An Introduction to Post-Insurrectionary Revengism: Politics in Light of Near Term Human Extinction

by Tim Buchanan

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of violence

The converging crises that are descending on our planet are the direct responsibility of the powerful who preside over civilization today. The political and economic elite of yesteryear would not have known about the effects of burning fossil fuels, but the elite of today have no such excuse. They know very well what the consequences of their actions will be, and continue regardless. In this sense they are very culpable for the future murder of billions of humans, not to mention the trillions upon trillions of non-human animals, and the extinction of trillions of species.

If there is any doubt that the powerful know exactly what they are doing, this myth should be dispelled by very existence of luxury condos, priced in the millions, built in an abandoned nuclear missile silo at an undisclosed location in Kansas ( The powerful are actively preparing for the disaster that they have unleashed, while the rest of us will be left to die in privation.

The mainstream environmental movement has been selling us a grand lie. The grand lie is the concept of personal responsibility among the powerless. They have sold the idea that we are just as culpable as the powerful because we drive cars, consume products, etc. As if we have a say in how civilization is organized! As if we have leverage against a self-perpetuating 12,000 year old system of slavery and exploitation! This is the grand dis-empowering lie that convinces people that they can avoid certain catastrophe by driving hybrid cars. To believe this lie is to excuse the powerful of their responsibility, and therefore never come to a clear understanding of what our future will look like.

Yet I believe that while confronting these power arrangements we run the risk of  falling into a state of anticipatory victimization. Our extinction as a species, in my opinion, should not have any bearing on how we view ourselves in the interim. To hold on to the identity of the victim, we sabotage the opportunity to make the most out of what very well may be our last decades on this planet. Our narrative is such that we are prone to falling into a Post Traumatic Stress (or perhaps I should say Pre-Traumatic Stress) reaction. Dealing with this reaction means that we must reclaim power over our lives, and re-frame our narrative to one of empowerment.

The first step that comes to my mind is that we must not blame ourselves. A major tactic of corporate power, and one that the mainstream NGO environmental movement buys into, is to lay the blame for climate change at the feet of every individual who uses fossil fuels. This has a bi-fold effect. Number one, it removes blame from the powerful, who under this rubric only share as much blame as poor people driving to work at McDonald’s and Walmart. Number two, it derails the environmental movement into a foray of useless spending habits, personal guilt, and at the extreme, suicidal grief and depression. In short, we must understand that this is not our doing.

Overcoming trauma means re-framing the narrative of the traumatic event as to empower the victim. The traumatic event that we are dealing with is gradual and unfolding. This makes even perceiving the narrative as a whole very difficult. However, it also means that we have the opportunity to shift the narrative in real time, as someone fending off an attacker might do. Although our actions may not change anything in the long term, and our species will still be doomed to extinction, we can live our time left on our own terms.

What does this mean for how we live? What would fending off our attacker look like? I don’t make claims to know exactly. I can say, however that our politics are going to look much different than they have in the past . Although I generally refuse to debate to which degree our collective future is set in stone, I do feel comfortable extrapolating current trends. Placing hypothetical situations at the forefront of political thought seems foolish to me, as none of us are clairvoyant. Hypothetically, if all fossil fuels were left in the ground, and no more were burned as of tomorrow, we might have a chance of survival as a species. Hypothetically, a solar storm could knock the grid offline, saving the natural world from further extirpation. Hypothetically, the powerful could adopt humane policies to reduce human suffering during ecological and industrial collapse. We know, however, that these are sordid fantasies. They are sordid because they detract from real suffering being visited upon the natural world everyday, and the suffering of those humans to which the apocalypse is not a distant future event, or a clever metaphor. For many people, the end of the world has arrived, in all of it’s painful indifference to life, love, and any sense of fairness or equality. To paraphrase Orwell, if you want a vision of the future, look at the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I’ve taken this to mean that our politics must necessarily be reaction based. There will be no better tomorrow, no salvation, no retribution or justice. There will be pain, a pain that we will not be able to alleviate, only react to in the interim, before our inevitable untimely deaths. For these reasons I consider political philosophies that seek to create a better world outdated, and I feel we are forced to adopt a reaction based politic.

Reactive politics do not have constraints, they do not adhere to a specific goal, they are unique to the individual, and are therefore indomitable. For each individual with a reactive politics, there is the potential for action. Reactive politics can not be defeated, for it has no desire to win, indeed, winning is seen as impossible, and abstract to the point of protecting civilization from it’s enemies. Revolt, for the reactive individual, is for it’s own sake. Reactive politics cannot be co-opted, they exist only in the moment of action. When wild animals, and wild humans kill civilization’s emissaries, they are engaging in reactive politics. The killing is not meant to culminate into a revolution, nor is it based in an ideology, but is a reaction to an immediate threat. Humans engage in reactive politics even when all hope is lost, as was the case for many of those who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. They chose to die in their own terms, despite the knowledge that their deaths were certain. Over this century, as more and more communities come to see that hope is lost to head off climate change, reactivity will become a common form of radical politics, and the powerful will have much more to fear.

