What the World Needs Now …

by Alton C. Thompson

“. . . is love,” continues the 1965 song originally sung by Jackie DeShannon (and numerous others since 1965), the music having been composed by Burt Bacharach, with lyrics being written by Hal David.  The song raises an important question, however: What is love?

At least two types of love can be identified. [1]  On the one hand there is that infatuation and attachment that arises between two members of the opposite sex which directly results in sexual intercourse (before, after, or apart from, marriage) and indirectly has the function of perpetuating the species.  That is, there is that sort of love which exists because it has a biological function.  (This is not to say, of course, that there cannot be a similar process that occurs with members of the same sex—that particular process, however, contributing nothing to a species’ continuation.)

On the other hand, there is that type of love—also likely having a biological basis—that results in behaviors of a rather different sort:  Behaviors motivated by a feeling of empathy for another in conjunction with the perception that the one for whom one is feeling empathy is lacking in well-being for one reason or another.  The behavior engaged in, consequently, is of a “helping” variety, its specific nature depending on the nature of the decision-making engaged in, and acted upon, by the “helpee” in question.

Given the following lyrics of the song (and the reference to “everyone,” specifically):

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

It seems clear that the song is referring to the second sort of love.  But our reaching that conclusion is not very helpful because, although it strongly suggests that “loving” involves not just a mental state, but consequent behavior(s):

  1. The “loving” behaviors of a given person will likely vary in their specifics over time, in different situations.
  1. The “loving” behaviors of one person over time are likely to vary from the comparable behaviors of any other person during a given period of time.
  1. The behaviors that constitute “loving” behaviors during one historical period are likely to differ from the comparable behaviors for a different historical period.

It is this third possibility that I wish to focus on in the present essay.  And the assumption that underlies the discussion that follows is that our species is on the road to extinction [2]—by about 2040 CE per John B. Davies, by 2030 CE per Guy McPherson.  And that strong possibility causes me to quote the second and fourth stanzas of the song, because both refer to Nature:

Lord, we don’t need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last until the end of time

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are corn fields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh, listen Lord, if You want to know

The references here to mountains, hillsides, oceans, rivers, meadows, sunbeams, and moonbeams (and even the human creations, corn fields and wheat fields) reminds one that Earth is filled with beauty, and simply being in Nature brings joy to one—because we became “designed,” through evolutionary mechanisms, for life on Earth, that life to be enjoyed while living our “threescore and ten.”

However, we humans have, especially since the Agricultural Revolution of 10,000 years ago, tended to treat Earth as our enemy.  In effect, we have made the “invisible hand” said to be in operation during the beginning phases of the Industrial Revolution into an invisible middle finger!  And in doing so, Nature is now taking its revenge.

How should those of us aware of the (presumed) fact of our imminent demise as a species respond to that (likely) fact?  Guy McPherson has answered this question by using “Our days are numbered.  [Therefore,] Passionately pursue a life of excellence” as the subtitle of his web site (the site itself being appropriately named “Nature Bats Last”!); and titling one of his essays “Only Love Remains.” [3]

I have no basic quarrel with either the message contained in McPherson’s website subtitle or his “only love remains” essay, but am bothered by the fact that as global warming “progresses,” it’s inevitable that increasingly will deaths be attributable to (a) starvation, (b) disease, and (c) violence—both that inflicted upon others, and upon oneself (i.e., suicides).  If McPherson’s “love” advice is followed by many, the death rate may be lower than it otherwise would be.  However, (a) that advice is unlikely to be followed by many; and (b) even those who do follow it (i.e., the “helpees”) will in time fall victim to the tragic events occurring around them.

Given the circumstances that are likely to arise in the near future, a question that arises is:  Are there other ways of loving others, ones especially fitting given the circumstances likely to arise?

In answering this question, one possibility that comes to my mind is the assisted non-living facility in which “Sol” Roth (played by Edward G. Robinson) “goes home” in the movie Soylent Green, listening to some wonderful music—parts of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony (No. 6), Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony (No. 6), and two selections from Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.”  What a way to go!

Given that suicides are likely to become increasingly more common as global warming proceeds, despite the moral strictures that we have been taught about “taking one’s own life, why not make it a pleasant experience?  By doing so, not only would those inclined toward suicide take advantage of this opportunity, but those not so inclined might see suicide as a far better option than continuing to live in pain, whatever the cause of that pain.

I am fully aware of the fact that one of the essays on McPherson’s web site has the title “Contemplating Suicide?  Please Read This.”  But surely McPherson is aware of (a) the fact that  a great deal of pain and suffering will be associated with the future, and that (b) what love of the second type involves is engaging in behaviors having the purpose of alleviating the pain of others, so that (c) assisted non-living facilities would be covered under that “love” umbrella—in thinking about the future, that is.

We already have assisted living facilities (ALFs)—which tend to be warehouses for the storage of people on the road to passing.  Wouldn’t assisted non-living facilities (ANLFs) be a far more humane sort of institution for “treating” those in pain?  Especially given that in the near future no one will have a future?!

Were such facilities to be established (unlikely, given the utter backwardness of our society—in areas where it matters!), it would be inadviseable, of course, to use the dead bodies as food sources, à la the movie.  Nor would it be necessary to prevent people from listening to music of their own choice.  After all, not everyone has the good taste to appreciate the music of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Grieg:  The sophistication of one’s tastes should neither qualify nor disqualify one from use of an ANLF for one’s termination.  In fact, if one’s preference is to eschew any music at all, that preference should be honored, of course.


  1. I assume here that the use of “love” in a phrase such as “love of country” is a misuse of the word. If one is under the illusion that one “loves” the country within which one lives, one is likely either insane, “possessed” by an ideology, or both!
  1. This is not the place to defend that proposition, but for a thorough review of relevant literate see this by Guy Mcpherson.
  1. “Love” in that essay is given the second of the two meanings for “love” discussed at the beginning of this essay.


A recent presentation by McPherson is embedded below. It’s quite long, and includes extensive Q&A. If memory serves, it’s from Edinburgh, Scotland on 8 April 2013.

Comments 83

  • I don’t comment often here because the language of science and the data presented here speaks for itself. But this particular mention of suicide brought me out. Since I was young, 16 or so, some forty years ago, I’d always taken consolation from the knowledge that I could take myself out of the game at anytime. This actually made unbearable times bearable enough. It has been a great psychological help.

    The truth is suicide is actually part of human history. It has been revered by many cultures for different reasons. In some Native American cultures, elderly members of nomadic tribes would simply wander away to die of thirst or starvation in order to save the tribe from the energy expenditure they would have to make to take care of them. This was a noble act realized and respected by all in the tribe. This level of selflessness is virtually unheard of today in American society. In Japan, suicide is a normal aspect of cultural life. From ritual suicide by Samarai to young lovers torn apart, there is an acceptance. In Ancient Greece and Rome, it was sometimes seen as the noble conclusion of a life. It was the ability to take absolute agency. And, finally, as much as Americans find it abhorrent, Islamic fighters commit suicide attacks in service to what they see as a higher calling.

    Suicide needs to be seen as more than a freakish outcome of a pathetically mentally ill life. It needs to not only be respected, but in our over populated world, it needs to be encouraged.

    We need to facilitate suicide not only with painless methods but with beautiful and meaningful ceremonies.

    I know that I will likely commit suicide in the not too distant future. I will do so because I prefer to not suffer from the Alzheimer’s that runs in my family, nor will I allow myself to become a physical burden for any reason to my family or my friends. A long, lingering wasting away where I am feebly nibbling at the souls of the more robust, is cowardly and in the most charitable language possible, counterproductive.
    I prefer complete control where not only my life is meaningful, my death, at least to me, is as well.

  • Richard Davies, that’s very thoughtful of you to approach it the way you did. Suicide is a very delicate and taboo topic indeed. It’s strange how we forcibly keep alive some of those who don’t want to live while millions of people who want to live die prematurely because they don’t have something called health insurance.

    Suicide is now the 4th major cause of death among middle aged Americans –
    US suicide rate rose sharply among middle-aged

    Suicide will likely become more normal and acceptable as things deteriorate. There will be a Hollywood film or two that cover the subject, it will be cast as an epidemic (the data for the above report comes from the CDC), a public health issue, a productivity issue, an economic issue, and it’s not hard to imagine there will be suicide clubs/cults. Suicide pacts are not uncommon in Japan.

