Resources and Anthropocentrism

Sun Tzu discussed resources as imperative to state power about 2,500 years ago in The Art of War. By the time Thomas Hobbes linked resources and anthropocentrism in his 1651 classic, Leviathan, resources were clearly accepted as human rights. Consider, for example, a single line from the latter text: “The ‘value’ or ‘worth’ of a man is, as of all other things, his price; that is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his power.” By 1651, humans had become feedstock for the wealth of other humans.

There was no open discussion of exploitation, a trend that continues today. Rather, the underlying assumption is one of the universe as fodder for the continued convenience of some humans. We refer to this phenomenon and the resulting set of living arrangements as “civilization.” It’s viewed as unimpeachably good by nearly all participants.

I’ve pasted below an essay I wrote for this space in October 2009, verbatim. I think it’s held up rather well, considering the radical changes in civilization and my own life during the intervening years. The current essay bears the same title as this essay from about six years ago.

As I indicated in a previous post, the word “resources” is problematic because it implies materials are placed on this planet for the use of humans. We see finite substances and the living planet as materials to be exploited for our comfort. Examples of intense anthropocentrism are so numerous in the English language it seems unfair to pick on this one word from among many. And, as with most other cases, we don’t even think about these examples, much less question them (cf. sustainability, civilization, economic growth). My only justifications for singling out “resources” are the preponderance with which the word appears in contemporary media, the uncritical acceptance of resources as divine gifts for Homo sapiens, and previous posts on a few of the other obvious examples.

I’ll start with definitions, straight from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Resource: 1 a: a source of supply or support : an available means –usually used in plural b: a natural source of wealth or revenue –often used in plural :c: a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life d: computable wealth –usually used in plural e: a source of information or expertise.

All these definitions imply an anthropogenic basis for resources, and c is particularly transparent on this point. Digging a little further, the etymology of “resource” brings us directly to lifelong bedfellows anthropocentrism and Christianity. “Resource” is derived from the Old French “resourdre” (literally, to rise again), which has its roots in the Latin “resurgere” (to rise from the dead; also see “resurrection”).

From this etymology, it’s a simple step back in time to Aristotle’s “final cause” (which followed his material cause, efficient cause, and formal cause). Aristotle posited that, ultimately, events occurred to serve life, particularly the life of humans. This anthropocentric take on causality grew directly from the philosophy of Aristotle’s teacher Plato, who focused his philosophy on separating humans from nature while popularizing the feel-good notion that humans have immortal souls. The idea that humans have souls, which was subsequently discredited by the (western) science that grew from humble Grecian roots, became the basis for Christianity, one of three Abrahamic religions that developed in the Mediterranean a few centuries after Plato learned from Socrates and then taught Aristotle.

Considering the history of western thought, it’s no surprise we view every element on Earth as feedstock for industrialization. The only question is when we exploit Earth’s bounty, not if. The logical progression, then, is to exploitation of humans to further feed the industrial machine.

Within the last few years, personnel departments at major institutions became departments of human resources. Thus, whereas these departments formerly dealt with persons, they now deal with resources. There’s a reason you feel like a cog in a grand imperial scheme: Not only are you are viewed as a cog by the machine, and also by those who run the machine, but any non-cog-like behavior on your part leads to rejection of you and your actions. Seems you’re either a tool of empire or you’re a saboteur (i.e., terrorist).

It’s time to invest in wooden shoes.

As if fifteen people are even willing to poke a stick in the eye of the corporations that run and ruin our lives. Why is that? Probably because we think we depend upon them, when in fact they depend upon us. And, to a certain extent — to the extent we allow — we do depend upon industrial culture for our lives. But only in the short term, and only as self-absorbed, comfortable individuals unwilling to make changes in our lives (even ones that are necessary to our own survival). Taking the longer, broader view, it is evident industrial culture is killing the living planet, and our own species. The cultural problem we face is not that we’re fish out of water. Rather, it’s that we’re fish in a river. We don’t even know there’s an ocean, much less a landbase.

Aye, there’s the rub. Evolution demands short-term thinking focused on individual survival. Most attempts to overcome our evolutionarily hardwired absorption with self are selected against. The Overman is dead, killed by a high-fat diet and unwillingness to exercise. Reflexively, we follow him into the grave.

Comments 111

  • By evolution we have one foot in the organic adaptive system and one foot in the technological adaptive system. I think we like to identify with the technological one most because it temporarily elevates us above the red-in-tooth-and-claw fray of the stinky organic world and opens up marvelous new magical complexity. Like a cancer we seem invincible in our growth. Humans feel like cogs because they are cogs, or RNA equivalents, shuffling around reading and creating information, building tools and then applying them to the environment. Technological society is unlikely to evolve fast enough to outrun the life-destroying externalities it creates. The RNA that once lived freely succumbs to its own tools and organization and becomes a resource of the system, something that must read information and create tools well enough, and fast enough to capture enough nutrition for the cell or corporation (factory) to live.

  • Guy,
    Your last post generated some great comments (and brought Badlands back for a comment —yay!). Thanks for sticking with this in whatever way you can . .
    Re your thoughts regarding English language anthropocentrism:
    Though there are too many examples to count as you point out, I must (for catharsis sake) add the despicable word, “stakeholders”. Often used by “green groups” in their “sustainable development” plans.
    OT (kind of):

    p.s. Badlands, if you are there, I can very much relate to your feelings about “redeeming qualities” of humans. Hard to raise a teenage daughter without spreading my cynicism to her but according to said daughter I’m doing OK. We share immeasurable amounts of love, joy and laughter together. I checked in with her and discussed the comment by Jean Turcot yesterday—-we had a fascinating discussion as a result.

  • Thanks Guy,

    some very profound connections there. What you say, cannot be said often enough.

    I just wanted to add that the word “resources” has a purely anthropocentric meaning in my Native language (German) as well.
    In German it’s “Rohstoff” which back-translates as “raw stuff” (material).
    Just as in English, this word always implies (given,existing) raw stuff transformed, manipulated, formed and engineered by humans hands and brains. Thus it exists exclusively for that human purpose. The “stuff” was in a raw (uncivilized) state, and man “makes it his responsibility” to transform it into something useful and civilized to serve his end and progress for his species. Or so he says…

    The word is used equally by engineers and artists but cannot be applied to humans (yet). I suppose the German word is too “raw” and therefore, they have adopted the English version “human resources” as “good” business language. This poisonous use of language has been settling on everything worthwhile for a long time now, so long that people don’t realize. Your essay is a reminder of that.

    I remember well, when “human resources” replaced “personnel”(here in England) in the 80s. I was truly shocked but never heard anybody questioning this obscene expression, not even when I wanted to discuss it. At that time, “aggressive” was also made into a positive attribute. You had to be aggressive to get on, have an aggressive attitude (self-assertive). All this was good for business and became accepted management talk. All this was thought to be good practise.

    Words are powerful. Change their meaning or include new meanings in the original, and you have a “magic” formula, you can transform the world.

    As anybody with even a little bit of awareness realizes, it’s being done by politicians, institutions, corporations and the MSM all the time.
    And we let it happen ‘reflexively following [him]into the grave.’

  • Wow! Deja Vu all over again. I remember the essay from when I read it the first time, and that in turn made recall one by Jan Hanson back in the 90’s. This one is quite similar: Jay rehashes many recurring themes in his writing.

    Does anyone else here on the Beach Of Doom remember the site in the good ol’ days? A brief extract and synopsis follows:

    “In the 1990s Jay Hanson’s web site predicted with uncanny accuracy key trends of the early 21st century with respect to energy, the environment and geopolitics. What did he learn that most of us still don’t know, and what does he foresee ahead of us? This program reviews the history and motivation behind Jay’s work. With his background in computer programming, he is able to keenly parse a great deal of information into a logical framework, combining analyses of history, politics, biology, energy and economics into a generally horrific view of the future. Jay explains how he believes that until we face the causes of the crises upon us we will not overcome them. However, understanding is seriously hindered by self-deception and political expediency. As a contrast to the horrors of war and coercion he fears are upon us, he uses his knowledge of ecology and energy to envision a sustainable society —the difficulty he has is seeing a path to get there.” – See more at:

    While Guy and NBL focus primarily on Climate Chaos, I believe Jay Hanson was the first to nail the unholy trinity of Climate Change, Peak Oil and Financial Collapse. All neatly interwoven with evolutionary psychology, history and politics.

    It’s tough having lived with both Gallows Humour and Fuck It for nearly twenty years now. Do I get a prize?

  • Zarquon, your terse prediction about an upcoming “collective Fuck It” is well worth repeating.

    “So, from personal individual Fuck It we go to collective Fuck It. This is where it will get interesting.

    We are living in a unique moment in the history of our world whereby everyone currently alive (apart from the very ill and very old) will be dying around the same time, probably within a few weeks of each other, and probably quite soon.

    So, when the collective penny drops, my guess is that the eighth stage will be ‘Freak Out’! Make of that what you will.”

  • I discovered back in 1999, I did my best to plaster it over political billboards in the 99-2,000 elections in Wellington New Zealand.
    I then had a vasectomy, and with a shit load of help made Then in about 2005 I hit the fuckit stage, it took me about 5 years to understand how fucking stupid and closed minded humans are.
    That is why I told Guy, on his first visit to NZ not to bother, and to just come over for a holiday, as I’ve witnessed, apart from maybe Robin Westenra nothing came out of his tour that did sweet fuck all to change things, to the point that most of his NZ audience still think having children is fine?

  • “The sea is falling, the sea is falling” (Proof of Concept – 5).

    Even the simple science seems to be incapable of beomg comprehended in today’s corporate-media-fed culture.

    So, the esoteric science will have to remain enigmatic it would seem.

  • Practically everything that was absurd and unsustainable in American society was emulated elsewhere, and in the case of China the emulation was magnified.

    Get the oil out of the ground and convert it into life-threatening pollution, and suffer the mayhem that ensues when car madness overtakes society.

    ‘Video shows hundreds of cars trapped in a traffic jam spanning around 50 lanes on the gigantic G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway….

    Around 750 million people were expected to travel during the festival, which is also known as Golden Week and runs until 7 October. More than 650 million journeys were also expected to be made by road, according to China’s Ministry of Tourism.’

    They will obviously keep doing it till they can’t.

