Edge of Extinction: Drawing Blood

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The following video clip was shot by Pauline Schneider when I spoke at Spoonbill Books in New York City. The event transpired in late February 2015.

Spoonbill from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

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Please visit the DONATIONS tab. I’m open to non-monetary donations, subject only to your creativity. For example, I would appreciate your generosity with respect to frequent-flyer miles.

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6-30 April 2015, western Europe (additional details forthcoming, and follow the tour at guymcpherson.net and also on Facebook)

25 April 2015, 6:00 p.m., Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, “Climate Awareness Seminar”

European tour spring 2015

McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. Electronic copy is available here from Amazon.

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

Comments 56

  • Love you Guy! Hope you’re healing well. Thanks for the humor!

    Pauline, thanks for all you do too.

    Excellent points regarding the ER. I can relate to all you say and I am proud of my veins too (got them from my Dad). The look of delight when nurses have come at my arm with needles is a sight to behold.

    Love, laughter, music—–one can usually find it here on NBL thanks to Guy, Pauline and all those that contribute (I disregard the arguing about who’s right posts).

    On a not so funny note:

    Anyone else experiencing the cellular level feeling (more so than ever before) of environmental collapse? The sounds, smells, feel and of course the sight of the landscapes all around (even in “nature preserves”) are eliciting a reaction in my gut that is very alarming.

    Collapsing ecosystems are ratcheting up and it’s difficult to tamp down the heightened feelings in my solar plexus; a fight or flight feeling but there is nowhere to flee and I’m at a loss for how to fight. Yes, I know——-only love remains. What a challenge to focus on love in the face of dying ecosystems that are everywhere apparent.

    The wind and dryness are eery in the Midwest with fire warnings everywhere. Most of the ephemerals, prairie, woodland plants are emerging prematurely on the land where I live. Signs of collapse seem more pronounced than ever before. What will an ice free Arctic bring?

    Several teen suicides in the local school district, police officers appearing regularly at the local high school; lockdowns (due to despondent teens with guns), drug searches etc. etc.

    In the meantime the traffic snarls along, there are monstrous overflowing garbage containers left curbside in suburbia once a week (64-96 GALLON), people are celebrating yet another crazy “holiday” (St. Patricks Day) and giddily getting ready to nuke their lawns with Scott’s Weed and Feed, “turf” builder.

    This song is going through my head of late; Unsustainable by Eliza Gilkyson who starts around 5:18 in this link below preceded by her partner Bob Jensen talking about being male and white (which Guy unfortunately catches hell for when he names it).

    RELAX to those who want to argue about anything addressed below—-just take it in (if you so choose) as something to think about without getting into the whole right/wrong wasteful in-fighting thing and enjoy the song!

    ps regarding humor; Robert Callaghan (sp?) when you get on a roll, you CRACK me up and BTD; thank you for continuing to share your limericks here. Any for gawdy St. Patrick’s Day?

  • It’s Official: Americans R Stupid

    As Americans, we tend to be pretty full of ourselves, and this is especially true of our young people. But do we really have reason for such pride? According to a shocking new report from the Educational Testing Service, Americans between the ages of 20 and 34 are way behind young adults in other industrialized nations when it comes to literacy, mathematics and technological proficiency……..

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/

  • Drawing blood & guts.

    Yearly increases in CO2 last 3 years March to March.

    2012 to 2013 = 2.54 ppm

    2013 to 2014 = 2.63

    2014 to 2015 = 5.01

    ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_weekly_mlo.txt

  • caroline says: “Anyone else experiencing the cellular level feeling (more so than ever before) of environmental collapse? The sounds, smells, feel and of course the sight of the landscapes all around (even in “nature preserves”) are eliciting a reaction in my gut that is very alarming.

    Collapsing ecosystems are ratcheting up and it’s difficult to tamp down the heightened feelings in my solar plexus; a fight or flight feeling but there is nowhere to flee and I’m at a loss for how to fight.”

    I am so terrified, I do not really live anymore. I just feel like going down a dark tunnel, faster and faster, surrounded by zombies and ghosts. It is getting harder to breathe and there is absolutely no consolation, whatsoever. even if my mind cannot get around “exponential”, my gut is feeling it. every second. in the end, words are so useless.

  • Regarding a recent claim that someone made to the effect that I supposedly do a lot of “name dropping” (with that term apparently used in its negative meaning sense) I have a question: How can I refer to various people’s work while not referring to those people and their work? Of course, I cannot. I do not “drop names”, in the negative sense of that term, in order to impress anyone or to draw attention to myself. On the other hand, I do work at giving other people credit for their work and telling others the source(s) of the information I pass along.

    Regarding positive and negative interactions among people—certainly relevant here(!)—I have summarized below in my own words a few paragraphs from John Gottman, et al, The Mathematics of Marriage, Dynamic Nonlinear Models (2002):

    The most consistent discriminator between distressed and non-distressed relationships obtained across studies in four nations involves “negative emotion reciprocity”. This means that if one person says or does something negative, another person affected by this will, more likely than their baseline behavior, respond with negativity, and this occurs as a sequential, downward spiral pattern. (We frequently see this downward spiraling cycle here in the comments at NBL.) This means that for unhappy relationships negative behavior by one person (or group) generally produces a negative response by the other(s). It ALSO implies that it proves very important that people have an ABILITY TO REPAIR a negative interaction and EXIT a negative emotion cycle during conflict, which often become “negative absorbing states” or emotional traps. Interestingly, and counterintuitively, generally happy relationships exhibit significant negativity! The predictors of ended relationships—criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling—all occur in happy, stable relationships. The crucial difference between generally rewarding relationships, and those not rewarding, appears to lie in the involved people’s ability to repair their negativity. It does NOT lie in their ability to avoid negativity entirely as many people believe!

    Infanttyrone,

    You and some others appear to have a strong desire or “need” to deny the power and validity of natural science in helping us understand and manage our relationships in positive, stable, healthy, joyous ways. Assuming I have this for the most part correct (I may have misunderstood you), I wonder: What motivates your strong desire or “need” to deny the power and validity of natural science in constructing a deep, important understanding of relationships thus helping us greatly to manage them in positive, stable, healthy, joyous ways?

    Related to this question, March 16th, 2015 at 2:06 pm in response to my comment that “In my opinion, John Gottman and Susan Johnson have done for relationships what Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Albert Einstein did for physics.”, you wrote “Maybe it’s a little early to assess Gottman & Johnson’s predictive capabilities, but if you add Feynman, Schwinger, Tomonaga, and Dyson to your list of physicists, then after a suitable research study of Gottman & Johnson’s hypotheses shows fewer than one in a million relationships that are not amenable to G&J’s analytic methodology, I’ll buy the first round of whatever you’re drinking. Quantum-electrodynamics as laid out by those four scientists has a differential between theory and experimental observations at least that small. (I might be mis-remembering a Feynman lecture where he claimed agreement to about 17 decimal places, but six decimal places is such an immense hurdle that I’m not worried much about having to buy that first round anytime soon.)”

    Here, if I have understood you correctly, you suggest that unless these psychologists (and other psychologists, such as Daniel Khaneman) can produce reliably predictable results to many decimal places, then, supposedly, it makes no sense to compare the important implications of their work with the work of physicists such as Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein. Of course I disagree. It seems to me that your reasoning lacks an understanding of the nature of critically important, ground-breaking, scientific work. For example, some of the most important work done in the history of natural science has sometimes involved no numerical quantities, little or no mathematics, and no quantifiable predictions at the time.

    You appear to have no grasp of the implications of the fact that until very recently for all of human history no one could reliably predict the outcome of marital relationships, and no one could do relationship therapy with any more “success” than about 10%—at best. Now, Gottman and colleagues can predict marriage outcomes with about 95% accuracy, and Gottman, Johnson, and colleagues have success helping couples, whether heterosexual, or not, in the 80 to 90 percent range. Amazing! Clearly, you don’t get it. After 40 years of detailed, observational work with hundreds of couples studied over long periods of time, and with intense consultation with mathematical biologist J.D. Murray, Gottman and colleagues developed a set of non-linear differential equations that form a powerful, dynamic, nonlinear model of relationships—yes, producing a large quantum leap in understanding about love and relationships, a leap, in my opinion, as large as the leaps that Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein brought. Astounding and critically important in the history of science—or so it seems to me. Though this apparently does little or nothing for you, it sends feel-good tingles down my spine. Of course, you may continue to disagree with me, if you wish, and I won’t even consider for a millisecond insulting you by calling you a name or writing that I hope something bad of a sexual nature will happen to you. 🙂 (By the way, John Gottman had a Ph.D. in physics before he switched to psychology.)

