Love, Power, and Dominance—For ASGs & ESGs

by Bud Nye, R.N., M.S.

Introduction

If “only love remains”, how do we go about loving each other while in hospice? Some people probably insist that we can and should “just do it”, perhaps based on instructions and commands found in a number of ancient documents. Many others, including me, more realistically consider the situation much more difficult and complicated than that. This essay points to many deep emotional issues related love, some related to our deeply held human supremacist beliefs, and all profoundly affected by the extremely high probability of near term human extinction.

While attachment issues play a critical role in our relationships, two other major motivational systems also play important roles in human relationships: identity and attraction. (For an introduction to attachment theory, see my essays “A Proposed Model For Near Term Human Extinction Support Group (ESG) Functioning” found here https://guymcpherson.com/2014/12/a-proposed-model-for-near-term-human-extinction-support-group-esg-functioning/, and “Integrating Attachment Theory With ESGs” found here https://guymcpherson.com/2015/02/integrating-attachment-theory-with-esgs/.) So, we have three major motivational systems central in human relationships: attachment, identity, and attraction. The importance of these relational processes when we find ourselves in conflict suggests repair work that focuses on three related sets of emotions: fear-anxiety, shame-powerlessness, and joy-love, as well as promoting three associated forms of behavioral relation response: nurture-comfort, empathy-validation, and warmth-liking.

In this adaptation, after providing a background description of identity struggles I focus on love, power, and dominance issues. Concerning love and dominance I have adapted pages 97 through 110 in Leslie Greenberg and Rhonda Goldman’s 2008 book titled, Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy, The Dynamics of Emotion, Love, and Power, for use by attachment support groups (ASGs) and extinction support groups (ESGs). (Leslie Greenberg supervised Susan Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight, in her Ph.D. work.) The section describing identity struggles comes from other parts of that book. Mainly, I have translated their text into E-Prime—English without using the verb “is”—and changed wordings as needed for application in the ESG, attachment support group for singles and couples (ASG), and more general contexts. (One can see our ASG MeetUp here http://www.meetup.com/Attachment-Support-Group-For-Singles-and-Couples/.) In order to emphasize the strong scientific basis of the text, I have retained the research paper references, but without listing them. Many of the words remain Greenberg and Goldman’s; please see the book for much more detail and to follow up on any references. I strongly recommend that any seriously interested reader get and read the book, which covers far more ground, in good depth, and in an easily understood, well-written way.

Why have I written this heavily borrowed adaptation from Greenberg and Goldman? Because especially given the very high probability of near term human extinction (NTHE) I consider the subject matter extremely relevant and important related to many issues including: several experiences with people in our Tacoma emotion focused ESG; the dominance struggles I witness in the commenting that occurs at Nature Bats Last (NBL); our new ASG; the dynamics I see among my friends; arguments that occur at various blogs, such as NBL and Fractal Planet; and my own personal history, present relationships, and day-to-day life.

Related to all of this, note that the rate of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) equals about 6.3% in the general population, or greater than one in 20, with a higher rate among males than females. This exists as quite a large percentage, over five times the rate of Antisocial Personality Disorder (previously known as “psychopathy”). A dialog about love, dominance, and power issues with someone who fits the diagnostic criteria for NPD will almost certainly lead absolutely nowhere, no matter how long the discussion or how well formulated one’s reasoning and arguments. Why? Because—obviously!—their way “is the right way,” and anyone who disagrees with them deserves an attack on their clearly defective character.

Identity Struggles

In identity struggles, the central concern involves whose definition of “self” and “reality” those involved consider right, who has the right to define what they consider right, and whose agentic needs have most importance. People then fight to defend the view of reality important to their identity, and they defend themselves against the humiliation of others and/or themselves finding them wrong or lacking because this makes them feel unworthy, inferior, deficient, or incompetent. People also control in efforts to stave off possible imagined catastrophes and feelings of loss of control (as happens with the very high probability of NTHE). They also fight to influence decisions and courses of action in order to feel recognized, maintain status, confirm their identities, and operate by choice under their own volition rather than feeling coerced. When people find their identities threatened, they feel most concerned about whether others value and respect them and whether others recognize their influence and right to choose, and they argue passionately to try to change others’ views of them or what they did in order to regulate their self-esteem, and maintain their identities and their sense of agency. Alternatively, people may give up their identity needs and become fused to avoid conflict, but excitement and positive feelings then become the victims.

In terms of evolutionary development, first came the forerunner of identity: the assertion of organisms against others to define boundaries in conflict over territory, status, and position. Next came attachment to others on whom people depended and trusted for protection from danger. Third and only more recently came attraction to others whom people recognized as subjects just like themselves and whom they liked, appreciated, and felt compassion for and to whom they wished to give of themselves. In our view, people exist fundamentally as relational beings. As Kohut (1984) offered, people do not grow from dependence to independence any more than they can grow to become independent of a need for oxygen or free of other biological needs. People need contact and comfort for security, and they need empathic affirmation to have confidence in who they exist as. Relationship problems then do not arise from a conflict between people’s need connection and need for separateness, nor a struggle between dependence and independence, or intimacy and autonomy, as so often suggested. Rather, in their view, relationship conflicts occur as an issue of threats to attachment and threats to identity, and fears of annihilation and fears of abandonment govern conflict. Note the implications of this given the high probability of NTHE! Especially n intimate relationships, people protect their identities as though that identity occurred as life itself. After people move on from their earliest attachments, they generally resist letting anyone again have that much power to define them and determine what they do and how they will feel and see themselves. This remains so until they fall in love and form a new attachment. Then, once more, they let someone have enough importance to them to influence what they do and how they see themselves.

This sense of self, according to Stern, thus includes the sense of agency, the sense of physical cohesion, the sense of continuity, the sense of affectivity, the sense of a subjective self that can achieve intersubjectivity with another, the sense of creating organization, and the sense of transmitting meaning. These senses of self develop through life, and in adolescence an identity forms; this identity, plus its more basic substrate, needs attunement, recognition, and validation from others throughout life. Stern’s concept of “a need for affect attunement,” an essential part of developing a sense of a subjective self, becomes particularly significant in marital relationships in the validation of identity. Attunement to all affect, then, remains essential in the validation of identity, whereas only attunement to distress, separation anxiety, and needs for comfort prove essential in attachment. The invalidation of any of one’s feelings growing up as a child, or as a partner in an intimate relationship, results in a core injury to identity. People’s affects need mirroring and validation to help them develop clear and confident identities.

Adults develop far greater capacities than do infants for regulating their own affective disturbances, as well as greater capacities to attain joy, excitement, and satisfaction through their own agency. Adults develop identities, the validation of which they experience as almost as important to them as a close bond and sometimes as more important. We witness this in relationship ruptures that stem from fears of loss of identity, from damage to self-esteem, or from a feeling that one’s partner does not value or respect one’s preferences. Ultimately, threats to identity can prevent adult attachment. To protect their identities, people in conflict often hold on to attacking, controlling, or submissively yielding stances rather than risking change. “Stuckness,” or impasse, often occurs based on preservation of the integrity of the self’s identity. Resistance to change may occur based in fear sensed as “what will happen to who I am if I change”; hostility, “Don’t try to change me”; or shame, “If I change then how will all the times I’ve refused to in the past be viewed?”

Assertion of identity works as an evolutionarily developed, relational motive that derives from what observers of animal behavior have called the dominance hierarchy, referred to more popularly as the “pecking order.” Sociologists refer to position in such a hierarchy as status, and they refer to any moves to assert or improve one’s status in relation to others as the exercise of power. Observations of chimpanzees—and based on genetic cladistics, they occur as two other Homo species, not as a separate Pan genus—have revealed many displays of dominance and deference (de Waal, 1986, 1996). Quite typically, the leader of the group, an alpha male, asserts his power by shows of anger, bullying, and threats. The power occurs socially. Other members of the community acknowledge it in recognizable ways, such as by displaying fear (preparing to flee, screaming) and by deference (paying homage). When signaling power, the individual making the display expects to get his own way and will use force to prevail, perhaps in a sexual matter or in obtaining some resource such as food. The other members of the community accept this entitlement. The alpha chimpanzee looks bigger than others because in his displays his hair stands on end, while the hair of those who defer to him does not stand on end. These others offer submissive greetings. They bow, sometimes make offerings such as a leaf or a stick, and sometimes give a kiss on the feet or neck.

Animals not acutely aware of their rank endanger themselves, miss opportunities for acquiring resources (food, mates, allies), and could find themselves put down vigorously by more powerful dominants for inappropriate resource seeking. Animals behave differently if they live in high-rank compared with low-rank positions, and they change their behavior when they change their rank. This status-related behavior does not occur in a learned way but as an innate complex affective, cognitive, motivational, behavioral system just like an attachment system. We find humans, too, primed by evolution for concern about social rank and identity and to compete for resources, just as we find them primed to give and receive care by an evolutionarily developed attachment system (Gilbert, 2003; Gilbert & McGuire, 1998).

Individuals can use aggressive dominance, power, and control as a means of maintaining their identity, self-esteem, or status. In both human and animal groups, aggressive dominants try to control subordinates. We see this in extreme forms in humans such as in bullying and in violence in couples and families. In less obvious ways, humans also compete for position and resources in a manner that does not involve aggression. We do not have to think of the need for identity, self-esteem, and status as only engendering hostility (Gilbert, 2001). The way humans compete for recognition can occur aggressively, but more often it involves attempts to attract others. People strive to have status, value, and position given to them, and they benefit greatly from recognition and validation. People strive for others to see them as desirable lovers and friends, and as team players, by behaving in attractive and lovable ways. In this context, for many people the central concern involves avoiding low rank, others controlling them, other excluding them, or missing opportunities. For others to see one as attractive one must stimulate positive affect in the mind of others, not fear or fearful submission with aggression (Gilbert, 1997, 2001; Gilbert & McGuire, 1998). Partners, too, need their mates to value them. People in more stable and satisfying relationships see strengths in their partners that they do not see in the partners of others (Rusbult, Van Lange, Widlschut, Yovetich, & Verette, 200). People also will most likely see the best in others when they see the best in themselves (S.L. Murray, Holmes, & Griffin, 2000). Cooperation and belonging thus have become more important than dominance for survival and reproductive success (Gilbert, 1989). Some marital partners who equate dominance or forced recognition of status with respect or love sometimes lack these skills.

Concerns about identity and ranking involve tracking other people’s views of one’s self and responding to potential threats to recognition of one’s identity. We consider gauging the reactions of others and having the ability to distinguish when people can trust and who truly values them one of the more daunting evolutionary challenges humans had to solve (Tooby & Cosmides, 1990). Nonverbal communication, which often occurs automatically, evaluating trustworthiness, identity concerns, and behaviors, occur as importantly as social rank, and as in attachment. Partners in loving relationships gaze into the eyes of each other, and this works as a clear signal of desire and affection, of both wanting to look at and wanting to be looked at. However, in conflict situations, dominant partners stare but submissive partners do not. For subordinates to engage in eye gaze would almost certainly increase arousal in both dominant and subordinates and increase the chances of fighting. A partner’s signal of shame will have an impact on the other’s anger. People in high states of shame commonly adopt submissive postures, have low eye gaze, feel inhibited, and cannot express themselves. This occurs as a highly defensive position, quite different from a caregiving or cooperative one, for example. A submissive, defensive position can click in even when a person consciously does not want it to. Evolution has primed people with emotions such as embarrassment, shame, and humiliation to adopt these roles. These emotions remain particularly sensitive to how people see themselves through others’ eyes and occur when they find their identities threatened or vulnerable feelings invalidated. When this type of shame occurs in intimate relationships, it cannot but lead to troubles in intimacy.

Love

We often see the concepts of “love” and “power” as major forces in intimate relationships and marriage and they serve as key dimensions on which we often understand interactions. Love occurs as a complex emotion, but its interactional elements occur clearly: it moves people closer to the ones they love. Love occurs as many different things to different people, but it refers to all human ways for uniting, connecting, joining, and opening to one another. No one, scientist or layperson alike, however, feels clear on what love really entails. People report feeling loved when someone shows an interest in them, desires them, respects them, values them as a human being, and admires them or what they have done, and they wish to remain loved for every single aspect of themselves forever. Some theorists see it as a blend of other emotions: pleasure, compassion, interest, and joy. Some define different kinds of love such as compassionate love, romantic love, filial love (Singer, 1984), and others break it down on the basis of different physiological and/or biological system responses (Fisher, 2004). Historically, people have often seen love as involving sexual desire, and the Egyptians saw it as a disease, the only cure for which involved a dose of the beloved. Love also brings the possibility of suffering and feeling exposed, vulnerable, or intimately fallible. People can hate the one they love and fear the one they trust.

Love, of course, also brings positive emotions. Positive emotion in couples, such as joy, excitement, and the feeling of another valuing and cherishing them, which in intimate relationships come greatly from attraction and love, help engender positive interaction. Gottman (1999) suggested that a ratio of five positive to one negative interactions during conflict prove necessary to maintain a happy marriage (20 to one in non-conflict situations), whereas Frederickson and Losada (2005) reported that probably a ratio of three positives to one negative have importance on a more universal basis to help people and systems flourish. Love, whatever it consists of, and positive emotions of attraction and liking clearly involve a felt, physical sense experience—a feeling—and one that moves people closer to the loved one. In attempting to understand love, it helps to remember the following phrase on love attributed to Chaucer: “The life so short, the craft so long to learn.”

Power and influence, however, do not so much occur as emotions as complex relational concepts. Power does not occur in itself as a feeling. We do not feel power in the same way we feel anger, sadness, or love. Power works as an interactional term describing relations between people rather than as an emotion or even a motivation. Although one can refer to feeling powerful or powerless or to having a need for power, power remains fundamentally a highly interactional concept. Even feeling powerless, which seems more like an actual experience, refers to a cognitive description of an interactional position. We find the feeling or power or powerlessness based on more basic feelings, such as pride, excitement, shame, fear, and helplessness.

We best define power interactionally as the ability to influence others. Power can determine which person’s interests get met and, in a sense, who gets a better deal out of the relationship. Egalitarian relationships exist where responsibilities, decisions, and attention distribute equally between all people involved. However, we find some relationships moderately or extremely imbalanced regarding power. One exercises power to have their will prevail, to get what they want. What people want most involves having their identities confirmed, to maintain their position, and to have their status confirmed. A person manifests power most visibly when they find these threatened.