    There’s a surge in suicides by jumping in front of trains in the San Francisco Bay Area this year: Caltrain, South Bay Communities Work to Reduce Suicides on Train Tracks


    “And while the number of deaths by suicide on the tracks started a downward trend in 2011, tragedies in 2015 have been frequent. When a 15-year-old Palo Alto High School student died Monday, the number of deaths by suicide on the system’s right of way in 2015 climbed to seven, one more than all of 2014.”

    Barely 4 months into the year and already one more than all of 2014! Palo Alto, home of Stanford, happens to be one of the wealthiest cities in the Bay Area.

    “As deaths by suicide, especially those of teenagers, continue to hit Palo Alto high schools, another concern has emerged: suicide contagion, or clustering. A suicide cluster occurs when a number of suicides occur close in time and location, or when one suicide appears to foster the next, Durbin said.

    “We’re in one,” she said. “There is no doubt we’re in one.””

    One wonders if the spate of banker suicides last year was a case of the “cluster”.

    A few years ago, I watched a documentary called “A certain kind of death” that delves into what happens to the unclaimed dead (those with no next of kin) in Los Angeles County. One of the ways they define the point of death is when one loses control of oneself and others start taking over what’s left of one’s life: one’s apartment, paperwork, bills, personal belongings, everything. A complete loss of agency. We already have little of it left and it makes me wonder if we’re not already dead in some ways, by that definition.

    The Bridge” is another documentary that is “raw” in its treatment of suicide. Here’s a clip but don’t watch it in the morning if you want to have a good day and don’t watch it at night if you are prone to nightmares.

    Add in “22 After” (which I came across right here on these pages), and we’re looking at a new genre: the “darkumentary”!

    If it gets too heavy, there’s always gallows humor to the rescue. Humor, when done well, has been known to work great at funerals.

  • Sorry, “22 After” is a work of fiction, not a documentary!

  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

  • Grief for Gaia
    1. Denial
    Cassette player, cassettes, stereo, lotsa vinyl, mountain bike, cd player, portable cd player, video game console, video game cassettes, portable video game console, holidays overseas, desktop computer, digital camera, better video game console, video game discs, laptop, downloadable video games, tv, bigger tv, HD tv, bigger HD tv, car, better car, bigger car, 4×4, new mountain bike, mobile phone, better mobile phone, better game console, super HD tv, more powerful laptop, more overseas holidays, better digital camera, notebook computer, new 4×4, house, bigger house (repeat all of above).

    2. Anger
    These MICwarmongeringbastards, childraping , womanabusing, planetscouring, BASTARDS, imposing their holocaustarmageddon apocalypsewasteland war, ravaging, poisoning with depleteduraniumlandminesphosphorus, will never rest until they have squeezed every last drop of oilbloodmoney out of the ever grieving pawns they manipulate in their centuries old godgamegreatgame faustiandevilspawn game of thrones competition for the most toys! While the boughtandsold, mediacroniespoliticianstooges spoonfeedsheepleliesanddeceit in between the tvcommercialsthatspawnunwanteddesireinthesheeple, scaredtodeath that their next superfluous meal will be snatched from their gluttonous paws.

    3. Bargaining
    Recycling of pop cans, beer cans, newspapers (filled with ephemera), not to worry, we will decrease our carbon footprint with bottle drives and girl guide cookie boxes recycled and all our techno crap spawned from buying yet another planned obsolescent garbage techno toy we will ship overseas so that those darling third world types can eke out a living breaking down our toxic waste in garbage strewn dump landscapes of apocalyptic wasteland.
    Not to worry the techno fix is online – the green utopia will save the day seeding clouds with aluminum dust, nano particles to eat up the oil spills, mirrors in space to cool the atmosphere, desalination of seas to please the thirsty souls, microbes to eat the plastic that fouls the seas.
    We’ll deploy enormous styrofoam icebergs for the bears to float on.
    But what if we break the sky?

    4. Depression – 7 billion and counting.

    5. Acceptance – “And all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well, by
    the purification of the motive in the ground of our beseeching.”
    (T.S. Eliot: Four Quartets)

  • A space ship flies around Mars, then Venus. Or maybe a once full of life, but now lifeless planet in another galaxy.

    The captain asks what was the last song of these civilizations.

    First officer Alton says: “Perhaps it had these lines in it:

    What the world needs now is love, sweet love
    It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
    What the world needs now is love, sweet love
    No, not just for some but for everyone’

    TPTB on that planet or on those planets failed the test for them because they did not have they type Alton described as “there is that type of love” (The Tenets of Ecocosmology).

  • kevin: looks like you called this one correctly.


    Shale Oil Boom Could End in May After Price Collapse

    The article talks about the consequences on price – which has crept up lately to about $2.51 a gallon around here lately.

    Your call on the banks is looking more accurate too.


    The Six Too Big To Fail Banks In The U.S. Have 278 TRILLION Dollars Of Exposure To Derivatives

    [ends with these words]

    The truth is that we are in the midst of a historic stock market bubble, and we are witnessing all sorts of patterns in the financial markets which also emerged back in 2008 right before the financial crash in the fall of that year.

    When some of the most prominent bankers at some of the biggest banks on the entire planet start issuing ominous warnings, that is a clear sign that time is running out. The period of relative stability that we have been enjoying has been fun, and hopefully it will last just a little while longer. But at some point it will end, and then the pain will begin.

  • “Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.

    Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?

    Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

    Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

    Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.

    True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

    It’s perfectly ordinary to be a socialist. It’s perfectly normal to be in favor of fire departments.

    Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here.

    There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—‘… you’ve got to be kind.’” – Kurt Vonnegut

  • My candle burns at both ends;
    It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
    It gives a lovely light!

    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    Carpe Diem!
    Let us not fail to celebrate
    What Love, Truth, and Beauty
    May yet remain
    Despite the certain doom
    Soon to befall

    Though a grim Ghost
    Haunts our banquet hall
    Let’s still enjoy
    The rich feast of all
    The Good that yet remains


  • I long ago joined the Life Extension Foundation, and the Hemlock Society (morphed now into Compassionate Choices. Here’s to a good long life, and a gentle death surrounded by close friends. I have my own preferences for going away music including Puccini, Bach, and Lennon’s Imagine….

  • Apart from the love of money and power, I find the main cause for the truly awful policies implemented (enforced upon us) by our corrupt and evil so-called leaders is their complete lack of love.

    They do not love their natural surroundings and endeavour to cover them in concrete and asphalt.

    They do not love the rivers and waterways and promote the poisoning of them.

    They do not love the forests and seek to chop them down.

    They have no love for the general populace and seek ways to exploit them.

    They do not love their own children enough to provide for their futures, and are quite comfortable with promoting policies that will very likely result in their children starving to death on a semi-barren planet.

    I believe the end times will not be characterised by love but by betrayal.

    Actually, they already are.

  • Kevin, we are on the same page about the lack of love among humans on our planet. And we are not alone in this diagnosis. Among many other wise persons, one of them intoned “love one another” as his central message.

  • Many doctors (lower case on purpose)practice euthanasia, primarily with their own. They know about physical pain as many do, hell everyone knows pain, so any society (any don’t?) to rail against suicide, is dumb.

    I am almost ready because I see nothing but pain in the near future and there isn’t a damn thing wrong with me, except, dreading death. As Leonard Cohen said, “It’s all in the particulars.”

  • Four sublime states of mind have been taught by the Buddha:
    Love or Loving-kindness (metta)
    Compassion (karuna)
    Sympathetic Joy (mudita)
    Equanimity (upekkha)

    …the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness.
    Equanimity rooted in insight is the guiding and restraining power for the other three sublime states. It points out to them the direction they have to take, and sees to it that this direction is followed. Equanimity guards love and compassion from being dissipated in vain quests and from going astray in the labyrinths of uncontrolled emotion. Equanimity, being a vigilant self-control for the sake of the final goal, does not allow sympathetic joy to rest content with humble results, forgetting the real aims we have to strive for.

    Equanimity, which means “even-mindedness,” gives to love an even, unchanging firmness and loyalty. It endows it with the great virtue of patience. Equanimity furnishes compassionwith an even, unwavering courage and fearlessness, enabling it to face the awesome abyss of misery and despair which confront boundless compassion again and again. To the active side of compassion, equanimity is the calm and firm hand led by wisdom — indispensable to those who want to practice the difficult art of helping others. And here again equanimitymeans patience, the patient devotion to the work of compassion.