  • I have been strongly influenced, not only by Jay Hanson but by Colin Campbell, Richard Heinberg, Mike Ruppert, Derrek Jensen Gail Tverberg, the Erlichs and Guy (of course) amongst many, many others. Also, all the many doomer, eco and awareness-raising blogs over the years that many contributers here have founded or frequented. But, I must say, the crowd here on the beach of doom has by far influenced me the most. Thank you to you all.

    I paste below, for your ammusement and reflection, my Worldview and Manifesto. In 2012 I stived to put down a sysnthesis of what I had learned and concluded about the world and where it is headed. My remit was that it must fit on no more than two sides of a sheet of paper (take note Bud Nye). I am sure you will recognise many of the themes that have graced our bandwith over the years:

    N.B. If I had to update it, I would say even the tardigrades are fucked.

    The World View and Manifesto of Zarquon
    A perspective from the Deep Green Anarchist Armchair, 2012

    All religion is superstition. All superstition is psychology. Psychology is Neurology, Neurology is Biology, Biology is Chemistry, Chemistry is Physics, Physics is Mathematics. Mathematics is pre-determinate, indeterminate and chaotic.

    People will believe anything to avoid facing the void of a cold, hard, empty reality.

    Life has no ultimate purpose nor meaning. Any view otherwise held can only be a self-referencing tautology. However, it always remains possible to be nihilistic towards nihilism but don’t expect to remain sane if you want to remain happy!

    Embrace the dichotomy of ‘hedonistic self-sacrifice’. Find ways to enjoy giving more than you receive. Nurture the similarly-minded and aspire to inspire others. Always be generous in your opening gambit. Mirror the response.

    Should the ‘Greatest Happiness Principle’ (J.S. Mill) be espoused, it should be extended equitably to all lifeforms. The human species is no-more important, nor superior, than any other. We are at best: marginal, at worst: a scourge.

    If The Theory of Evolution By Natural Selection is not believed, it has not been understood.

    A healthy planetary ecosystem warrants far greater priority than the well-being of the single species which is currently destroying it. People are the problem whilst conceitedly believing they are the solution: Pride begets fall.

    Human reproduction is now a counter-productive displacement activity; a form of mental illness.

    No war is justified; all officially stated reasons for wars are lies. War is primarily used to secure natural resources and geo-strategic advantage towards such. It is also used to increase the wealth and power of certain individuals and corporations. Misguided patriotism lends further support for conflict. Many false-flag operations continue to be successfully used in the furtherance of political control and corporate profit. Ample evidence for this exists behind the wall of denial, incomprehension and incredulity.

    Competition for all species is primal and, for most of history, has been self-stabilising.

    With the relatively recent emergent quality of sentience for our one species in particular, competition has become untenable. To make reparation, attention must now be given to the reversal of many innate proclivities and genetic imperatives: Status, Reproductive Advantage, Acquisition, Wealth, Prowess, Security, Health, Long-Life etc., Many of these qualities have long been naturally pursued but are no-longer necessarily appropriate to human, and for many other species’, survival. Pursuing traditional endeavours will result in eco-collapse in the same manner as an arms race. If collapse is to be averted (or dignity restored if not), competition must be shunned and self-sacrifice urgently prioritised. Downsize everything.

    Reciprocal altruism is a veiled form of competition and is used within social groups to maximise collective utility.

    To have less, to do less, to go less, to be less, to want less, to consume less etc are newly-appropriate aspirations and are qualities that need to be increasingly sought and adopted. Unfortunately, ‘nobody riots for austerity’ (George Monbiot), and it is unlikely they ever will. People without an ability to enthusiastically reduce their standard of living should nonetheless be viewed with consideration and sympathy with the exception of royalty, the aristocracy and the filthy-rich who are inherently parasitical beyond reform or redemption. There are historical solutions to this problem.

    Laws are for people who are either too stupid, too scared, or too lazy, to make their own rules. Basic sustenance and needs should be met and then followed by a quest for knowledge and wisdom. With knowledge comes enlightenment. With enlightenment comes serenity. After serenity: everything else no longer seems as previously desirable… apart from chocolate!

    Sport in all forms is, at best, a waste of time and energy.

    Freewill is both illusive and illusion. Freedom likewise; Free Lunch even more so.

    In the interests of all living things, the human population should be drastically reduced as quickly and humanely as possible. It would be preferable to achieve this voluntarily before adverse conditions are harshly imposed by nature.

    People will not leave their comfort zones until they have to, and only then, when dragged kicking and screaming. Unfortunately, by this time, it is usually far too late for painless adaptation.

    All representations of art and literature are elaborately expressed progressions of primitive animal behaviours.

    Agriculture, on any scale, has never been sustainable and never will be.

    Euthanasia, Suicide, Abortion and Birth Control should be socially-engineered to become responsible, conscientious practices. Likewise: the voluntary shunning of many remedial medical treatments in favour of palliative alternatives.

    To extend equitable principles: Animal experiments and vivisection should only be of benefit to those who have agreed to be experimented on similarly. The same principle can be extended to blood sports and meat eating.

    Violent resistance against person, group, corporation or government is unfortunately sometimes necessary to avoid a greater or wider violence. Pacifism is a coping strategy to avoid confronting personal responsibility.

    Most environmental protest is futile and is the effect of cognitive dissonance. Sadly, there are not enough people, with enough conviction, with enough courage, with enough intelligence, with enough time left, to make any worthwhile difference. Most protest is tokenist and selfishly inclined towards saving middle-class lifestyles.

    Virtually all travel is environmentally inexcusable. Perpetuated by status anxiety and operant conditioning, it is undertaken by those who are unwilling or unable to find contentment, fulfillment and sustenance near home.

    The explosive rise in modern-day aberrant social behaviour is indicative of a society in its pre-collapse ‘mania’ phase.

    These symptoms can be likened to an extension of the General Adaptive Syndrome of Hans Selye whereby emotional stress can lead to physical illness: this may harm an individual but ultimately reduce demands on a society or ecosystem.

    Emergent dysfunctional behaviours therefore stem from dawning awareness that extreme pressure is upon us as the fabric of society progressively unravels. A correlation of responses are exhibited in many social animal groups when under equivalent conditions of stress and population density. There is a sound rationale for this in evolutionary terms.

    Democracy does not exist. Politics is a smokescreen for psychopathic rich people to become richer and more psychopathic. The lunatics have not taken over the asylum, they own it; all others are inmates with a life sentence.

    Both Capitalism and Socialism are giant Ponzi schemes that require ever-increasing numbers of suckers to attain a payoff. People have allowed themselves to be conned that this is both possible and desirable.

    Anyone who believes Infinite Economic Growth on a Finite Planet is possible, is either mad or an economist.

    Nature will always revert to a baseline.

    ‘Civilisation’, with its accepted notion of progress, has developed in proportion to its ability to procure and exploit natural resources. Economic growth is wholly dependent on an ever-increasing supply of fuel. Remaining fuel (oil) production is now at its global maximum and cannot provide enough energy to sustain further growth. Economies will now splutter and stall. Growth will now morph into contraction. Civilisation can now be defined in the pejorative.

    At any moment, and certainly no later than the end of this decade, fuel constrictions, amplifying financial instability, will trigger a global economic collapse. Life support systems, suddenly deprived of a means of trade, will fragment.

    Due to complex and fragile interdependencies, human food and fuel supply chains will rapidly break. During an intense period of total chaos, the population will reduce. A few hardy survivors may eventually find themselves in a new Palaeolithic or Mesolithic Age. To paraphrase T.S.Elliot: There will be both a ‘Bang’ and yes, finally, a ‘Whimper’.

    It is worth considering whether an inevitable collapse may benefit from a helping hand here and there? This could be justified as a passionate desire to limit further environmental damage and to mitigate total aggregate suffering. On a personal level, the easiest way to assist in hastening collapse is to be a big a drain on the moribund financial system as is possible: there are many and varied creative possibilities for this. In addition, find the ‘critical nodes’ and be ready to cut the links, you will not be acting alone. Unfortunately, given any notion or prospect of collapse, people generally will not become sanguine or behave rationally. Most will fall between ‘deer in headlights’ or ‘headless chickens’!

    Long after civilisation has crashed and burned a new species may evolve to resume the long ‘Slouch Toward Bethlehem’ (W.B.Yeats). However, despite the climate having stabilised, the radioactivity decayed and the trees regrown, the biggest mistakes of our species will never be repeatable as the fuel and minerals will be long gone. Rise and fall will then forever cycle between very narrow margins. This can be considered a cause for optimism and relief.

    Intelligent life may well exist on other worlds and in other epochs but the prospect of ever proving this is so difficult it is not worthy of further consideration or emotional investment. Any form of interstellar contact within such minute and coincident windows of opportunity is as near to impossible as makes any odds. Theology and Theosophy can be viewed in a similar manner. This is it! This is all there is – Get over it!

    Not only should we ‘never have come down from the trees in the first place’ (Douglas Adams), lifeforms should never have embarked on eukaryotic cellular division – it was always doomed to fail and has caused untold misery. This can be viewed as either absolute proof of the non-existence of god, or the existence of one with a very bad sense of humour!

    People who share this world-view are unlikely to sustain long-term relationships, have very few friends, and do not get invited to wild parties. This is not necessarily a bad thing for all concerned.

  • James, I think your general point about humans being cogs is correct. However, RNA isn’t the molecule type that performs the vast majority of functions in biological system generally (though it may have evolutionarily). It is the product of translating messenger RNAs, proteins, that does that. RNA molecules are cogs, but so are DNA molecules and small molecules, and of course, proteins. Ribosomes that transcribe mRNA molecules are made up of proteins (mostly) and RNA.

    And while primitive RNA-based systems may have lived freely, humans never have. Humans have always been social animals, dependent on each other for survival.

    Finally, biological systems work more like a swarm in a stochastic manner (bottom up systems or bazaars) rather than a machine in a factory (top down systems, cathedrals) which is what human systems generally resemble as they try to turn away from their biological foundations. And that is the problem in my opinion: by turning away from biological evolutionary principles, it becomes harder to replicate its success. (Cf. Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar.)

    Zarquon: Limits to Growth was published in 1972 and they came up with a simple model to explain it all.

