Widening Circles: Awakening through the Dying Time

by John Eastcott, who facilitates the Work That Reconnects. Eastcott thanks Joanna Macy and everyone who has contributed to the healing our world.

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 2
(translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to the affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

~ Albert Einstein

I invite you to come into a space of collective search, where we explore together what is maybe the greatest challenge and achievement for our time: how do we open ourselves up and respond to the condition of our world in ways that would allow us to connect with our gratitude for life, to contribute to the healing of our world, and to experience the freedom and joy of living in widening circles?

You might assume that risking life in the face of death is solely the business of the Universe, but we are also expressions of that greater wholeness, and we can also make miraculous leaps and trust that we will land somewhere, if only at places of deeper appreciation for the reality that we thought we knew. Perhaps our many leaps will lead to our creating truly brave, new communities and worlds, places where all life is honoured and held to be sacred. We will see what happens.

However we decide to proceed, a dying time can be just as magnificent and wonderful as a time of birth, and both events have the power to magnetize attention and shift perspective, as the exhilarating energy of life courses through us and we surrender to wonder, awe and celebration. Whether you see the time we are living through now as a period of dying or of birth, of disasters or miracles, let’s consider first that we are — all of us sentient beings — experiments in consciousness here, and that, at some point, consciousness may just discover itself. In the meantime, all of our different perspectives on our world, and on reality, are important parts of the whole, joining us together like pieces of a large and intricate puzzle, and our following deeper into the apparent dissimilarities of these perspectives may lead towards wholeness, if we choose to pursue.

Although our many births and deaths, beginnings and endings are enfolded in the bewildering and beautifully complex fabric of reality (and we but rarely have the capacity to see clearly), one thing to me is obvious: however separate we might seem to be, we live here, now, on this Earth together. And yet, at this time of supposed spiritual awakening, anticipated by many, we are taking ourselves to the very edge of life on Earth, and many are struck in fear and awe with the view.

However magnificently we are interconnected through the mysterious web of life, we humans and the Earth are now experiencing critical imbalance and disharmony and, in crisis after crisis, we are fast accelerating towards multiple catastrophes — whether we acknowledge what is happening, or not. And not just human beings, but all complex forms of life on the planet are endangered, as an estimated 200 species go extinct each day and the forces of life’s disappearance are steadfastly engaged in hastening the great dying that may soon take us as well.

If it happens that you do not see much evidence of climate change or habitat loss, then perhaps there is nothing that I or others can point to that will move you to consider the probable destination of our current trajectory. But for those of us who are willing to see our common situation, and wonder about this, how do we respond to the overwhelming evidence of oncoming, out-of-control climate catastrophe and to the exponentially increasing likelihood of near-term extinction (NTE)?

Given our shared predicament, how do we live in the face of this and relate with one another? How can we appreciate the life we have right now, live in gratitude and joy, and create meaning and purpose in our lives? And, very critically, how might the life, that deeply connects and flows within us, respond through us so that we might somehow adequately address the crises of our time? I do not want to give any narrowing answers to these questions, but instead I offer more questions, and a few suggestions for how we might proceed.

For life on Earth is in evident peril, and many are feeling fear of this, as though we know what is going on in a deeper place within ourselves, a place often out of reach of the sometimes superficial motions of our divided and distracted lives. But given our mutual needs for physical and emotional safety and stability, how might we learn to become one another’s salvation at this time?

Like others, I experience a longing to meet the challenges of this time, and intuition tells me that ways forward will emerge through our relating together — through the energy of our interconnectedness. The spaces of attention that we hold between us are not empty voids, but rich places of possibility and abundance, spaces rippling with potential. These places, where attention is gathered and where we are deeply held in relationship, are spaces through which arise insights and motivations that carry the power to generate the courage we require to risk ourselves in taking steps towards meeting our heart’s desire.

If we are willing to look with open eyes, we can see that we are here in this body, on this Earth, of course, but for a time. And we can understand that dying is as natural as living, and that our life-span here is very brief, indeed. And, as we know, our civilizations on this planet also come and go, and the evidence appearing all around us now suggests that the fall and collapse of our current global, industrial civilization will take most complex forms of life down with it. Like death, the extinction of species is also natural and eventually inevitable, but what bewilders and shocks some of us today is the speed and scope that fall and collapse is happening at this moment.

In my striving to make sense of all this, I see that the word ‘development’ has its origins in ‘unfolding’ and I recognize how, at times in our individual lives, we experience developing, unfolding and unraveling. Because industrial development and the unraveling of complex living systems have happened together, maybe it is not a fantastic surprise that we find ourselves where we are today. But is it really our fate to succumb to entropy and collapse and chaos? Or, is it our destiny to somehow come together to integrate and transcend? Maybe it is our destiny to experience both collapse and integration. If so, what might this look like?

And then, regardless of how we think events may unfold, how might we act, now, in such ways that our actions are in deep alignment and accord with the power of the flow of life during this planet time?

First, if we think that where we are now is bad and wrong and somehow not meant to be, then perhaps we have not connected with the fullness of life inside of us, including the tide of unwelcome feelings that we have perhaps refused to let into our awareness and fully embrace. We often assume that we have to be in control, but we cannot filter out what we do not want to feel, and any refusing to acknowledge and fully know unwanted feelings and sensations has the effect of closing us down, dulling and numbing us to our whole experience. If this has happened, then how have we been holding ourselves away from the truth of our innermost experience, and where in the body are the places where we have been most afraid to go?

Perhaps we have believed that we are entitled to be comfortable and protected against experiencing any hardship, both within ourselves and without. It is apparent that we have developed fortresses of various kinds, and the encasing, protective ego is an amazing (although fatal) defence mechanism. Seeing through the lens of our conditioned ego ensures that we see separation and not connection, and ego habitually separates from emotional pain. Follow through these questions and you may discern where your allegiance is: What in my being wants to move towards pain? When you are moving away from pain and closing down, who are you? And when you are the staying with, reaching toward and holding pain, then who are you? Are you ego, or are you the wider consciousness holding space for everything? Perhaps we are both.

When we bring attention to our shared pain for the world and acknowledge the truth of what is alive for us, when we go into the energy of that inner and unmet living truth to the point of reconnecting everywhere, then we experience a heightened appreciation for the magnificence and miracle of this flowing life and we receive an increasing capacity to act in accordance with its power. By this empowerment, we shift relationships and widen ourselves to hold larger possibilities, possibilities that may lead to the creation of innovative ways of honouring and meeting our mutual needs, possibilities that might lead to ways of shared salvation.

Just for a moment, imagine that there is an awe-inspiring purpose to life being here on Earth, and that conditions are ripe for our seeing that we are on the verge of its discovery. If this is true, how might this change life for you? Some believe that technology will save us — or maybe allow some of us to escape from the mess we have created on Earth — and others believe that consciousness will save us somehow. Maybe neither will save us, in the sense of allowing us to survive the physical consequences of collapse. But perhaps both can be involved in some interweaving of salvation and redemption. Regardless, to be waking up at this time of potential realization—and, perhaps, transformation—is what Joanna Macy refers to as our participation in the great adventure of our time.

So after we have started to face the increasing probability of NTE and we have begun living with and through our fear, our anger, our despair, our guilt — living through all the sensations that we identify as feelings and those we can not—after we have started to lighten the burden of unmet feeling that we had been carrying, and begin to live our deepening grief and love for life, and after we experience gratitude for just simply being here to taste this life at all — what, then, is our purpose?

How we receive this question depends on whether we see ourselves as a separate individual, isolated by ego, or as a part of a larger collective, embedded in the web of life. This is the choice offered by wave/particle dualism: whether we see light as particles or as waves has an enormous impact both on our understanding and on how we proceed. Are we separate rivers following our own course, or are we the sea? Are we isolated instances of life, or are we inextricably a part of life’s greater flow?

When I hold the idea of purpose as ‘my purpose,’ my own personal story and trajectory gets evoked for me and I experience the stress of struggling alone with my burden of personal responsibility. In this place, I may experience discouragement, disempowerment and fear, among other feelings, and perhaps a sense of being shut down and stuck. Despite my willingness to affect change, I may be impeded in my ability to respond to myself and others on a deeper level.

But when I accept the idea of purpose as ‘our purpose,’ this alerts me to the presence and flow of life through me and others, and I can open more in curiosity and wonder at the potentialities that exist between and through us, but which have not yet come to be. I awaken to the possibilities of synergy, that seemingly magical property of all living systems — and that Macy often points to — which allows us to create through our interactions in such a way that the skills and insights we each bring together combine to create outcomes that are more unpredictable and wonderful than any one person participating in the creation might have imagined. The power that exists between us is possibly far greater than what we can access when we believe we are alone.

Accepting the way that life is unfolding on Earth does not mean that we have to be resigned or complacent or apathetic, or without some hope and gratitude for the potential inherent in what life remains. Perhaps it is our destination to create beautiful and noble ways forward together in the wake of life’s receding tide on this planet. Maybe our destiny includes discovering a larger sense of home. If we are so powerful together, what might we create that would be of immense service to us all? How might we redeem ourselves for our involvement in creating this crisis on Earth? What might the healing of our world look like now?

I’m interested in discovering ways through which we might empower ourselves, effectively and safely, so that we might address our common circumstances and difficulties, as well as honour and, hopefully, meet our shared needs. Because we have been conditioned into separation, when it comes to handling our pain for the world, we frequently experience big challenges to our capacities to love and support one another. But the dangerous forces arrayed against us are really just us, and if we want and intend to significantly change the agreements and arrangements of this world, then we will have to seek out ways to work with and transform the energy of our anger and fear into an abundant passion for justice and peace — into an energy that does not really threaten any one, and a compassion that carries with it the full power of our grief and love for life.

As far as we can see, the mysterious emergence and evolution of life, including industrial growth and development and its collapse, appear to be within the natural order of the universe. And yet, what appears to us very much as a process of deterioration, decline and dying may actually be one of birth, and a process that — at this point — may be just too baffling for us to comprehend. And the uncertainty of this need not stop us from taking steps together in the direction of deeper inquiry, and discovery.

