Open Post

June Open Post

As mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve decided to try hosting an open space once a month to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. 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, I’m delighted to announce that Founders House is moving ahead with the ten-volume set of The Archdruid Report: The Collected Essays and expects to have the first volume available a little later this year. Publisher Shaun Kilgore will also be offering a hefty discount on the complete set when ordered in advance. Stay tuned for more details!

Second, since this blog won’t be focusing on the political themes that enlivened (in several senses of the word) the last year and a half of The Archdruid Report, I’m looking for a venue that might be interested in occasional pieces of political journalism from my idiosyncratic perspective. (A paying gig would be especially welcome, of course.) If any of my readers have a print or online venue to suggest — or better still, if one of my readers happens to be an editor at such a venue! — I’m all ears.

With that said, have at it…

305 Comments

  1. Dear John,

    If you had to choose, what would be the top nonfiction 20 books that every person should read?

  2. All –

    If you’re having trouble with long comments pushing the Post button off the bottom of the screen, for now I’d just tab out of the comment box or try a different web browser. I’m seeing this on some platforms and browsers (Win 7, Mac Chrome and Firefox) but not others (Safari, Windows 10).

    I’ve also been in touch with Automattic and they confirm that they’re investigating a number of similar reports. It seems that the latest update to their commenting software introduced some bugs.

    Geoff

  3. JMG,
    You wrote in depth about the rise of Donald Trump but in a way that no one else was doing. You even correctly predicted his victory at a time when that seemed impossible to the media. Now that it has about half a year since the inauguration, can you give a quick reaction to how you think his presidency is turning out? One interesting fact is that both Obama and Reagan served 8 years total but got their most important accomplishments passed during the first 2 years of those 8- meaning if Trump doesn’t get anything accomplished very soon he may lose the opportunity to be anything but a lame duck president.
    Thanks!

  4. JMG,

    I’m often amazed at your ability to synthesize the facts of history, science, psychology, sociology, etc., and then logically lay out views and conclusions which often contradict “the norm”. More often than not, any immediate disagreement I might have is negated, once I’ve had a chance to re-read and ponder over arguments in the essay.

    Since we’re nearly the same age, I’m curious as to the history and methods of your education, because it’s apparent that you were able to throw off the shackles of constrained thought long ago, and I still struggle (mightily) to open up my mind and actually think freely. (disclaimer – I have two bachelor of science degrees from major schools, spent four years in the Air Force, and am guilty of being a contrarian much more than an open thinker – dr hooves is my horse racing handle…..)

    What’s your secret? (besides just being ultra-bright)

  5. Dear Mr Greer,

    I hope I won’t get penalized for asking multiple questions. Firstly,
    ​ho​
    w did the appropriate tech movement of the 70’s start? ​Are there any books on its origins and any lessons that might be learnt for the road going forward? ​

    ​Secondly, will ADR print edition have an index or some kind of lookup table, to make it easier to find essays on a specific topic?

    ​​Lastly, I read the Galabes post on meditation and I was wondering if you feel there is any benefits to mindfulness meditation (compared to discursive meditation) ​?

  6. A few random questions on occult subjects–

    What do you make of the growing popularity of authors in the occult field (naming no names) that explicitly deny that what you call the “Raspberry Jam principle”, and insist that one can practice malefic magic without necessarily experiencing repurcussions?

    I’m looking forward to the discussion of Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth, and have just received my copy in the mail. My guess is that the work in that book is compatible with the Celtic Golden Dawn… Am I right?

    And how is the “Golden Dawn 拳” qigong system coming along?

  7. And on historical topics…

    I seem to remember at one time you said that you disagree with Spengler’s view of Western Civilization as having begun in the Middle Ages, but that you instead see Medieval civilization as its own self-contained civilization. Is that still how you see it? If so, when would the transition be?

    Any thoughts on American civilization from a Spenglerian kind of perspective? I wonder if the first few centuries up to the present couldn’t be thought of as a “pseudomorph” in the same way Spengler described “Magian” civilization– outwardly Western but really representing a whole new life-way. On the other hand, as the last Western nation founded and the only nation to travel to the Moon, the United States sort of epitomizes the highest ideal of Faustian culture. So maybe not.

  8. I have often thought that in some of your posts you are using magic to either gently persuade or provoke your readers. I suppose that nearly all non-fiction writing attempts to do that, but I wonder if in some specific posts you have used magic (as you defined it in Blood of the Earth.).

  9. Can you please continue your train of thought with those last series of posts about Schopenhauer and will?

  10. Well, since I don’t see too many other questions here yet, I’m going to dive right into the deep end. I hope you don’t mind….if you think this is too weighty a topic for this format, just say so. In one of your fairly recent blogs at TADR, (or it could have been Galabes, but I think not) you mentioned sort of in passing that you had your own ideas about what happens after death. Ever since, I’ve wished you would elaborate on that!

  11. Hello John,

    Thanks for doing this – I hope it doesn’t overload you. I suspect there are many readers with questions.

    I’ve been reading Man and His Symbols by Jung et al. In it the authors seem to imply that the only way (or maybe the best way – I can’t find the quotes right now) to know the subconscious or Self is through the analysis of dreams. I’m planning to start practicing the lessons in The Celtic Golden Dawn system in large part because I believe this will help me understand my Self and the world around me. Don’t occult systems and religions in general all seek to gain a better understanding of ourselves in some sense? Or is therapy the only way to go as Jung’s book seems to imply?

    Thanks, Doug

  12. Congratulations, JMG, on both the new blog and your recent move to Rhode Island. I’d been following The ADR since 2007, as well as The WOG, and I’m excited to see what strange new avenues this blog will take. A couple questions:

    First, why Rhode Island? I find myself in a situation where I’ll be traveling over the next few years for work, and I’ll be using the opportunity to try different places on, and decide where I eventually want to put down root. Portland, Maine, has always been high on my list, so I’m curious if you had similar reasons for relocating to Providence.

    Second, a bit of frivolity. If you could possess one single piece of factual information that is currently unknown to mankind, what would it be? It could be anything, from the location of Alexander the Great’s tomb, to a plant that had potent antibiotic properties, to the nearest planet containing multicellular organisms. It doesn’t even have to be anything particularly useful (just how many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Pop?), and the information needn’t lead to any earth-shattering revelations. It could merely satiate your own curiosity.

  13. JMG,

    Care to comment on why the move to E. Providence? I remember some of your discussion as to why you were relocating from the west coast…

  14. Agh, okay, last question, also on magic–

    I’ve been rereading this very good post from a little ways back on Galabes: http://www.ecosophia.net/blogs-and-essays/the-well-of-galabes/three-lessons-in-operative-magic/ and, perusing the discussion, I came across this comment–

    “If you want to practice operative magic, you have to become a magical person, and that means you are going to have to change a lot of things about yourself that make you nonmagical.”

    Could you talk a bit more about this? What would be, say, a good first step in identifying the things about yourself that make you non-magical?

    In my own case, this leaps to mind: Regular ritual practice, spending time in nature and reading old copies of old books, practices like qigong, and things like learning languages, writing, and playing music “feel magical” in my own life. On the other hand, spending time on the internet, watching TV (not a daily habit for me, but a weekly to monthly one), and drinking caffeine to excess lead me to feel very non-magical. That is, the worlde feels like a narrow, colorless and rather dull place, and my sense of hidden things, “energies” and so forth pretty much disappears, especially if I’ve been looking for too long at a phone. Is this the sort of thing you’re talking about?

  15. I came around to your dislike of Harry Potter. The best part of the series is an obvious Rings ripoff. While I’m clearing the shelves I may as well throw Narnia on the pile.

  16. JMG, during the break I recommended your geopolitical thriller “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” to the blogger The Saker. He took to it like a fish to water and wrote an entire post on his blog ( http://thesaker.is/ ) recommending it to all his readers. It appears that many of them are now eager readers of your work.

    The Saker is part of a fairly small blogger community which is rabidly anti-American empire. He maintains a multinational network, and he posts to the website Unz.com by personal invitation of its owner. Unlike other trustworthy, closely aligned sites (e.g. Consortiumnews), I think the Saker would be open to guest posts from former Archdruids. His posting schedule is a bit idiosyncratic, but in any case, I’m sure he would be very eager to correspond with you. Similar to you, he is concerned about independence from failing cloud-based blog platforms. Give it a shot!

    On an unrelated personal note, yesterday I tried to explain to my boss at the newspaper where I work why I think “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” is a plausible scenario, and I’m pretty sure he was not happy to hear what I had to say. In the American-allied country where I currently live (Japan), questioning the permanence of American empire apparently makes politically invested people extremely uncomfortable and suspicious of you. And this newspaper seems to fall deeper and deeper into a myopic, Trump-worshiping rabbit hole every day. Hope I won’t be living on Patreon donations myself anytime soon.

  17. Hi JMG,

    Glad to see you blogging again, and I’m intrigued by the new direction. Perhaps with your pile of still-to-unpack boxes, this isn’t the best time to ask, but would you please share what drew you to Providence? I’ve only been to New England once, as a high-schooler, and I don’t know much about the region – though I’m learning a bit more through The Weird of Hali, two volumes of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

    Best of luck to you and Sara, and I’m glad to see so many familiar commenters have followed you here. The comment sections have been fun and educational to follow.

    Steve

  18. Me Greer. You have mentioned several times that science and logic are two of the five or six really great human achievements. I have been wondering what the full list is?

  19. I sometimes get frustrated that my life is during this post-peak time of “falling apart of things” and that the later renaissance is something I will never get to see. Selfish, I realize, but there you have it. I’ve had some success in framing it in terms of seasonal cycles, as there is much beauty in autumn (happens to be my favorite, which helps, too).

  20. Hi JMG
    First let me say how much I have enjoyed reading both your blogs over the past few years. It has helped me to form a much more sane view of the future and I am looking forward to more here.

    I am a recent engineering graduate from university in New Zealand. I am in the process of starting a family and looking for the job to start my career. I have a minnimum wage job now with which we can just survive. We both have a lot of interest free student debt and few assets although no other debt. I believe that engineering should be one of the more secure professions for the years ahead, hence my choice of degree.

    I am wondering if you are familiar with the situation in New Zealand and do you have any advice as to the most important ways to make a young family more resilient for the future. Also what are your impressions of the most resilient career path given the long decline to come.

    I would also appreciate if another commenter has anything to add.

    I’m also looking for any information on druid groups in Christchurch NZ as your writings on the subject have got me interested in learning more.

    Sorry for the length of this, you did say ask anything.

    Michael

  21. I have an anecdote that I hope will inform a question I have for the larger readership.

    My half brother is an accomplished chef. Over that last few years he has been developing a vegan substitute for sushi grade tuna and has recently begun production at scale. The inspiration came to him in a flash when he visited the Tokyo fish market and saw the massive number of carcasses, realizing that they represented a single day’s trade, and that slaughter of these fish on such a scale was fundamentally unsustainable, inevitably leading to extinction.

    The production facility for this product is in Mexico. My brother lives in Northern California. The company headquarters and primary market for the product is currently New York. There is a lot of air travel embodied directly and indirectly in these little bits of vegan sushi tuna. If asked about the use of finite petroleum in this manner my brother would be very firmly in the camp of “They’ll think of something!” and happily hop on his next flight even though his solution to the same problem for fish vs ancient plankton amounts to Don’t Eat The Fish.

    Are there people in your life who get one particular strand of our crisis spaghetti and are taking real action as a result, but are incapable of comprehending the plate before them/us? Any cases where this was true but you managed to eventually get around their thought-stoppers?

    Are there people you know from the wider resiliency movement who are generally clear eyed but have one glaring blind spot? When presented with your observation how often is there hostility vs thanks vs other?

  22. Greetings John Michael,

    I’ve been wondering for a while what your personal relationship is to a device I have quite an affinity for – the bicycle. Do you own one, and if so can you describe it and your relationship to it? A bonus to the answer, for me, would be a brief summary of any of your bicycling experiences over the years.

    Many thanks for all that you do, in these forums and in the wider world!

  23. Hello JMG I have been reading a lot recently about economics. I am trying to understand why the economic paradigm that we have been functioning in since the ’70s has led to such inequality. Michael Hudson, (http://michael-hudson.com/books/the-bubble-and-beyond/ ) points clearly to the idea driving governments in most Western countries, neoliberalism, as the culprit. With the concentration of the media in corporate hands, the banks and financiers are pivotal. We are led to believe that money is scarce, collapse is coming, the environment is poisoned — all leading to fear which isolates us and makes us vulnerable to manipulation by corporations. Increasingly national and regional governments are run by big business for their purposes, not the citizens’. Strangely we do not seem to recognize that neoliberalism is just an idea, that it can be replaced by other perspectives or paradigms! To me it seems that what is at stake is the very basic question of what it means to be human.

    I am curious to learn if you and others in this comment thread can imagine an economic system that puts the well-fare of its citizens first. Then, how do we get to there from here?

  24. It sure does seem likely that we are transitioning into an era of considerably constrained resources, where much of the technology we use now, e.g. air travel and the internet, will disappear one way or another. Already both are struggling – air travel gets more miserable by the year, and whew the latest ransomware attack looks rather scary.

    Building new systems for living that don’t rely on such high tech facilities seems to be the wise way forward. Perhaps using the existing high tech facilities as a kind of scaffolding makes good sense. Why not use a smart phone, for example, to network with the other folks in the local permaculture class. Why not fly to hear a panel discussion on religion and climate change? It’s not like any kind of stage coach service is available as an alternative!

    I’d love to hear your views on the struggle between maintaining ethical standards that truly respect the ecosphere versus the kind of practical compromises that seem almost unavoidable in our insane modern world.

  25. Rahul, Trump was never going to accomplish much as president; his election was a slap in the face directed at the entire bipartisan political establishment, and they’ve reacted with a world-class tantrum. Now the GOP apparatchiks are trying to figure out how to use Trump, their Dem equivalents are shrieking at the top of their lungs in an echo chamber to which none of the people who elected Trump pay the least attention, and the US continues to spiral down the drain.

    Drhooves, it’s not a matter of intelligence. I know people who are a lot more intelligent than I am who still can’t seem to think outside of the conventional wisdom. I have two secrets, for what it’s worth. The first is that I don’t watch television – there’s a reason they call what’s on the TV “programming,” you know. The second is that I mostly read books by dead people, which keeps me from falling under the influence of current intellectual fads. Give ‘em both a try!

    Marcu, to my knowledge nobody’s done a history of the appropriate tech movement – it would be a great project for a historian! I don’t happen to know how it began. The collected Archdruid Report essays won’t have an index, but there may be a separate index volume – I exchanged emails with a reader about that before moving ate all my time, and will be following up with that now that I have two minutes to rub together.

    As for mindfulness meditation, I don’t recommend it for occultists. If you’re going to get into occultism, you need the inner skills that you get from discursive meditation, or a lot of the tradition will remain a permanently closed book to you.

    Steve, every decade or so you get a flurry of people in the occult scene who want to be edgy and transgressive, and insist that it’s perfectly okay to practice evil magic, throw curses at all and sundry, et cetera. Wait a while and see what happens to their lives, and make your own call. As for the other two questions, yes and it’s in process.

    With regard to Spengler, my take on the transition from medieval to early modern society has become a lot closer to his. The thing to keep in mind is that America is in the same situation that, say, Roman Britain was in the classical world; a thin layer of civilization over a deep ocean of barbarism, which will win out in due time. America will eventually birth another civilization of its own, but there’s a lot of time and a long road to travel before that happens.

    Mike, nope. As I explained in The Blood of the Earth, it’s almost always best to use magic to change your own state of consciousness, rather than trying to manipulate others.

    Rod, yep – it’s on the get-to list.

  26. In terms of the question above about careers: lots of careers are now very dependent on technology, and it’s hard to know how to escape that. I have a graphic design degree (itself a relatively new profession that came about due to mass communication and industrial printing) but I have had to shift to software development because frankly that was the area in which I could find work. But I have felt for years increasingly nervous about this reliance on technology, for both ethical and practical reasons.

    I suppose that I may have answered my own question as I’m writing this, the thought struck me that I have the layout and technical skills to do newspaper or book design (albeit very rusty), both of which might be useful going forward if they are put to use on older forms of printing technology, but sometimes I wonder if it makes more sense to completely change directions. You responded to someone on the last post about how restoration ecology would be a very useful skill to have going forward, and it’s something I have been reading about anyway.

    In general I’m interested in your thoughts about how to earn a living going forward!

  27. Lydia, sure thing. It so happens that for a significant number of people, regular practice of discursive meditation ends up (usually after several years) uncovering apparent memories of previous lives. I’m one of those people. Cleopatra et al. have no place in those memories; the most recent life I recall, for example, was an American woman who was born in Iowa in the very early 1920s, left home for Los Angeles when the Second World War broke out, married a much older man just after the war, and died in a head-on car crash before her fortieth birthday. Considering those memories, the ample evidence for reincarnation to be found in the old psychic research literature, and the fact that traditional occultism accepts it with a near-unanimous consensus, I take reincarnation – or if you wish to be precise, metempsychosis – as my basic model for what happens after death. Of course your postmortem mileage may vary… 😉

    Doug, remember that Jung was trying to market his own system. He knew better – the man was a competent occultist – but Man and his Symbols is a sales pitch for the masses, and oversimplifies a lot of things. Dream analysis in Jungian therapy is one way to go about it, and it’s one I’d like to try someday if I ever have the money – but it’s far from the only game in town.

    Redmachus, Sara and I wanted a midsized city with good public transportation, good rail links to other places of interest, a range of resources we couldn’t get in a small town in the middle of the north central Appalachians, and a tolerant and diverse population; Providence has all those. So do many other cities, to be sure! It so happened that my attention was drawn to Providence because the fifth volume of my epic fantasy with tentacles, The Weird of Hali, is set there; Sara and I decided to check it out, and here we are.

    With regard to unknowns, I can’t think of anything. I enjoy the fact that there are so many things we don’t and can’t know!

    Jerry, see above.

    Steve, that’s a good start. Whenever you’re changing consciousness in accordance with will, you’re living a magical life; whenever you’re passively submitting to having your consciousness changed without or against your will, you’re not. Draw your own conclusions!

    Lunchbox, I see a lot of Harry Potter books for a dollar apiece in used book stores these days. As for Narnia, I couldn’t stand those even when I was a kid: the hamfisted allegory spoiled it for me from the start.

    Avery, yes, I saw the Saker’s review! Thank you for sending my novel his way. I’m hoping to find a venue for my political writing that has a distribution outside the far fringes, since I’ve already got plenty of distribution there. 😉 Still, I’ll consider him.

    Steve M., see my comment to Redmachus above.

    Tantelili, very well so far. We’ve been restocking the kitchen with Asian groceries – my stepmother is Japanese-American, so my childhood comfort foods are all Japanese – and enjoying a bus system that actually runs regularly from early in the morning until late at night.

  28. Will, my list of our species’ really great intellectual leaps consists of language, writing, mathematics, philosophy, logic, and experimental science.

    David, understood. You don’t choose when you’re born; you choose what you do about it.

    Michael, I’m not at all familiar with the situation in New Zealand, as I’ve never been there, and know essentially nothing about its economy and job prospects! Nor do I happen to know about what Druid groups might be active there. I did indeed say “ask me anything,” but sometimes the answer will inevitably be “why, I don’t have the least idea…”

    Francisco, I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you!

    Buzzy, in my experience, the more privileged a person is, the more likely they are to fixate on one detail out of the broader crisis, and do something about that, as a way not to deal with their own broader participation in what’s causing the crisis. Point this out and I promise you you’ll get immense hostility, because at some level people know perfectly well what the score is.

    Bryan, I haven’t owned a bicycle since boyhood. I prefer a slower pace – the one I can manage with my unaided feet. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with cycling – it’s just not my cup of tea.

    Early this afternoon I walked across the Henderson Expressway bridge over the Seekonk River. There’s a walking lane on each side which, to judge from the luxuriant foliage, next to nobody uses, and a bike lane inside that. When I was most of the way across, a man on a bike came the other way, spotted me, did a double-take, and then beamed at me and waved. I answered with a smile and a wave of my own. That’s basically my relationship to bicycling.

    Mary, that’s a worthwhile endeavor, but I’d encourage you to read about older systems of economics as well. You’ll find that they also fostered extreme levels of inequality. Neoliberalism is simply the latest of a long series of gimmicks that permit the privileged to scoop most of the benefits of society. As for your final question, it’s easy to imagine an economic system that, on paper, lacks all the flaws of the current one; put it into practice and you may have another think coming. This notion that a better system can be designed from the ground up by well-meaning intellectuals, and that the result will actually solve the problems it’s supposed to solve, has been the source of a vast number of catastrophes down through the years, you know…

  29. Jim, that’s a question with a lot of ramifications, and will be discussed at length as we proceed. For the moment, though, I’m going to call you on one small but telling evasion — your comment that we might as well fly because we can’t take the stagecoach. That’s a classic bit of disingenuous rhetoric — contrast the modern technology with some long-defunct equivalent, while ignoring options that actually exist. You could take the train, or catch an intercity bus — both of which use far less in the way of fuel, and dump far less carbon into the atmosphere, than a plane does. The fact that you went out of your way to avoid mentioning these actual alternatives, while dragging in a fictional one for rhetorical emphasis, raises (at least for me) some real questions about your motives.

    Jbucks, in your place I’d look into which retro printing and design technologies are finding a new market niche, and getting the specialized training to find a place in one or more of those. The education you’ve already got could be turned to good account in book design or some other retro medium. Give it a try!

  30. If one wanted to start pursuing some esoteric practices, would you recommend beginning with a group/order? If so, which ones do you think are good beginning places? If not, how would you recommend someone begin pursuing esoteric practices?

  31. JMG,

    Many thanks for all the great books! Come for the politics stayed for the magic 🙂 Got two q’s: First one’s around knowing the path and then walking it. If we accept yours and others assessment that all is not well, what next steps have you taken to walk the path? I find reading endless books of the myriad of subjects of the endless ills of our society somewhat counterproductive, essentially disaster porn. I’ve taken a decently radical change and am now an organic market gardener. Better than the office job, and selling to local folks which is solid but still slinging a lot of the veg to the affluent who can afford the price markup. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on balancing the need for an income, with creating resilience and sustainability.

    Second q, the idea of the authentic vs people aping/paying lip service to the authentic. When I lived in Japan, I trained in Bujinkan Taijitsu. Without going on a huge rant, it was the perfect martial art, and having practiced others, I was able to make this assessment. Of course there was hangers on and folks using it for their own aggrandisement)  but the core teaching were glorious. This insight has been very help when assessing people and practices in alternative movements which I’ve come in contact as an organic grower. Whether it’s environmentalists, alternative medicine or anything else that falls under the alternative umbrella, there seems to be quite a range of folks who truly believe (rightly or wrongly) and others who just pay lip service, as this is where they’ve landed. What criteria/guidelines/etc do you use to assess the authenticity of something when you don’t have direct experience in it?

    cheers 🙂

  32. My wife and I will visit my daughter, son-in-law, and 2 grandchildren in upstate New York by plane on Friday. We decided that it will likely be the last time by plane. We travel to her youngest daughter’s wedding in California in September by train. It will be train to New York, or train to here for them the next visit.
    Trying a little bit at a time.

  33. The mandate I have personally attempted to take on, from Green Wizardry, has been to be as active as I can personally sustain in exploring my communities means of primary production, with an emphasis on food. Then to try encouraging my friends there-by met to impliment or an least play with methods of production with fewer externalities than the ones currently in vogue. Saving Seeds instead of buying them; scything instead on running a string trimmer; growing plants that don’t need row cover and other protections from our harsh climate, and so on. The question is, what do you do at a personal, familial, or local communal level, to try to walk the walk or effect change; or does your personal situation of having the opportunity to reach a large more scattered audience consume that energy? Also, are their any life style changes you are still working to effect to improve your way of life’s fittedness to the Earth?

    You once mentioned you thought that fire arms would change the prospects and / or form of future warrior societies, but I have never seen you expand on that, could you?

    I have heard that Joseph Campbell lifted his ‘mono-myth’ our of Jung, what Jung’s take less ethnocentric than Campbell’s?

  34. Thanks for the response, Mr. Greer. It brings to mind another conundrum. It’s true that there are many real alternatives to high tech solutions such as flying, alongside the fictitious ones. But these choices are made in social contexts. Friends, family, business colleagues, all these folks expect conventional responses to whatever situations might arise. At one extreme one can be a slave to others expectations. At the other extreme one can live as a total outcast. In between there are lots of opportunities to lead by example. How to manage this spectrum & hunt out whatever sweet spots, that’s another challenge I hope you can discuss.

    One bright spot for me… we just moved to Ogden, Utah. I have found a nice sequence of bike paths that goes all the way to Salt Lake City! Plus the Frontrunner commuter train has excellent accommodation for bikes.

  35. JMG,

    First, thank you for your time.

    In a post on Galabes, you discussed the importance of gaining a background in a tested system before trying to incorporate other things. I’m wondering if you would say the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn fits that.

    If it matters, I’m interested in Taoism at least partly because of it’s reflection on nature. However, it seems that trying to adopt it’s original ritual form is unworkable for various reasons. Similarly, having read several of your books on the Golden Dawn system, I question whether its Abrahamic orientation is suitable.

    I suppose that’s a separate question: can one can learn properly when the symbolism involved doesn’t resonate with them?

  36. JMG, how much do you consider a paying gig? I would probably be willing to contribute to a monthly-ish column here or elsewhere.

  37. Metempsychosis, transmigration, reincarnation are said to apply to those who have even the slightest hold onto the merry-go-round of birth, death and repeat. For the realised person wiht zero attachments, both attractions and aversions, the components of the physical body are said to return to the physical universe and the components of the subtle body (mental tendencies) return to the subtle universe. The all-pervading Consciousness that manifests in each instance of illumined animation remains unchanged. When a clay pot breaks, the pot space does not have to travel or merge or do anything with regard to the universal space: it all continues to be one.

  38. Dear JMG, How do would you encourage children to get off the tech grid enslavement and enjoy the real world, while at same time, learn how to use the benefits that comes from digitalization?

  39. Do you believe that reincarnation is a process to, not sure how to put it, but maybe perfect the soul? You know, if you live a good life, you come back at a better/higher status? If you’re a bad person, you come back as something less?

    What made me curious was a comment I saw elsewhere on the internet. A guy said that traditionally souls were said to incarnate as women first, then reincarnate as men if they did well enough in their female life. Was that ever actually part of belief in reincarnation? Surely looking around at actual living people would put a damper on that kind of idea pretty quickly, since some women are good people and some men are scumbags. A good woman reincarnating as a bad man would be a step down, not up.

    Although the guy making that comment seemed to think that all women are really bad people, so maybe he was just twisting things to suit his view of men vs. women = good vs. evil. I know very little about reincarnation, and you seem the perfect person to ask. Thank you for creating this AMA thread. I’ve enjoyed reading all the questions and answers so far.

  40. Well Well… An open post! where to begin…

    I’ll just say again I can’t tell you how useful and how insightful I’ve found your historical analysis. I remember the first two ADR posts I read. The one about Israel and the one about the US border with Mexico. You used the Historical parallels with the crusader states (with regards to the future of Israel) and Toynbee’s analysis of the external proletariat (with regards to Americas Mexico border). I’ve since cast my mind to useful applicable historical parallels all over the place

    You said to Steve:

    “the thing to keep in mind is that America is in the same situation that, say, Roman Britain was in the classical world; a thin layer of civilization over a deep ocean of barbarism, which will win out in due time.”

    With regards to analyzing the future of NZ I’ve also found the parallel to Roman Britain quite interesting and quite useful. The state of NZ (like the US) is essentially a product of the Industrial revolution. This is what made building the railways, roads and power lines etc across our often difficult terrain possible. In the future I guess it should be expected that older pre European Maori patterns will re-emerge. (as you might expect such a suggestion is nowhere to be found in our collective discussion). I also find an interesting parallel in the Eastern Roman empire. That is, My country is essentially a remnant of the British empire that hasn’t quite yet been overcome by a more local indigenous power (as the Eastern empire was eventually shrunk by the Arabs- the Magian soul as Spengler called it). Its coming though. A few months ago I was talking to a Maori guy who explicitly talked about rejecting the state of ‘New Zealand’- an abomination of a name and its ‘kiwi’ identity and reviving ‘Aotearoa’ (the Maori name for NZ- meaning ‘land of the long white cloud’). Its strange because I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone Maori explicitly state that. Sure plenty of Maori talk about getting the crown to respect Maori and/or acknowledging treaty of waitangi grievances, but no one I’ve heard has gone that far (or maybe I just need to get out more). He also said Maori Aren’t too fond of Western civ in general, but do like vikings (I have a fairly Nordic appearance). I’m now realizing my inner viking (so to speak) feels quite a bit in common with Maori culture in a way that my inner Anglo-protestant never could.

    I guess this leads me to my question. Since (in Toynbee’s analysis) the ‘far western christian civilization’- aka the Celtic fringe could be aborted then re-assert itself when the influence of western civ starts to fade (as its currently doing), would you see the abortive viking civilization (in Toynbee’s analysis) doing the same? possibly paving the way for a future Byzantium of western civilization in Europe. (I know you don’t live there, nor do I and you don’t normally comment on other countries, but its an intuitive curiosity of mine). For me anyway, as western civ fades, I can feel myself sliding toward something more ‘viking’ (I am not going to argue about authenticity, Its a kind of intuitive sense I have). Though ‘viking’ (whatever that means) does feel more suitable to the local climate here in NZ than western civ does.

