Edge of Extinction: Even Frank Capra Knew

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My 31 March 2015 interview with Gary Null begins at the 38:20 mark. Catch it here.

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Carolyn Baker and I were interviewed by Michael Stone 31 March 2015. Catch the description and audio here. Audio is also embedded below, from SoundCloud.

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If you’re interested in funding an assistant to travel with me to 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

Wednesday, April 8th 12:30 am
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.

This week’s show was hosted by Pauline Schneider. She was joined by Carolyn Baker for a wide-ranging conversation. The archived episode is 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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6-30 April 2015, western Europe (additional details forthcoming, and follow the tour at guymcpherson.net and also on Facebook)

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McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. 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 43

  • The year I was born. Eight years after the Great Accleration began.
    http://www.igbp.net/news/pressreleases/pressreleases/planetarydashboardshowsgreataccelerationinhumanactivitysince1950.5.950c2fa1495db7081eb42.html

    Forget Climate Change And Methane Just For A Second!!!

    01) Right now, 1 billion people walk over a mile each day for water.
    02) By 2025, 66% of humanity will be short of water.
    03) We must grow more food in 50 years than we grew in 500 years.
    04) We need 6 million hectares of new farmland every single year to do it.
    05) But, we lose 12 million hectares every year to soil degradation and loss.
    06) At this rate, earth only has 60 years of farming left.
    07) We passed world peak production of wheat, soy, corn and fish in 2006.
    08) Our crop and pasture lands caused 80% of land vertebrate extinctions.
    09) In 10 years the killing for food and water starts big time.
    10) GMO MONOCROP LIVESTOCK AGRIBUSINESS IS A SUPRA-NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT.

    We use 10 calories of fossil fuel to grow 1 calorie of food while,
    we sit on our asses and twaddle and twit the day away.
    It’s not about internet fame.
    It’s about brother farmland brother for farmland in Burundi
    It’s about cattle rustling and fishermen-pirates on the Horn of Africa.
    It’s about Thai fishing boat slavers.

    Nature doesn’t care who’s to blame or if,
    noble savages are worse than chimps or if,
    hunter gatherers are as peaceful as Bonobos or,
    how far you got your head up Buddha’s ass.

    Get your Collapse Data Cheat Sheet here! Start kicking ass.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/comments/311m7d/collapse_data_cheat_sheet/

  • Drawing on her lifetime of personal deeply developed spirituality & using all explanatory Jungian buzzwords complete with psyches, spirits, archetypes, & collective consciousness(es); Carolyn lectures & PRESCRIBES for the drowning, miserable, desperate, hungry, thirsty, “always wet ” GRIEVING displaced Bangledesh peasant farmers.

    Carolyn “knows” how to deal with it,. It’s a spiritual thing. Everything is spiritual.

    Calling of the wisdom of William Blake, Carolyn advises;

    “The deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy,” wrote William Blake. In fact, grief is a doorway—a corridor to unknown, disowned, or dormant parts of the psyche that may incite, even inflame our creativity and most precious human gifts.”

    Playing Cher in the film, MOONSTRUCK, Carolyn dictates; “Get over it, see the fucking joy in it all.”

    This is your chance to go through the mystical “doorway” & use your agony & grief constructively as you develop your spirituality.

    Spirituality heals all gaping wounds – it’s a metaphorical thing.

    Having helplessly watched your children drown can liberate & unleash the mystical power of your unknown dormant psyche.

    Joe Campbell told us for Chrissake; “It’s all in the psyche.”

    …and a doorway into the unknown, too.

    Such indescribile horror can inflame your creativity & finally get you to the essence(s) found in profound Jungian insight(s).

    Carolyn says; you need to be creative in the face of all your gruesome misery, excruciating pain, soaking wet crotches, & suffering unto death.

    Remember this always; “The deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy,” wrote William Blake. In fact, grief is a doorway—a corridor to unknown, disowned, or dormant parts of the psyche that may incite, even inflame our creativity and most precious human gifts.”

    Oh art, oh beauty, oh spirituality, oh psyches, oh Gawd, oh shit …

    Unreported World: Bangladesh – The Drowning Country
    at Youtube

  • I think that Callaghan may be a prevert.

    A challenged philosophy major from UMass
    Put her head up the Bhuddha’s ass
    She was mumbling some shit about Jung
    When her head hit a foul bolus of dung
    Phew, that methane is real powerful gas.

    And she changed her major to medieval Irish literature fast too I think.

  • Even Frank Capra Knew

    That is why there is evidence, as in the recent Germanwings Flight 9525 event, that a murder-suicide (a.k.a. ecocide) is the reality before us.

    There is, then, reason for blame, guilt, and fault (MOMCOM’s Mass Suicide & Murder Pact, 2, 3, 4, 5).

    We are being murdered by Oil-Qaeda (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment).

  • UNchained reactions Nuclear power plants at Turkey point Miami & Port St. Lucie Florida use Atlantic salt water cooling. Due to alterations in gulf current and ocean temps the NRC has already raised cool level permits to 100f. Severe oxygen depletion, rapid coastal C02 acidification & hydrogen sulphide are having unplanned impacts on stations.

    The 2009 mystery salt water plume at Turkey point has returned. Marine photic zone euxinia is a serious concern. Discharge & radionuclide’s alter anoxic & euxinic conditions which affect plankton food chains. Since less than 1% care about Fukishima because it is in Japan and Pacific ocean rad levels are in flux http://www.NNSA.genergy.gov emergency operations & consequence management funds are getting cut. Lack of US public concern speaks volumes about priorities. % plants on the New Madrid fault zone. Russian generals openly planning to nuke Yellowstone & our soft spots. Naturally a few will hate to even be warned but many issues are coming up to bat.

