Open Post

July 2017 Open Post

As announced earlier, this blog will host an open space once a month to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers, and this is the week. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

Two notes before we get going. First, MYTHIC Magazine — the quarterly fantasy and SF mag published by Founders House, the same firm that’s bringing out the collected Archdruid Report essays — has launched a subscription drive in the hope of boosting the pay it can offer to its writers. For obvious reasons, I’m a fan of decent pay for writers 😉  and MYTHIC is shaping up to be a first-rate venue for the kind of fantasy and SF that breaks new ground, rather than rehashing such done-to-death tropes as space travel. If you don’t subscribe already, please consider doing so — and whether or not you’re a subscriber, please spread the word! The details may be found here.

Second, I’m delighted to announce that one of my readers has completed a translation of my novel Star’s Reach into German. All that’s needed now is a German-language publisher willing to get it into print. If, dear reader, you happen to work for such a publisher, let me know; if you know of a publisher you think would be interested, ditto; if you know somebody, pass the word. Danke schön!

With that said, have at it…

412 Comments

  1. Just wondering: Does anyone think that the US will produce enough natural gas via fracking to replace Russia’s Gazprom as the main natural gas supplier in Europe using a gigantic fleet of LNG tankers? And if it does manage to do that, does anyone think that it will be able to avoid going bankrupt from all the expense of doing so?

  2. Hey JMG,

    I just bought a house that I’m moving into next Monday, and I wonder if you could recommend any all-purpose etheric cleansers before I move in? I packed away your book Monsters without realizing it (remembering later that you had a good appendix on this), and all I can remember is holy water made with salt. I’m curious if you have any to recommend that you’ve used personally; and IIRC, sage-burning was absent from the Monsters appendix, and my understanding was that this served a similar purpose in many traditions–any reason for the omission?

    Thanks!

  3. JMG, I have learned a great deal here over the years, thank you, and your readers. I was introduced many years ago (1987, I believe) to the notion of ecological succession, the natural process by which a community alters its environment sufficiently – especially through waste excretion – to make it less hospitable for its own members, and more suitable to a succession community. In the case of humans, back in 1987, it was suspected that the most likely inheritor of our wasteland would be the humble cockroach. A couple of recent studies (that made the news) on declining male sperm counts add another candidate to the litany of potential drivers of the succession (not that it need be cockroaches). My favourite film on this theme – and one that too closely resembles Britain in ten years time (says my crystal ball) – is Children of Men (2006). I’m wondering if this theme is being widely dealt with in the Sci Fi world, and really wondering what the future looks like as this self-induced disability spreads over the human (and surely other) species. What a mess we’ve made!

  4. Dmitry, welcome to the new site! Sure, there are people who believe that. There are also people who believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Such people are the natural prey of con artists, including those in both US political parties just now.

    Peter, sage smudging is part of Native American tradition, and I’m personally uncomfortable with recommending practices from other cultures that I haven’t studied in depth under appropriate teachers. In Western occultism, the standard approach is to use ritual. The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and the Rose Cross ritual, both of which can be found readily on line, are good options — do the LRP followed by the RC in each room, and the space will be squeaky clean.

  5. This may have been asked and answered during the many years that the Archdruid Report and the Well of Galabes were running but, if so, I can’t remember it. The question I have is, what credence, if any, do you give to the claim that the visionary experiences resulting from psychedelics like psilocybin, DMT, and ayahuasca are in some way “real”. Proponents of this, many of whom seem quite intelligent, clearly believe their experiences to be profound and religious in nature, they also seem to believe that the beings in their visions are as real as you and me and that these substances can provide a view into another dimension or into the afterlife, et al. Nothing in my personal experience leads me to believe this but then I’ve not tried most of these substances and am, admittedly, from a religious tradition that discourages the use of psychedelics. If true this would seem to be of tremendous import but I don’t see much in the way of evidence for it, so you could say I’m skeptical.

  6. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I found your last essay and the discussion of the Wotan Archetype fascinating. I also hope there will be more discussion of archetypes (clearly my reading list is growing longer, BTW). My question is this: You mentioned, in reply to a commenter, that you you felt as if an archetypal influence was dead or dying, not being born. Which archetype would that be? If this has already been asked, I probably missed it, and if so, I apologize for asking again.

  7. My first thought was to excerpt some of my own writing to introduce what I very much want to discuss, but I couldn’t figure out a way to do that without respecting the ‘be concise’ rule. I have a few hundred words I’d like to use–but I’ll dip my toe in as follows (in the interest of just getting right to it). Here we go . . .

    Taking into account all that’s discussed and/or alluded to in the first post at Ecosophia, what responsibility do professional educators have to students with respect to presenting those ideas and concepts?

    When I write “students” I’d prefer that we NOT immediately think of academia. Instead, let’s focus on high schoolers. They’re kids, but they’re wanting very much to be seen as adults . . . and, if I may, are quite capable of engaging in sophisticated adult interaction in spite of major media’s best efforts to portray them all as iPhone-obsessed bots.

    I’m a long time follower of JMG’s work. I’ve also been a high school social studies teacher in an incredibly progressive school district for nearly thirty years. I’m frustrated by the disconnect I see between education and the growing levels of anxiety across all age groups in our society . . . . but especially the growing level of anxiety among high school aged children/young adults. I suspect that those of us familiar with JMG’s work understand perfectly well the sources of all this anxiety. For those of us fortunate enough to be in classrooms where we can tread into discussions of said sources, do we have a responsibility to do so? If we don’t, are we participating in a form of emotional child abuse? (Pardon the potentially hyperbolic nature of that last question. Feel free to replace the words ‘child abuse’ with something less charged).

  8. John–

    One pertinent question, an experience I’d like to relate to you and the group, and one off-the-wall question.

    Pertinent question: Aside from the list of works and authors you give at the end of MTotLE (and your own works on the subject, of course), are there any other works or authors that you’d recommend for someone seeking a solid foundation (introductory-to-intermediate basis) in magic?

    Experience: Last weekend I attended a book-binding workshop at a local museum. Although the class was good, it felt “off” somehow and my wife commented on my energy/mood later that day. The following day, while reflecting on the experience, I had a flash of insight that I was approaching the issue from the wrong (or “not-useful”) angle in that I was still operating in a prevention/preservation mindset, similar to where I began my journey re the fall of our empire and decline of industrial civilization many years ago. (How can this be prevented? How can we preserve what will be lost?) The sudden understanding I had was that what will be preserved will likely be by means of oral tradition, as the bottleneck civilizations are going to be oral in nature. This realization brought a certain amount of emotional release.

    Off-the-wall question: Do you (or anyone in the group) know of a good binding agent for bean burgers? I’ve been experimenting with making my own for the last few growing seasons, with mixed success on consistency. (I’ve found that reserving the bean broth is useful for soups later.) My better (firmer) results come with bread crumbs, but I was wondering if anyone has achieved good results using anything else?

  9. Monkey, there have been a few SF novels down through the years that deal with steep population declines among human beings, but most treat it as a problem. To my mind, it’s a solution. At the bottom of the deindustrial dark ages, say four or five centuries from now, there’ll have to be a lot fewer human beings on this planet than there are now — say, half a billion at most, to fit within the drastically decreased carrying capacity of a damaged planet — and if that can happen by the simple expedient of a lot fewer people being born, that’s better than most of the alternatives! Keep in mind that this isn’t likely to lead to human extinction, as natural selection will give a powerful boost to those whose genetics give some degree of resistance to decreased sperm counts; it’s simply a bottleneck effect, of the sort that many species encounter.

  10. You’ve described soda/pop/whatever you want to call it as “fizzy brown sugar water”, and that is a very inaccurate description: it’s really “corn sugar fizzy water”.

  11. JMG,

    It looks like the wife and I are going to relocate to the St. Louis area. It is a gamble. There are numerous reasons that that area may not be optimal over the next decade or two. But there are some reasons it may hold up.
    Buying property should be pretty easy and we can take a year to look around and find the perfect place. We will have funds and property is very cheap right now (especially on the Illinois side). If we bought in that state it would be on the theory that Illinois may be the first state to collapse and beat the rush. Any thoughts on how we might position ourselves better in that region?

    Thanks,

    AV

  12. Let me share a Schweitzer quote from “Philosophy of Civilization” that shows the wisdom of JMG in paying serious attention to older books, and which also helps to undermine any hubris that may hide in our current thinking, as if we were on some sort of cutting-edge and breaking new ground.

    “The modern state finds itself today in an unprecedented condition of material and spiritual penury. Collapsing under the weight of debts, torn by economic and political conflicts, stripped of all moral authority, and scarcely able any longer to maintain its authority in practical matters, it has to struggle for its existence in a succession of fresh troubles. …What crises and catastrophes the modern state is still destined to go through cannot be foreseen. …The tragic thing is, then, that we have to belong to the unsympathetic and unhealthy modern state while cherishing the will to transform it into a civilized state. There is demanded from us an all but impossible achievement of faith in the power of the spirit. …Only by the majority of its members taking up a critical attitude towards it (the modern state) can it come to itself again in reflection about itself. The absolute impossibility of the continuance of the state in its present condition must become the universal conviction before things can become in any way better.”

    These words were published in 1923. They could be published tomorrow and still be on the money, even more so than after the First World War. Another gem from the past I would highly recommend is “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy, the now-forgotten bestseller from the late 19th Century, right behind “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in popularity. No more incisive and accessible indictment of what we now call neoliberal capitalism has ever been written, and Edward Bellamy’s detailed vision of an alternative social order is, while dated in certain respects, still brilliant and breathtaking.

  13. Hello, I’ve been reading your blogs regularly since last summer, but this is my first time commenting. (Starting to sound like a radio station phone-in caller here!) I’ve also read ‘Dark Age America’. I find a lot of the ideas in tune with the background sense of a probable future which I’ve had since I was a kid in the 80s, when global warming started to get a lot of publicity, and presumably, writers for the UK environmental magazines I was looking at, had been revisiting ‘Limits to Growth’. I’ve really been enjoying your writing and have a lot of respect for many of your ideas, so I hope these discussion points don’t sound belligerent; I don’t want them to.

    1) I find a fair bit of philosophical common ground with Dark Mountain et al, but one point I’m not entirely sold on is community localism, in particular respects that will hopefully become clear . I understand why it’s a good thing in terms of resource use – and that staying in one place, and not moving to different parts of the country, and not spending so much time getting to know people from far-flung places online is something more people are going to have to get used to as decline sets in. It’s the enthusiasm I’m not quite sure about. JMG, if I read you correctly, you think that modern medical treatments that work, for example, are a good thing for human quality of life and are sorry that they will eventually become more and more difficult to obtain.
    Most dark green environmentalists aren’t making common cause and intentional communities with people they went to school with, or who grew up a few streets away, but with like-minded people from all over the country or the world. Similarly, people who are different, whether they’re LGBT, aspergers, or have particular views or cultural tastes or talents, or simply those who go away to university, have in recent decades, in some parts of the world at least, had more rewarding lives than the vast majority ever would have been able to had they been born in the family of a seventeenth century village blacksmith – or a poor rural community in parts of the modern global south. I think this unmitigated idealism about local community life fails to acknowledge a lot of the more stifling sides of it.
    This (and your views of the internet in general) also makes me wonder to what extent individual writers’ personal preferences and experiences (including yours) influence the projections they make about decline and collapse. The proportion of material online about collapse and decline the USA as compared with the rest of the world is huge, there’s that too – but I was meaning on a more personal level. A tech geek I know who doesn’t have a particularly rosy view of the future either, thinks that the internet would be kept going for as long as possible because so many services and infrastrucures are now dependent on it, and that other systems would be allowed to decay first. This fits more with the world as I see it, than the idea that the internet might stop working in only a couple of decades – although we are in the UK, which doesn’t have the same issue of so many decaying isolated rural communities as the US does, and which probably has more government services online.

    2) Earlier this month, I read ‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable’ by Amitav Ghosh (partly about the way environmental issues and the non-human are neglected in literary fiction). The author seemed to be saying that climate change would create the opportunity for governments to become increasingly authoritarian, and that this is connected to military planners’ interest in climate change. I thought that this seemed a sadly plausible scenario for more densely populated regions, whilst somewhere like the USA was more likely to fragment. What do you think? Change proceeding at varying paces in different regions, with some not really collapsing per se, without the opportunity for a lawless kind of freedom and restructuring, but becoming more dystopian? This pessimistic scenario reminded me that even the Black Death, killing a third to a half of the population in much of Europe, did not actually result in regime change (although arguably that is because crop growth remained relatively stable).

  14. @Dammerung

    “[B]ut I have pretty much washed my hands entirely of the idea of America as a coherent polity.”

    Since this is an open post, I’d like to follow-up on this observation of yours at the tail-end of last week’s comment cycle. The mental framing I’ve constructed for myself on this issue is more or less as follows:

    –The US has been in imperial expansion mode for about two centuries now, at least since the end of the Federalist period, if not before. Just to be overly conservative in my estimate, I’d start the “clock” at 1820, but we could go earlier.

    –Manifest Destiny and the westward expansion was something of a first phase, while the overseas expansion beginning with McKinley/Roosevelt was a second phase, with our global dominance since WWII perhaps a third.

    –Most importantly, I’d argue that *our Union as presently constituted is a product of empire* and in the absence of that empire is unsustainable. We are not and have never been a single coherent cultural nation.

    –Therefore, as our empire declines, we will see the inter-regional rivalries which have always been present, but have been suppressed in the presence of imperial strength, bubble again to the surface. Over time, these tensions pulling the regions apart will overcome the remaining ties which bind the regions together.

    I would be willing to wager that before the tricentennial in 2076, one or more states will have functionally seceded from the Union. (“Functional secession” being that while DC may still claim authority and be issuing orders, no one in the state or states in question will be listening and DC will be in no position to enforce its claims.)

  15. Any plans to explore the intersection of behavioral economics and neurobiology?

    I suspect there is some fertile ground there. Millions of years, randomness and abrupt change (aka evolution) yield a predictable set of cognitive traits such as favoring short term vs. long term benefits. Biologists like Sapolsky illuminate how neurotransmitters are in charge of much of our behavior and that we call free will is mainly rationalization.

    Any thoughts?

  16. @David, by the lake:

    While most of the cultures that emerge during the deindustrial dark ages will be primarily oral in nature, that won’t last forever. There will eventually be a re-literaziation of America, and learning skills like bookbinding and printing in order to preserve the legacy of the West will be very useful to our descendants in that distant time period. (I’d make a point of copying stuff into Unspell so they don’t have to deal with English’s current pathetic excuse for an orthography)

  17. After several years of trial, I can confidently recommend the two magnet (quite strong for home use!) style of washing clothes. I have compared good, mostly organic cleaning agents with the magnets and found no difference. My spouse taught me to use vinegar in the rinse cycle rather than oil-based chemicals – so also in the rinse for the dishwasher. No more dryer sheets with or without the odours either.
    While I am convinced that what we do as individuals is quite inadequate, I am also convinced that it is absolutely necessary. In the land of pick-me-up truuuuuucks and all sorts of SUV’s, our contribution is obviously inconsequential. BUT, our grandkidlettes are learning, even if their parents are not!!! It is to them that we bequeath our meagre efforts to make changes for the better.

  18. Mtc, of course it depends on your definition of “real.” I do have a certain amount of experience with hallucinogens, though it was many years ago, and my take is that the resulting experiences are very much like dreams or visionary states: a jumble of personal imagery, collective imagery, sheer random weirdness, and every so often something that might be a spiritual presence. As with dreams and visionary states, a lot of what you see is symbolic, and you can land in a world of hurt by taking it literally. Thus I’m wary of the claims of the current generation of acidheads et al., for reasons that will be familiar to readers of this blog: it’s been tried in the past and we know how that works out.

    Haassmasithiam, the archetype that’s dying is Man the Conqueror of Nature, the square-jawed frontier hero striding out into the unknown and imposing human order on it.

    John, I don’t think it’s at all useful to use emotionally loaded labels such as “child abuse” in a situation like the one you’re discussing, and the whole notion of responsibility — laced as it is with connotation of moral obligation and moral guilt — may not be much more helpful. I’d encourage you, rather, to see it as an opportuntiy. To judge by the kids of high school age I’ve talked to, they’re already ahead of you — they know that they’ve been screwed by older generations, and that the institutions that are supposedly there for their benefit actually exist to grind them up and spit out the remains — and if you discuss such realities with them, my guess is that they’ll be overjoyed to meet that rarity in today’s world, an adult who’s honest with kids. Give it a shot!

    David, I’ll have to mull over your pertinent question. All books on magic, including mine, have their problems and limitations, and I’m far from sure which ones I’d recommend. As for your observation, I hope that literacy and bookbinding remain living traditions — it’s much easier for societies to recover from dark age conditions if they’ve got written materials handy and the ability to create more of them. (For the same reason, I’m hoping to do something to help letterpress printing survive.) Bean burgers? There I have no clue, being an unrepentant omnivore.

  19. @ Dmitry Orlov

    I would point you to 2 sites for a view of USA resources. My background is exactly what you would think from my screen name.

    The first is Art Berman, who is a working geologist and understands costs better than most. The second is peakoilbarrel, which is a “drill down” of individual plays and fields in the USA – lively discussions.

    The short answer is just as JMG said – those hyping stocks, investment, USA-first, and techno-wizardry-as-a-God will answer a resounding YES. Those of us in the trenches, looking at real costs, signing purchase orders and such will answer a qualified NO – because for us, a price spike is God-sent in this market.

    What I can say is that without a much higher gas price, the economics don’t work. Currently we are replacing old legacy fields wit new shale gas, and it isn’t working economically at current prices. Nobody is making money, and there are a lot of sunk costs not being recouped.

  20. @John Jacobson:

    I’m in high school right now (well, obviously not this instant, it being summer break and all) and my experience generally indicates that people get very defensive and emotional when you try to talk to them about the sources of said anxiety. Not everyone is ready for a frank discussion of the issues, and many never will be. In my experience, “progressives” aren’t any better than anyone else when it comes to this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if your attempts to tread into discussions of the sources of the anxiety don’t elicit a positive reaction. You aren’t participating in “emotional child abuse”, you’re just choosing between two highly undesirable outcomes.

  21. John,

    Re bookbinding and literacy, no argument from me there! I was having difficulty conveying my understanding of that insight. It was perhaps the desperation with which I was approaching the issue that I was able to release.

  22. @ JMG & Monkeyonawall

    While we have ample evidence that plastics are problematic for sperm-related activities, I have an anecdote.

    At my home (TX suburbia) we had frogs aplenty until around 2000-2002. Then the larger ones disappeared. (I have fountain/fishpond and backyard aquaponics) Tree frogs remained, but now they too are gone. Concurrently, every scrap of undeveloped land was built over. All natural drainage systems have been effectively neutered. Rampant use of fertilizers and Roundup is such that the local fish in creeks are not fit to consume, and are now frequently being caught with lesions obvious on their bodies. Even the hardy toad is in obvious decline.

    At my farm (92 miles away), where we are totally natural systems, frogs are plentiful, even bullfrogs. Any open water (rain catchments) is rife with tadpoles and later, leopard frogs. Population does not seem to be declining. Toads patrol under lights after dark, in full force, while snakes await the less aware ones.

    While the headline looks very disheartening, I would suggest that a better thing for research and publication might be the geographical distribution of the subjects in the paper. It simply would not surprise me if this showed the problem directly related to the proximity and degree of ‘civilization’ to the subjects.

    JMG – I agree with you on the self-selection in the future, if the planet does not buffer or otherwise ameliorate the issue. When oil prices eventually skyrocket, plastic will not be economical. We will go back to glass, tins and crockery again. We are midpoint in the Oil Age – reserve replacement downhill from here, no matter what the propaganda says. I think the planet can ultimately absorb the oil detritus of a 200 year period.

  23. Question about a problem that has been getting worse by leaps and bounds over the past few years in the US Northeast, where I usually reside: ticks. Not only are the little buggers proliferating, they also carry an expanding list of serious diseases. People report finding them after just going outside to collect the mail or take out the trash. Apart from the practical problem of disease-avoidance (and if anyone has helpful suggestions about that, please share), I fear that this phenomenon has started to discourage outdoor activity generally and is contributing to alienation from Nature. I am currently nearing the end of a year spent in the UK, and I can feel the difference in my own anxiety levels now that I can just step out of my room and go for a walk in the woods by the river without first armoring up with extra clothing and repellent. Is this just another consequence of what we have wrought and so must learn to live with? Or is there something useful that can be done?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    – Groa

  24. @David by the lake

    I’ve had excellent luck with farfel and/or matzo meal, at least for falafel patties backed in the oven. YMMV

  25. I’m currently studying the history of the Homo sapiens as a species. And I find it curious that it took us almost 80 000 years for the modern human to learn how to make iron, but only a further 2 500 years to put a telescope in orbit around earth to look at the birth of galaxies. I wonder if any of you have any ideas on this subject?

  26. Hi JMG, I got to the party late on last month’s open post and you had moved on, so I am reposting my question.

    I have been learning about the 2160 year astrological cycles which I believe we’re first described by the Babylonians. There seems to be some disagreement in the astrological community about the 12 astrological periods within each cycle, especially whether they have equal or variable lengths.

    For example, Rudolph Steiner believed that the current epoch, the age of Pisces, began in the 1400s, and the age of Aquarius will gradually come about by the 3500s. Others have completely different interpretations. What is yours?

    The Steiner description resonated with me since he described our current age as one defined by the intellect, and the epoch to follow as one infused with a greater amount of morality. Part of the disintegration we are seeing seems to be caused by dysfunctional institutions–which are purely intellectual creations–acting without morality.

  27. Thanks, I value your opinion. My own experiences seem to be similar; a jumble of dream like stuff interspersed with imagines collected from my past. My religious practice does involve some activities which induce visions similar to those brought on by hallucinogens but we are always told to ignore them. Presumably they are epiphenomenon which could, in theory, be personally meaningful but are not “real” in themselves nor to be taken literally. Some people are just discovering this idea but as you said “been tried in the past and we know how this works out”. Carlos Casteneda’s books were based on similar ideas I believe.

    I’ll keep an open mind since so many of the people who believe this seem sincere and intelligent but if they are talking to wise beings from another universe I wish they’d ask them something very practical.

  28. Take this with any size grain of salt you want, but I understand there are plans in place to avoid losing the knowledge base of this civilization. As I understand it, the groups on the Astral that are concerned with the way civilizations work simply got tired of losing all the accumulated knowledge when a civilization crashed, as they have multiple times, so they invented a way of saving it.

    The way it will look in action is that people will be born with access to specific ‘themes’ that have been gathered by the Working Groups. They’ll have that access from a quite early age. This mechanism got started in pre-dynastic Egypt and has been snowballing ever since.

    This isn’t to say that other mechanisms to save knowledge across a crash aren’t going to be needed. There is strength in diversity.

  29. What are the limits to magic? Assuming a person has a natural talent for it, starts young and gets the best training, what will they be capable of and how will their life be different (to the extent that can be predicted) decades later? If it was a group of such people, what could they do?

    I know Elphias Levi was a socialist. How much crossover has there been between socialism and occultism? I wouldn’t be surprised if Trotsky was into it in his bohemian coffee house phase but totally denied it later. 🙂 Also, was there any crossover between nineteenth and early twentieth century magic and physical culture? I have no evidence for this beyond they were both into self-improvement at the same time and, apparently from old photos and drawings, shared the same love of wood panelling (also conveyed very well by the cover of Inside a Magical Lodge). 🙂

    I watched some programs about Nazi occultism and they said nobody knows what they were planning to do in the ritual rooms of the Wewelsburg Castle. With your knowledge of magic, can you tell what they had in mind?

    What do you think of Michael Harner’s version of shamanism, Raven Kaldera’s version of shamanism and Michael Winn’s version of Daoism?

    Reincarnation has been brought up previously so I’ll throw in an idea – what if there is no reincarnation and past life memories come from a ghost that has attached itself to you and you’re remembering its memories as your own?

    In The Secret of the Temple you mentioned the religious revolution where people went from being pagans to being monotheists or to seeking enlightenment. Can you write more about this or recommend some books?

  30. Dmitry, fat chance! And some of the Europeans, especially the Germans, recently got rather touchy when it came to american sanctions against Russia involving (german) companies working at or making parts for the planned gazprom pipeline through the Baltic Sea…
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  31. Mr Greer, in a previous post you indicated that you were a follower of Schopenhauer’s idea of Will being the primary reality. How would you answer an Idealist who says that Consciousness is the primary reality, because Will cannot know what to will unless it already has at least rudimentary consciousness (with which to will)? Also, it is frequently stated by scientists and philosophers (including Kant and, I believe, Schopenhauer himself) that freewill is illusory – these days it is said that everything, including mental activity, is either a random change of state or can be traced to a preceding cause. Can you please say why you believe such views denying freewill are incorrect?

  32. @Dmitry Orlov,

    I’m pretty sure no one here thinks either of those things. It’s interesting to think about who would be likely to believe those claims, and what benefit that might have to those making them.

    @David, I don’t know a specific recipe and I’ve never attempted bean burgers. But I do a fair bit of improvisational cooking (making situations like “uh oh, it’s falling apart, now what should I do?” fairly routine), and here’s the ingredients I’d try first.

    – beaten egg or egg white, mixed in just before the bread crumbs; about 1 egg per 4 burgers
    – corn starch; a little goes a long way so I’d start with 1/4 tsp per burger and go up from there (1 tsp per burger max) if it seems to be helping. Mix the corn starch with an equal amount of water first (which you can also mix powdered seasonings into at the same time). This won’t bind until heated so the bean mixture might still seem crumbly going into the pan.
    – dried apple, chopped up (easiest using a meat grinder); about a tablespoon per burger. I like to add this to meatless or low-fat sausage and burger recipes because besides helping to bind, it adds a little texture variation, similar to the little bits of fat in ground meat.
    – maybe, almond flour? I’ve been experimenting with it and sometimes get unexpectedly sticky results so maybe if you want something to be more sticky…

    (Hmm, I better not let my wife see this comment. She likes my cooking but seems to think I work from some kind of actual knowledge or plan…)

  33. @Ezra

    Re future literacy. Very true. I, for one, hope that literacy is not lost, although odds are it will be reduced significantly.

    Interestingly, during the workshop, a couple of us got into a mini-debate re grammar. One of the other attendees was complaining about “kids these days” and their lack of “proper grammar”. I pointed out that grammar, despite what our high school English teachers might say, is fundamentally descriptive, not prescriptive, and that language is constantly in flux. It was, needless to say, a lively discussion!

  34. I just read your book Dark Age America, surprised to find the copy I bought at the used bookstore was an autographed copy. 🙂

    On the topic about the chapters of economy/environment. What do you think will happen to all the student loan debt that’s out there today? I’m contemplating that if the economy crashes before all my modest debts are paid off I could be indentured into something I can never get out of. I don’t think there will be a jubilee – and I think it’s very possible the dollar will collapse. Do you think we could be looking at a new form of slavery if the economy collapses and all the elite still want to be paid their due? lol See The Merchant of Venice. 🙂 How do you think the massive debts that are out there now will play out? It’s safe to say such massive borrowing is made possible by fossil fuels and it would be lunacy to ask the be paid once fossil fuels become scarce.

  35. Dear JMG and community,

    A huge thank you for the ideas, guidance and education contained in all your posts, books and in the comments as well. I stumbled across the ADR last year and it felt like a long drink of cool water after being lost in the desert. You have helped me understand things regarding the likely direction of our civilisation that I have always suspected must be true but didn’t know exactly why or how they were true on an intellectual level. Solidarity at last! I’m not mad, the world is!

    JMG, I think recently you wrote on this site that depression is the distance between what you know and what you do. I am grappling with this myself. The more I understand our predicament, the less I can reconcile myself to doing things within today’s paradigm that don’t take the forces shaping our future into account. And sadly, in today’s world, because most organisations and most people just don’t “get it”, that means most forms of work and activity.

    I’m 33 and come from a family wine business background. It is a well-established operation which employs 450 people (and buys grapes from a further 2,000 farmers). Our region is more or less a monoculture, with almost 24,000 families relying on the sale of grapes for wine for their livelihoods. It is going to have to undergo some serious adaptation as catabolic collapse accelerates. The only way I can rationalise taking on this privileged opportunity (of helping to run the family business) is if I can do work that, in some form, addresses what is coming.

    The trouble is that our business, like most others, is operating as if the future is going to be similar enough to the past to carry on operating like it always has done. Our products are shipped around the world and our entire supply chain and operating model relies on the continuing availability of cheap energy, stable climate, disposable income, etc, etc.

    This year I returned home to work with my father but I feel very conflicted about it. The only scenario in which I feel I will be able to reconcile myself to the contradictions inherent in helping continue an operation which I know is completely unsustainable is if I am able to persuade my family of the trajectory we are on and that we need to react accordingly. I sit in meetings with people talking about future strategy and find myself screaming inside at the vast distance between what they are talking about and what is actually unfolding.

    I am motivated to use my fortunate position to help people in our organisation and local communities prepare but I feel that what I want to talk about and act on is so taboo and even so incomprehensible that I would just be met with blank stares or dismissal as crazy. It will be at least 10 years until I am in a position to lead the business and I am worried that even then the forces and priorities that drive a business mean that my agenda just won’t be within the range of what the company and shareholders will accept (until what I’m talking about is blindingly obvious and by then it will be too late).

    I feel torn between finding somewhere quiet and rural to live (and continuing with my old career online, helping people make brave, unconventional career changes) vs stepping into this family business opportunity but having to deal with the difficult cognitive dissonance of operating in an environment where no one gets it and where most of the activity we engage in is completely inappropriate when it comes to preparing for the future we’re going to get.

    Any advice would be gratefully received – from you and from any other commenters with a perspective!

    Thanks,
    Rob

  36. Hi JMG,

    Per some of our past communications, I was reading up on Jung. I found his controversial BBC response to belief in God, (“I Know”) and read some more of his work and some other commentators. What is your take on Jung’s definition of God? Seems it is a component of the collective consciousness?

    Thanks, I enjoy your new formats,

    Mac

  37. Two serious observation this time:

    I think the biggest factor hobbling any serious movement for change is purity politics. I was just in a discussion with someone who’s part of a movement to try to reduce global warming, who insist the first step is to change your own behavior. I liked them, up until the point when politics came up, and once it became clear I’m not on the same page on other issues, well, it turns out I’m not welcome there.

    I rather enjoy the civilization game series. There’s a mod for one of them that attempts to mimic real history more accurately than the original, but they don’t use resource limits: an oil well never runs out, an iron mine produces enough iron for infinite swordsmen, etc. There is also no maintenance costs for buildings, roads, or technologies. I’ve asked why not, given how easy it would be to code, especially in comparison to other features they did, and I got an answer I find quite amusing: “Both resource limits and maintenance costs are under consideration, but for now they are not part of the mod… They also have an unfortunate interaction: civilizations develop and waste all the local resources, and then collapse. Since this is not found in the historical record, we have to figure out how to integrate them in a way that matches the historical records before we can release them, even if the bugs related to either one individually could be solved.”

    Newtonfinn,

    And yet, anything old must be filled with horrible, offensive ideas which we must be protected from! (sarcasm)

    I agree, reading old things is brilliant. The one problem is it can get fairly hard to find anything more than few years old in most bookstores these days, outside of the used ones. Knowing what is worth getting is also hard, so thank you for giving me two new things to look for next time I got to a used book store.

  38. More questions, if I may… These have been accumulating for about a year now, forgot to make a note of these they way I did those in my earlier comment.

    – What do you see as the real likelihood of an earth religion becoming more popular in an age of decline and collapse? You seem pretty hard-headed about predicting the likelihood of stuff you think unpleasant. I had always thought it was a really nice idea, but one that couldn’t actually happen, because Christianity was so big, and Bibles so common. And likewise Islam and the Quran for the Muslim world. (I was involved in neo-paganism sufficiently in the early 00s to call myself a pagan then, but now it’s more of a background vague philosophy.)
    Though contrary to my cynicism, there now seem to be strands of Christianity leaning a little more that way, such as Laudato Si (although it fails to consider overpopulation) and this order of nuns: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/19/pennsylvania-nuns-oppose-fracking-gas-atlantic-sunrise-pipeline

    – Have you, or other readers, read the British historian Ronald Hutton? If so, what did you think?
    For the unfamiliar: Hutton has done a lot of academic work on both neopaganism as well as historical and prehistorical pre-Christian religion and folk customs. It is both academically deeply rigorous and very sympathetic. (He won’t be explicit about his own beliefs and practices for academic reasons, but it’s pretty obvious, if you read between the lines… I basically got into paganism in my early twenties via his books – I’d always felt interested but it seemed too silly before.) I think I remember a commenter on an old post being frustrated with those who think Wicca etc is an ancient religion, feeling it was most pagans, and certainly the majority of those who have read Hutton (and in the UK he has fans among pagans as well as academics) don’t see it that way: it is a valid modern religion in its own right. Would highly recommend his books (especially Pagan Britain and The Triumph of the Moon) to those who are interested. .

    – Do you have any thoughts for someone who is in the situation of having medical problems that would be impossible to manage with in even a small degree of collapse, and which are difficult even as society is – and who has been dogged by the sense of feeling unnatural/aberrant (at the same time as in a vague way worshipping nature) because at just about any other time in history they would have been either dead, or worse, highly debilitated and with appalling quality of life? Perhaps this is because I learned about collapse as a kid, before things got this way. I always felt artificial because I’d never be able to manage a Ray Mears [British TV outdoor survivalist] kind of life. It is only among commenters on ADR that I’ve found hints of other people who might be at all similar: knowing that a scenario in which one couldn’t manage for oneself would also be better for other life in the ecosystem. It’s not something most people seem to think about at all (I shocked one friend who has a long-term condition that can be well managed with modern medicine, as it seemed totally outside his frame of reference) and there’s barely a way to talk about it.

  39. Let me start by saying how exciting the upcomming OSS science fiction contest is. Do you have a rough sense of the rules and guidelines for the stories, and would you mind sharing a preview? A story is starting to take form in my mind, but it is currently framed in with a time travel narrative, which I know can be a push too far for the tastes of some.

    Also, I am continually influenced by what I would call the Gandalf Archetype, and I wanted to ask an open question to the forum what do you make of the connection between ol’ Stormcrow and Odin? I know there is some degree of pollination going on, but I am hungry for the thoughts of others on this matter.

    Finally I want to say that this summer I can feel the growing stress of crisis times closing in on myself and many of my friends and allies. It is most uncomfortable, and drives me toward a leap of faith, doubling down on my moves to reject the patterns of our time. Still this is difficult, for my success rate in so many things is still so far short of sustainable as to chill me. By any sober and straight minded assessment my leaving of the beaten path has been reckless and irresponsible. May we all, Green Wizards, have the courage to press on, and the peace to avoid conflicts of folly. This is not a question, as the first two paragraphs, but a preface to a lovely poem I discovered last night which gave some solace:

    “The Answer,” by Robinson Jeffers

    Then what is the answer?—Not to be deluded by dreams.
    To know the great civilizations have broken down into violence, and their tyrants come, many times before.
    When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.
    To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted and not wish for evil; and not be duped
    By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will not be fulfilled.
    To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand
    Is an ugly thing, and man dissevered from the earth and stars and his history…for contemplation or in fact…
    Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is
    Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man
    Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions, or drown in despair when his days darken.

    I discovered the poem byway of a decent article in the High Country News which may be of interest to some here. http://www.hcn.org/issues/49.12/essay-climate-change-confronting-despair-in-the-age-of-ecocide

  40. Umm, since it’s open post, is it fair to ask for an answer to a question you posed last post, but was too late to get a response? Just wondering… 😀

  41. Hi John, I am kinda sorta enjoying this free for all speakeasy thing you got going here! Do you? Not much to add but I am wondering if you have read the excellent post-dystopic-utopian novel by Cory Doctorow called WALKAWAY? I highly recommend it as a fictional vision of the future set in a Maker’s landscape, great female/non conforming characters, and a good story. If you or your readers get the chance, check it out! see you on the other side, NuttyProf

  42. Hi John,

    I have a few questions which I have been mulling about for a while.

    1)The recent British general election saw Jeremy Corbyn do much better then expected, something you predicted two years ago on your blog. What do you think of his economic policies (additional spending on the public sector, reducing student debt further borrowing/tax rises) and are they are right ones in an era of limits to growth.

    My own personal view is that we need to start massively shrinking the state, re-localizing it and reverting services back to the local level, not further funding of an over-centralized, bureaucratic and hyper-complex big state beast.

    I have referenced your thoughts on Corbyn in my blog. (https://forecastingintelligence.org/2017/06/24/british-general-election-what-went-wrong/)

    2) The migration crisis is still brewing in Europe, with hundreds of thousands of Africans travelling to Italy this year alone. Do you see further mass migrations looming within the next decade and if so, what do you think the geo-political ramifications will be for the EU?

    James

  43. Hi JMG, in your “Encyclopedia of Natural Magic” you say that iron breaks up etheric patterns, and mention something similar in Circles of Power” about the magic sword.

    I’ve started working through Konstantinos’ “Summoning Spirits,” and am planning to make a magical sword for that but wanted to make it out of iron based on your suggestions. However, I’m having trouble finding iron flat bar or sheet metal, as most of what’s available is steel.

    I don’t know much about the amounts of iron they use for different steel, but wondered if it lacks the ability to break up etheric patterns due to it being mixed with carbon, etc?

    My second questions is whether you think “Summoning Spirits” is a good system for evocation or not. I like his exercises for developing the astral senses and that the rituals familiar to me, but I’ve heard a lot of people bash it for being too “fluffy.”

  44. JMG–My question was in deference to a larger philosophy of education. I’ve been doing what you recommend for nearly two decades. A fulcrum of my Political Theory course is (by way of just one example) a thorough understanding of what the three laws of thermodynamics imply for institutions (be they governments, corporations, Boy Scout Troops, etc.). You and I are in agreement as to what young people today frequently understand about what all’s being bequested to them by previous generations—but they’re also subjected to the tired “this time is different” illogic of a culture in collective denial as to what’s coming. As you might imagine, it’s a nasty mix for someone in his or her middling to late teens (It’s a nasty mix for many middle aged adults). I would contend that education, particularly during the years of development we’re discussing, is almost entirely about the question of responsibility owed to the people sitting in the neatly arranged rows in classrooms. You are indeed widely read–but (as I’m sure you’re well aware) the topics you address, thankful as I am that you address them, would, in more school systems than we’d want to count, be grounds for teacher dismissal. Put another way, you are not likely to be happened upon in a high school classroom in the same way Plato and Paine are likely to be happened upon in a high school classroom–which is really too bad because what you have to offer a 17 year old in 2017 is a significantly more useful set of philosophical tools than Plato and Paine (with all due respect to their bodies of work) I’m lucky. I can “get away with it” (where ‘it’ is conducting honest discussions about reality as you’ve so frequently described it). But what about the broader institution of secondary education? It’s terribly unfortunate that the subjects covered in your writing are not mainstreamed curriculum. Where possible, should teachers not facing the threat of unemployment seek to find ways to introduce those topics in a formal classroom setting? And is it fair to judge the failure to introduce said topics as a disservice to children? Or has the institution of education itself become too enveloped in the soon to be obsolete structures of industrial civilization? Answers to these questions create a space for the broader discussion of what school should be about in the latter day.

  45. Will, I’m referring to cola drinks, which are generally brown in color. Thus “fizzy, brown, sugar water.” I think you’re parsing it as “fizzy, brown sugar, water.”

    Anthony, I’d say you should ask people who live there and know the area. I’ve never been there, thus have no clue!

    Newtonfinn, excellent! Exactly; reading books by dead people is a great way to figure out that our current situation is in no way unique — a recognition that then leads to the insight that we can figure out which responses don’t work, and which ones might, by seeing what happened the last time this happened.

    Antonomasia, I don’t see the internet grinding to a halt in the next few decades. Here in the US, at least, I see it being rationed by price and location — the cost of access rising over time, while service to rural areas becomes increasingly spotty when it’s not unavailable. Fifty years from now, as I’ve noted in posts in the old blog, I suspect there’ll still be an internet, but it’ll only be available to government agencies, the military, big corporations, and the rich. Everyone else will have to make do with whatever low-tech substitutes they can cobble together.

    The glorification of local community — yeah, that’s very much a fantasy in most cases, believed in by people who’ve never lived in a small town. Mind you, small towns have their virtues, but they also have their serious problems. There is no utopia anywhere.

    With regard to the long-term impacts of climate change et al., it depends very much on where you are. I expect the US to fragment, while the UK’s much more likely to remain intact or devolve, at most, to the old nations of England, Scotland, and Wales — and yes, a more authoritarian political system is fairly likely, unless mass migration takes over and things fall apart completely, the way they did back when the migrants spoke Anglo-Saxon.

  46. JMG-

    Congrats on the new site and the move. I hope RI agrees with you. I enjoyed last weeks post. I always liked Jung. His ideas of archetypes and collective unconcious made intuitive sense to me. If the archetype of Man the Conqueror of Nature is dying, you surely don’t see evidence of it in the mainstream. Just today, On Point with Tom Ashbrook (NPR) wasted an hour of airtime crowing about Elon Musk’s NYC to DC hyperloop. Supposedly St. Musk has gotten “verbal approval” from the governnment. Well, maybe he has, the Donald loves building things that go bankrupt. Anyway, it was a depressing show. There was virtually no pushback. After the Big Dig you woulda thought we’d learned our lesson.

    I look forward to your thoughts on the intersection of spirituality and decline and fall. So far, traditional religion seems insufficient.

    @Anthony Valterra

    As far as IL, I live here. I would not recommend IL unless you are finacially stable, perhaps retired, and your children are grown. IL has a totally dysfunctional state government. Our state pensions system is the worst in the nation, ditto on our bond rating, ditto on our school funding formula. In fact, unless the Statehouse and the Gov. See eye to eye on a new funding formula, many districts may close their doors in Nov.

    However, on the upside, there is wonderful fishing here.

  47. Schopenhauer, slight return.

    Apologies for what may well be a muddled question but something I’ve been pondering since the finale series on the last blog: what, if anything, can we infer from the organic nature of the will as expression? By organic I mean ooze & slime in the broadest sense, things growing crystal like, as opposed to assembled, mechanically. I understand that this ‘organic’ label may be just part of our representational mode but it seems to be prevalent.

    Perhaps to clarify: if all is will, and the manifestations and representations (including our ‘selves’, body and all) are expressions of the will, the thing in itself, how come our representations are ‘organic’?

    Further, can we extrapolate from ‘our’ jumbled and often conflicting ‘wills’ that it is all indeed ‘purposeless’ (as value judgments go, not a bad thing in my book either), ‘concerned’ only with willing, not with the ‘results’, not aiming for anything other than manifesting.

    Does the will ‘care’ (in the sense of ‘selection’) about its manifestations & forms/modes of expression? Or is the will simply about willing? A will that doesn’t isn’t.

    Then again, why seemingly so ‘organic’?

  48. Michael, I remain profoundly skeptical of neurobiology, because it’s simply not true that human beings always and everywhere tend to put short term benefits ahead of long term planning, and so on. If our species did so, it would have gone extinct a long time ago! To my mind, neurobiology is simply an attempt to blame biology for the bad habits of privileged 21st century Americans — “See, I can’t help it, it’s in my genes!” Not so.

    Bruce, I’m unfamiliar with that method. Can you point me to information on it?

    David, got it. Fair enough.

    Oilman, of course it can. Gaia’s a tough old broad; she’s shrugged off ice ages and asteroid impacts, and nothing we can do will give her more than a momentary itch. What we have to worry about is if she decides to scratch…

    Ann, the proliferation of ticks is at least in part a result of our brainless monkeying with the environment. We wiped out the wolves and cougars; deer bred explosively; ticks expanded their population to suit the much larger food source, and we’re simply getting some of the collateral damage. The best thing to do is to let nature deal with it; there’s a lot of biomass in the form of ticks just now, and something will evolve to eat it. (And the deer.)

    Sean, yep. My take is that our current notions of early human history are hogwash, because they’ve been twisted to fit our current mythology of progress. Still, that’s a theme for a future post.

    Samurai, I’m partial to the claim that the Age of Aquarius began in 1879, for reasons that will probably need a post of their own. Mind you, there’s a lot of wiggle room, as there are no fixed boundary signs in the skies — but there’s a very Uranian quality to the world since 1880 or so that didn’t use to be there before then, and a Neptunian quality to the world before then that seems to have gotten lost.