  • “Around 750 million people were expected to travel during the festival…”

    That’s awful! Look at that pollution. They had better get electric cars.

  • ‘Ray Batman Says:
    October 8th, 2015 at 2:07 pm
    “Around 750 million people were expected to travel during the festival…”

    That’s awful! Look at that pollution. They had better get electric cars.’

    Electric cars powered by electricity generated by burning coal, the dominant form of electricity generation in China?

    Or do you propose the Chinese flood the remaining valleys (where food happens to be grown) after generating humungous quantities of CO2 to make concrete and steel needed for building yet more massive dams?

    Perhaps you were being facetious. One never knows when people comment on NBL because some people with completely idiotic ideas are actually serious.

  • I find articles like the following pretty fascinating, as it takes a particular level of denial to ignore so many facts while espousing a supposedly progressive approach to climate change. Like positing that tipping points are something that “might” happen in the future, rather than events that have already happened. Or that scientists somehow worry that things might go exponential “someday,” as if they’re not already. Then there’s the final sentence of the entire thing. Ugh…

  • @david higham, thank you for calling our attention to that list!

    I’m already boycotting the Maldives.. is it working? That’s me! ;-)

  • Ram, there is a simple correlation between DNA-RNA-Proteins/Enzymes and Data/Schematics-Humans-Technological Tools. The ecological system did evolve by cellular evolution from the bottom-up. Humans generally take the top-down approach by pulling something out of their brains and building it, and it may work, but it hasn’t passed the tests of time and never will on a planet with a biosphere like ours. For instance, many AI scientists want to design and build a human brain facsimile, but it can never be done without the process of evolution, an evolution that could never happen naturally on earth because the technological materials in purified form simply would not be available for technological cells. Most of what man has pulled form his/her brain is sudden, without any tests of fitness in the biosphere. A bird works quite well and evolved over billions of years, but a jet airplane, dropped onto the stage from man’s brain has only been tested for seventy years within a parent biological system that will eventually reject it, perhaps in death.

    Man’s structures have been dropped upon the landscape, not to co-exist within the ecosystem, but rather to consume it in the shortest time possible with multiple aftereffects. The very fact that Zarquon is delivering a message indicates a language and neural modeling ability that goes along with being technological. A Zarquon always shows up too late, because by the time an idea like collapse of civilization can be related it means the technological society is already rather advanced. Zarquan can never be on time and Cassandra is always ignored.

  • What a relief when this blow-hard culture evaporates.

  • James, that’s largely my point also. Top down design has never worked well in the long term especially in competition with evolutionary, bottom up systems (for solutions to finding the global optima problems). If humans do want strong AI by technological means, they need to do it the way evolution made it possible, by bottom up design that is sustainable. IF humans want to survive as a collective group of organisms in the long term, they need to do it the way bacteria, archaea, plants, and even the dinosaurs did, by living sustainably. This is my opinion: Ending up on a trajectory where the evolutionary history of how humans came to be is largely ignored when progressing forward is the fundamental causal reason for why said trajectory will result in NTHE.

  • Lidia,
    The main reason I have cancelled my Maldives trip is not the advice from Mark Lynas. I have two months of accumulated washing here,and the coming weekend is forecast to be windy.

  • Hello Guy, Every dollar is debt. Government debt, corporate debt, private debt. “Money” springs into existence when we sign a loan, mortgage, use a credit card, etc. The interest, however, does not spring into existence in this process. So … how are we going to pay for the interest if it doesn’t exist? This is the real reason why we compete. You see, goods and services cannot grow exponentially as it is demanded by interest. As a result, we have been going through continuous boom and bust cycles for as long as debt money with interest has existed. And that’s where we are today. All we need to do is awaken from this nightmare, together, because we are the 100%. Please help. We can do it.

  • Personnel.

    Human Resources.

    Both are organization buzzwords used by a capitalist society to avoid using the most honest word. The word they do everything in their power to erase from people’s minds in order to promote the illusion of separation and to prevent feelings of solidarity:


    All people who work for wages and salaries and cash a paycheck signed by someone else are workers. Cogs are supposed to remain separate and silent, the world’s owners don’t like it when the cogs get together and start acting like human beings with rights and the intelligence to decide how things should be run. Such acts of insubordination are the nightmare scenario for the capitalist plutocracy whose sole message to 99.9% of humans is: Shut up and get back to work!

  • Sabine,

    Thanks for that post. One of your best, IMO…even though that’s not so simple to select.

    “I suppose the German word is too “raw” and therefore, they have adopted the English version “human resources” as “good” business language. This poisonous use of language has been settling on everything worthwhile for a long time now, so long that people don’t realize. Your essay is a reminder of that.”

    I suspect that German is less compromised than English in that sense.

    “To have less, to do less, to go less, to be less, to want less, to consume less etc are newly-appropriate aspirations and are qualities that need to be increasingly sought and adopted.”

    I’d agree on this anyway.

  • RAM,

    What do you think about this? I’ve posted it more than once. Not sure whether you saw it though. Bacteria organization.

  • Sabine, Artleads,

    Most humans are owned by some elites or other, at least in the minds of the elites. However, when successfully threatened, or threatened to be threatened, many will be happy to be owned by someone for protection, during the threat.

    So many are raw materials for others.

    I just think of Tyrell in Blade Runner, using owned humans for off-world colony creation and conquest, and what more needs to be said.

    Great to see you folks posting.

    Bacteria rock! ;)


  • Hey Artleads, didn’t see that before, but thanks for pointing it out. Yeah, there have been attempts to relate the way biological systems behave to the way human social organisation behaves (cellular automata, etc.) and vice versa (I worked with a group of faculty one of whom was considered the father of “sociomicrobiology”). And I agree with a lot of what is in that talk, not to mention that when you think about of both these systems as exhibiting nonlinear dynamics, the same models from chaos theory should apply. But humans seem to have a need to dominate, to want leaders, to lionise individuals for the success of groups (especially in the West) whereas the way these organisms and systems work is completely contradictory to that. Even when humans do want to use these systems to solve problems, they do so in a top down manner. It’s like most people are so conditioned that they can’t do anything else.

    Perhaps it’s the knowledge that humans have of their own mortality that compels them to behave this way, or perhaps it’s cultural conditioning, or some combination of this and other things. If you didn’t know you were going to die, then perhaps you wouldn’t worry so much about trying to control everything and everyone around you to maximise your survival. You’d just be doing your natural thing. But once your lower needs from Maslow’s hierarchy are fulfilled, it should be possible to transcend this conditioning but you’d need almost everyone on board to overcome their fear. So it’s ultimately fear that causes self destructive behaviour.

  • Ram Samudrala Says: Zarquon: Limits to Growth was published in 1972 and they came up with a simple model to explain it all.

    Yes, they were well ahead of the curve but I wouldn’t quite say they explained ‘it all’. They left out the debt load and financial instability from their modelling. Unfortunately, it will be the financial final straw that brings it all down. Hanson got that in spades.

    Somewhere out there lurking in cyberspace are a series of digits in a big mainframe that don’t add up to another series of digits in another big mainframe. This disparity in exposure will suddenly trigger a series of cross-collerateral defaults, and this in turn will trigger the derivatives warhead. It will be unstoppable.

  • ‘a statement that the Red Queen made to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass in her explanation of the nature of Looking-Glass Land:

    Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.’

    Having run as fast as they can, and got nowhere, central bankers have commenced attempting to make the landscape go backwards via negative interest rates.

    We already know how well that is going to work in a world of declining EROEI, environmental collapse, overconsumption and population overshoot.

    The final chapter of the book of economic and social insanity.

  • Zarquon: you make an interesting point. But my view is that financial collapse will not cause NTHE. Financial instability will of course be a consequence of approaching NTHE. To the extent that financial collapse occurs, I believe it will be due to one of the factors in the World3 model: world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. But it could be something else also. So I’m not saying financial collapse won’t happen: it will but it won’t be enough to make humanity extinct (meaning the human population is zero, or very close to it, i.e., <= 1000).

    Regardless, I'd agree that the World3 model doesn't get it all, but that was the idea, that this simple model would be representative of everything. The authors note the shortcomings of their model.

    That's my two posts for the day. Tomorrow then…

  • Zarquon,

    Yes, our species will have used up all the raw materials which would be required for a technological “civilisation”. And that can be considered “a cause for optimism and relief”. I agree! A species, maybe a bit like ours (or very different) couldn’t start with smelting copper and then other metals, found close enough to the surface, and mine them with stone tools. Most people never consider that at all. It’s an important point.

    Quoting you:

    “However, despite the climate having stabilised, the radioactivity decayed and the trees regrown, the biggest mistakes of our species will never be repeatable as the fuel and minerals will be long gone. Rise and fall will then forever cycle between very narrow margins. This can be considered a cause for optimism and relief.”

    If/when a biosphere should/will evolve once more, it will be many millions of years in the future, probably more than we can imagine. What would it be like? There’s no point in speculating.

    Apart from that, I find your manifesto to be entirely reductionist.

    I don’t “see” and “feel” the world like that, even though I feel the same about many of the points you listed (e.g. evolution) but nonetheless, I know I’m quite “blessed”(no religion implied) that I can make and sustain relationships with other living beings and appreciate the now. What else is there?

    You’re shutting yourself off or maybe parts of your brain that enable balance…
    It’s possible to know about NTE and still appreciate the way life evolved here on this special planet and to take care of it, each in our own small ways, for as long as we can.
    I don’t want to think of Earth just as physics, and I don’t want to think of myself like that either. If I did, I wouldn’t take care of myself and probably be very ill and decrepit at my age (67). However, I’m not, and I enjoy feeling and being aware.
    My experience has taught me that reducing everything to chemistry and physics misses out something vital. Again, I’m not talking about religion here.
    Then, I’m quite happy not to know and just accept my personal experience where this is concerned. It’s very personal, and I’m not claiming anything else here.
    Maybe that’s a paradox to you or just plain BS, but I’m glad I’m not looking at the world through your eyes.

  • Humans are cogs, yeast spores or bacteria. Yeah. Which or what kind of culture produced this sort of idea? Why are you still trying to proclaim that there is no free will? You know I don’t believe that business, and if you truly believe what you are saying then why are you wasting time trying to convince me? Get out more guys. That’s all I can say.

