Is There Life Before Death?

by Carolyn Baker

Wild DancingAs the conversation about Near-Term Human Extinction (NTHE) grows increasingly deafening, I notice many people behaving as if they are already dead—and in fact they may be. Do we have 15 years, 20 years, 50 years? Should I move to another location? What’s the point of doing the job I now have? Why even have health insurance if I’m not going to be here anyway? And on it goes…

I have no problem with preparing for the future. I’ve been writing books on that topic for about six years. The future has come to meet us and smack us upside the head on just about every level imaginable. And…living primarily in the future takes a terrible toll on us in current time. In fact, it strip-mines our lives in the here and now and guarantees that we become “extinct” long before NTHE does its dirty deed.

Recently, I was watching an interview with mindfulness teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn. When asked what he believes about life after death, Kabat-Zinn responded by saying that he doesn’t think about it much because he’s much more intrigued with whether or not there is life before death. If there isn’t life before death, he said, then we are already dead.

So how do we reconcile living life fully in current time with NTHE? The simplest response I have is: Give them equal time. Read the science, keep current with the news, talk about it with people with whom it is safe to do so, but give the present moment as much time as you give NTHE.

Giving the present equal time means committing to several necessary practices.

  1. Get away from the computer and the stack of books and get yourself OUT into raw nature. I never cease to be amazed at individuals who “fight for” the environment but don’t know how to spend quality time in it. This means not doing anything in nature but simply being in it. That sounds like a big waste of time? Good. That anxiety you’re feeling when you think about this is a tip-off that that is exactly what you need to do. When immersing yourself in nature, don’t “go for a hike” or “exercise” or “garden.” Just simply be mindfully present in nature. That means listening to every sound intently, really noticing everything you see, smelling the fragrances (unpleasant as well as pleasant), perhaps even tasting grass or leaves or plants that you know are safe to eat. Sit or lie on the earth. Honor your sensuality, and bring your body into contact with nature. Lose yourself in Earth eroticism.
  2. Practice appreciating beauty at least once a day. It could be taking a moment to look at, smell, or touch the flowers growing wild or in your backyard. It could be painting or drawing something beautiful. It could be listening to an extraordinary piece of music that moves you to your depths. It could be cooking an exquisite meal for your loved ones.
  3. Practice creativity every day. Creativity can be expressed in myriad forms—writing, drawing, cooking, playing music, helping your child with homework, planting a garden. Make something new every day even if that only means cleaning, de-cluttering, re-purposing an object. Learn and tell stories—especially to children and to each other. Tell stories of heroes and “sheroes” of integrity and passion for the earth. Immerse yourself in mythology and allow it to reveal to you the story you came here to live.
  4. Live passionately. “Suck the marrow out of life,” as Professor Keating might have said in “Dead Poet’s Society.” And speaking of poetry, delight in reading and writing poetry and memorize it by heart, from the heart.
  5. Move/exercise/stretch the body every day. Recently, when leaving the gym where I work out several times a week, I heard wonderfully wild music coming from a Zumba class and stopped to watch. I found myself welling up with tears of joy as I focused on every individual in the class dancing their passion. Indeed, many individuals are ill or suffering from chronic pain or severe disabilities and cannot take Zumba classes, but every one of us can do something for the body every day.
  6. Express love to another being every day. Beyond someone in your family, make a conscious effort to be kind to someone or something. It may be easy to express love to family members or pets, but it’s often more challenging to extend kindness to the grocery clerk, the bank teller, or the customer service person on the phone whom you will never see and whom you can’t wait to stop dealing with.
  7. “Inflict” humor and joy on others when least expected. This does not mean being disrespectful or insensitive. Be discerning and considerate, but lighten up as you carry the heavy load of Anthropocene awareness.
  8. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Check in with yourself regularly to see if you are breathing. The second you feel stressed, breathe. Taking long, slow, deep belly breaths is the best medicine for body and mind in any situation, even when you’re not feeling stressed.
  9. Practice acceptance. Acceptance does not mean being resigned. It means recognizing the actuality of things without your particular story of how bad the situation is or your story of how the future will play out. It means taking a situation into your awareness and working with it in order to help it find its own place in your heart and mind rather than being the dominating force in your life.
  10. Commit to a stillness/mindfulness practice. You can be well aware of NTHE and the probability of a bleak future for humanity and at the same time be passionately alive. One of the most effective ways of facilitating this is learning and practicing mindfulness. It is one of the oldest survival techniques known to our species. Hunter-gatherers knew that if they didn’t practice mindfulness, they would be eaten.As a result of our awareness of NTHE, we can easily get caught in depressive rumination, that is, a thought pattern that keeps bringing us down. If you find yourself ruminating, ask: Who is ruminating right now? Just keep asking the question. You are not your thoughts but the awareness of your thoughts. Ruminations come and go, but you don’t. Wherever you go, there you are, so it’s more than important to know who’s ruminating.