    I don’t know how much comment you can make on this, its just this is the only place I feel like a can discuss this with people who might vaguely understand what I was talking about. Cheers. Tom

  41. Michael-

    With Regards to carriers in New Zealand, I’d say were going to follow a broadly similar trajectory to what JMG described in America (though probably no where near as bumpy). Our country has a long history of following impulsive fads (boom and bust) rather than thinking about the long term or trying to be balanced. were also probably going to stay a colony/vassal state of Australia and/or China for the foreseeable future. I can’t offer much specific carrier advice, but I will say try to find a niche market of some kind. Don’t rely on big employers like corporations or governments (They’ll go boom and bust and be unreliable). Work with small local business/ community as much as you can (you might find it useful to read New Zealander Malcolm Rands book ‘ecoman’ about the founding of ecostore). And live somewhere with railway infrastructure- (look into something to do with the railway industry maybe? that’s going to be big in the next 50 years or so I’m predicting) We have plenty of electricity here and not much oil (I shudder to think what another oil shock is going to do to us). Finally, Christchurch is fairly low lying and probably vulnerable to sea level rises so maybe don’t stay there. Anyway, a few small tips I hope that’s vaguely useful.

  42. @ Michael, regarding future career and resilience:

    This doesn’t address the question of career directly, but I would suggest Jacob Lund Fisker’s Early Retirement Extreme book and blog.

    The book is more coherent; if you just read random blog posts they may strike you as bizarre or trivial, but he has something like a 21-day makeover sidebar somewhere, I believe, which will give you the highlights. His ideas earn their moniker of “extreme” when compared to the American mainstream (get rid of your car, reduce expenses 75%, invest to retire in 5 years), but he is the best example I know of of systems thinking applied to personal finance, and reading his work may open up some options for you psychologically and practically if you give it a shot–plus developing the skills he suggests will definitely make you more reslient and decrease your resource use and dependence.

    http://earlyretirementextreme.com/

  43. @Jbucks

    To the extent it is feasible for you, the Hamilton Wood Type museum (woodtype.org) is a working museum with ongoing workshops and an annual gathering (Wayzgoose) in fall. Letterpress primarily, but other skills as well. I’m taking a bookbinding class next month. People come from all over.

  44. Do you think the Judaeo-Christian (and lately secular) tradition of humanism has any redeeming features? For example the idea that it is good to care not just about your own tribe, but other tribes? Yes, it only goes as far as the human species, but still, isn’t it better to extend justice to other tribes (not just one’s own) than be xenophobic, warlike or silencing them? To me that is the main value of humanism that I cherish. I think people thrive better in small tribes than one global tribe, but I also think we would all do better if we treated other tribes with at least respect and did not rape, pillage and silence them. What do you think? Does this value fall under anthropolatry? Because also, if we are to hold this value as dear, we are going against million of years of evolution that produced xenophobia and aggression towards other tribe. The same evolutionary forces that produced cooperation and altruism within the tribe produced this nasty behavior towards other tribes….

  45. What is your impression of the Republican “replacement” for Obamacare? I think it’s pretty apparent that what put Trump over the edge in his very narrow Electoral College victory was the fact that large swathes of the working class detest Obamacare and want it gone. So I am amazed and aghast that the country-club Republicans apparently detest the poor and the working class with such vehemence that they are responding to the situation with proposed legislation that would actually be worse for the latter than either Obamacare or even simply repealing Obamacare and returning to the health care status quo ante!

  46. Greeting John – and congratulations on the new blog and the move – there was a definite JMG-shaped hole in my life for a while.

    I have a question for you: how do you manage to get so much writing done? I know you don’t watch TV (nor do I), but your output is prolific. I can generally write for three or four hours before becoming mentally tired, so I’m wondering if you have some specific way of keeping the creativity flowing. Have you found your that productivity has been increasing over the years the more you write? Is there a particular time of the day (or night) when you find the ideas flowing from your fingertips?

    Jason

  47. What would you consider to be the best method for storing value for future use? And in what form? I recall your dim views of pots of gold coins and the extreme risk therein, for example. As I rapidly approach the age of retirement in the currently conventional sense, I wonder what would be the best store of current surplus for use in the future. Truth is that for decades I thought I would never be able to “retire” and that pensions and IRAs and other monetary instruments would probably disappear. Yet lo and behold, here I am and the markets are roaring, Social Security still remains viable to a certain extent, and my state pension fund continues to have banner investment years. Some work activities are definitely better than others at being able to be pursued into one’s twilight years, but this is not so easy with primarily physical jobs as the body ages and creaks toward its demise.

  48. Hi JMG – I saw your question about who would be interested in your political writing, and the blog Naked Capitalism had started regularly featuring the Archdruid Report in its daily links towards the end of its run . I get my daily news from there and they are good people – I don’t know if or how much they can pay but I encourage you to ask, I bet they’d be thrilled to have you. I look forward to reading more of your new blog, and welcome to beautiful New England (watch out for ticks).

  49. I believe a significant economic and ecological event will happen within my lifetime that will make our lives both much simpler and difficult (at least through a long period of adjustment). Being in my mid-60s it is likely to result in many my age or older dying within just a few months or a year or two after the event. This is the thing that I am having the most trouble dealing with from a psychological standpoint. Religion, at least in how it manifests itself in the major belief systems yields little comfort in such situations.

    Dealing with the physical aspects of the change will be a challenge, but for my wife and I, readily doable. I grew up on a small farm without central heat, no indoor bathroom, and an electrical system that often did not operate. TV was available, but not emphasized (although we depended on AM radio for information). Our family had little income, raised much of our own food, and just did without a lot of things due to economic necessity. My wife and I share similar experiences, so we know how to live with a lot less. We also have continued to do many things for ourselves throughout our married life, and have many skills and tools to cope with a downturn.

    However, while neither of us are on any medications or are experiencing any major ills (other than the aches and pains related to aging joints and body systems) the coming hardships will inevitably shorten our lives and we will not be able to physically do many of the things needed to survive in a harsher environment.

    So, it is likely that the older set will shuffle off the planet much sooner than we otherwise would have expected. I wonder how others deal with this from a psychological standpoint?

  50. I have just discovered Caesar’s Messiah http://www.caesarsmessiah.com/ and associated youtube video’s. The Romans apparently waged an extensive campaign against the Druids. While I thought it was the Church which erased Druid culture, there may not be much difference. Do you intend to discuss this history and/or the ways a new religion or spiritual practices are promoted and spread?

  51. So, its no secret that you are a fan (former fan?) of the fantasy genre, and I just wanted to ask you if you’ve heard of a British series that was published about 10 years ago, called the Edge Chronicles. They take place over several hundred years in a world perched on a pointed cliff with nothing below it. They’re interesting in a number of ways, partially because through the course of the 10 books, you can watch the “civilization” that existed at the beginning of the series collapse into a dark age, complete with barbarian warlords, a half-ruined city, and librarian/academics preserving the heritage of the lost civilization. However, by book 10 a new civilization has arisen, based on a highly energetic and combustible fuel found underground that is used to power ships and machinery.

    The Chronicles only display partial allegiance some of the tired fantasy cliches that you’ve complained at length about. For example, though there is a creature that may be considered a “dark lord”, he/it/whatever only appears 3 times that I can count in the series, and isn’t all that important to the plots of most of the books.

    Probably my favorite part of the whole series (most people probably don’t share this obsession) is the airships (skyships) and thinking about how you would actually go about building and flying one if some of the nonexistent materials (floating rocks that change buoyancy based on tempertature, etc.) were available.

    There are also exquisite line-drawn illustrations depicting many of the outlandish creatures encountered in the books, as well as the skyships and maps of the various cities.

    I do have to warn you though, the first book isn’t all that good and mostly serves as an extended introductory chapter to the second book. You can skip it.

  52. Marcu,

    Have you checked out survivorlibrary.com ? This man has scanned thousands of texts and articles from the late 19th to early to mid 20th centuries covering every imaginable relevant topic from farming to medical care.

  53. Thanks for this AMA. I hope you don’t mind my 3 questions.

    1. Does the new 3rd edition of Circles of Power have anything new added or is the same as 2nd edition just from a different publisher and new cover? I have both the 1st and 2nd edition (strange story how that happened but I’m glad I got them both. It’s interesting to see the evolution).

    2. What’s up with the ongoing monkey-ing around with Zero and Negative Interest rates by various countries’ respective central banks and why they might decide to do these things (other than the ones I and other ADR blog readers cited such as to entice people to buy more stuff, to stop a Great Depression 2.0, etc). Speaking of loans – I found out recently that Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac no longer include student loans in their calculation of whether someone qualifies for a home loan. Apparently so much of the home buyers market is burdened with student loans debt the real estate market craters a bit too steep for their liking whenever it’s add it in. So the solution they hit on is to pretend the home-owner-wanna-be doesn’t have student loan debt.

    3. What are the reasons for finding Peter Turchin’s Cliodynamics unconvincing?

  54. Hi John Michael, thank you for answering our questions. I would like to learn more about making magical objects, can you recommend a good source?
    The foundation of my practice is Tibetan Buddhism which has magical objects, but mostly ones that are invested over time during regular use. So I know next to nothing about the actual construction except that it’s risky. However, my own intuition is that making magical objects may be one of the best things I can do personally to navigate the coming turbulence. So if you know of a reliable source compatible with five elements philosophy, I would be grateful.
    Or perhaps I should just practice an incremental and low-key investiture process during the construction, which will take a while. I feel like I might have just answered my own question, but your opinion is welcome all the same.
    Thanks,
    Chris

  55. John After many years of reading and studying the Peak Oil situation and looking at how to move forward I have finally been able to make some beginning, tentative steps towards setting up a permaculture “farm” for lack of a better word. I am learning that while biology can be a powerful form of leverage it also doesn’t always go as planned and it happens on its own time line. As I look at the insanity of what is going on in this country and the three ring clown show that is going on in the Capital I feel an even greater sense of urgency in my endeavors, even though in the grand scheme of things they may be futile. Trump’s latest energy policies are the latest of these disturbing trends. What is your sense of the timeline for total breakdown and collapse of the economy and the energy system?

  56. JMG (et al.),

    A triad of unrelated questions:

    First: in my city, none of the surviving newspapers that still print papers will let someone subscribe to the print without also subscribing to the internet site as well. This leads to an interesting question I’ve been trying to figure out since then, and with less intensity for quite some time now: why does modern western society worship the internet?

    Second: What would convince you that you are wrong about the shape of the future, and modern society is not in fact in decline and fall?

    Third: How would you characterize your relationships with the gods/spirits/whatever you wish to call them.

  57. JMG, I’ve enjoyed your posts since the very start of the AR. There are some key points that you mentioned in The Twilight of Anthropolatry that ran through that earlier blog, namely “We evolved from other species long after life emerged on this planet, and we’ll go extinct long before life dies out” and “in the greater scheme of things, we’re a temporary perturbation in the damp film that covers one small rocky world in an ordinary solar system on the fringes of an ordinary galaxy, and that’s all we will ever be.”

    I feel these things viscerally, along with the inevitability of the decline in industrial civilization, but have trouble squaring them with discussion of ways to “avert an ugly future”.

    More simply, how do you, or how does anyone else with at least a tenuous hold on reality avoid falling into despair and inaction?

  58. A while back in the Archdruid Report’s education series, you hinted that there was a particular method of language learning that you favor. Would you mind sharing what it is, in broad strokes, at least?

    Also, I’d just like to put forward one motion for that thread to continue on the new blog, if appropriate. I was finding it mighty useful and thought provoking.

  59. I’m reading Toynbee and trying to sort out where we fall in his stages. First, is America a separate society than Western Christendom nowadays? And either way, at which points would you place the various stages like the golden age, the time of troubles, and if applicable, the beginning of disintegration? When/who was our last creative minority?

  60. Magic!!! Watching the Chickadees raise two little ones in the birdhouse attached to deck. Trying to make it easier to keep that family fed after they flew the nest. Fascinating! Magic!! Hearing, for at least once in your life, the leaves hitting the ground in the fall. Can you imagine how windless it is, and no human caused noise it takes, to hear such a magical interlude? Fascinating.
    Trying to get others to experience and appreciate events that happen so very few times – frustrating!! Takes away from their damned phones!!!
    History of economic systems: the few take up as many assets as possible (now it is land again, as it always has been) so that they have access to serfs for many generations.

  61. On your previous blog, your avatar was conspicuously displayed with your answers. Could we have that here also?

  62. Hi JMG,

    I love this open forum format…hope it won’t become overwhelming for you.

    I’ve wished for some time that you would write at length about the human phenomena of BELIEF. It’s something that’s fascinated me for many years — it’s operation in individuals and societies large and small seems so profoundly important.

    I’ve been striving for some time to live without belief and have been continuously amazed at how difficult it is. I’ve long been fascinated by a koan-like statement (attributed to Sartre?): “If you believe hen you know you believe and if you know you believe then you can’t believe”.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  63. I hadn’t realized you moved to RI. Good choice! I moved here 22 years ago and find it to be the most livable place in the country. Not to mention the smaller scale of everything, the natural seaport, the abundance of fast-flowing steep rivers to power the mills of the past. Seems like the place has a future that is just waiting to be imagined. Our industrial revolution started here…I presume that you have visited Slater’s Mill in Pawtucket…that’s a place haunted by the ghosts of the past. Welcome!

  64. Interesting Move JMG, I have spent an accumulated total of a few weeks in Provi as my youngest son went to school there. An interesting place as it seems to have one foot in the old world and another in “techno civilization” . I would recommend looking for some kind part time functionary position at that University across the river so you can use the Library System. As it is ,if you get yourself an old tweed jacket you could probably have access to all the reading material you could want, but couldn’t check it out.

  65. Regarding sites to consider for political discussion, I would suggest checking out strike-the-root.com

    I can’t say what compensation they can offer, but they would certainly benefit from your ruminations.

    Cheers

  66. @Michael,

    I was in a similar situation to your own very recently. There are two things I learned that you might want to know.
    First, that yours is a common situation – engineering is marketed as a ticket into the middle class, so the difficulty in landing the first engineering job is rarely discussed. But apparently, my own nine month long stint of unemployment was not at all unusual, and it’s helpful to know that when wondering whether one is going about it the wrong way.
    Second, I found it immensely helpful to have a project. I don’t know whether it helps the resume to have something there, but just in terms of keeping up the mindset of creating and keeping one’s skills polished it’s a great idea. Plus, it gives you something to talk about when networking at tech meetups or events put on by your engineering society.
    I also second the suggestion of early retirement extreme, or Mr Money Mustache if you prefer a 10-year timeline. Being right next to the birthplace of permaculture, there must be a community for that as well which you could check out.

  67. JMG and/or fellow readers: I’m looking for a good introduction to classical philosophy of an apparently unusual kind, and this seems like a good place to ask around.

    Plenty of introductory philosophy textbooks survive from the classical world, but they assume you’re already a classical person with a standard-issue classical worldview, which I am not. For their part, most modern introductions are trying to give an overview of the important conclusions of the philosophers, so they don’t bother with an in-depth explanation of the starting point, either.

    So my ideal introduction would focus, not on Big Ideas about “the One” or “the problem of universals” but on lower-level issues like:

    – what it meant for one thing to “subsist in”, “participate in”, “proceed from”, or “produce” another thing

    – why, as JMG mentioned a few months ago, tools like magnifying lenses were traditionally thought of as distorting the truth rather than revealing it

    – differences between then and now in what is considered a valid argument

    So far, the closest thing I’ve found to what I want is Theophany by Eric D. Perl, which tries to explain pseudo-Dionysius’ theology to modern Christians. I’ve also just found a heavily-commented translation of Porphyry’s Introduction to Aristotelian logic, so I’ll give that a try as well. Does anyone have any other recommendations?

  68. Welcome to Rhode Island! You’ll become a real Rhode Islander when you remove the “r” from beah and add it to pizzer; and when you have a friend who lives on the route of the 4th of July Parade in Bristol. Contact me if I can be of assistance.

  69. JMG,

    You might cover this in one of your blogs. If so, please ignore. I am curious why you would move to a living situation without the ability to grow a portion of your own food? When I first started reading you my wife and I lived in an apartment. Partly inspired by your writings (and others) I found a position in a small college/farming community and we now have a nice (but not large) garden that provides a small percentage of our diet. We are now looking to relocate to an area where we can take the gains we’ve made in our home and buy a larger piece of property that might have a well, septic and more space to grow food.

    But you seem to be going in the opposite direction. I am curious as to why?

    AV

  70. I’d like to share my thinking about science and the mystery teachings. As someone trained in science I value careful study, collection of data, and objective analysis (as much as one can be objective). As a longtime practitioner of the mystery teachings I value insight and reflection. Scientists have faith in what can be measured, measurements that are reproducible. Mystics value the unseen as much as the seen.

    Lately I have been thinking more about symbols, myths and stories as they relate to the mystery teachings. I liked what Mary Midgley had to say in her book “The Myths We Live By”:
    “Metaphorical concepts…are living parts of powerful myths—imaginative patterns that we all take for granted—on going dramas inside which we live our lives. These patterns shape the mental maps that we refer to when we want to place something. Such ideas…are the matrix of thought, the background that shapes our mental habits. They decide what we think important and what we ignore. They provide the tools with which we organize the mass of incoming data.”

    I recently had a discussion with a young atheist who believed in science but not religion. She argued that science discovers truth while religion (including mystery teachings) allows people to make up whatever they want and call it truth. I argued that belief in absolute truth, whether in science or religion, was basically the same, because in both cases we adopt a mental framework and believe it as absolute, unchanging .I don’t think either of us won our argument, our mental maps precluded the others view point!

    If you’ve ever taken an introductory science course you are familiar with being indoctrinated with rules or laws of that particular science together with the specific language that allows you to communicate about the particular field of science. As one pursues additional study in a chosen field, our view becomes narrower and narrower, excluding a great deal of other information as unimportant to our particular branch of science. We accept this as necessary to becoming a professional scientist, because without specialization we would never get a job in science.

    More and more I’ve come to realize how much I perceive the world through a matrix of stories or myths that provide the framework I perceive as reality. And it can be a tremendous struggle when I am confronted by questions that challenge the validity of my framework! Yet, looking at the past I see that all my ideas have changed as I gained age and experience. I have found no truth to be absolute, unchanging. I have found life to be constantly changing and the moments that I find the most exhilarating are when I am faced with new mysteries. The moments that are the most painful are when I must let go of familiar ideas I thought absolute.

    To me the mystery teachings are about being comfortable reaching for the unknown, the edge of knowledge, the place where mystery abides. The mystery teachings provide pathways to encourage our intuition, develop mystical or metaphysical insight. Science and spiritual practice complement each other as an integral part of our journey towards discovery.

  71. Brother Greer, as a home educator, I’m aware of the difference between schooling and education. One of the great projects of the next few decades has to be the dismantling of the current public schooling systems. They are unsustainable for multiple reasons and actively harmful to raising independently thinking children. However, the schools are necessary to those who work in them, and to those who rely on them for babysitting, which taken together is a large percentage of the population. While election to the school board is a definite possibility, the school boards’ hands are tied by state constitutions that mandate certain years of schooling, courses of instruction, etc. I am certain that other countries have similar issues with mandatory schooling laws.

    Have you any insight as to how to go about persuading the necessary numbers of people to make those constitutional changes?

  72. Prizm, no, I recommend beginning with solitary practice, using books as your teachers. Read a number of books that present a course of training, choose one that appeals to you, and then pursue it come hell or high water for a year. That way, first of all, you’ll find out if your interest in occultism is strong enough to sustain the hard work of practice; and second, if you then decide to join an order, you can explain what you’ve done and they’ll know you’re worth the investment of their time and energy. It’s also helpful, when deciding whether to join an order, to know enough about magic to be able to tell whether or not you’re dealing with purveyors of bovine excreta or not.

    Tim, fair enough. In terms of walking the path, I have never owned a car or had a driver’s license; I get by on about 25% the energy consumption of the average American, and that’s going to decrease sharply now that we’ve moved into an apartment; the vast majority of energy-wasting appliances and habits most Americans feel they can’t live without, from televisions to microwaves, I’ve never bothered to own. We buy our groceries by preference from farmers markets and small groceries that source their products locally — in two hours we’ll be on our way to the East Providence farmers market, on foot. I could go on; most of the details of my lifestyle have been shaped by a desire to lessen the burden I place on the biosphere.

    Do I make a big deal of this? No. Does it make me a saint? Emphatically not. It’s simply part of the discipline of living the change I want to make in the world.

    As for assessing the authenticity of something at first glance, I don’t know of an easy way to do that. I pay attention to the fit, or lack of same, between the rhetoric and the behavior of the inner circle of members, and watch for the usual signs that something is a scam; other than that, it’s always worth remembering that what makes something authentic is whether you, yourself, embrace it authentically.

    Dirk, glad to hear it.

    Ray, right now everything’s in flux, as I’ve just landed in a new place, in a new community, in an unfamiliar part of the country. I have no idea what changes will be possible, and what opportunities to inspire and mentor others will be available, once I settle in. With regard to firearms, that’s a topic for a future post; the short form is that classical feudalism depends on the huge gap in military effectiveness between a full-time professional warrior who can afford body armor, and peasants with part-time weapons training and no armor. Guns erase that gap — a peasant with a few weeks of training can put a bullet through an armored warlord who’s spent his whole life training with weapons — which is why feudalism in Europe collapsed when effective firearms arrived, and why the Japanese in the Tokugawa period banned firearms in order to preserve their feudal social structure. In the deindustrial future, classical feudalism won’t be an option, and it’s interesting to speculate how social forms will adapt to that.

    As for Joseph Campbell, he borrowed some things from Jung, but twisted them around to fit his own agenda, and discarded most of the core insights of Jung’s system. The result made decent pop SF — the first Star Wars movie was basically a rehash of Campbell’s writing — but that’s about as far as it goes.

    Jim, of course! Very few people are cut out to be saints. You have to make whatever compromises you feel your situation demands; all I ask is that you be honest about it, and not drag in irrelevancies like stagecoaches.

    Chris, I’m not a great fan of Abrahamic traditions, but I spent twenty years doing the classical Golden Dawn system because that was the best instruction I could get. The Celtic Golden Dawn was an option for me because I had the background in both Hermetic magic and Druidry, and thus could combine the two. The DOGD is now a thoroughly tested system, and there are people practicing it with the goal of coming up with something else in due time.

    Sackerson, many thanks. I’ve got an email on its way to your inbox.

  73. Hello JMG

    In your post about being a moderate Burkean conservative, you made the argument for allowing same-sex marriage, and also the argument for allowing non-violent discrimination against it (e.g. allowing bakers to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings). I fully agreed with both sets of arguments, and I’m wondering if the same stance could be extended to race and/or religion. In other words, racial / religious discrimination is legal as long as it does not involve physical damage to living thing or object.

    In broader terms, I’m wondering if true tolerance tolerates intolerance.

    Full disclosure: I am a non-white (ethnic Chinese, but not Chinese national) living in a nominally majority-white country (London, UK). I regard myself as tolerant in terms of sexual orientation, race, religion, gender and even opinions different to mine.

    Regards,
    SMJ

  74. JMG, about a month before the Libra ingress comes into effect, there’s the solar eclipse that’s visible as a total eclipse straight through the United States–and only the United States. Do you have any thoughts on the Mundane influence of this?

  75. Albrt, thank you! I’m pretty flexible when it comes to pay for my writing; I’d like to find an existing venue, though, to help with publicity.

    Robin, that’s the Hindu interpretation. There are other traditions, you know.

    Martin, I don’t know. I’ve never had children to raise. Anybody else have any ideas?

    Housewife, that’s a common confusion of the idea. No, reincarnation doesn’t run on a points system — do this and get bumped up to a happier gig, do that and get busted back down to earthworm or something. According to the Druid teachings I follow, it’s a process by which each soul unfolds its potentials, incarnating in more and more complex forms as it develops the capacity to handle the additional complexity, and becoming more and more individualized in the process. What we call fate — the sum total of the consequences of actions in previous lives — combines with what we call destiny — the innate momentum of the individual soul toward the fulfillment of its potential — to put the soul in a particular life where fate can be balanced out and destiny fulfilled, and will — the capacity of the individual to make choices based on personal character — determines how that life comes out.

    In Druidry, at least, you won’t find the notion that women are somehow wickeder than men. (In my experience, they’re about equal in that, as in most other things!) As I mentioned earlier, to judge from my apparent memories, I was a woman in my last life, and might very well be a woman again in my next one. The old texts say that to pass from Abred, the realm of incarnate existence in which the soul is enclosed in the body, to Gwynfydd, the “luminous life,” in which the body is transfigured by the soul, it’s necessary to be all things, to do all things, and to suffer all things. As Taliesin said; “I have been all things previously.”

    Tom, to judge by Spengler — and he’s made so many accurate predictions so far that I tend to follow his lead — New Zealand, like America, will shed the thin veneer of European civilization in due time, and revert to an uncivilized condition. Since the Vikings represented one of the last remaining uncivilized European cultures — my ancestors in the Scots Highlands were another — it’s not surprising that those who are beginning to shake off the pseudomorphosis of an intrusive and temporary civilization would find that appealing. You might keep an eye out for other Vikings; barbarism, to be done effectively, demands strong local communities.

    Iuval, humanism isn’t just a Judeo-Christian thing; the Confucian tradition in China (with its core ideal of ren, “human-heartedness”) and the classical traditions of Greece and Rome, among many others, embraced the same ideal. While xenophobia is hardwired into our nervous systems, so is xenophilia — and every culture finds its own balance between those two drives.

    Mister N., the GOP isn’t willing to buck the insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical industries — the real beneficiaries of the Obamacare boondoggle — any more than the Dems. Step by step, we approach the abyss…

    Jason, the trick that works for me is that I’m always writing a couple of different things in radically different genres. For example, right now, I’ve got an essay on anthropolatry for Dark Mountain in final edits; I’ve got the sixth volume of my epic fantasy with tentacles, The Weird of Hali: Hyperborea, about eighty per cent done; I’ve got a book on magic in the early stages; and I’ve just fielded a request for a paper about philosophy in the deindustrial future, which I’m beginning to outline. When I run out of steam on one project, I find I can shift to another and type away with mad abandon for a couple more hours.

  76. Dear J. M. Greer, I have two unrelated questions:
    Regarding scarcity industrialism: The longer I observe present trends in economy and technology, the more I have the impression that the elite as well as most people are doubling down on the current mode of economy, and the more the technical elite is doubling down on self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and the like. The idea of going back to earlier technologies remains unthinkable, and so older technologies and infrastructures are dismantled. When the newer technologies run into economic and ressource-related difficulties, they will fail and, instead of being able to revert to older technologies, there will be then nothing left at all to fall back on. What do you think?
    And the other question: There are many people who have difficulties finding a partner. There are many self-help books, websites and forums about how to find a pertner and endless discussions on the subject – but somehow that doesn’t seem to solve the problems of said people. I’m not referring to the Pick Up Artists scene specially. Additionally, it seems to me that dating websites are not only not very efficient in finding a partner, but they mean spending much time before the computer and the internet, what in not only your opinion is not a very pleasant way of spending one’s time. (By the way as additional information, the “classical” dating websites seem to be in decline). In short, it is about understanding one of the more enigmatic features of contemporary culture. What do you think?

  77. Yanocoches, my advice has always been to invest in skills. You don’t need to be young and fit to brew good beer, but knowing how to do so means you’ll have plenty of friends ready to help you out no matter what!

    Romancing, hmm! I read Naked Capitalism daily, mostly for the links and the Water Cooler column; I’ll look into the possibility of writing for them.

    Pentrus, I disagree. I don’t think there will be an “event;” I’d say, rather, that we’re already in the middle of a prolonged process, which will continue long after you, me, and every other human being now living have died and new generations have come on the scene. That being the case, I don’t know that I can offer any advice.

    Kev, what happened to the ancient Druids in the first century BCE is purely a matter of historical interest today. Modern Druidry isn’t descended from the ancient Druids — we trace our origins to the Druid Revival of the eighteenth century. As for how new religions are promoted and spread, yes, we’ll be talking about that –but mostly in terms of what not to do!

    Ezra, so noted. I’ll put it on the list of things to look at.

    Panda, the third edition of Circles of Power is basically identical to the second. The underlying point behind negative interest rates — that’s a massive issue, and needs a long essay to itself, but the core of the matter is that it’s a covert admission that the global economy has tipped over into secular contraction. Only in an expanding economy, remember, does the average business make money; in a zero-sum economy, on average, businesses break even, while in a contracting economy, everybody loses money on average. Since the interest rate is a proxy for the rate of real economic growth, negative interest rates show that the global economy is in contraction — however thoroughly that may be covered up by the manufacture of debt and other forms of fiscal hallucination.

    As for Cliodynamics, it’s a classic case of premature quantification: fixating on things that can be measured, whether or not those measures actually matter. It’s been a long time since I last read Turchin, but my recollection is that I found his theories less convincing — and less productive of accurate predictions — than wholly qualitative models such as Spengler’s.

    Christopher, if you practice Tibetan Buddhism, you ought to ask a lama. Mixing systems is a risky thing to do unless you know exactly how they work together.

    Javamon, the total breakdown and collapse of our economic and energy system began around 1972 and will finish up one to three centuries from now. In the real world, that’s how civilizations fall — not the sudden Hollywood-esque catastrophe, but the long slow grind of decline, dysfunction, and coping day by day.

    Stinkhorn, you have to believe in a supreme being; that’s it. Some individual lodges in some US jurisdictions get sticky about non-Abrahamic religions, but that’s actually a violation of one of the core landmarks of the Craft — the basic rules shared by all regular Masonic jurisdictions.

