John Michael Greer

Collapsing Civilization and its Blogging Discontents

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on August 14, 2016

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For those of you with some passing knowledge of "Great Works" of literature, non-fiction and history, you will no doubt recognize that the title of this blog is a play on the title of a book published in 1929 by Sigmund Freud (yes, that Freud), Civilization and its Discontents.  It's one of those "must read" books they pitch out at you in college courses that track the history and development of Western Civilization.  There are many others in this list of "must reads", The Prince by Nicoli Machiavelli, City of God by St. Augustine and Adam Smith's On the Wealth of Nations to name a few.  You can get all these books in nicely bound leather volumes now published by Harvard Classics for the low, low price every day on Ebay of anywhere from around $50 for a full 23 Volume set ($2.50 a book including shipping!) on up into the hundreds, depending how good an Online Shopper you are.  If you are really clever you can get all of those and thousands more as e-books for even less money or even for free.  I love freebies on the net! 🙂

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Many if not most of these books were written in the 16th-19th Century, although the examples I gave like Freud's tome came in the early 1900s and Augustine's take on civilization came in the 5th century, around the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire.  All taken together though, they pretty much represent the way Western thought evolved after the Romans lost their hold on the world and as a new civilization in the west rose to replace it over the course of a full millenia of time.

In Freud's book, he postulates that general "unhappiness" that many people immersed in a "civilized" society comes from conflicts between the needs & desires of the individual, which get restricted and legislated by the competing needs and organization of the society as a whole.  Being more or less obsessed with sexual issues, Freud focuses down on the insatiable desire for sexual gratification Homo Saps appears to have, versus all the laws, taboos and restrictions societies generate to keep this bizness under control.  Since Freud himself was immersed in the western culture of the time, his viewpoint is obviously skewed by this, but there is still a lot of validity to the observations anyhow.  They also do generalize to other areas BESIDES sex, like money, wealth, fame etc, but since Freud was so sexually obsessed himself, it permeates his writing and you just can't get away from it.  Once you get past his sexual obsessions though, Freud has a lot of interesting observations on society, civilization and the individual.  Carl Jung had similar sexual obsession issues, but Carl was a bit more cagey about it than Siggy was in his writings. lol. This seems to be a ubiquitous problem amongst people who gravitate toward Psycholgy as a profession.  I don't think I ever talked with any psychologist who was not absolutely consumed with sex as a motivator.

OK, so that gives us a little history and background to get started with this discussion, which is focused on a more narrow slice of the civilzation pie through history, specifically what is going on RIGHT NOW in the world at large and then also in our own little slice of a slice of history, the collapse blogosphere.  By no means of course am I Sigmund Freud, and by no means do I expect this blog to make it onto the Harvard Classics reading list, but on the upside here it is all available for FREE on the internet! So, since nobody except me has to pay for this, let me get rolling here!

On the gross scale of society in general, discontent is manifest all over the place these days.  Terrorists are obviously not very content people and neither are crazed Psychos and Lone Shooters hitting various Malls, Bars, Restaurants and College Campuses either.  There simply is NO WAY blowing away dozens or hundreds of innocent people demonstrates much contentment, if anyone can make a case for that one I am all ears.  The Black Underclass is none too content these days in the FSoA, despite the fact they mostly are still getting fed on the SNAP Card program issued by JP Morgan Chase. See Ferguson, see Baltimore, see BLM for a snaphot of the discontent in this group.   The Muslim underclass in Europe is none too happy either, nor are the longer term paleface residents of this neighborhood getting inundated each day with still more "rapefugees".  Muslim women in France are discontented because "Burqinis" have been outlawed on the beaches of Cannes.

Burqini                      vs                            Bikini

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You may indicate your preference on Female Beachwear in the comments

Our POTUS Candidates here in the FSoA don't seem too content with ANYTHING, even though they have absolutely ZERO in the way of reasonable ideas that could do a damn thing to assuage this discontent.  Julian Assange obviously is not very content trapped inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the last 4 years, although granted this is likely a much better prison to be caged in than GITMO.  About the only people I can think of who might be somewhat content these days are folks like Lloyd Blankfein, doing God's Work as he runs Goldman Sachs or Elon Musk as he borrows endless amounts of funny money on the taxpayer dime to build space rocket toys and gigafactories in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Discontent is also on display every day in the collapse blogosphere as factions fight it out, Extinction vs Renewables, Economic vs Climate Collapse, Hyperinflation vs Deflation, Nuke Pro vs Con, Rich vs Poor…there's no shortage of disagreements.  There is however a serious shortage of workable solutions to all these problems, thus the discontent.

On top of this problem is that by now everyone who writes on these topics has carved out his or her own space and acquired his or her ow commentariat, which tends to be a reflection of whatever the spin of the main blogger is for the site.  Fed up with contrarians and trolls taking opposing viewpoints on their websites, these viewpoints are simply disappeared by the site owner, and eventually all opposing viewpoints are squashed out as these folks quit in frustration or just get outright banned.

By no means is the Diner immune to the problem here either.  I've had at least a half dozen Diners quit over the years because they were discontent that their spin was not well received, and about 4 I have had to silence because of the constant stream of insults and ad hom argument coming off their keyboards.  At a certain point "Free Speech" gets squashed simply because people can't be polite to each other when they are so discontented.  They don't feel other people are paying enough attention to their spin on the "truth", and so they begin to lash out and good clean debate gets flushed down the toilet.

If it weren't for the fact I run the Doomstead Diner, I would be effectively cut off from just about every major blog commentariat concerned with issues of collapse.  Dmitry Orlov, Guy McPherson, Gail Tverberg, John Michael Greer & Jim Kunstler all eliminate my posting nowadays.  Ugo Bardi still approves my posts, but it's not a very active commentariat over there on Cassandra's Legacy.  I can still post on r/collapse, but that is more of a news ticker than a blog.

My discontent with this situation is that the whole collapse blogosphere has become extremely polarized.  When I originally began the Diner my hope was to unify all the people writing about collapse, so that together we might have a stronger voice and get more attention than by each of us playing in our own little sandboxes.  The eact opposite has occured, and now each little sandbox has its own insular Group Think and the divisions between them greater than ever. I doubt you could bring Dmitry Orlov and Guy McPherson to the same conference and not have a fistfight break out. lol.

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The biggest problem is with the blogs pitching the spin that the situation is Hopeless, both the ecosphere and the Human Race are irrevocably Doomed.  First off, this provides a fabulous excuse for inaction which then turns the idea into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The second major problem is the commentariat of these blogs provides a home for fanatics who reinforce each other, while at the same time flaming anyone who does not toe the party line.  You see this most clearly on Nature Bats Last and Our Finite World.  Forget about participating in those commentariats, I don't even bother reading them anymore because you know precisely what everyone is going to say in every thread.

So, in ths Sea of Discontent what is the future?  It looks like a One-to-the-Many break up, much like we see Europe breaking up these days on the geopolitical level.  The heyday of what cooperation there was between the collapse bloggers probably came somewhere between 2006 and 2014 or so, and we have now passed Peak Cooperation and are moving toward Peak Isolation.  Everyone has their own part of the Collapse Elephant they are examining and coming up with different descriptions of what the Elephant actually looks like.  About the best the reader can do is surf between the sites and try to put together his or her own composite picture of the Elephant.  If you are the chatty type, pick your favorite site with the spin most closely matching your own, believe whatever it is that makes you happy, and chat with other True Believers rather than be discontented all the time.

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The Next 10 Billion Years: Part II

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

Published on Cassandra’s Legacy on September 14, 2013

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Thou must now at last perceive of what universe thou art a part, and of what administrator of the universe thy existence is an efflux, and that a limit of time is fixed for thee, which if thou dost not use for clearing away the clouds from thy mind, it will go and thou wilt go, and it will never return. (Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”)

 

You can’t understand a man’s actions if you don’t take into account that what he does on a specific day is the result of events that took place during his whole lifetime and that will result in more events in the future. It is the same for a whole planet, although the lifespan of the Earth is much longer than that of a single human being. If we want to understand what’s happening today on our planet, we must try to understand how it has changed over the eons to become what it his now and what it may become in the future.

That of looking at the whole span of the history of a whole planet or even of the whole universe has a special flavor; even though none of us will ever witness the ultimate end of our biosphere, still the idea that we can imagine it is a source of great fascination. And it is not something new: it is a whole field of human thought that we can call “eschatology”, from the Greek world “eskhatos”, meaning “the last”.

In the history of people musing on the ultimate end of everything, we can see two lines of thought that we might dub, purely for convenience, the “Western” and the “Eastern” views. The Western view sees the universe, humans and everything, as having a finite and limited lifespan, the Eastern view sees the same concepts as an infinite series of cycles. The single cycle view is typical of thinkers steeped in the Greek-Latin tradition and of the monotheistic religions that arose around the Mediterranean area. In its basic form, the idea is that God created the world and that the world will have an end (apocalypse, from a Greek world meaning “revelation”). Human beings are supposed to live a one-time trial. You succeed or you don’t, but God doesn’t give you another chance. East-Asian thought seems to have been based on a different viewpoint: Buddhism sees the soul as forever reincarnating in new bodies. There is no end and no beginning to this endless cyucle that the wise may, however, be able to interrupt.

