Stress R Us: human overpopulation and the deteriorating environment; sickening humans

On July 23, 2016, we discontinued our forums. We ask our members to please join us in our new community site, The Hartmann Report. Please note that you will have to register a new account on The Hartmann Report.

121 posts / 0 new

So, as Karen Shragg's new book "Moving Upstream" so clearly points out, human overpopulation is the "upstream" source of all human environmental harm. My free e-book, "Stress R Us", is a 335 pg. compilation of nearly 100 references on animal population studies and human ecology research clearly spelling out human overpopulation, driving our chronically overactive stress responses, as the chief cause of all human illness--the result of a 40 yr. medical practice and a heck of alot of reading. I wish that Thom, as well informed and bright as he is, would join us upstream. That goes for Thom's loyal readers/viewers as well! Thanks for this opportunity. Greeley Miklashek, MD

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am

Comments

If we ate vegan and didn't throw away as much food. We wouldn't be taxing the environment half as much. Technical we are not really over populated at this moment were just overly capitalistic which makes us horrifically wasteful! That is the reason we are destroying the environment at the rate we are! That is why oil companies will dominate our politics for the coming years!

Toddedyer's picture
Toddedyer
Joined:
Jun. 6, 2016 10:59 am

So, again, we are today 1233 times more humans than 10,000 years ago, when our ancestors were a stable world-wide population of 6 million. This is a paleo-anthropologocal fact. We are horrendously overpopulated, which largely explains the enormous pressure we are putting on the earth's natural resources. Again, all of our medical illnesses may be traced back to our chronically over-active stress responses and the subsequent over-production of the stress hormone cortisol. There is good evidence supporting this theory, which, again, can be found in my book, which has taken 14 years to assemble, as I struggled to understand my patients' maladies. No-one still living in a hunter-gatherer clan has ever been recorded to have developed a single one of our medical illnesses, until, of course, they move to an urban environment, when they develop all the same top ten killers of us modern urban humans. Read my book. Hunter-gatherers often eat a totally non-vegan diet, all meat and fat, as has been well studied in Stefannson's 1960 book, "CANCER: Disease of Civilization", which is a compilation of medical researches among hunter-gatherers living above the Artic Circle. Population density stressors are killing us, and for good reason: we are overpopulated. Move beyond the sound bites and tweets and read a book, or remain ignorant. It's your choice.

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am
Quote gmiklashek950:

So, as Karen Shragg's new book "Moving Upstream" so clearly points out, human overpopulation is the "upstream" source of all human environmental harm. My free e-book, "Stress R Us", is a 335 pg. compilation of nearly 100 references on animal population studies and human ecology research clearly spelling out human overpopulation, driving our chronically overactive stress responses, as the chief cause of all human illness--the result of a 40 yr. medical practice and a heck of alot of reading. I wish that Thom, as well informed and bright as he is, would join us upstream. That goes for Thom's loyal readers/viewers as well! Thanks for this opportunity. Greeley Miklashek, MD

Thank you for taking the trouble to bring this topic to the board. And, since you appear to be somewhat new, you may not know how to to use this board's software to create links (it's not one of the more intuitive, user-friendly boards I've posted on, but it can be worked with if one takes a little trouble). So, having looked up your book on a search engine, I found a pdf link, and here it is:

Stress R Us: An Essay on What's Killing us, why, and what we can do about it.

I just this morning looked quickly through your essay in order to get a feel for what you have to say. Now I'm going to take a little more trouble to get into it.

Meanwhile.... My own outlook is developed from combining studies in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and ecology. While I see this in your 51 Topic Index:

25. Hierarchy, Dominance, and Submission

What I don't see in any of your topic headings is a discussion of what I find of deeper structural relevance, and that's the nature of institutional complexity and how that can be revealed as a core, or foundational factor of our now globalized modern civilization. That's in the nature of what I consider to be a structural issue. In any form of strategic thinking and planning, the key to making plans involves understanding the structure of the problem itself and its systemic relationships. Those are basic ingredients in any form of complexity, whether ecological or human cultural. So those are the level of issues that I turn to, whenever I try to discuss these survival problems we now believe our species faces, in any way that approaches discussing solutions.

So while we have your essay and its various theses, and your mention of Karen Shragg's Move Upstream: A Call to Solve Overpopulation, I would like to introduce another aspect to this species-based problem:

The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter (Here's a pdf version)

If you want a hour plus explanation from the author's mouth on the theory he presents in the book, try this youtube lecture:

Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter

He'll walk you through his complexity theory, and offer one of the examples he gives from the book.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote gmiklashek950:

So, again, we are today 1233 times more humans than 10,000 years ago, when our ancestors were a stable world-wide population of 6 million. This is a paleo-anthropologocal fact. We are horrendously overpopulated, which largely explains the enormous pressure we are putting on the earth's natural resources. Again, all of our medical illnesses may be traced back to our chronically over-active stress responses and the subsequent over-production of the stress hormone cortisol. There is good evidence supporting this theory, which, again, can be found in my book, which has taken 14 years to assemble, as I struggled to understand my patients' maladies. No-one still living in a hunter-gatherer clan has ever been recorded to have developed a single one of our medical illnesses, until, of course, they move to an urban environment, when they develop all the same top ten killers of us modern urban humans. Read my book. Hunter-gatherers often eat a totally non-vegan diet, all meat and fat, as has been well studied in Stefannson's 1960 book, "CANCER: Disease of Civilization", which is a compilation of medical researches among hunter-gatherers living above the Artic Circle. Population density stressors are killing us, and for good reason: we are overpopulated. Move beyond the sound bites and tweets and read a book, or remain ignorant. It's your choice.

Hunters did not eat all meat diets! What a load of rubbish! Thats where the gathering aspect came into play! Like the native americans who did eat way to much meat they did have issues from it! We see allot so sicknesses in ice age people! Piss off trying to sell your Atkins diet here troll!

Toddedyer's picture
Toddedyer
Joined:
Jun. 6, 2016 10:59 am

Thanks for that! Thoughtful, informative replys are, unfortunately, not the standard and your effort is greatly appreciated. If you read further in the Topic on hierarchies, you will see that it is our proliferation of multiple overlapping conceptual hierarchies that is constantly generating more stress, and, due to our ever expanding populations, forcing any one of us downward in most of these hierarchies, which increases stress hormones as well. I've read everything Tainter has written and agree that it's all worth reading. Thanks, again, and thanks for adding the link to the book, Gregg.

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am
Quote gmiklashek950:

Thanks for that! Thoughtful, informative replys are, unfortunately, not the standard and your effort is greatly appreciated. If you read further in the Topic on hierarchies, you will see that it is our proliferation of multiple overlapping conceptual hierarchies that is constantly generating more stress, and, due to our ever expanding populations, forcing any one of us downward in most of these hierarchies, which increases stress hormones as well. I've read everything Tainter has written and agree that it's all worth reading. Thanks, again, and thanks for adding the link to the book, Gregg.

You are very welcome. I always take a look at something before I react. I feel that your work deserves to be looked at just a little before the barrage of defensive rebuttals begins. As you say, that's likely to be the norm, any time, any where. My strategy has been to develop a conversation with people who want to converse, to do so with mutual respect, and to ignore those who don't want that sort of interaction. It's not always easy and there will be forces that make a great effort to derail those conversations. But it can be done. I have to exercise discipline to ignore the personal that is, simply, inevitable in our culture (not necessarily in all).

I have read broadly and deeply on the topic of hierarchy and its correlate, authoritarianism, since I got off the bus in what I saw to be a gulag prison camp after dealing with a draft notice back during Vietnam. Another name for what I stepped into is boot camp. What followed was, for me, an education in deep skepticism that would serve me the rest of my life.

In no way do I discount your thesis on stress and its systemic effects on our minds and bodies. I, personally, found myself deeply stressed during that indoctrination to the military in ways I'd never experienced before, and in many ways my urge to deal with that stress would transform my life. But I also observed that for others it would only serve to justify their belief in the validity of our essentially patriarchal and authoritarian system, and the various categories of authoritarianism we are steeped in from our first exposures to it, something like frogs coming to a boil. I have found solutions that have worked for me, and I've had the pleasure of a life long pursuit of this topic, a life filled with all sorts of personal revelations, most of which I have learned to keep to myself.

Dealing with one's own stress and dealing with the system that produces it also has generated some fine literature. I'm thinking of Kafka's fine body of work on the horrors of bureaucracy, and, in particular, a novel by Joseph Heller that many consider to be one of the finest works of literature in the 20th Century: Catch-22.

So, in relation to catch-22s, I'm just saying, it's one thing to recognize the stress and all it does to shape a given population of humans, and make it docile and susceptible to the structures of hierarchy -- and it is certainly an important first step to do so -- but then, it's quite another to find a way to change that pervasive structure of one's environment -- in our case, the civilized, human invented environment -- while living in something that has its own ontology, its own self-justifying structures that are in many ways contrary to our deepest evolved gifts as humane, social beings, while also trying to survive as individuals.

We are, after all, social/cultural beings, and we survive through our adaption to these societies we create for ourselves. Sometimes we are so caught up adapting to our culture, we forget we are also adapting to our biosphere through these human technologies we call institutions. Change at the complex institutional level in which all these hierarchies emerge to stress us requires more interaction than one single individual can muster. Because, after all, it is a whole we share and make up at the same time.

I'm glad to hear you are familiar with Tainter's work.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Thanks for that! Sad that so few correspondents on the net are as civil as yourself. As a retired psychiatrist, I particularly enjoy your bent for self-reflection. Our problem is really quite simple:we have lost our relationship to reality, nature, and have created a projetion of ourselves instead. My favorite movie, "The Matrix", got at this metaphor. This is the definition of psychosis. No wonder we are acting "crazy" in relation to the natural resources we are over-using unsustainably and polluting the heck out of our real, natural environment. Hunter-gatherers, by necessity, remain constantly in direct contact with reality, except when in some ceremonial ritual of temporary escape or "dream", in a temporary ecstatic state. Culture, as you suggest, is a potential trap, which may or may not be real, a true reflection of the one reality of nature. The automobile and airplane are our worst enemies in this regard and trains, boats, bicycles, and walking are likewise our best friends. I hope that you do more than just skim over the book. You will find the information rewarding. Thanks, again, Gregg.

