Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction

If you were standing outdoors looking at the distant and reddening sky 250 million years ago as the Permian Mass Extinction was beginning, unless you were in the region that is known as Siberia you would have no idea that a tipping point had just been passed and soon 95% of all life on earth would be dead.

It's almost impossible to identify tipping points, except in retrospect.

For example, we have almost certainly already past the tipping point to an ice-free Arctic. And we are just now realizing it, even though that tipping point was probably passed a decade or more ago.

This is critically important because in the history of our planet there have been five times when more than half of all life on Earth died. They're referred to as "mass extinctions."

One – the one that killed the dinosaurs – was initiated by a meteorite striking the Earth.

The rest all appear to have been initiated by tectonic and volcanic activity.

In each case, however, what happened was that massive amounts of carbon-containing greenhouse gases – principally carbon dioxide, were released from beneath the Earth's crust and up into the atmosphere.

This provoked global warming intense enough to melt billions of tons of frozen methane on the oceans floors. That pulse of methane - an intense greenhouse gas - then brought the extinction to its full of intensity.

While in the past it took continental movement or an asteroid to break up the crust of the earth enough to release ancient stores of carbon into the atmosphere, we humans have been doing this very aggressively for the past 150 years by drilling and mining fossil fuels.

So the question:

Will several centuries of burning fossil fuels release enough carbon into the atmosphere to mimic the effects of past volcanic and asteroid activity and provoke a mass extinction?

Geologists who study mass extinctions are becoming concerned. As more and more research is coming out about the massive stores of methane in the Arctic and around continental shelves, climate scientists are beginning to take notice, too.

The fossil fuel companies are sitting on roughly 2 trillion tons of underground carbon. That, in and of itself, is enough to warm the earth by 5 or 6°C, and is an amount of carbon consistent with tipping points during past mass extinctions. There are an additional estimated 2 trillion tons of methane stored in the Arctic and probably 2 to 5 times that much around continental shelves all around the Earth.

If our burning fossil fuels warms the oceans enough that that methane melts and is quickly released into the atmosphere, the Earth will be in its sixth mass extinction. And make no mistake about it, the animals and plants that are most heavily hit by mass extinctions are those that are largest and at the top of the food chain.

That means us.

We must stop the carbon madness and move, worldwide, to renewable 21st century energy sources.

This is why we’ve produced a short documentary on this topic, and a short e-book title “The Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction” that you can find at www.lasthours.org.

Please check it out and share it with as many friends as possible.

The future of humanity is at stake.

Comments

j.jonik 8 years 15 weeks ago
#1

Evn in the impossible case that Carbon Dioxide is harmless, or natural in current levels, it remains that we don't want harmful industrial pollutants in our air and elsewhere in our environment anyway.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#2
Quote Mored:I dont get to reply often and I have to confess I havent studied the science of potential global warming but I do remember the world wide scare when we were all going to burn to death because the ozone layer was eroding away. I also remember the global scare when we were informed of the mass of human suffering and death becase we soon couldnt feed the exploding population. I also remember the global scare of Y2K. Just saying we were scared into spending billions of dollars well before global warming...or should I say climate change.

Mored ~ Scared into spending billions of dollars for nothing?? What about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars??? They cost us an estimated $4-6 Trillion. Of course that wasn't for nothing. We gained control of the oil fields and got to slaughter 132,000 innocent civilians and poison and injure countless other innocent bystanders including women, children, and the unborn. Don't tell me that was money well spent.

Perhaps its just me, but personally I would have rather flushed the money down the toilet. Now that we've bought all that easy oil, don't you think it's worth some loose change to see if it will destroy our future?

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-28/world/38097452_1_iraq-price-tag-first-gulf-war-veterans

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/06/afghanistan-iraq-wars-killed-132000-civilians-report-says/

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 15 weeks ago
#3

Mored you forgot when they where going to spray insulation all over the arctic because we where all going to freeze to death. Sorry but we are spending trillions.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 15 weeks ago
#4

The Koch's Flint Hill refineries along the Gulf Coast of Ted Kruz's state are designed to handle only tar sands type heavy crude, the same kind Kend's Alberta area can supply via the Keystone XL pipeline. Alberta is one of the dirtiest sources of carbon emissions on the planet. It's known as the "biggest dirt smoke stack on the planet"......Greg Palast

The Koch's stand to make two billion per year off this pipeline. I believe Kruz is likely on the offshore Koch payroll right along with the dip sht speaker of the Koch/Teabagger vast minority.....

I'd truly like to know why these old bastards think two more billion per year is worth the torching of the planet.....Caligula had mental illness too.......his Praetorian Guard fixed the problem.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 15 weeks ago
#5

DanneMarc if you are calling trillions loose change I read you wrong. You are a 1%er. You sneaky little devil. Are you a Koch brother ?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#6

Johnbest- I LOVE your comment! Kochroaches... Ha-HAH! Beautiful. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#7

Jeffinwonderland, I love the way you think. Your posts convey beauty of mind and spirit. The world needs more like you.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#8
Quote Kend:DanneMarc if you are calling trillions loose change I read you wrong. You are a 1%er. You sneaky little devil. Are you a Koch brother ?