If action is the antidote to despair, then stillness is the antidote to hysteria and rumination about the future. A short exercise by Kabat-Zinn offers a taste of mindfulness practice. Kabat-Zinn founded the renowned Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, and his video presentation on Mindfulness, Stress Reduction and Healing is a remarkable integration of science and mindfulness.

Lest we assume that practicing mindfulness is just one more form of sitting meditation, it’s important to understand that it can be practiced anywhere—while walking or doing almost any activity because it simply involves paying full attention to whatever we are doing or experiencing in the moment.

So there is life before death, and as the African proverb says, “When death comes, may it find you fully alive.

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McPherson is mentioned in an essay from 7 May 2015 in the Huffington Post. Read it here.
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McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. Electronic copy is available here from Amazon.

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 40

  • Thanks, Carolyn. As for me, one way I enhance my time in the present is by never mentioning NTE unless the person I’m with brings the subject up. If they are ready to hear it, they’ll let you know. If they’re not ready, bringing the subject up will only be depressing.

    Especially with my family. I concentrate on being positive, happy and in the moment. Thereby facilitating a happy outlook in those I love for the little time we have left.

    There will be plenty of time for wailing and gnashing of teeth later.

  • I even made a tshirt last year for myself with the words «ALL READY DEAD» in a desperate act of daily creativity. Because this is what I am, in many ways. Already dead meat robot.

    Trapped in the extremely polluted and dying city, I absolutely do not have the means nor the inclination nor the will to follow those oh so childish and inconsequential advice. Like, deep depression, no motivation, no money, no mobility kind of things. This post is so infantilizing and stupid on this site and at this stage. It is the kind of post that usually does not stimulate the best in commenters and produces a series of mostly sterile exchanges. Fortunately, it should be done with in a couple of days. Do not lose hope 🙂

  • Japan Engineers Design Robotic Bear to aid in Assisted Suicide

    http://www.sott.net/article/296174-Japan-Engineers-Design-Robotic-Bear-to-aid-in-Assisted-Suicide

    A team of engineers working for the JSDD, with help from the Orient Industry Company have created an experimental robotic bear to assist in euthanasia and assisted suicide in Japan.

    The growing suicide rate, as well as the senior population is becoming an increasing concern. Hospital Staff, and Suicide Assistant Volunteers from the JSDD are required to help euthanize those who are unable to themselves due to physical, or psychological reasons.

    To aid these carers and volunteers, the JSDD-Orient Industry Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robotics Research in the Bunkyo Ward of Tokyo has designed an assisted suicide support robot with the face of an innocent, loveable cartoon-like bear to aid patients in self-euthanasia named SeppuKuma.

    SeppuKuma also offers 23 very different methods one can choose to end their life, including Everlasting Sleep (lethal injection), Pillow Kisses (suffocation), Peaceful Breath (helium asphyxia) and Sleepy time Hug which is where the robotic bear strangles its partner until their pulse stops for 15 minutes. All of these attributes enable the SeppuKuma to give it’s patient the power to choose how they get to end their own life. An official from the JSDD says that, so far, robots have never been used for this purpose in any hospital.

    “We really hope that SeppuKuma will lead to advances in the Right to Die movement, it’s important to give those who want to end their lives the power to do so in a safe and responsible manner. We intend to continue with research toward more practical robots capable of providing powerful yet gentle euthanasia to elderly people and those battling with either shame or depression,” said Tsuneki Suko, leader of the Artificial Intelligence Systems Research Team at the JSDD-Orient Institute Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research.

    The HAIRAKUMA-II was recalled immediately from test markets after a glitch in the AI Systems vital sign monitor left the bodies of 12 beta testing patient’s bodies horribly disfigured but still alive.

    [Order the options package and the robot will don a hockey goalie mask and chase you around with lethal objects (now including chain saw!) or like the Terminator!]

  • This page certainly has all the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to
    ask.

  • Carolyn,

    Thank you.

  • I am more for cultivating brainfullness.

    Scientific behaviorist B.F. Skinner spent his life denouncing & debunking the entire concept of MIND.

    Kabat-Zinn claims that he is a scientist, but his entire theoretical/therapeutic position is that all is mind & mindfulness.

