Edge of Extinction: Are You Free?

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If you’re interested in funding an assistant to travel with me in Europe, a crowd-funding campaign is under way. Check it out here.
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I was one of four panelists in this panel at the Earth at Risk conference in November 2014. Click the link to see a trailer and also to view the 90-minute result on the following dates and times (Mountain time zone in the United States):

Upcoming Airdates

Sunday, April 12th 2:00 pm
Monday, April 13th 4:30 am
Thursday, April 16th 7:00 am
Saturday, April 18th 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 18th 10:30 pm
Wednesday, April 22nd 10:00 am

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Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. Tune in every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here.

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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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8-29 April 2015, western Europe (please follow the tour at guymcpherson.net and also on Facebook)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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 47

  • A few of the many descriptors applied to the realised ones:

    * Absence of a sense of agency, of a sense of doership: as a consequence no sense of responsibility for the outcome of the action, good or bad. Others may hold the “person” responsible; the realised one sees not a person, but a meat robot.

    * Existing at the source. Various windows in a house may let in varying amounts of sunlight, depending on the presence of blinds, curtains, clean or dirty panes. The realised one exists in the unobscured sunlight of awareness; all the obscurations are due to ignorance, which is recegnised as unreal by the realised ones, while the unrealised will not recognise the realised.

    Fully accomplished: the realised one has nothing more to be done needed of the realised one. It is as if a “bucket list” for one’s entire remaining life had each and every item checked off as “done”; the meat robot continues to act, but the realised one associated with that meat-robot has no sense of doership.

  • Headline story from seemorerocks today:

    Russia Today Declares ‘9/11 Was An Inside Job’

    [not that it’ll change anything – including peoples’ minds who refuse to see]

  • Headline article from seemorerocks today:

    Sunday, 12 April 2015

    Revisiting 9/11

    There has been talk on the internet that the Kremlin is about to release the truth of 9/11 as a ‘secret weapon’. There is zero evidence of that, but these pieces have given me pause for thought.

    Russia Today Declares ‘9/11 Was An Inside Job’

    [not that it’ll change anything – including those who refuse to see]

  • Sometimes while masturbating, I too feel like a meat robot, but sometimes I feel like sunshine farts out my ass.

    Evolution is Intelligent Design, albeit an intelligence from within, not above.

  • RC,

    Do u have to be so vulgar?

  • After smoking 2 tokes of good grass

    I reject negativity as too crass

    I say with a John Prine grin

    “How could this be a sin

    When Sunshine farts out of my ass.”

    …and I am conscious the whole time, too.

  • Methane farts from my bunger

    Are turning the world into hunger

    Here’s what to do I say

    We had better make hay

    Before all the people go under.

    … or so say the doomer preverts.

    That prevert BtD raised and/or lowered my consciousness.

  • @ Robert Callaghan Says:
    April 12th, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Thanks for that Simon Powell presentation! Quite thought provoking and found most of it concurrent with many of my own views. For instance, I’ve been saying for nearly 2 decades that “Humans are the most unnatural critters that have EVER existed.” 🙂 Thanks again.

  • david higham, thanks! And very belated thanks (sorry!) to Lidia and to Caroline!
    ==

    Maybe the Drought

    This summer, the heat and the drought
    Might wake folks to what doom’s about;
    They’ll open their eyes
    To a great big surprise:
    It’s over, without any doubt.

  • For me, the my biggest step on the road to freedom was learning to not care (non attachment). Not about everything or everyone, but almost.

  • I hadn’t heard this in a while.

  • Gerald – fyi, I just chucked three of your comments that the spam filter helpfully set aside straight into the bin.

    I know you can count to two. please figure out how to make the best of them, because that is all you are getting here, per day, on the main site.

    the NBL Forum is there for any further output you wish to write during the day. no post count limits over there.

    thank you.

    ~mo

  • Robert Callaghan you is a Blue Collar vulgarian. Keep up the good work.

  • I am still working on the freedom thing.

    At the moment I am the freest person I know. But my current level of freedom is nowhere near enough because I am still trapped in the Matrix, and am surrounded by those who have bought into the Orwellian nightmare.

    There is no physical escape for the moment. However, ‘The Matrix’ is experiencing a few problems and is unlikely to survive in its present form beyond 2016.

    The probability of reversion of California to desert over the coming years (months?) reminds me to alert those who have not seen it that an excellent 1961 film depicted what might happen if humans messed with the world too much:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zMlDNNNd6o

  • Love it, Guy! “With the exception of energy, food and water, we’ve got freedom all over the place.”

