To make the impossible mission.... possible.

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.ren's picture

If this:

The Twin Sides of the Fossil Fuel Coin: Nature Bats Last.


Climate Change is Simple


Dave Pollard wrote:

The message is two-fold:

1. Not only are we fucked, but it’s coming much sooner than we expected. It’s coming in the first half of this century, not the second. By 2050 life for all but the simplest and most well-protected species on this planet will almost certainly be impossible, except for small numbers in a few marginal areas.    

2. The whole issue of mitigation and the need for activism is now more-or-less moot. Even if we were to collectively and massively change our behaviour starting tomorrow, it would only delay collapse by a few years, and quite possible make the collapse even more catastrophic. Until recently there was at least a chance that perhaps a combination of behaviour change and the reduced availability of cheap fossil fuels might combine to pull us back from the brink, or at least make a much-changed and simpler life possible for a much smaller population of humans and other creatures. That chance is gone.


And here's our collective global mission impossible:

John Duffy wrote:

If we want to not die, then we need to stop doing the things that are going to kill us… We need deindustrialization, and we need to wring the bloody neck of capitalism, before hanging it, drawing it, quartering it, and setting the remaining bits of its corpse on fire to make sure it can’t rise from the dead like the unholy zombie that it is… This is all to say, I can’t fight my enemies and my allies at the same time. Liberals, lefties, environmentalists and everyone else who purports to give a damn has to give up on being capitalism apologists who somehow think we can keep this gravy train of mass consumption going.





I note from the map of the

I note from the map of the National Science Foundation that much of the U.S. will be uninhabitable.

I'm pretty much at this point in the article:

"I’m not particularly angry or outraged any more. Once I was, but now I’m just fascinated, amazed, amused, bemused, curious. I attach no moral dimension to this unfolding any more, though once I did. Now there is no blame, no more agonized wishes to rewrite the past, no more fearful visions of a shattered future.

We are what we are, we did what we did, we ended up here."

I'll be in the midst of a fascinating storm....surviving as best I can with whatever knowledge I've accumulated along the way.....just like everyone else. Cities will be death traps.

Detachment of a sorts is the only sensible response to an unfolding catastrophe that can't be changed. When there was an opportunity for change, the will wasn't there to do it. It's water over the dam. Can't get it back.

What is so is what is so. Beating myself or anyone else up over it doesn't change it. All that's left is acceptance.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.ren's picture
That's an enlightened view,

That's an enlightened view, poly.  Not many are ready for that, perhaps few ever are.  I would have posted the essay, which he titled: Preparing For Collapse: Non-Attachment, not Detachment.  I think it's a Buddhist flavored essay, though Dave does not claim it to be.  Instead I posted the videos I found linked early on in the essay, and then the few points I did pull from it.

I don't think there would be a will to change even now that it may be too late.  That's part of my own version of non attachment.  As John Duffy wrote: "If we want to not die, then we need to stop doing the things that are going to kill us…"  Now that we've created these complex societies, we don't really have a collective will to live that comes from each individual.  We have institutional mandates and people just go to work.  That broader spectrum will to change is out of our hands.  Too many are willing to give it away.  We've traded the guidelines for life that nature sets for our own technologically based institutions, thinking we could out play nature's game.  Nature always bats last, she always has home field advantage.  We are just visitors.

Perhaps this is more than most can grapple with, but...:

Dave Pollard wrote:

The climate scientists, abetted by the ecological economists, have pronounced the certain and imminent (i.e. within most of our lifetimes) death of the vast majority of life on our planet, including the human species. Now, we can mourn. Most of our human family will continue to fall into one of the three categories of non-acceptance of this pronouncement that I wrote about in my If We Had a Better Story Could We Tell the Truth? post: 

(Edit: Pollard prefaces the following three groups with this:

Recently, to my surprise, it’s become more acceptable to tell the grim truth about our civilization. Still not acceptable, mind you, but every once in a while when I do, I’ll notice someone nodding at me, giving me a sad smile, a quiet signal of comprehension and appreciation.

There are three (very large) groups to whom one cannot usefully or comfortably (or sometimes even safely) tell these truths:)   

1.  The incredulous: Those who either know so little or haven’t had the opportunity to think about what they know, that they find the idea of collapse preposterous, unimaginable, and/or unthinkable.    