    What comes out of the Zionist Israeli “mind” in order to joyfully bomb, butcher, & murder the defenseless innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Concentration Camp?

    John get your “wisdom filled” ass to land grabbing & butchering Israel.

    Does murdering Netanyahu cultivate Mindfulness OR LYING & DECEIT?

  • Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That’s a noble idea, but it feels more complete if you add its inverse: “The unlived life is not worth examining.”

    Carpe diem – with mindfulness, love, gratitude, joy, forgiveness and surrender.

  • @Gerald,

    I wonder what you’d think of Bernardo Kastrup’s “monistic idealism”?

    http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/05/if-not-materialism-then-what.html

  • Paul, I do not spend much time on guardian angels, alien abductions, philosophical idealism, nebulous spirits, or nebulous spirituality.

    I think that Bernardo Kastrup is on the “wrong track.”

    Indeed, ideation is one of our most sinister mother errors.

    When Bernardo uses term “materialist metaphysics” he is demonstrating his careless & cavalier denigration of critically inescapable terms in natural/physical science.

    Abuse of our mother tongue is serious.

    By basic definition, there is no physics with the material or physical world.

    By basic definition metaphysics (from as far back as Aristotle) means; “beyond the physics.”

    Yes, I know all about the Bohr vs Einstein discussions.

    Yes, I “understand” quantum indeterminacy & quantum weirdness.

    I am a practicing scientific materialist.

    I detest the continually bandied about nebulous & superficial terms; metaphysics & spirituality.

    I am always saddened that so many good people fall for such nonsense, especially when there is so much valuable & accurate understanding of the world & our petty selves.

    I would not teach a child that “Jesus walked on water,” or that the Dali Lama is a reincarnation of anyone.

    Counterfeit exists because there is real gold.

  • First I must express my appreciation for the selfless acquisition and dissemination of the information you, Guy, are researching. However, I feel that you are doing a disservice to your readers in that you have adopted an entirely atheistic stance concerning NTE. An amateur archeologist, by his own reckoning, Ron Wyatt, deceased in 1997?, discovered and provided unassailable proof concerning the Biblical accounts of the Red Sea Crossing, the existence of Mt. Sinai and the Golden Calf Altar, the location of Sodom and Gomorrah, the location and existence of Noah’s Ark, the Burial Ground of Ashkelon, and not least, in 1982, the location and existence of the Ark of The Covenant in a cave just outside the old wall of the city of Jerusalem. A crack in the roof of the cave led to the location of the Calvary escarpment with three squared holes cut in bedrock, the center hole containing traces of human blood, more of which he found on top of the Propitiatory Cover of the Ark, which, when reconstituted by Israeli scientists,(who claimed such to be impossible) became viable living blood cells having 24 chromosomes. The Ark is there to this day, its removal by Israeli authorities having proved to be impossible.
    I mention these few examples since there is extensive documentation available on the Internet which is very impressive substantiation of the reliability of the Bible. I hate religion, which is a man (or otherwise) made system of compulsory behavior devoid of the element of God. However, there is in the New Testament a brief reference, in Revelation 14.1-5 to a certain number of persons who are manifested in a location named Mount Zion as ones “who have been purchased from the earth,” “from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” A proper understanding of this passage, the Bible itself, more particularly the Book of Revelation, and an in-depth interpretation are to be found at http://www.lsm.org.
    My point is that there will be a remnant of persons, a considerably small number, who will escape the coming apocalypse, the NTE, as promised to them in Re.3.10, by being removed alive and bodily from the earth just prior to the last three and one half years of this era. This is the only countervailing hope, and certainty, that anyone can have to escape all the events that you so effectively catalog in your writings. Nevertheless, its certainty is on a par with the numerous corroborated matters of truth related in the Bible, a few of which examples are mentioned above. I feel sure that you would not be averse to having mention made of this matter, since you are unable to offer any long lasting relief or solution to the dilemma at hand, and I believe you are grieved that the majesty of human life should meet such a tragic end. I make no attempt to give any explanations or interpretation to invite disputation. If there is any interest, there is an abundance of clarifying truth at the website mentioned above. Those who have ears, let them hear.

  • Hey Guy, at least you can’t be accused of this!

    Leading scientists accused of offering false hope on climate

    http://www.rtcc.org/2015/05/06/leading-scientists-accused-of-offering-false-hope-on-climate/

    German researcher says climate advisors should admit 2C goal is out of sight, but his critics say long term targets are useful

    [begins]

    Leading climate scientists and advisors stand accused of giving the public false hope that dangerous levels of warming can be averted.