It is hard to say what factors created these two different schools of thought. One thing we know, however, is that today Western science can be seen as continuing the ancient tradition, that of the single cycle. For what we know, the universe appeared in a specific event called the “Big Bang” and it is destined to end, according to the most recent data, as a cold and dreary place made out of matter scattered over an immensely large volume. Back in  1956, Isaac Asimov was reasoning within this tradition when he wrote a story titled “The Last Question”, where he imagined humankind engaged in a forever quest for how to reverse the cycle and rejuvenate the universe. But Asimov was also thinking outside the Western box when he proposed at the end that the question could be answered, although not by humans themselves but by the computer they had created. As there is nobody to tell the answer to, the computer proceeds to carry on the answer in practice by creating light and restarting the universe.

I must have read this old story by Isaac Asimov when I was, maybe, 15 years old and it inspired a post that I wrote on “Cassandra’s Legacy” with the title “The Next Ten Billion Years” for which I borrowed from Asimov the same finale. This post of mine had a certain success and, recently, John Michael Greer (“The Archdruid”) commented on it and produced his own version of the next ten billion years as he sees them. It is by all means a fascinating piece but different from mine in a deep philosophical sense. True to his role of druid, Greer explicitly rejects the Christian “one-cycle” tradition and leans on the multiple cycle view of the universe, for instance saying that, ten million years from now,

No fewer than 8,639 global civilizations have risen and fallen over the last ten million years, each with its own unique sciences, technologies, arts, literatures, philosophies, and ways of thinking about the cosmos.

and then he goes on to describe several non-human civilizations arising and disappearing in the span of several hundred million years, including one derived from raccoons, one from ravens, and one from freshwater clams. There is no evidence in Greer’s vision of the entropy caused winding down of the universe. The atoms that once formed the Earth and its inhabitants are flung away in space by the last convulsion of the Sun and end up forming another star and a number of planets. The cycle restarts.

As I said, we are discussing philosophical matters and we’ll never find an agreement on what the Earth will look like – say – ten million years from now. So, I’ll just comment here on how science gives us very strong evidence for a “one-cycle” Earth. With that, I don’t mean just an apocalyptic end of our planet when it will be finally consumed by an expanding Sun. No, the Earth has changed all the time over its four billion years of existence, it keeps changing, and the changes are profound and irreversible.

What we call the “biosphere” has been part of this great, long lasting cycle. As all things that are born and are destined to die, the biosphere must peak and decline. Actually, it has peaked and it is declining. The biosphere productivity over the past 3.5 billion years looks a little like a gigantic Hubbert peak according to a paper by Franck, Bounama and Von Bloh,

In a previous post, I wrote about this graph that:

As you see, the Earth’s biosphere, Gaia, peaked with the start of the Phanerozoic age, about 500 million years ago. Afterwards, it declined. Of course, there is plenty of uncertainty in this kind of studies, but they are based on known facts about planetary homeostasis. We know that the sun’s irradiation keeps increasing with time at a rate of around 1% every 100 million years. That should have resulted in the planet warming up, gradually, but the homeostatic mechanisms of the ecosphere have maintained approximately constant temperatures by gradually lowering the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, there is a limit: the CO2 concentration cannot go below the minimum level that makes photosynthesis possible; otherwise Gaia “dies”.

So, at some moment in the future, planetary homeostasis will cease to be able to stabilize temperatures. When we reach that point, temperatures will start rising and, eventually, the earth will be sterilized. According to Franck et al., in about 600 million years from now the earth will have become too hot for multicellular creatures to exist.

Of course, the extinction of the biosphere is not for tomorrow or, at least, the calculations say so. But it is like estimating one’s lifespan from statistical data. Theoretically, the homeostatic mechanisms that operate your body could keep you alive until reach a respectable age; sure, but homoeostasis is never perfect. For instance, there are mechanisms in your body designed to reverse the effects of traumas. You may expect these mechanisms to work well if you are young but, if you are hit by a truck at full speed, well, you end up on the wrong side of the life expectancy statistics.

Similar considerations apply to Gaia. Theoretically, the planetary homeostatic mechanisms should keep Gaia alive for hundreds of millions of years, but what about major perturbations, some planetary equivalent of being hit by a truck? Would Gaia be able to recover from a human caused runaway greenhouse catastrophe?

We cannot say for sure. What we can say is that we are living in a period called the “sixth extinction,” similar to other major past extinctions. In most cases, these extinctions appear to have been caused by an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The sixth extinction, too, is taking place in correspondence to a rise of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that may never have happened so fast in the history of the planet. This rapid rise is also taking place under a solar irradiation that has never been so high as it is today. We can’t rule out that the sixth extinction will be the last one.

So, as I said at the beginning, the present and the future of a single person can be understood from his or her past, and it is the same for the Earth (aka, “Gaia”). Science is telling us very, very strongly that the present moment is unique in the history of the planet: the future will not be like the past. It is true that, if we fail to survive as a civilization, there will be probably space for more human civilizations. And, if we go extinct, there may be space for the evolution of new sentient species. But all that will happen in different conditions and along a downward slope.

New human civilizations developing within the few hundred thousand years will not have the coal and the fossil hydrocarbons that we have consumed today. In a few hundred million years from now, new sentient species might find oil that has reformed in shallow anoxic seas – but they won’t have coal, the result of very special conditions occurring only once (for what we know) on this planet. And they will live in a planet with a much reduced biological productivity in comparison to ours. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to develop spaceflight – the future is full of opportunities, but it is never like the past.

In the end, these considerations give us just a hint of the sheer immensity of the future and of how difficult is the human attempt to conceive it. For what we know, we are a small ripple on the top of a gigantic tsunami wave that’s crashing on some remote shore. As a ripple disappears, new ones appear, but the wave keeps rolling onward to its inevitable end. And yet, we know so little: there may be other shores, other waves, the universal sea may never stop to roll, and light and darkness may exchange places in a never ending dance. So, just as Asimov concluded his story, someday, the words “Let there be light” may be said again. And there will be light again.

all-pervading,
ever moving.
So it can act as the mother
of all things.
Not knowing its real name
we only call it the Way

If it must be named, 
let its name be Great.
Greatness means going on,
going on means going far,
and going far means turning back

(Tao Te King, as reported by Ursula K. Le Guin)

Collapse Cafe Vidcast: 10 Billion Year Scenario Discussion

Off the cameras and microphones of Ugo Bardi and RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on September 11, 2013

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In the first “Official” Vidcast of the Collapse Cafe today on the Doomstead Diner, Ugo Bardi and I got together to discuss some of the issues brought up originally in an article he wrote on his blog Cassandra’s Legacy last year, and which John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report added his own thoughts and scenarios for in his blog last week.  I looked at the ideas both authors put forth in the last Sunday Brunch article on the Diner The Next 10 Billion Years, which brought up many issues worth discussing in greater detail.

We did air one Test Vidcast before this basically to get familiar with the Google Hangouts software so that we can do a decent job with the production, which is not so easy really.  You are subject to problems along the way since these things consume gobs of bandwidth, so you have to have a very strong and consistent net connection to keep them running.  Midway through this Vidcast with Ugo, we experienced an outtage, but fortunately the connection was reestablished before I stopped the recording, and we were able to complete the vidcast otherwise free of technical gliches, except for Ugo’s Dog.  LOL.

The Vidcasting has some advantages over a straight Podcast of just Audio, it is more Information Rich in the sense you can see facial expression and body language, which communicates quite a bit beyond just the words.  It is also possible to drop on other visual material while recording, though we did not try that in this Vidcast.  It also is a better format for several people to be chatting at once, since you don’t get confused as to who is speaking.  The main limitations are first that you can’t stop and start it and editing it would be difficult.  So you pretty much have to do it “live”.  The Audio Quality also is not as good as a podcast.  So one does not replace the other, you merely use them for different things.

Far as the content of the Vidcast is concerned, many unanswered questions remained from both Ugo’s original blog and JMG’s more recent one, in particular the question of just what motivates a person to write a scenario for such a long timeline?  We have plenty of problems to solve just in the next decade and century which MAYBE we can have some effect on, why concern yourself with Millenia and Billenia length issues we cannot affect, and moreover are pretty much inescapable due to constraints of Astrophysics?

Then there are questions of the accuracy of the Science involved, even in a Science Fiction/Fantasy treatment of such ideas to make them plausible they need to at least pay passing attention to known Scientific principals and limitations.  Is it reasonable to believe that the Earth can duplicate the conditions which allowed for millions of years of energy collection in microorganisms to replenish fossil fuel stores over the next 100-200M years?  Is it reasonable to believe Sentience will recur in another Species after Homo Sapiens goes the way of the Dinosaur?  Is it reasonable to expect we can recreate another Agricultural Civilization of Homo Sapiens after this one crashes?

These are a few of the questions raised in John Michael Greer’s and Ugo’s scenarios we look at in this Vidcast.  Does it make any real difference as far as the near term problems we face?  Probably not.  Still, there are philosophical questions of Existence and its Meaning which occupy the mind of the Doomer that are always out there, and for Ugo and myself, it is something worth chatting about.  Maybe it will be worth listening to for you.

