IEA corresponds with the continuous misrepresentation and lying carried out by all governments (with the possible exception of Bhutan), which are also fully dedicated to business-as-usual in a world in which business-as-usual is both utterly disastrous and unachievable).

    I am engaged in yet another round of truth-telling with NPDC and pointing out that New Plymouth District Council policies are utterly idiotic, totally unsustainable, and highly destructive, and that council officers lie to members of the public on a continuous basis. Yesterday I pointed out that, by writing what she had, a council officer had committed a criminal act (in breach of government statutes and crimes acts).

    The war between those at the top, who wish to continue looting and polluting (and destroying everyone’s futures at an ever faster rate) and the immediate victims of their insanity is being taken to ever higher levels.

  • Wester, you are in for a real intellectual treat.

    David Stove; SCIENTIFIC IRRATIONAL-ISM

    Returning to serious analysis, Stove next presents Popper’s own explicit endorsement of David Hume’s scepticism regarding induction.

    “I agree with Hume’s opinion that induction is invalid and in no sense justified.”[11]
    “Are we rationally justified in reasoning from repeated instances of which we have experience to instances of which we have had no experience? Hume’s unrelenting answer is: No, we are not justified. … My own view is that Hume’s answer to this problem is right.”[12]

    This explains where many of Popper’s ideas have come from — he shares Hume’s scepticism about induction.

    Stove considers this establishes what he set out to show in the chapter since, “Popper’s philosophy of science is at any rate not more irrationalist than that of Feyerabend, Kuhn, or Lakatos, and at the same time, as a matter of well-known history, Popper’s philosophy owes nothing to theirs, while Kuhn’s philosophy owes much, and the philosophy of Lakatos and Feyerabend owes nearly everything, to Popper.”

    Popper and After – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Here at my Dept of Energy climate monitor data feed from the NASA satellite shows the Methane cloud over 4 corners state region is slowly decreasing – but at over 150x the base ppm of 2010 you can figure out what I can’t say.

    Was the Utah/New Mexico Methane cloud emitted from 832 fracking well leaks?? Gov. Rick Scott has banned Florida gvt workers from mentioning climate change.

    The David H. Koch funded exhibit at Smithsonian Museum of Natural history is a wonder of info about ancient human tribes adapting to past climate changes. China air pollution on youtube “Under The Dome” of capitol global market fog of denial. Forbidden to watch it in the forbidden city. Only love remains – along with radiation which will most likely be the final trace of human impact long after entropy has dissolved most vestiages of Empire.

  • nothing wrong wth my math.

  • Do we know the CO2 content of the human body?
    How many trees worth do 7 billion people equal?
    Maybe that is a good reason to have children, to store CO2?

  • I am just a lowly artist…but I’ve known since I was a kid that pollution would be our undoing…from cigarette butts to solvents, I’ve seen m.nature take it down. it chokes me thinking about it. it was always obvious to me…I can remember being in Cozumel ,ten years ago , seeing all the plastic on the beech…more plastic than sand…right where the turtles would hatch. perhaps we were put here to destroy the planet. good thing we’re becoming machines…we can handle the heat better…and we wont miss all the critters.

  • Glen Canyon is being reclaimed because of the droughts. Ha! U bastards!

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/25/long-live-glen-canyon/

  • hey shep, that makes ed abbey and myself very happy. I may go to the four corners region in may…maybe I can slay the methane dragon while I’m there. hey I’m in Atlanta…perhaps we can figure out how to get Guy to the southeast?

  • Whether Dennis intended his comment as a “joke”, or as an insult (he, alone, knows his real motivations), since I do not take any psychoactive medications I will pass along some more information concerning a scientific view of love—all profoundly relevant during times of stress, certainly including NTHE, it seems to me. Warning: The macho, patriarchal crowd surly will not like this, and some may find it too long to tolearate. 😉

    To begin, a very short quote from Susan Johnson’s 2013 book Love Sense, The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships: “The growing craze for Internet porn is a catastrophe for healthy love relationships precisely because it negates emotional connection.” (Just as bullying, emotionally abusive, verbally violent writing and insults do here at NBL.) Now that I have your attention, a few other paragraphs and points from Johnson’s book, Love Sense:

    “Loneliness researcher John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, contends that in Western societies, ‘social connection has been demoted from a necessity to an incidental.’ As a result, our partners have been forced to fill the void. They serve as lover, family, friend, village, and community. And emotional connection is the only glue in this vital, unique relationship. So yes, understanding the nature of love absolutely does matter. Indeed, it is imperative. Continued ignorance is no longer an option. Defining love as a mystery beyond our grasp and control is as toxic to the human species as is poison in our water. We must learn to shape our love relationships. And now, for the first time, we can, thanks to an unheralded revolution in the social and natural sciences that has been under way for the past twenty years.”

    Some provocative findings:

    “* The first and foremost instinct of humans is neither sex nor aggression. It is to seek contact and comforting connection. …John Bowlby, conservative and British, was never the less a rebel who changed the landscape of love and loving forever. His insights are the foundation on which the new science of love rests. Bowlby proposed that we are designed to love a few precious others who will hold and protect us through the squalls and storms of life. It is nature’s plan for the survival of the species. Sex may impel us to mate, but it is love that assures our existence. …The drive to bond is innate, not learned.”

    “* Adult romantic love is an attachment bond, just like the one between mother and child. We’ve long assumed that as we mature, we outgrow the need for the intense closeness, nurturing, and comfort we had with our caregivers as children and that as adults, the romantic attachments we form are essentially sexual in nature. This is a complete distortion of adult love. Our need to depend on one precious other—to know that when we ‘call’ he or she will be there for us—never dissolves. In fact, it endures, as Bowlby put it, ‘from cradle to grave.’ As adults, we simply transfer that need from our primary caregiver to our lover. Romantic love is not the least bit illogical or random. It is the continuation of an ordered and wise recipe for survival. …We can use mental images of our partner to call up a sense of connection. …The Dalai Lama conjures up images of his mother when he wants to stay calm and centered.”

    “* Hot sex doesn’t lead to secure love; rather, secure attachment leads to hot sex—and also to love that lasts. It is secure attachment, what nature set us up for, that makes love persist.”

    “* Emotional dependency is not immature or pathological; it is our greatest strength.”

    “* Being ‘the best you can be’ is really only possible when you are deeply connected to another. Splendid isolation is for planets, not people. …It is an ironic paradox: being dependent makes us more independent.”

    “* We are not created selfish; we are designed to be empathetic. Our innate tendency is to feel with and for others. …social psychologists Mario Mikulincer and Phil Shaver observe that, rather than being called Homo sapiens, or ‘one who knows’, we should be named Homo auxiliator vel accipio auxilium, or ‘one who helps or receives help.’ To be even more accurate, I say we should be called Homo vinculum—‘one who bonds.’”

    “Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.” —Ranier Marie Rilke

  • digi,

    Guy wud be assassinated in the South because people are so damn stupid – same with MLK et. al.

    He shud not come in person, believe me.

    Don’t know what the four corners are but sounds like all u need to do is light a match.