Tim Buchanan is on Facebook″>here. Post-insurrectionary revengism is on Facebook here.


McPherson writes: Assuming I survive the cutting-room floor, I’ll be featured in a televised episode of National Geographic on 1 November 2015. Footage includes Bill Nye at the mud hut. Details can be found here. Mundane trailer is embedded below.

Comments 138

  • Mark Austin- thanks for the radiation warning! As far as the media warning us, I don’t pay too much attention to them anyway. Feels like most outlets have corporate agendas and won’t tell the truth anyway. So no, I’ve heard literally no warnings about the impending doom of Fukushima radiation. Ann Coulter says a little radiation is good for us, though. So that makes me feel great.

    LWA- thanks for the song. Sounds like a potential wedding song?? Sorry I’ve been remiss in responding to your response. Was just getting my dowry together. I’m old school that way.

    Lidia- INTP is a category for the Myers Briggs. I think that’s probably what Wren was talking about.

  • ‘What a magnificent and insightful poem. Here in England, I had never heard of Hank Bukowski before. Thanks for making me acquainted with him.’

    i watched this documentary a few years ago. wouldn’t u know that it was nbl that turned me on to bukowski. funny little story: early in this docu it’s said amusingly that he referred to his penis as ‘the purple onion’ and that he liked to boast of his sexual prowess. this reminded me of caro’s biography of lyndon johnson, the amerikan president who was in on the jfk assassination and the massive escalation of imperial war in vietnam. he too was a ‘ladies man’ who liked to impress others by showing off his outsized organ. he called it ‘jumbo’. anyway, dig bukowski, and thanks el sea for posting his poem.

  • I thought it was telling that a few years after Hansen spoke before Congress in 1988 and for the first time the mass media had no choice but to alert the public to the dire consequences of global warming, the automakers unleashed the Hummer onto American streets — a vehicle that produced 4 times the co2 of an average vehicle. It was a moment of clarity.

    It was capitalism’s message to the world that it truly was a suicide cult which would heedlessly continue to produce atrocity after atrocity against life on this planet in the name of profit and insane and obscene wealth accumulation.

    So at that point (early 1990’s) it became absolutely clear to me that capitalism had to go, that it was determined to deliberately murder the life of an entire planet. By that point it became impossible for anyone claiming to care about ecology not to notice these deliberate crimes against all life that capitalism was producing, even after scientific evidence had proved that to continue to do so meant a global holocaust for most if not all living things. It became a duty to unequivocally acknowledge the murderous death cult of capitalist plutocracy which had seized illegitimate and irresponsible sovereignty over the future of life on this planet.

  • ‘We human are going to pretend we can “game the system” until there are no humans. Most will choose the blame game, simply because it’s far more comforting to think someone else is responsible and that we are somehow innocent. And that has nothing to do with the fact that TPTB are absolute monsters, it just that their greater culpability doesn’t have the magical power or erasing our own, we only like to think it does.’

    what daniel said.

    ‘What puerile bullshit.’

    what paul c. said.

    ‘It is politicians (and the behind-the-scenes bankers and corporations) who have set the agenda, not ordinary people. ‘ -kevin m.

    i know plenty of ‘ordinary people’ who fully support the status quo, the power brokers. if they could, they’d be the ‘elites’.

    so kevin, i’m not buying your position of blame it all on the bad ones at the top of society. there’s plenty of culpability to go around, and while each individual’s share may differ vastly in size… it’s not all the fault of ‘elites’. it’s not a matter of social class/caste. it’s a matter of aspects of (human) nature like stupidity and greed that transcends such distinctions.

  • looking at what i just posted, it might seem as though i’m using paul c.’s quote in response to the one by daniel above it. that wasn’t my intention. (the paul c. quote was in response to something written in the guest essay at the top of this thread). i meant to express agreement with both.

  • Thanks, babajingo. I believe the actual categories are either INTF, with the “F” standing for “Feeling”, and INTJ, with the “J” standing for “Judging”.

    Perhaps there *should* be a third category for the fourth parameter, though.. “P”, standing for “Pissing People Off”. :-)

  • Lidia- Ha! I like the “Pissing People Off” category. As an ENTP I probably qualify. I don’t mean to belabor the point here. My father was really into the Myers Briggs so I remember the following:

    E or I
    N or S
    T or F
    P or J

    There’s a Thinking/Feeling category and a Perceiving/Judging category. But whatever, I don’t know why I stuck my nose in this discussion in the first place hahahaha. Plus I think this is my 4th post. Woops!!! Sorry all.

