Open Post

April 2024 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply (no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no paid propagandizing, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank, no endless rehashes of questions I’ve already answered) but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic — with two exceptions.

First, there’s a dedicated (more or less) open post on my Dreamwidth journal on the ongoing virus panic and related issues, so anything Covid-themed should go there instead.

Second, I’ve had various people try to launch discussions about AIs — that is to say, large language models (LLMs) and the chatbots they power — on this and my other forums. The initial statements and their followup comments always end up reading as though they were written by LLMs — that is, long strings of words superficially resembling meaningful sentences but not actually communicating anything. That’s neither useful nor entertaining.  Thus I’ve decided to ban further discussion of this latest wet dream of the lumpen-internetariat here.

With that said, have at it!

485 Comments

  1. Hello Michael. A few years ago you wrote an article about the next European war. But the conflict in Ukraine appears to be reinforcing defense unity, as Russia is perceived as the enemy. Most countries are increasing their military budgets and military cooperation is being strengthened. Given the course of events, do you think that today we are closer to a war, either between European countries, or between NATO against Russia?

  2. Hi, I was considering studying either The Cosmic Doctrine or The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic and I was wondering which one you’d recommend first.

    Since it seems quite long (I think you spent 3 years on the Cosmic Doctrine), I’d rather start with the right book right away.

    FWIW I have no previous esoteric experience and I’m French which may make Levi’s book an easier read for me.
    But if it’s better to start with Dion’s book I’ll do it (I found French translation of her books, but I don’t know if they’re good so I would go with the original).

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Many in the previous post have asked about meeting in the physical realm. I will take this opportunity to remind all that the 7th Annual Ecosophia Midsummer Potluck will be held June 22, 2024 at our house, behind the Charles Dexter Ward Mansion in Providence, RI. Only 59 days to go! Sign up here. I look forward to your presence, and once again, whomever comes from furthest is welcome to stay in our guest room.

    Six years ago JMG moved near me. I checked whether he was amenable to meet some of this community, then announced the day and time. If you seek the same, announce your day and time, and if Orichalc is playing nearby, maybe JMG can hitch a ride on the bus.

  4. XCO, it’s quite common in history for nations to work together against a common enemy and then turn on each other as soon as the conflict is over — consider the US and the Soviet Union in and then after the Second World War. What matters is that Europe has made the fateful turn back to militarization; if history is any guide, once every important European state has a large army, sooner or later they’re going to use those armies on each other.

    JMN, if you have no previous esoteric experience you should certainly start with Lévi. Fortune’s book is an advanced work of esoteric philosophy and requires a great deal of preliminary study; Lévi’s is meant for beginners.

    Simon and Peter, thanks for both of these!

  5. Some thoughts from last week’s post, and a few new ones.
    As far as Girls and Guns, I’ve been around guns, hunting and shooting all my life. I have a number of guns, Handguns, rifles and shotguns. I’ve had a concealed carry permit for years, and there have been a few times when I’m glad I was carrying. There have been situations when just letting someone know you are armed that changes the entire dynamic.
    I’d noticed a few weeks ago that I’d seen neither Juncos or Sparrows all winter, and the insect population was way down. I remember when I first moved here there were lots of fireflies on summer nights. I’ve only seen one all last summer The apartments where I live have a “Landscape Maintenance” company that once a week comes by, and cleans up that nasty nature, such as fallen leaves, fungi, and sprays herbicides and pesticides. While every Autumn all the fallen leaves are removed, giving insects no place to over winter. I know that some of their plant killers have blown on my porch plants and killed them. Then in my inbox is a special on the book “The Insect Crisis: The Fall of the Tiny Empires That Run the World” Yes, it’s happening all over the planet! And much worse than most of us thought.
    Then there is an article about the Mayor of NYC’s “new and exciting tool” to “impose operational efficiency and streamline requests.” The Mayor has decreed that supplicants wanting to approach the city’s public servants must submit a seven-page, online “engagement request.” The mayor’s intergovernmental office will review each one, then decide whether to grant or deny any official engagement.
    Then I’ve seen a number of comments various places that say something such as “That latest eclipse sure did something!”

  6. People here were talking about car culture in the last post. I was reminded of the novel “Crash” by J.G. Ballard a few weeks ago when I saw a nice essay about the book and the film-of-the-book over one Quillette (where they often have some good essays on books). [ https://quillette.com/2024/04/02/sex-and-smashed-steel-ballard-crash-benjamin-kerstein/ ] While reading “Crash” may be akin to reading “Naked Lunch” by Burroughs as far as the majority taste of readers on this blog is concerned, I do think that whatever your taste may be, Ballard hit it out of the park with “Crash” when looked at as a gestalt of the psychology around our car culture.

    The story is about a guy who is injured in a car crash who then meets a demented psychiatrist who is the head of a circle of car-crash fetishists who get off by voyeuristically watching car crashes, staging them, having coitus inside smashed cars in junk yards, and otherwise staging and participating in crash and car accidents. In particular they adore the crashes of celebrities. They are driven, you could say, to try and recreate these celebrity crashes.

    According to the article, “Ballard claimed that one publishing house reader’s response read, ‘Author is beyond psychiatric help, do not publish'” -but the author of the above article and I, and others who “enjoyed” this book do not think Ballard was at all mad, he was just tapping into what was really below the surface of people’s minds- and for that people think he is crazy.

    I really enjoyed Ballard’s novels “The Drowned World” and some others, but perhaps my favorite is “High Rise.”

    “The Drowned World” has a deindustrial clifi vibe some people here would like. It’s also just really strange, which is what I enjoy about his work in general.

  7. Simon, I already got the University where I work to order a copy of your book.
    Gerard O’Neil

  8. A response to the comment by C .R. Patino, from late last night. You typed, in part:

    “To a backwards Roman Catholic Mexican like myself… the values displayed in this forum can be, and at some points have been, frankly annoying: Can you not just shut up and do as told, you people? Intellectually I can see the advantages of self reliance and independence, but in my hearth of heaths I actively dislike when people start being disobedient just for the sake of being disobedient.”

    I guess the short answer is that Americans increasingly don’t do what we are told because we don’t respect those doing the telling. Most of such persons fall into one of two rough categories. They are either tribalists, who have been elevated beyond their natural talents by tribal influence, or they are atheistic nihilists who care for nothing other than their own self and class interests. Feudalism as practiced during the centuries of Christendom, was, in theory at least, a system of mutual obligation. Our present so-called elites have no visible sense of responsibility and no interest in much of anything other than the afore mentioned self and class interest. I question whether human history has ever seen a more ill-educated and emotionally and intellectually shallow pack of fools in high places.

    Lately, what we are being told to do is a., vote for one of two increasingly deranged and senile men who ought properly to be enjoying honorable retirement, and b. spend cash we don’t have for mass market crapola we don’t need.

  9. In the comments section a few weeks ago you remarked that a key moment for you was when you realized that “collapse” wasn’t going to happen to our society, but rather that we face a long and uneven “decline.” Your argument was put forth in at least one of your books “The Long Descent,” which sits on my shelf heavily notated and underlined. I’m curious though, even as I understand your argument for decline as faced by our civilization and every other historical civilization, it seems our modern society is much more fragile than historical civilizations, with our dependence on steady electrical power, just in time delivery product inventories , etc.
    Would you please expand on this distinction a bit and offer an explanation as to why you don’t believe our modern fragility could be a factor in sudden collapse?

  10. As I watch these pro-gaza protests at NYU, Columbia and Yale it is fascinating to watch the Progressive Elite/Academic Industrial Complex rip itself apart. The coalition that was pieced together to push the progressive agenda, now has a giant rift down the middle that is only widening. It is amazing that they did not see this coming when they ginned up the gullible young people against the evil ” White Colonizer'” Trump.

  11. I’ve been thinking a great deal about magical chains since your discussion of them the other week, and I wonder about structures that harm the followers (‘drinking the kool-aid’ as a central example, perhaps). I’ve been learning about natural nutrition as part of my druidic self-study, and have been appalled at the lies (or harmful inaccuracies) the Food/Medical Industrial Complex has convinced most everyone of – yet often the people on top seem unharmed. Take Dariush Mozaffarian (we could call him the Dr. Fauci of nutrition science). He’d tell you that the butter your ancestors ate for millennia is deadly, but that industrial seed oils are ‘heart healthy’. Tens of millions especially in this country are metabolically sicker, heavier, and more cancer-ridden than ever, but Mozaffarian (like Ansel Keyes before him) is thin and healthy and handsome and successful while peddling the same old errors that have made so many ill.

    Maybe it’s a coincidence, and maybe the System just materially brainwashes us (advertising etc) to want to buy plastic consumer goods we don’t need, pursue relationships that aren’t healthy, and eat food that kills us, but it feels darker and more spiritual to me. Is there a way anyone can be profiting more subtly from our malaise?

  12. Second reading of Ecotechnic Future. Easily one of the most important and useful (non spiritual) books currently. Definitely a book all your readers should pick up.
    Humanure though…I think on a home scale is great. However considering the large amounts of pharmaceuticals everyone is pumped full of, on a municipal level it seems…pretty s****y.

  13. Hello MR Greer and all reading.
    In a few days I will, after tapering off of green tea, be ceasing to consume caffeine in any form whatsoever and indeed I will be ceasing the use of any psychoactive substances whatsoever. From that first cup of sugary coffee my father Gave me at a Woolworths lunch counter in the 70s to now I have used nearly every possible drug imaginable- I’ve have had one-night stands and more than a few long-term relationships with psychoactive substances- licit and illicit, from Prozac to heroin to LSD to kava to benzodiazepines I have used them all. Haven’t used hard drugs since my thirties- but always used something- and I include herbs, coffee tea and a glass of wine in that “something” as well- always some substance however benign it seems or was.
    and now in my fifties I very much want to experience life without them and perhaps not use them ever again.
    to live life for the first time since childhood unmediated by any psychoactive substances. perhaps my doors of perception will get cleaned a little.
    I would be interested in any opinions of this- what would the occult view be? I would call it a mini exorcism, but I am not suffering from any addictions at this point in my life. not suffering from substances, just feel like I want to be as fully me as possible- to be as authentic as I can be as I slowly transition into elderhood- I feel like it would be empowering to live with as close to the original mind as I can after all these years.,
    thanks, and may all be well with all of you.