  • Re: “romantic love”.
    This is not a universal human trait. It is a peculiarly western cultural invention from about 800 years ago. It originated, to all intents and purposes in France with the Troubadour tradition.
    Specific cultural traits should not be projected on to all humans as some kind of universal given. Yet more evidence of western cultural imperialism.
    That said, like c**a c**a and Mcdeath’s it has spread to just about all corners of the present monoculture.

  • Yearly production of CO2 in 1958 was 6 billion tons per year.

    1958 – Frank Capra warns of Global Warming

    In 1958, Director Frank Capra made a movie for Bell Labs to explain the expected effects of ‘Global Warming’. This was shortly after Roger Revelle’s paper came out. Capra, was also a scientist who graduated from California Institute of Technology in 1918 and did many science films for education.

    Frank Capra produced a series of science films for Bell Laboratories including: Our Mr. Sun (1956), Hemo the Magnificent (1957), The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays (1957), and Meteora: The Unchained Goddess (1958).

    Capra himself had a degree from Cal Tech in chemical engineering. He used his knowledge in engineering in his film-making as well. In doing the science education series, his knowledge served him in understanding what the science of the time meant. It was already reasonably well known through the work of Callendar and Revelle that mankind was in the process of changing the climate of earth.

    Based on that knowledge, Capra poignantly portrayed, through film, what might be expected from such changes.

    Frank Capra, Meteora: “The Unchained Goddess” (1958)

    From the script:
    Dr. Frank C. Baxter: “Extremely dangerous questions. Because with our present knowledge we have no idea what would happen? Even now, man may be unwittingly changing the worlds climate through the waste products of his civilization. Due to our release through factories and automobiles every year of more than 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which helps air absorb heat from the sun, our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer.”

    Richard Carlson: “This is bad?”

  • @Shep

    The “four corners” refers to the region where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico come together. Now you know! 🙂

  • That Meteora is hot!

  • @Elisabeth Robson

    Thanks for your thoughtful essay.

    “Special” Spezio ¿
    Thank me later.

    Re: Ted Cruz
    Dubya graduated from Havid. I’m not impressed.

    Greetings from: Lat: 27.4°N Lon: 82.56°W

    Today I watched a pair of Pandion haliaetus var. carolinensis – North American osprey fishing. One of the pair caught a large fish that appeared as though the raptor would not have the lifting capacity to fly any great distance with that fish, but fly it did so it looks like the chicks will eat well tonight, and then some. Later this week I plan on brushing up on Bromeliads, Epiphytes, and Gesneriads. So what are you all waiting for? Plant some trees. Resistance is fertile.

  • Nice post. Not surprising that some would confuse CO2 emissions holding steady for a year as something to celebrate. Rather like folks thinking population growth isn’t a concern because the *rate* of growth is going down. Such individuals clearly don’t understand the nature of exponential growth.

  • red fox,

    Regarding your insistence that, presumably, “Re: ‘romantic love’. This is not a universal human trait. It is a peculiarly western cultural invention from about 800 years ago. It originated, to all intents and purposes in France with the Troubadour tradition.” does that not depend on the definition of romantic love that one uses? Does it have only one meaning? Must everyone use the word in the sense in which you prefer to use it? Do you know the sense in which Susan Johnson uses the term?

    Meanwhile, of COURSE “Specific cultural traits should not be projected on to all humans as some kind of universal given.” Regarding reasoning related to this, in my opinion you have some difficulty learning about, and discriminating between, “specific cultural traits” and universal human characteristics, such as attachment needs. You appear to believe that no universal human characteristics exist. You appear to believe that the six or seven primary emotions (depending on various researcher’s classification) do not occur universally. Might I suggest that if you question this research and conclusions, you actually read some of it and then comment specifically on various aspects of it that you remain skeptical of? Regarding the purely “cultural traits” that you allege Susan Johnson mistakenly refers to as universal, you might begin with John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s work and research based on the Strange Situation room with children, as well as Harry Harlow’s work with other species.

  • Mr Nye,
    More attempts at goading to engage in a pointless debate on interpretation/sematics. Also, kindly stop projecting on to me views I do not hold.
    I was pointing out a well known fact with regard to the troubadour tradition and the western “ideal” of romantic love. End of. What you do with it is up to you.

  • kevin moore said:

    “The war between those at the top, who wish to continue looting and polluting (and destroying everyone’s futures at an ever faster rate) and the immediate victims of their insanity is being taken to ever higher levels.”

    —-

    That pretty much nails it: the war between the world’s oligarchs. It’s a game up there. A blood sport. Two words: Relative Deprivation

    See what this Ukrainian oligarch has to say: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/ki0orx/moment-of-zen—ukrainian-oligarchs

    ========

    digixplor said:

    “perhaps we were put here to destroy the planet. good thing we’re becoming machines…we can handle the heat better…and we wont miss all the critters.”

    —-

    I wonder about that too… if we were put here to destroy the planet.

    When they said the Singularity is near, I didn’t suspect it could be attained from either direction! It turns out we’re morphing into machines faster than machines are able to become “conscious”, whatever that means. It’s also unclear these days if humans operate machines or the other way around.

    ========

    Bud Nye said:

    “To begin, a very short quote from Susan Johnson’s 2013 book Love Sense, The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships:”

    “Loneliness researcher John Cacioppo”

    “Defining love as a mystery beyond our grasp and control is as toxic to the human species as is poison in our water. We must learn to shape our love relationships. And now, for the first time, we can, thanks to an unheralded revolution in the social and natural sciences that has been under way for the past twenty years.”

    “Hot sex doesn’t lead to secure love; rather, secure attachment leads to hot sex”

    —-

    We know it’s time to depart when Scientists come up with models and theories on what makes for hot sex. Our cultural fetish for Science is one of those “root causes” of our predicament. These days, books don’t sell if they don’t talk about the “latest Science”. It’s a sign of idiocracy to see such titles as “The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships”. What our culture doesn’t get is that Science is not applicable in certain areas of study. The empirical approach is not suitable for humanities and other areas of study. And what in the world is a “loneliness researcher”? Who comes up with this stuff?

    Here’s some latest Science on Science itself: it doesn’t work all that well.

    No wonder we’re becoming machines.

  • Thank u Satish,

    For: “What our culture doesn’t get is that Science is not applicable in certain areas of study. The empirical approach is not suitable for humanities and other areas of study.”

    In my day (1950’s), throughout grade and high school, the mantra was ALWAYS to get a liberal arts education, first and foremost.

  • Satish,

    I’ve tried that bit about “the humanities not being suited for empirical study” with Bud before.

    I remember, and so should you Bud, when there was no such thing as the social sciences of economics as a “science”. There were “social studies”.
    “Elevating” these humanities to hard science (in other words treating them like physics or chemistry) is a relatively new thing. That happened in my lifetime. As far as I remember, it’s an American trend.

    Fancy being a loneliness researcher. Yes, who comes up with this stuff?

    Bud,

    here’s a very simple definition of love:

    LOVE is a melting of boundaries, and that means the boundaries of everything. Love is intimate connection to life, ALL LIFE, knowing that it’s sacred. There, I’ve said it.
    I’ve used a very unscientific word which can’t be pinned down and which was usurped by our mega religions long ago. For me “sacred” means an obvious truth. But there we go, back to experience and feeling, two more words that can’t be pinned down and analysed. If you do, you just spin away from the source of life.

