Edge of Extinction: Becoming Truly Sensitive

***

Yesterday I created a video at the request of the Long Future Foundation. The person who contacted me wanted me to address the issue of avoiding human extinction, assuming access to a tremendous amount of money, in two minutes. My seven-seconds-too-long response is embedded below.

To support my forthcoming tour in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and also southwestern Canada, click the donate button below. Alternatively, click here.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12-26 June 2015, Pacific Northwest, tentatively including the following:

12 June 2015, 7:40 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. radio interview, The Early Edition, CBC Radio One Vancouver, Vancouver, British, Columbia: 88.1 FM, 690 AM

12 June 2015, 12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m. Runaway Climate Change: Can We Stop It? A Discussion with Guy McPherson. Room 2270, SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC.

12 June 2015, 6:30 p.m. presentation and discussion, Heartwood Cafe, 317 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC

14 June 2015, 1:00 p.m. presentation and discussion, Island Savings Centre, 2687 James Street, Duncan, BC

15 June 2015, presentation and discussion at a time to be determined, Start Now Gardens, 1134 Bloomington Avenue, Bremerton, Washington

17 June 2015, 5:30 p.m. presentation and discussion, The Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, Washington (dinner at 5:00 p.m., reservations encouraged)

18 June 2015, 7:00 p.m. presentation and discussion, Public Library, 1270 Madison Avenue North, Bainbridge Island, Washington

19 June 2015, 6:30 p.m. presentation and discussion, King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, Washington

22 June 2015, 7:00 p.m. presentation and discussion, Traditions Cafe, 300 Fifth Avenue SW, Olympia, Washington

24 June 2015, 3:00 p.m. book-reading and -signing, Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette Street, Eugene, Oregon

24 June 2015, 7:00 p.m. presentation and discussion, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1685 West 13th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon

25 June 2015, 6:00 p.m. presentation and discussion, Community Library, 901 C Street 98660, Vancouver, Washington

26 June 2015, presentation and discussion at a time to be arranged, Portland City Club, 901 SW Washington Street, Portland, Oregon

______

Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. To catch us live, tune in every Tuesday at 3:00 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.

Next week we feature an interview with Daniel Dancer. Find out more about him here.

______

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.

______

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

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

Comments 86

  • U. of Chicago “modeling” academic, David Archer, recently published his April 2015 paper contradicting & denigrating the empirical, observational, & predictive science of toiling field researchers, Igor Semiletov & Natalia Shakhova.

    Using his models as evidence, Archer clearly claims that near term abrupt methane release is NOT a problem;

    Archer says; “The model results give no indication of a mechanism by which methane emissions from the Siberian continental shelf could have a significant impact on the near-term evolution of Earth’s climate…”

    Archer’s position about near term abrupt methane release is diametrically antithetical to S.& S.’s position that abrupt Arctic methane release “could occur at any time.”

    S. & S. have openly stated & empirically evidenced their observational counter position for more than three years.

    S. & S.’s published predictions of near term methane release from the shallow & vast Siberian continental shelf have been strongly confirmed by observational field research.

    Quantified amounts of more than 2800 ppb methane by several separate field researchers from several levels of the Arctic atmosphere are established indisputable empirical facts.

    One hundred fifty meter wide plumes of methane gas have been observed escaping from the Arctic Ocean & into the atmospheric commons.

    Videos of the escaping methane gas bubbles have been taken.

    One of the major variables in S. & S’s empirically based hypothesis is the simple & basic relationship of increasing Arctic Ocean sea water temperature to the rate of sea bed methane clathrate melting.

    Archer openly contradicts the hard established empirical data with with an absolutely BIZARRE, “could be.”

    Archer claims; “The increased methane flux due to ocean warming COULD BE completely counteracted by a sea level rise of tens of meters on millennial timescales due to the loss of ice sheets, decreasing the efficiency of bubble transit through the water column.”

    Almost mystically, Archer predicts that melting of the Polar Ice caps will dramatically increase the water depth sealing off the possibility of near term methane release.

    Although Archer doesn’t say it, this posited increased heating causing the melting of the Polar ice caps “COULD NOT BE” a causal chain to increased melting of methane clathrates & abrupt methane release – from the very same heating?

    Therefore, abrupt methane release “could be” completely thwarted, as per HIS model.

    Archer “predicts” that sea levels “will” rise from heating & “could” save us from abrupt methane release.

    So, doan worry, be happy – see the long term picture.

    Although it “will cause sea levels to rise” & drown bewildered innocent Bangledesh children first & cause Miami real estate to crash,
    heating is good for some of us – some.

    It will protect some us not on the coasts from ugly abrupt methane horrors & ultimate death.

    Some might have to move, as in several Pacific Island Nations, Bangledesh, & the Maldives.

    Good to know.

    I would have to speculate & psychologize, as in “could be,” in order to consider that the creative modeling Chicago Professor’s claims could be conditioned & constrained by his cultural/political “atmosphere.”

    Willfully distorting the data is a crime against truth & science.

    It is also a crime against one’s fellow citizens.

    I cannot claim that Archer is willfully distorting the data, but Archer’s own hypothetico-deductive modeling methodology demands that all theories must be considered & tested.

    There are many variables, & some are more important than others; or what is objective science all about?

    Believe it or not – written in the most obtuse academic jargon, here are the last two paragraphs of ARCHER’S abstract;

    The strongest impact of the glacial–interglacial cycles on the atmospheric methane flux is due to bubbles dissolving in the ocean when sea level is high. When sea level is low and the sediment surface is exposed to the atmosphere, the atmospheric flux is sensitive to whether permafrost inhibits bubble migration in the model. If it does, the atmospheric flux is highest during the glaciating, sea level regression (soil-freezing) part of the cycle rather than during deglacial transgression (warming and thawing).

    The atmospheric flux response to a warming climate is small, relative to the rest of the methane sources to the atmosphere in the global budget, because of the ongoing flooding of the continental shelf. The increased methane flux due to ocean warming could be completely counteracted by a sea level rise of tens of meters on millennial timescales due to the loss of ice sheets, decreasing the efficiency of bubble transit through the water column. The model results give no indication of a mechanism by which methane emissions from the Siberian continental shelf could have a significant impact on the near-term evolution of Earth’s climate, but on millennial timescales the release of carbon from hydrate and permafrost could contribute significantly to the fossil fuel carbon burden in the atmosphere–ocean–terrestrial carbon cycle.

    Citation: Archer, D.: A model of the methane cycle, permafrost, and hydrology of the Siberian continental margin, Biogeosciences, 12, 2953-2974, doi:10.5194/bg-12-2953-2015, 2015.

  • This denigrating of Shakhova is one of the many things addressed in Guy’s wonderful and powerful Q&A in York. I’m so glad he posted this.

    As for clarity of writing, I remember reading tough but understandable technical documents by David Wasdell, some of which I accessed through Guy’s Climate-change summary and update (which I somehow keep misnaming summary and survey). Wasdell is technical, but I can follow him for a while. And I’ve watched some presentations of his. Scientists can make themselves clear, if they want. When I hear IPCC, I think of Wasdell’s masterful debunking of their “findings.”

  • I saw the Fuggs wail their classic “Kill for Peace” live in Greenwich Village in 1966.

    The anti-War movement was cranking up big time, & eventually influenced political policy.

    NOT today.

    Realizing the foul lying distortions behind the genocide & bloody butchery in Vietnam by America’s best & the brightest could help us understand the rampant human duplicity in our contemporary culture.

    … and using words loosely – by the best & the brightest, again.

    If farceur Tuli Kupferberg pulled his kill for peace skit on the streets of NYC today, he “could be” gunned down by serving & protecting “law enforcement” as an armed & dangerous prevert.

    I really loved the part where Tuli bewilders & confuses the observing “suits.”

  • Gerald Spezio Says:
    May 22nd, 2015 at 9:03 am


    I saw the Fuggs …
    ============================

    Here is a poem (The Old Women Of The Ocean) for the daze ahead (On The Memorial Daze).