If everything is unraveling and unfolding as it is meant to, then the great challenge for us appears to be to discover and align with a larger, collective purpose, so that we may somehow redeem ourselves at this time of our apparent demise and understand our destiny, perhaps for the first time.

Healing, indeed, may be less about recovery and survival, and more about opening in our love for life and coming to wholeness. I believe, with Guy McPherson, that we are all in hospice now, but our present circumstances do not prevent healing from happening — in fact, it may make it more likely. At this time, there is greater potential for conflicts to resolve and well-being to be established, even if this occurs just before death. When we no longer deny what is self-evident, we can be more willing to face the truth of our inner experience, we may explore more seriously our connection to the reality in which we find ourselves embedded, and we can access the power that flows through us.

We are not really separate from life, or from any other living thing, and this realization can help us awaken to the mystery and enliven us to proceed with greater purpose in mind. And accepting that there is nothing essentially wrong with what is happening can liberate us to open to the movement of loving, divine intelligence, flowing through us and everything.

If you feel the inner call to respond to our time in meaningful and life-enriching ways, ways that would enable us to be of true service to each other and the whole of life, then let us gather and connect and share and support one another through the co-creation of ways forward, ways that we might never come to us within the imprisoning delusion of our separateness. I invite you to access the potential of relational synergy in order to create ways of healing response to the eventualities of planetary instability.

Through our gathering in circles of creativity and compassion, we might nurture empowering spaces through which our next steps might appear. Let’s be inspired by the intention of letting deep potentials unfold between us, and then act together with enthusiasm, determination and joy in the healing our world. (Please follow this link for some guidelines that might help you in establishing a powerful group dynamic: http://goo.gl/6Mjk3v.)

Imagine spirals of awakening, moving out in widening circles, reaching out to those who are willing to be drawn into the gathering energy, as we celebrate together the new and powerful flows of life in our communities as our perspectives shift, as more energy is liberated and our relationships transform. The outcome of our trusting the flow of life might be beautifully simple or astoundingly grand but, whatever happens, I wish that your relationships enrich and make life more wonderful for you.

The opening apertures of our awareness may just become the channels through which we birth ourselves. Just as we can trust the intelligence of our bodies—as they know implicitly what we have to do in order to heal and grow—we can trust the process of birthing in the intensity of widening circles. I am not suggesting that birthing the energy of reconnection and renewal through the pain of the contraction of our sometimes tightened egos and tense bodies is going to be all fun and easy. But I hope a lot of it might be! We can let go of what we think we know and leap into the moment where the magic is and trust that the experience will be enriching for all.

Birth and death are both about our letting go and, ultimately, we can only trust the life energy that is carrying us, and surrender. What we must do here is very big: we have to trust and allow life to happen through us. Through our holding spaces of awakened, widening attention, I imagine that we will reach our destination. Maybe our destiny is to go into the heart of consciousness itself.

I wonder at the mystery of life and, if we are really willing to turn towards it, then I guess we are also willing to turn towards ourselves. Perhaps, in the end, we are not really free agents, but helpless witnesses to the flow of loving, divine intelligence as it moves through us—even as we become aware of ourselves as that intelligence. Maybe we created the universe and we just do not know it yet. Let us see.

So, I invite you to come into a space of collective search, where we explore together what is maybe the greatest challenge and achievement for our time: how do we open ourselves up and respond to the condition of our world in ways that would allow us to connect with our gratitude for life, to contribute to the healing of our world, and to experience the freedom and joy of living in widening circles?

And may we love the journey.


Thanks for your patience as Harry Lerwill generously worked to get us back online. Our reward is an article in the Chico newspaper about my work. I’m cast as the black-hat-wearing bad guy against Bill McKibben. Catch the drama here.

Comments 80

  • Great. Another blob of woo-woo goop to ease our troubled minds. enrich our journey and heal the world with love.

    I miss George Carlin.

  • @John Eastcott

    Thank you for that very inspiring words!

    Imagine spirals of awakening…

    Yes, I do. Once when I was seventeen I sat in my small room in that “house of correction” they put me in. I were not interested in religion, philosophy, meditation or anything like that at that time, I was no religious person at all. I just sat there in my little room and the full moon shone through the window. I did not think about anything special when suddenly I was HIT from nowhere, man, I was hit like with a steamhammer, I felt like a small, thatched hut ran over by a huge elephant. I freezed, I was shattered, couldn’t move anymore, couldn’t think anymore because I was flooded by unspeakable JOY, unspeakable freedom, unspeakable vastness out of nowhere. It felt like everything was just in the right place, the right time, everything, the whole universe was good, right just where it is, I was the universe, everything was the universe and everything was good and right just the way it was, it felt like long forgotten HOME. It maybe lasted for 5 minutes or so. I really could not move, tears of joy ran over my face, I was burnt down by unspeakable joy out of nowhere. When I could move again I stepped up and wanted to tell anybody of that experience, but then I thought that they would just laugh at me, thinking that I got insane, so I didn’t tell it anybody.

    That 5 minutes changed my whole life, my whole perspective. At first it was joy, but then I was flooded by 1 million questions right afterwards, because I had no idea of such experiences, absolutely no idea, it was an utterly riddle to me. And so, questions I never thought about before flooded my mind and I went into darkness, were flooded by darkness and utterly helplessness. And I started a journey, a painfull search, I went into the Night of the Soul for many years. Bit by bit I found the answers to all my questions… but still I did not find any real adequate way to TALK about it… bwahahahaaaaa :-D

    One thing for shure:

    What I experienced is our real home, nobody can take it away from us, it is Sat-Chit-Ananda.

  • Death sucks.

    When NBL died yesterday that was scary to several bloggers here.

    It was great when NBL came back to life.

    Did I mention that death sucks?


    The dead
    The unborn
    The newly born
    The multitudes of hidden or unseen
    what about
    the ignorant
    the unable


    350? C’mon give that crap up, Bill

    3rd try…4th

  • tech note: sorry for the bump up in unnecessary spam flags. I had tuned some of the settings to avoid this, previously, but since everything has been reinstalled, this will have to be re-tuned. working on it. hopefully will be better now, but am watching it and figuring it out. all valid posts will get through.

    ~ mo

  • She’s beautiful isn’t she, 3,000 years old

  • She’s our word for God

  • John,

    there’s a lot in your essay that will inspire people in need of healing, I’m sure. It’s very well written, a lot of it profound.
    I’ve been visiting NBL for quite some time now and found that most of the commenters here have found their own way already. Some have never lost connection and others are reconnecting, all in their own way. Partly, that’s what this site is all about, I think. But inspiring essays are always welcome, thanks. And you never know who might read it and need it.

    I’d just like to say that real “healing” is always available for the “aware” in what we call nature. For me personally, plants and animals are very important connectors.Getting out there among them everyday. That’s where I like to do my “circling” and “growing”. If you haven’t experienced this already, you’d be amazed how connection with the non-human world will keep you grounded and grow your awareness. Is this included in your workshops or are they all human (pain)centred?
    I find that before I can even think of being a song (for more than one voice), I must imagine being a falcon or a tree… or a piece of quartz…

    Therefore, it seems to me, that workshops for an assortment of very different people, people at different stages and with different expectations might be disappointing to many. Or am I being too cynical, or do I find this hard because I’m not American?
    I hope it works and helps as many people as possible, my best wishes for you.

    Your Rainer Maria Rilke quote intrigued me. He’s one of my favourite lyrical poets (I’m a native German), and I can’t help wondering how popular he seems to be in translation in the US. Here in England, where I live, nobody seems to have heard of him.

    Like all lyrical poets, he doesn’t work too well in translation.
    Therefore, just in case anybody here knows some German, here’s the original, because as an introduction to your essay, these lines are profound, I agree:

    Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenen Ringen,
    die sich über die Dinge ziehn.
    Ich werde den letzten vielleicht nicht vollbringen,
    aber versuchen will ich ihn.

    Ich kreise um Gott, um den uralten Turm,
    und ich kreise jahrtausendlang;
    und ich weiß noch nicht: bin ich ein Falke, ein Sturm
    oder ein großer Gesang.

    If you could experience the lyrical rhythm by reading it aloud in German, you’d be even more inspired.

    In German, the circles (rings) are “growing” which in the original implies the growth of awareness, the spiritual self, transformation. Somehow “widening” can’t convey the same meaning but makes more “sense”.

    And if any of you who like this poet have ever wondered about the “Maria” in his name, it used to be a Catholic custom in the German speaking countries to give it to boys as a middle name to ask for the special protection of the Virgin Mary. Just in case she was flattered by hearing her name as part of a boy’s name, I suppose… This strange custom has almost died out completely now. Thank goodness!

    Not quite the same as a “Boy named Sue”;) But maybe the “Marias” had to fight a lot in the school yard too.

  • Curious ~

    I was burnt down by unspeakable joy out of nowhere.

    Martin ~

    She’s our word for God

    John Eastcott ~

    Birth and death are both about our letting go and, ultimately, we can only trust the life energy that is carrying us, and surrender.

    she’s a wild one. the wild one.

    trust her or not, surrender, or not… there are real choices.

    she only wants to know, who wants to ride?

  • @Guy McPherson: Our reward is an article in the Chico newspaper about my work. I’m cast as the black-hat-wearing bad guy against Bill McKibben. Catch the drama here.


    You should read today’s essay again. It’s only drama if you say so.

    I say it’s part of the natural unfolding of conflicting memes, which has a predictable pattern and a probable outcome, given the situation we are in.

    Like Paul Chefurka (or was it Mo Flow?) said the other day, we actually have an option to relax and enjoy the show.

    Or…we could continue ragging on the Jews, the trans folks, causcasian males, Bill McKibben, etc etc etc.

    Pick your poison…or not. Buckdancer’s choice.

