When All is Said and Done

I’m copying below, verbatim, an essay I posted 9 May 2012. I’ve added a few introductory words and an embedded song. Please note the new classified ad at the bottom of the post, which is also copied atop the CLASSIFIEDS page. I’ve also included links to recent interviews.

“The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn’t really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: he wasn’t going to compose Beethoven’s Fifth.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut

The situation has worsened considerably, on every front, since this essay was posted four years ago. The trend will continue, on every front, until we gleefully grind the remaining shards of the living planet into dust.

Contrary to my previous writings, patriarchy apparently is the only way to live. This most horrific of civilizations is the only approach we’re willing to tolerate.


Fascism has come to the industrialized world, and the evidence is particularly clear in the United States. As I wrote in a book published in 2004 regarding the executive branch of the U.S. government:

[The administration] is characterized by powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism, identification of enemies as a unifying cause, obsession with militaristic national security and military supremacy, interlinking of religion and the ruling elite, obsession with crime and punishment, disdain for the importance of human rights and intellectuals who support them, cronyism, corruption, sexism, protection of corporate power, suppression of labor, control over mass media, and fraudulent elections. These are the defining elements of fascism.

The situation has progressed, and not in a suitable manner from the perspective of the typical self-proclaimed progressive. Along with fascism, we’re firmly ensconced in a totalitarian, surveillance-obsessed police state. We’ve been in this state for many years and the situation grows worse every year, but most people prefer to look away and then claim ignorance while politicians claim we’re not the people indicated by our actions. As long as you’re not in jail (yet) or declared a terrorist (yet) and subsequently killed outright (yet), you’re unlikely to bring attention to yourself, regardless what you know and feel about the morality of the people running ruining the show.

But why? Is fear such a great motivator that we allow complete destruction of the living planet to give ourselves a few more years to enable and further the destruction? Is the grip of culture so strong we cannot break free in defense of planetary habitat for our children? Have we moved so far away from the notion of resistance that we can’t organize a potluck dinner without seeking permission from the Department of Homeland Security?

I know many parents who claim they can’t take action because they want a better world for their children. Their version of a “better world” is my version of a worse world, as they long for growth of the industrial economy at the expense of clean air, clean water, healthy food, the living planet, runaway greenhouse, and human-population overshoot. I’ve come to call this response “the parent trap.” Trapped by the culture of make believe, these parents cannot bring themselves to imagine a different world. A better world. A world without the boot of the police state on the necks of their children. A world with more carnivores every year, instead of fewer. A world with less pollution, less garbage, and less lying — to ourselves and others — each and every year.

All evidence indicates we prefer Fukushima forever, if it means we can have electric toys. We prefer near-term extinction by climate chaos, if it means we can cool the house to 68 F in the summer. We prefer genocide, if it comes with a milkshake and an order of fries. Henry Ford was wrong when he pointed out, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” On the other hand, General Omar Bradley’s sentiments from 1948 ring true: “The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”

Even though we’re willingly tapping six scary extreme energy sources to fuel the post-peak oil industrial economy, power outages have become exponential within the last decade, as indicated in the figure below. We clearly don’t care about the environmental consequences of our greed, so we keep soldiering on, wishing for a miracle and ignoring the evidence for imperial decline, human-population overshoot, runaway climate change, and a profound extinction crisis. Will the final power outage come in time to save us from our unrepentant selves?

Ultimately and sadly, I suspect it comes down to this: When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. We simply can’t be bothered to contemplate a single issue of importance when the television calls or the shopping mall beckons. Political “activists” spend hours every day elaborating the many insignificant differences between the two dominant political parties in this country, but they cannot bring themselves to throw a wrench into the gears of industry. They continue to ignore the prescient words of Desmond Tutu long after the consequences of inaction are obvious: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

The only reason I can imagine wanting to retain this horrific system for a few more years is to safely shut down the nuclear reactors that are poised to kill us. But increasing the number of these uber-expensive sources of electricity, as President Obama desires, means shoving more ammunition into the Gatling gun pointed at our heads. One bullet does the trick. In classic American style, we prefer more. Always more.

How much of this is too much? When have you had enough?


McPherson was interviewed by Rick Chicago for The People Speak radio on 31 May 2016. Details and audio are available here.

McPherson was interviewed by Michael Welch for the Global Research News Hour on 2 May 2016. Download or listen here.