    That’s the view of Oliver Geden, a researcher at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

    Writing in the latest edition of Nature, Geden says government advisors are under pressure to offer solutions that can keep warming within what is deemed acceptable levels.

    “Scientific advisers must resist pressures that undermine the integrity of climate science,” he writes.

    “Instead of spreading false optimism, they must stand firm and defend their intellectual independence, findings and recommendations – no matter how politically unpalatable.”

    He adds: “Scientific advisers should resist the temptation to be political entrepreneurs, peddling their advice by exaggerating how easy it is to transform the economy or deploy renewable technologies, for instance.” [read the rest]

  • I made a serious & stupid error above. Mea culpa.

    Posta read; There is no physics withOUT the material & physical world.

  • Carolyn,
    That is a wonderful short piece with a lot of substance, clarity, and wisdom. Thank you. Suzanne

  • There is life before death for the unrealised ones. Realisation is The Great Death, the extinguishment (“nirvana”) of the mirage of individual existence. Thereafter for the realised ones there is neither “I” nor “not-I”. No “I” subject to life or otherwise.

  • Haha. Thanks for the laughs guys. I’ve been reading the posts of Dr. Mcpherson and most of the rest of you for about a year. I have posted a time or two about how depressed NTE has made me, and you have always responded with kindness and care. I thank you for that.

    Although anxiety attacks still hit me pretty hard now and then, I think I’m actually getting through the shock of realization and beginning to emerge from the other side of that terrible place. I can’t claim any particular enlightenment or growth in my being has taken place, but just that the shock is wearing off and I feel more able to face the reality of our end as a species and more particularly the end of my own life.

    It has amazed me how the specter of NTE has humanized me. I sometimes cry when I see roadkill now. I saw the body of a mama racoon at the side of the road recently, and then in quick succession the bodies of her 4 babies all killed within 100 feet of her. It was as if I could read the story of what happened in a nanosecond. It made me weep the rest of the way to work. Then I felt rage at how our species so carelessly delivers death to other living things. I used to be immune and thought such feelings childish on the part of others.

    I am coming to believe that we humans richly deserve what we have done to ourselves. It’s just… and Dr. Mcpherson says this often… that the horror of what we have done falls so unjustly on the rest of life on this planet.

  • Spezio musta got the passionate part of the essay.
    I do not like self-help articles because I am already dead.
    I do not like metaphysical mumbo jumbo because I will be gone when i die.
    I do not like to romanticise tribalism or fetishize the noble savage.
    Don’t distract yourself from life, boredom is boring. Try to feel it.

    Don’t try to be happy, just focus on feeling life, both good and bad.
    I get up each day to go to work cutting grass in a trailer park.
    I am already dead. The walking dead. Dead man walking.
    I am going to shopping today for new work clothes.
    My only consolation is we are destroying all life on earth.
    Science is a bitch. So is life and you are married to it.

  • Barry,

    You say: “It has amazed me how the spectre of NTE has humanized me”.

    It sounds as if it’s made you truly sensitive to being alive, in other words, more aware and able to love. That’s good.

    Your story of the mama and baby racoons and being able to use your imagination to become aware of what might have happened to them proves that you are more alive because being more alive always means that you are more aware of the non-human world. Many people can’t bear this and have to switch off in order to survive, and our technology-driven way of life encourages people to do so. It was never so easy to ignore reality as it is now.

    I liked it when you implied that you’ve become more aware of the non-human world and that you can cry for it. Some of us have lived like that since the day we were born because we’re not able to switch off – desensitize ourselves. But be glad because you might also find that you’ve become more sensitive to anything that gives you joy, and you will find that it’s not childish at all but very adult,in a sensitive, balanced or as some would have it “romantic” way.

    Thanks for sharing this, this sort of thing is not always easy, especially for a man.

    And finally, to paraphrase Paul Chefurka’s inverse (which I like): Now your “lived life” IS worth examining.

  • I think Paul’s inverse of Socrates “The unexamined life is not worth living” is clever but not valid. If one’s life is flawed and unsatisfactory, it especially needs to be examined and hopefully changed for the better. To avoid the negatives in ourselves gives birth to Jung’s “shadow self.” If Oedipus had taken a good look at himself he might have become aware of the hubris that led him to strike down a man standing in his way at the crossroads, and thus avoided killing his father. One of the twelve steps of the spiritual program of AA enjoins one to take a searching and fearless inventory of oneself. Without self-examination egotism takes over and one becomes heedless and dishonest. The truth we need to seek is the whole truth, warts and all.