  • @ Caroline

    I totally agree with you. The landscape looks sick and stressed. Our ten day “well above average” temps have finally broken and returned to more seasonal temps here in Minneapolis, MN. I was getting so fearful that the trees were about to bud open. I worry almost constantly about the State of Everything Eco. Mass die offs in the oceans now, new global heat records, new minimum Spring Arctic Sea Ice records… it’s all unravelling so quickly. Almost too much to bare……

  • For the neolibertarians.

    This is the real Columbia:

    The “openly democratic discourse” of the Obama administration, for example, springs from its outright military authority in Colombia, which strictly serves US economic interest and that of its allied elites in the region. Thus, governing US administrations only focus on specific issues (security, narco-insurgency, terrorism, etc.,) that will help America secure the free-market context for its access to strategic Latin American resources in the 21st century, such as all the oil that sits beneath a sovereign and socialist Venezuela. The US specifically supports Latin American juntas with increased military presence in government to guarantee an “internal stability during a time of increasing violence” as Delgado-Ramos and Romano put it. Nevertheless, the consequences of this paradigm suggest a precarious balance between stability and instability, which makes the region dependent on the US in sinister ways that preserve the region’s status as “lifeline” for American wealth and power.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/16/oil-presidents-congress-and-cocaine/

    Infanttyrone,

    wowzy,

    Wynton Marsallis – “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue”

    keep the music coming!

  • Cud not resist:

    Recently is the news because of St Paddy’s day is Thomas Moore, the great Irishman lover of music and lyrics.

    A NBL’er recently posted a black comic(hilarious)that stated in his routine that the Irish were the N_____s of England. Yes, extremely oppressed and nearly starved into extinction. Here is one of his songs.

    “The Last Rose Of Summer”;

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=thomas+moore+irish+melodies&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=2DF81CBFCC409F87C2FF2DF81CBFCC409F87C2FF

    and here is wonderful a poem of his:

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=thomas+moore+irish+melodies&form=VIRE7&first=1#view=detail&mid=425AEA71A505C91F62CA425AEA71A505C91F62CA

  • Breaking News!

    There had never been as hot a 12-month period in NASA’s database as February 2014–January 2015. But that turned out to be a very short-lived record.

    NASA reported this weekend that last month was the second-hottest February on record, which now makes March 2014–February 2015 the hottest 12 months on record. This is using a 12-month moving average, so we can “see the march of temperature change over time,” rather than just once every calendar year.

    NASA: Earth Tops Hottest 12 Months On Record Again, Thanks To Warm February by Joe Romm, Thnk Progress, Mar 15, 2015

    BOHICA!

  • Bud, Nobody here is in Highschool

  • Caroline – YES it’s an actual feeling. I’m aware of all the same issues…but the feeling is like being high even though I have not drugs for many years. Not scary, or doom, more like “soul Viewpoint” a shift to another level. The FEELING is lasting day & night.

    On a science level there was the recent X2.3 Solar flare. Strong EMP energy. Lot’s of info on NASA & Spaceweather about rapid shifts in Ozone, radio frequency surges, particle surges followed by unusual clarity in the ultra light spectrums. So maybe we are just being sensitive to the invisible plasma wave impacts. Big cities are so full of 4G Wi Fi signals it’s hard to tell what we detect when thousands of cell ph microwave communications are flowing through our brain/body connection. Singular Network increased bandwith strength this month.

    Working here at the Dept of Energy my big concern is for overall data on nuclear reactors. Over the past 3 summers there has been an uptick in the number of sites with cooling pond problems. Way to early to officially admit but maybe the unexpected volume of cell microwave networks are penetrating core reactors in an unexpected way. Really can’t determine the exact cause but it would be horrible if for the first time ever a chain of plants in a region went critical.

    The Pentagon is still working on what to do during a large scale impact event involving more than one plant at a time. We have yet to deal with a Hanford, Fukishima, Chernobyl & 3 mile island all at same time. Radiation from a multi meltdown problem might lead to even more due to loss of trained responders, civil unrest, atmospheric conditions & other cascading feedbacks.

    Exactly as Dr. McPherson points out, our nuclear system problems could lead to ELE much sooner than Methane. We are very surprised at how few people are concerned about a region wide chain of reactor failures. We have already gone into the alert mode twice last year. If several Nuclear plants were to blow at once (or over a week) the impacts would probably be dire to the environment. Although there is virtually no public concern there are 6 major situations that could cause a chain event. In the case of a region wide Nuclear Emergency most services people expect (water, electric, phone, gas) will fail. http://www.Ready.gov

  • Bud Nye,

    Well, what you’re reading into (or extracting from) what I wrote isn’t nearly what I intended. No strong desire here (and certainly no need) to bash your champions. What I meant was basically just what I said: If you can demonstrate that their methodology rivals that of contemporary physicists in its predictive capability, then the first one’s on me.

    I haven’t read their work and don’t pretend to know enough about their research or findings to have much of an opinion about them. If they’ve finally figured out what Tom Robbins termed “How to make love stay”, then bully (in the rah rah sense) for them.

    I am skeptical about the 95% accuracy rate for predicting marriage outcomes. My wife and I used to do business in Pakistan, where a lot of the middle-class and richer marriages were arranged by family elders. (Marriages may have been arranged in similar numbers in poorer parts of the population, but we didn’t encounter many of those folks during our visits there, primarily because we had to focus on people that had enough money to afford what we were selling.) I haven’t been there in nearly twenty years, but I suspect the percentage of marriages that are arranged is still quite high. And in six or seven years of visiting at least twice a year for a month or more, we never heard of one case where the elders got it wrong. Sure, after the youngsters had had their future foretold/explained to them, there was plenty of social/family pressure to “make it work” if the couple had misgivings before the wedding or hit some snags after it. But the grannies and aunties seem to have had (anecdotally, I admit) an excellent success rate. I doubt there were any differential equations involved, but then, they had thousands of years of culturally transmitted knowledge at their disposal, based on working with a ‘client base’ involved in millions of marriages over the millennia. If G&J have figured out after a mere 40 years how to mimic or replicate this at a better than 9 out of 10 rate, then they are probably onto something beneficial. Of course the acid test will be if their trainees or acolytes can replicate the same level of success after their gurus have retired. It’s a pity we probably won’t have enough oxygen in the remaining decades to do an extended-duration study to see if the theory will work after the original crew decides to retire. (After 40 years of research, they aren’t spring chickens any longer.) So, integrating all of the above ‘field experience’ (with an admittedly small population that we were able to personally observe), I find it extremely difficult to have any confidence in the accuracy of your claim that UNTIL NOW nobody on the planet had a better than 10% track record at predicting whether a marriage would be successful or not.
    I hope your claim about this involves more than a simple “They’ll get divorced” vs. “No, they won’t”, because the obvious way to achieve close to a 50% success rate is to flip a coin. [Aside to Jeff S., or as Prof. Weir likes to quote Prof. McKernan, “Even a blind man knows when the sun is shining.”]

    I could go into detail as to why, for me personally, the aggregate “hundreds of couples” helped over a four decade period is not overwhelmingly impressive, but if it was, say, 800 couples, then spread out over 40 years, that comes to almost 2 couples per month. I’m sure the numbers are higher in recent years, since it took some time to develop hypotheses and test them, but even if it was 800 couples in the past 10 years, that’s still only about 7 couples per month. Population sizes of that order of magnitude do not give me confidence, but I have spent more time dealing with more hard science & technology than with things in the social science area. If your life experience makes you more comfortable with smaller test groups, enjoy…

    Lidia,

    “Why does everything else exist as it ought to exist, whereas with man, it is the opposite?”

    I like the question’s structure. It reminds me of what was supposedly Samuel Beckett’s favorite sentence (attributed to Aquinas, as I recall): “Do not despair, one thief was saved; do not presume, one thief was damned.”

    But although the structure is elegant, your Alexander Herzen question is susceptible to a first-year law student’s objection that “The question assumes facts not in evidence.” Saying Nature isn’t perfect is a hard nut to crack (as in, compared to what? some human theory about how it’s supposed to behave?), so look at the right side of the sentence. One good thing attributable to humans is enough to falsify “…with man, it is the opposite.” I won’t trot out a litany of good things humans have done. If your experience won’t let you admit to a single one (such as Guy doing what he’s doing), then at least you have a elegantly structured adage you can believe in.

    shep & Daniel,

    Shep, if you don’t know the guitarist, he’s worth checking out.

    Daniel, yes, we all bear The Mark on our passports…and some of us have multiple stamps and extra pages.

  • “Saying Nature isn’t perfect is a hard nut to crack (as in, compared to what? some human theory about how it’s supposed to behave?)”