    It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” -Voltaire

  • mo,

    I tried to comment to G***** S***** again but the SinSoars shut me down.

    Here is a poem (The Old Women Of The Ocean) for the daze ahead (On The Memorial Daze).

    It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” -Voltaire

  • Dredd ~

    I am on an extended sabbatical from all blog stuff these days. I am only popping in here very occasionally now, and will probably be nonexistent for months, except for occasional Forum admin work, very soon.

    it looks like quoting GS, the way you are, is going to not work for you. if you can do a simple copy paste of the text you want for his quotes, that would be better.

    if something goes seriously screwy with the site, however (like it is down and/or unreachable, or the site formatting is scrambled, or some kind of thing like that), or a comment seems blocked for a bizarre reason (magic words) I can always be reached at:

    moflow at outlook dot com, and I will take a look.

    cheers,
    ~ mo

  • G.S. –

    Another historical pivot that occurred during the 60s was the tragic trifecta of JFK, RFK & MLK. It would seem that the message got through to those at the top who thought they could change things.

  • “It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” -Voltaire

    I knew about Iwo Jima not did not know the details until recently. The hell of Iwo Jima was probably only matched by the bloodbath at Gallipoli, where troops didn’t even have access to sufficient water.

    Is this (below) a depiction of the future, in which groups of young men kill each other by the thousand on a semi-barren landscape in order to take control of a region?

    (I see the Chinese are now building a military base on the Spratly Islands and have told an American spy plane to ‘Go away!’)

    Towards the end, the video asks the question: was it worth it?

    One of the most scary aspects of present-day western societies is the almost complete disconnection with nature and with history and geography that characterises so many young people, who think that it’s all about digital devices and corporatized sport. Baseline shift.

  • kevin moore Says:
    May 22nd, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    “One of the most scary aspects of present-day western societies is the almost complete disconnection with nature and with history and geography that characterises so many young people, who think that it’s all about digital devices and corporatized sport. Baseline shift.”

    And furthermore, if you don’t think like them, you’re just an old foggy or hopeless hippie who belongs in a looney bin. After all, saying “you are history” is a way to dismiss someone. But truth be told, i’m seeing attitudes like that at the Well, an online forum which was one of the first to get set up, back in the mid ’80s, most of the people involved are in their 50s and 60s, and they’re sure the future will be so bright you’ll need shades, no problems around that a good app can’t cure.

  • I found this article on the Tikkun website to be in line with some of Guy’s thinking on the climate issue. It’s worth a read:

    http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/hope-in-the-age-of-climate-consequences

  • @Guy McPherson

    Dear Dr. McPherson,

    here I am to give respect to your work and to your message. I am from Germany, man, recently you have been here in Hamburg, Berlin etc and I missed to see you, shame on me. You are one of the few public people who really raise awareness to what has been done to the planet. I watched your “ Edge of Extinction: Becoming Truly Sensitive” video and I must say that I do really feel it and at the same time I am quite shure, that “rational” people like the big energy companies or the Wall Street guys would just laugh at that video: “ Mama racoon? Baby racoon?! Hahaha, get a real life!” It’s a said, ignorant money-world.

    I am not 100% shure if that methane scenario and NTE will really happen, because I am no scientist, no expert, but I think chances are that the system, the machine could brake down quite soon, no doubt. I always felt miscomfort and great doubt about the system we are living in, I know that the system is based upon exploitation to gain the ultimate goal of eternal growth and total control (sounds like becoming godlike)- well, that’s just the right way to hell.

    The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

    William Blake

    Kind Regards and much respect from Germany,
    Curious

  • No matter in which era of written history humans have existed, there have always been doomsayers. Of course, since we are still alive, none of them have been right. As Gerald Spezio suggested, there are still many missing details about methane gas releases that have yet to be identified and quantified in order to absolutely ascertain that NTHE is inevitable. The suggestions that melting polar icecaps could mitigate the immediate effects of global warming, as well as the effects of heat absorption by the oceans, are definitely not irrelevant. We may indeed suffer the consequences of climate changes but are they really on the scale that would cause human extinction?

    There may also be other damping effects of feedback loops which may come into play at a later date which have not yet been identified, or may ever be identified. As far as Gerald’s mention of David Archer in the first post of this thread, David Archer is no slouch in the credibility department, having worked in methane studies and issues in which he has determined what Gerald has exposed in his post. Archer also possesses a PHD and works as a computational ocean chemist and is a professor at the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. As such, Mo, some quotes from David Archer work for me. Of course, I can never discount the probability that tenured professors are more often than not pressured to concur with university endowment funding. That goes without saying. And so from that perspective, Guy’s fears should carry more weight than tenured professors. Archer’s findings however do dismiss methane gas releases as a non-factor in near-term human extinction.

    Although I have been impressed by Guy’s presentations, and although the following does not enter as an important factor in this near-term human extinction scenario, I am still convinced that a full scale nuclear war is much more dangerous in the long run than the scenarios associated with severe climate changes. With the increasing volatile changes occurring in the Middle East, the never-ending bad-guy syndrome of Russian aggression, Isis, a police state in the Land-of-the-free, millions of people in jails in the U.S., 45 million people living below an official poverty line and millions of bank repossessions sanctioned by democratically elected governments, the future of humanity for the next generation is far from safe, and probably barely hanging by a thread.

  • The more I think about it, I am not a big fan of human survival. What we have done to each other and all living beings on this planet I think qualifies us for extinction. We show very few signs of getting better in our behavior. Quite the contrary – we set new records in depravity as time unfolds. The world and the universe would be a better place without us. The evening news is disgusting, Chris Hedges is depressing, Chomsky is maddening. The world we have created really sucks. I am washing my hands of the big picture. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    What is left for me? To try to be a good friend to a few folks close to me. To continue to practice being a more loving and less selfish person. To continue to seek the higher reality of truth, goodness, beauty and love. That’s enough, and I can actually try to do those things. As far as the fate of the world – screw it. We will get what we mostly deserve – and with my blessing for that.

  • @mike k

    I am not a big fan of human survival. What we have done to each other and all living beings on this planet I think qualifies us for extinction. We show very few signs of getting better in our behavior… The world and the universe would be a better place without us.

    Pardon, I heard that quite often. But is it right to speak for the whole humanity in this way? Most of the more than 7 billion people on the planet are poor people with extremely low income and CO2 emissions. Aren’t the rich industrialized nations, a global minority mostly responsible for most of the disaster? And what about the children and grandchilren on this planet? What about your own children and grandchildren, if you have any? You don’t think, they deserve extinction, do you?

    With respect,
    Curious

  • @All

    I’d really like to share something with you. We are all part of the great mistery called Life, called Earth, called Cosmos, no matter, who we are, rich or poor, Wall Street vulture or beggar, denier or doomsday prophet, in the end we will all share the same fate anyway, living is dying and dying is living… as Bob Marley once sang “There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air”…

    Say I Am You:

  • “But is it right to speak for the whole humanity in this way?”

    Ask Don Metano Monstruo.

  • Raw Data Results from The Human Extinction Survey will be published on Sunday.

    Current Responses to the Survey number >265.

    I will publish full text answers from all those who contributed a text explanation of their choices, with no filtering or editing.

    Data analysis by Doomer Support will take a while to complete.

    You may still contribute your opinions to the survey.

    RE

  • @mike_k, that was the vibe I got today from some fellow travellers who were trying to head off a grotesquely-oversized local development project: no-one wants to talk about the overpopulation elephant in the room, so all bets are off in terms of reining in industrial growth. Just do what you can in your small personal sphere, was the resigned assessment.

    @Curious, thanks for sharing that Blake quote. Quite a visionary.

    It’s not a question of who “deserves” extinction. I don’t think. If you are poor and you have 12 children and half of them die of disease or malnutrition, that is not something you “deserve” but it may be something that is inevitable. (By the way, that person would still be left with six more live progeny than I myself have, so do they “win” or “lose” with respect to me???).