    Will, the situation with newspapers isn’t a matter of worship but of financial survival. They’re selling ad space on their internet sites, and having X number of online subscribers means they can rake in Y amount of dough. With regard to your second question, let me ask you an equivalent question: what would convince you that rocks fall straight up and people never get old and die? I see modern industrial civilization in steep decline all around me; I have a hard time imagining anything that would make me ignore that and believe that somehow we’re all still headed for the stars.

    As for my relationship with the gods, why, it’s a personal relationship, of course, and thus something I don’t discuss in detail, any more than I’d discuss the intimate details of my relationship with my wife.

    Mariner, the best cure for despair is to get up off the couch and do something. I stay busy, thus despair has never been an issue for me.

    Quin, the method I mentioned was that of Joseph Jacotot. He was assigned to teach a class in the Alsace; half the pupils spoke only French, half only German. In desperation, he had them memorize the same passages of prose in both languages, and found that they very quickly became bilingual. He proceeded to create a method on that basis. In my experience, it works very well — your brain very quickly picks up the tricks of grammar and syntax by memorizing complete passages, and since you know what’s being said, it’s easy to absorb the whole pattern. As for the education theme, I think we can probably get to that!

  78. Hi JMG! Thanks for going forward with the open post – I’m already enjoying reading through the convos here!

    Michael Klare recently posited the notion that Trump’s grand strategy was to build an alliance of the major energy producers, primarily US, Russia and Saudi Arabia, as a political bloc. But of course the ‘Russia flap’ is interfering with any attempts to buddy up to Russia at present. Curious to know how you view this hypothesis.

    Also had this question:

    Oil and gas continue to play an outsized and pernicious role in world affairs, and addiction to these substances puts many nations in a position of total dependence. I’ve long wondered what nation will first decide to throw off that yoke and voluntarily retreat to pre-industrial ways of being. Japan would be an obvious one, possibly Bhutan as well.

    Any thoughts about this?

  79. Martin,

    I’m a stepdad (have been for four years now and my stepdaughter is now nine) and I’m doing my best to follow the “LESS” principles: less energy, stuff and stimulation and while following those core ideas I guide my stepdaughter’s life accordingly. She’s never in any digital device in our home unless it’s for the express purpose of research or finding out more about something I can’t answer directly. She doesn’t watch TV and we always encourage her to come out with us (my fiance and me) into the garden to help with weeding, harvesting, tending to animals, etc.

    We also gently introduce concepts like the unsustainable ways of our culture; more often than not she’s already got a sense of that and is rarely susprised by what we talk about.

    While we can’t, nor do we want to, monitor her behavior 24/7, the fact that she’s exposed to alternate ideas and ways of living, it’s enough to break the absolute hold that pop culture programming usually has on children her age. Overall I’m very proud of how she’s growing into a sensible and conscious young lady.

    If you want to chat more about this, feel free to contact me.

    Tim

  80. In regards to Martin’s question about getting kids off of technology, or at least minimizing its daily use, I may have something to offer. Granted, my son is only 16 months old so I haven’t had to have this conversation with him yet, but for me it is more about what he observes me doing on a daily basis that I think will be a much more powerful influence. I’m referring to mimesis here.

    I have a pretty large and constantly growing personal library of books, mostly history, philosophy, and literature, but also any other topic you care to name, and he is in constantly surrounded by those books on a daily basis (I have had to put my unabridged Toynbee and Spengler out of reach, as he likes to pull books off the shelf!) He also sees me reading daily, so as he gets older he may want to copy what I am doing, and will eventually learn on his own as well as from me why reading, at least in some form or another, is important, and will want to do it because he enjoys it. He already comes up to my wife and I with one of his baby books on a regular basis and wants us to read it to him. He doesn’t like TV that much either, and we don’t really watch TV anyway except for the occasional movie, so that isn’t a big presence in his life.

    In terms of exposure to the outside, he is usually outside with me when I am puttering out in the garden, and he likes to play in the raised beds. His favorite pastime is tearing off pieces of swiss chard and feeding it to me. As I am currently in the process of learning how to actually garden and grow at least some of my own food, as he gets older he will be involved in that process as well, in some form or another, since it is something I plan on doing the rest of my life. My wife still remembers when her and her older sister used to help their dad in the garden, and always looks back at those memories with fondness.

    I would also point out that it is not a requirement for parents to buy their children the latest gadget, so if anyone is worried that their kids will just sit at home playing video games, watching tv, or messing around on their phones all day, just don’t buy them those things or set limits on their use. You are in charge, you know. I know pressure and influence from peers does matter in regards to having the latest gadget, but this is where helping your child to develop a strong personal identity comes into play. I have seen this with many kids who just haven’t gotten that much into the latest gadgets, even though their friends are, because they don’t feel it is necessary to use them just to fit in.

    This is just my two cents, refutations are welcome.

    -Dan Mollo

  81. Dear JMG,
    thank you for this open post and your ongoing work for!

    Several things:
    1.) I truly enjoy the Weird of Hali series (I´m still waiting for the “shotgun” moment that hit me during “Fires of Salsha, where I truly enjoy the book, can understand the grimness of certains things that need doing but the moment makes it almost impossible to wholehartedly recommend the book to everyoneIs of my friends) …and truly hope that the other volumes see print soon

    2.) I´ve bought and read “The art and practice of Geomancy” and cast my first chart and because I´ve not read it close enough I first erred in what even and odd numbers meant in dots. I discovered my mistake after I created the four mothers – crossed that chart out and began anew. Should I still complete that first chart? (Curiously enough the first mother in both were the same)

    3.) Regarding: “The secret of the Temple”: did you use german sources? And if yes, would you mind specifing which ones?

  82. SMJ, I think you might be interested in my thoughts on the matter:

    If you’re a baker in the business of making wedding cakes, presumably you put quite a lot of emotional/mental/technical effort into making each cake beautiful. So if you’re opposed to gay marriage, you’re being asked to create something that you normally put a lot of passion and feeling into but which contains what to you is a major lie about the patterns of human experience and being. At least that’s how I reconcile my general support for LGBT rights with the rights of individual self determination.

    On the other hand, someone that just sells generic stuff – lets say a hardware store owner – has no right to refuse to sell the same gay couple shingles for their house because there is no qualitative difference between selling shingles to straight people or gay people.

  83. Do you happen to know the development status of a Nordic Golden Dawn you mentioned offhand some time ago?

    Is astral travel a real thing, and if so what are the precursor skills towards it?

    Do you have a favorite technological item of retrovation and if so what is it?

    Also, I really enjoyed Weird of Hali: Kingsport, and am looking forward to the next installment.

  84. What do you think of geoengineering? Trying to talk to people about it feels the same as debating with a reptilian conspiracy theorist or a creationist. When I mention that nothing on that scale has ever been even attempted, or that research shows that it doesn’t work, or that it would be much easier to just reduce consumption (and we obviously don’t do that) – all my arguments are ignored and they go back to: do you want us to go extinct? If not, we have to seed the stratosphere with sulfates.

    I guess my only consolation is that we hopefully will run out of energy before we decide to do even more damage just to make us feel better because “we are doing something”.

    Is this the same emotional reaction as people that want to go to Mars (but won’t live in the Sahara)?
    Finally, what can I do to get over this frustration? I know I am overreacting, after all people are just rationalizing animals…
    Thanks,

  85. And now for my question for JMG:

    I often think that the concern about climate change in Western culture is actually masked fears of depletion and the loss of the illusory mastery over nature that fossil fuels temporarily gave us. I’ve noticed that despite the fact that I mostly rub elbows with the same sort of (often the same) people I did in 2007-8, when peak oil was something that people talked about, nobody is talking about it anymore. Maybe this is just the imagined fracking revolution having its effect on our collective myth, but I personally doubt it. Running out of energy implies losing our “magical” abilities, transitioning to a bright green solar-and-lithium future lets us keep our magical powers.

    It seems to me that if you wanted to convince people to subsidize solar, wind and other forms of renewables you would hit them over the head with “we’re running out of dino juice, stupid” idea rather than the climate change idea. Anyone can understand that if you are using a finite resource eventually you will run out, but with the climate change idea, you have to accept the prognostications of the scientific community – which can’t figure out what foods are healthy and unhealthy and changes its mind on the matter every five years.

    And never mind the fact that the IPCC/Al Gore types certainly behave as if climate change was just an excuse to establish global governance and reap enormous profits. One doesn’t have to be a climate change denier to distrust those people…

    In short, “Is the concern shown by parts of our culture about climate change really a masked fear of simply running out of energy resources that cannot be expressed because the idea of running out of fossil energy implies limits?”

    I will also plug the book by Jim Tucker, “Return To Life”, which is a book, written from an areligious perspective, about children who remember details of past lives which they could not have learned about through any conventional means. Carl Sagan, my favorite atheist Bodhisattva, even considered the issue of reincarnation to be worthy of scientific study – either way, we’ll all find out about it in due time. I’ve often thought my cat was a bird in a past life for the simple reason that her mannerisms remind me of small birds – maybe she was one once or will be again.

  86. @Mountain Mariner
    “More simply, how do you, or how does anyone else with at least a tenuous hold on reality avoid falling into despair and inaction?”

    I agree with JMG doing something helps, more specifically doing something with your hands. Find a hobby, explore one you may already have, or find other ways to take your mind off despair. If things get really serious, find some fictional literature you enjoy and escape into fantasy, if only temporarily.
    I remember quite well feeling what you describe, and I wrote many pages in my journal about waking up to the ramifications of peak oil. There were times I felt despair, or more accurately what I felt I was a sense of mourning for the loss of so much I held dear. It was like being told I had a terminal disease and wondering what to do with the little time left. I did find the book “The Upside of Down” to be inspiring and helpful. But the book “Six Degrees” was extremely depressing!

    I am fortunate that my husband and I share many of the same views, so I have a partner that supports me when I need support. There was a time about six years ago my husband told me to stop reading peak oil books and blogs because they were depressing me. He was right. It’s so good to have a partner.

    So, yes, doing something or periodically escaping into fantasy, helps. But in regards to being “a temporary perturbation in the damp film that covers one small rocky world in an ordinary solar system on the fringes of an ordinary galaxy”, while true, there is also another way to look at your life.

    If you think about it, you represent an unbroken chain of life that goes back through your parents and grandparents, and great grandparents, all the way back to the beginning of life on this planet. Your line of life has propagated since the beginning of life on planet earth. Your ancestors, if you could trace them all, would go back to the beginning. How cool is that! Every breath you take is proof that you are alive and connected to the very beginning of life on this planet. Let that awareness seep in. When you feel despair think about all your ancestors, think about how wonderful and amazing ways life has struggled and survived. Know that your life is a long line of continuum from the very beginning. Then go and do something that gives you pleasure! Laugh, take a breath, and feel happiness just to be alive in this moment.

    @Martin
    “How do would you encourage children to get off the tech grid enslavement and enjoy the real world, while at same time, learn how to use the benefits that comes from digitalization?”

    You can’t. You can enforce straight rules about access, take away access to electronic games, eliminate cable T.V. and electronic media, have slow internet access, and they will still find a way because the media is so ubiquitous and seductive. I know because I’ve been trying to control access for several decades. My three sons are 35, 21, and 19. My only suggestions are: be a role model, establish limits on access when they are young (and enforce them), and talk to them about your beliefs. My children hated shoveling manure or stacking firewood. They enjoyed cooking and still do. They grudging agreed to help in the garden, but now they ask for fresh tomatoes because they know there is a difference in flavor.

    Did you follow your parent’s advice? Your children probably won’t follow yours either, but we eventually grow up to be our parents. If you haven’t realized that then you aren’t old enough yet!

    Cheers,
    Soilmaker

  87. John Michael, Your move to R.I. demonstrates the number one principle of surviving the catabolic collapse that is unfolding before us. The key is not how much food you have, or how big a garden, or how much gold but personal adaptability and flexibility. No one can predict how events and geographic circumstances will unfold so being aware and ready to change ones plans or location is key. The train can come down the tunnel at us in many different forms and we have to be able to see it coming and jump out of the way, as opposed to hunkering down in our spot and piling up a couple of more sheets of cardboard to ward off the speeding locomotive. This is yet another reason for all of us to downsize and minimize our lives, because it is certainly easier to move or change when you are not carrying too much baggage.

  88. @ Martin. I work in a school and have been fascinated with the childrens acceptance of fidget spinners. (Google it if you have no idea) Fidget spiners just spin. They have no screen, no apps, no wifi connection. This isn’t a full answer to your question, but perhaps provides a partial answer. Get them interested in the actual physical world. Start with fidget spinners, then move to yo yos, then to doing stunts on bikes. Kids will engage with the physical world if given a chance, or if challenged. They will of course go back to their screens as it’s a big part of their lives. Engaging in a fun way with the real world might be a start.

  89. Reincarnation is a fascinating subject. As far as I’m concerned, the hard fact is that many people have memories of “past lives.” It’s sufficiently common that conventional psychology has to invent more and more baroque reasons to explain it away.

    One of the things that baffles me is why many traditions seem to regard the soul, that is the part that is immortal and reincarnates, as this small, pitiful thing that can be trapped in a body and is at the mercy of outside forces on which it has no influence. I very much prefer to see it as an immensely powerful being which choses to focus its attention on a specific body for that body’s lifetime to get whatever it is it gets out of the lifetime. There is a huge difference between studying something from the outside and living it, after all.

  90. (I hope this didn’t double post; one browser refused to post the comment because the connection “wasn’t secure” and gave me no option to override it. Fracking technology.)

    I’ve had this question for a while: in the past, you’ve expressed a view that morality is a human convention and not a feature of the universe. But then you’ve also, in your “raspberry jam” analogy, talked about justice and fairness as if they’re objective features that apply (or don’t) to affairs. But it seems like justice is good/right by definition and injustice is bad/wrong, so doesn’t that imply that at least some aspects of morality are indeed objective aspects of the world?

  91. A thought experiment:

    Let suppose that atomic bombs (the multi-megaton explosive devices, not simple dirty bombs) do not exist, and never existed. That is: they turn out to be a hoax, perpetuated to make everybody believe in the omnipotence of the human race.

    I have the following questions:

    1) Would that change any of your predictions about the future?

    2) What people will likely know about atomic bombs 100 years from know? Will they believe that they existed once, will they perceive the existence of atomic bombs in the past as a myth, or will they know that the whole story was a hoax? (That is, according to our supposition!)

    3) What responsible wise persons that know the (supposed) truth should do? Should they keep their mouths shut for fear of fueling more wars, or should they speak out?

  92. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Astrologically speaking, how significant is the coming full solar eclipse occurring on August 21? Is there anything I should expect with it? I seem to recall you mentioning that the sun moves into a new house on or about the 21st of the month, so it piqued my curiosity. I’m really enjoying the new focus in your work and this Ask Me Anything is really interesting. Thanks for all you are doing and I hope that you and Sara are well in your new location.

    Sincerely,
    Haassmasithiam

  93. The RSS for the comments on mobile link doesn’t seem to be working. If I leave a comment and then leave my email to sign up for comments, I can follow the thread via email. Would prefer the RSS.

  94. In response to Martin – the question is too vague. Is he referring to his kids or kids in general? If it is your own children, interacting authentically about the things that matter makes all the difference. The access to this interaction is to homeschool them. Being outside of the school system and in relationship with your children in the daily flow of life makes all the difference. Homeschooling for most people doesn’t look like school at home btw. No desks, no textbooks forced to finish, no standardized tests.

  95. So, as of right now, what’s you’re best guess for what will become the religion of the internal proletariat of North America as Western civilization continues to decline? I’m not sure how long this will last, but at the moment, it seems that the internal proletariat is either moving away from religion altogether, or turning to fundamentalist evangelical christianity. They’re certainly not turning towards the sort of ecology-based earth worship that seems to be the prediction-of-choice of this blog’s readers. If the Kek worshippers are serious, then there could be a “revival” (of course there will be many differences, just as with Druidry) of ancient egyptian religion centered around Kek, and Thoth, which some of them have recently started to embrace. You’ve said many times that you don’t think Druidry has any chance of filling that slot*, do you still think that?

    On the same topic, what do you think will happen, religiously, in the Islamic world? (Soon to include Western Europe).

    *On the off chance that that did happen, I think it’s possible that we might see a repeat of the crusades at some point in the distant future, with the Holy Land being the probably Muslim-occupied British Isles.

  96. Martin, to add to Dan and Tim’s comments regarding gadgets and kids, I’d say one important rule is to examine your own behavior with regards to the use of technology. As JMG points out on this post, people don’t take the climate scientists seriously because they rail against coal mining but either ignore or go to lengths to justify large amounts of their air travel. So will kids will not take you very seriously if you restrict their use of gadgets but they see you playing mobile games at the dining table or on the toilet or what have you. This seems quite obvious but I see way too many parents complain that their kids are glued to their screens too much… and they’re posting a Facebook status about it. Live by your own rules and see how quickly they follow!

    In case you have more than one child, absolutely resist the temptation to buy one gadget for each kid, which seems to be really common nowadays. I’m not gonna tell you to throw our the TV or computers in your households but in 95%+ of cases it is enough to have just one (!!!) TV or laptop for the entire household. Zero or one of these items was the norm 30+ years ago after all. This would also teach the kids how to negotiate and share, which is helpful in dealing with future scarce resources…

  97. I’ve read your Decline and fall book John, and was mostly enthralled by it. I can think of many points where we diverge, but I enjoyed your coherent and structured analysis of where we are, how we got there, and what is likely to happen next.

    My work is to change and direct how people think and see the world. One at a time, and in one tiny area of life. To do so, I use the visual idea of a triangle. With feedback arrows in each direction along the lines. At each of the three points are the letters P, I and E. I call it the PIE Triangle. P is for Physical. I is for Intellectual, and E is for Emotional. Both the points of the triangle, and their interaction have meaning.

    So your comments about such things as “snarl words”, “cold pricklies” and “warm fuzzies” made a lot of sense to me. I use both because although my work involves both physical skills, and an intellectual understanding of a complex and dynamic environment, it’s really all about self confidence. The P and I are relatively easy to sort out. The E is by far the most common reason for people failing to progress or thrive. I have limited means of directly influencing E. I can use praise, humour, the careful selection of setting and atmosphere, among other things. Ultimately, confidence is built through developing the other two points of the triangle. If you can physically do it, and you know what you’re doing, you will generally be confident.

    Part of the Intellectual bit is that I have to change the way people see and think about things. There are aspects of what I do that are counter-intuitive, and I have to work to get people to see things my way. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you need someone to move, you have to provide them with a space to move into. It has to seem reasonable to them for them to want or choose to occupy that space.

    I think that applies to politics too. Here’s an example.

    Back in the day, I remember MTV blasting out the message, “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”

    That’s a guilt trip, right there. It’s a cold and prickly way of nudging people towards the space you want them to occupy.

    What if they’d said “If you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution”?

    It gives the same message, but instead of promoting activism, it promotes apathy. Well that makes it easier to move right away. All you have to do is stop engaging/giving consent to it, and you’ll be a part of the (warm fuzzy) solution.

    I wonder which is most beneficial? The small number of committed, emotionally involved activists set against a vast majority who treat the message as wallpaper at best? Or the large number of subtly nudged people?

  98. Hello Michael,

    Thanks for your Forum you give us all. To talk to people and about subjects which are outside of the box. I enjoy it a lot.
    Having said so. I recently visited a museum in Germany where you can see spears made by man which are as old as 300.000 years. My guess is that there must have been civilisations bevore the last ice age.
    Whats your point to the subject?

    BR Henning

  99. john Michael,

    So the interlude is over. Your return is appreciated. Like the format and layout of your site; simple and clean. Spartan like.

    Since this is the question iteration of your new site format and everyone seems to be feeling out things I will raise an issue that has concerned me for many years on your site. Brewing beer! You and many of your fans seem to highly recommend beer making skills as something of great value in the future.

    I have made many gallons of brew, belonged to a brew club and occasionally enjoy a good home brew. But making beer is an energy intensive process, at least as it is practiced down here just north of the Cody Scarp. And since you seem to have a number of beer brewer readers I wonder if any one has compared the energy numbers for making beer with those for making wine. Most of my beer making companions seem to have lots of propane bottles and fancy refrigeration contraptions around. I agree a nice cold brew is hard to beat on a hot summer afternoon, but the beer making processes I am familiar with sure seems like a lot of work. Gave my beer making equipment to a grandson and he is putting it to good use.

    Planted 3 acre grape harbor about 40 years ago and they are “loaded” this year. Sell most of them for table grapes but all the rest go into wine making. real low energy process.
    Been making wine since I was about 14, (in my 75th year now), and currently have several dozen carboys in various stages of the low energy process. No propane. No refrigeration.
    Take almost any fruit and ferment it into wine. I am sure there are many of your readers who really enjoy a cold home brew, and so do I. Bang for your buck? Put wine making on your list of things to do. Any one got any energy numbers on beer vs. wine?

  100. @Martin – I have introduced my three kids (all under 12) to chess, backgammon and poker. Instead of switching on a device they will regularly start up a game. They still get to indulge their competitive streak and we get to talk and interact.

    I am finding it very hard to police device usage, especially since the school made owning a laptop compulsory. They are even compelled to do homework online so we can’t ban devices all together.

    So trying to offer more interesting alternatives. It’s not perfect but we are achieving more of a balance now.

  101. Neandrothal and Bos5ouaudh, so noted and thank you. I’ll look into both venues.

    Kyle, Toynbee’s theory of stages doesn’t really fit modern history as well as he thought it did; Spengler’s theory is much more on target, and makes better predictions. Our last creative minority, though? That was the New Deal generation of politicians, who convinced the wealthy that they really did have to let a reasonable proportion of the national wealth go to the rest of the population to avoid being strung up from lampposts. Our current plutocrats, and their lickspittle hangers-on in our political system, have lost track of that useful insight…

    Bruce, leave the zombies to their phones. You can’t shake them out of the trance, and you’ll only annoy them by trying.

    Carlos, unfortunately that requires fussing with the Gravatar system, which is more of a pain in the butt than I’m willing to put up with. I’ll see if my hardworking IT guy can come up with an alternative option.

    Jim, what do you mean by “belief”? If you mean the word in its normal sense — accepting that something is true about the world even when you’re not able to check on it just now — you can’t live without it short of schizophrenia. Do you believe that I exist, for example? If not, why are you having this online conversation?

    Faraday, thank you! No, I haven’t been further than a couple of grocery stores and the local farmer’s market. Our move out here was even more exhausting than usual, and we still have way too many boxes to unpack…

    Clay, I have a friend who’s a professor emeritus there, so we’ll see what I can work out.

    Mr. E., thanks for the tip — I’ll check ’em out.

    Dan, hmm! I don’t know of a good source of that kind — I had to figure things out by jumping in the deep end and dogpaddling until I figured out how to swin — and a good book like that would be worth having to recommend to students. Any suggestions anyone might have would be welcome.

    Peter, thank you! I apologize for not getting in touch earlier; as noted above, it was an exhausting experience.

    Anthony, my wife and I are in our mid-fifties, her health is poor, and there are sharp limits to what we can realistically do. It’s entirely possible that down the road a bit I’ll be able to find an allotment to do some gardening, and we’re already talking about window boxes; I’d still recommend growing at least some of your own food to anybody who can…but as I’ve said more than once on the other blog, not everyone can do that.

    Soilmaker, I’d draw the distinction in a different place. Your atheist friend was repeating a common falsehood about religion, because religion isn’t about making stuff up; it’s about experiencing things. Religious experience, usually mediated by religious practice, is at the heart of religion, just as scientific experience, mediated by scientific practice, is at the heart of science. Of course the methods are different! The problem is that too many of the popular religions these days have turned their back on experience, in favor of listening to what the guy in the pulpit tells you — but then science has veered in that direction lately, too.

    Sister BoysMom, it seems to me that the best strategy is to work at building homeschooling networks and lobbying legislatures to permit more and more flexibility to homeschoolers. As the difference between homeschooled kids and the product of the education industry widens, more people will move to homeschooling, and that’ll give you your critical mass of voters.

    SMJ, you’re misstating my argument a bit. I argued on Burkean conservative grounds that government has no business telling same-sex couples they couldn’t get married; that in the US, we have a longstanding tradition of allowing religious minorities a certain amount of exemption from laws that impinge on their religious practice, so long as no actual harm results from such exemptions; that conservative Christians are now a religious minority in this country; and that it would therefore be consistent with law and custom to allow conservative Christian businesses that cater to weddings to post signage letting customers know they only provide their services to heterosexual couples, since not getting a wedding cake from the first baker you approach does not count as actual harm.

    You’ll notice that this covers much less territory than the argument as you framed it, and that’s quite deliberate. For, let’s say, a religious group to be able to get away with racial discrimination under that same approach, the group would have to demonstrate that racial discrimination was actually mandated by its beliefs, and that the application of that belief to the specific situation under discussion would cause no actual harm to people outside that religious group. To my mind, that’s not unreasonable; there’s this little concept called “liberty” that involves letting people be blockheads, so long as their blockheadedness doesn’t harm others…

  102. This might be coming out of left field — but I am curious what do you make of the discoveries of increasing numbers of exoplanets over the last couple of decades?

  103. Is there any incompatibility between the Middle Pillar Exercise and Qigong? My understanding so far is that their effects are mediated through different energetic centers but I’m not sure whether they would tend to negate or complement each other.

  104. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this, JMG:

    Earlier this year, I was initiated into Reiki II. Long story short, one of the people I sent Reiki to died, and days later “dropped by” while I was sending Reiki to his son, my brother-in-law. His presence manifested in other ways over the next two days, culminating with pitching a book from our bookshelf. It was a fine choice of title, I think, given that he died in Hawaii, and I live in Idaho: “Postcards from the Edge of America.” That still makes me smile. He was a former Navy Seal, so I guess those guys are resourceful even after they die from a stroke just before their 80th birthday.

    I shared all of this, and more, with my Reiki teacher while in full freak out mode. She advised me to walk in love, not fear; to clearly state to the deceased that I would send him Reiki at a specific time, over three days (no reason for three; we both just like that number), and specify each time that this energy is to help him transition because moving on will be a much happier choice for him than sticking around, and I will stop after the third day. Oh, and wish him a good journey and to go in peace each time in case it is the last. I heard a distinct “thank you” after the first send, and by the third day the connection was very faint.

    So, my question is this: How best can we help our dead? I feel I made the right choice in this case, with my teacher’s guidance, but I’d sure welcome your insights. I’m 58. My family and friends are my age and older. This scenario, or one like it, may well play out again. I want to be ready.

    Thanks so much for being generous with your wisdom and time!

  105. Yucca, I’ll have to look that up in my books on mundane astrology, once those are unpacked!

    Booklover, in response to your first question, exactly. We’re facing an era of prolonged economic and technological dysfunction caused by the mindless pursuit of progress, which has already gone far past the point of diminishing returns. In response to your second question, my take is that the reason so many people are having trouble finding congenial mates is that in modern industrial societies, both men and women are being taught to think about relationships, and members of the other sex, in hopelessly dysfunctional ways. Sit down sometime with a piece of erotic fiction written by women for women, and a piece of erotic fiction written by men for men; compare the portrayals of the two sexes in each of them, and you’ll notice (a) that the opposite-sex characters are bizarre fantasies with no resemblance to any actual human being living or dead, and (b) that the expectations implied by the characterizations clash disastrously with one another. It’s frankly a wonder to me that anybody manages to get laid these days!

    Oz, I don’t think Trump has a grand strategy. He’s a wheeler-dealer and a figurehead, not a strategist. As for getting off fossil fuels, er, have you factored in the little difficulty that any nation that abandons fossil fuels will have to settle for an eighteenth-century standard of living at best? That’s where we’re all headed once the fossil fuels run out, but in the meantime, that’s a very big pill for any modern nation to swallow.

    Emily07, I hope you’ll be able to recommend The Weird of Hali wholeheartedly to your friends! The Fires of Shalsha was an edgier book than the Hali stories, and if I ever get around to writing the sequel, Journey Star, that’ll be edgier still; in my epic fantasy with tentacles, I’m mostly having fun, though there are some deeper issues raised. With regard to geomancy, I’d say start over again, cast a new set of figures, and go from there.

    Synthase, the Gullna Dagrenning — that’s old Norse for “Golden Dawn” — is very much in process right now; the core rituals have been formulated and are being tested, and the rest will follow promptly. Astral travel is real, and the best introduction to it I know of is W.E. Butler’s excellent little text Apprenticed to Magic, which covers that among other things. My favorite piece of retro technology is still the slide rule, though I’m looking forward to doing things with retro methods of reproduction, such as mimeography, when circumstances permit; and I’m glad you liked Kingsport!

    Omnia, to my mind that’s anthropolatry on steroids. “We’re so almighty we can engineer the earth!” Never mind that we literally don’t have a clue about the insanely complex hydrogeobiochemical processes that maintain the Earth’s biosphere in a condition we can tolerate, and our methods of analysis crumple when faced with a tiny fraction of the number of factors that have to be integrated into any meaningful analysis of a planetary ecology; no, no, we’ll just impose some brainless linear formula on the planet and act accordingly, and everything will be fine. Suuuuuure…

  106. Justin, good. To my mind, the reason everyone’s done their best to forget about peak oil is that it contradicts the core assumptions of our anthropolatrous faith in human omnipotence. Climate change doesn’t; the idea that we’re so powerful we can wreck the planet’s climate appeals to our fixation with our own might; but the idea that our power isn’t ours, that we stole it from dead dinosaurs, and when the juice runs out, we’ll land right back where we were before the industrial revolution — that’s blasphemy against the great god Man. The mere fact that it’s almost certainly true just adds piquance to the mix.