Comments 138

  • No, unfortunately Batman, you’re not fine.

    You’re still subject to the same problem of living in a world with a higher CO2 count and experiencing SOMETHING (if you don’t want to call it “real” then the term has no meaning and you’re spouting gibberish or making it up as you go along). You eat, you breathe, REAL OR NOT doesn’t matter what you THINK, you ARE HERE and you’re doing something (communicating nonsense right now).

    I lost a high school acquaintance back in the late 1960’s to LSD because he BELIEVED he could fly and jumped out of a high rise window to his death.

    The problem boils down to the fact that physicists haven’t figured out what consciousness is. That’s your problem too Batman. I don’t claim to have the answer, but what you’re writing is meaningless drivel.

    Be careful of your thoughts, you can deceive yourself.

  • I am Batman, so I am fine.

    ‘You’re still subject to the same problem of living in a world with a higher CO2 count’ – am I really? There’s no world around me.

    ‘The problem boils down to the fact that physicists haven’t figured out what consciousness is’ I am writing a book about that. Your LSD friend might have ‘died’ the next day in a car ‘accident’.

    ‘what you’re writing is meaningless drivel.’
    ‘Khalil Gibran — ‘Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.’

  • And this our life, exempt from human haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything, I would not change it. Shakespeare And no, patriarch clingers, these words of Shakespeare were not intended to be metaphor. I guess by most peoples estimation Shakespeare, tineywhitey, and derrick Jensen are goofy, stoned, tree-huggers.

  • I still think it would be fun to have Nate Hagen on your radio show.

  • Scientists say that ‘nature,’ untouched by humans, is now almost entirely gone

    “Implicit in much, if not all, modern environmental sentiment is the idea that the natural world has been despoiled by humans — and if we could just leave it alone, things would get better.

    But new research suggests that in reality, humans have been altering the natural world for millennia, long before the 15th century dawn of the Age of Discovery, when European societies mastered long-distance ocean navigation and began to spread their cultures, animals and diseases to new continents.

    The result of these changes, accumulating over time, has been “the creation of extensively altered, highly cosmopolitan species assemblages on all landmasses,” the authors write in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “‘Pristine’ landscapes simply do not exist and, in most cases, have not existed for millennia.”

    “People have been modifying their environments for tens of thousands of years,” added Jon Erlandson, an archeologist, professor and director of the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and another of the study’s co-authors. “Humans have literally impacted everything from mammoths to microbes. Most people have no idea how heavily we’ve altered things — and for how long.”

    “Based on a large synthesis of archaeological, fossil and ancient DNA data, the researchers conclude that humans started dramatically changing the world’s natural ecosystems well before 12,000 years ago. By that time, the species had emerged from Africa and colonized much of the globe. And already, mega-scale human impacts on the landscape and the creatures living on it included changing the regime of burning on lands from Africa to New Guinea, as early humans exploited fire for purposes of agriculture and hunting.”


    “People have been modifying their environments for tens of thousands of years,”

    It’s generally estimated that the human brain made some kind of cognitive leap about 70,000 years ago. That was the beginning of the end. That’s when the cancer started big time. Maybe it was a fluke mutation. Mutation, along with migration are two of the corner stones of evolution. Then there is human cultural evolution – which is sometimes adopted and other times forced – poisons and destroys, but it’s all human. All the same species. There used to be other humans, but they all kinda sorta disappeared (like the megafauna) for some reason – wasn’t us eh?

  • Monthly CO2 levels for May just released by NOAA-ESRL (Scripps numbers still pending):

    May 2016 CO2 concentration: 407.70 ppm
    May 2015 CO2 concentration: 403.94 ppm
    Year-on-year increase for May: 3.76 ppm

    Year-on-year increases in monthly concentrations for the last several months:
    May: 3.76
    April: 4.16
    March: 3.31
    February: 3.76
    January: 2.56
    December: 3.01
    November: 2.89
    October: 2.34
    September: 2.28

    As Kevin has mentioned, typical increases are a bit over 2 ppm. Interesting with the claims of emissions reductions that we are still seeing these larger increases…

  • Oh, okay Batman – in that case, please – tell me more, I can’t get enough.

  • Also, from Neven’s site & Andy Lee Robinson:

    Arctic Death Spiral – another record:
    Average volume for May lowest ever at 20,991 km³.