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am
Quote gmiklashek950:

Our problem is really quite simple:we have lost our relationship to reality, nature, and have created a projetion of ourselves instead. My favorite movie, "The Matrix", got at this metaphor. This is the definition of psychosis. No wonder we are acting "crazy" in relation to the natural resources we are over-using unsustainably and polluting the heck out of our real, natural environment. Hunter-gatherers, by necessity, remain constantly in direct contact with reality, except when in some ceremonial ritual of temporary escape or "dream", in a temporary ecstatic state. Culture, as you suggest, is a potential trap, which may or may not be real, a true reflection of the one reality of nature. The automobile and airplane are our worst enemies in this regard and trains, boats, bicycles, and walking are likewise our best friends.

That's been a perspective I began to develop in my youth. It was at least partly due to my own experiential circumstances. I spent much of my youth on a farm, with a horse, dogs, and access to a large private game preserve connected to the back of our farm, where I could roam when I wasn't doing farm work. I often went out, imagining myself as a native American in the guise of what I would later learn was a hunter/gatherer, I would teach myself survival skills that I read about in the process. That "play" laid the basis for what I would pursue and study in the seventies after I got back from military service, and no doubt was why I chose to major in cultural anthropology and ecology.

As a psychiatrist, you may have stumbled across the recently invented field of ecopsychology. It seems likely that you have, given your above assertion. In the seventies I was involved in some precursor activities that undoubtedly led to the naming of that field in the nineties. I got involved in outward bound survival training that made an attempt to bring that program into the field of psychology as an experiment in consciousness-shifting, involving taking gang members who had been penally institutionalized through the court system out of their impoverished environment and putting them into an outward bound training camp in Northern Minnesota. The underlying idea behind this is to teach a kind of experientially realized self awareness and self reliance that could help the individuals to break the mental bonds of their dependency on gang culture. This was a fledgling program that involved the clinical psychology department at Mankato State. The idea has evolved and spread since then.

I've been posting on Thom's various boards since early 2004. In that time I have started a number of topics here in his environmental forums, where I prefer to post, that involved ecopsychology, both as a concept, and as a set of principles involved in related areas of interest, like developing rhizome communities in anticipation of another round of civilization's collapse, pursuing sustainable living objectives, and, as a part of all that, studying permaculture as a way of developing ecological consciousness.

Over the years, it's been interesting to observe the reaction to it as a concept coming from various parties, particularly those who treat it as a kind of pathetic joke of an idea, pursued by naive idealists unwilling to face the "reality" of the modern world.

Which leads me to remark, at times, that humans can adapt to pretty much anything, including their own psychosis.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Overpopulation of this (relatively) small globe coupled with run-away consumption by the "more civilized." One possible solution? Kill more people. The U.S. is doing its part here. Another possible solution and a far more humane (and wiser) one: VHEMT.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 9:14 am
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

Overpopulation of this (relatively) small globe coupled with run-away consumption by the "more civilized." One possible solution? Kill more people. The U.S. is doing its part here. Another possible solution and a far more humane (and wiser) one: VHEMT.

I am inclined to believe that those humans willing to voluntarily develop an ecological consciousness will move towards surviving long term as a species. Those who don't are already on a "voluntary" path to extinction. That movement just has many varying identities. Pretty much the same in the end, Wise and otherWise.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote .ren:

I am inclined to believe that those humans willing to voluntarily develop an ecological consciousness will move towards surviving long term as a species. Those who don't are already on a "voluntary" path to extinction.

I've no idea what you mean by this, .ren. Either the human specie survives or it doesn't.

It doesn't matter a whit to me whether or not humans survive as a specie. I would like to think that humans could exit peacefully with little pain.

If you haven’t read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” you can read it here:

https://d3jc3ahdjad7x7.cloudfront.net/lpbU4Zp5jIUGfk6vQOUfXwNHue7GEIRBtfLUltew5EcRJX9g.pdf

Also a fine read and re-read: “The Golden Tradition” an anthology of Urdu poetry. An example:

Put each step here

With the greatest care,

This manufactory

Is a workshop, alas,

Of the maker of glass.

.

No man has ever

Permanence here,

For every hour and minute

He’s journeying away

From power and sway.

Mohammad Taqi Mir

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 9:14 am
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:
Quote .ren:

I am inclined to believe that those humans willing to voluntarily develop an ecological consciousness will move towards surviving long term as a species. Those who don't are already on a "voluntary" path to extinction.

I've no idea what you mean by this, .ren. Either the human specie survives or it doesn't.

I'm simply saying that if the species survives it will survive as a part of the living biosphere of this earth, not apart from it. Those who are conscious of this will be working towards that long term survival, and I think they could also claim they care about the earth as other vehement people do, event the VHEMT ones. I'm in no position to explain how that happens, if you want a rational argument of some sort. It's just an ecological observation on my part as one who cares about the earth.

But then, if the human species survives or it doesn't is what you truly believe, and you don't care if anyone has an ecological consciousness or not... why promote VHEMT as a wise "solution"? Solution to what? This isn't clear to me at all:

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

Overpopulation of this (relatively) small globe coupled with run-away consumption by the "more civilized." One possible solution? Kill more people. The U.S. is doing its part here. Another possible solution and a far more humane (and wiser) one: VHEMT.

Though I agree that VHEMT is far more humane than civilization's 10,000 year litany of warfare and other horridly inhumane practices, I'm equally if not more befuddled by your writing as you appear to be by mine. Especially by that first sentence, which kind of leaves me hanging if not connected to the rest of this thread. After all, another possible solution to this civilized (civilization being derived from civis or "townsmen") creation could be to develop an attitude of ecological consciousness, since a civilized attitude is merely a creation from circumstances, not a necessity embedded in the human DNA.

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

It doesn't matter a whit to me whether or not humans survive as a specie.

I wasn't suggesting any contradiction to what I think matters to you, since I don't really think about that.

But then I notice that your use of the term "solution" becomes misleading, perhaps even contradictory. You must simply mean 'survival' or 'extinction' as some sort of systemically logical consequence, if you actually don't care. But your suggesting of the VHEMT as solution takes it to suggesting a more purposeful intent on your part. Intent implies motivational factors on your part, which to me imply a caring attitude:

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

I would like to think that humans could exit peacefully with little pain.

That looks like caring. I don't know if it is.

And so, that's your point of view. OK, that's cool with me. Need it go further? Need it be everyone's? Are you promoting anything here?

I am, I'd like to see people develop an ecological consciousness. People I know who have developed one tend to be more caring about their fellow beings on this planet, not just fellow humans.

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

If you haven’t read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” you can read it here:

https://d3jc3ahdjad7x7.cloudfront.net/lpbU4Zp5jIUGfk6vQOUfXwNHue7GEIRBtfLUltew5EcRJX9g.pdf

I have read it. I can look over and see it on my book shelf right this moment. Cormac is one of my favorite contemporary writers of fiction. Thanks for the link in case any of the drive bys who haven't would like to.

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

Also a fine read and re-read: “The Golden Tradition” an anthology of Urdu poetry. An example:

Put each step here

With the greatest care,

This manufactory

Is a workshop, alas,

Of the maker of glass.

.

No man has ever

Permanence here,

For every hour and minute

He’s journeying away

From power and sway.

Mohammad Taqi Mir

Thank you, I love poetry, I love fiction.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I know this may seem a little weird, because I seem to be dominating this thread with my wordy posts, but this is not actually about me and my ideas, but about the ideas that Gregg introduced in the OP with his free to download and read pdf book:

Stress R Us: An Essay on What's Killing us, why, and what we can do about it.

I'd like to see more response to his actual efforts. There's quite a lot to digest and discuss. Discussion would be refreshing for a change. Here's a bit of an introduction, and the suggestion of at least one topic:

Quote Gregg Miklashek:

Armed with the knowledge discovered within the next 300 plus pages, the reader will share the revelation that my patients, our reading of historical Endocrinology, Ecology, Ethology, Psychology, Neurology, etc., as well as the latest findings in all these disciplines, and an abiding lifelong love of Natural History, have revealed to me and my fellows.

One-child families will reduce world-wide human populations to the 1950 level of 2.5 billion by 2100, stop the otherwise inevitable environmental collapse, and prevent the accurately forecast 1798 Malthusian “misery and vice” that our children and grandchildren will otherwise certainly face. Furthermore, in the many experimental animal models studied to date, we can expect a looming 90% population collapse, in the not too distant future, resulting from this chronically over-active stress response (COASTER) and the ultimate failure of our adrenal glands, as demonstrated in the slide on the far right of the sequence on the front cover of this work.

Kind of one step back from VHEMT, I suppose. Doubt if it'll be more palatable to those cultures and religions that value large families.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

.ren, I put "more civilized" in quotes purposely - the mega-consumers.

If you've visited VHMET's site (http://www.vhemt.org/) and read what's there you should pretty much understand what I'm suggesting and why. It's all about compassion.

You can get a used copy of "Golden Tradition" from Amazon for $4.99 (if they're still available). Beautiful. That book and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" provide me congenial - and sufficient - philosophy.

https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Tradition-Anthology-Studies-Oriental/dp/0231036876/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Golden Tradition: Anthology of Urdu Poetry (Studies in Oriental culture) (English and Urdu Edition) Hardcover – June 1, 1973

by

Ahmed Ali (Editor)

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 9:14 am
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

.ren, I put "more civilized" in quotes purposely - the mega-consumers.

I have made many efforts over the years to point out that I don't agree with the "good" in the supposed Ghandi quip:

Journalist: What do you think of Western civilization?
Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

So I believe that can be recognized as: I noticed your quotes and already am on that page.

I find that people often assume a word's meaning I don't assume, nor agree with. Being civilized as being decent and humane to others is one of those.

Being civilized is to me a lot of accumulated behaviors over the past 10,000 or so years of its technological history (an institution is a kind of technology to me) in the human species, most of which fall under the heading of authoritarian institutionalizating of the populace; and then of people adapting and behaving within these institutional settings (either hegemonically or under coercion) in ways that are utterly atrocious, and generally suppressed as such from their conscious thoughts.

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

If you've visited VHMET's site and read what's there you should pretty much understand what I'm suggesting and why. It's all about compassion.

I don't question the intent.

Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

You can get a used copy of "Golden Tradition" from Amazon for $4.99 (if they're still available). Beautiful. That book and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" provide me congenial - and sufficient - philosophy.

https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Tradition-Anthology-Studies-Oriental/dp/0231036876/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Golden Tradition: Anthology of Urdu Poetry (Studies in Oriental culture) (English and Urdu Edition) Hardcover – June 1, 1973

by

Ahmed Ali (Editor)

Thank you.

By the way, out of Heart of Darkness by way of Apocalypse Now comes a little youtube thing I like to throw in once in awhile. I changed the words to suit the response in an earlier post today:

The hysteria... the hysteria...

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

This thread looks like it has the potential to attract some interesting posts and participants. I do hope the OP’s author won’t disappear as some tend to do.