  • Gerald…you may be a prevert…funny stuff

  • Robert Callaghan

    I was born in the year 1950, the year indicated for the commencement of the great acceleration off the cliff.

    I hope there is no connection.

    In the early 1950s food rationing ended in Britain, the rebuilding of the industrial economies of Japan and Germany got seriously underway, and a small group of humans at the top of the social pyramid decided the best way to solve international disputes was to kill the people who disagreed with them, again (Korean War, with Indo-China bubbling along in the background). As always, they chose to use other people’s children to do the dirty work. But what’s the use of having an Offence (Offense?) Department if you aren’t allowed to opportunity to offend?

    In the USA, McCarthy was successful in destroying the lives of a large number of people who thought that co-operative living really
    wasn’t such a bad idea. The early 1950s marked the resurgence of the ]if-you-disagree-you-get-annihilated approach to international and domestic relations.

    The Fuzzy-Wuzzies and aboriginal people who assisted protecting ‘the empires’ Australian sector from Japanese takeover found themselves to be third-class ‘citizens’ once again.

    Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

  • Gerald Spezio

    There is something in what you write in sarcasm and ridicule of Carolyn’s spiritual and Jungian views on grief – the wound and healing. I don’t feel so inclined to ridicule her, either personally, nor those particular views she has, but your sarcasm does bring to the foreground a thorny issue with spirituality, subjectivity, and the reigning paradigm of materialism and scientific reductionism.

    My take is this:

    Traditionally, in first nations people cultures, and within spiritual traditions of larger civilisations, all things authentically spiritual have had a cultural context shielded from the everyday sensibility, the everyday practical zones of living.

    When the right moments arrive, usually there was an initiation through ceremony, a kind of boundary, enacted, to create a meaningful, and discrete distance from the everyday. This is because subjectivity needs to be protected from the accusations of meaningless intangible linguistic homily, the kind above you direct at Carolyn. One could appreciate that there are a whole lot of ritualistic containment around the initiation, but the pertinent point is that the person, or subject, is initiating the change, or opening themselves. The large monolithic religions of civilisations, many now seen as empty vehicles for ecocidal Patriarchy and power, were originally concerned with creating a powerful frame to induce the kind of Ego death, or release from the separative experience of self, into a larger one, that Jung and here Carolyn may call the collective, or even Archetypal.
    The kind of ridicule you heap on them is truly funny to me, if I remove the personal jibe about Carolyn, I must add, because I myself have at times worn that critical hat when looking at this material.

    That is all a fair cop in this context, as she is putting out into the market-place(town centre), as Jung himself did, a ‘Realist’ characterisation of subtle subjective sameness-the non material dimension of our being, i.e. our consciousness, regardless of culture and ‘race’.

    The world of things and actions of bodies in motion can all be interrogated and discuss clearly in a public everyday setting, and agreed upon, mostly,(the really difficult stuff is always disputed, like who started the wars?).

    However, when we move into the subtle dimension of experiencing being human, the assertion is that there are similar levels of patterning in the way we are operating here(on the planet), and to say that grief is a door, is to me very real, but you have to experience such to validate some of what Carolyn and Jung an Joey Campbell are writing about. You cant experience it as Hamlet proposed, only in the ‘mind’, if you want to grow.

    The door they point out is what Saturn represents in Indo-European Astrology. The subjective place where the heart and the individual willpower meet. The ‘iris of being’ I call it, (in my own room).

    Traditionally, Saturn is depicted like Death, the cold finger which brings nothing but pain and suffering and limitation. However that is only how the separative Ego sees it. If you pass through that door, either willingly, via heroic need and struggle, or unwillingly through grief and love and loss, then you become sensitive to your greater being, and when understood, one begins to see that the Ego activity is a self made suffering.

    When this rather subtle understanding of how we self define, gets plastered into the market place, its context is no longer shielded from the now vigilant and all pervasive reductionist Scientific even Newtonian cosmology, that still ask, where is this consciousness so much talked about?

    So the suffering of cyclone ravaged island peoples is not ‘all an illusion of their own making’, only a child would propose such a thing, but the suffering caused by my pizza arriving late so my mates and I can watch the game, or tearing a fingernail before a date, is a kind of suffering we can probably see as self created, or Ego based. If we get a little closer to the middle, when we are talking about wounding, it usually centres around our adaptations of deeper needs, and feeling connections with others are where it is at.
    This world, I would assert is a wound, if engaged fully, and the rather tricky part is to not shut down, or contract, your own ‘Iris of being’ down to a fraction of what it is. This world culture we see falling over all around us is where collectively we are doing that, living now dominant world religion I call;
    The Way of the Separative Ego, whose creed is reductionist Scientific Materialism.
    Ones ‘Iris of being’ as I term it is the personal heart we all have, our emotional centre. However, mature individuals and cultures know intrinsically that the idea of a personal heart is an illusion, because the heart is what connects all of us, even all beings.

    If you wish to get a better sense of how these different processes enact themselves I suggest you get a copy of ‘Black Elk Speaks’, which relates the story of Black Elk, a North American Oglala Lakota medicine man, who experienced visions when his peoples were being exterminated by European settlers in the later 1800s.

    Not everyone is a powerful Sharman facing the possible extinction of their people. But everyone has a heart, and I think the issue here is what happens when individuals wear their heart, even through the asserted collective lens, on their sleeve. They risk playground taunts that recontextualise their experiences, which are asserted as commonly to us all, of an awakening to a greater, more feeling centred self, than is asserted, or validated by the playground of mind so in existence in these times.