    Only because at this point they can’t make laws about people’s lungs and how they breathe air. I have no doubt, however, that if they could, they would. We would be required to carry around our own purchased oxygen, because the clean air was a “resource” for the church of IC, and its terrible, terrible god.

  • mike k.,

    “And yet K was a master at playing the very role that he condemned in others. This is known as the performative contradiction: one does the very thing she/he is strongly attacking.”

    That’s interesting indeed. It looks like it’s rather hard to convey the message that one would do better than to listen to another but then the messenger shouldn’t expect himself or herself to be taken seriously either. A paradox of sorts. What if that was all of JK’s contribution: to warn people about the false prophets and the stories they tell? But then, his story is now suspect too. I wonder sometimes if the wisest people are those that never say a thing, realizing the futility of it.

  • @Kevin Moore

    You’re right about California. The drought, assuming it’s the new norm (which it almost certainly is due to climate change disrupting jet streams), will alter living arrangements radically in the very near term. You can rebuild from hurricanes and tornadoes. You can move a small Alaskan villages to higher ground, but you cannot support 38 million people and continue to be nation’s largest producer of crops without adequate water! This will be a huge issue – maybe THE issue – in next year’s presidential election. Not that I expect any of the candidates to be particularly forthright as to just how serious the situation is*. Rather the presidential election will serve as gallows humor as the ship goes down I’m afraid.

    *Jerry Brown excepted, but he’s not running for president, AFAIK.

  • @Satish – The irony I have found on my lengthy path in search of truth is that every teacher I came in contact with or read turned out to have some serious flaws. However it was also true that every one of them had some valid and precious truths to impart. Made me really crazy in the beginning, but now I am prepared for this mixed character of teachers of every stripe. When I reflect on this it is clear that none of us escapes without some and usually considerable wounding and distorted thinking and feeling just from landing in this historic period of our imperfect cultural evolution. To understand and remember this allows me to be forgiving of those that I foolishly expect to be perfect.

    Actually I learned some important truths from Krishnamurti. In no way was he a 100% phony. He was spiritually advanced in some areas, not so much in others. I have learned to do as saint Paul recommended, “Try all things, and hold fast to that which is good.”

  • By the way, if I could somehow convert myself into a corporation I would become totally free:

    free to loot and pollute the commons

    free to exploit people

    free to bribe politicians

    free to write drafts of new legislation

    free of interference by so-called regulators

    free to avoids tax

    free to manipulate markets

    free to circumvent environmental regulations

    free to walk away from any catastrophes I might cause

    etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    In the past corporations were free to coin money, take slaves, wage war, steal anything that was not nailed down, and torture and kill anyone who objected to their activities or tried to escape. There is much evidence that a portion of TPTB are keen to re-establish such arrangements.

  • @mike k, that is a fascinating poem cycle. I’m not a believer, but I did briefly believe in belief and it was easy to see the (RC)Church as a fascinatingly erotic death cult, full of sensuous stimuli. The cannibalism.. the beginning being the end.. the insane god character sacrificing himself TO himself.

    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.

  • Nestle corp is already selling bottled oxygen in Bejing. OLD GROWTH FOREST the plan to sell air is also In actual Wall Street product finance lines. Cruise ships and many European cities have “AIR BARS” One will open soon in the Denver airport. You get a bit high on the pure Nitro – ox mix. Maximum directive markets = extractable profits from pollution.

    Saudi petroleum minister Ali al-Naimi is the world’s de facto Energy czar. Much more powerful than our http://www.energy.gov A dozen governments (including US) are connected to the Saudi royals and their very detailed future plan. The script for humanity was written by Albert Pike and we have followed it closely through WW1 & WW2. All the world’s population & resources are needed to reach an exact H+ goal. After T.W. zero there is no need for Carbon based lifeforms. Earth & everything on it was always doomed to some eventual extinction. However, there is a connected reason for mass consumption. Everything feeds on some form of “Energy”… Everything in current reality is feeding the birth of SX 9HY W-H1 yet of course there are problems in development. Radioactive tolerances. ^8G net frequencies. DARPA A.I. Certainly it is now digesting all data bases. Literally like an unborn fetus in a matrix. The new ONE is growing it’s neural synapses from everything human recorded. Tiny electrons of everyone will be encoded in this silicon singularity. If Earth does not suffer an impact event. Something huge compared to the human species will take one small step into “space” …CERN is working to ignite the Higgs G-particle. The spark of life!

