What I Believe, Redux

I’ve copied below an essay I posted in this space on 29 July 2008. It’s posted verbatim, and is preceded by a brief, contemporary introduction and also an embedded song. There’s much more, too, at the bottom of the page.

Belief is an odd topic of discussion. Belief leads directly to the mentality of conquest, human superiority, patriarchy, and faith-based junk science. What’s not to like?

We adhere so strongly to our beliefs, however ill-supported, that we are driven to acts of insanity. Clinging even tighter, we fail to recognize the insanity. We “believe” it away.

Check with any denier of climate change. Or denier of abrupt climate change. Or nearly anybody embedded within civilization, unable to question civilization. In the latter case, along with many others, the belief isn’t stated. It’s assumed.

Civilization is assumed, without question, as unimpeachably good. In that way, it’s a lot like hope.

No questions allowed. Questioners are ignored, and perhaps laughed at. But rarely fought, contrary to Gandhi’s famous line.

The price of oil did not rise to $150/barrel in July, as I had predicted. Instead, the price climbed slightly above $147 before falling to about $120. John McCain would have you believe the plummeting price resulted from BushCo’s promise to drill offshore. Most economists attribute the decline to a weakening economy, although they fail to admit the profound extent of the demand destruction here and abroad.

What’s the first law of holes? When you’re in one, stop digging. Or, in this case, stop drilling.

Since I was wrong about the price of oil, my views on other issues are suspect as well. I encourage skepticism about all that follows.

I’m amazed anybody cares what I believe, at least enough to ask. Belief is personal, and what I believe is not relevant to what you believe. At least, I hope not. But, since you asked ….

I try not to believe. After all, as Nietzsche pointed out, “Belief means not wanting to know what is true.” Instead of believing, I try to think. But it’s sometimes difficult to separate the two, and it’s often difficult to marshal enough evidence to allow thought to proceed unimpeded by belief. I suppose I’m skeptical, even about my skepticism. Usually, I think that’s a good thing. And I recognize I’m quick to offend, especially when my words are unaccompanied by my smiling face and accommodating body language. Continue reading at your own risk.

I believe we spend too much time in this country debating belief, especially belief in spirits. And I believe we routinely confuse religion with faith or spirituality. I believe we shouldn’t mislead children into believing there is a Santa Claus, an Easter bunny, a tooth fairy, a unicorn on the dark side of the moon, or a god. I think it’s a sad commentary on the state of our cultural affairs that we finally get around to telling the truth about only the former three. Even sadder commentary is provided by the paucity of people who take time to think about what they believe, how they live, and what they live for.

People who know me, even slightly, would describe me as neither spiritual nor religious. I do not believe in spirits, so I can understand the common conclusion about the former. I think organized religions are, to a great extent, absurd, violent, and immoral. When I think about the impacts of organized religion on society, I’m an anti-theist. But most of the time, I’m an indifferent rationalist, open to evidence but realizing faith is based on the absence of evidence. Or, as I tell the occasional student who asks, I believe in one fewer god than you. Unless you’re Hindu, in which case I believe in 33 trillion fewer gods than you.

I believe all life is loaded with religiosity. After all, religion is merely a set of beliefs and practices. Consider, for example, the set of beliefs and practices in my own uniquely quirky life: I’m a self-proclaimed rationalist and skeptic with a penchant for social criticism. In the latter role, I comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable with religious fervor. I religiously seek the truth (and I believe it should be spelled with a lowercase ‘t’). I religiously count steps when I’m walking. I religiously exceed the posted speed limit when I drive. And like Albert Einstein, I am a deeply religious unbeliever. And so on, ad nauseum. I suspect you get the point.

I believe Spinoza nailed the issue about religious spiritualism when he concluded that, if a triangle could think, it would imagine God to be like a triangle. Upon learning this story, most people accuse the triangle of hubris.

I believe Nietzsche was correct about our lack of free will, and overwhelming evidence accumulated since his death supports this view (e.g., the mind as computer, and vice versa). Nietzsche recognized that our ability to choose can overcome our lack of free will, but only with great intellectual effort (and, very often, intellectual suffering). Our absence of free will constrains, but does not eliminate, our freedom to choose. I believe education facilitates the process of choice over will — that is, I believe education, when it works, is an intellectually painful process — and I believe all education is, ultimately, autodidactic.

I agree with Jules Henry, in his classic book, Culture Against Man: “School is indeed a training for later life not because it teaches the 3 Rs (more or less), but because it instills the essential cultural nightmare fear of failure, envy of success, and absurdity.” Public education in this country has become exactly the essential cultural nightmare it was designed to become by the likes of John Dewey and the United States Congress. It serves corporate Amerika by creating belief-filled drones incapable of deep thought. And, paradoxically, I believe John Dewey was right when he wrote: “Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.”

In part because of the virtual absence of deep thought by mainstream Americans, I believe western civilization will suffer a profound and sudden collapse, thereby joining the 23 major civilizations that failed before it (albeit at different rates, from different apexes and to different nadirs). I believe the collapse of civilization will be complete, in this country, within five years, and will be accompanied by suffering that is unimaginable to most of us.

I believe this is a damned sad state of affairs.

I believe I will not live through the ongoing collapse. But I will fully engage the collapse, and act as if I will survive it. Acting “as if” is one rapid and appropriate way to ensure something positive will happen. Rosa Parks sat on the bus “as if” doing so were right. And, of course, it was.

Acting and living “as if” is a powerful approach to improving the human condition. It enables quick identification of the obstacles to improvement. It is the route to social change often espoused by contrarians and social critics (not to mention Buddhists). To live in opposition, as Christopher Hitchens points out in Letters to a Young Contrarian, “is not to be a nihilist. … It is something you are, not something you do.” Hitchens knows about our lack of free will.

Many people, including several friends, find it hard to believe I can go on, given what I believe (and especially what I don’t believe). As if spirits, or faith in a life better than the one we get on Earth, make life worth living. As if one life is not enough, given its rarity and splendor. As if we need the promise of something else to carry on through our trivial existences on this celestial speck of dust at the edge of an insignificant galaxy. As if dying wasn’t part of the deal from the beginning, for individuals, civilizations, and entire species.

I have no problem finding things to live for, finding meanings in this most insignificant of lives. But I’ll save that issue for another day. Meanwhile, I welcome your thoughts, especially the ones that point out the many errors in my logic.


This week’s broadcast of Extinction Radio features an interview with me. Catch it in the archives here shortly after it broadcasts on Activate Media at 3:00 Eastern today.

Comments 181

  • oh…infantryone, what you’re saying is that we have free will…we just don’t have any choice!

  • @Caroline so true, I found this story recently which says so much about our stupid man made mess, we are all trapped in Pure Propaganda. This is an amazingly sick true story I never knew, and then seeing new ‘improved’ Monopoly board games in the xmas shelves with jet setting and owning cities included. Just sad.


    I know what you mean about breathing every breath of this horror show.
    Kind Regards Kate*

  • @Nemesis, Have you ever thought about just keeping your fucking mouth shut?

  • “Fire & ice” Robert Frost

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.

    The color supercomputer model won’t post, BUT you had better see it.

    NASA is advancing new tools like the supercomputer model that created this simulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to better understand what will happen to Earth’s climate if the land and ocean can no longer absorb nearly half of all climate-warming CO2 emissions. Credit: NASA/GSFC


  • @Caroline, thanks for asking about the development. It’s a very long process that will take years to come to a conclusion. Having offered to design some advertising for the opposition group I am now rocketed back into working mode as the thing has grown, which reminds me why I walked away from my design studio. The ads I make will chew up some trees and some electrons, but since it’s not up for a public vote (three appointed commissioners make the decision) it’s going to play out more or less the way LWA described in his valuable admonitory comment a while back. The saving grace is that even if their decision (promised before the end of the year) goes against our hopes, there will still be 8 out of 10 criteria remaining to be met for this developer, or for whomever he sells the thing on to. But stressing over ads and mechanicals and image formats and deadlines is an “excellent” way to lead one’s life, right?