  • @babajingo, You’re absolutely right! Please carry on as I am happy to be corrected, and this will be my third post, but it IS important to get this sorted out, is it not?

    My apologies to WREN and BABAJINGO.
    Doing nothing but apologizing here tonight!

    @LWA, I conveyed your comments about Business 101 textbook tactics to a subset of my anti-development group. I wanted them to be informed, but it did demoralize them a bit.

    Truth vs. demoralization is a running theme here.

  • Lidia,

    you wrote:

    “If 7 billion, then violence.”

    This could also work in reverse.

    I was thinking about what makes plants go to seed, which really is what humans have done, gone to seed.

    Plants go to seed when one or more parameters in their environment move out of normal seasonal limits, excepting when it is time to go to seed that is.
    If you water too much, or too little, if there is too much wind, or some soil nutrient deficiency. It seems almost anything makes them go to seed.
    I got to thinking it was so the next generation could adapt to the changed conditions, very quickly. The plant is not just going out by itself, its popping off a few little ones that might just have the adaptations to survive in the changed environment.

    S humans have somehow succumbed to the same either delusion, or real threat. I actually thought it came down to fear. Fear makes people breed more, and not just for numbers, for comfort, and momentary security, and to reaffirm close bonds. The question remains as to where the fear came from. I think violence, either experienced or threatened can switch the same mechanism on.

    So yes… if 7 billion then violence, but maybe also…
    if violence then 7-9 billion.

    Just sayin… ;)

    Icehouse – Great Southern Land

  • What a great thread this has become… poetry and literature!
    Badlands, it is so good to have you and your eloquent and heartfelt presence again. ☀

    Great Cormac McCarthy quotes, Woodwose!

    Lidia, I have immense respect for your intellect, and your mathematical precision with words and ideas. We’re just different. ( the thinking vs feeling issue.)

    babajingo and LWA- congrats. A wedding on the beach? Yea!

  • USA collapse…?

    Dimiti Orlov seems to be calling it very very soon !

    Of course we have seen these alerts before, just sayin its out there.


  • LIDIA! Wow.

    So, if this, then that.
    If 7 billion, then violence.
    If perceived beauty, then human poem.
    There’s nothing that excludes one from the other.

  • tvt

    ‘i know plenty of ‘ordinary people’ who fully support the status quo, the power brokers. if they could, they’d be the ‘elites’.’

    Terry, the obvious questions are, are those ordinary people aware that current economic arrangements are amount to a suicidal death cult and are in the process of terminating, and are they even aware they have been continuously lied to by the people who exploit them?

    I know a lot of people who think things are just fine at the moment, and none of them has any idea what the real state of the nation is what the state of the planet.

    I take particular issue with scientifically qualified people whose job is to protect the environment -various regional council officers, Ministry of the Environment officers, environmental protection agencies, Environment Courts etc.- who wittingly promote rapid destruction of the environment and planetary meltdown.

    Of course, it is not people of my age (65) who are going to suffer the direst consequences of the insanity that characterises the mainstream culture and the idiotic policies of the hypocrites who promote it; the degree of suffering will likely be roughly inversely proportional to age.

    ‘Global Temperatures Smash September Record by Widest Margin in History’

  • For the record: I hate violence, it disgusts me, and it always has. I know violence well though and have been on the receiving end of it many times over the course of my life. Sometimes, I have retaliated, and when so, it has mostly been successful and has put an end to further violence or intimidation. I have never instigated violence at a personal level and have never felt inclined to. I abhor state-sponsored violence at all levels.

    I see the selective use of violence merely as a means to an end to remove psychopaths from positions of power and influence. This conclusion comes only in the absence of being presented with any realistic alternative. I have searched and have debated the existence of one ad-nauseum and must finally conclude that pacifism is ultimately counter-productive. A pathological protagonist can only view pacifism with contempt; this is ubiquitous and unchangeable.