Love, then, exists first and foremost as an intrapsychic, emotional experience, whereas power occurs most fundamentally as a relational concept. A problem arises theoretically when we mix intrapsychic and interpersonal frameworks and try to compare concepts such as “love” and “power” in these different frameworks. Sensually experienced and interactionally observed phenomena occur at different levels of analysis. In work with people, however, we need to think at both levels and understand the significance of internal experience and observed interactional influence. The ability to simultaneously think interactionally and sensually has its greatest necessity in the identity-influence domain, where power, dominance, and control manifest (versus the attachment-affiliation domain). In the final analysis in Greenberg and Goldman’s view, power or control does not occur as a need. Instead, it occurs as a strategy for dealing with a situation, an attempted solution. People therefore do not have a basic need to control the other or a need for power, as some theorists have suggested. The terms dominance and control occur as observer’s descriptions of an interactional position or influence strategy rather than a need. They try to get what they consider important to them to feel good. The need involves maintaining identity, coherence, self-esteem, and/or a sense of agency. They thus engage acts of dominance or control to ensure that they get what they feel they need to maintain and protect their identities and their associated positions in a hierarchy.

Power and Dominance

Power and dominance do not occur as the same thing. Although we often use power and dominance interchangeably, it helps to see dominance as referring to the actual control attempts made by a person within an interaction. Power exists in all close relationships. Within these close relationships, decisions regarding who spends money, initiates sex, takes out the garbage, makes dinner, determines leisure activities, and so on, all bring power into the picture. The construction of reality, whose views of what to consider right and wrong will prevail, as well as determining who has the right to set the rules of relating, also involve power.

Power often comes from unrealized, unsaid, and even socially determined rules not necessarily overtly agreed on by any of the people involved. Thus, a powerful position often gets preserved through the self-maintenance of fear by the less powerful person or people or by social norms and not by overt expression of how things will happen. Unlike power, dominance occurs overtly, whether expressed verbally or nonverbally. Exhibiting dominant behavior, however, does not necessarily equate to having power. Often, people who have less power exhibit dominance in an attempt to attain power. Powerful people may exhibit very little dominance, because they already have power (Burgoon & Dunbar, 2000, 2005).

To identify dominance, which often appears in much more subtle forms than in overt controlling behaviors, we look at how researchers have measured dominance. First, in any conversation the one can code the form of the message as exerting dominance and control (a one-up message), as submissiveness (a one-down message), or as neutral (a one-across message; Rogers-Millar & Millar 1979). We call transactions in which both parties simultaneously make one-up or one-down utterances symmetrical transactions. Researchers have conceptualized dominance-attempt strategies as either indirect, for instance, using negative affect, pouting, or hinting, or direct, consisting of more open communication such as debate or negotiation (Falbo & Peplau, 1980) (both of which we have recently experienced in our Tacoma emotion-focused ESG). Women tend to use more unilateral or indirect strategies, whereas men tend to use more direct or bilateral strategies, although relative power, as opposed to gender, most determines which dominance strategy a person uses (Cowan, Drinkard, & MacGavin, 1984). Dominance strategies can include, for instance, talking more often or for longer periods of time, thereby restricting others from talking—a strategy very commonly seen in many meetings, and we have certainly experienced this in our Tacoma ESG meetings, thus we maintain our “balanced talk power” process principle, which a small percentage or our participants strongly dislike. Dominance also occurs through topic control and by control of the direction of the interaction through initiations met with compliant responses. Determining the content of conversations can become especially important in maintaining power. (Related to this, again, in our Tacoma ESG meetings we have experienced some strong resistance to the group as a whole determining a meeting’s topic, direction, and the content of our interactions, apparently because doing this makes it extremely difficult for some individuals to dominate the group as they would prefer.)

Jacobson and Whisman (1990) found both dominance through talking and dominance through listening inversely related to marital satisfaction. The listener, rather than the speaker, characterized this latter pattern with their lack of interest in what the other spouse says and by concurrently withholding information. In this form of interaction, dominant spouses disengage themselves from conversations, asking no questions, not responding, or giving short answers to questions.

One can express dominance nonverbally through spatial behavior, body movements, the instigation of touch, and close interactional distance; we see facial expressions such as a deep frown or a sneer as highly dominant (Leach, 1972; Schwartz, Tesser, & Powell, 1982; Spiegel & Machotka, 1974). In addition to spatial presence, researchers have also shown elevation related to dominance. Smiling, however, occurs as submissive (Guerrero, Andersen, & Afifi, 2001). Finally, eye contact serves as an extremely powerful strategy and measure of dominance. People who use high levels of gaze while speaking and low levels of gaze while listening usually demonstrate much dominance (Guerrero et al., 2001).

Felmlee (1994) argued that withdrawing served as a way of asserting dominance. Researchers have found a wife-demand/husband-withdraw pattern especially present when the topic had importance to the wife and pertained to the husband’s lack of involvement in closeness or housework (Christensen & Heavey, 1990). In this case, husbands had nothing to gain from discussing these problems, so maintaining discussion preserved the status quo as well as their dominant position. Minimizing communication tends to elicit pursuit from the partner with questions such as “What’s wrong?” or “Can we talk about this?”; Felmlee’s studies demonstrate that people perceive the less emotionally attacked partner (usually the man) as having more power.

Power and dominance can become problematic in romantic relationships when excessive, and to the degree that a submissive partner whose interests, needs, and wishes do not get met occurs. Power and dominance can become problematic in relationships when excessive, and to the degree that a submissive partner whose interests, needs, and wishes not met exists. In these relationships, the submissive person often meets control attempts with acceptance. Researchers have shown power imbalances such as these to lead to unhappiness, depression, and decreased relationship satisfaction (Halloran, 1998; Jacobson & Whisman, 1990). Dominant behavior reduced trust, reduced perspective taking, and increased conflict. Stets and Burke (1994) looked at how a person’s view of their actual versus their ideal control identity (the perceived level of control over others) led to overtly dominant behavior with their partner. Identity theory, they suggested, holds that people have “personal identities” that act as control systems to maintain congruency between identity ideals and perceptions of identity-relevant information. A person then enacts identity-influenced behavior to bring the identity perception in line with the person’s identity standard (Stets & Burke, 1994). The person then often becomes controlling.

The importance of emphasizing the influence dimension in interaction, in addition to the affiliation dimension, has come home to us by our clinical experience with couples. People often reach impasses in therapy that appear related more to their identity and the resulting issues of power and control than to connection. We often experience sessions filled with arguments about who has it right, who wronged whom, whose needs have more importance, and whose version of reality works as the more correct one. Each person tries to correct the way that the other portray them. People respond defensively: “I didn’t say it like that.”; “So you’re saying it’s really my fault”; “Let me speak”; “You’re not listening to me”; or “You’re the one who started this.” Although these arguments can be due to unmet desires for closeness, they often occur about not feeling valued, responded to, or confirmed. How people see and value each other, and the feeling that others do not consider one’s needs important serves as the underlying problem that fuels these recurring conflicts. The conflict remains about diminishment of their self-esteem and their identity, which appears deeply threatened when they do not get their needs, wants, and desires met. Does anyone reading this, other than me, notice any similarity with the discourse that so often occurs in the commenting here at Nature Bats Last?

In these conflicts, arguments often erupt when people react to how they feel others portray or view them. Of course, if people have strong enough self-esteem and/or a sufficiently developed sense of self, they may have the ability to tolerate frustration or withstand criticisms and not have this deflate their self-esteem. In general, however, when invalidated, people generally react so as to refute the way others negatively portray them. People cannot easily hold on to their positive view of themselves in the fact of disconfirmation by others, especially their partners. Thus, when these identities, felt so crucial to psychological survival, gets threatened, people mobilize all their resources to protect them and fight to defend themselves against disconfirmation of their reality and against any perceived loss of esteem.

Working With Dominance Issues

In working with dominance issues, we have found the basic emotion-focused therapy for couples (EFT-C) method of accessing underlying feelings has helped resolve conflict but that the set of feelings accessed differed from those involved in attachment conflicts. We found that the dominant partner had to access feelings of shame at diminishment and fear of loss of control, and the submitter shame of inadequacy and fear of abuse. These feelings involved more than the feelings of loneliness in the pursuer or fears of closeness and engulfment in the distancer in attachment-related struggles. We also found these feelings of shame and fear often more difficult to access in these influence cycles than the feelings of fear and sadness related to needs to feel close. The process involved in resolving dominance struggles often required helping the dominant person to tolerate and regulate the more dreaded affects of shame and fear. Dominant people appear to resort to control of others with secondary and instrumental expressions in efforts to regulate their own fear of loss of control, shame at losing face, or powerlessness. Struggles for dominance often do not seem to emanate from threats to connection but rather from threats to identity, but they clearly damage connection. An attack system seems to exist that gets activated when a treat to identity occurs, and this differs from the “attach” system activated by a threat to closeness and has different implications for intervention. The attack system originally related to boundary violation and maintenance of territory rather than to connection. Conflict in relationships thus sometimes occurs more about who “is right”, or has rights, than about who remains close or distant. We thus see attack and control often related more to threats to identity, status, and self-esteem than to attachment and abandonment. Intervention in this domain thus involves helping dominant people take more of a self-focus and regulate their own fear and shame rather than demanding that others treat them in responsive and soothing ways to resolve the conflict.

In a recent task analysis of the resolution of dominance interactions in couples therapy, all of the dominant partners in the resolved case could examine their dominance in a self-reflective, emotion-focused way, whereas none of the dominant partners in the unresolved cases did so. The dominant partners connected their interactional stances of dominance during moments of vulnerability to early experiences in the family of origin, recognized their dominance as a problematic stance for the relationship, and most important, experienced and acknowledged a primary emotion of fear or shame related to their sense of identity (Sharma, 2007).

Thus the dominant partners needed to express a genuinely felt account of what underlay this particular interactional stance, and unlike those in the unresolved group, they could let down their self-protective guard and interact authentically with themselves, their partners, and the therapist. They allowed themselves to truly feel the fear that drives their destructive interpersonal behavior and, in doing so, provided their partners with a “softer” glimpse of themselves and their motivation to look strong and in control of the relationship. The submissive partner, who has a new view into what the other partner truly experiences underneath the façade of dominance, now can react more responsively to the fear and shame. Why the dominant has to have the ability to self-soothe as well as receive other validation involves the fact that the submissive partner, however responsive, cannot heal the dominant partner’s self-esteem wound from the past. Some of the affect regulation of the fear and shame of doing wrong things or having defects needs to come from the dominant partners themselves.

Dominance conflicts do not occur based on feeling abandoned or alone, or about anxiety about loss or separation, as occur so importantly in attachment related conflict. Instead, dominance struggles occur about who makes decisions, whose needs get met, who determines reality, and who has “the right” to do so. For example, For example, a husband may criticize his wife for having too much sensitivity while they engage in solving problems in living. When they tackle projects together, such as rearranging furniture, and they hit any kind of snag, the husband analyzes what went wrong that got them into the situation, and in this points a finger at her. The wife, feeling put down the analysis, reacts and says this does not help them solve the problem and starts defending why the find themselves doing it in that way. They then begin to argue about whose way of doing it will work better. Or the husband makes suggestions or proposes ideas and the wife takes the position of approving or vetoing his suggestions. He then says, “You always put up constraints,” and she says, “You always criticize me.” He then says, “The problem with you is I can never criticize you. You are far too sensitive.” He says he needs to be able to criticize her and the problem is that she always points out what is wrong with him, or his suggestions, such as how to change the furniture, for example. In these fights, he also sometimes says she does not trust him or respect him, because if she did, she would just allow him to do things the way he wants. She says this is not true, that sometimes they just disagree and that’s okay. Then they fight about whether or not it remains okay to disagree.

These serve as some prototypical fights about who “is right”, who “is too controlling”, who “is too sensitive”, or who gets respected or takes initiative. In these fights, the regulation of self-esteem and validation of identity and the emotions associated with them have central importance. We need to see how the partners struggle with words in order to feel good inside, to regulate their affect. They need to feel “right” and have others recognize, validate, and respect them in order to feel good. Once struggles like these, which remain fundamentally about identity and self-esteem dominate, intimacy soon suffers. People often manage these fights either by one party giving in—in this case the wife, who, to avoid further conflict, goes along with the husband but resents him and over time withdraws—or by neither party yielding, so that they walk away from the argument, and they build another brick in the wall that separates them.

A particular intervention, that of identifying the dangers of improvement (Fisch, Weakland, & Segal, 1984), often highlights the importance of identity. When a couple has high conflict or remains stuck at an impasse, helping them identify the dangers of improvement or the dangers of change—changing one’s interactional position in the cycle—often leads them to articulate a fear of loss of identity. Some partners may fear that if they stop blaming or pursuing, they will find themselves unable to tolerate and regulate their anxiety; others fear that if they come out of withdrawal, the other will annihilate them. Others think that if they admit to having gotten something wrong, someone will consider them worthless; yet others feel that if they stand up and assert themselves, they may fail. People fear change because change threatens the sameness of identity with which the feel most familiar. The attempted solutions to their differences, which cause the negative interaction, all amount to efforts to protect their identities and to avoid a danger they see as worse than resolving the problem. The danger often occurs as some type of threat to the self and identity. People strive to have their identities validated because invalidation leads to feelings of others not accepting, valuing, and ultimately loving them because “if I don’t feel like you truly see me and respond to my needs, you cannot love me because you do not see me and treat me as important.”

The Dominance Process

Struggles for dominance arise when people begin to feel that others thwart their efforts to get their needs met as well as their goals and identity. They then often resort to influence, to attempt to control or dominate the other to get needs met, rather than focus on what they themselves feel. When people restrict in awareness the feeling of diminishment or lack, which arises within them, they do not simply eliminate the feeling of unease, threat, or vulnerability. Instead, they start attending to something in the environment and focus on it as a cause of the disease, thereby transforming their internal experience into a perception or construction of reality. Thus, dominant people, whose identities demand strength and who dread feelings of weakness, focus outward rather than inward as soon as they begin to feel the slightest bit vulnerable or not in control. They either attribute blame to their partners or project their weakness onto them. If they perceive or promote weakness in their partner, they then respond with either disdain or protection to their projected weakness. Those who adopt a dominant position thus tend to disown their own vulnerability and powerlessness and either blame others or project these feelings onto others, to protect their own identity and sense of control.