I suppose you can consider me a drive-by, since right now I don’t have the time to read the full text of Stress R Us, nor respond to the thread as it has evolved so far. I did, however, read portions of Gregg’s E-book, starting with, surprise surprise, his comments about women at Chapter 33. Then I checked to see if he references Robert Sapolsky, who is one of my faves on the subject of stress. He does.

Quote Greeley G. Miklashek, “Stress R Us” re Women:

...Psychiatric offices, when I commenced my career 42 years ago, were primarily utilized by women, stressed, anxious, and depressed. At some point, men started seeking help for similar problems but, years ago, women were the mainstay clients of psychiatry. Why? The answer is clear to me today: isolation from the prehistoric norm of constant companionship and support of other women and an historical switch from matriarchal to patriarchal social organization that occurred approximately 4,000 years ago in Eurasia and into all of Europe, when Central Asian pastoral men domesticated the horse and discovered its potential as a weapon of inter-group domination-war. These Kurgan warriors, then, rode into Western Europe and conquered the matriarchal, relatively peaceful undefended agrarian and hunter-gatherer peoples, changing the course of history.

The brilliant and courageous work of the late Latvian- American archaeologist, Marija Gimbutas, describes this event with undeniable clarity, and the isolated, depowered women of the modern world are the direct result. Women must regain their power and they can only do it through cooperation with other women. Women need to reconstruct the core clan groups of our ancestors, in their living environments, and limit their family size to one child, thus protecting them from the multiple dangers of childbirth, as well as saving the planet. This, of course, requires a close proximity or common residence and common facilities for cooking, crafting, conversing, analyzing and planning. Men need to honor this need of women for female cooperation and one child families, and take-in another 18 holes, go back to the hunting camp, go fishing, find a job, write their own book or poem or essay, take a hike, go camping, take the kids to a park, rake some leaves, retreat to the “man cave”, build a cabin, work on a team project with other men, etc.

So, am I the only one following this story who sees that we need to reconstruct our social lives to approximate the social structures of our ancestors, including their one-child families, for which we are neuro- physiologically fitted and in which our health will be fully restored?

The theories of Marija Gimbutas interest me, even though I’m not convinced it’s possible or even desirable for humanity to revert to “gynocentric” cultural systems, or supposed Goddess-culture living styles. For one thing, it would be very difficult for the modern, self-actualized woman to accept a lifestyle that involved clan-style arrangements, where all the women worked together in domestic pursuits —work inside the home, staying near hearth and children— while the men got to go off to play. After all, these days women too have their needs for adventure, sport, literature and playful relaxation. And why would the men be relieved of responsibilities for children and home?

It’s probably going to be a long time before women forget what it was like to be single, independent and free to follow their talents outside the home (not to disparage homemaking). But it’s a quandary, for sure. Speaking for myself, I sometimes think it would be great to live communally, where communal kitchens and gathering spaces could be shared. But such would drive me ‘round the bend were I compelled to give up my creative work in conformity with group communal values.

The nice thing about “civilization” as it is, a misfit can exist in his or her very own space and not feel crappy about it.

The beauty of being a misfit - Lidia Yuknavitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AgCr2tTvng

Susan Cain: The power of introverts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thanks for that! Actually, I read archaeology and anthropology as a psychiatrist, largely due to acquiring a large collection of artifacts from the dismantled Native American artifact collections of two famous American collectors, both recently deceased, Clem Caldwell and Earl Townsend, Jr. If you'd like to see them, you can visit my website: gravettianvenusfigurines.com. The "Berlin" collection of 10 items, labelled identically and found in both of the above collector's collections, and accompanied by a letter from the Smithsonian strongly suggesting they have been in the US for over 100 years, contains 6 "Venus figurines", which explains the name of the website. The spearthrower associated with the figurines was 14C dated at 15,000 years--the eact time of the probable return of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers to northern Europe following the retreat of the Brandenberg lobe of the Scandinavian glacier which had earlier covered the area. Collection notes state that the items were found in a river bank outside Berlin, thus the name. This material is on display at the Logan Museum of Anthropology of Beloit College. Bottom line: our northern European hunter-gatherer ancestors revered senior women in their clan with supberb hand carved soft stone figurines. Over 400 have been found all over Europe and dating back at least 40,000 years, but these belong to a small sub-group carved of soft stone. Speculative opinions of "experts" are one thing but real artifacts are, well, real and undeniable. Senior, experienced women were very important to these ancestral people. Marija Gimbutas was correct, and calling this a "goddess culture" is not over-stepping the proof of the artifacts. Gregg

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am
Quote Zenzoe:

The beauty of being a misfit - Lidia Yuknavitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AgCr2tTvng

Susan Cain: The power of introverts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

I see you left off with my own two primary ways of coping with civilization's seemingly inevitable stress: reveling in one's misfitedness, and introversion. Both go together for me. I suspect if I was a misfit without the introversion I'd be a candidate for all this adrenalilne junkie behavior that civilization promotes. At leastly partly as a result of this issue Gregg introduces and discusses in 11, page 101, Adrenaline (Epinephrine).

Quote (from my above link:

The "high" you get from these dangerous activities is similar to the high you would get from cocaine or amphetamine (speed), only more so. The effect of these stimulants is to flood the brain with dopamine; an adrenaline high is similar. To get a high that's beyond what you would get with drugs you have to put your life on the line. People can become addicted to the risk and may have to keep raising the limits to get the reward they seek.

In her The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World, (it sits on one of my book shelves next to Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking), psychotherapist Marti Olsen Laney discusses the relationship between dopamine, adrenaline, and extroversion, and in contrast, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and it's calming effect in the introverts' way of using their minds to deal with the world. She argues at one point that its a hardwiring issue. I don't know. I just know how it's always been for me.

Working backwards:

Quote Zenzoe:

The nice thing about “civilization” as it is, a misfit can exist in his or her very own space and not feel crappy about it.

Here's a take you might enjoy:

Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman

This book is the story of the life of Nisa, a member of the !Kung tribe of hunter-gatherers from southern Africa’s Kalahari desert. Told in her own words―earthy, emotional, vivid―to Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist who succeeded, with Nisa’s collaboration, in breaking through the immense barriers of language and culture, the story is a fascinating view of a remarkable woman.

And finally,

Quote Zenzoe:

The theories of Marija Gimbutas interest me, even though I’m not convinced it’s possible or even desirable for humanity to revert to “gynocentric” cultural systems, or supposed Goddess-culture living styles. For one thing, it would be very difficult for the modern, self-actualized woman to accept a lifestyle that involved clan-style arrangements, where all the women worked together in domestic pursuits —work inside the home, staying near hearth and children— while the men got to go off to play.

I have my own doubts about the possibility of modernists inventing any semblance of that scenario.

Aside from that, the problem of going from artifacts to theory have always had their resisters in the field Gimbutas has chosen. I think this paragraph from your link accurately describes the attitudes she faces in her field:

Quote from The Goddess Theory article:

Like many other archeologists, Tringham is reluctant to criticize Gimbutas because she does not wish to thwart the feminist objectives with which Gimbutas' ideas are associated. Nevertheless, she says: "What Gimbutas is trying to do is to make a generalized stage-of-evolution type of interpretation, in which all societies at one time are (dominated by women) and then they all change to another kind. But prehistory is much more complicated than that. Anthropologists left that behind a long time ago."

Like anyone facing criticism, she does have her armor:

Such criticism does not ruffle Gimbutas, perhaps because the adversities she overcame early in her life were far more threatening than her colleagues are now. As a graduate student in Lithuania, she was forced to go into hiding when the Soviet Union occupied her country in 1940 and sent many of her friends and relatives to Siberia.

And support, though from the outside, mostly, so its more in the realm of cultural support, rather than archeological.

Even so, it was not until two eminences of the spiritual and feminist communities acknowledged Gimbutas that her ideas received wide exposure. One was Joseph Campbell, the celebrated mythologist who died in 1987. A friend of Campbell's named Barbara McClintock, director of public programs at the C. G. Jung Institute in San Francisco, says Campbell considered Gimbutas "one of the few people on the planet who understood the ancient world, because she could bring her imagination to it and not just act like a scientist." In the last few years of his life, Campbell turned to Gimbutas for insights into ancient cultures, and he wrote the foreword to Gimbutas' latest book, "The Language of the Goddess," which is scheduled for publication in October by Harper & Row.

Equally significantly, a book called "The Chalice and the Blade," written by Riane Eisler, used Gimbutas' ideas as its cornerstone for arguing that features of modern civilization such as patriarchy, warfare and competitiveness are recent historical developments, introduced by the villainous Indo-Europeans. Far from being inevitable, Eisler claims, the ills of modern civilization can be blamed on its unbalanced embrace of masculine values. Societies that cherish the Earth, as Gimbutas and Eisler argue that the Old Europeans did, would not waste their wealth on nuclear arsenals, nor would they allow life on the planet to be threatened by environmental problems. Published in 1987, "The Chalice and the Blade" is now in its seventh printing and enjoys a kind of cult prominence within the women's movement.

I enjoy both Rianne Eisler's and Joseph Campbell's ruminations. I've read most of them. They are of course speculative, and give shudders to the strictly science minded. I once met Rianne Eisler on line at a European message board I once frequented (Eurotrib.com). It was delightful and rewarding.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

[response to #18 & 19]

I’m probably repeating myself, but I have to say how much I appreciate the art and literary references of the kind .ren and Gregg bring to this forum. What a rich thing it is to encounter offerings from that wealth of lifelong scholarship and/or from a personal book shelf, or from recollections of the stream-of-consciousness kind. I mean, I have my own random batch of books, movies, videos and art references to throw into the mix here, but those can’t surprise me or bounce me out of my inertia, whereas material coming from y’all encourages further investigation, and I’m soon off to gather and collect something you’ve recommended to add to my education. So, thanks for those, as I receive them as gifts.

Quote gmiklashek950: Bottom line: our northern European hunter-gatherer ancestors revered senior women in their clan with supberb hand carved soft stone figurines. Over 400 have been found all over Europe and dating back at least 40,000 years, but these belong to a small sub-group carved of soft stone. Speculative opinions of "experts" are one thing but real artifacts are, well, real and undeniable. Senior, experienced women were very important to these ancestral people. Marija Gimbutas was correct, and calling this a "goddess culture" is not over-stepping the proof of the artifacts. Gregg

If those are the stone figurines (I don’t see myself in any of those particular examples, but ok) I remember from my days as an art student, as in, for example, the Venus of Willendorf, then sure, I can see how a researcher might see them as reverential. Judging by the abstraction, the stylization of the little carvings, one has to infer worship— perhaps of the feminine and its sacred energy.