Kend ~ No, I'm not calling trillions loose change; and, yes, you are reading me very wrong. What I said, is that compared to the $4-6 trillion spent to kill 136,000 innocent people several $BILLION spent to save the human race is no more than loose change.

Perhaps I should have said petty cash.

PS Please don't call me a 1%er or a Koch brother. This is a family blog and that kind of name calling is uncalled for.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 15 weeks ago
#9

Sorry, I guess to a lefty that was a huge insult. My apologies.

My point about the massive amount of money spent on green, well everything, is the whole movement is again oil. There is always climate change but where is the proof that it is from a car. Trillions have been spent and there is no change at all. That is the definition of insanity.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#10
Quote bobcox:During the Carboniferous age the CO2 was estimated to be 1500 PPM and the temperatures were not much above today's. Layers of coal were laid in many of the continents of the world and provide much of today's power, though inefficiently. The carbon and hydrocarbons came about because in periods of high CO2, the plant life is very dense and apparently nutritious since many dinosaurs began to be developed about then.

bobcox ~ The scientific reason for that is simple, plants feed on CO2. The more CO2 the more plants. The carbon cycle is balanced. The plants consume the CO2 and produce O2. That is why the temperature remained steady. Now introduce into that context a bunch of greedy capitalists who are hell bent on cutting down all the rain forests for wood and paper. No more ability to cycle the CO2 back into O2. CO2 levels are no longer constant and start to raise.

Quote bobcox:These occurrences have to be explained by scientist and geologists before the purported Global Warming Theory can be accepted. Unfortunately most of the "scientists" approving the Global Warming hypothesis are neither Geologists or Geo-archeologists or chemists. Much of the arguments follow the fallacy of "Old Adam".

bobcox ~ I have to wonder if you closely watched Thom Hartmann's video at lasthours.org? If so, you might want to watch it again. You will notice that under every testimonial given the person's credentials are shown. Among them are Dr. Gerald Dickens, Professor of Earth Sciences (Rice University), Dr. Jason Box, Climatologist, Geologic Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and Dr. Peter Ward, Professor of Geological Sciences (University of Washington)

It was Geologists who discovered that CO2 and CH4(Methane) is abundant in mass extinctions, especially the Permian extinction. That is a fact. Man made CO2 thrown into the atmosphere is over 35 metric tons (gigatons) per year. Over 100 times any other natural source. That is a fact. Man has been clear cutting rain forests for centuries; and, does not produce O2 or consume CO2. That is a fact. The concentration of CO2 is raising in the atmosphere. That is a fact. Buried frozen sources of CH4 are being released into the atmosphere that weren't before. That is a fact.

One can only wonder whether high levels of CO2 and CH4 present in the atmosphere during times of warming and extinction was the cause or simply another symptom of a different problem. That is where the true mystery lies. I for one want to know the truth. Mass extinction is nothing to play around with. According to the scientist in the video the peak temperature rise by 2100 will be 5 degrees. 6 degrees is the calculated tipping point. We have time to examine this theory without panicking. Let's keep our heads and learn as much as we can. After all, its our planet, shouldn't we learn to take care of it; or, should we just let it take care of us.

As far as the fallacy of "Old Adam" is concerned, I think that it is a healthy approach to assume the worst and proceed accordingly. That is the way I have driven my car my entire life. It's a strategy that has kept me alive so far; and, so far, I still trust it.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#11
Quote Kend:Sorry, I guess to a lefty that was a huge insult. My apologies.

Kend ~ Lefty? There you go with the insults again. Please don't LABEL me.

Quote Kend:My point about the massive amount of money spent on green, well everything, is the whole movement is again oil. There is always climate change but where is the proof that it is from a car. Trillions have been spent and there is no change at all. That is the definition of insanity.

Kend ~ Where is the proof? Lets start with the USGS (United States Geological Survey) They rate the overall emissions from human beings (called yearly Anthropogenic emitters) at 35 Billion Metric Tons (Gigatons). Of that figure only 3 billion is directly attributed to cars and light trucks. The rest is from industry and other activities of man.

According to the report, the overall carbon emissions of mankind for the year 2010 is equivalent to 3,500 eruptions of Mt. St. Helens, or, 700 eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo. That's right! Every year, you, I, and the rest of us are producing Mt. Pinatubo 700 times. What is the source of this data? The United States Government. Our tax money at work.

The definition of insanity is peeing in your own pool for a year and then going for a long swim in it without a care in the world.

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/climate.php

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#12

Kend ~ Forget about Global Warming for a minute. Think about the carbon cycle. When you burn fossil fuel you don't only create CO2; but, you use O2 (Oxygen) to do it. You take O2 out of the air and replace it with C02. If you do that long enough without any regard to converting the CO2 back into O2 you run out of O2. That is common sense. Fossil fuels will no longer burn without O2. Of course, that won't matter anymore because now you're dead.