    Averages for May:
    2007 23,078
    2008 24,102
    2009 23,851
    2010 22,181
    2011 21,108
    2012 21,677
    2013 21,839
    2014 21,878
    2015 23,000
    2016 20,991

  • Daily CO2

    June 6, 2016: 407.84 ppm

    June 6, 2015: 402.99 ppm

    Up 4.85 ppm

  • Apneaman, I read the article. I only wish to make a single point, and I make it with all respect. The entire thing is a values debate, in my opinion.

    I will tell you why I think this, and I also say this with full respect. First of all, this statement: “Implicit in much, if not all, modern environmental sentiment is the idea that the natural world has been despoiled by humans — and if we could just leave it alone, things would get better.”

    I won’t debate the statement itself, although it deserves debate, I will simply state that it is a strawman argument. It is an overly general, to the point of meaningless, state about “environmental sentiment” (that’s an ad hominem, inferring there is nothing to environmentalism other than that low-minded and maudlin sentiment). This is worthy of Rush Limbaugh, but not science or legitimate debate on any subject.

    “But new research suggests that in reality, humans have been altering the natural world for millennia, long before the 15th century dawn of the Age of Discovery, when European societies mastered long-distance ocean navigation and began to spread their cultures, animals and diseases to new continents.”

    “Altering,” is it? And “spread[ing] their cultures.” That’s an interesting evaluation of European history in other lands, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

    “‘Pristine’ landscapes simply do not exist and, in most cases, have not existed for millennia.”

    Well, that judgment entirely depends on what is meant by “pristine,” which is not defined.

    I find this pattern to be true throughout the article. It’s only a values debate. It is not science, however much it is dressed up to be by using scientific terms or claiming that fields of science have established “x”.

    Science has established that humans have modified their environments everywhere they’ve gone. Yet “modified” isn’t defined. Using an undefined value and then stating that “it” (modification) occurs or occurred everywhere, cannot be a meaningful statement. And because it is so general, it can be interpreted in many ways by many different people. It can appear to be sensible, because of course, humans change stuff. We all know that. It’s required that we change stuff unless a person sits in one place her entire life and never moves, or eats, or drinks, or has bodily functions.

    So, my conclusion is that the points your article makes are in fact a values debate, and not a conclusion that has been reached by “science,” or through standards that are held in discourse that seeks to establish an accurate model of reality using language, as logic does.

    If you disagree, I understand, and I’m super cool with that.


  • Thanx again ogf, And now I will be deleted.

  • .

    Your June 7th, 2016 at 9:39 am comment was excellent. Thanks. You said your writing wasn’t up to par, but I thought what you put across about the importance of experiencing the forest alone and away from civilization was spot on. What you said about how instead of trying to intellectually describe consciousness, people need be making an attempt to actually experience consciousness … and that’s the honey statement there. Consciousness is experiential … not something to sit and define into abstract ideas about how consciousness operates, as if it were a machine to be diagnosed and deconstructed. You experience it (a subjective focus), not ponder it (an objective focus.)

    Patriarchal reality intellectualizes absolutely everything into concrete ideas. Being alone in the forest at night is purely experiential. The patriarchal experience is a consciousness built up from preconceived imaginary ideas, mostly from books of past events … but all just abstract theories. The mind gets very literal about those theories after awhile, and forgets they are just abstract theoretical ideas. The forest experience is a consciousnesses that gets built up from experiential events in the present … it’s more symbolic and in the moment, with fewer fixed limitations on reality. It’s mental folly to try and calculate absolutely everything, always only using the intellect. The intellect deceives … a lot. Always, actually.

    I’ve done what you speak of tineywhitey, merge with deep nature for extended periods of time on and off over my life. Once you can compare and contrast the two realities … the patriarchal world of facts and measurements quickly exposes itself as being an entirely false and crazy, intellectually concocted, maze of abstract thoughts. It’s not even real, it’s made up from the imagination. The forest reality kicks the fundamentalist scientific interpretations of the world in the nuts … absolutely and for sure … because it’s REAL. It’s the here and now, and it’s in the moment. Nature has a flow that science refuses to acknowledge … a consciousness. Once you become divorced from that consciousness, you’re screwed.