RE

The Next 10 Billion Years

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 8, 2013

Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

This week on his Blog The Archdruid Report, John Michael Greer took a look at the REAL long term outcomes of Collapse, on a 10 Billion Year long scale for Homo Sapiens, which basically takes us right to the end of the Working Lifespan of the Sun, the main source of Energy driving forward all life on Earth, not just Humanity.

This is not the first set of such speculations, in fact it is a direct response to a similarly titled article by Ugo Bardi on his Blog Cassandra’s Legacy last year.  Ugo in fact did a bit more in his treatment of the issue, first he chronicled the LAST 10B years up to today, and then presented 2 possible long term scenarios, one more upbeat and hopeful, the other a bit more doomy and gloomy.

The question is, WHY are both these Collapse Bloggers concerning themselves with such long term outcomes anyhow?  Generally speaking at best most people are only concerned with what will occur to them in what remains of their lifetimes, perhaps at most extending into the lifetime of their Children &  Grandchildren.  After that, what does it really MATTER how long Homo Sapiens survives here?  EVENTUALLY we will die out under almost any scenario you care to dream up.  So how different is it for YOU if Extinction comes in 100, 1000 or 1,000,000 Years? Unless you believe in Reincarnation and that said Reincarnation can only occur on THIS planet, in THIS corner of the Universe, it doesn’t matter at all when Homo Sapiens goes the way of the Dinosaur here.

http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/phys240/lectures/future/redgiant.jpg

The lengths of time being bandied about in both Ugo and JMGs posts are quite enormous, Geological Time Scales really.  In fact we have nowhere near 10B years possible for continuation of Homo Sapiens on this Planet, the Sun goes Red Giant and consumes the Earth long before that, and even long before THAT as the Sun burns up its fuel supply of Hydrogen and starts burning more Helium, it will get hot enough to boil off all the oceans on the planet and make it quite unlivable for ALL carbon based life forms we know, INCLUDING my favorite Extremophiles, the Tardigrades.

The Main Sequence
The Sun, like most stars in the Universe, is on the main sequence stage of life. Every second, 600 million tons of hydrogen are converted into helium in the Sun’s core, generating 4 x 1027 Watts of energy. For the Sun, this process got going 4.6 billion years ago, and it has been generating energy this way every since. But there isn’t an unlimited amount of hydrogen in the core of the Sun. In fact, it’s only got another 7 billion years worth of fuel left.

As the Sun creates more helium at its core, the Sun burns a little more hydrogen. This causes the output of the Sun to go up. You won’t notice it now, but in about a billion years, the output from the Sun will have increased by 10%.

A more luminous Sun is bad news for Earth.

In 1.1 billion years from now, the Sun will be 10% brighter than it is today. This extra energy will cause a moist greenhouse effect in the beginning, similar to the runaway warming on Venus. But then the Earth’s atmosphere will dry out as the water vapor is lost to space, never to return.

In 3.5 billion years from now, the Sun will be 40% brighter than it is today. It will be so hot that the oceans will boil and that water vapor will be lost to space as well. The ice caps will permanently melt, and snow will be ancient history; life will be unable to survive anywhere on the surface of the Earth. The Earth will resemble dry hot Venus.

http://www.viceland.com/viceblog/34954711tardigrb.jpgSo really, you are talking MAX about 1B years from today for life to exist on earth in any form at all, because once the water boils off, life of any sort we are familiar with cannot exist.  Indeed, Tardigrades can remain Viable near Absolute Zero and throughly dehydrated and Pop Back to Life once back in an environment with liquid water around, but they don’t “live” while they are dehydrated in the near absolute zero temps of space.  Liquid Water is ESSENTIAL for life as we know it, all the chemistry which life is organized around occurs in Aqueous Solution of one sort or another.

When you consider this fact of life (sic), its actually probably long before all the Water actually Boils Off the surface of the Earth that life disappears in 1-3B years, it really just has to get hot enough that most of the water is Vapor and whatever tough little Tardigrades remain can’t cool themselves enough and end up dehydrating.  So maybe good Outside Possibility for some higher plant & animal life forms is another 500M years.  When you look at how long it took Dinosaurs and other Vertebrates to develop originally, this timescale is on the order of 100sM of years.

File:Geologic Clock with events and periods.svg

http://chinafossils.nhm.org/graphics/time%20scale.jpg

http://ber.parawag.net/images/Aloha_ocean_pH_calculated_by_HOT.jpgAs you can see, this whole Biz began back there in the Pre-Cambrian period around 600M years ago, culminating in anatomically modern Homo Sapiens only in the last 100K years or so, though Proto-Homos existed a good deal earlier than that going back maybe 2M years.  So what do you think the odds are that say our good friends and co-inhabitants of the Earth right now, the Tardigrades who are capable of handling a good deal tougher environmental situation than we can will have enough TIME and good fortune to evolve toward Sentience before the planet becomes uninhabitable even for THEM?  IMHO, the likelihood is quite small.  JMG does overcome this barrier by starting with Raccoons and Crows as the progenitors of sentient species, but based on the current spin out it seems unlikely that any higher organisms have a real good chance of survival when multiple Nuke reactors go super-critical and/or there is a phytoplankton collapse due to ocean acidification.

John Michael Greer thinks at least SOME Homo Sapiens will last a good deal longer than Nature Bats Last’s Guy McPherson’s mid-21st Century prediction for Near Term Human Extinction, he’s projecting out numerous Civilizations of Homo Sapiens rising and falling here over the next bundle of Millenia before finally sputtering out a million or so years down the line.

A hundred thousand years from now:
Carbon dioxide levels drop below preindustrial levels as the oceanic anoxic event finishes its work, and the complex feedback loops that govern Earth’s climate shift again: the thermohaline circulation restarts, triggering another round of climatic changes. Humanity’s seventy-ninth global civilization flourishes and begins its slow decline as the disruptions set in motion by a long-forgotten industrial age are drowned out by an older climatic cycle. The scholars of that civilization are thrilled by the notions of fusion power, artificial intelligence, and interstellar migration; they have no idea that we dreamed the same dreams before them, being further in our future than the Neanderthals are in our past, but they will have no more luck achieving those dreams than we did.
A million years from now:
The Earth is in an ice age; great ice sheets cover much of the northern hemisphere and spread from mountain ranges all over the world, and sea level is 150 meters lower than today. To the people living at this time, who have never known anything else, this seems perfectly normal. Metals have become rare geological specimens—for millennia now, most human societies have used renewable ceramic-bioplastic composites instead—and the very existence of fossil fuels has long since been forgotten. The 664th global human civilization is at its peak, lofting aerostat towns into the skies and building great floating cities on the seas; its long afternoon will eventually draw to an end after scores of generations, and when it falls, other civilizations will rise in its place.
We are a tough bunch of Survivors JMG prognosticates, hammering it out for the next Million Years before finally succumbing to environmental stressors that wipe us out!  Ugo also projects manifest toughness and adaptability for Homo Sapiens in his more Positive Scenario.  While we do suffer a massive Population Knockdown in the Ugo+ Scenario, the Survivors do real well colonizing the Solar System here:
1000 years from now. In the year 3000 A.D. the ecosystems of the planet have completely recovered from the damage done by human activities during the second millennium. A sophisticated planetary control system manages solar irradiation by means of space mirrors and the concentration of greenhouse gases by means of CO2 absorbing/desorbing plants. The planet is managed as a giant garden, optimizing its biological productivity. The Sahara desert is now a forest and the thermohaline currents pump oxygen in the northern regions, full of life of all kinds. The solar and wind plants used during the previous millennium have been mostly dismantled, although some are still kept as a memory of the old times. Most of the energy used by humankind is now generated by space stations which capture solar energy and beam it to the ground in forms easily usable by humans. Research in controlled fusion energy continues with the hope that it will produce usable energy in 500 years. Humans are now less than one billion, they have optimized both their numbers and their energy use and they need enormously less than they had needed in the more turbulent ages of one thousand years before. The development of artificial intelligence is in full swing and practically all tasks that once had been in the hands of humans is now in the “hands” of sophisticated robotic systems. These robots have colonized the solar system and humans now live in underground cities on the Moon. The new planetary intelligence starts considering the idea of terraforming Mars and Venus. The first antimatter powered interstellar spaceships have started their travel to far away stars.10.000 years from now. There are now less than a billion human beings on Earth who live in splendid cities immersed in the lush forest that the planet has become. Some of them work as a hobby on controlled nuclear fusion which they hope will produce usable energy in a few thousand years. The New Intelligence has now started terraforming Mars. It involves similar methods as those used for controlling the Earth’s climate: giant mirrors and CO2 producing plants that control the Martian atmosphere, increasing its pressure and temperature. The terraforming of Venus has also started with similar methods: giant screens that lower the planetary temperatures and immense flying plants that transform CO2 into oxygen and solid carbon. That will take a lot of time, but the New Intelligence is patient. It is also creating new races of solid state beings living on the asteroids and orbiting around the Sun. The exploration of the galaxy is in progress, with spaceships from the solar system now reaching a “sphere” of about a thousand light years from the sun.
Of these two Sci-Fi scenarios, Ugo’s is slightly more grounded in real science with a better grasp of the numbers and timelines involve, but really in both cases the speculation out there past 1000 years is just an exercise in creative imagination.  Obviously none of us will be around to verify if either of them even came CLOSE to the truth, at least not from this side of the Great Divide anyhow.
So what is the underlying motivation for making these WAG projections?  I think it stems from the fact both authors have no real solution to the near term problems we face and so speculate on these long term outcomes, which all eventually end up in Extinction, except for a few REALLY WAGs which have Homo Sapiens leaving earth to go Star Trekking in one way or another.  Going back a few months here, I actually wrote a short such positive outcome in a thread run by Diner Dirdy Birdy:

My best case scenario:The monetary system crashes and Da Goobermint organizes quickly to keep food production and distribution going.  Shortages of fuel take all private carz off the road and people adapt utilizing more bicycles and walking, along with various public transport systems that are kept running a while with the diminished fuel supply.  JIT Trucking is also kept running by conserving fuel, long enough for transition to be made to local production.