    Extinction is on the way, and we all deserve it, or none of us do. The poor are not automatically virtuous by the sheer fact of possessing less under the current legal and social constructs: if they could better their material situation with access to more, for the most part they certainly would. Who among them would say, “nah, I’m fine here rummaging through the pestilent, stinking garbage.. you can keep your clean supermarkets and restaurant meals”?

    While masses of the poor live in crowded slums around the world, most wouldn’t be there if there were not staple imports (and discards) provided by the technologically-based industrial food chain; without that, there wouldn’t be a concentration of people in Kolkata nor would there be in Manhattan (despite the fact that Manhattanites enjoy a higher standard of living, both are un-naturally sustained).

    Big questions: if you were a smoker, do you “deserve” lung cancer? If you are gay and engage in casual sex do you “deserve” AIDS? I know English isn’t your first language.. but to me, and probably to most English-speakers, “deserve” has a punitive moral dimension that is more social than scientific.

    People are not entirely responsible for all outcomes that befall them (in my opinion) because they are themselves expressions of larger complex physical systems. “Deserving” a particular outcome assumes the free and complete physical and moral agency of the individual.

    “Living is dying and dying is living”, certainly. A fellow cancer sufferer put up a blog called “Livingly Dying”. I like that phrase. It is good to try and keep tabs on that notion, even if our psyches generally work hard to reject it.

  • When I was 6 years old, and a bully named Tinou ruled our little territory, I dared to confront him on one dark evening, and warned him that “God will punish you.”, for being a bully. His laugh, or roar more precisely, could be heard for a hundred miles as he let me know that he did not fear God, and, believe it or not, Tinou continued to rule his territory with an iron hand because God never did punish him. A few years later, I was told by the clergy that when all is said and done, when life has been lived to its fullest, that God would be waiting at heaven’s door and forbid entrance to those who did not love his creations, while allowing all of the others to come into His House.

    But then my experience with Tinou showed me that he was in charge, not God, and so it continues to this day. God is not in charge, we are. And what we do now is what counts. It’s us against us, not them against us. If the Earth is going to pot, we are the potters. But where am I going with this? Where is anybody going? If you know an answer, please do pass it on… Unfortunately love is not what remains, but a lot of hate, and for very good reasons. Curious said it best… “There are 7 billion people or so who are poor”, some of them even starving and without a home. But it’s a lot like my bully Tinou, the bullies are in charge, and 7 billion people aren’t.

    Can we reverse that condition?

  • This Vid says it all. 🙂

    RE

  • @Robin Datta

    Ask Don Metano Monstruo.

    Well, I did: He, The Dragon yelled “ Fuego !

    @Lidia

    “Deserving” a particular outcome assumes the free and complete physical and moral agency of the individual.

    That’s exactly the way I understood the term “to deserve something”, or “to deserve extinction”. It implies a judgement like in court. When someone commited a crime ( including “the free and complete physical and moral agency of the individual”), he can be punished, because he deserves it (according to the law). When Mr. Smith from Chicago has commited a bankrobbery, no judge of integrity would bring little six year old little Susi from London or Mr. Wong from Peking to the court for that bankrobbery. The criminal who deserves it gets the punishment, not anybody or everybody else (according to the law). When someone puts his hand into the fire, he will get hurt, not anybody or everybody else. The same goes for ecocrimes: Who deserves punishment for an oil spill in Nigeria? Does the oil company, who is responsible, deserve the punishment or the people of Nigeria, the actor or the victims or both?

    Extinction is on the way, and we all deserve it, or none of us do.

    Extinction is no punishment, so it can not be deserved. Getting old, desease, death is no punishment, it is natural, so it can not be deserved. We don’t die because we deserve to die, we die because there is no living without dying, no mountain without valley, no day without night. Some day we go extinct, not because, we deserve it, but because of the metamorphosis of evolution or maybe because of ecocrimes. Everything, everybody dies one day, not, because it or he deserves to die, but there is no living without dying. Life is born from death, death is born from life, the seed is born from the fruit, the fruit is born from the seed.

    Who is responsible for death? Nobody, it is necessity. Who is responsible for murder? The murderer. Who is responsible for evolutionary extinction? Nobody. Who is responsible for this and that ecocrime? This and that company, this and that man, identifiable by face, name, adress ect. Evolution, extinction, desease, death got no no face, no name, no adress, but persons do. Not everybody on this planet is a criminal, there are criminals and there are victims.

    @Jean Turcot

    Where is anybody going?

    We are all going to where we came from.

    But it’s a lot like my bully Tinou, the bullies are in charge, and 7 billion people aren’t.

    Can we reverse that condition?

    Yes, we can change and reverse a very important part of the world by changing and reversing ourselves.

  • When i was a pre-teen/teen i was overly sensitive. i couldn’t even ride the el into Philly without openly weeping at the squalor of the neighborhoods and the misery people were living in. Every dead squirrel or deer was a complete tragedy that shook me to my core. i thought for the longest time that i “came to the wrong planet.” This isn’t what life was supposed to be about, to my young and innocent way of thinking. There was a lot i didn’t know or understand as yet, but i could not get why it HAD to be this way. Subsequently, throughout my time here, i’ve become LESS sensitive in order to survive the constant depression and anger i felt at the direction of “our” world. From the teens through the college years i was waffling back and forth between spirituality concerns (the way i thought humanity was supposed to “evolve” to the next level – whatever that would be, assuming it would correct our course and remake the world so that we supported and worked with nature) and cynical anger combined with escapism through regular use of “recreational drugs” and alcohol.

    After graduation and leaving most of that behind me, i started to concentrate more on the spiritual side. Fuck what everybody else was doing, i was going to be the kind of person that was a steward to the environment. Yeah, right. Meditation and spirituality aside, it’s impossible to do this unless you become a plant and live off of sunlight. The prison of our civilization became obvious to the point that i have no hope for anything connected with humanity – and that’s the way it’s been ever since.

    It hardly matters what any individual does in this meaningless, bizarre and artificial life we’ve created – it’s all going to end badly for the entire biosphere. The environment is becoming more suited to the ancient bacteria and archaea that produce hydrogen sulfide rather than that which produces oxygen. This is happening with our inadvertent but unstoppable help.

    We are some fucked-up species and i won’t be sorry (when the time comes) to leave this planet to the brainless thugs who are committing suicide, genocide, and ecocide. What ever happened to “the meek” who were supposed to inherit the Earth? Who’d want to inherit a toxic waste dump?

  • Curious,

    Thanks for posting that Rumi poem set to music. I loved it.

    Kevin,

    thanks to you too for the Iwo Jima documentary. No time to watch it now but I will get back to it.

  • Thanks to all of you who responded to my little rant. I needed that. My mind and my life is a complex process that needs to continue evolving in more caring and intelligent ways. When I read your comments this morning they provoked all kinds of feelings and ideas in me. Unfortunately this is one of those mornings when my allergies and assorted dysfunctions are kicking up, and I just don’t have the zip to launch into a fuller response to your thoughtful sharings.

    However, as a prelude to my thoughts let me share a very short story by Ursula LeGuin that bears on this question. And I ask you, Would you be one of those walking away from Omelas?
    http://harelbarzilai.org/words/omelas.txt

  • Was there any commentary of significance on the report a few threads ago that NASA had incorrectly put data out that now indicates polar sea ice was not retreating at an alarming rate?

    Any takers.
    Anyone? 😉

  • Responding to Mike K. I only came across Omelas about a month ago – and was bowled over by the story. In answer to your question (and I thought of it as I finished the story), I would most definitely be walking away.
    And more to the point I think that is exactly what many of the compassionate and concerned souls who visit this website are doing or struggling with doing – whether emotionally, psychologically or (particularly in Guy’s case) physically.
    Omelas is a microcosm and an accurate reflection of much that is wrong with our world today. The earlier threads about who deserves what point to the dilemma Ms. LeGuin presents in her story. Thorny problems – none of us are innocent.

  • OzMan: i didn’t see anything – thought it was just another “misprint” to be later corrected in some tiny column buried in the news somewhere. We all know what’s goin’ on. Guys like Archer (who’s probably a Koch employee) put out disinformation to counter the steady stream of worsening conditions so that the uber-wealthy can play their little games a bit longer, ie. until they can’t because the whole house of cards is about to fall.