    In these and other ways equanimity may be said to be the crown and culmination of the other three sublime states.

  • @Robin – Thanks for sharing this wisdom source. To talk endlessly about love avails nothing unless we have tools and practices to awaken and grow it in ourselves. I will add the suggestions on the site you noted to my personal practices.

  • “We’re the lucky ones. We get to die.”
    not disagreeing, but how do you know that?

  • Just wanted to non-seriously inject here what I may have mentioned but once before about the title of our favorite website, NBL.

    In the duel-to-the-death game that we have challenged Nature to, to follow the baseball analogy, Nature — being the Home Team — only needs to “bat last” (as in the bottom of the 9th inning) if it is behind, or the score is tied.

    In this game, however, with us degrading our own ability to even crawl to the batter’s box, I’d say we’re down about 9-zip, even though we’ve tried stealing bases, throwing spitballs, and spiking the other players.

    And that’s just not cricket, is it?

    But our major problem is one that even baseball doesn’t allow you to have: Time. We just don’t even know what inning we are in. We don’t know which of our players are hot, or stumbling. We don’t know when to send in a pinch hitter, or runner. We can’t even tell if our pitcher — whoever he may be — is throwing strikes, or needs replacing.

    No, we don’t even know “Who’s on First?”

    But what we seem to be hoping for, is that the game will get called on account of rain, before the top of the 5th is finished, since we’re so far behind already in the early innings. There is probably a whole Kubler-Ross spectrum of Sports Denial, that we don’t need to go into. But we as a species are exhibiting major-league signs of it.

    Anyway, sometimes the catchy title is the best choice to do the job, logic aside, as it confounds the hubristic human mind, which hides its Denial behind its pompous pretense at omniscience.

  • And I’ll bet Guy feels this way, sometimes, with some of his audiences:



    from Wiki;

    According to the law at the time, a person who refused to plead could not be tried. To avoid persons cheating justice, the legal remedy for refusing to plead was “peine forte et dure”. In this process the prisoner is stripped naked, with a heavy board laid on his body. Then rocks or boulders are laid on the plank of wood. This was the process of being pressed.[11]

    … remanded to the prison from whence he came and put into a low dark chamber, and there be laid on his back on the bare floor, naked, unless when decency forbids; that there be placed upon his body as great a weight as he could bear, and more, that he hath no sustenance, save only on the first day, three morsels of the worst bread, and the second day three draughts of standing water, that should be alternately his daily diet till he died, or, till he answered.

    As a result of his refusal to plead, on September 17, Sheriff George Corwin led Corey to a pit in the open field beside the jail and in accordance with the above process, before the Court and witnesses, stripped Giles of his clothing, laid him on the ground in the pit, and placed boards on his chest. Six men then lifted heavy stones, placing them one by one, on his stomach and chest. Giles Corey did not cry out, let alone make a plea.

    After two days, Giles was asked three times to plead innocent or guilty to witchcraft. Each time he replied, “More weight.” More and more rocks were piled on him, and the Sheriff from time to time would stand on the boulders staring down at Corey’s bulging eyes. Robert Calef, who was a witness along with other townsfolk, later said, “In the pressing, Giles Corey’s tongue was pressed out of his mouth; the Sheriff, with his cane, forced it in again.”[12]

    Three mouthfuls of bread and water were fed to the old man during his many hours of pain. Finally, Giles Corey cried out “MORE WEIGHT!” and died.

    Supposedly, just before his death, he cursed Sheriff Corwin and the entire town of Salem.[13] He was 71.

    Memorial marker in Salem, Massachusetts

    Samuel Sewall’s diary states, under date of Monday, September 19, 1692:

    About noon at Salem, Giles Corey [sic] was pressed to death for STANDING MUTE; much pains was used with him two days, one after another, by the court and Captain Gardner of Nantucket who had been of his acquaintance, but all in vain.[14]

    It is unusual for people to refuse to plead, and extremely rare to find reports of persons who have been able to endure this painful form of death in silence.

    Since Corey refused to plead, he died in full possession of his estate, which would otherwise have been forfeited to the government.[15] It passed on to his two sons-in-law, in accordance to his will.[16]

    The pressing of Giles Corey is unique in New England. It is similar to the case, in England, of Margaret Clitherow, who was arrested on March 10, 1586 for the crime of harboring priests, hearing Mass, and secretly being of the Catholic faith.[17]

  • One of the most insane tragedies is unfolding before our eyes in the so-called “School Scandal of the Atlanta Public Schools”

    Inspired by all politicians of any stripe we now have TEACHERS going to jail for years. And this Judge Prick called Jerry Baxter is using a different noose on black people. The “In” Justice system, that is, the WHITE & BLACK insiders never go to jail, just the fucking poor and uneducated on purpose, individuals who were simply following orders.

    The in charge ASSHOLES are decrying that these horrible people have “hurt our children”. Stirring up hatred. That’s the WHITE way. Bull Fucking Shit. Anybody that is in charge is hurting our children. The arrogance and stupidity of these people.

    I wish I was God. I do not think I can take this much longer

  • During this perilous time, very possibly THE end time, there is only the “objective truth” as best we can decipher it.

    Nothing less will do.

    Our political culture is FILLED with willful deception, distortion, & deceit, by very skilled & malevolent people.

    Call it love of lying, love of power, & love of self … – THAT kind of love is plentiful.

    Hilarious, Bill, Warren, Rubio, Cruz, Obama, Biden, Romney, Lindsey Graham, Menendez, McConnell, Reid, Kerry … are trained lawyers licensed by a total MONOPOLY WHO USES THE PUBLIC AS THEIR RAW MATERIAL.

    An important observation from the past.

    “If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150 lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?”

    “That 150 lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected”.

    Thomas Jefferson was a lawyer.

    search; So You Want a Revolution?

  • Comma Comma Doom Dooby Doo Doom Doom

    After all that we have been through,
    We awake to know that doom’s true;
    But we sometimes pretend
    That this isn’t the end
    ‘Cause waking up’s hard to do.

  • Upekkha is the same state the ancient Greeks referred to as ataraxia. Upekkha is an outcome of following the Buddhist practice of releasing attachments. Ataraxia is an outcome of following the Pyrrhonian skeptical practice of discarding beliefs.

    Simply put, all beliefs are attachments. The more we can release them, the greater our equanimity becomes, and the mind clears like a glass of muddy water that has been allowed to rest.

  • courtesy of Gerald, who asked if I could post this extra for him:

    from Scribbler today

    A brutal fact for all.

    Kevin Jones; JAXA just called March 2015 warmest March yet. GISS not out yet but I noticed March 2010 was their previous warmest March so far (and 4th warmest month yet) at .87C. It will be ‘interesting’ when GISS posts.

    Barring an unexpected discrepancy between JAXA and GISS, GISS should report about .80C for JAN-MAR. (with March coming in around .90)

    at Robert Scribbler; Siberian wildfires

    Gerald – if you ever miss out on something you really wish you had included in a previous post, and you are already at your quota, I absolutely do not mind if you mention it in an additional post. please just kindly acknowledge the fact that you know you are going over. thank you! there is always room for exceptions if they are truly exceptional.


  • @ Mo re: Robert “Scribbler”
    While he may post excellent articles, his comments tend to put a damper on his credibility as a messenger.
    Robert is fired up about the possibility of Hillary Clinton at the helm of this sinking ship.
    Doesn’t the prospect of Clinton 2 as president give you hope?
    Something to warm your heart:

  • Caroline –

    I just had a really nice little lunch snack. I’m not going to watch that video!

    “While he may post excellent articles, his comments tend to put a damper on his credibility as a messenger.”

    are you talking about Gerald or Robert? :O)

    the “Scribbler” comment above was from Gerald. I agree that Scribbler’s website is excellent, though, and I pay zero attention to his politics. (or Gerald’s… ‘-) it all works out!

  • In WW1 grunts on both sides were routinely ordered to go “over the top”of the foul trenches.

    Sane & rational French grunts mutinied & refused to go over the top into the deadly Kraut machine guns, but the mutiny was quashed by the officer class, who shot more than 200 unruly grunts.