    So, no more research data. There really is no need to separate love into its different manifestations: “romantic” (Red Fox is right, you know that), sex, mother love, compassion, empathy, affection etc etc. all of them just labels for our convenience.

    I think that this all-encompassing feeling is the love that Guy is talking about. Are you OK with that Guy?
    It’s a love that eludes you if you analyse and study it and then try and convey it to others in a scientific way. You really DO have to experience it without the help (research, studies) of other human beings. It has to spring from your own source, the one connected to life.

    Young children “get it” before they are separated from that source and encouraged to become “achieving, competing adults”. And our society has managed to home in on younger and younger children for that purpose, making them conform to these “norms” that many parents and teachers think are good for them. Poor sweethearts! To me, depriving children of proper play and time to themselves, exploring, in other words scheduling them, is a kind of child abuse.
    That’s also a new development. When did children start to suffer, yes suffer such control, such a stranglehold on their lives?

    But we all know that, really.

  • Science studies the world as an object of study. Even when studiers are the object of study, there is yet another studier of that study, the subject that that necessarily remains unstudied in that study.

  • The IEA does not “measure” emissions. They “calculate” emissions based on “reported” FF production/consumption.

    It has been widely reported that China simply stopped reporting the production/consumption stats for many areas so as to comply with reduction mandates.

  • @Sabine,

    I really appreciate your comment, “LOVE is a melting of boundaries, and that means the boundaries of everything. Love is intimate connection to life, ALL LIFE, knowing that it’s sacred.”

    Because I’m in the process of questioning and discarding my previous beliefs, I add a personal reminder that any notion of sacredness is just another belief. However, I also know that holding that particular belief helps to connect us to things much larger than ourselves. The meaning that flows from that sense of connection seems to imbue raw action with significance, and gives motivation to what the Buddhists call Right Action, the kissing cousin of wu wei.

  • Guy, I just found this wisdom about habitat by pure chance.
    When the material & physical conditions of life on earth are lost, all is lost, including human word-smithing, philosophy, science, love, hate, desal plants, politics, lawyers, lying …

    Proverbs on land and soil

    “Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel, and our shelter and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it”
    From Vedas Sanskrit Scripture – 1500 BC

    Humanity has lived and depended on land since ancient times. Wise men and women from different places and cultures have offered words of wisdom on how precious land and soil are to our fundamental being. They had different ways of saying so. A sample of such proverbs provided by staff at the UNCCD secretariat show how deeply the land and soil are rooted in our well-being.

    ” 신토불이(身土不二)”, which means, “Body and Land are not two but one” was provided by Kug-Bo Shim, Republic of Korea.

    “Кто земле дает, тому земля втройне отдает” states, “To the one, who gives to the land, the land gives back three times more.” Russian Proverb provided by Komila Nabiyeva.

    “Nifae na mvua nikufae na jua”, translates into, “Do me a favor in the rainy season and I’ll payback in the dry season.” Kiswahili saying in Central and Eastern Africa provided by Wagaki Mwangi,

    Richard Byron-Cox from St. Vincent and the Grenadines “When you have land, you have the world” and in Germany you say “Der Segen der Erde zum Brot uns werde” which means “It is the soil, which gives us bread”.

    http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event-and-campaigns/WDCD/Pages/Proverbs-on-land-and-soil-.aspx

  • Elisabeth,

    Good points.

    Sometimes the desperation for good news on this particular subject gets the best of the press.

    I should say most of the time instead of sometimes.

    Thanks.

  • Satish, Sabine, Paul, Robin; SOCIAL SCIENCES AS SORCERY, Stanislav Andreski, St. Martins, N.Y. 1972

    a smattering of Andreski’s wit & wisdom;

    So long as authority inspires awe, confusion and absurdity enhance conservative tendencies in society. Firstly, because clear and logical thinking leads to a cumulation of knowledge (of which the progress of the natural sciences provides the best example) and the advance of knowledge sooner or later undermines the traditional order. Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world.

    The natural sciences did not advance in virtue of the universal appeal of rationality. Their theological, classicist and metaphysical opponents were not converted but displaced. All the ancient universities had to be compelled by outside pressure to make room for science; and most nations began to appreciate it only after succumbing to the weapons produced with its aid. To cut a long story short, scientific method has triumphed throughout the world because it bestowed upon those who practised it power over those who did not. Sorcery lost not because of any waning of its intrinsic appeal to the human mind, but because it failed to match the power created by science. But, though abandoned as a tool for controlling nature, incantations remain more effective for manipulating crowds than logical arguments, so that in the conduct of human affairs sorcery continues to be stronger than science.

    Laughter is a mental mechanism which enables us to face reality without falling into despondency or delusion. As people who have sunk in apathy seldom bother us by rushing into print, delusion (leaving aside deceit) constitutes the chief obstacle to the progress of our understanding of society, and in this context is usually assumes the form of doctrinairism couched in a mystifying jargon. A sense of humour is the most reliable external indicator of the likelihood of immunity from this folly, and of the ability to appraise social situations realistically.

    Sacrifice has always been regarded as the most convincing proof of loyalty; and its most common form involves a foregoing of the use of some organic function, as in the case of celibacy or fasting. Of at least equal significance, however, is a sacrifice of the use of reason – credo quia impossibile – and the more incredible the assertion, the stronger the proof of the devotion manifested by its acceptance. The Catholic theologians are quite explicit about this, and openly say that by affirming what to the human reason appears absurd, a believer proves his love for God. Although they are never so frank about it, the secular sects make similar demands.

    [T]he reason why human understanding has been able to advance in the past, and may do so in the future, is that true insights are cumulative and retain their value regardless of what happens to their discoverers; while fads and stunts may bring an immediate profit to the impresarios, but lead nowhere in the long run, cancel each other out, and are dropped as soon as their promoters are no longer there (or have lost the power) to direct the show. Anyway, let us not despair.

  • Prosecutors are saying that one of the sky-pilots, the co-pilot, did a murder-suicide @ the Germanwings Airbus A320, Flight 4U 9525.

    Is anyone at fault?

    Like with global warming induced by CO2 (Inside Job and/or Conspiracy?)?

  • Elisabeth——thanks for the much needed clarity.

    @ Paul and @Sabine

    I really appreciate your comment, “LOVE is a melting of boundaries, and that means the boundaries of everything. Love is intimate connection to life, ALL LIFE, knowing that it’s sacred.”

    Yes! Beautifully said Sabine!

    Satish,

    Wow! What can I say? Your contributions here are such bright spots in the midst of exponentially increasing bad news about what humans have done to the biosphere.
    Your ability to convey ideas, insights, feelings into words while keeping ego out of the picture is so admirable. It also helps generate dialogue that is healthy/positive and thought provoking vs stifling/frustrating and dead end.

    From previous thread (Gifts of Grief In a Time of Endings): thanks for the article on Ayn Rand, I’ve known people who have fallen under her spell similar to those described in the article. Talk about going to the dark side . . . .

    I really appreciated your observations of what happens on this blog.

    An excerpt from your post: “I think I can identify with a lot of folks here (even those who say identification leads to suffering) and many more who are here to be heard and listened to. I’m not trying to define what this blog is about. This is just a list of my observations over a couple of months. I think Anthropogenic Climate Change is for real.
    What’s on your mind?”