    Here’s a little eye-opener:

    Exclusive: Leaked Report Profiles Military, Police Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

    http://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/22/atf-report-warned-military-government-membership-outlaw-motorcycle-gangs/

    [begins]

    Nuclear power plant technicians, senior military officers, FBI contractors and an employee of “a highly-secretive Department of Defense agency” with a Top Secret clearance. Those are just a few of the more than 100 people with sensitive military and government connections that law enforcement is tracking because they are linked to “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

    A year before the deadly Texas shootout that killed nine people on May 17, a lengthy report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detailed the involvement of U.S. military personnel and government employees in outlaw motorcycle gangs, or OMGs. A copy of the report was obtained by The Intercept.

    [hey, what could go wrong? it’s just a hobby!]

    More from the same source, let’s us in on the big picture:

    Apple and Google Just Attended a Confidential Spy Summit in a Remote English Mansion

    [begins]

    At an 18th-century mansion in England’s countryside last week, current and former spy chiefs from seven countries faced off with representatives from tech giants Apple and Google to discuss government surveillance in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s leaks.

    The three-day conference, which took place behind closed doors and under strict rules about confidentiality, was aimed at debating the line between privacy and security.

    Among an extraordinary list of attendees were a host of current or former heads from spy agencies such as the CIA and British electronic surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. Other current or former top spooks from Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Sweden were also in attendance. Google, Apple, and telecommunications company Vodafone sent some of their senior policy and legal staff to the discussions. And a handful of academics and journalists were also present. [isn’t that nice]

    In case you’re thinking it’s all just innocent fun:

    NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones

    [begins]

    The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals.

    The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

    The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was published Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept. The document outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were working on during workshops held in Australia and Canada between November 2011 and February 2012.

  • Ask the other animals who ‘deserves’ extinction.
    Just because so many of the 7 billion people have so much less than the top 1% does not exempt them from blame:

    “…As the killings continued, Sissler-Bienvenu went to the press, and soon Le Monde ran a story featuring photographs of elephants with their trunks missing and their faces cut off. A copy of the newspaper found its way to Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, who was staying at a hotel overlooking Lake Geneva. He ordered an additional three hundred troops into Bouba-Njida, but they, too, failed to drive out the poachers. In the three months that the poachers were in the park, they killed six hundred and fifty elephants….”
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/11/elephant-watch

    If the entire lot of human primates must go – to rid the planet of people like these, then yes ! The pity is that, like our cousins the cockroaches, we will not be amongst the first to go. The more sensitive species are going now – as we speak – at the incomprehensibly sad rate of 200+- species a day.
    And the damage wrought will continue long after we are no longer here to bear witness or grieve for all that was, or for all that could have been.
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/11/elephant-watch

  • “We can change and reverse a very important part of the world by changing and reversing ourselves.”,

    Any cheap mirror on our walls will reveal much of what changes are needed —- as the status quo just won’t do. Everything in the ‘universe’ we live in first starts off small, then gets bigger. That includes wars, environmental destruction, and climate changes. Wars however are the catalysts of human stupidity. They too start off small, and end up as World Wars. And so if we can eliminate small wars, we will avoid facing the bigger ones. The trick is to identify what qualifies as war. Webster’s defines war as anything which threatens life by an aggressor. So in the final analysis, if wars constitute the greatest threats to our species, all we have to do is to avoid threatening the lives of others, starting with people in our own back yards who are being threatened by evictions, being deprived from essentials such as water, power, or heat, I think that is about the gist of it. … It’s a good start to satisfy the changes that are needed by the individuals whose reflection we see in our mirrors.

    We are the only species which can actually see ourselves in any light we choose to see. I think Gandhi and Curious have it just about nailed. If we want to see change in the world, we can all “Be the change you want to see”.

  • Wren,

    Your comments about elephants are compelling. We do indeed need to save elephants, but think of who is doing the killing.. As you correctly pointed out, the killers are not among the 1%, but in the final analysis, the killers’ lives and families also being threatened by the rest of us. Very often the killers are themselves faced with homelessness and starvation, and so killing elephants or whatever else they can get their hands on may save their families. If my children had faced starvation, and I had known a way to save them, would I have chosen elephants or my children? I think the answer for me anyway would have been my children.

  • Curious says:

    “Curious Says:
    May 22nd, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    “@mike k

    “ I am not a big fan of human survival. What we have done to each other and all living beings on this planet I think qualifies us for extinction. We show very few signs of getting better in our behavior… The world and the universe would be a better place without us. ”

    Pardon, I heard that quite often. But is it right to speak for the whole humanity in this way? Most of the more than 7 billion people on the planet are poor people with extremely low income and CO2 emissions. Aren’t the rich industrialized nations, a global minority mostly responsible for most of the disaster? And what about the children and grandchilren on this planet? What about your own children and grandchildren, if you have any? You don’t think, they deserve extinction, do you?

    Right and wrong are subjective to the individual. Objective right and wrong is a tough case to make, and Ive never heard a good one made. Thus maybe we should ask, “is it ACCURATE” to speak about humanity in such a way.

    Humanity functions like a cancer. It has all the behavioral traits of one; used to be part of the system then became a separate entity, rampantly consumes all it possibly can, rapidly expands as fast as it can to accelerate its consumption of its environment, and does so without the very ability to understand that consuming its environment means destroying itself.

    All that we see in society and civilization are human behavioral tendencies manifest on a large scale. Its not a gender, or race issue, or national issue. Its an issue with the fundamental behavioral makeup of the species that is present in all of humanity.

    Do we say when a cancer gets a foothold in the individuals body, that maybe SOME of the cancer is not to blame, and its just the really noticeable metastasis that needs clearing out?

    Is it just the old, entrenched cancerous cell colonies that need dealt with?

    Is it OK to ignore and let go the smaller, less well resource funded cancer colonies; the smaller pockets that dont have the ability (yet) to expand as rapidly as the larger ones?

    The ideas that this would be an OK thing to do are ridiculous.

    Truly ludicrous, really.

    So why is it suggested so often that maybe its just the really advanced stage planetary cancer that needs eliminating, and the early stage cancers are not to blame?

    Could it have something to do with the fact that its the cancer itself speaking to its own future, and that it will not, and even, because it lacks the ability, cannot, look upon itself objectively, dispassionately, and see that the only “right” solution to it, the human cancer, is its total eradication, just as the only “right” solution to dealing with a cancer within the individual is its total eradication?

    Where do our true priorities lie? Do we, each of us individually, want to see the restoration of the planet into a living, thriving world again?

    If so, realistically, that future does not, and cannot, include the human cancer.

    Or do we just SAY that we want to see the betterment of Earth, but what we really want is the perpetuation of ourselves, the cancer, and damn the planet, we are all that matters when push comes to shove?

    What I think some of us, the cancer cells, are concluding, is that maybe being a cancer is not going to work out long term, so we should change our behavior from that of a cancer, to more of a parasite, like a tick, and just cut back on the resource sucking and toxin injections into the environment, so the host does not die, but lives on, stifled, oppressed, and barely living… but still alive, so we, the parasite, get to live on too.

    But… that is a tiny minority still who are willing to really transition from cancer to tick… most will not, and indeed, cannot change.

    So really… its not about “right” and “wrong”… its about accurate representation. Humanity is by all metrics of the principle, a cancer, and cancer is what it is, at every level. The big chunks of cancer are just small ones more advanced, given more opportunity, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the small chunks would absolutely become big chunks if they could.

    Want a renewed planet? Super, so do I. But guess what? Your existence is antithetical to that renewed planet. So are your childrens existences, and all the “innocent, confused Bangladeshi children” too, or whatever non-white child we are supposed to be feel sorry for this week.

    Thats whats really hard for the vast majority of the cancer cells to accept… that an ideal future for Earth requires all of their individual deaths.

    ALL of them.