  14. Hello JMG, back with the question I had, and another.

    (1)
    I was reading on the Energy Skeptic blog about container ships and I’m wondering about what will happen to island nations like Japan, Australia and New Zealand after planes and ships stop moving due to severe oil shortages. No one has the knowledge to build big, wooden, sail ships anymore and modern seamanship won’t help. Are they facing some sort of serious isolation in the future decades? Maybe even for a century or two? At best they use their small sail boats, but those can’t transport much food and material.

    (2)
    What should we expect from the antibiotic resistant bacteria in China, will it cause another Black Death, this time around the world? The next real plague has a very extensive silk road to work with. If a plague like that starts, what can I do to protect myself and my family?

    Re: European Militarization
    I think that the number of internal European conflicts that are going to be civil wars is not going to be small.

    Thank you for all the great essays!

  15. Hi,

    I hope everybody is having a good week! 🙂 Two things today (well, for now… 😉 ):

    1. I offer blessings each Wednesday to everybody who requests them. You can get more information and sign up for next week here:

    https://thehiddenthings.com/weekly-blessings-17

    I appreciate people signing up for the blessings, as I practice my blessing skills, i.e. you’re actually doing me a favour! 🙂

    2. For MOE practitioners:

    a. I’m going to perform an Apprentice attunement on Sunday, May 12th. This attunement is open to everybody who is far enough in his/her MOE studies – and yep, you can also be re-attuned!

    https://thehiddenthings.com/moe-apprentice-attunement-2024-05

    I’d appreciate getting at least one RSVP, if possible, so I know it’s worth performing at this date and time. I don’t need a name or anything, just a quick note by one person that they are going to be there. Thanks!

    b. I’ve put up a (somewhat longish – sorry!) post with some info about the MOE attunements, which might also be of interest to people who are curious about the Modern Order of Essenes work:

    https://thehiddenthings.com/moe-attunements-faq

    Hope this will be of help to some people! 🙂

    And finally: JMG, I’m very much looking forward to this week’s comments again. Open Post is a wonderful treat – thanks! 🙂

    Milkyway

  16. Just learned there is a phrase to describe management dawdling while a crisis builds and builds. It’s “Continuously counting the books as the library burns”

  17. Hello JMG hope all is well as this has been an emotional time for you I’m sure.
    Firstly, thank you so much for your insights. I don’t know where else one can get such a cross section of discussions of collapse, bad architecture, and Lovecraft. This is an achievement.

    Second. I have been on a paranormal kick lately and something you mentioned years ago has been burning in the back of my skull. In the comments of one of your essays you mentioned some esoteric idea about demons being from some dead universe before ours and they lost physical form. Could you expand perhaps on this? Is there anywhere else to find that information (book sources, etc.)?

    Thanks.

  18. @ XCO
    There is not unity in NATO countries. French president Macron recently said that he would send ground troops to Ukraine. Immediately, the leaders of the USA, Germany, and other NATO nations, said that they would not do such a thing. The vice-president of the Duma, Piotr Tolstoi (a great-grandson of the famous author, IIRC) said, in flawless French, that the Russian army would kill them all… He added that more than 300 French mercenaries were fighting in Ukraine, and half of them had already been killed.

    So far, France has sent one hundred legionnaires to Ukraine (1,500 other troopers may follow). According to Indian media, the Russians are busy shooting at them. Not a word about this in the French press, unless it has escaped my attention. It seems to me that Macron’s foolish bellicose bragging has exposed French lack of military means and NATO nations’ reluctance to confront the Russian meat grinder. I can imagine Putin smirking in his office…

    Sometimes, I wonder if the Trickster of Native American legends is running this world. In 1853, France, with a population half of what it presently is, sent 310,000 men to fight against Russia in Crimea, in a coalition which included the UK and the Ottoman empire. altogether 1,200,000 troops. 95,000 of the 310,000 French soldiers never came back home (most casualties being attributed to cholera). Needless to say, France couldn’t recruit and arm such numbers nowadays, and no government would survive such a Pyrrhic victory.

    In 1940, Nazi Germany, with a population of 62 million, sent 1,600,000 men to conquer France, which they did in five weeks. In 2022, Russia, population 145 million, sent 150,000 men against Ukraine, a country about 50% larger than France, with a population back then of about 40 million, a number similar to the population of France in 1940 (we are now 67 million). I strongly doubt that Putin’s objective was to conquer Ukraine with less than one tenth the number of men Germany used to conquer France.

    There are eight billion of us human bipeds on Earth now. Funny how the young men seem to have disappeared. Or maybe they are just much better informed than their predecessors of 1853, and therefore much less willing to be sent to die in a country they couldn’t place on a map, so that the inhabitants of Crimea and the Donbass, who are ethnic Russians, become Ukrainian again.

  19. https://ashtarbookblog.blogspot.com/2024/04/das-kleinod-von-babylon.html
    https://ashtarbookblog.blogspot.com/2024/04/we-control-everything.html

    Some shameless self-promotion for my blog! 😉

    Seriously though, I think the book I´m commenting above could be of some interest. Or at least the topic. The theme is a familiar one: the secular age of de-enchantment wasn´t very secular and de-enchanted to begin with, and everyone knew it…until later generations erased it from memory. (See also Newton etc)

  20. Given that XCO asked about the possibility of a war in Europe and/or against Russia, perhaps you’ll forgive me for saying that I have just published the first half of a substantial article on this and related topics, with the second half (which more directly addresses what happens after the current war) coming next week. It’s at:
    https://aurelien2022.substack.com/p/ukraine-a-guide-for-the-perplexed
    Some earlier essays on the site on the same subject may also be of interest.
    Briefly, the European elites are united in their fear of Russia, but divided about almost everything else. Defeat in Ukraine is going to unleash some fairly awful internal conflicts, because in the end the interests of different European countries with respect to Russia are not the same, and in many ways opposed.
    There is little chance of Europe substantially rearming. The massive infrastructure that enabled the recruitment, training and deployment conscript armies, and was developed over more than a century, is gone and cannot be reconstituted. Conscription is politically impossible anyway. European militaries are struggling to recruit for those posts they do have (as is also the case with the US by the way) and will do well to retain their current size.

  21. I walk to work and daily get smacked in the face by the dust and noise of vehicles rushing everywhere. Trucks full of garbage, wastewater, cheese, gravel all barrelling by as fast as possible. Other commuters each in their own heavy personal vehicle jockeying for space.
    Have humans always been this frantic throughout history? I find myself wondering if the world might be a little nicer or just slow down a little if gas prices went up. Or would the impulse to rush around without a care for other humans along the way just shift to bicycles sidewalks and trains?

  22. JMG, I haven’t been able to get those Chernobyl wolves out of my mind since you wrote about them a few weeks ago. Are there other examples like that you could point to, or even a book on the phenomenon? It’s intriguing, and one of the few hopeful examples I’ve seen in the avalanche of environmental doomsday prognostications.

    For other commenters here: Just wondering how many of you raise chickens and how that’s going for you, especially with egg prices rising and the confined feedlot industry working to foment panic around avian flu. Joel Salatin a few months ago began speculating on his blog that they could be raised in an apartment if given the right coop setup. We’re lucky enough to have a quarter acre, as some of you know from following us over on Substack. After losing a whole flock last year, we’re trying again, and while we lost the “bonus” chicken the first day (the hatchery sent us one more than ordered), it’s been so far so good here at four weeks. Feeling cautiously optimistic, but… everything wants to eat chickens.

  23. Hello JMG and kommentariat.
    Some days ago I was told by a rural Spain friend that there were being a lot of copper thefts in the region where he was living. Region name’s the Matarranya, in the bigger region of Aragon; but similar thefts have been happening in another Spain and Western Europe zones…Indeed, a few days after this, I watched on local TV that topic (OK JMG, I’m not perfect and sometimes I watch TV).
    It’s interesting to note that these later copper thefts in Matarranya zone are focused on the old telephone network, which is out of use because of optic fiber fever since some years ago…Maybe the thieves come from Eastern Europe countries, or at least the recent arrests don’t lie (not for me being accused of xenophobia!). Civil Ward arrested some men from Eastern Europe (they didn’t said which country were they came from…) a month ago.
    Copper thieves usually cut the copper wires and then burn them in the middle of the country; some times they cause some forestal fires, which eventually let police forces to locate them by the rural people, who eventually alert police forces. It’s a pity for the environment…
    Thieves profit of low country population, which situation is named by some pedantics as “La España vaciada”; something like “Void Spain”.
    I wonder if there’s such a thing as “copper hunger” in the electronic industries, or the copper prices are rising too much (road to future depletion?).
    Dear John and kommentariat, do you have seen this type of theft in the US or the country where you are living? Thank you.

  24. So, yesterday, on April 23rd, the U.S. Senate backstabbed the American people once again by approving a $95 Billion Aid Bill For Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. All while waving Ukrainian flags. How much of this money will be lost to corruption is anyone’s guess. I reckon it would be around 80%. April 23rd was also a Full Moon day. It is also James Buchanan’s birthday, which is an interesting bit of synchronicity.

    Russia seems to be sending a different message on corruption. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was arrested for bribery. Russian authorities seem to say they will not tolerate corruption at any level during wartime.

    That’s all I have for news. Interesting times!

  25. I forgot what I’ve been meaning to ask your opinion on. But now I remember!
    Is recycling in modern day America, where large fleets of large diesel powered machines drive around and collect, yadda, yadda…;
    Is recycling a feel good ritual or is it wise?
    My money says (particularly with metals) reusing, or storing would be best. Next would be throwing in the trash so future peoples can gladly mine the landfills for metals and glass.