2.  The hopeful: Those who believe that collapse is not inevitable or can be significantly mitigated, or believe that even if it is inevitable and can’t be significantly mitigated, we should try anyway.    

3.  The deniers: Those who are intimidated or offended by, or overwhelmed with anger and/or guilt at, the very idea of collapse.

Given the payoff odds, the

Given the payoff odds, the "hopeful" are not "unrealistic" about attempted mitigation if there is any way out of this fix.   The deniers fall into cynicism and trash anyone who does not share their suicidal fatalism.  The incredulous are just getting in the way.  "Acceptance" appears to me to be too passive to make the grade.  Not being desperate about being hopeful may be the acceptance than works.  At the very least, the people doing hopeful together are more likely to retain their humanity, their best evolutionary advantage even in an apocalypse.

Well Ren, I look on with

Well Ren, I look on with somewhat amusement when a switch to bio-fuels is seen as a solution to maintaining our industrial society....when projections show the nation won't even be able to feed itself within a few decades. It's called Worsening Global Warming to stay.

So many self-feeding, self-perpetuating accelerating loops have been set into play, it's now pretty much beyond our capabilities to address them.

How, for instance, does one stop warm Atlantic Ocean currents from feeding into the Arctic Ocean instead of reversing course at Greenland and returning south as they did just a short time ago? It melts the heat reflecting ice, the dark ocean water absorbs more heat which in turn melts more ice, etc.

What's done is pretty much done. Acceptance seems the most rational approach. Finding the means to survive that is the next logical done without moaning and groaning over it.

Since the nation as a whole won't discuss, let alone address survival issues and a need for change at a paradigm level, it's left to individuals. Everyone is pretty much on their own.

The midwest will become pretty uninhabitable within 50 years. Between now and then, it will become increasingly uncomfortable and economically depressed. Probably the wiser folks who live there will begin thinking of moving now while they are still able to do so rather than later when they can't...and figure out how to get by without a technolgical/industrial society providing for basic needs. Water, food,  adequate shelter from heat/cold.  Mutual assistance with like-wise individuals would be beneficial.

I've been done with moaning and groaning for a long time. I think I sent you an email  a long time ago regarding no hope that anything will be addressed. "No hope" has changed to acceptance without dismay. Now I  just deal  on an individual level with what is so and do what has to be done....just like putting on a pair of shoes in the morning. No emotional charge to it.

If the tap water ceases and the water trucks stop...I have options for that.

Probably my interests in Buddhism have made that easier.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Working out our land titles

Working out our land titles and border security here in the Northwest when the Midwest becomes officially uninhabitable may help us overcome our regional and local divisions.  I considered the Midwest uninhabitable after six years there in the '80's.

But, I am all in on dispensing with the moaning and the groaning.  Once again, I quote the Sarajevo graffiti artist, "We must save despair for better times."

.ren's picture
Guy MacPherson in his Twin

Guy MacPherson in his Twin Sides of the Fossil Fuel Coin presentation linked in my OP lists 8 big positive feedbacks that are already set in motion.   He says these are the factors that everybody is consciously ignoring that begin to occur with a rise of just 2 degrees centigrate in the atmospheric temperature of the earth, which he argues has already occurred. (He begins a discussion of these 8 positive feedbacks at about 7 minutes into his presentation.  By positive feedbacks he's referring to self perpetuating processes that will feed the increase of the climate conditions that will cause rapid, non linear and unpredictable climate responses along with an inevitable rise in global temperatures to as much as 16 degrees -- and he explains what that will mean, like temperatures in some areas soaring to 170 degrees Centigrade.   He has the phrase: 'Climate chaos (with positive feedbacks)' up on the screen for a fair part of the early part of his talk.

Feedback 1 at about 11:30 minutes: Arctic Ocean methane hydrates (Science, March 2010)  (this is related to your point, poly, about the Gulf Stream shooting past Greenland and up into the Arctic Ocean).

This is causing an ice free arctic ocean, with less reflective ice and more deep blue coloring to absorb heat from the sun. (Science, January 2011) Feedback 2, about 14 minutes into the presentation.

At the same time the warmed air from the warmer waters are warming the air over Siberia. Thus we get Feedback 3, increasing methane gas releasing across the arctic tundra. (Tellus, February February 2011) Around 14:30 in.  These methane vents the scientists were looking at went in one year from being around a foot in diameter to a kilometer. 