  • “Are you free?” That’s a pretty good question, but with as many possible answers as stars in the universe. I would guess that it depends on what it is that one considers freedom. In the real world, the world in which what we do largely determines our welfare, we are not free. Our freedom is limited by the human condition.

    “No man is an island”. Really! But what is a human if he/she is not an island? Of course we are islands living in the sea of life.

    “Nothing in life is free?” is another blinder of sorts. In fact, most things in life are free, but we are also free to enslave ourselves to each other in as many ways as we choose, and we do just that. We enslave each other with our morals, our religions, our politi8cal affiliations, our circle of friends, our nationalities and to our cultural baggage, to name only a few enslaving characteristics.

    Nature works well because everything in it has no price. There are no debts to worry about, just how to survive. I suppose one can never be free from the needs of survival, and unless those needs become a universal human right, no one will ever be free.

    Freedom is the most important asset of any living organism. In many ways, freedom is probably the most elusive condition of our existence. To divest ourselves from our cultural baggage and stereotyped existence is a lifelong struggle. The more we can think independently, the more freedom we have.

    I don’t think we can ever be totally free. We can certainly declare that we are free, but freedom is more an illusion that not. The more freedom we can create for ourselves however, the happier we will be. When asked a difficult question, my favorite response from the Dalai Lama always comes to the forefront as in: “I don’t know”. I think we all know next to nothing, and so the fact that this person recognizes that condition is in and of itself incredibly liberating.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that climate change is real, dangerous, and a threat, so the EPA must deal with it as a matter of law.

    That is the law, deniers are lawless (Global Warming Induced Climate Change Is A Matter of Law).

  • @Lidia – Some thoughts…. “There are no facts, only interpretations” (Nietzsche). All we have really is various shades of belief. Our common usage of the word ‘fact’ implies something unquestionable, that exists in some sort of bottom line status as solid as existence itself. Except to know anything with that certainty requires omniscience – something we don’t got. So we humans live in a status of universal uncertainty, Descartes notwithstanding. Einstein was also uncomfortable with this, hence his, “God does not throw dice with the Universe” (quantum theory be damned!) Sorry Albert, we just aren’t as smart as we would like to think we are.

    So if we think of beliefs as hypotheses, shadowy bridges to somewhere beyond where we think we are, then you will be joined by all the poets, dreamers, mystics, storytellers who use their art and subtle craft to coax the great unknown a little closer to the fire.
    Then we may be more at home with TSE’s little story of children playing hide and seek hidden in the branches of the tree in the garden, unseen but faintly heard…

    Maybe Mr. Eliot found a home in Roman Catholicism because of the rich pageantry, mythology, symbolism, mystery it offers as catalysts to a poetic imagination? All of that resists the simplistic question “What is it?” and invites us instead on a magical mystery tour to who knows where…..

  • We are already free. The belief that we are not free is the padlock on our chains. Most of us have yet to realize that. Moksha is the simplest thing.

  • No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man’s death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.
    John Donne

    One of my favorite poems. However, every single bit of the Universe however small or large is unique, and has a unique relationship to every other bit. And at the same time every bit is inextricably and necessarily one with the entire cosmic reality, and has no possibility of existing apart from that reality.

    I am That. You are That. All of This (cosmic reality) is That. And there is nothing other than That.

  • kevin: thanks for sharing the old movie above. Good depiction at the end of what it’ll be like when it all breaks down. i’m afraid our lot will be more drawn out and painful, maybe take a decade or two to kill everything off and usher in the new anaerobic age (or should i say “returned” rather than new). People keep planning for a future that isn’t going to be there, living in the past with respect to things like vacations, travel and the like. The food supply chain is breaking down at the source. This will be the worst horror of the Earth (to humans) as it plays out.

    Ben: that one hits the bullseye! Thanks!

    Tom

  • Bird flu spreads to six more states; officials baffled

    http://www.sott.net/article/295185-Bird-flu-spreads-to-six-more-states-officials-baffled

    “So far the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that 23 U.S. poultry farms have been infected with the deadly H5N2 avian bird flu virus in a total of at least 7 states, including California, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas bringing the number of dead dinner birds, turkeys, to over 1.2 million in total as officials race the clock to contain the outbreak.