  26. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and YouTube videos lately about declining birth rates in the US and in other countries. And all these articles keep citing 2.1 as the Replacement Rate. No matter what country or region of the world, apparently the Replacement Rate is 2.1 births/woman (on average). And if we don’t stay at or above 2.1, the population will decline, the economy will suffer, civilization will go into decline, etc.

    But-but-but! If things go into decline, won’t infant mortality increase? And if infant mortality increases, won’t the Replacement Rate necessarily rise? It can’t possibly remain at 2.1 all the way down. If the replacement rate gradually rises, as infant mortality in different countries starts to tick up, I would expect that to accelerate population decline. So why aren’t any of these articles talking about that?

  27. In the “what could possibly go wrong” category,

    The robot, called the Thermonator, is constructed by Ohio flame throwing manufacturer Throwflame and features one of the company’s ARC flamethrowers mounted on its back. The 26-pound robotic quadruped “can shoot fire in a 30-foot stream and comes with a built-in fuel tank powered by gasoline,” notes Gizmodo. “The company says the robot also has an hour-long battery, a laser sight, and lidar mapping, and it can be remotely controlled via the company’s app.”

    The company says its product is designed for “wildfire control and prevention,” “agriculture management,” “ecological conservation,” “entertainment and SFX,” and “snow and ice removal.” It can be yours for the low price of $9,420 with free shipping.

  28. Is it permissible to note here that there are disturbing similarities between the general internet hype of the 1990s and the AI hype? I don’t want to talk about AI itself, but the fact that it looks like it’s driving another tech bubble; and this one could be a lot messier than the last one, because when that bubble popped in 1999, most of the infrastructure that actually made the internet work was still government owned. Since then it’s mostly been privatised; and so things could easily end up a lot messier if one of those firms ends up going bankrupt because it’s thrown everything into AI.

  29. Writers, I wrote an article about houseplants. Where do I go about finding markets who might be interested in same? It’s been a long time since I wrote or submitted an article.

  30. The topic of suicide came up recently and I wonder if our host would care to expand upon his thoughts regarding what is variously called death with dignity, euthanasia, assisted suicide, etc.
    I am particularly interested in the question of whether choosing to end one’s life has negative spiritual repercussions. I’m not thinking of a depressed teen ending it all, but more of a controlled departure when the time is right.

    As an example: an elderly couple with a lifetime of being together and as they approach the end of their lifespans, one passes naturally and the other does not want to stay on the ride alone. If the couple were planning/hoping to do another life together, would the left-behind spouse complicate things by deliberately ending his life? The former prime minister of Holland and his wife are somewhat similar to what I’m asking about. Whether one refuses food and water or takes a pill or puts a pistol in his ear, it seems to me that the intention is what matters, not the methodology. Thoughts?

  31. Hey everyone,

    For a long time I have struggled with the conflict between the logic of Darwinism, which seems fairly sound, and the fact that mutation rates aren’t nearly high enough to explain speciation solely through natural selection and random chance, by many orders of magnitude.

    Trying my hand at the The Cosmic Doctrine has given me a great insight here though, in that if you add the concept of evolution as one of the primary forces of the Cosmos, suddenly you aren’t relying on rolling snake eyes 1×10^50 to explain some of the observations. Too bad it would take some absolutely dramatic cultural changes to open enough minds in the scientific world.

    Just wanted to share since it was a cool “aha” for me in synthesizing my scientific education and the spiritual things I have been trying to work on lately.

  32. Hi JMG,

    What would you consider to be some good, reliable sources of data on the expected climates changes (espeically in North America) over the coming centuries. I believe it was a few weeks ago that, to a commenter here, you expressed an expectation that temperature regimes in North America are likely to move about 1000 miles north (with the Pacific Northwest getting the climate of present-day Baja California). This would mean my hometown in northern Wisconsin will have the temperature regime of present-day southern Louisiana, and that my current home in Kentucky will receive the temperature regime of Miami. I found this fascinating, and would like to dig into it more.

    Thanks!

  33. @Mary Bennet, #9
    I get it!!! We have had awful leadership since well before my parents/grandparents were born. Our current president, AMLO, is a weird outlier in terms of popularity; politicians used to be universally distrusted and despised over here.
    That said, the indiscriminate way people of the Anglosphere seem to go full blown adolescent in the presence of (perceived) unfit leadership is perplexing. It is as if your politicians/businessmen had betrayed a trust that you should never have put in them in the first place! And the chaos created by the vacuum of legitimacy is actively damaging for the everyday interaction between peers.
    I just guess you need to live several generations under this kind of lenocracy in order to evolve the social DNA that makes more creative forms of rule bending possible.

  34. Hello JMG and Everybody,
    Thank you for this forum. I’d like to comment on CR Patino’s comment #390:
    “the values displayed in this forum can be, and at some points have been, frankly annoying: Can you not just shut up and do as told, you people? Intellectually I can see the advantages of self reliance and independence, but in my hearth of heaths I actively dislike when people start being disobedient just for the sake of being disobedient.”
    Actually, doing as you are told and being disobedient for the sake of being disobedient are two sides of the same counterfeit coin, which gives away your power to the ones doing the telling. In both cases you are entangled. It’s better (in my view) to consider your options independently and then carefully execute them. Your actions may or may not coincide with “what you are told”.

  35. Around the (v)blogosphere I’m seeing more and more of the misapplication of the term “Gnosticism” toward secular ideologies like woke leftism, something is a rather conspiratorial manner. I know this has been brought up and addressed here on these blogs on several occasions, but I think I might know what’s driving this bad idea.

    To me, the obvious first question to ask is why this hysterical fingerprinting is now coming from secular/atheistic people? As opposed to the usual assortment of fundamentalist Christians who typically peddle these kind of paranoid ideas.

    My theory is that this mostly has to do with a new type of cognitive dissonance that’s now swimming around the intellectual end of the Religion of Progress. Many of its adherents can’t seem to deal with the notion that Progress isn’t exactly what it cracked up to be. There’s been a growing number of atheist liberal thinkers who have come out against wokeism. I call them “yesterday’s liberals.” I think some of them call themselves “the Intellectual Dark Web” (this label kind of reminds me of the semantic accuracy of ‘Holy Roman Empire’). They seem to want to wind the clock back to the 90s, back when Progress still had an optimistic and open-minded collective ethos; back when very few adherents to Progress thought anything other than the Star Trek Future We All Deserve was right around the corner. Rather, the emergence and mainstreaming of wokeness has clearly shown that Progress can actually lead down some rather scary and fanatical paths. Instead of Star Trek, anyone who is moderately-perceptive can now see that Progress has morphed into a totalitarian establishment ideology, and on the social and economic end of things, Progress has resulted in the enshaleification of everything.

    But no, that can’t be the REAL Progress! Wokeness must be due to some weird aberration from deep antiquity that has somehow bubbled up to the surface once again. First it was the atheist intellectual James Lindsay (of the postmodernist academia prank fame) claiming Woke Leftism is actually a modern rehash ancient “Gnosticism,” despite these two things having very little in common besides both beliefs rejecting of material reality in some form, though of course in very different ways. He (and a few copycats) have doubled down on this absurdity and have extended the “connection” to Marx, Hegel, Hermeticism, and of course Occultism. I’m pretty sure next up, Plato will be pegged as the grand conspirator behind all of this (I’ve already seen this conspiracy theory floating around the more fringe corners of social media).

    What this all says to me is that Progress has fallen such a state of deep doo doo, that the “circular firing squad” phenomenon is now warming its engines. Anything remotely weird or too complicated/nuanced for the Western rationalist-materialist mind to understand is now suspect, and thus now be part of the grand conspiracy to undermine and destroy Material Progress. This seems to be mirroring the same exact type of paranoia that consumed much of evangelical Protestant Christianity decades ago. Really, it’s what happens when any dogmatic ideology is in its death throes. Star Trek ain’t happening, therefore every non-believer must be attacked and demonized!

    What do you make of all of this? I’d say it’s best to just ignore people peddling this idiocy. But I’m afraid these ideas are going to spread to more people should there be a successful cultural backlash against Wokeness and anything perceived to be adjacent to it. I’m particularly worried about the label “Occultism” becoming terrible optics in the eyes of the masses; not that it’s particularly great right now. I’m worried about a day where I have to hide my beliefs and practices. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid.

  36. >The Insect Crisis

    I don’t see it here. If anything, the anthills are even more numerous than previous years. It’s all I can do to beat the bugs back. Had to tell some wasps the hard way a few days ago “Please don’t build there. I insist.”

  37. Birth rates and population were mentioned here a couple of times in recent weeks, so it was interesting to come across some projections of UK population recently. Even though our birthrate has fallen to 1.49, the population is still expected by the UK Office of National Statistics to keep growing for some time, presumably helped by net inward migration which is currently about 60,000 per month. In spite of the fuss about small boats crossing the channel and the government’s Rwanda scheme, well over 90% of this migration is legal. The UK population was 61 million in 2006, rose to 67 million in 2021 and is expected to rise to 74 million by 2036, virtually the same rate of rise in the near future as in the recent past. The numbers were mentioned in the UK National Food Strategy document, the agriculture section of which most farmers seem to regard as entirely unworkable. Meanwhile, schemes to encourage farmers to take land out of food production are being expanded such that the proportion of the UK’s food actually produced here is likely to fall below 50% within a couple of years. Plotting a grief-free route back from this situation in the middle third of this century, is looking very difficult.

  38. Brunette Gardens,

    We raise layers, and even though we make a two-hour round trip in a truck every few months to purchase soy-free certified organic feed in bulk from a mill, it’s still cheaper than buying certified organic/pastured eggs (including cost of day-old chicks, mortality, and fuel) by about a couple bucks per dozen. We use a Salatin-style mobile pen. When free-ranging, they got eaten. Now they mostly don’t. Eventually want to try a mobile coop with electro net for more foraging room, but haven’t tested it yet. Sometimes we park the tractor on wood chips for a while and feed garden waste for greens in order to add enough nitrogen to the chips for good composting.