    Thanks also for the reference to the Tucker book; I’ll have a look at it as time permits.

    Clay, true enough. A crucial part of that’s the ability to recognize when a gamble you’ve made has failed, so that you can cut your losses and try something else.

    John, that’s one of the core differences between the old mystery traditions and the modern revelations from channeled entities. The older traditions argue that the soul is potentially very powerful, but hasn’t fulfilled that potential yet — and the process of reincarnation is among other things the way souls attain their potential power and wisdom. Personally, I find the older tradition far more plausible, but your mileage may vary.

    James, excellent! You’ve misunderstood the raspberry jam principle, but done so in a way that shows you’re paying close attention. All the raspberry jam principle says is that you can’t direct magical energies on anyone else without getting them on your own fingers — or, less metaphorically, having them manifest in your own life. That’s not a moral principle, any more than the rule that you ought to wash your hands after using the toilet to avoid getting coliform bacteria in your mouth. If you enjoy sickness, misery, and failure — and some people apparently do — the raspberry jam principle tells you how to get them into your life; if you don’t, why, you now know one way to help avoid them.

    Evgenii, no, my predictions about the future don’t rely on nuclear weapons. (In the old blog, I posted an extensive essay about nuclear weapons, which you can find here.) As for the notion that they’re a hoax, that was the theme of a potboiler thriller novel in the 1970s; to my mind, it wasn’t plausible then, and it’s less plausible now.

  107. Mr. Greer, another reader mentioned astrology and I recall a post or podcast lost in the mists of time that you were recently taking it up.

    Question: Are our lives ruled by free will or fate?

    I have this argument with astrologers often enough because I slant to the side of ancient astrology, which tends to insist on a life determined by fate — but of course, how one defines fate — a function of character? External, uncontrollable events? — may vary. Modern astrologers will rarely entertain the notion of fate, as they find the idea odious, but I tend to think this might be a by-product of living in a world surrounded by opportunity and wealth that past peoples could not imagine. Of course we think we’re free when we can have virtually any desire fulfilled with the right application of money and means. If, on the other hand, you are Oedipus Rex, no amount of money or optimism is going to change that you killed your father and have been sleeping with your mother. It seems to me there is a clear division between the ancient and modern attitude about what shapes a life and who should be responsible for it. During your studies, have you pondered this question?

  108. Here’s my comment and question:

    I was reading your book, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, and while doing that it reminded me of a book review of a near-future war novel that i came across a couple of years back:

    http://theweek.com/articles/565740/could-china-defeatamerica-world-war-iii

    The title of the book is Ghost Fleet, and its authors, Singer and Cole, are a political scientist and a military analyst respectively. The book is about a hypothetical war with China, set “20 minutes into the future”. It was written and released about the same time as TWG. The reviews reveal very interesting similarities (you can edit my post if you think it spoils too much):

    – The US gets into war with China over strategic fossil fuels
    – The #1 advantage of the US – high technology – is revealed to be in fact it’s #1 weakness, China exploiting this by taking out US communications first thing
    – Russia supports China in the war
    – With GPS and digital communications crippled, F-35 pilots have to learn how to “fly blind”
    – China relies on container ships to hide and disguise their weapons

    There are some differences, like the war being in the Pacific rather than in East Africa, the trigger being a military coup in China instead of a ham-fisted American attempt at regime change in Tanzania, China being a direct aggressor instead of coming in to help their client state, and so on. Your book focuses on the decline of the US, while this one seems to be more about the hypothetical war itself.

    I’m not sure if you’ve heard of, much less read Ghost Fleet (I haven’t read it myself). That said, TWG’s and Ghost Fleet’s hypothetical US-China war are so similar (and both were written during the same time period) that it seems to me the problem with America’s military has become rather blindingly obvious. Do you think there will be any attempt at all to retool the American military in the near future to avoid this sort of thing, or are they going to continue with the gizmo-centric war doctrines? I’m inclined to think the latter, for various reasons including the fact that there’s just a huge amount of money going around making this stuff…

  109. @SMJ, I look forward to our host’s repsonse to your question. It’s a topic I’ve been struggling with ever since I read Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age”, back at the turn of the century; it deals specifically with co-existing communities in the absence of state power, and the basis on which value-based communities can be established.

    “True tolerance” seems to be an aspiration of the energy age, when it seemed there could be enough of everything for everybody, whilst ignoring that real people have incompatible needs and beliefs. As we enter an age of scarcity, when there’s not going to be enough to go around, it seems inevitable that there will be a drawing of lines: you’re the group, or you’re not, and that will alter how you’re treated. The old lines of ethnicity/religion/football club will still exist; perhaps new groups will emerge based on other principles.

    I dunno, there doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid it now. Managing it to reduce conflict would seem to be all we can hope for. Maybe other readers will have a better solution.

  110. Interesting to hear your thoughts on reincarnation. To me it seems the most natural and thus most probable form of afterlife, simply because it fits in with the cyclical nature evident in so many phenomena in the universe.

    Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the notion of human societies as superorganisms and I’ve come to the realization that this has some very important implications for the idea of collective responsibility.

    When we are hurt by another human, we don’t say that only the cells that participated in that action are responsible, we say that the person is, even once that individual replaces every cell in his body he is still the same person.

    If we consider individual humans as the equivalent of cells in our societies, it would then stand to reason that if society A is wronged by society B, A is perfectly justified in holding the latter responsible for its actions, even long after everyone who was alive at the time of the event has died. A would not hold any single part of B, such as government or military, exclusively responsible for it, but would instead hold the entity called “B”, which is made up of all its members, responsible, in the same way that we don’t just blame the muscles responsible for pulling the trigger and the brain cells that told them to do so when a shooting occurs.

    Any thoughts on this?

  111. John, I have a question that may have already been answered (as I’ve just scrolled right down to the end to find the comments box), but your way of replying to comments (doing a whole batch of replies at once), makes it hard to find a reply to any one comment. I find myself in a sort of scrolling frenzy (ooh, that’s interesting, what did he say to that), eternally going up and down. I’m used to blogs where each comment is individually answered below that comment. It makes reading a lot easier. No doubt there’s some logical or technical reason why you do it this way, so could you enlighten, please?

  112. So you’re now in Providence, Rhode Island. I’m assuming your new home is well above high tide, and therefore unlikely to be flooded in your lifetime. How soon do you anticipate tsunamis caused by earthquakes from the melting of the greenland ice sheet and methane release landslides are likely?

    Not that everywhere doesn’t have some kind of natural hazard. I live on top of a subduction zone fault that is going to produce a really huge earthquake at some point.

  113. Dan, try Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, and Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates, for a basic, humorous, and accessible to a nine-year-old, introduction to general philosophy. Um. Robinson Crusoe is 4th grade literature in our home school, for reference as to what precisely I expect a nine-year-old to be capable of reading alone. I would expect any adult to be able to comprehend what Cathcart and Klein have written. I realize that not everyone has the same expectations of nine-year-old’s that I do.
    Brother Greer, thank you. I suppose I am looking for shortcuts, hoping to get ahead of the problems, but I shall practice patience. It is a virtue I mostly lack. (Why can people not see that busing children for an hour to an air conditioned and heated school with over a thousand children is unsustainable? Yet we could easily put a walkable one-room schoolhouse in every neighborhood, have it open only between harvest and planting, and achieve better results. People always desire whatever is a privilege to have, make education available only for a few months in appropriate season, and children and parents will value it.

  114. Haassmasithiam, thank you! I’ll have to cast a chart for the eclipse and see what the books have to say about eclipse charts before I can hazard an opinion.

    Fred, do you mean the one toward the top of the right hand column, or the one in the meta section toward the bottom? Either way, I’ll have my hardworking IT guy take a look at it.

    Ezra, it’s way too early to tell. At the corresponding point in Roman history, Christianity was a tiny fringe cult and Islam didn’t exist yet.

    Paul, my immediate response is “none of the above.” I’d phrase it, “You don’t have to be part of the problem. Come be part of the solution” — and thus dodge the negative aspects of either of the original phrasings.

    Henning, I find it impossible to believe that human beings sat around doing basically nothing for a million years, then five thousand years ago jumped up and invented civilization. My book on the Atlantis myth argues for advanced civilizations during the ice age; if I were revising it, I’d make a considerably bolder case.

    Rube, interesting! I don’t have those numbers, and I’d be interested in them.

    easternRoman, I’m not sure I understand the question. Okay, we’ve found a bunch of exoplanets; that’s mostly a function of the fact that we’ve finally got high-resolution orbital telescopes, so can spot them. Why should I make more of them than that?

  115. Dirtyboots, I tend to be very wary of mixing energetic exercises, from personal experience — I gave myself a nasty case of yin kidney qi depletion, with all the usual physical symptoms, by combining qigong and Western energy practices. Thus I’d advise against it. Choose one, and stick to it.

    OtterGirl, your teacher has the right idea. Follow the same advice in future cases and you’ll do the right thing.

    Starsbydesign, is life ruled by free will or fate? Yes. That is to say, both have their place in shaping our lives. Oedipus Rex is a fictional character, remember; those of us who don’t have the advantages of being fictional have to muddle through lives in which will, fate, and destiny all play a role. If you look at your natal chart, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses are; if you cast your progressions, you’ll see what challenges and opportunities you can expect to face in each year; how you deal with these, though, is to some extent up to you. That’s my take, certainly, and I’d add one detail: free will isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something you develop by cultivation of the will. Most people never get around to this, and so are shuttlecocks batted around by fate — but you can increase the share of your life that’s subject to will.

    Carlos, yep, I read about Ghost Fleet. Of course it had the Chinese as the aggressors, the US as the innocent victim, and pulled out all the stops coming up with a preposterous plot twist to allow the US to come out on top; that’s why it made the NY Times bestseller list, while Twilight’s Last Gleaming, which did none of these, has had very modest sales and almost no media coverage.

    In answer to your question, though — the only reason the US Navy isn’t currently littering the bottom of the sea somewhere is that everyone’s afraid of our nukes. The threat of nuclear war is what allows the US military to parade around fantastically overpriced weapons systems that don’t work, in the serene conviction that nobody will call our bluff.

    Odysseus, the concept of collective guilt has been used to justify a very large number of atrocities down through the centuries. That was what was used to justify pogroms against the Jews, for example — some Jews crucified Christ, therefore all Jews are guilty of that act and could be (and were) put to death for it. If an idea reliably churns out ghastly results, I don’t recommend giving it another try!

    Foodnstuff, the blog software queues comments in the order received. That’s just the way it works. If you open two browser windows, narrow ’em down, and put them side by side, you can use one to read comments and the other to read my responses.

  116. Corydalidae, we’re 82 feet above sea level, well back from the bluffs above the Seekonk River, and the storm surge maps show water from tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. going a different direction. Trust me, I made sure of that!

    Sister BoysMom, oh, I get that. It’s frustrating to have to wait for things to unravel at their own sedate pace, when something could actually be done much more simply and sensibly!

  117. Oh, I’m certainly not advocating for the notion of collective guilt, I’m just saying that, to me, the Spenglerian notion of civilizations as a sort of superorganism seems to strongly imply that some sort of collective responsibility does exist, and I think that’s something that should be addressed.

  118. I would also like to add that believing in collective responsibility does not necessarily imply believing in collective punishment, just like believing in personal guilt doesn’t imply believing in personal punishment. Collective responsibility can also be used to advocate for collective atonement, or for standing against immoral acts that one’s society perpetrates against another.

  119. Good morning, this is a very interesting thread. Thanks for starting it.

    There are still aspects of the previous discussions on “the world of representation” that I am mulling over. We may all (all earthdwellers) be “no more than a temporary perturbation & etc”, but we, and I DO include all earthdwellers, do love to adorn ourselves and “represent” or “appear” to others in some amazingly creative ways. Flowers and birds, in particular, catch and hold my attention hourly with their representational habits.

    Perhaps there is an aspect to this – that we “represent” (verb) to the world because we can.

    You have mentioned that one attraction, for you, of druidry and masonry and other such pursuits, is the “dressing up” in colourful robes or what have you. Also the deliberate introduction of specific qualia into a ritual space – scent, colour, etc. I wonder if you have given thought to the nature of the World of Representation from this angle – not that of the represented TO, but the RepresenTER?

  120. I asked my previous question on reincarnation out of curiosity, but after your reply and thinking about it for a while, I find it matters more to me than I thought it did. Specifically, the idea that it’s complexity, not self-improvement, that determines what or who you reincarnate as next.

    For example, I have a daughter who is a very sweet, pretty, smart little girl. If she died and reincarnated as a dictator who murders millions, that would probably be an increase in complexity, but it’s a horrible thought. Or am I misunderstanding this? If you need to be and do everything, does that include things that are generally understood to be wrong, like rape and murder?

    Also, when do you believe that the soul incarnates into the body? Or can we really know? I caught glimpses of my children’s personalities when I was still pregnant with them. I kinda tend to see personality as a partial reflection of the soul.

    Disclaimer: I don’t really know what I believe when it comes to religious matters. I’m still trying to figure it out. So I’m not arguing against reincarnation, just trying to understand it and giving my (probably confused) reaction.

  121. Just a note to JMG: I think I see what you mean about Jordan Peterson now. In his latest lecture video, he goes on a mini-rant about people who say “There are too many people on the Earth,” and brings up the canned canards like “Who shouldn’t be here, then?” and “How will they leave?”

    Of course, the first is sheer sophistry (if it were valid, it’d be an argument against having maximum occupancy rules in fire codes) and the second is easy to answer: they’ll leave the usual ways: death by old age, sickness, accident, etc.

    Ugh. He should really stick to psychology.

  122. As a corollary, I guess I’m asking what are your thoughts on the possibility of a “will-to-represent”… (and perhaps, if I might venture) its connection – if any – to magic?

  123. I’d just like to reply to the following observation by JMG:

    “As for getting off fossil fuels, er, have you factored in the little difficulty that any nation that abandons fossil fuels will have to settle for an eighteenth-century standard of living at best? That’s where we’re all headed once the fossil fuels run out, but in the meantime, that’s a very big pill for any modern nation to swallow.”

    The trend by upper middle class yuppies and hippies is to fantasize about how virtuous everyone will become once all the fossils fuels are gone (from the comfort of their air conditioned, heated suburban homes connected to the electrical grid and to city water, and often tweeted from their iPhone.) As someone who has spent time in and has family ties to South Asia, I really don’t think most Americans have any idea what they will have to give up eventually. If you have never seen slum conditions in India, for example, you don’t realize that losing modern conveniences might mean drinking contaminated water straight from a polluted river, it might mean having to eat rats and cockroaches because that is the only abundant meat source, it might mean having to live around millions of people with no access to toilets who practice open defecation, and increasingly it might mean that the rivers have developed superbugs from years of dumping pharmaceutical waste into water sources. That cold reality is a far cry from the hippie fantasy of running off into the green hills with a guitar and eating organic produce around a campfire while the rest of the world goes in flames. It’s all the little things you don’t think about that are going to matter the most when they’re gone.

  124. @JMG @Justin @Bogatyr

    RE: Tolerance of racism

    JMG, apologies for misstating your argument, I had to rely on my memory of it (sniff!).

    Your statement about liberty involving letting people be blockheads as long as blockheadedness doesn’t harm others is exactly the principle I’m trying to apply, it sounds like you agree that it’s not unreasonable to let people be racist as long as it doesn’t harm others.

    Some of Dmitry Orlov’s ideas about strong communities come to mind when I mull over this tolerant approach to racism, in particular the idea of being able to exclude outsiders.

    Justin: “OTOH, someone that sells generic stuff… has no right to refuse to sell the same gay couple shingles for their house because there is no qualitative difference between selling shingles to straight people or gay people.” I would say that whether or not they have that right to refuse is exactly the ideology I’m examining. In the words of JMG, I’m currently inclined to think that liberty involves letting people be blockheads, and I’m wondering where that principle might lead.

    Bogatyr, managing bigotry as opposed to eliminating it is exactly what I’m aiming for with this idea. Attempts thus far to eliminate bigotry seem to only succeed in silencing it, which I think is toxic for many reasons.

    SMJ

  125. JMG, glad you’re back and thank you for everything! Would you mind to comment on Gareth Knight et al.’s connection to Scientology?

  126. Thanks for the detailed response! Oviously, it is not easy guessing if and how the current progress paradigm will break down! I have a third question, which ist somewhat related to the second: How can one find out if a problem, with which one is grappling, is due to one’s own personal shortcomings, or due to dysfunctional societal structures? The thing with dating culture seems to me a further example of the psychological dysfunctionalities, which you describes in “Not the Future We Ordered”.

  127. the GOP isn’t willing to buck the insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical industries — the real beneficiaries of the Obamacare boondoggle — any more than the Dems. Step by step, we approach the abyss…

    So very true. President Trump is reported to have said in a meeting with congressional Republicans that the American Health Care Act (the official name for the Republicans’ proposed replacement for Obama’s Affordable Care Act) is “mean, mean, mean”. When Donald Trump of all people is calling your idea mean-spirited, it really seems to me that might be a good time to hit the ol’ “pause” button!

  128. Odysseus, I have to second JMG’s comments about collective guilt. Even though it’s a fashionable idea right now to ascribe collective guilt to a particular gender, or the waning ethnic majority in North America and Europe, it’s a pretty reliable way to eventually cause political violence.

    Does it rub you the wrong way if I were to claim that say, black Americans are collectively responsible for their statistically higher rate of violent crime or that Jews should be collectively blamed for the 2008 financial crisis due to the relatively high number of Jews involved in finance? (it should…) If you’re going to play the class guilt game, you should remember that it can always be turned around by the “guilty” class.

  129. Thank you, Mr. Greer.

    Two more, if I may.

    Does the same caution apply to the regular performance of a banishing ritual by a practitioner of qigong? My understanding so far is that the energy invoked during a banishing is used to clear a space for further working rather than direct energy into specific centers in the practitioner’s etheric body. Is that more or less correct?

    Second, is taiji considered to be energy work in the same sense that qigong (literally) is or does it aim at different ends via different mechanisms?

    The reading I’ve done so far about both qigong and taiji have evaded any attempt at comparing and contrasting in detail their benefits, risks, compatibility and mechanisms of action. I would appreciate any further thoughts or experiences you may be able to share.

  130. JMG,

    “The thing to keep in mind is that America is in the same situation that, say, Roman Britain was in the classical world; a thin layer of civilization over a deep ocean of barbarism, which will win out in due time.”

    I have to say that when I read this, it gave me chills. Can you summarize what you mean by civilization and barbarism? I recall you did a series on this once on TADR a while back, but I can’t remember your main points. What are the positive and negative aspects of this? And how long do you think it will be before that thin layer of civilization has completely eroded?

  131. Thanks JMG. I’m on my computer now and when I click the Comments RSS I get the error message “no RSS reader installed” so the problem may be on my end. On my mobile phone (yes I have one and my husband and I agreed last week this is the last iPhone we are buying) it just errors out. May be the same reason – no RSS reader – or might be the blog. Ugh technology.

  132. First, JMG, thank you for this new and ambitious direction for your new blog. I am really enjoying it, especially how it’s focus has gotten me interested in the Occult side of your work.

    I read your Galabes post on discursive meditation and found it very intriguing. All meditation is to some degree or another, a discipline of focusing the mind and practicing enough that the effort and concentration required for that focus decreases. Discursive meditation is focused thinking. Mind emptying meditation, as you called it, is focused letting go. As part of my training in naturalist and nature observation skills, I practice what I think of as another type of meditation which I’ll call the sense meditation. It’s basically focusing all of which is directly sensible by the body: vision, hearing, smell, touch, warmth or cold, body position, other internal sensations, emotions and the physical sensations that go with them. It is usually done outside, sitting or standing comfortably. It can be like discursive meditation in that it can involve questions like “What is happening here?”, “Why is it happening?”, “What is this teaching me about myself?”. For example, “Why did that robin fly up higher in the bush and start looking down, pumping it’s tail and making it’s ‘peek peek tut-tut-tut’ call? Oh, there’s a cat approaching. It’s alarming at the cat. Why did I feel anxious when that happened? ….”

    Yesterday, I tried discursive meditation on one sentence of a few paragraphs of writing I have committed to memory. I was excited, overjoyed even, to find out how much deeper it took me into the two ideas in that one sentence that I have repeated so many times over the years.

    Now, my questions. Do you see sensory meditation as different from the mind emptying meditation you discussed in that post? If so, why? If not, why not? How do you see sensory meditation in relation to discursive meditation? Do you see the two complementing each other or interfering?

    Regardless of your answer, I intend to experiment.

    P.S. When I tried to post this with Firefox for Mac (newest versions of both Mac OS and Firefox), “post comments” button as well as the email, name and website fields disappeared under the footer. I had to switch to Safari.

  133. While you were away from the blog, I participated in a Transition Town workshop run by TT USA facilitators. It was an interesting experience. Day one two female university students noted micro aggressions occurring in the room and the workshop ground to a halt to address it. I have no idea what they were or who did it. I brought my 17 year old daughter and she asked me “why can’t adults just get to work?”. I responded “exactly”. The second day of the workshop was incredibly productive when the two students didn’t come back.

    Many people in attendance were enthralled with the rate of solar installation, Elon Musk, and some guy who is proposes powering the world with wind farms (forget his name). The TT facilitators also professed this belief that alternative energy was coming and that was the transition, the transition to alternative energy. Wasn’t TT founded on the idea that our energy future was going to be one of much less energy? What the attendees believed our greatest issue was is inequality and inequity. I kept thinking “you haven’t seen nothing yet in terms of inequality” if the future coming is one of stair step of decline with harsher weather and poisoned environmental systems.

    One question you have posed here – “who is going to pay for that ____ alternative energy project?” – works brilliantly to stop the fairy tale stories of the new energy future btw. I say it with a smile, a tilt of my head, and a curious inflection like I really want to know (and I do!) and it comes across in a non-confrontational way and gets them thinking.

    So my question is, if Transition Town has been hijacked by fairy tale thinkers of the glorious alternative energy future, are there any organizations dealing with the reality of our energy future?

  134. Dear John Michael,
    First, I’d like to say that I am coming to suspect that your productivity, correct me if I’m wrong, stems from your Druid Practice. I’ve been working my way through The Druid Handbook for the second time, and definitely not the last, and am beginning to get a sense of your energy source.
    I have a question(s), if you will permit, regarding your response to Lydia’s question: It so happens that for a significant number of people, regular practice of discursive meditation ends up (usually after several years) uncovering apparent memories of previous lives. I’m one of those people. Cleopatra et al. have no place in those memories; the most recent life I recall, for example, was an American woman who was born in Iowa in the very early 1920s, left home for Los Angeles when the Second World War broke out, married a much older man just after the war, and died in a head-on car crash before her fortieth birthday. Considering those memories, the ample evidence for reincarnation to be found in the old psychic research literature, and the fact that traditional occultism accepts it with a near-unanimous consensus, I take reincarnation – or if you wish to be precise, metempsychosis – as my basic model for what happens after death. Of course your post-mortem mileage may vary…
    What significance, if any, do you give to the memories you have recalled from past lives? Do you treat them as factual? Have these recollections been of benefit to you personally, i.e.: have they you helped put this incarnation into a different and/or better perspective? I am keenly interested in this subject, so any details you feel free to offer would be much appreciated.
    “It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.” —Voltaire

    Best Regards,
    Eric

  135. Chiming in with my thoughts on reincarnation and the idea that it is the most sensible, natural etc. thing to conceive…

    I think belief in strict one on one reincarnation reflects a giant bias towards thinking of the individual as something discrete and atomic. In nature we see that when a body dies, it is far from atomic. It disintegrates and becomes part of billions other life forms, beginning instantly after death (even before, in the case of a prolonged health decline). No part of the physical body passes through death intact without massive chemical interventions. Even the things that may seem to persist, like teeth, are in fact just shells deprived of the parts of them that were “alive.”

    Nothing in nature except for an atomic nucleus passes through death and back into new life intact, at even a microscopic level. I personally believe that the only reason one-for-one reincarnation seems “reasonable” is because the Ego refuses to imagine or accept its dissolution.

    What about past life memories? Well simply because you have access to first-person experiences of people who lived in the past does not mean that you are that very person reincarnated. Mystical practitioners are able to have all sorts of first-person experiences that are separate from their present-day bodies. In the physical world, I can see a photo of a breaching humpback whale. And I certainly can imagine one vividly. It doesn’t mean I ever was anywhere near that whale in physical space-time.

    I think if we look to nature as our analogy, we should expect the dis-integration of our individual consciousness and Ego, a returning to “consciousness soup” from which drops will be taken to form the individual consciousnesses of new living beings. The Ego rebels at this idea. But the Ego rebels at a lot of things. That is one of the things it does best.

    Nature-based spirituality…

  136. @JMG – I’ve enabled custom avatar uploads… you can add a custom image at the bottom of your blog account page.

    @Fred – Dunno about this one. When I click the RSS link here in a desktop browser I see the RSS feed. For mobile you might try a dedicated RSS app like Feedly or Flipboard, and for a desktop computer you might try a different web browser.

    Geoff

  137. David by the lake,

    “I sometimes get frustrated that my life is during this post-peak time of “falling apart of things” and that the later renaissance is something I will never get to see. ”

    No matter when you are born, you will not see a big enough slice of the drama. But why be sure you won’t see it? I’m already starting to plan my next incarnation. Of course, you won’t remember once you’re born, but before that, you likely can take stock of the story.

  138. Dear JMG, thank you for your reply! I will look into it.

    I have another question, if I may. You wrote last week: “… and consider some of the possibilities for a new paradigm that fits our species with a less embarrassingly oversized role in the scheme of things”.

    If it’s true that the arts both reflect and shape a culture’s world view, do you see a role for the arts in this paradigm shift you’re going to explore (specifically music)?

    @David on the Lake: Thank you! It’s far away from the maritime provinces of Canada (where I will be relocating to in a couple of months) but I appreciate the suggestion!

  139. Garden Housewife,

    I think about reincarnation a lot, and when you ponder a thing, you get more and more ideas and understanding.I see the reincarnative process as being far more complex than various silly platitudes about it. It surely is a process of learning, wisdom and soul purification, perhaps other goals as well. While some religious teachings are beautiful and true and useful, there is always the admixture of nonsense. So there is misogyny in all of them and your post question is a manifestation of that. People sometimes become discouraged by the nonsense in religions but this is the human condition, that people are at various levels and there are stupid bits for stupid people by stupid people.

    I think people should also be very slow to judge a soul’s level by a life they see. I think of the book My Lobotomy as a story of a rather advanced soul who took on a difficult lifetime to hone his strength, to test and hopefully win his soul’s character. It is easy to be nice and kind when you have a great life. So you die thinking you’re a kind person. But who are you really? Does your soul even have characteristics that are true? Try being born into a situation where your mother dies when you’re a tot, and your stepmother abuses you and your father allows it, and ultimately you get a lobotomy and are institutionalized for years. I think he came through with flying colors.

  140. Hi JMG,
    nice to see your new blog up and running! My question for now is : How long will the ´line be open´? I´d like to take part in future conversations and/or have some questions, but I may not get around to reading all the comments and your responses before the weekend after the actual date of the open post; but of course I understand that there has to be some kind of deadline since it must be rather time consuming for you to do this:
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  141. @ Childrearing Discussion:

    My two are grown, in committed partnerships and self-supporting. My son and his partner, who I am glad to welcome as daughter-in-law, are getting married in August. They are proceeding in a very low-carbon way. For example, instead of getting flowers from the horrendous cut flower industry, she’s making a paper bouquet and I’ve been given a task: The day of the wedding I will to go to a prairie I help manage, cut suitable flowers and grasses and arrange them in a vase on a table near the wedding cake that my daughter, the baker, will have made. My son is an opera singer. Various friends will provide music: no mics or electronic equipment or electrified instruments needed. To cap things off, it’s being held in the very nice party room of a hyper-local craft brewery.

    So, I’m happy and boasting a little; to this point: My husband and I raised our children in a low carbon, ecosystem friendly manner with lots and lots of love (which includes good food, good values and intellectual stimulation, all grounded in open communication), restrictions on electronics and plenty of time doing all kinds of “real” things. Lots of discussion of why’s and wherefore’s rather than laying down rigid, hard and fast, authoritarian rules. Luckily for us, loving grandparents nearby. Each child went through a (hard, dispiriting, seemingly endless) phase in late adolescence during which they rebelled and we worried, though I never gave up; even then our old habits of open communication bore good fruit. Now in their late twenties and early thirties, they have, each in their own way, returned to our shared family culture. They have made it into their own.

    I think it’s important to remember that each child is a real, individual person engaged in learning and growth, not an empty vessel waiting to be filled. Growing up is an epigenetic process, to apply a biological term to something that also includes soul and spirit. We parents can set good examples, guide, help with enculturation, educate, and provide structure. I also feel that discipline is important. Not in the negative, punitive sense that so many use the word, but in the way—much more difficult—of inculcating good habits, such as setting study schedules and expecting homework and chores to be done and teaching that self-discipline is a big part of living a good life.

    (What “a good life” means is a whole other discussion that, of course, has been part of the project at ADR (and now here) over the years.)

    Best Regards to All,

    Adrian

    Ecological Gardening

  142. You want a paying gig? In your shoes here’s what I’d do: Create a blog something like the ADR where you can write on current affairs or whatever strikes your fancy, access by subscription only, charge $25/year for access, get 10,000 subscribers and your pulling in $250,000/year. That sounds like a paying gig to me. Could you get 10K subscribers? Probably, but there is only one way to find out. I’m number one, leaving only 9,999 to go.