    From a limited and conditioned perspecive, imperfections disrupt the universe. But from a universal perspective there is an appropriateness that is complete.

  • infanttyrone said:

    “But the grannies and aunties seem to have had (anecdotally, I admit) an excellent success rate. I doubt there were any differential equations involved, but then, they had thousands of years of culturally transmitted knowledge at their disposal, based on working with a ‘client base’ involved in millions of marriages over the millennia”

    ***

    That pretty much nails it. Saying we invented Science in the last few hundred years and assuming it wasn’t practiced in older cultures all over the world is a good example of cultural hubris. It’s like the attempt to patent Basmati rice or the Neem (a medicinal tree long used in India).

    ********

    Bud said:

    “You and some others appear to have a strong desire or “need” to deny the power and validity of natural science in helping us understand and manage our relationships in positive, stable, healthy, joyous ways. Assuming I have this for the most part correct (I may have misunderstood you), I wonder: What motivates your strong desire or “need” to deny the power and validity of natural science in constructing a deep, important understanding of relationships thus helping us greatly to manage them in positive, stable, healthy, joyous ways?”

    ***

    Yeah, that’s what we need now: relationship management software on the cloud. Instantly see a summary of all your relationships on one screen. Quickly determine which ones suck and apply one of the several out-of-the-box quick-fix solutions using the easy drop-down menu. Color-coded heat maps show you who is breathing fire down your neck (now in 5 shades of red) and who you need to reach out to in the next 24 hours to keep the relationship from imploding. Patent-pending predictive capabilities warn you of those who might take advantage of you and those that might have an unacknowledged need to attack you with ad-hominem insults.

    Additional add-ons are available as you progress through your very many definitive life stages. Ready for marriage? Consider upgrading one of your green-color relationships into a marriage. Simply unlock the marriage module and install the “Gottman and Johnson” add-on to find out its success rate. Learn about the conditional probabilities of your second and third marriages as well. A higher count of marriages is unsupported in this version.

    Soon to come: Specifically to manage relationships on NBL:
    1. A feature that will automatically insert in your response, the name of the commenter, exact date and time of the comment and other configurable elements to avoid any sort of confusion whatsoever. Comment depth is automatically detected through advanced heuristics. Example: Related to this question, March 16th, 2015 at 2:06 pm in response to my comment which was your response to my comment on March 15th, 2015 at 4:02 am.
    2. Lengthy responses of up to 20 pages will be supported. In order to break up the monotony, funny jokes with four letter curse words in them can be set up to automatically appear here and there.

    Buy now and enjoy up to 1024 virtual relationships in positive, stable, healthy and joyous ways! “Real” relationships will be no longer supported due to unpopular demand.

  • Guy, you have no idea. My wife is a nurse practitioner, her sister is a nurse, her sister’s husband is an emergency room doctor and her mother is a nurse. Holiday dinners are a medley of gallows humour like you wouldn’t believe replete with graphic details enough to gross out a pig. I get back at her by pretending that every bowel movement is an act of childbirth with a louder than life vocal accompaniment.

    Sabine, when loosing it be sure to lose one “o”.

  • Kirk Hamilton said:

    “As if lots of ‘science’ out there, claiming years of research, isn’t put there to manipulate the masses. One sentence of propaganda can trump years of science, anyway, if it’s what one wants to believe. I respect almost all the posters here, especially the ones that speak from the heart. The heart is where the highest truth is found anyway…. We’ve been marginalized, ignored, interrupted, belittled and smirked at by know-it-all’s for so long that’s it’s a Heavenly release to come to NBL and be able to pour our guts out…”
    ____
    So well said, and spoken from the heart, dear Kirk!

    *******

    Daniel said:

    “Those who are still needing to place blame on someone, are most likely still hiding from a far more ubiquitous and disturbing truth, which is that we are all to blame to a point that no one is, and that just because there are CLEARLY those who are far guiltier, it doesn’t absolve anyone from having consumed their share.”
    ____
    As far as I understand, no one is placing any blame on anyone else. It’s the “culture” we’re talking about. We’re comparing the dominant culture with certain other cultures that are struggling to survive (or have been wiped out). Culture exhibits itself through people and people shape culture to some extent but it must be possible to debate the merits of each culture without pointing fingers at anyone absorbed in that culture. After all, we don’t necessarily choose to be born into one culture or another. Let’s not confuse race with culture. Perhaps we shouldn’t refer to the dominant culture as “White” either. It’s confusing, to say the least. And quite inflammatory to some.

    Daniel said:

    “Though I’m quite sure a Dalit living in the slums of Calcutta might have a different opinion as who’s to blame for their misfortune.”

    Good point. A Dalit living in the slums of Calcutta is probably not thinking of Civilization or the dominant national culture as the source of his troubles.

    *******

    Grant Schreiber said:

    “Looking back to some idealized pre-1492 America is huge waste of time. It offers nothing.”

    I think it offers something to some people so they keep doing it. It’s clear that the dominant culture will not survive after just a few hundred years of its run. It’s clear that some cultures survived and thrived for tens of thousands of years. Might it not be interesting to look into the characteristics of each to discern whether they might have something to do with our present predicament? This question may not engage everyone but it does some, it seems. Including me, of course. I don’t want to pretend to know how it all went down. I’m a student of culture and there’s always something new around the corner. I’m willing to change my worldview when/if the time comes. I’m willing to accept that perhaps we will never know “The Truth”, if such a thing exists at all.

    When it comes to exploring the roles of different cultures in human history, perhaps some of you have been there and done that and are tired of this discussion but that is no good reason to call it romance and shut it down. There are plenty of people whose wounds are raw and they need to talk about it. No one can see the face of injustice as clearly as the one who stared right into it and survived to reflect upon it. Why shut down a dialogue that could be potentially healing to some? Would it make a difference if we were talking about a land-based culture that didn’t actually exist in the past but is fictional? Perhaps it will invoke fewer feelings of blame and guilt. I’m the first to acknowledge here that the culture I was born into (Eastern Indian Civilization) must have been an early cancerous mutation that influenced the more pernicious Western Industrial Civilization. The “high civilizations” of China and India, after all, predate any kind of Western Civilization, industrial or not. It’s quite reasonable to suspect that the cultures of the Middle East and Far East made the initial contributions to statism, mega-religion, etc. People had already lost connection with land. International trade, centralization of power and other characteristics of cancer were evident 5,000 years ago. Who do we blame? Why blame anyone? Why see it as blame when all we’re talking about is the difference between land-based cultures and others? This isn’t clear because we talk about European explorers and Native Americans but we’re really talking about their cultures (which they have little control over except as unconscious perpetuating agents), not their races, their faces, etc.

    *******

    Paul Chefurka said:

    (Quoting Becker) “Humans are the only animals that are aware of our eventual death. This is terrifying to us, and in order to reduce the angst we do everything we can to ensure our own survival, either as individuals or as the social groups into which we project our collective selfhood. This urge to transcend our apprehended inevitable deaths causes us to perform heroic constructive acts in an attempt to achieve some kind of immortality. It also causes us to project any perceived risks to our survival outwards onto other groups or individuals. These acts of scapegoating and sacrifice have the unconscious intention of purifying the physical and psychological environment in which we live.”

    I’m not sure death is uniformly terrifying to people from different cultures. I think running from death is the particular preoccupation of those who have disconnected from their source (whatever the source is). For most land-based cultures, the source is their land itself. There is little distinction between the tribe and their land. There is little distinction between a man and his tribe. Certain peoples didn’t fear death the way some of us in modern times do. Because they didn’t draw individualistic boundaries around themselves, they didn’t really “die”. They simply dissolved into their land. The tribe lived on and the land lived on after they are gone. Modern man, un-moored from the land on which his ancestors lived, worries about death, perhaps. But not quite, actually. Considering that millions of people smoke cigarettes knowing what that will do to them, millions drive, fly, and do a million other things that offer a greater-than-zero probability of death, who is really worried about death? My theory is those who are most worried about their deaths are those who have separated themselves most from nature and land. In our times, these are the elites. It’s no wonder they are spending billions of dollars to beat death and reverse aging. Next in line, it’s the professional classes who worry the most. They are much like the elites they serve in the way they think, because they were schooled by the elites, after all, to spend a lifetime serving their interests. As for the rest, they are not nearly as concerned about death as the professional academicians and authors make it out to be. Truth be told, even the elites are not that worried. Some of them anyway. They are risk takers who are not afraid to take a trip to the space station or fly their own plane for fun.

    To assume that death is terrifying to all humans is a generalization. It’s very much a cultural characteristic. A theory built on top of that assumption is suspect, in my opinion.