As responsible custodians of the environment we have to achieve a balance of nature in order to sustain ourselves and live in harmony with it. The simple fact of the matter is that using fossil fuels is unsustainable. We have to end this addiction before it ends us.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#13

Don, I can't be a total vegetarian without becoming anemic. But if everyone ate as much meat as my husband and myself, corporate farms would go out of business in a heartbeat, and meat production would not be a factor in the issue of global warming.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#14

Mr. Bliss, I wholeheartedly share your seething hatred of capitalism. It breeds narcissism, psychopathy, greed and genocide, and it sucks. (Not quite as eloquent as your assessment, but I had to throw in my two cents!) In the meantime, before our species fades into oblivion, we can still enjoy a toke or two while we "smell the roses". Try as they might, the oligarchs can't rob us of all life's pleasures! - Alice I.W.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#15

Hey Marc- See that cap I'm wearing? It's made of hemp. Not only that; it's made in the good ole USA!! Woo-hoo!!!

By the way, I'm not wearing it backwards to make a fashion statement. I wear it like that because it keeps the hair out of my face. Otherwise it blocks my peripheral vision, which makes me more prone to banging my head on low-hanging objects & surfaces. Makes me look like a hip-hop old hippie!

Incidentally, my head's bowed in this picture because (contrary to KW's asinine assumption) I'm a musician, playing keyboards at a gig. - Alice I.W.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 15 weeks ago
#16

DAnneMarc, in your replies you say that you see that symptom solving does not solve the problem and that greed is a symptom and you then propose that we address greed, not even greed in all of us but greed in corporations and government in the US only. For me this doesn't follow logically. I don't see your point. The problem is enormous, much bigger than greed. But only by addressing the problem will there be a chance to avoid the destruction that has already begun and may end in mass extinction of many species. When we see clearly what the problem is, the solutions will likely be apparent. I said that thought is common to all of these symptoms and suggested that inquiry, investigation and exploration into that is necessary. Are you or anyone else interested?

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 15 weeks ago
#17

DAnne we are doing our best are we not. Car's have 1/3 of the enmmisions they had just a few years ago. Furnaces, air conditioners etc are much more energy effecient and they have programable thermostats. Our homes are insulated better. Etc etc

North America is not the problem. China, India and many countries in s. America are the problem.

Here in Canada we have reduced our CO2 levels in the last ten years.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#18

Aliceinwonderland ~ That a great cap! Too bad I can't hear the song. I'm a musician too (mostly guitar, some keyboard [I learned some piano to help write music but suck]) and I relate as to how playing music can change the way you think. Keep rock'in!! ...and don't throw that hat away!!

dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 8 years 15 weeks ago
#19

HawkDU mentioned in a previous post the observation of a bee buzzing around the clover. How in concert with the earth the bee is. Strikes me the bee is not so much thinking his way through the day. It is not so much doing his way through the day. The bee is mostly Bee-ing.

To paraphase an Einstien Quote. The mind cannot solve a problem at the level of mind, that the mind created. Please correct me if I've mistaken his point (I could not find the exact quote on short notice). I did find another Einstein Quote that fits " I never think of the future it comes soon enough".

Perhaps the bee views climate change as a situation (allbeit not one he created) as opposed to a problem. The bee does not project thinking, doing nor future onto the situation. He spends his brief moment being. Therfore the bee does not create new and ever more dangerous situations?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#20

Bob Hearns ~ Thought, as important as it is, is esoteric. The more money you have the less likely it is to influence. I have worked wonders on myself. That is it. All I can do. That is all anyone can do; other than being a good example to others. Changing society for the better is my goal. To do that I need concrete factors to work on. I realize that nothing I can do is going to influence the thoughts of someone with over a billion dollars to play with. They are hopeless. They don't even acknowledge you or me. That is why their influence must be removed from the public arena. Only then you can help to influence their thoughts. Meanwhile all we can hope to accomplish as part of a society is to influence how they can spend some of their money in the public arena. Greed is a symptom of thought; but, if controlled and manipulated, will influence behavior. Changed behavior will influence thought. It is a feedback loop that can be positive or negative depending on how you calibrate and control the greed factor.

For instance, raise the Corporate tax from 75% to 95% on all profits over a million dollars. Now a CEO has a choice he didn't have before. When his profits near a million dollars he can hand 95% of them over to Uncle Sam; or, reinvest them into his company by raising wages, hiring more people, or distributing them in bonuses. Suddenly, giving a huge Christmas bonus looks like a great idea. After that CEO experiences the gratitude of his workers... Guess what?? You just influenced his thoughts a la Ebenezer Scrooge.

To make billionaires understand you have to talk their language; and, that language is money. Of course, I didn't do it, and you didn't do it--we, together as a society did it. Thats the ticket, manipulating greed. The "trickle down" effect does it for us all.

Food for thought!

(As always, I'm happy so listen to any other suggestions.)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#21

Bob, why do you think of overpopulation as merely a symptom? Just curious...