    I can only echo the words of Khalil Gibran, the Persian Poet, in his well loved book ‘The Prophet’:

    “When love beckons to you, follow him,
    Though his ways are hard and steep.
    And When his wings enfold you yield to him,
    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
    And When he speaks to you believe in him,
    Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
    Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
    Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
    So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
    Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
    He threshes you to make you naked.
    He sifts you to free you from your husks.
    He grinds you to whiteness.
    He kneads you until you are pliant;
    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

    All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
    Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”

    It appears to be our own choice.
    Take or leave.
    😉

  • wallow in fields of made-up ignorance all day
    at night
    dance beneath a billion twinkling stars
    with a yellow moon floating
    no matter
    we die soon

  • “Until that memorable night in March, at the end of the pier, in the howling wind, never to be forgotten. When suddenly I saw the whole thing.
    The turning point…
    What I saw then…
    clear to me at last…
    That the dark I had been fighting off all this time
    is in reality my most unshatterable association.
    …til my dying day.”

    Samuel Beckett, Krap’s Last Tape Dec 1957

  • “Perhaps Robin truly experiences the suchness he speaks of,”

    Anything experienced, the experiencing and the experiencer are separate from the Witnessing Self, and therefore a part of conditioned reality, not absolute Reality.

    “not just “see” things the way they do, but “fully feel””

    Once again there is the trap of the triad: the the feeler, the feeling and the felt. Shiva’s trident is reputed to destroy all three.

    “Who am I to say “no, sir, you’re wrong!””

    Tho one who misperceives the dimly lit rope as a snake, has a moral obligation to warn others of the snake.

    “connecting with people on an emotional level,”

    The emotional level is subject to change and is therefore a part of conditional reality. The only real connection is at the level of absolute realtty, described as Kaivalya. Kaivalya is one of many descriptive labels applied to the indescribable Realised Being. One caveat: even without describability it still is Being (not the”the being”!), masquerading as the “you”, the “I”, and the self of the cockroach.

    “It doesn’t help to talk about perfection to a Native American whose ancestors were deliberately decimated with smallpox infected blankets.”

    No need to commiserate with the dinosaurs: they’re kaput. The difference with the Native Americans, of course, is that they were alive & kicking: so they had to be exterminated, with the vestiges immiserated, to make way for me. A pretty good manoeuvre, now instituted by the Australian emmeffs: commiserate now to atone for bygone immiseration.

    And by the by, some rematning dinosaurs were exterminated (passenger pigeons) while others proved useful: KFC, anyone?

    “It is in order to clarify my own nascent understandings”

    Understandings are constrained by time-space-causation. Conscious awareness absent all understandings, is not so constrained and is not subject to clarification or obfuscation.

    Blaming is inserting suggical spreaders into the blamer’s reptilian brain to keep the blamer’s wound open. Forgiveness is a scar. Suchness is the disappoarance of the scar.

  • “Never mind that shit, here comes MONGO!” [Blazing Saddles]

    [from April First, and it’s no joke]

    http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/

    More mysterious city-shaking explosions alarm people, this time in Bordentown and Hamilton (New Jersey)

    Huge underground electrical fire hits coastal London (Britain), manholes spit fire, thousands evacuated

    Quote: “More than 2,000 people were evacuated from buildings in central London this afternoon as toxic smoke filled the streets. The Metropolitan Police declared a ‘major incident’ after blocks housing businesses and part of the London School of Economics were cleared by the emergency services.”

    Quote: “Earlier, onlookers reported struggling to breathe and ‘chaos’ in and around Holborn.”

    Quote: “Amazing photographs have captured how huge swathes of central London were plunged into darkness due to a major underground fire. An incredible aerial shot taken from the London Eye shows the area affected by the power cut almost completely blacked out after the blaze in Holborn.”

    Underground electrical fire hits Finsbury Park area in coastal London (Britain)

    Underground electrical fire breaks out at airport in Ikeja (Nigeria)

    Oil drilling rig bursts into flame in the Gulf of Mexico, at least 4 killed, 45 injured

    Quote: “At least four people have died and 45 others are believed to have been injured in a fire at an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the nation’s state-owned oil company and local emergency services have said. Some 300 workers were evacuated from the Abkatun Permanente shallow-water platform in the Campeche Sound early on Wednesday morning, according Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.”

    Quote: “A massive ball of flames engulfed an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, killing four people and sending terrified workers jumping into the sea.”

    In case you missed it:

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2015/03/methane-levels-early-2015.html

    Methane Levels Early 2015

    “Further study of the locations with high methane levels indicates that much of the additional methane appears to originate from releases at higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, in particular from the Arctic Ocean, from where it is over time descending toward the equator (methane will typically move closer to the equator over time as it rises in altitude, as discussed in this earlier post).”

    [but of course, these two are COMPLETELY UNRELATED . . . .April Fools!]

  • Tom,

    Hell, I am hoping somebody has found a way to attack capitalism w/o taking the blame with these bizarre fireballs. Maybe someone has invented (progress) a way to help activate methane pockets. This is the Unabomber in spades, eh?

  • Robin Datta, you claim that there was a conscious & concerted effort/plan by all manner of monsters including the U.S. Army to exterminate plains Indians with smallpox infected blankets. Your statement is in quotes.

    “It doesn’t help to talk about perfection to a Native American whose ancestors were deliberately decimated with smallpox infected blankets.”

    I spent much energy trying to decipher the truth or falsity of this serious claim. Indeed, I believed it as gospel for many years before I carefully researched it.

    If the historical establishment is complicit in a heinous coverup, I cannot find any evidence.

    All material & physical evidence, including rigorous documentation, supports the alternative claim that it is another widely accepted hoax & myth.

    Professor Brown’s detailed scholarly analysis is just one of many debunking the smallpox myth.