    @Caroline – Your list of suggestions is right on. Having accepted the high probability of NTE, the next question is inevitably “How do I live with this dark knowledge?” The answer does not have to be that one is condemned to unremitting suffering. Thanks for your helpful efforts to ease our passage through this global tragedy.

  • Mike K,

    Paul Chefurks’a inverse (sorry, Paul, to talk above your head here) seemed to me to be something that could be taken seriously (literally) or with some humour. Reading the latter into it, I assumed that Paul was displaying a good sense of humour, maybe (inadvertently) in a very European way? It’s just the sort of thing I’m used to here in England. Please don’t think of it as flippant. In a way, it’s a balancing technique, something that Haydukes and Kirk might agree with.
    To me humour, a sense of the ridiculous, is one of the most important things in life. I could not have lived through our election here in England without it. Or is it that I have a talent for the absurd and see it in most things that humans come up with and do? Or is it that I try not to take myself too seriously because it’s the way I was brought up? Never mind, no use really, in analysing it…

    My using the inverse in my comment to Barry was supposed to lighten things up a bit. It’s so difficult to use subtle humour without body language, so here’s a:) instead.

  • Tom’s comments above about science & scientists not advancing political distortions or false hope are on point, but I would like to add another painful observation.

    Here are the last four statements from the piece.

    In a statement Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the UN’s climate body, argued the 2C goal should be seen less as a target and more as a “defence line” for humanity.

    “Every country on Earth–supported by rising ambition by thousands of cities and companies– is working with increasing optimism towards a new universal agreement in Paris in December,” he said.

    “As we have said many times, the climate action plans or INDCs being put forward so far will not on their own keep the world under a 2 degrees C rise.

    “But we are confident that Paris can put in place the policies, pathways, structures and finance that can assist all nations to progressively ramp up their ambition over time in order to make the transformations needed to stay under the internationally agreed goal.”

    Focusing on the last hopium absurd statement, can you detect ANY real instructive information contained in it?

    It is pure double talk & gibberish w/o a shred of actual content or operationalized prescription.

    Every word & phrase tells us less than nothing or the square root of minus zero.

    And all this from a piece purporting to tell us NOT to obfuscate & tell the truth.

    You bet that it is bad.

    See it all at: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/05/06/leading-scientists-accused-of-offering-false-hope-on-climate/#sthash.ljw4PIrl.dpuf

  • “a searching and fearless inventory of oneself”

    An excellent way to peel off all the labels, layer after layer. Human, male/female, old/young, rich/poor, educated/uneducated, tall/short, big/small, etc. etc. After the last of the plethora of labels has been pulled off, the realisation may dawn that there is no “oneself” under all those layers. It is just an agglomeration of labels all the way.

  • Gerald, long ago, here on earth, life born to total darkness was able to evolve the ability to capture photons to the point that it developed eyes to see with.

    I see spiritual evolution working in the same way. People, at our level of development, are mostly as blind to the natural spiritual material of the universe as the earliest protoplasts were to visible light.

    Too bad we Earthlings never made a decent showing, spirit wise. But, that’s OK! Evolution takes time and we are simply out of it.

  • Gerald Spezio highlighted a crucial point.

    Anyone who has done a modicum of research knows that the economic-political system has been geared to the wants of a tiny minority at the top of the pyramid since Magna Carta (1215), and is now geared to the wants of international bankers and corporations.

    We know what all of the above want{ more for themselves and less for everyone else: more exploitation, more resource extraction and more emissions of carbon dioxide (and probably methane too), and more people who are not part of ‘the club’ driven off the cliff.

    Everyone who reads NBL knows that a rise in average temperature of 2oC is not safe, that 1oC is not safe and that 0.85oC is not safe, and that anything above 350ppm CO2 in the atmosphere is a recipe for fast disaster -fast in this context being approximately one century.

    The ‘good news’ is that the ultra-fast melting of the Arctic Sea ice witnessed a couple of weeks ago has slowed slightly.

    As discussed previously, we will know by September just how bad a number of aspects are (including the on-going economic meltdown). It’s a matter of using the time between now and September effectively, which for me means bracing for impact and exposing the liars who have misled the bulk of the populace for what they are -liars.

    On the theme of “Don’t believe anything the government tells you”, there has been some discussion about the false claim by Bill English (Minister of Finance) that the NZ government was in the process of ‘balancing the books’: NZ government debt stands at around $87 billion, and is rising by the second, as useless (counter-productive) infrastructure is constructed to prevent the unemployment rate immediately surging towards 50%.