I.e., rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses.

In 2010 a profound drought in the Amazon Rainforest caused it's natural decomposition rate to rise to a point where its carbon emissions exceeded all the carbon emissions from fossil fuels in the U.S. for that year. (Science, Feb. 2011).  Feedback 4.  (Around 15:30 minutes)

Boreal Peat is drying from heat and as it dries it releases carbon directly into the atmosphere, the warmer it gets the more it dries, the more it releases.  (Nature Communications, November 2011).  Feedback 5. (Around 16:10 minutes)

Antarctic methane has been triggered (Nature, August 2012) Feedback 6.  (About 16:30 minutes)

Russian Forest and bog fires have grown in recent years. (NASA, August 2012)  Feedback 7 (16:39 minutes)

The above seven apparently are irreversable, but eight is reversable:

Drilling in the Arctic increasing because the Arctic Ice is disappearing in the summer.  Feedback 8.  (17:05)  The Obama Administration recently fast tracked drilling in the Arctic.

Political response?: Barack Obama (14 November 2012): "If the message is somehow we're going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, ....I won't go for that"

The one piece of potential good news is that none of these eight positive feedbacks include economic collapse.  Economic collapse, therefore, offers us one faint glimmer of hope. I offers us a potential way that our own positive feedback corporate industrial insanity to keep doing what we do can be cured.  It may be the one possible factor that may somehow prevent the worst scenario of runaway greenhouse gases jacking the global temperature up into the uninhabitable range.

Embracing the potential for economic collapse and working to find new ways to live at the local level is the message that keeps coming out of all of this dire analysis.  He goes through the list of what anyone of us with half a brain knows will happen if any politician even breathes a hint of this where it can be published.  He points to the demise of Dennis Kucinich's career as one example.  He brings in a discussion of the rise of the security state with the militarization of the police just to point out that somewhere deep in the secretive halls of our government there is some notion that something like economic collapse may be possible.

That is why people like Derrick Jensen advocate for actively bringing down industrial based economies, in other words, he says bring down civilization.  He has a better imagination than I have.  There aren't many scenarios I can imagine where that could ever be accomplished intentionally now, other than by individuals quietly throwing down their tools and walking away, much as I imagined soldiers would throw down their guns and just walk away and end the insanity of Vietnam. 


Then we will all just sensibly, practically, with a now fully awake collective consciousness begin to develop a whole new economic way of life that would be based locally on creating sustainable life support ways of life, conscious of the importance of respecting the environmental systems that we don't, can't control on this planet, systems we understand enough to know that we can't live without them.  Living locally with environmental feedbacks that are under any given small communities control.  While this could possibly satisfy the basics that we need to live decent lives, water, food, shelter and community, there is no ignoring human addiction to more. 

So, yeah.

Well, the monastery is off

Well, the monastery is off the grid. It's pretty self-sufficient in energy and the, water, shelter. Clothing, not so much. Our buildings have a  life expectancy of many, many centuries without repair.

We  have a deep well with a solar powered pump and ample irrigation water. Even so, our orchards and  gardens are beginning to show stress from changing climate. There is probably a crop failure coming down the road.That's unacceptable for self-sufficiency.

Before returning in early summer, I'll be  scouting out possible areas of monastery relocation in N. Minn. and possibly N. Michigan. It's an assignment I've been given.

There is also the possibility of merging with a  Roman Catholic monastery already established in a better area. If we go that route, I'll remain a secular monk if I remain in the U.S. 

 I'm not Roman Catholic and have no intention of converting. Compared to my own traditions, I find their liturgy lacking and  hierarchal abbot structures disheartening .If it's best for the community to convert, they'll have my blessing. Mt. Athos, Greece is a possibility for me. I'm pondering the language/alphabet barrier.

Ren wrote: Then we will all just sensibly, practically, with a now fully awake collective consciousness begin to develop a whole new economic way of life that would be based locally on creating sustainable life support ways of life, conscious of the importance of respecting the environmental systems that we don't, can't control on this planet, systems we understand enough to know that we can't live without them.  Living locally with environmental feedbacks that are under any given small communities control.  While this could possibly satisfy the basics that we need to live decent lives, water, food, shelter and community, there is no ignoring human addiction to more.

poly replies: And that needn't be done with a sense of dispair. Excitement over new possibilities can take the place of that. However, an acknowledgment that our "addiction to more" is hugely responsible for what is unfolding might be highly beneficial.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

The Age of Greed produces the

The Age of Greed produces the Age of Stuff.  Money can buy the veneer of happiness, the symbols of success and the power to act out.  For awhile.  