    I’m a bit over the top, but my intentions are pure.

    GISS surface temp analysis

    March 2015 temp anomaly vs 1951-1980 = .84

    a gigantic increase from the recently preceding .79

    2nd graph shows that above 50 DEGREES N. latitude the mean is above 2.0 C

    and it escalates all the way to the Pole.


  • The last time we looked at Las Vegas water supply, the comments from professionals were “Vegas is screwed,” and unless water levels in Lake Mead rise by 7%, “it’s as bad as you can imagine.” The bad news… Water levels in Lake Mead have never been lower for this time of year – and this is before the Summer heat seasonal plunge takes effect.

    We noted previously, as with many things in Sin City, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion.

    America’s most decadent destination has been engaged in a potentially catastrophic gamble with nature and now, 14 years into a devastating drought, it is on the verge of losing it all.

    “The situation is as bad as you can imagine,” said Tim Barnett, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “It’s just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly. Unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they’re still building, which is stupid.”

    And things haven’t improved at all…


  • Thanks Robin for the talk on equanimity. Years ago, when I first read the term, I was completely dumbfounded. It took me several months to grasp the idea. This was because I had been raised in an environment were reactive behaviors were the norm. Going from pissed to happy then back again at the drop of a hat is no way to live. Practicing equanimity in normal, everyday life is one of the most powerful keys to freedom and happiness!

    Caroline. It certainly appears that Hillary is a coconut. Even worse, there is essential evidence that she is a tried and true neoconservative, seeing that it was neoconservatives under her tutelage as Sec. of State, that gave rise to the recent violent situations in the Ukraine and other places. She has been known to participate in Christian prayer groups with other women who were wives of the most powerful conservatives in congress. In other words, she’s been steeped in a lot of creepy, twisted, scary stuff for a long, long time. It seems power has fully corrupted her when you see her revel in the death of another, even an enemy.

    Didn’t Jesus say, “Love your enemies”? In other words, “Have no enemies.”

  • Upeksha (Indian thought):

    …”without Upeksha, love becomes possessive”

    …”maîtri, karuna, mudita and upeksha are only different aspects of universal sympathy”

    …”Upeksha as a power includes freedom from all kinds of desires and birth because it has no preference for one thing more than the other. It is opposed to individuality.”

    – Freedom is freedom from the shackles of desire: desire is distinct from preference. Desire is associated with emotions and values, and may hijack the intellect to serve its ends; preferences are associated with rationality and based on rational anticipation.

    Sort of like the difference between the desire for vs. the preference for tasty food, or the desire for vs. the preference for a long life.

  • Jim Hansen puts 3 ft. / 1 meter SLR a lot closer than one would think.

    It will shut down most international trade … what about oil tanker delivery (The Question Is: How Much Acceleration Is Involved In SLR? – 2)?

  • @ kevin moore Says:
    April 14th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Not in any way to disparage your comment and, admittedly, I’ve yet to read the ZH article you linked, but for “others” it should be noted that referencing Lake Mead water level, alone, “misses” the bigger picture. At the very least, in addition to Lake Mead, one should be aware of the level of Lake Powell, which “feeds” Lake Mead. The attentive observer “should” note “shenanigans” in the manipulation of “water availability.”

    Lake Mead

    Lake Powell

  • Gerald –

    “I’m a bit over the top, but my intentions are pure.”

    thanks for that! this was great for a very good laugh, and a big smile. :O)

    but just don’t ever forget…


    (yours very truly ~ The Master of Chaos)

  • ah geez mo, if you’re gonna go there:

    Iggy Pop – Repo Man

    [with the timely lyric]

    “I was pissing on the desert sand, when the desert whispered to me.
    It said: ‘Isn’t this a shame, things will never be the same.'”

    or this one, from the same movie:

    Fear-“Let’s Have a War”

    [the chorus is “there’s so many of us”]

  • damn it, double posted the same song.

    Look up the 2nd one if interested.

    fixed! ~mo

  • Caroline said:

    “While he may post excellent articles, his comments tend to put a damper on his credibility as a messenger.
    Robert is fired up about the possibility of Hillary Clinton at the helm of this sinking ship.
    Doesn’t the prospect of Clinton 2 as president give you hope?”

    Robert does write excellent articles. I read them and enjoy how some of the posters follow up with links to other good climate related articles.

    Robert is, however, the quintessential libtard. I skip all political/fossil fuel related diatribes of his; they have not an ounce of objectivity to them, and almost always he seems compelled to mention something about republicans, whether its actually immediately relevant or not.

    (For reference, I am politically unaffiliated and support neither side of the coin.)

  • Is it true that KFC is planning a Presidential meal to be introduced if HRC wins?
    2 small breasts
    2 large thighs
    2 left wings

  • This from Into Destiny:

    Robert is, however, the quintessential libtard. I skip all political/fossil fuel related diatribes of his; they have not an ounce of objectivity to them, and almost always he seems compelled to mention something about republicans, whether its actually immediately relevant or not.

    (For reference, I am politically unaffiliated and support neither side of the coin.)

    And I’ll add that he censors all posts related to the above that he does not agree with, and he thinks renewables are going to come to the rescue, if only the non-believers would get out of the way.

  • @Paul Chefurka: Simply put, all beliefs are attachments. The more we can release them, the greater our equanimity becomes, and the mind clears like a glass of muddy water that has been allowed to rest.


    Well, not really.

    Beliefs are intellectual constructs about reality. One can have beliefs with or without being attached to them.

    For example, the Buddha expressed many beliefs about life, the universe and everything – but I think it is fair to say he was a sentient being free from attachments.

    OTOH, many here have a lot of beliefs about NTE/NTHE – and a fierce attachment to those beliefs that make them speak and act in ways that are often paranoid, hostile, etc.

    It is possible to have the very same beliefs about NTE/NTHE – and yet have a sense of creative detachment about them – as the Buddha would?

    I would say, it is absolutely possible.

    Why is this distinction important?

    Robin Datta hit the nail on the head when he writes: “Freedom is freedom from the shackles of desire: desire is distinct from preference. Desire is associated with emotions and values, and may hijack the intellect to serve its ends; preferences are associated with rationality and based on rational anticipation. Sort of like the difference between the desire for vs. the preference for tasty food, or the desire for vs. the preference for a long life.”

    So if you or I hold our respective beliefs as preferences, we are holding them without attachment. Therefore, we’re not going to be upset when people disagree with us, or dismiss our beliefs as false, foolish, irrelevant, whatever.

    Is it possible to enjoy a life that is ENTIRELY free of attachments? I would say that for most of us, it is not.

    However, it is possible to examine one’s life (as Socrates advises) to see where the points of great attachment are – and then make a CONSCIOUS cost/benefit analysis about the value of holding onto that attachment versus letting it go.

    So (for example) like many others here, I have come to hold the belief that we are looking at NTHE some time in the near to intermediate future, and that there is no way out. But unlike many others here, I have no particular attachment to those beliefs, and thus no angst about the fact that most other people in the world don’t share them at the moment. Events will unfold, and minds will change as the evidence becomes more visible over time.

    Meanwhile, in doing my own cost/benefit analysis, I see ZERO benefits in being attached to my beliefs. As the Buddha taught so very clearly, attachments create the condition for suffering – including the suffering of hating, despising, having contempt for others who can’t, or won’t, see what I see right now.

    That may be a game others want to play. If that’s your thing, knock yourself out!

    Personally, I’ve got no interest in that game whatsoever, any more than I’m interested in hitting myself on the thumb with a hammer.

  • Holding a belief is different to accepting the evidence for the most probable future. If this website was based on belief without evidence, there would be no need to have the ‘Climate Summary and Update.’
    We would just have a ‘This is what you will believe to be a member of this group’ proclamation.Probably everyone here would put a different probability estimate on NTHE by a certain year,depending on their understanding of the science and the probability of certain events occurring.

  • Apneaman Says:
    April 12th, 2015 at 11:30 am
    Robert Callaghan you is a Blue Collar vulgarian. Keep up the good work.


    In the broader society we have room
    for democrats, republicans and libertarians
    but out here on the beach of doom
    we’re just helpless vulgarians

  • ed,

    Beliefs are intellectual constructs about reality. One can have beliefs with or without being attached to them.