  • Man o man, Guy! Please take care of yourself out there! Are you on a blood thinner? I bet you are, but it makes me feel better to suggest it. If not, ask your doc about taking a baby aspirin once a day. I’m sure you’re going to get your exercise. I enjoy walking to the bathroom on the plane in the middle of the night. It’s a mini adventure! And you get to see the other passengers asleep in their seats with their mouths hanging open. Makes me want to be asleep too.

    Caroline, Milendia, Mr. Pilot, sir. Thank you for sharing what you did. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know that others are grieving too, I’m not alone. I haven’t told any loved ones about NTE, yet. I suffer alone, except for NBL. Thanks to all of you for being here! My most sorrowful hurt is reserved for my grandson. He’s innocent, carries no blame. His tragic future is playing out before my eyes. Soon, he will understand, and he will die inside. This, while I continue to make my coffee, drive my truck, take a hot shower. Everything looks surreal to me now. I never see anything that hasn’t been made possible or been changed by fossil fuels. Even the trees are trucked in! Guy is right about love being all that remains. But that love hurts so bad. I feel it with every breath.

  • Robert C,

    Thanks for pointing out the extra “o”. You helped me fix my brain there, it gets a bit loose sometimes, “not always held by bonds or restraint”. I must concentrate!

    Caroline,

    Yes, I have that feeling, very much as you describe it. As Mark says: “…it’s like being high….but not scary or doom……more like a soul view point, a shift to another level. The FEELING lasts day and night.”
    Mark, that’s exactly it!

  • Excellent commentary this morning especially from Satish.

    I see fascism has become root once again in Israel. Now that’s irony!

    The white tail deer herd was just outside my door at daybreak this morning along with some wild Tom turkeys. This gives me great pleasure and I feel sooooooo fortunate to live where I do and have the opportunity to observe such things on a daily basis. Gardening season is coming up and I can’t wait to renew my ties to the precious soil. More snow on the way. Yikes! I will be germinating garden seeds (tomatoes,peppers,lettuce etc.) indoors soon.

    With ash-destroying bug spreading, towns removing still-healthy trees

    Fraxinus sp. represents around fifteen percent of New England forest diversity sample.

  • @ Marc Austin Says:
    March 17th, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you very much for those insights! It baffles me, too, how oblivious most people seem to be regarding the potential consequences of cascading failures, especially in regard to a “black swan” such as a Carrington event. However, that example should not discount a concern for more terrestrial sources of large-scale power outages. All too soon we may witness similar circumstances in and around Sao Paulo and the western region (and beyond) of the USA. It will be quite “interesting” when the plethora of automated safety and control systems that are ensconced in our day-to-day lives no longer function for weeks or months.

  • Some blood is being drawn in Frankfurt/Germany at the moment.

    The anti-capitalist/austerity movement called Blockupy is demonstrating in Frankfurt around the new headquarters of the European Central Bank (protected by razor wire). The building is officially opened today. They’re celebrating the opening party at the moment.

    The German state has prepared for this properly licenced peaceful demonstration with 22 water cannons, teargas, 100 kms worth of NATO barbed (razor) wire and 10.000 riot police drafted in from all over the country. They are serious.

    So this morning at 8.00 am, stones were already being thrown and vehicles set alight. The peaceful demonstrators are protecting the “violent agitators”, thus frustrating the police effort.

    There will be blood.

  • Guy,
    I glad you’re feeling better and that your emergency room visit was enlightening, successful and somewhat cordial. I find too many voices going silent these days.

    Caroline,
    I, too, have been feeling, tasting and smelling the environmental changes over the years. The food tastes wrong, the water stinks and the air doesn’t quite satisfy. I’m constantly asking my house mate if she noticed this food or that weather event seemed right to her. She’s in extreme denial so there’s always a dismissive comment, but the comments are coming with less and less confidence.

    Thank you also for guiding me to Eliza Gilkyson’s work. I found her song ‘Requiem’ to be particularly poignant. Truly a song of sadness for the dying Age of Pices with no hope for humans to usher in the Age of Aquarius.

  • Satish –

    the humor module of my relationship management software was overwhelmed by the powerful, dynamic, and nonlinear nature of your comment on March 18th, 2015 at 3:04 am referencing Bud’s comment on March 17th, 2015 at 2:49 pm.

    I am checking my relationship management software license to see if the subsequent SPECIAL, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE, REPRODUCTION, MODIFICATION AND/OR DISTRIBUTION OF THE RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE, allows me, in any fashion, to sue your ass.

    unfortunately, it is not looking promising. dang it. I may just have to settle with cussing at you, virtually. or under my breath, or silently. if my vibes are creating an emotionally unsafe environment in which people might feel it is too risky to pour their hearts out, please check the license for your Earth incarnation management software, Section III, Paragraph 4: “While operating your Earth incarnation management software, you may experience turbulence, trauma, butterflies, dizziness, heart-racing excitement, befuddlement, nausea and occasional overwhelming urges. This is normal and to be expected. It is a feature, and not a bug. For further questions, please contact your inner support staff at (YOU) CAN-DEAL.”

  • Sabine

    Yes, there is blood. As is always the case, ‘security forces’ protect the criminals and assault the victims of the criminals, in order that the criminals can continue their reign of terror.

    ‘Dracula’, the head of the ECB, will continue to suck the blood of the ‘peasants’ until he can’t.

    Unfortunately the day he can’t is not yet on the horizon, though the combination of institutionalised fraud and negative interest rates is brining it a lot closer.

  • It feels like California will collapse this year.Temps are running 10 degrees above average, a vast amount of power is Hydro. Nasa says California has one year of water left that’s probably optimistic, this probably takes the rest of the country with it.Fires will be massive,with no way to put them out.I will be packed and ready to head north if possible.

  • @Daniel: “Though I’m quite sure a Dalit living in the slums of Calcutta might have a different opinion as who’s to blame for their misfortune.”

    @Satish: Good point. A Dalit living in the slums of Calcutta is probably not thinking of Civilization or the dominant national culture as the source of his troubles.

    >>>

    I think the Dalits would take exception to that statement, Satish.

    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/dalit-literature-an-uprising-against-social-injustice-limbale/article127051.ece

    My read of history is that there are always winners and losers. Sometimes the battles are due to inadequate resources to go around, sometimes to conflicting ideologies/world views, sometimes its because humans just seem to have a certain amount of bloodlust bred into our bones.

    Watch kids in the playground if you don’t agree. They can be cruel as hell, and in fact have to be socialized by parents/society so as not to become sociopathic as adults.

    And since there are winners and losers, it seems baked into the human cake that the winners exploit the losers, in one way or another.

    Sure, there are exceptions – but there aren’t enough exceptions to make that the dominant trend. We are an exploitative species. As a result, it requires a tremendous amount of EFFORT – both individual and corporate – NOT to exploit.

    Frankly, exploitation is the path of least resistance, and has its own pleasures – the including the thrill of saying (or doing) a big FUCK YOU to the other…certainly a thrilling sort of behavior.

  • Because, in my view, they relate so directly to Guy’s love theme, putting a good bit of meat on the framework he has erected, I have copied below eight paragraphs from the last chapter, titled “Love as the Final Frontier”, in Susan Johnson’s book, Hold me Tight, Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships. This serves as an example of some of the “relationship management software” that mo flo and Satish Musunuru disparage with their satire—as so often occurs here with a large percentage of commenters while knowing little or nothing about that which they disparage.

    “Learning how to nurture the bonds of love is an urgent task. Loving connection provides the dependable web of intimacy that allow us to cope with life and to live life well. And that is what gives our life its meaning. For most of us, on our deathbeds, it is the quality of our connection with our precious ones that will matter most.”

    “Instinctively, we know that those who grasp the imperatives of attachment live better lives. Yet our culture encourages us to compete rather than connect. Even though we are programmed by millions of years of evolution to relentlessly seek out belonging and intimate connection, we persist in defining healthy people as those who do not need others. This is especially dangerous at a time when our sense of community is daily being eroded by an endless preoccupation with getting more done in less time and filling our lives with more and more goods.” [And especially dangerous with pending NTHE, it seems to me.]

    “We are building a culture of separateness that is at odds with our biology. [Certainly, a reading of the comments almost any day here at NBL makes it obvious that many commenters here do their “best” to build walls, to build cultures of separateness, among us with their perpetual blaming, scapegoating, find the bad guy dance.] We know, as Thomas Lewis and his colleagues state so well in their book, A General Theory of Love, that if we ‘feed and clothe a human infant but deprive him of emotional contact he will die.” [I do wonder how those who advocate unattachment rationalize this kind of information.] But we have been taught to believe that adults are a different animal. How ever did we get here?”