  • Tao Te Ching #10

    Can you coax your mind from its wandering
    and keep to the original oneness?
    Can you let your body become
    supple as a newborn child’s?
    Can you cleanse your inner vision
    until you see nothing but the light?
    Can you love people and lead them
    without imposing your will?
    Can you deal with the most vital matters
    by letting events take their course?
    Can you step back from you own mind
    and thus understand all things?

    Giving birth and nourishing,
    having without possessing,
    acting with no expectations,
    leading and not trying to control:
    this is the supreme virtue.

  • “McPherson has been accused of cherry-picking a little bit and working up the worst possible scenario,” Tchudi continued. “I think Bill still has high hopes that if enough people care about it—march, demonstrate—that we really can make a change, reverse the trend.”

    McKidden is standing chest deep in water, at the back of steerage, saying to the other passengers, if they protest enough the captain will repair the rip in the fabric of our survival.

    The masses need a happy chapter.

    400 ppm C02 in 2015 is the same as 400ppm C02 in 250 million BC
    It took something like 10 million years for the trees to start growing again?

    Good read, maybe I got this from here ??

  • i said to my best friend, all we have is each other, he said “Fuck me, is it that bad!”

  • Was it just Wonky WordPress ?
    Or did NBL just recover from a D(enial) o(f) S(cience) attack ?

    Was it anything like this?

    @Robin Datta
    The phantasmagoria at the near- and sub-Planck realm, conveyed through concepts such as quantum foam and vacuum energy, and the interactions with conscious observation suggest that the apparent robustness of the edifice built from such building blocks may be delusory.

    I don’t have a saved clip of it to share, but I’m fairly sure I watched an interview with Prof. Lisa Randall in which she said that at/near the Planck level the whole concept of measurement may very well ‘go out the window’.
    So much for ‘as above, so below’ being universally applicable?

    “We found the hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States are carried out in a way that has not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources…”

    Guess it all depends on what they mean by ‘widespread’, huh?
    If fracking in Oklahoma doesn’t quickly impact Connecticut’s water quality, then OK’s ‘profound local’ impact doesn’t matter much to those helpful Oil & Gas folks who helped the EPA write its report…so it goes.

    Nostalgic for top-down organization?

  • Curious – I was intrigued by your chosen blog name when you first began to share. I was born wanting to know everything. That thirst has totally shaped my life. And of course I wanted to discover the ultimate truth of this whole vast mysterious affair. A friend once told me, “Mike you are a person who wants to know the whole truth, even if it blows your mind, and everyone else’s.” It took me a brief moment to simply answer, “Yes, you are right.” My search has gotten me in a lot of trouble, and some really dark places, but it also led me after many years to the place you tell of encountering.

    When I began studying the esoteric teachings of the sages of India, I came across the enigmatic injunction: Know That knowing which all things are known. This challenging koan was ascribed to the legendary author of the Vedas, Veda Vyasa. It struck deep in my curious mind, and from that deep place became an essential question to be solved on my quest. Many years and much meditation and other spiritual study and practice under my belt I had an experience similar to what you have recounted which gave me the answer I was seeking. That answer was a direct, profound experience of Sat-Chit-Ananda. The experience was preceded by a complete collapse of my ego which literally pierced me to the heart. A period of intensive work including fasting in a Sufi group led up to this.

    I will not go into all that was revealed to me at that time, but suffice it to say I knew beyond any possibility of doubt that this whole world/universe and everything in it is a manifestation founded in the most perfect Love possible, and that there is nothing outside of That Love.

    Now I understand fully that some who may read these words will scoff and feel they are the essence of BS. For a long time in my youth I would have been of their number, so I am OK with their reactions whatever they might be. My words are not really meant for them at the stage of understanding they occupy presently. If I had known of your email address I would have sent it to you privately. Your openness encouraged me to share publicly what I have not before. Let that be as it may. I am immune to criticism in this regard. I feel sure you feel the same way based on what you shared. To me this experience was more real than real. In fact it made me consider all my previous “knowledge” as little more than ignorance and delusion.

    Thanks so much for having the courage to share what you have.
    You are not alone in having such a life changing experience.


    Ed – Tao #10 – Kind of a Taoist version of Kipling’s IF, stripped of all egoist trimmings, eh? Love it…..

  • ed – what translation of Tao Te Ching is that? Where is it available? It’s a good one.

  • Bob S.
    Another blob of woo woo goop, caused me to guffaw in envy, wish i said that. This site makes me laugh at the contortions we go through to rationalize our feelings about the mystery of life and death. Maybe we should start a Pink Ribbon style campaign to get cash to “find the cure” for our malaise of despair. Whenever I see prolonged projectile verbal vomit, i just read the first few words of each paragraph and skip to the end.

    Right now, there may be some 50 million people displaced due to climate related food and water shortages, while we all sit around with our fingers up our ass wondering where, why and how it all went so horribly wrong. Maybe by the time there are a billion displaced persons we can get tough and shove two fingers up our ass to stimulate more thought and emotion.

  • We are all just FINE!

  • Using the Saxon (isntad of Norman)words in English may convey a better sense of meaning.

    wachsenen waxing
    vollbringen full bringing
    jahrtausendlang years thousand long

    “McPherson has been accused of cherry-picking”

    Yeah! An’ Don Metano Monstruo might gonna bust any remainin’ cherries.

    Know That knowing which all things are known

    Saunaka Mahashala, a layman approached Angiras the sage and queried him about this. Mundaka Upanishad, 1.1.3

    In the Chandogya Upanishad 2.1.3, the sage Uddalaka sends his son at age 12 years for a 12 year course of study to another sage. When the son returns at age 24, the father asks: “Do you know That, by knowing which, everything is known?”

    Curious: For those who step beyond the threshold, it is realised as being forever in both directions, not just 5 minutes.

    Tao Te ching translation by Stephen Mitchell.
    Chapter 10

  • Lidia – It should be obvious that what is in people’s minds has tremendous causative connection to what they do. Even the most ancient tribal humans shaped their lives according to their thoughts and understandings. If the minds of humankind today were awakened to a new consciousness, then they would be incapable of participating in the disaster we are enacting. A new mind means among other things a mind organized to control one’s less evolved emotional lizard brained impulses. We created this industrial nightmare due to what was in our minds. Isn’t it obvious if we thought differently we would strive to create a different world? If you can’t see that, then I think you may be sold out to the idea that we have no real freedom of the will or agency, which I consider to be a simple arrogation of responsibility – one of the main things that fixes us on our fatal path. If you really can’t grok that, it’s ok because you would have a lot of company.

    If you want an example: When I was drafted to go to the Korean War, because I had changed my mind about the legitimacy of that exercise, I refused to go. If everyone drafted had changed their minds as I did that war may not have happened. I had agency about that, and it changed my behavior in what I consider a good way.

    And that sorta segues into something I meant to publish prior to the site meltdown……

    It is revealing to enquire into the nature of fundamentalism, and discover that oneself and all the others around us
    are holding beliefs and perceptions that have this quality of imagined certainty, unquestionable truth, strong attachment, and resistance to criticism. Our deep desire to be secure, and capable of dealing with the challenges of life seems responsible for us establishing these supposedly solid and immovable supports. Whether in the area of politics, religion, science, ecology, sexuality or any other essentially ambiguous and shifting terrain – we long for solid ground to stand on.

    Even when taking the risk of objectively examining and questioning our deeply held beliefs may be essential to our very survival, we still cling desperately to our beliefs despite the fact they may be playing a key role in destroying us. Freud called it the stickiness of the libido, and also the repetition compulsion. Buddha labeled it as attachment. In some ways fundamentalist dogmas are a denial of the nature of life which is flow, growth, change, discovery, shedding old forms. It is as if one were to say, “Stop the world it’s going to fast, it is out of control – either hit the brakes hard or let me off!”

    Many who are attracted to various Eastern Philosophies or religions seem be looking for a way to narcotize or immunize themselves against the uncertainties of modern human life which seems to be spinning out of control. They then hold on for dear life to some teacher or authoritative writings by supposed mystical authorities. And if you invite them to take an open look at their beliefs and the sources of those beliefs, they just retreat into a mechanical repetition of what they have bought into, holding it even more tightly as a result of your threatening to take it away.
    Plato wrote of Socrates attempts to make people aware of the flimsy basis of the ideas they were defending and basing their lives on. Of course his efforts to lure them out of the caves of their own delusions were usually of no avail. Fear of the light would propel them back into the darkness. Unless we submit to a searching and fearless examination of our own minds, we will be compelled to repeat over and over the very tendencies which will destroy us. This is the message of the Greek Tragedies which we are unconsciously reliving, as Freud and later Jung and Joseph Campbell tried to tell us. Wake up or die in your sleep.

    Most of us will need a lot of help to release our addictions and misconceptions. Being part of a group dedicated to this process can prove an essential help. Following some simple guidelines on your journey into and beyond your self also is a great advantage. Some modification of AA’s 12 steps could be one way. That path is a simple doable way to transform your life into one that is more conscious and hence more free and happy.

  • Stop thinking, and end your problems.
    What difference between yes and no?
    What difference between success and failure?
    Must you value what others value,
    avoid what others avoid?
    How ridiculous!

    Other people are excited,
    as though they were at a parade.
    I alone don’t care,
    I alone am expressionless,
    like an infant before it can smile.

    Other people have what they need;
    I alone possess nothing.
    I alone drift about,
    like someone without a home.
    I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

    Other people are bright;
    I alone am dark.
    Other people are sharper;
    I alone am dull.
    Other people have a purpose;
    I alone don’t know.
    I drift like a wave on the ocean,
    I blow as aimless as the wind.

    I am different from ordinary people.
    I drink the milk of the Mother.

  • My last one – promise:

    The moon and the sun
    Are eternal travelers.
    Even the years wander on.
    A lifetime drifting in a boat
    or in old age leading
    A tired horse into the years,
    Every day is a journey,
    And the journey itself is home.