  143. Interesting that you ended up moving but not unexpected. I hope you will be happy there and, from what little I know of the area, I’d hazard a guess that you will be. I’ve moved a lot, mainly because I changed jobs, willingly or otherwise, but recently I actually chose to move. In the process I discovered how hard it is to choose a good place to live. So much of the U.S. is a wasteland as described vividly by J.H. Kunstler and the values of inner city life, with so much so close, and distant rural life with so many possibilities for self-help seem relatively equal to my mind. We ended up in a rural area for reasons of cost rather than preference and we can now compost our poop but a car became an absolute necessity.

  144. Druidry question here: I’ve been wondering for some time about the correspondences for the Stations, as given in the Handbooks. Some of them are quite different from the ones I learned as a Wiccan–my teachers associated red with Beltainne rather than sky blue, for instance, and white rather than brown with Imbolc. I’m quite curious to know the source(s) of the Druidic associations. Are they exclusive to AODA, or do we share them with OBOD? Thanks for the information!

  145. Great to be reading more of your writing JMG, those few months with no weekly AR entry felt like something was missing.

    With all of the discussion of reincarnation, I have a question related to that. I saw your response about fate and destiny and will, but I was wondering, do you think that is possible for a soul to be perfected to reach some end state like nirvana or Teilhard’s Godhead through all of its journeys through countless incarnations, or do you think that there is a sort of steady state aspect so the soul behaves like an asymptote in that it can approach infinite experience/growth without actually reaching a “finish line” so to speak?

    Also, I was wondering if you have one book regarding Druidry that you would recommend above all others to someone who doesn’t know much about it, or is a wide selection of books the best way to get a better understanding?

    Thanks in advance, great to be reading your work again.

  146. “Martin, I don’t know. I’ve never had children to raise. Anybody else have any ideas?”

    What I can say is this: you will have to hold your ground and you will have to create space for those things you value and want the children to value. My mother denied us a television, would not ever buy soft drinks but we could indulge occasionally at a public venue, made us eat whole wheat bread even when we were the only ones in the entire school. Lots of embarrassing and neglectful things like that.

    I thank her beyond the grave. None of us drinks soda, the one worst habit that is decreasing the lifespan in this country; none of us give a fig for television although we all went through stages of watching it; all of us understand that if you want to be healthy you need to eat right. It is such an uphill battle for people who grew up thinking it was normal to suck on something sweet all day, and who can’t fathom what I do with my life without television..

  147. Justin

    It’s true that the notion of collective responsibility can be and has been used to justify discrimination and other heinous acts, but I don’t think that makes it inherently bad. Personal responsibility has also been used to justify torture, murder and other terrible things, but these things don’t make us object to personal responsibility, as they shouldn’t. These acts don’t arise from the idea of personal or collective responsibility, they arise from having a bad sense of morality.

    I believe that the idea of collective responsibility can be approached in a way that allows one to do some real good. After all, if I value morality and I believe that I am partly responsible for the immoral acts of my society, wouldn’t that encourage me to stand against them? To try to make society as a whole more moral?

    If collective responsibility is used, not to punish or castigate another society for something it did, but to work towards the moral improvement of your own society – just as the notion of personal responsibility should lead one to better themselves morally rather than punish others for their immoral acts – wouldn’t that help create a better world? A truly moral society? I think it’s something worth considering, at least.

  148. It was absolutely predictable that your observations would elicit push back. You recognized that the system was broken and that continuing to kick the can down the road forever is impossible. People like what that have and you threatened that, not by stealing it but by telling them what most already knew; that the piper must eventually be paid.

    Observers of human nature like Kahneman and Tversky designed ingenious scenarios that demonstrate the fallacy of human rationality. One of their studies confirmed that people value what they already have more highly than things they do not have of equal or greater value. So, they are willing to cling to our broken system even if a different system might serve them better. Similarly, they have shown that short term rewards are overvalued compared with longer term rewards.

    For those who still cling to the illusion of rationality and free will, I recommend Robert Sapolsky’s video course about the Biology of Human Behavior. Evolution has given us enormous powers to solve problems, but has not given us the control over ourselves that we imagine we have.

    The collapse of gobalized western civilization is inevitable, especially when citizens and their leaders are not even engaging in the right debates.

  149. JMG,
    I’m a bit surprised that you’d choose to live in a metropolitan area of over a million persons, and in an inner community of nearly 50,000 persons. Aren’t you nervous to be in the middle of so many people as things begin to degrade?

    Kevin Anderson
    Iowa

  150. Omni,

    “When I mention that nothing on that scale has ever been even attempted, or that research shows that it doesn’t work, or that it would be much easier to just reduce consumption (and we obviously don’t do that) – all my arguments are ignored and they go back to: do you want us to go extinct? If not, we have to seed the stratosphere with sulfates.”

    Absolutely nothing has ever filled me with such despair over the human condition than people being willing to do something like this. Hubris doesn’t begin to describe it. I do not even have the desire to kill the meth heads who murdered my son – but I would gladly kill anyone who promotes or attempts to do this, with a very clear conscience.

    Enough stupidity and hysteria!!!

  151. Hi JMG,

    A while back I was reading a book by Walter Wink. Hopefully a short and accurate summary of one of his ideas: that institutions have a spirit or genius and that they are “fallen” (or can be) as well as humans and so part of activism is to help them acknowledge and work to redeem this fallen state. Do you agree with the general idea of this? Is there a Druid parallel? If you were not a Druid is there a spiritual community you would be inclined to participate in? I have been interested in Druidry, but I find that I am not good at solitary practice, so I’m trying to consider other options.

    Thanks for having an open thread!

  152. Dear JMG, Long time fan and reader – glad you and Sara had a successful move. My question is concering Asatru – Norse Paganiam. I’ve been studying and practicing Druidism for many years thanks to you, but now studying Asatru through books and youtube.
    I’m part Celt and Scandinavian, so the ancient gods and goddess of Thor, Wodin, Frey, etc. seem connected to me and my European ancestors. I think this religion is getting more popular as people are looking for aways to connect to their roots.
    I don’t remember you writing about Asatru, but I’m sure you know a lot about it. Been looking at the Asatru Folk Assembly founded by Stephen McNallen back in the early 70’s (good website). He doesn’t run it any longer, but has an active youtube channel.
    Carl

  153. Dear JMG,

    I have something to say about reincarnation, but first I would like to say I arrived at your blog by way of The Saker piece mentioned in other posts. I loved the Schopenhauer series and I wanted more. Thank you.

    I find reincarnation appealing, but I have a problem with the liner way it’s commonly perceived as one life following another. The idea that liner time is a reality has been discredited by modern science. Intellectually, I accept that time is a mental construct; consequently, multiple lives must be parallel, or exist in a timeless eternal NOW However, I still had trouble digesting this notion and embracing it with my total being. A book I was reading recommended Jane Robert’s Oversoul Seven novels (3 books available in 1 volume). It’s the clearest and most coherent depiction of multiple personalities living simultaneously in prehistoric, modern, and future “times;” yet, observing and interacting with each other. This book resolved my internal conflict on this issue.

  154. A while back I was reading Overshoot, and one thing that struck me was what he had to say about how human and other animal populations behave when they are well into overshoot. In particular, rare diseases due to stress show up, rabbits reabsorb their unborn offspring, and humans on some island whose name I’m no longer sure of fought wars that killed large numbers and destroyed some of the systems they depended on, such that their population plummeted. All of this happened before they actually would have run out of food if everyone had behaved in a rational and peaceable manner.

    I’m looking at the famine and near-famine situations right now, namely Yemen, Somalia, northern Nigeria and South Sudan, all of which are caused by war. I’m also looking at Syria. I’m thinking that these situations look exactly like what he described. Am I right, or am I seeing something that isn’t there?

  155. I got it John Michael, by moving to R.I. you are planning on the breakdown of local and state government in the future. As anyone familiar with Providence history knows ,there is another organization, all set to step in and run the city once conventional elected government fails. An unusual number of Rhode Islanders I have met seem nostalgic for the days of Ray Patriarca and Buddy Cianci. Perhaps Providence may have a more seamless transition in to the times of Warband rule than other American Cities.

  156. For Rube Cretin re: low energy input brewing

    I was thinking of your question – and I think that our collective expectations might be a little high for future flavor profiles and what have you. Beer has been brewed for thousands of years – there are some resources out there regarding Egyptian and Medieval brewing practices.

    http://www.medievalists.net/2011/06/a-comprehensive-history-of-beer-brewing/

    Stephan Harrod Buhner’s book, “Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers”

    Although I laugh when someone suggests to JMG that he “must see this video”, I humbly submit these two suggestions to the comentariat…

    Tales From the Green Valley – episode seven (demonstrating March beer making, among other things) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lImdUnwV1OY

    And

    Tudor Monastery Farm – episode three (malting barley and making ale) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLyw6w-UH6U I think there is also an episode that shows them making brandy as well, though I don’t remember which one.

    All to say, beer will be brewed, for where there is a will, there is a way! Now, to start practicing beer, wines, meads…

  157. I wish your answer appeared under the question. Wish I had two tablets. One for the question and one for the answer. This format opens many paths. I wandered off back where you talked about discursive meditation. Googled up a brew of religious scholars babbling God knows what till I came across your writing. Then ended up half exploring Druiddom. This open post could invigorate and exhaust, both reader and writer. Come to think of it I’m too exhausted to ask anything complicated. Hope you enjoyed the farmers market.

  158. Remember that blank check to wage never-ending wars in the Middle East that Congress handed Dubya after the 9/11 terrorist attacks? The same one that Obama and Trump have also used as justification for their military actions in the Middle East? Well, now there are moves afoot in Congress to revoke the blank check. The House Appropriations Committee voted overwhelmingly the other day to repeal it.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/29/congress-vote-authorize-war-islamic-state-240095

    This doesn’t mean its dead yet: only a vote of the full Congress can repeal the law. But the House Appropriations Committee is one of the most powerful committees in Congress and many Republican members voted in favor of repeal. It’s clear that a growing number of Americans are fed up with the nonstop regime change wars and counterinsurgency campaigns in the Middle East.

  159. Reincarnation is a fascinating topic, though there are numerous explanations. Many are not even sure a past life is “your” life insofar as the soul and personality of a human may not be the same. Also, I do not believe Christianity completely forecloses reincarnation as a possibility.

    As an aside, I found your old blog in doing research on a question asked to one who claims to channel and seems quite skilled. Asked the most historically famous past life. She said the name was Ulrik or Alric, started a dynasty and was at top of his game around 410 AD. I thought Alaric I fit the bill. You had posted on Alaric.

    Glad to hear you like Providence.

  160. Hello John,
    Greetings from Nuku in New Zealand. I too wish you all the best re your move Providence R.I. Did the name of the town have anything to do with your choice? LOL.
    New Zealand will be having its national election soon. I’ll keep you and others informed about the results as a “data point” for how NZ is fitting into the world‘s political and social trends.

  161. Booklover – regarding the process of forming a life-partnership…

    Since the ideal partnership is formed young and lasts forever, skepticism regarding advice is in order. Those with recently-formed partnerships have not demonstrated sustainability, and those with sustained partnerships may have obsolete advice. With that in mind, I present my credentials: married at 21, divorced at 31, married at 34 and still happily running with it 20-some years later.

    Some basic principles: to form a partnership, you need to be visible to potential partners in an environment that shows your potential value as a partner. (A volunteer service organization seems like a better bet than a noisy bar.) You need to craft yourself into someone who brings value to the partnership, which can take years. (“Share my prosperous life” will be more productive than “I need someone to drive me home from surgery.”) “I can help you with that problem” has usually worked for me as an introduction for casual friendships and I suppose it could be the start of something big. That implies that you need to have the resources with which to help, the presence to recognize the need, and the tact not to assume that The Other is incapable of self-rescue.

    You describe “trying to find a partner”, which if taken literally could indicate a source of your problem. I think you want “to be found by a partner”. In a community, word gets around and you may benefit from subtle forms of assistance, so get yourself into community of some kind.

  162. JMG, one more question that I didn’t think to ask:

    In the book Return To Life, in nearly every case, the people who children remember being in a past life all died a sudden, violent death – much like the woman you remember being.

    In terms of reincarnation, what difference does a quick, violent death make compared to a slower, more natural death? Does age at death matter? Is the time period between death and rebirth fixed, random or dependent on something? Is it possible that the psychic effects of reincarnation explain generational cycles like in Strauss-Howe theory? For instance, a whole lot of baby boomers would be reincarnated WW2 casualties.

    I realize that’s more than one question. I know you’re busy.

  163. @JMG, something that’s just occurred to me. This post has the title “June Open Post”. I think we can all agree, we hope that this project will run for at least as long as TADR. So maybe you, or your hardworking IT guy” (can we find an acronym, there? HIT guy?) could amend the title to “June 2017 Open Post”? You can similarly put the year in the title of future posts. That will make life a lot easier for people in the future trying to search the archives.

    @Bill Pulliam re: reincarnation: In Buddhism as I have come to understand it, the “self” that is reincarnated is not our personality, the “self” which we believe ourselves to be during our life. Rather, the continuing self is a more profound entity, which sheds these personalities as a snake sheds its skin (I’ve often wondered if this is why snakes seemed to be important in ancient Druidry).

    I’m now in my forties; to what extent am I still the callow young man I was at 21? He certainly still exists, in my memories and those of other people. His remembered emotions still affect and influence me. Other people, meeting me after decades, may try to interact with me as if I am still him. But I’m not him any more. My later experiences, choices, and condition mean that I should be aware of his influence, but make different choices, and behave in different ways. In the same way, the memories and behaviours of past lives still subtly remain, and influence me, but I’m not those people any more; the progress I have (hopefully) made in the meantime towards being a better person should override their influence.

  164. Odysseus,

    No, you’re confusing things. You say that personal responsibility is a correct moral principle even though some societies might mete out excessive punishments. This is true, but you can’t make the leap from there to “some collective guilt is OK, just don’t go too far with it”.

    For instance, let’s say that in 2020 President Zuckerberg decides that white Americans will pay slavery reparations to black Americans to the tune of $100/year each. Although $100 a year is not that much money, and perhaps it would be a net benefit for black Americans to each receive $500 or so a year even if white Americans lost $100, it is still wrong.

    The thing is that you are arguing that just because something good can be done wrong, something bad can be done right.

    I don’t deny that ON AVERAGE white Americans have an advantage over black Americans due to slavery and racist laws.

    And no, one’s class status doesn’t change one’s level of responsibility with regards to changing society. An upper middle class white guy is no more culpable than a poor black woman. The upper middle class white guy has more power, and could be expected to do more to reverse the injustices in our society, but that’s not because of class guilt – it’s just because he’s more capable as a result of his position. The fact is that if white people and black people (to use a very simplified example…) want to live together in peace and harmony everyone has to believe in the project of unity and harmony.

    I really think we’re disagreeing about language, not so much fundamental ideas. The problem is that a lot of left-wing political activism is into class guilt these days, and I don’t see it ending well.

    As Jordan Peterson says, the alternative to fighting is talking, and the language of class guilt as used throughout the last century by the extreme left and right prevents talking and has so far always caused violence.

    The other point I was trying to make about black people and Jews was that even though it is factually true that a given class of people causes more trouble than another class if you look at things a certain way, punishing that class isn’t necessarily the right answer.

  165. Kia ora JMG

    Thank you for all your work and for this forum, its a great initiative. I’ve been following your work for many years now and been trying to integrate your wisdom into my lifestyle and livelihood as best I can. I have a couple of questions:

    One of my areas of interest is permaculture. I assume you are familiar with concept and practice and while recognise that at it is likely to be, at least in part, ‘a current intellectual fad’, I am interested to know if you have read David Holmgren’s book – Principle and Pathways Beyond Sustainability and if you have any thoughts or critiques to make of this work. In particular, I know that D Holmgren aligns with your conception of a long decent unfolding over many many generations and I would be interested to hear your thoughts regarding the efficacy of the 12 principles he maps out in Principles and Pathways as guide to the wide range of human endeavors it is intended to inform – nature stewardship, tools and technology, building, land tenure and community governance, finance and economics, education and culture and health an spiritual wellbeing – https://permacultureprinciples.com/

    Final Question – Fred shared a story about micro aggression, or more specifically a person(s) taking offence to micro aggression stifling and groups ability to engage with each other (my words). I have had some similar experiences recently, and from what I can observe here in New Zealand, there appears to be a trend in the western world that a persons ‘right to not be offended’ is increasing and is compromising individual liberty, freedom of expression and shared dialogue about things that matter – is this a trend that you have observed? if so do you have any thoughts our guidance you could offer?

    Thanks again, keep up the great work, Gary

  166. Odysseus, then what’s the point of assigning collective responsibility? Is it purely an abstract notion for you, or does it have some meaningful application?

    Scotlyn, good. I’d suggest that it’s impossible for us not to represent ourselves to others; the question is simply how we choose to do so.

    Housewife, it’s not simply a matter of complexity; as I tried to point out, it’s a matter of bringing out the potential in the individual soul. If your daughter is the kind of person who’s got the potential to be a mad tyrant, then yes, she might do that in some life. If not, don’t worry about it. That said, yes, when the triad says “know all things, do all things, and suffer all things,” that middle term does include evil as well as good. On the other hand, how many evils have you — and has she — already experienced in previous lives? If you have (or she has) a gut-level aversion to such things, odds are that it’s because you’ve already gone that route, and learned that the consequences really do suck…

    James, that’s the sort of thing I’d encountered from him, and explains why I don’t find his thinking useful.

    Scotlyn, that’s a suitable topic for an entire book.

    Rahul, exactly! You win tonight’s gold star for pointing out an unwelcome but necessary truth.

    SMJ, fair enough!

    Anioush, the way I heard it, he dabbled with it a little in the 1960s, included some references to it in one of his books, and dropped it like a hot rock once its problematic features became clear later on. A lot of people have such experiences in their past.

    Booklover, start by changing yourself, and see if that solves the problem. If not, it may be outside yourself.

    Mister N., no argument there!

  167. About the discussion on discrimination,

    Last year, I saw a relative that I hadn’t seen an a while and we got into a discussion about how many anti-discrimination laws don’t even fulfill the purposes they are supposed to. His job is for a company in the computer business, and his work is hiring and firing employees for the company, so he has a lot of experience in these matters. He was reluctant at first to even bring up the topic, probably because of how polarizes and toxic the politics have become around it, but he says the risk of getting sued makes them more reluctant to hire workers in the supposedly “protected” groups, which include minorities, women, and older people. They do still hire plenty in those groups, but only if they’re more convinced that it’s a solid fit. He’s more likely to hire a younger white male if it’s a more risky situation where he’s more worried about whether the applicant will work out or not, This is because they can fire younger white males more easily if they don’t work out, with less risk of being sued. He says he doesn’t want to discriminate in that way, but has to because of experiences the company has had of disgruntled former employees suing them in the past. So, in this case the anti-discrimination laws are having the opposite of their intended effect. Adding more bureaucracy to try to bring cultural change often backfires.

    kashtan(Ozark Chinquapin on the old blogs)

  168. Dirtyboots, based on my experience and that of others I know, no and no. Neither banishing rituals nor most ways of doing taijiquan deliberately direct energy through specific internal centers, so they seem to be generally safe. It’s when you’re working specific centers, rather than letting the body process energy however it wants to, that problems seem to follow.

    MJ, that’s not a question that can be answered quickly or easily! The crucial point, though, is not to fall into the trap of assuming that civilization is good and barbarism is bad — or, for that matter, the other way around. They’re simply two modes of human social organization in relation to nature; civilization is a profoundly artificial mode, while barbarism is the default mode. More on this in future posts.

    Fred, that may be it. I’m not at all technically literate, so can’t offer any advice!

    Steve, sensory meditation isn’t mind-emptying meditation, because when you do it, you’re not emptying the mind — you’re filling it with sensory input. It’s a useful thing to do, though less valuable for the occultist than discursive meditation. As an additional practice, though, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Fred, not that I know of. The lure of the myth of progress has seduced them all.

    Eric, I find my apparent past life memories useful in understanding myself; I have quirks and deep fears that have no relation to my present life, but are explained by the apparent memories of past lives, and having those memories helps me put them in context and deal with them constructively. That said, I have no way of knowing for sure if they are actually the memories of actual past lives; they just seem to work that way.

    Bill, by the same logic, I could insist that you’re not actually Bill Pulliam — you just think you are, because you’ve been supplied with all his memories. Of course it’s possible to argue against the validity of apparent past life memories, and you’re free to do so; I find it more useful to treat them as a source of self-knowledge.

    Geoff, thank you! Much appreciated.

    Jbucks, the arts are always involved in cultural paradigm shifts. Yes, we’ll talk about that as things proceed.

    Frank, this post will be the current one for a week, Next Wednesday a new post will go up, and then you’ll have to wait until the next open post!

  169. Thanks John, re viewing comments and posts together. I put my laptop and iPad side by side on the desk. Works just as well.

  170. Cam, that’s way too much work, and it would only appeal to my existing audience. I’m interested in something that will get a wider audience.

    Mtc, oh, granted, there are always tradeoffs. Sara and I decided that a more urban setting with a much lower energy and resource footprint was a better option for us, but of course your mileage may vary.

    Sister Crow, they’re specific to AODA. Every tradition uses at least slightly different symbolism for these things!

    Sub, the Druid traditions I follow don’t include the concept of a “finish line.” However far you go, portal upon portal still awaits. As for a book, well, I’m prejudiced, but I’d suggest my book The Druidry Handbook as the best single volume introduction to modern Druidry.

    Michael, even if people were engaging in the right debates, civilizations have a life cycle that runs from birth to death. Industrial civilization is going to die as inevitably as you and me…

    Kevin, not at all. Since we’re not facing a fast collapse, urban areas that are close to ample farmland are better positioned to manage the Long Descent than isolated rural areas; they have the labor force and existing social organization to maintain basic infrastructure and public order; and since I’m 55 and only have to worry about the next few decades at most, and have no children, a modestly sized urban area seems like a good bet for me.

    Candace, was that one of Wink’s “Powers” trilogy? I’d use a different way of phrasing things, since I don’t find the Christian language helpful. Organizations and traditions have their own egregor or collective personality, and this can be just as functional, or dysfunctional, as an individual personality. When assessing a group, it’s wise to try to suss out the nature of its egregor to decide if it’s a good fit. I have no idea what group I might be drawn to if I wasn’t a Druid, as I haven’t been in the market for a spiritual tradition for many years now.

    Ben, hmm! Fascinating.

    Carl, I don’t know a great deal about Asatru, as it’s never really appealed to me. I respect the Aesir and the Vanir, and have poured the occasional offering when invited to attend blots and sumbels, but it’s not my path.

    Peter, if the Seth books appeal to you, then by all means follow their teaching.

    Corydalidae, bingo. I’ve been thinking along those lines for many years now.

    Clay, Rhode Island government has a reputation for corruption on a scale that not even New Jersey can match, so it’s not as though there would be any drastic change. 😉 Have you by any chance read Cyril Kornbluth’s SF novel The Syndic?

    Dennis, I did indeed — fresh raspberries, snap peas, shelling peas, and much more, a very large fraction of it grown within a few dozen miles of here.

    Erik, we’ll have to see how that works out…

  171. DR, it’s an interesting possibility, and explains a lot. Beyond that we probably can’t go.

    Sandy, nope — if that were the case, I would have moved someplace named Pure Dumb Luck. 😉

    Justin, that’s about a book worth of questions, and opinions differ on most of those points, I’d encourage you to do some further reading!

    Bogatyr, I’ll consider that.

    Gary, I haven’t read any of the main permaculture texts, for a variety of reasons. No doubt I’ll get to them in due time. With regard to the supposed right not to be offended, yeah, that’s a major issue here also. To my mind, it’s simply an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, combined with the recognition that claiming to be offended is a great way to score points off other people.

    Kashtan, yep. One of the basic principles of ecology is that if you push on a complex system, it’s going to push back.

    Foodnstuff, glad to hear it!

  172. Justin,

    A lot of the points you’re addressing in your post are things that I haven’t mentioned or implied. I get that this is a charged topic, but if you go back and read my reply you’ll find that I actually agree with a lot of what you’re saying.

    None of the arguments in your post are actually against the notion of collective responsibility or guilt, rather they’re against collective punishment, and if you reread the last paragraph in my previous post, you’ll find that I’m against that too.

    JMG

    I’m still exploring the idea, haven’t come to a conclusion on it, but one possible application that comes to mind is encouraging people to not be indifferent when their country does something immoral.

    But anyway, the reason why I brought up this topic was not to discuss or advocate for collective responsibility, but to bring up the possibility that the Spenglerian/Platonic idea of human societies as superorganisms implies that collective responsibility does exist. If it does imply that, then you may inadvertently be advocating for it, and I felt that I should make you aware of this because, knowing your views on similar issues, I was certain that you would be against that notion of collective guilt.

    Looking back, I guess I didn’t express my thoughts correctly in my first post. I admit I’m usually pretty bad at making myself clear to others, especially in writing, so I don’t blame you for misinterpreting my intentions.

  173. Another question for the open thread: a long while back in a comment you defended Eckhart Tolle as (to your second-hand knowledge) offering a popularized version of the Western mystical tradition. Have you had any chance to update your thoughts on him since then?

    I’ve read both his major books, The Power of Now and A New Earth. Some of his ideas do have some interesting parallels with traditional mystical/occult traditions. I think I’ve mentioned before that his concept of the Inner Body, which for him is a bridge to Being, and can be brought to awareness by trying to feel your body “from the inside” so to speak, is to my mind very similar to the concept of the etheric body.

    On the other hand, he also teaches mind-emptying meditation and that the purpose of suffering is to teach you to transcend the ego so you no longer suffer and can extract yourself from the cycle of rebirth, which strikes me as regurgitated pop-Buddhism rather than anything especially Western.

    I guess I’m just curious of your views on him, since he’s tremendously influential in pop-spirituality circles. He does seem to avoid the “there are no limits!” nonsense; in one video he said something to the effect of, “Now, some extreme new age people will tell you, you can have [anything] if you just really, really want it; but I’m telling you, no.”

  174. JMG,

    Did I say Seth material appeals to me? I read a work of fiction about how multiple personality separated by vast amounts of perceived time influence each other; the author just happens to be Jane Roberts. She created a good story or model about how reincarnation works in a timeless universe. I enjoy entertaining this possibility. In fact, it’s my default position until a better one comes along. This is the first book I’ve read about reincarnation in a context where time doesn’t exist except as a mental construct.

  175. Hi John Michael,

    Congratulations on completing your move; may you both recover and your boxes dwindle swiftly.

    I’ve been considering giving discursive meditation a try, but I need to be very cautious as I had some bad results for my energy body with a mantra meditation/pranayama practice (I corresponded with you about this 2.5 years ago).

    A lot of mind-emptying meditation techniques are presented in the West as a package that anyone can get the benefit of without needing to take up a full religious vocation as it were, like Buddhism etc.

    Would you say that the discursive approach is worth attempting on its own outside of a specific occult practice, in order both to try it out and to get benefits of mind-focusing and clearing? Is it worthwhile as a discipline it its own right, for those of us who aren’t now pursuing full magical practice and don’t have a religion as such?

    I do in fact have a daily practice of prayer at the moment to a Welsh deity, and am intending to expand to include others, so I’m not completely rootless spiritually, but I can’t take up ritual practice as my energy body still seems to be injured, and for time reasons I’m not quite in a place to take up a full course of mystical study like your Druidry Handbook, or OBOD.

    I suppose I am asking whether you think discursive meditation is worthwhile as a mental discipline/practice even if you don’t have a set of spiritual themes that you are particularly looking to unravel – or would that defeat the purpose?

    Many thanks.
    Morfran.

  176. Hi JMG,

    Thanks for opening such a huge and intriguing dialogue. I’m a little bit in awe really.

    Out of sheer curiosity, I personally read a lot of your passion for various subject matters in your writing and I have long been wondering whether that energy is part of your personal religiosity and philosophy?

    Cheers

    Chris

  177. Hi JMG, So glad you’re blogging again! I’ve missed your voice. You’ve written that you were reading Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World to discuss it in more depth; do you still intend to? Traditionalism has such a strong appeal, especially to someone such as myself who feels corrupted by the modern world, but there is something…sinister about it; the way that traditionalist men are satisfied by pride and power, and how beauty beams from its women, to paraphrase Jung on the Eve of WWI. It seems to me that Traditionalism sensu lato has a complex of powerful spells, some of which I’m susceptible to even though there is something about it that doesn’t quite sit right with me. Perhaps that it seems to convey that personal liberty isn’t important, or that people’s inherent worth is transparent based on some ‘traditional’ criteria that can be discerned by a rationalist system. Or that it bears striking correspondences to the SJW zeitgeist. Nonetheless it appeals to a self-righteous, arrogant, and vindictive part of myself which wishes to see the filth of modernity cleansed from the streets. Are there any spells you would suggest to protect oneself from the pull of traditionalism?

  178. Hello again John,

    I’m finding the discussions here absolutely fascinating – a bit too much so as I have other things I need to be doing. But I do have a couple questions about reincarnation, a subject that I know little about.

    It seems to me that you are saying that we humans reincarnate as humans – is that so? If it is, then do say cats reincarnate as cats? Also, where did the souls for the first humans come from? And with 7+ billion people in the world it seems that some people must have the same past lives, if each of us has multiple past lives.