I stand by my premise that greed is more than a symptom. Without this undesirable trait in humans, we would have created a kinder, gentler world for ourselves as a species. We wouldn't be living under this malignant, predatory, crony capitalism that has destroyed so much of the planet and fueled all these wars; not to mention what it's done to our thinking process as well as our culture. I suppose this could easily slip into one of those "the-chicken-or-the-egg" type debates, but it's still worth exploring.

I think it can be argued that overpopulation is more than a symptom as well. But I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about this. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 15 weeks ago
#22

I wear that cap so much, it's almost become part of me. Suits my persona as well as my politics. And by the way, last winter I watched that video clip of you wailing on guitar. I enjoyed it and wish you'd share more. It was kinda trippy getting a glimpse into your private little world, seeing your wife puttering around in the background while you're hammin' it up. Keep on rockin', bro!

By the way, I was wondering... do you (or anyone) know why Thom & Louise haven't posted anything since Tuesday? Seems kinda odd. They usually post something every day except on weekends. - Alice I.W.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#23
Quote Kend:DAnne we are doing our best are we not.

Kend ~ Now that you mention it I suppose we are. Just sharing this time together and talking about the issue is a great thing. This is important information to be aware of; and, I suppose, everything helps. bobcox and others do make a good point, perhaps we are overreacting somewhat. As Dr. Paul Wignall says in this interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhg3fDKpVVE

The Permian mass extinction took hundreds of thousand of years to happen. We have 87 years ahead before reaching the tipping point. As long as we focus on weaning ourselves off fossil fuels in the next few decades we should make it just fine. I think what Thom is trying to say is that we have to make that commitment and set that goal now in order to make it happen. If we can manage that, we should do just fine and be able to clean up our atmosphere with Hemp, solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric alternatives and avoid that tipping point for our grandchildren's children. Keep up those high hopes and optimism Kend.

Here is a more recent and envolved show on the topic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3cK2Egk2dk

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#24
Quote Aliceinwonderland:By the way, I was wondering... do you (or anyone) know why Thom & Louise haven't posted anything since Tuesday? Seems kinda odd. They usually post something every day except on weekends. - Alice I.W.

Aliceinwonderland ~ I've wondered about that myself. Last week all of Thom's posts were about the pledge drive. I assumed then that was because the pledge was a priority that deserved to be repeated and discussed. I can only assume that Thom wants to emphasize Global Warming with the same urgency. That is why he's given us all week to comment on it--he wants us to think about it.

Of course there may be another issue involved. It used to be that Louise Hartmann would submit all the blog entries. I've noticed lately she hasn't. I doubt that has anything to do with it, but it is odd. I understand she's being treated for something?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 15 weeks ago
#25

Apropos to # 75 ~ She is being treated for breast cancer. Thom already revealed that on his show according to this blog entry:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002590443

A good friend of mine is going through the same thing. I wish Thom and Louise the best. I know how disruptive that condition can be to someones life. Focus ahead at how wonderful it will be to get that behind you. God bless.

dglsdxn 8 years 14 weeks ago
#26

Hey Thom: Great article, althought is to bad that all the 'bone-heads in government are so busy pocketing 'Gas-Company' money to bother with the destruction of our planet. The only way they'll ever take note is when they're holding all that money over they're heads trying to swim out from their flooded-out beach-front property. Living in 'denial', or simply, just plain greedy? Either way, 'Denial' will soon be bigger than they can swim.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#27

Aliceinwonderland, this is an answer to world population. I give you two sources. First, Dr. Jonas Salk and his son wrote a book 'World Population and Human Values' published in 1981. They use the sigmoidal curve as a basis throughout the book. It may be out of print. I read it back in the 80s. If you google it you will get an good idea of it. They estimate that world population will top out around 11 billion people. I don't want to go into it in detail. I think it's worth exploring. I found it fascinating. Second, the earth can provide food, clothing and shelter for 12 billion or more people. Once again google it, there's lots of articles. With those kinds of figures, we are not overpopulated. However, the way we live in the developed world cannot be sustained. We grossly overconsume, which is a symptom, and our overconsumption is not sustainable. Which brings us to the question 'Why do we overconsume?' I think this is worth exploring.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#28
Quote Bob Hearns: We grossly overconsume, which is a symptom, and our overconsumption is not sustainable. Which brings us to the question 'Why do we overconsume?' I think this is worth exploring.