    We can be more or less attached to our beliefs, but so long as they remain beliefs (something we take to be true) we are attached to them to to some degree.

    Beliefs are not always intellectual constructs – they can be as deep as the belief that what we see represents an external reality. Most of us learn that it’s easier simply to accept that belief rather than questioning it each time we see something, but as eye-witness testimony shows, even that deep belief isn’t justified.

    While it may not be possible for a person to live utterly without beliefs at any level, working to reduce them certainly lowers the level of suffering in one’s life. Simply recognizing that all one’s mental activity rests on a bed of beliefs, and then consciously reducing one’s attachment to them – with all the paradox that activity implies – is a good beginning.

    For me the fascinating part of this investigation is how congruent the ancient Greek and Indian philosophies were on this subject.

  • We humans tend to crave simplistic formulas. Maybe it’s a result of the psychological law of least action, otherwise known as intellectual laziness. Or perhaps it is running amok with Occam’s razor. Many in the West who are drawn to Buddhism are seeking a solution to all of life’s problems, preferably one without the mythological baggage of Christianity. They think perhaps they have found their answer in a simple equation: freedom from all attachments equals freedom from all sufferings.

    In the strict Hinayana interpretation of what Buddha taught, enjoyment of food, sex, love for anyone or anything involves the dreaded cause of all suffering, and is to be killed out ruthlessly in oneself. Attachment to life itself was considered an unfortunate weakness. In truth, what Buddha actually taught about anything whatever has become clouded in a vast literature of intricate theological contentions.

    Outside the realms of Buddhist theories, people willy-nilly chase an answer to life’s slings and arrows. A stony detachment from all connection with any human feelings seems to many a sovereign solution. If I don’t feel anything, I can’t be hurt! Psychologists call this dissociation – detachments’ evil twin. The end state of this solution to the problem of suffering is catatonia, a position of near emotional invulnerability.

    To wrap it up, I am not too happy with sacrificing things like love, pleasure, commitment, imperfection, etc. for the sake of a supposedly superior state of indifference. I’ll settle for being a not very perfect human who likes a good meal, and won’t let go of his beloved wife for anybody’s idealistic theories of how to be human…

  • If I have a desire for tasty food, or a preference for tasty food, what beliefs might or might not be associated with it?

  • Who you jivin’ with that kosmic debris?

    Jumpin Jive – Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers

  • Alton, thanks for this piece.

    Your piece addresses such an important (yet generally taboo) topic in such an accessible way with a snappy song to boot! Although now I can’t get it out of my head—-as much as I enjoy Bacharach/David, it’s driving me crazy!

    The comments are exceptional!! In this thread one can find deep expressions of feelings, many facts, insights, humor, compassion and love. Based on the comments today, I would say that Guy’s message about pursuing a life of excellence and love is resonating—– at least for many who visit here.

    Wish I could say the same for where I live on the outskirts of suburban sprawl.
    Here at the edge of suburbia, anger and greed are everywhere apparent.
    The killing of nonhuman life (that goes hand in hand with the deadening of the human spirit) is relentless:

    Chemlawn trucks show up regularly this time of year. Nuking the land with poison, killing the wildflowers that are still trying to survive after being here hundreds of years. My neighbors think I’m crazy for trying to nurture wildflowers that are still hanging on in spite of the onslaught of sprawl: trillium, mayapples, spring beauty, Virginia bluebells, Jack in the pulpit are all found in the oak/hickory woodland where I am fortunate to live. Most around me want a “lawn”—–devoid of life—– and they are willing to use poison to get it.

    Then there is the incessant road rage which is increasing exponentially.

    I’m sure others on this site think of this question frequently:

    If this is how people are treating each other and the land in middle to upper class suburbia with FULL stomachs—how will it be when there is hunger/disease?

    I want to have the freedom to leave the planet with as much ease and dignity as possible. I agree with so many comments above about the stigma attached to choosing our own deaths. Many people see this type of conversation as further evidence of a “suicide cult” with Guy as James Jones redux. They don’t get it at all.

    I believe these people are in denial or are so hubristic that they believe humans can survive and WILL survive anything.

    Such is their choice.

    Then there are those who sadly, tragically and dangerously (due to nature/nurture, or combo of both) are limited in their ability to experience empathy, compassion and I would imagine love as well.
    Yet they have positions of power as evidenced by our political system:


    In any case, once again I must express my gratitude for Guy, this site and those comment here:

    Richard Davies, so glad you posted! Deep appreciation to you for articulating so thoughtfully (as Satish points out) what many (including myself) feel but are hesitant to say. I have Alzheimer’s in my family as well and can relate. Although “nibbling at the soul” puts it mildly! It feels more like ripping apart, gulping, devouring . . . . . perhaps that’s just been my experience. My heart goes out to you.

    Duncan Mason: EXCELLENT!

    Kirk, thank you as always, for all your comments. I relate to much of what you share here at NBL, more than you could know.

    Dredd, can’t imagine life without Kurt Vonnegut and what remains from his spirit.

    David Highman: keep your posts coming—–brilliant insights, so succinct, so true.

    Satish, great sense of humor (“helpless vulgarians”)! Love that side of you. Yes, humor (gallows in particular) is a saving grace every day.

    Robin D. Yay! I finally GOT you today in your post about love. Just when I was about to completely give up on reading your posts . . . one finally sunk in.

    Kirk, Into destiny, Anthony; thanks for your thoughts re: Scribbler. Anthony says, “he censors all posts related to the above that he does not agree with, and he thinks renewables are going to come to the rescue, if only the non-believers would get out of the way”.
    I find it a bit depressing and frightening that someone who seems to care so much about life on this planet and AGW to be so rigid, controlling and dogmatic about certain things. It’s not in keeping with a genuine/deep reverence for life my opinion. It feels like a dark cloud behind the “excellent articles” that are supposed to shine light on our predicament.

    Sorry for the long post.
    Thanks for the comments on this thread.
    The robins, chickadees, tufted titmice are singing as I type. It is all so damn bittersweet.

  • Robin – When I eat the Universe eats! You eat, everyone eats, the cypress in the courtyard eats, and whatever was present at the “big bang” gets to enjoy a meal through the unique and transient arrangement of neuroreceptors that are such a lively aspect of the little corner of the Cosmic Matrix I call me. All the beliefs of all the beings that have ever existed and those not yet manifested on this timeline are also invited to pull up a chair and chow down!

  • I’m over the limit everywhere.

    I have been banned from Robert Scribbler’s site for posting this about methane.

    Gerald Spezio
    / April 14, 2015
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Although estimates vary, we can claim at least a low/acceptable estimate of at least 3000 Gt methane stores in the Arctic from both hydrates, permafrost, & including escalating wildfires in Siberia as stated in this post by Robert.
    Even 3500 Gt wouldn’t be overstating the case.

    So, .5 % of 3000 = 15 Gt
    Even .1 % of 3000 or a measly 3Gt would deliver us into hell on earth pronto.
    … that is one tenth of one percent.
    At least 300 – 500 million tons of methane minimum are escaping to the atmospheric commons as I peck.

    Jason Box is a both a premier glaciologist & Greenland authority.
    Motherboard senior editor Brian Merchant, sensing an opportunity to speak climate in more accessible language, followed up with Jason Box, who stood by his assertion (and use of foul language):

    “Even if a small fraction of the Arctic carbon were released to the atmosphere, we’re fucked,” he told me. What alarmed him was that ”the methane bubbles were reaching the surface. That was something new in my survey of methane bubbles,” he said.

    “The conventional thought is that the bubbles would be dissolved before they reached the surface and that microorganisms would consume that methane, and that’s normal,” Box went on. But if the plumes are making it to the surface, that’s a brand new source of heat-trapping gases that we need to worry about.

    “The Arctic is our most immediate carbon concern,” Box said, referring also to the CH4 escaping from the melting permafrost. But the sentiment can be expanded to all of climate change:

    “We’re on a trajectory to an unmanageable heating scenario, and we need to get off it,” he said. “We’re fucked at a certain point, right? It just becomes unmanageable. The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place.”

    Box is here; Climate scientist drops the F-bomb after startling Arctic discovery

    And others … Semiletov, Shakhova, Wasdell, Wadhams, McPherson, Light, etc.

    I am not hesitant to face the music & more obvious by the day evidence for our ugly progression into hell-on-earth-soon.