    I’ll end by quoting Tom’s admonishment to Batman “Be careful of your thoughts, you can deceive yourself.” See? Be careful patriarchal fundamental materialists. Don’t deceive yourself with a bunch of abstract intellectual ideas. Don’t think about it … just experience it. I think that’s where our minds became broken, and part of what defines wetiko. We need to shed the patriarchal disposition of using a bunch of strung together abstract intellectualized ideas to define our existence (the brainwash) and re-wild our minds to the here and now, without all the abstract made up theories. Those theories always fall in a procession of funerals anyway, and then the next wrong theory comes along. That’s been reductionist science. So why entertain the theories ever? Re-wild. Un-civilize your mind.

    Thanks tineywhitey … I really enjoyed your 9:39 AM comment from the 7th. Awesome.


  • Common Senseby Dan Carlin
    Podcast #306

    Disengaging the Lizard Brain

  • Are there any doomers living in Southern Wisconsin and the Chicago area? I drove down to Chicago from St. Paul last weekend for my nephew’s high school graduation. I was sickened by the tens of thousands of trees that were barren of leaves (100% leaf-loss). All along the highway and in towns I saw dozens of trees that were bare and nude. I’ve complained and fretted about global tree decline for some time, but this was something I’ve never seen on such a large scale. Is anyone else seeing this tree decline? I don’t know if it’s Emerald Ash Borer related or just plain Climate Change. In any event, it saddens me. And yes, for the snarky trolls out there, I’m well aware of the CO2 I put into the atmosphere from the 700 mile round trip journey. Let he without sin cast the first stone! :)


  • Are there any doomers living in Southern Wisconsin and the Chicago area?

    Yes. Emerald ash borer and oak wilt are wiping out many (most?) of the beautiful, old trees. Yes, it IS sickening (literally). Parts of me have died with each tree that has died on the land I have tried to save from development/invasive species over the years. When you live with the trees and all that share (birds, insects, lichen etc) their branches/bark/roots/leaves/buds/blossoms they become like (nice) family members. I don’t think words can express the love one can feel for such things. They (words) are not adequate and seem to diminish the depth of feeling . . . or perhaps it’s just my words or my lack of words.

    I remember . . Zarquon . . ? was that his name? . . . writing about this from Europe—-his feelings of sorrow over the death of trees.
    Anyone know what happened to him? Did he exit?

    Homo sapiens are killing all life on this planet and yes, these diseases are exacerbated (caused?) by human induced RAPID climate change:

  • “Homo sapiens are killing all life on this planet. . .”

    This is one cosmically omniscient and wholly general statement that I do believe can be made. There may be others like it, and probably are, at least a few. This statement, however, doesn’t generate a lot of excitement, or debate, or feelings of having made a statement of great insight. It’s not impressive. It’s just heartbreaking.

    Yep. That is what is happening. It’s being documented everywhere. Interestingly, at least to me, this is what the traditional elders have been saying to me since I was a child. The last time I heard it was four years ago when I had an opportunity to sit with one of the most revered elders in Alaska. He said at that time the same thing I had heard as a teenager from my own 19th century elders – Lack of respect for nature is destroying everything.

    Yep. That is true. Everything we care about, at least.

    I liked your post, also, tinywhitey. Thank you.

  • This is for Mark Austin, wherever you may be. And all the rest of you that might appreciate it. :)

    I had a whole response written out about consciousness and free will and whatever, then I had a revelation of sorts. I realized that for me, only music can get across what I want to get across right now (religion vs. science, duality vs. Advaita Vedanta blah blah blah…).

    And here it is. If you give a fuck hahahahahaha

  • @Caroline

    In the past twelve years, perhaps six to eight ash trees on my property have died. These were old, tall, beautiful trees. We had to have several of the husks cut down so they didn’t fall on the roof or power lines.

  • Nature’s Disappearing John Mayall 1970
    46 fucking years ago!!!!

  • tinywhitey Says: I am certain that 90% of the people that post here have never experienced wild nature…alone. You should make an attempt to experience consciousness–walk into the few remaining wild areas left

    So true. I do that with my friend who has a little boat. He got a little careless the other day, but he donates to environmental causes, so I asked him to donate to Guy and help him terminate stuff. He said he’d look into it:


  • .
    Homo saps are a speck of a speck on an insignificant turd floating through infinite space – that we can conjur up the idea that we somehow control what happens on earth is testament to our ignorance.