A huge Public Works Project is undertaken with people educated in permaculture and small scale renewable energy construction, and a Land Reform Act is passed with Groups of People issued Land Grants all over the country.  Groups can either self-organize or a computer program puts people together based on a questionnaire they fill out about their belief system.  The Land Grants are issued in a Random Order via Lottery, and you get to pick your spot when your number comes up.  The size of the Land Grant depends on the current resources available where it is located in terms of Water and Soil Fertility.  The size is calculated to support the Group size +20% (to allow for fluctuation in reproduction).

Metal Tools and Farm Implements are produced and distributed out as long as possible, and die off is gradual and organic mostly from Old Age as the population returns to the land.

The other part of the Public Works Project involves decommissioning and removing the spent fuel from Nuke Plants.  The fuel si all collected, vitrified and shipped to the Marianna Trench where it is sunk in a subduction zone at the ocean floor.  Specialized Boring Capsules are designed which gather speed during the fall to the ocean floor and begin to spin rapidly.  When they hit bottom, they bore into the crust at the subduction zone.

Industrial plants are shut down and cleaned up also as small scale cottage industries take hold around the country.  Mother Nature does her part also, gradually degrading and rinsing out pollutants.  Ecosystems recover, and carbon content in the atmosphere begins to fall.  Extreme Weather events begin to lessen in frequency.

A century from now, a remaining 1B or so people on the planet live in Harmony with Nature, maintaining a relatively steady state of human biomass.  Story Tellers travel around the country on Horseback and around the World by Sailboat, and information is passed on verbally throughout the world.  Memory spans are vastly increased, and Wisdom is selected for naturally, and Homo Sapiens evolves to Homo Superioris, eventually gaining paranormal abilities with the ability to leave the body at will and travel the cosmos as a Quantum Flux able to instaneously appear anywhere in the Universe, visiting other planets with the ability to Incarnate in a symbiotic fashion with other life forms on these planets.

Human Sentience persists for Eternity, as the Quantum Flux can also jump from Universe to Universe in the Multiverse, once this Universe either cools to Absolute Zero in perpetual expansion, or Collapses back on itself for another Big Bang.

This particular scenario makes just about everybody HAPPY, including George Mobus of Question Everything since Homo Stupidus finally does achieve Wisdom in the end.  LOL.  It resolves the Die Off problem without resorting to Violence or explicit Eugenics making the Peaceniks Happy, and GAIA returns to a lush Green Garden of Eden making all the Tree Huggers very Happy too!  If I wrote more shit like this, I would be a WAY more popular Blogger!  LOL.  Of course, at the end of this exercise in Fantasy Thinking, I ranked the Probability of this outcome around .00000000001% or so.
The theme in JMGs article right from the beginning though is to Poke Holes in Peak Oil theory; the general idea is to demonstrate that we aren’t going to have a massive FAST Collapse, but rather a long Slow Catabolic Collapse where our lives will change only incrementally; and beyond that to express the Belief that Homo Sapiens will NOT go Extinct in the Near Term per Guy McPherson, but rather will persist a good long while Walking the Earth, and in fact have something of a Resurgence before finally giving up the ghost and making way for a New and Still BETTER Sentient Species which will last a whole lot longer before itself going extinct.
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If you notice also, JMGs Sci-Fi fantasy also has archetypes in it that make HIM happy, there are future Historians and Anthropologists amongst the Corvins who go out and discover remnants of Human Civilization on the Moon, so the Knowledge of the Ages never gets Lost long as there are SOME Sentient beings around.  For JMG, the WORST possible outcome is not the Extinction of the Human Race, but the idea that all that Knowledge, all those years of tedious research in the Card Catalogues and Stacks of University Libraries would be LOST FOREVER!  Accckkkkk!  In the end, Sentience & Ingenuity Wins the Day in JMGs story, as it does in Ugo’s Positive Scenario also.  JMGs story of Sentience on Earth does come to a close finally, but not until after a real long run through many more Homo Sapiens Civilizations, then Raccoon and Crow Civilizations.  This puts off the inevitable “End of History” (and Historians! lol) for a mighty long time.  He also pops in a nice Upbeat Ending with some other NEW Sentient Species popping up spontaneously on some other planet floating around there out in the Universe, before IT either cools to Absolute Zero in perpetual expansion or Implodes on itself in another Big Bang.
What is noticeably speculative in JMGs post is where the Corvins get their Energy to run a Complex Society, he’s got sufficient Oil reserves rebuilding here inside 100M years to get the Corvins to the Moon and Back, sans any speculative energy technology of the future.  The problem here is that the Oil supply we got to burn up over the last 200 or so years if created in the typically accepted biotic origination goes back right to the beginning of the pre-Cambrian Era, and took a good 700M years to collect up all the Solar Energy and store it in all the dead life forms that existed over this time period.  Generating up the same amount of Oil over 100M years would require 6-7X as many life forms to be born and die over 100M years, and that is not inside the energetic parameters of what the Sun would provide over that time period.  Not to mention the problems of environmental degradation for producing more biomass, already evident.
http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100629151438/memoryalpha/en/images/a/af/Integrator.jpgUgo relies on the old Star Trek meme of Matter-Antimatter Engines to drive this type of society Star Trekking in the long distant future, glossing over the small problem of precisely where we will get hold of the copious amounts of Antimatter necessary to annihiliate Matter in the Perfect Matter-to-Energy Transform.  Dilithium Crystals aren’t Ubiquitous on Earth, not even at Chinese Strip Mining Operations for Rare Earth Minerals.  LOL. Here on Earth Ugo does come up with the slightly more plausible idea of huge space based solar collectors,  however exactly how we will jack that much hardware up into space over the next century or two with depleting fossil fuel supplies is left unexplained.
Assuming Homo Sapiens did die out in a Million Years or so, rebuilding Fossil Fuel resource would take the same 100s of Millions of years it took on the first go-round, bringing you right up to the time the Sun is Vaporizing the Water on the Planet.  Unless you buy into an a-biotic theory of Oil and project a slow refill of the near surface reservoirs, you just won’t have this type of resource around for the next sentient species to exploit, no matter how smart they are.  Even if Infants are capable of solving Fermat’s Last Theorem, without the massive energy necessary to get stuff up OFF the surface of the Earth into Orbit, and then further to power said Starships in the vast and cold interstellar void, no sentient life of any sort is ever leaving this Solar System.  Projecting such on outcome is simply an exercise in HOPIUM for people concerned that in the end all the knowledge disappears, and so the whole exercise of Evolution over lo these long Eons has no real purpose to it at all.
Religions circumvent this problem in all sorts of ways, the most popular being to postulate some type of Afterlife, and/or the existence of some sort of disembodied Soul which can exist and persist in the absence of a corporeal host.  I am OK with this kind of belief structure, in fact I buy into it myself these days in my own idiosyncratic sort of way.  Imagining the Universe to be Purposeless doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and beyond that the Random beginning for Life without some sort of Intelligent Design also seems highly unlikely.  However, you most certainly cannot PROVE anything beyond what can be sensed and perceived, so whatever it is you do believe about this it is in the end just a Belief System which makes sense to you.
http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Overshoot_2.jpgReturning from the world of Sci-Fi and fantasy thinking to the REAL WORLD of Collapsing Economic Structures, Depleting Resources and Population Overshoot, the real questions worth pondering on are not 10B Year Long Timelines for Universal Existence, but much shorter timelines in the lengths of Years, Decades, Centuries and maybe as far out as Millenia, but further than that is really a moot point, since the eventual Extinction of Homo Sapiens is a virtual Lock.  If you can answer the question of what the World will be like in YOUR neighborhood in a Decade’s time, this knowledge people living now can actually USE to better prepare for the world to come for them.  The outcomes won’t be precisely the same everywhere, there are different parameters in different locations clearly.  So being able to make a fairly decent prediction on this timeline also allows people to make better choices in Migration, if they indeed even have the ability and economic resources to migrate at all, which most really do not.  I mean really, if you currently are living on $2/day in a Mumbai Slum, you’re not going to be buying a Plane Ticket to New Zealand to find a better life.  Most people are pretty well stuck where they are, at least on the nation-state level.
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A good understanding of the possible Century Long Timeline outcomes is also quite important in the Real Sense, because if these outcomes can be generally distributed and understood, it is possible still that Homo Sapiens could make some better choices now that would lead to better outcomes later.  So it is my belief that it is these timelines we need to focus on, not the long term existential ones.  I would look forward to articles from both JMG and Ugo Bardi which make some informed Projections on these timelines.  In both their 10B Year articles, they do cover the nearer term decades and centuries long outcomes, but they are of necessity Brief in this sort of treatment and not very well fleshed out.  You can make the fairly obvious predictions of lots of Wars taking place, but what will be the political and ecological outcomes of those wars?  What are the best means & method to be one of the SURVIVORS of those Wars?
I will look at some of these questions myself in a follow-up article to this, though next week’s Sunday Brunch article will be about a more current issue, the Submergent Economies of the BRICS nations, currently having some extraordinary currency collapse issues ongoing.  In the intervening time though, I look forward to chatting with Ugo and perhaps JMG on the Collapse Cafe about the various possible long term outcomes on the 10 Billion Year timescale.
RE