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/plag/5240451.0001.009/–did-the-us-army-distribute-smallpox-blankets-to-indians?rgn=main;view=fulltext

  • Haven’t read all of this article but the beg. sounds like it always does:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/30/how-growers-gamed-california-s-drought.html

  • today I feel very strongly it will snap (or it is snapping) like an elastic. it will be sudden. it will break. tchak!
    maybe this will happen when globing dimming subsisdes, electricity goes away, and I see the stars again, and I die singing to them that we are ionized, forever, or so does it feel.

  • FUDGING THE DATA? TEACHERS GET JAIL – BANKERS GET BONUSES

    LAWFARE IN ALL ITS PRETENTIOUS LEGAL GLORY.

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/04/03/Biggest-Outrage-Atlanta-s-Crazy-Teacher-Cheating-Case

  • I absolutely am a pervert. This Indian fella was carrying rocks up a hill and setting them in a random pattern on top. His friend asked him why he was doing something so useless. He said, “To confuse the white man.”

    I don’t go for navel gazing mumbo jumbo. It is true we love stories more than truth, but we are not just stories we tell ourselves. What we really are is just lazy with too much time on our hands to make crazy shit up.

    By the time our kids are eight years old, they stare at video screens eight hours per day obsessing over fame. It takes 10 calories of fossil energy to produce 1 calories of food so that we can sit on our asses and twaddle and twitter away our day. Organic farming means hard work. Organic integrated market ecosystems is just a string of words I put together to sound smart so I can get out of work.

    Drought’s invisible hand.

    Loony Toons
    http://thenib.com/the-breakdown-c7cfaebc1b18

    Elemental hi-tech shortages.

    A Periodic Table Of Elements That The World Is Running Out Of from EverythingScience

    1,000 words per picture
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/gallery/2015/apr/01/over-population-over-consumption-in-pictures

  • Callaghan; The “Over-development, Over-consumption & Overshoot” site is very effective – always better than words.

    The grisly shots of ugly urban squalor in Mexico City & Haiti really blasted me.

    All the talk about what will happen in the future to the carbon spewers like me needs a good visual dose of what is happening to the suffering poor right now.

  • “Robin Datta, you claim that there was a conscious & concerted effort/plan by all manner of monsters including the U.S. Army to exterminate plains Indians with smallpox infected blankets. Your statement is in quotes.”

    Quotes to indicate that the author of the comment was someone else. Carried over from the preceding NBL post. Any comment on that comment should be directed to the author.

  • Hi Lidia,

    You said, “And yet you believe in evolution, I assume, which cannot work without the weighing hand of death or infertility.”

    —-

    I believe in evolution because I sense it happening around me. Migratory birds are evolving and changing their routes to cope with climate change. Some species are becoming smaller in size over generations to cope with food shortages. And yet there’s a kind of intelligence in evolution, one characterized by innumerable 1:1 interactions between participants in a truly anarchic fashion. It’s not describable in a mechanical way like we describe a complex piece of machinery. At the same time, anarchy doesn’t imply lawlessness. There are plenty of laws and rules of thumb but what guides behavior is respect toward another. I don’t put much stock in theories of evolution, theories of survival of the fittest (who defines “fittest”, fit for what?), etc. I find it amusing when Scientists go looking for the “evolutionary reason” for the lion’s mane or the feathers of a peacock, and after not being able to find a good reason, they give up and say, “oh, it helps to attract mates”… But then, someone pops the question why mates are important and they’re all happy to discuss the selfish gene theory. I think the feathers of a peacock are there because the peacock’s ancestors a long time ago wanted them, not just to attract a mate, but to express themselves in a way that brings joy to anyone or anything that comes upon them. Earth is full of such beings that are given to unique expressions of beauty. It’s not just peacocks that find their feathers beautiful, but humans too and it’s a gift for us too. To behold and leave them be, not steal the feathers. It pains me to hear of stories where they violently rip the feathers off a bird to put them in display cases in homes, leaving the bird to suffer a painful death. If this is how we define “the fittest”, I say, no thanks! If the fittest can’t pause at the beauty that exists in the creation all around us (regretfully a lot less of it exists now than a while ago when man decided to “own” and “possess” it) and take it for what it is, we’re already dead. Sometimes I think we already went extinct a while ago, when we stopped co-evolving alongside other beings and in tune with them and with the Land. No sane participant thinks of itself as the fittest. Or we wouldn’t have had such dazzling beauty and variety of expression as seen in the birds of paradise.

    Intelligence is not about mastery of spearheads and coming up with more efficient means of surprising and vanquishing the enemy but a deep understanding of how millions of creatures, animate and inanimate, interact with each other in subtle and gentle ways over long periods of time, where each species, in fact, each “individual” is free to explore its own creativity and offer its gifts to the rest of creation. We no longer define intelligence this way, of course. And we have long lost the memory of how we used to live. And we don’t listen to the few who can still tell us the way it is. We instead send bulldozers to show them who the “fittest” is.

    It’s my belief that many of our Scientific theories on evolution have themselves evolved too late in the game to make any sense. They mainly exist to perpetuate the thinking that created them in the first place. What do we really know, those of us who lead lives separated from the rest of creation? It’s pathetic and we should be ashamed of our arrogance. It baffles me that we know we’re in deep trouble and yet insist on clinging to the stories that have brought us here. And we fail to see how these stories are spread around in society through mandatory schooling and so-called “higher education”. A friend of mine went to Africa to volunteer to build a school there in a rural community and teach them about the wonders of Science. I tried to tell him to leave those villagers alone but the strong winds of dominant culture took him there anyway. He was treated like a rock star, of course. And he came back triumphant. To me, it is just another example of how cancer spreads. Maybe cancer specialists and oncologists should study the human cancer on the planet to understand how cancer in the human body works.