    Sure – we may be able to produce a few *studies* or *models* showing we are destroying *all* life on earth, but by *all*, most mean the cute stuff – or species we Saps hold dear. Life on earth did just fine before our arrival – and it will be just fine after we are *gone*.

    It simply isn’t up to us.


    BBC – Earth – How long will life survive on planet Earth?


  • @ tinywhitey 9.39

    Yes, yes..
    as we speak ,I am packing up my van with my family to head to the bush for 4 days,soak up the silence,breath in the eucalyptus,sit beside the river with my kids and watch the sea eagles.light a fire at night, open cooked/charred food , listen to the frogs till I sleep.This is my sanity,my inspiration,and the real schooling for my kids.The Australian Aboriginals lived like this for 40,000 years.
    Make the most of it while you can.

  • I’ve posted a new entry in the Edge of Extinction series, as well as a bit of news about Arctic ice. It’s here.

  • Bob S. Says:
    June 8th, 2016 at 4:21 am
    Homo saps are a speck of a speck on an insignificant turd floating through infinite space – that we can conjur up the idea that we somehow control what happens on earth is testament to our ignorance.

    Your key word in above sentence—-control—-could lead into the rabbit hole . . the mind frying conversation of free will.

    I take exemption to you calling the earth an “insignificant turd” as I don’t know if there is any proof of significance/insignificance for earth and it’s existence.
    Do you? I’m serious, I’d like to know once and for all!

    Perhaps if your proclamation had been preceded by an “imo” it would have been more palatable even with the use of the word turd to describe the planet.

    People consume and kill. Most (all) life is dying at the hands of humans. Is that right Guy? Maybe I’m getting this wrong . . . .

    Some even think due to homo sapiens earth will go the way of venus. I don’t know if this is significant or not. I do know FOR ME it feels very sad.
    Sometimes I think it’s easier for people like you who can so flippantly summarize it all in a paragraph with seemingly no feeling. Don’t know if I envy that, but it might be easier to carry on.

  • Bob is attempting parody, Caroline. He isn’t serious.

    And for the record, humans don’t and cannot “control” everything on earth. We can destroy it, or enough to have destroyed it as it has been for many millions of years – a place that supports complex life. But that isn’t “control,” is it? It’s just extermination.

    Every statement made by Bob is a judgment, an evaluation. Every single one. I repeat my comment about Marshall Rosenberg’s work on non-violent communication, and his primary categories for how people communicate.

    Bob believes in violence. That’s what his post says most of all, I believe – psychological and emotional violence that is attempted using words. He’s trying to shame me, I believe, with a parody of my statements.

    I don’t do that with Bob, of course. Except for the insult game I chose to engage in one time, I normally ignore and shun Bob because of his obvious antagonism and desire to do harm to others.

  • LWA

    Your refutation to babajingo on the article he posted(which I didn’t read yet) was great. Copied it so my Year 11’s (17 y/o’s) at school can understand the basics. Slick critique in the vernacular…thanks!

    Feed Jake, tinywhitey, Gerald Spezio

    You folk are priceless.

    After others bagging out NBL, I reckon this exchange, and this thread perhaps too, (minus some obligatory bickering), beats any prime time TV segment for ‘attention-to-the-relevant-details’- even…errr…dare I write….the Zombie apocalypse, and/or disaster footage of floods and fire and storm damage we see now and can set out reductionist material timepieces by.

    People knock NBL, but it is not a bad place to view the rising waters, a beach rapidly disappearing.

    BTW the word ‘disappearing’ is a very ‘interesting’ word. An emergence going backwards…?

    I would suggest this in NOT an apt description of Humans, but that we are at the bottleneck with an oversupply of the means of manufacturing adolescent psychology per capita of all humans on Earth…..errr…regulars will recognise a rant starting, but I’ll refrain.

    We all get the picture now that the flood has begun, now the Greatest is Dead, (RIP Ali man).

    I am supposing if any enterprising nerd out there wants to make a fast buck, apart from our friend Dimitri O, they should start ripping out easy DIY plans for an individualists equivalent of Noah’s Ark.

    Just a PDF with specs and a materials list, (scavengable materials would be good), going @ 1 credit a pop. Your rich as the tide comes in…and becomes the new shoreline.