Bob Hearns ~ Over consumption? No doubt about that! Especially in this country. If I may, I have a theory. There are two direct reasons. First and foremost is our lack of a functional culture and the spiritual and emotional binding identity that is provided to the members of a functional culture. There is an inherent void Americans tend to have, and they seek to fill it by consumerism of all kinds. Secondly, it is our commercial media that exploits this situation in order to market its goods. It uses the electronic media to glorify consumerism and convince people that they can fill this void with consumer products. It works for the retailers; but, not for the masses.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#29

DAnneMarc and Aliceinwondeland, I've used the word thought as the source of the problem. I need to elaborate as I haven't been specific enough, my oversight. Thought is obviously needed to remember your name, where you live, how to do your job, how to cook breakfast, to decide whether to buy this car or that car, and a myriad of other things. Thought in these cases is essential and appropriate. Thought used in this way is not the problem I am referring to. Problems requiring this area of thought (call it technical thought or mechanical thought or practical thought) do occur and they can be looked at, analyzed and resolved. For example, your car won't start. With the appropriate knowledge about how your car works, the problem will be resolved, as will all other similar problems, some harder, some easier. When all technical thought is removed from the word thought, we are left with what I call psychological thought. Psychological thought was what I was referring to when I used the word 'thought'. Sometimes the word ego is used, or baggage, the shoulds and shouldn'ts that you were taught, images and judgments of others and of yourself, beliefs and many other things. This is where I am saying the problem is. This is where those symptoms stem from. The belief in overpopulation, greed, wanting to control, being afraid of entire groups of people because they speak a different language, have different customs, dress differently, have a different skin colour and so on. This is where the problem is. Yes, the problem looks enormous and it is. But nothing will be resolved by trying to end or change symptoms. Yes, DAnneMarc, I agree, thought as the problem is esoteric. Less than 400 years ago only a handful of people thought (knew) that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe. Addressing symptoms may be successful in delaying going over the cliff, but it won't stop it. Trying to control by legislation, coercion, moral suasion runs through all recorded history and where has it gotten us? Here and now is where it has gotten us. I'm done with symptom solving. It's time to address the problem. This is where we need to explore and investigate. Let's explore the roots of greed.

dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 8 years 14 weeks ago
#30

Psychological thought, ego, mind projected problems, seeing oneself as an alien fragment in a hostile universe. Seems to me you have defined the roots of greed very well Bob Hearns.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#31

Bob Hearns ~ You appear to be somewhat knowledgeable in psychology. I have a bit of background in that discipline myself; however, I've studied sociology a little bit more. I have spent my life observing immigrants here in the San Francisco Bay Area from all over the world and I can assure you that the fundamental root of the dysfunctional psychological tendencies and disorders that you've mentioned are a result of culture. Culture, as I interpret it, is defined as the "total life-ways of a group" of people. That is every role a person assumes, every belief a person holds, every desire a person has, every like a person embraces, and every prejudice a person fears is learned from and spawned in their culture.

Among immigrants I have observed in my home town--Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Mexican, Central American, Russian, German, Irish, South American, Jewish, Arab, and Indian--I can tell you this: Within three generations they all lose their original culture. It doesn't matter what country they come from it is always the same. The immigrants bring their functional culture here. That culture fill them with a strong sense of right and wrong, a vigorous religious tradition, a sound and healthy diet, and a strong work ethic. They can live in smaller spaces, eat less food, spend less money, live more frugally, work harder and longer hours, party more vigorously, and live very happily with very little. Their children share much of the same values, however experience conflict because of their Americanization in school. However, they are so eager to please their parents that they respect their old culture and much of it's values. The grandchildren are fully immersed in the American culture. They have little or no knowledge of the grandparents original culture and absolutely no respect for it. As a result, you begin to see the same dysfunctional psychological and physical tendencies and disorders you see amongst the general American population.

I have also had opportunity to learn Spanish and travel abroad to experience what the culture is really like in Mexico amongst the Gemeinschaft rural populations. Once you know the indigenous Mexican and the Gesellschaft Mexican American you can see first hand the powerful influence that culture and environment have on the psychological processes of human beings. I know that their are some schools of thought that believe that thought, beliefs, and behavior is genetic. I can attest without a doubt that it is learned.

N Z Sarah's picture
N Z Sarah 8 years 14 weeks ago
#32

I agree with you Bob, and the real change will be possible when the social group of woman with her better behaviour is included in a balanced way with EQUAL GENDER GOVERNMENTS. Four men to one women as it is now creates a situation where sustainability is not possible, where money not honey rules the roost.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#33

DAnneMarc, so the fact is we have a dysfunctional culture and the ideal or non-fact is a functional culture. If we try to impose a functional culture, as we go along trying to impose this new culture, we will be sowing the seeds of dysfunction because that is who we currently are. Also, we will remain susceptable to the wiles of advertising as we remain dysfunctional moving towards functional. Whoever tries to impose this new culture will also create friction and conflict as there will be pushback from those who say 'who are you to impose your beliefs on what a functional culture is?' If we explore the dysfuntional culture (the fact) we may find the root of the dysfunction. Then those who do see the root of the dysfunction are in a position to stay contributing to the dysfunction (not sure why one would) or transform themselves so as not to contribute to dysfuntion and to create a new society, a functional society. Is this worth exploring?

hawkDU's picture
hawkDU 8 years 14 weeks ago
#34

Thanks Alice. Always nice to find kindred spirits. Would love to invite you to my Facebook page where I often post such thoughts but not sure I want to put my details up. Interested that you are a keyboard player and composer. Piano music was the subject of my scribblings last night. I was trying to get to sleep and 'it' just wouldn't let me. Turn the light on and write it down 'it' said.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#35

Apropos to #82 ~ Perhaps I should elaborate on some terms I used:

Gemeinschaft society ~ Is a rural, usually agricultural economy based group of people. Fewer people per square foot. There is strong family cohesion bonding and interdependence. Families tend to be extended families with many children. The society is characterized by a strong sense of common identity, strong common binding norms, self rule and self regulation, close personal relationships, and a close attachment to traditional and sentimental concerns. Individual focus tends to be group/family oriented. Children follow the trade of the parents and are usually encouraged to remain in family at home for life for their own good. The family is strong and has permanent bonds.