    I’m still having trouble getting on with the “acceptance” part. I thought for a few minutes there I might manage it. But no luck. After 3+ years I seem to be permanently stuck in outrage and fury. Not trying to imply that NTE won’t happen – the evidence by now is appalling and overwhelming – I’m just saying that at this point, I probably won’t accept anything at all until breath won’t come out of my chest.

    That said my hypertension caused by being surrounded by people who seem to know good and well what they are doing by sending their kids into hell, but can’t seem to bring themselves in any way to stop reifying the horror.

    Which seems to bring me back to the idea that imminent ecological catastrophe has much more to do with human bias and psychology as opposed to any set in stone laws of physics (comforting as that proposition may be).

    A while back, I used to wonder about the veracity of the proposition that ~All~ Humans are identically equivalent to grape jello mold in every imaginable permutation and form.

    That is until I finally got around to African history and literature. Which mirrored almost identically in substance and form my study in North American indigenous history.

    Eric Williams “Capitalism and Slavery” was a brutal, trauma inducing wake up smack across the face. Pre-dating Mr. Baptist’s recent boof by about 60 years. And to my mind, Eric Williams is far, far superior in making his case the the entire construct of western “civilization”, every aspect of modern industrial civilization, is predicated upon genocidal European expansion (such a polite word – how about assault, rape, plunder or mutilation?) across the entire planet.

    As John Henrik Clarke says – “Everywhere the European went, he put out the light.” —- “Invited in as guests, they stayed as conquerors.” Everywhere.

    And we can take it back to the central idea of the OP – Genesis 1:28 – A fully protected and state sanctioned RELIGION says unto all y’all, yeah verily: ”

    “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    This is the founding proclamation of a major murderous ecocidal terror death cult for sure. Though they probably couldn’t picture the logical playout at the inscription, since these boys also thought the earth was flat, and, as Noam Chomsky says: That the earth is an infinite resource and also an infinite garbage can. I don’t care what your religion is. I am not trying to convert anyone to veganism, the animal liberation front or anything else. I am just saying there IT is in black and white if you’d care to look at it.

    But human psychological biases prevent, as John Trudell says, SEE-ing any of IT.

    I also like his coined term “Tech No-Logic culture”. Because as John Ralston Saul pointed out 25 years ago in Voltaire’s Bastards, we are at the end of rationality in the west.

    And another statement from JOhn Henrik Clarke again paraphrased from the 1990s: “If the European cannot control the world, he will destroy it.” And so we are right on schedule.


    Further, I have to seriously wonder if the high priests of black hole nihilism, sitting on the beach of doom, shaking their fists at the sea, stroking their pets, and proclaiming that nothing is to be done and nothing matters, have to wonder if they don’t work for the pharmaceutical industry in some capacity, as all I can see this kind of mentality leading to is severe depression in need of massive medication.

    I know personally a lot of business that needs to be done, and a lot of miserable suffering people that could use assistance in the world, that most of those people on the beach of doom could easily make a huge incredible difference if they would just move and do it. And that kind of action is what will give actual meaning to your life. Not sitting in the middle of a maniac omnicidal hell-ville culture where everything looks like a grape jello petri dish.

    Read the Existentialists. Camus fought the fascists. Sartre fought the fascists. Beckett fought the fascists. There are a lot more fascists now than there were back then.

    Read Fanon – Black Sin, White Masks and Wretched of the Earth.
    And Read De-colonisation literature. Ngugi Thiongo (an excellent, top flight African psychological de-colonisation writer, who – surprise, surprise – was again overlooked by the Nobel Literature committee in a – surprise, surprise – European country formerly neck deep in the African slave trade), as well as Vine Deloria, Waziyatawin, Russell Means, etc… As George Clinton once said “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow”


    Finally, I just read about some German tourists who flew to a nice beach in SE Asia (on an island run by fascists incidentally) who went for a swim and got themselves stung to death.

    I pointed out that acidic oceans select for non-vertebrate non-calcium life forms which dissolve in the acid. And that flying around in airplanes and living a nice (cough) European life style, might lead directly to self-inflicted horrors like this.

    Surprise I wasn’t pilloried and burned at the stake for making this observation.

    Which leads me to the claim that a lot, lot more people seem to be getting clued into what’s going on now. A lot, lot more people are grokking the message. I am seeing and hearing it come together as mental light bulbs are going on all around the planet.

    Is there hope for anything like the good doctor’s ideation on the Radio Curious interview? The epic one that will make Adam Smith look like a historical pigmy piker?:

    “We’re asking everybody to do that WW2 effort times a few million. That’s the order of magnitude we’re talking about. Times a few million. So we need everybody to stop burning fossil fuels right now. We need to give up on the idea of economic growth, or even a steady state economy. We need to bring this whole thing down to the level of the early 1700s in terms of our technology. And we need to do that…this week. OK, we’ll give you a little break. We’ll give you until the end of the month.”

    Who knows. And we shall see.

  • Sun Tzu discussed resources as imperative to state power about 2,500 years ago in The Art of War.” – Guy

    Indeed, that is why he is the darling of the US military War College (Is War An Art or Is War A Disease?).

    An entity about as useful as the MSM (Blind Willie McTell News – 6).

    Therefore, some of you need to stop resisting my research into SLC please (ibid).

  • Great posts, Sabine and Wester. Just awesome. Sabine, you totally nailed my own perspective – relationship and Now. The I and Thou of reality that occurs Now. It’s all quite personal.

    Wester, language confuses so many people so terribly that they believe any complete sentence based sufficiently in intellectual abstraction to make sense and be true. We are all so full of it, I can barely tolerate listening to myself. However, I adore my animals, life is better than it has been for a really long time, since I left my job almost three years ago. Like Sabine, I have been busy with my micro-farm that I am working on growing into a mini-farm, splitting logs for the winter, etc. It really is just a lot of chopping wood and carrying water. I’m deeply grateful for every bit of it.

  • Eight year olds stare at video screens eight hours per day.
    After another twenty years of doing that, they will be physical-mental-emotional wrecks.

    To even have a snowball’s chance in hell of saving earth, we would have to eschew electronics and work 8 hours per day in a field growing food.

    I gotta laugh when someone says we can save earth if we stop eating meat. In twenty years we’ll be lucky we are not eating humans, let alone meat. We can’t even stop burning innocent women and children alive in the Middle East.

    We constantly lie about how stupid we are, we are very fucking stupid.
    We constantly lie about how smart we are, we are very fucking stupid.

    We are too stupid to live. If we are, in fact, using only 10% of our brains, then the bacterial intelligence network that comprises our bodies must be using the other 90%. I sometimes think humans are just another way for bacteria to mobilize water on dry land and that the fungus living in my bellybutton are sentient. But hey, what do I know, I just cut grass in a trailer park for a living.

    Green Energy Is 100% Bull Shit from collapse

  • Right now, we have a navel blockade of Yemen to starve them before we cluster bomb them in order to support an evil desert oil kingdom. These mutherfuck’n bastards are in charge of human rights at the U.N.

    U.S. arms dealer already clocked $6 billion in sales since the murderous bastards started killing 6,000 people, 90% civilians.

    We are paying killers to kill in Syria while Russia and China pay to kill our killers. We pay people to bomb Russian civilians in Eastern Ukraine. We torture the fuck out of animals before we eat them while playing violent video games.
    We totally fucking deserve to go extinct.

  • Some writing for some readers.
    When push, shove, & ugly turned into complete horror, Dick & Jane decided to burn some fossil fuels to generate enough carbon monoxide to off themselves & their two children, aged 7 & 9.

  • RAM,

    Glad you saw the video. I focus in on how the bacteria work spatially, contrasting/comparing that with how humans do and could use space.

    This might not interest many, but I wondered if it would you. It’s quoted from the Land Use thread of the forum:

    Bacteria are very design oriented, very orderly, and highly cooperative. They change the trajectory and shape of their swarms to more elegantly consume their prey. This maximizes their chances of survival. I sense a relationship with how rural habitats are designed.

    We must never demolish. We can only add on. But how we add on determines the scenic quality of the landscape, among other possible values that interest the public.

    To me, the scenic value of appropriate cluster design in rural landscape is clear. People shop in my village partly because the drive to get here is “scenic” and appealing. What makes it scenic is that the landscape, which is expansive and gently rolling, confers peace and aesthetic enjoyment.

    Even though the majority of private structures along my route are small, they tend to be scattered and unheeding of how their shapes affect the viewing experience of the landscape. The main house may be built like an L (or some other complicating shape). Further to that, sheds may be spread out a considerable way from the main house. This negates cluster. Cluster requires that all buildings are bunched together, sufficiently homogeneous not to call attention to any individual form. The entire cluster resulting from the conglomeration of structures is softened with trees and foliage. A sort of “soft” rectangle seems to work well as a cluster shape. The bordering foliage helps to integrate the cluster with the open landscape. But the relatively tight and simple shape of the cluster distinguishes it from the open landscape as well. That makes it possible for the eye of the traveler to perceive optimally the flow of the open landscape, which is the main ingredient of scenic quality. Assuming the design of the cluster does not remove functionality for the residents, there is no loss to them. They have not lost structures; only organized them better for the benefit of scenic character, and (I haven’t researched this) for wildlife, which would have more flowing, less human-influenced corridors to traverse. Other benefits of cluster may be common, unseparated backyards which facilitate produce gardening and recreation. Greenhouses and other small spaces that foster self-sufficiency fit with this design concept.

  • Sabine (quote):
    ‘You’re shutting yourself off or maybe parts of your brain that enable balance…
    It’s possible to know about NTE and still appreciate the way life evolved here on this special planet and to take care of it, each in our own small ways, for as long as we can.’

    Please don’t presume anything. I have enjoyed a beautiful life in the arts and in nature. I have sacrificed much to make myself as small as possible. Cut me and I bleed. I cry real tears – too many.

    Read Dawkins’ ‘Unweaving the Rainbow’
    and watch this clip:

    Time to die – soon.

  • @Zarquon,

    My Materialist persona largely agrees with your manifesto. If it were mine I would take out all the statements that use the word “should” in a normative sense, because they are pointless. Things always happen the way they do, never the way they “should”.

    For example, you say “In the interests of all living things, the human population should be drastically reduced as quickly and humanely as possible. It would be preferable to achieve this voluntarily before adverse conditions are harshly imposed by nature.”