    Just as one tiny cancer clump in the body cannot be allowed to continue living, as it will inevitably begin to grow and re-infest the rest of the body, neither really can any human pocket be left, or it too will someday begin to grow, as cancers do, and re-infest the areas where it was cleared out, and once again, turn a recovering body into the dying one it was before.

    “But ‘we’ can change”!

    Thats just it… we cant.

    And even if we could, we would choose to not.

    And very ironically, if humanity were to change so drastically on such a fundamental level as to completely change core behavioral tendencies that are hard coded into the human psyche… the resultant individuals would no longer be human. Indeed, what we see manifesting right now in human society and its civilizations, is perfectly a manifestation of the fundamental human condition.

    It aint pretty, is it?

    Cancer is what it is.

  • “THE NEWS & THE TWO MINUTES HATE”

    Everybody in Merica watched rasslin in 1950.
    1950 television was rasslin and more rasslin.
    Millions of us suffered severe brain damage in 1950.
    It was so bad, it was good.
    It was all there was.

    Everybody watched rasslin in Bahstin, Massachusetts
    Everybody smoked cigarettes while they watched rasslin.
    My Muthah puffed away on Phillip Morris.
    My Fathah sucked up two packs of Old Golds every day.

    I ran to the drug “stoah” when they ran out.
    Clouds of smoke choked us in our living room.
    Clouds of smoke even choked the rasslin ring on television.

    Good guys and bad guys rasslin in victorious Merica.
    The boys were back home from the “Wah.”
    The Gawddamn stinkin Krauts were whipped.
    The sneaky Jap “bastids” were all burned up from the Bomb.

    Oh Boy, did our boys give it to Jap bastids.

    The boys had been nourished by Spam.
    Spam was embalmed meat in a crazy tin box.
    Spam helped to win the wah.
    Merica was strong and powerful because of Spam.
    Gawd gave Spam to Merica.

    “If it was good enough for the boys, it’s good enough for you,” Mum said

    We watched rasslin and hated Commies.
    The dirty Commies were mean, but we had the Bomb.
    We could blow the Commie bastids to Kingdom Come.
    Everybody knew that we had a big one.

    When the Commies exploded their big one
    We hated the dirty Commies even more.
    Because they had a big one, too.
    The Commies were out to take over the whole world.

    The freakin Commies hated Gawd.
    Hating Gawd was the worst thing that the Commies did.
    Especially, if you were Cathlick in Bahstin.
    The Commies wanted to take away our Gawd.

    The Commie bad guys are completely gone.
    Now mad dog evil Muslims are the evil bad guys.
    The Dirty Commies didn’t even have a Gawd.
    But the evil Muslims are full-of-Gawd.

    Everybody in Merica watches THE NEWS on television.
    NBC News says that the Muslims are all mad dogs.
    CBS News says that the Muslims want to kill us.

    Much of the News is about Israel.
    CBS News tells us that we must help kindly Israel.
    NBC News says that the vicious Muslims hate kindly Israel.
    CNN News says that the evil Muslims deny Israel’s right to exist.
    Fox News says that the evil Muslims even deny the Holy Holocaust.
    The News says that the Palestinians want to kill innocent Israeli children.

    CNN News shows furious Muslims shaking their fists at our Gawd.
    FOX News says that the Muslims want to take over the world.
    The News says that the Iranians want have a big one like our big one.
    The News says that we must give them a damn good whacking
    Because mad dog Muslims have too much Gawd.
    And they want to hurt kindly Israel.

    The two minutes hate & THE big one.
    Clouds of smoke everywhere …
    Everything burning & smoking …
    Everybody choking & gasping …

    Everything burning up like Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hamburg, & Dresden.

    THE NEWS & THE TWO MINUTES HATE.
    The big sleep for everybody.

  • Into Destiny Says:
    May 23rd, 2015 at 10:13 am
    ……..
    ===========================
    Circular reasoning at best.

    There are openings in PR departments of those who are obviously guilty.

    You are naive.

    Humanity is not a cancer, it has cancer.

    Ever tried going around to hospitals and smacking people in the cancer wards telling them it is their fault?

    Or going up and smacking a healthy man who has no cancer and saying you deserve to die?

    “Listen” to yourself sometime.

    You sound high on Koch, the cancer inside humanity.

  • @Woodwose – Amazing that you knew this story of Omelas – and had the same response to it that I had. Let me pose the question the story asks in an even more trenchant and potentially revealing way:
    As a thought experiment, imagine that you are a powerful being existing prior to the initiation of our universe, and in charge of the decision to manifest it. Prior to making that decision to set it on it’s course, suppose that you thought to use your extraordinary powers to take a look ahead to the very moment in time that we now exist, to see how things would be going. Imagine your horror at the incredible suffering, ignorance and willful evil being perpetrated, with no good end in sight. Of course your vision would also reveal many true and beautiful aspects as well. Nevertheless, would you conclude that all the evil, destruction, and suffering was worth it in light of the good things also present, even though those good things seemed to be in the process of being totally swept away in the near future? Would you decide to give the go ahead to this universe which would cause such immense suffering and evil? Or would you cancel the whole creation of such a disaster? What will compassion counsel you in making your decision? To manifest or not to manifest. To be or not to be?

  • Be sensitive to the rights of individuals, a fundamental sensitivity.

  • @Gerald – Great poem. Took me back. I was fifteen. Rode my bicycle across the tracks to Bill and Bob’s – a shotgun house turned into a bar. Drank gin with ginger ale chaser and smoked Camels while watching the boxin & rasslin. Every night. My course was set for years to come – brain damaged and out of control….

  • Hannah Arendt attempted yesterday to clear away the confusion surrounding the moral dilemma which faced citizens of Nazi Germany.

    The noted political scientist, whose recent book, “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report an the Banality of Evil”, touched on heated controversy throughout the intellectual world, addressed a Ford Hall Forum audience on “Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship.”

    Miss Arendt referred to the post-war climate in Germany–where those personally innocent during the Nazi period all admitted to their “collective guilt” while the real criminals showed no remorse as “the quintessence of moral confusion.” The concept of collective guilt, as opposed to individual guilt, is “senseless,” Miss Arendt said, and only serves as an effective “whitewash” for guilty individuals to hide behind.

    (German ‘Collective Guilt’ a Fallacy, Arendt States at Ford Hall Forum).

    Extrapolate.

  • Jean @ “…And so if we can eliminate small wars, we will avoid facing the bigger ones. The trick is to identify what qualifies as war…”

    This ties in to your response to my comment, and your defense of the poachers, who, by the way, were driven by greed, and not just survival.

    But even so, the solution to both would be to make sure that the resources required to support our offspring are already available within our own ‘hunting grounds’ Before we Reproduce. But this would require that we transcend our biological imperitive and actually Think ahead of time, and care for the land as if our lives depended on it.

    Given more time on the planet to evolve, and pushed in the right evolutionary direction by love and mindfulness, this could have been the case.
    To make the elephant situation even sadder, they have been shown time and again to exhibit empaty toward other species, including humans.

  • @Wren – “Ask the other animals who ‘deserves’ extinction.” Amen. Of course for the majority of humans only human lives really “count.” We deserve to continue our rampage no matter how many others have to die.

  • wren,

    You persist in suggesting that: “Poachers were driven by greed, and not just survival.”. How did you identify, or insist that it is greed that drives poachers, as opposed to just plain basic survival needs?

    We are all in the same boat, and the banks mostly control where that boat goes. If you don’t rock the boat too much, you will not be thrown overboard. Greed has an underlying catalyst called survival, and it is obvious to anyone with eyes and ears that a lack of greenbacks is a recipe for a short life, and greed, if there is such a thing, is just another name for jungle survival, as in the asphalt jungles that we have created. Remove the perils of poverty, and you will remove the need to make a lot of moolah. Until then, greed should be removed from the dictionary.

    Third post….. Sorry….. no more….

  • OzMan,

    Here’s the answer to your question:

    http://www.atmos.illinois.edu/~wlchapma/Forbes.article.response.pdf

    Also, the problem with a “Global Sea Ice area” (I.e., in both North and South polar regions) graph, and particularly one that is s t r e t c h e d out (and only begins in 1979), is two fold.