    I am drawn to and energized by comments that come from the heart. Excessive intellectualizing of our “predicament” makes my eyes glaze over and leaves me feeling empty and frustrated. Comments that are direct outputs from the ego, the “I’m right/you’re wrong” comments leave me feeling like we’re more doomed than I thought possible (i.e. where is the love?).

    It helps to hear descriptions of the changes on the land where various posters live and how people are dealing with the drastic, usually heartbreaking changes (see Glen Albrecht’s Solastalgia which names what so many of us are feeling).

    Factual articles are helpful too (thanks Tom—keep em coming).

    And music helps. Lots of great music shared here on NBL. These days I find music and poetry to be more of a salve for the aching soul than the dying natural world—–it’s so hard to bear witness to this!

    digixplor says:

    kinda…warm…today…I’d like to enjoy it…but we’re dying.

    Yes digixplor—— such simple words that ring so true. You say you are a “lowly artist” But I would NEVER describe artists as “lowly”. Hedge fund managers, BP/Exon/Shell executives, Koch Brothers, most politicians etc. etc. . . . . now we’re talking lowly!

    Shep—thanks for the Glen Canyon piece which as digixplor points out brings to mind Ed Abbey who said:

    “Belief?  What do I believe in?  I believe in sun.  In rock.  In the dogma of the sun and the doctrine of the rock. I believe in blood, fire, woman, rivers, eagles, storm, drums, flutes, banjos, and broom-tailed horses…”

    and here he describes how I feel in the comment section of NBL at times:

    “When the philosopher’s argument becomes tedious, complicated, and opaque, it is usually a sign that he is attempting to prove as true to the intellect what is plainly false to common sense. But men of intellect will believe anything – if it appeals to their ego, their vanity, their sense of self-importance.”

    Sorry for the long post!

    Caroline
    PS Bud, can you write something simple that comes from YOUR heart that conveys your feelings about humans destruction of life on earth?
    I’d much rather hear from you rather than excerpts from textbooks/articles (insert smiley emoticon which I don’t have but would fit here)

  • Funny Just as i am reading this an old friend from middle europe (Not someone avare of Co2 or NTHE and stuff ) messages me saying : “Crazy shit it 21C° late afternoon here absolutely unseasonal “

  • Paul,

    You’re completely right: any notion of sacredness is just another belief.
    But my experience and all religions (I’m not religious in the conventional way) tell me that humans can only connect through belief (not faith). What belief though? The belief of re-connecting, after all, that’s what religion means (religare=reconnect, rebind).

    We here all know that we’ve gone seriously wrong, believing in the wrong myths, all of them related because all of them sell us human supremacy. We analyse them endlessly, mostly to no avail. It’s an intricate network which led us to the myth of myths: the myth of progress.
    There’s a general election coming up here in the UK in May, and this destructive myth is alive an kicking.

    Like you, I believe in what the Buddhists call Right Action, giving meaning to everything we do with awareness and the discipline (for a modern person) to be aware of everything, not to let awareness slip. Among many other “small insignificant” things, I practise this every day when I prepare food (with love), and now I’m an excellent cook.

    I never think of any “work” (unpaid) as inferior of demeaning, I never think “I’m worth more”, therefore I’m never anxious the way people are now. Yet I’m confident and content.
    Right action, every tiny action, it’s a belief that’s connected me to life and the kind of matter which we moderns don’t think of as living matter. You should see my garden, including the rocks and stones! Caring for it all, loving it and right action, which in this case means co-creation, not domination, is giving me so many blessings and magic moments. Yes, magic moments, I can’t call it anything else.
    In this case, logic just doesn’t apply, because with logic you automatically want to “grasp”, and that doesn’t work. Then, the meaning of what is being revealed will elude you completely. That’s why science can never get an angle on this sort of thing.

    Science was not conceived to reveal meaning and love to us, even though most people think otherwise now. You cannot reduce it, split it, study it, even in old sacred texts.
    And meaning does exist apart from the “meaning” we humans give to the world, to our “personal” worlds. Meaning is not a construct of the human mind. Yet, to many people the world appears that way. As far as I’m concerned, they haven’t lived.

    Living now means consuming more and more, material things and exiting “experiences”. If you don’t, and people ask you what you’ve “done”. And you say “nothing really” (meaning nothing that would be of interest to them, impress them), they say here “Get a life!” That’s how people understand precious life.

    In sacred texts and myth, if you’re lucky, you might find some sign-posts to meaning. It looks as if you are finding some. Contemplation, meditation also helps but that all depends on the person. I’m sure that your questioning and discarding is telling you that, you seem serious about this.
    My life experience has taught me that it happens for you when you’re ready, when you start to understand that you’re not separate. All of a sudden, you don’t need to read anything else on the subject. Or if you do you say Yep! I know that already, it rings true. It’s a revelation which cannot be forced.
    You’ve heard it all before, I’m sure, but I can’t think of anything profound or new to say.

    Therefore, my best wishes to you and good luck with your quest!

  • Caroline,

    I always love you comments.
    You also truly live, I can tell.
    What else can we do now that we’ve looked down from the edge of the cliff, all of us who don’t turn away and pretend.
    Like Satish’s, your comments are gentle, sane, informed and profound.

    Actually, having written down those adjectives, I didn’t capture that too well. In reality, there’s much more.

    And Elisabeth,

    yes, what a clear essay. May I copy some of it for our parish magazine? All the people here in my village in England are totally confused.

  • To the outside observer it very much looks like ‘game over’, either later this year or some time in 2016, for the Dis-United States. It is difficult to conceive how the already collapsing set of living arrangements can be maintained for much more than a few more months when the most populous state is headed into the warm and dry season with ‘only one year’s supply of water’ (reported elsewhere) and matters getting worse by the week.

    The interesting question is: how much longer can the idiots and liars who took control of ‘the nation’ continue to loot, pollute and lie without the poorer portion of the population actively revolting?

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

    Rain across southern-most portions of the nation provided drought relief, while dry weather maintained or worsened drought from California into portions of the Rockies, Plains, and Upper Midwest. In addition, above-normal temperatures further reduced already-dire mountain snowpacks over much of the West and accelerated pasture and crop-water demands in the nation’s mid-section. Dryness also increased in the Northeast, though below-normal temperatures mitigated the impacts of the precipitation deficits.

  • @Bud Nye – Thanks for your sharing about the need for a deeper love to resolve our human caused problems. We lack real love for others, for our planet and all living things, for higher values like truth, beauty, and goodness, and for ourselves. If we had true love for all these things we could not possibly abuse them the way we
    have.

    How to heal individuals and their culture which has tilted so dangerously towards the ways of unlove, violence, greed, delusion, cynicism, and indifference is our fundamental problem, and our survival depends on our doing this. To imagine we can recover through some outward means, while neglecting the sick hearts that have perpetrated this global disaster is to invest in delusions while denying and avoiding the real work on ourselves that is necessary.

    Bud, I admire your ability to hang in this forum while absorbing the contentious comments directed at you. I try to realize that many attracted to a site like this are wounded in various ways, and may unconsciously enact many of the behaviors and attitudes that are responsible for our planetary mess towards each other. We are all deeply sick on this planet, so I try to factor that into my response to those who are manifesting somewhat less than care-filled loving behavior towards their fellow sufferers.