  • Is there any CH4 found in ice cores ? I’m guessing any CH4 that got ‘trapped’ like CO2 in the ice would convert to C02 anyway? Soooo we wouldn’t know if the previous extinction events were caused by CO2 or CH4 ?

    seven x 9 = … bloody hell will have to get the calculator out .

  • Kirk, are one million innocent Iraqi human beings, including thousands of hapless innocent children, stone cold dead as a result of U.S. murder & mayhem, or not?

    Is Iraq an ugly rubble heap & a totally destroyed culture, or not.

    Was Iraq a war for Israel or not?

    Did Bush & the Zionist Israeli cabal calculatingly lie & distort the truth to engineer this mass murder of completely innocent Iraqis or not?

    Did nebulous spirits commit all the bloody murder & mayhem in Iraq – or real people with real names & addresses?

    Are George Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Powell, Kagan, Feith, Perle, etc. spirits or people?

    What the fugg is “the natural spiritual material of the universe.”

    Your whole phrase is a glaring contradiction of very simple & basic terms in your own mother tongue.

    If you keep chasing spirits, you will never find out who did what to whom.

    The real murders are laughing their asses off & preparing for more bloodthirsty murder in Iran.

    Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered by the Columbian necklace?

    No wonder the whole perverse bamboozling system never changes.

    In the vernacular; “Keep them chasing up the wrong tree.”

    The political profiteers want you to keep chasing the spiritual phantoms so you don’t chase them.

    And you do it with such “blind” (your term) & childish enthusiasm with all manner of supporting intellectual nonsense.

    This blog is rampant with mentalistic scatterbrained flapdoodle.

    Invariably it is a constant replay of “The Century of the Self.”

  • @Paul Chefurka – Something on Dredd’s blog sent me to constructal law on wiki. What do you think of that wrinkle on thermodynamics?

    @Sabine – Sorry to go all serious when you and Paul were just having fun. My bad. I do that. Obsessing on heavy issues. Blame it on NTE, or maybe morose Irish ancestors….

  • Gerald,

    Of course they have a plan. Look, I’m not supposed to tell anyone… but here’s the Paris 2015 plan, man:

    They are going to require we all increase the production of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Ginger-Ale, Root Beer, and any other carbonated soft drink in order to draw down and sequester all the excess atmospheric CO2 into these beverages, see — and it’s a really brilliant plan! It’s immediately scalable across the globe as these soft drink producers are already set up in every country, and will swiftly provide a new occupation for everyone whose present job has to be eliminated in order to save the planet!

    Furthermore, they will make it illegal to open these cans to actually drink any of this stuff. The CO2 has to stay in the cans in order to really work right. But human temptation being what it is, especially when it comes to a cold can of Coke or diet Pepsi, they will randomly bobby trap them so that anyone who dares to pop one open is likely to get blown to smithereens. Of course there will be plenty of collateral losses of life this way, but this too is part of the plan’s brilliance, as such losses will ultimately help greatly reduce our human population, especially among our overweight corn syrup addicted masses who live on mega-sized doses of carbonated soft drinks. This also has the added benefit of promoting self-responsibility. I mean, it’s your own damn fault if you can’t stop yourself from popping open a can of Root Beer in order to help save the planet!

    In fact, it becomes our new weapon of choice when it comes to dealing with Middle East terrorists. Living as they do in all those desert countries where there is no water to drink, they will not be able to resist popping open the cans of soda-pop our armed forces will be raining down on them in colorful coolers, adorned with prophetic scripture from the Koran admonishing them to drink up, and be happy: Heaven — and of course virgins too — awaits them!

    All this and more is in the works! Just you wait! So, chill, man… it’s all under control!

  • Gerald, I love you, you silly boy! It’s a heart wrecking thing. I feel for you, my dear sir, my calling card, my spent warrior!

    Don’t stop plying, never give up!

    But, this game isn’t meant to be played.

  • Tough times for our fellow residents of the Blue Marble:
    “Wild animals in drought-stricken Western states are dying for a drink”

  • Argh. Calling indians and indigenous “savages”? Again? That they would have any “nobility” is – a myth? Sheesh. This obviously will never end until we’re all extinct. OK, look. The savages are the invaders, the anglos, the slavers, the patriarchs, the mentally ill growth-forever free traders, the colonizers, the genociders – and you, my dear gringos, are their mutant spawn. So, yes, Zero nobility as long as you understand exactly who is the savage. It’s not the people down on the rez, but, the most savage, probably in history clearly are living in lower Manhattan, and perhaps the c-tay of London. NOT on Pine Ridge or Wounded Knee, or upriver somewhere in the Amazon where they hunt with bows and arrows. Frankly, this discourse was tedious, oh, about 9 or 17 months ago. There are very few humans that militate being called savages. Ever. And if it’s going to be thrown around, the definitions of who is and who is not “the savage” better be, darn clear…From where I am standing, le sauvage ignoble c’est paleface uncle charlie (still squatting viciously in North America and elsewhere), and not his victims.