One wonders what future archeologists —presuming the species survives another 40,000 years, which I doubt it will— would decide about our unearthed artifacts. I wonder what this will mean about us.

Quote .ren:

Quote Zenzoe:

The beauty of being a misfit - Lidia Yuknavitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AgCr2tTvng

Susan Cain: The power of introverts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

I see you left off with my own two primary ways of coping with civilization's seemingly inevitable stress: reveling in one's misfitedness, and introversion. Both go together for me. I suspect if I was a misfit without the introversion I'd be a candidate for all this adrenalilne junkie behavior that civilization promotes. At leastly partly as a result of this issue Gregg introduces and discusses in 11, page 101, Adrenaline (Epinephrine).

Quote (from my above link:

The "high" you get from these dangerous activities is similar to the high you would get from cocaine or amphetamine (speed), only more so. The effect of these stimulants is to flood the brain with dopamine; an adrenaline high is similar. To get a high that's beyond what you would get with drugs you have to put your life on the line. People can become addicted to the risk and may have to keep raising the limits to get the reward they seek.

In her The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World, (it sits on one of my book shelves next to Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking), psychotherapist Marti Olsen Laney discusses the relationship between dopamine, adrenaline, and extroversion, and in contrast, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and it's calming effect in the introverts' way of using their minds to deal with the world. She argues at one point that its a hardwiring issue. I don't know. I just know how it's always been for me.

I have never been attracted to physical risk-taking or drugs. So boring of me, I suppose, but at least I’m still standing. I’d rather risk looking delusional by trying to write a story. I remember an interview with Ray Bradbury, where he explained that he liked to sit at the typewriter and treat it as a ouija board, just letting what comes up spontaneously drive the process. That idea made writing seem like an adventure, not a chore.

I have a friend who is happiest getting on his motorcycle and driving as fast and madly as his cycling talents will allow. He claims it calms him, just to have to be so alert and focused. But then, he gets a calming effect from yoga too, so I guess there’s no accounting for dopamine. ;-)

I want to read more and more. I like your suggestions. Very good.

That’s enough for now. It’s getting late...

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Great fun to be part of an intelligent, civil discourse on my favorite subjects, with fellow correspondents who are curious and informative. If you'll allow me, an active neuroscience reader and retired neuropsychiatrist, to weigh-in on neurochemistry, adrenaline junkies are actually endorphin, enkephalin, and cortisol junkies, and include some of us all of the time, all of us some of the time, and too many of us too much of the time. Cortisol, the central subject of "Stress R Us", is the key to nearly all of our illnesses, and, when we're running around "like chickens with our heads cut off", we are "hooked" on our own endogenous opiates and cortisol, but the cortisol is breaking down our proteins and turning them into glucose (gluconeogenesis). Unfortunately for us, we are not being briefly chased by lions in modern society, and, thus, do not need all this extra energy, which is then stored as brown fat in our abdomens. The process is described in detail in my book. So, we are actually dissolving our own bones and solid organs when we're stressed out, however much we're enjoying the numbed eurphoria of the experience, like riding a motorcycle for entended periods or just surviving in a modern city. Yoga, on the otherhand, is activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which couteracts the sympathetic (or arousal, or "fight or flight") nervous system, which are equal but opposite parts of the autonomic nervous system. Dopamine is the motivation chemical, also responsible for anger when elevated, and one of the two depleted chemicals in clinical depression. It is not the often misstated "pleasure" chemical, which the endogenous opiates are, as well as cortisol, substance G, etc.

As for the Venus of Willendorf, which I am intimately familiar with, my collection of Venus figurines comprise 8 of her sisters, doubtless carved contemoraneously in similat late ice-age environments in south-western and southern Europe c. 20-25kya. I hope you enjoyed looking at my collection on gravettianvenusfigurines.com. A group of senior, revered women ran hunter-gatherer groups, just as they often do in such groups today. This social-structural necessity occurs as the women are tasked with "keeping the home fires burning" in order to keep the plentiful predators at bay (carnivore packs, big cats--ancient Europe had 4 species:steppe lion, cave lion, saber-tooth cats, and panthers, bear dogs, competing clans, etc. Women are more verbal to this day, as the sound of the human voice freightens predators and the senior women would have been arrayed around the cooking fire and chatting incessantly for that reason, if no other. The hunters, by necessity, had to be stealthy and very quiet in their hunts, depending on body language and mimiced animal sounds to coordinate the hunts and travels to the often distant hunting grounds. Thus, as usual, necessity is the mother of invention. Men would have carried a Venus figurine of an important, guardian? female to sooth them through their lonely, dangerous nights, and, I believe, even used them as handy weapons to discourage curious carnivores sniffing too close by. A blow to the nose will discourage most carnivores more than an attempt to stab or spear one to death, which may only enrage it. I have actually had this experience with a curious Black Bear in the Canadian woods. All human behaviour today once made perfect sense in our natural environment of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, man, woman, and child.

Thanks, again, for a great thread. Sadly, this is a rarity for me. Gregg

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am

I meant to respond to this from .ren: “I see you left off with my own two primary ways of coping with civilization's seemingly inevitable stress: reveling in one's misfitedness, and introversion. Both go together for me…

Yes, to revel in “one’s misfitedness and introversion” is exactly what I do too, in a quiet, never-spoken-out-loud way. Just the other day, I had a secret moment of —don’t tell the evil eye— joy over not having to make myself “presentable” that day for class, or work, or to attend some social function I couldn’t really care less about, but rather I could just allow myself to wait to see what I might be drawn toward. Life in this culture pushes us from behind far too long, with schedules and other’s plans for us. It can be an awful thing for the introvert, or for the creative at heart (which all children are, btw, and oldsters should re-discover if they’ve lost it.).

I do wish our DRC/drc2 were here for this conversation. On the other hand, he might not like my being so, perhaps, deferential in my tone. He liked strong women, for example women who do not speak with question marks after all their sentences. If I read him correctly, he was a humanist with a feminist flavor at times and would be insulted with the idea that the sexes should be restricted to roles. But I don’t think he would object to my attitude here, where I choose to defer in recognition that some people just happen to have a greater depth of knowledge and experience than I. We are equals by virtue of our basic humanity; it doesn’t mean we have to pretend we’re equal in every respect.

That said, yes, Gregg, I did enjoy your website. It’s spectacular. I do so envy your collection— would love to have them all, here in person, in a special cabinet.

Do we assume they were carved by the males in those communities? Is that the default assumption? I suppose it should be, except that perhaps it’s just as easy to picture some females in tribes in the role of creating carved tokens, just as they might create belts, blankets, or jewelry, that is if we’re talking matriarchy. However, I’m not sure women would be big on emphasizing their reproductive parts, or the parts that males we have come to know for a very long time seem to focus on at the expense of every other aspect of our selves, especially at the expense of our personhood, which is mostly revealed in faces. The faces on the venuses are notably absent. And, to the modern mind, that tends to suggest depersonalization. However, we don’t want to think such an ugly thing of our ancestors, preferring instead to consider some higher motivation.

Anyway, I'll just say it— how do we know these were not the first pornography and used for masturbatory purposes? Just wondering.

For now, I will defer to the archeology experts, but just know I do now have my doubts as to whether those were truly matriarchies. For one thing, surely women back then could think and create beyond hearth, reproduction, and care, just as we can today. How do we know these representations of the female, reducing females as they do to exaggerated reproductive body parts, were not a product of patriarchy?

Good ol’ Google finds some argument does exist re goddess theory. Interesting: http://www.debunker.com/texts/goddess_rem.html

Sometimes too —and this is no accusation, just a thought— the tendency today is to romanticize cultures of the past. For example, some psychologists today have been big on recommending the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. There, the author purports to offer sage advice based on the teachings of “men and women of knowledge,” that is, the Toltecs. Never mentioned is the fact that the Toltec “civilization” practiced human sacrifice, wars of conquest, the death penalty, mutilation —gossip got your lips excised— theocracy and slavery, within a system of patriarchy, classism and hierarchy.

Could it be, the supposed goddess-worshipping tribes of the neolithic age also were somewhat less than what we’d like to think they were?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

There is a living example of social/archeological progress today. Richard Engel was embedded with the Kurds. A Marxist, Atheist, non bureaucratic, non hierarchical but heterarchical (think fishing net vs top down pyramid)

Erdogan hates them, Kurds have equal numbers of females in control, and he- Erdogon thinks women should just stay home. Erdogen may be behind the supposed Kurd attacks, since Kurds are fighting the same sides but offers civil standards instead of sharia barbarism.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

A couple of excerpts from the introduction to Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman:

Traditional !Kung groups are economically self sufficient (except for iron, which is acquired by trade). Children, adolescents under fifteen, and adults over sixty contribute little to the quest for food, and others gather or hunt only about two or three days a week. Additional time is spent in housework, cooking and serving food, child care, and the making and repairing of tools, clothing, and huts. But this still leaves substantial time for leisure activities, including singing and composing songs, playing musical instruments, sewing intricate bead designs, telling stories, playing games, visiting, or just lying around and resting. -p.10

The day to day organization of subsistence is as complex as the seasonal round. !Kung women contribute the majority (from 60 to 80 percent by weight) of the total food consumed. Averageing little more than two days a week in the quest for food, they gather from among 105 species of wild plant foods, including an assortment of other vegetables and fruites. They also collect honey from beehives, and occasionally small mammals, tortoises, snakes, caterpillars, insects, and birds' eggs. Intact ostrich ages are sought both for their nutritional value -- equivalent toabout two dozen hens' eggs -- and for their shells. After the egg is extracted through a hole bored in one end, the shell makes an excellent container for carrying and storing water. Broken eggshells found at old nesting sites are fashioned into beads, to be strung or sewn into necklaces, headbands, and aprons. -p.12

As you'll read at the beginning of this clip,

N!ai The Story of a Kung Woman - PREVIEW

In 1970, the South African government established a reservation on the Namibia/Botswana border which restricted the !Kung to an area one-half the size of their original territory. The reservation lacks sufficient food and water for the !Kung

What we in anthropology fully understand is that the few remaining gathering/hunting groups that had managed to survive when Nisa and N!ai told their stories, back in the 70's and early eighties, had done so while similar g/h cultures had not. Over the past 10,000 years or so, with the onset of agriculture and the organizing of cities, and thus the rise of civilizations with their warlike characteristics, complex agriculture-based societies simply took what property they wanted and forced the gathering/hunting societies to merge with theirs or withdraw to areas that those more aggressive societies did not want. The Kalahari, where the !Kung survived for thousands of years, is one such area.