    You’re perfectly correct in saying that we here have the luxury of contemplation. The question of free will is an ancient one, though, and it underlies ALL of our social structures and presumptions, from churches to penitentiaries (where the penitent repent of their crimes/”crimes”) to “free elections” (koff, koff). The right wing in particular (while Calvinistic in many regards) loves to beat people over the head with the “choice” nightstick: it’s your choice to be gay, your choice to be poor, etc. So I do see value in understanding the concept/fantasy of free will, since it has many repercussions in our day-to-day living. I think to toss it aside as only the purview of “white males” does a disservice to the (however limited) value of the thought process itself, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    As you correctly point out, though, NTHE does trump everything. Past commenters have made this observation, but it is still our wont here to while away the time on the Beach of Doom with talk of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot. Around the time of peak ulvfugl (prolific ex-commenter) it was said that “NTHE breaks all the stories”.

    The story of free will, though, is so near and dear to the hearts of most that it’s interesting to me to hear from someone who has “no interest” in whether it exists or not. That’s a position I would never have imagined! :-)

    “living in the 6th extinction is my truth and I am not prepared emotionally or physically..”

    A lodestone on this site for me has been “Kathy C” .. she has retired from commenting but you should search older threads (older than maybe 9mo.-1 year?) and search on her nickname. She’s commented elsewhere as Kathy Cassandra and has calmly offered truths about death and pain that allow us to see and (one hopes) accept them for the natural processes they are.

    Guy had a man named Stephen Jenkinson on his radio program recently.

    I had heard him years ago on the “Extra-Environmentalist” podcast.

    He is a man who tries to help people “die wise” (he apparently has a new book out with that name). One of his valuable contributions is in allowing us to see how removed our modern western culture is from the process of death. We are death-denying, denying our own deaths just as we deny the death of the biosphere.

    This is a great time for your daughter in that she is individuating into an adult. I’m sure you did a great job raising her, since you come across as very intelligent and sensitive. All you can do is encourage her to keep her mind and her options open. Things will resolve themselves and we shall never know, any of us, when or which fatal blow will mark the end of our days, from amongst radiation, starvation, lack of water, disease, human or animal violence or predation. Except for the radiation part, most of humanity has lived under these threats as a matter of course.

    Your breathing observation sounds like a practice an Eastern religion would offer: people pay the big bucks for that form of “enlightenment”! A word I like floating around that space is “equanimous”: whether you live or die, or whatever befalls you, you are not psychologically thrown off course: you regard everything with an equal reaction, an equilibrated soul (equo/a=equal; anima=soul). Breathe in, breathe out.

  • The Global Dimming aspect may soon be revealed and better understood.

    Coal consumption increasing in China?

    Coal consumption decreasing in China?

    This item suggest the latter:


    But hellish pollution suggests the former.

    Then there are ‘official’ figures.

    (Images of pollution precede.)

    ‘Finally, and perhaps the most ironic of all, is the juxtaposition of the images above of a coal-smoke-plagued China with ‘official’ data that coal usage is collapsing amid China’s “successful” reforms of the Coal industry in line with the newly signed Climate Change agreements with President Obama…

    Coal consumption is poised for its biggest decline in history, driven by China’s battle against pollution, economic reforms and its efforts to promote renewable energy.

    Global use of the most polluting fuel fell 2.3 percent to 4.6 percent in the first nine months of 2015 from the same period last year, according to a report released Monday by the environmental group Greenpeace. That’s a decline of as much as 180 million tons of standard coal, 40 million tons more than Japan used in the same period.

    The report confirms that worldwide efforts to fight global warming are having a significant impact on the coal industry, the biggest source of carbon emissions.

    Call us old-fashioned but color us skeptical that any of that is true given the record levels of coal pollution that is choking reality out of Chinese lives.

    Finally, and perhaps the most ironic of all, is the juxtaposition of the images above of a coal-smoke-plagued China with ‘official’ data that coal usage is collapsing amid China’s “successful” reforms of the Coal industry in line with the newly signed Climate Change agreements with President Obama…

    Coal consumption is poised for its biggest decline in history, driven by China’s battle against pollution, economic reforms and its efforts to promote renewable energy.

    Global use of the most polluting fuel fell 2.3 percent to 4.6 percent in the first nine months of 2015 from the same period last year, according to a report released Monday by the environmental group Greenpeace. That’s a decline of as much as 180 million tons of standard coal, 40 million tons more than Japan used in the same period.

    The report confirms that worldwide efforts to fight global warming are having a significant impact on the coal industry, the biggest source of carbon emissions.

    Call us old-fashioned but color us skeptical that any of that is true given the record levels of coal pollution that is choking reality out of Chinese lives.’

  • Not to add unnecessarily to Guy’s shitstorm, but I have a couple things regarding the debate about free will (or lack thereof).

    There is definitely something to scientific determinism, which suggests (as I understand it) that most or all choices are removed or made for us for a variety of reasons operating below the level of consciousness. However, that power law does not jibe with our conscious perception of ourselves as possessing agency. Thus, Guy gives instructions (e.g., think before responding) as though the reader has a choice. The perception of choice/agency/free will is so powerful, whether actual or not, that we (ironically) have no choice but to act as though we have it. This relates to what Daniel Dennett calls the “benign user illusion”: that there is an identity operating within the bodies we inhabit, a consciousness or soul or spirit or psyche. It might not be there, but we can’t really think and behave otherwise except in the abstract. So after a fashion, the whole debate is moot.

    The limited bandwidth of consciousness is a feature, not a bug. To attend to every stimuli (or remember everything) our perceptual apparatus takes in all at once would be burdensome and overtaxing. So the bulk of it is shunted aside. Big deal.

    The question of a priori vs. a posteriori vs. in the moment is also a red herring. Whether or not time exists, we behave as if it does, and the brain/mind constructs a narrative timeline that is rough and approximate and time-stamps events, sometimes out of strict order of occurrence. Variances are usually in milliseconds, but imperfect memory can alter timelines far more radically.

    Paul Chefurka contrasts the isolated, abstract decision tree posited in psychological and philosophical arguments about free with real-world decisions made within social contexts. That’s a worthwhile corrective and antidote to scientific determinism. Further, many people operate under a sort of false consciousness that renders them flatly unable to break with the dominant paradigm. Their programming is so strong that, in effect, they have no choice but to go with the flow in most instances; small acts of rebellion are inconsequential. Of course (irony alert), none of us here are in the thrall of anything; we are all fully awake and aware; the scales have fallen from our eyes. We all made our choices long go to believe what evidence demonstrates instead of the silliness that our culture(s) spews at us constantly. Or are all just internally programmed to resist? You decide, and recognize in doing so myriad irresolvable semantic conflicts.

  • the story of free will has more entertainment value than the reality of determinism.

    the story of the Universe has more entertainment value than the solitary existence of the One.

    the One tells stories to itself, and we feel like we are making choices of consequence in a Universe of matter and energy that feels like it actually exists.

    neither free will nor the Universe are Real.

    the illusions, however, are perfect ~ at least for a time that is determined.

  • ‘If you really think people don’t have much in the way of free will, then the “parade of idiocy” is going to be par for the course.’ -lidia

    what does ‘free will’ or it’s absence have to do with intelligence? is it not possible for an idiot to possess free will (hmmm, maybe god’s an idiot, which might explain the sort of utterly absurd and incongruent creation we find ourselves born into), and a robot to be or at least appear to be intelligent, highly rational (unlike most/(all?!) sheeple).

    it’s simple and obvious. there’s a huge difference between possessing and acting on a desire and possessing ‘free will’. as long as one is not free to choose his or her desires (and this is manifestly, inarguably the case when it comes to mortal sheeple), one does not possess free will. one still possesses will, as i possess the will to repeatedly try to make myself clear so as to convince others to be in agreement with me, but i/we surreally have no choice. we all want what we want when we want it; we can’t help but to have desires. if we’re lucky we may act on a desire and get what we want, but this is only an illusion of free will. we’re like machines that are programmed to want what we want, and do what we do. machines with feelings/emotions (smh), battered about by forces/circumstances in a cruelly indifferent world, impotent to determine our own fate. what a strange way to be!