    Any debate about such rather rudimentary claims will be answered empirically within a short 2 years.

  • every morning I am surprised
    that the world has not collapsed
    during the night.

  • I am over the limit everywhere.

    I have been banned from Robert Scribbler for posting this rather simple post.

    ⌂ Home

  • Love this:

    Atmospheric CO2 404.84ppm, April 13th, 2015.

    A friend of mine asked me yesterday whether there was any good news. I said: “Some ice has formed in the Arctic Sea, so the meltdown may be delayed for a year.”

    (When I say ‘Love this’ I may mean that I do love the fact that CO2 is now at a new record high -which actually happens most days if you think about it- because it means the end of current economic-social arrangements is coming faster than ever, and all the idiots and criminals currently in power will be seen to be powerless to stop the meltdown. Or I may mean those who think that love is ‘the answer’ can try their best to love the meltdown of everything that rapidly rising CO2 levels imply.)

    CO2 is arguably the most deadly gas known, with methane a close second at the moment -methane release being largely triggered by excess heat trapped by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    Fortunately for the maniacs in power, ‘nobody’ cares at this stage.

    In my discussion with my friend yesterday I did point out Jay Hansen’s postulate -over a decade ago- that only about 0.2% of the populace ‘get it’ (understand the big picture) and that 99.8% of the populace don’t, and probably never will.

    A nasty incident yesterday, that I won’t bother to recount here, reminded me of my assertion that most people are:

    Ignorant, Stupid and Stubborn.

    I’d love be proven wrong on that one.

    My friend asked me whether there was any good news. I replied: “Some ice has formed in the Artic Sea, and the meltdown may be delayed for a year.”

    A lot can happen between mid-April and September.

  • What Caroline said!

    Our fellow Earth citizens of some 196 countries with more than 4,764 ports will see damage to civilization when their ports become damaged or inoperable by a 3 ft. sea level rise.

    Hanson (2012) says as early as 2042, others say 2033 or thereabouts (Will This Float Your Boat – 8).

  • ogardener Says:
    April 15th, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Who you jivin’ with that kosmic debris?
    Wasn’t it Frank Zappa who originated that one?

  • About love, a piece by a musician that a billion people consider to be among the 10 bests in the world : Shujaat Husain Khan, singing one of Kabir’s poems which he set to music:




  • @David Higham: Holding a belief is different to accepting the evidence for the most probable future. If this website was based on belief without evidence, there would be no need to have the ‘Climate Summary and Update.’


    Nope, it’s still a belief. What we call “science” is simply a set of beliefs we have adopted based on physical evidence.

    And in fact, anyone who knows anything about the history of science, knows how scientists (who are human like everyone else) cling PASSIONATELY to their old beliefs in the face of new and contradictory evidence that eventually replaces old beliefs with new ones.

    That’s why it’s useful to differentiate between open handed acceptance of an intellectual construct versus grasping at that same construct.


    @Paul Chefurka: We can be more or less attached to our beliefs, but so long as they remain beliefs (something we take to be true) we are attached to them to to some degree.


    Let me define my terms here, which may not be the same as yours. When I use the word ATTACHMENT, I’m using it in the sense that the Buddha used it. And what he was talking about – very clearly – is attachment in the sense of CRAVING or AVERSION – aka EMOTION-BACKED attachment.

    When I INSIST that life be like THIS (craving), or life not be like THAT (aversion), I’m caught in the cycle of attachment (as the Buddha used the term). That emotion-backed attachment is what makes me vulnerable to SUFFERING.

    Why does that make me vulnerable to suffering? Because (the Buddha explained) everything is in flux, everything is marked by impermanence. So if I have a CRAVING – ie I am EMOTIONALLY attached to what is going on right now (in whatever sphere of existence), when it changes, I will suffer. The same happens with the opposite vector of AVERSION.

    Note that the emotion-backed attachment is not the direct cause of suffering. Rather it is the platform that makes me VULNERABLE to suffering, once my preferred condition (whatever it may be) is not met.

    This is what the Buddha was explaining in his Four Noble Truths: Attachments create suffering, so to reduce suffering, let go of attachments.


    @Paul Chefurka: Beliefs are not always intellectual constructs – they can be as deep as the belief that what we see represents an external reality.


    Surely it must be obvious to you that this, too, is an intellectual construct…or did you not get to see THE MATRIX?

    But back to matters near at hand: Clearly there is a lot of suffering to be endured in the recognition and ultimate acceptance of the NTE/NTHE meme. All of us are attached in some way or another to family, friends, the larger sphere of living things on the planet…not to mention our own longevity and well being.

    Letting go of these attachments may well be impossible for most of us. And to the extent that we retain them, we inevitably are going to suffer when we don’t get what we want (our cravings) and instead get what we don’t want (our aversions).

    But then, there are a whole pile of additional attachments we can add to the pile we have that will increase our suffering even more. And (I observe) that’s what happens a lot here on NBL.

    For example, if you have cravings around people recognizing you for your wisdom and prophetic vision, you’re going to be very, very unhappy when most people just blow you off, and actually don’t really want to hear about your NTE/NTHE memes at all. You’ll be BUTTHURT beyond belief, and will react to being BUTTHURT in the usual ways people do.

    So I’m saying – as a very practical matter – that we all have a certain amount of control over how much we suffer. We can suffer LESS by choosing to let go of attachments that don’t serve us, and are entirely optional in our life experience.

    That’s why I say that I can (and I do) hold my own NTE/NTHE beliefs without attachment. I believe them, but I’m entirely OK if my family and friends and acquaintances do not. It doesn’t cause a rift in our love or our friendship. It doesn’t make me not want to break bread with them. It doesn’t drive me into the toxic swamp of “us vs them” thinking.

    To use NBL lingo: Letting go of useless attachments allows me to move that much closer to a state of mind and heart where “only love remains”. Conversely, to furiously grasp onto those same attachments inevitably moves me away from that same state.

    Very practical, very relevant, very easy to understand teaching, so I have found.

  • Richard Davies, eternal thanks.

    Suicide is one of the elements…of creation.

    And extinction changes the alchemy of everything, including suicide.

    Nothing brings out the best (evolution) in those still embodied like suicide.

    It is human nature to need support. All the moreso with suicide.

    Cluster suicides only happen when it is time.

    And when suicide is honored , this even changes the very dynamics of the journey itself, for all, body or not.

    Over 50 years ago now, the Aborigines of Australia told our elders they were turning away from giving birth, aware the extinction cycle is in process.

    Even a Hebrew prophet writes “and woe to the woman with child, or at breast, during those days…”

    Recently the exquisite Terry Tempest Williams announced that she is now going to lay down her very body in the path of the DESTROYERS >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doh_bCaBtdo

    It is time for ‘sacred suicide’ websites…

  • ‘What the world needs now’…….. is a different way of doing things. But we can’t do things differently if the same obstacles are placed in our way. What we need is to be free, to be free from each other, while at the same time being kinder to one another. This condition, kindness, is not a natural factor in the nature of things. As individuals, we can be charming, practice civility, develop empathy for others, and wonder at what could be. But collectively, we seem to sink to our lowest common denominators.

    What we need is to think outside the boxes into which we came to be. Our ancestors obviously did not get things right, and neither have we, otherwise we would not be faced with potential catastrophes from every corner. But then what are those boxes from which we often peek from but seldom leave. We are taught not to rock the boat, to listen to our captains, and to be good citizens. But then when we discover that we are sailing on the Titanic, and that the captain is having a glass of wine while the ship is sailing at full speed towards the icebergs floating right in our line of sight, what is it that needs to change so that we can order the captain to stop the boat? or slow down, or simply to change course?

    Part of that answer is that very few of us can get off this ship. We either take our place in sailing the ship, or end up in the brig. What we don’t need are jobs, unless of course the reasons why we NEED jobs don’t change. If you don’t need to pay the pipers, as my first encounter with reality set in when the owner of the candy store strongly suggested: “No Money No Candy”, then you don’t need so much money. Unfortunately, that advice has further morphed into a “No money, No Anything” scenario. “Nothing in life is free” has been our mantra, when in fact most things in life should be free, most especially basic needs.