My wife and I joke about our Oscar Wilde "simple life" program.  He quipped, "I am a man of simple taste, the very best will always do."  It gets rid of lots of "stuff" and makes what you do have or consume be great instead of "more."  It also thumbs its nose at 'austerity' and the image of simplicity and "less" as relative deprivation of the stuff of modern life.  "Stuff" produced to satisfy some desire or want, or dare we say 'need?'  Disposable, consumable, non-fattening, non-nutritious, accessorized, surplus STUFF.  

We have way too much.  But a lot of it is family furniture, etc., that my wife inherited, and what her great grandfather made is not up for sale.  Along with some other things new generations in our family will want so their stuff includes family tradition.  Meaning is not something that 'stuff' has much of.  We also suffered what people who live in one place for more than a decade experience, the accumulation of files and detritus that does not get weeded until you move.  We got rid of a lot of stuff selling our house and storing our furniture, etc.  We were not ruthless enough.

It is hard to be positive about the mess made of the environment.  Against that tragedy and crisis, with refugee human beings coming if you are 'lucky' enough to be where human life will continue, seeing this as liberation from the deadly forces of "stuff" will not exactly be the frame of mind to expect.  There won't be time to waste on it.  There will be too much to do, and the fundamental question is whether the response will be to repel invaders or find a way to share what is left.

It is at this point that we come right up into Darwin's understanding of what gives humans an evolutionary advantage as "fittest," and it is our compassion and empathy, not our brains or brawn disconnected from our souls.  Recovering that spiritual foundation in the reality of responding and acting in hope could just be attractive compared to watching the end on tv.

.ren's picture
The monastery you speak of,

The monastery you speak of, poly, sounds like a good prototype model to help understand what people can do, and do in a positive way, to live with the earth instead of against it as if it were the terrorizing enemy so many in cities I speak with seem to see when they speak of much of nature, especially the nature that has to do with producing what they eat.   Sunny beaches and surfing are fine.  A well groomed park is fine.  The food they eat isn't produced in the horror of an industrial feedlot or a caged chicken raising factory, it's produced behind these swinging doors at the back of the supermarket where someone wearing a clean white lab coat wheels it out and puts it on shelves, all nicely packaged.

Your Oscar Wilde simple appeals to me as well, drc.  It's the history of my own peasant life going back to living on the periphery, as I've always seemed to, outside Ann Arbor on a farm that was being crushed out of existence by encroaching suburbia.  We were not wealthy, we were steadily going bankrupt.  Nevertheless, my father, being an original health food nut -- health food was the term for organics before organics was popularized -- helped me to become acquainted with ways of growing food that shunned the modern industrial techniques with a deep sense of moral integrity and an organic understanding that messing with nature in that way was also messing with our own biological make up. He just turned 92 in September, still healthy and active.  He may be the living proof of his own beliefs or just the lucky recipient of good genes. 

Whatever reasons for his long and healthy life, a love and desire for good quality food, how it is nurtured into existence, how it can taste, is the legacy he passed on to me.  While his tastes are a bit simpler, which suits him just fine, I learned to cook my own so I could have it the way I want it, and that was something I set myself to learning early on.  All the women in my life have been very happy with that odd ball non hyper-masculine characteristic.

There are many other advantages to growing up a simple peasant with never enough extra cash to buy stuff.  You learn skills.  Kind of like the teach the man to fish and he will never need a hand out parable kind of skills.  When I got tired of burning my brain cells out writing strategic plans to help corporations grow and expand like cancer, I could and did turn to those skills. I can also personally attest that having such practical abilities is also very appealing to the opposite sex, much more so than beating one's chest and shooting people dead. The result for me has been many opportunities to practice Darwin's evolution of love theory, with all the compassion, empathy and humane consideration that goes with it.