  • mistake made during birth travels

    forgetting how tight was the space

    and the comfort provided

    when two were one

    and so it goes until breathe no more

    mankind struggles to find

    that comfort that space that oneness

    our fate?

  • @mike: “A new mind means among other things a mind organized to control one’s less evolved emotional lizard brained impulses. We created this industrial nightmare due to what was in our minds. Isn’t it obvious if we thought differently we would strive to create a different world?”

    We only *think* we think differently. Look at all the religionists of all stripes who work, think and pray for “peace”. How much peace really goes on, then? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

    I don’t think we can ever control the lizard brain; I think that is a fantasy born of our boundless self-regard.

    As to “what is in our minds”.. how are you so sure what that is? I think it is admirable to buck social trends by renouncing going to fight in a war, but.. hey, that’s also a good way to stay alive, go on to have kids, etc.

    I was thinking about the human race as I was trying to beat back some invasive wild chervil. It’s taken over entire swathes of fields in our area. Animals don’t like to eat it, and it overwhelms all the native flora. One plant can develop into a 5’x10′ plot in a year. Ripping it up is pretty much a fool’s errand.


    Two years ago, I saw it around a bit. Last year, it was becoming annoying. This year, everyone’s yards and fields are covered in white flowers. What is the chervil “thinking”? Is it sad for having killed the neighboring plants? For having provided no nutrition for the traditional local animals and insects? *Should* it be sad? These questions make no sense in nature.

    Humans are part of nature; they are not apart from it. What’s so funny is that it’s the “we are one with nature” crowd who seem to be uncomfortable with natural processes, wanting to subvert or supersede them in some fashion, wanting humans to be special!

  • for those who step beyond the threshold, the experience of time no longer exists, so forever and 5 minutes are the same thing. this makes sorting out the expiration dates on your food somewhat tricky, but because mere food has now lost all flavor in comparison with the taste of eternal bliss, you won’t be able to tell the difference anyways. so no worries, man.

  • An appeal to nature is an argument or rhetorical tactic in which it is proposed that “a thing is good because it is ‘natural’, or, conversely bad because it is ‘unnatural'”. Such rhetoric is a fallacy.

    If toxic, omnicidal human pathology and ecocide is “natural”, “part-of-nature”, then why is Charles Manson still in jail? Why does anyone give a crap about what’s bad about adult male priests raping little kids? I mean – IT IS NATURAL. Psychotic priests and mass murderers are part of nature, so what’s the damn problem? – You vapid, librul, politically correct, naive anarchist, do-gooder, schlubs? Hitler was part of nature, so what the hell was the big deal about invading every country in Europe, killing millions and running the gas chambers? Death is part of nature, no? So it’s perfectly fine if all life on earth commits suicide.

  • Pebbles in a pond Dr. Guy

  • Be careful what you wish for, Wester. There are bound to be people here who would have no problem at all calling Hitler just a part of nature. Funny how people like that never commit suicide themselves, they only urge others to do so, while they continue to live off the privileges (measly as they are, and shrinking fast) of living in the imperial homeland.

  • I don’t think jail is particularly natural.. Probably taking Manson/pedo-priest for a long walk off a short pier would be more “natural”. But, that wouldn’t use as much energy.

    I don’t urge anyone to commit suicide.
    I never said things that are “natural” are “good”. This is some fantasy you have introduced.

  • A cat as black
    As blackest coal
    Is out upon
    His midnight stroll,
    His steps are soft,
    His walk is slow,
    His eyes are gold,
    They flash and glow.
    And so I run
    And so I duck,
    I do not need
    His black-cat luck.

    We’re part of this world

  • All of spacetime and matter & energy and every event therein is perfectly natural. So is the gospel according to Johnny, Jack, Jim and Jose. The only place to find the spiritual is in bottles.

    There is nothing spiritual about satchitananda, sunyata or ain sof: it is homogeneous, isotropic, and boundless in spacetime. No lumpiness. Nothing spiritual or sacred. Equally present in the rock, the mosquito and the Buddha; the apparent difference in manifesttation in each a consequence of the limitations of the perceiver.

    In the Vedic, Buddhist and Jain traditions, a realised one has to die of one’s own volition at a time and place and ciccumstance of one’s own choosing, although it may be mediated through one or another “natural” phenomenon. They may also choose to continue embodied until the end of that cycle of the Cosmos in its Great Dissolution. Krishna was killed by an arrow entering the sole of the foot and exiting the head. Buddha was poisoned. Suicide by unrealised ones is not endorsed.

  • no one asked you to be born

  • Nature has no moral agency and in many cases neither do humans. Murder and consumption are the law of the land. Tribal apes generally follow codes of conduct for intra-tribal interactions, and even try to get around many of the “taboos” by cheating. Making lots of money by dumping externality shit on other apes is just one way to cheat. One tribe generally doesn’t give a damn about competing tribes even though they are of the same species, especially if geographic isolation has resulted in differences in language. “Civilized” humans are a cancer, naturally occurring, so you may have to go sit in front of your Buddha, light some incense, and try to get some mystical serotonin flowing to deal with a reality that is indeed threatening and terrifying. Or, alternatively you can go outside and yell at the birds for killing insects, admonish your cat for dropping the baby rabbit on the front porch and if you have cancer, just slap yourself silly and tell those cells to straighten-up and do right. What is right and wrong, what exists, is shaped by energy flows and successful reproduction, not human fantasy idealism.

  • High Temperatures in the Arctic


    The images below illustrate extremely high temperatures forecast to hit Russia on June 6, 2015.

    A temperature of 29.4°C (84.92°F) is forecast for the location at the green circle for June 6, 2015. The location is close to the Arctic Ocean and to rivers ending in the Arctic Ocean, as also shown on the image below.

    The location, at a latitude of 66.48°N, is approximately on the Arctic Circle, which runs 66°33′45.8″ north of the Equator. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once a year.

    [further along]

    High temperatures over the Arctic Ocean are heating up the snow cover on land and the sea ice from above. High temperatures also set the scene for wildfires that can emit huge amounts of pollutants, including dust and black carbon that, when settling on the sea ice, can cause its reflectivity to fall. Rivers furthermore feed warm water into the Arctic Ocean, further heating up the sea ice from below.

    The energy required to melt a volume of ice can raise the temperature of the same volume of rock by 150º C.
    Decline of Arctic sea ice means that a lot more heat will be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean.


    Thick sea ice covered with snow can reflect as much as 90% of the incoming solar radiation. After the snow begins to melt, and because shallow melt ponds have an albedo (or reflectivity) of approximately 0.2 to 0.4, the surface albedo drops to about 0.75. As melt ponds grow and deepen, the surface albedo can drop to 0.15, while the ocean reflects only 6% of the incoming solar radiation and absorbs the rest.

    As Professor Peter Wadhams, University of Cambridge, once calculated, a collapse of the sea ice would go hand on hand with dramatic loss of snow and ice cover on land in the Arctic. The albedo change resulting from the snowline retreat on land is similarly large as the retreat of sea ice, so the combined impact could be well over 2 W/sq m. To put this in context, albedo changes in the Arctic alone could more than double the net radiative forcing resulting from the emissions caused by all people of the world, estimated by the IPCC to be 1.6 W/sq m in 2007 and 2.29 W/sq m in 2013.

  • The Sixth Mass Extinction is taking place in this the Anthropocentric Petroleum Age.

    Its history cannot be understood without an understanding of the history of fossil fuel discovery, development, and use by current civilization.

    The poison peddlers, who are mass murderers a la Jim Jones, left a very easy trail to follow (MOMCOM’s Mass Suicide & Murder Pact – 3).

    Sufficient enough for some world officials to consider exposing it:

    But should the bosses of polluting companies and the leaders of environmentally-unfriendly states join those responsible for mass murder in the dock. They could if a fifth crime against peace – ecocide – joined that list of human evils? The United Nations is now considering the proposal and the first test of how a prosecution for ecocide would work takes place on Friday, with fossil fuel bosses in the dock at the UK supreme court in London. It is a mock trial of course, but with real top-flight lawyers and judges and a jury made up of members of the public. The corporate CEOs will be played by actors briefed by their legal teams.”

    (Is ‘Insanity’ A Valid Defense To Ecocide? – 2).

    There is a discipline which studies the history of science, including climate science.

    Scientists all along the way warned the poison peddling fossil fuel industry and government about what they were getting into (The Exceptional American Denial).

    They were not dissuaded from their misadventure.

    Because, they “reasoned” that use of the poison in weapons of mass destruction was a better way to kill “them,” but save “us” (The Universal Smedley – 2).

    So, eventually fossil fuels became the “lifeblood” of western capitalism (“Oil is the lifeblood of America’s economy” – Dept. of Energy) because of a certain apocalyptic fear (The Universal Smedley – 3).

    Those who had, and used, their power took us down the path of doom, and therefore could be prosecuted under existing depraved-heart murder laws if the judicial branch of government was not so corrupt itself (Oil-Qaeda & MOMCOM Conspire To Commit Depraved-Heart Murder).

    And if the propagandised public was not so overcome by the manufacturing of their consent / wishy-washyness about it (The Ways of Bernays).

    So, why should we enjoy the dying time?

  • @infanttyrone

    Was it anything like this?

    Not quite shure… I did not see any angels and I don’t have TV and I don’t have any picture of “heaven”… As I said, I was no religious person at that time and still I don’t feel like beeing religios, I am undenominational… I did not search it, I did not beg for it, it just suddenly struck me like a lightning, like a steamhammer out of nowhere and it changed my life forever.

    @mike k

    About my nick: I intended to say “I am curious”, yes, but not in the sense of wanting to know everything, more in a sense of beeing astonished, wondering and curious (like little kids are) at the same time, we say “erstaunt, verwundert, sonderbar, wunderlich” in german, but I did not find the best english word immediately, so I took “Curious”.