Perspectives on Faith & Science

Off the keyboard of Ashvin Pandurangi

Published inside the Doomstead Diner on August 1, 2013

Discuss this article at the Spirituality & Mysticism Table inside the Diner

 

Finding the Proper Perspective on Faith and Science:

A Rebuttal of John Michael Greer’s, The Quest for Common Language

*All quotations attributed to John Michael Greer in green are sourced from the following two articles, and all emphasis on such quotations are mine – 1) Held Hostage by Progress ; 2) The Quest for Common Language

In two back-to-back articles, John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report has strayed away from his general rule to avoid making arguments about specific religions. Here is a clear case, in my opinion, in which rules are NOT meant to be broken…

In Greer’s view, conservative Christians who interpret the Bible “literally” are not accurately representing the Faith. Instead, they are inserting scientific assertions into the Bible where, in fact, there are none. I understand that this is a very common view among “liberal/progressive” Christians and religious non-Christians. BUT, I have yet to come across ANY Biblical evidence to support such an ahistorical and simplistic view of the rich Biblical traditions that have been preserved for posterity.

While denigrating the Christians who find scientific truths in THEIR religious traditions (i.e. the Bible), Greer seems to take great pride in alleging that HIS religious tradition promoted biological evolution before Darwin even came on the scene. Apparently, what’s good for the goose is not what’s good for the gander. As support, Greer quotes “part of a ritual dialogue” that features prominently in his religion:

“The traditions of modern Druidry, the faith I follow, actually embraced biological evolution even before Darwin provided a convincing explanation for it. Here’s part of a ritual dialogue from the writings of Edward Williams (1747-1826), one of the major figures of the early Druid Revival:

“Q. Where art thou now, and how camest thou to where thou art?”

“A. I am in the little world, whither I came, having traversed the circle of Abred, and now I am a man at its termination and extreme limits.”

“Q. What wert thou before thou didst become a man in the circle of Abred?”

“A. I was in Annwn the least possible that was capable of life, and the nearest possible to absolute death, and I came in every form, and through every form capable of a body and life, to the state of man along the circle of Abred.”

Greer then explains that this ritual continues on, but the above is enough to “give the flavor and some core ideas”. OK… now compare this ritual dialogue with the opening verses of Genesis Chapter 1 (NIV, 1-13):

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.”

(like Greer’s Druid ritual dialogue, this descriptive narrative continues on at some length…)

Can anyone look at these two sources of religious tradition and honestly claim that one contains scientific assertions while the other does not? It strains all reason and credulity to claim that the author of Genesis did not INTEND to make positive assertions about the origins of the Universe, the Earth and life on Earth; assertions that are clearly within the remit of scientific inquiry. Contrary to prevailing opinion, the principle of “Biblical literalism” has always been centered on the INTENDED meaning of Biblical texts rather than a wooden interpretation of specific words used. Greer attempts to sweep away this centuries long-tradition of interpretation with the following claim:

“Third, the value of the Bible—or of any other scripture—does not depend on whether it makes a good geology textbook, any more than the value of a geology textbook depends on whether it addresses the salvation of the soul. I don’t know of any religion in which faith and practice center on notions of how the Earth came into existence and got its current stock of living things. Certainly the historic creeds of Christianity don’t even consider the issue worth mentioning. The belief that God created the world does not require believing any particular claim about how that happened; nor does it say in the Bible that the Bible has to be taken literally, or that it deals with questions of geology or paleontology at all.”

The loosely constructed straw-man used above claims that the Bible is not a “geology textbook” – the implication being, anyone who finds scientific assertions in the Bible is treating it as such a textbook and failing to notice its primary theological purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any serious and considered reading of the Bible reveals that Biblical theology cannot be artificially separated out from culture, politics, history, science or anything else. While the theology may not “center” on how the Universe, Earth and life came into existence, those issues are certainly featured FRONT AND CENTER, and the Biblical authors make no qualms about doing so.

JMG wrote the following in his first foray into the hypocritical bashing of “conservative” Christians:

“Nonetheless “Thou shalt not evolve” got turned into an ersatz Eleventh Commandment, and devout Christians exercised their ingenuity to the utmost to find ways to ignore the immense and steadily expanding body of evidence from geology, molecular biology, paleontology, and genetics that backed Darwin’s great synthesis.”

Although Greer is specifically dealing with Darwinian evolution here, the implication is that Christians are going way beyond the scope of the Bible’s intended message when they make scientific debate a part of their evangelical ministry or mission. It makes you wonder, when is the last time JMG actually read the Ten Commandments??

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20: 8-11)

Who can read the above and yet still claim there is no connection between the origin narratives of Genesis 1 and the theological discourse of Exodus, specifically Moses’ interaction with God on Mount Sinai. Regardless of whether you believe any of what is described in the Bible actually happened, it’s nearly impossible to deny that the author(s) of Genesis and Exodus intended to communicate a great intersection between God’s creation of the Universe and God’s personal relationship with humanity. We find this intersection between God’s creation of the Universe and DELIVERANCE of humanity repeatedly reinforced throughout the traditions of the Biblical prophets:

It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness. I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward” (Isaiah 45:12-13)

On top of ignoring such clear assertions in the Bible, Greer, in what can only be best characterized as a gross neglect of Christian history, cites the “historic creeds of the Christian churches” as evidence that the Bible was not intended to contain scientific truths which reflect on core theology. He claims that conservative Christians should get back to the primary message of these creeds, but fails to mention the wealth of historic Christian theologians and scientists (usually both) who read their Bibles and concluded the exact opposite of what Greer professes. After all, the rallying cry of the Christian Reformation movement was sola scriptura – that core Christian theology is not based on the Creeds of any church, but rather on scripture itself.

Leading “natural philosophers” of the Reformation era, with increased access to scripture and confidence in God’s word, confirmed that the study of the natural world is not distinct from the study of God’s glory and love revealed in scripture, but instead that the pursuit of both studies are INEXTRICABLY linked together as we ask the basic metaphysical questions about human existence, nature and purpose. The following are quotes by some of those courageous Christians who were at the forefront of the Scientific Revolution.

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
“To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.”

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627)
“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
“Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God. That share in it accorded to humans is one of the reasons that humanity is the image of God.”

Gelileo Galilei (1564-1642)
“It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima, and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scripture cannot err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable. But I should have in your place added that, though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways”

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
“Therefore, those to whom God has imparted religion by intuition are very fortunate, and justly convinced. But to those who do not have it, we can give it only by reasoning, waiting for God to give them spiritual insight, without which faith is only human, and useless for salvation.”

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
“The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
“The human mind is placed above, and not beneath it, and it is in such a point of view that the mental education afforded by science is rendered super-eminent in dignity, in practical application and utility; for by enabling the mind to apply the natural power through law, it conveys the gifts of God to man.”

Robert Boyle (1791-1867)
“shewing that, being addicted to experimental philosophy a man is rather assisted than indisposed to be a good Christian.”

The quotes above only scratch the surface of what these men believed about the role of God’s word in science and vice versa, and obviously the list of people and number of quotes could continue. The point here is not that the Bible is inerrant when it deals with scientific matters, but that, contrary to Greer’s assertions, it DOES deal with scientific matters. As proof of fact, we see that all of the scientists above relied heavily on Biblical assertions when conducting scientific investigation – i.e. that the material Universe had a distinct beginning, was created by an Intelligent Mind and therefore it was governed by fixed, uniform and intelligible laws that humans could use to understand its workings and, more importantly, personally relate to its Creator.

It was only the Modernist era which gave rise to the widespread (and dangerous) belief that science and religion must be kept in separate “containers” of consideration and discussion, where never the twain shall meet. Greer, perhaps without knowing it, is simply reinforcing this artificial dualistic or “binary” mode of thinking that he often laments when discussing other topics. The question is not whether conservative Christians are right or wrong about Darwinian evolution based on modern scientific evidence, but whether there is any Biblical basis for them to argue that certain scientific theories are in tension with Biblical theology, and therefore make such arguments a part of their Christian ministry or mission in life.

The answer to this question from Greer’s perspective is a resounding NO. His only support for this answer, however, is the artificial duality that he imposes on the Bible and those of faith. It is true that many Western conservative Christians ignore proper scientific inquiry and simply attack theories on the basis of what they have been taught to believe. That fact is clear enough from the widespread conservative Christian critique of Big Bang cosmology. This critique is just as harsh if not more harsh than attacks on evolutionary theory, despite the fact that Big Bang cosmology supports the Bible’s claim of a beginning to all space, time, energy and matter!