    (p.s. i can’t help but to dislike those who disagree with me because i have not free will!)

    “The degree of free will one has in any decision-making process is inversely proportional to the number of people involved in the process.”

    again, being a ‘lone wolf’ enables one to act on one’s desires free from social constraints, but one remains a slave to one’s pre-programmed desires, not to mention non social circumstances/constraints that remain as impediments to desire fulfillment. being free-er to act on desires that weren’t chosen freely to begin with, is obviously still not having free will.

    ‘The will is the summation of desire.’

    true. and there’s nothing free about it. nature rules, sheeple drool!

    ‘If only there was free will so people could freely choose not to post…’

    lacking free will, i was compelled to chuckle at the absurd veracity of this observation. perhaps along with change, death, and taxes, absurdity is the only enduring truth of our existence. at least it’s occasionally funny. better to laugh than to cry…

  • Thanks, Mo!

    “…someone who has “no interest” in whether it exists or not.”

    That includes me too.

  • Good news, brothers and sisters! Big Brother has announced that we are only halfway to reaching 2oC above baseline and still have another 1oC worth of burning fossil fuels before they ‘could result in dangerous climate change’.

    ‘The findings came out ahead of the Paris meeting on climate change designed to agree on a binding international treaty on carbon emissions that are aimed at limiting global warming to a maximum of 2C above pre-industrial levels.’

    Orwell lives.


  • Good news! Climate Change is Good News for English Wine Industry! English winemakers are raising a toast to warming weather as it improves their wines and has helped revive an ancient tradition. Red Wines Next?


  • mo flow said: “neither free will nor the Universe are Real.”

    The comments here just get better and better.

  • Chinese official stats are even less trustworthy than the west’s. Where our industry and econ numbers are still somewhat accurate, but mostly spun, tortured and reinterpreted (Yes 7 consecutive years of ZIRP is perfectly normal kids) the Chinese can just make shit up.

    China underreporting coal consumption by up to 17%, data suggests
    Revelation may mean China has emitted close to a billion additional tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year


  • Given that it’s 3 in the morning, this’ll be brief, random and in no particular order.

    Re: Guy’s purported anger. Reminds me of a quote I like: “A gentleman is someone who never hurts another persons feelings – unintentionally.”

    I got a lot out or the Nemesis posts above (even though one was mostly in German), and from someone else who said that the pre-determined / free-will conundrum may not be an absolute either/or, but a both/and in shifting degrees. It’s been helpful to me to consider just how un-free I am, how shaped by biology, how conditioned by upbringing, how conformist and blinkered, how much a product of this culture.

    I like the ‘acting as if’ approach…

    …and am with Caroline in her constant awareness of the decline, disintegration and ultimate (untimely) death of all that is wondrous, beautiful and diverse, grand, glorious and whole, a marvel of a living planet wrecked and wasted. Living with woods and forest all around, I am never not aware of sick, dead and dying trees (orange cat on lap). I like her word ‘kindness’ and am not sure whether it’s even possible to be ‘prepared’ for future horrors.

    And sometimes I need to savour the peace of the moment: 3 a.m., a dark, quiet house (getting chilly as the fire dies down), the ‘luxury’ of solitude (for the moment) and space to think my puny thoughts, a well stocked pantry and cold cellar, a big bed of late spinach still lush and green outside and thoughts of enjoying it tomorrow, and playing some music with a friend and not fretting about funds (although poor by some definition, rich in many ways)…a spell of calm and gratitude.

  • mo flow said: “neither free will nor the Universe are Real.”

    Exactly. This is what Kant and modern neuroscientists and physicists say. Mind and the universe are both simulations, creations of the brain. No one has ever seen the real universe. It stays veiled as do our real minds.

  • Zarquon

    That Karnataka stuff is pretty cool.

    Even though the cultural landscape here in Afraidia is full of fear,
    The land itself and all those who feel it deeply make up a Great Southern Land.

    Icehouse – Great Southern Land


  • “No one has ever seen the real universe.” Very accurate. If there ever was an oxymoron that has to be it. The deeper we look into its size, the bigger it gets. Not only does it get bigger, but the concept of infinity arises. It’s almost impossible to fathom its size. The Earth, compared to the vastness of the known universe, in my perspective is like a drop of water in all of the oceans of the planet, multiplied a few billion times. It’s really an amazing thought parameter. It’s possible that it goes on forever, and that’s where all rational thought falls apart. Imagine a few trillion universes within another trillion universes… boggles the mind…which is not yet much to boggle anyway. Understanding the ‘universe’ is like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket…

  • Days of Revolt – The Corporate Coup d’etat with Ralph Nader

    Published on Nov 3, 2015

    In this episode of Days of Revolt, host Chris Hedges speaks with author, consumer advocate, and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Together, they trace the advancement of corporate control in the U.S. political system.

    [hat-tip ulvfugl]

  • Monday, November 9, 2015
    Ocean Heat
    Sea Surface Temperatures


    Sea surface temperatures were as high as 15.8°C or 60.4°F near Svalbard on November 7, 2015, a 13.7°C or 24.7°F anomaly. Let this sink in for a moment. The water used to be close to freezing point near Svalbard around this time of year, and the water now is warmer by as much as 13.7°C or 24.7°F. [more]

  • A whole blog dedicated to a universe that doesn’t exist, honk. Then why bother about NTE?!


    It’s definitely getting better 8-)

  • What I Believe Redux

    My wife killed a deer with her cross-bow last Sunday.
    I’m nearly finished at the trailer park this season, I’m going to spend the rest of the day smoking weed and drinking on mushrooms.

    There’s no way I would drink with Guy. I can’t think that hard.

    How I Know We Are Super Ultra Maxi Fucked from collapse

  • Ray Batman said: “mo flow said: “neither free will nor the Universe are Real.”
    Exactly. This is what Kant and modern neuroscientists and physicists say. Mind and the universe are both simulations, creations of the brain. No one has ever seen the real universe. It stays veiled as do our real minds.”

    @Ray Batman and mo flow,

    Just because we may not have seen the “real” universe does not mean the universe is not real.

    real (adjective): actually existing or happening : not imaginary

    The universe really exists.

    What we perceive may be an illusion of what really is, but what really is still is.

    The wording of things can be misleading.

  • Plato’s Allegory of the Cave has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from things passing in front of a fire behind them, and they begin to give names to these shadows.

    We see a shadow universe, a virtual reality that our virtual brains have constructed. A virtual reality is not real.

    The universe is not real.

  • Again, what we perceive may be an illusion of what really is, but what really is still is. It is real. It exists.

  • Robert…I believe you exist…somewhere in this imaginary universe. have a nice trip.

  • Ray Batman said: “We see a shadow universe, a virtual reality that our virtual brains have constructed. A virtual reality is not real.
    The universe is not real.”

    @Ray Batman,

    You say we see a shadow universe which is “virtual reality”. You then essentially imply the real universe is not real based on that “virtual reality”.

    In other words you are essentially dismissing something real based on something illusory.

  • @Adent

    … ein Gedanke ist zwar Materie…

    Hm, ich kann genausogut sagen, Materie sei ein Gedanke:

    Es gibt keine Materie an sich!
    Alle Materie entsteht und besteht nur durch eine Kraft, welche die Atomteilchen in Schwingung bringt und sie zum winzigsten Sonnensystem des Atoms zusammenhält.
    Da es aber im ganzen Weltall weder eine intelligente, noch eine ewige Kraft gibt, so müssen wir hinter dieser Kraft einen bewußten, intelligenten Geist annehmen.
    Dieser Geist ist der Urgrund der Materie! Nicht die sichtbare, aber vergängliche Materie ist das Reale,
    Wahre, Wirkliche, sondern der unsichtbare, unsterbliche Geist ist das Wahre!