But inevitably, yet another complex society comes along as the farm fed human population explodes in the 20th Century with the addition of fossil fuels to their energy reserves -- South Africa -- and decides it wants that desert. Nice of them to "give" the !Kung some. Sort of like what took place here in the U.S. since about 1492. Now the managers of this version of civilized society romanticize their take over of the continent along with its genocide of the native population as American Exceptionalism.

"Before the white people came we did what we wanted," Nǃai recalls, describing the life she remembers as a child: following her mother to pick berries, roots, and nuts as the season changed; the division of giraffe meat; the kinds of rain; her resistance to her marriage to ǀGunda at the age of eight; and her changing feelings about her husband when he becomes a healer. As Nǃai speaks, the film presents scenes from 1950s that show her as a young girl and a young wife.

(Wiki)

The Royal Anthropological Institute owns the rights to the film and they monitor the Internet to make sure it's not offered anywhere for free. So I can't provide a link.

Here's about ten minutes of Bushmen life:

San Bushmen Culture and Lifestyle

This one was done in '58.

The Hunters (1958) (!Kung San)

Here's a rumination that caught my attention before I decided to study anthropology:

Savagism and Civilization

Then there's this:

The Invention of Primitive Society: Transformations of an Illusion

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

In my last post (#24) I brought in some anthropological observations of the ending of a way of life, the san Bushmen, or the !Kung, whose way of life was brought to an end not by the enviornment, to which their culture was eminently, and seamlessly adapted, but by another human culture, a culture of a very different nature, that has grown like a virus that keeps overtaking the human species, grows, collapses, and regrows again.

The difference that I first recognized in these gathering/hunting types of human culture and the civilized type that I am intricately a part of, like it or not, is something I call "the principle of self reliance, coupled with the recognition of the need for humane contact with one another." That's all I really want to bring up as a point to consider.

I don't know how well that relates to the principle that Gregg brings out throughout his essay when he talks about hierarchy, status, and status battles. I see that as a screen through which to view what's going on, and it may order the way we see things if we persist with that screen, but it may not be the best way to see the principles of consciousness that pervade a way of life that our ancestors led in these small, intimate, lifelong associations that shared a knowledge with their progeny that sustained them in balance with their environment for thousands of years.

Because of my circumstances growing up, learning to farm in an old-fashioned, family farm way, poor and with ancient, ever breaking down equipment, some transformed from a horse drawn to tractor drawn era, I became extremely sensitive to what I call self reliance. When something breaks down, you don't jump to a cell phone (run to the house in my case back then) and call an expert to come fix it. You learn to do it yourself. Many of the points Gregg makes, especially related to our adaption to technologies like the automobile, industrial agriculture, and so many of the things that are created by the specialties involved in complex institutions that organize and produce these things and the built environment we now live in and attempt to survive, are similar to the points I make from the perspective of self reliance. in while it at the same time works against much of our evolved human nature

My own way of achieving a sense of stability and calm is to keep my life as simple as possible so that I can rely on myself. For me, this involves learning to make and repair my own technology. A home, by the way, which I can make from scratch, is a technology. It is in my life-long effort to do this that I discover the line that separates my ability to be totally self reliant in our society from actually achieving that goal, as each member of a !Kung band is once they achieve a certain number of years of experiential learning, It is in seeing that line of separation that I begin to see how our own society is a culture of adaption to the environment that is beyond our individual capacity to control and direct it either for good or otherwise.

For instance: one characteristic of gathering and hunting societies involves the technological capacities of each member of a group regarding the range of shared technological knowledge adaptive capacities of their culture. That range, though quite complex enough to take a number of years to learn, is well within the learning grasp of each member of a group. Thus, all the women can hunt and make the technology used for hunting, and all the men can find the food that the women primarily gather. Their observed differences in the activities they focus on as part of a group's survival strategy is not based on individual ignorance of the whole of the technology, which leads to all sorts of mischief in treating others in a complex society, and all sorts of inegalitarian ranking behaviors, they all just choose to do certain things that end up looking like a sexual division of labor and knowledge, but no on is restricted to those things due to educational specialization and lack of knowing how to do other things.

That is not anywhere near the case in a typical complex society. Thus, the hierarchies that emerge in our complex societies, and that, as Gregg puts it, produce endless status battles, are specializations that can be measured and ranked. So with this greater societal spectrum of knowledge we value so highly, goes a loss of self reliance when it comes to doing the things we do to take part in our culture's adaptation to the biosphere. And the lesser the role each one of us plays in that total adaptation we are part of, the less we have to say about how it takes place, and what it does to the environment. And if a Holocene Extinction has indeed been triggered by anthropogenic activities, as some of our specialists in the realm of science are seeing, we individually can recognize that something is taking place on the order that far exceeds our capacity as individuals to control. This is similar to being a gather/hunter and having nature change inexplicitly and beyond the group's capacity to control, and having to figure out what to do when the cultural tools and knowledge one has no longer applies to the environment. The difference is, we modern humans have created a complex society that is acting on that global, biospheric scale, so it seems we humans ought to be able to do something about it. And how could that not be stressful if one thinks about it?

One of the features of my orientation to self reliance in my way of living is it tends to isolate me. This, oddly enough, or better, ironically enough, is pretty much the opposite effect of what takes place in the very natural, experientially-learned self reliance of individuals in a gathering/hunting group. It takes a lot of effort to be self reliant alone. And in the end, it's kind of meaningless. Thus I can at least empathize with Alberto's earlier references to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT).

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Quote .ren:

One of the features of my orientation to self reliance in my way of living is it tends to isolate me. This, oddly enough, or better, ironically enough, is pretty much the opposite effect of what takes place in the very natural, experientially-learned self reliance of individuals in a gathering/hunting group. It takes a lot of effort to be self reliant alone. And in the end, it's kind of meaningless. Thus I can at least empathize with Alberto's earlier references to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT).

I am confused, .ren. “Meaningless” in what way? I need examples.

Also, I find the term “self-reliant” somewhat iffy, that is, if we’re talking modern “civilization.” You live in a house you built yourself, as you said earlier. That’s self-reliant, but I don’t see such self-reliance as a pure thing. To build that house, didn’t you have to rely on outside help, that is, rely on the community?

For example, I am building a small tool shed in my garden. That’s self-reliant, I do believe. However, I have to go buy building materials at the local Lowe’s or Home Depot or Dixieline stores. I’m relying on those outside entities in order to complete my task. Unless you have milled all your own timber, etc., yourself, you must have depended on similar help too. Yes?

So, is that what you mean? “Self-reliance” is a meaningless term within the context of civilization? Sorry, if I’m missing your point. Sometimes I need specifics, in order to make sense of things. Probably my weakness, not yours.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Quote .ren:

One of the features of my orientation to self reliance in my way of living is it tends to isolate me. This, oddly enough, or better, ironically enough, is pretty much the opposite effect of what takes place in the very natural, experientially-learned self reliance of individuals in a gathering/hunting group. It takes a lot of effort to be self reliant alone. And in the end, it's kind of meaningless. Thus I can at least empathize with Alberto's earlier references to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT).

I am confused, .ren. “Meaningless” in what way? I need examples.

Also, I find the term “self-reliant” somewhat iffy, that is, if we’re talking modern “civilization.” You live in a house you built yourself, as you said earlier. That’s self-reliant, but I don’t see such self-reliance as a pure thing. To build that house, didn’t you have to rely on outside help, that is, rely on the community?

For example, I am building a small tool shed in my garden. That’s self-reliant, I do believe. However, I have to go buy building materials at the local Lowe’s or Home Depot or Dixieline stores. I’m relying on those outside entities in order to complete my task. Unless you have milled all your own timber, etc., yourself, you must have depended on similar help too. Yes?

So, is that what you mean? “Self-reliance” is a meaningless term within the context of civilization? Sorry, if I’m missing your point. Sometimes I need specifics, in order to make sense of things. Probably my weakness, not yours.

I apologize once again for writing something long and complicated. And of course once again I try to do it in less than an hour, with minimal drawer time and rewrites.

I ask you to reread this paragraph and put it together with what you've quoted and with your questions:

Quote .ren:

My own way of achieving a sense of stability and calm is to keep my life as simple as possible so that I can rely on myself. For me, this involves learning to make and repair my own technology. A home, by the way, which I can make from scratch, is a technology. It is in my life-long effort to do this that I discover the line that separates my ability to be totally self reliant in our society from actually achieving that goal, as each member of a !Kung band is once they achieve a certain number of years of experiential learning, It is in seeing that line of separation that I begin to see how our own society is a culture of adaption to the environment that is beyond our individual capacity to control and direct it either for good or otherwise.

The key line in what becomes a compound sentence combining characteristics of !Kung culture that were my main point in my previous post with this important self-realization is:

It is in my life-long effort to do this that I discover the line that separates my ability to be totally self reliant in our society from actually achieving that goal,...

It is in my life long practice that I become aware of my dependency on the larger human constructed system... Thus I am completely and fully well aware that in a complex society, such as ours, I am no where near my ideal of self reliance, let alone any possible capacity to be self sufficient. Can you see that I am speaking from that awareness when I talk about self reliance and a sense of what we can do about the effect of human activities on the biosphere of this planet (that is, the Anthropocene-induced 6th Mass Extinction)? I am merely trying to point out that I am aware of how limited our capacity to be self reliant is, and how that limits our capacity as individuals to change something so massive as modern complex society.

I think this takes your ealier suggestion of "romanticizing" gathering/hunting cultural strategies to a different place. Not to romanticism, which of course is not necessarily absent, since romantic inclinations are themselves very human, and part of our story telling and artistic capacities (who knows how much a role that plays in our adaptive capacities) but to something more along the lines of an analysis of human cultural capacity and its relationship -- and thus our species' responsibilities -- to the environment we must adapt to.

And the point I'm making about meaningless, is not an indictment of anyone else's efforts, just my own, or rather my own obstinate insistence on trying to achieve the obviously impossible feat of self reliance. It's a personal statement about my own life. Meaningless in this context has to do with a sense of my own behavior as a part of our species' survival which, as a humane, deeply empathic being with the knowledge of the certainty of my own mortality, I also carry in my mind along with my personal goals as part of my own existence -- however little those sociopaths and psychopaths bred by this complex society do in their various self-oriented ways. It's in regard to this modern feature of emphasizing a very isolating form of individuality at the expense of the whole, breeding a kind of psychosis in our management class, that we see so prevalent in our modern institutionalism, with its now apparently imminent effect as a 6th Mass Extinction, that I am seeing something like a VHEMT arising as a kind of humane moral response and a statement about the human species itself and its place on this planet.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

While I think there's no doubt there were individual bands or clans/tribes that in hindsight had some envisioned garden of eden existence, I expect they were the exception rather than the norm. By and large the normal life for the hunter gathers groupings was a life of feast and famine just like it is and was for the wild life they followed. The climate may have been more stable but the clans survival still depended on a lot of variables day to day and year by year even without running into a competing band of humans for the same food supplies. Besides being the main course there's not many things as stressful as not having something to eat.