Many of them have simply been taught to equate the Big Bang with “evolution”, thoroughly mixing up the sciences of cosmology and biology in the process. So it’s true that such ignorance and blind passion is prevalent, but Greer’s assertion here is also trite and irrelevant. He is trying to base an entire argument about historic Christianity, Biblical interpretation, science and theology on this one trite observation. Therein lies the binary mentality he fails to recognize in his own thinking (the following is MY take on his thinking):

“Either you are ignorant and blindly impassioned like THOSE Christians, or you are ‘progressive’ and well-versed in modern science like US”…

“Either you read the Bible ‘literally’ like THOSE Christians, or you read it metaphorically and allegorically like US”…

“Either the Bible is a scientific TEXTBOOK or it has ABSOLUTELY NO relation to science at all”…

The truth about the Bible is not so dualistic and simple. Like most good literature, it contains many different genres and literary devices – historical narratives, biographies, apocalyptic writing, military accounts, love stories, poetry, parables, metaphors, allegory, etc. The intention is not to create fiction or obscure reality but to convey truths about reality in brilliantly impactful ways. There is no reason to say that these truths are limited to “theological” truths rather than historical or scientific ones, or that those fields do not overlap and complement one another in the Bible. Such an argument presents an artificial and unnecessary duality, one that was NEVER incorporated into the historic Christian faith.

On the contrary, and as the evidence above makes clear, the historic Christian faith held to by many “conservative” members of the Church today has made no qualms that its theological messages are deeply intertwined with its historical and scientific assertions (or data points, if you will). Nowhere is this Biblical truth made more evident than in the very heart of Christian doctrine – the incarnation, ministry, death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in the region of Palestine during the first century AD.  Christians assert that the entire Bible from front to back revolves around and points to this one God-man – the divine Logos, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), through whom “all things were made” (1:3).

Greer asserts that the core of Christianity is faith and grace, which is TRUE, but then requires Bible-believing Christians to greatly suspend their disbelief when asserting that the Christian faith is not compatible with, or cannot be based on, intellectual and rational inquiry into other fields of knowledge.

“This, of course, is what a great many religions have been saying all along. In most of the religions of the west, and many of those from other parts of the world, faith is a central theme, and faith is not a matter of passing some kind of multiple choice test; it’s not a matter of the intellect at all; rather, it’s the commitment of the whole self to a way of seeing the cosmos that can be neither proved nor disproved rationally, but has to be accepted or rejected on its own terms”

The above is an exceptional encapsulation of Modernist dogma regarding religion. Greer has now thoroughly associated himself with the thinkers and pundits of the last few centuries who have attempted to quarantine spirituality from logic, reason and empirical evidence. It should be readily apparent how absurd this dogma really is when stripped down to its bare essentials. But, seeing as how I stand on the shoulder of pre-modernist giants, I will conclude this rebuttal by quoting Paul’s famous argument in 1 Corinthians 15, which flatly contradicts much of what Greer has asserted in his recent articles. Paul takes Greer’s grossly misleading, ahistorical caricature of Christianity and puts the Faith back into its proper historical perspective.

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (12-19)

Musings from the Age of Limits

Off the keyboard of Harry J Lerwill

Published on the Doomstead Diner May 24, 2013

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Discuss this article at the Age of Limits Table inside the Diner

Age of Limits 2013 Website

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Forgive any typos or autocorrect fun, I’m writing on an iPad in the middle of a forest…

We took a long drive from Pittsburgh to the age of limits conference in Pennsylvania, down winding roads and through verdant green forests, a stark contrast to the dry, arid California weather we left behind. The humidity is a surprise after the dry air of home, not the best foreshadowing of restful evenings, particularly for those camping for the first time – like my wife, Barbra.

To be fair I have been ambiguous when she’s asked about our destination.  Her idea of camping is anything short of a three-star hotel.  I would have been traveling alone, had I uttered any of the hot-button words, such as “humanure”, “camping” or “off the grid”.

We stopped at a store to pick up an air mattress, pump and bedding, items too bulky to transport as carry-on from home.  I find it crazy that it cost us less to buy the items new, then donate them when we leave, than to bring our own with us.  The occasional glance from the drivers seat made me think that the game might soon be up.

A brace of ducks welcomes us to the sustainable community we will be staying at these next four days, relaxing outside the door to the main farm building.  I approached cautiously, not wanting to startle them but they seemed very comfortable with them.  I was still deciding to go left or right around when a lady came out of the building and welcomed us.

We left with directions to the camping site and a “car camping” pass on the windscreen and gently grove the minivan to the designated spot.  As I inflated the air mattress and placed it in the back, the wife called out daughter back in California.  Snippets of her side of the conversation were carried on the breeze.

“I don’t know where we are, somewhere in the woods in Pennsylvania,” she told a laughing teenager back in warm and sunny California.  We’d taken her on a very different road trip the weekend before, four days in Las Vegas, experiencing the excesses that we are here to escape.

The sleeping arrangements completed, we wandered down to the “starvin’ artist” – the catering for the event, situated in a beautiful pavilion built from local materials by the members of the community.  A hot meal was just what we needed and we sat down with a number of other earlier arrivals, although it was soon interrupted by the arrival of a thunderstorm, the driving rain coming in almost horizontally; a flurry of activity ensured as water was swept off the end of the deck multiple times, an Herculean task the two lads threw themselves into with enthusiasm.

The only speaker present at the meal was Guy McPherson, my first chance to meet the gentleman. One interesting anecdote, Guy did not coin the term “NTE” and is not that fond of acronyms.  If he had to give it a label, he’d have called it “near term human extinction”,  a phrase he sees as having less hubris.

After a brief pause to write, we head back down for the meet and greet. On the way I ran into the founder, and arranged to interview him over his experiences setting up four quarters, the challenges he’s faced, and the long journey to where they find themselves today.

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Meet and Greet your Fellow Doomers

 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday night was colder than expected, the novel experience of camping in a car did not impress the wife much, but she is resolved to be a good sport.  It’s a sobering experience to live in a car for a couple days, an eye-opener to the collapse that is happening to hundreds of people each week. A long discussion on how we would cope should this happen ensued.  This is definitely an experience to bring a significant other along for.  If it survives this, it’s a good sign for sticking together through what lies ahead.

Not only are there “real” flushing toilets at the camp, the showers are hot, real hot! Coffee came first though, provided free by the wonderful volunteers.  A quick conversation with other early risers and I got ready for breakfast.  For a “small” setup the breakfast was wonderful, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and plenty of orange juice, with more wonderful conversation.

The event started with Oren covering some practical matters, followed by his experiences setting up the four quarters interfaith sanctuary over 18years ago.  4Q was originally an attempt to set up an ecological camp ground that would appeal to the more ecologically minded.  Pennsylvania was chosen over Maryland due to the differences in planning and zoning regulations, an aspect of doomstead~location that has been in the forefront of many people looking to escape the oncoming collapse.

The questions were excellent, covering topics as diverse as property ownership and health care; it’s a sobering thought that personal collapse comes with consequences, when we get sick in a post-collapse world, death is the likely outcome.  Questions of ethics were also raised, such as what would happen post-collapse if people turned up at their lifeboat. Many questions that we’ve asked ourselves and our forum friends.  I encourage people who are looking at setting up communities to listen to both the talk and the question and answer session.

John Michael Greer was the second speaker, with a talk on the future, what we though we would get and what we’re actually getting, and how that disconnect happened.  For readers of the archdruid report the topics were familiar, yet his light-hearted delivery takes the edge off the description of a very uncertain future.

The concept of near term human extinction inevitably came up and John Michael’s response surprised many who think his view of post-collapse is incompatible with that of Guy McPherson.  Greer sees a massive die-off in humanity’s future, just on a different time scale, along with a faith that nature will get through the bottleneck we are creating in the ecosystems. He also pointed out that the theory McPherson has may gain wider acceptance than his own theories of collapse, for reasons he’s covered in his blog many times: we will do anything to avoid having to make changes in our own lives.

Albert Bates was the next up, with a lecture on the top of the Unibomber.  I was very surprised to learn that the Unibomber was not only a Harvard student at fifteen, he was also recruited by the MK-ultra program and the abuses he was subjected to at the hands of the experimenters may have played a part in his radicalization. After the background information on Ted, the presentation moved onto the famous manifesto; a document well worth reading from a collapse and resource depletion standpoint. I many ways the bomber was right on target with the problem of technology, although no amount of hindsight on his motives can justify the murders this terrorist perpetrated on innocent people.

Another fine meal followed, roast beast and vegetables, and even finer conversation around the table.  A quick break while I tried to upload the audio files of the talks so far, with no success. I such a rural location the signal is really weak, so readers are going to have to wait a little longer before they an listen to them.

Carolyn baker was the last presentation of the day; drumming, a story from Korea, and a number of relationship exercises that unfortunately do not translate well to an audio format.  When I get home I will separate out the story and upload it, but the rest of the audio file will not do justice to the presentation.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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Doomers huddle around the Campfire

The temperature on Friday night dropped to around thirty four degrees, making me very grateful the wife had driven down to Cumberland earlier to pick up extra bedding, and we spent the night snuggled up together while a full moon shone through the windows.  I woke up feeling much more refreshed than the previous morning, and thankful to attribute the aches and pains of the prior morning to jet lag instead of middle age.