    Max Planck (aus seiner Rede im Harnack-Haus, 1929)

    Sir James Jeans sagte es folgendermassen:

    Heute ist man sich ziemlich einig darüber und auf der physikalischen Seite der Wissenschaft nahezu völlig einig, daß der Wissensstrom auf eine nichtmechanische Wirklichkeit zufließt; das Weltall sieht allmählich eher wie ein großer Gedanke als eine große Maschine aus.”

    Die moderne Quantenphysik hat gezeigt, dass das mit der Materie nicht ganz so einfach ist, wie es auf den ersten Blick scheint^^ Materie ist wohl eher ein dynamisches Geflecht aus physikalischen Beziehungen und Kräften, weniger ein Ding an sich. Die moderne Quantenphysik hat offenbar sowohl die Materie, als auch den Determinismus relativiert. Genau dieser Umstand ist ein Grund, weshalb ich mich in der Position des Agnostikers am wohlsten fühle. Mir erscheint das Universum ausserordentlich paradox und mysteriös, ähnlich wie der Grinsekater- und so fühl ich mich manchmal wie Alice im Wunderland.

    Trotzdem hast Du wohl Recht, wenn Du sagst, dass man beim Schachspiel abnimmt, das Gehirn verbraucht ja bekanntlich eine Menge Kalorien. Und dennoch ist Schach offenbar kein Sport, denn der geniale Pfleger sagte mal “Sport ist, wenn man hinterher duscht.” Ich kenne niemanden, der nach einem Schachspiel duschen geht.

    @sapere aude

    Jetzt, wo Du doch beide Seiten erfahren hast, sowohl Atheismus, als auch Theismus, könntest Du Dich doch vielleicht zuguterletzt auf die Seite der Agnostiker schlagen 8-)

    Übrigens, mein Browser schafft die Blogseite hier nur noch in Zeitlupe… hat wohl zuviel Masse^^

  • Haha, sorry, I put my last comment into the wrong blog^^

  • I can’t think harder than Guy either…but I know I can drink harder!

  • I could drink bill Nye the bow-tie guy under the table any day too. what a light weight.

  • All yee who believest not in the free-eth of will might as well go on to church next Sunday. Go on now.

    There’s no way in bloody hell you’ll get me to believe that anybody sitting in front of a green M&M and a red M&M must choose green.

    Has to be green. Gotta be green. As was determined and decreed at the birth of the universe by George Burns or Huldrych Zwingli or some other neo-calvinist religious maniac. Cuhmahn!

  • I just had a thought! it might even be some what original…maybe there is a relationship between free will and narcissism or ego gratification. example: i have a very small ego,(some might disagree)squashed at birth…I need no compliments or ego gratification…don’t care if you think I’m stupid, smart, dead or alive…that has allowed me to live on the periphery of society, relatively free. a friend of mine, probably does have a genius i.q. of about 145. he’s also a narcissist… needs his ego stroked 24/7…thinks he’s very smart, wise and important…but he could not exist without an audience! he’s totally trapped in the system and believes in it wholeheartedly. his life depends on it. no doubt Nietzsche had a huge ego as well. in fact all the great quotes you’ve read are by people with huge egos…trapped in cages of their own making. just a thought

  • @Kevin Moore

    Thanks for the link to the 1957 Rickover speech. I had read a few years before, and forgotten all about it until now. It was worth a re-read. Perhaps we could have turned the ship around if we had started then, but all we can do now is stand up at the bow, and watch, as the ship crashes into the shore.
    In a totally unrelated thought, when one reads about all the sabre rattling going on with the crazies in Washington, and with the knowledge that even a limited nuclear exchange would produce a nuclear winter for many years, I sometimes wonder if these same crazies believe that they can pull it off, and then just wait things out? It’s sheer madness of course.
    Anyone else here at NBL have a similar thought??

    It gives me yet another reason to enjoy each precious moment.

  • Paul, yes.
    Or what hath creative lawyering combined with creative yuppie careerism not wrought – yet?

    Kevin, the Independent’s “news” piece by Steve Connor is all too similar to the fluffy BAU hokum advanced by Billy Fuckster; the science-y guy, at Nat Geo for Murdoch’s propaganda colossus.


    The first paragraph “establishes” 2900 Gt as THE BUDGET! Good to know.

    ***Scientists estimate that about 2,900 gigatonnes of CO2 can be emitted into the atmosphere before the 2C threshold is likely to be breached. Industrialised nations have already about 2,000gt which means that the world has used but about two thirds of its 2C “budget” of fossil fuels, the Met Office said.

    Sea levels are lagging behind because of the natural inertia of the climate system, with 20 centimetres of global mean sea level rise observed since pre-industrial levels. This is about on third of the rise that is expected into the next century even if we are able to keep to within 2C temperature rise, the Met Office said.

    “Research suggests it is still possible to limit warming to 2 C above preindustrial levels. However, the later that global CO2 emissions peak – the faster subsequent emissions cuts would need to be in order to keep global temperature rise below the limit,” it said.***

  • Because some (so many?) of our intrepid fellow bloggers are clearly science deniers & paradoxically so, I offer some up-to-date great plodding empirical science & scientific inference for the possible edification of such bewildered & bamboozled deniers.

    Proceeding from the premise that the discovered baby mammoth is “real.”

    ***Paleontologists and biologists used a CT scan to study the preserved body of a baby mammoth discovered in Siberia in 2007. A CT scanner rotates 360 degrees, allowing scientists to construct 3-D representations of the bones and tissue of the organism. Using this technology, scientists were able to see that the baby mammoth had healthy teeth, bones, and muscle tissue. However, the animal’s lungs and trunk were full of mud and debris. This suggested to scientists that the animal was healthy, but most likely suffocated in a muddy river or lake.

    Scientists can even extract genetic material from bones and tissues.

    Paleontologists made a remarkable genetic discovery when the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex were broken during an excavation in the 1990s. Soft tissue was discovered inside the bones. Soft tissue is the actual connective tissue of an organism, such as muscles, fat, and blood. Soft tissue is rarely preserved during fossilization. Paleontologists usually must rely on fossilized remains—rocks. Paleontologists now hope to use this rare discovery of 68-million-year-old tissue to study the biology and possibly even the DNA of the T. rex.***

  • Nemesis,

    ein Link für dich:



  • The brain is assembled from modules over the span of evolutionary time.
    The “sense of self” is an illusion. Which module is it? Olfactory?
    Brain stem? Neocortex? We can’t even speak of “free will”, because it suggests a seat of consciousness. There is none. If Chomsky wants to make arguments, this is determined by mechanisms that are predetermined.

    And anyway, arguments come from the neocortex, which itself is a brain module that mainly evolved to serve up politically correct, socially acceptable rationalizations for behavior that has been decided automatically long before we became “conscious” of them. I suspect the little voice in our head originates mostly from our neocortex, and this is what we identify as “self”. It is designed such that it can regurgitate the best, socially acceptable story to share with other tribal members for our behaviors, which are decided and implemented in the neither regions of our craniums, but never “consciously”. The neocortex has other functions too, such as ordering the social power of group members, effecting deceit strategies, and other political minutia.

    Why did I write this? I can’t know, because the algorithms are beyond my access. I can make a guess, and I’d probably be close if I said that I wanted to increase my social power by wowing my fellow apes with my learning and insights. Or, it might be more that I wanted to organism my own thoughts, perhaps to sharpen my arguments for future encounters with numbskulls. Alas, it usually comes back to an impulse for evolutionary fitness and social power. And remember, these are algorithms, evolved over evolutionary time, and not necessarily useful for serving fitness in the setting of civilization. Seriously, who the fuck cares, and how is this arguing for or against free will going to improve my chances at a better job or getting laid? Philosophy is a maladaptive behavior by which some individuals are susceptible, usually when exposed to the existential horror of civilization.