    For some light reading on the beach, a recent article:

    ‘Zombie trouble: Zombie texts, bare life and displaced people’


    The Abstract:

    “There has been a recent upsurge in texts featuring zombies. At the same time, members of western countries have become increasingly anxious about displaced peoples: asylum-seekers and other so-called illegal migrants who attempt to enter those countries. What displaced people, people without the protection of the state and zombies have in common is that both manifest the quality of what Giorgio Agamben calls ‘bare life’. Moreover, zombies have the qualities of workers or slaves driven to total exhaustion. The genre of the zombie apocalypse centres on laying siege to a place that is identified as a refuge for a group of humans. In these texts it is possible to read an equation of zombies with displaced people who are ‘threatening’ the state. Indeed, the rhetoric used to describe these people constructs them as similar to mythical zombies. This article includes analyses of a number of zombie films including Shaun of the Dead, Fido and Undead.”

    This is one for the American North:

    ‘Z Nation Official Trailer (HD)’

    I spent some official down time, off the reservation and watched the whole series in a few days, (as I DIDN”T write a long essay), and the show well describes the intent of the article above. My critique before I read the article was that the ‘Zombie’. placed in the contemporary apocalyptic scenario. is an abstract representation of what is described more graphically in its cultural transition phase in ‘The Road’- that is, the apocalyptic Zombie is symbolic of late capitalism’s citizen exploiting (read ‘eating’) in a mindless process, without recognition of any wrongdoing, harm, or even human emotion.

    The apocalyptic Zombie sees other humans, (who are still emotionally able to relate as sovereign empathetic sentients) , as food !

    This is the endgame of rats overpopulating the small cage.

    Resonances with ‘Soylent Green’ of the 70’s, which was a sly way of saying the first world was eating the others.

    I like in ‘The Road’ the metaphor of the fire, or more specifically ‘carrying the fire’, which seems the most poetic reduction of a pre Civ and proto hominid image, which itself carries all the weight as a symbol of all the ‘great stuff humans can be’ within it.
    I like it because it is so very undefined, but also in context of the action,(book and movie), it is used as a means for the man, born into one time and place undergoing the contemporary ‘fall from grace of the civilisation project’, to communicate to a child, who never new that past, what is the valued thing to be a human. It is also demonstrated as a moral choice…to eat or not to eat?

    I saw it very much as a critique of modernity, and perhaps Civ, as far back as exploitation of ‘others’ goes, which is as far back as the construction of ‘other’ goes too.

    Apocalyptic Zombies also never stop, except by the ‘head shot’, which is also perhaps a metaphor for how conditioned ‘exploiting anything that has life’ has become, the neurological mechanism that keeps the body going has to be neutralised, for reasoning does not work.

    After reading the article, this critique has not changed much, but it strengthens the sociological idea of a fear of displaced, people coming to the ‘green-fields’ neighbourhood.

    Alien, the movie also circles the same subject matter, get infected, the heart dies as the new life form emerges, which has only survival as its core practice, and the senses, (the face hugger implants the seed) are the way modernity gets access to the heart region, and eats away at the spiritual, empathetic center of being human.

    The pioneer settlers, (terraformers), are archetypal consumers, as they are the generation to accept the terms, like it or not, to do as programmed and go out and change the world for the next group of consumers coming behind.

    Gruesome is the human imagination, but also so well adapted to saying so much, in such short stories.

    Cheers Folks.

    Can’t beat NBL.


  • Hi, oz. I agree, and LWA’s analysis of the consciousness essay was quite good. I am attempting not to use terms like “empire apologist,” “patriarchy,” etc. I’m trying to avoid labels in this way and write in a plainer, more immediate way. I limit a lot of my analysis to logic and definition, and point out errors that would undermine argument as a whole rather than argue to points of the debate itself. I’m also trying to avoid issuing judgments of things as my primary way of expressing myself.

    In all sincerity I am not trying to pick on Apneaman here, but if babajingo or anyone wants to see an example of writers dressing religion up in a science suit, the article for which Apnea provided a link is excellent. It is from the Post’s environment – energy section, and it is an argument that humans should just make a plan to manage the whole planet for energy purposes, based on the “scientific” fact that people have “modified” their environments forever and there hasn’t been a “pristine” environment anywhere for “millennia.” (I’d take the environment of just 200 years ago, myself. I think that would be “pristine” and un-“modified” enough.)