The first step in this process involves partners denying their own interior feelings of fear or shame. Second, they focus outward and blame or project. Third, often they succeed in producing these disowned feelings of weakness in others. However, the wish to submit or get protection from the submissive person occurs as a reciprocal response to the pull from the dominant person for weakness or for another to take care of them and get controlled. Submitters often give up their strengths and look for them in their partners.

To change, the risk for the dominant person involves experiencing and acknowledging their own vulnerabilities and powerlessness, rather than resort to control. The task for submitters involves feeling worthy, standing up, and asserting themselves. Both dominant and submissive people need also to have the ability to own their own strengths alongside their felt weaknesses. It takes strength to acknowledge weakness. It remains important, however, to note that when a person openly admits their vulnerability, that person can either put that out with quiet assurance or with an expression of weakness that can involve pleading and its implied demand. To experience weakness does not imply an absence of resources. People need to learn that they can have both weaknesses and strength, vulnerability and assertiveness, all at the same time. The ability to integrate strength and weakness has great importance as an antidote to dreaded feelings of powerlessness. To acknowledge felt vulnerability and to continue to remain present and in touch with one’s resources requires strength.

When a person reveals weakness in a helpless manner, without this accompanying attitude of assuredness, that person comes from a submissive mode and gives away power to the other. This weak-only presentation most frequently occurs instrumentally in that the individual seeks to have the other take responsibility for making one feel better. It thus proves important when dealing with weakness to distinguish between a person’s healthy need for support from a person and a coercive demand for the other to take care of the vulnerability. To experience vulnerability feels lonely and scary, and all people need a holding environment in which to open themselves to their vulnerability. The support required from another to help handle one’s weakness remains the same as the support of helping one to stay with one’s feeling of weakness; for the other to commit to remaining with one’s feeling of weakness; and encouragement from the other to find one’s own power. Partners or therapists need to convey “I understand you feel powerless, but I have faith in your ability, and I will stay here with you.” This does not take control or save the person but offers support to help them face their own doubts and vulnerabilities.

As helpers, then, we need to support people in acknowledging and owning their weakness, and we need to coach partners to encourage each other in admitting weakness and in finding strength. We must facilitate the expression of powerlessness rather than facilitate attempts at dominance. We can do this by noticing that the dominant person tries so hard to manage because they find it hard to feel powerless or out of control and by commenting, “It’s hard when you feel diminished. Of course you feel a need to assert or define to maintain your position.” This validates the effort to maintain control but reframes it as a protection against vulnerable feelings that people find hard to face. When encouraging contact with, and expression of, powerlessness and shame, we must use care not to leave people with only that message; we and they need to also bring their strengths into play alongside their felt limitations. This validates their sense of self. However, only by openly owning felt vulnerability can a person begin to differentiate what they really need and need to do. Once they have weakness in awareness , people can begin to look at their vulnerabilities in terms of past and present precipitators.

It also helps for helpers to point out that some of human vulnerability occurs biologically and existentially in that all people exist as mortal and vulnerable animals and that all experience the biological weakness of illness and loss and all remain ultimately alone and small in a large world. In addition, it remains important to recognize that vulnerabilities often derive from people’s past, because everyone has sustained wounds or become subjugated at one time or another—as children at home and in school, and/or as adults in relations with friends, bosses, and partners.

Primary and Secondary Emotions In Interactions

When affiliative and identity needs do not get met among people, their interactions evolve rapidly into organized negative cycles. We need to stress the importance of primary and secondary emotions in generating these cycles. (One can also see my essay, “Primary Emotions, Reactive Emotions, And Defenses” found here https://guymcpherson.com/2015/05/primary-emotions-reactive-emotions-and-defenses/.) For example, when primary attachment-related emotions, such as fears of abandonment, get activated but one cannot tolerate them they often get transformed into secondary emotions such as anger. When primary identity-related emotions, such as shame, get activated but one cannot tolerate them, they often get transformed into secondary emotions such as contempt.

Because people sometimes cannot tolerate their primary emotions, they protect against experiencing and acknowledging them and instead resort to expression of secondary emotions, such as blame and resentment, superiority and contempt, and indifference. These secondary emotions maintain negative interaction cycles and govern communications between people. Communication driven by secondary emotions generally results in negative attributions about the partner and subsequent blame and invalidation of the partner. The other reacts defensively with secondary emotions, leading to mutual blame and invalidation that intensifies the cycle. For example, Person A feels lonely and abandoned when his wife, Person B, works late. However, unable to tolerate these primary feelings, Person A instead feels anger, construes Person B as not caring, and then invalidates Person B by saying, “You should be able to finish your work on time and then leave it at the office.” Person B feels hurt and invalidated, construes Person A as seeing her as defective, but protects against this feeling by saying, “What difference does it make? All you do is watch TV at night,” thereby invalidating Person A. One can see this escalating negative process depicted in the figure below by the feedback loop between secondary emotional expression and invalidation.

This cycle leads to high emotional and behavioral reactivity, to dysregulation of emotion in both people, and to further invalidation. (Needless to say, we see many examples of all of this at commenting sites such as Nature Bats Last and Fractal Planet.) Effective support needs to counteract this cycle by promoting awareness and expression of primary emotional experience. This, in turn, will lead to reduction in blame and invalidation, to nonjudgmental acceptance of self and other, and to reduction in emotional arousal. This enhances the possibility of validation, closeness, intimacy, empathy, and compassion for each other, which will lead to positive interaction cycles.

Invalidation and validation appear to exist as core processes in generating negative and positive interaction cycles, respectively. In a qualitative analysis of change process in EFT-C, from couples reports, nonjudgmentalness or reduction of criticisms or blame seemed to work as a core factor in producing change in couples therapy (Greenberg, James, & Conry, 1988; Wile, 1993). One of the key issues in all couples conflict, therefore, involves reducing criticism, blame, and invalidation. Thus one of the key ways to reduce conflict among people involves doing just that: reduce criticism, blame, and invalidation. (Imagine the positive difference doing this would make in meetings and at commenting sites such as NBL and Fractal Planet. But for all of the reasons discuss here related to identity and dominance issues, this seem highly unlikely, indeed, ever to happen, certainly not without implementing some process requirements.)

As shown in the diagram, if invalidation from the secondary emotions involved in blaming leads to activation of maladaptive emotions, the escalatory process gets exacerbated, and the cycle becomes more rigid and destructive and leads to greater dysregulation of affect in both people. Thus, if loneliness or making mistakes does not get responded to empathically but rather gets invalidated, then this may evoke core maladaptive emotions of fear or shame leading to more intense distressing emotions and more negative interaction.

We might, for example, see the following negative processes involved in setting up a negative affiliative cycle. Beginning with the automatic activation of a primary emotion, say loneliness, the person scans for abandonment threat and, rather than acknowledging the primary emotion, engages automatically in a defensive attribution and construes the other as not caring, feels angry, and begins to criticize. The other person may feel shame, scan for humiliation, and think the other will see them as defective, and then protect the self by dominance, thereby evoking the other person’s shame or fear. In another couple, one person may feel afraid, scan for danger, and think, “I can’t survive without the other,” and feel anxious and distant. This distance then may lead the other person into maladaptive fear of abandonment.

To help people identify degrees of validation and invalidation in couples, Greenberg and Mateu-Marques (1997) developed an 8-point scale, presented below, that describes the processes involved and provides example statements a person might make. Although no one has subjected the scale to a full-scale study, it has shown preliminary reliability, based on a sample of 55 two-statement interactions during couples therapy.

If anyone would like information concerning our emotion focused ESG or our new ASG for singles and couples, contact me at bud.nye@gmail.com and I will send you our agenda(s), which will probably answer any questions you may have. One can also see the previously linked ASG MeetlUp.

Couples Validation System: 8-Point Scale

Validation involves communication to another that their experience or response makes sense in an understandable way. We do this by making sense of the other’s experience in terms of their current or past situation or life context. Validation involves accepting and respecting the other and communi­cating this, thereby demonstrating a true valuing of the other.

Invalidation

  1. The partner ignores the internal experience of the other. The partner does not hear what the other tells him or her or does not recognize that the other experiences something. For example, in response to “I’m feeling really tired,” the partner says, “Let’s go for an ice cream.”
  2. The partner criticizes the internal experience, actions, or identity of the other, showing a lack of acceptance. The manner and/or content are contemptu­ous, critical, or diminishing. Examples of criticizing statements include “You are wrong”; “You are stupid”; “You don’t know what you are talking about.”
  3. Dominant defining. The partner defines the other’s reality in an imposing man­ner, explaining the other’s experience or behavior in a negative or controlling way that does not recognize or fit the other’s view or experience. This disqualifies the other and conveys an authoritarian or paternalistic attitude, telling the discloser that his or her experience is wrong or that the discloser should not be having this experience or that the partner knows best what is going on for the spouse. An example of this is a partner saying, “You have no reason to cry. It’s silly.”
  4. The understanding that is conveyed is inaccurate or only cap­tures the most obvious aspect, and one partner may misunderstand much of what the other is saying. The speaker does not recognize the meaning of the other’s experi­ence and in addition may be unaware that he or she does not recognize the other’s experience. An example of misunderstanding is when a partner provides an inaccu­rate or reassuring statement that misses the other’s experience.

Validating

  1. The partner conveys both verbal and nonverbal understanding to the speaker. The partner conveys that he or she is listening and understands the discloser using at least minimal responses. There is no criticism. There is no attempt to change, interpret, or criticize the partner’s experience. The understanding is to a large degree accurate or captures some important aspect of the other’s experience, resulting in the other feeling understood. An example of this is when a partner nods and looks at the discloser while saying, “I hear how sad you are feeling.”
  2. Confirming. The partner conveys an acceptance of the other’s experience, com­municating that the other’s feelings, needs, and behaviors are valid and make sense. This is done verbally as well as emotionally, with face, eyes, and voice. Verbally, the partner understands the other’s feeling either in terms of the current context or in terms of historical context. This confirmation helps to co-construct a stronger sense of identity by confirming the reality of the other’s experience, thereby validating them. For example, a partner may say, “I hear how sad my not calling left you feeling and how it felt like I was not thinking about you” (current context) or “I hear how sad my not calling left you feeling, because it reminded you of your father never calling” (histori­cal context).
  3. Respect. The partner expresses respect for, and valuing of, the other and his or her experience and a deep interest and concern for the welfare of the other. The partner shows genuine involvement in what the other is saying, caring, and warmth to the other. An example of this is a partner saying, “I do care about what you need, and I want you to tell me when you feel I am neglecting you. When I get stressed, I can neglect your feelings, but I’m only too happy for you to tell me because I really don’t want to do that.”
  4. Attunement. The partner confirms the other’s emotional experience by being highly emotionally attuned nonverbally, sensitively following the other’s moment-by­-moment experience. The partner shows a full and elaborated understanding and may add to or build on what the other has said such that the partner elaborates his or understanding and focuses on and confirms possibilities for contact and intimacy im­plicit in what the partner said but was not yet stated. For example, the partner’s rhythm and tempo match that of the discloser’s, and he or she elaborates and conveys value. He or she might say, “I hear how sad my not calling left you feeling, and how it felt like I was not thinking about you” (current context) or “I hear how sad my not calling left you feeling, because it reminded you of your father never calling” (historical context); then, “I know how awful it is to feel unimportant or abandoned like that, and I’m really concerned.” In addition, the partner might say, “I see how that led you to withdraw and be silent. I guess you were saying, ‘I feel too unsafe to reach out unless I get the message that you really do care,’ and I want you to know I really do.”

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McPherson’s latest book is co-authored illustrated by Pauline Schneider. Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time can be ordered from the publisher here and Amazon here. Trailer is embedded below.

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Also seeking vegan folks to brainstorm the creation of 100% vegan urban community in or near Portland, Oregon along the light rail line.
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Comments 81

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    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The waters where Olympians will compete in swimming and boating events next summer in South America’s first games are rife with human sewage and present a serious health risk for athletes, as well as for visitors to the iconic beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

    An Associated Press investigation found dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from sewage in venues where athletes will compete in the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic water sports.

    In the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites, the AP conducted four rounds of tests starting in March. The results have alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already have fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
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    Please do not have children.
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  • Wow! Core tools for core issues, Bud. A view into how we can spend the rest of our lives here. Criticism should always be a cooperative effort to improve upon another’s offering, once it has been read and absorbed. Gonna need a couple cups of coffee, imbibed very slowly, for this one. 😉

  • @ Bud Nye – Superb, compelling and profound essay. Your posts are also appreciated. Many thanks.

  • I rejoice when folks like Bud Nye exhibit a concern for fellow victims of The Private Empire and Oil-Qaeda (The Private Empire’s Social Media Hit Squads, MOMCOM: The Private Parts).

    By “fellow victims” I mean all of us, excluding the victimizers.

    We are the screwees, they are the screwors.

    But, I am sad that counsellors, psychiatrists, and psychologists of all colors have failed humanity.

    Failed us by not “treating” the cause, not “treating” the very sick perpetrators (the screwors).

    Freud, the “father of psychoanalysis,” counselled his descendants in the profession to consider:

    If the evolution of civilization has such a far reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization —— or epochs of it —— possibly even the whole of humanity —— have become neurotic under the pressure of the civilizing trends? To analytic dissection of these neuroses, therapeutic recommendations might follow which could claim a great practical interest. I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful, not to forget that after all we are dealing only with analogies, and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to drag them out of the region where they originated and have matured. The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities. [p. 39]

    Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this —— hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension. [p. 40]”

    (MOMCOM’s Mass Suicide & Murder Pact – 5, quoting Civilization and Its Discontents, by S. Freud).

    No one took Freud up on it, so here we are in yet another civilization that is committing not only suicide, but murder-suicide.

    Comforting the victims is cruel in the absence of treating the victimizers.

    If the victimizers are healed, put in institutions for criminal psychopaths, or otherwise dealt with, there will be no victims to comfort.

    Just sayin’ …

  • I just love this megafauna news, for a few reasons. One, the entire, racist, self-serving and delusional interpretation of the Pleistocene megafauna extinction event that has held sway over millions of racist, self-serving and delusional minds for the past fifty years shows how insane the western academic-slash-scientific world often is.