    I would like to present to you all at NBL, three hypothetical scenarios for you to consider, and if the use of violence illustrated therein is justified in these particular circumstances:

    Scenario One: An idyllic Gauguin-esque paradise in a Pacific South Sea Island fishing community…

    Peaceful coexistence has been maintained for millennia. Everyone has their role, their tasks are self-selected based on enjoyment and ability. The tradition involves the fishing boats delivering the daily catch to the water’s edge whereby the other villagers take what fish are needed for their immediate needs leaving an adequate remainder for the fishermen and their families. Everybody is peaceful and happy. There are no laws and no rules, only an understanding and respect of each others needs. The community is stable and sustainable, until…

    An individual emerges from the rest. He is obviously different – a glutton. He always takes the best fish and always takes more than he needs leaving his excess to rot. Others go hungry as a result and he shows no consideration for this. The situation steadily worsens but all the others are in agreement that under no circumstances must he be told to alter his ways; that would go against the fundamental principles of the freedom of the village. When the situation becomes intolerable the village elders urgently get together to discuss how to resolve the problem and whether the glutton might be able to change his ways somehow. It was unanimous that he couldn’t, nor wouldn’t, and also, it would be against tradition that he be forced or persuaded to do so anyway. It was imperative that only compassion and understanding be given to all and that no coercion ever be used in any circumstances – so they killed him. Happiness was restored and his memory became legend.

    This scenario is, of course, a variant of Garret Hardin’s ‘Tragedy of The Commons’. Hardin was wrong on historic detail however as, in reality, if a commons was over-grazed, the excess animal/s would be killed and the opportunistic commoner would be ostracised or banished – as is the case in hunter/gatherer or nomadic/pastoral tribes today.

    Scenario Two: The Long-suffering Battered Wife

    After years of violent sexual abuse at the hands of her alcoholic husband a wife discovers he is about to assault their young daughter. He is in a rage at being discovered and threatens to kill her if she does anything to stop him. She knows he is not bluffing. The daughter is screaming for her mother’s help. Without hesitation, she gets a knife from the kitchen draw and plunges it into her husband heart. She is tried for the offence of manslaughter and given a suspended sentence.

    The wife and the daughter undergo PTSD therapy with successful outcomes and they continue their lives. The wife remarries happily and the daughter is undamaged psychologically. Both are empowered and emboldened by the experience.

    This scenario has many actual case parallels in real life. The wives do not become violent people afterwards and their reputation ensures that any protagonist considering violence would do well to reconsider. Unfortunately, there are also many cases of wives who do not retaliate and end up dead or are tortured, sometimes for years. Many children who grow up in an atmosphere of violence or sexual abuse grow up and repeat the pattern. The earlier the cycle of abuse is stopped, the less likely it is to be perpetuated. The rates of recidivism for violent sexually abusive men are very high. A spell in prison seems to fuel their rage against women; often the same woman.

    Scenario Three – Nuclear Armageddon

    In this scenario I will ask you not only to be an observer but a participant. I will participate also and be the ‘primary technician’ described. You are my long-standing friend and work mate; try an imagine yourself in this role and of how you would react:

    We have been friends for many years and work as a team of private contractors inspecting military aircraft. We are stationed at Lakenheath UK (say). The current geopolitical situation is fraught with Russia and the US claiming rights to a large territory in Eurasia (you get the drift) that has discovered a massive reserve of oil under the sea surrounding a chain of islands. Global oil supplies are running low and many regional skirmishes have broken out as a result… There is extensive rioting and looting in cities across the world.

    The US decides it will drop a nuclear warhead on the nearest Russian airbase positioned on the outskirts of a large city. The US has a large fleet readied to occupy the territory to then claim it for the US. The UK is aligned with the US as usual. By acquiring control of the oil and transit routes, the US and European governments can stabilise their social unrest.

    We (you and I) are giving the plane that will drop the bomb its final inspection. We are experts and know every inch of the aircraft. We are alone and unmonitored.

    I exclaim to you that I have been considering the matter for some time and my conscience can not allow me to let the craft fly. We are fully aware of the implications. I have a pair of pliers and I am about to cut a vital cable that will result in the plane crashing and killing the four crew members.

    A. Do you try and prevent or dissuade me from cutting the cable?

    B. Do you passively allow me to cut the cable knowing that it will result in the murder of four innocent people who were just doing their job?

    C. Do you actively encourage me to cut the cable knowing that it will save the lives of three million innocent people who will otherwise be dead within the hour; possibly preventing an all-out exchange that will destroy all life on earth?

    You have three seconds to decide, what do you do? Answer A, B, or C please, don’t fudge.

    If you try and stop me (A) then there is little I can do to convince you that violence has a role in making the world a better place.

    If you support me (B or C) you will understand everything I have been trying to explain.


    I can not perceive how a having big group hug, nor sending each other little pink bubbles of love, can stop psychopaths being psychopathic. Neither can singing Kum Bah Ya, nor praying to the Overweight Fairy On Her Green Cheese Bicycle, nor putting candles in windows, nor changing your voting patterns, nor knitting sock puppets for peace.


    @Lydia “I’m fairly big on mercy these days, to the objection of some”. Hmm, I think you need to work on that?