  • @Sabine – Thanks so much for your comments. You are a blessing!

  • @Mike K who says; Sabine – Thanks so much for your comments. You are a blessing!

    Mike, I second that! And that was a very fulfilling thing to say for my second and final post of the day.

  • This afternoon bottom feeder in charge Rush Limbaugh crapped in his pants as is usual and thought it was appropriate when he allowed a caller to make the following comment about Elizabeth Warren. (Not that I do not think she isn’t a part of the elite team).

    “Elizabeth Warren is 1/32 Cherokee. HALF BREED!!!!!!”

  • @Sabine,

    This part of my journey began half a dozen years ago with a search to understand what the word “sacred” might mean to an atheist like me, why I felt so strongly that it was missing from my life, and how I might reclaim it.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that once one “gets it” (whatever it is) there isn’t a lot of new realization to be gleaned from reading. New perspectives, yes – and sometimes those can make a lot of difference.

    For me, integrating a new awareness like this becomes of an exercise of working through my inner catalog of assumptions one by one, asking them, “How does this new awareness affect you? Do you stay, change or go?” Especially this time I find they’re gone before I get to them.

    I’m still of a mind that meaning is something we impute to the world via our belief systems. But maybe when I’ve lived a bit longer I’ll change my mind. It has been known to happen…

    See y’all tomorrow.

  • Paul: From whence do the belief systems arise? Is their a Higgs-type particle that gives something it’s meaning?

    little humor to start the weekend (early):

    http://worldduh.com/2015/03/26/broken-traffic-signal-flips-off-pedestrians/

  • you’ve got a knack yourself caroline…thanks!

  • mike k –

    “How to heal individuals and their culture which has tilted so dangerously towards the ways of unlove, violence, greed, delusion, cynicism, and indifference is our fundamental problem”

    “tilted”? I guess you slept through the first three dozen lectures that drilled into us the basic, and totally unarguable, fact that humanity was actually endlessly violent, murderous, greedy, warring and genocidal (on every other Tuesday) – from the very beginning of our species?

    oh well, I’m sure there will be a makeup class next semester for those who didn’t get it the first time.

    and somehow, towards the end of the semester, we have all magically morphed into this:

    “* We are not created selfish; we are designed to be empathetic. Our innate tendency is to feel with and for others. …social psychologists Mario Mikulincer and Phil Shaver observe that, rather than being called Homo sapiens, or ‘one who knows’, we should be named Homo auxiliator vel accipio auxilium, or ‘one who helps or receives help.’ To be even more accurate, I say we should be called Homo vinculum—‘one who bonds.’”

    will miracles never cease? I sure hope not! the social psychologists have uncovered the long hidden, and until now totally unmanifest real potential of our species. I am so glad.

    (P.S. – there was a bit of sarcasm scattered about here and there in this comment, however it is always intended as pure loving kindness. really!)

  • @ Kirk, good one!
    BTW, you really had me worried for a minute there:
    While the book refers to “soylent steaks”, it makes no reference to “Soylent Green”….
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green
    ==

    @ lark, awww. 🙂
    And, absofuckinglutely!
    ==

    Lullaby

    When it turns out that you’re not immune
    To doom so inopportune:
    Times are dark, but alright,
    There’s a spot that is bright—
    It’s going to be all over soon.

  • Robert Atack,
    Thanks for the laugh.

  • Caroline,

    I will first respond to your direct request for me to “…write something simple that comes from YOUR heart that conveys your feelings about humans destruction of life on earth?”

    I grew up in the woods and on the lakes, rivers, and springs in Central Florida. I had become an expert canoeist by the time I turned 15. I walked across Florida on a 153-mile, two-week-long survival hike when 17. During this time, I worked at Ross Allen’s Reptile Institute at Silver Springs while Seminole Indians still lived there in a traditional way. I got my undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida in my mid-twenties (1972). I moved away from Florida mainly because I found it so painful to see the destruction happening to the wild world I had grown up in and loved. I always felt more comfortable by myself or with another trusted person in the woods and on the rivers than with other people more socially. I knew, of course, that the same destruction had happened everywhere, but I also knew that because of my lack of experience in those other places I would not experience the excruciating pain of seeing the differences related to the insane catastrophe rapidly unfolding around me and including me.

    For over five decades, since then, my primary emotions regarding what I have experienced us doing to the planet that produced us have involved a deep, heavy mixture of fear and sadness. In the more distant past, my secondary, reactive emotions often involved great anger, perhaps most frequently directed toward my father (with his obsession with fundamentalist Christianity, several times getting himself kicked out of small churches because he tried to take over; only he knows the One, Right Way, don’t you know), and my brother (with his life-long obsession with Ayn Rand and her “objectivist” philosophy, including “free market” capitalism). I have spent, and still spend, much time crying—because I have, with significant awareness, understood the implications of the ecological and humanitarian disaster we have created—usually in significant opposition to those around me who for the most part have had no clue. And so I have often cried out of my loneliness as well. Indeed, I came extremely close to killing myself while in a suicidal depression about 35 years ago. (Yes, I have taken antidepressant medications, and I spent a week on the psychiatric ward of a hospital related to my suicidal ideation.)

    Now I rarely get myself reactively angry about the self-annihilation trap that we have created, but I do often still feel great primary fear and sadness. The visual images of what has happened, and what will yet come, do not leave me for long. I live with great certainty about the horrific nature of the present times, and future, for us and most if not all other life on Earth. I have learned not to fight or resist my emotions, as I did so often in my 20s and 30s. Instead, I now let them wash over me and carry me away. They bring me back feeling a sense of calm, peace, and acceptance—for I now know, not just in a “light” intellectual way, but in a deep emotional way, that the world, the universe, simply does NOT have to work as I have so often have childishly and grandiosely wished it would, as I so often demanded, in my earlier years!

    red fox, Satish Musunuru, Sabine, shep, and Robin Datta,

    First, regarding the universal nature of attachment, note this paragraph by Johnson in Love Sense: “We must not underestimate the naked force of separation distress. It is wired into our brains by many thousands of years of evolution. Loss of contact with a protective attachment figure once meant certain death. Neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University has shown that mammals have special pathways in their brains dedicated to registering the ‘primal panic’ that results from the loss, even if only momentary, of an attachment figure. This panic is precipitated by any threat of rejection or abandonment (I’ll talk more about this in the next chapter).” Note the term “mammals” here. That includes humans. This paragraph, just one of many that does so, points to universal human characteristics, not to something that occurs in some cultures but not others.

    Regarding your aversion to the scientific study of emotion in general, and love in particular, among others Johnson writes these two paragraphs in Love Sense:

    “…Two decades ago, love didn’t get much respect as a topic of study. No emotion did. Rene Descartes, the French philosopher, associated feelings with our lower animal nature and thus considered them something to be overcome. What marked us as superior animals was our ability to reason. Cogito ergo sum—‘I think, therefore I am,’ he famously proclaimed.” [He proclaimed this with an astounding and insane reversal of the obvious reality that we first exist, and then, to some extent, we may think. We may think when and to the extent that our emotions allow that thinking to occur. He concluded that the brain acted as a kind of antenna by which “the spirit” communed with our bodies—quite similar to a lot of the comments made here.]