    The obvious problem with this kindly sentiment is that any observer of human behaviour who is even remotely disinterested knows that it can’t happen, because humans aren’t psychologically wired to permit their social group to do things like that.

    I prefer this formulations:

    “As happens with all life forms, the population of Homo sapiens will be drastically and rapidly reduced as soon as, and not until, the conditions necessary to maintain it at its current level no longer obtain. Those involved will not like it one bit, and will rail against their fate while refusing to recognize their own role. Too bad, so sad.”

    My Idealist persona, on the other hand, wants to go suck its thumb and meditate until its consciousness has changed the world it perceives into a more beautiful and egalitarian place…

  • @Ray Batman,

    From a biocentric perspective anti-smoking campaigns are fundamentally immoral. by extending human lives, they also extend H. sap’s domination of other life. The same can be said of all efforts to extend human lives, from dietary interventions and disaster relief planning to foreign aid and kiva loans…

  • Dick, a young & creative dad, changed his whole family’s consciousness with 10 feet of flex hose & some duct tape – bingo, 1, 2, 3, 4 … just like that!

  • @ Paul Chefurka

    How true. The cancer stick, that’s it. By the way, British Medical Journal recommends cancer.

  • RAM & OZ,

    Bottom up, top down, who owns us:

    Bottom up, correcting at every stage. I, too, have a hard time restraining the impulse to think top down and “dictatorial.” But perhaps it’s not dictatorial that’s the problem, but liberal/dictatorial. Most of my life, I’ve been conditioned into believing that the destiny of the human being was to be middle class, secular/western and liberal. The underlying (structural?) oppressiveness of this model always tended to escape me. But at this end-of-the-world moment, and in the context of resistance, I’m having different thoughts. It’s really the health of the controlled (owned) land that matters most. A healthy-enough land base might be tolerably benign for the “owned.” There are more monsters in charge out there than it’s easy to consider: Dons, mafiosi, jihadists, etc. What if what matters most is the land base and how healthy it is? Maybe we should be less concerned about the unpleasantness, non-westerness, non civilizedness of the brutal rulers and focus more on how they treat the land? If it’s survival that we care most about…

  • The Guardian item about smoking

    ‘Tobacco will kill two million Chinese by 2030, The Lancet says, and total is set to reach three million by 2050 without government action’

    vividly demonstrates what is so completely absurd and absolutely reprehensible about the mainstream media and pseudo-official bodies; anyone with a brain that functions at all normally knows that present social-economic arrangements will not persist beyond the downslope of Hubbert’s Peak, even if there were not a multitude of other factors on track to terminate present arrangements.

    The combination of declining liquid fuel supply, planetary overheating, environmental collapse and Ponzi finance will terminate present arrangements long before 2050, and, unless there is some yet-to-be-discovered factor, considerably before 2030.

    The mainstream media present misinformation, speculation and uninformed opinion as news and commentary, and are therefore a major driver of destruction of everyone’s future.

    Albert Bartlett hit the nail on the head long ago: those factors generally presented and accepted as being good -better health, fewer wars, fewer accidents etc.- are actually bad, and those factors that are presented and accepted as being bad -high childhood mortality, plagues, epidemics, fatal accidents, wars, suicides etc.- are actually good. But not at the individual level in most cases.

    It naturally follows that if large numbers of Americans can be persuaded to kill themselves via a combination of overeating and lack of physical activity, and if large numbers of Chinese can be persuaded to kill themselves via smoking and the consequences of rampant economic growth, those who do not indulge or are not afflicted will be better off.

    I’m sure practically everyone at NBL already knew all that. Writing what has already been written and said a million times fills a portion of my day.

    At the mundane and practical level, a friend’s bicycle chain guard -the bit that fits on the outside of the drive sprocket- broke recently. Thinking it would be a simple matter of purchasing a replacement, I took the broken one with me for size: none available; not even listed as a replaceable component. On the other hand, the town is awash with large, SUV-type Chinese-made vehicles.

    May the insanity end soon.

  • Ray, I thought you were being facetious when you first posted the article on cancer being the “best death”.
    The article you keep citing was the opinion of ONE doctor—Dr. Richard Smith who tossed out opinions from thin air.
    What is your point? What constructive dialogue could possibly result from this absurd notion? Will it somehow change the course of NTE? Should we all go out and try to get cancer and then forgo treatment? Should those of us who have had cancer treatment or have been cured of cancer feel guilty for surviving. WTF?

    I’ve been through 2 cancer deaths of family members and they were torturous. Believe me, “whiskey, love and morphine” didn’t help make it easy. Far from it.

    This is a ridiculous line of commentary and serves no point on this blog. It will all be over soon enough, cancer or not. This line of discourse serves no purpose but to make people feel shitty—–or shittier than they already do if they have cancer and are suffering. Like it’s some sort of gift.

  • @ kevin moore

    Lack of physical activity is actually good for health. Over the last 100 years, the average life expectancy has risen from 45 to nearly 80 years, even though we have simultaneously become much less physically active. “Where on earth did people get the idea that sports are good for you”, wonders the eminent neuroscientist Prof Swaab in his recent book (which I find excellent), and points out that the claimed benefits of exercise aren’t based on scientifically controlled trials. He also says that if sports were banned, all hospital waiting lists would disappear overnight.

    Therefore smoking is good for you (because death from cancer is the best) and exercise is bad for you. Doctor’s orders!

  • Ray

    The only purpose your comments seem to serve on this blog are:

    1 To make us laugh.

    2. To give provide opportunities to present truth and reality.

    ‘Lack of physical activity is actually good for health. Over the last 100 years, the average life expectancy has risen from 45 to nearly 80 years, even though we have simultaneously become much less physically active.’

    I don’t suppose it has occurred to you that the prime driver of increased life expectancy between 1900 and 2000 in the western world was the huge reduction in the number of men involved in extremely hazardous work, i.e. coal mining, commercial fishing, foundry work, construction work, chemical work, chopping down trees and transporting them etc. Actual death rates were horrifically high (but accepted as normal), and those men who managed to avoid death were often stricken with occupational illness that resulted in early death. For a early-century coal miner to reach the age of 60 was a remarkable achievement. I suggest you study the construction of the Hoover Dam to get a realistic perspective of what actually went on in the past. I cannot recall exact numbers but scores of men died on the job and hundreds were incapacitated as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from pneumatic drilling in the main tunnel.

    Most of the individuals who are currently in their 60s, 70s and 80s grew up in a world in which basic foods were naturally produced (or harvested), well away from chemical poisoning, and they spent their early years being very physically active. When I went to school it was normal for children aged as young as 5 to walk a kilometre or two each way, every day. I have spoken with older people who lived in remote locations who walked several kilometres every day. The combination of good food and physical activity ‘set them up for life’ (especially if they avoided the ills promoted by industrial empire of smoking, drinking excessively etc. in their adolescent years).

    Contrast that with many of the young today, poor little kids, who are driven to child-minding centres by car and picked up at the end of the day, taken home and plonked in front of a screen after being fed ‘crap’ food.

    The worst effects of such child abuse will be witnessed a decade or two from now (if the Earth remains inhabitable for humans that long).

  • Come on Gerald, cut to the chase with your soap opera installments.
    Here’s a quote from Kathy C. on that subject:

    “That method is the production of carbon monoxide by the decomposition of formic acid in sulfuric acid. Both 85% strength formic acid and 95% sulfuric acid can be bought on eBay. You should add two parts formic acid to one part sulfuric acid, so 2 litres or 2 quarts, say, are added slowly to a single litre or quart of sulfuric acid. Immediately upon contact, the formic acid vigorously decomposes into carbon monoxide. With these kinds of quantities, once you have sequestered yourself in a sealed room or similarly confined space, death is less than half an hour away, will be completely painless, and will steal up on you unawareness, especially if you take a mild sedative beforehand. Carbon monoxide is extremely effective. The concentration of CO needs to be only 4% or less to bring about rapid unconsciousness.
    Please do remember to leave a warning sign to whoever finds your body that CO is present and to call the emergency services. Ethically, therefore, the drawback of the CO method is that it endangers the person who discovers you. If that person is a loved one, you will be putting them in the agonising position of preventing them from doing what anyone who loves you would do, which is to try to revive you.”

  • Guy –

    I remember your original resource posting very well. I had always been disturbed by the way we all talked about available resources,using resources,discovering new resources,etc. When I read your post and thought about it for a while and thought about the power of words in general, I realized that it was the word itself,as well as how we used it that was disturbing.
    To Re-Source is the way most people seem to see things.There is something – say a beautiful tree – it is alive and a source of life for so many other things. When it dies it continues to be a source of life.
    People take something that is a Source and redirect it’s existence to meet their own desires.
    Everything seems to be viewed through the lens of how it can be Re-Sourced.

    Sabine said -‘I remember well, when “human resources” replaced “personnel”(here in England) in the 80s. I was truly shocked but never heard anybody questioning this obscene expression, not even when I wanted to discuss it.”

    Thanks for your great comment. I remember when that phrase became popular. In my wildlife rehabilitation work people frequently say,when handing over a bird for care “Oh, I am so glad I found you. You are such a valuable resource!” It always makes me wince inwardly. Like I am a giant lump of coal or something waiting to be consumed(which,of course, I am,as we all are).

    Side note -Do you know if the English word stuff derives from the German “stoff”

    A disgusting example of how humans think of every thing as a resource.
    A rare bird,photographed for the first ever and then killed to be put in a universities dead bird skins collection. I sure it was a valuable resource for the biologists’ body of work -adding SO much to our collective knowledge.

  • @ Suzanne – I’m posting my e-mail below for you & TOM. The Taji Dolphin Cove slaughter is something we can try to stop. Let me know best way to help.

    THE VIRGIN TERRY – I read your first comment posted Oct 20th 2010. How do you feel about the past 5 years here at NBL?

    Dr. McPherson, along with all the other thanks to you. I appreciate how open you have been in reporting your full life experience. No Fear. Few are brave to be so public about real life experiences for so long. Right now your past struggles when it came to Walking away from Empire help me to take my early exit. “Fuck it” can be fun but I also know I will loose all inside connections — yet I will gain freedom to enjoy the end of these times. Sailing away and continuing to do small things like clean a beach or save turtles makes living in hospice feel fine.