  • In case anyone is interested, I just opened Guy’s Beauty Salon / aka: Hayduke’s Monkey Lounge over in the NBL Forum.

    You are welcome to drop in for a taste… but just so you know, it’s a cash bar only. Gold and silver that is…

    and no BS allowed!

    Cheers!

  • “Argh. Calling indians and indigenous “savages”? Again? That they would have any “nobility” is – a myth? Sheesh. This obviously will never end until we’re all extinct.”

    I just read an article on Behavioral Economics, social networks, etc. where a question was posed, in all seriousness: “Could it be that we are decent, social creatures after all?

    That’s what modern culture would have us believe: that we’re competitive, aggressive, selfish, narcissistic, neurotic, lying, cheating, conniving, cunning and overall indecent creatures that would do anything to get ahead in the dog-eat-dog world we live in. “And, by the way, it’s just how we’re wired. Ain’t nothing we can do about it. The world we live in where we are constantly struggling to stay alive is also just the way it is, and the way it has always been. The animal world is the same way. It’s the way nature is. Get used to it”

    It’s hard for someone brought up in modern civilization to see it any other way. Especially, the average educated middle-class urban dweller who fears others who are not similar to himself. I once heard a newly minted doctor say these exact words, “I hate poor people”. To him, poor people are not victims of an unequal society with unequal oppressive economic and social arrangements (from which he, the educated professional, profits) but lazy, mediocre, unintelligent scum who just don’t get it and can’t make anything out of themselves. After all, he spent 20+ years busting his balls making something out of himself!

    Guilt, shame and other associated emotions also tend to keep us from acknowledging certain facts about other cultures. It can even be seen as a need for justice as in: I can’t be that bad. If they were me they would have done the same thing. That native person is no special because he was born native and I am no more guilty than him because I was born into my family” This is a reasonable way of thinking indeed.

    It’s the stories that should be blamed perhaps, not the person carrying them in his head, not the person living and enacting them day in and day out. But then, what’s the role of that person in modern society? Fearful of examining the stories he grew up with, doubtless planted in his mind by others, he propagates the same stories to his progeny and others around him. The stories live on. When people defend themselves, they are not defending themselves as much as they are defending the stories they believe in. Most people generally believe in whatever others around them believe in. We’re social creatures. In the young doctor’s defense, it’s hard to live with stories that don’t agree with what he sees out there. The world is indeed a nasty place today and people are indeed very competitive today. That’s the world he inhabits and lives in. That’s the people who surround him. The stories live on.

    In order for us to believe our ancestors (who were all tribal) behaved differently, or that the tribal people who continue to live today behave differently, we need to separate ourselves from the stories we believe in. The stories that have possessed us, starting with the biggest story of all: “humans are just wired that way” have done much harm to us and the planet. This one story (humans are just wired that way) encourages us to become one with the stories we believe in and keeps us from seeing them as just stories that came to inhabit our consciousness over time and that we are something other than the stories. I’m not invoking any spirituality or esoteric thought here. Just plainly stating that there are a whole bunch of stories that make us think, be, act and live one way or another. Perhaps this alleviates the sense of guilt and shame when we realize that we are not our stories and that it’s the stories that are faulty, not us. It should be clear by now that the stories we believe in (limitless growth, progress, human supremacism, dominion over nature, etc.) have resulted in our predicament. Why then do we discard some stories and hold fast to others when we know almost all stories we have come to believe in are suspect? When we know that civilization has supplied us with faulty stories about the planet and ourselves?

    Unless and until we begin to realize that it’s our stories and not us that are corrupt, that it’s civilization that is wired the wrong way, not our hearts or brains, that civilization is just one of many cultures some of which exist today, we will not be able to acknowledge that the native and indigenous peoples of the world in fact see the world differently from us. We won’t be ready to listen to them until that happens. As long as we project our stories onto others and think of all humans as somehow innately malignant, no sympathetic thought is spared toward the victim.