    @Wren “There are 5 birds on a fence, and you shoot one. How many birds are left? Correct answer: None. The others have long since fled before you even did the math”. Sorry, that is also the wrong answer – probably? How long is the fence? Are the birds alive? Are the birds artificial? Are they deaf? Are they on the fence at the same time? What was being shot? (Camera? Arrows? Blowgun darts?) etc. You can see why I piss people off can’t you?




    I notice Guy has updated his climate change essay but those aserisks are difficult to hunt out to find the new additions. Guy – Any chance of a typeface change or highlighting for future updates? And, thank you for your tireless energy and dedication.


  • Hurricane Center calling Patricia a record storm

    Residents of a stretch of Mexico’s Pacific Coast dotted with resorts and fishing villages boarded up homes and bought supplies ahead of Friday’s arrival of Hurricane Patricia, a monster Category 5 storm that forecasters say is the strongest ever recorded in the Western hemisphere.

    With maximum sustained winds near 200 mph (325 kph), Patricia is the strongest storm ever recorded in the eastern Pacific or in the Atlantic, said Dave Roberts, a hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

    Patricia’s power was comparable to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines two years ago, according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization. [more]

  • Back to the car steering analogy. It’s not a case of being a lefty or being angry. The situation is too dire for that. It’s a case of dealing with a fucking maniac who has commandeered the car, intent on, oblivious about or unconcerned over running it over a cliff. It is not a question of collective potential for evil. Who has time for such speculation in an epic emergency? The situation is nowhere close to the norm, where a rational driver corrects the steering with deft little moves that have become automatic. Now it’s the fucking maniac we have to deal with. I think Gail Tverberg would conclude that forcefully yanking the maniac away while the car is careening downhill is extremely fraught. Shouting and screaming might help. So is the occasional desperate lounge to alter the steering oneself. Tverberg is implying that a roadblock isn’t far ahead up the road. The oil runs out. And that is the best we can hope for. At that point the maniac should be removed from the driver’s seat, and preferably from the car. Actually, he should be confined (or worse), if there is any place to confine him while everybody is in a panic over one thing or another. No one knows whether we can get beyond the roadblock. The system, with all its parts, breaks down as a single entity. There is no time for anger or for whether-or-not speculations about it. Unless you have your head firmly stuck up or down something, this will be time for action.

    The human being is not one thing or another. She is in a constant state of emergence, of becoming. Nothing is fixed about her. She self-corrects as she goes along, one day to the next. Speculations about determinism and what is her true nature seems totally irrelevant to me, especially at this moment in time… The maniac must be dislodged, by any means necessary. That is all.

  • So Bud really is the science guy, Bill.

  • I’ve posted anew. There is a new introduction to an old essay, a link to an interview, an more information about the forthcoming hatchet job on NatGeo. It’s all here.

  • Memo
    To: Zarquon
    From: Customer Service/Tech Support

    Subject: Double asterisks in Monster CC Essay

    On my IBM-PC laptop, you can hit “Control” and “F” (or “f”, not case sensitive) to open a search box at upper right of screen.

    Hitting Shift + “8” twice should put two asterisks in the search box along with a count of how many times the O/S has located “**”.

    The box will originally display “x of y” (where “x” and “y” are integers).

    Hitting the up or down arrow icons toward the right side of the box will take you to the next or previous place where “**” appears.

    Hope this helps you keep up to date with the MCCEssay.

    If you use an Apple product, and it does not have exactly the same key sequence, you can probably find the Apple corollary via Google.

    If this was all a psych experiment to see if anyone would be altruistic enugh to spend the time required to assist with the problem…Byte me.

    It’s OK to occasionally act like Chicken Little when it’s gettin’ to be the end of our world…it’s not ever nice to cry “Wolf” absent a real wolf.

    Sort of Chicken Little, dyslexicized.

    No, not Howlin’ Wolf, sorry.

    The “Three links and you’re in moderation” feature of the blog’s software keep me from linking to “Psycho Killer” to align with your Gauguin-esque scenario.

    There is a “Ballad of John Bobbit” available on Youtube (in case…).

    For the Nuclear Armageddon scenario, nothing beats Slim Pickens…although Barry Corbin’s character’s three second claim to fame in “War Games” is, as I hear they say in Bahstan, “a real pissah”. (You can see it if you just tell YT’s search box “war games spark plug”)

  • Hey, thanks, Guy!

    This just became “current thread minus one”, so here’s the Bobbit & Corbin show.


  • Woodwose—-great, fitting quotes! Thank you.

    Badlands, what a treat to have you back here, sharing your amazing gift . . . your ability to translate thought/feelings/perceptions into words in the way you do. And your questions!!! Love your questions! Thanks for the poems too.