    Guy your final paragraph from “The Monument Walk” Feb 21 2008

    “I cruised past the tidal basin and the Jefferson Memorial, and then along the noisy, traffic-filled street adjacent to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. SUVs carrying lone drivers zipped past the new plastic banner announcing new five-dollar bills.
    That pretty much says it all. The government uses expensive oil to print an advertisement for cheap money.
    I found myself back at the Smithsonian Metro station ninety minutes after I started my trek, the incessant roar of jets landing at National airport providing a stark reminder of the dark days ahead. The jets, the cars, and the banner combine to reflect the government’s unwillingness to sacrifice economic growth in the name of survival, or even moderation, as we ride the high tide of fossil fuels all the way beyond the safety of the water and onto the rocky shoals.”


  • Mop says : what a relief when this blow-hard culture evaporates.

    You got my vote for ‘best comment ever, there! Hilarious!

  • Are Our Brains Wired to Ignore Climate Change?

  • Personally, I think it’s just too big! Like the ‘big lies’. Just too big for most people to ‘see’.

  • mark austin, u didn’t quite go back far enough to read my first nbl comment:

    High tide of hate mail

    how do i feel about the past 5 years here? doesn’t matter, does it? the blog has become more popular, the number of comments has increased. commenters come and go, some stick around, passing time. some find the beach of doom suits there temperament. some find it a refuge from the rampant delusion and ignorance of lamestream society (i.e. much of the rest of their existence).

  • The next year or so will be very interesting if extraction of tight oil from shale continues to decline at the current rate.

    Of course, it would be possible for governments to subsidise drilling, fracking and tar sands extraction in order to prop up present economic arrangements for just a little bit longer.

  • Wren – “Ethically, therefore, the drawback of the CO method is that it pollutes the environment” – there, fixed it for you.
    Try helium , much more eco-friendly.
    And stop picking on Gerald, he will go in his own good time, Zyklon B wasn’t it?

    Ram Samudrala (re financial collapse) – As a wag on Zero Hedge recently quipped: “If you are not shitting your pants on a daily basis you haven’t been paying attention”.

    Paul Cherfuka – Stop sucking your thumb and hit it with a hammer. Tell me what you are experiencing is simply the bio-chemical responses of your nervous system and various actions of certain neurones and synapses in the wake-the-fuck-up section of your brain. Then tell me you had no option of avoiding hitting your thumb because your subconcious post-modernist cop-out responsibility-avoidance shadow-self needed to join the real world. Shudda Woulda Coulda.

  • Sabine,

    Excellent comments! Especially your thoughts on language. I am reminded of a video posted here recently where Terence McKenna describes the scene where a hummingbird flies in and hovers in front of a toddler who looks at it in amazement and wonder and an adult drops in and says, “it’s a bird, it’s a bird”… and from that point on, the wonder and richness of the experience is replaced by a silly word called “bird”. Language does that to us. It constrains thought. It takes thought and experience along well-defined pathways leaving little room for fresh, in-the-moment experience. Perhaps experience is not even the right word… but who cares about words! And yet we all do… that’s the way we were trained, our lives constrained.

    Some people say language is one of the most important inventions of man. I think language is actually the worst kind of bastardization of communication.

    Language serves civilization. English, specifically, is the language of empire. How else could we train engineers to build dams and war planes, and how else would we steal land from indigenous peoples (treaties)? How else would John Yoo provide legal justification for torture? Language at our service.

    Ah, human resources… the bosses at Google thought that didn’t sound quite right… so they call their personnel department “People Operations”. Yes, People Operations!


    Wester, outrage, fury… maybe “just” righteous indignation. You’re well read. Thank you for the list of recommended reading… always love your comments.

  • A very good essay. I have read only a few of the archived essays since I found this site. I might start reading one or two per week.

  • Zarquon,

    This is what happens when your only communication tool is language, and leads directly to Satish’ comment.

    It’s impossible not to assume, and I’m glad to hear you’re bleeding (no sarcasm). When communicating in the living world, it’s easy to get the feel of a Peron (being) but, like anybody else, I’m not so good in the virtual world.
    Have a peaceful weekend


    It’s great to see you commenting hear again!

    Just imagine the mind-set of a person fixated so much on her/himself that they call another a “resource”, meaning this to be a “compliment”: “Look, it’s good that I came across you because you’re helping me, and it’s good to know that you might be on “stand-by” if I should if you again”.
    That’s how far we’ve come in our culture. It’s another example of the anthropocentrism sold as personal freedom. “Everything is there JUST for ME!” All the things Kevin rants about (with good reason).

    We, who are more aware really live on the edge. Mind you, I like it!

    Yes, “stuff” is the German “Stoff”. The way you use it in American English is pretty much as it would be used in everyday German.
    The English took this particular use from English American, like so many words.

    Your way of using “I guess” is another example. The German use it in this way: “ich schätze”. Here in England, you never hear it.

    There are many more examples, too many to quote.

    When I hear or read American English, it always feels strangely familiar because of this German “creep” in your language.

    This feeling is even stronger when I read or hear Shakespeare because the syntax is still so much like German, even modern German.

  • Air pollution in China kills 4000 people a day.
    Smoking in China kills 3000 people a day.
    Population in China increases by 20 000 people a day.

    “China’s leadership should recognize that high fertility is no longer a problem and that continuing an outdated family planning policy fails to respond to China’s new demographic realities. Programs that limit childbearing in any way should end without delay.” – A. Mason professor of economics


    Finally, The CIA Admits Covering Up JFK Assassination

    Even if you have to wait over 50 years, eventually the truth will out…

    Suspicions that the CIA covered up JFK‘s murder have finally been confirmed, according to an explosive Politico report out this week. Fifty-two years after the President’s death, declassified documents show that the CIA were in communication with alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK’s murder in 1963, and they were monitoring his mail since 1959.

    Not only that but John McCone, who was Chief of the CIA at the time, allegedly hid evidence from the Warren commission, set up by Lyndon Johnson to investigate JFK’s assassination. The spymaster and other senior CIA officials are accused of withholding ‘incendiary’ information from the commission and therefore perverting the course of justice. The CIA has admitted this. [lots more]


    Saturday, October 10, 2015
    Arctic Sea Ice 2015 – update 11

    Arctic sea ice extent has been growing rapidly recently. The image below shows extent up to October 9, 2015 (marked by red dot).

    Below is a comparison of sea ice thickness as on October 6, for the years (from left to right) 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The comparison shows that decline has been strongest where sea ice used to be the thickest, i.e. over 3 meters thick.

    One of the reasons why the thickest Arctic sea ice has declined so dramatically over the years is the rising ocean heat that is melting the sea ice from underneath. [a bit more, and graphs]

  • Hello Guy and everyone else on this forum,

    If it weren’t so serious due to decreasingly available time to affect any meaningful change, it’s comical to read your thoughts and the comments below. It feels like a congregation of the clueless.

    Let me ask you all totally straight-forward – do you all feel as if you all carry a huge block in front of your eyes that inhibits your vision? Endlessly lamenting about near-term extinction, grief, death, wars and conflicts, suicide, resource depletion, melting ice & the entire memorized litany of ecosystem changes, and at the same time never actually seeing the real problem, I think that’s a complete waste of time. Guy, do you feel as if you are wasting your time? It’s a shame. Every one of you uses “the problem” every day. At the same time, every one of you has been trained, since birth, to not see it. Every one of you, in fact, never questions it.

    Let me tell you one more time: climate change would have never happened if we didn’t have compound interest and bank debt money.

    Look, if money is created through debt by private banks, and they are asking you to pay the debt back with interest, where in this world are you going to get the interest? They send you out there to get something out of the system that doesn’t even exist. Well too bad the “out there” is finite. Do you understand? And if you now say, oh I don’t have a loan or a credit card or a mortgage, listen, you pay interest every time you purchase something, every time you use this bank debt thing called dollars. You endorse the system. The system of a single currency issued as bank debt paid back with interest is dead. IT IS DEAD. LONG TIME AGO. Yes, arrange for a funeral if you like. And immediately get to work and help find solutions.

    Our monetary system IS THE problem. Not climate change. Climate change is a symptom of the problem or the disease.

    Now, following up on one of my previous comments, when you peel away the layers of an onion, you will get to the core. You know what’s at the core? YOU.

  • Serious question. With all that is happening and going to happen, should a woman of childbearing age give thought to hysterectomy?

  • Meat- Unless you can show or tell us what “Meatthetruth” is doing – besides typing words on a screen – to help the situation we’re in… concrete examples from the real world, then yours is just another tale told by an idiot, and adds nothing to the discussion.

  • “giving thought” is ok, but she should not feed her body to the medical system. Surely, there are non-invasive ways to avoid procreating.

  • MeatTheTruth

    ‘Every one of you, in fact, never questions it.

    Let me tell you one more time: climate change would have never happened if we didn’t have compound interest and bank debt money.’

    Yet another comment from someone who has not bothered to do the necessary research.

    The creating-money-out-of-thin-air-and-charging-interest-on-it aspect has been highlighted and discussed a hundred times on NBL.

    Although a contributor to climate change and every other predicament, Ponzi finance is not the sole cause, nor even the instigator. The development of metallurgy was arguably a bigger factor than any other: no copper, no bronze, no brass, no iron, no steel, no industrial civilisation, no population overshoot, no ravaged planet.

  • Sweetpea, whether one accepts near-term extinction or not, reproducing is a bad idea. If you’re on Facebook, Population Matters is a great site for solid information.

    “In an overpopulated world, parenthood is an act of self-indulgence: the ultimate act of selfishness against the society at large and even toward the children themselves, who are being delivered to a world in crisis…

    … In most industrialized countries, parenthood currently comes with substantial tax breaks and an assortment of benefits. This must end. Instead, parenthood should be heavily taxed in proportion to the number of children, and adults without children should be those to receive tax breaks. The notion that children are a burden to the community at large — and not a blessing — must become part of the discourse.”