    Mtc, exactly. It’s like the people who claim to be in contact with intelligences from other planets; until the communications they receive start sounding less like typical 21st century human pablum, and maybe answer a scientific or technological question in a way that can actually be put to the test, I have my doubts.

    John, that would be nice. Until I see it working in practice, though, I’m going to concentrate on means of saving knowledge via the material plane!

  49. Dear JMG,

    I completed your Learning Ritual Magic book work a couple of years ago and am now working through Circles of Power. I have some questions about the inner plane working you taught in the latter chapters of LRM.

    You wrote that this method “represent a first step toward a wide range of magical techniques” and that “The fusion of meditative and ritual actions in a visualized content is central to a large part of the work of the modern magician.” Finally, in the last chapter, you wrote, “you will act in your physical and visualized bodies at the same time. This is an essential (to some extent, the essential) skill of ritual magic.”

    Now to my questions.

    1) Could you please say more about how and why inner plane workings/acting in physical and visualized bodies simultaneously are so important? And perhaps suggest some of the wide range of techniques they may lead to?

    2) I was wondering about if this skill is so essential, then why it wouldn’t be explored more in Circles of Power? Or is it in there and I’m not seeing the form it’s taking? Or, perhaps, you cover it in the pathworking sections of Paths of Wisdom?

    3) If one has completed the curriculum of LRM and is in the midst of working through CoP, how would you recommend they more deeply investigate and practice these (inner plane and acting in physical and visualized form at the same time) forms of magical workings?

    Thanks much, and hope things are working out in your new home,

    Pierre

  50. Hi JMG,

    I was wondering if you had heard of this year’s great Dicamba Disaster? If you haven’t, I think you will appreciate the lessons it demonstrates about the risks of using GMOs. Basically, a few years ago Monsanto released dicamba herbicide resistant strains of soybean and cotton seeds to the market but didn’t have any dicamba formulations that weren’t extremely volatile and extremely prone to long range drift. Well late last year the EPA approved a new formulation they brought for testing. Supposedly it wasn’t prone to long range drift.

    Well this year we find out in practice that it is very prone to drift. Some of the news reports I’ve read cite millions of acres of soybeans, fruits and vegetables and other row crops damaged by dicamba drift. News reports talk about how dicamba use is increasing rapidly, etc, etc. Anyway, the one piece of the story I never see mentioned is why Monsanto developed dicamba resistant GMO soybeans and cotton at all. Based on my research and being in the AG biz myself the (unspeakable) answer is: in those areas where dicamba resistant soy and cotton are being planted, glyphosate resistant versions of those crops are no longer getting the job done. Those areas are now becoming overrun with glyphosate resistant weeds, like pigweed. Pigweed grows extremely fast and puts out millions of seeds in a hurry. Once it became resistant it is easily able to out compete the soy or cotton in the field for the synthetic nutrients placed there by the farmer and then spread its seeds further afield.

    Now the tragically funny part in all this is that a few decades ago the Monsanto scientists and PR shills said this would never happen. Never mind those very scientists are very knowledgeable in the field of evolutionary biology. It’s just that their pay check depended on them saying it would never happen. Then it happened and is quickly rendering one of the first generation GMOs obsolete. No worries, says the Monsanto execs, we’ll just develop a new, patented, and more expensive GMO to replace it that will use our specially formulated herbicide. Wonder how long this one will last?

    Anyway, I could go on and on about the stupidity of GMO thinking, but I think you get the point. I wanted to share this bit of news with you and the rest of the Ecosophia readership who may not be regular readers of ag news.

    Hope all is well in East Prov.

  51. Alright, I’ve been holding this question back for a while, but here goes: what do you make of the Mandela Effect?

    If you’re not familiar (or for those who aren’t), the Mandela Effect is when a large number of people have the same or similar false memories. It’s named after a fairly widespread memory of Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980’s. They generally remember riots following his death. Many suspect that such people confused Mandela with Steve Bico.

    However, that’s not he most common shared false memory: that would have to be the spelling and pronunciation of the Bearenstain Bears. A LOT of people, myself included, remember them as the BearenstEin Bears, pronounced “bear-in-STINE” or “bear-in-STEEN,” but apparently it is and has always been BearenstAin, pronounced just how to looks: “bear-in-STAIN.”

    Now, I’m the first to admit that the Mandela Effect community has by-and-large gone off the rails with its dogmatic insistence that either we’re shifting between parallel universes or CERN has managed to change the past, and with an obsession over increasingly inane examples, such as misremembered movie quotes and spellings where the false memory preserves the “gist” or the pronunciation (e.g. “Chick-Fil-A” vs “Chic-Fil-A” vs “Chik-Fil-A”).

    That said, I can’t help but think something weird is going on when the first reaction of many people — including myself, my mother, and a couple of my friends — to seeing the correct spelling of the Bearenstain Bears is, “I have never seen that spelling before in my life,” and we’ve certainly never heard it pronounced “stain” — to the point that it actually disturbs us. Or when we all seem to remember Curious George having a tale, and even hanging by it from the letters on the cover of one of his books. Or…

    That’s not to say that reality has actually changed. If anything, all our memories is an even more interesting.

    My own conjecture at the moment is: something something morphic fields.

  52. Hey there,

    Really excited about buy the archdruid book and others direct from publishers, however shipping to New Zealand is cripplingly high, do you know of suppliers in Asia/Aus who carry your physical books?

    Question, or perhaps more of an observation. I’ve been reading your monsters book and am slightly concerned with with a couple of things. The first is the whole sale belief in ancient lore. You start by criticising mainstream views which I agree with, however you then seem to do the mirror opposite and assume that all lore about various monsters is of value, I’d personally air on the side of caution as our ability to judge now the relevance of old text is surly open to over-valuing/misinterpretations, or we could just be suckers for a past snake oil salesman.

    The other observation is the fact that most of the book takes a very human centric view of things as if humans are the linchpin of all existence, the pinnacle and baseline of what monster can be. If we think about the variation of possibilities from the natural word that other entities might wish to take, or that they are some how specially tied to humanity in their day-to-day is hugely problematic. Imho humanity is not special, and the rest of existence really doesn’t care as much as we’d like to think they do.

    Cheers for taking the time, look forward to your reply.

  53. @Anthony Valterra

    Just a follow up. Collapsing first and avoiding the rush implies an intentional step-down, a calculated simplification. IL is potentially careening into unintentional collapse at the state level. We have 15bn in unpaid bills for services already provided. Although they finally overrode Rauner and passed an annual budget for the first time in 2 years, the situation is far from fixed. Womens shelters, old folks outreach, opiod clinics have shut down. It is bad, bad, bad.

  54. Darkest Yorkshire, er, any one of your questions would be adequate fodder for a book of its own! The very short form: a) the limits to magic are partly set by the laws of nature — magic is not supernatural — and partly set by the fact that there are seven billion other people, and countless trillions of other living things just on this one planet, all willing things at the same time you are, and your magic has to deal with all that inertia. My book Circles of Power has a useful discussion of the issues.

    b) Occultism is pretty much independent of political preference — Levi was a socialist, and the great English socialist William Morris at least ran with occultists (and put a great deal of occult symbolism, among other things, into his immense and brilliant book The Well at the World’s End), but other occultists have been found across the spectrum from flat-out anarchism to goose-stepping fascism. Physical culture, on the other hand, had a huge overlap with magic — you might look up (among many others) Genevieve Stebbins, who brought the Delsarte system of exercises to the US and was also a leading adept of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.

    c) If I knew what SS occultists were trying to do at Wewelsburg, do you think I’d publish that information on a public post on the web?

    d) I don’t study shamanism or Daoism and thus have no opinion on the authors you’ve named.

    e) by the same logic, you aren’t actually the person you think you are, because some other person’s memories got grafted into your mind five minutes ago. Prove me wrong!

    f) I’ll consider writing more about it as time permits.

    J_Menadue, first of all, Schopenhauer argues — and i agree with him — that the will in its original mode is a blind force. Consciousness is what happens when the will collides with obstacles often enough that it evolves the capacity to notice that fact. When you stub your toe, you’re experiencing the most basic form of consciousness. 😉

    Second, notice how you’ve jumped from “will” to “free will.” Schopenhauer doesn’t do that. He argues that the will in its original mode is wholly determined; as it becomes more complex, and especially as it evolves such secondary characteristics as consciousness, you start to get what logicians call “strange loops” — patterns of recursive feedback that mess with ordinary causality — and as a result, the will stops being governed by deterministic causality and begins to act in a way that’s neither random nor strictly determined, but evolves its own character and modes of action. Is that “free will”? Depends on what you mean by that much-vexed term. It’s not absolutely free — Kant was right that there’s no such thing as free will in that extreme sense — but insofar as it’s governed by an internal logic present to consciousness (and constantly modified by consciousness) rather than by external compulsion, yes, it qualifies.

  55. @ Dmitry Orlov
    I’m sorry, Sir – as you can see/read, even people with some interest on fringe subjects are too much navel-entitled to care about others/collective issues. To me, your last post underlines that accurately. Perhaps your comment here at Ecosophia was an experiment of sorts, a small push, maybe a subject for a future post…

    @ RobS
    Well, this seems to be the standard answer (for some centuries now, at least): start a small, self-sustainable community of like-minded people. From your comment, it seems that you are in a somewhat privileged position, since through your family’s business you probably know people with agricultural skills, even non-industrial methods. Unfortunately, as the paragraph above tried to convey, the like-mindedness remains very problematic.

    Thank you for reading.

  56. Mr. Greer,

    I missed the posting deadline a month ago so forgive the repost. What, if any, are your thoughts on Nick Land and the so-called Dark Enlightenment?

  57. JMG and J_Menadue,

    One place where I think the debate over free will gets bogged down is our tendency to want to ask, “But how does free will work?” I see this as essentially a demand for a mechanistic account of free will, which is absurd. The appropriate answer to the question is, of course, “Mu.”

  58. @ RobS –

    Perhaps keep it simple and doable within the current business is the way to start.

    As things get herky-jerky with the collapse of hypercomplexity, as the economy grinds gears and things get kludgy, be glad you are in a profession considered “recession proof”. People need to eat, want to drink, need medical care and need to be buried when they die. Those industries are the ones that seem to survive many things that cream secondary industries (those that make gadgets and rely on other manufactured things for input) and the service economy.

    Transportation is (long term) going to get expensive and likely slower. Some things are going to go away due to that alone. Fuel may get patchy to get, which produces the same thing.

    My recommendation, based on what I think may happen, is to simply try and invest in and support other businesses local to you. It doesn’t matter if they make wine and ship it elsewhere for blending. The fact that they make wine is important, just as growing grapes is important. But when the two are paired together (say within an hours drive or so), you retain the capability to deliver a finished product for consumption by the locals – who will not want to pay the price of the non-local wines shipped from x-y-z.

    You have to actively try to support your local guys. Today I had to get a tire for my 4-wheeler trailer. I could order online and then get it put on the rim locally (3 day delivery) for $30 for tire, $15 shipping and $10 for mounting at Discount Tire. I could go to the local feedstore/tractor garage and pay $45 for them to replace and mount the tire. I chose the second option. The tires themselves are all manufactured outside the USA. Option 2 was faster and thus cheaper and supported local more.

    I pay more for local many times – but this will become the norm as the big guys trip over collapsing globalism. When local has more competition, prices will normalize.

    And I also didn’t have to pay today. It is very common when dealing with locals in small towns for them to extend you the courtesy of assuming you are honest. I didn’t have the cash on me, and the local guy handed me a ticket, put the tire and rim in my truck and told me to pay him the $45 next time I get into town. You can bet I will honor my obligation, as this type of service and mutual support is what should be.

    Similarly, I bought my tractor and all implements on layaway. Made 6 months of payments and then my local guy delivered them all to me at the farm. I made my regular payments and everybody was happy. Nothing more than a handshake and me proving my intent to pay him back was required. Try doing that at a Kubota dealership…

    Go local, go local, go local – because globalism simply cannot survive what is coming.

    Maybe others have additional recommendations. but this one has worked for me in spades.

  59. Austin, for reasons that would require a post or three to explain, the economy these days can’t run at all without massive amounts of fictional IOUs — paper debt that can be traded like real wealth, but that nobody will ever be expected to pay. Student loans are one form of that right now. My guess is that sometime in the next dozen years or so — probably about the time the academic industry has its big crash — a law will be passed allowing student loans to be discharged via the bankruptcy courts.If not, some other gimmick will be found. More on this as we proceed!

    RobS, I’d encourage you instead to learn the business, get very familiar with the way it works now, and then start looking at ways to make it more sustainable — for example, by incorporating locally produced renewable energy into the production process, and exploring ways to encourage local and regional distribution and consumption of your product. There will still be a market for wine in the depths of the deindustrial dark age — in Dark Age Britain, in the midst of a profound economic and social collapse, wine was still being imported from Europe — so you’ve got a chance to maintain a business that will keep your family and those of your employees above water in very hard times. That’s not something to sneeze at!

    Mac, I’m by no means sure the old wizard of Zurich had a definition. He knew when it was to his advantage to be slippery as a fish.

    Will, we’ll be talking about purity politics in a bit. As for the game, I’m really quite impressed that they think civilizations don’t exhaust their resources and collapse. I wonder if they think that ancient Egypt and Sumer are still going concerns… 😉

    Antonomasia, in 200 CE, Roman Paganism was just as big and rich and well-connected as Christianity and Islam are today. That changed, because it had anchored itself too firmly to the existing order of society — just as Christianity and Islam have done. What will replace the latter, mind you, is impossible to say this early in the game! Yes, I’ve read Ronald’s books, and in fact I’ve met the guy. He’s an interesting cat. As for your medical situations, remember that all of us have a fatal medical condition called being alive. It’s only in the fantasies of modern industrial society that death isn’t a constant companion to all of us; the one difference in your case is that you have a pretty good idea of what’s going to kill you, while the rest of us aren’t so well informed. Look at it from that standpoint and see if that changes the picture somewhat…

  60. JMG,
    I’m really enjoying this open Q&A once a month! Thank you! Now that you’re in New England and inviting off-topic questions:
    I wonder whether you’ve read much about the old stone chambers that are found in New England. If so, do you have a take on their origins?
    In case not, or for anyone else interested:
    There are hundreds of stone chambers and structures throughout New England. The standard explanation is that they’re the root cellars of early English colonists (I became interested in this when I discovered there’s one built into a stone wall beside the colonial-era house of an ancestor), but there are questions about how that could be. There’s evidence that suggests (to some) that they’re more likely ceremonial sites built by First Peoples. Other explanations, put forward by various parties, are that the chambers were built by the Norse as temporary shelters, by ancient Celts for ceremony, by aliens for any of a number of reasons, or by Americans as a hoax.
    The facts by themselves are interesting enough: hundreds of documented structures built with large, heavy stones, all over New England with concentrations in certain areas, ranging from individual small chambers to multi-acre sites, with many of the structures bearing similar construction features, some of which do suggest symbolic or ceremonial, rather than practical, function (openings oriented towards sunrise on the solstices, for instance).
    For anyone interested, the NYT article linked below gives a pretty good overview of the arguments for and against the various theories (with references to Native shamanic rituals, Ogham inscriptions, geomagnetic anomalies, UFO enthusiasts, and more!). And if you g**gle “new england” “stone structures” you’ll find plenty of articles, stories, and even an online catalog of sites including descriptions, diagrams, and comparisons (stonestructures.org).
    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/22/nyregion/putnam-s-mysterious-chambers-of-stone.html
    Thanks, JMG, and welcome to New England!

  61. JMG,

    I’m relatively new to your writings, so likely have missed previously posted info.

    I note with interest that you speak of the Death of a Myth. Agreed.

    My question is, are you aware of other writers trying to fish a NEW Myth out of the Anywhere and into the Here?

    I am quite (sub)consciously incubating a mythic tale that envisions deeper conciousness/spirit as growing from interconnection with nature, rather than ‘arising’ as the old solar ‘Sky God’ forms of ‘higher’ consciousness seeking to transcend the body/material world. This, meant as both a description of where the Western mind sundered from nature, and prescriptive of the means of reuniting with it.

    So far I’m not aware of any other writer nuts enough to try this. Do you have any recommended authors who might have gone before me?

    Thanks for the open forum–the discussions here are great!

  62. Out here, smudging with sage is a regular part of Wiccan practice, not to mention curandismo by some practitioners. We don’t do other people’s rituals, but that one has gone mainstream in New Mexico. Yes, I find it effective, unless it’s indoors and other people have breathing problems.

  63. JMG,

    With regards to the game, apparently the only way civilizations end is by conquest from other civilizations. Personally I was tempted to reply with a link to a book on the topic, but oh well. I may just add in the features myself and see what happens: somehow I think it would be surprisingly close to real history….

    Rob,

    Here’s my take, as an early 20s man getting a university degree: worry about today, not tomorrow. Put yourself in a good position today, and be prepared to change course. Is there anything today that is sustainable, as it is? I have my doubts.

    But, winemaking will always be valued, and so it makes sense to get involved now and make the changes to sustainability when you get the chance. Having a career where that is even an option is a huge plus over most people!

  64. Nothing off topic? A day or two ago I heard a radio station play Johnny Cash singing his song “Boy Named Sue.” It’s a question I’ve had for quite a long time; Why is this idiotic song so popular?

  65. During last week’s NPR program “Latino USA”, there was a segment titled “Why Democracies Choose Authoritarianism”. It seemed like an rather more abstract and ambitious topic than most of their immigration and discrimination stories. The Latino connection? Latin America has lots of examples! The answer to the question (if I recall correctly) is that authoritarianism is preferred over chaos. It is not the case that authoritarian leaders connive their way into power; rather, the people select authoritarian leaders when authoritarianism is the only way seen out of chaos. The person conducting the interview seemed, to me, to be slightly disappointed that the Expert Analyst (Amanda Taub, NYTimes) was NOT going to blame Donald Trump for leading us astray.

    I found this discussion to be entirely consistent with the political analysis of the old ADR essays and discussion. Hearing it on NPR was the startling part.

  66. I would dearly love to see your reasons for believing that the Age of Aquarius began in 1879 particularly, but agree that a major cultural shift started around them and came to a head right after World War I, at least in the Western World. Especially since the Age of Aquarius enthusiasts see it as an age of “Reason, Science, and Man”! (I see 1914 et. seq as a major political crisis for Russia, Turkey, and that entire group of nations east of, say, Poland and Hungary. Replacing the Romanovs with Czars Lenin and Stalin was a major political 80-year upheaval (or failed experiment) for Russia, for example.)

  67. With regard to the death of the Hero , in George RR Martins wildly popular Game of Thrones books and show , there is a dearth of traditional heroes and an upsurge of the unconscious at the onset of interregnum .
    If you look closely , most of the straight white men who would normally be heroes are either killed , castrated , beheaded , have limbs cut off , become lepers are ruled by their passions or are Dwarves or bastards .
    The women on the other hand , despite their fair share of tribulations are generally far more impressive and ultimately powerful. It really is a case of Ishtar Rising .

    With regards to declining fertility , the show ” The Handmaids Tale ” is based on the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel depicting the US being ruled by a patriarchal Christian cult whose rulers are mostly infertile , prompting them to create a Heitara cult of fertile handmaids who are used as surrogates involving highly ritualised sexual practices . As the rulers and their wives want to maintain power , the handmaids are also encouraged to surreptitiosly have sex with fertile young men often conveniently situated as gardeners and drivers, while the Lord Commander is made out to be the father . It really is a dystopian cryptocracy !

    Devils Island is a film depicting Nazi Occultism in a Castle in the Channel Islands , but its very schlocky . My guess is they were trying to unlock quantum secrets of antigravity , which has military applications , obviously . There are numerous books on the subject , most of the Annenherbe or special projects unit was based in Bohemia and Czechoslovakia . Some say this explains Pattons mad dash through Bavaria , and the presence of five or six intact Nazi armies around Prague even whilr Berlin was being assaulted . All that stuff got taken to America , lucky you !

    Cheers
    Alby

  68. We love old books. Good paper can last for centuries under good (dry) conditions. I once saw the “muniments room” of an English abbey, located above the main kitchen (IIRC), where the warmth of the fire below would drive out the damp. I’m sure that I could survive living in Maryland without air conditioning, but could my books survive? When summer humidity infiltrates the cool basement, everything gets damp. So, for long-term planning, I imagine that we might need air-tight bookcases, equipped with desiccant materials, for the “master copies” of books to be preserved.
    Anhydrous calcium sulfate (gypsum, as in plasterboard) can absorb enough water to lower the dewpoint to -100F, but eventually it all assumes the hydrated form, and must be heated to about 400F to drive off the absorbed water. Maybe that could be done with focused sunshine.
    Being the Village Archivist, Keeper of the Muniments and Refresher of the Desiccants, may be a career of the future.

  69. JMG, you mentioned recently that you believe that American culture is differentiated from that of our European ancestors to a significant extent by the presence/adoption of Native American ideas/ideals/customs. As we don’t usually acknowledge much more than the presence of an occasional geographic name borrowed from the previous occupants of the continent, could you expand on this? How do you think Native American culture has influenced the nature of “European” American culture in the last three centuries?

  70. Bean burgers: no experience with that comestible, but general cooking experience suggests any of the following: scrambled egg; milk; dried milk powder; egg and milk together; shredded cheese; precooked barley; precooked steel-cut oats; seitan; tofu; soy cheese; arrowroot, tapioca; refried bean paste; bisquick; cornmeal; partially-cooked grits; wrap beans in flour tortilla, roll like a sausage and slice to make little discs of bean-tilla before cooking.

    Ticks: encourage birds to hang around and peck; chase away loose cats. Some people say ingesting a daily spoonful of cider vinegar (mixed with other stuff to make more palatable) wards off biter bugs by altering sweat/body chemistry. Not tested by me; I saw it in a list of 254 uses for vinegar. Hearsay also claims eating alliums does the trick. Not popular socially, though.

    Student debt: might not the Powers That Wannabe offer debt release to young folks who sign on the dotted line of armed forces or medical frontlines?

    Wine business: A great place to be for the future! As supply lines and shipping decline, vinegar becomes more and more important. You can start now learning how to make basalmic vinegars from Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes, and design a similar product from local grapes. It will add a product line, use up wines that don’t sell well, be cost efficient by turning waste into a new product and allow experimentation with spice and herbal flavorings, thus encouraging a new line of cottage industries for local people. Also, bring back coopering. Multiple woods are needed for barrels, you could plant them now! Acetozym nutrients, mother of vinegar cultivation, acetic acid concentration for industrial use are all possible product lines. Expanding a little into olive oil presses to make marketable salad dressings will give you an edge in profitability and protect against bad wine years due to climate variability. You are fortunately placed!

  71. Throwback to the ADR series on high and low art – a Guardian writer rants about the simplicity of Banksy’s art, and how the British public’s love for it proves that they are all stupid:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/26/britain-artwork-banksy-art-girl-with-balloon

    Quote from the article: “Real art is elusive, complex, ambiguous and often difficult.”

    I think Banksy’s work started at kitsch, but is rapidly climbing into canon …

  72. Hello JMG, what strategy would you recommend to navigate the Long Descent in the next ten years for someone who has just $10,000 and a job in a city at the moment ? Thank you, Antony.

  73. Antonomasia–Your question about people living with medical conditions reminded me of “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1977). A major character is an insulin dependent diabetic. He knows that when the comet hits and the infrastructure goes down and the electricity goes off, he will have only a few days to live. He spends that time preserving his library of technical and science works.

    As for house cleansing. I like to set little dishes of salt around on high shelves and renew them yearly. I also do banishing pentagrams at every entrance or exit–doors, windows, faucets, drains, mirrors and electronic screens. I’m a Wiccan, so I use my athame, but a finger dipped in salt water works too. Or a wand or a clean broom. For freshening the stale house smell I put vinegar out for a day and then pour it out. Just plain vinegar.

    I just saw a second Calexit petition go up on my Facebook feed. Of course, if California did exit the US some of us would like to see the southern border drawn north of the LA Basin. 🙂 Don’t really see succession happening, despite the tattered copies of Ecotopia that some still have on their shelves. (Does anyone else remember how racist that book was? Give Oakland to the Blacks . . .really!)

  74. @ David by the lake

    I don’t know about beans, but we do lentil burgers and a mix of egg and rice flour does bind’em quite well; it has a tendency to soak in cooking oil, though, so you will want to use that last sparingly. Add a bit of grated carrot and garlic for more lively flavors.

    @JMG

    For the last 6 months I have undertaken the study of Homeopathy (easier to credentialize than Accupuncture in my town, I am afraid) and I am left with many doubts of occult nature. Leaving asside the bizarre personality cult around the Samuel Hahnemann person, it seems to me that much of the source of Homeopathy’s insights and techniques come from occult traditions, but I could not tell which ones. The idea that similar cures similar, that doses grow stronger as they diminish in quantity, the whole succussion (aka shaking) thing….

    It does not help that most of my teachers (the whole institition, actually) are very adamantly obsessed with proving… 😉 that the whole discipline is perfectly scientific and kosher, while bad mouthing “allopatic” medicine half of the time.

    I recall you mentioning familiarity with Schüssler salts, or something pretty close to those. Could you please provide a very rough explanation of how the subtle principles behind such terapeutic disciplines work and/or point to some sources that discuss the same in more length?

  75. @RobS: Have you looked into the viability of growing cork trees in your area as heat and drought emulate conditions in Spain and Portugal?? Vertical integration business model for the future.

    @alliemims: Is that the Chenopodium albans pigweed? A.K.A., lambs-quarters? If so, it is edible. Leaves make potherbs, ground-up seeds make a dark bread. How ironic is that? Monsanto making the world safer for weeds!

  76. i’ll try this once again. please feel free to tell me i’m crackers. some time ago, i became aware that certain celebrities, e.g., madonna, claimed to be studying kabbalah. apparently, there are also esoteric groups, druid and otherwise who find inspiration in the kabbalah. i’m jewish by birth and early training and atheist by adult inclination. my interest in the kabbalah is pretty minimal. this is not unusual, even among observant jews. kabballah has always occupied a curious place in jewish thought and practice. some groups, particularly reform jews, regard it as something of an embarrassment and ignore it altogether. some orthodox jews see it as a valid study, but one only to be undertaken after long and thorough study of the torah and the talmud. among those who do pursue studies of kabbalah, it is often thought to be dangerous and should be taught only one on one, between a rabbi and a student.

    despite my own disinterest in the topic, i can’t help feeling just a bit put out by goyim who profess to be kabbalists. it strikes me as a form of cultural appropriation, not too dissimilar to people of euro descent who wear their hair in cornrows or the, thankfully passe, style of nehru jackets. am i missing something? unlike certain druid groups, as our host points out, i am not making an argument for “authenticity”. it is simply a fact that the kabbalah represents a particular strain of jewish thought and it seems to me that it can only be understood in it’s jewish context. if the only part of the bible you read was the book of revelations, you’d come away from it with a very strange concept of christianity. context matters.

  77. @RobS – I’d encourage you to look up for any online information you can get on Tequila Sauza. They are an interesting company, embracing non-traditional methods with an eye towards efficiency and sustainability. If they manage to not get gobbled by one finance predator or another, I am sure they will be taking Scarcity Industrialism on a stride.

  78. @ John Jacobson
    Until recently I was teaching high schoolers and took the opportunity during a spare lesson at the end of term on occasions to play the nicely animated movie “There Is No Tomorrow” about peak oil. Often the students would actively avoid watching after five to ten minutes and find anything else to do with their attention. When I tried to discuss it afterwards they generally expressed that they already knew all these ideas, and believed them, but felt like there was nothing to be gained from dwelling on them. I made a slight impression by giving lots of examples of how they could use the ideas to make better decisions about their futures.

    @ JMG
    How much value do you see in working to develop a form of post industrial agriculture? I have recently retired to my small farm in subtropical Australia and I am endeavouring to set it up for zero input agriculture (similar to Mark Shepard’s approach). So for example geese are a better choice than chickens as they can get by very well on pasture, while chickens need more concentrated inputs to be productive even if they free range. I am getting rid of my cows since breeding them on our scale is impractical, meanwhile shifting over to goats since they are smaller. It also means I can replant the farm with fodder shrubs and trees to feed them reliably through droughts. Apart from planting lots of nut and fruit trees from seed and figuring out which types grow and produce well without irrigation I am also selecting out strains of vegetables and grains that also grow with minimal effort and no inputs other than what the farm can produce for itself. If collapse came in full tomorrow we would be eating earthworms and tree bark along with everyone else, but if things steadily decline over a decade or two I can see it all going somewhere worthwhile.

  79. @ Dmitry

    In 2007, the European Union imported 100.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent of natural gas from Russia, which accounted for 38.7% of total gas import. I’m not sure how much that amount has changed over10 years, but Gazprom has indicated that after 2019 they will no longer pipe NG to Europe via the pipeline through Ukraine. In 2014 the US produced about 600 million tonnes and consumed 620 million tonnes of oil equivalent of natural gas. Do the US have 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent natural gas for Europe to make up for the loss from Gazprom? This would entail either increasing production or reducing US sales by 17%?

    Can we increase production? Advances in fracking technology have reduced the cost of fracking and so profit margins are getting better, which has allowed US companies to stay in business longer than many expected, and production is increasing, but not by 17%. Do we have the pipelines and terminals to accommodate that volume? Over the last five years US companies have been building pipelines and new LNG terminals that will allow them to export LNG to foreign markets. The first new terminal came on line in 2016 with more on the way. With more LNG terminals American companies will have better opportunities to sell gas to foreign markets.

    The decision to sell or not will likely depend on price. Currently, natural gas in the US ($4/mmbtu) is much cheaper than in Europe ($8) or Japan ($16). I think as more LNG terminals are built we are likely to see more LNG sold on the foreign market and prices in our country will rise significantly. Like any commodity, the highest bidder will determine where products are sold.

    Long term prospects will depend on the volume in reserves. Russia is estimated to have 4 times more natural gas reserves than the US. but I expect that the US has enough gas to frack for another 10 years (if estimates for reserves are to be believed). The Trump administration favors rolling back fracking regulations put in place by Obama administration, which will be financially helpful to fracking companies.

    And after we run out of natural gas? There is already talk of mining offshore clathrite (methane hydrates) deposits. Whether or not this is even economically or technically viable remains to be seen. Much of this rests on the future demand for energy and economic stability. I think climate change will eventually wreak significant havoc on energy infrastructure and the economy. And failed states will continue to destabilize relationships between world powers such as US, Russia, and China. If Trump administration is able to remove the Dodd Frank financial regulations we are likely to see another financial collapse that won’t be bailed out by our government this time, because congress and the White house are not up to running our country. And then there is the possibility of a nuclear war started by Israel, North Korea, or some other failed state. The dangers in the world have never been greater.

    Loved your book “Reinventing Collapse”.

    Cheers,
    Soilmaker

  80. Hi JMG,

    Thank you for opening up this forum again!

    So, on my so-called journey of spiritual self-development, I have had the great good fortune to experience what you might call “higher” states of awareness from time to time. These were categorized by insights into all sorts of details about the nature of the universe, feelings of love, unity, connection to a higher self, etc. (These were brought about by a variety of different methods and were not drug-induced, in case you’re curious!) But they were also pretty temporary. I’m wondering if one of the goals of personal development is to make this kind of higher state a permanent one – is that even possible? I always seem to return to a mode where fear, anger, and other “lower” emotions step back in. I find I am usually able to remember myself and become somewhat detached from and less controlled by those lower feelings, retaining awareness of the higher truths. But will one ever be totally free from them?

    Apologies for the clunky terminology; I have kind of hopped around some different methods here…yes I need to pick one.

  81. If I may, I’ll re-ask my question about Asatru:

    JMG, do you see the racial overtones of modern day Asatru going away? It seems like Asatru is kind of the white version of Santa Muerte (I’m not sure if Santa Muerte has racial overtones, but I think there’s overlap between the ‘La Raza’ set and the Santa Muerte set) or the religious beliefs of some black nationalists.

    I see a parallel between the parts of the alt-right that like European Paganism and black nationalists that like Nation of Islam. I’m sympathetic to both.

  82. Greetings from western New York, where the unusual autumnal weather has us running for our Neti pots and cardigans. I’ve never experienced “seasonal allergies” in July, until now…

    Speaking of infirmity, what in your opinion is the single most effective and accessible regime of physical culture for promoting general physical and mental health and why? I’ve investigated a variety of western and eastern systems and am left with the impression that each one perfectly addresses a narrow spectrum of physical and mental needs. I have yet to come across a “complete and balanced” system that doesn’t require years of training under the guidance of a master. Any advice would be appreciated.

  83. Gday Dmitri ,
    Heres a good example of a decrepit Empire feverishly pumping wealth from its periphery to its centre
    Apparently the US has assembled an Armada of floating LNG platforms
    Australians are paying through the nose for their own gas

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-02-12/does-the-australian-lng-export-experience-foreshadow-soaring-u-s-natural-gas-prices/

    https://thewest.com.au/business/energy/lng-vessels-leave-south-korea-bound-for-wa-ng-b88457142z

    Cheerio
    Alby

  84. @ Doug Castle – thank you! We were not looking at either location but still it is a good thing to be aware of.
    @ JMG – Never hurts to ask! Besides I am getting some good answers from other posters.
    @ William Fairchild Oddly you described us pretty well. The child is grown, we are financially stable. Currently we are not in need of government resources (I certainly hope it stays that way) and we would have access to good insurance. Also we can pay cash for property.
    My use of “collapse now” was a poor choice of phrase because you are correct that indicates voluntary action. What I was getting at is that a place that is already along the road to collapse can be a place where tough decisions will be made out of necessity. I know Illinois does not look that way now. But eventually it will have to declare bankruptcy and clear its debt. Hopefully some good governance takes the place of the current screw ups.
    Anyone else who has thoughts please chime in! I am checking back regularly.

    AV

  85. Ray, now that we’re mostly finished unpacking, I need to correspond with “Zendexor,” the general factotum of the OSS site, who’s going to be coediting the resulting anthology with me; we’ll settle the details, and then I’ll post something. As for Gandalf and Odin, Tolkien was far too subtle a mythologist to do a simple cut-and-paste; yes, there are points of contact, and indeed borrowings, but there’s a lot of intricacy involved.

    Shane, nothing’s off topic, so yes, you can ask anything.

    Y Chireau, no, I haven’t — I’ll put it on the check-it-out list.

    Forecastingintelligence, Corbyn’s going to keep on winning until the rest of the political establishment finally notices that they can’t expect the working classes to submit to austerity so that their soi-disant betters can prosper. Given a choice between bloated, out-of-control bureaucracies and bloated, out-of-control corporations, it’s not surprising that so many people are choosing the former — there’s at least the chance that they might get the occasional benefit that way, while corporate kleptocracy is a lose-lose situation for everyone outside the upper 20%. What “should” happen is less important than what will happen, after all.

    With regard to the mass migrations, those are also being permitted for the benefit of the well-to-do, as a way of driving down wages. My guess is that we’re about one economic crisis away from seeing the mainstream parties faced with a choice between abandoning that strategy and being shoved aside by nationalist parties like those in the ascendant in some Eastern European countries these days,

    Ross, steel is interchangeable with iron for magical purposes. A little carbon in the mix doesn’t seem to matter much one way or the other. As for Konstantinos’ book, I didn’t find it particularly appealing, but your mileage may vary.

    John, here again, I don’t think it’s useful to approach such questions in abstract terms. What can you personally do, where you are, with the resources and limits you yourself have? That’s what matters.

    William, Elon Musk is highly useful, in one very narrow sense: you can tell, by people’s attitude toward his grandstanding, whether they have a clue. If they take him seriously, they don’t.

    Revelin, why are our representations organic? Because we are organic, and so is the will that creates and sustains us. The mechanical is an impoverished imitation of the organic; it’s what happens when you take the organic and dumb it down until all you’ve got left is the tiny portion of organic existence that corresponds to straight-line linear causality. The organic has no purpose, and neither does the will; purpose, again, is a dumbing-down, a reduction of complexity to the point that our not very clever minds can understand it.

  86. @David,
    I think the tricentennial is a bit too optimistic. I think that collapse will begin in the near future to be mostly finished in 20 years time, with the Confederacy, Lakeland, New England, Cascadia, etc in full effect. The elite’s just too senile and there’s just too many pressure points straining the US to last until the tricentennial. I think JMG’s timeline in Twilight or Retrotopia is still valid.
    Still, JMG, last week’s post got me to thinking, it seems like you’re positing a longer collapse for the US, or is that just the myth of progress. I’m still wondering if you think that Christianity’s collapse here portends as much as it did for Europe in the 20th century.

  87. Pierre, remember that Circles of Power is a guide to Golden Dawn magic, The ability to work in physical and imaginal space simultaneously is crucial for the performance of Golden Dawn initiation rituals, as well as such temple workings as the Equinox ceremony. The details? You can find them in Regardie’s The Golden Dawn.

    Alliemims, no, I hadn’t heard about that — many thanks for the heads up. As you noted, that was utterly predictable — just as it’s predictable that Dicamba will become ineffective in a few years as well. Using chemical poisons in place of cultivation is a self-terminating strategy, because all you’re doing is throwing natural selection into overdrive.

    James, I’d suggest a simpler explanation. Memories are not recordings of the past; they’re representations of the past, literally re-presented every time we recall them, and that’s why they change; another way to say it is that we make them up out of raw materials every time we remember something. I recall a study many years ago that showed that married couples on average recall less than half the basic facts about their years together in the same way. The Mandela effect is another good example; yes, it was Steve Biko who died, but few people remember him nowadays, so the memory of Mandela gets pressed into service instead.

    Tenchu, it amuses me no end that so few people caught the satiric dimension of that book. Read it again, and see if you get the joke…

    Anonymous, while I have my disagreements with Land and his essay, it’s far more interesting and intellectually challenging than anything the Left has done in decades. If only he’d applied the same intellectual clarity to the myths of capitalism that he directs at those of democracy, it would have achieved much more than it did…

    James, yep. It’s on the order of “Yes, I understand that you’re an atheist — but what god do atheists worship?”

    Jonathan, a very long time ago — we’re talking middle school here — I read a book on the ancient stone structures of New England. Now that I’m here, as time permits, I plan on looking into that in more detail — and probably finding the same book as a first step, if only for reasons of nostalgia.

    Karen, there are dozens of them — enough that I no longer keep track. It’s been an ongoing thing since the 1970s, at least. I’d say your best bet is to ignore them and try to get the best possible handle on the specific myth you’re trying to catch.

  88. Dear Mr Greer,

    I was wondering if you could recommend any magical resource that relate to ships and sailing?

  89. @JMG

    What’s your comment on people’s romantic view of Nature? As a kind of Eden when in reality it is red in tooth and claw. And although possessing beauty have nasty and revolting aspects(at least to our human instincts).

    And I do find it intriguing that certain creatures do seem to flip on my “must exterminate” switch especially if they seem revolting. Given the Human record of exterminating creatures deliberately it may be as natural to us as breathing to at least certain subsets of human.

  90. @ Ross

    Iron itself isn’t changed by the addition of carbon in the making of steel. The carbon just gets the iron atoms to lay themselves out in a different pattern. The two then exist side by side, but both are fundamentally unchanged.

    Now, I can’t say with absolute certainly that chromium, molybdenum, or any of the other additives in modern steel doesn’t bond with iron at the atomic level. But I do know that these other elements are only added in very small amounts, and that their potential to chemically interact with the iron would be limited to the outermost valence shells of small groupings of atoms.

    In other words, any given chunk of steel is mostly iron unchanged since the moment it was forged in the heart of a star.

    Also, blacksmithing is really popular these days. Odds are there’s a smith near you if you can just find ’em. These folks can be more help than you’d imagine, just for love of the craft.

    @ Everyone

    How do we get our avatars to show up here? I logged out of google + and logged back in when prompted by the comment field here, but I have no idea if that’s gonna work.

  91. Patricia, fair enough — but then I’m not a Wiccan. I’m one of the few people still around who got into all this stuff by way of old-fashioned occultism instead.

    Will, that’s the myth of progress for you. Even when history screams that civilizations fall from within after completing their ordinary life cycles, people will insist until they’re blue in the face that it can’t happen. (If it does happen, after all, we’re not on our way to the stars…)

    Phutatorius, I have no idea. (I said you can ask me anything; I didn’t say I’d always have an answer!)

    Lathechuck, fascinating. Next thing you know, they’ll mention anacyclosis…

    Patricia, I’d point among many other things to the collapse of traditional morality across cultures after that year. Uranus is the planet of eccentricity and individuality; it is also the planet that rules homosexuality and other alternative sexualities; it’s hostile to one-size-fits-all rules in every context. Look at the way that 2160 years of sexual repression came unglued, beginning in the 1880s. Also notice the way globe-spanning empires — which are Neptunian, as simulacra of unity — shattered into ever smaller and more quarrelsome nations, which are becoming increasingly hard to keep in line, and watch how even large nations are starting to come apart. I should probably do a post on this one of these days!

    Alby, so noted. I have my doubts about the quantum antigravity thing; if you look at a topographic map of Europe and see where the mountains are, it’s not hard to figure out why the Third Reich ditched the indefensible northern plains and holed up for its final stand in the mountains of Austria, Czechoslovakia (as it was then), and southern Germany…

    Lathechuck, why not look into how books were preserved in medieval England, which was even damper than modern Maryland?

    Cynndara, no, that’s not what I said. What I said, quoting Jung, is that the psyches of many Americans are differentiated from those of Europeans by their unconscious absorption of archetypal patterns from Native American sources. Not the same thing at all…

    Kfish, too funny. As usual, what this guy is actually saying is “real art excludes the proles.”

    Anchyo123, lack of money is an advantage. If you have lots of money, you’ll be tempted to try to preserve your wealth, and that’s suicidal — because the more you have, the more certain you can be that others will try to take it from you by any means they can get away with, and the most likely outcome involves your being carried away feet first. Invest in skills that produce goods and services that people actually want and/or need. My standard example is learning to brew good beer: if Attila the Hun rides up to your door, and you can offer him a mug of cold beer on a hot day, you’ve got a friend. More generally, community contacts and practical skills make it worth other people’s time to keep you alive; stored wealth makes it worth other people’s time to do the opposite. Take your pick…

  92. Will you be bringing out a trade paper edition of Weird of Hali- Kingsport? If so, any idea when?
    Did you get the check I sent to the PO box before or around the time you moved?
    And I did renew Mythic Magazine – check goes in the mail tomorrow.

  93. @RobS

    It sounds like your family is part of a rather large winery. Have you thought about starting a another label, under the winery’s umbrella, that only sources organic and biodynamic grapes, does native ferments, and powers itself at least partially with renewable sources? The marketing for that sort of thing practically does itself. The quality takes some skill. All of it costs a ton of money. It’s the people in positions of privilege who can chose to make it happen. Perhaps that’s something you have the opportunity to do.

  94. @Karen E

    You may delve into Charles Eisenstein’s work. Lots of writings and podcasts on “fishing for the myth” as you suggested, acknowledging there’s no map for it, and carrying on with the work of being the seed bearers for a new story.

  95. Ramon, delighted to hear it. You’ll find a very brief overview here; Matthew Wood has also written a book entitled Vitalism that discusses some of the occult dimensions of homeopathy. You’re right that it comes out of occultism, specifically the writings of Paracelsus; the cell salts in particular were all over the occult scene a century ago, and you can still find G.W. Carey’s book The Zodiac and the Salts of Salvation if you look hard enough.

    (PS. Got your offlist comment — many thanks. I’ll be contacting you from my new email address shortly.)

    Jay, there’s one little problem with your claim: the Cabala isn’t originally Jewish. Gershom Scholem, the most respected modern historian of the Cabala, showed conclusively in his book The Origins of the Kabbalah that the Jews appropriated it from the Gnostics, and I think I can show — and will be discussing this in a future book — that the Gnostics got it from Greek Neopythagorean circles allied to certain currents in Middle Platonism. It spread very far from there; there’s a recognizable version of the Tree of Life in Chinese sources dating from roughly a century before Rabbi Isaac the Blind created the first Jewish version of the Cabala in southern France in the twelfth century.

    The entire business about cultural appropriation displays an astonishing cluelessness about the way that human cultures evolve. Every human culture, without exception, is made up largely of borrowings from other cultures. Instead of working yourself up into a warm glow of self-righteous indignation about something that Jewish culture has done just as much as any other, why not celebrate the fact that every culture, including yours, has rung so many creative changes on the things that it’s borrowed?

    Shane, it’s of crucial importance that forms of agriculture that don’t depend on industrial inputs are in place and being practiced as widely as possible as the industrial age moves into accelerating decline. If that’s the work that calls to you, get out there and do it.