One shouldn't be tempted to over romanticize what nature is, or rather what it was as there's not much of it left. All the parks and 'nature' walks you prescribe that are so calming Dr. is not nature but some groomed highway devoid of what made the human species what it is because the natural has been stripped away. Because the natural is not so pretty a picture as we'd like paint when push comes to shove. I agree whole heartily that todays man has lost contact with his roots but that's because he's killed it all off trying to relieve the stress of trying to survive day to day by erasing the vulgarities of the natural. When was the last time you went to 'natural' and had to worry about being eaten? The last time you even had to worry about getting lost? I submit you have no idea what being in the wild actually means any more than what your idealized vision of some distant garden of eden all humans lived was in real time which was in reality mostly hard, brutal.........and short.

Short being the operative word in the wild let's consider, all the malaise the good Dr. lays under the heading of 'modern diseases'. First of all many of them wouldn't have been known because there was no means to identify them even if they could have been suspected or thought of. Then of course humans didn't live long enough to develop quite a few of the modern illnesses he lists. I also question if the actual percentage in the occurrence of any illness caused by stress within any given population is that much different today than days of yore because let's face it, the stress in the 'good old' days of yore couldn't have been any less stressful than it is today, it was just of a different type is all. After that there's numerous illnesses that have been tracked as being past down genetically irrespective of any stress levels introduced through food or water degradation or from the causal reasons of modern life stress. In other words, like it or not death is a part of life....live with it. Stress is an integral piece of the human puzzle just as it is with every other creature on earth. It's hard wired into us.

The saddest part of the whole thing is that while not unique in the animal kingdom in it's ability to plan for a desired outcome we alone are the unchallenged masters at that talent. And what has man done with that unabridged gift?

Wasted the entire planet.

Sorry I'll save my empathy for all the other symbiant (I think that's the right word) creatures this pox called humanity will take down with it. Humanity can go to hell for I care.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 5:55 pm

Thanks, .ren, for the clarification. I do believe I understand now what you’re saying. But if I've missed the point again, I apologize in advance.

Quote .ren:

It's in regard to this modern feature of emphasizing a very isolating form of individuality at the expense of the whole, breeding a kind of psychosis in our management class, that we see so prevalent in our modern institutionalism, with its now apparently imminent effect as a 6th Mass Extinction, that I am seeing something like a VHEMT arising as a kind of humane moral response and a statement about the human species itself and its place on this planet.

What comes to mind for me —and this thought may be relevant as well in regard to rs allen’s thoughtful comment at #28— is that having endured the United States’ brand of civilization for a lifetime tends to incline the liberal mind toward a sense of helpless resignation; I think the experts refer to it as learned helplessness. Correct me if I’m wrong, but ours is an especially barbaric, uncivil civilization, one that wants us in the dark as to other possibilities, being threatened by any greener pastures that may have grown up outside our borders, for fear that we might rebel mightily enough to end the dictatorship of the elite sociopaths in the management class. For that reason, we’re constantly being told that we’re the greatest country in the world, that no other society can compare— no, even more so, every other society on Earth envies us for our wealth and our liberties, or so we’re told. Ours, supposedly, is the only way.

Not.

Last night I watched Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next. Perhaps you’ve seen it too and came away with a different conclusion, or perhaps you saw ways to poke holes in it. Don’t know. But to my mind, what the film does best is erase the American taboo against knowing just how wonderful civilization can be, because civil civilizations of the modern kind do exist, here and now, elsewhere on the planet. It’s not really necessary, Moore might insist, to go back to earlier human tribes and clans to find civil, eco-responsible and humane ways of living together, while celebrating individuality and happiness, and at the same time respecting others’ rights to the same.

For example, from the film:

Quote Where to Invade Next:

[Michael Moore:] “They’re so concerned that the workplace has created so much stress, that under the German universal health care system, any stressed out German can get their doctor to write a prescription for a free three-week stay at a spa.”

[Executive, CEO:] “It’s a law that companies have to have a supervisory board which consists 50% representatives from the worker’s side.”


The thing is, civilization is not the enemy. It’s how we do civilization that matters. And that's why I'll have to insist that the OP's title misses the truth: Stress r us— Americans. Humanity as a whole r not necessarily us.

I’m going to encourage my sons and their families to go ahead and immigrate somewhere else, where my grandchildren can grow up in truly civilized societies. Don’t worry about me. I’ll come to visit.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

We are glossing over so many aspects of this topic here, and then drawing far too many generalized conclusions for my way thinking things through. Thus, I'm gradually becoming increasingly uncomfortable with where this is going.

Again, Stress R Us is not my premise and not my 300 or so page argument with its 51 or so topics to develop and explain. Thus I'm getting more and more exhausted trying to think of ways to keep it going with merely my necessarily subjective input. We need the author of the essay and the OP involved doing the heavy lifting of integrating and developing his very own 51 topics in response to these thoughtful points you all are making.

So, since this is my social day where I ride my bicycle to the neighboring town, South Bend (looks like it'll be another ride in the rain today) and sit with friends in our only regional coffee cafe where we will talk about whatever comes up, I'll take a break from my own thoughts this morning and bring back someone else's thoughts about civilization that some of us have talked about before:

Endgame Volume I: The Problem of Civilization by Derrick Jensen

Quote Derrick Jensen:

PREMISE ONE: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

PREMISE TWO: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources— gold, oil, and so on— can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

PREMISE THREE: Our way of living— industrial civilization— is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

PREMISE FOUR: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

PREMISE FIVE: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control— in everyday language, to make money— by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

PREMISE SIX: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

PREMISE SEVEN: The longer we wait for civilization to crash— or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down— the messier the crash will be, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

PREMISE EIGHT: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system. Another way to put Premise Eight: Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) require the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.

PREMISE NINE: Although there will clearly someday be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population may occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some will be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear Armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by a crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default of our culture. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence— required and caused by the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich— and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps long-term shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively— if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it— the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

PREMISE TEN: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

PREMISE ELEVEN: From the beginning, this culture— civilization— has been a culture of occupation.

PREMISE TWELVE: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something— or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks— and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

PREMISE THIRTEEN: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

PREMISE FOURTEEN: From birth on— and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case— we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes— and our bodies— to be poisoned.

PREMISE FIFTEEN: Love does not imply pacifism.

PREMISE SIXTEEN: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth— whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here— the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

PREMISE SEVENTEEN: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from them will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

PREMISE EIGHTEEN: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

PREMISE NINETEEN: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

PREMISE TWENTY: Within this culture, economics— not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself— drives social decisions. Modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/ or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: If you dig to the heart of it— if there is any heart left— you will find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.

Jensen, Derrick (2011-01-04). Endgame, Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization . Seven Stories Press. Kindle Edition.

Two volumes of Derrick's deeply thought-through and sometimes poetic visions of this problem he sees as civilization follow those premises. In my own way, I've come up with very similar premises and arguments since I began working it out from a different beginning than Derricks, from different experiences, and also a with the benefit of a few more years of them, since Derrick's a bit younger than I. But I don't have the energy or the time to rewrite them all once again this morning. So, thank you Derrick, for the books.

And no, I haven't seen Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Premise 13 got a challenge in CA from Jerry Brown. He raised taxes on the rich, got cap and trade passed and results are promising. Major deficit and debt turned into an 11 billion dollar surplus. KS and LA are broke and have downgraded debt, just above junk bonds. The rich do rule by force, and FL in 2000 was an example. OH's first in history exit polls wrong in 2004 and subsequent death of election exec by plane crash the day his deposition was scheduled are just coincidences.

Premise 14 is the church. You have to hate your life because you're evil and belong in hell. So begging for forgiveness for being born human is one sick part of culture most of the OECD countries grew out of. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Derrick Jensen is among my favorites too. I have read and re-read Endgame and thoroughly respect his analysis, as I might were I to read more of Stress R Us opus (as it is, I do not agree with portions of the parts I have read of Stress, and so I do not feel obligated to bow down just yet.). As much as I depend on Jensen, including for his courageous radical feminist arguments with regard to transgenderism, I do believe he suffers from the same pessimism born of living and suffering within the United States. His is, IMHO, a cognitive bias, that is to say. He makes the mistake of assuming his ideas about civilization are true of the whole planet based on its being true of the United States.

I thought you might become impatient with my input here, which is okay with me. I can't blame a person who has worked things out for himself over many years, doing scholarship and careful, indepth analysis of things I have only skimmed. I can't disagree, if the attitude becomes one of deeper-than-thou, in response to what must look superficial and glib to the trained eye.

To quote Jensen himself: "Disagreement is not disrespect."

In any case, I stand by my observation. Jensen, and any position that ultimately tends to romanticize and idealize primitivism as an answer to toxic civilization, fails to recognize other alternatives —healthy civilizations— and, thus, no matter how "deep" the analysis, makes a logical mistake. I, for one, and as a woman, would not enjoy primitivism—not by a long shot, no matter how many baskets I would get to weave, chatting alongside the other women in my clan.

VHEMT is just plain suicidal; it's depression, movement style.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

P.S.:

Quote The Intercept:

WHERE TO INVADE NEXT” IS THE MOST SUBVERSIVE MOVIE MICHAEL MOORE HAS EVER MADE
...

You’ll also perceive clearly why we’ve built these prisons. It’s because the core ideology of the United States isn’t capitalism, or American exceptionalism, but something even deeper: People are bad. People are so bad that they have to be constantly controlled and threatened with punishment, and if they get a moment of freedom they’ll go crazy and ruin everything.

The secret message of Where to Invade Next is that America’s had it wrong all along about human beings. You and I aren’t bad. All the people around us aren’t bad. It’s okay to get high, or get sick, or for teenagers to spend every waking moment trying to figure out how to bonk each other. If regular people get control over their own lives, they’ll use it wisely rather than burning the country down in a festival of mindless debauchery.

Where to Invade Next is all the more powerful because it doesn’t tell you this, it simply shows you. It’s not speculation about how human nature will be transformed after the revolution so we’ll all be happy to share our ration of grass soup with The People. It’s all happening right now, with imperfect human beings just like us.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Premise 14 again, people are bad, evil, and human sacrifice just isn't enough anymore.