The first talk was by Albert Bates on the global ecological village movement, and it was by far the most useful talk for me so far.  Most of the topics covered by the other speakers I was familiar with, but the size and scope of the Eco village movement surprised me.  He shared a considerable amount of information The Farm, it’s successes, it[s failures, it’s struggles and and the struggles they have helped others overcome, from earthquake relief to bringing fresh water to villages in South America.  I am looking forward to following the leads his presentation has opened up.

Again, I found myself reassured that the questions we are asking on the Diner, the solutions we are proposing are not new, there is a Wealth of experience from those who have done this already.  While we may feel isolated and apart with only our digital connection at present, it is comforting to know that we are not the first pioneers to walk in this direction, desiring to walk away from empire, as McPherson’s lecture later in the day was titled.

Gail Tverberg, or Gail the Actuary, as she is often known, spoke next, a recap of the evidence of collapse which most readers here will be familiar with. I slipped out and left the iPad with my wife and spent some time catching up with JMG and getting to know a few of the attendees better.

Orlov was the next speaker up, with a digression from his usual talk of the five stages of collapse, instead venturing into the realm of experiencing collapse as we are now going thought it.  While little of the presentation was new to me, Dmitry’s delivery was excellent and his humorous viewpoint was a stark contrast to the next talk after dinner.

Guy McPherson’s talk was on walking away from empire, a process he started a number of years ago, with his leaving academia to pursue self-sufficiency in the property he calls the mud hut.  His experiences going off grid –with no experience at constructing a straw bail house or dealing with ducks, goats or pocket gophers –was encouraging to those who, like Guy, do not know a screwdriver from a zucchini.

I was surprised that Guy sees his experiment of walking away from empire as a failure, for reasons he outlined.  Empire is still here, it still surrounds him,and after entertaining over six hundred guests at the mud hut over the last few years, very, very few have followed his example, much to his apparent despair.  Even walking away from the modern, energy wasting world left him with an ecological footprint that would translate to more than four earths required to support seven billion living off grid.  Why?  Because we, living in America, are still responsible for the footprint of the US military which consumes more energy than many sovereign nations.  A sobering thought.

Guy is a fantastic and humorous speaker, and offers to pay half of any travel costs to come and speak, asking only his needs are met.  He practices rather than preaches a gift economy, giving away copies of his DVD and asking nothing in return, although he accepts donations.  I’ve heard accusations on other websites that he promotes himself, that he runs his message as a business, that he promotes his ideas to make money. That is more a reflection of the society we live in and the expectations we have.  While I am not convinced of his interpretation of the climate change data (tomorrow’s talk) I have no doubts of his sincerity.

The last event was Carolyn Baker, a ritual on grief that the wife and I chose not to attend, since for us grief is a personal thing, even though it is a common theme this weekend.

Still no luck getting the data uploaded, although I will walk to a higher point try again later tonight, although I have to accept that when collapse comes to my door then these difficulties may seem pretty quaint and minor.

A few people attending will be dropping by, apparently I’m not the only one seeking online forums and places where the focus is on practical responses, rather than a running commentary on the collapse.

This is Haniel, Doomstead Diner News, signing off for the night!

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Guy McPherson presents Uber Doom under the Big Top

Sunday, May 26, 2012

Walking down to the shower and toilet block this morning, I realized something odd.  As I listened to the birds sing and enjoyed the warmth on my back, I realized for the fist time in as long as I could remember, I saw smiling before my first cup of coffee. Or perhaps it was the fact that that the land so resembles the place I grew up in South Wales. I have given up on ever returning there to live, the climate data indicates it’s not going to be pleasant there.

Another excellent breakfast preceded the first talk of the day, Dmitry Orlov on communities that abide.  Using examples of communities like the anabaptists, the kibbutz movement in Israel and others, he outlined the key aspects of one communities that have withstood the test of time.  One point I found key was a common ideology that all agree on, such as the religion of monastic communities, a common rejection of technology, or some other aspect that is largely unquestioned.  He covered the way many communities establish commonality via dress or practice, as well as the social strategies they use to survive in a sometimes hostile world.  One thing intentional communities have in common is they have often been persecuted.

The next speaker was Gail Tverberg, with a fantastic presentation on the financial aspects of the collapse clearly underway around us. I’m trying to figure out how to take her presentation –available inside the Doomstead Diner –with the audioo recording to make a narrated video presentation of the data. Follow the Gail Tverburg thread inside the diner to keep up to date on that project.  I’m not promising anything for reason I’ll get to at the end.

McPherson was up next.  This was one of the talks I was very interested in hearing.  Back last January, the interpretations of the data regarding climate change took a more serious turn, and Guy McPherson was raising alarm bells regarding the latest climate data.  I said at the time that I would reserve judgment until after this Age of Limits conference, since there’s been significant chatter in the blogsphere about the subject.

There’s no doubt, the data is frightening.  In the audience was a climate scientist who travels all over the planet gather data and doing the actual research, not just interpreting data.  He was very clear, the scientific community has no doubts the planet is warming and we’re the primary cause.  There’s no doubt we’re heading to an ice-free Arctic by the end of the decade and possibly in only a few years.

There are some negative feedback loops being triggered, which Guy does not touch upon, but nowhere near the number of positive feedback loops which are already underway.

I still believe that the interpretation of the data is overly pessimistic, but only on scale, not direction.  One thing I feel is important is the term: Near Term Extinction – it’s a phrase that Guy did not invent and does not particularly like, he prefers “Near Term Human Extinction; I don’t think he’s that impressed with our ability to wipe our species.  I agree with him on this, let’s write out “Near Term Human Extinction” every time in full, as a reminder to ourselves that this is not a catchy f***ing phrase, the survival of our children are at stake.  The survival of my cat’s grand-kittens are at stake.  The survival of the trees, whose shade I appreciated over the trip, is at stake.

A few of the flaws I believe exists in the data have already been highlighted here; the conflation of hydrates and clathates, the heat island effect in the plant flowering data in the Boston area, and land based methane out gassing sizes compared to ocean-based out gassing which diffuse though the water column and are thus reaching a kilometer across when it gets to the surface.  However, we’re arguing about if we’re executing two hundred species a day with shotgun or a fifty caliber machine gun, I don’t think nature really cares which one we abusing it with.

While I may disagree with the interpretation of the data and believe that humanity will face a bottleneck rather than complete extinction, I have no doubt of Guy’s sincerity, or his compassion for both humanity and the rest of the planet we are destroying.

McPherson see’s his experiment of walking away from empire a failure, and that is something I do disagree with intensely. While our wonderful American military squanders the equivalent of four earths (if all the world all lived like we do, that’s how many planet’s we’d need to support the military alone) and thus we can never truly be free of empire, if his message means that one day soon, we’ll only wipe out a hundred and ninety nine species a day, his efforts are worth it.

One disturbing trend I found out about is that McPherson is often asked to speak, but those invites are withdrawn when the seriousness of his conclusions are realized.  People, particularly people in power, do not want this message getting out.  The climate scientist present, who’s worked for NASA on the data Guy is interpreting, was very clear – the government is suppressing the data and using all the techniques pioneered by the tobacco industry, to sow doubt where none should exist.

If you have the opportunity to invite McPherson to come and address a group, be it local doomers you know, a transition town group, or any other bunch of people who are willing to pull their head out of the sand long enough to look around, I encourage you to do so.  He is an engaging speaker, he puts an element of mirth into his presentation which makes the very bitter pill a little easier to swallow, and if only one person changes his or her lifestyle as a result, it will be worth your time to organize.

Lodge notes.

Companion President, Mr. J.M. Greer, opened the Artemis Lodge #1 of the Order of the Long Descent in due form at 6pm.  The following officers were appointed:  A charming lady by the name of Kelly took the Vice President’s station.  Haniel Was appointed Warder. His beautiful wife (I’m biased) was appointed Conductor.

Following the opening, companion President (Greer) proceeded to lecture the assembled companions on the role and structure of lodges and how they may be of benefit.  While Masons, Oddfellows, Grangers and members of pretty much any fraternity would have recognized elements of the ritual, the main sources of inspiration was Order of Washington and the Women’s International Auxiliary of the Brotherhood of Streetcar, Electric Railway, and Motor
Coach Employees.

JMG explained how corporations, the way they were originally set up in the US before the supreme court gave them more powers than you or I could ever hope for, are still a valid way of funding an operation and as the government’s ability to help gives way to communities learning to help themselves, still has a purpose.  There’s nothing wrong in issuing shares to start an intentional community, just remember to retire them appropriately and not view them as a ticket to the rentier class.  Churches regularly used share issues to fund a new building, and the parishioners regularly dropped those shares in the collection plate, effectively destroying that debt.

A lively question and answer session followed, using the format used in lodges of all types, the speaker addressed the chair, was recognized, and took their turn speaking their mind or asking a question. A number of members of other types of lodges, including some masons, added their thoughts and experiences.

The lodge was closed in due form at 7:30pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Harry J. Lerwill,
Warder, Artemis Lodge #1 of The Order of the Long Descent.