    The strange thing with that experience I talked about is, that it came without searching, without wanting to know anything, I was just sitting there without any special thoughts, I did not care, I gave a shit about religion, philosophy, searching for ultimate truth ect. The more ordinary way is searching, meditation, religion, philosophy ect first and then Sat-Chit-Ananda some years, decades or lives afterwards. But with me it was just the other way around:

    At first came that struck, that lightning out of nowhere and then the search began because that experience just grabbed me and after the initial joy I was thrown into complete, terrible and painful darkness right afterwards. So it was not curiousity but pain that send me on the journey. Days after that experience I sat there alone in my dark room very often and could not think anything for hours, could not do anything anymore, I was paralysed, I was nowhere, lost, I couldn’t get my feet back onto earth anymore, I was chased, impelled because of that strange experience. I had to find answers, some kinda map to find a way out of that horrendous darkness again, that was the cause of my painful search.

    Maybe that experience was some kinda medicine that came out of subconscious, out of blackness. I grew up in the ghetto. My mother shot herself a bullet into her very own heart when I was four years old. I have been confined into a very small chamber without a window, without any light for whole nights. My father was an alcoholic, we got much real hard beating by my father, my siblings and me. I went into a house of correction voluntarily when I was thirteen, because I could’t stand home anymore. I found my father sitting dead on a sofa when I was fifteen, he commited suicide like my mother. The house of correction was hell like home was hell. So I fled, lived here and there and then again another house of correction and so forth…

    Along that way my younger brother perished the hard way right before my very own eyes when I was twenty (he was nineteen). I was a junkie for five years afterwards (Heroin, Cocaine). I saw many people dying, many good friends just perished away like animals, like dust, like nothing at all. Yes, I know Dead and I’m not afraid of it, I am more afraid of my own shortcomings, because Dead is not the end. Everybody will die anyway, with or without extinction, so I don’t care much about extinction, I have seen many people go extinct, I don’t count them anymore. I have been an underdog my whole life and never wanted to be anything else. I have seen blackness for shure and I have seen some most inner light. And you found the very same light, I am shure. Tat vam asi _()_

    I was raw, cooked and then burned


    @Robin Datta

    Curious: For those who step beyond the threshold, it is realised as being forever in both directions, not just 5 minutes.

    Tao Te ching translation by Stephen Mitchell.

    Chapter 10

    I really don’t know if I passed any treshold. When I try to touch what I experienced with my intellectual, sticky fingers then I loose fingers and when I try to touch it again, I get burnt down, it must be Fuego, Duende. When I look back, it was always there, but it took seventeen years to remember. So, I am not enlightened, I am no sage, no saint for shure, no hero at all, I don’t know much, if anything at all, I am an ordinary guy, an underdog, a nobody and I never wanted to be anything else 8-)

    Thanks again!, Wren, for that one (BerlYn, Yeah!), Ich liebe den Song (there’s a Tathagata at 04:07)!:

  • Mo flo – Your meditation on time left me in a state of LOL. Thanks for the respite from my often too serious mind….

    Lidia – Our position and powers in the world today – for better or worse – are largely dependent on our having learned (and developed the neural structures) to control the impulses and messages from the less developed areas of our brain/minds. For an intelligent person to totally deny this reality may mean they are expressing their disappointment with the unfortunate bad results we have produced by misusing this power.

    As far as prayer not giving us a world at peace – all powers in existence are limited, as far as we know.

    Martin – I want that cat as a power animal. He can complement the mountain lion’s mentoring wisdom. Nice poem.

    Robin – Taking refuge in the relationless One only yields a loveless solitude. The not this, not that of Vedanta needs to embrace the yes this, yes that of the messy wonderful drama of manifestation. Not of this world needs of this world for completeness. Escapism, illusionism, and world condemnation have been the curses haunting improperly understood Wisdom. Aware of this, one should not abet that tendency in those so inclined. To teach neti, neti without eti, eti is to foster delusion. After all, nirvana is samsara, samsara is nirvana.

    John Eastcott – Thanks for your beautiful sharing. “In small groups lies the salvation of the world.” I am involved in several such efforts. I will share the suggestions for group process with others in the groups I attend, although most of them we are already practicing. We use the talking stick principle in the first round of our sharings. This gives each a chance to share without interruption or comments. Our second round allows free feedback and discussion. A short meditation opens and closes our sacred space.

    Curious – Thanks for sharing your story. Doing so is a valid part of your awakening process. Most people are unaware that there is a story unfolding in them that is guiding and shaping their life. To share that story with others is a step in becoming more conscious of it, and thus being in a position to edit it and make sure it heads in a good direction. Real agency and power over one’s life comes with increasing consciousness.

    As to why this happened to you unexpectedly; in this dimension such cases are not uncommon. The wind of Spirit blows where and when it wills. Sometimes intense prolonged suffering such as you experienced becomes a prayer for Help, whether spoken or not.

    In the twenty some years since my transcendent moments, I have never touched that field of blessing in that way again. When I told my Sufi guide about the experience, he only said, “It means you need to do more Work.” I understood what he said immediately. These breakthroughs are only a glimpse, a mere taste of that Infinity. There is so much more… But I am heartened by the words of Sri Aurobindo, that once touched by That your spiritual destiny is assured, however long and twisting the road may be….
    for you have Seen and can never return to your ignorance as once it was.

  • I dont think I’m coping with this very well, its a bit like being a passenger in a car that you know’s going to crash.

    A little Greek myth for you

    The myth of Cassandra

    In Greek mythology, Cassandra was one of the princesses of Troy, daughter of Priam and Hecuba. According to the Myth, Cassandra was astonishingly beautiful and blessed with the gift of foreseeing the future. Her curse was that no one believed her, a fact that weighed heavily on the destruction of Troy during the Trojan War.

    Post again later

  • Curious – Many thanks for sharing your story.
    That is the thing I am the most fascinated with here on this site – who you are, how you got that way, moments of transformation, falshes of enlightenment, the astonishment of solitude, and sharing all of that here with the only other people who might even come close to understanding.

    I first heard gogol bordello years ago on the soundtrack of an obscure film called ‘wrist slashers’ which I found at the library! It turned out to be very interesting! Here’s another one of their’s you might like … happy and danceable …:

  • There in the lucky dark,
    none to observe me
    darkness far and wide
    no sign for me to mark
    no other light, no guide
    except for my heart –
    the fire, the fire inside!

    John of the Cross

    (John was imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition.
    He escaped by a seemingly miraculous and unexpected intervention from….?)

  • @mike k

    To share that story with others is a step in becoming more conscious of it, and thus being in a position to edit it and make sure it heads in a good direction. Real agency and power over one’s life comes with increasing consciousness.

    Yes, I second that. And thank you for sharing your story. I shared my story because I witnessed the Oneness of all things, of all beeings, the Oneness of the Cosmos itself, like you did. I wanted to share it because there’s something beyond all Death, beyond all extinction, Death and Life are One in fact, that’s my message and that’s your message. So IMO it’s not about whining or hating anybody because of possible extinction. Death is not the enemy of life, but ignorance, greed, hatred is the enemy.

    There’s some whining about “overpopulation” here going on at NBL. But who asserts “overpopulation”? Always those guys who are on the wealthy side of the world, muhahaha… Ask some real poor people, you will find nobody on the poor side who asserts “overpopulation”. It’s always the same propaganda shit from the very same people, the wealthy people, who are just afraid of loosing their status quo, muhahaha 8-) So, extinction?! WELL FINE, then we will be finally all equal, together in that shit, rich and poor, Death makes everybody equal at last and I really like that, Hokahey!

    “ <i<In the twenty some years since my transcendent moments, I have never touched that field of blessing in that way again.”

    I feel it every single day, not like a steamhammer as it once was, but when I sit silently and alone, watching the trees, hearing the song of the birds, getting still, getting aware, playing my guitar, singin a song, I feel it like a breeze, it’s always there, inside and outside, yes, it’s always there, brother, and you know that :-)

    … Hey, thanks for that poem of John of the cross, yes, yes, yes… the Fire burning in the Blackness… “ There’s something they can never take away, it’s the Fire, the Fire that’s burnin down everything” (Bob Marley).


    … its a bit like being a passenger in a car that you know’s going to crash,

    But what’s the news about it? I can’t see any news here, death is our shadow, our escort, our goal since we were born, isn’t it? Life and Death are really One. Death is the finest, the supreme teacher.



    Thanks again for another great song from Gogol Bordello! I didn’t know em, real discovery, raw and beautiful! “Wristcutters”, yeah, I saw some outtake on youtube when you pointed to Gogol Bordello the other day, really fine film and beautiful people!

    … And so you learn the only way to go is through the roof
    Ooohoohoooh through the roof, underground…

    Yes, here’s another one, Herman van Veen (Netherland), great poet and clown, a song like a day in my life:

    Herman van Veen – Home and dry (‘niet alleen’/not alone)”

    “… She is out of the clinic
    She is clean, unhooked and dry
    Runs up to the roof-top
    On the edge she cries
    ‘Daddy, Mummy! I can fly!

  • It sounds a bit daft, but i have an animal guide, a heron, i like to go fishing,

    A tree fell down on our local lake, but the Heron just saw it as a perch, he knows your looking at him


  • Curious ~

    I feel it like a breeze, it’s always there, inside and outside, yes, it’s always there, brother

    wow. you have inspired me. thank you for sharing everything you have here.

    Death is not the enemy of life, but ignorance, greed, hatred is the enemy.

    absolutely yes. and there is only one battle to be won, and you mention this here, so well,

    Yes, I know Dead and I’m not afraid of it, I am more afraid of my own shortcomings, because Dead is not the end.

    when you know it so deeply, as you do, that Death is no end, and no fear, then you are only left with the true Fear, the true Death ~ how we have walked away from the Oneness, and fallen into our own ignorance and separation, in whatever ways we have.

    and then we do the only thing that can be done. just getting back in,

    silently and alone, watching the trees, hearing the song of the birds, getting still, getting aware, playing my guitar, singin a song

    much love to you, my brother,
    ~ mo

  • you have mates here curious


  • Curious – My dark night included a father’s verbal and physical abuse, then years of addiction in Chicago – a living nightmare.
    Without the help I got I would have been dead long ago. AA and the kindness of so many friends, and that nameless Power brought me back – over 50 years clean and sober now – I guess that makes me “an oldtimer.” I live in the forest now. There is a long term treatment center for alcoholics/addicts about 4 miles up the road where I go most days to share with the guys there. Thanks for sharing all you have – it helps me a lot.