    Siliconguy,

    I must confess that I want one! I will resist on principle, however.

  39. Marlena13, thank you for the data points.

    Justin, that’s got to be the best editorial response to a manuscript ever. I live in hope that someday I’ll achieve something on the same level!

    Joshua, I routinely field two questions from people about decline. Yours, asking whether I’ve taken into account the fragility of modern industrial society, is one. The other, its equal and opposite, asks whether I’ve taken into account the capacities modern industrial society has to deal with crisis. My answer to both is the same: yes, I’ve taken both these into account, and they cancel each other out. Industrial society is uniquely robust in some ways and uniquely fragile in others, but it’s rising and falling in lockstep with every other civilization in recorded history.

    Clay, I wonder if the elites have any idea just what an immense danger they’ve created for themselves. At this point all it would take is a few fast-talking recruiters for one of the jihadi Muslim groups to target these kids, and the US elite classes will be faced with the same kind of infiltration crisis the British had in the era of Kim Philby et al. — except this time they may just be wearing high explosives in their vests.

    Leo, that’s an intriguing question. To some extent, of course, the answer is yes — sick people spend more money for medical care, which is why most treatments these days manage illnesses rather than curing them; “a patient cured is a customer lost” isn’t simply a joke any more. But does it go beyond that? I don’t know.

    Travis, oh, granted. Right now it’s only workable on a homescale basis, by people who aren’t addicted to medical pharmaceuticals. Later, when the current healthcare industry has crashed to ruin? That could be a very different matter.

    Stephen, there isn’t really an occult view on the subject — just a recognition that everybody has their own life to live, and if that’s the choice that works best for you, go ye forth and do that thing.

    Rafael, (1) ah, but your first assumption is wrong.

    This is a pinisi, an Indonesian schooner. There are hundreds of them still sailing around the islands of southeast Asia, and they are still being built. Given Indonesia’s location, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are well within reach of this technology as fossil fuel-powered ships run out of fuel. 2) It depends utterly on the nature of the organism; the precautions that will keep you and your family safe from, say, bubonic plague aren’t the same as those that will keep them safe from hemorrhagic fever, say. One way or another, as public health falters, a lot of people are going to die. 3) That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Marlena13, I like that. Thank you!

    Maurice, you’re welcome and thank you. Someday I’ll want to see if I can write a post that touches on collapse, bad architecture, and Lovecraft all at once. As for the possible origin of demons in a previous universe, that’s a concept from the Cabala; you can find quite a bit about it if you look up references to the Qlippoth (sometimes spelled Kelippoth) in Cabalistic literature.

    Patricia M, if the Beeb is pushing it, there are probably serious problems with Britain’s water supply.

    Tidlösa, thanks for this.

    Aurelien, and thanks for this. I hope you’re right — frantic attempts to rearm in the face of economic realities have occurred before.

    Ken, it’s a feature of falling civilizations. Chariot racing, with the attendant accidents and clouds of dust, was wildly popular in Roman times.

    Brunette, well, there’s the comparable case of zebra mussels —

    https://www.ecosophia.net/a-conversation-with-nature/

    — not quite the same thing, but once again nature is coming out ahead of the game.

    Chuaquin, I haven’t heard much about it recently, but there were waves of copper and aluminum theft here at intervals.

    Forecasting, yes. The collapse of European neocolonial rule over Africa is going to cost the European subcontinent bitterly.

    Ecosophian, I really don’t think most people in the West realize just how catastrophic to the existing Western regimes a Russian victory in Ukraine will be. The entire grand strategy of the West for many years now has focused on breaking up Russia and absorbing it into the EU as a collection of weak, readily exploitable successor states, whose abundant resources can be drained to prop up the current system, while preparing for the final confrontation with China in the second half of this century. Russia’s refusal to go along with the project was bad enough, but the Russians are slapping a NATO proxy force silly in Ukraine, their economy is booming while Europe’s withers, they’re making broad inroads in the resource-rich nations of Africa, and they’ve established a robust military-political alliance with China, Iran, and North Korea — an alliance that is far and away the most powerful military presence on the globe, and has military technology the West can’t equal. (We still don’t have working hypersonic missiles, for example.) Thus the Western elites are facing a prospect they never thought they could encounter: it’s not just that they won’t get what they want as fast as they want it, they could lose — and the price of defeat could mean the implosion of the economic and political arrangements that prop up their power. That being the case, you’d better believe that they’re going to keep shoveling money, weapons, and troops into Ukraine to try to keep the regime there propped up. Their backs are to the wall at this point.

    Travis, most of what goes into your recycle bin ends up in a landfill anyway. Aluminum and glass are profitable to recycle, and some paper also gets recycled, but mostly it’s just virtue signaling. Reuse it yourself, or simply generate much less waste, and the results will be better.

    Materia, because next to nobody can get their heads around the prospect of population contraction. Of course you’re right — 2.1 may not be adequate at this point anyway because of rising mortality rates, and not just among infants. (Anything that kills people before they finish their reproductive lives affects the birth rate.) As we go, the breakeven point will move toward 3 or even above, while the rate of live births drops toward 1 or even below. It’s a familiar process in the twilight of civilizations.

    Siliconguy, good gods.

    Anonymous, I’ll make an exception for this, because you’re quite correct.

    Your Kittenship, you need to find print or online publications that talk about such things. Search engine fu is a useful thing to have here.

    Ken, as I understand it, if you’re already dying it’s not a problem to refuse food, water, and non-palliative medical care to make sure the process doesn’t drag out unduly. Other than that, it’s suicide, and comes with karmic consequences. There’s no real difference between the depressed teen and the elderly person in your example — both are ending otherwise viable lives for emotional reasons, rather than allowing the gods and their own higher self to take care of that choice.

    Sub, true enough. Are you at all familiar with Rupert Sheldrake’s writings? He’s worked out ideas very close to Fortune’s, and showed that they stand up to experimental testing.

    Balowulf, the only sources I’ve found for such things are studies of prehistoric climate. This post of mine —

    https://www.ecosophia.net/riding-the-climate-toboggan/

    — includes a link to a source with a good bibliography.

    Corax, interesting. I think you’re definitely on to something, and I don’t think you’re just being paranoid. I’ve been planning on doing a post on this for a while now. I’ll have to look up Lindsay and his imitators, of course — if you can post a link to a choice rant or two, that would be helpful.

    Other Owen, it really does seem to be localized. Bugs are holding fairly steady here in Rhode Island, as far as I can tell.

    Robert M, ouch. Yeah, that’s not going to end well.

  40. @Patricia Mathews (#21):

    When I was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, our family showered once a week (like most families), and none of us noticed body oder. My wife and I still shower only a little more often, once every 5 or 6 days., with no noticeable body oder. Young people, in contrast, seem to shower daily, or nearly so; and the few I have talked with about this say it is a true necessity.

    So I’m wondering … Could there be an actual physiological need to maintain a certain modest level of body oder? (It’s pretty clearly a significant component of the semi-conscious body-language communications that are always going on whenever two or more bodies are in close proximity.)

    If so, do the mechanisms that produce body oder slowly increase their production in response to more frequent showering, but slowly decrease it again if one showers less often?

    I have no idea whether there are any scientific studies about this yet, but as tap water becomes more scarce in some parts of the country, the consequences of having to use less of it every day would seem to be worth studying.

  41. Dear Mr. Greer and commentariat,

    This is mostly a heads-up to those of you living in the European Union. The EU Parliament recently approved a directive that regulates the energy efficiency of buildings, including homes. To sum up, lots of existing houses will have to be refurbished if their owners want them to meet the requirements and obtain an energy efficiency certificate. I fear this will be considerably expensive in most cases.

    But here’s the catch: said certificate will be mandatory in order to be able to sell or rent a home, if I understand correctly – talk about lenocracy, right? – I’m no expert, but I think this could cause great disruptions in the housing market in many different ways. Since it’s a directive, each member state will have to approve its own law, which means things could vary from place to place. I’ve skimmed the text and it seemed rather vague, so I couldn’t tell how bad this could get. I have no background in law though, so don’t take my word for it.

    If I’m right, this is something we all should take into account in our plans for the coming years. If you’re planning to sell your house to relocate somewhere else for instance, this could be a major barrier. Or, if you live in a rented home, expect price increases. You may find the approved text in different languages here:

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2024-0129_EN.html

    As always, thank you for providing this forum, JMG.

  42. Purely for amusement I sometimes look for colourful periodicies in American history. The results can be picturesque thought they prove nothing. I give two examples.
    First, “the four 80s”:
    Yorktown 1781 – interval of 80 years – Fort Sumter 1861 – another 80 – Pearl Harbor 1941 – another 80 – Capitol Riot 2021 (that last one a mite less epochal, admittedly).
    Second, “the seven 41s”:
    1763: the Peace after the French and Indian War – +41 – 1804: the Hamilton-Burr duel – +41 – 1845: Texas joins the Union – +41 – 1886: the Haymarket bombing – +41 – 1927: talkies and Lindbergh – +41 – 1968: Tet, the assassinations and Apollo 8 – +41 – 2009: inauguration of the first black President.
    The above mental doodles have the merit of underlining the astonishing speed of the American saga, the way it creates such different characters for years which are not all that far apart.
    I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has other doodles to offer!