And that's why I am so concerned for so many people today who have become specialists within these technological institutions where they don't even know what the ultimate purpose of what they do is really about.  The end result is a kind of perpetual life of political contradiction, a proverbial double bind with no way out. They are just part of the machinery of the Matrix.  And as such, subject to its illusions, like watching an NCIS emersion military/cop show displaying all the characteristics of a high tech police state in a positive feel good light, along with Ninja fighting women acting out the female version of hypermasculinity.... speaking of watching the end on tv.

Oh, and one more comment on what you said about "it's hard to be positive about the mess made of the environment."  This goes back to my own practice here in SW Washington State where once were giant furs and cedars that rivaled California's Sequoias and Redwoods in size. I live daily with the site of clearcuts and the invisibile loss of a once marvelous ecosystem.  Some of it I can see, some of it I only know by theory.  But there is this force of life that is also ever present and cannot be ignored. And so my practice is to face reality and by a kind of Buddhist non attachment, come to see the deeper beauty and love it.

Meanwhile there is this from that original post's article:

Dave Pollard wrote:

We are what we are, we did what we did, we ended up here.

I’m very curious to see what comes next. Aren’t you?

Paul didn’t get a terribly sympathetic response, so I wrote to Paul and asked him how he had managed to reach this stage of acceptance. I also asked him about a gorgeously-written and deeply-moving recent article in Orion, Gaze Even Here, about “evoking a consciousness of brokenness”, in which the author, Trebbe Johnson, says that she and her companions found solace in spending time “gazing” at clearcuts and videos of animals dying in oil-slicks until their grief and anger and revulsion turned to curiosity, acceptance, compassion and even love. I mentioned that some people in my circles had seen my attempts at non-attachment, at letting go of what I know I cannot change, as detachment, as an emotional shutting down or turning away.

A beautiful personal account.

A beautiful personal account.  .ren, even when we have been dancing with the angels on pinheads, I have known that you are deeply grounded.  I think the parable of the feeding of the 5,000 is about how much we have when we share compared to how little we have when we hoard.  Keeping each other fed is going to be where people have to come together and figure out an economy that ties production to need, farm to mouth.  OF COURSE it does not work in this monetized fantasy of abstracted humanity!

Like Norske's bakery, we have to have new ways of doing what needs to be done--and a better idea of what we need instead of what we use to avoid reality.  Food security, good nutrition, sustainable production and the pleasures of the table shared with others.  Take the symbolism out of Communion in order to get the meaning back.

How deeply we love life is not measured by how desperately we cling to it.  Being part of the healing is always where our humanity should lead us in love.  Restorative justice can be fueled by anger and grief, but only when love and compassion temper them.  Peace.

It took me a long time to

It took me a long time to come to that point, Ren. Video bites on TV aren't long enough to complete the process. This beautiful planet will heal and live out its life cycle with or without us. Another two billion years is a long, long time.

As to "simplicity". I was put on the road by Thoreau as a teen. I took a really bad detour and found it again.  No more glittering detours that lead to nowhere.

Shopping gets in the way of living. I've developed a tremendous disdain for it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

nimblecivet's picture
A lot of political theory

A lot of political theory revolves around rationally analyzing the situation and coming up with a strategy designed to produce a predictable response. The human species has survived ice ages, etc. without technology so its only a question of how much desacration will occur before the survivors "accept" the consequences. But I guess there's some kind of hope if consciousness of the need to change or dismantle the global industrial system spreads somehow things will work out for the best.

There seems to be two types of "consumerist" options. Take coffee for example. I could go out and buy bamboo coffee filters or I could make my coffee Turkish/Greek style (no filter, let the grounds settle-typically drunk black). The former option might theoretically be viable if the current configuration of class holds. That is, if enough bourgeoisie/middle class people switch to "eco-friendly" options such as bamboo coffee filters then theoretically this could "save the earth" so to speak. But if it is more desireable or even necessary to think in terms of what lifestyle is sustainable for the current population level where wealth inequality (and its attendant implications of a continued destructive path which sustains it) has been solved as a problem then the no-filter option is the only viable one.

Is anyone here familiar with the bourgeoisie thinker Stephen Jay Gould? I was considering reading some of his essays. Maybe has some insights applicable to the use of technology. "Techne", I have been given to understand, has been an issue prior to the development of industrialism.

Probably when most reach my

Probably when most reach my age, there won't be any coffee unless they live close to a coffee tree.

Consequences of what we've set in motion are going to be pretty substantial.