    While officials maintain the massive die off, culling, of the fowl should pose little to no health threat to the general public, the loss has added to growing fears that this years poultry stock will weigh in at an all-time low. And coupled with the fact that California’s extreme drought situation might affect up to 50% of America’s, fruit, vegetable and nut supply within the next year or two we may soon be facing a massive food crisis.” [there’s more]

    and if i could have about 30 seconds of your time:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHbjFSi1Pg

  • +20c today (minus 20c 1 month ago)
    everybody is estatic: is this not gorgeous! and it smells spring!

    to me it smells like death. the sky who exceptionnaly had only a tin veil this morning is now pale gray. the trees are in their last throes. the smell is awful the air is thick. there are garbage, garbage, garbage and dust everywhere. nature is dying in our face and everything built by us is old and broken. the cement is deterioting fast and returning to powder everywhere in the cement city. and thre is a lot of it.

    and there won’t be any stars tonight.
    mind you, when the stars will come back, it will mean that the planes are not flying and that global dimming is subsiding, which will engage very abrupt changes

  • Thanks, Tom!
    ==

    Objectively Speaking

    Doom’s not right or wrong from afar—
    Say, for instance, from some distant star,
    And it’s not bad or good,
    But, best understood,
    It’s simply the way that things are.

  • Hang the spammers first, then the politicians.

    @don_key

    You want flies with dat?

  • Stars Take Position

    I assume as human beings every one of us is potentially great. That we’re like seeds. And though in the plant and animal kingdoms individuality resides in the species, in the human species each member is as a species unto his or her self.
    We’re all different. And given conditions, any one of us can rise to his or her individual destiny…just like in the movies.

    And the right conditions for such fulfillment of the individual are love,peace, and freedom. And Independence is the key because there’s no love without peace, no peace without freedom, no freedom without independence, and no independence without health. And the new one, one more, no more time. Oh well!

    Yet as always, the Conscious way is with understanding of the issue, to take a position, and act accordingly. Companionately

  • @milendia, I don’t know where you are but we are experiencing the same thing. It is 75F right now in Central VT, and everyone seems to think that is just great. Two weeks ago the high was not even above freezing.

    We are closing on a piece of land on Thursday. It has some areas of forest with running streams. But you go in there, and you can’t smell anything.. it doesn’t smell right: there’s no odor of pine resin or fresh/oxygen, or mushrooms.. it’s wet, but there’s no smell of wet earth… don’t even get me started on how the trees look. The first branch I touched, of a young ash or elder.. some smooth-barked species, snapped off in my hand. This is a young tree at the edge of a clearing. I see many trees with the bark just flaking off, leaving the white trunks visible. One might say it was “inexplicable”.

    People who think Guy is the head of a “death cult” who has some reason to exaggerate the timeline for collapse of the natural world as we know it.. perhaps have not been out-of-doors in a while?

  • @ ogardener: Sure! 😀
    ==

    We Are Stardust

    Though we die, after death we’ll still be
    Part of all of the glory we see;
    I’m hoping this view
    Might prove helpful to you,
    ‘Cause it hasn’t done too much for me.

  • hi Lidia,
    I am in Montreal, pretty close to you. And here is what Gail tells me on witsend about New Jersey: “Michele – where the hell is spring? The peepers came out but are confined to a tiny wet patch near a spring, when they used to be everywhere in the woods, and up and down the road for miles around. There are hardly any birds. Even the weeds aren’t sprouting with any vigor.

    I think something is up.”

  • @Lidia and milendia,

    I totally empathize with the two of you. I’m here in St. Paul, MN and everyone is raving about the lovely early Spring. I, however, find it to be very disconcerting and creepy. The wind yesterday was something I haven’t seen. Thank God there were no leaves on the trees yet or we would’ve had hundreds of trees down across the Metro. I, too, no longer smell that old “sweet earthy” fragrance of Spring. Just no smell at all. I started to notice it around 2005. People just poo-pooed me and told me it’s because I was getting older and losing my sense of smell (I’m currently 47…. so NOT that old). Anyhow, I see it everywhere…. the trees look sick and stressed, it’s drier than it should be (we’re not getting the soaking rains here in the Fall nor the Spring). And yet people just go on about their busy lives, not realizing that we’ve gone off the proverbial Cliff. We’re just waiting to crash at the end of our plummet.

    P.S. I LOVE VT and Quebec. Such a beautiful part of North America! Take care.

    Patrick

  • David Crosby – Orleans (1971)

    Like it or not it’s a numbers game.