    The article is a stupendous piece of empire apology that is entirely dependent on limited interpretations of certain words that are used to establish values without evidence, the value being that “all modifications are equal,” therefore “we can do as we please to the environment and the things we do are no different than what people have always done.”

    That’s not science being argued. It’s not science at all, I don’t think. It’s values-based propaganda.

  • p.s., Zombie apocalypse is *the* metaphor of our times, I think, and I have said the same in the past. There’s a very real zombie apocalypse occurring out there, and the walking brain-dead are killing us all.

  • @babajingo, I don’t know what the music says about your beliefs, but I suspect that what you ran up against was that what you want to say – you believe science over religion – cannot really be expressed without context and be a meaningful statement. It doesn’t work.

    In the example you provided earlier re the age of the earth, I “believe” science, with the full understanding that something in human knowledge could change and the age we now accept might not be entirely accurate either, but it’s much better than the 6,000 years that some religious lunatics hold.

    You’re honest enough to realize that once you start thinking a little more deeply about what you want to say in the context-less way you wish to say it, it isn’t easy to do. I am not aware of any scientific conclusions that are drawn without some measurable, material context and established definitions.

    Personally, I don’t have a religion versus science conflict in my life or my mind. In the example you provided of the earth’s age, I “believe” science more than I do religion.

    In other context I might “believe” religion more. It depends entirely on the context. You tossed both away to defer to poetry, and I think that’s valid.

    I don’t make science or religion my god, therefore I am free to choose that which I respect based on its own merits, concepts as they are stated, as supported, and within specific context. I get to choose, and I do.

  • OGF-

    I suppose it’s more that I see the analogy as more like this:

    spirituality : religion :: science : human exploitation of knowledge

    In other words, to me spirituality is not the problem, it’s the institutionalized exploitation of that spirituality in order to control and dominate others that makes religion the problem. At the same time, science is not the problem- it’s the applications and exploitation of its findings that is the issue. Neither spirituality nor science are inherently evil, and both offer “truths” of some sort. But in the hands of humans, they both get ruined.

    If I had more time, I would comment on the consciousness article debate. But there’s too much to say, and not enough time : )

  • me, too, babajingo. I totally agree with your comment.

    I would be interested in your own view of the articles on consciousness. I didn’t read LWA’s comment before I posted mine. Even though he and I have quite different ways of expressing ourselves, we had the same primary criticism of Strawson, which is his dishonest failure to respond to the scientists’ requirement for measurability and correlation in connection with their view that consciousness is the “hard problem” in science.

    I watch John Oliver all the time now. He cracks me up.

  • OldGrowthForest-

    I will definitely get to responding to the consciousness issue when I get a chance!

    Did you see John Oliver’s clip about the debt buying industry? Pure genius. What I love about him is that he’s so good at explaining complex issues in a very entertaining way. Not to mention the fact that everything can be seen on Youtube so you don’t even need a TV! If you haven’t seen it, here it is (20 minutes, though):

  • Oh, snap! as evil Google says. I keep wanting to disengage from Bud, but I have to admit, Bud, that your criticism of my statement about Native Americans not having organized religion is more than valid. It’s a good point.

    I really did intend to write – or at least I was thinking it – that *North American* Native Americans did not have organized religion. I do not know enough about pre-Columbian Central and South American cultures to make any statements about their religions or beliefs to any extent.

    I stand by that. They did not have writing that solidified ideas or interpretations or definitions or form in the way organized religion does. They did have had what they call “ceremonies.” “Ceremony” may have elements of ritual, but it is not nearly as rigid as ritual, and ceremonies may have a strong correlation to spiritual beliefs, but it was and is still quite different from organized religion. I can certainly find appropriate quotations of Native Americans and their views of European religious expression that support my views here.

    Now, since the last time you wrote to or about me, you were discussing suing me for libel. Despite my agreement with you regarding my comment, and I don’t mind agreeing with you at all, I really don’t feel comfortable with you focusing on me in the way you have in your post in light of your recent statements. I’m not going to pretend I’m confused as to why you might do this, and I’m not going to ask for your reasoning.

    Sorry I keep saying I’m going to do one thing, and then I do another. Bud had a point. What can I say? He was right.

  • That is, if you plug in “North American” to my comment, I stand by that comment.

  • Oh, and one more teeny thing, Bud, I meant “infer,” not “imply.”