    “Psychiatrist Jonathan Shay in his book on the trauma of combat, Odysseus in America, reminds us that there are ‘two momentous human universals’: that we are all born helpless and dependent, and that we are all mortal and we know it. The only healthy way to deal with this vulnerability is to reach out and hold each other. Then, calmed and strengthened, we can walk out into the world.”

    “The attachment perspective recognizes that our need for emotional connection with others is absolute. Thousands of studies in developmental psychology with mother and child, research on adult bonding, and the investigations of modern neuroscience confirm that when we are in close relationships, we are truly interdependent. We are not separate little planets revolving around each other.” [Again, I wonder how those who advocate unattachment process this kind of well documented, scientific information. Does this become fundamentally a matter of putting one’s faith in philosophy, versus putting it in natural science?]

    “This HEALTHY dependence is the essence of romantic love. The bodies of lovers are linked in a ‘neural duet.’ One person sends out signals that alter the hormone levels, cardiovascular function, body rhythms, and even immune system of the other. In loving connection, the cuddle hormone oxytocin floods lovers’ bodies, bringing a calm joy and the sense that everything is right with the world. Our bodies are set up for this kind of connection.”

    “Even our identity is a kind of duet with those closest to us. A loving relationship expands our sense of who we are and our confidence in ourselves. You wouldn’t be reading this book had I not found a way to plug into my husband’s belief that I could write it, and my ability to hold on to his reassuring words kept me writing rather than walking away. Our loved ones do indeed come into our hearts and minds, and when they do, they transform us.”

    “The quality of the love we receive puts us on a certain track. Assess how safely connected to Mom one-year-olds are when put in the Strange Situation [a psychological research situation], and you can predict how socially competent these children will be in elementary school and how close their friendships will be in adolescence, according to Jeff Simpson of the University of Minnesota. A secure connection to Mom and the closeness of these early friendships also forecast the quality of these individuals’ love relationships at age twenty-five. We are our relationship history.” [And again, I wonder how those who advocate unattachment integrate this kind of information.]

    “A secure attachment grows out of a safe haven, a secure place.” Few people here at NBL seem to have much interest in constructing any kind of safe, secure place here, where people might risk honestly “pouring their hearts out” to use Sabine’s words. Even so, I now feel convinced that nearly everyone who comments here, probably including mo flo and Satish Musunuru, would very much LIKE to have a safe, secure place where they could “pour their hearts out”. What stops that from happening? NOT the people involved, in my opinion! NOT the people who comment, in my opinion. I think the HURTFUL PATTERNS OF ENGAGEMENT stop the process of creating a safe commenting space, especially the three dances so many of us so often habitually, non-consciously perform here: (1) The Mutual Blame or “Find The Bad Guy” dance, which usually quickly becomes (2) The Criticize/Defend or Bid For Acceptance/Reject dance, which can continue indefinitely, but usually eventually ends with, (3) the final, cold, Withdraw/Withdraw dance. As suggested by attachment theory, nearly all of us very much WANT Accessibility (Can I reach you? Will you pay attention to me?), Responsiveness (Can I rely on you to respond and care about my feelings?), and Engagement (Will you value me, put me first, and stay close?) the three characteristics of secure, bonding interactions. Instead the music of the Hurtful Patterns of Engagement compels us to dance with each other in mutually hurtful ways.

  • For those who have a greater interest in building bridges of human acceptance, understanding, love, and peace between individuals and among various cultural and “racial” groups as we live our final days in hospice, more than in building walls that divide people into in-group “good guys” and out-group “bad guys”, with the bigotry, hatred, violence, and often warfare, that these walls of separation inevitably encourage and support among humans, the following comes from Susan Johnson’s “An Externship in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy” training DVD:

    “Look at the article, ‘Listening To The Music: Emotion As A Natural Part Of Systems Theory’ from the Journal of Systemic Therapy [One can read it here: http://washingtonbaltimorecenterforeft.com/images/Ext_Art_Listening_to_the_Music.pdf%5D. If you read that article you will have a real sense of the take on emotional experience in this model and how crucial it is, and how it IS systemic. In fact, perhaps the key thing about emotion and what makes it so important to a couple therapist is that emotion is at once a powerful, powerful, transforming intrapsychic experience. Also, emotional expression is the primary signaling system that we have, especially in our close relationships, that creates the dance with the people we love. So, from that point of view emotion is a royal road into how people experience themselves and how they experience life and their main motivations, needs, and fears. It’s also the royal road into how people dance together, because emotion is the music of that dance. If you change the music, instantly the whole picture can change and suddenly go from a sunny day to a dark, black night, or from dark to sunny. That’s the power of emotion.”

    “Emotion: can change your inner world and it can change your relationships in a second. And I think that, actually, that’s why we’ve been so scared of it in the couple and family therapy field. That’s why for years, and years, and years, we haven’t touched it. It was entirely too dangerous, I think. And, let me be clear here. It IS dangerous, it CAN be dangerous—unless you understand it, unless you know how to work with it, in which case, if it’s the most powerful thing in the room, let’s try and take it in our hands and use it to create needed, positive change.”

  • Beyond hovering on the brink something you might want to rethink?
    Our Calif. medical and governmental authorities admit and most
    people now accept that there are certain medical uses of marijuana
    if only for certain parts or condition of the body.
    Yet I’m sure we all more or less agree that man is body mind and spirit. But obviously “getting high” has a lot more to do with mind spirit than body.
    So what I want to know is how long will it take for authorities to cop to
    the part pot plays in the health and making whole of the mind and spirit.
    If you are one who wonders how “getting high” can possibly be said to have a healing effect on the mind and spirit then big brother, you need to look
    again. Back in the late sixties when people first started turning on in large numbers in the Height in San Francisco the result was the “Summer of Love”…
    In Golden Gate Park ! They were also known as “flower children” and “love
    children”. And while ” straights” is what we called people who never used the
    herb, “getting your head straight” was a lot of what it was is all about.Because it was the hippies who turned to health food and went back to the land ! Pass a smoke not more ammo, we’re passing points of no returno

  • I predicted legalization in 5 years after I watched this video – 🙂

    Stoned Kids: The Brave Mykayla Story treating cancer with cannabis

  • ed: goin’ back a bit further, we have a new theory of life

    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-chemists-riddle-life-began-earth.html

    [quote]

    The chemists with this new effort believe they have found a way to show that all three arguments are both right and wrong—they believe they have found a way to show that everything necessary for life to evolve could have done so from just hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide and ultraviolet light and that those building blocks could have all existed at the same time—in their paper, they report that using just those three basic ingredients they were able to produce more than 50 nucleic acids—precursors to DNA and RNA molecules. They note that early meteorites carried with them ingredients that would react with nitrogen already in the atmosphere, producing a lot of hydrogen cyanide. By dissolving in water, it could have very easily come into contact with hydrogen sulfide, while being exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun. And that, they claim, would have been all that was needed to get things going.

  • The lesser murrelet nests in high in old growth forests of coastal Northwestern North America sometimes as much as ten or more miles from the Pacific seashore. The chicks do not leave the nest or see the ocean until fully fledged. The first time they leave the nest, they fly ten or more miles directly to the ocean and go hunting for fish, all by themselves, never to return to that nest.

    Humans too, need certain forms nurturing at the initial stages of their development, but appropriately shuold outgrow them. McRelationships peddled by the likes of Gottman & Johnson fill a void left by inadequate nurturing.

    The Buddha’s last words were “Be a light unto yourselves and a lamp unto others”, a few years before McPsychology came on the scene. It emphasised one’s own fullness, without dependence on others.

    Margaritas ante porcos

  • Hey boy, take a look at me
    Let me dirty up your mind
    I’ll strip away your hard veneer
    And see what I can find

    The queerest of the queer
    The strangest of the strange
    The coldest of the cool
    The lamest of the lame
    The numbest of the dumb
    I hate to see you here
    You choke behind a smile
    A fake behind the fear
    The queerest of the queer

    This is what he pays me for
    I’ll show you how it’s done
    You learn to love the pain you feel
    Like father like son

    The queerest of the queer
    Hide inside your head
    The blindest of the blind
    The deadest of the dead
    You’re hungry cause you starve
    While holding back the tears
    Choking on your smile
    A fake behind the fear
    The queerest of the queer

    I know what’s good for you (You can touch me if you want)
    I know you’re dying to (You can touch me if you want)
    I know what’s good for you (You can touch me if you want)
    But you can’t stop

    The queerest of the queer
    The strangest of the strange
    The coldest of the cool
    The lamest of the lame
    The numbest of the dumb
    I hate to see you here
    You choke behind a smile
    A fake behind the fear
    The queerest of the queer
    The strangest of the strange
    The coldest of the cool
    You’re nothing special here
    A fake behind the fear
    The queerest of the queer

    I know what’s good for you
    I know you’re dying to
    I know what’s good for you
    I bet you’re dying to
    You can touch me if you want
    You can touch me if you want
    You can touch me
    You can touch me
    But you can’t stop.