  • @Lydia “People who think Guy is the head of a “death cult” who has some reason to exaggerate the timeline for collapse of the natural world as we know it.. perhaps have not been out-of-doors in a while?”

    Quite so. Seems some folks are spending too much time cooped-up indoors writing their persnickety little blogs, and not enough time outside experiencing what’s left of the natural world (for what little time remains
    ).

  • @milendia, this is your new nickname? Good to hear from you.

    @cuntagious, we likely have the same person in mind. At least you seem to have been spared the ax.

  • ‘We are already free.. Moksha is the simplest thing.’

    simple perhaps if one ‘chooses’ to commit suicide. that’s the only way i can see to become free of the chains of both ‘authority’ and biology. and then it’s only perhaps, because one never knows what lies ‘on the other side’.

  • Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
    Watching the pier as the ship slips away,or what it will seem like
    When he’s held by the sea’s roar,motionless,there at the end,
    Or what he shall hope for once it is clear he’ll never go back.

    When the time has passed to prune the roses or caress the cat,
    When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
    No longer appear,not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
    When the weight of the past leans against nothing,and the sky

    Is no more than remembered light,and the stories of cirrus
    And cumulus come to a close,and all the birds are suspended in flight,
    Not every man knows what is waiting for him,or what he shall sing
    When the ship he is on slips into darkness,there at the end.

    Mark Strand ‘The End’

  • The latest post includes a guest essay and also a recent presentation. Catch all the action here.

  • Landfall

    And indeed,I shall anchor,one day–some summer morning
    of sunflowers and bougainvillea and arid wind–
    and smoking a black cigar,one hand on the mast,
    turn,and unlade my eyes of all their cargo;
    and the parrot will speed from my shoulder,and white yachts glide
    welcoming out from the shore on the turquoise tide.

    And when they ask me where I have been,I shall say
    I do not remember.

    And when they ask me what I have seen,I shall say
    I remember nothing.

    And if they ever tempt me to speak again,
    I shall smile, and refrain.

    Randolph Stow

  • Don’t damage the Web:

    HTML offers many of the conventional publishing idioms for rich text and structured documents, but what separates it from most other markup languages is its features for hypertext and interactive documents. This section introduces the link (or hyperlink, or Web link), the basic hypertext construct. A link is a connection from one Web resource to another. Although a simple concept, the link has been one of the primary forces driving the success of the Web.” (W3 Consortium).

    “It is a damn poor mind that can only figgur one way to spell a word.” – Andrew Johnsom

  • david: they’re wonderful quotes, thank you.

    Ben: your turn at the end made me laugh! Great work.

    Lidia, milendia and Patrick: here in southeast PA the weather has waffled between a damp cold and warm over the past weeks (after a bitterly cold winter). Insects seem to be in decline here and there are so many dead, uprooted trees along the sides of the roads (if one just looks), not to mention the list of dead raccoons, possum, skunk, deer, squirrels and others, that it’s hard to be calm. There’s an undercurrent of foreboding that has to be dealt with, and it isn’t easy.

  • @Jean Turcot: “what is a human if he/she is not an island?”

    A mass of (for the most part) symbiotic cells, the largest component of which are bacteria. A happening. As Buckminster Fuller put it, “I Seem to Be a Verb”.

    The “island” metaphor is woefully misbegotten.

    “Freedom is the most important asset of any living organism.” No, there is no such thing as a “free” organism. All live in dependency and context. Freedom is a modern illusion and conceit, as I see it.

    “most things in life are free”
    Nothing in life is free, as all are subject to energy exchanges. You live because you’ve taken the life of plants and/or other animals, to their cost.

    That freedom is a delusion does not arise merely from cultural baggage, but from physical reality.

  • I hope to be at your event on 25th April in Holborn, London.

    The only time the world can be saved from extinction is when there is a very profound crisis.

    My central argument is that humanity will not take the crisis of Global Warming as an existential threat until there are desperately severe consequences, such as the crossing of the Berkeley line, an ice free arctic ocean, a drought in Amazonia so serious that a large part of the forest burns down or a similar event in scale.

    At this time it will appear that most life on earth is doomed. However if we plan what wee must do at this time then we will have the only chance there is of saving life on earth.

    We have not passed the point of no return as you assume Dr Mcpherson.
    I will share my ideas when I see you.

    We can do what we must and life on this planet can be saved.

    Looking forward to meeting you.

    John B Davies My own very personal view.

    .