A Phoenix may perhaps rise from the ashes, and won't look anything like today's civilizations. It can't. I, however, now  find a joy in that rather than dispair.

Just because human societies are simple...forced by circumstances or by choice... doesn't make them a  bad thing. It enables them to be human.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.ren's picture
I think Stephen Gould's

I think Stephen Gould's thoughts would be a good addition to this discussion, nimblecievet. In particular, his view of evolution where it is not driven towards complexity but diversification. 

I think that notion works well in concert with Tainter's theory for the recurring collapse of complex societies -- where complex societies collapse for reasons of physics, much as complexity of all kinds would because complexity creates its own sets of unpredictable and non linear responses creating ever new problems that must be solved to keep complexity going, thereby causing the need for more energy.  This is also what those eight climate changing feedbacks Guy MacPherson explains for us are causing, and these are in non linear and not simple sound bite logic ways related to our present global economic consumer complexity, which now, no politician dare point out for fear of losing his political position.  Never mind that no one is going to have any position when industrial civilization collapses.

Diversification of cultures -- and I nod to your post poly -- was what was on this planet before industrial civilization crushed the life out of so many indigenous cultures and the people that survived their genocide were drawn into the Matrix.  Diversification is behind this drive towards Transition Towns and other rhizome-like localized communities.  Diversification is what empire reveals after it collapses and its web of abstract dominance disappears.

Techne and technique are what Christian Anarchists like Jacques Ellul, after whom I named my last dog, reveals for us as the efficiency-driven sociopathy underlying industrial civilization in books like The Technological Society, and Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes.

I've come a long way over the

I've come a long way over the years, Ren. I remember when I was touting the need for large steel mills and the like to maintain bridges, highways,   etc. I was geared to sustaining what can't be sustained. I think differently now.

Tainter noted how as complexities develop within a society, it eventually  takes more energy to expend than is received for the expenditure. They hit the skids.That's pretty evident. It takes more oil energy every year to obtain oil energy. Add the externalized costs, and its a net loss.

Expending 100 calories of energy to obtain 5 calories of food energy is a  net loss in agriculture as well. Multiply that sort of thing throughout the entire structure, and it's pretty dire...even without catastrophic environmental damage...the results of which are rushing towards us..

No society can sustain expending more energy than it obtains from the expenditure. That's glaringly obvious in a small social community. In a large, disconnected one, not so much.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


.ren's picture
polycarp wrote: No society

polycarp wrote:

No society can sustain expending more energy than it obtains from the expenditure.

That would be like a deteriorated environment, possibly caused by its own success in expanding as a species, forcing a 500 lb Bengal Tiger, with all its sophisticated capacity to kill a wide range of large animals, to use its evolved and inherited capacities to hunt, kill and consume one field mouse per day.  Starvation is inevitable.

The difference that makes a difference here: we humans can change our cultural adaption to environments, which has been the mark of our success as a species to a wide range of environments... long before the industrial revolution.  Thus we are only "stuck" with this way of life out of our own brutish and stubborn resistance to change our way of thinking about things, as you have indicated you have done for yourself.  An animal like a tiger is stuck with what it is given by nature.

MrsBJLee's picture
Ren...I used to live in

Ren...I used to live in Farmington Hills when it was all farms and dirt roads. I went back to see if my little house was still where I left it on it's acre of land next to an old cemetary and it was a strip mall and all the farms were gone. How sad it was! I still have relatives in Northville, Plymouth, Huntington Hills and Bloomfield Hills.

I was into natural foods, whole wheat bread and all that good stuff back in the early 70's and have never turned back. I only eat organic now, and grow a garden here in CA where I now live. I wonder if we crossed paths back in the late 60's or early 70's. I did visit Ann Arbor. Actually saw a John Lennon & Yoko benefit concert there.

MrsBJLee's picture
You hit on the most important

You hit on the most important word of all..........LOVE

Phaedrus76's picture
Since the day some 5000 years

Since the day some 5000 years ago, when the tribe allowed the first merchant and first preacher to remain in the tribe, and did not cast them out for greed and lunacy, mankind has been screwed. We are just playing out the hand. 

That we are going to greedily use up all our resources, and make the planet unlivable for mankind is one of many ways. I am still betting on war. 