    It also shows how ludicrous the mechanistic perspective is for establishing reality. The facts of the issue were always right there for anyone who wanted to see them.

    There were megafauna on every continent, and in North America there were some very impressive megafauna. Not just those mastodons that were run over a cliff a couple of times, but some really scary animals. There was the famous and previously mentioned saber-toothed tiger, the American lion (5.5 – 8+ feet in length not including the tail), the smilodon (another large, lion-sized prehistoric cat_, the dire wolf (a big wolf), the giant short-faced bear, multiple giant bison (emphasis on “giant”), and other giant animals like elk and moose that are not predators but are nonetheless quite ferocious and dangerous animals when hunted even today at today’s sizes.

    So these small bands of rag-tag people carrying sticks and wearing rabbit fur crossed a frozen land and quickly wiped out a continent FULL of such animals.

    Right.

    I love this about this whole megafauna-paleo-indian conversation, too. The academic, racist sacred cow within America and whities who consider themselves educated and knowledgeable have been screaming for half a century how “everyone is the same!” and “they were no different; they killed the megafauna as soon as they got here!” blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Clearly, the entire idea, which had zero evidence to support it, which was unjustly dignified by calling it a “theory,” could have been easily dismissed with very little thought, even with kill sites of multiple animals. It was an insane idea from the get-go, proposed by one person with an education, influence in academia and with a scientific background, whose poor potential brain had been soaked in entitlement and racism since he was a gleam in his father’s eye, as the old saying goes.

    It was always ridiculous.

    It was also predictable that when the racist, pathetically stupid, absurd to the point of unicorn-fantasy “theory” was brought down, Whitey’s response is not to question how such insanity was cherished and promoted by himself just a few months or years ago. Whitey doesn’t question what is so lacking in his thinking that he even believed such vacuous, fantasy-based garbage. Whitey doe not reflect as to how wrong Whitey has been in the past, and how it might indicate that s/he is wrong still.

    No, no, no, no, no. That is not Whitey’s way at all.

    What Whitey wants you to know now is that the Aztecs were still bad, so it doesn’t matter. Poor little Whitey.

  • As the truth settled in, more and more people succumbed to despair, hedonism, radical religions ……, anarchic violence (narcissistic violence?), political violence, solitude. The politically violent came in all stripes: some took to the highways on killing and robbing sprees (hotly pursued by police forces of various levels). Some took “extreme green” to heart and began to destroy oil infrastructure, the offices of corporations, even CEOs themselves were kidnapped and held for ransom or summarily assassinated. The rage birthed outrage, the outrage birthed violence, the violence ever greater levels of police and military repression. The economy collapsed and most people stayed home, avoiding the violence in the streets, venturing forth only to take advantage of the few shipments of food that made it to their local grocery stores. The government had outlawed all small food outlets – mom and pop stores, bakeries, cafes, restaurants, all foodstuffs were now centrally consolidated and distributed to large food store chains in order to facilitate mass distribution (and ample parking). Everything was rationed: petrol, electricity, natural gas, soap, bread, shampoo.

    The groups that were best organized – the police, the army, the biker gangs, the militias, the survivalists – had come to various provisional agreements as to who held authority over urban and rural areas. They had been preparing for the sh(ing)tf for decades. Informal clans and tribes, family groups organized in various places, church groups, like-minded members of colleges, fringe religious groups, towns, banded together for protection and cooperation.
    Governments had finally evaporated in the harsh realization by the populace that they were not only greedy and rapacious but also misinformed and ineffectual. When the tax base dried up the governments ceased to function – for some reason all their lip service to “public service” and the “oaths of office” seemed to no longer signify. They lost their vocation to “serve the people”.

    Suicide became the art form of the decade. And like all art forms it had its critics, its practitioners, facilitators, wannabes, dilettantes, hangers on and masters.
    Statistics were no longer kept – suffice it to say that the act became epidemic. Grief overwhelmed the most sensitive first, and for many others the collapse of the medical health care system propelled them toward a quick death from lack of medicines, a painful lingering death from various ailments, or a chosen end whether self inflicted or facilitated by a caring friend or friendly caregiver.
    Many lost the will to carry on once the realization set in that the biosphere was wrecked, the economy trashed, the governments exposed as the flagrant liars that they were, and the future, no matter which way you looked or from which socio-religious perspective you perceived, was a great dark wave of remorse and mourning.

    Some believed that the earth itself was “willing” the accelerations – possibly to shrug off the human race – and that the crown chakra of the planet (the Arctic) and the root chakra (the Antarctic) were heating up in synch in a kind of global kundalini activation.
    Others whispered of South American tribal lore that spoke of the great dangers attendant upon extracting the precious materials from the flesh of pachamama, the depths of the earth, especially pachamama’s black blood: oil.

    Some went out in a blaze of self-fulfillment as suicide bombing became a subculture – have a beef with a local politician, feeling depressed, suicidal? Why not take the bastard out with a grenade embrace next time he is pressing the flesh to elicit votes.

    Still others devised an incredibly deep green way of approaching and embracing death. At first the reports were discredited, no one believed they could be true and no one in authority wanted to admit that they were.
    The catalysts were the ongoing droughts, forest fires, glacier melts, river shallowings, reservoir falls, the results of which were starving bears, cougars, coyotes, foxes, deer, etc. The apex predators were hurting and the herds were diminishing all the time.
    At first it was just a few, who were at first considered merely fanatics, their families reeling from the shock of what they had chosen for their method of escape: the “intended” would hike into remote areas, set up a camp or just a “last resting place” and wait for an apex predator to find them.
    If they met an apex predator on the trail (some later members of “the intended” began to seek the animals directly) or if one came into their camp, they offered themselves to the hungry beast. They died horrible deaths. They sacrificed their own flesh to buy an apex predator another month of life.
    Hence, they became known as “The Intended”, and the name stuck.

    Later, there were other rumours. A shaman from Guatemala had been living in Vancouver for several years. When the shtf and the slow death of society began in earnest, he decided to start training people. The first group were sent out to train others. Eventually, word of mouth and a unity of spirit spawned a steady flowing stream of people from the cities to the bush.

    Once the addiction to hopium waned – or was cruelly extinguished – people began to realize the desperateness of the situation, the inevitability of death for all concerned, and the very real need of a mass human die-off in order to give what species remained a fighting chance of continuing after humans had passed over.
    The last elephant in the room, the last dilemma was the inevitable toxic resolution of the entire nuclear experiment and considerations of the question of whether any species could survive a series of meltdowns and radioactive explosions.
    Nevertheless, those people who called themselves “the intended” had flung themselves into a sacrificial death benefitting four footed beasts – excluding those who chose to go to the ocean and feed the sharks.
    And now appeared a further refinement of the art of chosen death: the shapeshifters.

    Shapeshifting has a venerable history. It may not even be able to separate the existence of man from the existence of the shaman. The stag headed shaman stares back at us from the walls of the cave: primordial, fecund, chthonic.
    The training was simple, the process arduous, but not impossible. The Guatemalan shaman left Vancouver and began to travel, and wherever he travelled he taught.
    Such that within five years of the collapse, dozens of people were entering the wilderness and in solitude or in small groups were shapeshifting themselves into trees, wolves, birds, fish.

    I had the opportunity to guide a group of five women into their appointment with transformation.

    They had known each other since college. All five were successful professionals before the collapse. Now, they had consolidated their love of nature and, after undertaking the training, made a commitment to follow through. Their unique take on the idea – their “snowflake” was how they named the ritual they were going to undertake – was to make their exit together, at the same time, in the same place.

    I was their guide into a beautiful hanging valley in the Rocky Mountains. I am an outfitter and provide horses, pack horses, grub, tents, sleeping gear. I cook.

    On the fourth day out we entered the valley, remote, pristine. That night we said our goodbyes and I watched the ladies form a five pointed star with ten lengths of wood on the ground. They stood at the five points.
    Over the space of an hour I watched as the night slowly came on, the setting sun casting long shadows across the meadow. The long green dresses they wore began to tear and rip as their legs fused and thickened and their torsos expanded and elongated. They had assumed poses of great poise and beauty – like dancers – and now their legs and arms and hands, feet, fingers and toes were attenuating and stretching upwards and outwards.

    By morning, the first glimmers of sunlight touched the topmost leaves of five slender trees – a rowan, a birch, an elm, an oak and a willow.

    I spent the morning striking camp and loading the pack animals. The sun was high overhead when I saddled up. I sat astride my horse for some time looking at the trees. As I turned the horse for home I prayed no wildfires would pass this way – at least for a few years.

    Every night now people are walking out of the cities, drifting into what once were farmlands or higher still into the foothills or on higher to the mountain forests and above the tree line.
    Every night now, particularly when the moon is full, those who have taken the training to become a shapeshifter, slip into the folds of the landscape and perform the transformative meditation required to accept the possibility of another way of being, to sense the keen hunger that initiates the process, to welcome the terrifying “otherness” of becoming “other”.
    It is by no means guaranteed that the shape shifter can come back at will.

    Many are the tales of shapeshifters who, having turned, could not find a way to come back.

    Other shapeshifters chose not to come back.

    Today’s shapeshifters have nothing to come back to.

    July 29, 2015

  • Bud, since you are clearly the thread here, I make the basic inference that Guy respects your work & words.

    Cutting to the biggest chase in history, & how will the chase play out?

    Robert Scribbler is a very decent & intelligent fellow, so I never miss his concise & astute scientific writing.

    Ditto for most of Scribbler’s intelligent commenters.

    But along with many intelligent & observant others, including Guy; I vehemently disagree with Robert’s standard position/opinion about what I claim is unquestionably upcoming doom for humans on planet earth.

    “Science is determinism” by definition, & some of us have made an honest inference that the evidence forces us to face up to deadly near term extinction.

    Robert is clearly opposed to ANY “collapse/doomer” statements, psychologies, therapies, or negative world views.

    Indeed, he will not countenance such doomer heresy on his blog.
    robertscribbler / July 30, 2015

    “I don’t like to talk too much about collapse these days because it feeds too much into the ‘doomer’ — ‘we’re all screwed so we may as well just give up’ kind of worldview.”

    Robert’s position is diametrically opposed to Guy’s clearly stated position.

    Conflicting claims w/o equal.

    How to proceed?

    Is this dispute/difference a matter for YOUR obtuse, painfully long, & glaringly unscientific speculative psychology?

    MOST ASSUREDLY, IT IS A MATTER OF WHO IS ACCURATELY PREDICTIVE?

    Simply stated; who is right? – relativism be damned.

    Is this a matter of dominance, association problems, identities, twisted unsound reasoning, terrible logic, or jockeying for “invalidations” of the perverse other?

    Can Freud, Kohut, Greenberg, Jung, or any pissant PhD in psychology help us in this swamp of supreme & deadly conflict?

    If there is a bigger conflict, I don’t know it.

    And the ageless question; “How can you get an ought or a prediction from an is?”

    We DO NOT have to slog through Hume’s ongoing confusions about predictive probabilistic science.

    So, will the Arctic Sea ice be gone this September or next?

    With the sea ice GONE, would the probability of deadly abrupt methane release become almost certain?

    Gavin Schmidt, Archer, & many respectable others say not to worry because abrupt methane release is a way off in the future problem.

    Semiletov & Shakhova say that we had better consider the high probability that we could experience an abrupt Arctic methane release in the near future because the confirmed empirical evidence is right in front of us.

    Moreover, I would unhesitatingly ask; is the evidence for methane release already in, but being suppressed from the perverse power structure/ideologists above?

    When you resort to cognitive psychology, you can have any ideology that you want, as in weapons of mass destruction to justify the murder of the “evil doers.” with the WRONG psychology/philosophy.

    According to modern mystifying cognitivism & its mysterious black of mind, anything can happen.

    Whom should we listen to, & WHY?

    Dare lesser mortals disagree with “revealed authority” lest they be labelled psychologically damaged & in NEED of extensive & desperate therapeutic touchy feelies whether in groups or sufferingly alone?

    There is no “real” question that we will lose the Arctic Sea ice cover, & soon.

    If not this September; then, almost surely, by September 2016.

    All the wasted energy expended on the professed Arctic sea ice “recovery” during 2013 – 2014 is just wasted energy to a long term trend doomer.

    The Arctic Sea ice going, period – so plan accordingly.

    THE METHANE MONSTER IS HERE & IT CAN ONLY GET WORSE.

    Determinists/empiricists need only watch, & make the most of the time left.

    The evidence is in.

    ALL THE REST IS FLAP-DOODLE.

    from Neven;

    “Perhaps 2015 can still make the top 3, but it will require a continuation of weather conditions that are conducive to melting, compaction and transport all the way to the minimum. Either way, the rebound (or ‘recovery’, as some called it prematurely) is in danger of getting wiped out, which brings us back to square -10, meaning that Arctic sea ice loss is still progressing much too fast.”

    “We now await the latest PIOMAS update to see what has been happening volume-wise and whether the Arctic sea ice pack returns to the post-2010 position from where it could go really low, perhaps all the way to essentially ice-free conditions. All it takes is the preconditioning of 2010 or 2012, followed by a July like the one that is almost behind us, and then 2007-style compaction and transport through Fram Strait. I’m really convinced of that. The question is not if, but when.”

    Neven’s site is an excellent source to help answer this life or death question; but as you know, there are no absolute guarantees.

    ASI 2015 update 5: late momentum

  • oldgrowthforest, what study are you referring to? Is it the same one that has no answer for the mega fauna extinction in Australia that happened 5 minutes after the non white aboriginals got there? I wonder how that giant sloth tasted? There’s a delicatessen no white man ever savored. You do realize that you are using the same “whitey” science to condemn the same “whitey” science right? The scientific method I hate which is a dirty white raciest lie proves, in this once instance only, the truth of it’s lying racists ways? How come Aztec’s cutting living peoples still beating hearts out to appease their gods, then decapitating them and rolling their heads then bodies down the pyramids to the cheers of the faithful gets a free pass?

  • Gerald: wow

    Bud: my answer to your lede question is to do the best that you can with what you have; heartfelt kindness and empathy only helps.