    1) Sea ice area in the South has grown, while that in the North has shrunk. See the following 2 graphs:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

    So the global total of sea ice *area* appears to be relatively unchanged. However, this says nothing about the thickness of the ice, which is very relevant to the true state of sea ice in the North (which will refreeze in the winter and may do so to a total area greater than the year before but much thinner, leading to faster loss the next summer, etc.), or the possibility that an increased rate of glacial outflow in the South is helping push the Antarctic sea ice boundary further out, which covers more area, but ignores why this happening.

    2) The stretched out graph as used by Mr. Taylor, starting in 1979, makes it harder to discern the trend over the past 35 years that global sea ice area has gone down. The un-stretched out graph used in the pdf response makes clearer this trend line.

    Lastly, whatever the reasons for the Antarctic sea ice area increase, in due time it too will follow the disturbing Arctic sea ice area loss. And it is the unmistakable sea ice loss trend in the Arctic (and Greenland too; along with the land based arctic permafrost warming) that will first and foremost determine our climatic fate, not the lagging follow up response down below.

  • Haydukes Monkey

    We should also not that Antarctic ice sheets are ‘held in place’ by solid rock ‘barriers’ (high points in the underwater topography) but are being undercut by extraordinarily warm water in surrounding Antarctica. As the ice gradually thins it losses its anchoring and can be expected to break away at an ever-faster rate once a critical threshold is exceeded.

    It’s always worth reminding people about the counter-intuitive-to-many-people phenomenon of warmer temperatures in very cold regions causing more snowfall.

    It is encouraging to see a large number of ‘For lease’ signs on premises that were until recently occupied by oil-extraction-related companies. With the dairy sector languishing, the oil & gas sector languishing, the coal sector languishing, the meat sector languishing, logging languishing, and the engineering sector languishing, we have all the factors necessary for a ‘perfect storm’, with only runaway government borrowing and frantic house-building holding the NZ economy together.

    Back to the ice matter: looking at the Arctic sea is graph it is difficult to conceive this year’s meltdown not resulting in a record low by a considerable margin. The period of near-continuous heating that corresponds to the tilt of the Earth’s axis is coming up soon.

  • note

  • mike k.-
    Thanks. I always enjoy your posts.

    Jean-
    if you had bothered to read the article, it would be obvious that this was not a situation of a native population killing elephants in order to survive:
    Less than 100 men with military weapons and grenades travel 700 miles and slaughter over 600 elephants in one expedition alone.

    They murdered many game wardens as well. It was a case of resource extraction with the funds going to paramilitary groups in Sudan. These poachers were the same people as those responsible for the genocide in Darfur. These are the same people who engaged in the slave trade up into the 1930’s. I could go on, or you could just read the article.

    And regardless of whether it was a matter of survival or not …..
    It is a matter of Nobility of Spirit, of empathy for our fellow creatures on this planet. It is a matter of being able to say no to evil, of having a moral compass, of having a line you will not cross, even to feed your kids. The guards at the concentration camps were also only doing it to feed their kids, so they say.

    No need to respond, I have no desire to converse with you on this subject.

  • Why Alaska’s Inupiat Are Warming to Offshore Oil Drilling

    Many Inupiat leaders now support offshore oil drilling, citing economic reasons. Not all North Slope residents agree.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150522-Inupiat-Shell-offshore-oil-Arctic-Alaska-ocean-whale-sea/

  • Wren , I will absolutely respect your wish not to exchange any further comments with me on this thread, although I could write a book on the issues that we have discussed, but won’t. For the sake of brevity however, perhaps you can acknowledge that there is no need to kill either humans or elephants. The Earth has enough carrying capacity for all of us, humans and elephants, and that is where we need to do some self-analysis to determine how that can be done without jeopardizing either.

  • The Earth has enough carrying capacity for all of us, humans and elephants’

    Thanks for the attempt at a joke Jean, but it really is not particularly funny.

  • Let the guilt fall where it should, but not on innocent people (The Psychology of the Notion of Collective Guilt).

    That is mature sensitivity.

  • @Woodwose – I thought you might be interested in a passage from The Brothers Karamazov that must surely have been a basis for LeGuin’s tale –

    “I call on you – answer me: imagine that you yourself are building the edifice of human destiny with the object of making people happy in the finale, of giving them peace and rest at last, but for that you must inevitably and unavoidably torture just one tiny creature, that same child who was beating her chest with her little fist, and raise your edifice on the foundation on of her unrequited tears – would you agree to be the architect on such conditions? Tell me the truth.”

    “No, I would not agree,” Alyosha said softly.

    This passage preceded the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor by a few pages. Dostoevsky was my obsession in my youth, and has followed me in my depths for the rest of my life….

  • “Thanks for the attempt at a joke”

    Rasslin’ was a joke. This is a masking of the lethality – for all parties.

    Elation and dejection are twin sides of attachment. If one would believe in the Divine, both good and evil are to be acknowledged as equally Divine. That is why the goddess of dissolution and destruction is portrayed in horrific form.

    If cosmic cycles of creation, sustenance and destruction are without beginning or end, there is no need to posit a decision to create or not to create. And if creation is based on an obscuration of reality as in dim lighting on a rope, combined with projection from pre-existing tendencies, as in imagining a snake, a snake may be perceived, with consequences real to the realm in which it is perceived, consequences as serious as a heart attack.

    “The abstinent flee from the objects of their desires, but they carry their desires with them. Upon entering Reality, desires are left behind.” BG 2:59.

    Likewise with aversions: avoiding the objects of aversion, one still carries the aversion. This does not forbid steps to help one’s well-being, as in fleeing from a hornets’nest, or in eating a good meal. Rational anticipation can continue to be a useful guide.

  • @kevin. I don’t think he’s joking Kevin. Useless trying to argue with Jean Jean the trolling machine.

  • Haydukes Monkey and Kevin Moore

    Thanks for those thoughts

    Cheers
    😉

  • Jean,

    Archer’s “findings” that you think “dismiss methane gas releases as a non-factor in near-term human extinction” are based on computer modeling. And so far, nearly every computer model about anything to do with climate change events has proven themselves woefully wrong.

    As Gerald pointed out from the get go, “Using his model as evidence” Archer makes his case against the empirical (I.e., observed) evidence of increasing amounts of methane escaping from the Arctic regions of land and sea. As such, Archer’s model is a predictive conclusion that is probably as badly programmed as all the other computer models to date, while in the real world the observational evidence continues to confound the programmers and their “findings”!

    Go figure that conclusion.

  • There’s a stubborn belief that the poor are simply the rich in anticipation, who would over consume and destroy the Earth if only that had a chance. I don’t believe this is entirely true. It takes the questionable position that what determines behavior is primarily the individual human condition.

    But isn’t it possible that what most determines human behavior is the social order in which said humans are embedded? I can think of fascist states in which the vast majority of people (people who were inherently decent) behaved abominably due to the system they were part of. The same could be said with regard to racism–perfectly good people caught up in a bad system in which they are powerfully induced to comply.

    Over consumption within a capitalist world order is like that. Within that system, there are no other choices (by and large). I would liken the poor who would over consume, given the chance, to juvenile victims of sexual abuse. This is often the cause of sexually addictive behavior in the victim, even for those who don’t pass on that abuse to others. The poor who are “abused” through the forfeiture of their means to subsist independently are virtually drugged into compliance with the capitalist imperative to want stuff.

    I don’t believe that over consumption is separate from hierarchy and the drive for status. I believe there have been studies that show how people behave differently in hierarchical and non-hierarchical societies. It’s perhaps true that people are less addicted to status where hierarchies are less, even allowing for some less-than-obscene differences in wealth, or where those differences don’t enable undue differences in privilege.

    If we paid less attention to individualism and individual psychology, and more to the social order that embeds the individual, it might help to clarify the issue of where over consumption comes from.