    Stefania, it’s a persistent bad habit to think that you can define half of human experience as “lower” and find some way to amputate it. You can’t, and the harder you try, the more certain it will be that the “lower” feelings will infect the “higher” ones in ways you won’t let yourself notice. I’d argue that a healthy spirituality is about wholeness, not amputation — about finding a point at which all the feelings, “higher” and “lower,” come into a balanced relationship.

    Justin, it already has in about half of Asatru. There’s a major schism between “folkish” and “non- (or “anti-)folkish” Asatru — that is, between the traditions and congregations that consider ethnic heritage relevant and those that don’t care what your skin color is or where your ancestors came from if you want to invoke the Aesir and Vanir. My guess is that the latter will win out, for the same reason that successful warband leaders in the fall of every civilization are those that ignore ethnic boundaries and assemble multiethnic armies.

    Dirtyboots, there is no one system that’s best for all, because every human body is different, and so are the potential goals that can be reached by physical culture. Rather than trying to find a perfect system, choose one that’s available to you and aims at the goals you want to pursue, practice it systematically for a year or two, and then reassess the options. All the great physical culturists ended up creating their own unique personal systems, and got there by studying various practices and taking the things that worked best for them; it’s a habit worth emulating.

  96. Marcu, hmm! I don’t know of one.

    Infowarrior, beauty is just as much a part of nature as savagery, and vice versa. The mistake of both sides — the romantics and the anti-romantics — is a matter of one-sidedness.

    Patricia, yes, there’ll be a trade paper edition of The Weird of Hali: Kingsport, but it’ll probably be out around the time the third volume, The Weird of Hali: Chorazin, comes out in hardback, maybe a year from now. I don’t think we got the check, but I’ll have to consult with Sara, who does the bookkeeping — thanks for asking (and for sending it!).

  97. Hi JMG,

    Far out, I have been quite ill this week with the flu. I was unable to reply to you about the recent conversation about David Brin, but did read your reply and felt that you know your own business well enough. My gut feeling told me that they were hunting for witches, that’s all. A very unscientific process that if I may say so!

    Anyway, I do have an open question for you (thanks for providing the forum to do so):

    I’m reading the book “Fire Monks” by Colleen Morton Busch about a 2008 wildfire near a zen retreat in California. As part of that reading I came across the zen tradition of “Tangaryo” which is where a student has to demonstrate commitment and desire to enter training. To be honest, I probably first saw that concept in the film Fight Club, but I have used that technique to considerable success when I dealt with graduates and other staff with whom I have had to supervise. It is very effective and I don’t go too hard on those that can’t or won’t pass the test. But the interesting thing is that I rarely see the willpower these days to pass that sort of test. As an example someone contacted me recently asking for a tour of the farm and I set them an easy series of tasks to complete and then nothing… Which didn’t surprise me at all.

    And I was wondering what your view / opinion on that matter was and do you feel that the will power is there? It almost feels to me like a sort of hunger, but the English language is rather limited in that regard.

    Cheers

    Chris

  98. @soilmaker, you responded to Dmitry Orlov with “Gazprom has indicated that after 2019 they will no longer pipe NG to Europe via the pipeline through Ukraine”. The key part of that is “through Ukraine”! Gazprom will still be sending NG to Europe, but they’ll be doing it direct to Germany via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, meaning Ukraine will no longer be a transit country.

  99. JMG,

    Thank you for the open post forum. The way things are trending, one of these forums may surpass some of the more hot button posts on the ADR that garnered 400+ comments! My question revolves around searching for a system of magic that resonates with me. As someone who was force fed Catholicism as a child and not looking to explore that religion any further, I find myself looking to fill a spiritual void. Reading your blogs, and subsequently your books, has led me down a path of exploration into occult matters. I started into Learning Ritual Magic, had what I would consider positive experiences with results, but ultimately didn’t feel a connection to the symbolism, and so moved on to what I thought would be a more practical magical approach…that being Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics. This book has some very good training exercises, other practices in the book I wrote off as impractical. I did some useful self introspection with the lessons but was disappointed by the lack of ritualistic magic, and then read ahead and saw some things that raised red flags along the lines of the warnings you wrote about in the Afterward of Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth. I’ve put Bardon’s book down, and I’m looking for something that incorporates ritual with physical movements and nature symbolism, perhaps the use of plants (I have some training with the native plants of the area in which I live). For now, it seems the most practical uses for magic in my life would be for realizing my own human potential and to participate willingly in multiple planes. Ultimately, I’d love to be involved in a lodge along the lines of what you describe in Inside a Magical Lodge. Any suggestions?

    Second question which may tie into my lack of connection with symbolism: how do you see the difference between the gods of place (sprites, nymphs, mountains, rocks, etc.) versus the gods that respond to the Hebrew names and other universal gods? It’s difficult to see how the man from Galilee or even the angel Gabriel can resonate universally while others can only have a local influence. Is this a matter of egregor?

  100. To Ann regarding ticks and tick borne illnesses:

    There’s some uncertainty as to whether the problem is greater today than historically, but it depends on your timeframe.

    By the early 1800s, southern New England old growth forests were largely cleared for farming. It’s only in the last 50-75 years that they’ve slowly reverted to forest. When I was a kid, I’d walk deep into the woods and feel like I was in a place no one else had ever been, and then stumble upon an old rock wall that was once the edge of a pasture. 🙂

    Along with that forest regrowth has come a huge increase in the population of white-tailed deer, which are a major part of the deer tick lifecycle. Deer are pretty much the only large mammal left in southern New England, so the tick population rises and falls with them. You can see the effect on a smaller scale with varying years of acorn production (big acorn years precede big deer years, which precede big tick years).

    It’s not much on the scale of the crises frequently discussed here, but it’s a real and growing problem. I see the lack of engagement by state and federal health agencies as a tacit admission that, like neglected infrastructure, available resources are not adequate to meet commitments.

  101. Dear JMG: how does one decide between doing work that one seems naturally drawn to, versus doing work that seems needed (in other words, choosing to do something for strategic reasons)?

    I mentioned last month that I studied graphic design and was trying to find a use for it going forward, perhaps by learning older, more sustainable, forms of book printing, and you suggested I try it out.

    However, over the past few years, I have spent an enormous amount of time learning how to play the piano properly and how to compose music (by taking private lessons in both areas) – this is something that I don’t seem to be able to avoid doing, I spend much of my free time thinking and reading about it, and practicing music is never a burden. But there is an enormous amount of music in the world at the moment, indeed, maybe it’s true that the last thing people need at the moment is more music.

    It would make strategic sense to pursue the former option, and I am certainly interested in pursuing it, but I feel more drawn to the latter. Of course, I could pursue both at once, but I remember you wrote previously that pursuing two goals at once is counterproductive (if I remember correctly). Also, given the situation with the state of the world at the moment, such a quandary doesn’t seem that important.

    Just wondering if you can offer any thoughts?

  102. Most esteemed Archdruid, thanks so much for making the time for this forum. Merci beaucoup!

    My question this time is: it sounds as if you’re quite a walker. What’s the extent of your walking travels? Have you done multi-day walking forays? I personally enjoy doing multi-day hikes, but realize that such things can be dependent on having certain bits (not many, once one learns the techniques) of Stuff to facilitate multi-day strolls. Grandma Gatewood (check out her Wikipedia entry) demonstrated that long walks do not have to be unseemly festivals of high tech. If you haven’t already, would you entertain doing long walks like she did?

    Two comments to other posters:

    @mtc: hallucinogens may give you insights you would not have otherwise discovered, but their use comes with a whole host of potential mis-perceptions, dangers, and potential dead-ends. Native Americans in my neck of the woods were known to do vision quests with certain psychotropic plants when reaching young adulthood; if treated as a VERY dangerous investment that might be beneficial OR might be disastrous, then maybe you will benefit. But some won’t. I benefitted, but what I found out was far from comforting or pleasant.

    @Ray Wharton: I also read that High Country News article. The author (I didn’t realize until the end he’s the chief editor!) has had a difficult life. I kept hoping he’d comment on the extreme irony of flying across a substantial chunk of the planet (having generous amounts of water vapor, hydrocarbons, and CO2 spewed into the stratosphere on his behalf) to assuage his grief at how we’re damaging the ecosphere, but he didn’t. Rather a gross example of cognitive dissonance…

  103. Justin,

    Something to bear in mind is that the idea that only those of Germanic descent can worship Germanic gods is quite simply something those gods never said, and expecting gods to care one whit about modern political ideology is a good way to make sure they stop talking to you.

    Interestingly, the only example I can think of of an ancient religion that actually makes ethnicity significant is Judaism. And even there the god of Abraham is clear that he accepts worship from anyone: in Isaiah 56:7 (RSV) he says, “my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” In addition, those who convert to Judaism are to be treated as if they’d been born Jews, and they say the prayers that mention “our fathers” and the like without changing the words. (See: http://www.ashokkarra.com/2010/07/maimonides-letter-to-obadiah-the-proselyte/)

    Interesting story about the “house of prayer for all peoples” bit: a friend of mine converted to Reform Judaism several years ago. He became interested from reading about it online, so he just found a local synagogue and showed up one Saturday. As I recall, nobody thought anything amiss about a Gentile walking in join in Shabbat service. Within a year he had taken the classes and converted.

  104. JMG,

    I’ve noticed your views on astrology have been transforming over the past couple of years, presumably as you get deeper into and more experienced in the subject. I remember when you were skeptical of the idea of the astrological ages and of the rulerships of Uranus and Neptune, and now you’re positing that the Age of Aquarius began in 1879 because of how Uranian the cultural and geopolitical changes since then have been!

    Which brings me to just one question: do you still think Pluto should be left off the chart?

  105. jmg: a bit taken aback i am by such a vociferous response to my relatively innocent question. without going into detail i can assure you that i am not clueless about the development of cultures. i’m sure that some of the ideas in kabbalah restate earlier versions of those ideas from other sources. nothing wrong with that, but if someone says “i’m studying kabbalah” they are referring to writings that are distinctively jewish. writing a play does not mean you are plagiarizing shakespeare, but if the play you are writing is called the merchant of venice, well, maybe you need a new title.

  106. @Archdruid Greer

    I love the blog!!! The format is a drastic improvement!! Also, your AMA on Reddit was great!

    I’ve been following the state of the Arctic for a few years now. What do you think of Semiletov and Shakhova’s analysis of submerged methane clathrates on the Siberian shelf? Their methane predictions tend to be more dire than models predict, there seems to be some amount of conflict and derision over their findings. What’s your take on it?

    @Anthony Valterra

    Illinois is certainly in decline, Illinois generally (and Chicago in particular) is suffering from a mass exodus out of the state. We have the highest rate of residents leaving of all the states. We have the second-highest property tax rate, and when all types of tax are counted, we have the highest taxes in the nation.

    That said, it’s still a nice place and has some nice areas. Northwest Illinois is rural and beautiful. Stay far away from Chicago. I live pretty far north of Chicago, (as far north as possible while still living in Illinois) and that’s not far enough away. Have you considered Wisconsin, or Mississippi, or Alaska? Any state with a significant rural population will have pockets of resilience.

    @William Fairchild

    Do you eat the fish? If yes, what area are you in? Around the Chain of Lakes, nobody ever eats the fish. Everybody goes to Wisconsin to fish to eat, and also to hunt.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  107. Jay,

    I have to smile at your question, since I have honestly been wondering when someone would get around to noticing that the Cabala was “culturally appropriated.”

    Personally, I think one has to make a distinction between instances of appropriation that disrespect a sacred part of the original culture (e.g. someone claiming to teach “authentic Native American spirituality” that they learned out of an anthropology book when they didn’t just make it up) and those that don’t (e.g. a white person making burritos) — and the best way to judge that is by how those of the original culture actually react.

    So even if the Cabala had originated solely within Judaism, the fact remains that 1000+ years on, by-and-large Jews have never seemed to mind Gentiles practicing our versions of it.

    I was actually privy to a conversation wherein the Jewish friend I mentioned in my comment to Justin was talking to an older Jew and described an occult group as practicing “Jewish mysticism for Gentiles.” That immediately cleared up any misgivings the older man had about them. He genuinely seemed to think the idea was cool. You might try asking any religious Jews with whom you’re acquainted. My guess is you’ll get a similar response.

  108. @Anthony Valterra

    As long as you know what younare getting into…

    The state can’t declare bankruptcy. There is no mechanism for it.

    I would avoid East St. Louis, it is really run down.

    Collinsville is nice AND they have a giant ketchup bottle!

    When you check out the area, make sure to stop by the Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Siite. Cahokia was larger than lLondon in 1200AD. The Mississippian culture had trade routes that went up river systems and covered the Ohio valley, to the Great Lakes, the South,. The found mica from the Rockies and copper from WI. In a few hundred years, they collapsed. It is a fascinating, if sobering reminder of where we are headed.

  109. @kfish

    Banksy’s art actually has something meaningful to say. It’s like an “Emperor Has No Clothes” moment for “high art” because they have been glorifying nearly meaningless art for decades. Having a message to convey that’s actually worth saying was the foundation of art since its inception. Since reading became nearly universal art has become less necessary for its primary purpose. Nevertheless, art that communicates is far more powerful than art that does not.

  110. Hi JMG,
    How do you reconcile your druid principles with regard to the re-enchantment of the natural world/living in harmony with the earth, and inevitable consequences of living in the modern world, for example, the fact that we are using the internet and the host of fossil fuels that entails. I only ask because I’m considering taking up druidry myself, and wondering how I can truly be a druid and yet retain, at least some, of the modern ‘necessities’ that are destroying it.
    Thanks
    AJ

  111. JMG and others – As warbands begin to form up in the coming years, they will have access for quite some time to large arsenals of guns and other war materiel that the major superpowers have been producing and selling to all comers since the end of WWII. Presumably, at some point in the future, resource constraints will bring about “peak guns” and the older martial arts – swordsmanship, etc – will then need to be developed and practiced by necessity in order to prevail in a fight.

    My question is, have you thought about this aspect of our decline – how (with what skillsets and/or technologies) might you guess will be used to fight each other with in 50 years, in 100 years, in 300 years? Will the supply of bullets be the bottleneck? or machining workshops? Or any other factors of which, as a military lay person, I am ignorant?

    I do wish to be less ignorant on what might lie ahead in the nitty gritty area of up close and personal conflict. I especially consider the potential impact of war band formation on girls and women (and vice versa, the potential impact of girls and women on warband formation) and am devoting thought to what we will need to bring to such cultures in order not to be reduced to war trophies. Toughness and some fighting ability of our own, as well as the healing arts and midwifery, may well be called for.

  112. Hi JMG,

    Oops. My head is just not clear this week. I was referring to will power in the broader community rather than that specific example that I mentioned.

    Cheers

    Chris

  113. @ Antonomasia – Re. “reading between the lines,” Professor Ronald Hutton features on quite a few of OBOD’s Druidcast podcasts – If you haven’t already found him there, search this page to find which podcasts feature him. http://www.druidcast.libsyn.com Our esteemed host also features on more than one of the podcasts. I find that a druidcast is just the right thing to accompany certain of the more tedious chores that need hands but not enough of the brain to be interesting.

  114. Hey JMG – were you drawn to Druidism as an inate ‘calling’ – or was it more of a reaction, i.e. a search for an alternative to the way things are? Or maybe it’s a family tradition? Thanks.

  115. Hi JMG,

    No need to reply – but absolutely yeah! I’ve been banging on about the need to destroy the created paper wealth and IOU’s for quite some time. It has become part of the accepted cycle of things as they currently stand. And there are so many fascinating ways to do this destruction of paper wealth. It is quite clever really. I believe the 2008 fiasco disappeared five trillion. Nice work. My take on the matter is that the cycles will be an inevitably self defeating system as it has increasingly negative feedback loops, but it appears to me that this is how we’ll be let down the economic cycle. There are far worse ways to go to third world status. And the alternative is hyper inflation. Not good. I watched the government here lift interest rates in the early 90’s to crippling highs just because, and then felt the weight of the recession and 10% unemployment and the necessity to scramble to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head and have long since considered the implications. I could be wrong though.

    Cheers

    Chris

  116. All—

    Given the heavy nature of many of the topics we discuss here, I thought I’d relay some appropriate-tech humor that a colleague of mine found in the back of the instruction booklet for a slide rule he recently picked up at a garage sale:

    At the time of the great flood, Noah went through his ark after it landed, and found two small snakes huddled in a corner. Noah looked at these poor specimens – and said “I told you to go forth and multiply – why haven’t you?”

    The poor snakes looked up at Noah and replied “We can’t because we are adders…..”

    Noah looked a bit perplexed, and then proceeded to tear bits of planking from his ark. He went on to build a beautiful wooden platform. He gathered up the snakes and placed them on the platform, and joyfully told the snakes – “Now go forth and multiply, because even adders can multiply on a log table”

  117. Hello JMG,
    I begrudgingly read a dumb little book about “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” at the request of an acquaintance. It is full of ridiculous little rituals like thanking the items you are about to get rid of for their service, or holding each item of clothing in your hand to see if it sparks joy. The thing is, when I followed her techniques, even the ones that seemed silly, they all seemed to work, or at least the end results make me feel good. Was this magic? It feels like maybe it fits the definition.

  118. Morning all,

    I’ve been thinking for some time about ethics and politics, wondering what government policies might actually work today. Neoliberal Democrats incorrectly believe that economic activity should be free in order to foster unlimited growth, change, and development. Ultraconservative Republicans incorrectly believe that by weakening or reducing government the status quo will be maintained and our country saved. In reality both positions end up justifying rules that protect those with power and wealth. Neither group has solutions that will help us transition to new realities and address the problems we face. So what can we do?

    In 2007 the financial industry drove the world’s economy off a cliff resulting in the Great Recession and liberal democrats enacted rules that were supposed to prevent this from happening again. The same thing happened after the Great Depression. And once again conservatives are fighting back, trying to repeal government rules. We continue struggling to find a balance between liberal and conservative ideas. I believe liberal and conservative views are simply ends of a spectrum of actions that reflect differences in how we apply our energy; being conservative and reserving our energies or being liberal letting energy flow free. Energy in this sense refers to the extraction and utilization of resources needed to maintain ourselves as well as the structure of our society.

    So what about European style socialism? In 2013 Thomas Piketty, a French economist, published the book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ describing a history of wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States since the 18th century. The book’s central thesis is that when capital receives a higher rate of return on investment than the rate of economic growth over the long term, the result is concentration of wealth, and this unequal distribution of wealth causes social and economic instability. In other words the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the end result is revolution. Piketty proposed a global system of progressive wealth taxes to help reduce inequality and avoid the vast majority of wealth coming under the control of a tiny minority. So something more like Bernie Sanders socialism.

    Liberal, conservative, socialist; all of these philosophies seem to fail because they disconnect wealth and resources. There seems to be a dangerous lack of awareness of the limits imposed by natural resources, a denial that if resources are damaged, wealth is damaged. Wealth today is seen as nothing more than the accumulation of money, money being the unit of wealth. Resources get lost in the picture. “Wealth is money, and money is wealth. With money, we can buy whatever resources we need or want.” Too many leaders are blind to the obvious circular logic they employ. Strangely, it never occurs to them that if there is no food to buy, all the money in the world won’t feed you. Yet the answer for failed states is to beg for more money to buy food.

    Today’s wealth is nothing more than digital promissory notes, information stored on computers that is worth only as much as the ability to maintain the current global economy that supports these accounts. As we saw in 2007 when the banks began to fail the ability to pay quickly evaporated.

    The questions we should be discussing are things like: How do we provide people with access to resources they need to survive and thrive? How many resources will we need to accommodate the world’s population? If we don’t have enough, what can we do about that? How do we protect natural resources to ensure their renewal and our continued access to them (which may entail a war with a foreign country thus destroying more than we protect)? Can we prevent over- exploitation and consumption from damaging resource renewal (again a war…)? Who has the right to make the rules that govern how a population uses its resources (authoritarian government, civil war to fight against authoritarian government)? Every question seems to run into dead ends…war and destruction of the very resources we need.

    So where can we find an answer? II think people reading this blog understand that the age of unlimited growth is over, along with the age of laissez-faire economic liberalism. I think we understand governments are failing us, and we the need to establish balance between government (group) and personal responsibility. Perhaps what is needed is to foster stronger ethics in our country; in government, business, and personal choices. If we want personal freedom we also need a stronger sense of personal accountability. If we want better government, we need to hold them accountable. If we want to avoid fighting over resources we need to establish a universal system of ethical behavior that we can agree upon. But again, this will be very difficult given the polarization that currently exists in the world.

    Perhaps we can find an answer in the ethics of ecological spirituality. Perhaps in reconnecting with the spiritual forces within the natural world, we may foster the realization that we depend on the natural world to sustain us and in return we must act to sustain the natural world. But even with this answer I see difficulty in how we describe and define ecological spirituality. I look forward to reading what others may think.

    Cheers,
    Soilmaker

  119. What is your take on the significance of the upcoming total solar eclipse? I know that people use the power of the moon cycle, like starting something on a new moon, etc. Is there something in particular that the day or moment of the eclipse would lend power to?

  120. Greetings John Michael,

    I should probably wait until the chapter on Limits is discussed on the MTLE post but that may be a while and a question has burned in me since I first encountered the idea in your book. I would very much like to know what your definition of ‘beauty’ is as it relates to the limits of the natural world and the mystery teachings. You write: “Beauty is born when a flow of energy encounters firm limits, and the more perfect its acceptance of those limits, the greater the beauty will be”. Language is a precarious instrument for exchanging ideas, and I often find that asking for a definition of the core idea facilitates a better understanding of what’s being said. For instance, when someone tells me they want to be happy, my first response is to ask them to define happiness because it is such a subjective word, as is beauty which is said to be in the eye of the beholder. Dictionary.com defines beauty as; the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

    You can omit the rest of this comment if you so choose, you must get a lot of accolades. I feel that the last portion of the Dictionarary.com definition particularly relates to yourself. Thank you for attempting to make this world a better one. My world has been brightened by your writing and online presence. I also want to thank you for you strict adherence to maintaining a civil forum on an otherwise uncivil internet which allows the more base elements of human behaviour to surface because of it’s anonymity.

  121. @Sean Duir

    I’m not sure where your 80,000 estimate comes from. Modern estimates of behaviorally modern humans are in the 200,000 to 300,000 year range. That said, a much better comparison would be to the history of smelting metals: look up Copper Age and then Bronze Age. You’ll find that the difference isn’t all that surprising.

    @Samurai_47

    You’re referring to the “great ages” and those require knowing about precession. That was discovered by Hipparchus (I believe) and confirmed a few hundred years later. The dates of the “great ages” depend on where you set the starting point, which is highly contentious.

    I think the best work on the subject was Robert Hand’s trace of the Vernal Equinox through the actual constellation (not the sign) of Pisces, star by star and historical event by historical event. I had the honor of being in the audience when he delivered that lecture back when I had the money and inclination to attend astrology conferences.

    @James M. Jensen

    I go with the parallels (but not parallel universes) explanation. It’s been part of the Michael Teaching since the late 90s at least, long before the Mandela Effect hit the big time, and in fact it’s aluded to but not followed up in the early transcripts from the mid 70s.

    An exercise you can use is to notice when something seems to have shifted in your environment and then catch yourself when you dismiss it as “I must have misremembered” or “I must have been confused.” The results of this simple exercise over time can be quite enlightening.

  122. Peter W., a ritual of smoke purification exists in Heathenry–it’s called “recaning”, pronounced “reekening.” Mugwort and juniper are the herbs burned most often. “Saining” is used in the Celtic tradition, which is purification with fire and/or water. Here’s a nice household saining ritual which calls on my patroness, Brigid:

    http://www.tairis.co.uk/practices/saining-ritual/

    Hope that helps!

  123. I’ll give my answer to your last post here, where you ask, more or less, where is the philosophical attitude of our civilization going from here. My guess is two directions, not incompatible:
    1. A more ecological awareness of our role. You obviously plan to discuss this in detail in future posts, so I won’t elaborate here.
    2. What could be called a more “medieval” outlook. I have some rather specific ideas here, that I describe below.

    When I say medieval, I’m not picking this time just because it’s in the past and pre-industrial. I don’t actually believe we can say that the clock of history will be turning back, except in a very loose metaphor. I think the future will be somewhat “medieval” in some ways, and in other ways not at all.

    The reason I pick the Middle Ages is because it’s the last prolonged period in history without any significant growth in the average wealth of people. A lot of the myth of progress doesn’t have to do with technology as such, but with the idea that average wealth is constantly increasing. Children expect to be better off than their parents. And technology is only part of it. Today’s young people don’t feel better off than their parents because they have tablet computers and their parents didn’t at their age, in fact, they often feel worse off because they live in smaller housing and work longer hours in more precarious jobs.

    The interesting thing is, capitalism can only work when circumstances allow for average wealth to increase. If average wealth isn’t increasing, lending money at an interest becomes problematic to society, because in order to repay the interest you have to take away somebody else’s wealth (not an issue if average wealth is increasing). That’s why Middle Age societies, both Christian and Muslim, saw usury (lending at an interest) as sinful.

    If capitalism breaks down, just about our whole economic system does. And you end up with something like a medieval economic system. A lot more local, a lot more about subsistence. Big projects, like cathedrals, can be done, but often at a slow, generational pace, because you can’t rely on some steady stream of wealth coming from somewhere that you are confident won’t dry up. So they get done, but on fits and starts. It can affect the very perceptions of time and space.

    Other things I don’t think are going back to the Middle Ages. The most significant difference, I doubt that the status of women is going back much. This is because the status of women was in big part a consequence of poor medicine. In Middle Ages societies, two thirds of adults were male, because so many women died in pregnancy complications and childbirth. This meant that educating women was considered a waste of time in many cases, since they were so likely to die young, and if not, they’d be so busy taking care of children. I very much doubt that medicine will be allowed to fall back to those levels, which means that the status of women won’t fall back that much either.

  124. JMG,

    Thanks for these open posts. All of your posts are exciting to look forward to but these are on another level.

    All this talk over the months of Nietzsche and more recently of Jung has intrigued me and got me learning about their ideas. The work they’ve done is brilliant! I think I may have misunderstood your explanation of your ideas on the evolution of human consciousness though, and I’d like to hear what you think about this topic, as it seems both Nietzsche and Jung felt that our consciousness is destined for a greater evolution, especially Nietzsche with his idea of the Ubermenscht and the proclamation that “God is dead” suggesting that the values we had from specifically the Christian God are no longer useful as we would be coming to a new level of consciousness and thus requiring new values.

    If indeed you think we are destined for a higher level of consciousness, is perhaps peak oil the catalyst which will help propel us past the current hurdle of developing that higher awareness?

    Thanks in advance!

  125. How are the sequels to the Celtic Golden Dawn shaping up? Is the Druid’s Cabala still the next planned book? I think I remember you saying you planned a book on temple work and an all purpose spellbook in addition to the book on Cabala. Is that still the plan?

    Thanks again for these discussion posts, they’re a lot of fun.

  126. @ Ann, regarding ticks: I was born in 1983 and grew up on a farm in western PA. From my earliest memories in the late 1980’s through the 1990’s and into the 2000’s my family had no interaction with ticks. As a kid I spent countless hours outside digging in dirt, playing in the yard, walking through the hay fields and picking berries in the woods.
    Now I’m raising my own family on the farm, and the explosion of ticks and harmful diseases that they transmit over the last few years (I’d say starting around 2012 in our area) has been astounding. My four year old cannot enjoy that same carefree experience of nature; we are always on high alert and have had to remove several ticks from our bodies already this season. It truly saddens me, but I suppose it is a great way to help the little ones understand that interacting with nature requires careful attention and respect – it is not a carefree romp through a video game where you’ve got all the power. Maybe that’s the lesson the ticks are here to teach.
    With regard to protecting oneself until nature gets around to restoring the balance, man the conquerer of nature would probably advise spraying some of the tick controlling pesticides that have gone on the market.
    Instead, we’ve begun to implement a plan of introducing a healthy dose of plants that repel ticks (mint, lavender, garlic, marigolds, sage, rue, rosemary and others) to the areas around our home and play yard, getting a nice flock of chickens to munch on ticks in the areas just outside the main house/yard area, and getting used to vigilant full body searches for the whole family after each trip outside.

    JMG – I have really enjoyed the new blog. I’m currently working through the complete works of H.P Lovecraft, and I plan to transition right in your Weird of Hali series. Thank you for all of your great work!

    Bill

  127. JMG – I posted this last month but then saw I missed the cut for the replies, so here I try once more. Thank you for all of your writings over the years. Long time I’ve read with out commenting and although I am sad to see the old sites go, this one seems a fine home for your work to continue. You’ve entertained, but sometimes confused me into provoked though and further research.

    I have a question: Where does one start on a spiritual, occult practice? You’ve mentioned ‘will calisthenics’, and a few other details whose terms don’t spring to mind. I see such a range of books on the matter, and lots of contradictory advice.

    How do you make it stick; build will and concentration, and develop from there towards ritual and other energy work?

    Is there a work/book/school or framework you recommend?

  128. @Dmitry Orlov

    Dmitry, WRT fracking and replacing the reliable, piped in, relatively cheap gas from the world’s ‘Gas station’ with difficult to get, expensive to liquefy, requiring huge plants on both ends, and ships going through some of the worst latitudes of sea (think Titanic,) I am reminded of Reagan’s Star Wars program. It was a trick intended to make the Soviets think we could actually do such an implausible thing and make them go bankrupt trying to come up with a ‘response.’ The Soviet leaders apparently weren’t too bright and took the con.

    I view this US gas attack as the same. It’s a ruse. And like all ruses worth their salt, it can be used on several rubes at once. 1. Make the Russians nervous. Not bloody likely. 2. Make Europe more dependent on us. Next time we can be the ones threatening to shut off the heat. 3. Give lots of money to shipyards and refrigeration manufacturers while declaring eminent domain on some orphanages to build processing/deprocessing plants. 4. Appeal to Delta grade voters at home. This is probably the only one that will do anything. Europeans are still smarter than the average American voter by several dozen IQ points and American voters love feeling victimized by the bad old world out there and cheer anything that boosts their egos.

    I am firmly of the belief that Americans now see everything as a morality tale where we are the saintly underdog and the big bad wolf/LGBT person/Moslem/Russian/etc. is the troll under the bridge. All we have to do is rise up, find our destiny, kill the troll, and all will be well in the kingdom. And there will be no repercussions. Nice dream. Now if only the troll would cooperate.

    Jon.

  129. @ Oilman2
    I have also found that frogs and toads thrive in my gardens and back yard pond. I garden organically, no sprays or chemical treatments including fertilizers. When I start a garden I add lots of good compost to rejuvenate the soil and use natural mulch made from green yard waste rather than dyed or overly processed mulch made from pallets or bark. Mulch made from green yard waste feeds the soil, breaking down to form more soil. The population and diversity of plants, insects, butterflies, and birds in my gardens always increases.

    This year I put in a rain garden to catch and slow runoff from our driveway. I built berms to make the water meander and planted native wildflowers and grasses on them. Our local USDA Soil and Water Conservation office sells native plants and trees every year. I’ll need to weed by hand until the wildflowers and grasses get full enough to shade out weeds. But it’s well worth the effort because in a few years I’ll see frogs, toads, butterflies, and birds thriving too. I don’t see many snakes though and I wonder about how to facilitate their return. We see plenty of small rodents, hawks and owls.

    I try to explain to people that the food chain starts in the soil with microbes breaking down fresh organic matter. When a diverse population of soil microbes thrives everything larger thrives too. Toxic chemicals negatively affects microbes too. When we feed the soil It doesn’t take long before nature starts to hum again. I’ve even noticed after a few years other types of native plants return too, some of which have food and medicinal value. It’s almost as if they were simply waiting in the soil for better days.

    Now I look at landscaping and even when I see acres of green, I see a desert. I know that the absence of weeds is due to chemicals and the apparent health of the plants is due to herbicides and fertilizers. It may look healthy, but blight can sometimes look like nice and green!

    Cheers,
    Soilmaker

  130. @ JMG: of course you’re right that the tick accumulation will balance out in the long run because that’s how nature works. It’s dealing with it in the short term that worries me.

    @ Olive: I think you’re right about government throwing in the towel on tick-borne illness.

    @Bill: nice reframing about ticks as a warning to treat nature with respect. It has certainly changed the way I look at our local possum from “silly and harmless creature” to “welcome tick-devourer I hope prospers here”. We also had already been thinking about raising a few chickens once I’m back in the US, and their appetite for ticks has become another factor in their favor.

  131. The influence of”nature vs nurture” on human behavior has been a longstanding debate. I’ve been wonder about species that clearly have complex behaviors that are genetically determined such as our honeybee colonies. I can grasp how the anatomy of neural connections can be determined by genes (the “hardware”) but how is the “software” expressed and determined? Any neurobiologists out there?

  132. Two questions. In “Monsters”, you discuss various monstrous/paranormal beings. I would like to know if you ever encountered such beings yourself, outside your strictly magical practice. For instance, since you originally lived in Washington State, have you ever observed Bigfoot, for instance?

    Second question. In “Celtic Golden Dawn”, you discuss certain very advanced magical practices, including the secret of invisibility. Have you ever managed to master these practices yourself, and if not, what is the evidence that they work? (I realize this question might be off limits due to esotericism, but there you go!)

  133. Re. ticks
    Are they a problem during the entire summer? In Nova Scotia, we are warned to be mindful of ticks as soon as the snow is gone, up until late June, early July. Then they are gone for the rest of the season. I’m curious to know if their life cycle has changed in other parts of North America.

  134. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I very much enjoyed your discussion of archetypes and how they shape societal development, as it struck on past personal cogitation.

    In 1998 I spent about 6 months studying and observing in Mexico and there was a popular culture phenomenon that was underway that stood out in strong contrast to my observations from my previous similar stay four years earlier. That phenomenon was the ubiquitous prevalence of “narco corridos” -narco ballads in popular music.

    Just a few years earlier, they were nonexistent and the diverse regions around Mexico followed distinct types of popular music (Tropical in the south, modern pop in the big cities, Salsa, Um pa pa polka-based sounds in the North, for example) but now the narco corridos, based on polka-ish music of the North were being listened to in all regions.

    The corridos glorified the every aspect of the lives of imaginary heroic drug traffickers and their women. Many of the mythic narco heroes died gloriously in a hail of bullets thus ensuring their near deification.

    It was (is) all very pubescent but was burning itself into the heads of a disenfranchised, disillusioned (at the status quo) directionless young population.

    I took note of it all and realized that the popular worship, particularly by young men, of such an ideal, as was now broadcast pervasive did not bode well for the future of Mexican society.

    Only four or five years later the insane violence exploded.

    I returned to live in the US last year after 16 years abroad and live largely disconnected from all the howling popular noise pervasive in this environment, meaning that I am not receiving the signals related to what idealized values -archetypes – are taking hold in the imagination of the US society.

    My question for you is: Would you kindly share with us here what archetypes you observe taking hold in the US and explore their possible trajectories?

  135. Do/why do you use Neptune and Uranus as rulers of Pisces and Aquarius, rather than Jupiter and Saturn? Or do you make use of both?

    I’ve read speculations in books of astrology from the early 20th century that we will eventually have a 12-planet system, one planet per sign. Do you have any thoughts on that?

  136. Glenn Murray – It’s kitchen witch level magic, which does seem trivial to those who disdain the small chores around the house. All those little things which make life more comfortable.

  137. As I write this I am layed up in bed recuperating from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever so ticks and their diseases are of course muchon my mind. RMSF for those not as familiar as they maybe should be is the bane of country life in the mid South. And southern Appalachia. It is generally more treatable that Lyme but also can be much more deadly and equally disabling. It shares a similar life cycle to Lyme though with significant differences. We have definitely seen a recent tick explosion and the consensus reason is milder winters. Exploding deer population doesn’t help, but RMSF is not as intimately tied to just that one reservoir.

    But this tick explosion means we are going to have to rethink a lot about our small scale land use plans to minimize tick contact. Yes I know chickens and guineas, but they are nowhere near 100% control. Mow everything is most people’s solution…

    More to the big picture of this blog, for me the first step towards its goal is as always a very personal one. Know that we may be unique but we are not special. I had this epiphany at about age 12 when I had learned enough evolutionary biology to comprehend it. I was watching some small flies at dusk near a pond engaging in some highly particular repetitive flight movements. I realized that those flies were the product of the same 4 billion years of evolution as I was. I was not higher or lower than them on any tree. We were equal tips to one massive bush.

    From that insight, much has followed. Even that dang tick and the billions of rickettsia that used mmy body as a happy feeding ground are equals to me, no matter how much I might hate them just now.

    On the topic of hallucinogens, yes they can provide real spiritual experience and they can be confusing upsetting and lead you into paths you might have better avoided. This is also true for priests, holy books, and advice from your best friend.

  138. @Marla Rigel women had it better in the Middle Ages than later i many ways.

    Once the Modern period (16th-20th) century got underway, women were more and more excluded from crafts and trades; the nunneries which had provided at least some schooling for girls, even if their French was the Anglified “after the school of Stratford-atte-Bowe” were closed down throughout Northern Europe, and laws in general were tightened up. ReferencesL A Small Sound of the Trumpet” by Margaret Wade Labarge.” “Women’s Work”, forget the author – about the textile industry. Christine de Pisan’s trilogy “City of Ladies.”

    Pat, several semesters of Medieval Studies under my belt.

  139. @anotheramethyst

    Jessi-

    Yes, I eat the fish. A little methyl mercury never hurt anyone and it keeps the bowels moving. 😉

    I do alot of catch and release, although I will eat them occasionally if they are big enough. I like bass, catfish, and crappie. Bluegil or sunfish are ok, but they are so small they are mostly a pain, so those almost always get released. I live downstate, central IL to be exact, pretty well smack dab in the middle in a little farm town. It is pretty country, but lots of monoculture corn and beans, and it cnan be quite parochial. I agree with your comments on Chicago, but as to resilience, well from what I see, the vast majority of downstaters are just as addicted to tech and oil as everyone else. Propane shortages or price spikes could cause real heartache in the years to come.

    @Scotlyn

    Hopefully we a longways off from war bands. As to their relation with women, I have a str8ng suspiscion it will be as it was, chattel and campfollowers.

  140. I have a passing interest in Asatru and check in on it now and then– I think of it as something I might get around to, though maybe not in this incarnation. The existence of folkish Asatru bothers me about as much as the existence of the Nation of Islam– that is, a little bit, and it’s definitely not my thing. So the other day I went poking around on non-folkish forums, and particularly the Asatru subreddit, and I found something that bothers me at least as much as racial nationalism– That is, a culture of bullying in which the same tactics employed by pseudoskeptics of the Dawkins variety were used to demean and belittle people who believed they had had personal experiences of the gods. There was, for example, a prominent thread in which a newcomer described how he had asked for a sign from Thor that he was on the right path, and had been awakened the next morning by a sudden thunderstorm, in the middle of summer in Southern California. He was promptly bullied into deleting the thread, and the same treatment was given another person who created a new thread to try to defend the original poster.

    Do you, JMG, or does anyone else know if that’s typical of non-folkish Asatru? If so, I’d expect the White Odinists to win out after all… and it might be better that way.

  141. @Peter and Patricia: there’s a pagan tradition in PA that grew out of/remains based in the culture of the Pennsylvania “Dutch” (i.e.,Germans), who learned much from native cultures upon arriving at these shores. They smudge with mugwort; more info. here if you’re interested: http://www.blanzeheilkunscht.com/2017/07/mugwort-in-traditional-deitsch-use.html . I can attest from experience that mugwort carries a powerful metaphysical kick. It has definite pharmaceutical effects as well, so the cautions in the linked article should be taken seriously.

    – Groa

  142. Thanks JMG. Your reference to the “Old Wizard of Zurich,” with regard to Dr. Jung, opened up an avenue of research that is more to my tastes and interests. Probably yours, also, no doubt.

  143. @Soilmaker:

    The most convincing theoretical approach (what has happened and what SHOULD be done) I have yet found is Alf Hornborg’s (mentioned by JMG in the past). You can find links to his papers on his homepage:

    http://www.keg.lu.se/en/alf-hornborg

    If you can’t access the papers, tell me and I will send you reprints. It is interesting that he works his own farm, on top of being a universit professor, which may explain some of his realism!

    That said, I find it hard to believe that any of his suggestions will indeed become law anywhere, and an unordered and unplanned descent or collapse seem to me more probable.

  144. @ Scotlyn re firearms…

    I’m not so sure I agree with you. Gunpowder has been around for thousands of years. It is relatively simple to make and there is quite a lot of steel scrap around this world for recycling. It’s actually more convenient than trying mine and refine iron ore.

    I think firearms are here to stay, as whatever culture is “on top” will want to stay there, and to do so will likely involve some kind of powerful deterrent. Firearms will fit that bill nicely. Killing at a distance is also far easier than slicing someone across the gut and watching their entrails entangle their feet, watching them not die quickly and instead die up close and personal.

    While I may feel that guns going away would bring personal accountability to warfare, logic says that people will do their best to avoid that. If they can kill without risking their person in a physical contest of will and skill, then that will win out every time.

    Firearms allow a 5 foot nothing human weighing less than 50 kilos to be equal with a 6+ foot human weighing in excess of 75 kilos. I don’t see mankind giving up that type of force multiplier for a very long time.

  145. Dear RobS, Profitable, responsible businesses who do employ people, not just machines, and pay good wages will be very important going forwards. In another decade or so, you, as employer of someone everyone in any local audience knows, will receive a respectful hearing delivering a message that would likely be rejected from someone seen as a scruffy outsider. You can expect to have and exercise a benign influence in local elections, city councils and all sorts of boards and commissions. Now, while your business is, I gather, very profitable, might be a good time to make the investments which could make your operation truly sustainable if it is not already. Maybe take a look at your waste stream and see what can be done there. A certified organic chicken and egg operation in Ohio, I believe, converted their waste into a line of certified organic, dried chicken manure and found a whole new market among organic gardeners who for years have not been able to source animal manures which were not contaminated by herbicides and other chemicals.

    Dear Jay Moses. You mentioned The Merchant of Venice. You appear to be quite knowledgeable about Jewish history and I wonder if you could satisfy my curiosity on one point. Just there was a real Doctor Faustus, I believe there was a real Jew of Venice, quite unlike Shakespeare’s caricature, said to be a brilliant man. He is said to have recommended that the Venetians establish a port on the northeast cost of the Adriatic Sea, which they did, to their profit and advantage. I believe his name was Michael Rodrigues, and I find nothing in either wiki or Google about him. Do you perhaps know anything more about this man?

  146. @Jon — Maybe, but it’s been my experience that American liberals see everything as a morality tale where they are the underdog and the “low-IQ” “average American voter” is the troll under the bridge.

  147. @Shane

    Re secession: No disagreement that 2076 is optimistic. I consider that to be a conservative upper bound. More likely, things will break earlier. This assumes a business-as-usual trajectory, which we seem to be on. There are ways we could modify our arrangement to make the Union more likely to survive in some form (a looser confederation, for example), but we are probably not going to take the steps necessary.

  148. @ Bill Gabonay & Ann re ticks

    I am a southerner. We had some very real issues with ticks that getting out of hand a few decades back, when we reduced the number of deer we were allowed to hunt. Arkansas had deer literally starving to death when they reduced their hunting season and limits.

    With wolves no longer allowed to run or reproduce freely, and bears in decline, there remains only one single predator for deer – humans, in the form of bullets, arrows or automobiles. Coyotes can only take down injured or sick deer, and bobcats are too small.

    Our tick issue quite literally declined when the number of deer taken by hunters was allowed to increase.

    I don’t know if this situation is correct for your area – I am just chiming in what happened down in my neck of the woods. We are the apex predator for most everything now, as we have eliminated our competition with efficiency and dispatch. How do your local game wardens see things in terms of deer population and balance?

  149. I didn’t make the last post in time, and anyway it’s more appropriate for this one:Not exactly on topic, but I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm in recommending a book: Conflict Is Not Abuse, by Sarah Schulman. It doesn’t have the Olympian perspective of JMG, but it the first perspective from the Left challenging the Rescue Game. and offering a more humane and practical alternative to dealing with conflict at all levels (from a romantic relationship to inter-tribal or inter-national).