    I doubt neolithic people had much need for philosophers.

  • Hamlet rocks the house!

  • You can accept the mysterious collapse of the wave function, which no one has been able to explain, and quantum mechanics becomes very paradoxical. You also have to accept total determinism in which everything has been determined at the birth of the universe, including your decision to accept the collapse of the wave function.

    Or you can be a conservative and accept the Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of Quantum Physics. If you accept the Many-Worlds Interpretation, it’s not clear how many different worlds there are, but in some worlds there is climate change and in some worlds there is NTHE, and in some worlds the industrial revolution never happened. But MWI allows mental causation, and you can really choose between apples and oranges. However, your decisions split the world every time and you create more and more worlds, and in some worlds some of your decisions kill innocent people.

  • Hamlet Jones,

    I’m so glad for you that you know absolutely EVERYTHING and don’t have anything to learn or to share. Because you don’t share, and that’s a good thing because sharing things with algorithms, dear me, what an awful thought.
    To me, there’s something quite precocious about your comment explaining the mechanics of the brain etc: all about “evolutionary fitness and social power”,something you’re probably well endowed with (or would like to be?)

    But then I’m not surprised by this, the world is full of men like you – unfortunately. Maybe read your comment out loud and see how it sounds? But no, you’re obviously pleased with it.

    Seriously, I, for one, do the fuck care. And please don’t reply with a clever comment, just ignore me.

  • @Nemesis

    “Sir James Jeans said it like this: Knowledge current flows
    in a non-mechanical reality.”

    Actually, information does flow in a mechanical reality.

    Photons create the “charge field” which provides a means of communication between the organism and its environment.

    See “Using The Charge Field To Inflate Evolution Theory” at http://www.milesmathis.com

  • Let me try to sum it up:

    There is this unreal, determined universe with this unreal planet on wich unreal NTE will happen and unreal Nemesis is determined from the start of that unreal universe to believe in a (partly) free will.

    Now, if this universe is unreal, how can there be a real, material neocortex or a real brain that constitutes an unreal “self” or “I”? Can there be something real in an unreal universe? If matter is real (in an unreal universe), then the matter of the brain is also real. So, when there is that (material) thought of an “I”, how can that not be real? Is matter real? If so, then the “I” must also be real, because then “I” is a real, material thought or entity…



    Danke für den Link, aussergewöhnlich inspirierend! Ich glaube, ich war da sogar schonmal auf Besuch vor ein paar Monaten!

    @Phil Morrison

    Anyone who can proove modern quantum physics, Heisenberg, Planck, Schrödinger et al wrong, should get the Nobel-price^^ Actually, Sir James Jeans did not say ” Knowledge current flows in a non-mechanical reality” in the quote in my comment above. That’s a wrong translation ! He actually just said that the current knowledge about the universe, about physics is heading to a non-mechanical reality more and more. Quantum mechanics shurely is also a form of mechanics, no doubt! BUT the collapse of the wave-function shows that determined mechanics isn’t the whole story, it’s just a small fraction of reality, it is always determined by the experiment-situation in any laboratory. Change the experiment-situation and you get different results: You get a (material) particle or you get a wave, depending on how you measure. But be careful, before you try!:

    Quantum physics actually says that there is no (measurable) reality without any observer- take away the observer and you take away anything we call reality. Now, someone above said that the universe isn’t real, but then what?! Then NOTHING is real (Strawberry fields forever?). But that can’t be true, because then the claim “Nothing is real” is also not real (infinite regress)^^ Btw: Any cd- player prooves quantum physics right, there would be no cd- players without quantum- physics.

    All in all I leave it finally to anyone else to decide if “matter” or “no- matter”, because I know that it does always depend on the observer 8-) Is a no- thing a thing? Does matter matter?


  • Sorry for this additional comment, but I must say that this blog got a f…… cool moderation, mostly :-) Und ich hoffe, er hat Spass dabei… beim Moderieren meine ich, natürlich 8-)

  • Test:
    an attempt to post was thwarted (404)
    with thoughts of free will purported
    it is fine with me
    and you might agree
    for in the end we’ll all be aborted

  • @Sabine

    Since you didn’t order me to ignore you (yet) I guess I’d better mosey on over and get on your shit list as well, because I agree with everything Hamlet wrote. That’s precisely the way my materialist side sees the world. I think Hamlet’s description was succinct and completely accurate. It may be too hard-edged a view for some, but that doesn’t make it wrong, or Hamlet a bad “man” for saying it.

    There’s enough in this world to get offended over, why get triggered over someone’s tone of typing on a blog?

  • Models have the same challenges that public works officials have (New Type of SLC Detection Model – 10).

  • Opposites will never get rid of one another, because they actually love eachother most intimately, joint together like One coin.


    Voidness is that which stands right in the middle between this and that. The void is all-inclusive, having no opposite – there is nothing which it excludes or opposes. It is living void because all forms come out of it and whoever realizes the void is filled with life and power and the love of all human beings.

    – Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

  • A significant percentage of what gets posted here can be labelled as personal variations of phenomenology; including immediate personal experience as wisdom, know nothing-ism, uncertainty as religious dogma, scientific name dropping, uninformed science bashing, quantum stupidity, sophomoric opinion, new age nonsense, & outright woo.

    Especially lately.

    The new age blockbuster film, “What the Bleep …,” may be slick marketing, but it is still shameful flim-flam & shameless woo.

    Ditto for master marketeer, lying hoaxer,& phenomenological guru, Carlos Castenada.

    Much of what is presented as social science, is pure brain numbing propaganda.

    The real tragedy is that millions of innocent pilgrims are so susceptible – often because they have been trained in woo.

    The pervasive tentacles of distortion & deceit from trained professionals assault us at every turn.

    Here is a carefully crafted plea to proceed in our understanding of the world by starting with the posited foundation that “objective reality” not only exists; but is our best & most proven way of knowing what is happening to us, even as we confront NTE.

    Indeed, we are forced to confront our own NTE because of our acceptance of an objective reality as presented by objective truthful scientists – Guy being a shining example.

    The international & cross cultural community of scientific observers using the identical data language of objective science are the greatest social development of humankind.

    Global heating causing NTE is VERY basic & rudimentary scientific inference from empirical data.

    Human social life is not unlike any other field of scientific inquiry, & it is decipherable by scientific methodology, as is global heating & predictable NTE.

    Marvin Harris spent a lifetime developing a scientific research strategy significantly based on the simple terms etic and emic, which were introduced into anthropology by the anthropological linguist Kenneth Pike.

    Emic operations have as their hallmark the elevation of the native informant to the status of ultimate judge of the adequacy of the observer’s descriptions and analyses. The test of the adequacy of emic analyses is their ability to generate statements the native accepts as real, meaningful, or appropriate. In carrying out research in the emic mode, the observer attempts to acquire a knowledge of the categories and rules one must know in order to think and act as a native . . .

    Etic operations have as their hallmark the elevation of observers to the status of ultimate judges of the categories and concepts used in descriptions and analyses. The test of the adequacy of etic accounts is simply their ability to generate scientifically productive theories about the causes of socio-cultural differences and similarities.

    Rather than employ concepts that are necessarily real, meaningful, and appropriate from the native point of view, the observer is free to use alien categories and rules derived from the data language of science. Frequently, etic operations involve the measurement and juxtaposition of activities and events that native informants may find inappropriate or meaningless.

    As a scientist I do not cavalierly accept or “believe” that Castenada’s shaman, Don Juan, can really fly any more than I believe that anyone can fly, or that space aliens infected G. W Bush’s brain or the twin towers were toppled by witches…

    If you are genuinely interested in “social science,” I beg you to give this short piece by Harris a fair hearing.



  • Rates of ancient climate change may be underestimated
    November 10, 2015 by Robert Turbyne


  • Waves of Peace & Love…to both those who exist and those who do not.