    “Emotions were not rational and therefore were suspect. And love was the most irrational and suspect of all, thus not a fit subject for scientists, the supreme rationalists. Scan the subject index of professor Ernest Hilgard’s exhaustive historical review Psychology in America, published in 1993; you won’t find the word love. Young researchers were routinely warned off the topic. I remember being told in graduate school that science does not deal with emotions, soft indefinable, such as emotion, empathy, and love.” [Note the date here: 1993.]

    Please correct me if I have this wrong, but I expect that this may provide at least one important answer a question I have regarding your prejudice against studying love using natural scientific methods: your extreme rationalism. This suggests a fascinating self-contradiction: on one hand you passionately argue AGAINST the rationalism of natural science—and at the same time you do this from an extreme, rationalist, essentially Cartesian philosophical perspective. And, as so often occurs here, you do this without having read much, if any, of the research that you argue so strongly against, which seems to me another self-contradiction: not very rational for an extreme rationalist. (Meanwhile, all of these self-contradictions make perfectly good sense when one considers the emotions that surely motivate you from an attachment theory view.) As I commented to Clive in response to his recent essay, I see you as insisting on cramming all of the complexity of human thinking, behaving, emotions, and reciprocal interactions with one’s environment, into one, small, rigid, way over-simplified, cognitive box. It just does not work. (I write that having spent huge amounts of time over about 30 years learning about, focused on, and practicing various forms of cognitive psychology.)

    And so I ask these questions about your emotions: “Science” essentially means disciplined observations—forming a hypothesis and then testing it. We all do it many times every day. Does your obvious prejudice against using natural scientific methods to study emotions and love also extend to evolution? If not, why not? Why do you consider it okay for us to study biology, including evolution by natural and sexual selection (assuming that you do) but not emotions, and certainly not love? Where do you draw the line between what we presumably can, and cannot, study using natural scientific processes? What makes one thing about the world acceptable to you for us to study using natural scientific methods, and another aspect of it unacceptable? Do you consider it okay for us to study biological life? If so, what makes this okay to study, but NOT psychology, NOT emotions, and certainly NOT love? What about neuroscience? Okay or not okay to study, and why? What makes one field a “valid” and “acceptable” field for scientific study for you, but not another? On what basis do you believe one scientific result, but not another? What EMOTIONALLY motivates you regarding your answers to these things?

    Finally, I see you arguing in favor of ignorance over knowledge gained in the most reliable ways possible. Sorry. I disagree with you regarding this. I will take the best, most reliable knowledge gained through the processes of natural science over ignorance and passionately held subjective opinion any day.

    mike k,

    Thanks for your comment, and I agree with you. I remind myself often that emotion comes from a Latin word emovere, to move. We talk of getting “moved” by our emotions, we find ourselves “moved” when others show their deepest feelings toward us, both positive and negative. I remember that emotions move both me and other commenters here, and that it all makes perfectly good sense when one understands the attachment issues and styles involved.

  • I take it as a hopeful sign that even one happy in his cynicism, hopelessness and despair can be roused to criticize anyone daring to speak of love or the higher possibilities of the human spirit. Oh, I forgot that those who are really in the know long since buried any foolish idea that “spirit” has any reality. Having lingered once long ago in that tribe, and been inordinately proud of my “atheism”, I then felt totally superior to anyone who still harbored such ideas. That changed for me many years ago, and I am now open to possibilities not encompassed within my previous worldview.

    I do somewhat understand the pique of one who has put all that love and spirit nonsense behind them, and I have no intention of trying to convert anyone to anything. Perhaps silence is the best way to deal with those whose criticisms betray a set in stone attitude contrary to one’s own, but being told I was a foolish sophomore too green to understand what the big boys had tried to tell me long ago did manage to get a rise out of me. Thanks for the minor awakening, I needed that! The rest is silence….

    Or maybe not. I need to say that I do not visit this site to score some kind of points, or to argue with others uselessly. The matter that is central to this blog, namely the fate of mankind is far to serious and vital for such antics. I am a sincere student of this situation, and have been for over fifty years. This is not new to me, I have been deeply concerned about it for a long time. To understand it and try to find ways to deal with it is vitally important to me. This dilemma is central to the meaning of my life. I am not here to play ego games, it is way too late for that. Those “games” are part of what has brought us to this sorry pass.

    Mo flow I apologize if I have antagonized you. I believe that every poster and lurker here has been drawn here by the love of life in their heart. I do not write anyone off or exclude anyone from my love and acceptance because of their criticism of me or my ideas. I wish you and all others peace and happiness. May we find the way to a better world together.

  • MELTED CHEESE

    “Only love remains”. It’s when we melt
    Into a sense of oneness so heartfelt
    And deep that there seems nothing we can’t do
    Including loving idiots like you.

    And that is how I learned to love myself.

  • mike k –

    “This is not new to me, I have been deeply concerned about it for a long time. To understand it and try to find ways to deal with it is vitally important to me. This dilemma is central to the meaning of my life. I am not here to play ego games, it is way too late for that. Those “games” are part of what has brought us to this sorry pass.

    Mo flow I apologize if I have antagonized you. I believe that every poster and lurker here has been drawn here by the love of life in their heart. I do not write anyone off or exclude anyone from my love and acceptance because of their criticism of me or my ideas. I wish you and all others peace and happiness. May we find the way to a better world together.”

    I added that emphasis to bring something most forward out of a lot of things I can connect with! I love this.

    we are all here in large part out of Love, and I think that is because Guy’s own call and view here is totally authentic.

    there are no other answers but to be true to Love as best as we are able. this is the inner call for each of us, in our own way.

    absolutely no apology, please.

  • Now, if Bud were to disappear from these pages, I would miss him. Anyway, thanks Caroline.

  • mike k, Very much like patriotism, when I hear the word spirituality, I cringe.
    Not always but all too often – it IS a refuge for scoundrels, blowhards, hucksters, & phonies.
    I hate Andrew Harvey & Eli Weisel because they are maudlin liars & petty frauds.
    That the phoney bastards get away with such schuck just makes me detest them more.

  • Emissions of CO2 are measured in gigatons, are cumulative in the atmosphere over many centuries, and after distribution (into the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere over different time frames) is recorded in its atmospheric concentration almost in real time as parts pel million.

    Long before I had ever heard of the Turing test, I unwittingly was performing it to categorise various entities as sentient or insentient, as a small child does to distinguish between a stuffed toy and a puppy. I still make the distinction, through (still unwitting) use of Turing tests. That is based on the assumption that my Turing tests have a modicum of accuracy, an assumption that is entirely arbitrary.

    Even without an iota of awareness, all the meat-robots out there could be behaving fully in accordance with their programming, including motor, sensory, cognitive, emotive, memory, etc. As indeed they actually do. “I think, therefore I am” is actually “there are thoughts, and there is an phantom labelled “I”, none of which are sentient”.