    Again, I think many ancient cultures knew very well how to limit their numbers without “sending babies back”. Abstinence, herbs, cycles, and probably a dozen other ways to avoid unwanted children and unnecessary suffering. It’s likely that many cultures did send back babies or sent away elderly people to maintain their numbers or did other things that today would seem unconscionable. In some cultures, elderly people voluntarily went away (contrast that with Millions of elderly Americans suffering agonizing painful declines because they don’t have health insurance and no hospital would admit them because it’s not an “emergency”). At the same time, sick elderly people are forcibly kept alive against their will on life support until their children can agree on how to divide the estate. OK, I know I make it seem like all modern humans do that. But that’s how it seems when people say all ancients did this or that. If we can have such diversity in the one particularly dominant culture of today, we can only imagine how much diversity must have been in the 10,000 ancient cultures that thrived for 99% of our time on Earth. Consider the thousands of languages. My native language from India is quite dissimilar to the one spoken in the state neighboring mine. You fly an hour South and you run into a rather different language, one that’s written differently and spoken differently, one that I don’t understand at all. Fly West, fly North, and I have more languages I don’t understand. And there are thousands of dialects within languages. That’s evolution at work (although I wonder if the invention of language messed up our ability to listen to other beings), coming up with mind-boggling variety and expressiveness. And yet, there’s no concept of “fittest”. It’s the “One” engaging in delightful play, coming up with more and more ways of appreciating itself.

    I know most people (including my former self) don’t look at evolution this way… it’s more about the hard reality of survival, cleaning out opponents to spread one’s genes, gaining mastery over a bigger and bigger chunk of and more and more aspects of creation. These are the stories we believe in today and these are the stories we enact and hence we see a reality that “validates” the stories. Talk about positive feedback loops. Of course, it’s survival of the fittest today. It’s a war zone out there. Everywhere on the planet. You’d definitely want little Timmy to get that before he gets taken for roadkill. There’s a little Timmy in all of us. We just need to become aware of him.

    My full-blooded Native American friend who lives in the US North West tells me people are afraid of her. Afraid to talk to her, to get to know her, to even have a conversation. She’s a free spirit and she just walks up to people and starts chatting with them. There’s a lot of fear in our culture, and deep in our bones. And one of the deepest fears is the fear of death. As I said before, I think it has something to do with the idea of individualism. The human body wouldn’t exist if cells didn’t die and get replaced by newer cells. The cell lives in support of the larger whole and as long as it lives, it contributes to the well-being of the whole. We, human cells, have done that too for a while. But today, we worry ourselves to death over our piece of the action instead of understanding how we all support the health of our Mother, the Earth. Is it any wonder the Earth is dying?

  • i can relate equally well to both sides of the blame game debate. on the one hand it’s intuitively and intellectually obvious to me that no one is born ‘evil’ or good, and whatever we turn out to be is wholly due to things out of our control, namely the unique genes and environment we’re all subject to. ‘meat robots’, indeed. under different circumstances or/and with different genes, we’d all be different sheeple. any one of us could easily be the sherson or sort of sherson we now deplore and are inclined to condemn.

    on the other hand, i’m definitely inclined to condemn those i see as most responsible for our harsh fate/follies. perhaps all of us are ‘guilty’, more or less responsible. i tend to hone in on the last part of that sentence, the ‘more or less’. it seems some individuals are far more responsible, while some are far less. big difference. like the difference between facing nte and perhaps not. the difference between a devastated environment and a durable one.

    sigh. of course, it is what it is. meat robots, flawed and mortal.

  • An interesting post,Satish. For those interested in bird evolution and behaviour,an excellent recent book is ‘Where Song Began’ by Tim Low.
    Sexual selection theory is quite sound. Birds appreciate beauty just as we do. It’s not the case that the male peacock’wants’ a more showy tail. The mutations allowing that have to occur first,and if the females find the result to be more attractive,and the male with those mutations then has more matings and leaves more offspring than competing males, then that mutation becomes more frequent in the next generation.
    No doubt everyone here realizes that it is a gradual process,and in the early stages of the evolution of the peacocks tail,for example, the tail was much less showy than it is today,and became more showy over time as the sexual selection process continued.

  • @Satish, I think you misunderstand evolution, which is a pretty common thing. It’s not a process with an end in mind. Those who would say an organism evolved X to fulfill Y goal are utterly incorrect. All a trait has to do is NOT be detrimental to survival. After that basic requirement is fulfilled, it may or may not enhance reproduction. That is it.

    A lion’s mane may very well have nothing to do with his fitness; it may very well be random as far as we can see. Evolution is a process that happens AFTER randomness shuffles the cards. (Well, a randomness that is never truly random, anyway, but just a measure of our dearth of perception.)

    This is not how I *want* things to be, a story I *want* to tell: this is the reality that—as you observe—everything around us expresses.

    You say you can’t “define fitness”? I can: alive vs. dead.
    Individuals who are “unfit” die without reproducing. Everything else you have introduced into the discussion is emotional or wishful thinking, and preconceived notions of good/bad/right/wrong that have no bearing on what I am talking about.

    Specimen hunters violating animals is neither here nor there when what we are talking about is assessing the outcome of genetic expression. It may be worth decrying such cruelty but it is irrelevant except to the extent that humans who wantonly abuse other beings and the environment set the stage for their own eventual unfitness.


    I agree with you about your “development-minded” friend.
    I am a super-huge fan of Ivan Illich.


    A delightful conceit of the varieties of languages in the Indian sub-continent, but perhaps not one that forwards your argument: most educated Indians speak English and are proud to do so, isn’t that so?. From what I understand it is almost a necessity for folks to be able to communicate within the nation’s boundaries. That capacity has made them “fit” to advance their prospects in their national as well as the global marketplace, affording them the possibility of greater material wealth, better mating options, etc.