    Thanks, JMG for pointing out the example of xenophilia. Yes, I can see how both xenophobia and xenophiia of the sexual variety are intertwined–they are both related to our reptilian brain! But the xenophilia advocated by humanist type philosophies (including confucian, mystical and deep ecology) seem to be originating more in the frontal cortex. The question is a practical one–what mechanisms exist to deal effectively with inter-tribal conflict before it degenerates into war, rape, pillage and genocide? Is the limbic, sexual attraction to the other tribe going to be enough to prevent further escalation or even be present after they have raped and pillaged your tribe? Or are we going to need something else? Or even before the rape and pillage begins, maybe trade (without the one sidedness of empire) or coalitions of tribes with enforcement power could also help prevent escalation.

  150. @Shane

    Follow-up note: Whenever it occurs, it is my sincere hope that dissolution manifests with as little bloodshed as possible. I’d much prefer TLG to Retrotopia, in that regard. And that is one reason I continue to advocate for a constitutional convention.

  151. A response to Ann’s question about ticks. I’ve noticed a lot of people, here in tick country, are genuinely afraid of the outside. Also people are afraid of sunlight. I used to be. In high school I had a phase where I avoided getting sunlight on my skin at all times, because of a fear of skin cancer. Needless to say, I was quite depressed and sedentary. Even later in my life, when I was a regular cyclist, I got tested for vitamin D and was dangerously low. Staying inside all the time is extremely dangerous to your health (unnatural light exposure disrupting circadian rhythm being the #1 problem, low vitamin D, lack of fresh air, loneliness, flame retardants in carpet, mattress, and couch damaging your thyroid and endocrine system, EMF pollution, and on and on.)

    A strategy to get over your fear of ticks, is to have a daily routine where you check your body for ticks and the bullseye. If you catch it quickly, no worries.

    Stephen Harrod Beuhner has written a book; Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections. I haven’t read it yet, but I have read one of his other books, and he talks a lot about lymes and ticks, the purpose and origin of viruses and blood born pathogens in the ecosystem. He is brilliant, listen to some of his youtube interviews. You will feel better about it if you do.

  152. @gkb: no, I’m not speaking of Chenopodium albans pigweed, I’m talking about Amaranthus palmeri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranthus_palmeri), which is also edible and highly nutritious. It is a nasty weed though, fast growing and some sharp thorns on it. It also has a deep tap root so if it gets too big, it’s almost impossible to pull. It grows in our pastures but I try to stay on top of it by pulling it before it goes to seed. I’ve noticed our cows will do a good job of eating it while grazing, if it is a small sprout that hasn’t grown thorns yet.

    John Michael, I’m glad to share the dicamba story with you. I figured you would appreciate it.

  153. Ok, last question… Are you aware of Alt Right attempts to retcon American history so that only Anglo-Saxon Protestants are really Americans, it having been the intent of the Constitution to establish an ethnostate all along? What do you think?

    I find it bizarre, as champions of the idea are now insisting that even such non-Anglo groups as the Pennsylvania Dutch were never really Americans. Its also ironic that they’re “discovering” things hat no one noticed were in the Constitution all along, exactly as the Left is accused of doing. But I wonder if the idea might gain currency in the way that bad ideas do in response to other bad ideas (i.e., mass migration.)

  154. Soilmaker, I’ve long struggled with similar questions and concerns, as have many of us here on JMG’s blog and other scattered outposts of sanity in a world gone mad.Then, a year ago, I stumbled upon a forgotten book that vastly extended the horizon of my thinking. For me, it was literally a revelation. While the book is written from a late 19th Century perspective and thus fails to directly address our current environmental crises, the vision it sets forth in astounding detail and cogency could easily be adjusted to encompass radical and effective responses to them. If I could snap my fingers and have everyone in the world read one book–really read it, not about it, and with an open mind and suspended judgment until the author has had his full say–it would be “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy. And if I had two wishes to be granted, my second would be that everyone read Bellamy’s sequel called “Equality,” which expands the vision and ties up loose ends. God knows how easy it is to recommend books to one another and sometimes it irritates me, but I respectfully urge you to give “Looking Backward” a good look, in the hope that it might be as useful to you as it was to me in grappling with the great issues. While I think the book is free on the net, a used hard copy is dirt cheap, and you can mark the hell out of it. Again, let me suggest that you not begin with commentaries about the book or assessments of it, but rather let the author talk with you simply as one human being to another. As Kierkegaard said about critics, they resemble the artist to a hair, except that they lack the suffering in the heart and the music on the lips. And if you’re already familiar with “Looking Backward,” please forgive my presumption.

  155. Hi John

    Thanks for the response. Agree with you that Corbyn challenges key tenets of the current neo-liberal consensus and is likely to get into power (if the Tories don’t start adapting his message and policies in a successful way).

    On a personal note, I am currently reading your book the Ecotechnic future and note that you have recommended solar water heating systems, not pv. I’ve been recommended that a air source heat pump is better, what is your take on it? For your reference I live in a three bedroom semi-detached house with a small garden with the capability of installing solar on my roof.

    I’m looking for a renewable system that is simple, long-lasting and not insanely expensive which reduces the bills and partially takes me of the grid.

  156. Considering the reincarnation discussions last month, I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the relation of reincarnation with geographic/cultural boundaries. I’m asking this because of having noticed a significant difference in different people who’ve remembered past lives’ experience (For myself, I’ve never had past life memories, I am convinced enough though to take evidence for reincarnation seriously, but still have me skepticism of the ideas I’ve heard of how it works).

    In the cases that Ian Steven has researched where children have remembered past lives, most cases were reincarnated in the same culture/geographic region as the past personality. Some were in the same family, most were unrelated but still within the same region. The ones who reincarnated into a different culture/region than their past selves generally had some connection to the place and culture of the next incarnation in the prior life. For example, he found Burmese children who remembered past lives as Japanese soldiers who died in Burma.

    A while back, I did some lurking at an internet forum about reincarnation where many people shared their own stories of past life memories. Many had just a few memories or a lot from one previous life, but there were also some who claimed memories of many lives going back to ancient times. In these cases, they tended to jump around from place to place, maybe one in Egypt, one in Rome, one in China or Japan, one in Palestine, one as a native American, one in medieval Britain, etc. That struck me as very different from the pattern that Stevenson picked up on, if Stevenson’s pattern was the norm that I’d expect most people would have repeated lives within one culture/region until something happened in one of them that brought them into the fold of another culture/region.

    Stevenson’s cases of Burmese who remembered past lives as Japanese soldiers also displayed a lot of personality traits common in the Japanese but unusual in Burma, so if that is a typical thing when reincarnation transfers across cultures than it may have a role in cultural change.

    Any thoughts on this subject?

  157. John–

    I was at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days a few weeks ago and sure enough, there were drone technology vendors there displaying their wares. I wonder how much longer before the nitrogen-injecting variety make their appearance?

  158. Hi…

    @Glenn Murray: Smiled to myself when I read what you wrote:

    “Hello JMG,
    I begrudgingly read a dumb little book about “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” … It is full of ridiculous little rituals … The thing is, when I followed her techniques, even the ones that seemed silly, they all seemed to work, or at least the end results make me feel good. Was this magic? It feels like maybe it fits the definition.”

    Possibly you may have discovered part of the power of an animistic world view? I’ve been coming to the realization that when I treat the Universe’s various components like living things, those things come alive to me. Sounds weird, but my car, simply by virtue of its being hefty, has saved my bacon multiple times. Hence, I feel rather indepted to it. I respect it as I would a living being… And wacky as this sounds… I frequently feel that it is a living being…

    @Jay Moses

    First, as someone who Might be descended on his Mum’s side from German Jews who converted, at some point in time, to Lutheranism, I have some appreciation for how it might feel to observe the goyim having picked up a piece of Jewish culture, even a piece you no longer have much regard for, only to see the goyim altering it, stretching it, appending other mystical machinery to it… And then not even having the decency to rename it after they’ve mutilated it. I get that. It’s akin to us going to a class involving heavy sweaty stretching and calling it Yoga. It’s something we Gentiles do.

    I feel your points are quite valid. But, you see, the thing is, unless a goyim is willing to try to dig his way down to the Esoteric core of whatever religious tradition he’s got (if that core hasn’t been extirpated over the centuries), he’s got nothing. Nothing. Even European witchcraft is a work of recovery in progress. So we need to look elsewhere. We need to appropriate and reconfigure and build. It’s a sign of our mystical impoverishment that we need to steal from all over the place. Tibet, India, China, wherever. We’ll lift and modify and apply, because we’re humans and it’s what humans have always done. Even the Jews lifted some of that Zoroastrian goodness after sitting down by the rivers of Babylon. Am I right? Just like Greeks made use of Babylonian astrology, and Greeks appropriated the gods of Anatolia. We need mystical cosmologies that work, and the Tree of Life provides a model we can work with.

    So, it might be a stretch for us to keep calling our stolen item ‘Kabbalah’. Probably very irritating. But let’s face it: acts of intellectual piracy have happened and will continue to happen. For what it’s worth, as a guy who thinks the Tree of Life and Chariot Mysticism are incredibly cool -and Useful- items of common human heritage, and who intends to make good use of those items, I feel it behooves me to say ‘Thank You’, to you, and also to my possibly Jewish ancestors, for having developed those items.

    But now that I’ve got those items, I ain’t never, ever givin’ ’em back.

    Respectfully Yours,
    Casey.

  159. Chris, all through my career as a teacher of occultism, I’ve had to deal with the same thing. Of the people who say they want to learn magic, maybe 5% are willing to do the practices necessary to accomplish that goal. That’s not just my experience, either — it’s apparently standard these days. (And not just these days; I recall something by Aleister Crowley in which he commented sourly that requiring half an hour of honest work was usually enough to chase off most of the people who claimed they wanted to study with him.) So you’re not alone…

    Mike, have you considered Druidry? You might try glancing through my books The Druid Magic Handbook and The Celtic Golden Dawn and seeing if anything resonates. As for the relationship between local and nonlocal deities, that’s something that the old Pagan traditions generally noted — there are always spiritual powers who are localized, and other spiritual powers who aren’t. (The same is true of time: there are powers that manifest at specific times of day or year, and powers that are always present.

    Jbucks, that’s the kind of decision that each person has to work out for himself or herself. There’s no universal rule — and sometimes it’s necessary to do one thing to pay the bills and something else to feed your heart.

    Bryan, I haven’t done any multiday walking trips since my teen years. That much free time isn’t generally easy to pry loose these days.

    James, I’ve been studying astrology fairly intensively over the last eight years or so. If my ideas hadn’t changed, I’d be wasting my time! My take on Pluto has become somewhat more nuanced, but I still don’t use it; like Ceres after 1850 or so (when it was demoted from planetary status), it’s a waning influence, and I expect it to have diminished to the same level of influence as an asteroid (i.e., not enough to bother with unless you specialize in such things) by 2036. More on this later!

    Jay, vociferous? Not at all; it’s just that your question demonstrated that you’re ignorant about basic elements of the Cabala’s history. Your current comment, I’m sorry to say, doesn’t do any better. Gentile Cabalists don’t generally read Jewish Kabbalistic literature at all; I take it you don’t realize that by the 14th century — i.e., about two hundred years after Jews appropriated the Cabala from the Gnostics — Gentiles re-appropriated it from the Jews and started writing books on the subject of their own, focusing on themes relevant to their own spiritual traditions rather than those relevant to Judaism. As for your claim that it’s inappropriate to refer to the tradition as Cabala, well, by the same logic you should be banned from using the words “shampoo” and “pajamas,” since those words were, ahem, culturally appropriated into English from Hindi. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

    Anotheramethyst, my take is more or less “we’ll see.” There are a lot of theories about how the melting of the arctic will play out; nobody knows which of them will turn out to be right.

  160. @Wolfbay: I am a neuroscientist, though not a specialist in development nor in behavior. Hardware and software are not clearly separated in the brain – every time you learn something, neuronal connections change (when you learn a lot, some part of the brain may become visible larger, e.g. the hippocampus in London taxi drivers). When some connection is genetically specified, that determines the functional outcome. In small animals like soilworms, a single, genetically determined connection may largely determine some behavior.

    WIth regard to complex, genetically determined behaviors, I don’t think anybody has the complete picture. It is good to remember that no behavior is completely predetermined, there is always a need for adequate input during development. Still, if somebody could show step by step how honeybee genes encode neuronal connections that then permit the bees to perform their dances, I am sure that would be more than enough for a Nobel prize!

  161. “Uranus is the planet of eccentricity and individuality; it is also the planet that rules homosexuality and other alternative sexualities”
    So it really is “your anus” 😀 (I’m gay, I can say that!) 😀

  162. @casey: thank you. you have stated the issue better than i ever could. and, as far as i’m concerned, if kabbalah or some part thereof helps you in your journey, have at it.
    @james jensen: i think you have correctly identified the nature of cultural appropriation. whether it is done respectfully is one factor, but probably not the most important. i think you will find for example that native americans object to euros adopting their spiritual practices no matter how respectfully it is done. this is consistent with academic studies of the issue. see rogers, richard a. “from cultural exchange to transculturation” communications theory 16 (2006) (“cultural exchange can be placed in 4 categories: exchange, dominance, exploitation and transculturation”.)
    as to how jews view non-jews studying kabbalah the reactions seem to range from amused disbelief to gibbering outrage. of course, as a signal exception, there are those jews who have made a business of teaching “kabbalah” to celebrity moonbeams.

  163. Steve: sounds like you just encountered the Great UPG (unverified personal gnosis) Controversy that’s been going on in Heathenry for years now. It does not seem to splinter along folkish/nonfolkish lines; there are zealots of both kinds in both camps. Those who deny personal gnosis are sometimes also “lore-thumpers”–nothing that is not found in the sagas and Eddas should be practiced in modern Asatru. Some go so far as to reject the idea of any personal relationships with the gods, saying that the common people usually devoted themselves to the ancestors and the vaettir, and the gods weren’t really very involved in everyday human life…which I don’t think is particularly well-supported by either the lore or history, but I’m no expert.

    This is another case in which JMG’s assertion that the opposite of a bad idea is usually also a bad idea is right on the mark. Refusing to acknowledge even the possibility of communication with the gods is no more useful than accepting every flip of a crow’s wing as a Sign From the Gods ™. Learning discernment in these matters is not necessarily easy, and one is bound to end up with egg on one’s face more than once if one talks too freely, but I can’t imagine wanting to close myself off from the experience of Deity. I can remember, early on, being afraid of letting myself fall down the rabbit hole into madness, and I imagine at least some of the anti-UPG faction are also afraid, but it’s really true that the more you know and experience, the less you fear.

  164. @Matthias Gralle
    I saw a lot of interesting papers on Alf Hornborg’s website but no link to obtain copies. Please send me reprints or provide links for a few of the ones you found the most interesting.

    I was able to locate a paper he published this year “To save humanity and the planet, we must redesign money” https://theconversation.com/to-save-humanity-and-the-planet-we-must-redesign-money-73994
    but I can’t say I agree with his solution. In order to reduce inequality he suggests “authorities issuing a monthly basic income for all citizens. This should not be in “ordinary” money, but in a special currency that can only be used to purchase goods and services originating within a certain distance (say, 50km) from the point of purchase.”

    If some “authority” issued a basic monthly income for all citizens and they were required to spend it on local goods only, what would prevent local inflation when the local goods are limited or insufficient to supply needs? Prices would go up and the value of the currency down. What will motivate people to sell their goods or services if everyone receives a monthly stipend and is looking to spend it but my goods have more value to me than the inflated currency? Wouldn’t we end up with too many ‘dollars’ chasing after too few goods and services. Wouldn’t bartering be just as effective?

    Regards,
    Soilmaker

  165. JMG, Do you have a system for TESTING whether a spell or ritual is effective or likely to be effective? Given your comment about not trusting magic from other cultures and your stated respect for logic and science, how do you screen for coincidence and self-suggestion/ placebo? If rituals are initially created as a one-off spell or act of will how do you decide what to believe and where to put your time and energy?

  166. @newtonfinn
    How could I resist such a lovely invitation? I was able to order both of Edward Bellamy’s books combined into one. I read a bit of the first few pages online and found the first story intriguing. The problem I’m having with the recommendations of books by people who comment here is that my stack of books to read is gaining on me, at the same time as the weeds in the garden! And soon it will be time to start canning tomatoes and pickles. Oh well, I’ll catch up in winter!

    Someone earlier also mentioned the BBC series Tudor Monastery Farm, which I greatly enjoyed watching (all 8 parts) before going on to Edwardian Farm (11 parts). I found the series to be very useful in teaching appropriate technology in an engaging way. Much better than the usual standard history video.
    So thanks to all for the many suggestions!
    Cheers,
    Soilmaker

  167. @Steve. True, though we have all been guilty of boiling down our perspective to good Us vs. evil Them. It was Stalin who popularized the phrase ‘American Exceptionalism’, though I’m not sure who coined it. De Tocqueville, maybe? He was being critical of our self acclaimed greatness, not complimentary.

  168. Not a question, but a random note of amusement that wouldn’t fit anywhere else:

    A man created a trap for a driverless car using a magical salt circle, poured to look like highway lines. The car is allowed in, but not out. I imagine if driverless cars ever do make it onto the road in any significant numbers (I have my doubts), plenty of people will come up with equally clever and easy ways to spoof signs using things like salt and cardboard/sharpie markers.

    https://creators.vice.com/en_us/article/qkmeyd/meet-the-artist-using-ritual-magic-to-trap-self-driving-cars

  169. JMG,

    I was riding my bike up Johnson Street in NW Portland and looked up to note that the old house that had once housed The famous 1970’s appropriate technology magazine RAIN had been torn down and turned in to a condo building with a parking on the first floor. This one time home of the ecological wisdom, energy practicality and small scale solutions had been turned it to a bit of glitzy schlock ,with room for cars. A poignant symbol of how part of our society once viewed our future realistically but now wraps itself in delusion and consumption. Though RAIN has been gone a long time, it still made me sad to see the symbolic finality of it.

  170. @David,
    I agree with you there, which is why I so want the US to implode quickly, and am so in favor of peaceful solutions like secession and a 2nd Con Con. The big thing is when the US has its “Berlin Wall” moment, and the invincibility of the “World’s Sole Superpower” is irrevocably pierced. Golly, there are so many plates spinning now, it’s hard to imagine that they will all keep spinning for much longer.
    Regarding ticks, the old fashioned way to remove them was carefully with the lit end of a cigarette. The heat from the cigarette caused the tick to back out, thus eliminating the problem of the head getting embedded in the skin/getting infected. With so few smoking now, I’m not sure what alternatives to lit cigarettes would be. Incense?

  171. Hello All:

    I recognize that this may well be filed under “Confirmation Bias”, but I ran across a reference to this article over at a site that I love to hate (The Burning Platform) and it kid of intrigued me.

    I feel that there may be a couple of folks here who know a thing or two about astrology. It is a subject that I recognize as being potentially useful, but have never gotten together the OOMPH to have a go and study it seriously.

    Anyway….

    https://www.jessicaadams.com/2017/04/04/uranus-in-taurus-in-astrology-to-2026/

    It has that delicious “The Times they are a Changing'” vibe that makes me want to assign more value than it may deserve.

    (music to ponder by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ)

    I would be grateful for someone who understands this stuff better than I to give comments and tell me whether this is jewel or dross.

  172. Regarding North America, I’ve always considered it quite the paradox that it never seemed able to sustain advanced civilization with concentrated population in spite of its lushness and ample rainfall. The most advanced civilizations existing in the Americas were in Latin America. Is there just something about our ecology in North America that would not sustain an advanced civilization in spite of our seeming lushness and ample rainfall?

  173. RE: women protecting themselves. Amongst social primates, studies have shown that females have the best chances of protecting themselves when they gang up on and attack male aggressors. Something to consider…

  174. JMG, that’s interesting that Asatru is becoming less white nationalist. I don’t associate with Asatruar but I have some interest in the subject. Like Dammerung, I think there is a significant North/South psychological difference, but perhaps unlike Dammerung, I’m half Scandinavian and half Italian. And I notice that the pure Scandinavian side of my extended family is quite different than the Italian/Greek side despite neither group having significant cultural ties to the homeland.

    I’m quite content to consider my mercurial inner life to be a result of racial (by circa 1800 definitions) admixture.

    I think the northern/southern psychological divide is derived from the social organizations necessary to grow different types of crops and the balance of risk between the environment and other humans. The Chinese have done studies which show that Han Chinese from northern China, where wheat is grown are substantially more individualistic and distrustful of authority than their cousins from the south who grow rice. Successful rice cultivation requires much more community cooperation than wheat cultivation.

    @William Fairchild

    Regarding warbands and camp followers, er, have you ever seen those music videos where actors pretend to be gangsters?

    It’s almost as if men should look at what women do rather than women say – and women should do the same.

    Alternatively, would warband behaviour have ever evolved in humans (chimps do it too…) if the females didn’t like it?

  175. All right, JMG, so it was a month ago and I couldn’t locate the exact quote. But if “the psyches of many Americans are differentiated from those of Europeans by their unconscious absorption of archetypal patterns from Native American sources”, what archetypal patterns are you referring to, and how exactly do they differentiate our psyches from those of Europeans?

  176. Thanks, Alliemims, for the dicamba information. What I’d like to know is this: will Monsanto pay damages to all the farmers whose crops were damaged by their neighbors’ use of ‘drift-resistent’ dicamba that drifted? If Monsanto can sue farmers who grow Bt-resistent corn due to wind pollination by Bt resistent corn, these farmers really out to be able to sue Monsanto… but that’s assuming justice and the legal system actually have something to do with each other.

  177. It occurs to me that society could reduce tick issues by hunting the deer, or encouraging lynx or wolves to do so. You could also introduce an epidemic disease of deer. Of course, each of these has issues, especially in suburban areas. Like shooting deer without shooting people; making sure an introduced disease doesn’t pass to livestock like cows, goats, or sheep; and wolves killing killing people’s livestock, pets, or even human beings.

  178. JMG, Your faith in western occultism over that “from other cultures” has me intrigued and I’m wondering if you can elaborate? In particular I’m wondering if there is more reason to this preference than you have so far shared?

    Western occultism has, as I believe you have repeatedly acknowledged, a very broken and very sketchy lineage. Large parts of it have had to be made up whole or taken in faith from questionable sources. In addition — at least for me — it carries all manner of psychic “contamination” (my word) in terms of cultural bias and early childhood boogies, Satan, witches being burned at the stake, etc. For those reasons — lack of reliable lineage, a lot of shysters, and psychic baggage — I ended up deciding to pursue Tibetan Buddhism of the Nyingma and Bon lineages in particular. Nyingma is probably closest to Buddhism as originally introduced 1,000 years ago and has a continuous, carefully documented lineage. Bon actually continues the native spirituality pre-Buddhist influence with a lot of emphasis on nature spirits and demons.

    Why do you find it preferable to work with a sketchy, psychically (unconsciously) “contaminated” tradition — even if you have to largely re-create it yourself?

    I’m hoping there is a reason for this you might be able and willing to explicate? The only thing I can think of is that, perhaps, all the inculcated spookiness and naughtiness of western witches and warlocks and Christian angels and devils and fables of druids and trolls, etc. somehow empowers your rituals in a way which might not be there with a more distant tradition? Might there be something to that? It’s kind of funny but although I’ve outgrown my childhood in many ways a part of me still believes in Satan more than God himself…. And seriously picking up a OuiJa board would still spook me. Do you possibly prefer much more sketchy western occultism because of the power of latent childhood-instilled beliefs?

    I seriously want to know for my own explorations. Ever since I ran into your definition of magic as “a change in consciousness according to will” things switched for me. I didn’t believe in magic, but then I realized that by your definition I’d been practicing and benefitting from my homegrown style of magic (complete with something I called gestalts which I think you would call sigils) for decades … Now I’d like to explore more formally but still with a scientific/ objective mind set. I don’t know how I could do that with sketchy western traditions which, seemingly, actually lack much real integrity. So, behind my question I’m asking for direction.

  179. Hi JMG,

    thanks for your reply regarding so-called ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ states of consciousness/feelings. While your answer was certainly a good one and something I could stand to be reminded of, I feel like I was grasping at something more. I guess that’s going to take a bit more explaining.

    So I’m going to have to talk about some spiritual/religious experiences I have had. I know this will likely all be old hat for you, but I feel the need to illustrate what I’m trying to ask about with some examples. They are a little hard to write about because they are pretty personal and strange-sounding, but here goes.

    The first experience that came to mind as I was reflecting on this issue was a time when I was working on an assembly line, of all places, sometime between high school and university. The sheer repetitive nature of the work led to some boredom and hence, finding ways to keep myself occupied. So I took to concentrating very hard on the small movements I was making, really focusing my mind on every little detail. Eventually I felt that something within me opened up, and I had the awareness of standing on top of a mountain or pyramid. I could see ‘good’ on one side of the mountain, and ‘bad’ on the other, but from my point of view at the top I finally realized they were one and the same thing. Then I distinctly heard another Entity of sorts speaking, asking me if I wanted to join ‘them’ right then, or stay behind and help. I replied that I would stay behind and help. This sounds weird, even as I’m writing it, but it’s just what happened. Eventually the other presence left and I was back in my old, everyday consciousness again.

    Another time, while I was studying drumming and dance in West Africa, I was drumming away, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I felt a fiery channel of energy opening up inside me. It felt like a flaming serpent rising up through my body, and I couldn’t help but think of the ‘Kundalini’ energy, from what little I knew of it. At this point my drumming changed dramatically. I had always been just an average student, in awe of the master drummers who seemed to play in a different dimension. I suddenly became really, really good; it was impossible not to play perfectly on the beat, and the inner language of the drum seemed to flow through me effortlessly. I would have thought about ‘speaking in tongues’ if I had known about that at the time. This lasted for a while before it seemed like things closed down and I was once again back to my everyday awareness.

    And one more example which comes to mind happened not too long ago. For some reason that I can’t recall, I became overwhelmed with sadness about what we were doing to the Earth, the environmental destruction and harm we were causing by our actions. It was a strong enough feeling that I had to stop what I was doing and just reflect, and let the sadness wash over me. Then it was if the top of my head opened up and another energy entered my awareness. It was the strongest, healthiest energy I can ever remember feeling – if I try to think about what it might have been, I would describe it as Gaia, the planetary energy, although I can’t imagine why such an entity would bother with a boring little human such as me. I knew through this awareness that the Earth was going to be just fine despite the destructive actions we are currently taking. Nothing we could do would really harm this powerful planetary energy; we were at worst an irritation, like a mosquito buzzing around the room in the middle of the night. This gift of powerful feeling/awareness/entity stayed with me for a while, before it seemed to close off, and once again I was left with my ordinary awareness, although the intense feeling of sadness was gone thanks to the knowledge I had been made aware of.

    So I guess I am trying to distinguish between my ‘ordinary’ everyday state of awareness, just regular me, and these ‘other’ (I won’t say ‘higher’) states of awareness. I’m wondering if the goal of magical studies is to make these states of connection with other energies more permanent? Or are they simply moments of connection with ‘deities’ while I am to remain my regular old self?

    It sounds like one of the purposes of ritual magic is to make contact with this type of energy/entity, but to what end? I’m sure it’s not to gain the power to manifest that real estate empire. Personal development? Healing the sick, walking on water? What is the purpose of a magical practice? I realize that could be a big question, and I haven’t even articulated it very well. I have never had the luxury of a teacher or even one ‘system’ of study that could help interpret these and other experiences that I have had, other than the knowledge I gained directly through the experiences themselves.

    I hope this isn’t just my original question re-hashed here, and that I’m not stuck on something.

    I’m sure you’ll say to wholeheartedly take up a study of magic, and things will become more clear.

    Thanks for your time in reading all of this, if you have made it this far!

  180. @Soilmaker

    Boy howdy, you sure did go deep on that one. You are correct in your economic analysis, IMO. Picketty, is brilliant, but he could use a lesson or two from our host or Kunstler on how to write readable non fiction. His reads like a text book. Nevertheless, his prescriptions such as an estate tax make perfect sense, but for one thing. He discounts ecological limits. In fact most economists make the same mistake. Adam Smith had three legs to his stool of course, land, labor, and capital. Neoclassical, Austrian, Keynesian, neoliberal, all subsume land into capital and propose a “law of substitution” that says when one resource is limited another will be substituted. It is one thing to substitute high fructose corn syrup for sugar and quite another to substitute wind turbines and batteries for oil and diesel engines, as they will discover to their sorrow. With the exception of economists like Herman Daly, I now ignore most of them. It saves time and I take less tylenol.

    As to your questions, mostly I think the answer is “we can’t” or “we don’t know”. It seems to me we are so far into overshoot at this point that feeding, housing, and clothing everyone, much less maintaining something like a global order is a lost cause.

    And getting enough numbers of people on board to effect change or the sort you seem to envision is a dead end, at least in America.

    Having said that, I think a viable ecological spirituality and nature center ethics at a personal level is a good place to start, as is learning old skills. Hopefully when decline becomes more widespread, these sorts of folks may be able to share their insights and make it through the bottleneck and help others through as well. Not only that but such spiritual and ethical practices may help us from going as crazy as a pet coon.

    It also seems to me that a lot will be an emergent phenomenon, as people improvise along the way.

    Sorry if that seems pessimistic, but as a certain grey wizard once said: “Things are now in motion which cannot be undone.”

  181. Averagejoe, Druidry isn’t about trying to be perfect; it’s about trying to be whole — and that means leaving room for what Jung called the shadow side, the stuff we don’t like to face up to. None of us can be ecologically pure in this age. We can simply try to do our best to make up for the inevitable damage we cause.

    Scotlyn, guns can be made with hand tools out of metal of fairly modest quality; look up the phrase “Kentucky long rifle” sometime, to see what can be done in frontier conditions with a very low technological base. Since guns are far superior to other weapons in most military contexts, and can be made with a deindustrial technological base, we can be sure they’ll be preserved. That has significant impacts on the shape of the future; standard feudalism depends on the noble class being effectively immune from military action on the part of the common folk, which in turn depends on armor, and bullets laugh at armor; ergo, the feudal period to come may be cut short (as was that of early classical Greece, also for reasons of weaponry) or it may mutate into some other form.

    With regard to the roles of girls and women, societies in which women know how to fight have pretty consistently treated them better than societies where they don’t. Martial arts training for girls and women therefore ought to be high on the list of things you may want to foster and encourage…

    Chris, I think the specific example is a good sample as a community as a whole. In my repeated experience, it’s only a small minority of people who can will their way out of a wet paper bag.

    SMJ, there’s any number of places around the world where one ethnic group currently in control of the territory, and another ethnic group that happens to live there, are locked in intractable conflict. Why should the one you mention concern me more than the others?

    Fenton, it certainly wasn’t a family tradition! What happened is that I met somebody who practiced Druidry, we talked about it, and I ended up saying, “You know, that’s what I’ve always believed. Maybe I’m a Druid.” That’s usually the way it happens!

    David, too funny. My junior high school math teacher told that joke!

    Glenn, did you cause changes in your consciousness in accordance with will? That’s Dion Fortune’s definition of magic, and so if the answer is yes, then yes, it was magic. Of course there are more intensive ways to go about it, but the simple stuff also works!

  182. @JMG

    Thank you very much. I started reading Kent’s “Homeopathic Philosophy” a couple of weeks ago, and I will just say that your last few articles in TADR helped a lot in make a sense of him. Doctors from yesterday seem much better educated than the current ones, even if they knew comparatibily less about human physiology and pathology.

    I will get to your suggested sources as time and availability permits.

    @Scotlyn and firearms.

    I agree with other commenters, those are here to stay, much like bow and arrow. In the short term, ammo is going to be an issue, so the “American style” of gunfight (according to Sean Connery, point in the general direction of the target, repeatedly squeeze the trigger and hope at least one bullet hits the former) will fall out of fashion in favor of actual markmanship.

    In the longer term, preservation of gunsmith and machinist skillsets will dominate what kind of weapons are available, but I suspect 19th century tech is possible as long as some social complexity is preserved.

    That’s to say, martial arts are good and useful for many goals, but probably not a good substitute for gun skills. Some works of fiction even predict the fusion of the two, in ways that presummibly help a gunslinger to shoot efficiently and accurately while staying out of the line of fire of the opposition.

    @Lunigiana

    Narco-corridos have been around for a long time. Think of “Camelia la Tejana”, “la Camioneta Gris” or “la Banda del Carro Rojo”. If I recall correctly the name of the album is “Corridos Prohibidos” by Los Tigres del Norte. This was back in the late 1980s. These used to be all about the romantic defiance to the established order, and the tragic price paid as a consequence, which tied up nicely with the old-school corridos of the legendary folk heroes of the Revolution times, who often lead violent lives themselves.

    What sets appart the latest crop of this musical genre, – since some 10 years or so, – is that the the tone is more warband-like: indulging in all kinds of pleasures that dirty money can buy, display gratious cruelty, etc. The awareness that such life will be dark, short and bloody is all in the background, implied and everpresent, but not really talked about. The ethos seems to be “mejor cinco años como rey, que cincuenta como buey”, – “rather [live] five years as a king, than fifty as an ox”.

  183. Soilmaker, you seem to be assuming that (a) there are viable answers to the questions you raise, (b) we have any chance of getting people to agree to put those answers into practice, and (c) we’ve still got the time and resources left to do so. I find all three of those assumptions highly implausible. That’s why, ever since I started blogging, my focus has been how to deal with the unraveling of our civilization and the Long Descent into the deindustrial dark ages. From my perspective, you’re like somebody sitting on the Titanic when the iceberg has already hit, trying to start a discussion on how the ship can sail the rest of the way to New York; the conversation I’m trying to have is about what we do now that that’s not going to happen…

    Goats, the magical traditions I study consider the energies of an eclipse extremely unstable and risky to work with. I’d recommend watching it if you’ve got the appropriate glasses, casting an eclipse chart if you’re into astrology, and choosing some other time for your new beginnings.

    Eric, I tend to back away warily when people start requiring definitions — on the internet, it usually turns into an excuse for word games and other trollery. On a deeper level, a verbal definition is a very rough model for most human experiences, very much including the experience of beauty. Thus I’ll politely decline, and suggest that you simply pay attention to your own experiences of things you consider beautiful, and see if my comments in the book make any sense in relation to that, or not.

    Maria, can you direct me to a source for the claim that two-thirds of medieval adults were male? That differs sharply from what I’ve read, and if I’m incorrect I’d welcome hard data to confirm that. Many thanks!

    Bruce, thank you.

    Prizm, start by remembering that the word “evolution” does not mean “progress.” To evolve does not mean to improve! Evolution is adaptation to changing circumstances, and that’s all it is. The evolution of consciousness thus simply means that human consciousness will have to adapt to the drastic change in conditions that will follow the end of the age of cheap abundant energy, because the modes of consciousness that worked well in the industrial age won’t work at all in its deindustrial sequel. More on this as we proceed!

    Steve, yep — I’m currently working through the meditations for The Celtic Cabala, which is the last stage before I start writing it. I have another book already out that ties into it, too — The Coelbren Alphabet. Worth a look if you don’t already have it.

    Bill, thank you!

    Núa Ulaid, I recommend choosing a book that appeals to you and working through all the exercises and practices in it, from first to last. That’s a good intro to occultism; it’s also a test of your willingness to do the work, which is the non-negotiable foundation for any kind of achievement in occultism. As for recommendations, depends on what appeals to you; if your name’s anything to go by, my book The Druid Magic Handbook might be worth a try.

  184. JMG,

    I just thought it was interesting to see the evolution of your thought about astrology. I’ll admit there was a hint of frustration to my comment: if your views keep evolving, it’ll take forever for you to write a book on the subject. 😉

    I do have one further question re: Pluto. For someone born between Pluto’s discovery and its de-classification as a planet in 2006 (ex: I was born in 1985), would you consider Pluto relevant as a planet in their natal chart, or would you still omit it? Your view as you’ve described it seems to lean to inclusion, and suggests that omitting it is only appropriate for those born after 2006 and for doing new horary and mundane charts and the like.

  185. @JMG

    Since the topic of the Internet has been brought up, and you’ve stirred quite the controversy in TADR for suggesting that it’s not really economically viable in the long term, may I ask what’s your take on the net neutrality issue?

    “Net neutrality” is ostensibly portrayed by its proponents as a Freedom and Fairness vs. Big Greedy Corporations issue. The way I see it though, the real issue is the cost of the Internet and who’s paying for it. Facebook is now in news for its Free Basics version; it’s free to access in developing countries but is being criticized as a medium for corporate advertising. Well of course it is, data centers, fiber networks, and cell towers aren’t cheap to set up or run. There are other signs that the true cost of the Internet is finally showing up, like websites that are introducing restrictions to their free plans in order to force people into paid subscriptions.

  186. JMG,

    Thanks for correcting me. You were right in being aware that I had some emotional distortions of the word evolution, even though I should know better. Too much of the modern day conversation is getting ruined this way. I am looking forward learning more about how our consciousness will be more aware of different things in the future. Hopefully it will be more in tune with the connection between our life and the life of the planet we live on. Is it likely that these cycles of consciousness have been approached before? It is regrettable that there are likely thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of homo ____ existence and thus cycles yet we only have broken pieces of the toolkits that have been developed.

  187. Dear Mr. Greer, I have a question regarding the book trades: What will, in your opinion, be the fate of the book market and the production and distribution of books in the next few decades?

    My second question is: Since military technology and its changes in the deindustrial dark ages were mentioned here, do you think I’m right in assuming that the destructiveness of military technology will diminish during the 21th century due to ressouce constraints, as it increased massively after the 19th century, first starkly visible during the 1st World War? Or is that much further off?

    And finally, what will happen in your opinion to the geopolitical situation around the Korean Peninsula when the United States falter and can no longer afford to keep troops in South Korea? I have read much about North Korea and its history, and so have formed my own ideas, but I’m still interested in your opinion. There are and were many scenarios out there, but the end of American Empire and its probable replacement through a Chinese empire isn’t acknowledged in any of these scenarios.

  188. JMG
    RE: hard evidence, gender ratios – putative fewer adult women than men in Mediaeval Europe – I googled medieval; demography gender fertility change. Maryanne Kowaleski provides a recent cogent review in ‘The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe’. I got a good ‘preview’.
    There is evidence of imbalance in different parts of Europe (perhaps 112:100 of women: men; sometimes higher than that), but the data needs interpretation and there is no scholarly consensus. Kowaleski asks along the way some pertinent rhetorical questions: “If women were in such short supply, why did they marry so late in much of north-western Europe during the 15th C, and why were Italian parents at that time placing so many of their daughters in convents?”
    best
    Phil H

  189. JMG,

    Thanks for you reply to my last. Two more small questions.

    1) When I did the inner plane practices from LRM, I felt something subtle that I’ll call “energy” for lack of a better word. Are visualized practices designed to directly connect with/activate the etheric and astral/imaginal levels of consciousness? If so, is this why they can be so important to magical workings?

    2) A local ceremonial magician suggested I try do the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram in invoking form, by tracing the forms clockwise rather than counterclockwise as is done for the banishing. I know you alluded to this form briefly in Circle of Power, but I am wondering if you might speak a bit more about why one might do the invoking form.

    Thanks,

    Pierre

  190. John, it sound really interesting with the Celtic Cabala; and I definitely will read the Coelbren Alphabet. A question, are the ideas behind these books based upon historical traditions in the Celtic world?

  191. Hi, John.

    I was reading these comments earlier today, and came across Mac’s question about Jung’s defintion of ‘god’. Here is one excerpt from Jung’s Letters, Vol II, p. 525:

    ‘…[god] is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse.’

    Interesting, and one I’ve felt challenging, defintion.

    brian

  192. Correction to typo in my comment above – sorry about that
    Prima facie wide range of evidence suggests an excess of males in Medieval Europe – perhaps 112:100 adult males / females,… but see Kowaleski chapter.
    Phil H

  193. JMG. I was wondering if you have any ideas how this breakdown in civilization will play out in Mexico. My wife is from rural central Mexico but we live in Minnesota. I think long term Minnesota is the better place but the future is hard to pin down. Any thoughts on mexicos future. Thanks

  194. I think maybe the most difficult thing for my friends to digest is that fiat money only exists in peoples minds. Even gold and silver are mental constructs, and imbued with value by mutual societal collusion. Western society is based on fiat, squarely and firmly, but the end is in sight.

    What people need to be thinking about for the near term is: what happens when money doesn’t work? Then: What happens when you cannot get gasoline or diesel fuel? And: What happens when the internet goes pfffft!

    I am not saying this will play out in simultaneous overnight scenarios, but the future is already baked in for petroleum – we are ON the backside of the reserves curve. Another hundred years or so, depending on how things play out. Until one acknowledges the degree to which we all rely on oil and gas, well, we no grok nothing.

    Watching the goings on in Venezuela is very enlightening. Plenty of oil all around, yet chaos reigns in Caracas due to monetary issues. Our civilizations are much more fragile than people realize. Hence I am going to burn gasoline while I can and spend the weekend working on my foot powered grinding wheels at our farm.

  195. Hi JMG
    I´m beginning to think that the demise of the german car industry might be the first stairstep in Germany´s coming catabolic collapse. There is VW´s diesel (nitrogen oxide) emissions cheating scandal, which of course expanded to include every major german car manufacturer: seems like everyone´s been at it. What a surprise!
    Now the press is catching up to the fact that it´s rather similar for modern gasoline powered cars: looks like the more fuel efficent one makes a combustion engine (less CO2), the more nitrogen oxide and particulates come out of the exhaust pipe.
    Today (Fr 28th) a german court ruled that the german city of Stuttgart is allowed to ban (almost) all diesel cars to comply with european air quality regulations, other cities are expected to follow suite, and now everybody´s talking (Germans are in love with their diesel cars). The court also explicitly said that the right not to be harmed (by emissions, in this case) counts for more than proprietary rights of car owners. Appeal is still possible, but it´s raised a lot of eyebrows.
    Additionally, the german news magazine der Spiegel (online) now raised allegations of collusions between the car producers to the detriment of their customers, probably ongoing for at least years, more likely decades. All this makes the industry look like a mafia, which, in my opinion, it is.
    As I said, everybody´s talking, and what a lot of them (above all those that I like to call the delusional greens) are talking about is electric cars, and that it is now the car manufacturer´s duty to develop them very fast, and that the government has to help people financially to buy them, and that the infrastructure for them needs to be put in place quickly… next to no one is talking about using cars a lot less (notably private ones). Oh,well, this is Germany after all…
    People following your blogs (and other ones dealing with similar topics) are well aware that all that talk about electric cars is only so much hot air, but hardly anyone else is.
    If one now considers that every sixth (!) job in this country directly or indirectly depends on the car industry, one can see the beginnings of a perfect storm for the german economy. Of course, predictions are very hard, especially about the future, but this could foreshadow a lot of economic trouble here…
    What´s your take on it (if any)?

    The german translation of Star´s Reach is brilliant news, and I hope that someone here finds a publisher for it; I´ve been thinking hard about it, but so far no possibility has come to mind.
    I`ve got it in English and will most likely still prefer to read it in the original language, but I´d like to share it with friends, and most of their English isn´t sufficient for reading a novel (and still have fun to do so).

    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  196. @Degringolade

    When you’re reading popular astrology columns like this, remember two things: first, everyone has their biases, and second, pundits don’t get paid for being right, they get paid for being popular and bringing in the business. They trumpet their successes and very quietly take their failures out into the back 40 and bury them.

    The transit of any planet through a sign will bring a great many things, however I don’t think that most of them will have universal and far-reaching effects. In fact, the transit-based predictive method I used that had the best track record didn’t use the signs at all: it split the zodiac into eight parts, then 24, 48 and 96. The parts went from Mercury to Pluto in order, and the effect of a planet was the first level modified by the second level and so forth.

    Using that methodology, the first three 3 1/2 year phases are Me -> Me, Me -> Ve, and Me -> Mars. Assuming that this cycle has anything to do with money, we’re in the second of 24 phases, where the talk is gaining actual adherents with an emotional commitment. The third of the 24 phases, that is the first half of Taurus, will see the talk (Me) gaining some action: it’s going to gain a lot more vigor (Mars).

    Does this hold water? I’m always a bit cautious until I see a planet moving into the Venus phase, which won’t happen until May 2022. Even so, the third phase will show what things a lot of people are willing to stand up for and start doing real publicity and advocacy.

    Re: Eclipse

    I haven’t done anything significant with eclipses, so here’s something from one reasonably popular astrologer. The idea is that Eclipses are part of an eclipse series, called a Saros series, that repeats roughly every 19 years. Further, all of the eclipses in the series have a similar “signature,” based on the chart of the first eclipse in the series.