 

Harry J. Lerwill was raised in a poor mining village in the South Wales Valleys, where family values, the joys of home-grown and home-cooked meals, and a deep community spirit far outweighed the bleak prospects of life with collapsed fos-sil fuel industry: coal mining. Three decades later, he is an I.T. Manager in California, choosing to walk, rather than fall, down the far side of Hubbert’s peak, and looking forward to those same benefits as we rediscover the joys of a slower lifestyle. His first short story, “Caravan of Hopes” is published in the anthology, “After Oil: SF Visions Of A Post Petroleum Future”.  Harry’s blog is Post Peak Local Search on Blogspot.

Culture of Denial

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

Published on Epiphany Now May12, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

Afterward

3/12/13

The Post Petroleum Human Tribe is continuing to evolve. We are unplugged and wired in without wires. We drop down the memory hole and immerse our minds in remembrance. So that we don’t forget where we came from.

The American Hologram is a real program being projected within the Matrix. There are other programs, but this one is dominant in the industrialized senseless suburban consumer consumption wasteland artifact of 20th century chemical monkey man.

We’re coalescing for the future of the Post Petroleum Nation at a little place called the Foxstead. We’ll be hiding in plain site. When you look at us we’ll be directly ahead, in the woods, visible in your blind spot. Don’t bother looking to hard because we have vanished in our 21st century anonymity. We are legion and you can’t even see us. Hiding in plain site. Waiting for you to blink to make our next move. And you thought you would always remain in control of the masses.

Also, let me just say, in this afterward that’s happening in the forward spot, that I made my way back to “Where the Wasteland Ends” and it expanded my mindscape greatly.

The last bout of books that I have acquired and began perusing have come to me through two sources, Morris Berman and John Michael Greer. The book I’m currently reading is titled “Where the Wasteland Ends”and is authored by Theodore Roszak. It was first published in 1972. I’m 30 pages in and I’m already beginning to lose interest and for different reasons than one might expect. In fact, I’ve never even experienced a lose of interest such as this and it’s what I can only term as a type of exhaustion. It’s an intellectual and emotional exhaustion that protrudes from a dawning realization that the world is suffering from a legendary case of denial. As I read these books that were published years before I was born (in this case 8 years before I was born), and as I look around at the world today to see the furtherance of our march into the wasteland, I can only throw my arms up in despair and then drop my hands into the soil. I put them into animal shit and dead and dying biomass. I mix it all together with the steam rising behind me from the hot compost pile. I mix this all into red dirt in an effort to make cultivated plant seeds a nurturing place to grow. This brings me peace and hope, and the need for these necessary books is fading. I know what needs to be done and why things are the way they are. There is simply no reason for me to read about it any longer, it’s just depressing.

 
The fact that over 40 years ago books were already being written about the “Wasteland” or the Matrix or the American Hologram is proof enough that nothing is going to change or save our empire from this downward spiral. It’s a pretty hopeless realization. Yet it’s true none-the-less. The easy way out is through denial, and I’ve noticed that this is indeed an innate reaction, a knee jerk reaction. Intelligent people simply know on some unconscious level that there is very little meaningful action they can take to change any of this truth. They are wrong to think that unconsciously, but that doesn’t stop them. And so the realization just never happens for hundreds of millions of people because it’s just too depressing. The 100th monkey is not going to wake up from this chemical induced coma of denial until the death march of our empire is over. 40 years ago maybe, but now…it’s simply too late.
 
I didn’t sit down with the intention of writing a depressing blog, but even amidst my liberation I have been fighting this underlying current of depression lately. It’s taken me some time to figure out why I feel this way. I am taking all the actions I can to learn as much about growing food as possible. I have changed my entire life around to meet these mandates, and I have taken my family with me. As a result I am able to tend to plant life on 1.65 acres as my job. My job is now to learn as much as I can about growing food and that is simply amazing. I have had the good fortune to learn the truth behind the saying that the best fertilizer is the gardener’s feet. I’m present and unmedicated for my wife and son. Yet still there is this dreaded sadness that erupts through the fissures in the psychic ground that is supposed to protect me. The sadness is coming from a place that is much larger than I, and it has the capability of strong arming all of my defenses and there is nothing I can do about it. Ahhhh denial, it’s one hell of a drug.
 
I have come face to face with the source of this sadness. It’s become more tactile to me because I have had time to tease out it’s form and it origination. We’ve always had the answers about the antidote to the machine, to the wasteland. We put all of our cards into building the Wasteland and now we’re going to take them to bed for a self induced nightmare. How is anyone to deal with such horrible truth if not with denial? The only way through it is to feel it and that means a heavy blanket of sadness. I understand that what I am doing is the best I can do. It’s not only the best I can do, it’s the only meaningful course of action for me. I’m following my bliss. I know that food production is the most important element of this mess. It’s the one thing that I know with certainty is necessary now and in the future. It’s the one thing that allows me to be a whole person. Everything inside and outside is aligned though me with the simple act of growing soil. I am not in denial, and yet that comes with an immense cost because just about everybody I know is in denial about this. My friends, that is a recipe for loneliness, and no doubt one that I’m sure most of you are intimate with.
 
I suppose this means I have grown to big for this round of skin. I no longer feel the need to read books about how fucked up it all is. The truth is that it’s always been fucked up cause our species is, and worse than that even because we don’t have to be. Our species chooses to remain agents of destruction because of cowardice. Nobody wants to deal with the mess we have made, and so they hide in their convenient suburbanland and are at peace with trading their humanity for consumerism. Our species has made a Faustian deal…their humanity and honor for the numbness of complete denial. Not only do they lose their dignity, but they lose their future progeny’s as well.
 
Waking up from the Matrix becomes a sad ordeal rather quickly. I knew I was alone in the Matrix, but I had no idea about what it was like outside of it. I do have a small kernel of hope however. I don’t want to leave ya’ll with nothing but depressing truth. I have hope that I will find others like me because I already have. The problem is that I have met them 70 miles from where I’m at in Asheville NC. I’m referring to the group of souls I met at the Permaculture In Action event that I have been attending. For the first time in my life I have met a large group of people whom all view the world through the same type of eyes. We are all different. We come from different places, backgrounds, and times. This group spans from 18 to 60 something years old. The easiest way to describe it would be to say that we are a tribe, but in the 21st century a tribe can exist only with it’s members spread out in a vast region….a pack of mostly lone wolfs. I’m on the outskirts of our region with only one couple a few more miles further out than I. Our people are spread out in a 100 mile long diameter around Asheville NC. It only took one day for us to all bond into this tribe. The one guiding principal has been permaculture. We have all met each other because we share that one interest, but that one interest spans the breadth of a people whom have been freed from that cultural denial that I have been speaking of. We are united in our decision to do something about this culture of denial. I have plans to write about this Permaculture In Action Tribe that I have found, so I won’t continue much about it now.
 
I think we are the beginning of humanities long muddling trudge into a new environment. Our empire is just beginning to approach the back side of Hubbert’s curve. We have been on the bumpy plateau since 2006 or so. To my mind Hurricane Katrina was the harbinger for this new reality. We’ve probably got another five years left before we begin our descent in earnest. Those of us who are aware are already at the bottom of the back side of Hubbert’s curve. That’s where you find yourself upon waking up from the Matrix. We’re looking at a culture, an empire, of denial and trying to figure out just what the hell we’re going to do about it. The fact is that we’re going to have to just let the empire plummet to the flat ground after Hubbert. The best we can do is have things ready for when they arrive. I think I’m going to continue asking this question here at Epiphany Now. If you are reading this, and you haven’t acted on the information you know to be true, the information that hails from your soul, then what are you waiting for? We of the Post Petroleum Human Tribe need all of the help we can get.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Waterboarding Flounder"Serious oxygen loss between 100 and 600-meter depths is expected to cover 59–80% of the ocean [...]

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects"We need wooden ships, char-crete buildings, bamboo bicycles, moringa furniture, and hemp cloth [...]

"Restoring normal whale activity to the oceans would capture the CO2 equivalent of 2 billion tr [...]

Ukrainian Rhapsody"Our future will be more about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and non-state actors tha [...]

LeBron’s Chinese Troll Mobs"In the 36 hours after James’ delete, a troll mob with bot support sent a flame tsunami at the [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Trump must like the unofficial QE that is being done now. [...]

Trump discussed "negative interest" with Powell: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/fed-say [...]

I know that you put "get better" into quotation marks for a reason. Is it because you thin [...]

the USA refines 5-7 M barrels a day of imported oil, and refines about 12M+ barrels a day produced d [...]

the battle of Waterloo lasted a day I imagine future European conflicts will be much the same, and f [...]

Here's an article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imo-shipping-factbox/factbox-imo-2020-a-m [...]

What is the shift away from bunker fuels? [...]

Yeah, when the water heater goes out the day after you just put new tires on one of the cars, etc... [...]

I join the chorus in welcoming you back. Any thoughts on how the shift away from bunker fuel on Janu [...]

@Front Range Mike "Most everyone I know is trying to figure out how to cut back and sell their [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

The effect of urbanization on microclimatic conditions is known as “urban heat islands”. [...]

Forecasting extreme precipitations is one of the main priorities of hydrology in Latin America and t [...]

The objective of this work is the development of an automated and objective identification scheme of [...]