  • Om Shanti Om, y’all.

    Meanwhile, back on the material side of the house Ram Samudrala and I have been going around again about self-organization and thermodynamics. Here’s my latest installment.

    The Maximum Power Principle Revisited

    The Maximum Power Principle first described by Alfred Lotka and later fleshed out by H. T. Odum states that “During self-organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency.” It was originally formulated from ecological observations. The paper linked below for example reports on an MPP experiment involving various species of protozoa. The results clearly confirm the operation of MPP at that level of life. (

    However, Odum considered the MPP to be a general principle of self-organization and evolution in open systems, one that is completely agnostic to the type of system it operated on. I agree with that view, which is why I say that this thermodynamic principle underlies all self-organization of open systems, from protozoans to politics.

    The course and eventual form of self-organization will, of course, be as different as the systems themselves. It all depends on what operational form produces the most power under the conditions that obtain for the system. This is the reason why most biological systems (including their artificial human offshoots) do not necessarily maximize their efficiency of energy use, except as one pathway to producing maximum power.

    One of the confusing elements of my thermodynamic development argument in the past has been my focus on entropy rather than exergy and power. The Maximum Entropy Production Principle (MEPP) that I have instead emphasized may be technically valid, but it is far too abstract and needs needs too many qualifiers to allow laymen to accept it without having tangential debates that cloud the issue.

    Concentrating on MPP instead might make my point easier to clarify. This approach requires the reader to understand and accept only three fairly obvious things: that all life is driven by energy use; that life develops through a process inter-group competition for common resources (e.g. natural selection), with intra-group cooperation acting in service to group success; and that this behaviour is true whether the group in question is a bacterial colony, a wolf pack, an species, a nation or a corporation.

    Although individuals may act against the MPP and deliberately reduce their power use, it appears to be impossible for groups to contravene what to all intents and purposes is an iron-clad law of the natural world – given that goal #1 of all life is group survival. The larger the group, the more iron there is in that cladding.

    This is especially true of ultra-high-power groups like human civilization, with our related activities of politics and economics. Everything we do bears the imprint of the Maximum Power Principle, and supports its operation either directly (e.g. through energy companies) or indirectly through such activities as our political and legal systems. any society that does not (or cannot) follow this law will in the long run be swept away by its neighbours that do. this is, in fact, the mechanism by which higher-powered empires succeed lower powered ones – as the sails of the Spanish gave way to British coal, which yielded in turn to American oil and nuclear power.

    In the end all that matters is power mobilization; all else is window dressing. At 18 Terawatts of total power production and climbing, I’d say Homo colossus is doing just fine in the MPP sweepstakes. With that kind of power production it’s scant wonder that the world’s wild species don’t stand a chance against us.

    I hope these links don’t trip the spam filter…

    The MPP paper on protozoa:

    World Power Production from 1965 to 2014: http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x330/chefurka/World%20Power_zps3z2ius76.png

  • For those of you interested in the details of the Great Crash of NBL & the Diner over the last week, I will have the complete story to date up tomorrow on the Diner.

    This one was a NIGHTMARE folks.


  • my last post tonight,

    this is the standing man of Cerne

    some students put a bin bag on his knob, lol

  • RE
    i’m interested
    i do find it odd that “they” see this as necessary or effective
    if it was “they”

    some one is scared of some thing

    hell, i’m scared some times
    happy it’s fixed

  • mike k, glad to know you got well. AA & NA did not work for me, I had to make it natural. Happy Saturday ;)

  • apneaman: hear’n @

  • apneaman – The marijuana maintenance plan worked for a while for me, but I was too much of a can’t get enough, gotta get stronger stuff type of guy. Total abstention works for me now. Everybody’s different….

  • Paul ~

    thanks for further elaborating your ideas about MPP.

    I have some questions for you. part of the basis for my questions is your use of *recent* examples, with human groups. like your example of sail -> coal -> oil -> nuclear. and your World Power Production graph from 1965 – 2014.

    This is especially true of ultra-high-power groups like human civilization, with our related activities of politics and economics. Everything we do bears the imprint of the Maximum Power Principle, and supports its operation either directly (e.g. through energy companies) or indirectly through such activities as our political and legal systems. any society that does not (or cannot) follow this law will in the long run be swept away by its neighbours that do.

    how would, for example, the decline of certain empires, such as the long decline of the Egyptian Empire, and then the decline of the Western Roman Empire, fit into this idea that they were not following the MPP, while they were swept away by their neighbors that were (better) following the MPP?

    in both of these examples, (Egypt and Western Rome) it looked like a general combination over-complexity, diminishing returns, plus slow, but consistent, successive onslaughts from various low-powered neighbors, over a period of several centuries, that led to their decline, and final downfall (or final fade out).


    Although individuals may act against the MPP and deliberately reduce their power use, it appears to be impossible for groups to contravene what to all intents and purposes is an iron-clad law of the natural world – given that goal #1 of all life is group survival. The larger the group, the more iron there is in that cladding.

    given that both Ancient Egypt, and Western Rome, were very large, very long-lasting groups, why wouldn’t MPP allow (or force?) them to just last – and expand, essentially forever – until they hit global limits?

    it seems that both these groups would have accumulated vast amounts of “iron-cladding” as you call it, and this would have allowed them to continue to accumulate the control and use of energy and resources, while also continually allowing improvements in the organized extraction of this energy, and this would all have prevented any chance for decline, let alone fall, until true global limits were reached?

    this is, in fact, the mechanism by which higher-powered empires succeed lower powered ones – as the sails of the Spanish gave way to British coal, which yielded in turn to American oil and nuclear power.

    in these cases above (Egypt and Western Rome, but there are many possible examples elsewhere) higher-powered empires did not succeed lower-powered ones. in fact, it was frequently the opposite. lower-powered, long-lasting civilizations, succeeded higher-powered ones. the example of the Middle Ages in Western Europe succeeding the Western Roman Empire, and all the various civilizations in the Middle East, succeeding the Egyptian Empire.

    where do you think MPP fits into these historical examples? I think it would be fascinating to sort out the connections, if possible.

  • It is quite miraculous how these wind turbines sprouted out of the ocean and will never need maintenance or parts. Our world leaders will save us!

    Can I get an AMEN

  • mo flow,

    I’m not a detailed historian, so I’ll just take the Roman list you pointed to as my starting point.

    Each of the eight points they list is summarized in italics, followed by my MPP interpretation.

    1. Invasions by Barbarian tribes
    The most straightforward theory for Western Rome’s collapse pins the fall on a string of military losses sustained against outside forces.

    Military contests are almost always won or lost in the context of the MPP. “Maximum Power” is what the military and wars are all about. This indicates that the Visigoths had, at least on the military front, a better ability to generate and project their power. It was a classic MPP contest, Rome lost.

    2. Economic troubles and overreliance on slave labor
    Even as Rome was under attack from outside forces, it was also crumbling from within thanks to a severe financial crisis.

    The financial crisis made Rome unable to generate enough military power to overcome their competitors.

    3. The rise of the Eastern Empire
    The fate of Western Rome was partially sealed in the late third century, when the Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into two halves—the Western Empire seated in the city of Milan, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium, later known as Constantinople. The division made the empire more easily governable in the short term, but over time the two halves drifted apart. East and West failed to adequately work together to combat outside threats, and the two often squabbled over resources and military aid.

    The division of the Empire resulted in two smaller systems that were forced to compete against each other as well as against outsiders. Such comptition consumes some of the system’s power, and left both with less power to compete with outsiders.

    4. Overexpansion and military overspending
    At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River in the Middle East, but its grandeur may have also been its downfall. With such a vast territory to govern, the empire faced an administrative and logistical nightmare.

    Jospeph Tainter has good insights for this one – it’s a classic diminishing return on marginal complexity. Excessive complexity generates something analogous to “internal friction” within the system, that consumes some of its power, reducing the amount available for external competition. Also, their ability to mobilize power was also hampered by the mentioned slowdown in technological advancement.

    5. Government corruption and political instability
    If Rome’s sheer size made it difficult to govern, ineffective and inconsistent leadership only served to magnify the problem. Being the Roman emperor had always been a particularly dangerous job, but during the tumultuous second and third centuries it nearly became a death sentence. Civil war thrust the empire into chaos, and more than 20 men took the throne in the span of only 75 years, usually after the murder of their predecessor.

    Again, internal friction reduced the amount of power the system could project outwards.

    6. The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribes
    The Barbarian attacks on Rome partially stemmed from a mass migration caused by the Huns’ invasion of Europe in the late fourth century. When these Eurasian warriors rampaged through northern Europe, they drove many Germanic tribes to the borders of the Roman Empire. The Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory, but they treated them with extreme cruelty. According to the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman officials even forced the starving Goths to trade their children into slavery in exchange for dog meat. In brutalizing the Goths, the Romans created a dangerous enemy within their own borders. When the oppression became too much to bear, the Goths rose up in revolt and eventually routed a Roman army and killed the Eastern Emperor Valens during the Battle of Adrianople in A.D. 378.

    MPP contests outside the Roman borders drove the losers back towards and into Roman territory. When the time for revolt came, the Roman systetem was already so weakened that the revolt succeeded.

    7. Christianity and the loss of traditional values
    The decline of Rome dovetailed with the spread of Christianity, and some have argued that the rise of a new faith helped contribute to the empire’s fall. The Edict of Milan legalized Christianity in 313, and it later became the state religion in 380. These decrees ended centuries of persecution, but they may have also eroded the traditional Roman values system.