    The South American Financial Crisis Of 2015
    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-south-american-financial-crisis-of-2015

    Venezuela Seizes Nestle, Polar Warehouse to Build Housing
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-30/venezuela-seizes-nestle-polar-warehouse-as-food-shortages-mount?cmpid=yhoo

    Venezuelan soldiers seized a food distribution center rented by companies including Nestle SA, PepsiCo. Inc and Empresas Polar SA in Caracas as the government looks to boost support ahead of elections.

    The companies were given two months to remove equipment and stock at the La Yaguara industrial park, which will be converted to social housing, workers said. Several dozen workers of Polar, the largest Venezuelan food company, remain on the premises in protest against the expropriation.

    “I’m scared not just for my job but for the entire country,” Beatrice Pellicer, a 24-year-old Polar corporate relations worker, said outside the warehouse sealed by armed police and National Guards. “We all just found out this morning that we have 60 days to leave.”

    President Nicolas Maduro in recent months has stepped up attacks on the private sector, which he accuses of profiteering and sabotage, as his popularity wanes ahead of the Dec. 6 congressional elections. He has blamed Polar and other private food companies for the chronic shortages of basic products and spiraling inflation, while maintaining currency and price controls that have made most of national production unprofitable.

    Government ‘Terms’

    “This is a scare tactic to get private companies to cooperate with the government ahead of the elections: helping them keep the right stores supplied and work on their terms,” Risa Grais-Targow, Latin America political analyst at consultancy Eurasia Group, said by telephone from Washington. “I think the government understands that taking over a company like Polar will create dangerous social dynamics.”

    Carmen Arreaza, a 51-year-old elementary school teacher, and a few dozen other government supporters gathered in front of the warehouse to demonstrate support for the expropriation.

    “This measure is just and it needs to happen as soon as possible,” Arreaza said. “There is an economic war here and this company, Polar, is at the heart of it. They hide products from the population, and inflate their prices!”

    The government had first notified the landlord of plans to expropriate the industrial park in 2013, Nestle spokesman Andres Alegrett said by telephone from Caracas on Thursday. Nestle used the facility to dispatch about 10 percent of its products in the country, supplying sweets and drinks to the western side of Greater Caracas, he said.

    “We are working to redirect the products to other facilities across the country,” Alegrett said.

    It remains unclear whether the companies will keep the merchandise in the affected warehouses, Polar’s planning manager Douglas Vielma said Thursday afternoon.

    The La Yaguara industrial park is also being used by U.S. grain trader Cargill Inc., Mexican bottler Coca-Cola Femsa SAB and industrial gases supplier Praxair Inc.

    Spokesmen for PepsiCo., Praxair and Cargill, as well as the Information Ministry, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Coca-Cola Femsa spokesman declined to comment.

  • There is a greater probability that Jesus will come down to earth & distribute free shoes for life than the deadly Arctic methane will NOT erupt in even more gigantic plumes causing heat spikes beyond human comprehension.

    Such evidenced & reasonable predictions of abrupt & massive Arctic methane release should occur well before 2020, whether you are in a meaningful relationship or on your way up career wise after brain numbing law school.

    CH4 does not respect any ideology, marketplace, or psychological doubletalk; including Milton Freedman, Larry Summers, Friedrick Hayek, or Adam Smith.

    The captive Palestinians in the Israeli run Gaza Concentration Camp won’t notice too much difference at first because the captive Palestinians have been forced to learn how to adapt to pure hell on earth for decades.

    Abject misery & deprivation has its own deep lessons & mystical rewards according to deep thinking psychologists?

    Ask the suffering & drowning Bangledeshies for their take on learning from misery.

    Yeah, where are the helping psychologists & therapists for the battered & bleeding Palestinians & the dying Bangledeshies?

  • Apneaman: Aztec sacrifice

    Something to note about the Aztec sacrifice rituals, I think I read somewhere that it was the role of the upper class to be selected for sacrifice. The farmers were too valuable.

    Imagine if we actually did have the guillotines running to keep the bankers in line, as Max Keiser likes to joke about.

  • Tom;

    IAbout a decade ago, or there abouts, I was aware of some groups in Georgia that helped Columbian Union Workers with room and board and travel expenses that had come to the US to protest the Coca-Cola Company because the Columbia Government was ASSASSINATING their leaders. Coke of course knew nothing. I guess Klinger the estate manager didn’t know anything either?

    Same old whiteys!

  • Dr. McPherson – I am not a sponsor of that Redding meeting invite I forwarded. Sorry but it did say a word in it about Chemtrails. I will be in Boston meeting Dr. Victor de Grutola at Harvard during that time in August. Whatever the Redding thing is about caught my eye due to pollution & Military industrial complex whistle blowers. Abrupt climate change impacting reactors is my only field of specific concern.

    Reviewing how lecture info is posted as I work on D.C. venues to sponsor you as potential meeting dates to offer are arranged. Looking forward to your lectures in S.F. when those dates are all set.

    Example I received today: Dr. Andrea Ghez, a distinguished astronomer and one of UCLA’s most celebrated faculty members, has been awarded the 2015 Bakerian Medal by the Royal Society of London, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. The Bakerian Medal is the society’s premier prize lecture in the physical sciences.

    Hi Lidia, I will be at your Montpelier Vt State Capitol meeting about Nuclear & other Energy issues in Vt Monday Aug 24. Come give the overloards hell. I appreciate your expert knowledge and it would be great to talk with you in person off the record.

    Dr. Leslie Ford who is the deputy director general of the N.I.H. does confirm that some Vietnam War Vets have developed various cancers from agent orange spraying. I suppose every crop spray in development from Monsanto & Dow Chemical are not safe for humans but maybe the experts and FDA are telling the truth that those chemicals have no impact on the environment. Haliburton fracking fluid formula is a patent protected product. No concern to drinking water supply. Fly safe.

  • Mark: your statement about Haliburton’s fracking fluid formula being “no concern to drinking water” is complete RUBBISH. You either said that sarcastically (hard to tell on the internet) or you’re a fucking moron.
    Sure hope that’s not the case.

    shep: yeah, well . . . business is as business does, don’t cha know. we’ve seen how these multi-national corporations have no allegiance to anyone but the bottom line and they’ll do ANYTHING to protect it. Corporations should have been abolished in the 1900’s when they became too powerful, but that’s all water over the dam now. The only good news is that they’re all going to fail in our lifetime.

    i watched a PBS presentation about robots replacing human labor in a wide variety of fields. It’s becoming apparent that we aren’t needed as teachers (if you call what we’re doing “education” – and that’s a stretch), clerks in most any type of store or business, even farmers are being replaced by machines. What struck me is: who, then is going to be “buying products” with no money – since we’ll all be out of work?

    gerald: you’re on to something there. It’s all been misused – from math and science to psychology and psychiatry to medicine and our former “watch dog” organizations. Everything gets taken over by the military industrial system for its own uses – they fund college and university science labs (but keep any successful work to exploit at their whim). The pharmaceutical companies have warped into making drugs to make big money – not to help people with diseases (indeed, some of their crap actually makes matters much worse for those unfortunate enough to need it – and they certainly don’t want to find CURES for anything for obvious business reasons). Doctors have become pharmaceutical product dispensers. Just another facet we won’t miss when it’s (or we’re) gone.

    WoodWose: i liked your story, thanks.

  • @ Gerald Spezio: “There is a greater probability that Jesus will come down to earth & distribute free shoes for life than the deadly Arctic methane will NOT erupt in even more gigantic plumes causing heat spikes beyond human comprehension.

    “Such evidenced & reasonable predictions of abrupt & massive Arctic methane release should occur well before 2020, whether you are in a meaningful relationship or on your way up career wise after brain numbing law school.”

    This is what I’ve been trying to get my head around. I’ve processed that we’ll likely go extinct within the next 15-20 years. But you’re saying it could happen at any moment now. And in fact, is likely to occur before 2020.

    Because the arctic sea floor is thawing so quickly, a huge release of methane is imminent, and will be of such magnitude it’ll rapidly push global temperatures high enough to kill us quickly. The ‘wet bulb’ temp that Guy references.

    Is this what we’re facing?

  • Re: Aztecs,

    If my last post sounded like unsubstantiated BS it’s because it was, sorry.

  • Gerald

    ‘Robert Scribbler is a very decent & intelligent fellow, so I never miss his concise & astute scientific writing.’

    He may know a lot more about climatology than most but his understanding of atmospheric chemistry and physics is exceedingly poor, and in the past he has made numerous statements which defy the laws/facts of chemistry and physics.

    Filling the ‘trenches’ with the bodies of children and babies allows the ‘tank’ of global corporate industrialism to continue to edge forward, and this will continue to be the case until the engine runs out of fuel, or the system runs out of bodies to throw under the tracks.

    Regarding the Arctic Sea ice meltdown, the California drought and the meltdown of global economic system etc., let’s reassess at the end of September. Many aspects will be a lot clearer then.

  • Free shoes for life as a bribe to get into heaven? Can’t say no to a deal like that.

  • Unrelated to the essay at hand.. is anyone noticing further tree die off? I have a huge black walnut tree in my back yard here in St. Paul, MN. For the last ten years since I’ve lived in my home, it has consistently provided 100% shade. I could sit at the base of this forty foot tree and look up and NOT see the sky. This is the first year.. going into August.. where I can look up and see quite a bit of the sky above. I’m fearful that my beloved tree, like so many others, is in decline. Please! Is anyone else noticing this or seeing the same symptoms with trees in your area? I’m very concerned.

    Hello to all…

    Patrick

  • British Colonials will never get over their obsession with rationalizing the horrors they’ve dished out, continue to dish out, and always attempt to normalize socially. This is by now simply knee jerk. Especially for the melanin free folks still in Ozland, Old Z-land, Turtle Island, S. Africa and elsewhere. This process so often falls under the colonial invader’s relativist idea of their own exalted “culture” that it mostly just goes invisible and unrecognized. But, if anyone deviates from the general anti-melanin program they will also be ruthlessly socially ostracized and punished.
    James Howard Kunstler would probably be brought out to tell them to “get with the program”.

    As Phil Rochstroh might say,
    “to whit”:

    +Fully Genocided Shawnee are/were not Aztecs.
    +Living Cheyenne who still hold real, legally valid title claim to huge areas of Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska, even by US standards of jurisprudence, are not Aztecs.
    +Living Havasupai who still hold real, legally valid title claim to all of the western Grand Canyon and huge areas of Arizona are not Aztecs, despite the astonishing fact that Arizona and Aztecs both start with the letter A.

    Thus this uncomfortable and so often incomprehensible reality creates some rather serious real estate issues in the Happyland bubble. These problems are much better framed and dealt with by those in want of the melanin as something like this: “Look at the Aztecs and don’t look over here, please. Thanks.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Proof by example: http://grammarist.com/rhetoric/proof-by-example/

    “The proof by example fallacy involves attempting to derive general conclusions from one or a few examples.

    In its simplest form, proof by example works like this:

    X, which is in the group G, has the property A. Therefore, all things in the group G have the property A.”

    Says the link: “Such specious arguments may be the bread and butter of internet comment sections, but they have no place in logical discourse. ”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Crypto-commies never sleep, flogging the joys of collectivism: suicide pacts, “peace, comfort, and love” circle jerks, not forgetting witchcraft for avengers of whitey devil.

    The Pacific Ocean is dead, killed by Fukushima radiation. Of the 5800 species found in tidal pools and 4,000,000 species found in the ocean, life-time diver and naturalist, Dana Durnford, confirms 6 species ONLY in diving and filming hundreds of miles of ocean coastline off Western Canada.

    There are almost no birds or insects, either.

    The Cabal has hacked non-government Geiger counters, so radiation remains a big, dark secret.

    Not long now, people.

  • Yes! More happy news! See, for a guy like me, the sooner humanity is gone, the better! I say, “MELT BABY MELT!”

    First goes the ice. Then the water warms enough to thaw what Natalia Shakhova termed the, sedimentary drape. Then, look out! Here comes the methane!

    A fitting end for a species that has proven itself unworthy of existence. Sure, there’s going to be a lot of suffering, but then it will all be over, done, kaput, finito.

    An epitaph for humanity:

    NOT ONE OF THEM
    BECAME A REAL
    MAN
    NOW THEY ARE GONE
    FOREVER
    GOOD RIDDANCE!

  • cunny; tragically, yes.

    It is very probable that a significant amount of methane, on the order of only two to four billion tons of methane, will be released in the Arctic this summer or next.

    This “small” release will drive the Arctic temperature into truly unknown territory in short order; & most importantly, initiate an exponential feed back into a real irreversible doomsday process where even larger Arctic methane releases become common place from the increased Arctic heating.

    Four billion tons is a miniscule amount, on the order of about .001 per cent, of the readily available existing stores in the shallow Arctic sea beds & thawing Arctic/Siberian permafrost.

    As Natalia Shakhova has stated; “not much effort is required” for this very rudimentary “small” methane release to happen.

    If something on the order of 50 Gt are released at any time which is not at all far-fetched, forgeddaboudit, including grief counseling.

    There is absolutely no evidence indicating that this will NOT happen.

    As Guy has told willing listeners for more than two years, all the hard empirical & observational evidence indicates that this fatal release of deadly Arctic methane is already locked in.

    In his preceding viddy, Guy expressed his considered opinion that we “could” see a 4 degree C increase in as short a time period as 18 months.

    Woe is me, & yes, it’s hard to get one’s head around such an ugly & unforgiving scenario/prediction.

  • Wester, the irony is that even the Aztecs in all their sacrificial gore could not compare to the oceans of blood and gore produced by the European first credited with “discovering America,” that daring, heroic adventurer Cristopher Colombus! A serial rapist, a genodical psychopath leading a crew of genocidal psychopaths whose most popular sex partners were children around the age of ten, who waded in blood up to their knees day in and day out for four years running, until Bartolome de las Casas estimated that they had slaughtered four million people, up close and with their own hands, or by unleashing their dogs.

    We better not get started, because there is only more of the same, for hundreds of years, throughout the entire western hemisphere, and Africa, and Australia. All that plundered wealth from all the genocide and theft that funded all that holy science and creativity and engineering that Whitey is so proud of, that makes him “advanced” and not “primitive” like those other people he thinks he knows so much about.

    Thank God for the Aztecs, eh? What would you have to justify yourself in your mind without that? You’d have to feel like you come from something not so very superior, after all, and that would be so uncomfortable.

    Wester, as always, thank you.