.ren's picture
Hi, Mrs. Lee. I'm certainly

Hi, Mrs. Lee. I'm certainly quite familiar with those areas of the greater Detroit Metropolitan Agglomeration.  We lived about ten miles northeast of Ann Arbor on Dixboro Rd, near what is now the U of M Mathaei Botanical gardens, a gift from a wealthy industrialist (and U of M regent), Frederic C Mathaei, whose family got most of its extensive wealth in the robber baron era doing what those wealthy industrial robbers did.  That gift was part of his 2000 acre game preserve properties, a wonderful area off the back of our farm that I had permission to roam with my horse and my dogs, and I suppose that's also an important influence in my way of thinking, for it led me to imagine, then explore the west where that kind of open land was accessible to all, since so much of it is owned by us all, so to speak.

My father worked for the Burroughs corporation in not too far away Plymouth as a designer, in his last ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy.   Meanwhile I managed the farm and learned a lot I am ever so grateful to have learned.  Like the Dodo bird, we refused to bend to the forces of industrial change and our farm went extinct.

I was going to Ann Arbor's fine public schools during the fifties and early sixties.  By the late sixties our farm had already gone bankrupt and my parents were living in Belleville, not far from Ann Arbor, where my father grew up. I, on the other hand, was transported to another planet.  It was called Vietnam.   I missed most of the transition from I wanna hold your hand to I am the Walrus.  It was a time warp like period for me.

After I got back to planet earth in 1970, I enjoyed visiting the coffee shops off campus in Ann Arbor where the beat generation had inspired me as a teenager.  The beats had changed their clothing somewhat.  And as always I enjoyed the still fine book stores around the U of M campus,  but I ended up at Michigan State because it had a younger and more vibrant feeling anthropology department and U of M seemed stuck with the still dominating influence of the famous Chagnon of the Fierce People, and found his anthropological philosophy to be just a little backwards for me.  So maybe if you were in a book store, or having some coffee around 1970, we may have passed each other by.

.ren's picture
I sort of agree with you

I sort of agree with you Phaedrus, only my narrative pins the cupidity on an organizational meme that seems to have appeared somewhere in the last 7000 years.  I identify it as hierarchy. It is that meme that tends towards developing the complexity that I referenced through Tainter, and the recurring collapses that have been its seemingly inevitable result.

Jane Jacobs gave what was once (and still is for many) a refreshingly novel rendition of these two forces -- the trader meme you mentioned and the evolution of the various successes of experimenting with hierarchical ordering in developing the economy of cities -- in her: The Economy of Cities.  She also offers a debunking of the traditional belief that creation of agriculture is the linear lead point and thus the prime suspect in our evolutionary demise.  In her view, agriculture only began to develop as a support of the rise of cities, which were trading centers to begin with.

Agreed, Mrs. Lee.  I find it

Agreed, Mrs. Lee.  I find it hard to get people to take love seriously, not just as that wonderful and lovely thing we all romanticize.  I want them to think about it at the base of their being and the foundation of their selves.  I want them to feel conceived in love and formed by it so the nature of their being is to be conformed to the power of love, to its energy and courage.

Chris Hedges also tends to end his prophetic messages with a benediction of love.  It is not just the kind hand offered the dying, it is the empowering connection that brings us back to life.  It is stronger than fear, hate and alienation.  It can help you see life in dry bones.  It can make entropy the prelude for new birth rather than the end of  the road.

That is Powerful stuff.

.ren's picture
I take love so seriously I'm

I take love so seriously I'm inclined to use it sparsely, and rhapsodize about it even less.  I've also had it used and abused on me like some sort of currency.  It would be nice if that weren't true.  But it is.

MrsBJLee's picture
I had a near death experience

I had a near death experience where I felt the embrace of the purest love I have ever felt. I will never forget that feeling and find that LOVE IS the most important word we have ever uttered. I have also discovered that there are many people who sadly will never know of this love.

Sorry if I got off topic but that word has so much profound meaning.

  Mrs. B wrote: I had a near


Mrs. B wrote: I had a near death experience where I felt the embrace of the purest love I have ever felt. I will never forget that feeling and find that LOVE IS the most important word we have ever uttered

poly replies: To paraphrase St. Silouan, the experience is the uncovering of the most important thing there is know. It's sometimes referred to as God Union in the eastern Christian tradition. "God is love". You may take the Scriptural quote literally.

You are indeed blessed by having the experience.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"