    What the world needs is for people to identify what constitutes our icebergs, and how to melt them away. Helen Caldicott valiantly tried to warn as many as she could that nuclear war was beyond surviving. She convinced millions to march against their existence, and yet all of her work and dedication did not change the status of nuclear war one iota. The dangers of climate change are even cloudier to visualize in comparison. It was relatively easy to paint a mushroom cloud, not so a warming planet.If we could not change the fact that we could not put the nuclear genie back in the bottle, how can we expect to view climate change seriously enough to change what needs to be changed?

    Stephen Hawkins suggested that we should start building star ships on a journey to other worlds. But even if that were possible, what would the passengers of the ship do when they reached a new world? If they did not change the way they thought, and thus did things, the new world would then become another victim of our presence.. and then we get on another ship?

    Why not fix this one and change ourselves so that we can manage to survive on the ship called Mother Earth. Instead of changing worlds, why not change ourselves? So what the world needs now… is each one of us looking outside our little boxes, and find What the World needs Now, before there is no NOW.

    Sorry if the above is kinda kooky, and probably a little naïve, but don’t we need a new vision beyond the visions that we have so far explored? As a few scientists have already warned… We’re fucked! I say, NOT QUITE YET!

  • Ed,
    I thought you would pick me up on that. After I posted my comment I realized I should have started with’Holding a belief without evidence’
    Never mind.

  • The desire to be free of all suffering is just another desire leading to suffering. In my morning session at the long term treatment center for substance addiction we talked about how our desire to be free of all pain and suffering was a key reason we used drugs and alcohol obsessively. The more we used the more we lost any capacity to deal with the slightest problems.

    A certain healthy vulnerability to experiencing suffering and developing the ability to live with it is a natural and unproblematic way of living. To seek total protection from all suffering is an unnatural desire of the ego, and will lead to more suffering and heightened sensitivity to what pains we must encounter. Some of those seeking a life of uninterrupted bliss strike me as not very different from my fellow drug addicts.

  • not crazy ’bout the song, but a great thread none the less. Gerald, you’re not over the limit…you’re over the rainbow…gravities anyway…I understand…I can’t hold back either…I think I may be banned or ban myself from the planet soon…also Gerald you might like a stan Kubrick movie called ”paths of glory”one of your dialogues about war reminded me of that. great film. satish! love your limber brick! there are a few people here who could give ben a run for his peanuts. god bless all the vulgarians…who aren’t afraid to speak their truth and who refuse to hide behind the bullshit! oh, wait…I guess we are hiding behind the bullshit…anyway drinks on the house! right Guy? by the way, did we lose Pat and the church of euthanasia? way to go R.C. did we lose bud and the church of love? hi caroline…I’m hurt. you left me out of your thank yous. do be a good dooby. no, roll me a good doobie. never mind.

  • enough words!!! now we dance!!

  • The mind-body complex (= the meat robot) existing within the cosntraints of space-time-causation (Prakriti), is subject to buffeting by the vicissitudes inherent in those constraints. Fortunately it is insentient, borrowing the appearance of sentience from the ubiquitous but mostly unmanifest consciousness (Purusha). Unfortunately in the borrowing, some aspects of the mind are reified as an apparent sentient being, deluding itself and others in this blurring of the distinction between the immutable, invulnerable Purusha and the transient, ever-changing Prakriti.

    Belief is needed as a prerequsite for attachnent to belief; such attachments to belief are a concomitant of the social, economic, and other consequences of the belief that affect the believer’s perceived well-being.

    There are attachments in which an identifiable belief, if any, is the belief that the object of attachment will be a source of pleasure, satisfaction or contentment.

  • 1% annual depletion = 50% gone in 70 years? please reply

  • @ digixplor Says:
    April 15th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you so very much for that link!!! Señor Tonne es muy magnifico!! Would you call that Flamenco-Jazz fusion? Flamenco-Jazz-Rock fusion? I’ve not heard acoustic guitar played so sublimely since I “found” Segovia, many years ago. Again, many thanks.

  • @ Robert Callaghan Says:
    April 15th, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    You saw/heard the Albert Bartlett videos, yes? If so, then you have your answer. Alas, he does not account for differential step-functions so that may be an under-estimate. Related rates are a bitch.

  • once again i’m behind in reading and commenting here.

    thanks, alton, for the poignant and provocative essay. i’ve sometimes thought of trying to write an essay/appeal to others interested in possibly trying to get together with the intention of communing and suicidal support/sharing. awfully tough thing to do in the face of our insane and dogmatically repressive culture, which treats ‘suicide ideation’ as if it’s a dangerous mental disorder requiring intervention by ‘authorities’. thus such discussion must be somewhat discreet. but yeah, i think the idea expressed in your essay for a ‘non living support facility’ is excellent, if a bit idealistic at this point. but one never knows. perhaps a seed of inspiration has been planted that will at least to someone in the future lead to a kinder suicide.

    re. the point of cannibalism, from a practical and surrealistic p.o.v., in a future of famine i’m sure survivors won’t be too picky about food sources. why not eat some of the organs and flesh of the dearly departed? from the deceased, it might be viewed as a last parting gift of love.

    i’ve read just a few of the other comments to this thread. they were, as usual, for the most part very refreshingly sane, open, honest, and supportive. always nice to share contrarian ‘doomer’ views. thanks!

  • In 1972 the Atomic Energy Commission tested a 5-megaton bomb a mile below sea level on the Aleutian island of Amchitka. The Aleutian chain is a continental heater and the Bering Sea is slowly being raised to plateau status. The underground bomb test had the ingredients for a total change in the world’s weather. Fortunately a group of senators headed by Sen. Phillip Hart persuaded the AEC to stop testing. So my question is , here we go again? Transparency?

  • “What we don’t need are jobs, unless of course the reasons why we NEED jobs don’t change. If you don’t need to pay the pipers, as my first encounter with reality set in when the owner of the candy store strongly suggested: “No Money No Candy”, then you don’t need so much money. Unfortunately, that advice has further morphed into a “No money, No Anything” scenario. “Nothing in life is free” has been our mantra, when in fact most things in life should be free, most especially basic needs. ”

    Thanks, Jean. I’ve wondered about this too. Gail Tverberg of endless talks jobs, as though jobs were part of the natural world (and then we would wonder how the lilies of the field managed to avoid them all this time).

    In her estimation, it is oil prices, jobs, and economic collapse that come first. She’s eminently practical. Oil can’t be drilled (terrible idea that it always was) because the difficulty to get at the difficult stuff is uneconomic. Without oil, the industries and jobs that depend on oil (everything, just about) come to a halt. People don’t have JOBS, the government gets no taxes and shuts down.

    One little thing is missing. Why do people need money to live? Why won’t a gift economy suffice? There are people who know how to syphon oil out of the ground. Why can’t they continue doing so while society as a whole figures out how to live without oil? Those workers’ families would require food, shelter and (possibly) education. Why can’t those be gifted them in return for their work?

    My guess is that a full 90% of what industrial civilization produces is peripheral to happiness, much less to survival. As Prof. McPherson tirelessly reminds us, what we basically need are food, water and the ability to maintain body temperature. For well over 99% of human timeline, these were provided without the use of fossil fuels (or jobs, or money).

    I suspect that if there were such a thing as a benevolent central government, it could harness its resources to get the message across, and prepare people to live/(love) without money. That, apparently, is oxymoronic. Next best thing is small communities trying to figure out how to do this on their own. We don’t hold our breaths, but we don’t say it’s impossible either.

  • Gail Tverberg of endlessly talks jobs…

  • Tom,
    (from the previous thread) I am happy that you liked those.Randolph Stow was mainly a novelist,but wrote some very good poems. Two of his novels,
    ‘To the Islands’ and ‘Merry-go-round by the Sea’,are treasures.
    Many thanks for all the links you post.

  • In a time of crisis and torment
    here are many hints and a clue
    attachment theory and non-attachment
    dare you confuse the two!