    It’s not that the native person is somehow magically noble, it’s the stories that he believes in that draw out the nobility in him. The same nobility that is present in everyone. Reading the news doesn’t make this obvious, one has to dig deeper. Until then, the stories we do believe in will continue to draw out the worst in us, including mis-characterizing tribal and indigenous peoples.

    What’s fascinating to me is the prospect that the vast majority of humans will die believing in faulty stories, never having made peace with themselves, full of guilt and shame. What a way to go!

  • There are no facts – only interpretations.

    The world is as I am.

    The unquestioned life is not authentic. The Socratic method is a ruthless deconstruction of one’s second hand beliefs that substitute for reality. We live in the cave of our ignorance. We are attached to, addicted to the illusory self constructed of the stories we have bought into. We resist any effort to wrest our precious stories from us. We are fundamentalist prisoners of our own illusions – outside of which we have no idea of who we are. Anyone questioning our stories is perceived as a dangerous enemy who threatens our very existence.

    Where can we find the courage and the knowledge and support to begin the scary work of self deconstruction? Are there those who have ventured beyond the cave of illusions who can help us? Do they have maps of the territory beyond beliefs to guide us? If our life is characterized by denial, how do we get the energy to begin a long process of awakening from our dreamlike existence?

    There have always been such teachers of the real. Their problem has been finding seekers to share their knowledge with. Established society has attempted to marginalize and persecute such persons, accusing them of defaming the Gods, and corrupting the youth. Society treats these outliers as enemies, which in a real sense they are – iconoclasts, traitors to the established ways. They are said to be dark and evil folks preaching unspeakable heresies. They are said to be insane, and to consort with them is to risk being contaminated by their madness. Conformity to society’s stories is the only protection from their wiles.

    Understanding the powerful forces that resist fundamental changes in consciousness leaves us with an understanding of the total change in people’s thinking that is required to save us from dying in our sleep as individuals and as a culture. This was referred to in the underground culture of the Middle East as The Great Work, or simply as the Work. The continuance of the human world depends on its success….

  • I’ve posted a new episode of Edge of Extinction It’s here.

  • “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

    “I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.”
    James Joyce

    What Is Our Story?

    We humans are animals who developed intelligence and the powers it conferred. We have used those powers to dominate and oppress each other and other life forms. We have not adequately learned how to cooperate, share and care for each other. As a result we are destroying our world and ourselves. If we do not learn to put love above all other concerns we will soon become extinct. This is our story.

  • Oh Shiva c’mon give over 😉

    Ok I’ll bite-even if it’s falling on deaf ears 🙂

    There is a fact- YOU ARE HERE
    The world comes and goes but YOU REMAIN
    You have never been in ‘the cave’ – just look and see!

    Beliefs are not a problem. Attachment is not a problem. Resistance is not a problem. Illusion is not a problem. THESE ARE EFFECTS. The problem is a fundamental fear-a sense that I am at stake here.

    Courage, knowledge and support are not required. What is required is the earnest determination to look directly for yourself at the reality of what you are- which is here always- unchanging, unmoving, permanent. Looking at yourself eradicates the fear and the effects fall away by themselves.

    I’m not saying anything new.

    Be well.

  • Robert,

    You’re right. You’re seeing shit,

    and Sean and Ed are shouting “one, two, three, Unicorns!

    “Setting all this land aside for biodiversity and then managing it for 11 billion people.” What an excellent idea. Those two guys should get a Nobel prize for such genius. Ha, ha

    Thanks for the link.

  • @mike k,

    I implicitly use the Socratic exhortation and its inverse together, to remind myself to “Live mindfully with gusto.” It’s like how I reframe “Eat, drink and be merry” into “Eat drink and be mindful.”

    I ran into the constructal law a month or two after I figured out the role of thermodynamics in social processes. It seems to be just a different way of framing the same insights regarding thermodynamic self-organization expressed by Schneider and Kay, Eric Chaisson, Stanley Salthe and many others.

    @Diarmuid,

    Courage, knowledge and support are not required. What is required is the earnest determination to look directly for yourself at the reality of what you are- which is here always- unchanging, unmoving, permanent. Looking at yourself eradicates the fear and the effects fall away by themselves.

    I can attest to that. Unfortunately, I only got to that point once I’d done enough work to lose the initial fear of looking directly at myself. My early attempts to look did take courage, because I didn’t know what I’d find. When I realized that there was actually nothing there to find, the fear subsided immediately. But I had to screw up my courage to take that first look. One thing that helped a lot was meditating on the significance of something a teacher mentioned in passing: “You are not your story.”