    This particular eclipse is part of Saros Series 1 North. The first eclipse in the series was on January 4, 1639. In that chart, the following stand out:

    Jupiter = Pluto = Uranus/Node
    Venus = Jupiter/Saturn
    Mars = New Moon/Neptune

    The thumbnail description is: Unexpected events involving individuals or groups put a great deal of stress on personal relationships. How much this affects you depends on how the eclipse connects to your personal chart.

    Ref: Bernadette Brady, The Eagle and the Lark

  197. @kashtan

    People tend to remember past lives that resonate in some way. I suspect that this is why children remember lives that are in the same family, culture, etc. Adults are more likely to remember ones that resonate in different ways.

    @Shane W.

    Most of North America wasn’t that primitive prior to 1492, when the Europeans brought the plagues that killed up to 90% of the population and made it impossible to sustain the prior level of organization.

    Diaries from the DeSoto expeditions say they couldn’t travel a day without finding a village. The Lewis and Clark expedition had a Native American who knew Hand Talk (the Native American Sign language) who could communicate with tribes right across the continent. Much of North America was in early agricultural stage. Chaokia wasn’t particularly small either.

  198. Was interviewed by a very lefty liberal who foams at the mouth every time Trump is mentioned. Offered a job that required flying around the country. If I knew the job required that much non-negotiable travel I wouldn’t have interviewed. I told the interviewer “I believe climate change is impacting the planet and flying is one of the number contributors to adding carbon to our atmosphere, so I am turning down this job offer. I believe my personal actions make an impact on our future.” It was super fun to watch his jaw drop and just stay that way as I said my good-bye’s.

    Seriously though, what is it going to take for people to realize the impact of their actions on others? They seemingly see everything as “out there” for other people to deal with and fix for them.

  199. Shane W you need to learn more about Cahokia and the mound cultures. Highly complex social religious and ritual structures intensive agriculture and some of the largest earthworks on the planet

  200. @David by the Lake – to bind together bean burgers, or we do this with canned salmon for salmon burgers, you want egg white or plain Knox gelatin. One egg white OR one packet of Knox mixed with a tablespoon of water per three burgers. The egg yoke can be whipped up to make mayonnaise for the burger.

    You can make you own gelatin with bones. Google “make you own gelatin from bones” for recipes and videos.

    And if your vegan, supposedly flaxseed meal mixed with water works. Haven’t tried it so don’t know.

  201. I don’t have any questions to ask, but I am really enjoying this venue. Always interesting to hear you discuss such wide-ranging topics. Thank you.

  202. @ JMG
    “From my perspective, you’re like somebody sitting on the Titanic when the iceberg has already hit, trying to start a discussion on how the ship can sail the rest of the way to New York; the conversation I’m trying to have is about what we do now that that’s not going to happen…”

    Well that’s a short discussion…we’re going to drown. If the ship isn’t going to make it to shore who are you talking to? The fortunate rich people that got a seat on the life boats or the ones who are going to face the sea? Perhaps you can give them temporary hope that magic can make a life vest appear.

    I realized long ago peak resources and climate change were going to cause our civilization to collapse. My family has made significant changes that may help us survive a bit longer than most. But every day that goes by that ship still hasn’t sunk is another day in which we have the opportunity to do something. I am not under the illusion that we will find solutions that save even a fraction of us, but as long as the stores have food, the grid is sending out electricity, the internet is still functioning…our “ship” is still listing along and we haven’t yet died. So why not discuss things such as ethics and politics? Why not act as if we may have a future? No matter what happens, there will be a post collapse and any groups of humanity still here are going to have to deal with ethics and politics.

    You say you are trying to start a conversation implying that such a conversation will help us do something. Once again…like what? Drown better. Or are you talking about a conversation with those who have secured a life vest and wet suit? The biggest problem I see facing the majority of people is not the lack of that ideas of what we can do, it’s the lack of financial ability to do it. So to once again use your analogy…if I’m sitting on the deck of the Titanic and I’ve been able to secure a life vest and wetsuit, what good is having a discussion with those who are going to drown? Is this going to help them magically create more life vests and wet suits?

    In an earlier comment I expressed my personal struggle with the psychological and emotional issue of witnessing others struggle and die. You suggested that I should imagine it clearly, and then try to think of what I could do today to prevent it. Did you really think I hadn’t already imagined it clearly? Where do you think my pain was coming from? To suggest I give it more thought was rather insensitive and arrogant. If you had any answers you could have offered them. I have given this a great deal of thought and for many years. I’ve done and continue to do what I can to help others today, even if my efforts may prove to be ineffective. I don’t see anything preventing the catastrophic collapse of the human population, or the pain of those that survive. I asked the question because like you, I wanted to start a conversation…not rearrange deck chairs.

    Respectfully,
    Soilmaker

  203. @Shane

    Sudden implosion isn’t necessarily the destined or even most desirable path. A constitutional convention needn’t go “full TLG” and dissolve the Union — a convention which produced nothing else but an amendment (subsequently ratified, of course) providing a legal path for secession would go a long way towards reforming things. Consider this draft language of mine:

    Proposed Amendment (Secession)

    Article 1. A State may elect to secede from the Union established by this Constitution.

    Article 2. A State shall affect its secession by a resolution of a two-thirds majority of its legislature, subsequently ratified by a two-thirds majority of a State referendum.

    Article 3. A seceding State shall assume its proportion of the national debt as of the date of the ratifying referendum, that proportion being equal to that State’s proportion of the national population as calculated by the most recent decadal census.

    Article 4. Any property of the United States within the territory of a seceding State as of the date of the ratifying referendum shall become the property of the seceding State.

    Article 5. Any former State, upon seceding, that desires to reinstate its membership in this Union must request admission as a State by Congress.

    The mere presence of an alternative for states unhappy with federal actions would aid in keeping those actions in check. Some states would opt out in any event. But the resulting dissolution could manifest as much as a slow leak as it could as a rush for exits. In any case, avoiding a second civil war ought to be the highest priority.

  204. Hello JMG

    Re: Israel-Palestine

    Will it not play an important role in America’s (and the entire world’s) long descent? Given its proximity to the oilfields.

    SMJ

  205. Since I have seen some questions about learning new skills, this is more of a general FYI for anyone who is interested in learning a new skill without using modern technology or practices. The website Survivor Library has thousands of books in PDF on pretty much any skill you can care to name. I first heard about it on James Howard Kunstler’s podcast, when he interviewed the creator of the website. It looks like he originally intended it to create the site in order for people to print the books and learn older ways of doing things in case there was some sort of massive Carrington Event or other huge disaster that would topple industrial society quickly. Regardless of the reasons, the books listed are great for anyone who wants to learn older ways of doing things that don’t require such energy intensive resources, and are more appropriate for the future of resource scarcity that we will be facing. There are tons of books on book binding, so essentially you can learn how to print these books out and rebind them into new books!

    Here is the link:

    http://www.survivorlibrary.com/?page_id=1014

    -Dan Mollo

  206. Frank Thamm, I’m not sure that there will be that much disruption. There might be difficulties for cities like Wolfsburg. I am from Germany, too, and none of my aquaintances work in the car industry. Still, that might be the first stirrings of the sort of problems, that will befall Germany when the current structure of the Eurozone falters and when fewer people will be able to afford cars. At the moment, though, the quasiimperial structure of the Eurozone and the not inconsiderable arms sales of German firms will keep things more or less as they are. One observation about decline, though: In the German city, where I live, in the last ten years one restaurant or cafe after another has closed, and prices in the remaining eateries have tended to rise.

  207. Hey JMG,

    I am curious what you think the root psychological cause behind the vast majority of climate change “activity” being empty rhetoric?

    I work in a scientific research environment, and the topic of climate change and human impact on the biosphere comes up often enough with recognition that our loose energy ways are destroying the planet, but no one ever seems willing to do even the most minor things to reduce their own impact on this issue. It has become very difficult to even talk about this subject with my coworkers because of the temptation to say “what have you dont about it lately” as the discussion goes from climate change to travel plans to fly to some conference across the planet that could be done by teleconferencing.

    Do you think it is some sort of basic human trait to always expect someone else to ride in to the rescue and save us from ourselves, and that there will be no sacrifice required to solve this issue(or many of the other ones facing us during the long emergency?) Or is it something specific to the psychology of modern man, in his rejection of all things spiritual in favor of techno-utopianism that leads to this sort of “do as I say, not as I do, a white knight will clean up my part of the mess” approach to climate change?

  208. @David by the lake- I’ve had good results using ground chia seed soaked in some warm water as a binder. Makes a mucilaginous goo, a bit like egg white. Sounds irresistible, doesn’t it? 😉 Easy to keep the seed on hand and “slimes up” quickly.

    @ William Fairchild- “crazy as a pet coon”! What a great description of so much of life these days. There’s an image that will stick with me. 🙂

  209. @JMG, William Fairchild, Oilman 2, CR Patiño and anyone else who commented – thanks all for engaging with the question of firearms, warbands, women. It looks like the consensus is that firearms will not be going away in a hurry.
    William, warbands are already here in some places, still in the far off future of others.
    OTOH, if this is true: “standard feudalism depends on the noble class being effectively immune from military action on the part of the common folk, which in turn depends on armor, and bullets laugh at armor” then it may also be true that lack of immunity from military action on the part of women may have its own unpredictable effects when warbands form up.

    Yes, for my part I am working on educating a couple of young women I know on fighting techniques and etc and more generally promoting the idea of women learning to fight and shoot. However, I am mindful that protecting ourselves and each another, as women, will always require two skillsets – 1) fighting 2) midwifery.

    I remain interested in the subject of the lives of girls and women during warband times – any comments from history, anthropology or mythology that throw light on this subject would be of great interest to me.

  210. @Scotlyn–agree on importance of midwifery for women’s survival and rights. Just be sure it is science based, not New Age “the body knows how to give birth” BS from the self appointed and untrained US homebirth scene.

    As far as fighting goes, I think the most important thing is mindset. Women have been brainwashed for centuries that fighting is unladylike, or that he will just hurt you worse if you fight back, etc. When law and order really break down women will have to develop a ‘hit me once, shame on you; hit me twice, shame on me,’ mentality.

    I have used homeopathic medicine for 35 years. Started with it to fight chronic depression. It is not an overnight cure–took several years to get to good functioning. But no worry of deadly or sickening side effects. Also works for acute conditions–a dose of 30x Arnica reduced a huge goose egg my son got from running full tilt into a door jam. Not even a bruise after about 30 minutes. Works on animals too. Being a Witch I do find it amusing to see homeopaths trying to stuff their magic into neat little blue bottles.

  211. Ann, of course! And over the short term, it’s going to be awkward.

    Wolfbay, and that’s where neurobiology breaks down when applied to human beings, The software, in our species, is a product of culture rather than genetics.

    Tidlosa, depends on what you mean by “encounter.” I’ve been in the lower hall of an old lodge building, and (as the building manager) knew that the main hall upstairs was locked up tight, when footsteps sounded on the floor above; as they continued, it became clear that somebody, in that dark and empty room, was going through the process of opening a lodge in proper ritual form. Rather eerie, all things considered!

    With regard to invisibility, though that’s the traditional term for it, it’s better described as “people don’t notice you.” Yes, I’ve had the experience — after doing the appropriate ceremony — of walking through the middle of a group of maybe twenty drunk young men who were looking for trouble and hassling passersby, and not having one of them pay any attention to my existence,

    Naturalmente, that’s just it — the new archetypes haven’t surfaced yet. I’ve been watching the old archetypes sunset out, as I mentioned in last week’s post, but their replacements? I’m not seeing them yet.

    Steve, I’m still somewhat undecided on the rulerships, but I’ve found transits and progressions to Uranus and Neptune very powerful as predictive tools, so it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the old seven-planet cosmos needs a bit of stretching. As for twelve planets, I don’t think that’ll happen; everything off beyond Neptune is about on the scale of the asteroids, and roughly as significant as they are.

    Steve, a significant number of Reconstructionists have a bad case of what a friend of mine with a counseling degree calls Major Jerk Disorder, and that’s one of the ways in which it comes out — it’s a variant of the craze for authenticity at the expense of meaning that I critiqued a while back in this post on the Well of Galabes. More broadly, we’re going to see more of that as the Neopagan movement fades out and many of the people currently involved in it get into radical politics instead.

    Mac, yep. See if you can find a copy of Jung’s Red Book — it was published a while back in a gorgeous facsimile edition, and a lot of university libraries have it. You might also find a copy of his Seven Sermons to the Dead, for more along the same lines.

  212. @David, by the lake:

    “Article 2. A State shall affect its secession…”

    I think you meant “A State shall effect its secession”.

    I totally agree with you that a second civil war is utterly to be avoided.

  213. Iuval, people have been trying to work that one out for thousands of years, without notable success. I certainly wish you luck, though…

    Alliemims, very much so.

    Steve, no, I wasn’t, but I’m not surprised. The Big Lie strategy is very much in their intellectual DNA, and people these days are clueless enough to fall for it.

    Forecasting, I’d encourage you to talk to a solar-energy person who knows your climate, and the local regulations, Alternative energy isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing; everything depends on the fine details of local conditions.

    Clark, thanks for the link!

    Kashtan, my experience parallels Stevenson’s research — my apparent past life memories cluster geographically, and movement from one region to another (for example, from England to America) took place during an incarnation, not between lives. I’d want to see more evidence before being sure, but that might be a useful indication of what’s actually remembered and what’s being fantasized.

    David, trying to come up with something more absurd than the latest technology really is an unforgiving job!

    Shane, heh. You’re forgetting that it’s also the planet governing lesbians and other sexual minorities…

    Gnat, I didn’t say I don’t trust magic from other cultures. I said I don’t recommend things I haven’t studied under qualified teachers! In response to your broader question, I’ve never found a more effective method than trying it and seeing what happens. The placebo effect, by the way, is an extremely important magical tool!

    Kyle, excellent! Banish the lot of them, I say. 😉

  214. @John Roth,
    oh no, I wasn’t saying that North America was preagricultural or hunter/gatherer, just that the civilizations seemed much smaller/less developed/urbanized than the carrying capacity of the land would suggest, and that the most advanced civilizations were in Latin America. I’m wondering what would account for that paradox

  215. Clay, that’s really sad, I remember when RAIN was in print, and I still have my copies of RAINBOOK and STEPPING STONES. More reminders of the road to a better future we did not take…

    Degringolade, it’s always a bad idea in astrology to make your predictions on the basis of a single factor. Unfortunately, it also makes for nice readable articles! She does include the other outer planets, which is useful, but a planetary placement gets its meaning from how it relates to an existing chart — for example, if Uranus in Taurus made an aspect to the US inception chart, or what have you, then you’d know something. As it is, there have been a lot of failed predictions on the order of “planet X is squaring planet Y, therefore vast historical change Z is going to happen!” Not necessarily…

    Shane, um, you need to do more research. In 1200 the city of Cahokia, in what’s now Illinois, had more inhabitants than London; the Mississippi Valley culture was fully urban, and succeeded an older urban culture in the Mississippi basin.

    Justin, quite possibly. I’d also point out that people like you, who have ancestors from a variety of ethnic groups, are far more common in today’s America than people who have ancestors from just one.

    Cynndara, you’ll want to read Jung’s essay on the subject, since I was quoting him. If I recall correctly, it’s in his book Civilization in Transition.

    Adrian, depends on the religion. Eastern religions generally incorporate their mystery schools into the religious structure; Western religions (meaning here everything from Islam on west) generally try to burn theirs at the stake, or whatever the local method of slaughtering heretics happens to be. Mind you, there are plenty of Christian and Muslim mystery schools, but the religious mainstream holds them at arm’s length when the legal system won’t permit the torches to come out.

    Gnat, you’re misstating what I’ve said pretty considerably, you know. I didn’t say, at all, that I consider western occultism better than anything else. It’s simply (a) what I learned, and (b) part of my own culture, so it’s what I practice — and I feel uncomfortable about borrowing practices from other peoples’ cultures unless I have the opportunity to study those practices under a qualified teacher. That’s all it is.

    Stefania, okay, gotcha. In my experience, the point of magic isn’t to make those other states of consciousness permanent; one of its points is to make those states easier to reach, so you can get to them whenever it’s useful and then return to a more ordinary state of consciousness when that’s useful instead.

  216. CR, Kent’s a good place to start! What he calls “simple substance” is what occult writers call etheric energy, by the way.

    James, for someone born after 1930 and before 2006, Pluto’s relevant in the natal chart, and will still have some influence in transits and progressions until 2036 or so (just as it started having noticeable effects around 1900). I’m actually working on a proposal for an astrology book right now, though it’s somewhat specialized, and I’ve done some work toward a book on Pluto that’ll also be seeking a publisher within the next year or so.

    Carlos, I haven’t followed it closely. One way or another, the actual costs of the internet are going to end up being passed onto users, and so a lot of the free services that are available now are going to go behind paywalls or go away entirely; one of the many reasons I moved my blogging to a paid provider is to collapse ahead of the rush, and make the change when it makes sense to me, rather than when it makes sense to some vast faceless corporation…

    Prizm, excellent! My take, for what it’s worth, is that each civilization starts from the common ground of ordinary human existence and goes in a new direction, pushing it as far as it can be pushed, before going overboard and crashing into ruin; sometimes useful things get preserved, and put to work by future civilizations, and sometimes that doesn’t happen. That’s one reason that I think it’s so important to try to preserve useful things from the present for the future.

    Booklover, three huge questions! The book trade is in the middle of a massive reorganization right now, as big publishers and big box bookstores are outcompeted by nimble print-on-demand publishers selling books on the internet and and mailing them to customers. A lot depends, though, on how long POD technology turns out to be sustainable, so it’s really too soon to say.

    The lethality of military technology is likely to decrease after midcentury, but not necessarily the death toll of wars; as antibiotic resistance becomes all but universal among microbes and the stakes in warfare become higher, I expect the corpses to pile high. As for the Korean situation, I don’t know that anybody is in a position to call that now; so much depends on the personal decisions of an assortment of politicians, not all of whom are particularly mentally balanced, that it’s a real crapshoot just now.

    Phil, many thanks for this.

    Pierre, imagery shapes consciousness, and consciousness shapes etheric and astral energies. The lesser invoking ritual of the Hexagram is useful only for invoking Saturn in a mild sort of way — it’s the Saturn hexagrams you’re using, after all. The greater invoking ritual of Saturn is more useful.

  217. JMG- I’m glad I’ve been keeping up with the comments and questions as the week progresses.
    2 things jump out at me. The first is the recommendation for teaching women and girls martial arts. My daughter and I attend a taekwondo school where many squirrelly little boys join as white belts, but very few stick with it.Early on in training, boys outnumber girls 5 to 1, but as we go up the ranks, the boys drop out and many of the girls stay.
    I am often at evening classes where there are a dozen students total, and 8 of them are female black belts in their late teens and early 20s. I try to keep up. They are amazing, and they have built a community with each other, as strong young women.
    One of the lessons we try to teach to our young women is self-defense against would-be rapists, whether that is at college or traveling the world. The commenters who make the point that martial arts are not a match for guns probably aren’t considering defense against rape.
    The next point that made me laugh ruefully was the recommendation of not making new starts at the time of the eclipse. I teach middle school, and our first day of school, with a new principal and several new teachers is the day of the eclipse. It will be partial at the location of my school, but I have been planning for months to cruise up to Nebraska to take pictures and revel in the experience, watching with the appropriate glasses, of course. Since I can’t control what new starts are happening, I’ll worry about what I can control instead.”unexpected events involving individuals or groups put a great deal of stress on personal relationships, eh? Ok, let’s go.

  218. @JMG, gotcha, that simplifies things a lot. Are there any other books you’d recommend for evocation?

    What are your thoughts/concerns about taking on hefty student loans for medical/allied health fields with how the economy is and with the likelihood of colapse? I’m about to finish my bachelor degree in Exercise Science and have been planning to go into physical therapy (PT), but I’m worried about the loans.

    Physical therapists are in high demand right now, but most students end up around $120,000 in debt. I’m worried about loans and the intensity of the programs, and whether or not there will continue be a demand for PT as insurance companies become stricter and people can’t afford it as much.

    On the other hand, I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t go into PT. I’ve been so focused on getting ready for grad school that I haven’t come up with a clear back-up plan.

    My family has always struggled financially due to poor choices, etc, so the security of PT really appeals to me. I worry a lot about floundering like my parents, but also see the appeal of trying to live simply and not rely on modern conveniences as much.

    I guess I feel torn between wanting the perceived security of a middle class job and being worried about failure if I don’t pursue that path, but also disliking aspects of the medical and academic industries and wanting to live simply instead.

    Sorry for blabbering, I’ve just been worrying a lot about my future lately, and wondered what your opinion was about the loans.

  219. @Ynnothir, thanks for the detailed explanation! That makes a lot of sense.

    I ended up getting a flat bar of welding steel that seems like it should work well (I read that welding steel has a low carbon content, and even though it probably isn’t an issue, I wanted it to have as little as possible).

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure there are a few blacksmiths around my area, so I may contact them. Blade making and smithing actually seem pretty cool from what little I’ve read, so maybe its a skill I can pick up myself in the future!

  220. Sean, they are indeed, but the history in question begins in the eighteenth century. If you’re looking for ancient Celtic traditions, you won’t find it in my books. (Or anywhere else, but that’s another matter.) The Druid Revival emerged in the early eighteenth century, so it’s been around for some three hundred years now; it’s got a rich and eccentric history all its own, deeply intertwined with the histories of Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany; but it’s one of the oddities of the American Neopagan scene that a lot of people seem to think that the Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons somehow stopped being Celts at some point along the line. Say that in a bar in Aberystwyth, Truro, or St. Malo and I promise you you won’t leave with all your teeth!

    Brian, good. I suspect if you’d asked him two days later you’d have gotten a different definition, too — and that one would have been just as thought-provoking.

    Will, that’s hard to say, as I’ve never lived in Mexico and don’t have a good feel for the situation on the ground. If it follows the usual trajectory of nations just outside the wall raised by the empire, it’s going to get very chaotic shortly before the mass migrations begin moving northwards.

    Oilman, no question, money’s a hallucination. The situation in Venezuela, though, isn’t just a matter of a dysfunctional money system; the entire economy was set up to distribute the unearned wealth from sky-high oil prices, and then the prices crashed. Expect similar conditions in the US when the dollar is no longer a global reserve currency and we can’t pay our bills by running up IOUs any more!

    Frank, interesting! I’ll keep an eye on it.

    Fred, good question. The degree of disconnect between rhetoric and action in today’s America is frankly stunning.

    Ed, you’re welcome and thank you!

    Soilmaker, were you under the mistaken impression that everybody aboard the Titanic drowned? Not so; some drowned, some — and not only the rich — made it onto the inadequate supply of lifeboats. That’s precisely parallel to our current situation. Pretending that everyone on board was going to have a future would have been a waste of time, and dishonest to boot; what mattered was figuring out how to handle the crisis in a way that would minimize the inevitable losses.

    As for what we can do, other than lie down and die, I gather you weren’t part of the very extensive discussions of this point on the old blog. (On the off chance you’re interested, your public library might be able to get you copies of my books The Ecotechnic Future and Green Wizardry, which summarize those discussions.) Since we’re facing a long ragged decline, not a fast collapse, there’s an enormous amount that can be done to make things less wretched for our descendants and to see to it that important technologies and bodies of knowledge make it through the dark age ahead to the successor civilizations that will rise on our ruins. Pretending that there’s still time to undo the idiotic decisions of the last three and a half decades simply gets in the way of those crucially important conversations and the practical actions that unfold from them.

  221. JMG, yeah, sure – although the politically relevant and popularly accepted definition of mixed-race doesn’t apply to me, but on the other hand, I enjoyed all the advantages of being white.

    This morning on CBC a person of native Hawaiian / Salish ancestry was talking about how important it was that their culture and language be preserved and that the kids from their community learn where they came from – and of course I agree with her. What I was thinking about was that the desire for cultural continuity or a story about where “the ancestors” in the abstract came from is a universal human phenomenon. In Canada it’s still sort of tolerated to celebrate your specific European heritage – nobody serious has ever accused the organizers, of say, Ukrainian cultural festivals, common enough in the prairie provinces of being racists or white nationalists.

    As an aside, even though nobody except a few radicals would call me a racist for organizing a Danish cultural festival here in Canada, which would be understood to be about people who are ethnically Danish and their culture, in Denmark, one is officially required to consider anyone with the right papers a Dane and anyone who disagrees is a racist and possible Nazi.

    So you have this situation where a lot of Canadians or Americans, with far more diverse European heritage than myself, hear the constant discussion of the cultural heritage and importance of historical preservation of various indigenous and foreign ethnic groups while at the same time understanding that they are officially not considered to exist as a group and don’t have a history except as Bad Oppressors. I can’t help but think that this is driving some resentment and the rise of the alt-right. I’m not saying that white identity is the solution – I agree with the progressives, what’s “white” anyway? I can’t help but think that this situation is grossly unsustainable. Ultimately in the long run, the result will be the formation of new regional identities, which in deeper time, will come to be new ethnic groups, but until then I’m not sure how it won’t get ugly.

    On another note, I’m about halfway through the first The Weird of Hali book, and find it refreshing, thought provoking and entertaining.

  222. SMJ, but it’s not that close to the oilfields of the Persian Gulf. From Jerusalem to Ras Tanura, the heart of the Saudi oil country, is more than 1100 miles — roughly the distance from New York City to Des Moines, Iowa. The ethnic feuding between Israelis and Palestinians can churn away for the next century without having more than the most minor impacts on Persian Gulf oil production. That being the case, it’s right up there in importance with the similar feuding between Armenians and Azeris, or Serbs and Bosnians, or what have you.

    Dan, thanks for this!

    Sub, I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s far more common, in history and in the present world, for people who believe in something to do something about it, even at the risk of their lives and property. The weird disconnect between belief and behavior in the modern industrial world baffles me.

    Scotlyn, I’m going to suggest that you add healing in general to that basic toolkit. If women by and large know how to treat wounds and cope with ordinary illnesses, as well as knowing how to fight and deliver babies, then they have a skill that men need and will respect. That’s going to work out to a more equal position for women in a deindustrial world.

    Rita (if I may), I very much agree about homeopathics. I’ve used biochemic cell salts (a subset of homeopathy) as the core of our family home health care for thirty years now, with excellent results. I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in a modality of health care that works well and has few to no negative side effects to look into it.

    Katsmama, glad to hear about the tae kwon do school! That’s good robust stuff, and ought to do well by the women who study it. As for the eclipse — well, sometimes things are just meant to run off the rails… 😉

  223. Ross, I tend to recommend leaving evocation alone until you’ve gotten a solid background in magical practice in general. Once you’ve done that, the classic grimoires — in particular the Key of Solomon — would be my recommendation. As for student loans — hmm. Your mileage may vary, but I’d be very, very wary about getting over your head in debt when the US health care system is in what may well turn out to be a terminal crisis. It won’t do you a lot of good to have an expensive degree if health care companies start going bankrupt right and left, and nobody’s hiring…

    Justin, no question, that’s part of it. The hypocrisy with which the social justice brigade insists that celebrating ethnic identity is good and right unless your ancestors happen to come from Europe, in which case it means you’re a racist, grates on a lot of nerves — and not without reason. But then if you’ve built your identity around the concept of fighting racism, I suppose it stands to reason that you’d want to go out of your way to make sure you have plenty of racists to fight, right?

  224. I’m sure you’ve already thought about the implications of geographic reincarnation for ecological spirituality… Will we hear more about that here? “Where you die is where you will live again” sounds like a rather powerful slogan/spell.

  225. Sean, I think one of the reasons why Homo sapiens developed technologies relatively recently is that we have had the fortune to live on a (relatively) stable planet for the past 6000 years. For instance the end of the Younger Dryas. Evidence, including snow cores from Mt Kilimanjaro, suggests that pre-dynastic Egypt utterly collapsed in the face of a 200-yr drought-where the Nile ceased flooding for 50 years! THAT would seriously setback any progress… I doubt that humans are “smarter” than they were 40,000 years ago as individuals (and some scientists actually suspect the reverse). However, we have developed robust social systems where we can rely on our “exobrains”-oral traditions, then writing, now google….

  226. JMG,

    It’s far more common, in history and in the present world, for people who believe in something to do something about it, even at the risk of their lives and property. The weird disconnect between belief and behavior in the modern industrial world baffles me.

    I may be able to help somewhat here, as I’m part of the demographic you’re talking about, and have been for about ten years or so. I’ve noticed that in that time period, there has been a greater emphasis, internally, on the labels I’ve wanted to attach to myself (e.g. “liberal,” “vegetarian,” “environmentalist,” etc.) than on the behaviors I’d have to take up to earn those labels. In other word, I’ve been a poser.

    Doing the right thing takes work, after all, and what if I don’t like it? What if I don’t like the results? Much safer to focus on the beliefs and labels. Much safer to be a poser.

    I wasn’t always this way; I took a couple of really unpopular stances in my late teens and gave an honest try to live up to them. The fights I had with my parents over them opened wounds that still haven’t healed. But then, when the world didn’t progress my way, the way I was SURE it was going to, I became depressed and started to doubt my convictions — after all, isn’t Progress(tm) the measure of all goodness? — and It became easier to just go with the crowd. That’s when the obsession with self-labeling really began.

    I suspect that mass-media culture, especially Internet culture, rewards posers since you can get in your 15 minutes – now 140 characters – of fame without much fear of people following up to see if you’re actually doing anything. Add that to a culture that is scared stiff of disapproval (a feature of the F-S personality type in Clare Graves’ system, which he noticed the US moving towards shortly before he passed away), and you get the kind of virtue signalling culture we see in such heavy operation today.

  227. Greetings all! I’d like to return to the topic of archetypes.
    How many different archetypes are there? And does anyone have a list of them and their respective attributes?

  228. JMG –

    Was referring to VZ current inflation mess. I am pretty familiar with Venezuela, having worked there a while. It’s interesting to note that one of the largest recent oil discoveries was in the contested waters between Guyana and Venezuela. Exxonmobil discovery years back, Tillerson running the ship of state…? And that particular trend runs landward.

    And then Leviathan offshore Syria, ARAMCO going public (no way unless depletion is farther along than they admit) and the shale oil guys reigning in due to capital expense vs depletion hamster wheel.

    Another tidbit is the Llanos Basin – where some wells were drilled next to the VZ border, then capped, by Ecopetrol. One nearly blew out – so there is more there than just geopressure. All hands paid bonus to keep mouths shut too.

    Easy to piece it together as resource wars or pre-positioning.

    Odin has been well-worn. Maybe resource wars archetype could be Tyr…

  229. @Soilmaker

    You suffer from the drunkard-by-streetlight syndrome. Because you equate the ship sinking with certain and sudden death, you very much want to think the ship is not sinking, and to discuss strategies for a damaged but not sinking ship event. And like the drunkard, your efforts will be futile because you cannot find by the light whatever you dropped in the middle of the darkness.

    So, in an effort to imagine what can be done, as one of the souls aboard of the Titanic first and sole travel. Let’s begin…

    (Please consider my portrait of the events is heavily influenced by James Cameron’s 1997 movie. All I “knew” about the subject prior to that was that some stupid and overly proud shipbuilders wrote on the hull of the Titanic, “not even God can sink this ship”, so of course the damned thing was doomed from the very minute it sailed out of port).

    1. If you are one of the priviledged ones that got a seat in one of the lifeboats, you can wait out the sinking from a safe distance, and then arouse the courage of your companions so that you can go back with those partially filled boats and lift survivors from the cold waters.

    2. If you are not one of the privildeged ones, you can acknowledge that fact and go find yourself something buoyant to help you stay afloat in the sea. Given that cold water will be a concern, you may want to find some ways to insulate yourself without adding to much extra weight (this is not in the movies, but I assume covering your skin with cooking oil might have helped a bit).

    3. You can decide to fight stupid authorities that insist on making the tragedy worse by pursuing self defeating strategies. Think of the third class passengers that would never get a chance of survival because someone decided to lock them inside of the hull until after all first class passengers had finished evacuating.

    4. You might was well decide that you do not have what it takes to survive; but you still get to decide what to do with the time you still have left. Stay by with your loved ones? Enjoy something beautiful? Get your soul ready to meet your Creator? Help others improve their own chances? At the very least, you can decide to not be a jerk and cause further problems.

    Now, if we talk about our actual situation, – civilization collapse, not shipwreck, – the options are much easier because we can safely ignore any pretense of survivale. The whole thing will play out in decades and centuries, not minutes and hours, so everyone reading this is going to die way before this story gets even to Act II (unless you consider it to have started in 1914, in which case Act II is now and we wont make it to Act III). You and your family are going to die, probably sooner than what you were promised by the priests of Progress; and before that you will probably struggle and suffer from situations that said priests promised would never happen to you. But that does not mean you do not have decades to live ahead, and that whatever you choose to do with the time you are alloted is meaningless.

  230. JMG, thanks for the answers! Regarding Korea, my idea is that the politicians will avoid war due to its very destructive consequences for the Korean Peninsula and the environs. As the following link describes, China has stationed troops on the North KoreaChinese border to intervene in case of a crisis: http://www.atimes.com/article/another-reason-chinas-adding-troops-border-north-korea/.
    Regarding the rise of small printing-on-demand companies, this was something I didn’t know! Amazon seems to increasingly use such services now. A possible future trend might be that publishers will try to go digital only, because they could then cut the cost of printing, paper and bookbinding!

  231. Booklover, fair enough, I don´t expect things to change overnight either, and there are of course plenty of other events and trajectories when it comes to the gradual decline that I think we´re facing.
    But as far as I know european car ownership is already in decline (correct me if I´m wrong, I´m not 100% sure on this one) and the industry is making it´s still record-high profits mainly in non EU countries like China (Asia in general) and the U.S. But I´m wondering if this might not indeed be the first stirrings of a backlash that might be a nail in the industry´s coffin. I live in the countryside and cars are still very important to people here, but that´s changing in the bigger towns and cities, most of all among young people – for many of them cars are already too expensive, and they don´t see them as the status symbol they once were. When I wrote next to nobody´s talking about using cars a lot less, I meant the media pundits and the commentary in mainstream news outlets – a lot of people might not be talking, but they are already acting for various reasons, some political and some financial.
    Eurozone structures, I think, are already creaking – it remains to be seen, for example, how many more migrants those structures will be able to absorb, and I think it´s rather telling how the mainstream media is trying to belittle every political movement that´s perceived to be against the EU – they even tried to sell an actual increase of the seats in parliament achieved by Geert Wilders´ party in the Netherlands as him being the loser of the election, because he didn´t get the majority of votes. And of course there´s Bexit.
    In the towns I visit, I observe the same thing: restaurants, pubs, and local stores and shops vanish, and often its only the big chains that remain.
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  232. Hello JMG

    Re: Israel-Palestine

    Understood! I was always under the impression that US entanglement in Israel-Palestine would have a significant effect on the details of America’s decline, but yes, I see now that the effect might well be no greater than that of similar feuds in various parts of Eurasia.

    SMJ

  233. Hi JMG,

    Yes, I agree with you. I can’t but help feel that peoples sense of status and identity (I feel I borrowed that identity part from you) tie up in such a way that to acknowledge predicaments in a less than abstract manner leads them to having to deal with an actual or perceived sense of loss (or even fear of fault) in their lives. It is a complex problem that one, and it gets down deep to the core programming and messages of our society.

    The funny thing is that people occasionally seek my advice, but I feel deep down they want assurance for their choices instead. I don’t generally do comfortable, so the advice seeking can become an uncomfortable moment itself! Oh well.

    Thanks for the mention of the Kentucky. You may say so obvious, but over here at the bottom of the world, I’d reply: not so much. I have an old school book working its way down here on the subject. ;-)! Nice work.

    Cheers

    Chris

  234. @Ross, may I tell you a story that I recently heard about a woman who lived hereabouts (Northwest of Ireland), maybe 50 years ago. She was part of a large family and wanted to study nursing, but needed to earn the money for her studies, and she did. She just had enough saved, when her brother came home wounded from WWII and her family prevailed on her to give him the money to get a degree, as he would not be fit to work on the farm. She handed the money over. She saved for her own degree again, and just had enough saved when another family emergency happened, and she was prevailed upon to sponsor someone else. So, in the end up, she never got to formally study.

    But in all the time that she had been working and saving, she had also been studying “informally” and visiting people and helping them. It seems that by the time she died, she had a vast reputation for her healing skills, and was regularly called on by her neighbours in the matter of sick animals, or sick people, and they did not look for her credentials. Her reputation was enough. I do not know if licenced professionals ever tried to stop people going to her. But likely she fitted herself into the cracks of folk tradition and did not raise their hackles too much.

    Bear in mind that knowledge and skill are available to anyone who seeks them (by reading and by voluntarily apprenticing to willing teachers who can be found and practicing diligently). What you would be going into debt to gain are credentials – and their long term currency is what is in doubt.

  235. Re – Define Beauty. Thanks for the though provoking answer to my question and for putting it right back in my lap where it belonged in the first place.

  236. @ Foresight
    I agree with JMG about taking local independent advice on solar technology.
    Britain is not very well located for solar roofs, but in order of merit, solar hot water collectors pay for themselves quite quickly on a suitable roof slope even where I am at 55 North. As fossil fuel-savers they do well if they stop you needing to turn on the main heating boiler so often in the summer in order to have hot water for washing.
    In general, regarding heat pumps, and air-source heat pumps in particular, bear in mind that British electricity is mostly produced most of the time from power stations burning high carbon fuels. This situation is not likely to change drastically over the next decade or even two decades. Half to two-thirds of the energy in the fuel must be lost to atmosphere – alongside the CO2 – see those wonderful rows of cooling towers gently ‘steaming’ on the horizon! Air-source heat pumps rarely reach levels of efficiency sufficient to compensate for the carbon dioxide and heat lost in the primary generation. (By the way, electric cars similarly use high-carbon electricity at the moment, with an added disadvantage that ’round-trip’ efficiency for the battery is about 70% – another loss of energy to the atmosphere.)

    best
    Phil H

  237. @JMG Yes healing generally, and with a mix of old and new knowledge, will be respected anywhere.

    I suppose, though, that what I am really asking – and the question is open to anyone – relates more to what Katsmama calls “the psychological problem”… A person needs a sense of the possibilities that are open to them in order to be able to grow into them.

    And it is hard to get a picture of how women ARE in warband situations. The word warband mainly conjures up images of young men – who strive to out do each other in valour, who are prepared to kill and who expect themselves to be killed, and who will readily follow the man that impresses them most with charisma, courage and strength. Obviously warband cultures are not only made of young men, or they would have quickly died out, but better visibility of how the old and the young, but in particular the girls and the women, have behaved and fared in these cultures in the past, would help in forming ideas of how to do so again.

    I suppose I am really asking if any readers are familiar either with historical or anthropological sources that touch on this matter? I would be most interested. Likewise if there are mythological figures who could be identified as women in a warband culture – perhaps Maid Marian would be worth fleshing out in this context – I would be most interested.

  238. @David,
    I like and support your secession amendment, and think it is well worded. However, I think the foundation of the country is so shallow that by the time such an amendment would be acceptable, most states/regions would be looking for an exit and regional breakup would follow shortly. I think that is why we’ve never had a rational discussion of secession since the Civil War, and why the Confederate secession led to the Civil War. As a creedal nation, we were founded on democracy, freedom and capitalism in the North and plantation agriculture in the South. With the Civil War, the North/South divide was removed and the whole nation was on the capitalist/industrial path. Capitalism pretty much steamrolled everything in its path so that the market economy is all we have, and democracy and freedom are farces now.
    I’ll ask JMG, but I think that territorial expansion, whereby a country is expanding and adding land to its territory, is not considered imperialism. Therefore, I don’t think that settling and Manifest Destiny would count as empire, b/c the territory is annexed to the country, and it’s citizens are settling it. By the same token, I don’t think Poland could be considered an empire b/c a section of eastern Germany was annexed to it after WW II. Therefore, I don’t think the imperial phase in the US started until the Civil War & Reconstruction, whereby the South was forcibly destroyed and annexed by the North. Some may quibble with this, but the imperial phase definitely began by the end of the 19th century with the Spanish American War.

  239. “Still, JMG, last week’s post got me to thinking, it seems like you’re positing a longer collapse for the US, or is that just the death of the myth of progress? I’m still wondering if you think that Christianity’s collapse here portends as much as it did for Europe in the 20th century.” Still wondering, JMG…

  240. @David,
    regarding peaceful dissolution/secession, that’s the frustrating paradox for me: if everyone in the US could abandon the American civil religion, and a major crisis of faith in the American civil religion could wash over the country, dissolution and/or secession could proceed pretty quickly and painlessly. But envisioning a post-American North America is the one unmentionable thing that no one is willing to do, even a lot of the commentariat here. And then the false logic of the Civil War gets drug in: “if one secession in the US led to a bloody, violent, destructive war, then ALL secessions by definition in the US must lead to bloody, violent, and destructive wars.” So, yes, peaceful secession/dissolution is possible, but it all hinges on how fast faith in the American civil religion can implode. IDK, one way that MIGHT be resolved is if each seceding region claims to be the “one, true America”, which would be true, as in we were never that unified to begin with, and each region had its own strengths regarding the national identity.

  241. I was supprised when you said you’d never studied Daoism after doing tai chi for ten years, but then I realised I’d been using Daoism as a catch-all term for chi kung, neidan and various other Chinese spiritual and magic practices. What is the dividing line between them? Have you written a post about the differences and similarities between Western and Chinise occultism and what happened when you tried to combine the two, or is that just spread through various comments sections?

    Now I know there is a link between them, I want to start a retro combined socialist/anarchist club, occult society and physical culture gymnasium. So nobody will have a free evening ever again. 🙂

    I know you have a dim view of socialism but I still hold out hope. You said all previous societies have collapsed, so it stands to reason that ours will too. But the argument could be made that all previous societies were class societies so were intrinsically unstable. The same can be said for current society, but if the jump could be made to a classless society, while likely not immortal, it could last a lot longer. You said in one post that Marxist dialectics tries to call a halt to history after the revolution, but one version I read admitted that a socialist society would also have unresolvable contradictions that would in turn lead to revolutionary change once again. But those contradictions may be things we can’t even concieve of now, and we may get hundreds or even thousands of good years out of socialism before another big change is necessary.

    You said cosmic cycles militate against revolutionary change by dragging things back to where they started. But what if a revolutionary movement had many competent magicians, astrologers etc, among its ranks? Could they use the cycles and other such forces to their advantage or at least minimise their negative effects? What would be possible if they used magic to its fullest effect? I don’t see the spirits of the land siding with capitalism either. 😉

    As you believe we are past the point of no return, suppose a global revolution somehow not only succeeded, but did it quick and clean. Then humanity as a whole dedicates itself to rebuilding society in a sustainable way, but attempting to retain technology and a comfortable standard of living. All labour, capital and resources are directed to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, public transport, green building, optimal recycling and so on. Where it is practical, human-powered machines and other technologies like those featured in Low Tech Magazine are used to eke out resources as long as possible. Given that scenario, how far do you think we’d get through the rebuilding program before the resource crunch hit?

  242. JMG, Shane – I was told by an archaeologist years ago that the main difference between the great native city states of North America versus farther south was that the North Americans built with wood. Hence there is much less left for tourists to see now.

  243. I’m intrigued by the possibility of changing consciousness at will through magical practice. Does this imply that one could also manage dysfunctional personality traits and maladaptive emotional patterns through magical means? If so, which systems of magical practice can be effective in targeting these aspects of consciousness.

    Also, I’m interested in any suggestions regarding introductory reading in homeopathy. I’ve noted the above references to Kent’s text and am aware of Dana Ullman’s books. Are there any other good resources, either in print or online, that would be worth investigating?

  244. @JMG

    I’m not under the “mistaken impression that everybody on the Titanic drowned”. Nor am I “pretending that everyone on board is going to have a future”. You believe “what mattered was figuring out how to handle the crisis in a way that would minimize the inevitable losses.” I agree and I think that is what I’m trying to do. To use your analogy, I think the position we are currently in is that the Titanic has hit an iceberg, but it’s still not apparent to many that the boat is going to sink, in fact many cling to the idea that the ship is unsinkable. But a few individuals recognize there isn’t going to be enough life boats.

    As long as the ship hasn’t sunk we are in a very precarious position. Once it does become apparent that the ship is going to sink, people will want to be on the few life boats available and may fight violently to get on board. People may panic, over crowd lifeboats and sink them (i.e fighting over resources). People who are able to get on a life boat will be forced to sit by listening to those calling for help and want to save them, thus risking the lives of those on the life boat. Eventually, people who live may suffer from survivor guilt.