    Thanks, Doug

  179. @Sandy Fontwith,
    We have national elections here as well (September), but I´m really at a loss as who to vote for. JMG, Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain and others have elaborated on the state of the Green Movement, and I´m afraid the german Green Party is a poster child for this: all they are concerned with nowadays is identity politics, the interests of the middle classes and of course the unshakable belief in a glorious alternative green energy future that will keep growth and modern lifestyles going forever. For me they long since have been unvotable, and I´m saying this as someone who once stood as a canditate for them in a local election in 1984.
    All the other mainstream parties are not even worth considering, to my mind. That leaves The Left (that´s actually the partie´s name – Die Linke), who believe in progress as well but want to see it´s benefits distributed more evenly – maybe I´ll go for them, but only because I think the current mainstream needs a strong opposition and they might be most likely to pick up topics like degrowth for public discussion in the future.
    Good idea to keep everyone informed about the NZ election outcome, I´ll do the same about the German one.
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  180. @Justin
    July 1, 2017 at 3:03 am
    I agree; i don´t believe in the concepts of collective guilt or class guilt either, for very much the same reasons. I might add that I find them to be very close to prejudices against groups of people and for that alone I try to avoid thinking like that: everyone should be judged on their own merit.

  181. Kashtan, funnily enough, my company is having exactly the same problem. We hired a few people from various parts of Asia through a (Canadian) government scheme to provide businesses with cheap workers who can’t take a better job when it comes along (as is their God Given Right as Innovators and Job Creators). The first few modern-day serfs worked out pretty well, until we got a grossly incompetent person with a bad attitude to boot. Firing him would unfortunately jeopardize our supply of serfs! It’s an ongoing issue so I can’t tell you how the story ends.

    Here in Canada we have unprecedented rates of mass immigration, and any journalist or professional that dares criticize the policy is branded a white supremacist and often loses their job. I suspect the immigration policy is driven by organizational failure in the government and media – it isn’t safe to criticize it so it’s better to do the opposite. It also might have something to do with the incumbent party trying to keep the housing bubble fluffed until the 2019 elections. It is not going to end well.

  182. JMG
    If I may comment on the racism/liberty thread: for argument sake, let’s say a person does have an authentic religious objection to serving Jews in his restaurant. The argument in favour of giving him the liberty to be a blockhead is “on condition that no one is harmed“.
    Doesn’t it then come down to the definition of harm. Let’s say no physical harm occurs, but the restaurant owner makes a public statement that “no dirty Jews allowed in here”. Personally, since I have Jewish antecedents AND a thick skin, I’d probably tell the guy to get f–ed and take my business elsewhere. However others with thinner skin, might claim “emotional“ harm in that situation. Messy grey area this one.

  183. JMG – Re: past lives. Your description of recognizing personal quirks without personal history to support them sounds, to me, consistent with epigenetic inheritance. Rather than try to paraphrase, I’ll just point you to the Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics#Fear_conditioning.

    In essence, we’re learning that the individual experiences of our ancestors can be transmitted to us. It need not involve the persistence of a disembodied “soul” (which is not to assert that such souls do not exist, of course). Note that this mechanism still requires blood-line ancestry, so it’s not the experience of deadly trauma, but possibly the experience of a close family member’s grief.

  184. Justin- Re: immigration As I hear it, the justification for increased immigration is simply that our national plans to support our retired populations will not be met by the offspring of such retirees. We are not procreating at a rate sufficient to maintain GROWTH, and GROWTH must be maintained! Whether or not the Earth itself has the resources to provide for the required growth NEVER, EVER enters the discussion. Bring more people in! They’ll think of something!

  185. Frank Thamm, I think more or less the same about the German parties. Excewpt for a short-lived kerfuffle about the chancellor candidate of the SPD, there is not nuch of a election campaign to speak of. The blandness of German politicians has left me with the question what a future German caesarism would look like. I don’t know if J. M. Greer can say anything about it.

    Lathechuck, thanks for the advice! I’m already partly following it. But my question was rather aimed at the societal aspects of modern dating culture and the way people, who use dating websites or dating apps like Tinder, or go about the matter with problematic expectations or a sense of entitlement, seem to set up themselves for failure and the ideas in modern society about dating, which seem to be rather unhelpful.

  186. Odysseus,

    No, you’re right, you haven’t implied any of the scenarios which I have described, I am using contemporary (to me) examples of situations where the logic of class guilt could be used to arrive at conclusions which are not acceptable to most people. And no, I never actually specified a collective punishment for black people or Jewish people for those two group’s disproportionate negative impacts on specific aspects of American life, I simply explained how one might arrive at the logic of class guilt for those groups based on indisputable facts about those groups – of course, there’s a certain selective blindness required, but that has never historically been an issue.

    Like JMG said, what’s the point of class guilt unless you’re going to use it to justify class punishment?

    What I might propose as an alternative to the idea of holding racial, religious or economic classes collectively responsible is holding institutions and individuals responsible. Here’s a clip of Rodan engaging in exactly the same sort of racial class politics that makes my blood boil and forgive Orange Julius his failings:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORWM0ukT-Xw

    One doesn’t have to look very hard to see this sort of politics everywhere in the hall of mirrors that the managerial elites of Western civilization inhabit.

    JMG, fair enough! Its a complicated enough issue – right now I’m finishing up Modern Man In Search of a Soul and then it’s on to the book you recommended to me in the other thread – but if you’re going to discuss Evola I’ll probably want to re-read Revolt Against the Modern World first. And then maybe reincarnation.

  187. Odysseus, if superorganisms are sufficiently conscious and active to be able to bear responsibility for their actions, the actions of individuals aren’t going to have any more effect on the decisions of the superorganisms to which they belong than, say, the actions of the cells in your spleen have over your decisions. The logic of collective responsibililty always tries to have it both ways, assigning responsibility (in practice, blame) for collective actions on individuals who far more often than not had nothing to do with the actions in question.

    James, I haven’t paid any attention to his recent writings — I’ve had other things on my plate.

    Peter, did you think I was criticizing your choice of inspiration?

    Morfran, one of the great things about discursive meditation is that it’s safe. In more than a quarter of a century of teaching discursive meditation to students, I have never once had anybody report any significant negative outcome. I also know a fair number of people who practice it by itself, without any other spiritual practice, with good results. I’d say give it a try, using anything of interest to you as a theme.

    Chris, I’m not at all sure how to parse your question. My energy and enthusiasm is part of who I am; you don’t have to have my peculiar character to be a Druid — though it apparently helps. 😉

    Violet, hmm! I’ll give that a thought. One spell, certainly, is to recognize that there’s nothing actually traditional about Traditionalism — it’s a thoroughly modern movement, assembling a pastiche of pop-culture themes into a soi-disant “Tradition” and then using that as a club with which to beat on other modern ideologies. Your comment that there’s a lot of common ground between Traditionalism and the social-justice movement is to my mind very telling — both are basically excuses for bullying decked out in ornate ideological disguises.

    Justme, many thanks!

  188. Archdruid and Corydalidae,

    I think that concept actually deserves its own name. I’ve been wondering about a somewhat related series of events here in the industrialized world.

    In the US we’re currently experiencing an epidemic of anxiety and depression, which is being variously diagnosed and treated by huge volumes of meds. Since we’re all linked to our ecosystems, can we assume that the deep anxieties that people feel are their instincts screaming that something has gone horrible wrong? The rational thing would be to reflect upon those anxieties and find their source, but that would require substantial analysis and coming to terms with our relationship with nature. That’s like making the trip from the east coast to the west naked and on foot. All these people are now dependent on medication to simply function on a day-to-day basis, the medication is dependent on a highly vulnerable global supply chain. What exactly happens when these people are no longer able to access their meds? It’s almost like a certain percentage of the population simply weakens before the actual disaster, and then the actual disaster wipes that portion to return the ecosystem to carrying capacity.

    The disaster in the cases that Corydalidae sighted were, perhaps, a similar reaction. The anxieties built up and made these people act impulsively, forcing down the population and consumption rates to within carry capacity of their respective ecosystems.

    Regards,

    Varun

  189. @Booklover- umm, have you considered cruising bookstores after work, say MWF, and libraries on weekends? Just might find another booklover, heh.

    Ministet of future

  190. JMG

    I didn’t think you were criticizing my choice of inspiration. I’m thinking you missed the point of my message, except your too deep to miss it. I think I will move on to other topics.

  191. More thoughts on reincarnation.

    Is reincarnation a process to perfect the soul? What does perfection mean?

    A couple of JMG replies “it’s a matter of bringing out the potential in the individual soul.” And “I have quirks and deep fears that have no relation to my present life, but are explained by the apparent memories of past lives, and having those memories helps me put them in context and deal with them constructively. That said, I have no way of knowing for sure if they are actually the memories of actual past lives; they just seem to work that way.”

    I do not have memories of past lives, but I have a deep seated fear of falling to my death that I believe relates to a past life. I also held the firm conviction at the young age of 5 that I was much, much older than anyone around me. I can’t explain why I thought this to be true, but I was absolutely convinced it was true. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the idea of reincarnation in a world religions class in college that pieces became clearer to me. I was strongly attracted to eastern mysticism and yoga, and began practicing meditation and Hatha Yoga.

    Over several decades of practice under various qualified teachers my practice created and reinforced in me a belief that I could control or master my life. After all, isn’t that the goal, to become a master? There was this underlying belief in my practice that I could be completely responsible for my fate. Eventually it became a struggle to achieve “perfection”, which became a barrier to further progress. Eventually I turned to Taoist and Buddhist teachings. I still practice meditation but with less focus on mantras and techniques.

    I rarely think about reincarnation or karma. I think the past gives form to the present, and the present gives shape to tomorrow. Yes, our actions today are important, so being a ‘good’ person, making healthy choices, all these actions bear fruit or bring consequences depending on how one looks at it. So in this sense I am responsible for my future. But I prefer not to be overly concerned with the details of karma, and I would rather follow Buddha’s teachings on the causes of suffering and the solution.

    Buddha taught that suffering in life arises from attachment and aversion. It is our attachments that cause us to suffer when our possessions, the people we love, our ideas come to an end. Having an aversion causes us to suffer because we push reality away, we won’t accept what is happening when it comes into our life. When we are overcome by aversion or attachment we suffer anger, fear, pain and/or confusion. Being mindful simply means paying attention to what is happening now, recognizing when suffering arises how our aversion or attachment has created the situation. I suddenly recognize I’m angry, why? If I take a moment to focus on what I am feeling as opposed to pushing away unpleasant feelings that I’m not “supposed” to have because I’ve overcome this negative human emotion, I can better understanding the situation. It always seems to come to a point where I find that suffering is the result of wanting (attachment) or not wanting (aversion) life to be a particular way.

    In any moment we have the ability to pause, look into our situation, and recognize the pattern that led to our suffering. When we understand the pattern of what is happening, we have the opportunity to let go of our desire to control life, and remove the source of our suffering. We let go of the need to control, to define, to be responsible (or the fear that we will not be able to control, define, or be responsible). We curb our endlessly rebellious ego (nod to Bill Pulliam). Practicing mindfulness, living as fully in this moment as we are able; we experience the freedom of letting this moment pick its own goal. We can experience tremendous joy and fulfillment trusting that life is unfolding just as it should, bringing out the potential of our individual soul. Taoism, to me, aligns itself very nicely nature-based spirituality and offers many moments of exquisite beauty and enjoyment.

    cheers all,
    Soilmaker

  192. Regarding Traditionalism, I still sort of believe in it, but I think that Tradition has to basically “come from God” – meaning that civilization needs to collapse, and a new civilization with a new Tradition needs to emerge. I like Evola and tend to agree with him more often than not, but there’s no blueprints for 1000 year Reichs in his work, and that’s a good thing.

  193. Dear JMG,

    I would like to expand the microaggression question raised by others. The right to not be offended doesn’t just compromise individual liberty and freedom of expression, it disempowers the alleged victims; feeling offended is a choice. I think this disempowerment (real or imagined) is an intended consequence promoted by government, media and education. If you have doubts, search this headline: Ohio State Offers Class On How To Detect Microaggressions. If your life is lacking a sense of fear and intimidation you can take a class to remedy the problem.

  194. I have yet another question.

    I noticed in one Youtube video interview JMG you mentioned you believe one of the ‘possible great inventions’ of this time (to paraphrase) that could go into the future is that people have learned how to build soils they farm instead of depleting them. Could you mention the book or books or other sources you used to learn how to do this? I assume it involves more than composting, cover crops and crop rotation, etc. Or maybe it uses those methods in un-intuitive ways?

  195. BoysMom, thanks, I’ll take a look at those.

    JMG, on the Jacotot method: I’ve recently started experimenting with a similar approach myself! I’m curious to know exactly how well it works: for the languages you’ve studied this way, how well do you know them now, and how much text did you have to memorize to reach that level?

  196. JMG,

    Your explanation of magic on the Well of Galabes, as well as some of your books, was the first one in a decade of searching which made actual sense. So, I hope you’ll forgive me this seemingly random question…

    Multiple spiritual teachers claim that an energetic link is formed when two people engage in coitus, and that this link is very hard to break. Do you have any reason to believe that this is actually the case, and, if so, what might the effects of having multiple sexual partners in succession be?

    I’m not talking about drunken hook-ups or anything of the sorts. But, we live in a culture where people usually have sex during the first couple of dates, so the numbers can get pretty high just from regular dating.

  197. Sandy, of course it’s a messy gray area. Most of life consists of messy gray areas. That’s why compromises that never really satisfy anybody, but enable people to live together in relative piece, are a better choice than absolute rules based on abstract principles.

    Lathechuck, I’m familiar with that. I’m also quite familiar with the events in the lives of my immediate ancestors, none of which explain the quirks and fears I mentioned…

    Justin, excellent! Jung is worth reading, though I recommend going beyond the books he wrote as sales pitches for the masses, and tackling the books he wrote for practitioners. Symbols of Transformation and Answer to Job aren’t too opaque.

    Varun, that makes an uncomfortable degree of sense.

    Peter, I’m perfectly capable of missing the point, especially when I’m still recovering from a harrowing relocation!

    Soilmaker, “perfection” is a judgment call, and therefore differs depending on who’s making the judgment — a perfect beer for me may be undrinkable to you. The Druid teachings I follow don’t consider perfection a meaningful goal for any created being, and as for being a “master,” doesn’t that imply having servants? I’ll pass, thanks. No, it’s a matter of fully unfolding the unique potential in each of us, a process that’s never complete and goes in different directions for each person.

    Justin, I won’t argue. Spengler is a good source of insight here; he argues that each high culture has a unique and incommensurable insight at its core, works out all the ramifications of that insight, and then goes under, leaving space for new cultures to arise.

    Peter, I won’t argue at all. Do you recall the post on the old blog about the Rescue Game? The quest to find new Persecutors goes into overdrive as the game winds down…

  198. Panda, I was talking about ordinary organic farming, which does indeed build soil rather than depleting it. You can find a guide to the techniques in any of dozens of good books on organic farming and gardening.

    Dan, I haven’t yet had the chance to use the Jacotot method — I learned Latin and French before I encountered it (it was a reference in a novel by Josephin Peladan, in fact, that clued me into the method). I plan on giving it a try with German; I have a decent collection of Hermann Hesse novels in German, and all of them in English, so as time permits will get to work with Demian and see how it goes.

    Rationalist, the traditional lore on that subject has been filtered through a certain amount of Puritan sexual morality, which doesn’t necessarily stand up to the test of experience. Based on my own experiences, yes, there’s a connection; it fades in intensity over time, especially if (a) it’s not continually reinforced by more sexual contact with the same person and (b) you have sexual contact with someone else (the old notion that you can best get over one lover by having sex with somebody else has a basis in occult philosophy); and it’s not that big of a deal. If you have lots of casual sex with no emotional involvement, and don’t do regular banishing rituals or other purifying actions, your sphere of sensation (aka aura) can end up feeling pretty gunked up — you may know people who do this, and have a “sticky” feeling around them; excessive masturbation can have the same effect. Other than that, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  199. JMG, I’ll go ahead and do that. I’ve heard conflicting things about reading Jung for those who plan to read all or most of his works – whether one should read his mass audience books first or not.

    I decided to start with Man and His Symbols and then Modern Man in Search of a Soul because I’ve watched quite a few Jordan Peterson lectures, and he talks about a mishmash of things including an overview of Jungian psychology – and I wanted to clarify for myself what parts are actually Jung’s basic ideas.

    If you’re still game to answer my incessant questions – I ask more than my share – something that Jordan Peterson (and many other secular writers, such as Marie Kondo) talk about is the importance of maintaining one’s living space in as neat and beautiful a manner as possible. Could this be thought of as a secular banishing ritual of a sort?

  200. JMG,

    Thank you for the answers. For the worship of internet, further reflection revealed perhaps the newspaper example was not the best. But in many cases, people forget that things can be done without the internet (ex long distance communication), and insist that doing something online is always better, and can’t grasp people may disagree. I’m trying to figure out if this is just a reflection of the myth of progress or something else, and this is one of the few places where I can mention these things without being shouted down.

    For what could make you believe society is not in decline, that is a fair answer. And to answer your questions: if I saw a rock fall up with my own eyes I’d believe it, otherwise I’d doubt it. And someone not getting old, I would accept it seeing it with my own eyes, or word from someone I trust… The bar is very high for both, and I would also probably spend a while making sure I fully understood the other possibilities, and could explain why they are not the case.

    For the relationship with the gods, this is also a very reasonable answer. I will respect your desire not to speak of it.

    I have another question, open for all: what is the most extreme form of cognitive dissonance you have ever seen? I have just seen a big one: I know an engineer who tore apart solar panels as an energy source for an industrial society, but moments later when peak oil came up, insisted it was a solution to the problem.

    @corydalidae,

    It appears the tsunamis have begun: http://temblor.net/earthquake-insights/greenland-earthquake-was-a-phantom-the-landslide-and-tsunami-were-real-4468/

  201. JMG,
    You wrote in your response to Kevin,

    “Since we’re not facing a fast collapse, urban areas that are close to ample farmland are better positioned to manage the Long Descent than isolated rural areas; they have the labor force and existing social organization to maintain basic infrastructure and public order; and since I’m 55 and only have to worry about the next few decades at most, and have no children, a modestly sized urban area seems like a good bet for me.”

    That’s one of the reasons I was surprised to see that you moved to RI rather than somewhere in the Midwest. How is there “ample farmland” near you? It’s one thing to get all your fresh produce from nearby, that doesn’t really require much land, but I have much more trouble seeing southern New England getting its caloric needs met from the region than I would for any of the states in the Midwest or the upper/mid South, because of greater population density and soil issues. Do you think the economy there will remain robust enough and the political situation stable enough for the next few decades for staple foods shipped in from elsewhere to remain affordable there?

  202. @JMG,

    Thanks for your comment regarding Ghost Fleet. And here I was, thinking of getting myself a copy. So apparently the USA wins because of a ridiculous plot twist… no thanks. Might as well go to the cinema and watch whatever mediocre superhero flick they’re showing nowadays.

    I do find it interesting that the authors chose to make the “Directorate” the Chinese bad guys. I don’t really find a near-future military coup scenario plausible for China; there are so many internal factions that are just waiting for the opportunity to grab power that it’s more likely that we get a repeat of the early 20th century civil wars. Certainly, any coup plotters will not be well-supported nor well-organized enough to fend off their rivals that launch a Pacific war, even against a fading superpower. At any rate, the authors seem to be well aware that, reprehensible Red China may be, they really aren’t stupid enough to directly start a war with the United States.

  203. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Another question I was wondering about. I’m toying with the idea of doing a PhD and trying to do some good through it. Doing a PhD in Australia can actually be a income generating venture and is quite different to how I perceive higher education to function in the United States.
    I was wondering if there are any research topics you could recommend that may be a worthwhile endeavor? My focus would ideally be in the avenue of electrical/electronic/energy engineering.
    I recall the post “A Wishlist for Krumpus” was a similar call to action and I was just wondering if there is anything else you might want to add to the list or even more general categories you think that are worth pursuing.

  204. JMG, I’m going to abuse this open post slightly, because I don’t actually have a question. Rather I wanted to thank you for writing The Blood of The Earth, which I just finished reading in three sittings. Almost couldn’t put the damn thing down 😉 Brilliant work.

  205. Since reincarnation was discussed and since to me it seems to fit to the whole concept of ecosophia, my question is whether Johannes Grebers book “Communication with the Spirit world” is known here and if so, what is the opinion about it? Here a link where it can be downloaded:
    http://www.ghostcircle.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Father-Johannes-Greber-Communication-With-the-Spirit-World.pdf
    For me it was the happiest time in my life when I first read the Dutch translation of this book, about 36 years ago as a student. My experience is, that this book and what it teaches, seems to be like a very sharp tool. It is great if used thoughtfull and with caution, but if used careless and simple minded it may hurt. Although ignoring it hurts too (at least if people don’t have something comparable)

  206. Dear JMG,

    “The only reason the US Navy isn’t currently littering the bottom of the sea somewhere is that everyone’s afraid of our nukes. The threat of nuclear war is what allows the US military to parade around fantastically overpriced weapons systems that don’t work, in the serene conviction that nobody will call our bluff.”

    This seems an extraordinary claim and requries evidence. What is the proof that US Navy cannot hold its ground against other forces, and who these forces might be?

    I have dubbed the several upcoming problems I feel important New Horsemen of Apocalypse. They are Population Graying, Technological Unemployment, Global Climate Change, Global Food/Water Crisis, Super Diseases, and Cloned Chimeras. How do you feel about these problems?

    How do you regard the future of vegans in a deindustrialised world?

    Best Regards
    Berke

  207. First, a belated “Welcome back!” to you, JMG—I was going through ADR withdrawals.

    Next, enjoying the new direction(s) you’ve taken (or, more precisely, new direction, multiple expressions).

    Finally, “Hello” to everyone else. All of you make this cyber venue even more valuable that it might be with just JMG alone Even if I don’t always agree (or understand) what you post, I always end up learning. (JMG, thanks for your patient and skillful moderation of comments).

    I’m a mid 50’s IT professional in Sacramento, CA, as well as a visual artist. My spiritual practice is Zen Buddhism (after some fruitful, instructive forays into other paths). I am studying with what we call here in America a “Zen master,” a title my teacher doesn’t care for. He prefers his name, or “sensei.” I was for years a solitary practitioner, but, as the saying goes, apparently I “became ready,” and my teacher appeared.

    I look forward to interacting with all of you. I will step up my online sharing game when I feel like I have something to add, or have a question that may be of use to more than just myself.

    JMG, there is a way (your IT guy can probably tell you) to set up your PayPal account to allow us to set up recurring payments as a subscription. Of course, PayPal will take a small bite (somewhere around 3%). I do that already with other online content. Myself, I don’t ask for “special content” when I monetarily support content. The content itself is worth it, and I want to help enable you to support yourself by writing, and to keep your content widely available.

    Thanks, everyone.

  208. Dear JMG,

    Thank you for mentioning The Rescue Game. You posted it before my time, but I found it at the following link for anyone interested: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-04-14/american-narratives-the-rescue-game/

    It’s a wonderful piece and a great context for understand so many social/political conflicts past and present. You primarily focused is on “race,” but it applies to so many issues discussed here like global warming, microaggression and Trump. I think The Rescue Game is a helpful tool to deepen our understanding of the divide and control mechanisms operating in the shadows of many disputes.

  209. JMG, I’ll wait for your post on moving and your reasons for it to comment more, but considering that you did use the word “harrowing” regarding your move, and other indications, it seems that this move was way more abrupt and unplanned compared to the move to Cumberland. I was wondering if something really bad happened to you in Cumberland, and if you did not feel safe or welcome there and felt you needed to leave quickly? Of course, as a Confederate, I’m more that a little unsettled by your choice to move to the “Eastern Establishment/home of the Ivy League/clueless liberal elite/New England”, but I’ll save my questions for your post on moving…

  210. P. M. Schaudies, many thanks for your advice! The number of bookstores in the city, where I live, have declined in the last ten years, but some are still there, and I visit them from time to time.

    Justin, it indeed seems to me that keeping one’s environs in neat order may work like a secular banishing ritual.

    J. M. Greer, I would like to pose another question about the decline of Western civilization: what will, in your opinion, be the fate of the advertising industry, when the middle class and the industrial base to support a mass-consumer society go away?

  211. Marcu – An energy-related PhD research topic that I would consider worthy is to assess the limitations on geo-exchange (geothermal) HVAC technology. Almost everything you read about them begins with the claim that the sub-surface soil temperature is constant, and that we can push or pull as much heat to/from it as we wish without changing that temperature. (Wikipedia does note that an “undersized” heat loop field will be less efficient.) These systems could be increasingly popular as the climate warms and electricity becomes more expensive. Will we have to over-warm our homes during the winter, just to chill the earth enough to keep us cool during the summer? If groundwater moves through the earth, will my neighbor’s system upstream affect the efficiency of mine? Can I pump so much heat into/out of the earth for my own comfort, that I damage the vegetation around me? Would a deep well system exploit “fossil” thermal conditions, pumping heat into layers of the Earth that still remember the ice ages? (That may not be an issue in Australia!)

  212. John–

    Pertaining to a reply comment of yours earlier in this post, and for what it is worth, I for one would be quite interested in seeing a revised edition of your Atlantis book come into this world. I found your examination of the various incarnations of the legend fascinating and would like to know how your thoughts on that matter have developed in the interim.

    Of course, I want to instigate nothing — NOTHING — that would at all impede the production of the forthcoming volumes of the Weird of Hali chronicles in the slightest 😉

  213. Dear JMG,
    Best wishes on your digital and geographic moves. I live in Asheville NC. I’m not sure if you’re at all familiar with it or the Southern Appalachian region of North Carolina? Given your recent move north, I wonder if you have any thoughts about the future of a small 100k city in Southern Appalacia?
    I’m originally from the North and took some comfort knowing you chose to live somewhat close in Cumberland.
    Id also like to note that two of the first few commenters asked about 20 great books and the appropriate tech movement, Green Wizardry would be of interest to them.
    Thanks

  214. @JMG — thanks, that was precisely my question. Was wondering if the recent discoveries of exoplanets hold any deeper meaning to you. Exoplanet finding projects are often described and motivated in terms of addressing a deep philosophical question of whether our planet is unique or relatively common in the galaxy.

    I’m curious to know why that would be a compelling question to some people (I guess mostly the NY Times reading crowd — there has been a flurry of headline news over the last 12 months) but not to others? I will admit that I personally find these discoveries fascinating — I used to read sci-fi novels and play space-based computer games growing up in the 90s and it’s amazing that we’re actually starting to find answers to these questions (for example, no longer just a speculation but knowledge that a nearby star like Proxima Centauri has a planet).

  215. Hi – I commented rather late on your recent anthropolatry post, and I don’t know if you’re still responding to comments there, so I wanted to ask here about something that came up there.

    I’d love to hear your take on the “carbon fee and dividend” idea promoted by James Hansen and others. (If you’ve already written on this elsewhere, a link would be great; I couldn’t find anywhere you’ve addressed it.)

    For those who don’t know about it, it’s a proposal to address climate change by charging a fee on carbon and distributing 100% of the fees to the public as a dividend. For a good description, see: https://youtu.be/pDTzD9QH8T4

    This has major advantages over typical left-wing proposals that would use carbon tax revenues to fund green programs, because those would leave the poor with no way to pay their increased carbon costs. And unlike other proposals such as cap and trade, it wouldn’t be possible for companies to game the system and continue wasting carbon.

    Under a carbon fee & dividend, a substantial majority — those with modest carbon usage (i.e., pretty much all of the poor and the working class, who can’t afford 3000 square foot air conditioned houses, plane travel, and SUVs, as well as much of the middle class) — would receive more cash dividends than the increased costs they’d experience due to the carbon fees. Much more, in the case of the poor. Higher costs due to the carbon fees would only be a burden on the wealthier minority whose usage is high (and on companies whose business model relies on cost-free pollution). The poor and working class would be the primary immediate beneficiaries of such a program, and most of the middle class would benefit somewhat as well.

    As the carbon fee steadily increased (which is an important part of the proposal), there would be greatly increased demand for greener buildings, greener technology, etc, and this would create millions of jobs, which would also benefit the unemployed and the working class.

    As carbon emissions fell, air quality would improve, which would improve health for the poorer people who have to live in industrial areas.

    And in the long term, the more drastic climate chaos averted by the resulting dramatic drop in carbon emissions would massively reduce the suffering experienced by the global poor.

  216. I’m still thinking about overshoot and related conflict hunger and epidemics. I have trouble figuring out how to think and about it, and what to do. It seems to me that a large part of those in power are quite ok with poor brown people on the other side of the world dying deaths that they could prevent. On one level, a large part of me says ‘No one is redundant. We are all valuable in the eyes of God. I fear being labeled redundant. There’s also a selfish part that says ‘at least it’s not me.’ I feel all tangled up. I did give a bit of money to help a little, but it doesn’t exactly go very far when the predicament is so huge. And if the conflicts don’t stop, then it’s just going to go on, and on, and on…

    I guess all I can really do is help a little tiny bit at the margins, pray, and try to grow a thicker skin. Shore up my own situation as best I can, give thanks for what I’ve been given, and be aware that I am not immune to this mess. Everyone dies, whether soon or late.

  217. There’s also the issue that the Syrian and Yemeni conflicts are being fueled by arms and fighters from outside the area, including from the Western Democracies. That suggests that our leaders really don’t care about the lives lost, no matter what they say on the subject. Then on top of that, Trump wants to reduce food aid… I may have issues with the effectiveness of the US food assistance measures, but it really isn’t a good look for the USA.

  218. Justin,not really. On the other hand, it’s a useful bit of training for the will, and so it has its benefits.

    Will, the gold medal in cognitive dissonance is one of the most fiercely contested prizes in modern life. I’m not sure if I’d award it to the self-proclaimed Christians who glorify every one of the seven deadly sins but lust, or to the social justice activists who savagely denounce hate speech and bullying except when they’re the ones engaging in both.