    One of the things that is necessary for the generation of maximum power is a cohesive system that has a common set of values. This is why “corporate culture” is such a big thing in the industrial world – think of Chinese factory callisthenics and Walmart prayer sessions.They lost cohesion, and with it went some of their ability to generate Imperial power.

    8. Weakening of the Roman legions
    For most of its history, Rome’s military was the envy of the ancient world. But during the decline, the makeup of the once mighty legions began to change. Unable to recruit enough soldiers from the Roman citizenry, emperors like Diocletian and Constantine began hiring foreign mercenaries to prop up their armies. The ranks of the legions eventually swelled with Germanic Goths and other barbarians … While these Germanic soldiers of fortune proved to be fierce warriors, they also had little or no loyalty to the empire, and their power-hungry officers often turned against their Roman employers.

    This is the same as the above point, but with an even worse impact, because it happened in the military, striking at the root of the Empire’s power.

    I haven’t looked yet, but I would suspect that similar factors would be found in the case of Egypt.

  • @ram, on the previous thread, you stated, “There is no biological drive towards building cathedrals but organisms do build bazaars.” I think there is a biological drive toward building cathedrals, else why would so many cultures have done it, and why do they continue even when resources are scarce? There has to be a positive short-term reason for it (which I think is explained by Paul’s distinction of efficiency vs. power).

    You say “MPP… an approach that humans have taken ignoring what is happening in the rest of biological evolution”, but from my understanding MPP and MEPP concepts hold throughout known life systems. It’s not just to do with humans.

    You say, “The system that can optimise energy extraction for a billion years (or for an arbitrary period) at a steady rate using a bottom up approach is better off than a system that is gung ho on energy extraction and kills itself off in a couple of million years, all other things being equal.” This is true only in your human judgement of what “better off” means. You certainly wouldn’t say, of a chemical reaction, this acid and base would be “better off” not reacting violently with one another. You tend to make teleological statements, as though organisms know how the story will end, or that you have an idea of what an optimum result would be. That does not make any sense to me.

    You say, “The path taken matters as much as the end goal in *biological evolution.*” There is no “end goal” in evolution.

    I can see that you are trying to solve a problem, but as long as you see energy throughput, evolution, and extinction of species as problems to be solved, rather than phenomena to be observed, then you’ll be slightly off target in following this line of thinking, I respectfully suggest.

  • I think I was around four when I first began thinking this was all a joke-a brief but absurd and bizarre funny. I thought everyone was in on it. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I realized that most people did not see the joke. Now as I near sixty I’m not sure it is a joke. I’m not laughin’. Well I am, but it’s that scary and creepy cackle.

  • Yeah, mt, the world leaders are going to save us! Germany says it wants a carbon free economy by century’s end. Don’t they realize that the last of us may have been dead for 50 years, by 2100?

    This is my favorite time of year to go to the beach on Fla’s gulf coast. Warm and sunny with the water still cool and crystal clear. Not any more, sad to say. As I waded out, I saw a spotty film on the surface. Then I looked closer. The water wasn’t clear, it was yellow/brown with a heavy burden of small to moderate sized particles that looked like…sewage. Tiny flecks of TP, food and feces, apparently. No doubt partial treatment had eliminated the odors. No swim, almost no birds. Did see the sunset, though.

    Oh, and we burned a gallon of gas to get there and back.

  • mike k, the song isn’t about switching to weed, it’s about finding love (or something like it). What could be more natural or inspiring of change than the most potent chemicals there are? All those old tongue in cheek Hook songs are written by the late great Shel Silverstein.

  • Cohesion or cooperation just carries the Maximum Power Principle (MPP) to a higher level. For instance, cells in a metazoan behave themselves so that the united organism may successfully pursue maximum power. Humans too may cooperate in order to achieve maximum power at a tribal level. Things go awry when cells within a body or humans within a tribe decide or are altered to pursue their own maximum power at the expense of the whole, as when cells become malignant or psychopaths take advantage of everyone else in the tribe.If the level of corruption crosses a threshold, the system can become unstable, ineffective, and collapse.

    Modern civilization exists, cooperates to eat massive resource stores. When they are gone so too will go civilization and all of its maximally powerful trappings like dams, oil refineries, ICBMs, and nearly seven billion humans that cooperated to exploit everything their tools could reach. Human cells cooperated to get their hands on big chunks of meat and vegetable matter. Cow cells cooperate to maintain a grass eating system. Everyone wants growth or even better “full spectrum dominance”. Go figure. Going to be a surprise when they finally get full spectrum collapse.

  • I worked network engineering and ISP for 10 years in the Heart of Babylon. Any soiver logs, IPS, records, strings tf variables into which forms, received data packets, etc could provide immensely helpful information. Looks like you have a good ISP though that 1. Suspended your account which slyly implies that you might have untoward behavior. But then 2. having the whole site up and running again shortly after means that your ISP backs up, and or that the compromise was not someone {cough} shall we say, clever enough, to root the account and destroy all the data. A DOS attack would have taken down all the websites on the ISP server. So unless the entire ISP was out, it probably wasn’t SMURF or DOService. 3. Suffering this kind of regressive stupidity is, of course, a badge of honor. Redemptive. Although often doesn’t feel like it at the time.

    Began to get my slight, modest physicality threatened on a regular basis after I started union organizing the in the late 90s (inspired by zapatistas, seattle) Blokes twice as big as me letting me know that I am this close. Ha…..Ha Ha. OK you get used to it after a while. Develop defense. Work the game.

    Later, as I learned more, I walked up to the SKorean army while they were protecting a US military land grab at DaeChuri that displaced several dozen local farmers in a traditional village. Ongoing, Pure US Mil war crimes in Korea. I finally mustered the nuts to march up to them. I was accompanied only by Koreans. There was a military helicopter flying overhead. I gave them the finger. I, me, mr. imperial wonder bread boy can do things like that and not die after grisly torture. I was the only wonder bread boy to walk with the Koreans. EVERY other North American was hiding behind their fences of privilege, and so the village was lost.

    Now this recent business living through, what was for people who are not uniform slices of wonder-bread, the terror of an absolutist Military coup. Which unless it is overthrown or demolished soon, I may not be ablt to speak about for years. Unrelenting social Trauma much? I counted 9 wonder bread writers, or their boojwa cocoanut imitators who’ve run off to chew the cud in the so safe greener pastures. My garrison holds, lads. Have not budged. Like Ward Churchill once explained about the Cheyenne. The Dog Warrior drives a Pickett stake into the ground and ties a rope around it and the other end of the rope to his leg. No retreat. Come get me.

    Let’s just say this gets easier the more you do it. And it is highly contagious.

    The objective then is to locate the TRUE center of power. Real power Not guns and bombs and threats and violence and all this theater of terror and domination, but real, genuine, actual power that potentially sparks from one’s fingertips every moment of every day. As John Trudell said, “If you fight for the Earth, the Earth will protect you.”

    And neither Dan MacGowan or Jeff Lures are in prison anymore, http://aaronchanwriting.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/vlcsnap-2012-03-20-16h09m26s96.png so what are you waiting for? As Thoreau actually did ask: “Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?”

    Even though, as a decades long imitator of William Gibson’s characters, Papa Legba and Count Zero, and life-long student of 2600 (not to give them a bad name by association with me) I could wreak more havoc online undreamt of by most small armies with a few batch files.

    But I think it is a complete counter-productive waste of time and space to take sites down or drive-by spray paint their website. That’s Script Kiddies’ play. I trust anyone I talk with to be cognizent, capable and intelligent enough to make up their minds’ on their own. Therefore, I ~want~ people to go look at the opposite arguments, claims and evidence. Break down the rhetoric and logical processes for themselves and decide by themselves without my co-ercion. This is the only way we can begin to illuminate whatever small part of the darkness which is still so pervasive. Blocking people’s access to information means you lost and that you are lost. It is that simple.

    Yesterday I gave a presentation about aristotle’s Trivium: grammar, logic, rhetoric; along with the various anti-rational fallacies like Appeal to authority, Appeal to tradition, Texas Sharpshooter, AdHom, Black and White, We followed out some of the fallacies like no-true-scottsman, which I improvisationally changed to “no-true-anarchist” or “no-true-communist”. That kind of shook them up, and was devious enough.

    But, then explained how defining your own grammar by assigning your own definition to the meaning of words as you see fit and identifying the processes and forces that are affecting your life and subjecting them to determined and systematic rational process could potentially be revolutionary. If ordinary people allow themselves the license to apply their own definitions to the meanings of words, creating their own experiential based lexicographies as they discover them, and if this Trivium education system is applied by the common people, for them, instead of residing primarily in the elite education institutions – as, incidentally, Aristotle intended them to be – Well then, sir, if we got up to all that, then there would be a revolution to end all revolutions by morning, the likes of which even Hubert Henry Harrison or Eugene Debs would likely find startling.

    Showed them an orwell poster “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” Told them to OK, now go into the grammar definition part for these words. Started my self “What if you feel like your conditions of work are a state of suffering: “war”, while your ongoing capitulation to the work condition translates into your boss’ definition of “Peace”. What sir, do you do then? Well. Might as well have lit the room on fire and hoisted the black flag.

    I decided to pick sides a while back. I know. It’s obvious. The first worlders, Brits, Scotts, USers, were appalled. Gaping open mouth horror. Called Aristotle a dictator. Said this would be completely unworkable. But the teachers from India, Pakistan, Senegal, and Philippines were cheering. I know what my own standards are and how I should evaluate myself in this presentation and performance. That is, Rhetorically, and Logically according exactly and precisely these Aristotitlian methods. Such is the genuine and profound danger of Greek Philosophy when applied to the interests of the lower classes for which it was never intended by the slave drivers in Athens.

  • Diner Hell Week: The Crash Story

    The Inside Story on the crash of the Doomstead Diner and Nature Bats Last.