    My rant above did come across as picking on Mary Oliver who I have always appreciated (have all of her books—- some signed—- that I would take to the basement with me during midwest Tornado warnings—- along with Sand County Almanac!).

    It seemed M.O. became Oprah-fied which irritated the hell out of me. The poem Wild Geese was appearing everywhere——particularly among the self help crowd. (Bright sided a book by Barbara Ehrenreich speaks brilliantly to this fairly recent U.S. cultural mandate).

    When I discovered Mary O. it was wonderful! FINALLY someone was noticing the nonhuman world and writing about nonhuman life in a way that was beautiful, accessible and seemed,for the most part, ego free. She also spoke to man’s destructive ways.

    What is painful about the poem Wild Geese for me now is realizing that we are so far from knowing our place in things (or at least I am)—– that we aren’t a benign part of creation but in fact the ultimate destructive force on par with meteors—–worse than meteors in that we have a brain/consciousness.

    OT interjection: As I’ve said many times, it’s easy to sit around and pontificate about the why’s of our predicament when we’re not yet starving, dying of thirst or struggling in fatal wet bulb temps.

    This is all so indescribably bizarre.

    Immediate, partial reaction to believing NTE: wow, here we are at this time in history! What are the odds? But bottom line: I’d rather be at a point in history where there is evidence that humans moved (in critical mass which does not mean 7 billion!) toward kindness,compassion, love and reverence for nonhuman life. Obviously that’s not going to happen.

    I think it would be easier to cope with life and impending death if I knew that humans would exit the planet while birds, sea turtles, frogs, dolphins and other nonhumans would go on without us. Thinking about post cremation ashes scattered in a thriving fen, for example offered some comfort. Can’t happen now.

    At some point in humans time on earth, it was possible to believe that the biosphere would go on . . . . and perhaps end when the sun neared red giant stage or smashed by meteor.

    That humans knowingly cause pain, death, extinction—that is the clincher for me. That is what makes humans the most malignant life force on earth—–ever. And damn, I’m a human—–malignant force.

    Wouldn’t it be easier to live life/face death believing that much used phrase, “the earth will go on after us”? Or to peacefully integrate and fully accept the declaration: “everything goes extinct so get over it!”

    How does one cope with the knowledge that humans are conscious killers? We can talk endlessly about which “type” of humans are the worst of the killers but that will not change the fate of the biosphere.

    To know that the intentional actions of humans are responsible for biocide elicits a grief that is an unprecedented. A grief that (imo) can’t be boxed into a model of “stages”.

    I guess that’s why I come here; to learn how people all over the world are coping (or not) with this reality. I come here to read stories, hear music, poems, limericks (glad to see cowgirl apocalypse musings again a few threads back) or the biting, often humorous commentary by R. C. as he cuts through the crap.

    I’ll admit it. Sometimes I come here for “hope”. Can’t explain that but it’s true. Don’t hate me for not letting go of that one—–still working on it.

    I can’t come here to proudly declare that I’m carbon neutral or better yet, that I chose not to have a child . . .
    I often wonder why others come here. Glad you all do.

  • – infanttyrone re ‘double asterisks’. Thank you, and I did notice this ‘**’ short cut when I checked the MCCessay this morning. However as I do most of my online blog reading on a BBY smartphone (or small Android tablet) it is a real PITA with the usual Windows/Apple search and short cuts. I also have to put up with a low bandwith of 6Gb per month and poor reception. I live off-grid (log cabin in the woods thing, South Central France) and do not have much spare electricity when the sun isn’t shining – and it has been a very dull week this week. When it is sunny, I recharge the battery bank and use my laptop. I’ll check the ballads and War Games when I am next at a friend’s with wifi, probably Sunday? Meanwhile, I’m eking out the power. Thanks again.

  • Caroline- I don’t think anyone is truly carbon neutral until they’re dead. Even then, they’re emitting methane so… I also certainly hope that no one would ever proudly proclaim that they chose not to have a child. I don’t think having a child is something to be ashamed of, and I don’t think NOT having them is something to be proud of. But that’s just my opinion. Your child probably agrees : )

    As to why I come here- probably because it’s full of people who are just as angry and helpless about our current reality as I am. Actually, probably more so than I am. There’s an odd comfort in finally finding like minded souls, 20 years after figuring out that we’re probably all going to be doomed within my lifetime. Cold comfort, perhaps.

  • Thanks so much for that response babajingo. There is comfort in finding like minded souls indeed.

    For what it’s worth and as sappy as it may sound, the love shared between my daughter and I is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We have a bond that is indescribable. It is similar to the depth of love I feel for land that I’ve grown to know—-the author Kathleen Dean Moore speaks to this depth of love (person and place) in her writings.