  • Innocence and Experience

    Love seeketh not Itself to please,
    Nor for itself hath any care;
    But for another gives its ease,
    And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.

    So sang a little Clod of Clay,
    Trodden with the cattles feet;
    But a Pebble of the brook,
    Warbled out these metres meet:

    Love seeketh only Self to please,
    To bind another to its delight:
    Joys in anothers loss of ease,
    And builds a Hell in Heavens despite.

    “Love” has always been an ambiguous term.

  • @ Lidia Says:
    March 18th, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Love seeketh not Itself to please,

    And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.

    Love seeketh only Self to please,

    And builds a Hell in Heavens despite.

    Very nice, thank you, evokes fond(?!) thoughts of the Sword of Damocles. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t, such a pernicious pickle.

  • Guy,
    in your presentation you used the big word…..

    Chicken-shit.

    Be careful,them’s fightin’ words !!

    This book is worth a read.

    ‘Cluck-True Story Chickens in Cinema’

    https://www.amazon.com/Cluck-True-Story-Chickens-Cinema/dp/0907080154

    I have a well dogeared copy.

    Great presentation.

    😉

  • @ ogardener Says:
    March 18th, 2015 at 6:02 am

    “With ash-destroying bug spreading, towns removing still-healthy trees

    Fraxinus sp. represents around fifteen percent of New England forest diversity sample.”

    Amazing that nobody learned much from Chestnut Blight.

    About 10 years ago I had a chance conversation with a long-distance friend, via email, and upon learning he lives in PA, I inquired if he has any knowledge of any surviving, OLD American Chestnut trees. He replied, “Yes, I have one in my yard.”

    After total surprise, I began a bit of self-education and learned in the process that back in the 1930’s, the accidentally imported blight that was attacking and eventually killing once-healthy mature American Chestnut trees, actually did not kill every tree. But people hastily assumed the organism was going full-speed ahead to wipe out every single American Chestnut, so they began cutting them down for firewood, lumber, etc., till they WERE mostly gone, except for a few rare isolated populations, including the huge one on my friend’s property, as well as a handful lining an alley, aptly named Chestnut Alley, right behind his house.

    I then began buying chestnuts every fall from him and now have dozens of American Chestnut seedlings here in Missouri, from his ancient trees, in an area where they were rarely planted. One could say these trees in Missouri are exotic, but it’s OK.

    Also learned that at some point in the past a group of forward thinking individuals did start the American Chestnut Foundation which has done a mountain of work to restore this tree, which they now call the “Restoration Chestnut” due to its genetics, most of which is American type, with about 1/12 Asian, or some similar ratio.

    The point is, why is it that people must feel compelled to quickly “do something” even if it is the worst thing in the world, and it offers the worst solution?

    Wish I had the answer.

  • What would Jared Diamond or Lawrence Keely say?

    “According to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the ancient and diverse Mesoamerican civilization Teotihuacan collapsed not because of war, drought, or famine — but because of a “corporate mode” of governance that involved “ostentatious expressions of inequality and wealth.”

    “In the study, Linda Manzanilla of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico argued that the “contrast between the corporate organization at the base and top of Teotihuacan society and the exclusionary organization of the neighborhoods headed by the highly competitive intermediate elite introduced tensions that set the stage for Teotihuacan’s collapse.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/occupy-teotihuacan-ancient-1-percenters-killed-pre-aztec-society-with-wealth-inequality-study-finds/

  • Colin – THANK YOU!!

    Sabine – You did such a lovely description of reductionist thinking with your flower. While I’m in D.C. Monday thru Friday I stay in Georgetown with a view across the way at Dunbarton Oaks garden/park. At last some buds on the flower trees. Started thinking of you on our GoingKuKu think tank. How can we reduce the ever evolving bloom into atoms, even down to the quantum wave function – yet the “Gift” of all life forms are so beyond description. There is a “feeling” to everything that even a science person like myself knows would defy logic to forever reduce. Worlds inside each fractal. Fractals making natural growth patterns. It’s all unfolding in both horrible & beautiful directions. A LOVE of this time for better & worse will remain.

    SATISH – Aps for Apes! Please come join the “Energy” force….yes we are the dark side…I’ll send you 2 trillion in Dark Matter research funds for a drop down menu with 5 shades of red. Oh please come bring some color to our dark grey halls. Our GOP = Grumpy Old Power players are fossil fueled dinos. Dining on extracts of nearly extinct reptiles. Drinking fracking fluids while planning a Geo-defensive war on Nature if she dares to bat again. Going KuKu, going batty, but you do sound so brilliant. Talented & aware. Do we really have to go all the way to the end without your help? *Void where Prohibited* Offer expires upon Extinction* Ed Snowden sub-contractors R-US. Our signing bonus includes keys to the Crystal City-Pentagon underground….seriously you are admired where ever you go in the blissful space between these electrons +++++

  • Some commenters here insist, apparently in all seriousness, that those who childishly call others names and wish hurtful sexual experiences for others who disagree with them, supposedly do NOT display any emotional “oversensitivity”. That adolescent behavior presumably remains perfectly natural and acceptable when people get frustrated and disagree, don’t you see. (Do they really consider it perfectly natural and acceptable behavior within their families, with their friends, in their churches, and at their places of work? When they get stopped by a police officer and/or go to court? They presumably do not mind if their spouses, children, parents, police officers, friends, bosses, judges, and/or church pastors call them “shitheads” and/or tell them to “fuck off” while they do the same? I rather doubt it. Yet here it presumably remains “natural” and okay for them freely to write in those ways to others.) But if, in response to their adolescent name calling and intended insults, I or someone else responds to these behaviors calmly and rationally, pointing to and emphasizing the (obviously) socially destructive nature of that kind of bullying, emotionally abusive, verbal violence, then I presumably DO display some kind of emotional “oversensitivity” in comparison with them. I hope readers here will pardon me if I respectfully disagree. I consider this evaluation, this “reasoning”(?), this self-justifying rationalization of intensely destructive behavior, just a little bit (actually, a lot) misplaced and backwards.

    Two brief quotes from the “Emotions As A Natural Part of Systems Theory” paper I previously mentioned:

    “The tendency to ignore emotion, and to equate closeness and dependency with enmeshment and ‘merger’ (Green & Werner, 1996), has perhaps been fostered by patriarchal models of mental health that prize rationality, separateness, and self-sufficiency in family relationships (Surrey, 1985).”

    “Emotional expression and communication has been shown to be a primary self-regulator. It tells us what is important to us and primes actions oriented to our immediate needs. It organizes responses to environmental stimuli. It is also a primary regulator of the behavior of others towards the communicator (Stern, 1985; Tronick, 1989). Emotional expression tells others how we are defining the relationship, and it pulls for particular responses from them. Anger pulls for attention and compliance as weeping pulls for compassion.”

    Robin Datta,

    When you write “Humans too, need certain forms nurturing at the initial stages of their development”, you demonstrate a beginning understanding of the critical importance and relevance of attachment theory. Your continuing comment that “but appropriately should outgrow them” of course supports a traditional, patriarchal value and clashes with attachment theory. This continuing statement also clashes with massive amounts of obvious, compelling, observational evidence. Telling people who have not for the most part received necessary “forms of nurturing at the initial stages of their development” to “grow up” (people who, far more often than not, will spend the rest of their lives living with intense anxiety related to their unfortunate insecure attachment history) has done little or nothing to end: the ninety-something percent of intentional communities and other groups that split up within a year or two, the extremely high divorce rates, the extremely high incidence of domestic abuse, often with spouse killings, and the additional extremely high percentage of people who remain married but miserable, along with many social problems that people commonly have, and the extremely low success rate of marriage therapy historically (near zero effectiveness). Telling people to grow up, ignore, and deny their biologically programmed attachment needs has, indeed, most likely made these situations significantly worse over time, not better. Therapies based on ignoring and pathologizing emotional attachment needs, including those based on various religions and philosophies, simply have not demonstrated any significant treatment effects while those that do have now demonstrated surprisingly high degrees of effectiveness (commonly over 80 percent), and with low rates of relapse over time. I will repeat the earlier Johnson quote: “The tendency to ignore emotion, and to equate closeness and dependency with enmeshment and ‘merger’ (Green & Werner, 1996), has perhaps been fostered by patriarchal models of mental health that prize rationality, separateness, and self-sufficiency in family relationships (Surrey, 1985).”