    Sentience, awareness, is not needed to explain any functions of the meat robot: awareness has no mandadory “of”s, and an “awareness of” is no part of any meat robot. Awareness cannot be studied scientifically, only a concept called “awareness” might be subjected to such a study. Spirituality comes only in bottles; anyone who asserts otherwise labours under the delusion that conflates awareness and the mind. The very awareness that discerns the vast gulf between the two is not acquired by mere didactic instruction. And without the awareness “of” that, it is all margaritas ante porcos.

  • @Paul
    @anyone that feels their life to be a fundamental problem, who feels unhappy, at stake or in danger in their lives, who feels life is a burden..

    There is a sacredness that is beyond the realm of thought, untouched and unapproachable by thought. This sacredness is the reality of your actual nature. The earnest intent to look directly at this ‘you’ infallibly snuffs out the existential fear that is at the root of misery, suffering and insanity. Looking for awareness, being, sacredness, oneness, unconditional love etc are abstractions that hinder this work. Look at yourself directly without the mediation of understanding and the mind will regenerate over time. It will then be apparent that reality speaks for itself and no additional overlay of meaning or belief will be required. Life itself is the meaning and a discipline which is a constant learning arises.

    PS I’m not implying that you (Paul) are personally insane or suffering or unhappy :

  • WOW! Thank you so much, Caroline, for your kind words and support. Very heartwarming and life-affirming. Like Guy and some others here, I have been a “Science guy” for many years and it’s only recently that I learned how to convey feelings and empathize with others. Sometimes this space feels like a therapy/support group where people like me and Bud are encouraged to write from the heart. I, for one, find that helpful.

    I also find some of the debates here fascinating. Many of my views that would never pass muster anywhere else on the Internet have been validated by folks right here. Such validation can be healing in itself. It’s that “glad to know I’m not that crazy” feeling. The trick is to keep it all somewhat sane. But I like it that Guy doesn’t institute any rules of conduct in this space, except for 2-comments-a-day. I bet red fox likes that too.

    Such excellent comments today! I was hanging on to every word I read that so many people said today. Thanks, Bud, for telling us a bit about yourself. I think you will like Jerry Mander’s “In the Absence of the Sacred” where he describes a very similar experience to yours: one of witnessing a rapidly changing landscape around the place he grew up, the removal of the forest and the coming of the suburban mall and other such things that happened throughout America.

    shep said:

    “In my day (1950’s), throughout grade and high school, the mantra was ALWAYS to get a liberal arts education, first and foremost.”

    —-

    That’s interesting, shep!

    And soon enough, the space race began and Science was pushed as a high priority focus area in schools and the larger culture. Many of the current crop of tech elites grew up in that culture watching star wars and reading Popular Mechanics. Their unrelenting obedience to the gospel of Science now shows in their hi-tech and high-stakes games to colonize space. Who knew comic books and Sunday TV would have such an impact on the course of culture? Oh, yeah, the culture makers. They knew. Commercial interests had long known how to deploy the art of propaganda to change entire generations. They wanted a scientific generation and they got it. Now, first graders are being taught computer programming. First grade!

    ========

    Sabine said:

    “LOVE is a melting of boundaries, and that means the boundaries of everything. Love is intimate connection to life, ALL LIFE, knowing that it’s sacred.”

    Very well put, Sabine! Love is on the other side of the spectrum when compared to individualism. Especially the rugged kind!

    “To me, depriving children of proper play and time to themselves, exploring, in other words scheduling them, is a kind of child abuse.”

    I was shocked when I realized that grade school kids manage their busy lives with a calendar. I briefly tutored a kid a few years ago and it was difficult to get a 2-hour block that worked for us both. What the kid really liked was birds but the dad wanted him to learn a programming language. A blatant theft of childhood!

    Really enjoyed reading your other comments too, Sabine!

    ========

    Paul said:

    “Because I’m in the process of questioning and discarding my previous beliefs, I add a personal reminder that any notion of sacredness is just another belief.”

    —-

    Paul, my understanding is that the idea of sacredness is similar to the idea of respect and care. When something is deemed sacred by a culture, the people pay attention when it is mentioned. Adults and children alike drop their play and make themselves available. They begin listening. Modern culture has no dearth of things considered sacred. They may not be the mountains of ancient cultures, or the saffron thread worn by the pious Hindu, but, how about… the nuclear launch codes, or for some people, the Super Bowl? I don’t mean to belittle Super Bowl fans because the event often does involve an annual tradition, a custom, a ritual that brings together friends and community and hence makes for a special Sunday. Maybe that’s another way to look at “sacred”: something special. Science is sacred for many of my friends. I’d say the rigorous process you described by which you eliminate false assumptions one by one… that process is sacred to you. It is to me too.

    ========

    Gerald Spezio said:

    “Sorcery lost not because of any waning of its intrinsic appeal to the human mind, but because it failed to match the power created by science. But, though abandoned as a tool for controlling nature, incantations remain more effective for manipulating crowds than logical arguments, so that in the conduct of human affairs sorcery continues to be stronger than science.”

    How insightful! Bernays and his fan club on Madison Ave would be proud.

    Gerald, thanks for the proverbs on land and soil. Lately, I’ve been very interested in humanity’s connection with land, long held sacred, not to be plowed, pierced, fenced or altered because we implicitly knew we come from the land, from the few inches of top soil, really. Disconnection from land was a very traumatic event that sometimes spelled the end of a tribe. Historical accounts point to instances of men and women who, upon being displaced from their ancestral lands, simply lose the will to live, wither away and die. I think modern industrial culture with its strange notions of wilderness is a result of such repeated trauma, endured by thousands of local cultures that it has uprooted and subsumed.

    ========

    mike k said:

    “I try to realize that many attracted to a site like this are wounded in various ways, and may unconsciously enact many of the behaviors and attitudes that are responsible for our planetary mess towards each other. We are all deeply sick on this planet, so I try to factor that into my response to those who are manifesting somewhat less than care-filled loving behavior towards their fellow sufferers.”

    —-

    Thanks, Mike. I heard Guy say somewhere that we are born into captivity. We’re born into a sick culture. It has warped us all in one way or another. We have an empathy deficit in modern culture. Anyway, it’s difficult to over-empathize with fellow humans at this time. I won’t even go into how bad it is for the rest of creation on the planet these days.

  • Bud,

    We should look into the history of Science a bit, don’t you think? Before adopting it as a de-facto standard for all areas of inquiry? Before relying on it as the sole source of knowledge?

    There’s some interesting history here – Promoting Science Through America’s Colonial Press
    How Ben Franklin Used His Newspaper — The Pennsylvania Gazette — to ‘Popularize’ An Evolving Science

    An excerpt from the “Findings” section:

    “The Gazette presented Science as rational, empirical, commercially viable, and opposed to superstition. The Gazette thus asked for a reading public that assimilated the epistemology of empiricism. The Gazette also made science entertaining and meaningful to attract an audience. In this way, public acceptance of scientific method and results made the newspaper critical for a developing colonial American science tied to commercial interests. Despite the importance of the audience, however, science remained aloof from the general public. And this interaction between science and the press seen in the eighteenth century continues today.”

    If you dig into the history of Science at other places too, I think you will find that it has a connection with business and commerce. Often, the proponents of Science have been and continue to be business interests. In other words, the same forces that are responsible for ecocide and climate change.