    Kashtan, for the next half century — which is all I have to worry about — grains from the Midwest and the Canadian plains will still be exported via the three major water routes that connect the Great Lakes area to the sea: the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Erie Canal, and the Mississippi. Those who live within easy trading distance of any of those routes will be able to get bulk grains and beans easily enough — and the rest of my food needs will easily be met by the resurgent farming economy of New England. Further down the road, of course, the trade links will become unstable, but even in dark age conditions maritime and riverine trade remain viable.

    Carlos, the authors were kind of stuck, since it’s de rigueur in thrillers of that sort that the US must never be the aggressor (even though it often fills that role in the real world) and that other countries never have a valid reason to oppose the US (even though there are plenty of valid reasons to do so). The coup they imagined was by no means the least absurd gimmick that’s been used to get around these awkward requirements.

    Marcu, I think you could do quite a bit of good with a degree in that end of engineering. I don’t have any specific projects to suggest, but if you make sure to learn as much as possible about how to conserve electricity, you’ll be well prepared to help handle the transition to scarcity industrialism.

    Tim, thank you!

    Christoph, I’m not familiar with it; European works on occultism get very little distribution on this side of the pond. I’ll put it on the get-to list.

    Ahmet, for the last twenty years people outside the US military establishment have been trying to warn the Navy that its carriers have no effective defense against saturation attacks with large numbers of hypersonic cruise and/or ballistic missiles. Russia, China, and Iran all have weapons systems that fit that description. For more information, including footnotes, see my book Decline and Fall, or for a fictionalized account of the implications, my novel Twilight’s Last Gleaming.

    With regard to your Horsemen, that’s enough of a question for an entire book! As for veganism, it’ll be interesting to see whether it survives the usual waning of a dietary fad after thirty to forty years of popularity.

    Mark, we’ve tried it. For some reason PayPal always fails to complete the repeating transactions. Just tip when you feel the urge!

    Peter, thank you. I hope that essay helps people see past the self-defeating patterns in which so much of the Left is stuck these days.

    Shane, good heavens; you do a good job of ginning up a crisis out of nothing! Nope, the move from Cumberland was as thoroughly planned and prepared as the move there from Oregon; what made the move harrowing was torrential rains while we were on the road, and a really bad estimate from Google Maps. (It estimated under eight hours for the trip; it took us fourteen, and the driver is a professional trucker.)

  219. Booklover, when industrial civilization goes down, the advertising industry is toast. There was a lot of advertising in Roman times; care to guess how much of it survived into the Dark Ages? That would be a big round zero.

    Phutatorius, thank you!

    David, I’ll keep that in mind. As for The Weird of Hali, though, no worries — I’m 60,000 words into the sixth book, The Weird of Hali: Hyperborea, tying up loose ends as the good ship Miskatonic sails away from Greenland with the Terrible Old Man pacing the quarterdeck, a crew of reconstituted pirates up in the rigging, and some characters you’ve already met on board. The rest will follow as fast as I can write it.

    Peter, I still think Appalachia has a rich and complex future ahead of it. A lot depends on local politics, and even more depends on just how the US falls apart in the decades ahead, but my decision to leave Cumberland had many reasons and shouldn’t be seen as a broader rejection of the region — it just wasn’t the right place for Sara or me any more.

    easternRoman, I find it mildly interesting. Where the sciences are concerned, ecology and paleontology are more my style.

    Ed O., no, I haven’t addressed it. There are dozens of good ideas in circulation for dealing with the twilight of the age of fossil fuels; none of them are being put into effect, and none of them will be, because they would require the privileged to pay more for the energy, resources, and products they use. Here’s my suggestion: work out a voluntary carbon fee program, asking people to donate a sum equal to their carbon fee to an ecological charity of their choice, and see how far you get…

    Corydalidae, I get that. We’re moving into an age of very widespread death and suffering, and all any of us can do is try to help where and when we can. There isn’t any way to keep the industrial age from ending, and as it ends, a lot of people are going to die; it really is that simple.

  220. @JMG,

    If you’d be so kind to indulge me in another round of questions, I’d like to move towards the more relevant topic (to this blog) of spirituality.

    I recall that in The Archruid Report, you published an essay (or a handful of them) about “producing” and “consuming” democracy. You mentioned that the public acts of democracy – elections, protests, and so on, are acts of consumption, and are only effective insofar as they are backed up with acts of production. Producing democracy involves individual action and grassroots organization, without which elections and protests and the like are impotent and merely for show.

    I’m inclined to think that we can extend the concept to religion as well. Producing religion involves individual acts of prayer and sacrifice. Consuming religion would involve, say, preaching and public rituals. Being Catholic (at the risk of a bit of theologically inaccuracy) the sacraments also seem to me as acts of consumption. Obviously, the Mass can be divided roughly into preaching and communion, the latter of which is a very literal act of consumption which is only intended for souls who have prepared (i.e. produced) ahead of time. Confession is a gratuitous forgiveness of debt by God (consumption), but one that needs to be paid forward (production) with further acts of mercy (as illustrated by the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant).

    My question is a two-part one. First, do you consider it worthwhile to classify religious acts in terms of consumption and production in the way I just did above? Then, if so, do you think that one major factor behind modern-day crises is the fact that society at large is addicted to consumption (of natural, political, religious resources) and yet refuse to contribute to their share of the production?

  221. for those of us who wish to donate but have good reason to avoid paypal like the plague on humanity that it is, do you have a mail drop for non druid activity? i am optomistic that contributions to fund a post office box would find their way to you in good time.

    clarence

  222. I would like to ask a question regarding elements and elementals. I’m not sure if it is an appropriate question to ask here, but I’ll ask anyway.

    What exactly are they? Your books on druidry describe them as impersonal forces (at least that is the understanding I am getting – I could very well have missed something.) I have read they are spirits or angels that represent the forces of nature, and are described as gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and undines, with kings (not queens, note) as the supreme elemental for each. The fire king is reputed to be quite dangerous.

    I am experiencing them simply as a force, a kind of energy that comes to meet me when I turn to the appropriate direction during the Sphere of Protection. They feel somewhat like the rush of energies I feel when I do the cross, but more subtle. I don’t feel them flooding through me like I do the cross energies but they do meet me, and I have the sense there is a conscious being there. If they are doing anything to me, I am not aware of it.

    Perhaps I am not sensitive enough, or my skills are not yet developed enough, but I feel only a very small difference between the four elements.

    I would like to know if I should address them by a more personified name. I currently simply list the correspondences associated with them as I turn to them, for example, I say “East, air, mind”, as if it was a name, and I get a response. This seems ignorant on my part, as if I was saying, “You, the person who is standing on the corner who looks like you could help me with this particular thing!”

    I would like to be more respectful than that and if I knew what they were exactly, I could perhaps know and address them as a spirit being. Or maybe I should not do that?

    I appreciate your insight very much!

  223. Hi JMG,

    Apologies for my lack of clarity (which upon reflection may have been a choice). What I meant to write, albeit not very clearly, was the question as to whether your worldview and understanding of the predicaments facing the biosphere predated your religiosity and spirituality or did they both grow together (although at different speeds and times)?

    As an interesting comparison, I’m a practically minded guy and the implications of our predicaments came to my attention first and then strangely I began wondering about the religiosity and spirituality side of things from concerns about the dark arts of marketing. A strange path it has been! ;-)!

    Cheers

    Chris

  224. Thanks for shining a light, seeing things from new angels and perspectives. That’s half the battle, just seeing differently, especially since from the time we’re kids in a school till we’re adults sitting in front of a tv , we’ve been molded. Gut instinct gets crushed, the brain gets a constant feeding of herd mentality. As the tsunami approaches the animals have the inner sense to head for high ground. People eat and drink and frolic on the beach. Keep up the good work, opening eyes and minds.

  225. JMG,

    Thank you for this opportunity to ask questions; I fear that mine is somewhat less than profound, but it has been a nagging impediment to me for a time. I am trying to form the habit of discursive meditation, but am often trying to meditate in locations without a chair or enough room to do walking meditations (plus I simply don’t like sitting in chairs and find it uncomfortable and weirdly irritating). I recall that you discourage a cross-legged position because it seals off one’s energies from the wider world. Is it acceptable to simply lie down flat for discursive meditation, provided one isn’t tempted to fall asleep, or is an upright posture important?

  226. Hi JMG,

    On the old blog there was a conversation about how it’s no wonder the US is a militaristic society with a very large pentagon where it is, and that maybe a different sysmbol was required on the west coast to balance it.
    Well, apple has just finished a ring of a similar scale in Cupertino, California: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/02/apple-park-opens-to-employees-in-april/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Park (check the scale!)
    So I guess you’ll get a “scientific” proof 🙂

  227. Quick note on veganism: to my knowledge it faces two challenges even aside from the social ones: (1) crafting an nutritionally-adequate diet from plants that can be grown entirely from one local region and (2) finding a healthy, deindustrial source of vitamin B12. I’ll focus on the second, since it’s simpler and I’ve researched it more.

    Vegans require dietary supplements — either in the form of pills or fortified foods — to maintain an adequate amount of B12. The reason is that B12 isn’t produced by any plants, fungi, or for that matter animals. It’s only produced by bacteria. Herbivores get it from bacteria in their intestines, generally either through rumination or coprophagia. Carnivores and omnivores get it by eating herbivores; we have the necessary bacteria, but it’s too far down to be useful to us.

    So, basically the long-term challenge is to find a way to extract B12 from feces while leaving behind things what don’t want, and to do it without industrial equipment. This is probably something a future ecotechnic society can accomplish, but I don’t see it being done in time to make veganism workable during the coming dark age.

    There have been, to my knowledge, a couple non-industrial vegan societies. They got their B12 basically by not washing their hands. Naturally, this leads to some other health problems.

    I should note that vegetarianism doesn’t have these problems, as milk and eggs both contain B12 and can usually take up the slack for the nutrients you can’t get from local plants.

  228. Sometimes it is difficult to think outside the box. However with a little practice and maybe some time in a library you can sharpen these skills. For example …

    As the advertising industry downsizes I would not be surprised to find many of those skills can be repurposed into book production. Such as illustrating or editing the introduction. They could also find use in community newspapers and single page Flyers for community events like Renaissance Fairs or monthly trading get-togethers.

    Minister of Future

  229. Hi JMG,

    I was wondering if, given the focus of the new blog, a new edition (or sequel) of your ‘The Blood of the Earth’ was in the cards.

    Thank you.

  230. EdO and JMG,
    BC Canada has been giving low income people a rebate on the GST (general sales tax) and a climate action tax credit for years. It was downright precious to me one time when I was panicking over whether I would be able to afford my medications that month(long story, involving going from complete drug coverage to partial after gaining a job that was so few hours that it paid less than income assistance).

    Anyway, taxing carbon and then giving low income people money (not a normal tax credit, you are actually given money even if you don’t pay taxes) can and has been done elsewhere.

  231. @ James M Jensen II

    May be the problem around the B12 vitamin and the vegetarian diet is not for all the humans, but for the western population with its huge depletion of the gut microbiota due to the antibiotics and industrial toxins. Some research about the gut microbiota of hunter-gatherers show how poorly we are now adapted to the “old” natural environment. The “human microbioma”, our body-ecosystem has 10 times more not-human cells than humans (bacterias, fungi, yeast, viruses, etc…) all of them play a key role in our place in the world, and affect our inmune system and even our mood. As an example, I send the link to an article of how the Hadza can digest and “extract” nutrients from some “nasty” (from our point of view) food source (like fyber-rich tubers), and also B12, because the extreme variety of the gut bacteria they have:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3996546/

    On the other hand, all the idea about how “nasty, brutish and short” was/is the life of the hunter-gatherers is in a big part, a myth, when you compare the life expectancy of people after 15 years old (taking out the infant mortality) all the achievements of the industrial civilization are not so impressive
    Take, for example the table of the page Nº 335 of the following article:

    http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/gurven/papers/GurvenKaplan2007pdr.pdf

    The modal age of death (for people above 15 year) for the Hadza is 76, for Yanomamo 75, for Tsiname 78, for Ache 78, etc….US in 2002, 85. Sweden 1759, 72 (below the hunter-gatherers)

    But the chronic desease currently afflicting the western people, probably the majority, are related to auto-inmune problems, that some researchers claim is due to our destroyed microbioma

  232. Dear John Michael. In the book Science Set Free by Rupert Sheldrake the following question is examined (among others): Is the total amount of matter and energy the same? A thought provoking line of reasoning is given, leading to the conclusion that the answer might not be as clear as most people think. Among others several documented examples of unexplained anedia are given (when a person can live very, very long without food and water without large physiological changes in the body). If I remember correct you have somewhere made a comment about anedia where you said that anedia could have an alternative explanation — with a reference to some sort of well preserved “secret”. I’m very curious to hear if you could tell me a little bit more about that secret (or perhaps at least give a pointer). If I’m correct the question is also if matter is always “passive”. (This question to you came to me when I was practicing the third meditation in your book in “The Celtic Golden Dawn”; I had a feeling of having gills and was given the question if it would possible for me or any human being to breathe in water). Thank you for this very nice blog!

  233. Well, I suppose it’s rather late in the cycle to be posting, but I just wanted to say that I’m so pleased to read all the comments and it’s good to read a lot of familiar names. I’m writing this from Washington DC – I’m on the Retro Rail Tour – bought an Amtrak rail pass and financed a national tour on what some people pay for a purse or a meal out with friends. You can see the dates and venues on my website – aronblue.com – as I said before I took the advice to collapse early very seriously and I’m increasingly glad I did. It would sure be great to meet some fellow Archdruid Report / Ecosophia readers so come on down.

    Tomorrow morning I’m going to go to the Lincoln Memorial at dawn on the 4th of July and see if I can get a vision. US patriotism has a lot of the feel of a Rome-style civic religion anyway, so I figure I should just go for it. Should I offer something? If so, what?

  234. Shane W — One thing that might be helpful in moving ahead towards a post industrial nature based spirituality and culture… maybe let go of identity labels and ideologies that are rooted in 19th Century battles between the death throes of Feudalism and the rise of nascent Industrialism… just sayin’

  235. Well, this blog is certainly moving right along! I’ve been a bit busy and here I find I’ve a lot to catch up on.

    I’m not sure how many from the Peak Oil scene are still hanging around, but I just stumbled upon an article entitled The Looming Energy Shock by Chris Martenson, which has some interesting data regarding investments in exploration and the results of that. No real surprises from a big-picture point of view, and at this point I’d rather not see more discovered considering the climate downside, but it looks like the time for consequences is near.

    https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/109505/looming-energy-shock

  236. Shane W,

    I don’t think stereotyping all New Englanders as Clueless Elite is any more helpful than stereotyping Southerners as racist rednecks in trailers watching Nascar. New England is a very diverse region. Having lived in East Providence, RI for a portion of my youth, I will say that (at least as of 20 years ago) there were very few elite to be found in that town. Across the river in the neighborhood of Providence known as the East Side is a very different story, that’s a rich neighborhood. I do wonder if there’s been gentrification in East Providence in the meantime, I seem to remember talk when I was there of Bostonians moving in driving up real estate values, some even doing the unthinkable to Rhode Islanders of commuting to Boston every day. People’s concept of distance is different in the smallest state than in most of the country.

    I did have some experience with those more befitting of your stereotype, when I was in the seventh grade my family decided to send me to a private school since they thought it would be a better education. It was by far the worst year of my childhood, it wasn’t the kids of the true elite that I was with but more of the upper middle class which was bad enough (hardly any of them lived in East Providence though), but it was still a shocking experience which I ended up being the worst outcast of the whole grade. I begged my family to let me go back to the public school the next year, which they let me do, as sorry an excuse for an education as it was, it was still a sigh of relief compared to the private school. The Eastern Establishment is a real thing, but hardly includes all New Englanders.

  237. @JMG, “Odysseus, if superorganisms are sufficiently conscious and active to be able to bear responsibility for their actions, the actions of individuals aren’t going to have any more effect on the decisions of the superorganisms to which they belong than, say, the actions of the cells in your spleen have over your decisions. The logic of collective responsibililty always tries to have it both ways, assigning responsibility (in practice, blame) for collective actions on individuals who far more often than not had nothing to do with the actions in question.”

    This comment of yours hit me like a ton of bricks… I’m still trying to digest what it means. It’s a point that seems obvious in hindsight, but yet I never thought of it that way until you said it.

    For the record, I would be VERY interested if you ever did a longer post about this idea and the repercussions of it (it seems to be very relevant to contemporary problems, from Islamic jihad to SJWs… indeed, perhaps it has always been relevant).

    On a vacation near Huntsville in northern Ontario a few weeks ago, while walking through a forest rich with life awakening in the spring, I had this sensation that I was actually walking through the bowels of a gigantic superorganism, rather than a collection of individual creatures. Much like an ant colony is smarter than an ant, it seemed to me like the forest as a whole was more intelligent than its parts, and any interaction I had with any creature in the forest could ricochet back at me from an unexpected direction (for example, berries were protected by swarms of mosquitoes so I wouldn’t eat too many at a time).

    Just like our dumb neurons create something we recognize as consciousness when put together inside a human brain, maybe lots of humans put together creates a meta-consciousness, but we can’t perceive it as such any more than a simple neuron can recognize the consciousness of the brain? Maybe, as you seem to say, only another meta-consciousness can perceive and interact with its equal. Can we even recognize what that would look like?

    Some other questions I had just after thinking it over a bit:

    -is it then the superorganism’s job to punish a competing superorganism for bad decisions, rather than ours? How much effect do we really have on such things, as individuals? Does it depend on the size of the superorganism — for example, family-size, village-size, country-size, civilization-size? Is it different depending on how high you are in the hierarchy, and on how hierarchical the superorganism’s structure is? (perhaps the leader of North Korea has more influence on the development of the superorganism he leads than the average North Korean, even though he’s still just one man. I’m reminded of Egyptian hieroglyphs, in which the Pharaoh and nobles were drawn physically much larger than labourers)
    -the difference between humans and spleen cells is that spleen cells, generally, cannot immigrate into another spleen, but humans CAN immigrate into another country. Do those humans then become part of that different superorganism, or do they perhaps still remain part of the old one (it’s easier today to keep connected with geographically distant communities). Is it something similar to how human bodies either accept or reject donated organs and blood? And then there’s the issue of “parasites”…
    -this is resembling the questions raised by Isaac Asimov’s “psychohistory”, no?

  238. James M. Jensen II
    July 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm
    I don´t see veganism survive the decline we´re in for either, but then I think a lot of people will have to rethink their dietary habits in the future, and I think a lot of that is connected to what JMG has usefully termed biophobia. As an example: one of my ex-wifes sons did not want to (or could not, as he said) eat the potatoes I had grown on the compost heap, because it was ´disgusting´. Another example: when it comes to chicken, in Germany it´s hardly possible at all to sell anything else but breast meat, probably because the rest looks too ´animalistic´. All the other parts of the animal are shipped to sub sahara Africa for dumping prices and destroy the livelihoods of the local farmers who can´t compete with that.
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  239. One more question if there’s time. I ask this to JMG or anyone else who uses Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson’s horary system.

    I’m trying to decide which of two aspects from the Moon counts as the last one: a trine with Mercury or an opposition with Venus. The opposition with Venus comes into an 8 degree orb before the trine goes exact and before Venus leaves its sign, but the trine doesn’t go exact until after Venus leaves its sign.

    It’s worth noting that other sites and sources say that the Moon goes void-of-course after the trine, but Goldstein-Jacobson’s system allows the last aspect to go out of sign before it’s exact. The question I can’t riddle my way through is whether the last aspect can start before the penultimate aspect finishes.

    I’ve been scratching my head over this for a couple hours now. As you can probably tell, it significantly changes the meaning of the chart.

  240. A few more random musings…

    Since people seem to be talking about reincarnation and the like,
    and that souls can reincarnate as more complex beings…

    Can a neuron reincarnate as a person?
    Can a person reincarnate as a civilization?
    Can a civilization reincarnate as Gaia?

    I seem to recall a certain book by Stanislaw Lem, “Solaris”, about a living planet consciousness (adapted into a wonderful 1972 film by Andrei Tarkovsky).

    I’m quite ignorant of reincarnation belief systems and what they may say on the matter (aside from a confusingly condensed summary in a music theory book by Graham H. Jackson).

  241. For years I have scrolled past all the questions referencing magic and Well of Galabes, and I only read two blog posts over at Well of Galabes. I wasn’t interested in magic before and now reading some of the questions this week, I have developed an interest. I have the most basic of questions – how would I start studying magic? Or is it practicing magic? Is there a fiction story book or series out there that represents magical study/practice well? I know you said Harry Potter is not it!!

  242. Would it be possible to thread the comments/questions and answers together, so scrolling down I see one question/comment and then the answer, and then the next question/comment and that answer, and on and on? Scrolling down and then back up and then down again and up again is challenging.
    A second request – after that would it be possible to “like” other people’s comments? And have the most liked comments appear at the top of the comments? And then people could comment on other people’s comments too. So something that looks more like Reddit.

  243. JMG, you said once, I think in a Galabes post, that people started experimenting with the occult and then had a crisis, after a while, when they had the experience of the occult actually being out there and answering back.

    I spooked myself with this about a year ago, by seeing something I shouldn’t have been able to see, before it happened, and I found I had no local back-up or resources. (Cambridge, UK.) Do you have advice beyond “don’t do that, then” or “regroup and be more careful”? (Or, possibly, “don’t be frightened”?)

    Can you recommend any UK-based groups?

  244. Brother Greer, your reply to Corydalidae got me thinking. There’s a movement to reclaim our historical liturgy and customs in the Wesleyan tradition right now (I’m United Methodist). Since the Wesleys were writers, we have records, more records than are comfortable: I learned last night that John Wesley participated in raising a dead man once, which is discomfiting. I understand there to be a movement in Catholicism to do the same, and the Orthodox never got into the change the service to make it more approachable to moderns thing. Haven’t checked in with my Lutheran friends yet.
    Amusingly, my teenagers–I work with the youth group–all go to the ‘traditional’ service rather than the ‘contemporary’ service, which is really the ‘old hippie music’ service: none of the music is younger than I am! The reaction from the Old Hippie contingent when they realize the Kids These Days aren’t interested . . . that’s the amusing part.
    This is related, because one thing religion does is death. From Requiem Masses to the modern Celebration of Life, religion gives us tools to deal with dying, death, and grieving, and those tools are going to get a workout, especially in dealing with deaths of young people, which we haven’t had to deal with nearly as much as our ancestors did. We have to resurrect those older traditions.
    Do the more recent religions and recreated religions, the Druids, Wiccans, Pagans, etc, that I know almost nothing about, have a good tool set for that? Or is that something they will have to develop?

  245. [quote] John Michael Greer says:
    June 29, 2017 at 3:59 am
    ….. The second is that I mostly read books by dead people, which keeps me from falling under the influence of current intellectual fads. Give ‘em both a try![quote\]

    Great. However, this remark made me curious and so I searched a copy of all essays from the archdruid AND ecosophia for “Sumner”. Had no success in searching for any hints to William Graham Sumner, who seemed to have had some influence on William Catton’s Overshoot.
    For my own blog, I created
    https://www.freizahn.de/2016/05/sumner-war-and-other-essays/
    and
    https://www.freizahn.de/2016/05/sumner-earth-hunger-and-other-essays/
    since I found Sumner’s essays still very valuable.
    At my side you can find download links to the complete books as well as to smal single file versions of every essay, which I found more conviniend when reading on my smartphone.
    This was an indirect effect of reading at the “The Archdruid”, where I had learned about William Catton and his book Overshoot, which brought me to W.G. Sumner.

    Thank you for your hint to Thomas Kuhns “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. It did come in the right time. Great book.

  246. If you told me I’m not really Walt Freitag, but just think I am because I’ve been supplied with all his memories, I’d have to agee, with only a few qubbles. First, I’d have to amend “all” to “most of” because there always seem to be a few memories missing, such as at present, where I left Disc 2 of my CD copy of Hot Rocks. Second, and probably more important, I’ve also been supplied with an organ capable of integrating those memories in a particular style into an experiential narrative on the fly. If some other entity is ever supplied with the same things, then it will have every right to consider itself Walt Freitag, whether that’s the being that steps out of the other end of the teletransporter in a philosophical thought experiment, or my successor in some afterlife that happens to contain the necessary information and apparatus (though I haven’t seen much evidence of such), or just myself tomorrow (the world willing).

    Bill Pulliam, consider that if we want to get away, as you suggest, from the idea that our experiencing selves remain distinct, singular, and isolated after death, we might also question whether they are truly so to begin with, during life. If not, then the dispersal and recombination that you describe after death is actually an ongoing process throughout life as well. I see it as more akin to the sharing of narrative than to the transmigration of a monolithic soul. (That also parallels where my cognitive self seems to have come from in the first place. While dramatic changes happen on the physical plane at, for instance, conception and birth, neither my own nor anyone else’s recollections describe any sudden initial appearance of my mind at those or any other specific occasions. Instead, there was a gradual and lengthy, and hopefully still ongoing, process of accrual.) One difference from your analogy of the dispersal and recombination of the physical matter of our bodies (which also happens throughout life as well) is that there’s no law of conservation of narrative. All those Cleopatras…

    In summary, in my view, I’m already reincarnated many times over in a world full of experiencing minds just like mine. (Those “other selves” have different names, backgrounds, views, memories, and perceptual filters than I have, but so would my successor selves in the more conventional reincarnation narrative.) A fair number of those other selves have even been partly shaped and even partly brought into being by my actions during life. (So would my successor selves in most of the more conventional reincarnation narratives.) There seems to be no need for anything exceptional to happen upon or after my death, to achieve all the results and benefits attributed to reincarnation.

    The question of whether remembered past lives are selves or others is meaningless; the distinction can’t be defined except in ways that beg the question. The question of whether remembered past lives are historical individuals, pastiches, or fiction is also unanswerable, in the absence of evidence that we can reliably make that distinction for our remembered present lives.

  247. JMG,

    A few years ago on the now-defunct AODA Yahoo group, you mentioned a correspondence course of druidic internal alchemy called The Way of the Cauldrons, which was in your care but not yet ready for release. As I remember there was quite a bit of interest, and you first had plans to make it release-ready, but then had to set it aside due to other priorities.

    I’ve got the Dolmen Arch course to finish yet (speaking of, I recently emailed you my most recent – and much belated – examination answers), but I’m very interested in The Way of the Cauldrons and am wondering what it’s status is.

    Thanks!

  248. Maybe you might write an essay — or even a complete book — explicating the various forms of meditation with which you are familiar and how to enter and use them? Also, I’m not clear how what you call discursive meditation differs significantly from Vipassana (mindfulness)? Vipassana is, from my understanding, mostly a *discursive* (questioning or probing) practice AFTER you have achieved a highly focused mind. Tibetan Buddhism and other associated tantric practices seem, to me, very “magical” when you get into deity and mandala and other absorption. And the supposed siddis (magical powers) which supposedly arise from the practice, and dream yoga, and exploration of the Jhanas and Bardos?? Thank you for the years of ADR and continuing here.

  249. Given that I consider New England (along with the West Coast) regions “most likely to secede”, along with collapse of the American Empire, what do you give the chances that you’ll be living in a free and independent New England in the immediate future (w/in 5 years)

  250. Carlos, that analysis makes a lot of sense to me. Certainly I’ve had no end of trouble with people who want to consume Druidry (for example, by attending seasonal rituals) but aren’t interested in producing any (for example, by daily practice and lifestyle changes to lessen the burden they place on the Earth).

    Clarence, sure thing. Put in a comment marked “not for posting” with your email address on it, and I’ll send you my mailing address. Thank you!

    Shane, you might want to visit New England sometime, too. 1865 was a long time ago; the part of the region where I now live is a lively, multiethnic community where people talk ebulliently on street corners in an assortment of languages.

    Myriam, there’s a magical axiom that runs, “every energy is also an entity.” What are the elementals? Are they personified, or not? Good questions, to which magical philosophy offers equivocal and diverse answers. As for their names, you could always ask them!

    Chris, okay, gotcha. They emerged more or less together; it would be as accurate to say that I found my way to them over more or less the same time frame.

    Dennis, you’re welcome and thank you!

    Jen, do what keepeth thou from wilting shall be the loophole in the law. That is, if you can meditate lying down without falling asleep, and that works better for you than other positions, go ye forth and do that thing.

    Francisco, a circle’s energetically neutral — that’s why you perform some kinds of magic within it. A hexagon might have done some good.

    James, true enough. It’s also an open secret these days that most self-proclaimed vegans actually sneak meat into their diets on a regular basis.

    Pearce, you’re assuming that there’s going to be enough infrastructure left to permit large-scale production of books, newspapers, etc. I have my doubts.

  251. yes, but Bill, feudalism is uniquely suited to dark ages such as we’ll be entering soon, and, if anything, needs to be resuscitated post haste

  252. Gigoachef, hmm. I hadn’t considered that, but a sequel — or, rather, another book on related themes — might be interesting.

    Corydalidae, I could easily see Canada enacting such a law. The US? Not in my lifetime.

    Swimmer, I don’t recall ever discussing anedia; I’m open to the possibility, though I’ve seen my share of bogus breatharians so would want to see some hard evidence. As for matter being passive, what is this “matter” stuff you’re talking about? Can you point to anything that isn’t either will or one of its many representations?

    Aron, have a great trip!