  • Guy’s almost 2 yr old hospice viddy; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6SwCZayVP8

  • @WoodWose

    Nice one!

    ~

    @Everyone and specially @Guy

    Thank you 🙂

    ~

    Fiddling (still) while the Titanic sinks (taking too long I say) 🙂

  • Hey nogrowth, you are the one with the superiority complex and you’re a pathetic moral crusader to boot. Screaming like a fucking baby almost every single day for years because others won’t buy into your noble savage worldview doesn’t exactly strike me as the height of spiritual growth, but I’m an atheist white devil so what do I know? Is that all you plan to do with the time you have left? Rant and scream and bash your head on the key board? Looks to me that your just as hate filled and vengeful as all the rest of the righteous in group cancerous apes.

  • Mark: “Hi Lidia, I will be at your Montpelier Vt State Capitol meeting about Nuclear & other Energy issues in Vt Monday Aug 24. Come give the overloards hell. I appreciate your expert knowledge and it would be great to talk with you in person off the record.”

    —–
    Well, crap, that would have been super-interesting I have no doubt, but I happen to have Jury Duty that day: a one-day trial dealing with an accusation of domestic violence.

    Interesting things during voir dire>:

    1. A professional woman comes out and says “well, obviously [the defendant] wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t done something”. She is kept on the jury despite the judge’s repeated re-iteration of the “innocent until proven guilty” legal assumption. She’s not the only one to mis-comprehend this despite decades of mind-numbing TV exposure and reinforcement.

    2. Another juror says something like “whaddaya expect with those sideburns?” He is kept on the jury. The defendant’s sideburns are long, outdated, Elvis-like… must be a wife-beater!

    Not sure when court gets out; it’s in Chelsea, Orange County. Could possibly meet you in Montpelier for dinner if you have that time available, but not during the day. I would highly recommend the Three-Penny Taproom, but the Skinny Pancake is also good.


    —————————————————-
    I don’t have anything like “expert knowledge”, I have what RE (of the Doomstead Diner) would call Common Fucking Sense. I don’t think I’ve ever met a scientist with CFS, frankly. That’s why they get “brilliant” things done that then implode. Very little CFS. Sevareid: “The chief cause of problems is solutions”.


    ——
    I attended a meeting of a potential co-housing group this evening. A certain woman, Kathryn, flies all over the place continuously doing her “work on climate change” (!!!) Building, development, and “energy” shit is her profession. She volunteered to me that the situation is extremely dire, and that the human population will be drastically reduced in short order, to a number of 7-10 million maximum. She cites a number of aboriginal myths as partial evidence for this.

    She mentioned the Dalai Lama, in almost the same breath as Richard Branson (WTF!?). I told her about my head-freezing professor friend, warning that “smart” people can be profoundly stupid (I dismissed Gates, Ellison, Branson, etc., as being delusional, and extra-planetary voyages as absurd), and she got her back up… saying that Branson was “very smart” and that I just didn’t know what it was they had planned.

    YIKES!!!

    I told her I wished Ellison good luck with his ISLAND amidst increasing SLR, and we broke off our discussion. UGH!

    You can get my email from Guy, if you are in VT that evening as well, and can get together. Wish I could attend whatever meeting or hearing it is that you have “on the docket”, but not interested in a contempt of court charge. :-/

    I think there are other NBL’ers residing in VT.

  • @Wester and ogf, I have my own ideas about human nature, but will attempt to put aside those prejudices in the face of the following:

    There have passed many hundreds and thousands of years from the time of the ascendancy of the cultures you’ve invoked up until today.

    In the same period of time, plants have undergone significant mutations, animals have undergone significant mutations (look at dogs!). Why should we not we take it as a given that the humans of hundreds or thousands of years ago are Not The Same Animal as many of us are now? It’s been proven that overall our brains are shrinking (after having grown). “We” were universally short, and now most of us are tall. Soon (if there *are* at least a few generations) “we” will be short again.

    Studies of pygmies recently show that there are actually at least two pathways to genetically-short stature: one where a baby is born of “normal” size, but experiences severe growth retardation during the first few years of development, versus other groups where babies are born small and stay small. These are different genetic responses to an adverse environment.

    When Wester and ogf get exercised over what earlier humans did or didn’t do, I ask myself, who are these “humans” to which they refer, and are they really comparable to the individuals we find around ourselves today? Or are we working ourselves up into a frenzy trying to maintain that today’s chihuahua is the same thing as yesterday’s wolf?

  • On the matter of identity:
    “He is never seen, but is the Witness; He is never heard, but is the Hearer; He is never thought, but is the Thinker; He is never known, but is the Knower. There is no other witness but Him, no other hearer but Him, no other thinker but Him, no other knower but Him. He is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. Everything else but Him is mortal.”

    Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3:7:23

    And another approach to the same topic:

    Ashtavakra Gita

    It is to be remembered that in the Vedic tradition and its derivatives, scriptural teachings are like signposts: they are meant to guide the traveller. Once a person gets to one’s destination, the signpost has served its purpose and is no longer needed for that person. No scripture is a permanent authority to all.

    In the absence of an awareness of identity, purveying snake oil is not unexpected.

  • scratch “ascendancy”.. let’s say “primacy”.

  • Lidia, I don’t know what other people are doing. I’m just enjoying some schadenfreude over the demise of one more widely held, supremely stupid, racist delusion, or more likely projection, that has been quite popular on this site at times, and is dying a hard death in some quarters, it seems.

    Feels good, like this beautiful, long summer day we’ve just had.

  • I apologize for my overpost. Normally by this time of night it is tomorrow for NBL!

  • Hello all-

    I’m gonna make this short and sweet (except for the video, which is 25 minutes long). I have two questions:

    1) If you were to make ONE demand from the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference this December, what would it be? I am taking both joke and non-joke answers at:

    ginny420@gmail.com

    2) Please enjoy one of the greatest musical moments of my lifetime right here (I wasn’t actually there, but it’s one of my favorites from a long list of favorites):

    Happy Friday, everybody!!

    Love and kisses,
    Babajingo
    p.s. Shit- what IS 8×6??? The answer is the only thing between me and posting this…

  • For my second post of this thread…

    “The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. LEADERSHIP OF THE NEGOTIATIONS IS YET TO BE DETERMINED.” [from Wikipedia- emphasis mine]

    Might I suggest we send Guy McPherson to negotiate on our behalf?

  • So many great comments (as usual) among our little band of doomers.

    First off, babajingo: do you live in PA?

    Kate: that was funny, but correct – thanks.

    Lidia: good attempt to defuse the situation, but all our cherished beliefs will go up in smoke before long. i laughed at your jury pool illustration – jury of ones peers, eh?

    cuntagious: i agree with Gerald’s prognostication but, like kevin says, let’s see how things develop as this year winds down. The big question is whether it’ll be slow collapse (over say 20 years) or rapid decline (less than that) due to all the factors impinging on civilization (and, as you know, there are many). i don’t see how we can avoid the latter, but may be wrong.

    Kirk: many of us feel the same way, living in/on what was once a thriving planet, now reduced to a shit-hole of our own making. Instant karma, hunh?

    By the way, many of us are concerned about methane, but few have mentioned it’s partner in all the ancient die-off scenarios – hydrogen sulfide – which is absolutely deadly due to being explosive, (neuro)toxic, water soluble and heavier than air. It’s spreading around now, just as the methane is.

    On another note, lifted from the comments at scribbler’s blog,

    Dramatic climate change factor for masses of sargasso from Texas to Tobago

    http://www.riviera-maya-news.com/dramatic-climate-change-factor-for-masses-of-sargasso-from-texas-to-tobago/2015.html

    and

    A seaweed dilemma on the beaches of QR
    Tonnes of sargassum continue to land on the pristine white sand

    So you spend a bunch of money to go on vacation practically anywhere in the Caribbean or along the Gulf of Mexico (all the way to Cancun) and you’re met with TONS of seaweed to wade through. HA-HAAA! Sorry, it’s just funny (in a sick way) to me.

    On another note, this morning on the news the cute anchor lady said that the drought is having an effect on the wine coming from CA (and WA too) – they have to sacrifice some grapes due to not enough water to go around (but of course there’s a “good news” part – it’ll taste better, though there will be less of it); secondly she stated that the apples from WA are going to be smaller in size in a much diminished harvest due to the temps there. So, the shortages are now officially on the way.

  • More evidence of the coming food shortages:

    The world is perilously close to global food shock

    http://inhabitat.com/global-food-shock-perilously-close-new-report-shows/

    [begins]

    A new report envisions a nightmare scenario in which just three climate change-driven disasters could lead to global food shock, resulting in food riots as the price of basic crops skyrockets and stock markets experience significant losses. The risk assessment, which was produced by insurer Lloyd’s of London—with support from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and vetted by academics from a number of institutions—shows just how close humanity may be to catastrophic collapse by mid-century unless significant changes are made to slow global warming. [read the rest of the short article if interested]

    [ends on with the usual hopium]

    But this scenario is based on a “business as usual” approach, one in which man-made climate change leads to a combination of increased flooding and increased drought, with agriculture facing the prospect of functioning under water stress conditions as soon as 2025. However, if carbon emissions are slashed and agriculture adapts, this scenario does not have to play out. [uh, excuse me, it’s already here]

    see also, link to NASA study imbedded there:

    Related: Study predicts impending collapse of industrial civilization

  • Just want to start by saying I’m a bit dizzy from all the loop-dee-loops between posts. No doubt Mr. Nye is now in need of a cervical collar.

    This time of year has always been one of my, gastronomic, favorites. I love corn-on-the-cob; always have. As a little boy, I used to run through my grandfather’s fields in Illinois. When we moved to South Jersey, I learned how delicious it was straight off the stalk. And, whether raw or cooked on the grill, slathered with fresh butter, I was a “Silver Queen” addict. This was long before GMO’s. This was back when Monsanto made carpet. We didn’t know anyone, not one, who bought seeds. Everyone we knew saved seeds, from year to year.

    About a year ago, my Oncologist gave me some disquieting, (there simply is no adequate synonym), news. After battling Prostate, Kidney, Bladder, Pancreas, Spleen and Liver invasions, a recent scan showed masses in my left shoulder and left knee. It was a mutated form of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare Cancer usually found in children or adolescents. Until recently, it had “not been associated with any environmental risks” but was considered simply a genetic change that happened after birth.

    The prognosis wasn’t good. My new chemo regimen would include a barrage of medications. I underwent 6 months of torture before I learned about a medical “positive reinforcing feedback loop”: Monsanto transitioned from carpets to agriculture. They genetically changed corn so farmers could use weed killer chemicals. The best-selling weed killer is “RoundUp”, also a Monsanto creation. Glyphosate, a main ingredient in RoundUp, has been related to Cancers in the Pancreas, Kidneys and bone tissue. Oh, and Pfizer makes two of these medications, peddled via Pharmacia LLC which is owned by…wait for it…Monsanto.

    So, if you’re following along, Monsanto genetically changed the corn, so they could monopolize the sale of corn seeds, so they could sell weed killer, so they could sell chemotherapy drugs. Now that’s a “cradle to grave” business model. It helped me decide to stop all treatments and just embrace one beautiful moment at a time.

    “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” (Eleanor Roosevelt, oft-paraphrased/quoted by Guy McPherson)

    Gonna head over to a local farm, now. Yes, I will be having corn-on-the-cob today. But, I’ll be extending my middle digits, not the pinkies, as the butter drips down my hands.

  • I can just see whitey apeanea people doing their re-enactments of Mr Columbus as they step off the boat shouting “Where’s the Dog Damned Gold” and “I need to Fuck, real bad, something, anything, maybe little boys, or a few mules. I’m getting tired of the smelly deck hands.”

    Some individuals are just stupid, pathetic racists.

  • *Some individuals are just stupid, pathetic racists.*

    Your sword cuts both ways.

  • “Peak atmospheric methane mean of 1833 ppb. This is already 6 ppb higher than last year. Seasonal peak is in the Fall. So we could be looking at a 10-12 ppb jump from last year. ” (from R.S.)

    Guy, Tom,anybody . . . what does this mean? Another confirmation that the methane clathrate gun has fired? Is this going exponential and if not now, can anyone determine when? Is this from the fires/thawing permafrost?

  • * ass-holes…don’t forget. everybody has one. *

  • the whole human race can take a running jump at a rolling donut. in about…5…4…3…

  • Some quotes from [Life on Earth] by David Attenborough
    “The appearance of the flowers transformed the face of the world. The green forest now flared with colour as the plants advertised the delights and rewards they had on offer. The first flowers were open to all that cared to alight on them.
    The forest of the world lay tranquil. No great beasts of any kind crashed their way through them. But in the undergrowth those small tupaia-like mammals, that had been there when the dinosaurs first appeared, still hunted for insects. Tat scene scarcely altered for hundreds of thousands of years. On a human time scale, such a period seems an eternity. Geologically it was only a moment. In the history of evolution, it was a phase packed with swift and dazzling invention, for during it the little insectivores produced descendants to fill all the niches vacated by the ruling reptiles and so founded all the great mammalian groups.
    So the speed of the antelopes demanded the guile and teamwork of the hunters. That response came not only from members of the cat and dog family. Other kinds of animals also came out on to the grasslands to hunt. One group of them was particularly slow and poorly armed so that for them teamwork and communicative of all the hunters on the plains. to trace their history, we have to return to the forest, fot it was there that they had their origins, searching for fruit and tender leaves in the tops of the trees.
    Mam has credited himself with several talents to distinguish him from all other animals Once we thought that we were the only creatures to make and use tools. We now know that this is not so: chimpanzees do so and so do finches in the Galapagos that cut and trim long thorns to use as pins for extracting grubs from holes in wood. Even our complex spoken language seems less special the more we learn about the communications used by chimpanzees and dolphins. But we are the only creatures to have painted representational pictures and it is this talent which led to the developments which ultimately transformed the life of mankind”. Been a very good run this life, now its all about love next

  • Another aphoristic classic of “laughing while dying.”

    MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

    The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

    “These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

    More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

    While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said.

    While reaffirming the gloomy assessments of the study, Logsdon held out hope that the threat of fact-resistant humans could be mitigated in the future. “Our research is very preliminary, but it’s possible that they will become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen,” he said.