    I am not “Pretending that there’s still time to undo the idiotic decisions”. When I asked the questions “How do we provide people with access to resources (life boats)? How many resources (life boats) will we need to accommodate the world’s (ships) population? If we don’t have enough, what can we do about that?” It was to begin a conversation. The obvious answers are “We can’t. We don’t have enough. So what can we do about it”? I’m not suggesting that we are going to save everyone. I’m suggesting we have a discussion about what we do now while the ship is still sinking.

    I believe that until the ship has actually sunk we need to keep working to address issues such as “how we might conserve resources we still have left, can we prevent war, who has the right to make these decisions?” particularly based on what is currently happening in the world. I believe we need to be paying attention to what is actually happening in politics in the US, even if it’s idiotic.

    I agree that “we’re facing a long ragged decline, not a fast collapse, there’s an enormous amount that can be done to make things less wretched for our descendants and to see to it that important technologies and bodies of knowledge make it through the dark age ahead to the successor civilizations that will rise on our ruins.”

    To that end, I have read and collected a large personal library with appropriate technology books (including both of the books you suggested), history, religion, philosophy, science, and literature. I may not have participated in the discussions on your previous blog, but, but I read it occasionally and I’m familiar with the range of topics you discussed. I simply preferred to read your books.

    I have been working more at a personal and local level. I am learning new skills such beer, wine, and vinegar making. I continue to study wild plants, especially for food and medicine, and I’m working with plant spirits for healing. I teach others appropriate technology such as gardening, composting, water conservation, and soil improvement: I volunteer at a local food pantry teaching classes in cooking from scratch, canning, baking, herbs, and gardening. I work with people to start community gardens, school gardens, and back yard gardens. I grow and I give away heirloom plants and seeds. I give presentations at churches, garden groups, and university classes on energy efficiency, sustainable living, how to consume less, live more simply, and be more resilient. And I try to lead by example.

    I’m unsure why you seem to misunderstand the intention of my comments. But if you see no value in them I don’t want to apply additional wasted effort. Good luck with your endeavors.

    Soilmaker

  245. @Fred and @Heather

    Thank you for the suggestions re the bean burgers. I will give some of those ideas a try, as well. I’ve found that chia seeds also provide a bit of body for my sourdough that I make regularly, too, but I hadn’t thought of trying them in the burgers.

    Just as a side note, in case I gave the impression that I was, I am not even remotely vegan — among other issues, cheese is, well, a food-group 😉 — nor truly vegetarian. But my wife and I do eat a lot less meat than we used to and it is not unusual to go meatless for days. OTOH there are times when I just need a good steak…

    Thanks again to everyone for the ideas.

  246. @Ross – massage therapy school is much cheaper, and if you take is seriously, goes way beyond the “fluff & buff” of the day spas. You might want to talk to my former therapist, who treated me after a car broadsided me years ago. He will be moving to Hillsboro, Or very shortly.
    Donald Schiff. 505-280-4195; tell him Pat Mathews from Albuquerque recommended him as a source of information.

  247. @Justin-

    No, I haven’t seen those videos, or very, very few. With the exception of youtubes that my children subject me to, I haven’t watched music videos since I was a teen and MTV was new.

    I was using “campfollower” in the colloquial sense, as in- prostitute. It seems to me a warband culture is ripe for the exploitation of vulnerable ladies. There is no approval from the women in those situations.

    @Heather in CA-

    You’re welcome. It is an old simile, but a funny one nonetheless. Another one (sanitized) is “crazy as an outhouse rat”. My Dad always had loads of these sorts of sayings.

    @Scotlyn-

    I was referring to North America. Of course there are warbands operating in various areas, DRC, CAR, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and the ME come to mind. This does not bode well for the treatment of women in a warband culture, IMO. Having said that, North America has made giant strides of the women’s rights. That is a hopeful sign and may be hard to undo.

    @Shane

    Let me echo the other commenters in mentioning Cahokia and the Mississipians. It was a highly advanced, urbanized, civilization based in intensive corn agriculture and river trade via canoe. Their trade routes stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf and parts beyond. Although Cahokia was the capital, they had major settlements along the Illinois River (Dixon Mounds) and the Ohio, Mississippi. Missouri, and Arkansas river systems. The were learned in astronomy/astrology as evidenced by the alignment of the mound sites to astronomical bodies and such structures as Woodhenge.

    Another would be the Ancient Puebloans, centered at Chaco Canyon in the southwest. They also had permanent cities, intensive corn agriculture, and dominated the four corners area.

    Both collapsed about the same time. From what I read, it was due to a climate shift. It became colder and drier and the landbase could no longer support the population in the face of persistent drought.

    Also, we have the Hopewell people who were also mound builders. They spanned to Ohio valley to the Tennesee and Alabama river systems I believe. My understanding is they were a bit more decentralized and were more horticulturalists rather than agriculturalists.

    There are loads written on all of them. If you like fiction, might I recommend People of the River, People of the Moon, and People of the Weeping Eye/People of the Thunder by W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear. They are all great reads.

    The really interesting question to me is why did indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere not develop metallurgy? Had the Inca tipped their atlatls with bodkins, Pizzaro would never have conquered them. Spain would have chalked him up to being eaten by sea serpents.

  248. @Scotlyn
    Re: Warbands

    You’ve got two different situations, or possibly a continuum. If you look at the historical pirates, or the Spanish conquest of South America, you see all-male war-bands of various types. History is littered with cases of all-male war-bands going out, conquering new territory, slaughtering the indigenous males and taking their women. DNA evidence confirms this: there are huge numbers of cases where the maternal (mtDNA) DNA is from the indigenous culture and the male (Y chromosome) DNA is from the invaders – including South America.

    The other is the scenario that JMG seems to be talking about, where the invaders are complete family units. This is the pattern with the English conquest of North America and the Viking settlement of Iceland and Greenland.

    @Darkest Yorkshire
    Re: Marxism

    There’s a lot of misinformation about Marx’s view of history, some of which appears to be deliberate disinformation.

    Marx saw two stages after Capitalism: socialism and communism. The attempt to resolve the inherent contradictions of capitalism would lead inevitably to socialism, and then the attempt to resolve the inherent contradictions of socialism would lead inevitably to communism. The “classless society” is a characteristic of communism, as is the “withering away of the state.”

    We actually have a lot of experience with the first transition: the Scandinavian countries are the most obvious example, and you’ll notice that this is a peaceful transition. There are no examples of a communist country using Marx’s ideas, and it’s unlikely that there would be until several centuries after there are several full-blown socialist countries.

    The Soviet Union, which claimed to be communist, is usually classified as state capitalism.

    Revolutions almost never work; the people who are capable of running a revolution are almost never the people who are capable of running the country after the revolution – unless you mean running it into the ground. There are exceptions, the American Revolution being the most obvious, but they are notable for being exceptions. One reason for it being an exception is that the American colonies were pretty much running their own show already; the revolution simply severed the connection with Britain.

    @Bill Pulliam

    Yep, you can’t build with stone if there isn’t a lot of stone around to build with.

  249. I would feel that Israel-Palestine was fairly irrelevant on the world scale, save for the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons. That changes the situation, but doesn’t lift it into the same danger category as, say, India and Pakistan, both of whom have far larger populations as well as each having nuclear weaponry.

    Israel-Palestine doesn’t seem as important as it did in the 1990s. Perhaps part of the reason is that the rest of the region now includes things like the never-ending insurgencies in Iraq, the Yemeni civil war and the running sore that Syria has turned into? Or is that just my impression, since I was a kid in the ’90s?

  250. Frank Thamm, a thoughtful answer! I didn’t want to insinuate that the car industry isn’t important. And in the city where I live, there are many people who don’t possess a car, because they can’t afford it or they aren’t interested. With the good public transit in urban areas and extended tram lines and S-Bahnen this is understandable. So, car aownership indeed seems in decline.
    By the way, I didn’t know that Geert Wilders got more seats in the last election. I remember how quite a time ago, already at the election of Jörg Haider in Austria and the successes of the Schweizer Volkspartei and Blocher the EU elite already went into a tizzy.
    Regarding the Eurozone, yes, the first cracks already appear, as one can see in the banking system of Italy and the problems of the Deutsche Bank.

  251. With regard to fighting women, acquiring a gun is a bad idea for some people. If you have someone in the house with a history of depression, self-harm or suicidality, owning a gun is probably a bad idea. If you’ve young kids, then you need to take special precautions to make sure they can’t get hold of it.

    I like the fact that knowing martial arts is something that can’t be confiscated or easily used against you. I learned a little years, but now my physical issues make practicing somewhere between difficult and actively dangerous. So I don’t. I know this makes me a bit more vulnerable, but that’s life.
    If you can do it, then by all means, do! It makes us all a bit safer if many women do, because people can’t tell by looking who is a black belt and who doesn’t know how to throw a punch safely.

    It might be worth getting my first aid certificate renewed, though… I could do that.

  252. The bricklayer envisions the wall in his head, but he must focus on the first brick on the footing, then the next, each laid to the best of his ability. The Big Picture is overwhelming and depressing. I’ve put on blinders of simplicity and focus on the next small step. Enjoyed reading the various meanderings and views. Now I’m gonna put on the Doors and crack open a Coors.

  253. Soilmaker, I deeply value your participation on this blog, as I do many others who make thoughtful comments, and hope that you will see fit to continue that participation. The books I suggested to you (and thank you so much for deciding to read them) paint a stunningly beautiful and compelling portrait of what an industrial society might have looked like, in its heyday, had we been guided by humane principles instead of social Darwinism. While the national system of equally shared wealth that Bellamy envisioned is not in our foreseeable future, for all of the reasons JMG points out and which you and I agree with, I still found myself inspired and uplifted by contemplating with Bellamy what might have been. Such radical visions, which may in fact lend themselves to modification into regional systems that deal with scarcity, are part of our “religious” imagination and, in my opinion, need to be kept alive as essential elements of the human spirit. I hope that you work through the push back and continue to speak your mind on this blog, so that others can learn from you, as we learn from JMG. No one has an exclusive corner on wisdom, and we should welcome the opportunity provided here to reason–and, yes, sometimes argue–things out together.

  254. To Anthony, exploring possibilities of moving to St. Louis. First, don’t move to Bridgeton or adjacent suburbs. You need not to live close to the landfill with the slowly advancing smoldering fire nor yet the dump of radioactive material in its path. Why not explore buying property in Maplewood? If possible, visit the area this summer or fall and go to these farmers’ markets: Soulard Market (there, they claim, since 1779) Wed-Sat, Saturday morning best time. And Saturday morning visit Tower Grove Farmers Market (St. Louis at its best). Then the Maplewood farmers market is open Wednesdays 4-7 p.m. on the grounds of Schlafley Bottleworks (good local beer brewed there). Illinois? Edwardsville is a college town with a branch of SIU, nice, but for me it’s too long a drive from there to the St. Louis places I love to visit. My St. Louis experience? Lived there 1958-70, have visited lots since our daughter moved there right out of college in 1988; again there three months in 2003 and two months in 2011. We live in my home town 250 miles west, but I’d be pleased to think a fellow fan of the JMG blog had opted for the metro. — Larry

  255. Lots of things to comment to.. regarding consciousness, frankly, it is will. You will the world you want to be in. There are undoubteably some aspects of this that are not your will, but the physical world is not a manifestation of your will, it is the manifestation of many wills. Your consciousness does not equal the physical manifestation of the world, but only a part of it.

    @Bill Pulliam, Will, and others regarding how to deal with climate change, and where to settle for future problems, and ticks in specific Ticks are becoming a big deal, not just to suburban dwellers. Anyone who lives in the warmer, above the tropic lines must be concerned with ticks. I know this will go against the modern way of thinking, but after living in China for 7 years, there are without a doubt some genetic differences between homo sapiens. The Asiatic variations have a huge advantage against tick problems in that they have less body hair. So with this in mind, if I were a hairy person and had concern that my children would also be, I’d consider going further North where less ticks and less of other plagues that took advantage of hairy persons were not as common. I don’t think many people consider climate when choosing their habitat, but after having spent one month of 30+C with high humidity that didn’t allow for night time temps to dip below 25C, I realized I personally cannot handle long periods of time in that environment. There are likely many others like myself but the reality is, how many people life in artificial environments? Most people, especially in the USA and other Western countries, live in places that are consistent due to the artificial climates produce by A/C.

  256. (edited URL: http://www.danielvitalis.com/)

    JMG,

    I know you’ve had many conversations concerning ReWilding in the past. Have you heard of and/or read/listening to the works of Daniel Vitalis? He seems rather open minded, especially concerning the use of technology to relearn and take advantage of rewilding skills. He host a podcast which is release fortnightly. I’d be very interested in hearing a conversation between you two. And I have a strange idea that even though your ideas may be opposed to some degrees, the desire to preserve traditional, useful skills may be enough that you could collaborate on some amazing things. Would you be willing to talk with him? http://www.danielvitalis.com/

  257. @ Scotlyn: In the Indian subcontinent there have been fierce female warband leaders. Also members of Thuggee-inspired robber bands. In the pirate culture of the Caribbean two women were well known. Bonny and Read? One of them shot a man for no special reason just to keep her troops in line. In China, a woman admiral governed a large pirate fleet for many years and survived long enough to have a landlife and children of her own. Throughout history women have fought in armies disguised as men or serving openly as women doing “batsman” work and taking up arms as necessary, especially if cannon and guns were the weapons of choice. One queen of Sweden was a military adventurer. Africa has historical examples of fighting queens and women generals. In Regency London, there was a band of forty girl thieves who invaded shops en masse and made off with goods by passing loot hand to hand and dispersing before any counteraction could be taken. Greek freedom fighters against Turks and during the world wars included some armed fighting women. Russian women army units appeared during the Revolution and other wars. Night Wings? They flew nearly silent wooden planes on night bombing missions. Some upper class Japanese women had Samurai skills and applied them in warring times. English warband leaders such as Boadicea were not unknown. Likewise, chatelaines of castles. One such chatelaine, defeated only by admitting a turncoat she had previously known to be on her husband’s side before he defected was permitted to keep the keys to her castle as a mark of honour for her faithful service. Written accounts of warband times tend to be post hoc by victims rather than eyewitness I-was-there exposes; ballads such as tales including Maid Marian may be romantic additions or acknowledgment of women’s role in post-attack looting and foraging. Corpse-stripping was one way old women could survive in chaotic war zones. Viking raids killed unarmed men, women, children indiscriminately, or took slaves along with everything of fungible value. They were best defeated by a long-range warning signal system that spanned many villages and required coordinated response of everyone- – – women and children and shepherds and all – – – to give ample time for community retreat inside walled compounds. Guerrilla fighters depend on more settled women for food, hideouts, misdirection of pursuit. One male warband leader/drugseller in Central America made a rule of protecting the women of his regional command; he, in turn, was lionized and protected by those women when outside forces tried to take him. Women have been known to offer poisoned or drugged beer to bands of conquering heroes only to dispose of said heroes and/or their loot when they were incapacitated. This is all off the top of my head. For other leads, try http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/index.html or http://the-female-soldier.tumblr.com/mainsite .

  258. Steve, hmm! Somehow that hadn’t occurred to me. You’re right that it’s a very edgy thing to bring up — and I’d be willing to bet that if I started saying that, I’d be deluged by people insisting that no, no, it just ain’t so, we’re all going to be reborn in another galaxy so we don’t have to clean up the mess we’ve made…

    James, fair enough. It makes sense that a society like today’s America, which consists almost entirely of fashion-conscious conformists terrified of receiving the least negative reaction from their peers, would foster that kind of reaction.

    Karim, to my knowledge there’s never been a census. If you can get a copy of Jung’s book The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, that’ll give you a good idea of what he had to say about the subject.

    Oilman, thanks for the additional data! To what extent do you think the current mess in Venezuela could be the product of US-based regime change operations?

    Booklover, I hope you’re right about Korea. I’m concerned that a war could break out there because both sides misjudge the other’s red lines. As for the POD revolution, that’s just beginning to hit; the publisher that’s bringing out the collected Archdruid Report essays uses POD technology, and so do a lot of the other small and nimble presses. As that picks up, I expect to see a lot of the big bestseller mills — the huge name-brand publishers that used to dominate the book market — go belly up, the way others did when the paperback revolution stood the publishing world on its head sixty years ago.

    SMJ, exactly. It’s only as big a deal as it is because certain segments of US public opinion (respectively, pro- and anti-Semitic) obsess over it. If we had a big Burmese community in the US, and a lot of people bitterly prejudiced against Burmese, you can bet that the current turmoil in western Myanmar would be all over the blogosphere.

    Chris, oh dear gods, yes. Easily half the people who say they want to study magic with me are actually interested in having me tell them that whatever half-baked notions about magic they happen to have — all of which without exception come out of popular culture — are not only true, but prove that they already know everything they need to know about magic, so here’s your diploma and a pat on the head! The one good thing about them is that they’re even easier to chase off than most; all I have to do is politely explain to them that they’re wrong about some detail, and away they scurry.

    With regard to the Kentucky long rifle, hmm! It hadn’t occurred to me that Australia wouldn’t have had the equivalent — but of course we got our European settlement beginning quite a while before you did. (If I recall correctly, it was after 1776 that the British had to find somewhere else to dump the scum of the earth, who previously got sent here.) There are still people in the US who make them, and plenty more who shoot them, so that particular technology isn’t going to go away.

  259. Eric, you’re most welcome. I’m currently reading several of the works of the philosopher Michael Polanyi, who pointed out that every explicit statement ultimately has to trace its meaning back to implicit knowledge, and this latter can only be communicated by some variation on “Do you see that? Over there, behind the tree? That’s what I’m talking about.”

    Scotlyn, are you at all familiar with the stories of Fionn mac Cumhaill? The Fianna were a classic warband — in fact, those stories are among the clearest accounts we’ve got of dark age European warband culture, complete with the loaded relationship between the rising warband society and the old system of kingship. Examining the role of women in those tales might be a good first step.

    Shane, remember that the collapse of the United States, the decline and fall of industrial civilization, and the replacement of the old ecophobic religious sensibility with a new ecocentric one, are three different processes unfolding on their own time scales. I don’t think Christianity is going to give way in the same manner, or with the same results, as it did in Europe, because the historical context is very different — and it’s entirely possible that away from the coasts, at least, Christianity may mutate rather than going extinct. More on this in a future post.

    Darkest Yorkshire, Taoism is one of many currents in the vast body of Chinese spirituality, and it informs some — by no means all — of the various practices lumped together as “Chinese exercises” or what have you. No, I haven’t written such a post — and a discussion of what’s Taoist, what’s Buddhist, what’s Muslim, what belongs to other currents in Chinese religion, and what’s independent of those influences would be a matter for a book, not a single post!

    With regard to socialism, I’d certainly encourage you to found your retro club/society/gymnasium, but I’d encourage a slightly less enthusiastic notion of what you might achieve by doing that! To begin with, it’s all very well to talk about worldwide socialism, but last I checked, British socialists haven’t even been able to establish it in Britain, despite having been at it longer there than anywhere else in the world. A vast number of people fear and distrust socialism, and some of them — for example, those who experienced life in the Soviet Union — have good reason for that. (Of course that wasn’t “real” socialism; how can you guarantee that yours would turn out any better?)

    The far more important difficulty, though, is that socialism isn’t a solution to ecological problems. Socialist countries have by and large had even worse track records dealing with environmental issues than capitalist ones have had — property rights, whatever their other flaws, occasionally get in the way of ecological devastation, while if the state owns everything it can cause as much devastation as it wants. So you’re kind of in the position of trying to treat a head injury by tying a bandage onto the patient’s foot.

    On the other hand, if your club/order/gymnasium helps people in Yorkshire put together workers cooperatives so they can support themselves without being bled dry to prop up a failing corporate system, then you might accomplish a great deal of good…

  260. Darkest Yorkshire (continued), the spirits of the land won’t side with capitalism but they probably won’t side with you either; they tend to take a very dim view of human politics, of every stripe. As for using magic, were you under the impression that your group would be the only one doing so? Au contraire; as I noted in my earlier response to you, mages can be found all over the political spectrum, from the furthest left to the furthest right, and the result is that political magic done by one side tends to be cancelled out by political magic done by the other. Here again, working on the local scale to improve conditions where you are tends to have a better success rate.

    Bill, that makes a great deal of sense; the lower Mississippi valley isn’t particularly known for its ample supplies of building stone, after all!

    Dirtyboots, yes, that’s one of the things a lot of people who practice magic use it to address. The crucial detail is that you don’t start messing with your dysfunctions until you’ve gotten fairly good at magical practice — otherwise things tend to blow up. Most of the standard magical systems will give you the tools you need; for obvious reasons — it’s the system I know best — I tend to recommend the Golden Dawn system, in either its standard or Celtic forms, but of course your mileage may vary.

    I don’t know enough about standard homeopathy to know what to recommend. If you’re interested in giving the cell salts a try, Chapman and Perry’s The Biochemic Handbook is a good basic introduction.

    Soilmaker, I don’t happen to be any good at telepathy, so when you talk about how to prevent industrial civilization from collapsing, I assume that you think this can be done, and when you claim that if we accept that it can’t be saved, we might as well just lie down and die, I assume that this is your opinion. If you look back over your comments here and compare what you said to what I said, you may be able to figure out where my apparent misunderstanding comes from. My comments on the future of industrial society contradict the conventional wisdom of our time; ever since I started doing that in my blogs, people have come charging onto my comments pages to try to drag the conversation back to the conventional wisdom. Maybe that’s not what you were doing, but you did a very good imitation of it.

    There are thousands of blogs where the issues you’ve apparently wanted to talk about are the standard fodder. You’ll notice that I don’t go barrelling onto those blogs to insist that everybody ought to drop those conversations and start talking instead about what we’re going to do, now that it’s clear that industrial civilization is following the same trajectory of decline and fall as every past civilization. If you’re interested in taking part in the conversations this blog has been founded to host, you’re more than welcome to do so — I’ve found some of your comments thoughtful and interesting — but please don’t try to divert the conversations back to something you find more comfortable. You might also find it useful to see if your local library has any of the books based on my Archdruid Report posts, so you can get a clearer idea of what I’m trying to talk about here and why yet another round of talk about how to save industrial society isn’t relevant to what I’m trying to do.

    Dan, when I lived in southern Oregon, I watched quite a few people commute daily by jet from the very upscale exurban neighborhoods near where I lived to the San Francisco area, where their jobs were. The commute wasn’t appreciably longer than what they’d have had to put in if they’d driven from outlying Bay Area upscale suburbs to downtown San Francisco. Is it absurd? You bet — but it’s not new.

  261. Corydalidae, I don’t think it was that important even then. It simply got more media exposure at that time.

    Dennis, and that’s always a useful approach!

    Prizm, that’s certainly one way to look at it — but I don’t recommend trying to use that formula to walk across a busy freeway,. A car you don’t let yourself see can still run you down. As for Daniel Vitalis, I’m not familiar with him or his work; what I saw on his website was mostly ads for expensive supplements combined with lifestyle coaching for bored yuppies — but I’m entirely willing to concede that that’s a first impression, and not necessarily an accurate one. Are you a friend or student of his, by any chance?

    Gkb (if I may), among the samurai class in feudal Japan, it was de rigueur for women to be trained in weapons arts. There are whole martial arts there that are traditionally for women, and we’re not talking delicate and gentle, either. Are you at all familiar with the naginata, one of the classic weapons of feudal Japan? (If not, think a two foot sword blade on the end of a four foot pole; in use, it’s whirled around the body, and opponents basically get to find out what vegetables feel like when you drop them into a food processor.) It’s a women’s weapon — the classic women’s weapon of the samurai class — and to this day it’s primarily practiced by women. I’d like to see that find its way into curricula for girls and women in the western world…

  262. I’m not a friend nor student of his. I just was willing to toss the idea out there since this was open post week. I’ve been following your blog for the better part of ten years and I’ve been listening to his his podcasts and reading his blogs for about two year now. While I realize there are areas where you both don’t see eye to eye, there are many other areas where you do. I feel, and this is without any real experience in the area, but I feel that in some areas you may connect and might be able to use the connection to preserve ideas that haven’t otherwise been able to be preserved. Bare in mind again, I am not his student nor his supporter, I just see some areas that do seem to overlap a bit. I do agree he encourages support of his supporters, but honestly speaking, what presence on the internet doesn’t support those who support them?

  263. Concerning Daniel Vitalis, I want to mention the one big reason I even considered mentioning his name here with concern to ReWilding was that even though he does want people to buy his supplements, he also tells people, and encourages them, how to make them. He seems more interested in reviving and preserving the ideas of pre-“civilized” cultures, even at the expense of using modern technology to preserve those ideas. I don’t find it too different with what you’re doing with this website, giving a lot of ideas and then suggesting people trying to experience things themselves yet also offering them the option of buying a book to explain it in more detail…

  264. JMG, finally, as far as a car I don’t let myself see it running me down, I think you read only the first part of what I said and then projected the rest of your ideas on my comment. I didn’t mean to say that will was the only way, but that will was a huge, personal part of what happens but there is/are still another aspect of reality, one of our will meeting others wills, that we have to account for.

  265. Long ago on a blog on far away, we speculated on what might happen if businesses were to lose faith in the model of “advertising pays for the free Internet”. Apparently Proctor & Gamble (major seller of household consumable goods, e.g., soap) has ceased to buy Internet advertising, and observed no impact on their sales. Now, maybe the Internet is a better place to sell other products, but maybe we’ve all just learned to ignore the ads. (I’ll miss it, when it’s gone.)

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-29/pg-slashed-digital-ad-spending-what-happened-next

  266. “a car you don’t let yourself see..” I could run all over the place with this one, especially considering my time in Asia.. Most people just “let themselves” go across the road because if they are hit as they cross the road, the cameras will likely catch it and even though the said person may be done with, their family will probably be taken care of. I didn’t even want to go this route.. but you did bring it up. This is one huge difference between the East and West. You’re welcome to edit as you see fit….

  267. I’m sorry… that line “edit as you see fit” definitely has some”childishness” attributed to it..

  268. With regards to people’s practices not matching their beliefs, I think a big factor is addiction. I think a lot of people (quite likely including a lot of us) are literally addicted to various technologies, internet being the biggest. When I tried to set up life without home internet, I found it quite hard, and went through what can be described as withdrawal symptoms.

    It makes it hard to take a stand: I will take a stand for what I believe in… Just as long as I can watch my youtube videos later. My videos are part of the problem? Well….

    Also, JMG, is there a reason why the religions in the western world hold mystery schools at arms length? Do the schools reliably produce effects that contradict Christian/Islam theology, or is it just a historical coincidence?

  269. Darkest Yorkshire, Jung writes:

    ” Mass psychology is egoism raised to an inconceivable power, for it’s goal is immanent and not transcendent”

    As far as we know, inequality is a feature of every human society. What really matters is to prepare people for the tragedy of being and allow them to find sufficient meaning in life to make it all worthwhile, rather than attempting to create an earthly utopia for people with no transcendent purpose.

  270. @William Fairchild

    The point I was making is that many young women are attracted to the sort of young man who participates in warband activity, and may not necessarily have to be compelled, so long as their needs are met, to have sex with that sort of man. Humans have been forming warbands since we were chimpanzees, and if chimpanzee females really hated the behavior, those genes that lead to warband formation wouldn’t have been successful.

  271. A number of traditions both Eastern and Western emphasize the walking or tracing of a circle. I’m tempted to believe that there is more than a mere coincidence of symbolism at play. Is there something deeper that this practice is trying to tap or induce? An etheric or energetic effect?

  272. Those interested in Cahokia with any reasonable means to visit definitely should. It is just across the Big River from St. Louis MO. The interpretive center on site is outstanding, covering the story in great length and detail. They discuss the reasons for it decline which was underway well before European diseases. The Europeans only saw a ghost of its peak glory. The causes of the declne fit JMGs catabolic collapse model extremely well it is almost spooky. Of course I am sure the Mississippians were one of the many cases he studied while formulating the model. It is a vivid image of our own likely future… and no starships.

  273. here is a link to some music & my website; I hope many of you will like/dig/get/reasonate with (depending on your generation,daddio);It was influenced by john brunners novel;still one of the best dystopian sc-fi novels yet written,in my opinion.

  274. No, I did not know about the training nor the naginata. I was vague because I did not want to say more than I could back up with a specific historical account. I only recollected women being trained in command of castle warfare, not in personal combat. Thanks for the more specific info and scary mental image. (It slices! It dices! It chops! It shreds, bastes, and barbecues all in one easy motion! Not sold in stores.)

  275. @ JMG and Prizm

    Hi there, I would just like to say that I think Daniel Vitalis is quite a prominent thinker when it comes to human ecology. Funnily enough, I asked him a few times if he could contact JMG to see if he’d be happy to discuss these topics on his podcast, and apparently he gets quite a few people recommending JMG to him. So I second Prizm’s recommendations for John to look into Daniel’s work a little more – the supplement stuff is quite superficial, but his philosophising on human ecology does get quite sophisticated so I’d encourage you [John] to dive a little deeper if you’re interested!

    All the best

  276. And just to clarify, I don’t know the guy, I’ve just been into his work for the past few years and regard his and JMG’s work to be the most significant in shaping my views of our place in the grand scheme of things. At first glance with the whole ReWilding, hunting and gathering thing, it may reek of Daniel Quinn’s work a bit, but its not of the naive “we all ought to go back to hunting and gathering” sort. Its simply an acknowledgement that the hunting and gathering way of life did happen to be sustainable, and we can learn many lessons from our past, without necessarily “abandoning civilisation” like many in the neoprimitivist camp would advocate.

  277. James M Jenson said

    “I suspect that mass-media culture, especially Internet culture, rewards posers since you can get in your 15 minutes – now 140 characters – of fame without much fear of people following up to see if you’re actually doing anything. Add that to a culture that is scared stiff of disapproval (a feature of the F-S personality type in Clare Graves’ system, which he noticed the US moving towards shortly before he passed away), and you get the kind of virtue signalling culture we see in such heavy operation today.”

    I’m 36. The first time I ever met a poser was in college. It was quite a shock to me that someone would attempt to pass himself off as some other personality. These are the people that “try too hard to be cool” and I can tell you with 100% certainty that they are products of urbanization. In my home town of 400 people, it was ludicrous to present a fictitious persona because everyone already knew exactly who you are. So, the randomness and constant exposure to strangers makes this possible in suburbs and cities, and that’s even more true online. Add to that the social pressure to condemn bad things and exemplify good things, and yes, there will be a lot of people who don’t walk their talk.

    However, I think there is more going on here. A previous poster (sorry, I forget who) mentioned “the mother of all learning curves” and I’m sure a lot of people try and fail or cave in to social pressure. I’m not sure I would still be gardening if the Universe hadn’t given me signs all along the way, (most recent sign: this spring… and the garden STILL looks like a disastrous eyesore… but every year I learn more. This year I learned unrelenting rain and mulch together make undiggable soil. This fall, I will get some seeds in just in case this weather pattern happens again next year).

    I do wonder how much this has in common with Nazi Germany, because of the level of atrocity vs. the collective determination to follow the status quo. It’s easier to understand how a nation can collectively turn a blind eye to institutionalized mass murder, now that I’ve seen how western civilization operates.

    I also wonder about people’s susceptibility to advertising coupled with status-seeking behavior. “Of course I want to save the world, but we can’t have everyone mistakenly think we are poor!”

    I try to point out to people that having different priorities improves my life. Time is more valuable than money, if you spend less, you can work less. If you surround yourself with people who know you well and deeply care about you, you don’t have to worry about what they think (unless you miss their kid’s graduation party lol). But it’s hard to reach people. We are fighting against the inertia of a massive system. It should get easier to engage people when they begin to experience some of the inevitable shocks. Much of this is cultivating resilience, and when a storm or a terrorist attack or a grain shortage or a plant closure happen in your neighborhood, the value of resilience becomes apparent.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  278. I am curious if anyone here knows of any possible applications of any mathematics on the level of multivariate calculus and linear algebra and higher in a post-industrial era. My knowledge is limited but it seems to me that these topics, today a staple of most engineering undergraduate curricula, were introduced fairly recently — circa the World War 2 period and those fields as well as discrete mathematics have been greatly boosted by developments in computing power. In the 19th century engineering education seemed to be a lot more practically focused while the mathematicians mostly did their own thing.

  279. @cynndara and JMG re the influence of Native American archetypes,

    I’ve never thought about it in terms of archetypes per se, but the influence of Native American culture on European-American culture is quite strikingly visible in the colonial era history of the American northeast. Cynndara, part of the answer is that 300 years isn’t far enough back; 400 will serve you better. That’s the part of American history that includes King Philip’s (aka Metacomet’s) War, around 1675. That war had by far highest casualty rate relative to population of any war ever fought by English speakers in North America. JMG, King Philip’s War is a big deal in the region you’ve just moved to — that is to say, at least some people there have heard of it, and it’s local history there.

    The same abbreviated treatments of history that disregard that war also tend to muddle the distinction between the early colonists, such as the Pilgrims and the Jamestown settlers, and the “pioneer” types (archetypes?) who hunted and trapped in the forests farther west. There was about a century between the two’s respective heydays. What happened during that century? King Philip’s War; also, the Salem Witch Trials (which were arguably psychologically rooted in the reaction to that war). But also, a lot of contact of all kinds between the Europeans and the natives.

    At the start of that period, the relation between the two cultures was seen as, and in many senses actually was, a juxtaposition of complete opposites. The colonists were not rugged individualists; quite the contrary, they lived regimented lives in hierarchical societies. Hence they viewed the individually-self-reliant natives (probably not without a fair measure of repressed envy) as anarchistic. The colonists were elaborately clothed (and not in buckled shoes or hats, another myth from two centuries later), while the natives were “naked.” They were Christian, while the natives were heathen. They fought in formal lines (which their pike and musket drills both demanded) while the natives were “wild, undisciplined” skirmish fighters. They tended to be sickly and small, while the natives were “robust” (meaning, in more modern parlance, “buff”). They took pride in their literacy, which the natives lacked. They affected near asexuality, while the natives had far fewer sexual constraints and acted accordingly. They dreaded the forests (not just because of fear of the natives or of wild predators, but because they were forests) and leveled them at the first opportunity (not just to clear farmland, but to create comfortably habitable space), while the natives were at home there.

    So where did the self-reliant, strong, authority-averse, forest-ranging, woodcraft-savvy (but barely literate, unmannered, uncomfortable in towns) pioneer archetype come from? Whence Daniel Boone; whence Leatherstocking? Whence, farther down the line, the related cluster of traits (rehabilitated back into town life) we call Yankee? The overall answer is pretty obvious. But the details — the conflicts, needful circumstances, and desires that led to such a thorough synthesis with the Shadow — are a story that as far as I know has not yet been adequately told.

  280. @ JMG re VZ

    MoA blog has just started talking about this, now that Syria is slipping off the media radar – people might head over there for info and links. When your tools are hammer, screwdriver and wrench, then everything looks like a nail (sanctions) a screw (regime change) or a nut (invasion via proxy or similar). My personal opinion is that there are pro-American oligarchs and associated employees on one hand and the people on the other. Oligarchs can engineer food shortages in many ways and retain clean hands. Venezuela got caught by the oil price squeeze which targeted Russia, happy coincidence for those who engineered it (central banks) as it was 2 birds – 1 stone for the neocons.

    I am sure with the huge CIA presence in Colombia, there are shenanigans ongoing. Yet I am also very sure that most everyone in VZ and all of Latin America know the CIA playbook at this point. Bolivia has even read the central bank playbook. Everyone in Latin America watched America let Puerto Rico go bust without lifting a finger. They are watching as the country is privatized en masse. Everyone in Latin America knows the Cuba story too, and it isn’t the one we are taught here in the US. Assigning simplistic US similarities is dangerous in Latin America, as people are more aware of the yokes they wear.

    All of Latin America knows the Brazil story as well, so if our spook faction goes for VZ, many simply will not play the game. VZ may not be wholly united, her people may have embraced Chavez, but it was their choice. Oligarchs are outnumbered, and thus are the usual culprits for vote rigging. Oligarchs can afford security staff and lots of it, and thus have no incentive to worry about repercussions, whereas most common people don’t want riots, as they bear the brunt of the damages, death and injuries. Latin Americans have lived with income inequality always, and innately understand what money can buy and what it cannot.

    There is a lot of forebearance going on, with police using mostly riot gear rather than automatic weapons. That alone is telling a tale, and different from most other places.

    Tillersons interests via Exxonmobil and the Guyana offshore thing are problematic, as is Rosneft owning a piece of Citgo. If we sanction Citgo, it would be the first time any Americans would feel the bite of their own sanctions – will they even notice if Citgo cannot get gas here in the US?

    Prosecution or persecution of VZ will not enamor Latin America with the US – while everyone knows about US meddling, they tend to avoid confrontation with it. If it gets overt, then we have similar situations all over the region (pro-US oligarchy vs everyone else). Bolivia got enough, but each country has their own level of fiddling they will accept (Argentina). Latin America has flirted with outright socialism and democracy for generations – this might be the region where common sense could actually prevail simply due to that.

  281. Shane W — To return to your confederates are not Americans hypothesis… I know you are live on the northern border of a border state, and things are weird n places like that. People living in those areas often build fancy old south fantasies n their heads that have nothing to do with anything that ever happened there. Tennessee is really good at this too. But I grew up in, and still must regularly visit, Georgia, about as deep here n the Confederacy as you can get.

    Lat me tell you, if you walked into a bar full of guys covered in rebel flags and SCV logos, and you asked them if they were Americans, your answers would be a dozen variations on “**** YES!!!” and they might just drag you out in the parking lot to express their appreciation for the suggestion that they might not be.

  282. @ Shane W

    Careful there mate – as we Texans always have secession lurking in the background in every state election. As the corruption in the DC-NYC corridor is revealed more and more, faith in our federal system erodes. This is why Texas now has a gold depository re-emerging. Our state can slide away without a lot of kerfuffle due to our resources and current economic partners, and the food basket of the Rio Grande Valley.

    As the federal government becomes less and less functional due to it’s focus on the DC-NYC corridor, we outlying provinces filled with ‘deplorables’ see their navel gazing and their inability to act for the people that elected them. When the federal money slows and dries up, the last bit of control will vanish, because there will now be no advantage to remain in the union. We don’t have hordes at the gates here due to two ocean barriers, no ‘universal enemy’ as in WWII, and the US emperor is already mostly undressed at this point.

    “Evil Russia” meme is dying, even in our MSM – the enemy is revealed as, well, not really the enemy. DC is soon to be more concerned with blaming others for their own crap, as their schemes unravel in the stock market/pension/insurance tsunami coming.

    All it takes is one big disaster and a lack of response from the Feds and things will shift quickly. Many here in the south have no trust in the Feds response after Katrina – we saw that their organizations are filled with ass-clowns that truly view southerners as ‘deplorables’ and believe we, one and all, only eat fried armadillo on a stick. Another failure to respond and we will simply avoid reliance on the Feds completely, as Texas has done with border security by deploying our own National Guard and Ranger units.

    It’s only in the states in the DC-NYC corridor where the Feds have a complete lock due to their dependence on the government machine for revenue, either direct of indirect. The rest of us are being forced by Federal inaction and even incorrect actions, to find other ways of doing things. That will continue to occur with more frequency – it’s baked in due to our hypercomplex legal system and US hypercomplexity overall.

  283. @ Dan Mollo
    Thank you for the link to the Survivor Library. It’s an excellent resource and I’ve begun to download many of the files.

    @ CR Patiño
    “You suffer from the drunkard-by-streetlight syndrome. Because you equate the ship sinking with certain and sudden death, you very much want to think the ship is not sinking, and to discuss strategies for a damaged but not sinking ship event. And like the drunkard, your efforts will be futile because you cannot find by the light whatever you dropped in the middle of the darkness.”

    The current situation that exists as this moment in time is that you are reading my comment across the internet, the electricity to power your computer is still on, and presumably you have a job or means to supply money to buy food and still pay for your internet access. I am simply pointing out that the ship has not sunk, not that it isn’t going to sink. I’m not even sure what you think I might have lost in the darkness.

    But if I follow your mixed analogy of the Titanic and the street light further, searching in the middle of light, for something I dropped in the darkness, implies that I’m not going to find any answers searching here.

    @ JMG,
    “When you talk about how to prevent industrial civilization from collapsing, I assume that you think this can be done, and when you claim that if we accept that it can’t be saved, we might as well just lie down and die, I assume that this is your opinion.”

    [Long sigh…] I neither suggested nor claimed to believe either is true. Your assumptions are incorrect.

    Let me try to be clearer, I do not believe we can prevent industrial civilization from collapsing, or that we might as well just lie down and die. I have provided sufficient comments to demonstrate that I believe in making changes and encouraging other people to do so as well. I agree with what you have written about learning appropriate technologies (such as gardening and cooking) so that we can become more self sufficient. I believe we can make the landing less painful if we can to prevent fighting over and needlessly destroying existing resources. This does not mean that I believe our industrial civilization isn’t going away. But why burn bridges, literally, if they will stand and provide river crossings for many years? I am suggesting that we should try to understand and communicate with people even, and especially, when we disagree.

    None of us knows how the future will unfold. But that statement does not imply or suggest that the future will look like the past. Yes, I believe that we should get up every day and continue doing what we can for as long as we can. I’ve outlined many of things I’ve done, none of which suggests I’m pretending the industrial civilization isn’t going to pass by. I am not ignorant of the prospects we face, or looking under a street light for something I lost in the dark..not even the cat!

    I brought up philosophical questions in this week’s post because they form some of my own reflections. As someone that enjoys studying human history and prehistory, I continue to reflect on how we arrived at this moment and how the past might shape the future. I believe that as social organisms we will continue to be faced with questions (long after the collapse for those that survive) of sharing resources, the decision to help others, and dealing with the death and suffering of those we can’t help. I asked the questions in order to find out if others had worked through similar questions and what thoughts they might have. If you covered these questions in the long years of the Archdruid Report, then I apologize for being redundant. I’d also like to point out that this week’s post was an “open post” and I assumed that meant I could ask any question.

    @ newtonfinn

    “While the national system of equally shared wealth that Bellamy envisioned is not in our foreseeable future, for all of the reasons JMG points out and which you and I agree with, I still found myself inspired and uplifted by contemplating with Bellamy what might have been. Such radical visions, which may in fact lend themselves to modification into regional systems that deal with scarcity, are part of our “religious” imagination and, in my opinion, need to be kept alive as essential elements of the human spirit.”

    Nicely written. I am looking forward to reading his books. You also seem to have grasped the direction of my thoughts perfectly. How can we face real limitations such as scarcity and yet imagine something better? How can we inspire and uplift people in the midst of turbulent times? What does it mean to retain the human spirit?

    Regards to all,
    Soilmaker

  284. About warbands and women: a few thoughts come to mind.

    As Justin says above, young male members of such bands are not necessarily unattractive to young women. Benefits to the woman can include increased status, improved standard of living and healthier, stronger children than she might have had in her birth family or community.

    Violence is expensive, and warbands often have a powerful protector, such the protection given to Daesh by American and Western European intelligence (you should excuse the expression) agencies. The Mexican drug gangs receive political protection from the Mexican elite class of politicians and oligarchs. If you have a functioning government, your government might be able to negotiate with the sponsors. Something like this is what Victor Orban is attempting to do in Hungary.

    Warbands have been defeated. New Kingdom Egypt prevailed against the Sea Peoples; the dying Roman Empire defeated Attila; and the first Capet managed to turn back the Vikings at Paris.

    Sometimes, as happened in France, the invaders have to be ceded territory which can’t be held anyway. We in the late 20th and early 21stC tend to obsess about sex, but money, resources and territory are far more important as motives for organized violence.

    Armed inner city youth are not likely to come spilling out of their neighborhoods unless and until some bad actor like Mr. Soros decides to pay them to do so. The laws- are- for- other- people billionaire class is a far greater threat to civilization than are alienated youngsters.

  285. @Alvin: As a biochemistry undergrad, I learned (a bit of) multivariate calculus in order to understand thermodynamics and diffusion. Not that I have used it in my own research, but understanding what a partial differential is was one of the moments of purest exhilaration in my life. I think making “geometry” a condition for higher education is just as valid today and in a post-industrial future as it was in Plato’s time.