  43. Good afternoon, JMG, and commentariat.
    I thought I would post some observations, and theories I’ve been mulling over for a bit, and see what everyone here thinks.
    Firstly, I’ve been thinking about how many people these days cannot fathom that certain trends will peter out, reverse, and end. This is as true of believers in progress (“Technology will only keep getting more complex,”) as well as those who are less optimistic about the current trajectory of things (“The crime rate has increased X amount in the last few years, soon every city will be in complete anarchy.”) I feel that this is a real blind spot in Faustian cultures, wherein a lot of people just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that, as JMG has succinctly described it “the future will be like the present, only more so!” Lines extending into infinity, and all that. Does this seem accurate, or is there something else I’m missing? (Of course, there’s always a great many things every human being misses when making observations, haha.)
    Secondly, I’ve noticed that, while belief in *certain* forms of progress appear to be waning, computer technology really does seem to remain the false idol in the highest place. For reference, I’m a 25-year-old man in Canada, and while the friends I have who are in the 20-40 demographic are not at all optimistic about things like having a higher standard of living than their parents, a lot of them can’t wrap their heads around the idea that 1) increasing technological complexity is not in any way inevitable, and 2) increased technological complexity has in many ways been more harmful, unnecessary, or annoying than helpful. This is especially true when I point out that over the course of our lifetimes, things have reliably gotten worse for the average person (we like to talk politics, and philosophy.) They’ll admit that our healthcare system is broken, that our government is not looking out for our best interests, and that our housing market is unaffordable, but when I say that things are getting worse *in general*, they always point to the proliferation of things like the internet, and cellphones. Many of them also get very defensive when I point out that these electronics aren’t necessary at all to maintain a civil, stable society in which people can live fulfilled lives. (For some real nervousness, pointing out that these “advances” aren’t actually necessary at all does it.) I think that for many people, having to live through a time when the gizmos they’ve put their faith in become less reliable, and are “upgraded” less frequently (if at all) will be very trying indeed.

  44. Does anyone here have any thoughts or interest in parapsychology? I used to be very interested in it, lost interest because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere, but recently got interested again. The evidence for psychic phenomena is interesting, but also woefully inconsistent. The latest idea is large scale replication attempts with preregistration, so if they’re successful they will have a lot of statistical power. But so far these haven’t been successful. There’s one currently underway involving the Ganzfeld experiments- where a person is put in sensory deprivation to try to receive psychic information. Early reports ( in 2020 ) were positive, but I don’t know where its gone since then. If the full report comes out it will be a pretty big blow to the field if it ends up being negative.

    One paper in a parapsychology journal suggested that psychical phenomena are like a “trickster” that defies scientific study. That may be true but also looks awfully suspicious to skeptics, I’m sure. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Do you follow parapsychology? Do you have any hopes for the future of the field? Do you think its relevant to spirituality, or is it a side issue?

    “For a long time I have struggled with the conflict between the logic of Darwinism, which seems fairly sound, and the fact that mutation rates aren’t nearly high enough to explain speciation solely through natural selection and random chance, by many orders of magnitude.”

    This is an interesting thought. I’ve long suspected this is true about mutation rates, but I don’t know how you would quantify it or try to prove it.

  45. @Other Owen (#40):

    We’ve lived in the same house in Providence for 50 years now. The decline in insects from year to year has been modest, almost invisible; but over the whole 50 years it has been quite striking. As recently as forty years ago we got a modest number of fireflies each summer; we haven’t seen even one for more than a decade now. Bug splats on our car’s windshield hardly ever happen now; they were not rare 50 years ago. Many fewer yellowjackets come around these days, when we eat a meal in our back yard, though a few still show up. The decline is quite slow, but it is definitely there.

    And I am reminded of an ecology bumper-sticker I say a year or two ago. It showed a picture of a bee, and it said simply, “When we all die off, so will you.”

  46. ZIPPERS, BRASSIERES & CLOTHING CLOSURES (AFTER CIVILIZATION COLLAPSE)

    Me. My brain goes to clothes👖👗. I ask, “What are we commoners going to wear, you know, working people?” (think Middle Ages.)

    I am brainstorming the closures of clothes after the Great Downfall. I wonder what will happen to zippers🤐. I am currently reading “Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty” by Robert Friedel. (I never thought of zipper as a novelty.) We take zippers for granted—they are probably an impossible thing to make at home. Do you know of a do-it-yourself (DIY) zipper one can craft at home made of wood or other plant, with big enough teeth to craft, but small enough teeth to wear (also are durable)? Somehow, I don’t think so. If someone invents a zipper made of wood, that would be that person’s trade, and that person, VERY valuable.

    At some point, no-one will be making zippers. Dressmakers will mend existing zippers until those zippers finally die.👖That means, no more zippered fly—think ‘button’ fly. If you want to rough-it now, buy ‘buttoned’ jeans. Or replace your pants’ zippers with buttons, and practice for the future.

    Very small knits, also, will no longer be available. Large knits, such as a person knitting a sweater will, of course, be available.

    I am thinking of a woman’s front-lacing vest (as in England in the 17th century, and the American colonies), that has a sort of light cotton peasant blouse underneath. The vest functions as a brassiere “bra.” Will corsets come back, although hopefully laced such that one can breathe easily? I have seen sewing patterns for bras, but am personally not interested in becoming adept at fitting and making bras — it would definitely be a money-maker for someone who becomes adept at it. Women will need the equivalent of bras if not simply as “bodice protectors.”

    Men are not aware of this, but a woman getting hit in the breast is akin to a man getting kicked in the b__ls⚾️. Women’s bosoms definitely will need to be bound, but how? What will emerge? What will be tolerably comfortable? The vast majority of today’s bras are made of very small knits, the fabric of which will no longer be available. In fact, much that we take for granted as “stretchy” will not be available, except for what hand-knitters’ knit. The “knit” portion of today’s garments are made of petroleum, like polyester.

    Getting back to closures: buttons and fabric ties will replace zippers. Metal snaps, and metal hook and eye🪝👁️probably won’t survive. Buttons come in all price levels, from $1 for a dozen of the same, to $25 for one button. And even more expensive. One can spend a day embroidering one button—highly decorative, so gorgeous that it borders on being a brooch.

    Just thinkin’.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨👚🩲🧵🧶🎀
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  47. @Rafael (#16):

    Even here in the United States, knowledge of how to build large sailing ships hasn’t been lost yet. There are a few places which are deliberately workign to preserve it. The one closest to Providence is Mystic Seaport (on the Mystic River in Connecticut), but there is (IIRC) another in Maine, and one on the Mid-Atlantic coast (in Maryland or Virginia, IIRC).

    This sort of preservation effort seems to be a New England thing. As I’ve mentioned here before, Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts has made a point of preserving the old Yankee knowledge of how to raise and train oxen for farmwork. (And I daresay the Amish down in Pennsylvania and Maryland also have kept their old ways of raising and training oxen, too.)

  48. Just saw this and wanted to share. Also interested in whether JMG, or anyone else, strongly dis/agrees?
    https://twitter.com/newstart_2024/status/1782146843989692891
    Tucker Carlson: “Here’s the illusion we fall for time and again. We imagine that evil comes like fully advertised as such, like evil people look like Anton Lavey…Evil is an independent force that exists outside of people, that acts upon people…What vessel do they choose? The weak. It’s weak men and women who are instruments of evil. The weaker the leader, the more evil that leader will be…Unfortunately we reached the time in American history where every leader is either a woman or a weak man pretty much…Mike Johnson…but he’s a weak man and that’s the man you should be afraid of….Weak people just become a host for evil, an empty building that evil occupies, possesses even. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Mike Johnson. That’s absolutely crazy what Mike Johnson is doing, but not because he’s evil, it’s because he’s weak and therefore susceptible to evil…”

    JMG, I know you have written on good vs evil before, but I can’t recall a specific essay on this (maybe because you’ve written so much through the decades)? Am I correct that you (and Dion Fortune in “The Cosmic Doctrine”) regard evil as being a necessary counterbalance to good, in the necessary cycling of things, and that neither of you particular instantiate it very much? I can’t shake the intuition that this time, at least, evil has an incarnation. Things are playing out like we are on a chessboard; not like this just a peak-oil/peak-civilization natural cycle. You, or at least I, can substantially PREDICT when a new gambit is overdue. And it is affecting my ability to function productively, and positively, more than I would like.
    Aside from daily SOP and positive visualizations for an enlightening ahead, and practice of will development (thanks for that link), what else can I/we do?

  49. Occasionally one gets some good news during the collapse of the empire. One of the downsides of where we live now is that the two farmers markets in town ( Hillsboro, OR) are not really a walkable distance, nor are they accessible via bike due to dangerous routes along busy roads. I had resigned myself to a bus ride to get to the weekly farmers market downtown when the season started ( this weekend). But just today a sign popped up announcing a new farmers market ( by the same group that organizes the other two) in a park just a few blocks from our house.
    It will start with more limited dates and hours than the established ones, but I will certainly be there to do as much of my produce shopping as possible and encourage my neighbors to do so also.

  50. I just finished part 1 of Kennedy’s “The Wuhan Coverup.” It’s fairly gripping, more so than I had expected — a real “page turner.” One statistic that impressed me was on p.79: That in the 1950s only six percent of Americans had chronic diseases, whereas currently it’s almost 60 percent and on the rise. But of course that is just a statistic.

  51. @Materia indigo,
    I think no one’s talking about that because they don’t believe death rates can rise because ‘progress’. That’s the response I get when I try and talk about things like possibilities for rising infant mortality or shorter lifespans etc. They may agree at most that such things are possible in the USA because the healthcare system there is messed up. But oh no, not here (Canada) or Europe or the developing world! Inconceivable! Things are only getting better healthwise and that will never go into reverse. Because progress!

  52. @ 25 Brunette Gardens
    We have 17 chickens and 13 ducks. They all would fall into the “elderly” category for layers but we get enough eggs for the two of us plus to share with family. Feed prices are what is killing me. I just paid $52 for two bags of scratch and one layer feed. It seems like every time I buy feed, the cheaper brands are out of stock or the price has gone up. I don’t even want to calculate what a dozen eggs cost us, but after having our own eggs, we can’t go back to store bought eggs even the organic ones. I’ve watched those “Feed your livestock for free” videos, but they all seem to promote getting food waste from restaurants and grocery stores to feed the animals. Our ducks free range, but our chickens have an enclosed run area because they don’t appreciate the nesting boxes we made for them. They want to create nests all over our property. We lock up our flock at night to keep the raccoons and opossums from getting a free meal. Avoid the government “voluntary registration” of your backyard flock. The gov is not here to help.