Gesellschaft society ~ An urban, usually industrial economy based group of people. Far greater numbers of people per square foot. A nuclear family with loose cohesion bonding and strong parental dependence. Groups are characterized chiefly by formal organizations, impersonal relations with loose ties, the absence of generally held or binding norms, officially sanctioned legal regulation, and a general detachment from traditional and sentimental concerns; and, often tending to be rationalistic and secular in outlook. Families tend to be small with few children. Individual focus tends to be self-oriented. Children are usually encouraged to leave the home as soon as possible and make it on their own for their own good. The family members tend to repel each other and share weaker bonds.

Values, mores, and traditions vary widely between the two social group ideal types.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#36

Bob Hearns ~ It is worth exploring and I have spent some time doing so. The problem is you are right, you cannot impose a culture on people. People have to develop it on their own. People are funny that way. One potential solution I have explored is the assimilation of other cultures into our own. Most notably I have explored Chinese culture. Right now we have had an influx of Chinese immigrants settling all over the Bay Area. They are battling the first hurtle of cultural assimilation--language. They, like all other immigrants, are unaware of the tragic future gradual loss of culture that will befall their children. The Chinese culture is of one of the oldest and most advanced cultures on Earth. They have no idea the sacrifice they are making to live in this country.

One day, several years ago, I was walking through a Chinese New Years festival in Chinatown. While standing at a crosswalk and watching a Chinese family cross the street on the opposite side it suddenly occurred to me that it should be we who assimilate the culture of the immigrants rather then the other way around. Imagine, it would take our country thousands of years to develop a culture as evolved as the Chinese culture. The Chinese culture is priceless. You can't buy that kind of a culture. Then I thought, maybe you can.

There are many aspects of the Chinese culture that are healthy, spiritual, and productive. You would never succeed at forcing any culture on the American people. However, the American people are so brainwashed by the commercial media that you might just be able to sell it to them. I have discussed with friends a possible way to sell the Chinese culture to the American people. The American people love novelties, such as cooking recipes, fad diets, exotic foods, foreign traditions, alternate religions and new belief systems, exercise programs, hobbies, etc. What if we were to break up the fundamental aspects of the Chinese culture, bottle it, market it and sell it with the intent on spoon feeding it to the American masses? Americans value things that have a price attached to it, don't they? What might be impossible to give them for free, they might readily buy for a price. For example, bottled water. Examples of such commercial cultural integration are all around us in restaurants, Buddhist temples, and acupuncture. What if we expanded on that?

The best salesmen for this idea are indigenous Chinese themselves for no one knows the Chinese culture better than the Chinese themselves. If such idea is feasible, than other functional cultures may be marketed in the same fashion. What at first appears to be the latest market fad, might just lead to a real new, functional American culture in record time. Unfortunately, that is the only solution I have been able to come up with. I think it's worth a shot--if only to preserve those priceless, precious cultures before they disappear forever.

Another critical issue in society that has a pronounced effect on thought is social structure. As described above the two ideal types of social structure Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft also play a critical role on thought hand in hand with culture. Basically big cities, the nuclear family, and the industrial economy lifestyle also tend to generate dysfunctional personality disorders and thought. If we are successful at somehow manufacturing a functional potpourri culture we will still have to contend with the substantial negative effects of the Gesellschaft social order. A strong culture is the only defense against the ravages of the Gesellschaft social order. Our industrial revolution has a price. In a Gesellschaft social order--as opposed to a Gemeinschaft social order--the interests of the larger group never takes precedence over the individual's self-interest. That is the major problem with Gesellschaft social orders and there is little that can be done about it.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 14 weeks ago
#37

Ohmygosh Marc, it sounds like Louise has had a relapse! No wonder they've let the blog slide. That's got to be the reason, because it seems so unusual. Anyway I'm bummed. I'll hold a secular prayer in my heart for those two. -AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 14 weeks ago
#38

What I miss the very most about the S.F. Bay Area is the demographic & cultural diversity. Even Santa Cruz (where we lived our last ten years in California) wasn't as diverse as the Bay Area. The small rural town in Oregon we now call home is the most lilly-white, culturally homogenous, conservative area either of us has ever lived in. Took a good while to find our social niche here. Now that we have, I'm content enough to stay. It's been over 20 years already. But I'll always miss that cultural & ethnic diversity unique to the S.F. Bay Area.