    The paradox of infinity is that it must include a point of being non-infinite. Infinity must include everything.

    Eight billion evolving opinions. Delivered by 8 trillion electrons per millisecond. 8 quadrillion grains of sand on a small beach of doom. A universe of atoms and energy in every grain. Salty seas…or not??

    A universe of potential. A universe of doom. A universe for one. No-thing granted for those who see nothing. Not even a sun.

    Duality in decisions. Free will to choose from a range of limited options. Gravity. Levity. Laws of thermal dynamics. Add sum.

    Artificial Intelligence in a full spectrum of grand design. You were not here? An illusion. A delusion. Or a time and space to learn. Nothing & everything might matter. A million atoms in your finger tip..they do not perceive you at all.

    Waves of endless energy composing atoms. Composing you and your issues. More flowing from sources we will never see. Never happened? Not here? Waiting for another universe? Another virtual reality.

    Love to all. It matters to something much bigger & smaller than me.

  • @Mark Austin, I read this story recently and thought of you. Mental toughness of this sort will be.. I was going to say “necessary”, but necessary for what? Will we be José or Ezequiel?


    Some handy tips for you, anyway!

  • Dedicated especially to the venerable Mark Austin, but also to all those doomers and this blog called Nature bats last, the Beach of Doom:

    On the Seashore

    On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
    The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.
    They build their houses with sand, and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.
    They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl-fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
    The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a mother while rocking her baby’s cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.
    On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.

    – Rabindranath Tagore

  • @Tim

    “On The Seashore”

    The file following offers seashore photos of the Western Canada coastline, before and after Fukushima.


  • .
    I’ll give an awkward and slightly subdued little ‘clappity-clap-clap’ to Nemesis from over here in the spectator section … thanks for all of your sharing on this thread.

    I’m not a ‘science denier’, as a fellow like Gerald might try to label me. For me, it’s more that I just choose to compartmentalize all of that objective information as being something informative and occasionally useful, while at the same time not relying on it exclusively to define for me my entire subjective experience of reality. I still have many questions regarding my own observations and experiences of existence that science hasn’t explained to me satisfactorily yet. So, I try to stay open-mindedly skeptical about things. I guess it’s the inclusionary and observational aspects of science that I find most usefully informative for me.

    It’s the exclusionary use of scientific thinking that I find distorted sometimes, and which concerns me quite regularly. Exclusionary logic is sort of like Gerald saying. “You’re either full on with us, or you’re a full out anti-science activist.” That’s just all or nothing thinking, binary thinking without a gradient scale. Exclusionary science is also sort of like how Harris has used his one single experiment to both now define and also to exclude free will … end of discussion. That’s more than just being a little thin on the data. Especially when you consider that scientists are famous for sucking at the psychology thing … and that was a psychology experiment they were doing. I mean … come on !

    After observing the procession of funerals that all scientific paradigms have undergone, I’m not quick to use the scientific methods ‘exclusionary capacity’ to rule out things which we simply might not have studied deeply enough to know anything significant about yet … things like the other 90% of everything we don’t know about !

    ” All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

    I really no longer care much about defined philosophical discussions like the debate surrounding the various definitions of free will. I think NTE just made these sorts of ideas all rather irrelevant to me. However, and despite all that, I did still enjoy reading your points of view Nemesis, so again … thanks for the valiant effort. Even before the Nietzsche quote, you might’ve had me at …

    … not science will rule the world of the near future and not politics and not religion, but Mother Nature will, muhahaha …
    … bawahahahaha !
    @Babajingo … miss you !

    @wren … where’s wren lately ?

    @ugotstahwonder … I liked your comment in this thread.

    @Caroline, thanks for your comments. That pedigree of ‘white males’ (and their pedagogy) are who I often refer to as ‘the Europeans … (the ‘western thinkers.’) From way back through Greek and Roman times; out through the monarchies of recent historical Europe; and on through into today … that’s where I believe the ‘pure materialist’ mental worldview emerged from. It spread out to the colonized world through people like Columbus, and has now turned into a globalization of the intellectual materialism paradigm.

    White men and their his-story … sigh.

    Also Caroline, I agree with you regarding there being misconceptions in western minds about eastern philosophy. I find the same thing applies to other philosophies as well.

    @Lidia, you just make too much damn sense. :(

    Best of luck in your development thwarting !
    Stick it to the man ! :)

    @islandraider says:

    If only there was free will so people could freely choose not to post…

    Too funny … maybe even three funny. ;)

    @Mark Austin. Thanks for your wonderful prose. It was a nice divergence from your usual radioactive tone. I was feeling it! Waves of Peace and Love back to you also brother. Peace out !

    (the ‘not anti science’ foundation says: … free willy !)

  • Guy, scribbler has a new post with about 40 comments.

    Many of the Comments are about you & your role in the “Climate Change Update 2015” film.

    Only one blogger passionately adheres to the methane clathrate hypothesis but overstating the case; “It’s all about methane now,” he says.

    Several others, including Robert, denigrate both you & the methane Clathrate gun.

    Even nest fowling Tobis is mentioned as worthy.

    I can understand why you are bummed.

    These are not bad people, but they simply refuse to see what is right in front of them. It’s too total & too ugly?

  • Because I am just getting by in terms of money, I haven’t been able to afford a new furnace to replace the ancient beast that hasn’t worked for 8 years. Space heaters defended the space.

    But I finally saved up the money, and I now have a functioning furnace just as the cold descends upon the Pacific Northwest.

    I’m going to die sooner than I want to, but right now in this moment I am happy to hear the furnace move warm air throughout my very modest home.

    I will enjoy what I can for as long as possible.

  • LWA- I’m still here, just been sitting out this round of free will discussion. A few threads back we had pretty much the exact same group chat and I think I said all I had to say then. Also, I had shoulder surgery last week, my allergies have been kicking in and I’ve had deadlines so I’ve been laying low and mostly skimming comments. I’ve also definitely been in more of a “feeling” mode lately and less in an intellectual space so those discussions aren’t as interesting right now. So a big THANK YOU for the Eagles video. Such a chill song. Could be a good wedding tune haha! Here’s my contribution on that front (lyrics are under the video). Anyone else like this guy?

    Also, whatever happened to the two-post rule?! Is that totally out the window now or do people just not give a shit?

  • The older I got, the more I felt I had free will. Freed from desire, some wisdom acquired, I began to feel who I am and how I conduct myself in this nasty world.

    Illusion? I don’t think so. I gave up eating meat even though I love the experience of eating meat.

  • .
    Thanks for the tune babajingo. I dig his sound, and that lyric is great too. Yes, the two post rule has been lifted, but only for Gerald … so that we can enjoy even more and more of him. :)

    She said “if love
    If love
    Is a poison cup
    Then drink it up”

    ‘Cause a sip
    A sip
    Or a spoonful won’t do
    Won’t do nothing for you
    Except mess you up”

    And I hope
    I hope
    Hope you know what this means
    I’m gonna give you everything
    I’m gonna give you everything

    Hey, we’re compiling an entire wedding playlist here! ;)

    I’ve been kind of busy lately too. Maybe too busy now … ever since I took everyone’s advice and ventured back into playing some live music again. The public eye is a little exhausting to me. It’s sort of ironic that the two projects I’m suddenly involved in are both turning out to be totally epic, and both involve some really keen musical people. And yet there I am, privately seeing the futility and possibly even the folly of it all. Hrmmmph. Maybe you don’t want to marry me just yet; I might need some therapy from an NTE specialist first.

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

    Ol’ Bill’s ‘bonnet 116’

  • OK, so here you are, this perfectly omniscient and omnipotent being. that’s all you ever experience ~ total knowledge of anything that can be known, infinite power to create anything, on any scale, and an infinite capacity for inspiration.