    Or so it seems to me as I work continuously to redraw my conceptual, symbolic map so that it best represents the territory instead of trying to impose my philosophical or religious conceptual map onto the territory, trying to change it. You probably disagree. If you find Buddhist unattachment personally helpful, with or without impending NTHE, great! Meanwhile, it seems clear that only a very small percentage of humans have or will find it particularly helpful. (I wonder: Should I refer to Buddhism as “McBuddhism”? And the Buddhist unattachment philosophy as “naïve McBuddhist wishful thinking”? Since doing that would surely not help in any positive way—at best it would only demonstrate a kind of UNhelpful negative sentiment override on my part—I definitely will not make that kind of negative reference because I prefer to work at building emotional bridges that connect people over working to build emotional walls that separate them.)

    Wester,

    Regarding your question, “What would Jared Diamond or Lawrence Keely say?” I expect that they both would readily and completely agree with Raymond Kelly, as would Steven LeBlanc and Ian Tattersall, all saying something profound like “Yep.” (But that remains nothing more than my best guess.) The study you describe appears to suggest that the Teotihuacan civilization serves as a great example of violence and war related to a culture creating in-groups and out-groups. Though some anthropologists may insist that all early societies collapsed only because of warfare with other societies, famine, or drought, none that I know of do. (Meanwhile, I do not claim to know the arguments of all anthropologists.) Certainly, no one suggests that this collapse did not occur without great violence. As suggested by this quote from the article “No traces of foreign invasion are visible at the site. We interpret this event as a revolt against the ruling elite, perhaps a response to a late intervention on the part of the state to control the entrepreneurial movements of the intermediate elite” this serves as a nice example of internal violence and civil war vs. warfare with another society.

  • There is indeed a McBuddism, a McZen, a New Age sewage, and many others along those lines.

    Filling the voids left by inadequate nurturing with attachments is certainly an expedient. It is very suitable to McPsychology, McBuddhism, etc. Caveat emptor. Growing up in comparison is well nigh impossible.

    To advise that one should get to know oneSelf, the Self of all selves – well, a couple of millennia ago it was warned against giving such advice indiscriminately: margaritas ante porcos. Such advice is not directed to those who may rail against it. Not everyone should be advised to grow up. :-O

  • Dennis said:

    “It feels like California will collapse this year.Temps are running 10 degrees above average, a vast amount of power is Hydro. Nasa says California has one year of water left that’s probably optimistic, this probably takes the rest of the country with it.Fires will be massive,with no way to put them out.I will be packed and ready to head north if possible.”
    _______
    Add Earthquakes to the list:

    UCERF3: A New Earthquake Forecast for California’s Complex Fault System (released March 9, 2015)

    “… compared to the previous forecast (Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast 2), the likelihood of moderate-sized earthquakes (magnitude 6.5 to 7.5) is lower, whereas that of larger events is higher. This is because of the inclusion of multifault ruptures, where earthquakes are no longer confined to separate, individual faults, but can occasionally rupture multiple faults simultaneously.”

    Multifault ruptures! That describes humanity’s larger predicament just as well as it describes ground shaking in California.

  • California is going away? Couldn’t happen to a better state. CA is the 8th largest economy in the world. Further knock against the oikonomia, (household management) system we all know and love so well.

  • Dear Bud,

    Thanks for calling me(my reasoning) misplaced and backwards.

    That’s well analysed, and that’s exactly how I must be then – I’m obviously incorrigible.

    I bow to you superior knowledge.

    That said, there’s no need to refer to me and my shortcomings in any way, ever again. That way, you’ll be able to save a few lines in your long comments and maybe get out to enjoy the new growth all around, while you can.

  • ed said:

    “I think the Dalits would take exception to that statement, Satish….

    My read of history is that there are always winners and losers. Sometimes the battles are due to inadequate resources to go around, sometimes to conflicting ideologies/world views, sometimes its because humans just seem to have a certain amount of bloodlust bred into our bones.

    Watch kids in the playground if you don’t agree. They can be cruel as hell, and in fact have to be socialized by parents/society so as not to become sociopathic as adults.

    And since there are winners and losers, it seems baked into the human cake that the winners exploit the losers, in one way or another.

    Sure, there are exceptions – but there aren’t enough exceptions to make that the dominant trend. We are an exploitative species. As a result, it requires a tremendous amount of EFFORT – both individual and corporate – NOT to exploit.

    Frankly, exploitation is the path of least resistance, and has its own pleasures – the including the thrill of saying (or doing) a big FUCK YOU to the other…certainly a thrilling sort of behavior.”

    _______

    You’re right… there’s some excellent Dalit literature that explores the workings of progressive Civilization and its impacts on so-called “backward castes”. I’m not sure the average Dalit is aware of it though.

    There’s a school by where I live and I watch kids playing sometimes. I don’t see them fighting much. What I do see is the teacher structuring the class so as to encourage the kids to learn how to compete with each other. I once saw a bunch of 2nd or 3rd graders seated on a knoll with their teacher. The teacher would call out two names at a time. Two kids would get up and race each other to a tree about 75 yards away and return. The “winner” was then cheered on by the class as he returned. While the winners were similar to each other, the losers came in all shapes. Some simply didn’t like the challenge to begin with and gave up racing and started walking to the tree. The teacher called their name and yelled “run…”. A few “losers” put up a good fight until the end. Some looked disappointed while others took it in stride. I wasn’t close enough to watch if any of the “losers” cried. The competition was intense. It was palpable.

    I would be surprised if there’s no connection between the kinds of experiences school kids have gone through (and continue to go through), experiences that “prove” to them that there are winner and losers, experiences that encourage them to compete with classmates and try to best them and emerge a winner… I’d be surprised if there’s no connection between such experiences and the world that the kids will grow up and build. We make the world we live in. We enact the stories we believe in. If we think the world is made up of winners and losers, that’s what we will teach our kids and that’s what they will believe in and that’s what they will put in the books, movies, media, songs, sports, and other cultural artifacts when they grow up. For their kids to absorb it all in, hook, line and sinker. Later, “facts” will appear everywhere in real life that confirm to them that their world is indeed a dog-eat-dog world. Of course, it is now. We have created one.

    Are we an exploitative species? I’d be more inclined to think that our dominant culture is an exploitative culture, but wouldn’t make a generalization about the species. Consider this piece of writing by Charles Eisenstein that I came across the other day:

    “The causes of our separation from all these things pervade every aspect of our culture. I was just reading yesterday an article about indigenous parenting practices. The author described how children rarely cried, because their needs were consistently and immediately met: constantly held day and night, given the breast on demand until they were three or four years old, and so on. It evoked memories of my childhood – though by our cultural standards extremely loving – in which I was nonetheless alone a lot, hungry for attention. Most of us in the West spent huge amounts of time alone: alone in the hospital nursery, alone in a crib, alone in a stroller, crying to have our needs met, and eventually adapting to them not being met. We toughened up and became used to a world where there is never enough, where we have to struggle and grasp and cling for fear of loss. Even the breast, the archetypal experience of plenty, was often denied, limited, or cut off before we were ready.

    Perhaps such an upbringing is necessary in our cultural context. Otherwise we go through life trusting, unguarded, soft, easily exploited. We are prepared from birth for a competitive, dog-eat-dog economy. You can see how that deeply programmed insecurity can manifest as an innate tendency toward greed. It makes greed seem like our default state, and generosity seem like a hard, contra-natural attainment.”

    I know folks who wonder if giving in too early to their child’s pitiful crying will turn them into feeble, dependent and immature adults. They rely on “experts” and ignore their own intuition. They read this or that best-selling parenting book and ignore grandma’s advice. The star rating on Amazon.com substitutes for what their own gut is telling them. How have we so forgotten to listen to our own intuition and inner voice? How have we been so mislead to outsource our critical thinking skills to experts we don’t know? When did the personalized advice of family and friends give way to Scientific theories that model a child’s “crying behavior”? Check this out: The Ferber method: An evidence-based guide to “cry it out” sleep training It says, “If you’re considering sleep training for your child, this article will help you decide if graduated extinction is the right method for you.”

    Graduated extinction, huh! Yep, sounds like the right method for us.

  • @Satish:

    “To assume that death is terrifying to all humans is a generalization. It’s very much a cultural characteristic. A theory built on top of that assumption is suspect, in my opinion.”

    Could be. The problem with deciding that is that people tend to respond to death on a number of levels, many of which are submerged beneath cultural overlays.

    I’m trying not to adopt singular universalizing theories any more. These days I prefer to explore a variety of threads that seem to have at least the possibility of uncovering deeper human drivers, but without becoming too attached to any of them. No single such idea is “the answer” but most are worth exploring. together they weave a tapestry of motivation that I find fascinating.