  • Sweetpea- while I understand why you would be questioning whether or not a woman should have children at this point in time, I do not recommend a hysterectomy as the best course of action. A non-hormonal copper IUD is the cheapest and most effective birth control out there (including tubal ligation!) and it lasts for 10 years. While slightly uncomfortable to have inserted, along with several months of erratic periods, overall I highly recommend it. A hysterectomy is a major procedure and you will go through early menopause and possibly have to take hormones for the rest of your life. Perhaps you are looking for something permanent so that you won’t change your mind down the road, but maybe it’s a good idea to keep your options open. Especially if you’re on the fence about having children rather than outright against it. Regardless of the fact that most people here would advise against having children (including myself), it’s a highly personal decision as you know so you might deeply regret a permanent solution. I’m not sure a doctor would recommend a hysterectomy either, given it’s invasive nature. Hope this helps. :)

  • Well-written article, AJ. And here’s Population Matters’ website if you don’t do Facebook:

    Great, short clip from Utopia, a UK show that discusses reality and population issues:

  • Fuck It

    Fuck It to getting Ahead,
    And fuck getting up out of Bed;
    Fuck crowd-pleasing Cred,
    Fuck me till I’m Dead,
    And fuck teaching doom special Ed.

    Fuck all the bullshit I’m Fed,
    Fuck G, and repeat rhymes I’ve said;
    Fuck the shit in my Head,
    Fuck J just ahead,
    And fuck what I should say Instead.

    Fuck meeting the next Knucklehead,
    And fuck my whole life that I’ve Led;
    M, N, O, and ahead,
    The Q watch me shed,
    And fuck those who think they’re Purebred.

    Fuck all the bullshit I’ve Read,
    And fuck every wrong thing I’ve Said;
    Fuck this whole stupid Thread,
    Fuck zombies Undead,
    And fuck all the suffering Widespread.

    Fuck mistakes, and the words I retread,
    Fuck V, and more Fuck Its ahead:
    Fuku’s X-rays now shed,
    You and me, walking dead—
    Fuck it all, from A down to Zed.

  • Guy,
    When’Meat the truth’ asks you for help,we expect some action. Please
    change the global financial system,then report back.

  • BtD: tour de force!

  • When scientists work for Oil-Qaeda, one of their jobs is to get you to help them without knowing it (Don’t Believe In Abrupt Sea Level Change – Know About it – 2).

  • Tom Says:
    October 10th, 2015 at 2:37 pm
    BtD: tour de force!

    Absolutely! Best I’ve seen.

    Post script to metallurgy.

    People who learned to make metal tools and weapons gained advantage for themselves or their group.

    And the early developers of steam engines thought they were improving life, removing the hard physical labour involved in draining mines. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, how were they to know carbon dioxide would prove to be so deadly?

    But now that we know carbon dioxide is absolutely deadly long term, ‘we’ still keep producing machines that generate inordinate quantities of it.

    I don’t think it’s been said recently: industrial civilisation is a death cult.

  • @ Gerald Spezio @ Brian @ BenJaminmonkey

    Thats the sht man thats the shit . All stupid pretentious social norms breaking down . People fessing up to each other . Nothing to hide anymore no more stupid bullshitting each other

    brilliant Posts here today Thank you

  • MeatTheTruth

    Let me tell you one more time: ice cream would have never happened if we didn’t have cows and sugar cane.

  • “I’d say the boundaries on the time during which we have habitat for our species is somewhere between the next few weeks and a decade or two.”

    -Guy McPherson


    You’ve got a few weeks to live. Don’t waste it. And don’t bother with Christmas shopping.

    Guy would not have put “the next few weeks and a decade or two” in the same sentence and broadcast it on the radio if he didn’t have scientific evidence that they were both equally likely. He’s a scientist motivated by scientific evidence and that evidence is overwhelming.

  • MEGACANCER ~ Exploring the pathology of industrial civilization

    “I could just as well have named this blog “Megamold” or “Megafungus” given my impressions of the patterns of growth of industrial civilization. I settled upon Megacancer because the technological system’s essential ingredient, humans, are a renegade species that have evolved into their own complex adaptive system (CAS II) which has its own growth imperative that will destroy the parent ecosystem from which it was derived. Technological civilization will not supersede the ecosystem, but will rather grow haphazardly for a short period doing significant damage to the ecosystem directly and through release of metabolic by-products.
    It is amazing to watch clueless humans, rabid for growth and profit, invest in expansion of the cancer and then congratulate themselves on ownership of some portion of infrastructure that they believe will deliver resources to them in perpetuity, even though most of the resources are non-renewable and have been significantly depleted. At some not too distant future the infrastructure will become so worthless as to only become a liability to which no one will claim ownership. The citizenry that work and pay mortgages to one day assume ownership of this infrastructure for all of the income that it can deliver, will find that there is no longer income to be had and will watch their structures slowly degrade. Our leaders seem mostly interested in using their positions to take ownership of as much infrastructure as possible while cheerleading for even more growth without doing the due diligence to figure out where this leaves us in the not so distant future – dead.”


  • kevin moore says:

    “But now that we know carbon dioxide is absolutely deadly long term, ‘we’ still keep producing machines that generate inordinate quantities of it.”

    How about the SUV called the GMC Yukon Denial? ( slight dyslexia )

    Battery powered bicycles, in the 500 W range, are quite practical for helping reduce emissions. Apparently the overall energy consumption and efficiency is better than that of a 100% human powered bicycle, in the city. This is due to the situation around food production, where it takes 10 calories of energy input for each calorie of food delivered to the end user, as most people here are aware. And then the body is about 25% efficient in terms of converting food calories to muscle power. Overall efficiency with the electric bicycle in terms of what’s put into the battery to power to the road is around 50%.

    Kevin, I share your frustration on the bicycle chain guard issue. Very little ( that seems very practical ) to offer in the online mail order worldwide system, especially for derailleurs.

    The fully enclosed chain almost transforms the whole concept of the bicycle, along with the geared hub.

    An affordable automatic gear shifting mechanism for bicycles would be a further useful advancement.

  • Btd: tour de force!

    Yes, fabulous. Always nice to know the maestro hasn’t lost his touch..

  • Found the clip below that proposes that while necessary, “Fuck it!” is not sufficient.
    Originally suspicious of religious correlations with the ‘trinity’ aspect until it occurred to me that you need three quarks to make a proton or neutron.
    Two up and one down make a proton & one up and two downs make a neutron.
    So you can choose your forward-looking path or unattached point of view.

    This guru may not make house calls, but he’s giving away secrets on Youtube for free.

    For Caroline and any other Thanatoids out there…you know who you are.

  • The American civil war is what most Americans think about when the word slavery is spoke of, even though it has endured to present day. The recent so called “1000 year flooding event” as South Carolina’s elected called it, has me thinking about that state’s early years when slavery and human rights crossed paths. The defenders of slavery, the bad guys, or rebels, as they were known, were so much in denial that they, proudly followed blindly the road their superiors led them on, which was death and misery, and they did it with vigor, and extreme courage, face to face, brother against brother. But this was not enough to win an already lost cause.
    The slave owners, mostly rich white plantation owners, could not bear to see their investments taken away, so convinced the elected and, it was all about states rights as opposed to human rights. So, like it or not, millions of young men were doomed to die by war or disease.
    The elected are still at it today. Most of us have no humans right to a livable planet as long as the mostly rich white corporation owners say it will ruin their business plan and have convinced the population the economy will suffer without them.
    The rebels today, are the good guys, climate activists who think they will eventually win over the controlling parties, before it is to late.
    The NTE group are outsiders who say it is over, because they believe it is to late to save humanity and millions of young and old have died and will die from the environmental damage inflicted by the CEOs and their politician clones in the coming years.
    But here is where the difference between the two stories becomes unclear. If the climate activist rebels are successful, then one day the earth will be pretty and green again and the corporations may have to adjust their business plan. But if the NTE group is correct, most if not all of humanity is lost and the rebels lose again. End of story? Could be. Are we fucked either way, where the rebels cannot win an already lost cause? Looks that way to me.

  • MeatTheTruth,

    You have been saying it for a while. No one responded. You feel you haven’t been heard. You lash out… you’re heard, people respond in different ways… what next?

    Perhaps you just discovered the trouble with our monetary system recently. It’s natural for it to stand out as “the cause” for all our troubles. Give it some time… you’ll see it’s as much a symptom as climate change. Keep digging further. Maybe you will come upon another cause, which will then seem, for a brief period, the root cause of all our troubles.

    This isn’t to minimize the role played by the interest-based monetary system we have today. But it’s just a piece of the puzzle. Ask yourself who built this system. Did it evolve on its own? Did all of the world’s inhabitants ponder over different types of monetary systems and vote for this one over all others? Did it take shape organically? Just who in the world came up with it? And why?

    Of course, by all means, feel free to be upset about the monetary system. Many of us have been there. It’s part of the journey across the beach of doom.

  • Meatthetruth,

    don’t forget, and going back to Kevin’s point: if we had not mined copper, you would not have been able to preach to us here on this blog.

    And I second Satish’ advise using his metaphor: When you are/travel on the beach of doom, don’t just pick up the first shiny shell or pebble and think you now know the beach. You’re just showing yourself up as loud and self-righteous. Get wise and keep on collecting before you shout your opinion using words like “look”. Do more “looking”!


    your advise for sweet-pea is good and very kind.

    and sweet sweet-pea

    Ask yourself whether there are also personal reasons why you might not want to have children, quite apart from over-population and everything else mentioned here. You need to do that honestly in order to make the right decision for yourself.

    First of all: Do you have this urge to procreate that most women are supposed to have? Don’t forget, it does keep them in their “place”.

    Anyway, I never did. And the way I see it, is that this urge is not necessarily biological but overwhelmingly cultural.
    And the cultural pressures are once again enormous. They are on the up again: family values, baby showers and the general deification of children.
    When I was in my 20s and early 30s in the 70s,these cultural pressures were not quite so predominant.
    Feminists actually thought that progress was being made. Guess what, we were even taking about FGM and violence against women in the home. How deluded we were!
    Well,our patriarchal structures were bound not to allow this. And the fight-back is a success. How we have women like Hillary Clinton. So shut up women.

    Just think of this:
    Before good and accepted birth-control, many women, including married ones, did everything to limit their families or avoid pregnancy. This often led to bad relationships with their husbands, young men with an overwhelming need for sex. So what to do? In my mother’s generation, most of the ways of having sex without getting pregnant or just keeping your husband “satisfied” were not known to “good” girls and women. That’s easily forgotten now when people do things like sexting.