  53. JMG, thank you for the answer, I didn’t know about those schooners. They will definitely be put to good use once container ships get scrapped for materials. It looks like serious isolation is off the table, but millions of humans from island nations still heavily depend on food and parts delivered by container ships. I checked it online, and Japan produces 60-70% of it’s own food, so that’s very good for them. Smart entrepreneurs, in the coming decades, will start doing business by sail, also keeping an eye on the reintroduction of piracy in that part of the world. In the meantime, famine might claim more people from island nations than from the continents until things stabilize.

    It would be very interesting if we could peer into the future to see the new age of sail. This time there won’t be a Captain Perry intimidating Japan, since all the nations will have access to similar technologies of gunpowder and explosives.

  54. @Kirsten, #38
    Thank you for inviting this reflection, it is useful to have your own inconsistencies pointed out. All I can say is that I see no flaw in your logic, both unthinking obedience and unthinking rebellion are self defeating attitudes. You may notice from my response to Mary Bennet that my cultural heritage allows and even encourages selective disobedience on a case by case basis. Still, on a gut level, unthinking obedience is emotionally neutral to me, while unthinking rebellion is disgusting/distasteful. I don’t know why this is the case, but that’s how I see it.

  55. Horzabky #20

    🥖The “French sending a legion” to Ukraine, reminds me of the movie comedy:

    “Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion” (1950)

    I expect the possibly upcoming French-Foreign-Legion-Headed-to-Ukraine to be as incompetent and bungling as Abbott and Costello:

    https://youtu.be/HZXAKWl1XfM

    Also, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Foreign_Legion

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🏝️🔫🌍🪆
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  56. For Brunette Gardens,
    I have kept poultry for years on a little island that teems with rats, raccoons and mink. My poultry are never bothered by them because a great farmer told me to build a mink cage ( a cage that could hold a mink in it) and put your chickens in that. It is your job to protect your livestock from predators. I cut fresh greens for them and put loads of fallen leaves in their yard to keep it clean and to give them something to shred which makes the leaves better compost and gives them a fun activity.
    Maxine

  57. We recently experienced a scenario that hinted at just how vulnerable are these complex systems that support industrial lifestyles. The local power utility proactively shut off power to a wide swath of the area in response to a high-wind event. A few years ago a similar wind storm knocked down a power line which caused a devastating wildfire, and the power company is eager to avoid lawsuits for such things.

    The power outage impacted some tens of thousands of customers and lasted 24 to 72 hours or so depending on location. Stores and restaurants, households and a major food pantry lost potentially millions of dollars worth of food, Pharma companies lost millions of dollars worth of drugs in production, etc. as usually happens in these things.

    More importantly (at least in my mind) were two infrastructure issues. First, and most prominently in the papers, was that the wastewater treatment plant lost power completely (this hasn’t happened before in previous power outages due to the way local distribution networks are structured, so it was a big surprise). The staff did what they could, but without power there was a matter of a couple hours until the sewage would have overflowed the holding tanks and dumped straight into the river, causing serious problems for the city and the utilities downstream that draw drinking water from the river. Due to strong-arming by the city government, the utility restored power to one substation serving the plant, and the worst was avoided with about 10 minutes to spare. The city is now budgeting for some millions of dollars for backup power at the plant, which will be reflected in higher water/sewer bills for residents.

    While all of that was happening, in the midst of a serious windstorm and power outage, the local 911 dispatch center lost power, as did the telecom centers operated by the local “phone” and internet company. For several hours no one in the county could complete a 911 call, even if they themselves had power. First responders lost some of their radio network, and it took many hours to get the systems restored to some semblance of functionality. I haven’t heard any details about what the 911 center plans to do about this, but I’m sure they’re discussing it.

    The electric utility is now taking heat for their preemptive blackout, yet they can point to miles of downed power lines that did not spark wildfires due to the blackout as evidence that they did the right thing. Everyone I talked to about it expects more of these events in the future, and the local electricians are cashing in by offering promotions on backup generators and battery backup systems. Looks like the future is getting ever-so-slightly more widely distributed, as the local governments are taking steps to shore up their systems as best they can, while people and businesses who can afford it do the same.

  58. @Ecosophian

    Yesterday the 23rd was also the feast day of St. George the dragon slayer, for whatever that’s worth to you. I find it helpful to remind myself of the good spiritual forces operative in world from time to time. Even if the political elites do almost everything in their power to negate the Good.

  59. #1 XCO If there is another war in Europe it will either be a war between Russia and some or all of the rest of Europe (besides Ukraine) or it will be a civil war within a country that will possibly spread (with patriotic natives and immigrants on one side and Islamists on the other, accompanied by useful idiots on the far left). Outside chance some minor Balkan conflict.

    As a European myself I cannot see that there is any amount of propaganda that would make a British person start fighting the French, or a German start fighting the Italians. There is too little trust in governments across Europe, and too much common identification for large numbers of people to pick up guns and kill fellow Europeans because Rishi Sunak or Emmanuel Macron or Olaf Scholz says they are the enemy.

  60. @Scotlyn, to answer your question in last week’s post, comment #398
    (Not that I am such an strong man, but given that I am a confident one…)

    No. As a matter of fact, I’d find highly disgusting to apply any but a token amount of force upon those that cannot defend themselves. Applying no force under no circumstance, OTOH, is a deal breaker, because in that case you open yourself to a particular form of vulnerability that would leave you defenseless in front of a (real or pretended) weak opponent.

    Furthermore, the personality trait that you seem to have implied is well known in homeopathic doctrine: it’s called the Lycopodium personality. This is the kind of people that are simultaneously sycophantic towards those he perceives as superiors and sometimes peers, and despotic towards those below in the social hierarchy. The root of this behavior lies in anxiety and insecurity (often caused by a disciplinarian parent or authority figure). Some of these are able to climb quite high in the environments they inhabit, and their tendencies push them towards the Paranoid Tyrant archetype. Think of cartoon characters such as Scar (from Lion King) or Lord Farquaad (from Shrek).

    For a comparison with genuinely violent types that do not have this personality trait, think of the Tai Long character (the antagonist of the first Kung-fu Panda movie). He’d not shy away from hurting meek villagers for utilitarian reasons, but imposing dominion upon them is not something he devotes any mental space at all.

  61. Sub #35 wrote:
    “For a long time I have struggled with the conflict between the logic of Darwinism, which seems fairly sound, and the fact that mutation rates aren’t nearly high enough to explain speciation solely through natural selection and random chance, by many orders of magnitude.”

    I found this apparent conflict disturbing for a long time as well. Part of the solution for me turned out to be re-evaluating the nearly impossible to grasp immensity of time involved. Human awareness has a difficult time with Time. Most people can’t really grasp their own life span, let alone the lifespan of a species. I am always shocked at the number of people that literally cannot name their own great-grandparents, let alone tell you anything about their lives, what they learned, how they lived, etc. The second part of the solution for me was the recent re-emergence of epigenetics as an evolutionary mechanism. I am not ruling out other, perhaps even deliberate, conscious forces as well but I think vast amounts of Time and epigenetics can explain at least some of what we observe as evolution.

  62. @Robert Mathiesen

    I’m glad to hear that there are people all over the world who keep “obsolete” traditions alive. They will do much good to the people of the future, that is, if bandits don’t kill them off for being too rich from their trades.

  63. I would like to share my experience with bathing and body odor. I have gone through phases in my life where I bathed every day, like when I was growing up in suburbia in the 80s. I was actually quite surprised when I moved to Germany, in 1989, that the Germans only bathed every few days and even wore the same clothes for several days in a row.

    I have also lived all over the US in varying degrees of heat: San Antonio, Orlando, Seattle, Silicon Valley, among others. Obviously, bathing more frequently in hot and especially humid areas is more common, being as it is more difficult to sleep when you are sticky.

    Now, I have also had times where I lived on the streets or went to Rainbow Gatherings and didn’t bathe for weeks or even months. One thing I have noticed is that, I did not notice my own body odor, but when I finally took a bath or shower and I tried to sleep in the same bedding I was completely shocked at how much my bedding stunk. I did not even recognize that the smell was mine.

    I attribute this to a similar phenomenon that happens to smokers. Smokers don’t realize how much others can smell them; although smoking is somewhat different, because it also deadens our olfactory glands and we have a reduced sense of smell overall. I realized this when I quit smoking and noticed that the amount of cologne/perfume/essential oils that I put on before I quit smoking was overwhelming me after I quit smoking.

    But to the point of not noticing our own body odor, due to our being steeped in it and close proximity, we tune it out until it changes quickly like after a shower. And just because we cannot smell our own body odor, does not mean that someone else cannot.

    So these are just some side notes regarding bathing and body odor. Make of it what you will.

  64. Patricia M, JMG – there’s a great deal wrong with Britain’s water supply – namely that the privatised water companies are being allowed to take on vast debts to pay off shareholders while dumping industrial quantities of s*** into the river system (illegally) and getting away with it.

    Recently the Oxford-Cambridge boat race was affected badly after one crew ended up with E. Coli after training in the Thames.