    I love Becker because he worked within a completely different framework for the fustercluck than I’ve seen used by anyone else. I won’t argue the point that he’s acculturated – I think he’d have been the first to admit that. However I don’t think that necessarily invalidates his perceptions. What he’s talking about isn’t a simple fear of death. It’s our awareness of mortality, and how he sees this awareness driving us to commit heroic cultural acts – acts that end up creating monstrous evil out of perfectly noble intentions. Here’s another excerpt from “Escape From Evil” to illustrate that point:

    We can talk for a century about what causes human aggression; we can try to find the springs in animal instincts, or we can try to find them in bottled-up hatreds due to frustration or in some kind of miscarried experiences of early years, or poor child handling and training. All these would be true, but still trivial because men kill out of joy, in the experience of expansive transcendence over evil.

    This poses an enormous problem for social theory, a problem that we have utterly failed to be clear about. If men kill out of heroic joy, in what direction do we program for improvements in human nature? What are we going to improve if men work evil out of the impulse to righteousness and goodness? what kind of child-rearing programs are we going to promote in order to bring in the humanistic millennium, if men are aggressive in order to expand life, if aggression in the service of life is man’s highest creative act?

    We know that to be human is to be neurotic in some ways and to some degree; that there is no way to become an adult without serious twisting of one’s perceptions of the world. Even more, it is not the especially twisted people who are the most dangerous: coprophiliacs are harmless, rapists do not do the damage to life that idealistic leaders do. Also, leaders are a function of the ‘normal’ urges of the masses to some large extent; this means that even crippled leaders are an expression of the widespread urge to heroic transcendence.

    Today we are living the grotesque spectacle of the poisoning of the earth by the nineteenth-century hero system of unrestrained material production. This is perhaps the greatest and most pervasive evil to have emerged in all of history, and it may even eventually defeat all of mankind. Still, there are no ‘twisted’ people whom we can hold responsible for this.

  • @Robin Datta

    Check this out. Berry.edu/eaglecam

    @guyo smith

    “So what I want to know is how long will it take for authorities to cop to the part pot plays in the health and making whole of the mind and spirit.”

    As soon as the liquor lobby acquiesce.

    @ilinda

    “The point is, why is it that people must feel compelled to quickly “do something” even if it is the worst thing in the world, and it offers the worst solution?”

    What I think was overlooked was the possibility that one of the healthy Fraxinustrees through some genetic aberration may have expressed natural resistance to the emerald ash borer. Guess we’ll never know.

    I am familiar with the American Chestnut Foundation. Woody plant selective breeding is a long term proposition. *See Luther Burbank for further details.

    Both Fraxinus sp. and Castanea dentata are/were used in fine woodworking and are considered “economically” important. American Elm Ulmus americana is another tree that is nearly gone due to the Dutch Elm Disease. Ain’t globalization grand?

  • I’ve posted a new essay. It’s the first in this space from Clive Elwell, and it’s here.

  • Being as I am dependent on a drug to keep me alive, and have 3 months supply most of the time, I find it rather cathartic knowing that @ 57 I have the same life expectancy as a new born )

  • @infanttyrone, I did not read that Herzen quote as posing a real question about Nature, rather a real question about our own capacity to assess Nature and to assess ourselves, challenging the way modern humans conventionally *perceive* things (that man is imperfect where Nature is not.. that man is separate from Nature).

    However, I would posit that Nature is indeed ‘perfect’-as far as we can tell- since we have no other competing system with which to compare it. One cannot properly observe a system from within it.

    If we were able to observe it, we would still have the task of somehow deciding what would be a ‘more perfect’ arrangement: One where the earth’s axis weren’t tilted? One where mountains were made of ice cream? One where there was no pain or decay? It’s sort of a silly exercise. What is, is, and is perfect in that completeness (what Robin Datta would probably call “suchness” or “thusness”, although I would hesitate to put words in his mouth).

    It is we who are, generally speaking, dissatisfied with our own humanity.. (the Earth isn’t unhappy, it has no opinions). Only we have developed the sense of past and future, which sense gives us more grief than if we were to live only in the present. The problem of “imperfection” is one of our own making, as Herzen’s challenge would seem to frame it.

  • @ogardener, apparently they did the same thing with the chestnut trees, and I just heard this evening that some of the newer cultivars have come from a certain tree that miraculously survived not only the blight but the chestnut-eradication frenzy that followed.

  • Milendia and(no longer a pilot) thank you for responding and sharing your thoughts/feelings. It really helps to know that I’m not alone in my perception of the dying world around us and the grief that is part and parcel of the knowing and seeing.

    Kirk Hamilton—-I always appreciate your comments on NBL. Whenever I see your name, I look forward to reading what you have to say. What you describe above is so poignant and real. I too feel like I am alone with my feelings/grief most of the time until I visit NBL. Thank you for your contributions here—–it really does help and for that I am most grateful.

    Simmering Frog—-(love that name in a gallows humor sort of way!). Isn’t Eliza Gilkyson wonderful? Thank you for pointing out Requiem, I had not listened to it before and I thought I was familiar with most of her songs. She and Bob Jensen are an amazing team. So glad they connected through love and their shared passions.

    Marc Austin and Sabine—- Yes! I understand that “soul viewpoint shift to another level” that you describe. The feeling DOES last day and night. Can’t help it, another song came to me, John Gorka from his album So Dark you See (great title)—the song Night and Day:

  • Lidia,

    OK, I think I understand. No big disagreement here. Although I agree that we are probably the only ones with as extensive a sense of past & future as we have, I’m pretty sure at least a few other species have some sense of the future. I think I posted this link a while back when there was a flurry of posts about dogs (oldgrowthforest wrote an essay about her dog [wolf-dog?]), but it’s on point here too.

    http://www.nexuslearning.net/books/holt-eol2/collection%204/dogs%20could%20teach%20me.htm

    In another comment ages ago, I think I said something to the effect that humans may be the only species possessed by ought-ism. I know the usual phrase is ‘possessed of’, but I think ‘by’ is better in this case.

    Updated version of an Irish ballad.

    Just fiddlin’ the blues w/o all that pesky iambic pentameter stuff.

  • You know, I have to admit, the ‘relationship software’ comments have had me cracking up..until reality once more hit…so now we have ‘science’ and ‘biology’ that can tell us if we are really ‘in love’ or not..

    “Neuroscientists are using brain scans to discover the meaning of true love, or at least, what it looks like in the brain — information that could one day be used in divorce trials or other legal proceedings.

    A group of scientists from China and New York used brain scans from 100 people to map out the brain in love — and the brain falling out of love.

    The findings, which were published online in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience last month, revealed that people who were deeply in love and those who had recently broken up with their partner showed differences in a number of brain regions, particularly some that make up the brain’s so-called “reward center” and are involved in emotion regulation and feelings of motivation and pleasure.

    Here’s how falling in (and out) of love affects brain activity.

    Falling in love: When a person is in love, there tends to be increased activity in the brain’s “reward center,” likely because they are experiencing a great deal of pleasure. One area of increased activity was a part of the brain that is active when someone first detects something rewarding (in this case, a love interest) or is expecting a reward (for instance, a special night out with said love interest).

    The brain activity of people in love suggests that “they feel more rewarded, are more emotional and attentive, show higher motivation and are more engaged in social interaction,” Anna Zilverstand, a post-doctoral fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a co-author of the study, told The Huffington Post.

    Breaking up: After a breakup, activity in the brain’s reward center decreases, indicating a drop in pleasure. A particularly sharp decrease in activity and functional connectivity was observed in a part of the reward center associated with the expectation of rewards.

    LG” indicates the brain of a person in love, “SG” indicates the brain of single person, and “ELG” indicates the brain of a person who recently fell out of love. The color red highlights areas with high levels of brain activity.

    The findings may have important implications for the treatment of mood disorders. If we’re able to better understand how positive emotions work in the brain, we might be better equipped to treat negative ones.

    “While much of the current research in psychiatry focuses on negative symptoms of psychiatric disorders, we believe that understanding positive emotional states may be crucial for further development of treatment,” Zilverstand said. “This research may be relevant for developing treatment for people who have difficulty engaging in social relationships, interventions to alleviate the negative impact of breakup, but also in treatment of psychiatric disorders in general.”

    With further research, this technology may also one day be used to reveal a person’s true emotions — possibly in a courtroom setting. What if a brain scan could reveal if you’ve been unfaithful? When it comes to crimes of passion, these brains scans could someday be the new lie detectors.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/18/brain-love_n_6885754.html

    Also, I keep weird hours, so I fell asleep and woke up and it’s another day for me, so I count this as the first of two posts.