    Dedicated to Bud Nye and Robin Datta :)
    Inspired by BtD, of course (and Caroline above)!


    digixplor, Bud’s been gone for a while.

    mike k., well said (both of your comments on this page) There’s something about running away from the creation around me. There’s little sense of wonder and awe in that approach. Gratitude goes missing in the rush to avoid suffering. One continues to participate in the Machine, insulated from its effects. But it’s a great coping mechanism for the times we live in. I indulge in it myself occasionally, and then, to detach from it, I criticize it a bit :)

  • a gift economy won’t work because all the usual suspects will steal all the gifts…for any of you who aren’t depressed enough, here are some of the latest headlines from ENENEWS…for those who haven’t heard of ENENEWS, it’s a fukushima/rad news aggregator. you should go to the site for the links…I thought the headlines were depressing enough. I’m no physicist, but if all that mox fuel,strontium,iodine 131,plutonium and hundreds of other nuclides,are not contributing to the heating of the planet, i’ll be a monkeys descendent…so without further adieu………………….. Japan Scientist: “I’ve never seen this before” — White lungs found in dolphins that died during mass stranding near Fukushima — Interruption of blood supply leading to death of tissue — Disease has been linked to radiation exposure
    VIDEO: Extremely rare whale washes up in Northeast Japan — Just one sighting of species in history — Similar creature found dead nearby
    ‘Major blow’ at Fukushima as robot loses control inside reactor — Moved 10 meters before failing — Max radiation readings more than doubled since 2012 — ‘Eerie footage’ shows orange glow in area with highest levels (VIDEO)
    Top US Nuclear Physicist: “Iodine-131 will be lethal after ingestion of 30 billionths of a gram” — Main worry is not a Chernobyl-type accident, rather it’s a melt-through of containment vessel — “Not possible to disprove China Syndrome”
    Japan Times: Over 150 dolphins wash ashore at multiple locations — 50 miles from Fukushima border — Could be largest mass stranding ever reported in nation’s history — Govt’ Expert: “The dolphins may have had psychological problems… We don’t see any immediate signs of cancer” (VIDEO)
    Officials: “Such a bizarre thing” off California coast — “We’re seeing multiple aborted fetuses every day” — 100,000s of seabirds that nest in area now missing… “Huge, unprecedented die-off like we’ve never seen” — Many baby seals dying after mothers led them to a cliff edge… “Brutal to watch” (AUDIO)
    shiva has been busy.

  • peeps, just to be clear, the two posts per day rule is actually a rule here. I will enforce it. exceptions are meant to be exceptional.

    thanks for your cooperation.


  • I’ve posted anew. Please refresh and check the top of the page.

  • Dredd Says:
    April 15th, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Who you jivin’ with that kosmic debris?
    Wasn’t it Frank Zappa who originated that one?


    Yesterday I wanted to aerate the compost piles only to discover that the centers were still frozen. It’s been quite a winter man and I’m about three weeks behind schedule as a result of it. The ice on the lakes finally went out this past weekend. Later alligators. Busy in the garden.

  • Alton,

    I just read your very necessary essay. I bit late, I know but thank you anyway. This topic, so well handled by you, isn’t mentioned often enough.


    as always, I couldn’t agree more if I tried with any of your insights.


    your limericks are very astute. Benjamin is very inspiring, I can see.

    And dear meat-robot Robin Datta,

    The KFC “joke” , no doubt so appealing to your meat-robot shell, is not very funny. Please try again later.

  • Sabine,

    I hope all went well with your guests who were visiting! It is always uplifting/thought provoking to see your comments here.

    Agree wholeheartedly with the KFC joke. This one hit home for me as I was bullied as a teen for having “2 small breasts” and have zero tolerance for making fun of anyone in this kind of manner (as much as I dislike Hillary Clinton—-I strive to rise above debasing anyone). A goal of mine while on this planet is to try to acknowledge inevitable anger/irritation, use it as fuel to make positive changes where/when I can but not stoop to objectifying or being cruel in the process. Still working on that and so many other things. Running out of decades to be a better person!

    on another note:

    I can’t even bring myself to type the term you mention (hint: initials m.r.) but suffice to say it makes no sense especially if you define those words and break it down. Don’t quite understand why the clinging/attachment to this dreadful term especially in the context of what appears to be attempts at spiritual growth (an example, “four sublime states of mind taught by Buddha”). I probably don’t even want to understand and shouldn’t have even brought it up as I am in no way seeking an explanation or dialogue about it from you Robin D! (if I had smiley face emoji would insert here beside exasperated face emoji!)

    on a final note:

    THANK YOU for the music link digixplor! (there’s your thank you) Could have thanked you with a Doobie Bros. link (given your doobie reference) but it did not seem fitting after your music post.

    Ok — yet another example of: there is so much more to this life . . . this consciousness . . . than we know.
    Where IS that music coming from as it pours out of Estas (Stanislav) Tonne????

    I play music on a community radio station (keeps me sane and happy) and shame on me—-had not heard of him before!
    From his bio: “His music is exuberant, timeless yet inventive. It transcends cultural differences, speaks across generations, and inspires the heart of humanity.”
    Estas says, “In old times, traveling musicians spread the Light through their music and storytelling. Because we all have a choice, I choose to live my life in accordance with this timeless tradition..
    Each of us are different, each of us carry a song, a sound of our soul”
    Yes, passionate music does indeed “spread the light”! I, for one, enjoy the music that is shared here on NBL.
    Thanks for sharing digixplor!

  • @Satish – Exactly. We need insulation, refuge, time out, distraction, entertainment to temper our gazing into the inferno of our culture’s self-immolation. We are Nietzsche’s “burnt children” who chose to become aware of NTHE. Until we learn the deeper stance of being detached even while being deeply involved, we will need to take respites from this daunting work of becoming conscious of all the truth, not just those things that are consoling.

    Meditation is excellent not only for a temporary time-out, but over time it develops contact with the inner witness which can eventually support the state of consciousness that allows one to be in the world but not of it. This is a deeper spiritual level or state than simply having some detachment from events. It has been referred to elsewhere as the “peace which passeth (beyond) understanding”.

  • mike k

    What you say above is concise, deeply meaningful AND accessible.
    In just 2 brief paragraphs you summarize what some attempt to convey in books! I appreciate the fact that my eyes don’t glaze over when I read your descriptions of the human condition and how we can better live in this body/mind experience while on this earth in the face of NTE. Also appreciate your references to addictions and the numbing of pain.

    “Meditation is excellent not only for a temporary time-out, but over time it develops contact with the inner witness which can eventually support the state of consciousness that allows one to be in the world but not of it.”

    Yes! Have you experienced yoga nidra? It has saved my life (not suicidal yet!) in that it helps me sleep (after trying Valerian, melatonin and every other homeopathic sleep enhancer possible—to no avail).

    Meditating body to earth, direct contact with soil can be helpful as well. It’s amazing what happens when one takes the time to hold their gaze on a flower in a prairie for example. The number of insects that visit for nectar, the way the petals absorb and reflect sunlight, the interplay of wind on leaves——taking the time to do this can elicit a state of transcendence—–much needed transcendence . . . .

    that’s all for me today mo—-so good at following rules am I! Thanks for helping on this site.

  • Caroline –

    thank you for your lovely, heartfelt and open comments here. same for you, mike k! you guys help make the effort worth it.

  • Caroline,

    Don’t even try to understand. You’re OK as you are, and so am I.

    I’ve been attached to beings here on our Earth for as long as I can remember. I think that without such “attachment” I couldn’t feel empathy, love, fellowship etc. Why would I want to be like that?

    It’s important to learn to trust yourself without having to refer to teaching all the time. Of course, I don’t dismiss spiritual teaching, on the contrary, but keep it in perspective. That’s my experience.

    What Mike K said about being in the world but not of it rings true for me. But when I think about the “world” there, it’s the man-made world, the one that Satish calls the machine. That says it all!
    Anyway, that’s how it works for me. Don’t aspire to anything in that “world” or compete. Don’t play the game. Sit on the periphery, in the hedge, like a hedge witch, hagazussa.
    “Hag” in the old German dialect (where I come from) means a wooded area with hedges on the edge of a village. It’s still used in place names in Germany, and it has a similar meaning in Anglo-Saxon.
    This is where the old herb woman lived, the old hag, knowing all about the world but not really being of it. But,of course, helping and healing when she was allowed to or needed.
    It’s just a little something for women to relate to, something down to earth, grounding us(like looking at Prairie flowers) rather than too much spiritual flying about. Even though we can get on our broomsticks…and fly.

  • @Caroline&mo – Thanks for the kind words. The ultimate defeat would be if we allowed the abrasive ways of our culture to grind away our capacity to be kind to each other. I have had the good fortune to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama. I will always treasure his saying, “My religion is kindness.”