  65. @Brunette Gardens Here in the suburbs of Chicago, we are allowed to have 4 hens. My Hens have laid 838 eggs so far. I have a tractor supply coop (sentinel), and 120 square feet of highly secure “run”. I also let them out in our 1/3 acre lot (which backs up to to a wetland). I started in April of 2023 — and knew nothing. It has been a learning experience!

    couple of questions/comment
    1) Chickens are messy — we do not let them in our house — they scratch and poop everywhere. It was amusing as chicks when they were little, as full grown hens — I think the odor would be an issue.
    2) Predators — so far we’ve seen Owls checking the birds out, and a racoon tried a forcible entry one night but was stopped.(I am sure you already know the difference between chicken wire and hardware cloth). But always on guard.
    3) price and quality: I invested about 800 dollars in the coop, run construction and startup supplies (it is a hobby), but ongoing it is about 75 cents a day, for about 3+ eggs per day. The eggs taste way better though — I had some store bought eggs awhile ago — and even me, who does not have the most refined tastes, could notice the difference!
    4) Cold, my hens survived -15 degrees, with only a hot water bottle in the coop for warmth. Chickens are quite hearty!
    5) I’ll google, but I don’t know your Substack and am wondering how you lost your hens?

    and to your comment, I learned it as “chickens eat everything! and everything eats chickens” 🙂
    Good luck!

  66. @Siliconguy
    Can I have a miniaturized version to patrol the perimeter of my vegetable beds and wards off the slugs? Nothing else seems to work on these buggers

  67. In reply (if I may) to CR Patiño in the last post (#390).

    “It is fashionable this days to express the reality JMG and others are talking about as “male dominion” or even “patriarchy”. At this point, it is worth noting that every patriarch is a male, but not every male can (or should) be a patriarch. I offer the phrase “sire dominion” as a potential substitute.”

    CR, first we would have to map out what “the reality” that is being talked about IS, before we talk about which words are best to use.

    I think the word that most interested me in the discussion around guns and feminism was “domination”. Which is not even the same word as “dominion”. To my mind “domination” is an activity in which the dominator seeks subordinates with whom to relate in a top/bottom way. Dominion – well I’m not so sure what that is entirely, but as a more passive, more abstract term, it does not necessarily imply an activity of “subordinate-making” or “subordinate-seeking” or “subordinate-taking”.

    There are certainly many types of domination in evidence (some operative on a one to one basis, some on a group basis, some embedded within the structural form of an institution, some temporary, some permanent) and many theories of how they come to be.

    But the theory that seems to come “naturally” to many people (but I cannot fathom why it would) is that the mere existence of differences in ability between one human and another should automatically lead to a dominance/subordination relationship between those two people.

    I mean I am physically stronger than a large number of people I meet, and I do not seek to turn them into my subordinates thereby. Likewise, I am physically weaker than a smaller number of people I meet, and they do not (at least they do not appear to) seek to turn me into their subordinates thereby.

    Therefore, I do not buy the theory that dominance/subordination naturally flows from differences in physical strength (nor, necessarily from other natural differences in people’s abilities, talents, strengths, etc). From this it flows that I am skeptical of the idea that a technology seen by some as “equalising” people’s strength, or intelligence, or competence or ability, can (of itself) diminish the phenomenon of domination, since unequal capacities do not necessarily lead to it in the first place.

    Domination (ie the impetus to subordinate other human beings) comes from somewhere, no doubt, but I feel we need to seek further than simple differences in ability to find its source. In my experience, attempts to “equalise” do not ultimately diminish the domination impetus, in those who pursue it.

    Certainly, neither gun technology, nor any other equalisation technology, has succeeeded in genuinely doing away with “lords and commoners”, or we would not be having so much to talk about in these threads… 😉

  68. @Brunette Gardens — I clicked your username and got to your site, and read your story about your chickens. Ugh — sorry 🙁

  69. The Trees by Philip Larkin

    The trees are coming into leaf
    Like something almost being said;
    The recent buds relax and spread,
    Their greenness is a kind of grief.

    Is it that they are born again
    And we grow old? No, they die too,
    Their yearly trick of looking new
    Is written down in rings of grain.

    Yet still the unresting castles thresh
    In fullgrown thickness every May.
    Last year is dead, they seem to say,
    Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

  70. I think that pinisi is a ketch rig, not a schooner. The mizzen in the photo is shorter than the main mast. Sorry to nitpick. (I’m a former sailor and have the sun damaged skin to prove it.)

  71. The publishing industry has been a hot topic on this forum of late. I stumbled upon a link via Naked Capitalism’s Links 4/24/2024, titled “No One Buys Books Any More Elysian Press,” which has quite a lot of interesting information about the real numbers from the publishing industry.

    Due to a proposed merger between the two biggest publishing houses and a DOJ antitrust case requiring lots of sworn testimony, quite a bit of detail came out, and was consolidated into a book titled “The Trail”.

    The author of the (substack?) Elysian Press blog read the book, and offered a fairly extensive summary of the book, including some titillating facts:

    “In my essay “Writing books isn’t a good idea” I wrote that, in 2020, only 268 titles sold more than 100,000 copies, and 96 percent of books sold less than 1,000 copies. That’s still the vibe. ”

    “The DOJ’s lawyer collected data on 58,000 titles published in a year and discovered that 90 percent of them sold fewer than 2,000 copies and 50 percent sold less than a dozen copies.”

    “Markus Dohle, CEO, Penguin Random House, says the top 4 percent of titles drive 60 percent of the profitability.”

    The post also talks about advances and how often they lose money on those. Looks like an incredibly brutal industry.

    The author elysian press blog seems to have written quite a few more posts about the publishing industry:

    https://www.elysian.press/p/index

    My research on the publishing industry

    No one will read your book (and other truths about publishing)

    Writing books isn’t a good idea (here’s a better one)

    No one buys books

    How authors are earning $50k+ on Kickstarter

    How to sell books for $1 million each

    there are a number of other listed posts on the above page, so I’ll let each of you peruse for your own topics of interest.

  72. After a long absence I finally ame back.
    There was a lot I had to catch up but the most interesing was the blog post about “lenocracy”.
    And I’ve noticed something here. This whole support war bill has a lot of things that made me pause. For example a lot of money instead going to Israel, Ukraine is going to “help resuply lost ammo” in fact 40 billion dollars are not going to Ukraine instead they are going to the pockets of Pentagon lackeys (greasy palmed lenocracts are happy and grinning). I’ve seen some numbers and It appears that European defense industry is not wrapping up production despite claims in the media. JMG wrote in a eariel posts that when lenocrats hijact the entire economic system they cause so much damage that they end up destroying the system and nations are lost.
    I mean Poland in the 1970s was a major producer of ammo and tanks. Even after the Soviet withdrawal from our country we were manufacturing our own tanks PT91 “Twardy” (91-for the year when it was developed)
    But then Poland joined NATO and the entire ammo industry and heavy manufacturing (tanks, MLRS) was disasembled and we begun buying everything form abroad at a high price. So we are now in a position where we don’t have capacity to manufacture our own arms and we send a significant part or even all of our legacy capability to Ukraine… And the current Polish goverment anwser is hoping that someone from our allies will send us weapons etc.
    Wer

  73. Sub #35

    “For a long time I have struggled with the conflict between the logic of Darwinism, which seems fairly sound, and the fact that mutation rates aren’t nearly high enough to explain speciation solely through natural selection and random chance, by many orders of magnitude.”

    Just want to let you know that many, many biologists have struggled with this very conundrum. Just for example see this (expensive) academic collection of essays from 1991 https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262132695/
    which contains the following introductory blurb:
    “These original contributions by symbiosis biologists and evolutionary theorists address the adequacy of the prevailing neo-Darwinian concept of evolution in the light of growing evidence that hereditary symbiosis, supplemented by the gradual accumulation of heritable mutation, results in the origin of new species and morphological novelty. They include reports of current research on the evolutionary consequences of symbiosis, the protracted physical association between organisms of different species.”

    I often thought that the Cosmic Doctrine’s idea of different atoms/swarms getting so adjusted to all of the stresses they encountered that they could “play”, and thereby innovate, was well expressed in the concept developed by Lynn Margulis and others, of evolution’s “natural selection” mechanism operating not on morphological variations caused by random genetic mutations, but on morphological variations caused by symbiosis and other results of the activities of organisms in “play”.

  74. Hispalensis, getting out of the EU sooner rather than later may be a good idea at this point.

    Robert G, hmm! Not offhand, but those are both intriguing.

    Edmund, I’ve noted the same thing. It seems to be hardwired into the Faustian imagination to think of everything in terms of movement in straight lines accelerating to infinity — and you’re also quite correct that computer technology is the current totem of progress, the thing that people wave around frantically to try to dispel the unthinkable reality that progress is over.

    Warren, there are quite a number of fields that can’t be studied effectively using the scientific method, which has certain hard limits — the requirement to have the ability to isolate variables in experimental tests, for example. There’s very little you can do in ecology, or many branches of psychology, or a surprising amount of physiology using the scientific method, for example, because it’s impossible to eliminate confounding variables. Parapsychology is another good example. In its case, we simply don’t know what the confounding variables are, much less how to eliminate them, and there’s also the exceedingly awkward fact that parapsychological phenomena don’t behave in a mechanistic fashion — they behave, to be precise, like conscious entities who get bored with repeated tests and wander away or doze off. Until that reality is faced, I’m not sure how much scientific parapsychology will be able to accomplish.

    Northwind, my late wife wore bras made of jersey that had no fastenings at all — the fabric was stretchy enough that she could simply pull them on over her head, get everything settled, and proceed from there. I think it’s quite possible that such things will be tolerably common as things wind down. Here’s an image from one of the companies that sell them:

    There are no hooks in the back, just a single length of stretchy fabric.

    Gnat, in Dion Fortune’s philosophy there are two kinds of evil, which she calls negative evil and positive evil. Negative evil consists of the basic cussedness of existence — all the many ways that the world resists, frustrates, and challenges us. That’s as essential to our souls as weights are to the weightlifter. Then there’s positive evil, which is the result of wrong actions by conscious beings. That’s not necessary to existence. It’s not an independent entity, though — again in Fortune’s teachings — it leaves “tracks in space” that encourage others to follow the same ruinous path. As for your intuition, one of the standard features of this stage in the civilizational cycle is that abstract claims of absolute good and absolute evil get brandished about very freely. I don’t recommend getting sucked into such beliefs, as you can very easily end up entangled in a conflict with your own shadow.