    In the meantime the shit is hitting the fan in northern midwest. My friend had her house broken into 2 nights ago and 4 homes in the area were ransacked and virtually gutted. My friend’s house was spared due to her alarm. Not so for others in the area who had everything stolen from electronics to tampons.
    This was an area where I once felt very safe. The people whose homes were destroyed are not wealthy people. The 1% -ers that live a few miles away are very well protected —— ensconced in their fortresses (for now).

  • Zarquon,

    Bon chance!

    Too bad we didn’t one way or another neutralize our gluttons 40-50 years ago.

    We were between 3 and 4 billion and might have had a chance.


  • Lidia!!! wow:

    So, if this, then that.
    If 7 billion, then violence.
    If perceived beauty, then human poem.
    There’s nothing that excludes one from the other.

  • @infanttyrone,

    If it was our gluttons that took us from 3 to 7 billion, it was also gluttons that took us from one to three billion; gluttons took us from 100 million to 1 billion; gluttons that took us from 10 million to 100 million.

    Where should we have stopped the gluttony? Could we have restrained the gluttons when there were only 10 million of us on the planet?

  • @Paul Chefurka

    I try to avoid the ‘shoulds’ too.

    The earlier we had been vaccinated against gluttons the better, I suppose.

    Maybe going back in time there is a point past past which such vaccinations would have been more harmful than helpful.

    Finding or even speculating about whether such a flex point on the graph exists is not on my To Do List.

    My guess is that any point before movable type would mean that communities would be re-inventing the vaccine every time there was a glutton to kill.
    Movable type would let some or many communities know about the potential problem and proven remedy in advance of a local occurrence.

    If the Sybils and their pigeon network had been involved maybe you wouldn’t have had to wait for Gutenberg and Co., but I’m not sure they weren’t subsidized by the gluttons of their time. Maybe a scholar of the time period could school us on that, not that it matters now, but if someone chimes in I’ll read their post. Always thought they had an interesting niche after finding out about their hardware/liveware configurations.

    Do you have a range of dates where you think it might have worked?
    If so, pull up a beach chair, pop open a Corona (sic), and tell me about it.

    Or an ayahuascappuccino or whatever.

  • @infanttyrone,

    I suspect the critical decision point came a split femtosecond before the second law of thermodynamics came into existence. All the aboriginal drum-pounding around here hasn’t convinced me there was ever a time when the current outcome could have been avoided. We might have been able to delay Gotterdamerung if our historical path had taken some different turns, but prevent it? Not with these brains, on this planet. At least that’s what the devas told me the last time I drank Mother Gaia’s Milk…

  • @Paul C.

    Well, I have yet to go to the jeweled kingdom for the 10 minute tour, but I’m retired now and it won’t be too long before I can’t put it off any longer.

    I’m fairly somewhat well read in the ideas of Leary, R.A. Wilson, Crick, McKenna, and a few others, and one way of looking at what we’re doing here is that it is a test to see if the life forms that we evolved into can find our way back to where the seeds/spores were sent from. No specific bias as to whether we ‘go home’ via space craft & materials engineering or some other technique like what I think your milkshake refers to. It’s not a belief, but it could be why we’re here. Just an idea.

    Wait, you don’t think the 2nd LoT existed later than a split femtosecond after the Big Bang? I don’t think it loitered around the cosmos waiting for us to discover it. Maybe you’re having fun and I don’t quite get it.
    But you could start a 2nd LoT cult. Gravity’s Rainbow brought us “the Anode, the Cathode, and the Holy Grid”. You could have the unicycle, the bicycle, and (oh, no…no kiddie wheels here) the Carnot cycle.

    All the aboriginal drum-pounding around here hasn’t convinced me there was ever a time when the current outcome could have been avoided.

    Maybe we just missed getting one of the good mutations and got language instead.


    I’m on the road tomorrow. We can continue this in a few days if you’re interested.

  • later than a split femtosecond should read less than a split femtosecond

  • Wester,

    This for real ?
    Some of your former students ?
    At any rate, if it’s real, enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Yes, Paul. As Chomsky put it, “Intelligence was a mistake.” Evolutionary mistakes are automatically eliminated by selection, not by choice. Eyes worked well; most organisms that move around have them. Ears also worked as well. Teeth work. But how many organisms have intelligence? How is that working? The dinosaurs ate each other for 200 million years…that seemed to work. Intelligence turned out to be not so good for survival. Truth is what works.