I think one of the keys to humans learning how to co-exist happily as well as peacefully is embracing diversity. This isn't to say I'm okay with every aspect of every culture; for example, Chinese culture. While I am awed by the brilliance and innovation Chinese culture has produced through the millenia, I'm just as repulsed by that culture's treatment of my gender: foot binding, infanticide ad nauseam. But that goes back to the issue of spirituality, at least for me.

What we are grappling with goes back before recorded history, to the earliest manifestations of "civilization", and it runs deep. What we're up against are defense mechanisms that may have served us well eons ago, long before we evolved to become the dominant species on this planet. Xenophobia might have had its place in prehistoric times. Ditto rigid gender roles, to cite another example. But what may have been useful back then is no longer serving us and must be modified, or eliminated, before we can move forward.

Early European settlers believed they were more advanced, more "civilized", than the natives. But as Thom has pointed out, native Americans were more spiritually evolved than our European ancestors, in many ways. Greed was viewed as a mental illness. Psychopaths were banished, not rewarded; left to the elements to fend for themselves. When the tribe went hungry, so did the chief.

I don't want to paint an overly rosy picture here; indigenous Americans were not saints. They had their conflicts, their territorial disputes, even their wars. But members of a clan at least knew how to care for one another, in lean times as well as in times of abundance. The more inequality exists in any society, the more violence there is, and mental illness, and distrust and resentment among members of that society, along with a host of other problems that can be identified as "symptoms". I don't know about the rest of you, but from my vantage point it seems an awful lot of what ails us could be resolved by a universal sense of shared destiny, of us all "being in this together" regardless of language, religion, gender, class, skin color... whatever...

If a fetus's brain development is determined in large part by messages it gets from the mother's stress hormones (or lack thereof), and if the difference between "liberals" and "conservatives" can be detected by brain scans, it seems there are biological factors also at work here, that could help explain why some humans have more compassion than others, more capacity for empathy, and less need to hoard, dominate and control. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 14 weeks ago
#39

"hawkDU" says "Would love to invite you to my Facebook page...not sure I want to put my details up..." and I understand completely. In fact, I've had similar thoughts. It's a friggin' jungle "out there". Frustrating, isn't it? - AIW

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#40

DAnneMarc, you acknowledge that you can't impose a culture and then go on to propose a way to achieve just that by exploiting people who lack the ability to think critically, which is most of society, by using the same advertising tactics that the CEOs of the huge junk food corporations use to get us to stuff enormous quantities of poisonous crap down our throats.

Solving some of the major symptoms will do one potentially benefitting thing. It pushes the tipping point a little further into the future.However, if that extra time is not used to solve the problem, the tipping point will not be in the future, it will be now. We have millions of people working hard, expending lots of energy, on symptom solving. How many are focussed on problem solving? How much energy is being expended on exploring and investigating that?

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#41

dialindicator, the intellectual understanding of greed is one thing. If it does not move the person to end the action of greed in themselves, then intellectual understanding is no understanding at all. Exploring and investigating what is actually happening, internally and externally, before the action of greed occurs will give you the understanding, which is beyond the merely intellectual, to see greed and end it. Similarly, you will see how envy occurs, how jealousy occurs, anger, sadness and so on, the whole of self generated feelings and emotions. And when these come to an end in oneself, what happens then?

bobcox's picture
bobcox 8 years 14 weeks ago
#42

Its a world of cockroaches. Tthey've been here 250 million years and are still defying all the insecticide we can invent.

The problems is, there are too many two-legged cockroaches!

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#43

N Z Sarah, what I am about to say is not intended to disparage women as I do think that women and men are equal in general. I'm not sure what you are agreeing with when you say that you agree with me. But when it comes to problem solving, as I have been talking about it here, women are no better than men, as a group, at addressing it. Women lack critical thinking skills, just as much as men do. It's not just men who are doing symptom solving on our critical issues, environmental and otherwise. Women by the millions, as well, are heavily engaged in these 'not significantly going anywhere' activities. I don't think that gender makes anyone more or less capable of exploring and investigating the problems that we are not facing, that we are not working on resolving. There is nothing exclusive in my invitation that we explore, inquire and investigate, right here and right now.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 8 years 14 weeks ago
#44

Aliceinwonderland, if it is true that Louise has had a relapse, I, too, wish her a full and speedy remission.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 14 weeks ago
#45

DAnne, I find it interesting how people are always trying to change people. It happens on this blog all the time. I am just as guilty. Your conversation with Bob are great. What I don't understand is why do we care if immigrants don't keep their culture, isn't that why they moved here in the first place. I hear all the time how we should be more like Europeans. Most of my suppliers are in Italy, and Germany and all they talk about is how great it is here. yes they get tons of time off but they live in their parents home until they are 40. Then if they have a great job they finally save enough for a down payment on a 800 sq/ft flat. No back yard, no garage, maybe one car. What makes our countries great is we have a choice. If you work hard you can have what ever you want. You don't see middle class Europeans with boats, RV's, summer and winter homes etc like we do. Why would we want to bring that culture here?

dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 8 years 14 weeks ago
#46

To go fishing or spend this saturday morning on a reply to Bob Hearns and to myself. I find a detailed reply is going to take some time. Think I'll go fishing. There are alot of different sorts who fish. Some expect fish and sense diappointment or scarcity with being "skunked" they might even hoard fish when fishing is "good" . A true fishermen knows the act of fishing to be an abundant experience in and of itself. More details to come (and maybe a fish).