    Look, I am not promoting this state of affairs, I am observing it. I am confident you can appreciate the distinction!


    “Is it any wonder the Earth is dying?” No, because that was always its fate, just as it is the fate of every one of us. Guy, in his lectures, makes it a point to illustrate how close to the edge of habitability the planet has always been.

    What life has done is an incredible job of absorbing energy that would, paradoxically, otherwise have made the planet less-inhabitable.. This is the energy we see being unleashed right now which will lead to our demise. Life’s expression manifested a detour.. a buffer, and put that all to use creating the multitude of things you see. But it was never guaranteed to last forever.


    I am absolutely certain I did not use the word “intelligence” in my post. I only said that spearheads were a technology that helped humans reproduce more humans. No more, no less.

    I don’t ascribe to any notion of progress or any notion of humans possessing “intelligence”. Did you actually read my last post on the previous thread—the one you’re ostensibly responding to?? …because I was arguing the opposite, rather!!

    🙂

  • Lidia & SATISH & OZ man. What an amazing conversation. Birds of Paradise to all. Excellent points & counter views. Everyone here is creating a full spectrum of thoughts. Not to be passover under the blood moon.

  • And whoever wields the biggest cudgel “wins.”

  • The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%.

    The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

  • Just got a 404 page not found error when I tried to post a comment.

  • david higham and Lidia,

    I’m going to try and be a bit dramatic with my responses. Please don’t take it personally. I’m not upset, angry or anything like that despite the tone below…

    “It’s not the case that the male peacock’wants’ a more showy tail.”

    How do we know that? How do we know the male peacock didn’t ask for what it got? How do we know it is stuck with whatever some “random” selection process decided for it?

    We know it from popular Science, biology courses in school, perhaps mainstream media, perhaps parents, friends, etc. We “know” it from the times and culture we live in. Let me speak for myself for a moment… I learned about evolution and sexual selection from school courses and media, all of which are aspects of the dominant culture. When I realized that we’re at the edge of extinction, peak everything, etc., I traced the reasons for our predicament to what our culture believes in and the stories that it tells us. I came to this conclusion after much research and contemplation. I discarded most of the stories that I “knew” and went back to a more or less blank slate. One of the stories I discarded was the deterministic/fatalistic/stochastic/mechanistic view of the world, elaborated further below.

    “I think you misunderstand evolution, which is a pretty common thing. It’s not a process with an end in mind.”

    I don’t think it’s a process with an end in mind at all… in fact, quite the opposite. Every moment is ushered in by the choices we and other beings around us (as well as the creation we interact with) have made and continue to make moment to moment.

    “A lion’s mane may very well have nothing to do with his fitness; it may very well be random as far as we can see.”

    Yes, the old friend, Mr. Random. He has been a nice cover for Scientists and others to hide behind when push came to shove.

    You said it yourself: “a randomness that is never truly random, anyway, but just a measure of our dearth of perception.” If it’s not truly random, how did the lion’s mane come about? A few million not-truly-random mutations in its genes, followed by not-truly-random mating rituals, survival fights and such, followed by more not-truly-random mutations and on and on. If we’re listening, we’d find out that nothing is random.

  • Lidia, I have much more to say but I can’t post it here for some reason. I keep getting the 404 error. But I posted it all on my blog. You know where to find it.

  • [hat tip Alexander Ač from the comments @ robertscribbler’s latest post]

    Remember the story of methane craters? Here is the scientific report

    http://www.rgo.ru/sites/default/files/gi214_sverka.pdf

    NEW PERMAFROST FEATURE –
    DEEP CRATER IN CENTRAL YAMAL
    (WEST SIBERIA, RUSSIA) AS A RESPONSE
    TO LOCAL CLIMATE FLUCTUATIONS

    ABSTRACT.
    This paper is based on field
    data obtained during short visits to a newly
    formed permafrost feature in a form of
    relatively narrow, deep crater. Excluding
    impossible and improbable versions
    of the crater’s development, the authors
    conclude that it originated from warmer
    ground temperatures and an increase in
    unfrozen water content, leading to an
    increase in pressure from gas emissions from
    permafrost and ground ice. This conclusion
    is also supported by known processes in the
    palaeo-geography of Yamal lakes and recent
    studies of gas-hydrate behavior and subsea
    processes in gas-bearing provinces.

    oh, and in case you just came out of hibernation:

    http://moneymorning.com/ext/articles/rickards/cia-insider-breaks-silence-on-global-currency-wars-desktop.php?iris=349699&ad=silence-sm

    CIA Insider Breaks Silence on Global Currency Wars [5 min. video incl.]

    “Should the rise of conflicts across the Middle East and Ukraine serve as a warning sign that something much more dangerous is approaching?

    According to Jim Rickards, the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Advisor, the answer is yes.

    In a startling interview he reveals that all 16 U.S. Intelligence Agencies have begun to prepare for World War III.

    Making matters worse, his colleagues believe it could begin within the next 6 months.”

  • Yes, this claim is very dramatic, & appears to be garbled nonsense to me.

    “I discarded most of the stories that I “knew” and went back to a more or less blank slate. One of the stories I discarded was the deterministic/fatalistic/stochastic/mechanistic view of the world, elaborated further below.”

    Did you keep any “stories,” such as physics, chemistry, or molecular biology to name a few “stories,” that practicing scientists use regularly.

    Please state the stories, if any, that you use now.
    Just how how blank is your slate?

    You cavalierly say that you jettisoned; “the deterministic/fatalistic/stochastic/mechanistic view of the world.”