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/09/27/books/l-voltaire-s-bastards- is Saul's reply to the Times reviewer of his critique of civilization in Voltaire's Bastards.

Ideology is a form of illiteracy. Those addicted to it are unable to understand anything other than what fits their pattern. Thus your reviewer, Terry Teachout, inverted the sense of my book "Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West" (Aug. 30), which, despite his assertions, is a statement neither of alienation nor of antimodernity, nor of pessimism. And it is certainly not conservative in any sense that he would understand the word.

There is nothing wrong with a reviewer's making a violent ideological attack on a book. It might, however, be slightly more honest if he admitted that that was his game rather than masquerading as a disinterested reviewer. Mr. Teachout's diatribe against "Voltaire's Bastards" was missing any admission of motivation. Yet few readers will know his name or know that he is a minor hanger-on of the neoconservative movement. He seemed particularly upset that Edmund Burke wasn't discussed at greater length; worse still, that he wasn't described in a suitable context -- that is, tied down by the English conservative school and then embellished with an American neoconservative aura. This absence so shocked Mr. Teachout that he attributed it to the author's ignorance, as a foreigner, of these world-shattering ideas.

A foreigner is when a Canadian doesn't regurgitate American ideological orthodoxy (parroting fox bullshit or equivalent). Cruz was not a foreigner, Justin Bieber is or was.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

All I ever ask is that someone demonstrate to me that Jensen's Premise One is not true. In other words, show me an existing sustainable society that is not part of the global system of "civilized" societies. Show me a society that is completely self reliant and organized in such a way that at least demonstrates some potential to sustain itself indefinitely without taking part in any of the elements of industrial society that Jensen argues are not sustainable.

Quote Derrick Jensen:

PREMISE ONE: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

And when we get through with Jensen's arguments, we can get to some of mine, like the problem of diminishing returns from institutional hierarchical complexity as a problem solving technology deeply embedded in the rise of civilizations and their collapse over the past ten thousand years or so.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote douglaslee:

Premise 13 got a challenge in CA from Jerry Brown. He raised taxes on the rich, got cap and trade passed and results are promising. Major deficit and debt turned into an 11 billion dollar surplus. KS and LA are broke and have downgraded debt, just above junk bonds. The rich do rule by force, and FL in 2000 was an example. OH's first in history exit polls wrong in 2004 and subsequent death of election exec by plane crash the day his deposition was scheduled are just coincidences.

Premise 14 is the church. You have to hate your life because you're evil and belong in hell. So begging for forgiveness for being born human is one sick part of culture most of the OECD countries grew out of. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

Quote Derrick Jensen:

PREMISE FOURTEEN: From birth on— and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case— we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes— and our bodies— to be poisoned.

This may be a logical fallacy:

Quote Derrick Jensen:

If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes— and our bodies— to be poisoned.

But if it is, how do we stop it? If we really want to, that is.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote Zenzoe:

I have read and re-read Endgame and thoroughly respect his analysis, as I might were I to read more of Stress R Us opus (as it is, I do not agree with portions of the parts I have read of Stress, and so I do not feel obligated to bow down just yet.).

In Stress R Us, I find myself in disagreement with a number of his described details presented as support for a number of the points I've read so far. I am often disagreeing when I write and present my own evidence for what I say, just not making it obvious and confrontational. For instance, I don't agree with his arguments about hierarchy. The implications of that disagreement are enormous when trying to understand why women in the now destroyed !Kung culture were existentially, not institutionally, respected equally. The difficulty of explaining those implications to people who take hierarchy and its deeply embedded institutionalized acceptance in every day civilized life for granted as the way things are has never failed to impress me. It's not so much about disagreement as simply an inability to communicate something that has an inexplicable understanding involved.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Derrick Jensen is very good at radical talk; I'm not sure he has been willing to do anything but inspire others to put their bodies on the line.

Here's one eco-warrior, Daniel McGowan, who has walked the walk and paid the price: Eco-radical punished twice for his jailhouse writings

So that's one individual's struggle with finding a path to freedom, according to his own definition of freedom.

Here's another— Laurie Anderson's advice to the young (no dogma):

And here's Laurie Anderson's walking the walk of resistance, art-style, relating how, among other things, Homeland Security told her what she could do and say but lost. "We think we live in an information culture? What a joke! There's so much we don't know about what's going on..." (Notice that she has an Apple laptop— oh no, Technology and Civilization R She! Is nothing and nobody pure?! What a "sellout.")

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

So, the point of this 14 year, 400 page project (the paper version--PDF does not contain 68 pages of diagrams, illustrations, etc.) is to provide 100 references substantiating every single point. As for hierarchy, hunter-gatherers have little. Again, the clan group is governed by a democratic consensus, but informed by the senior group of experienced women at its core. The Iriquois self-govern this way today. As populations increase, status hierarchies form and develop, as described in the book. Today, us "modern" western urbanites are constantly doing battle in over-lapping conceptual hierarchies, which causes constant over-activation of our stress responses. You might want to read the entire book before passing judgement. My experience has been that very few of us still read anything seriously, and, even then, not thoroughly. The end of serious reading spells the end of civilization and leads, ultimately, to the anarchy we see breaking out all over the world today. This has been a great "thread" in any case and I've enjoyed reading it. At least, it's been civil, which is unusual on the net, in other blogs. Thank you one and all! Gregg

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950
Joined:
Apr. 21, 2016 7:10 am
Quote gmiklashek950:

So, the point of this 14 year, 400 page project (the paper version--PDF does not contain 68 pages of diagrams, illustrations, etc.) is to provide 100 references substantiating every single point. As for hierarchy, hunter-gatherers have little. Again, the clan group is governed by a democratic consensus, but informed by the senior group of experienced women at its core. The Iriquois self-govern this way today. As populations increase, status hierarchies form and develop, as described in the book. Today, us "modern" western urbanites are constantly doing battle in over-lapping conceptual hierarchies, which causes constant over-activation of our stress responses. You might want to read the entire book before passing judgement. My experience has been that very few of us still read anything seriously, and, even then, not thoroughly. The end of serious reading spells the end of civilization and leads, ultimately, to the anarchy we see breaking out all over the world today. This has been a great "thread" in any case and I've enjoyed reading it. At least, it's been civil, which is unusual on the net, in other blogs. Thank you one and all! Gregg

You may not recognize it, but I'm doing my best to keep this an open ended (non judgmental) discussion for you. I believe you deserve to be listened to (i.e., read). Disagreement with your points is not -- for me anyway -- about passing judgment, it is about taking what someone has learned (me in this case) and then doing a comparison with another's descriptions. Anyone of us develops our own way of making sense of the world, thus each one may try to say what they mean in ways that may not exactly describe what they actually mean to another, no matter how many years they may have spent trying to describe what's on their mind. And I've spent a great many, myself. I read everything with that in mind. I pretend everyone else does, though I also realize that's probably not the case.

This process of communicating is far easier to do in a one on one discussion over coffee, where we can stop each other and ask for clarification, than it is in these on-line postings, let alone when reading long explanations that have taken someone years to put together. That's coming from someone who's written technically and professionally. I've had to write 250 or more page strategic plans for companies and then sit with them and help to make sense of what I've prepared in board meetings, dealing with management figures, from CEOs who have little time or interest to read the details on down through different hierarchical layers with those who read various parts that they feel are their specialty. For all of them I would usually write an executive summary after the plan was fully prepared.

One thing I've learned over the years: we all can benefit by editing our writing. Whether it be editing by others, or -- and maybe especially -- by editing ourselves, a certain degree of humbleness can be helpful in accepting this very beneficial part of communicating through writing. And, wonderfully, editing not only never ends, it is a long term evolving process that helps any writer to develop their own minds. Editing is not, to me, a correcting process, a perfecting-of-the-order-of-things process. it is, rather, an evolutionary communication process. Now, of course the more I have tried to be careful in my efforts to communicate, the more I appreciate the subtleties of spelling and grammar in my efforts to be clear. However, we do have people I'm comfortable to call grammar and spelling Nazis who may not see it quite that way. And I'm confident in saying that we find those same Nazi mentality patterns in management structures as well. I do my best not to get upset by them, though I happen to be reflexively anti authoritarian, and I do feel lucky to have grown up in a non authoritarian household that didn't build in a suppresion of those reflexes before I had a chance to work with them and become more sophisticated in my reactions.

As a kind of for instance of problems in communication. Anarchism and the use of the term anarchy, as you just introduced it, are not the same meanings to me. I've come to understand anarchism as a philosophy that works off the basis of what I would like to call existential mutual respect. Anarchism as a philosophical point of view is very egalitarian in nature. It allows that the individual will see the nature of our social reliance upon each other for themselves, and willingly, voluntarily agree to go along, and will do so in their own style and manner. This involves mutual trust across the social spectrum as well as an allowance and respect for any learning process for individuals involved. Generally complex social management organizational systems don't give much value to existential mutual respect. For one thing it's inherently inefficient and takes energy needed by an organization to accomplish its designed purpose. One of the first things that was impressed upon my mind in boot camp, through various forms of crude behavior modification, was the notion that I was supposed to respect the rank, not the person. That simple principle can be found in various forms throughout formally organized hierarchical management systems. Generally its assumed that individuals will have already absorbed this lesson and it has now become a natural part of their personality when the seek a job in an institutional setting. But they tend to start from scratch in boot camp, as if with a blank slate.

So if a person of higher rank gave me an order, whether I thought they were an idiot or not (and I often did), I had to follow those orders. That's not really what I consider respect, of course, but my personal considerations are not the management's concern either. Theirs is about adhering to a formalized structure of rules and order designed to get people to behave according to a purpose directed by a hierarchy of management related to the rational purpose of the organization itself.

In terms of hierarchy, you've clarified a point of disagreement I was having with the way you are using it in your book. Mainly I see hierarchy as something theoretical and institutional, which we use as a construct to describe our social observations, much as we have invented the concept of systems to try to describe what we observe as taking place around us ecologically. I don't actually see an ecosystem when I'm walking through the woods. I have to create that concept in my mind and apply it to what I see. Meanwhile, I see existential mutual respect in human relationships in a very different way from hierarchy, and so I try to keep what I mean by that in a different realm from from paradigms of ideas like hierarchy.

In small egalitarian band arrangements, which we find prevalent across the gathering/hunting groups -- those very few we've had the privilege to observe -- what we see in common with their survival strategy is a shared cultural system of intergroup respect. In the cases we've observed, men and women live together in a nonexploitive manner, exhibiting a striking degree of equality between the sexes. Their survival systems tend to work out customs that are passed down through generations that serve to keep any one individual, or group of individuals, from elevating themselves above the rest. A very careful adherence to a custom of humbleness has often been observed. What we often will see is that in those who often are recognized as the very highest in skills, be it in knowing about all the species of plants and how to find them, or in hunting skill, they will be among the most humble and go through a careful set of behaviors to detract from any tendency to elevate them for their abilities.