    Twilight, thanks for the link! Yeah, we’re blindly stumbling toward crunch time…

    Esn, glad to hear it. Consider the possibility that the superorganism you experienced in that wood was what the old pagans called a god…

    James, I’m a little unclear about the chart you’re describing. Which planet, Mercury or Venus, is in a later degree? Orb doesn’t count when determining which is the last aspect; the last aspect to perfect is the last aspect, period. (And if the Moon can’t complete the last aspect because the planet passes into another sign, that gives you the answer to your question — Goldstein-Jacobson covers that in Simplified Horary Astrology, p. 83.)

    Esn, not without a lot of intermediate stages!

    Fred, I’d encourage you to start by reading the discussion of magic in Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, and then read a basic manual of magical training — my books The Druid Magic Handbook is an example. That’ll give you some grounding in what magical training entails. As for the forum structure — sorry, but those aren’t options with this platform.

    Caith, my advice is “don’t be frightened.” You’ve experienced a perfectly natural human ability, which our culture happens to treat with the same pious horror Victorians directed toward sex. As for groups, I can’t recommend any group I don’t know personally, and I haven’t worked with any groups in the UK; I’d recommend instead that you do some reading on your own and consider doing a basic course of study out of one of the many good books of magical training in print.

  253. I’ll Take My Stand warned the South about embracing industrialism and Yankee capitalism, and staying true to our feudal roots, but we did it anyway, and now have a bad case of suburban sprawl and cultural destruction to deal with along with trying to resuscitate our preindustrial, feudal past…

  254. BoysMom, why on earth would it be discomfiting to learn that John Wesley helped raise someone from the dead? I seem to recall Jesus saying something in the Gospels about how his disciples would do greater deeds than he did. While miracles aren’t the only benefit of religion, they’re certainly one of the good things.

    I’m wryly amused to learn that the “modern services” at your church are purely a Boomer preserve, and applaud the good taste of the younger members of the congregation in going to the traditional services instead. You know the old joke about how if you play a country music record backwards, you get your wife back, you get your truck back, you get your dog back, right? What happens when you play a recording of “Kum Ba Ya” backwards? You get your congregation back…

    With regard to religious responses to death, and in particular the death of young people, I can’t speak for the Neopagan faiths, but the Druid Revival has been around long enough to have quite a decent toolkit along those lines. Did you know that it was Druids who got cremation legalized in Britain, back in the 19th century?

    Christoph, he’s been on the get-to list for a while now. Since I now live in an area with much better library services, I may be able to get around to him.

    Walt, nicely done.

    Alexander, it’s on hold pending enough spare time. I don’t seem to have received your examination answers — which email address did you use? The old one (“archdruid”) still works, but one of the ones I was using for a while went pear-shaped on me.

    Gnat, interesting. The accounts of vipassana I’d read didn’t stress the discursive aspect at all.

    Shane, five years? Not a chance. Twenty? Quite possible.

    Jen, you’re most welcome.

  255. @Odysseus and @Esn, I’m just tuning into this discussion on superorganisms. I’d say that superorganisms don’t have consciousness, but they do have “mind,” as defined by systems theorists like Gregory Bateson. “Mind” in his sense arises whenever feedback effects conspire to maintain a complex system’s own existence. Those feedbacks effectively constitute the “mind.”

    You might want to read Part V and the second chapter of Part VI of Bateson’s essay collection “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”: https://monoskop.org/images/6/65/Bateson_Gregory_Steps_to_an_Ecology_of_Mind_1987.pdf

    Much of the earlier discussion on this was confused about the distinctions among logical types. E.g., if the system called Jews was responsible for crucifying Christ, it wouldn’t make sense to hold individual Jews responsible for that any more than you’d hold a murderer’s cells responsible for the murder. In theory, individual Jews could reasonably join individual non-Jews in seeing the system called Jews as responsible for the crucifixion.

    So, lots of humans put together do often create a meta-mind, but that mind doesn’t itself have consciousness, which is a word we use to describe our own mind’s way of experiencing. We can look at how the meta-mind functions and learn what kinds of things shape its behavior, but as with any complex system, it’s often hard to predict how a given change will affect its behavior.

    @Esn asks if it’s a superorganism’s job to punish a competing superorganism for
    bad decisions. No, it’s a superorganism’s nature to maintain its own existence, which involves managing its interactions with other systems that affect it. To think more sensibly about such systems, you need to replace concepts like “punishment” and “bad” with concepts like “consequences” and “self-destructive.”

  256. @corydalidae, yes, there have been some systems like that and the one in Alaska. But unlike a carbon fee & dividend, they don’t really affect the cost of carbon worldwide, so they can’t be expected to significantly reduce emissions.

    @Walt, I like how you think!

  257. Dear JMG,

    We cannot have a good understand of any contested issue without investigating high quality perspectives from different sides. I stress high quality sources in contrast to faith based ideologues, and self-serving propagandists on either side who ignorantly dismiss or ridicule opposing views and interests.

    For example, during the last presidential election I found both candidates unacceptable, but I couldn’t criticize Clinton in liberal circles without being regarded as a Trump supporter. Backing up my criticisms with documented evidence from sources like the book, Queen of Chaos, by Diana Johnstone didn’t help.

    Another example is Climate Change. Those who don’t support man-made carbons as the primary cause of global warming are often dismissed as “deniers” with no regard for their true perspectives. How many readers have seriously considered the influence of solar activity on Earth’s climate? My favorite book on this topic is: The Neglected Sun, by Sebastian Luning. The author agrees pollution is a big problem, and humanity needs to cleanup its act, but this is a book about the sun, and its influence on the earth’s climate over millions of years. Reading this book has deepened my understanding of climate; it did not undermine my desire to stop or reduce pollution.

    John, how would you apply the roles in “The Rescue Games” to Climate Change?

  258. Mr. Greer,

    What , if any, are your thoughts on Nick Land and the so-called Dark Enlightenment?

    Hope you raise a something strong and hoppy for the holiday– not that one needs an excuse.

  259. Hi John Michael,

    “I’d say give it [discursive meditation] a try, using anything of interest to you as a theme.”

    Many thanks for your encouragement. I will ease my way into it as time permits and see how it goes.

    A quick comment from me on Jordan Peterson if that’s OK: I haven’t read anything by him but have watched a number of his lectures. It doesn’t surprise me that articles by him wouldn’t interest you – you seem nothing if not unsparingly consistent in what you value intellectually, and you are quite right about his blind spots.

    I do get why he is popular though; just take a look (anyone who is interested) at his performance here for example, from about 5 minutes in to this 12 minute video, talking about responsibilities v.s. rights, and men’s and women’s roles:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QctT0Oc_uQQ&t=107s

    …stirring stuff if you have lacked for that kind of orientation and message, which I certainly have in my life and certainly did when I was at university myself.

    Many thanks,

    Morfran.

  260. JMG, hmm. The situation is that in the chart Mercury is at 25 degrees Cancer while Venus is at 28 degrees Taurus; the Moon is at 11 degrees Scorpio. Running the chart forward, when the trine with Mercury becomes exact at 28*13 degrees Scorpio, Venus is at 0*03 Gemini, meaning the Moon will have to pass out of Scorpio to make the opposition exact.

    I had assumed this would mean that the trine with Mercury is the last, but in The Way of Astrology, in the chapter “The Way of Horary Astrology,” Goldstein-Jacobson says:

    “If the Moon cannot complete her final aspect because the planet changes Signs before she can reach the necessary degree, one of the persons will abandon the matter before it can be finished…” (p. 107)

    Unfortunately, I don’t have Simplified Horary Astrology; I only last night found and ordered a copy online that wasn’t more than $50. So I’ll check your reference when it arrives.

    Which one is last doesn’t change the overall yes-no answer to the chart, but it does give a different spin as to the long-term effects.

    Anyway, thanks!

  261. JMG: I recommend “Wisdom Wide and Deep – a practical handbook for mastering Jhana and Vipassana”. It is unusually specific, actionable, and complete in covering the whole of Vipassana practice. From the web: <> Shamatha, in contrast, is the *preliminary* practice of building laser sharp one pointed attention (a deep trance state, where the monkey mind finally stops distracting). A shallow form of Shamatha is about as far as most books and probably most “meditators” go. That is probably why you discounted the practice. The Jhanas, BTW, are a series of distinct physiologic altered states which track the depth of trance/ focus. Deeper insights tend to come from Vipassana IN deeper Shamatha. Tibetan tantra and Dzogchen is where things get “magical”. It builds on very deep Shamatha+Vipassana and aims to bring that flow state with insights and abilities back to the waking world – enlightenment in *this* lifetime. I would discount that as possible except the Dalai Lama appears to be for real.

  262. From the web: “”Passana” means seeing, i.e., perceiving. The prefix “vi” has several meanings, one of which is “through.” Vipassana-insight literally cuts through the curtain of delusion in the mind. “Vi” can also function as the English prefix “dis,” suggesting discernment.”

  263. JMG,

    Happy 4th of July and thank you for hosting this amazing discussion! As always, your perspectives are full of uncomfortable truths and interesting lore I never would have encountered anywhere else.

    My question has to do with astrological cycles. I have been reading about the 2160 year astrological epochs which I believe we’re first described by the Babylonians. There seems to be some disagreement in the astrological community about these epochs. 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.

  264. @JMG and @BoysMom,

    I returned to Catholicism around a decade ago when I was in my early 20’s, the result of an ordinary but very personally profound religious encounter. During that time, there was a Traditional Latin Mass – officially, the Extraordinary Form (EF) – celebrated in my neighborhood, which I attended frequently, even daily if I could! Sunday EF Masses were well-attended, and aside from the usual old ladies, there was a rather large group of youths (late teens/early 20’s) present. The young folks were very active and prominent as well in the choirs and altar service.

    I have a priest friend who has faculties in both the EF and the Ordinary Form (the modern Mass, aka Novus Ordo). He says the EF masses are very attractive to young people. In my own personal observation, younger priests (whether they celebrate EF or OF) lean very strongly towards tradition.

    I’ve been to Europe for a grand total of 8 weeks of my life (Germany and the UK). Whenever I attended a Mass there, most of the congregation were old white folks, and the old white priests tended to be the hippy trendy types. However, there’s always a significant minority of immigrants from Asia and Africa in attendance, and they tend to be young and traditional, and some were even from traditionally Muslim countries who converted. The demographic outlook for Europe appears to be bleak, and I know the decline of European cultures is a hot-button topic given the recent immigrant waves. I wonder if, a century from now, historians might be crediting “the barbarians” with the preservation of European culture instead?

    As for John Wesley raising the dead, it truly is discomfiting. G.K. Chesterton remarked that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, for we make fiction to suit ourselves. If you wanted to see truly bizarre stuff, check out Catholicism. It’s also not surprising that Chesterton converted to Catholicism and wrote lengthy apologetics about the faith. Not to start a religious war here, but I am firmly planting a flag on Weird Stuff Island in behalf of our faith! Everyone is invited, though – especially Orthodox Christians. 😉

    I attended a grand total of 8 years of Catholic school, and I have to say it didn’t do much for me in terms of religious education. Everything was sanitized for modern tastes – “Saint So-and-So was born to devout Christian parents, joined the convent at age 13, died in the friendship of Jesus” was the typical saint’s biography. Not much was said about mystical experiences, conversions from previous criminality and debauchery, and profound spiritual battles that characterized the actual lives of the saints. Removing the weird stuff turned the biographies bland and sappy, no more than the plaster statues representing the saints, in contrast to the heroic epic adventures that they actually lived. Youths are hungry for adventure, so they’d flock to those offering it. Better traditionalism than ISIS!

    Going off on a short, ranting tangent: I find it scandalous that absolutely nobody in Catholic school told me that the social encyclicals exist!!! Rerum Novarum et. al are treasures of modern Catholic thought, which were completely ignored by the culture wars (except perhaps for Laudato Si’, which few people seem to have actually read).

    Incidentally, if there’s ever any chance that Druidry finds itself in the mainstream, we’ll find that its weird stuff will be done away with in short order by people who are seeking to join the religion for the sake of respectability and social prestige.

  265. Shane W — I think you rush the narrative. We are centuries away from feudalism if that is even the way things go. There is nothing inevitable about this. If we do enter a neo feudal age, I suspect the word “Confederacy” in the way you mean it will be long forgotten. And by the way, you do remember that the late era feudalism of the confederacy was based in chattal slavery, don’t you? Do you expect to resurrect that as well?

  266. @JMG: “Consider the possibility that the superorganism you experienced in that wood was what the old pagans called a god…”

    Hm. If that’s all it is, it all seems very sensible. But why bring the supernatural into it? Could not the same things be explained in contemporary scientific language?

    I do remember thinking at the time that I could understand why the local First Nations people believe in spirits. (I had read this article from an Ojibwe reader of yours not long before: http://www.chuckmasterson.com/blog/2017/03/16/3-the-spirits ) It’s easy to believe in spirits in an environment like that, when you can perceive that you’re surrounded by messages but you can’t understand most of them. Perhaps sometimes the forest’s messages are interpreted via a subconscious part of the brain which is then perceived as a divine message by the conscious part, as described by Julian Jaynes in his book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”.

    I also remember thinking: “though this superorganism may be old and wise, and know just how to deal with me when I’m inside it (as long as I don’t use any powerful new gadgets that it hasn’t learned how to handle yet)… nevertheless, humans if they chose could raze it to the ground and forever silence its voice”

  267. Hello JMG!

    Long time reader (since about grade 11…geez, time’s gone by), first time poster. Thanks for doing what you do. I hope that the move went smoothly.

    I had only one question originally, but all of this reincarnation talk got me thinking…you did a piece for Adbusters about the Earth’s future that began ten years from now and ended several millions of years and six or seven or more intelligent species in the future. Some of those species were descended from crows, some from clams. It was a great read, and reminded me very much of Olaf Stapledon. Do you think that souls that reside in humans would eventually be recycled in other intelligent species? If something in a human goes on after death, do you think that it is truly immortal or is it just a survival, with a possible second death waiting in the wings (maybe when the planet goes away)? If souls do pass from species to species, would they accumulate something as time goes on?

    My other question is about which kinds of things you’d most like to preserve into the future, and whether it’s ethical to attempt to send things deliberately into the future. I’ve been curious about the design of time capsules for a long time, and it’s a goal to build some sturdy ones and leave them in the safest places that I can find someday. If they had, say, a 10% chance of surviving and I asked you to fill one, what would you put in it?

    I’m looking forward to reading your new blog and I hope you had a groovy Fourth of July!

  268. I’m delighted to see that you’re back online, but I’m sad to see that the entire archive of Archdruid Report has disappeared. I only read a small percentage of the comments, due to time limits, but I feel they represent an intelligent, thoughtful, diverse range of views, and I wish they could somehow be preserved. I already have many of your essays, and a few of the comments, saved on my own computer…. if I had realized the archive was going to shut down, I would probably have tried to save more.

    Best wishes in your new roles!!

  269. I’d like to add to the discussion on how old-time religious traditions may help us with coping with death by bringing up current events.

    Right now, there’s a very public and controversial case surrounding Charlie Gard, a 7-month old infant who’s suffering from mitochondial DNA depletion syndrome (MDS), an uncurable and fatal illness. To make the long story short, his parents raised 1.3 million pounds via crowdfunding to keep him on life support so that his parents can find treatment for him. The problem is that the hospital, and then the courts (all the way to the European Court of Human Rights) decided that Gard’s case is hopeless and they’d pull out life support. It’s such a high-profile case that Donald Trump and Pope Francis have weighed in on the issue. Very typically, we have the usual culture war partisans who are instrumentalizing the tragedy for the advancement of their political agendas.

    Here’s the interesting part. A few days ago, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, commented on the issue. My online news feeds exploded with incendiary articles, from mostly conservative Christian writers. They are accusing Paglia of siding with the court decision, contradicting doctrine, and advancing euthanasia. This is the part that made them absolutely livid (I couldn’t find a full quote):

    “We must also accept the limits of medicine and […] avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.”

    He is absolutely correct, of course, and perfectly in line with Catholic teaching (citing Evangelium Vitae #65). You can look up a similar statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the paragraphs pertaining to euthanasia (#2276-2279). Never mind that the rest of the statement expresses support for the patient’s (or in this case, his parents’) rights and warns of political and ideological manipulation, the conservative writers decided to condemn the statement anyway.

    The way I see it, Charlie Gard is an inconvenient reminder of our own mortality. The crowdfunding effort is a very likely futile attempt, supposedly to try to save Charlie’s life, but it’s really a psychological game conjured up to avoid facing the reality that we can all die that easily. Paglia’s Vatican Radio statement knocks us back to reality, and we can’t have that, so we’re roasting the messenger alive.

    Oh man, we’re in such deep, deep denial. What’ll happen then, when say tuberculosis comes back with a vengeance, bigger and badder thanks to antibiotic resistance? That’s a rhetorical question, since we’re facing that crisis right now – multi-drug resistant TB could potentially kill millions. Are we all going to GoFundMe to get money to seek an expensive and unproven experimental treatment? Money and technology will not save us – there won’t be enough money and there will be no time or resources to come up with an exotic cure. The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord…

  270. Pearce, thanks for your advice, but I’m not in the advertisement industry, instead I’m an antiquarian. I asked the question because it was one of a few details which J. M. Greer didn’t treat in the Archdruid Report when discussing the implications of the decline and fall of Western civilization. That doesn’t mean job prospects in the book trades are rosy.

  271. @Bill, as JMG has said, slavery requires a labor shortage and/or plantation agriculture to be viable, and neither of those conditions will exist for hundreds of years, so slavery is something that can stay safely in the past and never needs to be discussed regarding the present and future

  272. Greetings, Archdruid Greer!

    How would one describe the difference between an etheric and astral projection in practical terms? As a practitioner of generic Golden Dawn style of magic, I’ve been experimenting with inducing so-called OBEs for a while and am now able to have them several times a week. I usually start by projecting myself next to my bed – through a forward somersault, for some reason – and then proceed to move to the living room. At this point, the scenery consists of different shades of black, grey and white. However, if I visualise a Tattvic or alchemical symbol of an element in the appropriate direction and enter it using the Sign of the Enterer, I find myself pushing through absolute darkness for a while and then come to a door. And when I open the door, I enter a landscape full of vivid colours and other beings. Does this constitute a transfer from the etheric to the astral plane?
    I’ve also experimented with vibrating the Hebrew Names of God and the vowels of the Finnish language whilst being projected in the black-grey-white scenery, and the results have often been rather outlandish and spectacular in a positive sense (including flashing lights, intense surges of energy, the feeling of being lifted high and/or spinning around in a wide circle at great speeds as well as hearing a universe-sized reverb accompanying the vibrations). Would these kinds of things classify as examples of experiences at the etheric plane?

    (Continued below…)

  273. (Continued from the previous post…)

    Are you – or the readers of this blog – aware of any exercises that specifically target the etheric body during an OBE state? There’s seems to be a lot of material on astral pathworking, but I haven’t been able to find anything useful on etheric projection (there’s something like that in the “Technique C” described in the tenth chapter of Francis King and Stephen Skinner’s Techniques of High Magic (“Astral Projection in Theory and Practice”), but that’s about all I’m familiar with at the moment). I assure you I’m not seeking to become a berserker or anything like that but certainly would like to experiment more with these things since entering the actual OBE state is relatively easy for me…

    And many thanks for the opportunity to ask you questions and the top-notch writing you continue to produce on these topics (Paths of Wisdom, Circles of Power, Learning Ritual Magic and Monsters have all benefited me greatly)!

  274. Not a question, alas, but David Brin has finally done it. In his last post he has flatly declared, with insults like “supremely stupid”, that anyone who believes in historical cycles of any kind rather than in history as linear progress is a Traitor To The Enlightenment and to all that is good and righteous, proud and free.

    Here goes a long term fan of his, reluctantly dropping his blog.

  275. I do have a question. Do you believe that any generation who grew up on Star Wars and animated fantasy movies could really look at strange aliens – especially Homo Aquaticus (or amphibious) and run screaming “Oh! The horror! The horror!” the way Lovecraft, plopped down in the middle of a Rebel Alliance command meeting, would? Now, if they popped up in one’s home town, I’m sure the first question would be “What planet are you from?” and “Are you friendly?” [Except in California, where it would be “Are you gong to open a restaurant? And that Innsmouth has excellent sushi is delightful.]

  276. JMG, I know several vegans and ovo-lacto vegetarians and was surprised to hear you say that “It’s also an open secret these days that most self-proclaimed vegans actually sneak meat into their diets on a regular basis.” Maybe I’m just not in on the secret, but none of my friends have mentioned this and the couple I contacted have said they’re unaware of any such secret as well!

    Is there some evidence for this assertion, or does this come from personal experience? Would also be interested in what other readers experienced in this regard…

  277. Shane, in response to your assertions that “feudalism is uniquely suited to dark ages … and, if anything, needs to be resuscitated post haste,” I’d point to Chris Smaje’s latest:

    http://smallfarmfuture.org.uk/?p=1225

    Wherein he posits populist agrarianism as at least one alternative to fascism/feudalism in an age of scarcity, thus disputing the qualifier ‘uniquely’ you used above, which seems to be used here as a term not of sober factual assessment but of advocation in favor of.

    I’m quite curious as to why anyone would wish a return to a situation where ‘the few are born to rule, while the many are born to serve’ unless one was convinced for some reason one would find oneself among the former, and not, along with the vast majority, the latter.

    Shane, your posts make it seem as though you are long for a Confederacy reborn in all its ‘glory’ – is this in fact the case?

  278. Shane W — your declaration of the absence of slavery will come as news to the people I know who are rescuing young women from sexual slavery by the dozens right in my own rural Tennessee neighborhood. Proclamations of never and always when discussing the future should be highly suspect

  279. What I see happening now is the continued rise of oligarchic corporatism, or maybe corporatistic oligarchy. The recent US election just showed that an oligarch can still get elected by pretending to be a populist and tossing around the right hot button words. And once in office it takes people a while to notice that underneath the jargon and dog whistles he is really just pursuing the same pro-plutocrat policies that have been in vogue worldwide for decades.

    I expect the oligarchs will hang on for a lot longer, consolidating their strength and insulating themselves from the economic decline. People in the developed world just are too hard to motivate to get the pitchforks. After all they might lose their cell service and satellite TV. And coming soon we have ubiquitous Virtual Reality so the plebes wont even have to see the decay around them at all, everything will be shiny and perfect even if the steak they think they are eating is just white goo. I think Margaret Attwood’s future in Oryx and Crake is actually pretty likely, with hygenic corporate compounds isolated from the disease ridden plebelands.

    Of course it is unsustainable, but collapse takes centuries and I think we have plenty of time ot get there before resource scarcity makes it impossible.

    And I think the Confederate Flag will still mostly be seen on the backs of oversized pickup trucks, not in any official capacity.

  280. @ Elaine Zablocki

    A complete archive of Archdruid Report posts, complete with comments, can be found here:

    https://thearchdruidreport-archive.200605.xyz/2017/05/index.html

    There were others who mirrored the Archdruid Report as well before it went off-line, some with the comments included, some without. Here are a couple of other sites with archives of the Archdruid Report. Many thanks to those who preserved these posts.

    http://archdruidmirror.blogspot.com/

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8Qtw5WNgYf8X2lLd21USkF2WkU/view

  281. @ Patricia Matthews

    David Brin’s post reminds me a lot of an observation by Eric Hoffer in his book “The True Believer”. Hoffer points out that the more untenable an ideology or way of life becomes, the more strident and irrational its proponents become in trying to defend it.

    Of course, Brin is an archpriest and prominent apologist for the status quo who can’t help name-dropping all the big shots he has lunch and exchanges tweets with. I have been a science fiction and fantasy buff ever since I was a little boy, but never was much of a fan of Brin’s fiction. I occasionally drop in over at his blog just to see what he is up to, but have a really hard time taking him seriously, especially these days.

    I think we will see more and more screeds like the one you referenced as it becomes increasingly obvious that Progress is dead and the bright, shiny Star Trek future we were promised turned out to be a mirage. I remember after John Michael posted “The Next Ten Billion Years” and Brin took great umbrage and responded with a sharply worded tirade of his own.

    https://thearchdruidreport-archive.200605.xyz/2013/09/the-next-ten-billion-years.html

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-comet-of-century.html

    Brin reminds me of nothing so much as the little boy who puts his fingers in his ears and yells “I can’t hear you!” at the top of his lungs when someone tries to tell him something he doesn’t want to hear.

  282. JMG,

    I have been thinking a lot lately about how to connect with the more emotional and intuitive parts of my self, aspects that I have long suppressed and ignored. Do you have any recommendations for a practice (magical or otherwise) that could cultivate connection to these facets?

    Or, if you don’t think a practice is a path that is likely to succeed, do you have any other advice on how to make these connections?

    DutyBound

  283. Just a fast note — due to the fact that there are only so many hours in a day, I can’t respond to comments on posts older than the current one. Many thanks to all who commented after the current Stormwatch post went up; if you’d like a response, please repost your comment when the next open post comes around, within the first week after it goes up!

  284. Hello, JMG-

    It is so interesting to me that you and the wife left Cumberland. My husband and I recently attempted farming in Grays Harbor County, Aberdeen to be exact. Wow, was that an eye-opener. The people there were not very interested in us because we were outsiders. We didn’t grow up in the county. Our lack of connection there immediately made us suspect. The fact that I have a college education did not help either.

    I grew up in rural Oregon and believed that going back to the woods would be easy. It wasn’t. In Grays Harbor there is no hope and coming in with big ideas and weird ideas, like permaculture, just wasn’t gonna fly.

    We came from Seattle and my husband works for CenturyLink on the MicroSoft Campus in Redmond, that did not exactly endear us to the Aberdonians either. I felt more than willing to learn and share our experiences on the farm but only a few people seemed interested. The people who have been loggers and mill workers just want things to go back that way they were. They don’t want big ideas, they just want their work back in the woods and the mills. And it’s not coming back.

    The county that has voted Democrat since the 1940’s went for Trump this time. They are that desperate and Grays Harbor is a major pro-union place. I had never seen so much poverty in my life as I saw there and felt entirely inadequate to deal with it.

    Last November, we moved back to Seattle. The farm was sold in April. But, even Seattle is changing. It is being eaten up by Amazon and condo builders. Everything that has been cool about Seattle is disappearing. It is becoming Silicon Valley North with all the problems attending that region- thousands of people arriving every week, eccentric mom and pop businesses disappearing by the day, the traffic is unbelievable. The city counsel is being invaded by Socialist Liberals and taxes on everything are skyrocketing.

    We’re moving back on our boat soon. I’m starting to think about Bellingham as I, like you, went to school at Western in the 1980’s. Maybe Port Angeles…someplace where the folks are decent, aren’t so afraid of outsiders and aren’t too flipping liberal.

  285. Hello JMG,

    I was thrown for a loop when TADR went away but soon realized/ remembered that everything has a lifecycle : )
    I am very happy to see you back and am very interested in this new endeavor. Now to the question. I have done insight meditation and have done a Zen sesshin at Eheiji in Japan. The thought of sitting down to still myself is not a foreign concept. I am curious to know more about the discursive meditation practice you mention in your books. I note that in your book on Geomancy you delve into the details a bit more than in Mystery Teachings. May I ask what particular source materials you are drawing this practice from? I am quite keen to develop a practice of this myself, beyond what I have done thus far.

    Best,

    BB

  286. @Jen,
    For meditative poses, the “rock pose” is an excellent choice. If you find that your ankles ache from that pose (your mileage may vary) then using a meditation bench works great. Placing the meditation bench on a meditation cushion (zabuton) is very comfy, while putting your upper body in an upright alert posture, so this prevents the potential drowsing off that a reclining pose may result in. Works for me!

  287. JMG – 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?

  288. Thank you for your work JMG!

    Recently, I was in the Monongahela mountains and felt my own ancestry strongly. I’ve done some digging and found that my grandmothers are from that range– the maternal from Sweetwater, TN and paternal from Abington, VA.

    Both pursued higher education when that was unusual for women in the 1930s. They passed education and wanderlust to me but we lost community and belonging.

    I dropped out of college and have frayed, but mending, ties with this family. As a white woman, I’m trying to understand my own ancestry and connection to land.

    My grandmothers left those mountains and raised my parents in cities. But when I go to those mountains I feel something and I’m compelled to listen. And to ask questions.

    I’m thinking about how their fathers sent these women to school so they could climb socioeconmically and buy appliances– made from the raw materials exported from these mountains.

    Recently, I stood in a river in the Seneca rocks and I FELT the charge of the metal rushing through. Suddenly, I was struck with the thought that the mountains are mourning the loss of their ore.

    I’ve tried to research how mining affects mountains (when it hasn’t decimated them). My reeearch seems to tell me that mountains aren’t considered entities. I find studies on the human costs, affects on water, but not the mountain.

    Simultaneously and (I thought) unrelatedly, I feel called to return some metal deity statues, with thanks, to an upstate riverbed.

    I imagined taking the appliances my grandmothers worked for (one was shocked that I line dry my clothes), the metal crosses they worshipped, and bringing them back to the mountains. I’m wondering about that tie. My ancestors sent away the minerals and their daughters. I lost a sense of community, belonging, and connection to land.

    I’m not sure what I’m asking. In this context, I think I’m curious about your thoughts on ancestry, ancestral healing (especially in regards to respectful race relations and mutual acknowledgment), the animism of the land, what we take in our idols, and the offerings to make to give back.

    Thank you. And thank you for giving me a space to work through this.

  289. Dear JMG I week or so ago I shared a link to a database have compiled on the subject of environmental change. It is free and non-commercial. I suggested that you might find it useful as a research tool and asked for some feedback. But the post appears to have been deleted. I have put a lot of unpaid work into building a resource that should be more helpful than Google search when researching the topic purely with the intent of contributing. I cannot help but wonder why the comment was deleted and why you have not replied.

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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