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#47
Kend said something interesting

Quote Kend:What I don't understand is why do we care if immigrants don't keep their culture, isn't that why they moved here in the first place.

Kend goes on to answer part of his own question

Quote Kend:What makes our countries great is we have a choice. If you work hard you can have what ever you want. You don't see middle class Europeans with boats, RV's, summer and winter homes etc like we do. Why would we want to bring that culture here?

Kend ~ Well then you just answered your own question. By and large immigrants here are motivated by pure greed. Greed blinds people and makes them stupid. That is why they readily sacrifice the most important thing they have--their culture. Culture is priceless and must be preserved at all other costs. This is why you see people who chose to remain in the home country perfectly happy and content to live more frugal lifestyles. They have everything they need. In fact, they are a little bit smarter then their brethren who fled. Immigrants who foolishly abandoned their culture will never be happy. They will experience the void of culture and that central unifying identity culture provides and unsuccessfully try to fill that gap with all manner of material junk for the rest of their lives--never knowing true inner peace. Never being really happy. The truth hurts doesn't it?

In a way Kend you put your finger on one of the key issues that is wrong with this country--by and large we are a nation of the offspring of selfish, greedy, foolish, ignorant, and short sided immigrants.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#48
Quote Bob Hearns:Solving some of the major symptoms will do one potentially benefitting thing. It pushes the tipping point a little further into the future.

Bob Hearns ~ We've explored this issue enough already to draw some conclusions. This brings us right back to the topic of this blog Global Climate Change. As you've mentioned my idea to bring a functional culture to this nation is 'desperate' at best. I myself doubt that it will have the intended effect of creation of a functional culture. Culture development is a form of evolution and I really don't believe that you can force evolution. My main goal is to preserve and incorporate pre-existing cultures into the American paradigm.

Now, on to the real solution. To solve our immediate problems of thought we have to change our social structure. You will never achieve the goals you have described in a Gesellschaft social structure. If you doubt me go to Mexico and spend a week in Mexico city; and then go to a small rural pueblo. Mingle, and get to know the natives remembering everything I've just stated about Gesellschaft vs Gemeinschaft social structures. What you will discover is that the underlying problems of thought that you have described are a direct result of social structure and not so much culture.

Therefore, the only way to cure the problem is to convert the Gesellschaft to the Gemeinschaft. Essentially, the trick to doing this is to revert the base economy from that of an industrial one to that of an agricultural one. A daunting task for sure; unless, you go back to one of my first posts on this blog where I mention that Hemp, if grown for industrial purposes, would be able to solve global climate change. It would do so by simply removing CO2 from the atmosphere and replacing it with O2.

One of the big 'side effects' a Hemp based economy would achieve is to convert our industrial economy base to an agricultural economy base--in effect taking our Gesellschaft society and turning it into a Gemeinschaft society along with all the typical characteristics involved and described in Post #86 above. In doing so, not only will social structure and individual identity change, so will the priorities that comprise and drive individual thought. In essence, you can kill two birds with one stone.

Once our economic base is converted to agricultural the natural evolutionary development of our culture will take care of itself.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 14 weeks ago
#49
Quote Aliceinwonderland:Ohmygosh Marc, it sounds like Louise has had a relapse! No wonder they've let the blog slide. That's got to be the reason, because it seems so unusual. Anyway I'm bummed. I'll hold a secular prayer in my heart for those two. -AIW

Aliceinwonderland ~ Please don't be bummed, at least yet. I've just learned that Louise had breast cancer last year. It is news to me. I vaguely remember her being treated for something; and, when I Googled it, her breast cancer popped up. I have no idea how she is doing today. I was merely speculating as to the answer to our questions as to why Thom has only posted two topics in the last two weeks; and why Louise hasn't posted any topics for some while. I don't know her condition and I certainly hope she is at least stable if not fully recovered.

Remember, that is mere speculation. There are other sound reasons for the lingering topics--first and foremost, that they are probably the most important topics Thom has posted all year and he want us to think long and hard about them. If so, it's working.

Roland369 8 years 14 weeks ago
#50

Thanks for speaking out on this issue Thom. You seem to be a gentle soul that can maintain his equilibrium under the bitterest of attacks. I think it's because you have studied your material and know from which you speak. In any case I, and some in my family (we are scattered about the country), watch The Big Picture on RT, as well as FSTV. Thanks to my Roku Box, I seldom miss your program or Democracy Now. Keep up the good work, as we need as many people as possible to speak truth to power, and are not bought out by corporate money.

Oh by the way, I am of Slovak heritage (my Mom came here to Ellis Island on the President Roosevelt in 1928), and was wonderng about your spelling your name Thom, rather than Tom.

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