  • The drowning man surfaces three times

  • Caroline: you can check out methane and other gas concentration graphs (created from ice core to recent air monitoring data) here:

    Climate Change Indicators in the United States

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/ghg/ghg-concentrations.html

    [notice also the “Key Points” section to the right of figure two (graph interpretation in broad terms – it doesn’t connect the dots to knock-on effects)]

    As methane rises another blanket gets layered over the atmosphere (figuratively speaking), since those molecules are now replaced by more than those that are decaying. It’s bumping up the global average temperature as long as this keeps up. There are many other effects too – tree and vegetation health, human effects of breathing an increasingly toxic mixture, forest fire risk, plant, fish, bird and animal die-offs, ocean acidification, and on and on.

    Short answer: t’ings ain’ lookin’ too good (said with a Robert DeNiro face).

    i hope answering a question isn’t considered “posting” but if so, sorry for the overpost.

  • Anyway you should consider what sort of world we will be in once we go feral

    Wolf Society?

  • fuck off shep. You are essentially implying that I am a racist child rapist. Real brave of you to do that on the internet. You people are so bitter that you go around re defining words and slandering anyone who disagrees with you. Now racist is simply someone who does not agree with you that every single problem in the world is the fault of white people. Your blaming all the worlds ills on the white race is familiar. The Israelis do the same thing with the Palestinians. The Nazi’s did it with Jews. Some Americans in the deep south do it with blacks, Jews, Muslims, Catholics. What you all share in common is your blame and hate of the other and the use of dehumanizing language. It always starts with the dehumanization of the other group – it makes it easier to justify the genocide that way. In Rawanda one of the groups always referred to the other as cockroaches. I have and will continue to contend that the entire species is maladaptive. Technological evolution out stripping psychological/emotional evolution by orders of magnitude. Listening to over educated grown children insist that culture variation somehow makes for different sub species of humans is the height of emotional soothing magical thinking. Oldgrowth your schadenfreude is misplaced because I have lost nothing. Not one thing has changed for me because you think it has. In fact you people and your wild accusations are only more evidence that apes are too emotional, xenophobic and irrational to make it. My Lilly white ass has loved the same black woman (and her me) for over 20 years. We had three good tries over that time to make it, but it did not work. It was always the same thing, emotional in group issue, that caused us to not make it. Oh no, not racism, but religion. She is a life long Christian (who always hoped I would find the lord)and I’m atheist. Racism, religion, nationalism – all beliefs that come from the same part of a maladapted emotional reptilian brain.

  • Western industrial civilization has become normal all over the world. As a colonial, third world native, I can attest to how overwhelming is the brain washing suffered by the world’s people not born in the middle of empire. So, it seems normal to cheer for cowboys who shoot Indians in movies. It is normal not to see trees as living beings. One assumes that the destiny of all is to be a secular Westerner. Native traditions are discarded as inferior (even if they have sustained life for thousands of years). It’s normal not to consider the heads that roll due to aerial bombing, or consider the mutations due to nuclear events. The ability to foster complacency and conformity is a major achievement of this civilization. It is this civilization, not some former one, that has ramifying effects for ocean death, climate change, sea level rise, soil erosion, war, and many other GLOBAL effects of the 6th great extinction. Comparing (while excusing) this civilization because some earlier one acted with ghastly brutality on a NON GLOBAL scale is a sure sign that one is brainwashed.

    @ mark

    I’ve wondered how effective throwing godawful anaerobic sludge at nuclear waste would be.

  • Tom & Caroline, the graphics won’t post here; but this graphic is a genuine Tufte beauty for visual display of quantitative information.

    Enlightenment power in simplicity.

    “Simple – but not too simple,” as in Einstein.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/images/indicator_downloads/ghg-concentrations-download1-2015.png

    If you look, it could become self evident;

    Quantitative information simply displayed leading to truthful enlightenment based on basic scientific facts.

    .

    Much of the reason for many intelligent people’s difficulty grasping the “near & abrupt” aspect of NTE results from NOT absorbing the mind boggling QUANTITY of CO2 that we have put into the atmosphere in such a SHORT PERIOD.

    Darwinian gradualism has been turned on its head & then some.

    Tufte’s simple visual display experiment with Tom’s suggestion above is science at its best.

    Guy has been trying with all his life’s energy to disseminate this simple basic concept to a mystified public.

    Deniers thrive on verbal MYSTIFICATION, as in lawyering, peeyar, & outright lying.

    It is a visual display of what the “near” in NTE means.

  • You wanna know what’s wrong with society, go listen to KPFA/KPFK’s program Uprising from this morning (8AM Pacific time). The last segment has an interview with the Norwegian author of a new book “What We Think About When We Don’t Think About Global Warming.” He basically lambasted all those who put forth doom and gloom, and asserted much better results can be attained if you present climate change as an opportunity for new businesses as “we” change to new forms of energy generation, savings, and steps which everyone can take and people tend to emulate if they see, such as rooftop solar panels and electric cars. The host, Sonali Kolhathkar, is a totally gullible “leftist” journalist, and of course has not the slightest clue about just unviable these “solutions” are, so she eagerly drank it all up. Yes, you don’t have to give up your lifestyles, you just need to maintain them in different ways. CRAP GALORE!!

  • Tom, thank you!

    no longer a pilot: yes, I am noticing trees in the midwest dying—most all are suffering and in N. Illinois many oak, ash, elm are near death or dead. I have friends in Minneapolis who describe the same things you are witnessing. But everything is collapsing . . . .

    Jeff S. You are describing Scribbler types above.
    I was going to try (operative word) and post on Scribbler’s blog again as he is in a sorry state over the potential drilling in the Arctic (big surprise) but then I decided, what is the point?

    It just boggles my mind that someone with that level of commitment to reporting the science is in that level of denial over the root cause of AGW/earth’s destruction by humans. Why does this bother me so? Bud N. probably has the answer!

    Tell me that in all likelihood he probably won’t post a comment where I query his solid commitment to Obama and now Hillary Clinton to lead the way on climate change. And I shouldn’t bother to ask him if he still feels we can “hold Obama’s feet to the fire and that we need to do the same with Clinton.” That mindset about “holding Obama’s feet to the fire” was about as stupid and ironic as one could get. Really.

    Tell me to not bother asking him why he won’t tolerate any questioning of his support of Obama and Clinton because he feels it is divisive and as he says; “ creates a wedge. Fin. End of discussion. “ Those were his words to me in my last post there which, I must say was a polite and reasonable post.

    Why do I keep pounding my head against the wall by wanting to understand how the Scribblers of the world continue to deny the root of this problem —— the capitalist machine that is systematically killing the planet. A capitalist machine of which Clinton and Obama are an integral part of—– as evidenced by the fact that Shell is heading toward the Arctic to drill—— among countless other things too numerous (and exasperating/depressing) to mention.

  • I am not implying a thing about you, Apneaman! I am talking about 1492 and forward. No Chinese or Aztecs are included in my complaints but I know Columbus was a representative asshole of the Whiteys and a very small portion of the white race have been on A HOMICIDAL TEAR SINCE THEY LANDED.

  • Tare, I guess it is.

  • There are many ongoing dangers to civilization, from sea level rise, methane and other gases, to nuclear war.

    Some other dangers seem to be science fiction, but they are not (Is A New Age Of Pressure Upon Us? – 7).

  • Guy, I consider the brief piece about Harper’s heinous duplicity in trying to USE the exhausted firefighters for peeyar to be as powerful piece as I ever saw in my entire life.

    It is a synopsis of our culture of deceit.

    I posted it twice, because it’s too good to miss.

    I can’t imagine that it’s too politically loaded, BUT …

  • President Reagan was diagnosed with three types of cancer. He was successfully treated by a German doctor without chemo, radiation, or surgery.

    This story is below.

    http://www.alsearsmd.com/landing/MB_NaturalNews_CC_Reagan_20150608.html?utm_source=natural-news&utm_medium=mb&utm_term=solo-email&utm_content=buyer&utm_campaign=reagan-20150608

  • “Oldgrowth your schadenfreude is misplaced because I have lost nothing.

    Wherever did you get the idea that my satisfaction was about you at all?

    I can only quote myself, “I’m just enjoying some schadenfreude over the demise of one more widely held, supremely stupid, racist delusion, or more likely projection, that has been quite popular on this site at times. . .”

    How is that about you?

    How can my schadenfreude be misplaced when it was never about you to begin with, but was, as I plainly wrote, about a widely held, racist “theory” (cough, cough), a religious-level belief about How Things Were that has been vigorously promoted here at NBL, but obviously has not been limited to this site for the past 50 years?

    How can that be about you?

  • gotta love it
    https://rt.com/news/269173-japan-solar-panel-disposal/

    no talk of the extra energy, cost and declining quality that component recycling results.

  • just look at your elves. https://youtu.be/gLWRM2sK9ek

  • Okay, so WTI is now $47.12 and Brent is $52.21, leading to a rupturing of profitability for numerous major companies and inescapable death spirals for numerous commodity-dependent nations.

    Yesterday I spoke with a small-time dairy farmer; he described the local situation as the worst he had ever known.

    We can be excused for thinking the shit is seriously hitting the fan on the economic-financial-social front, and that it’s going to get a lot worse fairly soon.

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/11-red-flag-events-that-just-happened-as-we-enter-the-pivotal-month-of-august-2015

    11 Red Flag Events That Just Happened As We Enter The Pivotal Month Of August 2015

    By Michael Snyder, on July 31st, 2015

    Red Flags – Public DomainAre you ready for what is coming in August? All over America, economic, political and social tensions are building, and the next 30 days could turn out to be pivotal. In July, we saw things start to turn. As you will read about below, a major six year trendline for the S&P 500 was finally broken this month, Chinese stocks crashed, commodities crashed, and debt problems started erupting all over the planet. I fully expect that this next month (August) will be a month of transition as we enter an extremely chaotic time in the fall and winter. Things are unfolding in textbook fashion for another major global financial crisis in the months ahead, and yet most people refuse to see what is happening. In their blind optimism, they want to believe that things will somehow be different this time. Well, the coming months will definitely reveal who was right and who was wrong. The following are 11 red flag events that just happened as we enter the pivotal month of August 2015…

    #1 Puerto Rico is going to default on a 58 million dollar debt payment that is due on Saturday. Even though this has serious implications for the U.S. financial system, Barack Obama has said that there will be no bailout for “America’s Greece”.

    #2 As James Bailey has pointed out, the most important trendline for the S&P 500 has finally been broken after holding up for six years. This is a critical technical signal that will likely motivate a significant number of investors to sell off their holdings in the weeks ahead.

    #3 The IMF is indicating that it will not take part in the new Greek debt deal. As a result, the whole thing may completely fall apart…

    Leaked minutes of the fund’s latest board meeting, which took place on Wednesday, showed staff “cannot reach agreement at this stage” on whether to take part in the new €86bn (£60bn) bailout for Greece. The document said there were doubts over the capacity of the Athens Government to implement economic reforms, as well as the over the sustainability of the country’s sovereign debt pile, which is now projected to hit 200 percent of GDP.

    The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, only sanctioned a new Greek deal earlier this month on the condition that the IMF takes part.

    #4 Italy is going down the exact same path as Greece, but Italy is going to be a much larger problem for Europe because it has a far, far larger economy. This week, we learned that youth unemployment in Italy has reached a 38-year high of 44 percent, and Italy’s debt to GDP ratio has now hit 135 percent.

    #5 The Canadian economy has officially entered a new recession. This is something that was not supposed to happen.

    #6 The price of oil plummeted close to 20 percent during the month of July. It was the worst month for the price of oil that we have seen since October 2008, which just happened to be during the height of the last financial crisis.

    #7 Commodities just had their worst month in almost four years. As I have written about previously, we witnessed a collapse in commodity prices just before the stock market crash of 2008 too.

    #8 Thanks to Barack Obama, the U.S. coal industry is imploding, and some of the largest coal producers in the entire country have just announced that they are declaring bankruptcy…

    On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the biggest American producer of coking coal, Alpha Natural Resources, could file for bankruptcy as soon as Monday.

    Competitor Walter Energy filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, and several others have done the same this year.

    #9 For the month of July, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 13.4 percent. Despite unprecedented government intervention to prop up the market, it was the worst month for Chinese stocks since October 2009.

    #10 A major red flag that a recession in the United States is fast approaching is the fact that Exxon Mobile just announced their worst earnings for a single quarter since 2009. Compared to the same time period one year ago, Exxon Mobile’s earnings were down 51 percent.

    #11 Chevron is another oil giant that has seen earnings plunge. In the second quarter of this year, Chevron’s earnings were down an eye-popping 90 percent from a year ago.

    And in this list I didn’t even mention the economic chaos that is happening down in South America. For full coverage of that, please see my previous article entitled “The South American Financial Crisis Of 2015“.

    To a certain extent, I can understand why most Americans are not alarmed about the months ahead. The relative stability of the past several years has lulled most of us into a false sense of security, and the mainstream media is assuring everyone that everything is going to be just fine and that brighter days are ahead. At this point, many believe that it is patently absurd to suggest that we could see an economic collapse in 2015. But of course even though the signs were glaringly apparent, very few of us anticipated the financial crisis of 2008 either.

    A few weeks ago, I authored a piece entitled “The Last Days Of ‘Normal Life’ In America“, and I stand by every single word of that article. I truly believe that the era of debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying for so long is coming to an end, and our standard of living will never again get back to this level.

    Just yesterday, I had the chance to go over and stock up on some emergency supplies at a dollar store. It always astounds me what you can still buy for a dollar. The combined cost of raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and retailing most of these items shouldn’t be less than a dollar, but thanks to having the reserve currency of the world we are still able to go to these big box stores and fill up our carts with lots and lots of extremely inexpensive merchandise.

    Unfortunately, this massively inflated standard of living is going to come crashing to a halt. This next financial crisis is going to destroy the system that is currently producing such comfortable lifestyles for the vast majority of us, and that will be an extremely painful experience.

    So enjoy this summer for as long as it lasts. Even though August threatens to be pivotal, it is going to be nothing compared to what will follow.

    Fall and winter are coming.

    Prepare while there is still time to do so.

  • Kevin Moore sez: “#8 Thanks to Barack Obama, the U.S. coal industry is imploding, and some of the largest coal producers in the entire country have just announced that they are declaring bankruptcy…”

    Always good to hear bad news about the economy — but you seem to be presenting THIS good news as if it were BAD news, and as if Obama were at fault.