  286. @JMG: You mentioned Fionn mac Cumhaill in your response to Scotlyn above. Since this is Open Post Week, I would like to know how you fit Viking and Irish war bands into a post-Roman Dark Age. Neither Ireland nor Scandinavia was ever occupied by Roman armies. How do you suggest the demise of the Roman empire led to a destabilization of traditional society and emergence of all-male war bands in such places? With regard to Scandinavia after ca. 800 CE, it seems to me that the pull of the huge Abbasid markets, especially the slave markets, might have been a stronger force.

    This is a true question, I am in fact interested in your explanation. Of course, even if Roman influence on Ireland and Scandinavia had been comparatively weak, Western influence today on every corner of Africa, Asia and South America is or has been immensely strong and has completely transformed traditional societies.

  287. @Bill, Dave, Oilman,
    I’ve often thought that Southern patriotism is an odd compensating mechanism for losing a war, undergoing Reconstruction, and being forced into perpetual poverty. The South did not “win” anything but lost everything after the Civil War. To me, it is so odd. To me, it is as if Quebec was the most militantly pro-Canadian, monarchist province in all of Canada, or if Scotland was the most pro-British, pro-monarchy region of Great Britain. But no, Bill, the average blue collar folk here in Central KY are currently as patriotic and pro-American as those in Georgia. Speaking of the SCV, yes, most of them are very patriotic, the-South-was-reunified-with-the-Union-after-Reconstruction types, but there was an article in the most recent issue of Confederate Veteran which was unapologetically anti-Union, that the Union was pro-Wall Street, pro-Yankee capitalism, pro-governmental overreach, and not in keeping with the true Southern values that our ancestors fought to defend during the war. So, yes, the meme has not yet spread far enough, but as the federal government continues to fail, and suspicion of it continues to grow, there is room for anti-Union sentiment to spread in the South/Confederacy.
    Related to that, back to the “one, true America” idea, one idea/meme that should spread, that could grease the wheels for secession, is that the current DC based government is not legitimat, not really the true America anymore, so that seceding regions would not cease to be American after secession, but, indeed, may be MORE American or in keeping with the American ideal post-secession. That would allow each region to help maintain the myth that they’re the “one, true America” and would allow for secession w/out requiring people to abandon faith in the American civil religion. I’m thinking Holy Roman Empire, czar, kaiser kind of thing here…

  288. Hi JMG,

    I had a question about a story about the Earth that you wrote for Adbusters a few years back. The story began about ten years from now ended several hundred million years in the future, touching back down to talk about world events at less and less frequent intervals as time went on – first ten years, then a hundred, then a thousand, then a hundred thousand and so on. The human species lasted about ten million years I believe and was the first of six or seven intelligent species that evolved on the earth, some descended from raccoons, crows, and clams. It was a really fascinating read that I recommend to anyone who reads this comment, and it reminded me quite a lot of some of Olaf Stapledon’s works although much less anthropocentric (and probably that much more realistic). I was wondering if you’d read Stapledon at all?

    I was also curious about your thoughts on reincarnation as it applies to deep time. If there’s something in a human that survives after death, you believe that the it is tied to that human lineage or is it recycled into different intelligent creatures as they show up? Is the part that survives truly immortal or is a possible second death waiting in the wings, maybe when the lineage ends or when life on the planet ends or…?

    I hope that Providence is treating you well. Have you been able to go to any of the WaterFire festivals yet? I’ve always wanted to check those out myself.

  289. GKB and JMG – thank you both for so many interesting suggestions. I shall certainly follow up on some of the material available on them and see where it leads.

  290. @Bill,
    I’ve been told that border areas get particularly nasty during wars, and the mood is particularly foul here in KY, as evidenced by the few KY commenters we’ve had on her (me included @ times) Are we just psychically prepping ourselves for what’s to come?

  291. Patricia, pretty much, yeah.

    Prizm, I asked whether you were a friend or student of Vitalis’ by way of finding out whether you were in a position to facilitate a conversation, not because I doubted your motives! The guy’s website didn’t give me a particularly good first impression, but as I said, I’m willing to reconsider that. As for my comment about the car, I’m perfectly capable of misunderstanding a comment, you know…

    Lathechuck, not to mention how many people use ad blockers on their internet browsers — I certainly do, for example. Still, I wonder how much impact advertising has in general these days.

    Will, yes, addiction may be part of it. As for the conflict between mystery schools and mainstream religions in the western world, I think it’s mostly a function of organizational politics. In the west, until the Reformation, if you were a Christian you were either subject to the local religious hierarchy, either Catholic or Orthodox depending on location, or you were a heretic who faced drastic punishments under civil and religious law. In the east, religions never managed that kind of exclusivity — in medieval Japan, for example, you had your choice of more than a dozen competing Buddhist sects, the broad diversity of Shinto, and an assortment of other options on the fringe, and you could join any of them or start your own sect with little if any trouble. Thus the eastern religions had to come to terms with the mystery schools and make nice, while the western religions could say, “How dare you teach anything we haven’t approved — to the stake, heretic!”

    Dirtyboots, yep. Try this: once a day, trace a circle clockwise around yourself with an extended finger, starting and ending facing east. Notice any change in the way the space around you feels. Then untrace it, going counterclockwise from east to east. Again, notice any change in the way the space feels. Draw your own conclusions.

    Bill, I didn’t study the Mississippian culture while formulating the model of catabolic collapse, but I did use it as one of the test cases, after the model was formulated, to see how well it fit the facts on the ground. No question, it was a close fit.

    Duncan, that book was a fave of mine, back in the day. Thanks for posting!

    Gkb, well, there you are. Hoplology (the history of weapons and armor) is an old interest of mine, and the naginata is seriously cool.

    DavidCS, duly noted! How did Vitalis respond to the suggestion of a conversation?

    Alvin, that isn’t my specialty at all, but as far as I know 19th century engineering got by very well with geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and the simpler end of calculus, and if you go back much before the 19th century geometry is literally all you needed for any kind of science or engineering. (Newton did all the proofs in Principia Mathematica using geometry, for example).

    Walt, that’s a very good point. Thank you.

    Oilman, most interesting. I check out Moon of Alabama from time to time, mostly for Syrian news; I’ll head on over there when time permits.

    Soilmaker, once again, if I’m misunderstanding you, it’s because I’m responding to the things that you yourself have said; the fact that so many people here seem to be misunderstanding your intentions suggests to me that maybe you need to take a hard look at what you’re actually communicating. As for the open post, why, yes, you’re free to ask any question you like; don’t assume, though, that you’ll get the kind of answer you want.

    Nastarana, the stage when warbands need protectors from within the society on which they’re feeding is an early one; a little further down the road, the warbands themselves hold the balance of power, and it’s the magnates of the falling civilization who end up begging them for protection. Other than that, exactly.

    Matthias, warband culture doesn’t start within the imperial society — it starts outside the imperial boundaries, in neighboring societies that have been become what Toynbee calls the external proletariat of the imperial power. The area east of the Rhine was the seedbed of warband culture in the post-Roman world, just as the area south of the Rio Grande is shaping up to be the seedbed of warband culture in the post-American world. Once warband culture gets started, though, it spreads explosively as far as it can, and persists until the conditions that gave rise to it come to a definitive end. That’s why warband culture spread to Ireland in the post-Roman era, and was still viable for Snorri-come-latelies like the Vikings half a millennium after the western Empire went down.

  292. Spicehammer, I read Stapledon many, many years ago — I was in high school at the time. I don’t doubt that there was some influence, but it’s fairly distant. BTW, if you want to read the whole thing — Adbusters edited it with a rusty chainsaw, as per their usual habit — you can find a copy online here. As for reincarnation, depends on whose teachings you rely on; the Druid notion is being human, or the equivalent, is simply one way station on the long route from pond scum to kinds of being that far transcend the human. Each soul goes through the whole pilgrimage, from single-celled organism on up, but they don’t all start at once! Thus by the time our species is gone and it’s some other intelligent species’ turn on the planet, our souls will have gone on to other things, while souls that are still in the paramecium stage just now will be ready to tackle the challenges of language and reflective thought.

    Now of course that’s the theory. Is that the way it’ll actually work out? We’ll just have to wait and see…

    Scotlyn, you’re most welcome, I’ll see if anything else comes to mind!

  293. Regarding Minn. vs Central Mexico,
    I’ve only travelled to the border areas, speak Spanish, and have quite a few connections amongst Spanish speaking migrants (I’m kinda running w/some Spanish speaking travestis (drag queens) currently) The culture is much stronger and way more resilient than güero culture. They’re very thrifty and waste less resources and stretch what they do have further. The family connections are strong, the manners, social graces, and etiquette are much stronger. Polls consistently rate Mexico as one of the happiest countries on earth. There’s a “Mexican paradox” regarding health in the US–Mexican migrants are consistently healthier with less illness than their Anglo (black & white) counterparts, controlling for income. Studies have attributed this to the stronger culture. Another study has shown that Mexican migrants have higher rates of mental illness than their counterparts in Mexico. Mexico could be an up-and-coming scarcity industrialism power in the New World, as it and Brazil are the two largest countries in Latin America. I fully expect Mexicans to punch above their demographic weight in the coming collapse b/c they’re way more resilient and better prepared for what’s coming and able to “make lemonade out of lemons”, so to speak.

  294. I guess the area around the Mississippi River may not have a lot of stone, but the land where I’m @ (KY) sure does! You can’t dig anywhere here w/out hitting limestone (it’s the source of the water for our famous Bourbon), and people have to blast to build basements. There are lots of quarries, and lots of cliffs and caverns. I wonder why the natives never built with it…
    When I first went to Mississippi, I noticed that the highways were colored red, and I asked where it came from. They said it was from the red rock that they dredged from the Mississippi River.

  295. Shane W: It’s not unique to the South. My lunch hour drivetime radio show for many years was Native America Calling, and you should hear them on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. They are very proud of our Indian veterans, who are very proud of having served. Something similar made the Scots troops a proud part of the British Armed Forces.

  296. Honestly Shane I don’t think secession will be necessary. As the federal government continues to get less functional States will naturally take on more burdens themselves. It will not be smooth but I can easily see a fairly natural transition to a new federalism

  297. Put another way, the US still has to collapse down to a Mexican level of resource use and consumption. Granted, Mexico still has a long way to collapse before getting to a post-industrial level, but they sure have a head start on the US…

  298. Wow then JMG I am even more impressed. While walking through the interpretive center I was thinking “Hey this is just how JMG’s model would predict their rise and fall to go!” Is that paper still anywhere? I don’t think many people really understand it especially the pivotal role of infrastructure and it’s maintenance costs. Many collapsenics seem to think that prepping means large amounts or resource demanding infrastructure. Since most people don’t even know what catabolism means I doubt they have any clue the fundamental significance of your choosing the word

  299. Regarding advertising, I’ve noticed that most news websites have deployed efficient countermeasures against adblock. One thing I have noticed about google-driven ads is that the time horizon used to determine what I’m “interested in” has shortened dramatically. For instance, if I do a couple Google searches about square watermelons, I’ll get ads for square watermelon related stuff starting within a few hours and lasting only a day or so. A few years ago, Google was actually more effective at serving me ads, remembering the things I was interested in for months at a time, and ignoring something I did five google searches about one afternoon. A sign of desperation?

  300. JMG, and all

    I’m sorry I went a little nuts in my response while feeling misunderstood. I’m not sure why I responded that way. I’m extremely grateful that you JMG, were so graceful and tactful in your response.

  301. Wow did I just miss this or has it really not been asked yet:

    Why Cumberland to Providence?

  302. In regards to the comments about woman and warbands: National Geographic recently published an article about the Vikings showing evidence that women occasionally participated in battles and even led them.

    “Bioarchaeologist Anna Kjellström of Stockholm University recently reanalyzed the skeletal remains of a Viking fighter found in the old trading center of Birka, in Sweden. Mourners had furnished the grave with an arsenal of deadly weapons, and for decades archaeologists assumed that the elite fighter was male. But while studying the warrior’s pelvic bones and mandible, Kjellström discovered that the man was in fact a woman.

    This nameless Viking woman seems to have commanded the respect of many Viking warriors. “On her lap she had gaming pieces,” says archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University. “This suggests that she was the one planning the tactics and that she was a leader.”

  303. @ Shane W

    Compensation mechanism? LOL! You have never read about carpetbaggers then? Sharecroppers? The south was, and is, very much viewed as semi-barbaric by most everyone living in the NYC-DC corridor. They make exceptions for those southerners who work in the DC-NYC zone, but that appellation of semi-barbaric is abetted by these same southerners, tacitly acknowledging that their home is full of fundamentalist yokels.

    This isn’t something I made up – it is based on a conversation I overheard in the 1st class lounge of KLM airlines back in 1987. A Louisiana congressman actually laughed and said something to the effect of “Hahaha…yes, but those same inbred idiots are building my summer home right now…” Sociopaths and psychopaths have no boundaries but those we set for them, and political correctness disallows that.

    Now, that being said, I have neighbors here who moved from upstate NY to get away from the crazies filtering out of NYC. In fact, my neighbors sister closed yesterday on the home across the street – to get away from the “crazy liberal retards” <– her words She chose Texas rather than FL, as she simply didn't like that many of these same "crazies" were already in FL.

    While the south may not be united, the primary thing holding much of it together is federal aid and federal spending in the states. If the fed teat goes dry, there is disincentive to put up with further taxation, lies, idiot laws and other things that flow out of DC.

    Texas is a separate issue, as our economy is ranked around 10th on the planet. We have resources and we also have a lot of Texan spirit and tend to pull together in times of difficulty – we don't require identifying as Americans. Texas was a country before it was a state – not a territory, a sovereign country. We (Texas) routinely sue the feds over many things relating to regulations and laws.

    We have held the southern border without federal assistance during the entire Obama era, typically ignoring or sidestepping ICE stupidity altogether. Most of our Latin transplants are just that – transplants, not vagrants and not trying to make Texas into "little Mexico" – they left Mexico (and Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua etc) and stayed in Texas. They are active in politics and well represented across the state. But they are Texans – just ask a few.

    We need not do anything to de-legitimize the federal government – they are doing quite nicely on their own, without any assistance from us. If you watch what we are doing in our state, you can clearly see prepping for ugliness issuing out of DC. Re-establishing our Gold Reserve was an important step. If/when Trump is done or out, then if the things he pushed for get rescinded and we go on down the stupid path, the pressure for and logic behind secession will be easy for Texans and many southerners to see.

    I personally see secession as very likely after the dollar crashes and the Feds have no money. Because without that Federal milk to suckle on, states will have to sink or swim on their own – or simply dissolve or fade into irrelevancy.

    No intent here to bash your thoughts – just want you to understand my perspective and why I think differently than you do.

  304. John, you and others have mentioned getting some bad results combining “eastern” and “western” magical systems. Why do you think this happens?

  305. @Walt

    You’re missing a piece that’s relatively easy to miss because it’s not mentioned in those abbreviated histories. Those “pioneer” types were mostly Scots-Irish, who migrated to the Americas in huge numbers during the 1700s and headed to the frontier as fast as they could get off the boat. The reference for this is “Albion’s Seed.” These weren’t criminals being transported; these were the Borderers, some of which spent a few generations in Northern Ireland between the English-Scottish border and North America, hence the term Scots-Irish. They all have a deep-seated distrust of big governments of any type. If you want to use the notion of a cultural archetype, feel free.

  306. Shane, this is one of the reasons I expect most of the successor cultures in North America to speak languages descended from Spanish…

    Bill, trust me, I was equally wowed. I came up with the basic idea of catabolic collapse after rereading The Limits to Growth and comparing its model to the way that a couple of ancient civilizations had fallen; I wrote up the theory in a notebook, worked out the equations, and then decided to do the scientific thing and test it against some civilizations I didn’t know much about, to see if it worked. It was only after I doublechecked it that way that I wrote the essay. (It’s available on this website, here, as well as in an appendix to The Long Descent.) You’re right that a lot of people who’ve discussed it don’t seem to have taken the time to understand it — which seems odd to me, as it’s a very straightforward analysis, easy to think through.

    Justin, yep — and I avoid those websites. The news media I follow are mostly overseas anyway, and not quite so obsessive about trying to cram ads down your throat.

    Prizm, you’re welcome. I probably could have made my initial response more tactful, for that matter.

    Bill, you might have dozed off when I was talking about it. 😉 Long story, with lots of reasons; the very short form is that Cumberland didn’t work out for us, some upcoming changes (including probable loss of access to Amtrak) would have made it completely untenable, and some other changes I’ve been tracking made certain parts of the eastern seaboard better options than they’d been. So we moved; we’re enjoying fresh vegetables from the local farmers market three blocks from our apartment, and come September, when the Masonic lodges open their doors again, I plan on making myself part of the local community via the lodge route.

    Jeanne, I wonder if they referenced the Norse sagas that say exactly the same thing. Viking women were if anything tougher than the men!

    Escher, the issue specifically comes up when you’re dealing with the subtle energy systems of the body. Those aren’t safe to mix — and this isn’t an eastern vs. western thing, it’s a general rule: if you’re doing one set of subtle energy exercises, don’t combine them with another unless you’re very sure you know what the combination will do. It’s a little like going to two different doctors and getting two different prescriptions for two different health conditions, without letting either doctor know about the other; the risk of harmful drug interactions is just too high.

  307. @JMG

    Wonderful, Daniel said he’d be very happy to talk with you, with the future of our species and nature-based spirituality as the topics of interest. It’d be great to hear a discussion on these topics, so I’ll get in touch and let you know how it works out! All the best

  308. @Scotlyn

    Warband is for the most part a boy’s game, but not exclusively. The most relevant historical event that comes to mind are the market women of Paris during the French Revolution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_March_on_Versailles

    These ladies established themselves as a force to be reconned with during the early phase of the Revolution. They lacked formal military tranning, but compensated by virtue of being reckless, vicious, and very good with a knife. I recall fish sellers were specially feared, but I cannot find a source in English to confirm that.

    Another example, closer to home in my case, are the Joan D’Arc Brigades during the Cristero War. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminine_Brigades_of_St._Joan_of_Arc

    These mostly did not engage in active combat, but operated a sort of spy network that distributed propaganda, gathered intelligence, passed messages over enemy lines, provided shelter and medical services to ally units, and provisioned and smuggled resources, including guns, explosives and ammo. It is said that the Cristero War is the only Latin American popular uprising that did not see any form of foreighn aid, and yet they managed to inflict in the order of 2,000 casualties per month to the federal army (while simultaneously fighting in another front with the Agraristas, an irregular militia of ex-revolucionaries that the Government turned against the people of the areas under Cristero control by promising the former legal ownership of the land belonging to the later once the conflict was resolved). This was only achieved thanks to the Brigades, who cajoled, swindled, or otherwise acquired weapons and ammo from men (in many cases, corrupt low level officers from the Mexican Army themselves) outside the regions in conflict, and then smugling those back to their allies.

    What these two historic examples have in common is not so much what skills each individual could bring to the table (that comes later, and while important, it can be patched up together on the fly), but their willingness to self identify as women first and members of an oppressed class second, and to stick together with other women and serve the interests of their larger group membership on their own terms. This could not be more different from the attitudes of the female characters in Mad-Max style fiction.

  309. Walt – (and JMG in passing) – your comment about King Philip’s War brought to mind my direct ancestor William Sabin (who I believe had some involvement, the details of which I must look up), who came to what is now Rehoboth, Rhode Island (not far from where JMG is now situated) from Tychfield in England, around 1640. My branch of the Sabins, however, left Rhode Island and settled in Nova Scotia in the 1770’s, being Loyalists. They also changed the spelling of our name slightly.

    But in any case, you are right about what happened in that first one hundred years certainly involved a constant fear that the young people might find native ways more attractive and want to leave the “civilised” or regimented, buttoned-up, pious and leader-dependent, but still precarious beachheads the colonists were establishing.

    Certainly, native examples of alternative, more personally free, and personally self-reliant ways were not hard for young people to find, and to be impressed by.

  310. @Soilmaker

    I am sorry you did not find anything useful in my previous comment. At the end, everyone must do what they must, using imperfect information and limited resources. I wish you luck.

    I will risk telling you this, though. Your comments are interesting and you seem to have some practical knowledge and skills, so you come accross as a long time lurcher. But if you are new to the community, you will be on a different page than most long term members; not in terms of skills but in term of attitudes. The fast path to remedy that is to check JMG’s non fiction books, or you can hang out and check what people say to each other, instead. That’s assuming you value what you have seen so far and are willig to let a couple of misunderstandings slide.

  311. Re: Mexican warbands — Do they rely on the wealth of drug customers (US and Western Europe) to fund their activities? I’m thinking that their power is parasitic; if the host dies, so does the parasite. Not that marijuana use wouldn’t still be a popular pastime, but there would not be the cash flow to support boats, planes, and heavy weapons. I’m having a hard time figuring out how they’d respond to a true financial collapse.

  312. @Justin, actually the duration of viewability of those ads is set by the advertiser. The potential for purchase for certain goods and services is quite short (days) while others are longer (weeks, months). It doesn’t make sense to bombard people with ads once they have moved out of the period of likely purchase.

  313. Re: adblocking, this discussion should be taken as everybody’s reminder to turn on adblock and never turn it off, ever, under any circumstances. Use the anti-anti-adblocking filters, too. uBlock Origin is the best browser plugin I know for this.

    JMG: Are there any analogues to Lovecraft’s Elder Sign in genuine occultism? Also, what’s your take on the LessWrong crowd, (aka. the Bayesian Robot Cult) Were they part of your inspiration for the Radiance? (Probably good fodder for Merigan campfire robot stories, for that matter.)

  314. JMG (and others), I had the same experience with the Indus civilization, as I raed about it. The ca. 200-year long timespan of its fall, the rise of tuberculosis and lepra at the end of that civilization, the decay of the sewer infrastructure, the decline of the quality of the mud bricks with which the Indus cities were built, the split into an early Harappan epoch and a mature Harappan epoch, comparable to the split between classical Greek antiquity and classical Roman antiquity, or between the High and Late Middle Ages and modern times, the invasion of the Indo-Aryans; all this is compatible with Oswald Spenglers, Arnold Toynbees and your writing.

    Regarding loss of Amtrak service to Cumberland, I had read about it as one of the measures Donald Trump proposed, and thought, that it would surely have negative consequences for you.

  315. Hello JMG,

    Do you see zhan zhuang as a “subtle energy exercize”? Any possible incompatibility with the middle pillar ritual ?

  316. Thanks for the rehash since I am all but bedridden now I am dozing off a lot lately. Yeah when the Northeast corridor loses rail service that means there just isn’t any anywhere anymore

  317. When I asked about revolutionaries using magic I was thinking of using astrology to time an uprising, but do tell me more of these gentleman mages who would subvert the will of the people… *strokes chin ominously* 🙂 Saying magic should be for local improvement reminds me of deniability in foreign policy – if you want to support another county’s war but can’t be seen sending arms, you send vehicles, basic machinery, food and anything else innocent-looking. Then all the resources they would have needed to spend on them is available for the war effort. Possibly a good way to avoid the raspberry jam principle as well.

    You said people are afraid of the concept of socialism. On one hand – fair point. On the other – so says the freakin’ sorcerer. In my more cynical moments I think the best we can hope for is convicing the mob to burn us both at the same stake to save fuel. 🙂

    You still didn’t answer one question – if humanity made a good faith attempt to mend its ways and make industrial civilisation viable, why wouldn’t it work? The attempt could be for any reason – if you can’t imagine it being through socialism, then imagine alien brainwashing or something. Specifically, what would fail first? Steel? Concrete? Oil? Also, as civilisations move down the long decline they become more fragile. Could a big shock, especially a deliberate attack, push a slow decline into a fast doomsday scenario?

    Several people have brought up ‘lifeboats’ and that was one thing I learned you don’t do – the middle class could always use their resources and education to escape to a hippy commune or whatever, but we’re in it together and we’ll get out of it together. The lifeboat is technically a petty bourgeois deviation. 🙂 But it doesn’t take much for that ideology to wear thin. The Auschwitz Resistence actually had a rule – no individual escapes, even if they saw the chance. Then their ideal scenario happened – a trainload of healthy and comparatively well-fed Czechs, many of them verterans of the Spanish Civil War, arrived. This was what they had been waiting for, but instead of joining the planned uprising, the Czech leaders lost their nerve and all went to the slaughter. After that the resistance members took every individual chance they got. So I see the appeal of saying “screw the lot of you” and jumping ship if you can.

    @ Justin
    But I love immamentizing the eschaton! It gets me out of bed in the morning! 🙂 All other societies have had inequality, and where are most of them now? Ever notice how those who fear the dark masses and say people should learn to take joy despite their suffering, are usually the comfortably situated middle classes? (although I partially agree on the grounds that revolutionary war is going to suck) To the claim socialism has no higher purpose I would say a world where nobody starves or dies of preventable diseases is a high enough purpose, even if it doesn’t involve becoming one with the universe and god embracing you as an equal. But having said that, socialism can be whatever people choose to make it. Once the basics like housing, food and the environment have been sorted out, the surplus could go anywhere. Building socialism could mean standing stones and sacred landscapes; it doesn’t have to be steel mills behind the Urals. 🙂 @Justin ends

    Socialism has far more risks, pitfalls and potential failure points than either socialists or anti-socialists usually see. The book The Abolition of the State by Wayne Price, a Trotskyist turned anarchist, covers the problems well. I think the key to making socialism or anarchism work is to create organisational structures and social interactions that don’t have any crevices where bureaucrats and politicians can accumulate and fester. The Vanguard Method and Crew Resource Management would be good places to start as they are hostile to bureaucratic and authoritarian personalities, but still allow the most skilled individuals and most capable leaders to perform at their best. Maybe the combined socialist club/occult society/physical culture gym also needs a social club where people can learn these skills too. Manufacturers of wood panelling will drink a toast to my memory for generations to come. 🙂

    Okay, enough about socialism. I have just a few more magic questions. If someone feels drawn to do something magical or spiritual but doesn’t know what, is there some kind of screening process that could show where their aptitudes lie, beyond reading some books and seeing what resonates? Are there any traits that makes someone suited to one system over another? Finally, what is your position on teaching magic to children?

    Oh and on the subject of solar thermal – get it if you can. It is one of the best pieces of ecotech, with no downsides. We cut out gas bill more than in half. If you live in the North of England consider using Halifax Renewable Energy – they did a spectacular job with ours.

  318. JMG,
    when the grids go down how do you see the spent nuclear fuel rod pools situation playing out.
    James T

  319. John, Long time reader (10years I think) first time poster.

    Looks like your thoughts are catching on. Article on ZeroHedge

    “Satyajit Das Destroys The ‘Myth’ Of Social Progress”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-31/das-destroys-myth-social-progress

    “The world cannot countenance the idea that human progress might be at an end or even have stalled.

    “The belief that advances in science, technology as well as social and political systems can provide continuous improvement in human life is perhaps the most important idea in Western civilisation. Yet attempts to measure actual progress are curiously vague. In January 2016, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi dispensed with practicalities arguing that “Europe cannot just be a grey technical debate about constraints, but must again be a great dream”.

  320. Someone here asked about books considering warband formation in modern times. Journalist Ioan Grillo has been based in Mexico since 2001. He has covered Mexican drug war and has published thoughtful books about history of drug cartels and their impact on society. I recommend his books “El Narco:Inside Mexico’s criminal insurgency” and “Gangster warlords”. They describe how classic unraveling of state power and rise of warbands happens in modern times. You should read them too, JMG.

    There is also one book that describes cultural phenomenon that gave rise to football hooligan gangs in Balkan area. They later transformed into death squads and paramilitaries obsessed with ethnic purity during 90’s.

    Or why members of Brazilian criminal enterprises are also involved in local football scene in Brazil. PCC was originally the name of football team of inmates at Taubate penitentiary. Now it is probably largest Brazilian criminal organization. It is their culture. Football is part of the package.

    Best and most thoughtful analysis of cultural phenomenon of football is found in Franklin Foer’s book “How soccer explains the world”. It gives very, very good explanation how among great unwashed masses in Europe, Near East, Anatolia and Latin America political identity is blending with regional identity offered by local football clubs. This transfer of loyalty by local populations from state to non-state entities is gaining momentum all the time.

    JMG, if Jung was also deeply involved in occult, that means there is kind of “shadow history” parallel to generally accepted history. Impact of C.G.Jung in field of psychoanalysis and psychology is so great, that his occult ideas must have penetrated also those respectable fields. Can you recommend any books describing how Western modernist thought and philosophy has been fertilized by occult movements?

  321. @Bill P, @Shane, @Oilman (and anyone else I might have missed)

    Re secession

    Bill, I don’t disagree that secession isn’t necessary. A looser federal structure would be the best option (I’d argue) for addressing the issues before us as a nation. However, that would require, among other things, a federal government willing to relinquish a good portion of the power that has been centralized over the course of our nation’s history. Given the “psycho-historical” forces at play, I don’t see that happening. Secession, in some form, is a far more likely outcome in my view, mainly because the more reasonable path of decentralizing federal power will, in all probability, not be taken. Frustrating, I would agree.

  322. In response to soilmaker’s questions, shared by most of us on this forum, about how to sustain the human spirit in a time of increasing collapse and scarcity, I found some words of JMG in his “After Progress” that get right to the heart of the matter: “you can apprehend the order of the cosmos in love and awe, and accept your place in it, even when that conflicts with the cravings of your ego, or you can put your ego and its cravings at the center of your world and insist that the order of the cosmos doesn’t matter if it gets in the way of what you think you want. It’s a very old choice: which will you have, the love of power or the power of love?” For those who haven’t read “After Progress,” let me say it’s a wise and rewarding investment of time. Sometimes we have a tendency to gloss over the fact that JMG is a profoundly RELIGIOUS thinker, in the best sense of that terribly abused term. His discussion of time in relation to gods and men, for example, which accompanies the above quote, is a short burst of clarity in much-confused subject.

  323. For warband culture in the north, I suggest starting with the Volsungasaga. Certainly before you read the courtly Nibelungenlied, Then read the Eddas and the Sagas of the Icelanders. BTW – Icelandic women didn’t fight, but it was also against the law to offer violence to a woman. Their role, as in many a warrior and pioneer society, was to keep the home front going, and you did NOT want to cross an Icelandic woman. Hervor’s Song (mainstream Scandinavian) is part of a larger work that makes it clear Hervor was not only a warrior and a shipmaster, but a pirate – who started her career as a teenager leading a gang of highway robbers for fun and profit -more like a juvenile delinquent than a heroine.

    Just for fun – when the continental Scandinavian sources mention a scam artist pulling a fast one on people, it’s almost always “a tricky Icelander.” The Germans, now, saw them in the same light the Athenians did the Spartans – the Nibelungenlied all but gives Brunhilda a deep backwoods accent!

  324. @ David BTL, others, secession

    The US government has yet to relinquish a single power usurped from the states. The marijuana issue may just rip the sheets – it depends on if the older Boomers exit congress fast enough, most likely. Sessions is a great example of insanity, as he is repeating the same failed policies.

    What I see as most likely is a whack to the stock markets, then more whacks. This hits the top tier of oligarch cronies.

    I see the US playing the same hand over and over, believing their propaganda works flawlessly. I see results similar to or beyond having our butt handed to us in Syria (we were wrong, it is illegal, etc. – but that is beside the point) Eventually, they try to do the same tired old plan or two, and then get squished or actually soundly defeated. Government isn’t very effective when they only navel gaze and listen to each other.

    I see the NWO monetary system kicking off when the dollar gets more worthless, or else NWO make the dollar worthless. Our debt burden is seriously dangerous right now. When you see a “new dollar” come out, you will be seeing the tail end of things.

    At some point, given our lack of manufacturing capacity for most anything here in the US, it gets pretty crappy. Nobody makes an entire car, tractor or airplane in the US – everything is coming from another country and assembled here, at best. Globalism has limited the options available to Americans in many ways. It is a prime reason that this post-oil reset will be harder than it should be. Imagine if the rest of the world, or just China, decided to embargo the US….

    In there, at some juncture, the Feds simply run out of money. When the big kabosh hits the federal employees, and they get laid off or downsized, you will be watching the end of it.

    Things like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes or food shortages hasten things. You will know we have a serious food shortage when some congressoid finally questions (publicly) turning corn into ethanol.

    Secession will require more than a single circumstance to become a viable option. For some states, it will simply not be an option; in particular those states that are predominantly urban. Same for states whose GDP has a lot of federal revenue involved. They are likely to get chaotic. Heck, Michigan is chaotic now…

    I keep hammering this, but fear of losing federal money is the main thing that prevents secession movements from taking off. Without that federal teat, states have nothing to lose and perhaps more to gain. Game is changed by declaring debts owed to the illegitimate US government null and void. See how that works? If the US armed forces are getting paid in worthless scrip or not at all, what happens? States can up their taxation if the Fed burden is removed, and that is a considerable burden when the entire CFR is involved.

    Just some thoughts for you all…ya’ll? LOL…

    Remember – hypercomplexity makes things more fragile; slow motion landslide is the way down….

  325. Shane, people who choose to migrate to another country for work are typically younger and healthier than those who stay behind. There’s no point to migrating if you can’t work when you get there and will lack the local social supports you had in your native land. Look at the demographics of the people who stay somewhere like Moldova, vs. those who leave. Or to take a more personal example, I did a couple of summer jobs in the USA when I was in University. Once I developed fibromyalgia, I didn’t do any more of that.

    So the good health of immigrants from mexico doesn’t actually prove anything about the health or lack of same in their society. What is the health like of the people who stayed behind?

  326. @CR Patiño – “willingness to self identify as women first and members of an oppressed class second, and to stick together with other women and serve the interests of their larger group membership on their own terms”

    A very important element, I think. (As someone commented above, this works among bonobos, too – I can’t now find the comment).

    @Nastarana, @Rita @Jeanne @Justin @John Roth and anyone else I’ve missed. I’ve carefully read all the contributions, it is an interesting conversation I can’t imagine having elsewhere, and I will be doing much thinking touching on the conversation as a whole.

  327. JMG
    Thanks to Bill and then your reply I have been giving your paper on catabolic collapse the attention it deserves. I have a history of dozing off for years. Smile.
    Quite a bit more of your output over the years falls into place.
    Industrial technologies over the next 200 years may display unexpected ‘ecological’ properties in the face of resource restriction and a need to lower complexity and maintenance. I am looking at local investment in technologies with low maintenance over a 300 year+ lifespan, (well, some of them).

    best
    Phil H
    Interesting that much of, for example, the Great Plains had exhausted their natural capital – soil – by the 1920s. Only industrial capital chiefly in the form of nitrogen fertilizer allowed the by then large US urban populations to continue to receive enough basic calories for the food pyramid.

  328. @ Alvin Leong: Here are some suggestions, though they may not be complex enough for an adept of multivariate caculus and linear algebra. 1) Ballistics of grapeshot and chainshot, aiming and amounts of explosive needed for various ranges; 2) Large area irrigation via keylines integrated with terraced flood control and best/worst case well silting-up/nutrient distribution; 3) Plague vector modeling for human, animal, and/or tree diseases combined with wildly variable and unpredictable weather conditions; 4) Likewise, insect swarm/crop interactions based on partial differential analysis holding various factors steady and seeing how conditions change and how best to counteract them (plant more trees, breed fireant eating armadillos, whatever); 5) Resource projections for herds of domestic animals that compete for range: sheep, goats, cows, deer, bison, wild boar, under varying weather conditions and changing pasturage due to monsoon/drought; 6) Effects of multiple low-flow household level electric turbines and river-powered boat mills on total available kinetic energy in a given part of a given river detailing possible depletion of power due to upstream mini-turbine electrical power usage causing slowdown of sawmill power in downstream river usages.

  329. Newtonfinn,

    I agree, lots of people seem to forget that JMG is a deeply religious thinker. I find it a little odd, given how his religion forms an undercurrent in his ideas that always seems close to the surface. Maybe that’s just because I’m also involved in the Druid Revival, and so I know what to look for to see it, but it’s never seemed hard to connect his work to religion.

    JMG,

    Organizational politics isn’t the answer I was expecting for west vs east differences in mystery schools. It’s obvious once pointed out, but it hadn’t even occurred to me until you said it. It’s odd how often things work out that way, where something doesn’t even occur to someone, but once pointed out is blindingly obvious.

  330. Hi, Dmitry! I don’t know a lot about GazProm, but I once had a bad case of PromGaz. Kind of embarrassing really. Especially during the group photos. Thankfully the tuxedo was rented. Cheers!

  331. @John Roth,

    That’s a good point. My own summary of the era was of course necessarily even more abbreviated than the historical treatments I’m referring to. David Hackett Fischer explores many important pieces — and he’s addressing a much larger puzzle. I strongly second your recommendation of Albion’s Seed.

    @Scotlyn,

    Your direct ancestor’s role in the histories of Rehoboth and King Philip’s War is prominent and well documented. Well worth looking up (so I won’t post any spoilers here). Thank you for sharing that connection!

    My own family were recent (early 20th c.) immigrants, but my wife’s ancestors might owe yours a belated apology for that little spot of unpleasantness in the 1770s. At least Nova Scotia was a good place to end up. (At least I think so; I find rugged landscapes, rocky coastlines, and bad weather far more alluring than tropical beaches.)

    I suspect you’re right about the attraction of native lifestyles to young people and parental concerns about same, but it appears to have all been at an unconscious level, perhaps at the same level as the simmering archetypes our host has written about. Primary sources, as far as I know, don’t whisper of such things aloud. (The afflicted girls of Salem again come to mind, but any connection there is complex.) The xenophobia/phila polarity must have also been running full throttle, but similarly below the surface; look, for instance, between the lines of (among other things) the captivity narratives of the period.

    Those captivity narratives might also be distantly relevant to the topic of women and warbands, which discussion I’ve followed with interest but haven’t had much to contribute to. With each new reference the subject is sounding more interesting and relevant. I rather hope your curiosity eventually results in a book.

  332. JMG et al, I followed most of the last open discussion regarding reincarnation, and ended up with a thought I wanted to throw into the mix but it was too late, so I’m doing it now.

    The model is the compost bin. The pattern we see in the compost bin is repeated in all other living systems too, but the compost bin is where my insight came from, and it’s easiest to observe, so I’m rolling with that.

    Could it be that all living things (most humans included;), and their souls/animating spirits/chi/memories/etc all break down into raw materials, into smaller pieces, that all recombine to be reborn as a novel living creature, complete with bits of genetic code, and memories, and proteins and habits and so on, from you, but also from other decaying biota in the vicinity?

    We had a fat fluffy calico who had been a member of our family for many years named Tuesday. Tuesday died (violently I’m sad to say) right before our first child was born. I swear our daughter picked up pieces of Tuesday’s character and mannerisms, even sense of humor. We actually call her Tuesday sometimes.

    The idea of my intact “soul” and personality body-jumping from life to life, down through the ages, smacks too much of eternal life to me. But the pattern of breaking down into smaller pieces to rub elbows with the smaller pieces of other organisms and forming a novel recombinant individual – whatever species that individual becomes – seems to fit into Mum Gaia’s established pattern.

    Any thoughts? Thanks for your time!

  333. JMG, in light of your warning about the perils of mixing energetically-incompatible systems, is there a magical system/mystery school you could recommend that would be compatible with shamanically-oriented Norse Heathenism? I am aware of one such tradition that has a purely Norse focus, but I have some serious reservations about it (an off-list topic, I think, if you think further discussion is warranted). Druidry is appealing, but I don’t know how much of a problem it might be that, for example, the solar principle is (if I understand this correctly) viewed as masculine in Druidry whereas it is perceived as feminine in Norse lore. Basically, I don’t want to cross any wires that would short out the circuits, and I am curious as well about how much it might be reasonable to “Heathenise” a system without diluting it or losing its essence. I am also concerned that what seems like reasonable adaption might shade into evasion of the challenging parts. Thank you very much for anything useful you might be able to suggest. – Ann

  334. Thanks to everyone who replied with thoughts and suggestions re: the dreaded ticks. The current surge seems to have multiple causes: regrowth of woodlands, loss of apex predators/ecological disruption, warmer winters, cycles in mouse populations. It also sounds as if constant vigilance will be required for the foreseeable future. (And, don’t trust the bullseye rash as a test: I have had Lyme – caught early, successfully treated – but there was no rash at all, and this is not uncommon.)

  335. @Shane

    Re imperialism (from earlier in the thread)

    I agree that w/o doubt, the US was in imperial mode by the Spanish-American War. I base my argument for including the westward expansion under Manifest Destiny as imperial expansion on the idea that territorial acquisition through armed force falls squarely within the definition of imperialism. The conquest of northern Mexico, as well as the imposition of treaties and forced migration of native peoples fits that description, in my view. So, as I mentioned, I’d argue that our country, as it exists today, is the result of imperial expansion no less than a unified Italian peninsula was the result of Roman expansion. (And will probably meet the same fate.)

  336. “Compensation mechanism? LOL! You have never read about carpetbaggers then? Sharecroppers? The south was, and is, very much viewed as semi-barbaric by most everyone living in the NYC-DC corridor…”
    “I personally see secession as very likely after the dollar crashes and the Feds have no money. Because without that Federal milk to suckle on, states will have to sink or swim on their own – or simply dissolve or fade into irrelevancy.

    No intent here to bash your thoughts – just want you to understand my perspective and why I think differently than you do.”
    @Oilman,
    I’m not from the Bos-Wash corridor, nor am I enamored with it. I think you misread. I was responding to Bill’s comment about Southern patriotism and Southern pride in being American. I’m a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and am looking forward to the end of the Yankee empire. I do agree with you regarding Texas, it is a special case, and probably more independent/secessionist than the rest of the South. As for the dollar crashing, I’ve read JMG’s “The Upside of Default” and am very much looking forward to default of the national debt…

  337. DavidCS, fair enough. Put in a comment marked “not for posting” with your preferred contact email, and I’ll send you mine.

    Synthase, yep — Lovecraft modeled the Elder Sign on the pentagram, which is used to protect against hostile beings in occult practice. You’ll find the details in any book on Golden Dawn-style ceremonial magic.

    Booklover, hmm! Clearly they’ve discovered more about the Indus Valley civilization than they had last time I looked into it. Can you point me to some good sources on the subject?

    Sandow, fortunately not, as I practice both of them! The thing you have to watch out for is special breathing patterns (for example, reverse breathing), movements designed to circulate energy in particular ways, or concentration on specific energy centers in the body. Zhang zhuan done with normal breathing seems to be perfectly safe; in fact, I’ve worked out a system of exercises centered on zhang zhuan, with certain other borrowings from yichuan and its Japanese offshoot taikiken, that’s specifically designed to work with the Middle Pillar exercise and other Golden Dawn practices.

    Bill, not a problem. Best wishes for a prompt recovery!

    Yorkshire, you might want to pick up a copy of Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s book Black Sun sometime. Gentleman mages? No, I was thinking of the neo-Nazi darkside lodges, who you’d also have to contend with — and describing your views as “the will of the people” is a bit much, isn’t it, when most people don’t support you? As far as socialism and sorcery, I think you’re missing a major point — I’m not trying to convince the rest of the world to take up the practice of ceremonial magic. If socialists were just interested in setting up their own workers cooperatives and the like, the vast majority of people would no doubt shrug and let you go about it.

    As for whether industrial civilization could be saved if everyone suddenly decided to do something about it, the answer at this point is no. It could have been done, I think, if the steps toward sustainability that got under way in the 1970s hadn’t been thrown out by the Thatcher-Reagan counterrevolution of the 1980s, but that’s water under the bridge now. It’s not a question of what would fail first — the issue is that the externalized costs of resource depletion on the one hand, and environmental disruption on the other, percolate through the entire economy and impose unrecognized burdens on every form of economic activity; those costs rise over time until the economy as a whole grinds slowly to a halt. Compare the British economy today with what it looked like forty years ago and you can see the toll that externalized costs have already taken; extrapolate that out until the only economic activity that remains is the manipulation of paper wealth, on the one hand, and subsistence activities outside the money economy, on the other, and you see the future.

    As for lifeboats — no, that doesn’t work. Any lifeboat community comfortable enough to attract the middle class will also be comfortable enough to attract parasites and armed looters. Monasteries worked, back in the day, because they took vows of poverty and by and large had nothing worth stealing. (Once they got something worth stealing, look what happened — Vikings, Henry VIII, etc.) Individual preparations based on the idea that you can’t preserve value except in the forms of skills and knowledge are far more useful.

    James, why do you think the grids are going to do down? Isn’t it more likely that electricity will be rationed by price and privilege, so that the rich, the influential, and critical needs (such as keeping nuclear waste from melting down) will keep getting power long after you and I are living in tarpaper shacks without electricity?