    What did you replace determinism with?

    Determinism is a attempt to demonstrate how the world works.

    As a grunt on planet earth, I always revert to the axiom; “Science is determinism.”

  • With regard to “spirituality”, Caroline, myself, and others – and our critics:

    “Do not give what is sacred to dogs, or cast your pearls before swine, lest they turn and rend you.”

    Junayd told his pupil Mansur al-Hallaj, “Do not speak your truth in public.” He nevertheless did so, and was killed.

    Bhagavad Gita: The wise should not create confusion in the minds of the ignorant (by sharing things that they are bound to misunderstand).

    Throughout history esoteric knowledge has been wrapped in protective secrecy from those not yet competent to receive it. In the 19th century this prohibition began to be set aside by some teachers who felt that the desperate plight of civilization called for a more daring policy. The results so far have been a mixed bag at best.

    In an age when scientism, narcissism, and materialism dominate the discourse of intellectuals and common folks alike, truths of our inner possibilities are mostly ignored, rejected, or distorted by
    those who might actually derive great benefit from them if they became willing to exploring those avenues.

    All the supposed reasons that an inner spiritual revolution that is needed to transform our world from the nightmare that it is won’t work are just alibis to avoid the difficult work of becoming truly human in ways that would make a peaceful, happy world possible. The enemy is not genetics, brain structure, the 2nd law of thermodynamics, or whatever – it is us. Pogo was right. And we have the power to transform ourselves and all our relations if we will awaken to that necessity, and do the work on ourselves it requires.

    @OzMan & Satish – Thanks for your recent comments. Much food for thought therein….

  • In 1885 A Paiute shaman called Wovoka believed that he was a very special shaman.
    Moreover, he believed that HIS visions were super special .

    In short order Wovoka had a powerful & profound vision/dream – the whole-ball-of-wax kind of vision.

    Wovoka’s vision was THE inner spiritual revolution in spades – all intractable problems solved – SHAZAM.

    Sweet Jesus-the-Christ (an Indian in the vision) told Wovoka in a dream that a great new awakening was coming – all of it terrific for Indians but a giant shitstorm for the white trash interlopers, troublemakers, & piss-ants.

    Long before Freud & Jung, Wovoka skillfully worked the dream metaphor as infallible authority.

    Wovoka taught that IF lots of Indians would dance a new dance, all kinds of outright miracles, esoteric magic, & big medicine would be theirs for the drumming and dancing.

    Wovoka’s vision foretold that the fuggin white settler scumbags and armed soldier-boys on horses would drown in a great flood.

    The Indians would float in the air above the flood completely safe from all the drowning, piss, vinegar, death, & destruction.

    After gently floating to the ground the Indians would be in the land of milk and honey and have soft moccasins, strong tobacco, hot sex, and fuzzy blankets for eternity.

    No more imperialism, pestilence, corruption, & perdition.

    Most importantly, the white trash with their soldiers & guns would be gone for good – finito.

    Wovoka supposedly considered calling his dance of salvation; the New Age Holy Ghost Dance, but he finally settled on Ghost Dance, for parsimony.

    The Ghost Dance vision spread like dogs in heat.
    Before you could say Geronimo – there were dancing Indians everywhere.

    “We got this country moving again,” said Wovoka.

    Yabut, here is what eventually happened.

    of white trash scumbag soldiers with rifles, pompous & preening officers, Hotchkiss cannons, and the most absurd ethics massacred more than three hundred Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

    Wovika had preached that the Indians would be be protected by the Great Ghost Dancer in the sky. But the Indians didn’t float up or down, and the scumbag whites didn’t drown.

    Dead Indians everywhere.

    Academics, especially cognitive anthropologists and lit crit artists of all persuasions, have tied to account for the bizarre & deadly phenomena.

    Bad framing (Lakoff)

    Uncle Aunt hatred/love/sex (Freud)

    An arche-typo with big consequences (Jung)

    Lack of ethics (Kant and millions of theologians).

    The wrong ethics (mentalists, ministers, priests, rabbis, & perverts)

    The wrong ideas/silly thoughts (all manner of cognitive idealists)

    Failure to communicate (Psychology 201)

    Really painful hemorrhoids (Dr. Oz)

    Politically incorrect dancing behavior (P. Swaze)

    Wrong Shaman (Carlos Castenada).

    Wrong reality (more Castenada)

    Wrong movie (Orson Welles)

    Lack of spirituality in the white trash (religion 201)

    Lack of spirituality in the Indians (religion 201)

    Dancing out of the light (Shirley Maclaine)

    “The ease with which mentalistic solutions can be conjured up on the spot should tell how much attention we should pay to them.” B.F. Skinner

    search; WOVOKA: The Paiute Messiah

  • A new post is up. Catch it here.

  • It would be nice if trashing all things inner and spiritual would help usher in an era of hyper-rational scientific paradise, but so far the results are far from anything like that. I recall when I attended the World’s Fair in NYC back in the 30’s. I was a kid dazzled by the extravagant promises of science to turn everyday life into a dream of effortless enjoyment where scientific gadgets performed all the chores we had been saddled with for ages. The great depression did not yield to these magical spells, but the ensuing world war gave the scientists something they are really good at; creating more awful means for us to torment and destroy each other, culminating in atomic weapons capable of burning and killing whole urban populations in a split second of concentrated malice.

    It is important when one undertakes the challenging task of self-transformation to be in a group that supports, rewards, shares, and offers guidance for you in this endeavor.

    The formation of a network of such groups could play an important part in giving birth to and nurturing a better, more loving and peaceful world. All the knowledge and understanding of the disaster of modern civilization and it’s causes would be a core part of such a group’s curriculum.