  • To Mike K. – just read your post and – trenchant indeed – question. Will get back to you here after the working day is over and I have given it some thought.

  • To conclude that mankind, that everybody “deserves” extinction is just some of the most effective ways to exactly achieve extincion for shure. Well, that would be just the most logical, selfulfilling prophecy of a sick and decadent culture at it’s best then- extended suicide. Yes, a sign of end times, I am with you on that, I won’t miss this kind of “culture” no way.

    And to say that everybody is responsible for the extinction, even the poor people, the exploited poeple, the murdered people without any power, is just the sick decadence of the sinking rich, full up industrialized nations. And to maintain that the poor people, the powerless people, the oppressed people would behave just the same way as the decadent western culture does, is even more decadent, it is the best excuse for commiting any injustice, any snafu, any crime imaginable. It is a well known tactic to equate the perpetrator with the victim.

    WHO IS RESPONSIBLE ?:

    http://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1595591571/Luxury.jpg

    http://www.michaelgriesmeier.de/wp-content/uploads/hunger.jpg

  • I’ve been interested in climate change for over 25 years now and coming from Somerset in the UK, we have felt the full effect of a warming world. 2012 saw the worst flooding on record and the Environment agency, who are responsible for waterways took the blame for non-dredging of the River Parrot. However I was very vocal at the time, trying to get people to see that this wasn’t a agencies issue but one that we can all mitigate.

    I had actually come to the conclusion that we as a species are pretty much doomed independently, I mean how do you put a date on sea level rise? My own ‘feeling’ and that is all it is, 5 to 10 years and we will see over a metre of rise. By 2020 I feel that it will be more like 3 metres.

    So the question is what to do? If its to late, and I feel it is what plans should one make if any? Difficult to see what to do? On my part I’m just going to keep informing people even if they don’t want to hear it.

    Peace

  • Any take on that one?^^ :

    21.5.2015 – “Steve Goddard” proudly proclaims this morning that “Arctic Sea Ice Continues To Track 2005/2006“:

    Experts say that the Arctic is in a “death spiral” – but for the past two years it has been tracking 2005/2006 – the years with the two highest summer extents of the past decade…

    http://greatwhitecon.info/2015/05/arctic-sea-ice-fails-to-track-2005-06/#comment-209967

  • http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/the-suppression-of-climate-change.html

    [from Mother Jones]

    The suppression of climate change research

    This is a tendency that goes from suppressing research on the plight of the polar bears and honey bees to NASA and NOAA.

    In this country there is a campaign to [s]top people from knowing the truth about abrupt climate change, including a misinformation campaign by Tim Groser and the Ministry for the Environment (an Orwellian term if ever there was one!)

    Exclusive: The CIA Is Shuttering a Secretive Climate Research Program
    Scientists used the Medea program to study how global warming could worsen conflict. Now that project has come to an end.

  • They will never learn the lesson.

    ” You can fool some people sometimes,
    but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

    Bob Marley

  • In response to mike k’s (very) trenchant question posted above:

    First let me say that I resonate with everything from Buddha to Carlos Castaneda & from Russell Brand to Carl Sagan. Then let me say that I find it difficult to put myself in the position of the “I” proposed in your question: a UNIVERSE creator. If we are talking about setting a universe in motion then I would definitely go ahead with it – there must be some utopias out there!
    However, if we narrow it down to a WORLD maker – namely this planet, I find the question easier to deal with but harder to answer.
    My son, when he was ten years old, asked me what I thought God was. After a few moments consideration I told him that I thought whatever concepts most people have would probably not be big enough. I told him that maybe every star we see in the universe is a brain cell in God’s mind. Bright little lad that he was (is – well, a big lad now) he took that in and after a few moments said, “Hm, that sounds pretty good to me.”
    Despite the current howl of pain emanating from this planet I would have to say “Yes, I would set the whole set the whole damn theatre of cruelty in motion” – and here are my reasons why:

    A butterfly, a leaping salmon, a galloping horse, an athlete moving in slow motion, polar bears, pandas, snow leopards, hoar frost, a double rainbow, ice patterns on windows, oak, willow, mountain ash, redwood, sequoia, apple, cherry, blue jays, hummingbirds, eagles, condors, kingfishers, otters, blue whales, sharks, wolves, foxes, raccoons, seahorses, coral, ice bergs, clouds, sunsets, dawns, music, art, poetry, singers, dancers, musicians, poets, & mystics.
    In the end we are worm’s meat: all of us. I don’t pretend to understand at all at this point, and as a teacher I no longer see what the value of 200 years of public education has done for us if this is where we find ourselves. The Enlightenment? I am not so sure.
    But I do know that every now and again, down through the centuries, a few people have given us insights that sustain our hearts through even the most difficult challenges. And others have shown us that we don’t matter one tiny bit in the grand scheme of things. And I for one no longer believe in the myth of “progress”.
    The essence of Buddhism would tell us that we are void – we are emptiness walking and talking and thinking and fighting – we are silent witnesses.
    And I would definitely – and am in the process of doing so – walking away from Omela (at least insofar as I can just this side of starving to death on the street).
    I think, Mike, the essence of your question is this (your words): “Nevertheless, would you conclude that all the evil, destruction, and suffering was worth it?”
    And I would have to say that I no longer know if there is a scale upon which any of it is being weighed, if there is a consciousness perceiving the to and fro of the scale, or if anything is recording the litany of suffering and injustice that haunts our days on this little blue planet.
    And I sometimes suspect the planet (Earth/Gaia), Venus, Mars, the Moon and the Sun itself, the constellations, and all the galaxies receding into infinity might also be conscious witnesses. And wonder what they are thinking of us.

  • Artleads, “But isn’t it possible that what most determines human behavior is the social order in which said humans are embedded?”

    “If we paid less attention to individualism and individual psychology, and more to the social order that embeds the individual, it might help to clarify the issue of where over consumption comes from.”

    I enthusiastically agree, & may I add some scientific materialist anti-ideation as evidential support;

    “Since we intuitively know that there is a rule for everything, we are
    easily misled into believing that rules govern or cause behavior. But the principle that rules govern or cause behavior is no more credible than the proposition that the earth is flat.

    Rules facilitate, motivate, and organize our behavior; they do not govern or cause it.

    The causes of behavior are to be found in the material conditions of social life.

    The conclusion to be drawn from the abundance of “unless” and “except”
    clauses is not that people behave in order to conform to rules, but they select or create rules appropriate for their behavior.”

    Marvin Harris; Cultural Materialism, p.275

    a perfect ongoing example; Without mentioning the vicious lying Neo-cons, Israel’s Oded Yinon Plan, & Israeli calculated duplicity & political power – Jeb Bush audaciously claims that his murdering bro was “misinformed.”

    Israel’s enemies fall like dominoes into complete destruction & social despair, but we are not supposed/allowed to notice?

    If you notice the complete destruction of Iraq, Libya, & Syria; you MUST be anti-Semitic?

    Millions of innocents are dead or displaced because the double talking power elite was “misinformed.”

    Murder of millions is a crime, EXCEPT if you have been “misinformed.”

    NOBODY is lying!

  • Climate Change Is For Pussies

    The IPCC says we need 500 million hectares of farmland to take carbon from the air using bio-energy techniques, in order for us to stay below 2°C. This is bullshit. 500 million hectares of farmland is about the size of India.

    Scientific American says humanity only has 60 years of human agriculture left to us because of the rates of soil degradation, depletion and outright loss.

    Also, because we add 1 million new people to earth every 4½ days, we will have to grow more food over the next 50 years than we ever grew in all of the last 10,000 years, combined.

    To do this, we will need 6 million hectares of new farmland every year for the next 30 years. But, we are actually losing 12 million hectares of farmland every year. We are losing soil at twice the rate we need to build it up.

    On top of all this, in just 10 years from now, 66% of humanity, or roughly 4-5 billion people, will be short of fresh water, with nearly 2 billion people being severely short of fresh water. Try growing food without water and soil and see how far you get.

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

  • I’ve posted anew. Catch it here.