    Empiricism did not begin with Science. It’s just common sense to make observations and draw inferences and discern patterns. Humans have been excellent and accomplished experimenters and empiricists for ages. Science has simply usurped this rather basic human faculty and called it it’s own. At the same time, it narrowed its scope by dealing with only those things that are measurable. Fast forward to today, we’re confronted with such absurdities as the “equation for happiness“.

    When it comes to Science’s application to the humanities, and especially to such hard-to-describe ideas as emotion and love, it’s a non-starter. I have some commentary on F.A. Hayek’s warning about exactly this issue here. I agree with him not because he won the Nobel prize but because he makes sense.

  • @Diamuid,

    Just I would never imply that you are mistaking personal beliefs for universal truths… 🙂

    The illusion of the Self has been seen through. What remains is play – Lila if one wishes to name it. Or to say it in Shibboleth, “Thou art that.”

  • Mike K,

    In last your thoughtful comment you said:

    “……I’m not here to play ego games, it’s way to late for that.”

    That really needed to be said and I think that most of us here agree and don’t play ego games.
    When I real people’s comments, I read them as opinions, experiences, justifications, disagreements, useful information about a person, so that I can put things into context, which is important with this medium (no body language, no voice) and, of course good information like Tom’s and Kevin’s. Kevin also voices his frustration, which is good, and then there’s humour and Benjamin’s limericks. I like it all and try very hard not to read anymore into the comments, apart from reading “between the lines” where appropriate.
    With you, I can’t detect much ego, you come across honestly, without an “agenda”. I like that.

    Bud,

    I’ve read your reply to Caroline outlining you life, and I’m truly sorry to hear about your depression. I really am. It explains to me why you need all the support you get from your scientific study of love, emotion etc. All the things I can take for granted, as a gift so to speak, because I’ve always been healthy and loved. I try to imagine what it might be like not to be able to receive these gifts automatically – so many people don’t, I know. It breaks my heart when I do.
    It’s the separation experienced in our man-made world that is one of the root causes. We’ve are not meant to live like this, and we all sense that.
    I was very lucky. I spent my childhood as part of an “old-fashioned” extended family. And in the 50s, this was still very common in Germany. There were no isolated moms bringing up their children in suburban box houses on grid-like streets, surrounded by labour-saving devices. I grew up in the house of my father’s parents with many people coming and going all the time. That’s what it used to be like for most children where I come from. But that’s unimaginable for most people in our industrial culture now.
    I always had adults around: grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins, my grandparents’ siblings, neighbours, you name it. Therefore, I grew up with confidence, as a child who “participated” and was encouraged in every way. This sort of upbringing gives you the confidence to use your intuition, which helps making the “right” choices or, better said, keeps you from making really bad choices, thus getting hurt, damaged. Adults also teach you important skills by example, you just soak them up, they become intuitive. Religion didn’t play a big role in our lives (apart from my grandmother’s) nor any other ideologies that might taint a child. Fascism was finished. Remember? your lot defeated it which was another bit of luck for me. And I’m grateful.

    So here I am, comparatively undamaged and in a relationship with a man (my husband of 42 years) which has not dimmed. So of course I think that I understand love, emotion, intimacy, all those essential things a living being needs to relate and connect, quite intuitively. I’ve received a lot of love and I naturally reciprocate. I personally don’t have to study it. And no, it’s not like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
    But I also understand that your experience is different. Your needs are different, and I respect that. But it is our own experience which forms us, which sets us on our unique paths. When I don’t agree with you, it’s because I “see” things differently from you, that’s all. It’s never an attack, my ego protruding. It’s just opinion based on experience. With certain others here, I seem to share experience – therefore we agree. We “see” it the same way. It’s not anything sinister, no in and out-groups. You see, this is what I don’t like: labelling beings, measuring their behaviour, etc. I’m quite allergic to that. You like to do that, and that’s where we differ.

    Maybe I’m assuming too much but you probably think that it is quite ignorant and opinionated not to want all the information you can get from studies and books, and that you don’t like being ignorant. Well, I read other things but I never dispute what’s hard science (in my opinion). That would be foolish. Reading has been one of my favourite things since I could read.
    For all those reasons I really feel that it’s useless for me personally to read up on things that I “know” intuitively. Well, I could read it and say: Yes, I agree with that(or not), yes that helps me. But I know that I don’t need any help here. I know this intuitively and with confidence. And that’s where you and I differ, but that’s all, we just differ. Please don’t read anymore into it. Try and accept it for what it is, there’s no agenda.

    But in the end, the conclusions we draw from our “different” ways of coming to them are very much the same. That’s how it seems to me, and I think that’s good, don’t you?

  • BUD NYE – Your Florida memories are special. OLD GROWTH FOREST always has such a lovely & beautiful touch bringing personal stories to life. You made me think of the colorful pattens in the Seminole Indian beads long ago at Silver Springs. Amazing amounts of universal concepts, concerns & awareness….but when it gets right down to it the most unique thing is you & each personal story. All the facts & quotes & extracts do matter in a way….but I could feel you in that canoe.

    “THE SACRED” book by Peggy V. Beck Navajo community press. Tsaile, AZ 96
    Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life.

    Sub-conscious; sub-contractor; substitute teacher, in the alternate reality Dept of MO FLOW Energy. Science can be fun. We have humor here. Not all cut & dry. TRULY as soon as the bit of metal gets cleared from the CERN particle accelerator, our International joint teams are tapping into parallel dimensions. It is both serious & MO FLOW. The universe has so many layers it’s big show. We’ve got a theory for everything, want to guess who’s on first?

  • I’ve posted anew. You can catch the latest flurry of information here.

  • Much to my delight as I listened to LINK TV (where I regularly watch Democracy Now) I hear the voice of Guy McPherson. I’m all taken up with this occurrence, that all I can think to do is look at the screen and see that it’s him for real. The show is something that includes “Collapse” in the title. I missed the day and time of its airing.

  • Diarmuid –

    yes, there is nothing at stake here, for us or for anything.

    and? 🙂

    now you are free to play as if everything is at stake.

    or nothing. or both.

    or as if nothing is sacred. or everything. or both.

    or as if there is nothing to look for. or everything. or both.

    freedom is like that. it will escape all efforts to escape it.

    we are condemned to live it.

    until we are not.

  • Bud,

    Thank you for sharing your stories. Over time you have cited many authors who write about love and attachment but YOUR words resonate with such pure love they made me weep. Pulled not from a textbook but from your heart.

    This quote from Joanna Macy came to me while reading your words:

    “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe”.

    This is what I hear in your words—- a heart that has broken open to pain and as a result has expanded infinitely.

    I can relate to your grief over the devastation over the environmental destruction of Florida and your having to turn away . . . . . there are places I will not visit again (in fact the list is growing longer by the day) because I want to remember them as they were before they were brutalized by humans.

    Carl Hiaasen’s books have been very cathartic (re: the systemic destruction of Florida ecosystems) in a gallows humor way. Sick Puppy is the best!

    You may be familiar with John Anderson’s song—-a tribute to the Everglades and the Seminole before “progress came and took it’s toll, in the name of flood control”.

    He sings it here—–James Taylor has a gorgeous cover version and Native American musician, Shea has one as well.

    Blessings and peace to you Bud!

    Caroline