  • à mike K.: it is too late/impossible for “me” at this time to think of being/becoming part of any group, except a virtual group where anyway, I do not really exist.
    This non existing “I” is alone and will stay alone until the very end,
    with an invisible dead cat on my lap.

  • mike k, try to laugh as much as possible.

    It gets uglier by the minute.

    We will all be crying & dying soon enough.

  • This is the best group A rather groovy group A group that really gropes And not groupthinks And it’s the in group of the end what more could a group ask for ?
    Keep gropeing I’ll get a grip and lets do passover group hug for fun ! Happy Easter No groupies only group love and peace

  • Here is a link to some of the newer energy studies I was referring to:
    http://www.quantamagazine.org/20140122-a-new-physics-theory-of-life/

    @Satish, first of all, nothing about this view of life is incompatible with some (certainly not all) of the ‘spiritual’ or ‘energetic’ things a few of you talk about here and on your blog.

    What is notably absent, however, is the idea of Volition.

    You say, “How do we know the male peacock didn’t ask for what it got? How do we know it is stuck with whatever some “random” selection process decided for it?” Are you implying that you chose to be a man of South Asian descent rather than a Polish woman or a salamander?

    Because that’s what a lot of people think.. that people “choose” or “deserve” their circumstances or, worse yet, that they are responsible for them in some other metaphysical way. I believe this is true of some Buddhists and Hindus as well some Western religions: that if you are born into a certain caste, or you “randomly” (wink) happen to be born handicapped.. that is because of some “choice” made by a deity or a result of sins committed by a past incarnation. In all cases, there is a completely unwarranted notion of agency involved.


    Satish, I said “it may be random as far as we can see”. I don’t think a lion’s mane has to have a function, so I’m not committed to looking for one (although it’s generally true that structures requiring excessive energy to maintain become handicaps). You seem to be mistaking my arguments with those which come from the idea of pure utility, and that’s not exactly where I am coming from, either. I don’t think about anything in the universe in terms of its utility because I don’t hold there to be any. What I am describing is, in its way, quite passive. The inverse of “achieving” utility.. It’s like looking up underneath, from the bottom of a shape, rather than the top surface.. is the best way I can describe it.

    What bothers me a bit, though, is that some people seem to be lumping everything I say with [things that scientists say] and [bad things have come from science] so [I’m going to reject Lidia’s propositions because they sound like science]. You’ve explicitly acknowledged this backlash, this turning-away.

    So, yes, nothing is truly random, but is an expression of physical forces. That is not very satisfying from an emotional or romantic point of view, though, or a point of view that holds individual agency dear.

    What’s important to understand is that non-randomness is not the same thing as intention or volition.

    Implying that a peacock *wants* to have a splendid tail means you are implying that little Susie *wants* to have sickle cell anemia.. that’s just her glorious “expression” of herself?!? I find such a conceit alarming and I reject it. Does a slime mold want to be a slime mold, or would he rather evolve to be Donald Trump? Does Ebola want to be Ebola? Even if that were the case, then still… everything is as it is because it “wants” to be that way.. and that includes humans! Yet *you* want us to be different..?

    You say, “Every moment is ushered in by the choices we and other beings around us (as well as the creation we interact with) have made and continue to make moment to moment.” But I think you will find that—among the living organisms on this planet—behind these apparent “choices” there is only one: to survive another day. The arrow is only going in that direction for all creatures, by definition. Again, these things are as they are because they cannot be otherwise.

    And you’re aware, of course, of studies which show that our conscious “choices” are concocted after our bodies have already set upon a path of action..


    mike k, you think this comes from a place of “narcissism”?? and yet that is so far from the case!

    To come to terms with what I feel is a deterministic universe is the exact opposite of narcissism. It means relinquishing everything I was taught: about “progress”, about meritocracy, about justice and injustice, about my own ego and power and agency in the World, about being an individual… I had to jettison it ALL. It is total submission, not to a deity, but to the sum of forces around us that we cannot control.

    I posted somewhere, maybe here.. I forget.. these images of human settlement: http://www.globalview.gr/overpopulation-overconsumption-in-pictures-guardian/

    So many of these pictures show energetic patterns which evolved blindly.. no-one set out to “design” the landscapes this way on purpose, for the most part.. anymore than a honeybee set out with an idea of “designing” hexagonal food storage. Forms come about because of environmental forces and constraints.

    I don’t know why any of what I am saying should be so off-putting as it apparently seems to be. Reading a popular recent text written by a Buddhist, I came across the notion that the world “peoples” (as a verb). An analogy was made describing individuals as waves in an ocean, distinct yet indistinct from the surge of energy which gave rise to them.

  • @milendia – A cartoon in this week’s New Yorker. A doctor approaches a man sitting in the waiting room, and says, “I have good news and bad news about your cat Mr. Shrodinger.”

    @Gerald – I got a decent laugh out of that cartoon. But too often these days my laughter has a macabre tone like the narrator had for the darker episodes of the Twilight Zone. The exception is when my fellow addicts and I reminisce about the more bizarre behaviors and ideas we manifested in our days of fatal intoxication and madness. Nothing like a dose of gallows humor to cheer one up! Some sort of alchemy working there. There was nothing funny about those days when they were happening, and I felt powerless to escape them.

  • @Lidia – I would not equate a belief in strict determinism or fatalism with narcissism. I do feel such views are unnecessarily constricting given the fundamental role that indeterminacy plays in the universe as we presently understand it. It is also true that the more we understand reality, the more we realize the breadth and depth of our ignorance of it. Rather than feeling this fundamental uncertainty as a threat, we need to celebrate it for it’s gift of vast possibilities. Our fate is not a done deal. Hurrah! The understanding of uncertainty liberates us to enjoy our real agency and free will….