  • Remember those who said we should nuke the Deepwater Horizon spill area to clean it up (geoengineering on steroids)?

    Is the same thing going to be contemplated now for the Arctic, except with conventional weapons (The Navy’s Great Alaskan “War”)?

    They are going to do live war games in the Arctic and send drilling rigs up there again!

    All the geoengineering folk take note (be careful what you wish for).

    This is yet another example of lethal mutation (The “Genes of Culture” In Civilization).

  • This is marvellous:

  • Woodwose, Grazi, your direction to lying lawyerfish Taylor was very helpful.

    May I try to reciprocate?

    Marvin Harris takes outright liar & bullshitter, Carlos Castenada, to the woodshed.

    It “could be” the lesson of a lifetime – it was for me.

    http://sustainedaction.org/Explorations/critique_of_phenomenology%20as%20obscurantism.htm

  • @Woodwose – What a beautiful response! I admire your openness, your depth, and your heart. These ultimate questions cannot be answered form the intellect alone, they require one to walk a path with heart, as Costaneda put it. I will need to ponder more what you have shared, but here is a poem I wrote some years ago….

    The Only Question

    The only question that matters now
    Is this: when I die will there be
    A blessing or a curse
    Upon my lips?

    In my life, in this world
    there has been the magic presence
    Of flowers – their perfumes, their poetry,
    Their graceful, smiling beauty.

    I have seen the sunlight
    Dancing in the water, wind
    Caressing the tall grasses…
    And it was perfect, enchanting –
    Enough fulfillment forever.

    Then there were the people
    With their rich and subtle depths;
    Smiling, passionate, caring, crying
    Celebrating, sharing, and just being
    Their unique and mysterious selves.
    What a joy, what a gift!

    I might go on and on in this vein…
    But a cloud comes now,
    Covering the bright sun,
    Putting everything suddenly in doubt,
    Unrolling from each thing
    A dark and sinister shadow.

    The uncaring violence of the storm
    Rends and crushes the delicate
    And vulnerable flowers.
    The pitiless tide of greed
    And cynical thirst for power
    Rolls across the human world
    Like a black wave, engulfing and
    Destroying the fond hopes of the innocent,
    And smashing the ugly dreams of the guilty as well.

    A toxic smoke of fear and hatred
    Poisons every moment and
    Spoils any possible refuge.
    The escalating alienation and madness
    Of humankind signals a terrible doom
    Descending with relentless force
    On our delicately balanced little planet…

    Enough.
    The only thing that really matters now
    Is this: what will be on my lips when I die –
    A blessing or a curse?

  • Hi Dr guy;
    have you heard of Rupert Sheldrake, think he might be of interest to you

    Martin

  • Kevin Moore:

    I suggested that : “The Earth has enough carrying capacity for all of us, humans and elephants’”. To which you replied: “Thanks for the attempt at a joke Jean, but it really is not particularly funny.”

    I’m not joking Kevin…. What makes you think there isn’t enough room for elephants?

    If you are referring to humans however, and if you do indeed think there are too many humans, it remains within your power to be part of the solution as opposed to being part of the problem. As Gandhi suggested: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

  • better to light a candle, than sit in the dark

  • Martin,
    “Better to light a candle, than sit in the dark”..

    MMmmmm? Only if it doesn’t bother you to add yet another few ounces of fossil fuel to our CO2 count.

  • With regard to Castaneda – a good storyteller and mystic philosopher can also be a liar and a poor scientist. Take what is valuable and leave the rest.

  • Good one mike k. Gotcha on the Castaneda (take what you can leave the rest). He was another in the lineage of Grey Owl (in Canada) and Jamake Highwater: charlatans perhaps, but charlatans of the soul.
    Judging from your poem, my brother, I think it will be a blessing on your lips – and I sincerely hope so.

    “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
    T. S. Eliot (Little Gidding: Four Quartets #4)

  • Woodwose, mike k; There were/are many “good storytellers, who were/are also outright liars, leading up to the murder of millions of innocent Muslim Iraqis, Libyans, & Syrians.

    A good story, even though it is a vicious lie & a fabricated distortion, is worth it because it is titillating?

    Framing an innocent person by a public prosecutor of policeman is just a titillating story?

    The deadly copper in Charleston, S.C. who lied about his outright murder of a fleeing suspect, including dropping the taser evidence near the dead body is acceptable to you?

    “Thou canst not be false to any man” is bad advice?

  • Castaneda had something special as a writer.. His stories about Don Juan and his Journey to Ixlam couldn’t help but make one wonder if it was Castaneda who experienced the ‘Teachings of Don Juan’ or that he may be have been more than a simple observer or story teller. Really enjoyed his pleasurable takes of what could be possible. Magical.

  • Hilarious to see people trying to argue with Jean Turcot, as if he operates on rational grounds, when he has openly stated that there are no facts, only opinions. and has admitted that he rejects the NTE idea not on the basis of counter-facts to Guy but because he doesn’t want it to be true. His embrace of Archer’s conclusions, based entirely upon computer models rather than field research (unlike Shakhova and Semiletov, who are field researchers) is but one example. And of course this earns him accolades from those who admire contrarians, no matter what they say.

  • @tim lazenby

    So the question is what to do? If its to late, and I feel it is what plans should one make if any? Difficult to see what to do?

    It’s always too late, it’s never too late. We are all going to die, we all go extinct. So what? Wasn’t that certain right from the start? Beeing born means to die, I learned that lesson at a very early age that one can always count on death for shure. Death has always been walking beside me, beside us, teaching to let loose, to concentrate on what’s really worth it, that nothing is forever, no misery and no joy is forever. Sometimes it’s hard to live, to let loose and sometimes it’s hard to die, to let loose. Deep inside there is a mystery that transcendes both, living and dying.

    Form is emptiness, emptiness is form
    Emptiness is not separate from form, form is not separate from emptiness
    Whatever is form is emptiness, whatever is emptiness is form.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

    By and large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by a polarity, that of existence and non-existence. But when one reads the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, “non-existence” with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one reads the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, “existence” with reference to the world does not occur to one.

    By and large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), and biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on “my self”. He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It’s to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.
    “Everything exists”: That is one extreme. “Everything doesn’t exist”: That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle…

    Nagarjuna

    Peace

  • Denver Post, 5/23-24/15

    Page 2D – Letters To Editor

    ETHICS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ACCEPTING WORLD’S REFUGEES
    RE: “New world of refugee ethics,” May 17 guest commentary
    Former Gov. Richard D. Lamm correctly describes the magnitude of problems that are leading to an increasing worldwide refugee crises, and points out the need to challenge our assumptions to come up with workable and ethical solutions. However, he fails to challenge his own implicit assumption: that our relationship to these refugees and the problems they flee is that of a random encounter. In fact, the governments we install and overthrow, the minerals we extract, and the crops we demand are key causes of those problems. Lamm describes the looming effects of climate change — but not the consumption in developed countries that’s causing it. Lamm says that ethics must be limited by the social fabric. Just as St. Martin of Tours divided his personal fabric, developed societies may need to share our fabric beyond what feels comfortable. We cannot continue to ignore the real-world consequences of our actions.
    Robert Lenk, Greeley

    ——————

    “Israel’s enemies fall like dominoes into complete destruction & social despair, but we are not supposed/allowed to notice?”

    Maybe they should be asked why this behavior is not also suicidal.

  • @Gerald – Conflating poor Carlos with mass murderers is a little over the top. Why not save your venom for those who really deserve it?

  • i like curious’s comment, it made me think. Sheldrake talks of a global conciosness or “resonance”

    martin

  • @Martin

    I know that morphic resonance and morphic fields theory of Sheldrake. I read the book “The presence of the past” (written by Sheldrake) many years ago. I sympathize with that idea. Everything is interconnected, nothing exists independent from everything else. I am not shure if there is a global conciosness already, maybe it’s in the beginning already via telecommunication and internet. But there is a collective unconscientious for shure. Do you know C. G. Jung or Richard Campbell?

  • Correction:

    Subconscious, not “unconscientious”!