I believe, in that respect, you are speaking of "democratic consensus." But it's not a simple idea. To some extent, but with the possibility of caveats, that's what I also tend to mean by the term. Thus, democracy, as it is used in our complex society here, is of a different order thought, because it has become institutionalized. Characteristics of stylized importance and leadership are part of this sort of system, and the factors of existential respect have a tendency to fall away towards systemic features of idolization and leadership. And I feel strongly that we must be careful in applying the term across societies. Institutionalized democracy is no longer based on existential mutual respect in peer to peer relationships involved in a direct struggle for survival.

The Iroquois, by the way, are a different case than the gatherer/hunters, and the anthropologists I've studied with would be very careful not to generalize their organizational level with that of gathering/hunting bands. This is not simple, nor is it easy to talk about in a generalized way. The longer I try to develop discussions on these message boards, the more complicated and truly limited I realize my efforts to be. Thus I don't do it with the hope of achieving deep communication -- not that I haven't felt at times that I have -- I do it to practice writing, because I develop my mind with writing and I love to write.

Well, that took about an hour. No doubt it needs drawer time and some additional editing to clarify my points, but writing and publishing these mini essays in a circumscribed length of time, like forty five minutes to an hour, is also part of my on line writing practice. I'm hopeful there's plenty there to work with to achieve better communication, if that's what anyone else wants to do. I'm always open to that.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Noam Chomsky has said the current model of humanity is not sustainable. The break down will culminate in anarchy and continue to destroy any semblance of past human accomplishments due to the 'fruit from the poisonous tree of knowledge' (knowledge and curiousity are a holy sin and Buddha statues were threatening to ignorant fools with a mental disease). Trading blocks are the new tribal structures and under anarchy similar tribal alliances will form again, for survival, like Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull vs Custer.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Quote ”Stress R Us”:

...psychiatric offices, when I commenced my career 42 years ago, were primarily utilized by women, stressed, anxious, and depressed. At some point, men started seeking help for similar problems but, years ago, women were the mainstay clients of psychiatry. Why? The answer is clear to me today: isolation from the prehistoric norm of constant companionship and support of other women and an historical switch from matriarchal to patriarchal social organization…

Yes to patriarchal social organization as a cause of stress, anxiety and depression in modern women; not so much a lack of “constant companionship and support of other women.” For instance, we know the coffee klatch as a common event in the lives of stay-at-home moms in America; we also know that the husbands of those women may come home at night to emotionally abuse and beat them.

Keeping “disagreement is not disrespect” in mind, I’m not seeing the inclusion of toxic masculinity in the discussion of our toxic, stress-inducing civilization. (I still refuse to indict civilization itself as the sole enemy of happiness and health.) Where men and masculinity dominate the institutions of a society, every policy emanating from those institutions turns toxic.

The absence of balance turns all things toxic.

The evidence that including the feminine spirit in balance within "masculine" pursuits creates health: A clip from Where to Invade Next: A bank run by women in Iceland managed to operate in the black during the economic collapse of 2007-2008, and why their sex made the difference.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

Noam Chomsky has said the current model of humanity is not sustainable. The break down will culminate in anarchy and continue to destroy any semblance of past human accomplishments due to the 'fruit from the poisonous tree of knowledge' (knowledge and curiousity are a holy sin and Buddha statues were threatening to ignorant fools with a mental disease). Trading blocks are the new tribal structures and under anarchy similar tribal alliances will form again, for survival, like Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull vs Custer.

Could you find a Chomsky source where he says that the current model of humanity is unsustainable so I can see the structure of his argument and the context of what he's saying in regard to the concepts 'current model of humanity' and 'unsustainable'?

Chomsky has written and spoken a great deal more than many others on anarchism. A simple search in any decent search engine will bring back plenty of evidence to read through and evaluate.

At the beginning of this seven and a half minute talk on the subject (Anarchism I), we hear the usual clichéd version of anarchism thrown out as a question as it opens, and then Chomsky replies with his take, starting with "anarchism has nothing to do with bomb throwing mayhem."

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Thanks for that link. That was always my understanding of anarchism and thus I had always liked it.

Thom has interviewed Richard (?) Wolfe, an avowed Marxist and economist that understood ALL of Marx's writings (Das Kapital is most ignored). Marx was an economic analyst, not a political movement. He merely pointed out the flaws (as did Adam Smith in Theory of Moral Sentiment) in Capitalism.

We've talked of labels before and both Anarchy and Marxism are labels, but only when proper dissemination of accurate information related to those labels is available do they seize to become labels. (by definition?..)

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Cease

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2
Joined:
Dec. 9, 2012 9:14 am
Quote Zenzoe:

Quote ”Stress R Us”:

...psychiatric offices, when I commenced my career 42 years ago, were primarily utilized by women, stressed, anxious, and depressed. At some point, men started seeking help for similar problems but, years ago, women were the mainstay clients of psychiatry. Why? The answer is clear to me today: isolation from the prehistoric norm of constant companionship and support of other women and an historical switch from matriarchal to patriarchal social organization…

Yes to patriarchal social organization as a cause of stress, anxiety and depression in modern women; not so much a lack of “constant companionship and support of other women.” For instance, we know the coffee klatch as a common event in the lives of stay-at-home moms in America; we also know that the husbands of those women may come home at night to emotionally abuse and beat them.

Keeping “disagreement is not disrespect” in mind, I’m not seeing the inclusion of toxic masculinity in the discussion of our toxic, stress-inducing civilization. (I still refuse to indict civilization itself as the sole enemy of happiness and health.) Where men and masculinity dominate the institutions of a society, every policy emanating from those institutions turns toxic.

The absence of balance turns all things toxic.

The evidence that including the feminine spirit in balance within "masculine" pursuits creates health: A clip from Where to Invade Next: A bank run by women in Iceland managed to operate in the black during the economic collapse of 2007-2008, and why their sex made the difference.

In my above post (number 40) in response to Gregg's, in relation to the structure of hierarchy found in more complex societies, I mentioned a traditional practice in gathers and hunters of humbling and self deprecation by those who were highly skilled when they achieved something and shared it with the group. I didn't emphasize the tradition of sharing that goes with it, but that's also a factor. This self deprecatory practice throughout the culture stands in contrast to traditions of self aggrandizement and self promotion where hierarchy and rising through ranks are important structural components of culture.

In this regard, one of the practices in our society that I remember taking place around me as I was growing up is the practice of trying to get children, and boys especially, to exert themselves to achieve something valued by society. Which, if achieved, they would then be rewarded with fanfares of admiration. It occurs to me that this social admiration acts much like ego candy, creating a kind of ego addiction to the sweetness of being admired. Extreme results of addiction to this candy can be found all around us, and I'd simply say the name "Donald Trump" as a current public example. And let's not forget Bill Clinton who appears so addicted he can't even imagine he's not admired.

As a male, who was picked out as someone with certain identifiable abilities by the education system, I myself received a share of this carrot version of behavior modification, though perhaps not as much as many others, but what I did receive -- that I can remember -- came mostly from the women in my extended family rather than the men. My own father was a humble, very self deprecating person, so he was not one to stroke others' egos, let alone his own. If he sought any attention at all it was usually through various forms of joking and dry humor. My mother, of course, was absent much of the time, but I don't want to go into that here.

The position of women in !Kung society has been of great interest to Anthropologists and others trying to understand the variation in women's roles and status found in the world's cultures. Despite the substantial differences in how women live and what they do, one generalization can be made: in the overwhelming majority of societies, women have a lower status than ment -- by their own accounts and by observation of the culture as a whole -- and their activities are less highly vlued than men's activities. Margaret Mead recognized this in 1949 when she wrote, "In every known society, the males' need for achievement can be recognized. Men may cook or weave or dress dolls or hunt hummingbirds, but if such activities are appropriate occupations for men, then the whole of society, men and women alike votes them important. When the same occupations are performed by women, they are regarded less important."

In relation to this pattern, the !kung are something of an anomaly. Here, in a society of ancient traditions, men and women live together in a nonexploitive manner, displaying a striking degree of equality between the sexes -- perhaps a lesson for our own society...

...A close look at the balance is not of merely academic interest. Other contemporary gathering and hunting societies have a similar high level of equality between the sexes -- higher at least than that of most agricultural or herding societies. This observation has led to the suggestion that the relations between the sexes that prevailed during the majority of human prehistory were comparable to those seen among the !Kung today.

(Nisa, pages 237-238)

Margaret Mead noticed something she phrased as "the males' need for achievement can be recognized". Well, coming from the back assward position of seeing an effect, one might at least ask the question as to whether this is due to nature or nurture. But most of my life the assumption has been voiced to me that it's in the nature of being male. But then there are those troubling gatherer/hunter cultures, somewhat docile in comparison to agriculturists and pastoralists (recall that those infamous Mongol hordes were from the Eurasian Steppe where where pastoralism was the dominant culture, so you can look into that form of social organization and see what that amounts to). Is it in their !Kung male tune DNA to be self deprecating, sharing, sexually egalitarian in attitude, and so forth?

Do Sexually Egalitarian Societies Exist?

Five Things We Know About Societies Run By Women

6 Modern Societies Where Women Literally Rule

Sex, Society, and Spatial Ability

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

Cease

You could always flag everything as offensive. Maybe the authorities would get rid of us.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

Cease

Thanks. I had just seen a seize on another news site and was disturbed because I had spelled it ie (i before e) on another site I had posted to. Sieze, and seize were in my mind for spelling, not comprehension. Avoid vs Avowed was a mistake I caught by editing (sounds so much more sophisticated than reading) it.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Lol!

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I saw him make the statement or appoximation of it on an interview recently so I don't know of a print reference. I remember it because we were in this thread or another civilization thread at the same time and I thought the comment relevant. My verbatim is most likely wrong, but I thought the comment very significant to the points made in those same threads.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'd still like to know what he actually said that stimulated your interpretation. Your being right or wrong isn't really much of an issue. Was he actually thinking in term of sustainability? I'd like to compare it to Tainter's theory of complexity, which is based on energy and dwindling returns.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Can the Presidency Regain Its Integrity After Trump?

Thom plus logo Even those of us old enough to remember have probably forgotten that in the spring of 1979 the Attorney General of the United States appointed a special prosecutor to look into his own president's ownership of his peanut warehouse, to make sure that he wasn't, in any way, making money from his presidency.
Powered by Pressflow, an open source content management system