    Sounds to me like good news, but I doubt Obama actually did much to make things better……

  • Ken

    It was not my intention to present economic news or opinion from other websites as being good or bad as such, but merely to point out that longstanding economic arrangements are self-defeating and are ‘progressing’ towards self-induced collapse. Having some kind of time frame may be useful in promoting the necessary sense of urgency in the short term.

    In practice, there is much evidence to indicate that nothing we do now will alter the long-term outcomes that are a natural consequence of operation of insane financial-economic-political systems, i.e. abrupt climate change, severe climate instability, over-acidification of the oceans, species annihilation etc.

    I think all rational people would agree that every day the present system continues to operate increases the level of mayhem that will be faced by young people everywhere on this planet in the fairly near future.

    For more than 15 years I have been actively pointing out that present economic arrangements are maintained at the expense of the next generation’s future; I have been aware of the global dimming paradox/dilemma around 10 years, in so far as the ‘shit’ that is put into the atmosphere by industrial activity is helping to dampen the rate of overheating that results from excessive CO2 emissions; this amelioration is a result of reflection and reradiation of incoming radiation.

    We are in a damned if we do and damned if we don’t predicament: rapid collapse of industrialism is likely to cause a sudden surge in overheating (via removal of blocking agents): continued desequestration of carbon will cause both the instantaneous and cumulative effects of CO2 to be ultimately worse and for a higher overall temperature being ultimately reached.

    In terms of the overall suffering, I am of the opinion that an early collapse will result in less overall suffering than a later collapse, and therefore we should look forward to an earlier collapse, even though that will increase our personal levels of suffering.

    For some inexplicable reason, most people in industrial societies, and especially those in a position to do something to ameliorate the catastrophe, are very comfortable with sabotaging their own children’s/grandchildren’s futures.

  • Tom: I was being very sarcastic. Dio’s forbid anyone think Fracking fluid contaminated water is safe. I attend lectures and watch documentaries because I’m interested & willing to learn about about all sorts of subjects. I respect those who spend time doing actual field work. Of course data changes and I’m rarely convinced beyond 99.9% about any serious issue. Yet I’d never learn anything if I did not let people present their evidence. Then think on it. Sometimes I clutch pearls of wisdom laughing at how my dumb remarks are mis-read. Being a D.C. bururucrat by day is so boring I tend to let out fustration here by the bonfire of doom. Luckily a few people here do perfectly understand when I get semi-Snowed and post the really ugly government stuff as I experience it happening live.

    Lidia – Yes. Dinner on me. Hope your state capitol is not too far away for you. Common sense is unfortunately too uncommon. I have almost nothing to say because I’d like to learn more from you…things I should already have enough common sense to know full well after a decade of dealing with corruption. But alas I fully admit I have been fooled more than twice. Sort of have a Silkwood style secret that might make a difference when it gets into all the right hands.

    My personal info & cell # are no secret to MO FLOW. I know he is gone but you are welcome to get all my contact info from the NBL data base.

    Or maybe you are friends with OLD GROWTH FOREST? She is very kind and knows a bit more about me than anyone on NBL.

    Hopefully we will connect while I’m briefly at the VT Yankee plant decommissioning fund meeting. Lidia, you have been very right about many things. I respect you and I’m sure we will have a few laughs too about mis-interperted things. So much I can’t say till I’m truly away from being under legal contract. I’m not afraid of the NSA but they do watch us workers much closer than others. (May I should wear Elvis side burns….ha ha) I should say agenda rather than docket. Gerald is going to sink my Thorium submarine fleet for lawyerfish infractions.

    ARTLEADS – A letter for you in our other site. With your permission I like to post a small portion of your best insights over there here and on the N.R.C. & Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Web sites. You write so well. You say what I think while I have to keep my head in the contracts and safety regulation issues till I can retire. McPherson’s presentation in D.C. will be controversial because neither Dan nor Leslie pay full attention to his video clips as I insist we ought to have him lecture at the Pentagon city Marriott & Koshland climate ctr.

    PHIL MORRISON – yes yes yes. I’m listening and learning new stuff from you. Thanks. This is about the only place I ever find time to comment but I do read many comments in other sites. Okay Jeff S. shoot me cause I admit I get paid to read as part of my “research” time.

    Ginny 420 – you bet I have a wish for the U.N. conference – to attend and present a Mc Pherson video explaining in great detail why NTE looms no matter what solutions we attempt. All geo-enginnering plans are a problem. Stop fracking mother earth to death. Disband and live happily ever in hospice…before only radiation remains.

  • Here’s more on that KPFK/KPFA show this morning regarding climate change.

    This morning’s edition of Uprising, a program on KPFK, Pacifica’s LA station, broadcast simultaneously on KPFA, the Berkeley station as of today handed over to an apparently different owner, “the KPFA Foundation,” featured an interview by host Sonali Kolhatkar of Per Espen Stoknes, author of What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action. Stokenes is (via Amazon) “an organizational psychologist who also holds a PhD in economic theory. He has a part-time position as senior lecturer at the Norwegian Business School where he teaches green growth, team leadership and scenario based strategy at the Executive School, Oslo. He is co-director of Center for Climate Strategy.” In other words, he’s a corporate operative who’s formulating ways for capital to gain control over the international movement aimed at dealing with the accelerating climate crisis and turn it into a profit-making opportunity while completely disarming any elements which might threaten capitalist hegemony. During the interview, Stoknes basically lambasted all those who put forth “doom and gloom,” and asserted much better results can be attained if you present climate change as an opportunity for new businesses as “we” change to new forms of energy generation, savings, and steps which everyone can take and people tend to emulate if they see, such as rooftop solar panels and electric cars. The host, Sonali Kolhathkar, is a totally gullible “leftist” journalist and a yuppie by lifestyle, she of course has not the slightest clue about just unviable these “solutions” are, so she eagerly drank it all up. Yes, you don’t have to give up your high high consumption lifestyles, you just need to maintain them in different ways. CRAP GALORE!!

    Mark Austin Says:
    July 31st, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    “PHIL MORRISON – yes yes yes. I’m listening and learning new stuff from you. Thanks. This is about the only place I ever find time to comment but I do read many comments in other sites. Okay Jeff S. shoot me cause I admit I get paid to read as part of my “research” time.”

    Right, as if you and Phil aren’t working together on a disinformation campaign, just like Stokenes. simply from a different direction. If you are getting paid, it’s not to read but to troll and spread garbage.

    Kevin Moore: the problem with that list (aside from the fact that it’s put forth by Michael Snyder, who almost daily presents such lists predicting imminent collapse), is that items such as “the most important trendline for the S&P 500 has finally been broken after holding up for six years” is the assumption that there is still some actual market out there that’s not completely manipulated by government operatives on behalf of central banks. Economic indicators can be manipulated ad infinitum.. The planet’s physical indicators, however, cannot. Sure, you can publish false data about them or just pretend nothing is going on, but the planet’s physical systems will make themselves felt no matter what. I agree an earlier collapse is far more desirable, but i expect the powers-that-be to drag things out for as long as possible, they may well launch WWIII if they cannot delay collapse any longer.

  • I think we should see if we can have the featured essay published in the
    Bangladeshi MSM. When we start to see significant sea level rise,attachment theory will be at the top of the list of their concerns.

  • Jeff S

    I agree that economic numbers are largely the result of manipulation and lies (in fact practically all numbers generated in the system are inaccurate or fraudulent or manipulated, and GDP is a phony measure of economic activity), and I agree there have been people shouting ‘collapse imminent’ for a long time.

    However, around here, present times are very different from any I have ever witnessed. For instance, the son of a friend was earning ‘big money’ working on an offshore rig; last week I heard he had lost his job. Another person I speak with regularly has, over recent weeks, highlighted continued job losses in the oil sector, and has become very worried. Yesterday I was speaking with a long-established dairy farmer who reported that there had been zero pay-out for July, and that he knew of many farmers who were on the brink of a liquidity crisis.

    Sure, the scumbags at the top of the heap will do everything in their power to keep the game going for as long as possible. But there reaches a point at which they run out of ‘ammunition’. Negative interest rates is surely an indicator they have ‘run out of ammunition’.

    Bearing in mind that the collapse has been underway for at least 7 years (arguably nearly 15) and every action taken by the maniacs who are in control makes matters worse, there must come a point at which collapse cannot be held back any longer and becomes self-reinforcing.

    I believe we are not far from the point of collapse not being held back much longer, and that systemic corruption and fraud and incompetence will soon bring a major jolt.

    If the jolt does not come in 2015, it must surely come in 2016, when, by every credible analysis I have seen, the downside of the oil curve starts to get very steep.

    As I have said several times, the picture will be a lot clearer on a lot of matters by the end of September.

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

  • @Phil Morrison – Truly one of the slickest infomercials in history and it has helped make Dr. Sears verrrrrry rich.

    For almost 5 years, I was treated by the finest Oncology professionals at the University of PA, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins.

    The American Cancer Society is not a fan. If you put a tuxedo on a pig, it’s still a pig.

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/01/28/reagans-secret-cancer-cure-and-other-scams-from/202285

  • “Business and pols have trained the general public NOT to trust.”

  • @Artleads.. what do you mean about “trust”..? I’m not sure why you posted that video.

    We can snicker at these people, but what the video shows is that people (the majority of people?– we have no idea because these sorts of videos are always edited down to the “worst” cases and are useless as any kind of journalism) will choose immediate, useful energy, even if in a crappy commercial/processed/adulterated form, over an abstract metal.

    It’s like if you offered a chimp a grape vs. a Ferrari…

    The chimp overlords make fun of the chimps who didn’t choose the Ferrari? Boh.



    @Mark, will contact those folks so we can get together. You’re taking the train from DC to Montpelier, correct? 😉 It stops in my town, too, which is ever-so-convenient. /sarc

  • @JC Dolph, hope that is non-rBGH butter there!

    Once in a while I check in online with the “Inspire” forums (they have them for various diseases). It’s interesting to me to read what others are facing and how they go through their transitions and procedures, whether they choose aggressive treatment or not, how they face end-of-life care.

    I wish you the best on your own journey, JC, and I can taste the sweet corn now. Will pick some up tomorrow!

    And thank you for reminding me about Monsanto making carpeting. You would only know that if you grew up more or less in the 60s, I think. They advertised on TV, if I am not mistaken.

    Of course, all new homes when I was growing up boasted W2W carpeting, while we in our 1900-era house made do with oak and pine boards and wool or rag area rugs. An important group of cancer vectors, no doubt, has been the off-gassing of all this heinous chemical carpeting, spongey underlayments, plywood sub-flooring, plastic-based paints, etc., none of which had ever even existed prior to WWII. DuPont (“Better Living Through Chemistry”) was a very big name in modern paints, carpets (esp. various “stain guard” treatments). They are also big in the medical field with, among other things, the supposedly-intert Teflon that they also line cooking implements with, to bad end. To get tax breaks they fund childrens’ hospitals!


    I had an annoying conversation recently with a woman who talked about cancer being a “preventable” lifestyle disease, sort of like being overweight or “sugar diabetes” as my grandpa would call it. But who in the Western world has never eaten food from a can with BPA, never had a dairy product from an animal given growth hormones, never ridden in a car with “new car smell”, etc., etc., etc.? The extent of the man-made chemical onslaught is incomprehensible. To what degree was this ever “preventable” is an interesting question.

    Hey, did you know “Food Is Love”?
    http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7sD1/monsanto-food-is-love

    And that your “Dinner Is Ready”?
    http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7sBW/monsanto-dinners-ready

    “God Bless Our Home and Keep It Safe”
    says American Cyanamid
    http://www.vintage-adventures.com/vintage-industrial-chemical-ads/3676-1956-american-cyanamid-company-ad-keep-it-safe.html

  • “@Artleads.. what do you mean about “trust”..? I’m not sure why you posted that video.

    We can snicker at these people, but what the video shows is that people (the majority of people?– we have no idea because these sorts of videos are always edited down to the “worst” cases and are useless as any kind of journalism) will choose immediate, useful energy, even if in a crappy commercial/processed/adulterated form, over an abstract metal.

    It’s like if you offered a chimp a grape vs. a Ferrari…

    The chimp overlords make fun of the chimps who didn’t choose the Ferrari? Boh.”

    No. I don’t snicker at ordinary people at all. A lot of smart people, on OFW, say, talk about saving gold and silver, all of which is incomprehensible to me. I think hoarding silver is also meaningless to average people, which makes me tend to admire them. But when I posted the video, I *was* thinking of trust. As in being wary of strangers trying to give you things. Go for the safer, reliably packaged thing that will at least provide fleeting delight.

    “Of course, all new homes when I was growing up boasted W2W carpeting, while we in our 1900-era house made do with oak and pine boards and wool or rag area rugs. An important group of cancer vectors, no doubt, has been the off-gassing of all this heinous chemical carpeting, spongey underlayments, plywood sub-flooring, plastic-based paints, etc., none of which had ever even existed prior to WWII. DuPont (“Better Living Through Chemistry”) was a very big name in modern paints, carpets (esp. various “stain guard” treatments). They are also big in the medical field with, among other things, the supposedly-intert Teflon that they also line cooking implements with, to bad end. To get tax breaks they fund childrens’ hospitals!”

    Again, I don’t pin this on ordinary people. I pin it on a powerful and seductive (as through mind altering drugs) ideology run by an elite power bloc. The ideology gets to be a pervasive system incorporating all power levers of society. From this, there is small chance of escape. I don’t necessarily believe the people on top aren’t caught up in the “trance” ideology as well; it’s just that *they* are responsible for peddling it.

  • @Lidia – No, no rBGH butter for me. (No GMO corn, either. Shhhh.) A lifelong friend has a small farmstead where he raises non-GMO corn and makes his own 20% fat, restaurant-quality butter. No place at my table for Monsanto, not anymore anyway.

    While I appreciate your best wishes, I’m not facing “end-of-life care”. I’m giving it the “Fickle Finger of Fate” while trying to make others’ mirror reflections less lonely and painful. And, yes, your generational assessment is dead on. Sorry, couldn’t help the pun.

    Last but not least, you’ve also given me the impetus to say “thank you”. I so enjoy your posts. Such a great balance of intelligence, droll wit, sarcasm, levity and eye-poking. Have a fabulous Sunday!