    John, hmm! Good to see somebody noticing that the sun really does come up in the east… 😉

  338. Juhana, many thanks for these references! No question, warband formation is well under way on the peripheries of the EU and the US, just as Toynbee’s theory would predict; it’s good to keep tabs on those. As for the “shadow history” of occultism’s influence, James Webb wrote two books many years ago, The Occult Underground and The Occult Establishment, which cover some of it; I don’t know of a good (i.e., neither blindly dismissive nor paranoiac conspiracy-obsessed) book on the subject since then.

    Newtonfinn, thank you for getting it…

    Scotlyn, good. Having seen videos of a chimp taking one down with a branch and a tiger taking one down with a well-aimed paw, I’m pleased to see humans joining the competition!

    Phil, thank you!

    Will, glad to be of help. History is really useful that way. 😉

    Tripp, in that case you’d expect people who get apparent past life memories surfacing as a result of meditation to have a jumble of recollections from different lives lived at the same time, and that doesn’t seem to happen — au contraire, people tend to remember one life at a time, in a sequence that makes sense if you watch how personality traits unfold and shift from one to another. Why does the thought of the continued existence of individual souls disturb you?

    Ann, I’m not familiar enough with that end of the spiritual continuum to be able to offer an educated opinion. You might want to ask around in the Norse scene and see what other people are doing with good results.

  339. @ Shane W –

    The question is: can the southern states unite under something. With the racial divide so elegantly engineered, mostly in the east, it may be difficult. Then again, charisma appeals….so that could happen too.

  340. Tripp,

    What you’re calling the “compost bin” theory of reincarnation is similar to one of the traditional Buddhist views. The Buddha taught both “anatman” (there is not permanent self) and rebirth. One of the ways of reconciling this – which may go back to the Buddha but who knows – is that each of us is actually a composite of several “skandhas” which IIRC are understood as the senses and parts of the mind. Those skandhas then get shuffled about and are reborn again. The important point is that none of them are understood as the self.

    However, many cultures have had a similar approach with a different conclusion: that there are multiple parts to the soul and they are ALL the self. There’s a view in Judaism – though remember that Judaism has no official views on the afterlife – that each of us has five levels of the soul and those which are not perfected in life are sent back while those that are go on to wait for the World to Come where they will be reunited. What’s mind-blowing about this is that it means people can have overlapping souls.

    I personally lean toward a multi-part-but-it’s-all-you soul theory since it allows for both reincarnation and ancestor spirits, which are both traditional in the paths I follow.

  341. @Tripp
    Re: reincarnation

    I agree, the “body hopping” model doesn’t make any sense for me. Some versions of it don’t even make logical sense, since those versions presume a first incarnation as a human, but don’t deal with how the first incarnation is different from subsequent incarnations.

    The model I use is that there is a being on the astral plane, which we call Essence but others call the High Self, Source, etc., that incarnates a fragment of itself many times. So one of “my” past lives is simply one of my Essence’s incarnations that is already completed. In this sense, the term re-incarnation is a misnomer: the fragment of Essence that experienced life as a human for a particular incarnation will not have another one. Essence will create a different fragment of itself. It all depends on viewpoint.

    Once Essence finishes whatever it is doing with the physical plane, it unites with other Essences to create greater, more powerful beings, until it finally unites with The Tao (All that Is, etc.) The core of Essence, the Divine Spark, may then start over with another Grand Cycle.

    In this scheme, gods and other beings are simply Astral and Causal beings that have begun to combine, so they have vastly more power and much wider viewpoints of reality.

    This fits in with the system JMG uses in that the Divine Spark starts small, as smaller beings and gradually moves into more complex beings until it achieves Sentience. What happens after the Spark finishes with Sentience is something nobody knows.

    (There’s a lot more detail, I’m grossly simplifying, possibly oversimplifying.)

    As far as Tuesday is concerned, it’s quite possible that your child did, in fact, pick up pieces of the cat’s etheric body, or something. Stranger things have happened.

    There are, of course, other models.

  342. Regarding the future in North America, can anyone else see tne Natives/First Nations becoming a highly revered priest class in a deindustrial future?

  343. “Shane, this is one of the reasons I expect most of the successor cultures in North America to speak languages descended from Spanish…”
    Which is exactly why the Confederacy as I envision it is fully bilingual, with Spanish taught through all schooling, to facilitate trade & diplomacy. 😉

  344. @lathechuck
    ” I’m having a hard time figuring out how they’d respond to a true financial collapse.”

    Just off the top of my head (not being really familiar with the culture) after some vicious infighting amongst themselves which will leave a tiny handful of the strongest, then raids north of the border will begin in earnest. Plenty of goodies to loot up here after all. Whether we can fight them off depends on what shape we are in ourselves. At this point I am assuming the Mexican government will be in no shape to do anything. If the US government can still respond they may eventually put down the troublemakers but the effort will drain resources that can’t be recouped. If the national government can’t respond effectively, then probably state governments (say Texas?) will try to step up to the plate.The border will almost certainly become increasingly frayed and finally completely impossible to maintain. What happens beyond that is anyone’s guess.

    Could be the seeds for a few Post Oil stories there…

  345. Re electric grids. I have a friend who used to work for Southern California Edison as a linesperson. She tells me that people have no idea how fragile the electrical grid is. She believes it has gotten more vulnerable since she left the job because many formerly staffed sub-stations are no longer staffed, just checked daily, or weekly. This leaves them open both to natural malfunction that might not be detected in time to prevent major damage, and to sabotage that could be deliberately planned to take effect just after an inspection to have greatest effect. Consider also that power for major urban areas like LA has to cross over 100 miles of underpopulated desert and what we know about delivery times for parts and I believe she is correct.

  346. JMG,
    the grids are the biggest and highly complicated machines on the planet. They are fully reliant on the Just In Time delivery system for maintenance and replacement. With oil dwindling away as it appears to be uneconomical to get it as the oil industry is becoming its own biggest customer and the broader economy is being starved of net energy. Deflation seems to be setting in. Prices may spike again for a brief period but that will cause demand destruction and deflation continues. Therefore keeping the grids functioning may be a cascading set of failures that could take periods to long to fix before massive turmoil breaks out in society.
    Nuclear reactors need their cooling ponds for spent fuel rods kept at very narrow temperature bands so that the water doesn’t boil and spent fuel catches fire spewing radiation laced smoke into the atmosphere.
    It would be good to know why you think this not likely.
    cheers
    James

  347. JMG –

    I had an argument today, mostly civil, with my son-in-law. He was trying to “explain” to me how the internet could be sustained with large scale solar. I tried to explain to him that the true cost of digital equipment is much higher in energy, environmental and engineering costs than people realize. I had to explain externalized costs and sunk costs, but he listened and tried to argue around. He threw down the “prove-it-to-me” gauntlet (he is an IT guy).

    It took me 2 hours, but he is family, and his understanding is thus important. I found the article I had read long ago. I don’t know if you ever read this, but it certainly explains why the internet, and digital tech in general, is highly unlikely to last beyond the Oil Age.

    I get it if you don’t want to post this, as it is very OT, but it also slams (with support) a lot of assumptions that people will cling to here in the coming decades. Trying to preserve digital is likely to cost current civilization a lot more time and resource than we imagine.

    http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/06/embodied-energy-of-digital-technology.html#more

    If nothing else, you might keep it in your back pocket for later use.

  348. JMG-

    I have a question in three parts, or maybe I just have three questions.

    Alan Watts said in one of his lectures that Western / Abrahamic worldview can be described as understanding the universe as an artifact – something created, and that the Hindu / Buddhist / Dharmic worldview understands the universe as a drama or play, and that the Chinese worldview understands the universe as organism, something that emerges and grows from itself.

    1) How valid do you think these representations are? It seems valid to me for both Abrahamic and Dharmic religions, but I know much less about native Chinese religions and so was curious what you thought?

    2) If this is fairly accurate, each of these obviously have certain advantages in relating to the outside world. Could the universe-as-organism worldview have something to do with how the Chinese civilization was able to arise multiple times in nearly the same location, with limited displacement from the earlier locations, as I believe Toynbee documents has been common with other civilizations?

    3) If you had to simplify the druid concept of the universe in a similar way, how would you describe it?

    Thanks!

  349. Shane, and no doubt if a delegation from the Constitutional Convention in Montgomery shows up at your doorstep to ask for your advice, you might get that… 😉

    Rita, of course! That’s why we can expect grid failures to become more common over time, each round of repairs to be less durable, and after a certain point, outlying areas and the neighborhoods of the poor to remain without power.

    James, you’ve presented very good evidence for the fact that the grid is unsustainable — a point with which I heartily agree. You haven’t presented any evidence at all that it’s going to all go down at once and never be brought back up again, and there’s no reason to think that this will happen — not until the very last stages of the decline, when all that’s left are fragmentary grids in a few areas that still have hydroelectric power or some other sustainable source. In the real world, grid failures happen all the time, affecting larger or smaller areas; the companies that own the grids have enough in the way of maintenance crews and resources to keep patching things together over the short to middle term, as they do in fact do right now in response to the grid failures just mentioned; and governments have every reason (and ample political, economic, and military muscle) to make sure that this keeps happening. The only way the whole grid could go down at once, permanently, is if everyone involved were to sit on their hands and say plaintively, “Oh, whatever shall we do?” — and in the real world, that’s not going to happen, you know.

    Mind you, I won’t be surprised at all if a nuclear waste depot or two goes up in flames in the years ahead of us. That happened already in the Soviet Union, you know, so there’s plenty of evidence on which to base a realistic assessment of what’s likely to happen. Over the longer term, I expect nuclear fuel rods to be dumped in inadequate storage — as in, tipped off flatbed rail cars by condemned political prisoners into dirt trenches in some isolated corner of Nevada or the like — and that area will then become a dead zone for the next quarter of a million years. I know that none of that fulfills the very common craving for a good flashy Hollywood apocalypse, but I’m not in the business of supplying those.

    Oilman, thanks for this! It’s a good summary of the situation.

    Levi, what I’ve read of Chinese religion supports that thesis. The relative impact on recovery from dark ages is a vexed question, as India has also done a good job of recovering from its own dark ages in the same geographical area, and so have some parts of the Abrahamic world — Italy comes to mind. As for Druidry, though, our view of the universe is entirely organic; the universe is an organism, subject to the same laws of growth and decay as other organisms, and each subset within the universe (you, me, industrial civilization, the earth, the dust mites on your elbows, etc.) are also organisms subject to the same organic laws.

  350. Thanks for the answer! I bounced back and forth from angry atheist to being much more intrigued by spirituality and the occult quite a lot from about age 10 to 20, and after reading Last and First Men and getting a concentrated shot of “wow, humans haven’t been here very long and our society can’t claim to be certain about nearly as much as it does” I’m feeling a lot calmer about it and feel much more willing to approach occult topics and other things of that kidney on their own terms.
    The description of magic that you provide in the Well of Galabes, calling it “the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will”, was quite fascinating to me. I’ve experimented before with changing behaviour through self-observation, although it had no structure and after some early successes ended up crashing and burning pretty spectacularly after I bit off a lot more than I could chew. I was really happy to find out that there are specific techniques and methods to this sort of practice that I can try to follow and they’ve been helping quite a lot so far. Cheers!

  351. JMG, my sources for the Indus civilization were the english Wikipedia article about it and the book “The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective” fromGregory L. Possehl. The Wikipedia article seems to be quite good.

  352. @JMG: wow, you study yiquan??? How cool is that! That’s my own main style (alongside Cossack dance-fighting). If you study taikiken, is your yiquan lineage via the Yao family (who I’ve been training with)? I combine my zhan zhuang with qigong, but the concept of mixing it up with Druidic Golden Dawn exercises is certainly an intriguing one!

    @various commenters: has anyone read Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s “The Occult Roots of Nazism”? I saw it once on a bookshelf in Russia, but didn’t buy it. Looked interesting on a brief parse.

    @Juhana: thanks for the reference to Foer’s book; I’ll see if I can get a copy.

    @Darkest Yorkshire: you’re not the only person looking at establishing a group of that type. JMG’s comment about links to workers’ cooperatives is also sensible.

    @Corydalidae re women, you may want to look up what a lot of women are doing in the contemporary neo-Cossack revival in Russia. Natalya Kopylova has some good material on Youtube if you would like inspiration (see eg https://youtu.be/N5fBwZ0rFK8 but note what she’s doing are training exercises rather than combat techniques).

  353. JMG
    I guess I am wondering about how the grid downsizes in a way that doesn’t cause mayhem on a large scale. I agree that it is unlikely that all grids go down at once.But considering the world wide network of parts and resources needed to keep networks going and a payment system for said services, it would appear that there are many spanners to throw into the works to jam the gears so to speak. Thank you for your reply it helps me to ponder where the cheapest of glue has been used to stick this modern civilisation together. More questions to follow.

  354. I note with interest Escher’s question. I am pondering the taxonomy of Daoist physical and spiritual practices, which due to linguistic and cultural ignorance has been a challenge for me.
    I accept that certain practices–like qigong and perhaps Dao yin–don’t mix well with Westen self-realization practices. Would the internal martial arts (taiji, bagua, xing yi) be considered further toward the “physical” end of the spectrum of the Daoist disciplines and, therefore, be a safer adjunct to Western magical practices, or are they too best avoided by the GD or Druidry initiate?

  355. Hi JMG,

    One of the interesting things about the electrical grid is that people here on the blog seem to consider that it is an entity in and of itself. Like we have this “grid” thing which just works because we need it.

    Now as you are aware I’m off grid so my household runs a small micro-grid electricity system using solar power to recharge the batteries. The thing is I don’t tend to view the system as an entireity when considering the potential failure points and possible lifespan. Instead I tend to view each of the individual components in the system and ask myself how fallible is that particular item within the larger system. Each item in the entire system has a different breaking point and to be honest, entropy will eventually take out all of them regardless as to my opinions or wishes. I understand that this perspective also applies to the larger “grid” and I worry that if we as a society fail to invest resources and time into it, then it just becomes less resilient and more prone to failure over time.

    And because individual components get taken out by entropy over time regardless, then chunks of the “grid” may fail whilst leaving other chunks intact depending on the willingness to repair those chunks – and you never quite know where this will happen. I’m sure that a lot of useful components in a failed grid will be relocated to where they are able to be used.

    Manufacturing of anything much, never really took off down here until about the 1850’s gold rush. Whilst you guys had just completed fighting the English, and add about five years or so, we were only just colonised and were most likely starving. It must have been a blow to the English to lose the US as a pressure relief valve for their surplus population and then again here in the 1850’s. Still, they had it good for a while – although they may not see it that way.

    Anyway, few if anyone think that way down here about that particular option. It is quite genius really.

    I hear you about the scurrying and I see that too and despair a bit about it. I suspect when times are hard enough (i.e. Goodies < Beliefs) as may happen sooner or later, I'll then take some people under my wing and we'll see what can be done in the time available. Until then, there is much work to be done here.

    Cheers

    Chris

  356. As this Open Post wraps up, let me say that I found the discussion on reincarnation very interesting. Personally, I don’t have any experiences I can recall which favor any of the horses in the race. One of the homeless communities I used to hang with had some folk theory on the matter I think may be worth airing. I will just list a few claims I have heard, by no means to I assert that they are all consistent, internally or with lived experience. Each sentence should be read as a separate assertion, often recalled from discussion with different members of the community. I post in hopes that someone might glean some wheat from the chaff.

    There is a reincarnating element of the soul which is not bound by the order of time; multiple human-beings incarnate at the same time, can both share a soul, one person can be a reincarnation of another person alive at the same time.

    Aliens might or might not be able to come to Earth in a material form, but there are elements of the soul which come from various extraterrestrial sources, and then cycle on the Earth for a while; I don’t recall the names of the aliens, and their traits, but it seemed to roughly accord with some Astrological theories, except for being more focused on fixed stars presumed to be the base for various other civilizations; some souls have a terrestrial origin.

    There are distinct and recognizable parts of the soul that can maintain an identity for a very long time, and there are elements that generally leave and reenter incarnation between lives, and even during a life. Call this the ‘chunky compost theory’ if you please.

    There are non-human intelligences who participate in soul craft, adding and cleansing influences between cycles; some assert certain moral or immoral natures to these beings.

    There are spiritual entities that use human hosts, rarely attached to the soul before birth, more often attached to the soul, and even incorporated into it, in youth by traumatic experiences.

    As I write this, I am surprised to notice in my self how plausible large elements of these ideas feel to me. I suspect that the mechanistic and indivisible soul as understood in mainstream society has long grated against my way of looking at the world. Thus, shifting to view the soul as something which is evolving, and being transformed and possibly destroyed by it environment, is interesting, as then it fits comfortably with my larger view of the world.

  357. Concerning compatibility, or lack there of, among spiritual paths, are there any known or likely side effects of maintaining casual practice of Tarot and I Ching readings while studying a more integrated system which doesn’t include those techniques, say Celtic Golden Dawn?

  358. @Levi:
    Without wanting to enter into religious details, and aware that you were mainly interested in the Chinese and Druid view, I would still like to add a minor detail to Watts’ view of “Abrahamic” religions: Most Christians believe that the creator completely united with one part of the creation. You cannot unite with an artifact. In fact, many Christians believe that other parts of the creation (at the least, humans) will be taken up into the creator.

  359. @corydalidae, I’m not sure how the legal liability plays out in regards to crops damaged by Monsanto’s drift resistant dicamba. My guess is that Monsanto would claim the farmers using the product didn’t follow the directions for use and therefore are the ones at fault. I read an article somewhere (I believe Modern Farmer) saying that the high summer temps were a major culprit too. The high temperature makes the spray vaporize almost instantaneously. And when it has vaporized to tiny droplets the size of a speck of dust, the slightest breeze can take it for a long ride.

  360. About nuclear waste – I can see it being approved to be used as a border wall by some frightened president in the future. I imagine that in the right place several miles of dead zone would be quite an effective and extremely horrible deterrent, far better than a physical wall. Although even that couldn’t stop travel by sea.

    Also – where do you think that the North and South American version of the Silk Road is likely to develop? I imagine that there’ll be a coastal route from Alaska to Patagonia, or maybe even to Antarctica eventually, but wouldn’t that be affected by rising sea levels and no permenant port facilities?

  361. @ james t & chris/fernglade re grid

    The weakest links are the load sensing switching stations. These have been issues all over the world, and they are also what allows for power to be shuttled to peak demand areas without browning out other areas. This is per my lineman neighbor.

    Secondary are transformers, and some of these are as big as a house. Then you have those used to power 3-phase equipment, step-downs, etc. These are another weak link.

    I use Belize as what the future may look like. Back before the 2008 fiasco, Belize was struggling to pay for fuel to run their power stations. They instituted on/off areas to conserve – similar to gas rationing with odd/even license plates. This would be the first ‘go-to’ when things are getting creaky.

    The USA has issues, in that power generation is very much spread out. Regional grids are interlinked in a haphazard fashion, and power companies are no longer public utilities, but businesses. Hard to get them to unify on much, and harder to get them to reinvest unless there is financial incentive – they will always insist on immediate profit.

    The easiest downsize is to undo the national grid in favor of regional, and then local generation. This will leave many stranded without power that are in between metro areas, where the most demand and attention is focused. But it also reduces the stress on any system when making it smaller – so again, a likely ‘go-to’. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and cities always squeal louder than rural areas.

    The additional load of the internet and all digital equipment is a problem for the US, because we have thrown away everything else we ever used. Analog TV and comms may not have been sexy, but it was more efficient – and stepping backwards will be hard, as few will want to “invest in backwardation”. USA is 100% digitally committed, and this will be a painful unwinding back to the old 1970’s type office or even earlier, IMO.

  362. About tick borne diseases… remember people there are THREE widespread serious tick borne diseases in North America, and several minor ones. Lyme is NOT the only game in town. In some places lik here is it in fact the rarest of the three. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis are widespread, many country guys I know have suffered through both of them. But they are poor and don’t live in the suburban northeast so who cares, right?

    All start similarly with fever and vague malaise. Th Lyme rash is often faint or overlooked, the RMSF rash does not develop early and if you seek prompt treatment you will hopefully never see it. This “rash” is really internal bleeding from your capillaries as the microbes damage them and it is serious.

    The rule is f you have fever in summer goto the doctor, esp. 102 or higher. Start the doxycycline. Later you can have an antibody test to determine what you are really infected by. But treatment must not wait for the appearance of a rash or any other symptoms. You may have wound up taking doxycycline unnecessarily for a minor virus. But the alternative might be turning purple and black and dying in severe pain.

    And YES children need doxycycline green teeth be damned. High fatality rates from RMSF in children (still 5%) may be because of hesitancy to use the right drug.

    As for ehrlichiosis… neuromuscular disorders, chronic leg pain, no fun.

    I started treatment for my RMSF quickly, had no rash, completely cleared the infection, and still expect to spend most of the next month in bet while my exhausted body repairs all the damage those bugs did in just a week or two.i have lost 30 pounds, and I started skinny. But I count myself lucky as I seem to have only minor neurological damage (some numb patches of skin.)

    Educate yourself on you local cicmstances! LYME IS NOT THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN!!

  363. re: souls

    There is also a cold clinical view that Identity is the ultimate trap.

    From that spiritual freedom is seen as posessing no qualities. This is DullBoring.

    Spiritual beings are attracted to mysteries and complexity and fun so here we are in life as we know it. Trapped and irrational we may be but the option literally isn’t.

    <<<>>>>

    Didn’t you say that you had an IT person now?

    I tried to comment from Firefox and same problems.

    Comments should work from ANY browser – no excuses.

    You are losing people over mechanics.

  364. So I was reading the back and forth between a variety of commenters and Soilmaker regarding the fate of Industrial Civilization and appropriate responses.

    For my part, I quit looking for Solutions or the Big Fix some time ago. IMHO, in that way lies darkness and madness.

    When I was a younger lad, I joined a mainstream environmental org on campus. This woulda been the late 80s. So what did we accomplish? Well, Two Forks dam was stopped, but other that that, nada, zero, zilch. Over the years I have seen the infighting, backbiting, fecklessness, tear these groups apart. As well, the demand for $ leads to dubious alliances with monied interests. Greenpeace is rather a case in point.

    Meanwhile, the two political parties have been captured by the same interests. They chase the dollar, which in turn chases the highest short term return.

    The Trump admin is instructive. Who has the Donald primarily surrounded himself with? Generals and the NY monied elite, ala Goldman Sachs. We can expect no help from that quarter. I suspect the “hillbilly coalition” that elected him (no insult intended, that is my cultural background as well) is in for a deep dissapointment.

    The political and cultural divides are now so deep that various constituancies now talk past each other and scream and yell.

    JMG once pointed out to me the difference between despair and grief. It was a thoughtful response, and it served me well.

    I had to work through the grief that the opportunity for transition in the 70s was squandered and now intentional transistion, in otherwords, making rational decisions on lowering emmissions to avoid 2c, ditching fossil fuel, distributing resources to a burgeoning global population, much less saving glaciers or polar bears is now a lost cause. There will be tremendous losses. Nothing will change that. It sucks. It hurts.

    As well, the general public is blind and deaf to these issues, at least in my neck of the woods. Someone- God, Jesus, Elon Musk will provide The Solution.

    Back in the Denver Metro area, we had watering restrictions. Whether your address was odd, or even determined the days of the week you could water the lawn. Could you imagine the uproar that rationing gas would cause? If your liscense plate is odd, you get to drive M, We, Th, if even, Tu, Fr, Sa, with Su open to all. Otherwise public transit. All Holy Hell would break loose. How about birth restrictions? Or centralized food distribution? Or, or, or.

    The old saw of the Serenity Prayer is useful in my experience. Accepting the thing you can’t change can be the most difficult.

    But obsessing how “we” will fix this mess is a good route to despair, once good intentions run into the brick wall of intransigence and overshoot.

    Today, I worked and cut firewood. Yesterday I worked and fished. Caught some small bronzebacks I threw back. I have always caught more fish from rivers and creeks (cricks as my people say) than lakes. I can read a stream, and I don’t own a fancy bass boat with fish finding sonar. All in all, much more satisfying than worrying myself sick over Solutions.

    But that is just me. I could be wrong.

  365. re reincarnation.
    I had a friend who believed that his then current personality was a ‘walk-in’. He had been gay before a serious illness. After the illness he considered himself straight and said there were other changes in his personality that he believed meant that another discarnate soul had moved into his body. Not sure whether he felt his original soul had been pushed out (died?) or merely shoved in a corner. Didn’t know him before any of this happened, so no way to judge accuracy of his perceptions. Now I wish I had asked him more about it, but he died unexpectedly a few years ago.

  366. On a related subject, I regularly fish Salr Creek. I also went there at Belteinne and the Summer Solstice. I am convinced there is a local deity, spirit, entity, god, or goddess that presides or resides there. My gut instinct is she is female. I am inexperienced in these matters, so who knows, but it feels correct. Unsettling for a recovering Methodist layspeaker and weird, eh.?

  367. re spicehammer about Western America shipping

    Look at ports (includes airports) as interfaces. Most ships need a dock to tie up to that is sufficient for their size and draft. Solutions would include landing craft or vessels that carry their own dock. Look at the military solutions.

    Lighters were often used – many smaller boats served as the interface, inefficient but flexible.

    With sails there is no reason to consider any geography by itself. I live in Seattle. A sailboat leaving here could get to New Zealand in a couple of hops stopping in Hawaii for provisions.

    Before the Panama Canal and railroads travelers and freight from the US East to West had the option of sailing around the Horn or a very long march, both hazardous compared to the level of risk currently accepted. People went anyway. Freight was insured but probably at higher rates.

  368. JMG – I know I’m going to immensely enjoy the Weird Of Hali saga, but here’s a confession: I generally find tentacled things – and a lot of insects – really creepy on the visceral level. I absolutely acknowledge their necessary niche in the eco-balance of things, I’ve got no desire to wage jihad against them, and in fact, from a detached perspective I rather admire them. Still, re tentacled and many crawly 6-legged critters, I seem to have an instinctive revulsion. I’m hardly alone in this, given that from Lovecraft to the insectoid creatures in the Alien movies, such critters have been pop-culture portrayed as unnatural horrors. And whereas I delighted in the idea of dinosaurs as a child, nowadays the notion of foot-long cockroaches and house-sized reptiles ambling about ….. no, thank you very much.

    I suppose this is in part due to the sheer “Otherness” of such critters – ( and to be sure they may find me to be similarly Other) – but then again, I find whales to be unknowably Other and I don’t think of them as viscerally creepy. Nor do I find tigers creepy, though they are ten times larger than house cats. A spider even 5 times it’s natural size – can we agree that would be something of a monstrosity?

    I have wondered, from whence comes this revulsion? I’ve encountered theories that such creatures may have originally sprung from minds that are considerably less than what we would term “divine” or perhaps what some would call “evil demiurges”. I’m more inclined to think that tentacled and 6-legged critters are representative of raw, relatively chaotic nature, the kind of red-in-tooth-and-claw rainforest nature that filmmaker Werner Herzog finds so horrific yet so fascinating. Of course, the fiery chaos at the heart of creation provides us with the energies that we must eventually sublimate into divine energy, but perhaps it’s not wise to peer too deeply into the chaos, just as it is wise to not release the chaos at the heart of things by, say, splitting an atom. Perhaps my revulsion, and that of others, is quite natural in this respect.

    Another confession: sometime I like to read your replies to questions and then before reading them, guess at the questions themselves. It can be a challenge.

    Will M

  369. Re: the embedded energy in the digital economy — I’ve skimmed the paper cited above, and think that there may be a much simpler way to address the issue. Instead of trying to measure “kWh per kg” ratings and per-unit content for the myriad exotic materials, suppose we just say “it’s all made of energy”? At every stage of production, the energy cost accumulates, and is eventually passed on to the consumer (plus profit, taxes, and that special extra something for brand-name appeal). The cost of “labor” could be regarded as “support for the workers’ energy consumption (direct, and embedded)”. Up to this point, the sales price is an upper bound on the energy cost. However, we should also consider that an item can be sold below “embedded energy cost” if the difference is covered by debt (especially for intangible goods provided by unprofitable companies with enormous stock valuations and bond debts). I’d expect this analysis to be within a factor of two (over or under) of the true value, depending on the product, but good enough for decision-making. $40,000 for an electric (coal & nuclear, with hydro in some regions) car, or $3,000 for a used gasoline-fueled car? I’ll keep amortizing the embedded energy of the gasoline car… when I must drive at all.

  370. Re: The disappearing “post comment” button. After composing my prior paragraph, I was dismayed to see that the “Post Comment” button had disappeared. I hit the Tab key a few times, and the display scrolled up until the Post Comment button was visible again.

  371. @Oilman2
    “With the racial divide so elegantly engineered, mostly in the east, it may be difficult. ”
    Umm, whenever we’re talking about race in the South, we must realize that we are talking about Yankees projecting their shadow regarding race onto the South. Here, on the ground, the South has the nation’s fastest growing black and Latino communities, as the “Reverse Great Migration” picks up speed. So, the demographic facts speak for themselves. Meanwhile, states like Vermont remain lily white. We have to get along in the South, it’s a demographic imperative, not theoretical like it is in some parts of the country.
    “Shane, and no doubt if a delegation from the Constitutional Convention in Montgomery shows up at your doorstep to ask for your advice, you might get that… 😉”
    Hey, who sez I might not be a delegate in that Convention? Stranger things are known to happen. Besides, you yourself said that when one order gives over to another, it is the excluded that are at the table. If a queer Jew can be a member of the Confederate Cabinet in the 19th Century, then surely a redheaded one can have a part in the reformation of the Confederacy in the 21st Century. 😀 Any advice for assuring oneself a place in the Confederate Constitutional Convention in Montgomery, JMG?

  372. Sitting at my desk at work after a busy day, noticing that the temperature outside has spiked at 107° here in downtown Sacramento. This isn’t unprecedented, although July 2017 in Sacramento was:

    “Temperatures hit at least 90 degrees in downtown Sacramento every single day in July.

    That’s never happened before in records dating back to 1877 for downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article164651197.html

    As Sacramento “cools off” to the low 100s, however, take a look at the forecast for places north (places that many “climate change refugees” intend to escape to).

    https://weather.com/forecast/regional/news/record-heat-west-early-august-2017

    In many of these cities, air conditioning is unusual. And those temperatures could very well be lethal for many without A/C. I hope they set up “cool centers” and have people checking on the housebound and infirm.

    I am a tiny bit surprised it’s happening so quickly (I know, I know…just being honest). Occurs to me that I’d best get used to the words “unprecedented,” “record-breaking,” “freakish,” “unusual” now. Also occurs to me that while planning is necessary, a good thing, I have to be prepared for my plans to be wrong (plans often tend to assume linear scenarios…reality and nature is much more complex than that). There is no escape. There are just better and worse places to weather what’s coming (no pun intended).

  373. Dear inwarrior1, The Romans used concrete very effectively. Some of that ugly grey concrete could be sawed into blocks to make roads that last a few centuries.

  374. I found an interesting old book titled “The Calculus for Engineers” by John Perry published in 1897.

    In the introduction, he outlines what he expects a typical engineer reading his book to know. I’ll just post a little here in case anyone else is interested.

    He expects his readers to have:
    – a practical knowledge of basic mechanics and electricity acquired less from formal lectures than simple experiments and numerical exercises.
    – the ability to quickly compute numerical values using logarithmic tables
    – the ability to quickly estimate numerical figures to a reasonable degree of significant figures without using logarithms
    – basic trigonometry
    – knowledge of how to simplify trigonometric and algebraic expressions (he emphasises drilling this)
    – an understanding the concept of rates and areas even if he doesn’t know the notation of calculus

    All this is still taught at a secondary school level today AFAIK, although to different degrees of success of course. We moderns probably would have less experience using logarithmic tables though.

    He doesn’t believe that the engineer needs any “artificial mental gymnastics such as is furnished by geometrical conics or the usual examination-paper puzzles, or by evasions of the Calculus through infinite worry with elementary Mathematics”, saying that “not one good engineer in a hundred believes in what is usually called theory. ”

    I’ve just skimmed the book but I find his writing style personable and informal (by the standards of his era) yet concise. It’s similar to the books Richard Feynman used to teach himself Calculus, “Calculus for the Practical Man” and “Calculus made easy” but goes further than both books, going up to multivariate calculus.

    For my own part, I’m not a mathematician and am not really interested in axioms and proofs. I find a book like this more interesting than books aimed at budding mathematicians. I like his focus on practical examples rather than generic definitions and proofs.

    Modern, post-1960s textbooks across all fields seem to me to be also pedantic and long-winded on the whole, providing less knowledge with higher page-counts.

  375. Shane,

    It is probably too late so perhaps I will direct you here after the next post, but you repeatedly ask why North America in particular did not sustain a more advanced civilization. The answer, I believe, is the Younger Dryas catastrophe of 13,000 years ago. Most or perhaps all the people native to North America at that time were wiped out and then replaced. We lost 35 species of megafauna, most of them in North America. It was a huge, world wide disaster but centered in North America. Before that time we had horses, camels and elephants/mastodons. All wiped out. In order to have a significant civilization, you must have draft animals, and pack animals. North America had neither. South America has the llamas, which is a pack animal but not a draft animal.

  376. Regarding the topics of reincarnation and Abrahamic traditions, does one think that civilizations may reincarnate? This is similar to the idea of cycles of history I think.

    One story from the Abrahamic tradition which parallels our situation today is the story of the Tower of Babel. A whole world coming together, speaking one language and developing their faith in man. Then boom, disaster. Perhaps an allusion to catabolic collapse?

    There really is an incredible amount of wisdom one can gleen from the old stories. And often it seems what is macro on scale is also micro on scale, such as the ideas of reincarnations and phoenixes.

    One can’t but think we’ve been here and done that before. Once this idea sets in, I wonder what other types of technology did we develop, use, abuse, then lose. And is there really anything we can do this time to make the fall of this civilization different from any of the others?

  377. For those looking for old books this is an aggregator (not litigator, not alligator, it won’t eat you up like those others).

    http://used.addall.com/

    Old books on pharmacy are fairly easy to find.
    Practice of Pharmacy by Joseph P. Remington from 1905 is worthwhile. How to use and make lab equipment. Many scary medications that can be manufactured with minimal resources. 1504 pages. You might want a toxicology book to go with.

    Merck Manuals (Diagnosis and Treatment) go back to 1899.

  378. James Jensen – For what it’s worth, I was a spelling wiz as a kid and ended up going on to the national bee, and I definitely remember noting when I was a little kid – a kid in the demographic the book was aimed at – that “Berenstain” was a weird spelling that stood out to me because it wasn’t “-stein”.

    newtonfinn – I read Looking Backward recently and it definitely caused me to think of some things I’d read on the Archdruid Report. Specifically, I’m remembering the pastor’s radio-telephone sermon, and its vision of what the ultimate destiny of humankind should be. Now that they had perfected material life, he said, the only thing left to do was to perfect moral life, and become the most ethical beings possible. It struck me that I was reading a missive from before the religion of progress grabbed onto the more prosaic vision of interstellar colonization as the unarguable endpoint of all that progress. (A point that I wouldn’t have picked up on without the ADR to point out the pervasiveness and recency of that myth.) It was a refreshing thing to read.

  379. @ Shane W –

    I was referring to EBT cards and other such government tools for suppression. Sorry – had the thought but it didn’t make it through my fingertips. At least in many areas I have lived in, that is a large dividing factor, and laws started and continue it.

    I am not white, so that may clarify things somewhat…LOL But you are, in the main, right – we usually get along. Racial stories and epithets abound on all sides, but in many cases the chips many wear on their shoulders have rubbed or been knocked off in the south.

  380. Since warbands are a popular topic here I have a thought. If a settled population is threatened by warbands then as well as being armed, trained for combat, and as self-sufficient as possible, they would benefit from developing a reputation for:

    1. Being very poor slaves.
    2. Particularly creative and sadistic methods of torture, enslavement and excecution.
    3. Cannibalism.

    Because what warband needs to deal with that? They want soft targets and easy victories. They want their approach to cause dry mouths, not the alarm bell triggering a Pavlovian response of salivating and warming up the cooking pot. 🙂

    On the question of concrete – recycling is already done, using it either as foundation hardcore or gravel, or fully recycled into fresh concrete. I’m sure I saw a documentary that featured a truck-mounted system that could grind, reliquefy and pour the new concrete all on site, but I can’t find any reference to it online.

    The ‘compost bin’ (or ‘spiritual topsoil’ as I’ve been thinking of it) model of what happens after death is a possibility in at least two spiritual systems. In shamanism Michael Harner refers to it as ‘ecstatic cosmic union’. As you can tell from the name it is considered a very desirable state as long as you don’t mind your conciousness ultimately dispersing and you ceasing to exist. Daoism on the other hand aims for some kind of immortality for the self/spirit/soul to have the time to build up knowledge, power and wisdom, so regards dispersal as one of the worst outcomes and a waste of that incarnation’s potential. The interesting thing is both systems believe that with increasing spiritual advancement you get more choice in what happens to you after death, so it would be only one possibillity out of several options.

    What do people think of Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing? As it deals with magic, spirituality and ecology in a declining world, I expect strong opinions. 🙂

    Bogatyr! Russian strongman! Excellent. My shoulder impingements are nearly sorted out so I’ll be back to the kettlebells soom myself. I brought up the idea of…I need a snappy name for this combined thing…partially as a nice idea, an idle thought and a joke. Now I’m worried what I’ve got myself into. Yes workers co-ops would be a good idea, particularly if they provide a local manufacturing and repair capacity. A fab-lab or makerspace would be handy to have (although possibly less obsessed with high tech equipment than most). It could also link into more community-based things like Transition Towns, Resilient Communities and things like food, power, transport and security co-ops. Who else has had this idea?

    Circles of Power just arrived so I shall read it and then return with weirder and more complicated questions. 🙂

  381. re Bill Pulliam, tick born diseases: prevention is also a good strategy. Japanese knotweed root (Polygonum cuspidatum) tincture taken everyday seems to help prevent Lyme, and is core in the protocol of as well as RMSPF. IIRC Buhner says that taking it daily acts as a prophylactyic. I’ve found that while I take it ticks are less likely to even bite. Astragalus, ashwagandha, reishi, eleuthero etc are good at shoring up the immune system as which also helps prevent infection. Buhner makes note in the afterward of his revised healing lyme that many of those who are infected are thrust, willingly or not, into initiation of the herb craft and the mantle of healing. I mention this because herbcraft is utterly overwhelming at first glance, and it seems prudent to me to dive into the mysteries before one gets sick. Herbs have their limitations like everything else, but in my experience they really work and often miraculously, even with tick born illnesses. Of course I’m not a doctor and this comment is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness, it is meant for educational purposes only.

  382. JMG- you commented a little bit ago somewhere about not understanding why people dislike the idea of one for one reincarnation. I for one do not dislike the idea at all, in fact I will be very pleased if that is what comes next. My problem is that it conflicts with what I se in nature, the eco part of ecosophia** There I see death followed by dissolution and assimilation. The compost heap model does not necessarily make me happy because it is very close to the atheist oblivion. I’m also fond of concepts where spirits can be helpers and guides for the living. But just because I like these ideas doesn’t mean I will believe them as true. And I know that experiences with past life memories and ancestral spirits are not “hard proof” of the one for one continuation of the soul, because metaphysical experiences are like that. By the way, rather than compost heap I prefer drop of rain returning to the ocean,

    I wil be thrilled if on my death I find myself crossing the finish line saying “Wow what a ride! Give me my 49 days and I’m ready to go again!”

    **does t this word literally mean “house knowledge?”

  383. @Rita Rippetoe
    Re: Walkins

    I considered whether to respond to this one, since I’ve been channeled as a walkin myself. I only found out about this 20 years after the event when I decided to ask about it in a session. Sometimes I need more of a kick than usual; I’d been rejecting the idea even though books on the phenomena had almost been jumping off the shelf at me.

    The incident was atypical. It was at the end of a weekend “package spirituality” seminar (Hindu based), where the presenter invited people to come up and have shaktipat. Most people came up, Alexander pressed a finger to their head, they took a flower and walked back to their seat. I staggered back and cried for fifteen minutes to a feeling of the most intense desolation I have ever experienced. The personalty changes were profound, but mostly internal: it took a long time to remodel my external personality, and the job hasn’t ended after more than 40 years.

    That was the beginning of my “spiritual” journey. Before then I was definitely trans to the extent that I might have gotten SRS if I’d have had the guts. Now it’s still there, but a lot milder.

    I usually call it the “used body exchange.” The original Essence is done and is ready to check out, but there’s another Essence that can use a pre-owned body.

    P.S. I’m still not entirely convinced about the “walkin” thing, but it fits the evidence better than any alternative.

    @Nastarana

    Roman concrete isn’t the same as Portland cement. Concrete made with volcanic ash (Roman concrete) gets stronger with time, especially if it’s underwater. Concrete made with Portland cement disintegrates.

  384. @onething

    While “Clovis First” is dead, the Younger Dryas is too soon after the migration from the Bering refugium began. There’s a good deal of dispute about what eliminated the megafauna between people who want to believe it was climate change and people who believe that it was the first humans who settled the Americas. I’m in favor of the latter.

  385. Violet — all iin favor of herbs and prevention as mainstays of health. But when you get a life threatening serious infection, also all in favor of the drugs. When your house iis on fire call the fire department

  386. Bill Pulliam, I couldn’t agree more – just wanted to give a shout out to some of my green friends. I’m glad you’re doing better.

  387. @Will Musham: on what causes revulsion, try Noel Carroll’s “Philosophy of Horror,” which draws on Mary Douglas’ “Purity and Danger” but is a lot more readable. The basic idea is that we are disturbed by things that violate the mental categories we have created (personal) or learned (cultural, though ultimately of course created also) to make sense of the world.

    – Ann

  388. Hi JMG

    I wanted to draw your attention to a Guardian column from last week, on the New Optimists, which was linked at a few net haunts of mine.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/jul/28/is-the-world-really-better-than-ever-the-new-optimists

    Reading it, my first thought was that you would have fun dismantling these status quo boosting Candides, who never once emit the word ‘energy’ in their cheery, statistic laden analyses. They struck me as analogous to the doomed, out of touch scientific elite in that elegant short story of your a while back. Or the global expert class who thought the Iraq War was moral and would be a cakewalk. Or the dominant caste of mainstream economists who failed to see the last crisis coming and can’t feel the next brewing under their feet. Or Francis Fukuyama and history’s end.

    David Runciman and the author Oliver Burkeman poke a few large holes in the fabric of the optimistic narrative. Burkeman:

    ‘even if it’s true that everything really is so much better than ever, why assume things will continue to improve? Improvements in sanitation and life expectancy can’t prevent rising sea levels destroying your country. And it’s dangerous, more generally, to predict future results by past performance: view things on a sufficiently long timescale, and it becomes impossible to tell whether the progress the New Optimists celebrate is evidence of history’s steady upward trajectory, or just a blip’

    A fossil fuel powered blip, he might have added. In fact he says: ‘Almost every advance Norberg champions in his book Progress, for example, took place in the last 200 years’ but does not draw the obvious conclusion from this.

    Runciman emphasises the fragility of this ‘steady progress’ – ‘When you live in a world where everything seems to be getting better, yet it could all collapse tomorrow, “it’s perfectly rational to be freaked out’

    Then there is the ‘anchoring bias’ – ‘If you start from the fact that plague victims once languished in the streets of European cities, it’s natural to conclude that life these days is wonderful. But if you start from the position that we could have eliminated famines, or reversed global warming, the fact that such problems persist may provoke a different kind of judgment’

    There is also the personal (ir)relevance of global statistics: ‘If people in your small American town are far less economically secure than they were in living memory, or if you’re a young British person facing the prospect that you might never own a home, it’s not particularly consoling to be told that more and more Chinese people are entering the middle classes’

    Burkeman makes a final acute observation: ‘There is a point at which it stops being so relevant whether widespread pessimism and anxiety can be justified or not, and becomes more relevant simply that it is widespread’

    It is widespread because most people are not handicapped by a scientific fidelity to ‘the facts’ – a myopic focus only on what can be established about the past and the present, with a corollary lack of regard for prudence, let alone intuitive judgement about the possible future ahead.

    I would add that us late capitalist peons, unlike our early forebears and those that went before them, are perhaps more likely to tend toward pessimism given the damage people like Darwin, Faraday, Einstein and to a lesser extent Marx and Freud, have done to the potential for a life lived in what we might call suffering to carry on and face death with an equanimity rooted in faith.

    Nietzsche saw this coming, and look what it did to him…

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss . Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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