    (this is a thought experiment, let’s say…)

    only one problem here. since you are totally everything that can be known or that can exist, just by your nature, there isn’t anything in addition to you. you are IT. forever.

    instantly realizing your predicament of loneliness (hey, it always computes, no matter how complex), you decide to create something that will effectively erase this ultimately lonely experience you are facing, for as long as you may need.

    but wait ~ anything you create, you will instantly know all about. all possible outcomes, all possible feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, of achievement or failure ~ anything, at all, that you may experience from your creations, are all immediately there in your Perfect Being, at once.

    that kind of defeats the purpose of trying to escape from your loneliness, via companionship with something genuinely not of you. something that can genuinely delight you with surprise.

    instantly realizing your next move, you know the only way out is to surrender your omniscience.

    but how? your perfect nature just IS, you can’t do anything about it.

    fortunately, you don’t have to, because being infinitely powerful and creative means you are guaranteed to come up with your perfect solution, just by desiring one for even the smallest instant.

    so there you are. no longer omniscient and all-powerful. in fact, you have already instantly created an infinite variety of experience for yourself that is everything BUT omniscient and all-powerful. it is every possible variety of limited, ignorant and powerless that is conceivable. this new thing is very much genuinely not of you.

    you did it.

    there’s only one small catch. you never changed your original nature. you can’t. you still exist as Perfect Being. you still know every possible outcome, every achievement and failure, and everything else in all of your creation, as you always have.

    but this no longer matters, because as much as you possibly need to (infinitely much!), to both avoid loneliness and also entertain yourself on every possible scale with infinite experiences that are not omniscient and omnipotent, you are free to forget, within your own illusion.

    and any time you remember, you can just as easily and quickly forget. if you wish.

    when you need to cross an infinite sea, all by yourself, it really pays to have an infinitely imaginative capacity for creating convincing illusions.

  • LWA – I think we’re all in the same boat re: nothing seems to matter anymore. But, as Guy reiterates, we all knew we were going to die someday. We’re all sort of acting like before we found out about NTE, we thought we were guaranteed to live forever, or at least until a ripe old age. Nothing has ever been guaranteed. It’s just another reminder that it’s going to end- but that’s not really news, is it? Preparing for the mayhem aside, there’s no point in wallowing. Not that I don’t wallow. I certainly do. But I did that before the writing was on the wall, too. But then it was about (what now seems to be) petty shit. At least now when I wallow, it’s for a good reason. It’s out of heartbreak for the other species and feeling of shame and guilt that we did this to them. It puts things into perspective, that’s for sure. I can’t say I feel guilt or shame about human demise. Maybe if I liked humanity more, I’d feel differently. Anyway, the point is cheer up and enjoy your music! Might as well fiddle while Rome burns. Or the Titanic sinks. Or whatever. Why the fuck not??

    p.s. Guy and Pauline are NTE counselors, so if you need one, you’re in luck!

  • I invite you to take a read of this article in context of NTHE and NBL. In particular the use of the the term ‘moral licensing’. Could it be that many of the activities and views advocated here on the blog (meditation, getting stoned, Hitler good/Jews bad, philosophical navel gazing, freewill/no freewill, wrong govt/right govt, non-violence workshops, flying around the world giving ineffectual lectures etc etc) are just excuses for not doing something that their subconscious is screaming at them to do? What might that ‘something’ be if so?


    Religious children are more selfish than atheist children, say US neuroscientists
    Religious parents think their child is more altruistic than secular children

    Children from religious families are less generous and altruistic than their atheist contempories, a study has suggested

    According to research published in Current Biology, those who were Christian and Muslim – other religions were not assessed – agreed with harsher punishments, were less generous when sharing and had a tendency to correct others.

    Jean Decety, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, who looked at more than 1,000 children from around the world, said religion can encourage people to act badly because they think they have already done something “good” – like praying – at another time.

    This is called “moral licensing”, said Professor Decety.

    “It’s an unconscious bias. They don’t even see that’s not compatible with what they’ve been learning in church,” he said, according to Forbes.

    Two tests were carried out to assess the levels of altruism and meanness in the five- to 12-year-olds. In the first, secular children, Christian children and Muslim children were all asked to share 30 stickers with another child – with children of no religion sharing more stickers with others.

    In the second test, the children watched videos of someone mildly pushing or shoving someone else and were asked to rate how “mean” the action was, and the level of appropriate punishment.

    Compared to the other two groups, Muslims thought harmful actions were meaner and believed in harsher punishment. Christians judged the harm to be meaner than secular children – though there was no difference in their punitive ratings.

    Yet religious parents believed, when questioned, that their child would be more altruistic than their faithless counterparts – appearing to be proven wrong in this study.

    Religion may lead children to be more fixed in their view of what is right and wrong, and less ethical when considering different situations, the study concluded.


    This week did not start off well for me and has gotten worse. I awoke on Monday to the sound of heavy machinery. It was a pair of enormous felling machines the size of houses. They are in the process of clear-felling a large tract of forest on the West side of my woodland, just the other side of a large open meadow. It’s an area about three miles by five miles. I was horrified. The tree composition is similar to mine – mainly old Sweet Chestnut with mature oaks and beech. Evidently, the whole woodland has succumbed to Chestnut Blight, a terminal tree disease http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chestnutblight It is uneconomical to selectively remove the diseased trees so most owners of diseased woodland elect to clear cut. I have been in total denial about this and the noise of the machines was a Mike Tyson-type punch in the face. I always knew instinctively that something was wrong, but I couldn’t face the consequences, so I denied them. All my chestnut trees have the disease, nine out of ten at best. I kidded myself that it was only about one in ten. I now have three options: Do nothing and wait for a notice from the authorities to fell (with a heavy fine if I do not)? Clear cut and lose my tree cover, shelter and habitat for wildlife? Try and selectively remove the diseased trees myself knowing that it will be a Herculean task whilst hoping that civilisation will crash soon and save me the trouble?

    Chestnut Blight is suspected to be the result of Climate Change. Not so much because of the increase in average ground temperatures but in relative humidity. This allows the mycelium to propagate and spread. Unfortunately, I can’t find any official confirmation of this; if anyone has documented confirmation, please let me know via Guy.


    I expect this thread will get bumped soon – so be it. I’ll tell you about my Karma trading scheme next time…

  • @Guy – I’ve come to realise that wading though the ‘parade of idiocy’ is like wading through tar. You might call it ‘Woo Goo’? The phrase would fit the lyrics to this Cole Porter song quite well I reckon? “Do do that Woo Goo that you do so well”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_4GuuUEeo0

    @lark – ‘acting as if’ covers most eventualities.

    @LWA – thanks for the reminder of the Gary Jules version of ‘Mad World’, an excellent cover indeed.

    @Robert Callaghan – Did your wife kill the deer with a heart or a neck shot? Did it die immediately? Had she stalked the deer? What species was it? Did she gut/skin/butcher it herself? Will you eat it and store/freeze the rest or sell it/give it away? Did she enjoy killing it?

    @OzMan – thanks for the reminder of Icehouse, I had their ‘Primitive Man’ album back then on compact cassette and it was great for long distance driving/dreaming. You might like Talk Talk in a similar 80’s vein – and it’s not too heavy on the synths thankfully. I doubt if I’ll ever get to see your Great Southern Land but it’s nice to know it’s there.

    Talk Talk – ‘Living In Another World’ – 1986


    If you thought one Deep State was bad enough……
    The Deep State: The Unelected Shadow Government Is Here to Stay


    Mmmm! There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread in the oven to melt away one’s misery…

  • well now that this topic has been explored….
    did we solve it?

  • I’ve posted an essay by a first-time contributor in this space. It’s here.