  • Oh, I did mean to say hello to all, and @infanttyrone- I saw your greetings a while back but got sidetracked- you know, life! Yes, my son has had a little over a year of the immunotherapy and it is doing real wonders for him. This allergy season, which started in early April(!) and is just now coming to an end, has been fairly manageable. Thanks for all the advice in this area! Thankfully we have an allergist who was open to starting a younger kid on the years long therapy- he’s holding out hope for a dog someday, as we all are! Anyway, I wasn’t snubbing you or anyone, just in the eternal hurry! (Thanks for all the Laurie Anderson!)

    @Wren and Caroline- Well, thank you for the compliments! Your commentary got me thinking about what our responsibilities are as artists, in relation to society, but also in relation to ourselves. If a person has had a traumatic childhood and life, are they required to keep the lens on that pain, or is it acceptable to move on and do what someone like Oliver has done, and fold in on life, integrating oneself with nature in this case? Her poetry creates such a visceral response, that poem ‘Spring’-the four black fists- tasting the surroundings coming down the mountain- I feel like that bear when I read the words- inherently powerful.

    Myself, I tackle the dark stuff, but I pay a high cost for doing so, and though it helps me understand myself in a way, I don’t find it to be an exercise in healing. I think this is a common misconception, that in making our art we can somehow heal the wounds. In my search I have never found any acceptable answer for why we hurt each other the way we do, never found a reason for the violence done. Sometimes I wonder if some artists have had too much expectation placed on them to always ‘look’ and dig in the dark. Some have been ruined by it, I think.

    Remember Kurt Cobain? I feel like in addition to his own pain he became a sort of hag, in that a generation of young people used him as a medium for their own angst and the burden was too much. Maybe not, but a couple years ago I re-watched part of Nirvana’s unplugged performance, and that was the sense I got. Anyway, I’m starting to look at humans as a whole as being similar to cilia, sensing the world in it’s myriad forms, only getting a partial picture of what’s going on individually, and only getting a fuller grasp on the information as a whole. I’ve found myself fearing that true grace only exists in contrast to our depravity. What a horrible thought!

  • @Caroline

    ‘Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.’

    I found it interesting, towards the end of the interview I posted the other day, she talks about the poem Wild Geese, and how she was surprised that people latched onto that one because she had done it as an exercise in form. Anyway, when I read it, ‘your place in the family of things’ becomes literal. Simply that we are in the family of things and not at the top of the hierarchies that we high and mighty impose on everything/everybody else. Though I’m cynical enough to place us closer to the bottom of the family of things. Surely these beings are our superiors?


    The seed that met water spoke a little name.

    (Great sunflowers were lording the air that day;
    this was before Jesus, before Rome; that other air
    was readying our hundreds of years to say things
    that rain has beat down on over broken stones
    and heaped behind us in many slag lands.)

    Quiet in the earth a drop of water came,
    and the little seed spoke: “Sequoia is my name.”

    ~William Stafford

  • Badlands,

    Sorry to not say hello back until now.
    Have been traveling the past few days and just got home.
    Very glad to hear that you found a good allergist and that your son seems to be responding well to the treatment.
    Wishing him & you luck in the path to a pooch (rescue type I imagine).
    Not sure you’d go for Three Dog Night, so here’s one with hounds imbedded somewhere in the lyrics.

    Not as danceable as Werewolves of London, though.

  • @infanttyrone,

    All I meant was that I think 2LoT co-appeared with the physical universe (perhaps because in a sense it is the physical universe, or perhaps the primum mobile, or maybe the First Cause, or maybe even the Final Cause). Because it has “always” been the root cause of growth, there was never an opportunity to short-circuit it, no matter how far back you care to go.

    I agree with Ernst Mayr, who famously said, “Intelligence is a lethal mutation.” Chomsly also agrees with him, as in this article:

    I posted the following in a couple of places this morning, and it seems like it belongs here:

    Yesterday morning before sunup as I was walking my dog, I suddenly experienced what felt like a ground truth: the realization that there are no nouns in the universe, just verbs. In other words the universe is not made of things, but processes; the universe as a many-fold process. Another way to think of it is that the Universe is a Becoming.

    The Becoming is experienced in many ways. It can be objects, which are seen when the Becoming is perceived at any given moment in time; as a coherent Self when you experience your local, internal process at a moment in time; as relationships between objects or states; or as the unfolding dance of relationships between objects, physical states, and mental states.

    The root impulse that underlies the Becoming is the essence of change. Without it, there would be no change, no process, no becoming. In the physical world this essence of change manifests as our old friend the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In the twilight world where spirituality and philosophy intersect, this essence is known as the Tao, and the flow that it enables is wu wei. As far as I can tell, the Second Law and the Tao are the same thing, experienced in different contexts.

    For me, non-dualism is the selfless experience of this unitary flow. Its purpose is whatever we perceive it to be in the moment.