    I don’t think this is a “them” problem, it’s a COMPLEXITY problem as I see it right now.

    We’re utilizing quite a bit of tech to make this work, and your host will not take responsibility for problems that crop up on the packages produced by 3rd and 4th parties. Fact is, most of the problems you get come from these packages/plugins etc. in one way or the other.

    The response you get often is “It’s not our department”.

    Whose fucking department IS it then? Let me talk to somebody in charge!

    “Nobody is in charge, but you can go to the WordPress Help Forum and search out a lot of Code you have no clue on how to insert without fucking up the site even worse!” LOL.

    “Talk to your Developer.” LOL

    Fortunately, I DO have friends like Doomer Support who are savvy enough Geeks they can go through this and most often fix them, but not usually at 3AM when such things seem to occur.

    This one was particularly nasty. It ended up compromising the whole fucking server. I still do not know where it came from though.


  • RE Says:
    June 7th, 2015 at 4:26 am

    This one was particularly nasty. It ended up compromising the whole fucking server. I still do not know where it came from though.
    It might be wise for sites to use different ISPs and servers.

    Since NBL and DD use the same one any nefarious schemers get a twofer or more.

    Just sayin …

  • RE

    This is definitely beyond my understanding


  • Kirk,

    Visit the Panhandle? U live in the South?

    Why not have Guy come over from one wilderness into another? I’d be glad to help with my share financially. MY worst problem is I’m in the middle of no where. Nick Satan country.

  • Wester – Thanks much for sharing your life, our life, life. 1984’s central figure was of course George Orwell – waking up to a dark world of lies and evil – alone. Cassandra problem bigtime.

    Our difficulty is how to educate those determined to stay uninformed. We are the enemy to their unconscious trance. Huge Tower of Babel difficulty. And although the massive shocks of collapsing civilization could serve to make some finally teachable, receptive – will it be enough? And will those already awakening have managed to construct arrangements, cells within which to nourish their awakenings into something viable and true? Who will be there to help those leaving their caves and stumbling into the unfamiliar light?

    James – The irony of our situation is that the same intelligence that increased our access to massive amounts of power, may now represent our last possibility to save ourselves from NTE. I said the same intelligence, but really we require a deeper truer knowing that cognizes our situation as it really is, and creatively devises means to transform it. Our problem is simple: too many humans using too much energy is destroying all lives on Earth. Until enough people understand this deeply and act to change it we are truly screwed.

    Paul – All you say about the 2nd law is true and deeply meaningful, but I refuse to throw in the towel on humankind. We perpetrated this mess, and we need to clean it up. To cop out because this koan is super knotty and seems on the face of it to be insoluble, should not deter us. This is an initiation that all evolving intelligent species in the universe must face sooner or later – solve it or endure extinction! This is a required course, dropping out is not an option for those who love all that is good about life.

  • I have posted a new episode in the Edge of Extinction series. Catch it here.

  • @mike k, I’m not looking for disciples – I want everyone to keep on doing whatever is right for them. I actually don’t think I’m dropping out or throwing in the towel either – if I was I wouldn’t be so all-fired curious about what’s going on, and why. What I want to do in the face of this awareness is different from what you want to do, that’s all. My way is not thy way.

    @Lidia – yes to all four of your points. The unconscious anthropocentrisms you point out are common, and evade notice by because they are unconsciously shared by so many. They are part of our acculturation.

    @James – even psychopaths act to maximize power, but it tends to be personal power rather than the power of the group. They are fundamentally alienated from the group because of their condition, so the good of the group doesn’t factor into their actions – unless group power can be co-opted to become personal power, as with dictators like Hitler. But they still act to maximize power.

    @mo flow – I took a look at some Egyptian history last night, and found that the same analysis applies to them. they suffered from internal fragmentation leading to power-robbing friction, and a division of goals leading to smaller amounts of power being directed towards meeting each of them.

  • @mike_k, again with the solutions!

    There are no solutions.
    That is the point of this blog.

    As Mr. Greer pointed out quite a while ago, referring to what he called the Long Descent, what we have is not a problem, but a predicament.

  • Yo, Shep! We were at Treasure Island, on Florida’s west coast, west of Tampa. We live in St. Pete. Like everywhere else, mostly unenlightened halfwits live here. I swear, buddy, that the zombie apocalypse has already begun. Zombies devouring the living…kind of goes with my theory that cannibalism is the rule of the day. Mindless fucking zombies wherever you go. Got to be careful and blend in…watch the zombies swim in sewage.

    Don’t you sometimes feel like most people were put here to entertain us?

  • “It might be wise for sites to use different ISPs and servers.

    Since NBL and DD use the same one any nefarious schemers get a twofer or more.”

    We all use different ISPs since we are in widely dispersed locations. That is not an issue.

    Getting NBL and the Diner onto different servers has been a project we want to do, but haven’t had time for. It probably will get done now though.

    I do have some ideas for added resilience I will talk with Guy, Mo,Doomer Support and Palloy about moving forward.


  • Paul ~

    thank you for your point by point look at the list of 8 causes. I think your answers there are all good.

    I can see how these applications of MPP apply in these smaller bites, and can add up over time. that makes some sense.

    the heart of what I wanted to get at, though, is this statement of yours:

    it appears to be impossible for groups to contravene what to all intents and purposes is an iron-clad law of the natural world – given that goal #1 of all life is group survival. The larger the group, the more iron there is in that cladding.

    this is a very strong statement (“impossible”) on top of another very strong statement (“iron-clad law of the natural world”).

    but with Ancient Egypt and Western Rome, we have two examples of groups that *did* contravene this ironclad law. in multiple different ways, it seems.

    so we don’t seem to have a true example of “a law” with the MPP. at least not the same kind of law that says, if you drop a Roman out of an airplane without a parachute, gravity will inevitably kill him.

    what you have with MPP is more like the the idea that, if you drop a Roman out of an airplane, and he has a parachute, and he does not use that parachute (for whatever reason) gravity will kill him.

    for example, the Romans, for whatever reasons, did not stay with “a cohesive system that has a common set of values.” they acted differently.

    because they acted differently, it appears that you cannot state this: “goal #1 of all life is group survival.”

    if goal #1 with all life was group survival, and if the Romans always had the option, for example, of staying cohesive (they did of course, this was always possible. and they always had the option of better managing their finances as well), then there would be no possible way they would have failed to open the parachute.

    this all feels very different than the typical idea of Natural Law. it seems like (and correct me if I am wrong here, or not getting it) you are saying that it is “impossible” for systems to act differently, if they are subject to “the iron-clad law of the MPP.” they will always act, via the MPP, to ensure group survival. there is no option of a not using the parachute.

    once we see that there are options for opening the parachute, or not, then how can it be possible to sort out the “reality” of such a law, or even just a principle? there suddenly seems to be a huge amount of arbitrariness in sorting out what is really going on. why didn’t the Romans stay cohesive? why didn’t they better plan and manage their finances? why didn’t they more carefully choose their battles, instead of becoming over-extended?

    all of this “why?” is subject to historical debate, and it seems like it cannot ever be settled.

    as soon as it is left as arbitrary that the MPP is followed, or not, then it also, logically, implies that it is arbitrary whether *any* system follows the MPP, at any point in its trajectory. and we no longer have “the MPP.” just chance.

  • mo flow, I’m going to have to figure our my language in this area a bit more carefully, I think.

    I don’t mean that a nation can’t be forced from a maximum power path by external forces or internal breakdown. Obviously it can. I think it’s helpful to look at it in terms of the adaptive cycle in resilience theory (which I did just now.) This is from a web page on the topic:

    An adaptive cycle that alternates between long periods of aggregation and transformation of resources and shorter periods that create opportunities for innovation, is proposed as a fundamental unit for understanding complex systems from cells to ecosystems to societies.

    For ecosystem and social-ecological system dynamics that can be represented by an adaptive cycle, four distinct phases have been identified:

    1. growth or exploitation (r)
    2. conservation (K)
    3. collapse or release (omega)
    4. reorganization (alpha)

    The adaptive cycle exhibits two major phases (or transitions). The first, often referred to as the foreloop, from r to K, is the slow, incremental phase of growth and accumulation. The second, referred to as the backloop, from Omega to Alpha, is the rapid phase of reorganization leading to renewal.

    It looks to me as though the MPP operates in the first two of these four phases. It’s most active in the r phase in which the system is competing with others for the resources it needs to needs to. It’s still there, though with less intensity during the conservation phase. Fewer resources are needed to maintain itself than were needed for growth. The main competition in this phase is to keep other systems from encroaching on that smaller pool of required resources.

    Eventually other forces intrude. Either the system loses a crucial resource competition, suffers an accident or begins to exhibit senescence. It can no longer maintain its integrity, so decay and dissolution begin.

    It seems obvious that such systems will grow until either an internal or external limit is reached. In the case of human societies we have succeeded in removing limit after limit, but the principle remains in play. We have pushed the limits farther and farther out, allowing this round of globalized society to achieve far more growth than any other adaptive system has ever been able to manage. The further we climb that hill of growth, the more intense the operation of the MPP becomes. this is the phase we are now in.

    Eventually, inevitably, we will enter the backloop. Our conservation period – the plateau in our growth – is likely to be very short, if we can even identify one at all in hindsight. But even during the collapse the MPP will remain in play but on smaller scales, as subsystems (countries, regions, villages and families) struggle to secure the resources they will need for survival and rebuilding.

    The MPP appears to be the main operative principle behind the behaviour of adaptive systems in competition with one another. Collapse changes the system, but if it breaks apart each of those fragments will in compete under the same principle. If a system “wants” to win a resource competition it must pay attention to the dictates of the MPP. If it does not, whether deliberately or by circumstance, it will lose that competition and have to accept whatever consequences that loss entails. This is what I mean by “iron-clad”.

  • ^”…it will probably lose that competition”. Nothing is certain, but some things are very probable.