  • @Gerald Spezio

    I don’t like to post this comment in the wonderful upper thread of T. Ripton, so I post it here:

    You know that your reference to Sylvia Stolz ( https://guymcpherson.com/2015/11/long-live-those-who-will/#comment-167379 ) is a direct support for Nazishit, don’t you?! Yes, you shurely do :-) Sylvia Stolz loves sick, suicidal(!) Mr. Hitler and denies the holocaust, she is a pure and open outspoken Nazi, a demagoge, that’s why she went into jail here in Germany:


    So, you obviously and quite frankly support demagogs^^ WE as Germans know exactly what sick, stupid Hitler and the Nazis did to Germany and the rest of the world. Do YOU wish that Nazis will ever rise up again?! Don’t you think that sick demagogs haven’t already done ENOUGH sick shit to this suffering world?! Would you like to see that stupid shit ever happen again?! Muhahaha!!, then think again- in the face of NTE 8-)

  • I try again (thanks for publishing, Guy McPherson!):

    @Gerald Spezio

    I don’t like to post this comment in the wonderful upper thread of T. Ripton, so I post it here:

    You know that your reference to Sylvia Stolz ( https://guymcpherson.com/2015/11/long-live-those-who-will/#comment-167379 ) is a direct support for Nazishit, don’t you?! Yes, you shurely do :-) Sylvia Stolz loves sick, suicidal(!) Mr. Hitler and denies the holocaust, she is a pure and open outspoken Nazi, a demagoge, that’s why she went into jail here in Germany:


    So, you obviously and quite frankly support demagogs^^ WE as Germans know exactly what sick, stupid Hitler and the Nazis did to Germany and the rest of the world. Do YOU wish that Nazis will ever rise up again?! Don’t you think that sick demagogs haven’t already done ENOUGH sick shit to this suffering world?! Would you like to see that stupid shit ever happen again?! Muhahaha!!, then think again- in the face of NTE 8-)

  • If my moderating isn’t fast enough for you, perhaps you’d like to volunteer for the job? I’m a little busy.

    Oh, no no no, thanks a lot. You do that job much better than I’d do it, I’d use the “peacemaker” much too often 8-)

    Rock on!

  • Mo,

    Since that was a thought experience, I’ll try a variant: First there’s was a math formula, and it made all things happen, including us. The formula was nothing and knew nothing other than what appeared to happen. So we (all things) are dancing in the formula, and (sentient beings) are its consciousness of itself… But some will say we’re a mathematical experiment gone wrong. :-) Cheers.

  • Artleads ~

    you are very much onto something. math shows up again and again in NDEs, for one thing. frequently a near death experiencer will report being able to apprehend the actual mathematics behind physical (and other) realities, and specific physical forms, instantaneously. it is just grokked, but very plainly and purely mathematics in the experience.

    other times in an NDE it is a more general (but still direct) appreciation of the mathematical substructure of Total Reality:

    “I’d also wondered at religion while I was there, and I quickly received the sense that this wasn’t important. That one’s religion, no matter which they joined or didn’t join on earth, was always what was written in their own heart. It was about WHO the person was, not what label they wore or who or what they worshiped or believed in. Your own frequency, tone, mathematical equation and vibration says it all, and you can’t tinker with that. You just ARE who you are. I learned that we are here to learn how to Love, Divinely. And to become Masters of ourselves. To nail down our own lower natures and to Raise up within ourselves our own Highest Self. We are all working toward Oneness again.

    We were traveling upward, I suppose. My own vibration was changing. There was a big change in frequency. Like I was tuning into a different radio station on a grand scale. I was out in the Universe, and I was being given a kind of show. Like having an astronomy teacher speak on the beauty of the Universe while laying under the stars at night. But I was out there amidst them. And this part seems to have been made foggy for me since my return, but I remember vaguely that during this scene, I saw something like holographic words and numbers move in front of me past the stars… and it felt like I was being downloaded with information. I felt at that time that I understood EVERYTHING. That I felt the full truth of Laws and Order in the Universe. One thing that I held onto was the beautiful MATH of the Universe. I remember coming to understand that there was an supreme and perfect kind of MATH that was in and of ALL things that existed. I remember being told something about Einstein! I was so excited. It was such a pleasant experience. I was also shown how there is a kind of clock-work in the sky. How the stars themselves actually hold a sort of map or mathematical Key to everything that is! “You are written in the stars,” I was told! EVERYTHING is! I recall how THRILLING this part of my NDE was for me.”

    (bold added)

    Amy C NDE 4720

    Google this: The Mereon Matrix and check especially the publication by Elsevier.

    also check out the mathematical universe hypothesis:

    “Tegmark’s mathematical universe hypothesis (MUH) is: Our external physical reality is a mathematical structure. That is, the physical universe is mathematics in a well-defined sense, and “in those [worlds] complex enough to contain self-aware substructures [they] will subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physically ‘real’ world”.[3][4] The hypothesis suggests that worlds corresponding to different sets of initial conditions, physical constants, or altogether different equations may be considered equally real. Tegmark elaborates the MUH into the Computable Universe Hypothesis (CUH), which posits that all computable mathematical structures (in Gödel’s sense) exist.[5]

    The theory can be considered a form of Pythagoreanism or Platonism in that it posits the existence of mathematical entities; a form of mathematical monism in that it denies that anything exists except mathematical objects; and a formal expression of ontic structural realism.

    Tegmark claims that the hypothesis has no free parameters and is not observationally ruled out. Thus, he reasons, it is preferred over other theories-of-everything by Occam’s Razor. He suggests conscious experience would take the form of mathematical “self-aware substructures” that exist in a physically “real” world.

    The hypothesis is related to the anthropic principle and to Tegmark’s categorization of four levels of the multiverse.[6]”

    ~ mo

  • Artleads ~ btw that NDE I Iinked is an absolute humdinger. well worth a read through from start to finish, if you have the time. I only found it on a quick Google on NDEs and math, and hadn’t read more than a those couple of paragraphs I copied for you until just now.

    along with much else, there are several more key math references in the experience.

  • note to self: that thought you had in the shower this morning may not be so great…

  • Mo flow – you weren’t fooling about that nde experience! A humdinger, indeed! Surprised she wasn’t shown more than the poison in the fields, wrought by Monsanto in all likelihood, as to the dying of this planet. Very interesting observations re other dead. Fascinating! Thanks!

  • Mo,

    Thanks. I really plan to check out the link soon. (David Eagleman’s PBS series on the brain is a different subject, but I think you’d like it.)

    So little bits of this math equation thing have been floating around from hither and yon. It’s funny that some of it stuck here. I was consistently last in my HS math exams.

    I thought of the subject in relation to your earlier post. One of those things that come to mind in the shower in the morning. I considered not posting it, since it was only a “thought in the shower in the morning,” but now I’m glad I did, and through that can learn about what others with more experience on the subject have to say.

  • The resumption of testing and plans to build an upgraded research

    laboratory at Dugway could have important consequences for America’s

    international relations. Critics claim there is no clear line dividing

    defensive from offensive testing–the scientific knowledge gained at Dugway

    can be used for either good or bad. Does the resumption of this testing

    send a message to other countries that the United States is interested in

    bio-chem warfare? Will it prompt other countries to upgrade their test

    facilities and lead to an escalation in the race to produce

    ever-more-deadly weapons?

  • “I want to add that in my life, I have always had a mental block when it came to math. Even the simplest math ideas, starting from the time I was only six years old were difficult for me to approach. I would shut down when anything with numbers was presented to me. So, in my NDE, while being shown such an enormous array of gorgeous mathematical equations and facts… and visual numerical splendor, I was overjoyed at my own ability to thoroughly comprehend all of it. Unfortunately, at my return, I was discouraged to find that I could not relay or bring with me the expansive amount of math understanding and knowledge I’d been so anxious to share with others. I was and still am, in love with numbers. That was a big leap forward! ”

    This could be me talking. It’s as though…if you’re good at the math they teach in school, you are shuttered from experiencing the wild math that Amy C experienced. Much like a dream her story. My art always improves if I layer it with a dulling or fading overlay. There’s always been a tendency to the dreamlike, but right now, the concept seems clearer, more talked about, and more straightforward to effect…


    My physician says something like this (wish I had written it down): Thoughts produce energy, and energy produces action.