    Therefore, most women were quite desperate. Don’t believe the Kinsey report. Reality for them was different. If you’re very lucky, you might know a woman in her 90s willing to open up about these (then) very private things.
    This is a part of history which is never told because it’s women’s stuff.
    Only very religious women or ones totally dominated by patriarchal men/families would not have a choice. Apart from that, illegal (mainly self-inflicted) abortion was very common, believe me, even among married women. Most of them couldn’t go to an abortionist because they had no money of their own. But these activities were kept underground.
    My own mother had three self-inflicted abortions after me and my sister were born (1948,1951) because we were poor. My mother was very brave because using a knitting needle to abort is highly dangerous. Just imagine the desperation. My mother, a very good and loving mother, was one of many, and I bet that this is still going on in less “privileged” parts of the world.
    Here, in the West, women can now indulge themselves and say: shall I have a family or not? When shall I have it? How many children? And, worst of all, shall I freeze some of my eggs for later use or have a womb transplant. Then there’s IVF and so on and so on. See what I mean about culture change?
    I am certain that there is such a thing as free will in spite of what some may think. Therefore,you can make the decision not to have children, bearing in mind that the pressure is only cultural. As an initial step, take babajingo’s advise.

    I’m telling you all this in order to make clear how cultural the desire/need to have a family is.
    Agricultural patriarchal cultures need children to work for the good of the family/clan. Modern Westerners do not. Yet we cling or are made to cling to those structures. They are supposed to be “normal”.

    These are some of the things you should consider. Read up about it. There’s a lot of information out there.

    Good luck and make the most of your time left by being aware of everything around you.

    Great Benjamin! Nice to know you’re still here.

  • the essay misses—or ignores the fundamental point, that for any species to survive and thrive (read—eat and procreate)…there must be sufficient energy available in the environment to do so.
    It follows then, that every species–whether plant or animal must absorb the energy of other species to do that. We absorb the energy in plants and animals into our own bodies.That is as true whether you are a hunter-gatherer or factory farmer.
    We have no choice in this, genetic forces drive us to breed to the maximum. Just like weeds in my garden, they too breed to the maximum—unless stopped by a stronger force—which at the moment is me. If I didn’t stop their growth—in 30 years my house would be overwhelmed by them. In due time—that will happen anyway. (NBL)
    same with world population. Humans have tapped into fossilised energy sources, and our numbers have exploded, taking advantage of the newly available food source. That growth and consumption will also be stopped by a stronger force, collapse and starvation.
    Unlike other species however, we can view our future—or think we can—and have convinced ourselves that now is forever, and consumption of finite energy sources is in fact infinite, because ‘technology’ is going to find a way of circumventing the laws of physics, and the planet will continue to ‘deliver’ all that we need and support us at the standard we enjoy now

  • Very good Norman, our strength is our doom.

    Energy efficiency begat complex life

    Do you remember James Burke’s Connections, how inventions evolved.

    Life is the same.

    Did some shrooms, weed and beer with the old lady last night, it was fucking beautiful. This is why I shouldn’t comment when hungover.

    World War III & Collapse Are Here, Now! from collapse

  • Sabine,

    SUCH a remarkable post. I can’t remember hearing so forthright a woman’s perspective. I for one am very grateful for this clarity.

  • I’ve posted a guest essay by a first-time contributor at NBL. It’s here.

  • @Guy,

    Actually it’s my second contribution here at NBL. Don’t forget

    No biggie!

  • Thank you Tom, kevin moore, EtyerePetyere Jimbot, and Sabine! And most of all, my thanks to our leader Guy, for all the reasons everybody’s said—plus the challenge of fuck it!

  • ‘I am certain that there is such a thing as free will in spite of what some may think’

    sabine, i find your comments very interesting (lol). i ‘choose’ to read them because i feel rewarded generally when i do so. if i didn’t feel rewarded, if i felt like reading your comments was a waste of my time, i would choose not to. in either case, i’m acting willfully, ‘freely’, or what feels/seems like freedom to me. but think about it. how much choice did i have in choosing my species/parents/ethnicity/gender/class/family/environment i was born into? how much choice did u, does anyone have, in such matters? as far as i can tell, absolutely zilch, no choice. no choice in determining personal traits. no choice in determining one’s culture, like the poor african girls made to undergo genital cutting/mutilation/violation/trauma and frequently death, had. no choice. this lack of freedom extends to more subtle, common, and trivial situations as well, as my example above illustrates. i ‘choose’ to read your comments on nbl, but i didn’t choose to have the intelligence and/or whatever other traits (idiocy? lunacy?) i may have that cause me to feel rewarded by reading what u post here. iow, we don’t get to choose our desires, or our ability to fulfill those desires. we only get to act (or not) on them. u might argue, ‘well isn’t that a choice?’. no, it isn’t. your (dis)inclination to act on any particular desire is determined by forces out of your control, which again boil down to genes and environment. but hey, feel ‘free’ to disagree! it does kind of suck to surrealize that u’re nothing more than a puppet acting out a part in what i in the twilight zone like to call ‘surreality’. (as long as the part is enjoyable, who will complain? when the pleasure’s done, it’s high time to head out to the great unknown, via the grim reaper)

    ‘Do you have this urge to procreate that most women are supposed to have?’

    i think all sexual species are generally born/endowed with the ‘urge to procreate’, a.k.a. libido or sex drive. of course procreation only occurs in heterosexual sex, and of course one may argue persuasively that libido and ‘urge to procreate’ are 2 very distinct matters. at least sometimes, particularly when, for example, one is a dyed in the wool doomer, one may still be highly inclined to have sex, and totally disinclined to procreate… i suspect that under more conducive or ‘romantic’ conditions (i.e. living in a tolerably sane/intelligent durable society/culture, with (an) attractive mate(s) at hand), the urge to procreate would be a lot higher, perhaps in proportion to an unbridled libido. nurturing children can be a highly rewarding experience for both genders under favorable conditions. if it wasn’t, the intense bonds (or ‘love’) that characterizes strong healthy parent-child relationships among humans, wouldn’t occur.

    btd, u still rock, u old (f)artist! (lol)

    guy, what’s it like to be a leader, a ‘chosen one’?

  • if u want a kid and think u can be a good/proper parent (given the limits of facing doom), by all means, adopt, don’t procreate!

  • tvt,

    You seem to have thought about the free will or choice topic a bit, so please tell me how you analyze/react to this thought experiment.

    You and your two kids (both male or both female) are powerless prisoners.
    TPTB (could be a government agent, could be a psycho/sociopath) sez, I’ll kill one if you choose which one…and then the other two of you can leave freely…otherwise I kill both…and you can think back on that for the rest of your life.

    What to do?

    The way I see it, you have to pick one.
    I suppose you could choose to kiss them both goodbye.
    “I’m not going to let myself and the other kid survive in such a world, etc.”
    That might play in a pogrom, but I don’t see the logic if TPTB is Ted Bundy.

    To make it harder, you truly do not have a favorite…sorry, twins happen.

    So, your decision won’t be biased by your current or historical relationships with your kids.

    The only way forward I can come up with so far is basically a coin flip.
    It looks like choosing (or deciding, if that makes it easier) not to choose.
    It looks like deciding to act based on a random event in which each kid has an equal chance of survival. (Schrodinger’s Brats?)

    Is there some semantic discontinuity here?
    Would you characterize the decision to leave the outcome to chance as something other than a choice?
    I am curious about how you view such a scenario, which has undoubtedly happened in the past and will happen more often if the collapse of civilization takes the local Mad-Max-on-a-slow-train route rather than the comparatively Boom & All Gone express train route of nuclear war & winter or big pandemic.


    I’m familiar with the idea of part of our brain (R. Datta’s reptilian part) making a decision, after which the newer module is basically tasked with back-filling thoughts that will justify what the lizard king decided.
    I posted a YT clip of a TED talk by a forensic psychologist that dealt with this type of thing in a murder trial.

    The scenario above is designed in such a way that the lizard brain just doesn’t have a horse in the race, and some other part(s) of the brain have to decide/choose a course of action.


    I agree that, in a system that uses money, having very little money will limit your range of possible actions in a very big way.
    But do you not think that in our current system, the more money or socially-based privilege that someone has, the fewer constraints they will encounter?

    Take your time…it ain’t like this is the end of the world now.

  • infanttyrone, i don’t get where u’re coming from. what i’m saying is that everything one ‘chooses’ to do (or not) is essentially pre-determined. i’m saying that we’re puppets and that the strings that control us are twofold: genetic pre-disposition, and environmental influence. your thought experiment involves having to make an unsavory (to say the least) choice (an environmental influence one has no control over). in such a situation, whatever ‘choice’ that’s made will be somehow determined by genetic disposition. maybe i’d flip a coin. maybe i’d do something else. whatever my genetic predisposition dictates, i’ll do. it might seem at first blush to be a ‘free choice’, but since i didn’t choose my genes, i’m still just a puppet, controlled by things i have no power over.

  • tvt,

    Where I’m trying to come from (or get to) is an examination of what you mean by genetic predisposition and environmental influence.

    I suppose I don’t get where you’re at when you parenthetically equate ‘choice’ to “(an environmental influence one has no control over)” just one or two lines below the place where you list environmental influence (along with genetic predisposition) as one of the strings that control us.

    Well, to me it looked as though in your earlier post you were taking the fact that you did not choose the “species/parents/ethnicity/gender/class/family/environment” that you were born into and extrapolating that into a lifetime in which your actions, although not strictly pre-determined (you said ‘essentially’), were somehow governed (as opposed to influenced) by a combination of your genetics and environment. To me, this sounds like a slightly-gussied-up-with-science version of, “Oh, you know I can’t help but run those red lights…it’s just the way we Capricorns are.” Probably the only easier way to duck responsibility for a particular action would be to invoke the mystical Quantum.

    Clearly genetics and environment play a big role in our decisions about how to act in mundane as well as extraordinary circumstances…no argument there from me. I guess this is one of those subjects that are like Beyond the Fringe’s “logical cleft stick” or the Firesign Theater’s “like trying to catch Mars flies in a Klein bottle”. Reckon we could go round and round and wind up right about where we started.

    Thanks for the reply.

    No point in doing a bumper-car demolition derby.

    This has no connection to the thought experiment…oh, wait, maybe it does.