    Clay, glad to hear it.

    Phutatorius, and of course part of that is that overdiagnosing chronic illnesses can be very lucrative…

    Rafael, bingo. Once population decline really kicks in, the overcrowded islands will come back into balance, but there may be some ugly times before then.

    Steve, ouch. Yeah, that does sound like one of the waves of the future.

    Sam (if I may) a lot of people believed the same thing in the years before 1914 — it was an item of faith on the left that the working people of Europe would refuse to march to war if their governments blundered into one. Then 1914 came, the huge and apparently mighty European pacifist movement imploded in a matter of days, and working people cheered and flocked to the recruiting stations.

    Sam S., why, that would explain the Beeb’s sudden interest in getting people to use less water, wouldn’t it?

    Larkrise, thanks for this.

    Phutatorius, you may well be right. I simply cited the label generally used for pinisi-rigged ships.

    Sgl, I saw that, and may be discussing it in an upcoming post. Did you notice that, like so many people in the industry, she pretended that the big five corporate combines are the only alternative to self-publishing?

    Wer, good to hear from you again. That’s a fine example of lenocracy!

  75. (Tengu posted a reply to me towards the end of last week’s thread (#381) that I’d like to answer here.)

    “@Owain D.
    In remote rural areas there are plenty of people who own long guns, particularly amongst the landed gentry. Some stately homes contain substantial armouries, including functioning handguns from WWII and earlier. In the inner city ghettos, amongst the lower classes, there are are also significant numbers of unlicensed firearms, which are mostly Eastern European in origin. So it would appear that the only people in Britain who have no contact whatsoever with guns are the suburban middle classes.”

    I think you’re presenting a rather over-simplified view of British society. There’s more to it than stately homes, impoverished inner-city no-go areas and out-of-touch middle-class suburbia, you know?

    Current British firearms licensing law is exceptionally restrictive. If you can’t demonstrate to the police that you have a ‘good reason’ for being in possession of a firearm/shotgun (e.g. regular use in the course of work, ‘field sports’, collecting), you don’t get to have legal ownership of one. Self-defence and ‘because I want a gun’ don’t count as ‘good reasons’. The vast majority of the British population don’t have a ‘good reason’, so, for them, guns just aren’t a part of everyday life. Probably not even on the radar.

    In rural areas, remote or not, requiring a gun on ‘a regular, legitimate basis for work’ would apply principally to farmers and gamekeepers, but I wouldn’t say they constitute ‘plenty of people’, not even in the countryside. Rural areas are also where field sports like huntin’ and shootin’ take place, but they’re both pretty fringe activities these days. Having said that, my knowledge of rural Britain is confined to north and west Wales. Maybe things are somewhat different in other places.

    In terms of numbers, ‘upper class’ landowners are such a vanishingly small element of British society as to be basically irrelevant if you’re trying to get an overall feel for current social attitudes and experiences. Sure, they may have historical firearms collections, but those have to be licensed too. The Royal Armouries over in Leeds also has a substantial historical firearms collection (and is well worth a visit), but it’s a museum and not a window on contemporary society.

    Illegal firearms are, of course, common currency among organised criminals, but that’s nothing new. If I were out and about in some of the less fun parts of British inner cities, I’d be way more worried about knives.

    In the places in Britain where I’ve lived over the years (urban, small town, village), which were never ‘bad’ areas, the small number of murders I’m aware of were all stabbings. Interestingly, of the tiny number of Americans I’ve known personally – fewer than 10, all nice, university-educated people – two have lost family members to gun violence (rural Ohio, Vermont). Make of that what you will.

  76. @ CR Patiño #67
    Thank you again.
    (Also, “dominating” is not the same as use of force, which, as you rightly point out, is sometimes necessary. The question is whether you find it necessary to preserve a “balance” between yourself and another – such as to prevent yourself from being “subordinated” – or whether you find the use of force necessary in order to preserve an “imbalance” between yourself and another – such as to copperfasten their ongoing subordination to you) .

    “…the Lycopodium personality. This is the kind of people that are simultaneously sycophantic towards those he perceives as superiors and sometimes peers, and despotic towards those below in the social hierarchy.”

    I like this word. Thank you. I have often said “hold no deference, hold no contempt”. (It seems to me that the two are bound up in one another, and need one another to continue to exist). 🙂

  77. @Northwind Grandma #52
    I think women will go back to dresses. Dresses and skirts are easy to make (easier than pants) and you can always do culottes if you need a pants for outdoor work, riding a horse, etc. Fitted pants are a pain, dresses and skirts are easy. I just wanted to say that I tried making brassieres about a year ago and got totally hooked. They are easy, once you figure out the materials and logic of construction. The reason I got hooked is that I get to sew with decadent lace, but making these things is a skill builder and engages your imagination about what other fabric you could use to construct the garment. You don’t need very much fabric, whatever you use, so it is cheap, fun, and you can be creative and make it beautiful. Resources: Tailor Made shop at https://tailor-made-shop.myshopify.com/ and brabuilders at https://www.brabuilders.com/. I realize that these resource will not last, but I am using them and enjoying them now because it is helping me hone my skills. And the “bra making community” is definitely working on corsets. If you do videos, try LizSews on YouTube.
    I remember you said that you were trying out weaving. I have a couple of looms and a spinning wheel and I am working hard to use them on a regular basis. I haven’t gotten any further than dishtowels, scarves, and table runners, but a rag rug is in my future! Just wanted to let you know that there are others out there pursuing the same goals. If you are ever interested in forming a subgroup just interested in fiber arts and clothing in the long descent, I am on board.

  78. JMG and others,

    I have a question about your view of the myth of progress. Specifically, who actually believes in it? During the latter 20th century it could be said there were many people who believed global civilization was on an inevitable perpetual upward trend. But how common are such sentiments anymore? The only people I see expressing such ideas are trying to sell something. Meanwhile, in many different quarters I hear people complaining about the declining quality of… everything.

    Here is a discussion from a major tech news aggregator about the declining quality of software user interfaces:

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37453616

    The people conversing here are mostly career technology workers, those who should subscribe to the ideal of inevitable progress more than anyone, and they’re pessimistic about the direction of things. I know from my own work in technology that if you want to improve anything, your success is the furthest thing from inevitable – you must not only create your product as intended but navigate all kinds of social and organizational pathologies that actively penalize anyone trying to do useful work. When I hear most non-marketers talk about new technology the gist is often “this is worse than what came before and is designed to spy on you.” People will say it’s better to have a house with a traditional thermostat rather than one loaded with “smart home” technology because the smart home gadgets are buggy, unreliable and expected to break down within 3 years of installation on top of being spyware.

    I’ve seen commenters here referring to the various strains of “woke” politics as a manifestation of the religion of progress, but this doesn’t make sense to me either. Their faction may be called “progressive” but the progress they’re referring has nothing to do with technology and physical sciences but is entirely focused on enforcing their favored ideas and behaviors. They pay homage to this type of “progress” the same way a fire-and-brimstone preacher talks about heaven – they occasionally mention it as their sought-after goal, but their focus is entirely on the evils they wish to exorcise. Wokeism doesn’t see progress as inevitable, rather it’s focused on a melodrama pitting pure-hearted believers against monstrous bigots. Right-wing reactionaries have a view that roughly mirrors this, viewing themselves as fighting a desperate battle to save their nations. These factions’ paradigm isn’t “inevitable progress” but “holy war.”

  79. JMG #81
    “…one of the standard features of this stage in the civilizational cycle is that abstract claims of absolute good and absolute evil get brandished about very freely. I don’t recommend getting sucked into such beliefs, as you can very easily end up entangled in a conflict with your own shadow.”

    Thank you. This specific advice is both apt and sound, and I’m very happy that you have it put in these terms… a little nugget I will tuck away for future use. 🙂

  80. Patricia Mathews #21

    Oh man. On this blog, we have discussed “sink baths,” at length—was it a couple years ago? Sink baths go by different regional names. Chime in with what you call it.

    A sink bath is what one imagines it to be. Fill a bathroom sink with as much as a couple cups of water (not much), and use a washcloth—and have a towel handy. One learns to get up a thick lather on the washcloth.

    I can speak for the USA. Every part of the world had, and has, different norms and customs. The following is my experience (“I far as I know”), but every person has a different story.

    Daily sink baths were what Americans typically did prior to World War II. Showers only came into vogue when “society became wealthy”—it was an extravagance or luxury. In the 1930s and earlier, the default was the sink bath, unless some part of the body became soiled at work or exercise. The daily sink bath consisted of “the absolutely-necessary areas of the body”: genitalia, armpits, face. Secondarily (once or twice a week) would be hair and feet. No-one back then could afford a daily shower or bath. Even as late as 1966, my mother washed her hair only once a week, and that was the norm. No-one got sick, and no-one died.

    The vast majority of the time, the NON absolutely-necessary areas of the body do not dirty. It was usually cold and drafty when bathing, making wiping down (with plain water; no soap) non-essential areas downright freezing, so one wiped those areas only when one had to. And who was there to witness one’s exact “toilet” habits?

    In the 1920s, showing or bathing-in-a-tub (what had been an extravagance/luxury) started to became normalized, depending on where in the USA one lived. New York City-ites started serious showering daily by the 1920s, whereas our small city in upstate New York waited until the late 1960s to shower daily. I remember my NYC grandmother and my parent and uncles talking about when they installed the shower. Growing up, my parents was simply too poor to afford a shower per person per day—we had neither time nor facilities, and “that was the way it was.”

    Sink baths have been making a comeback. In some communities of the USA, they never went away. It is sink baths that used to be “normal,” not the other way ’round. A sink bath is a virtue—it is stoic, ascetic, uses water frugally. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

    I take sink baths all the time. I believe I use between one quart and one gallon per sink bath, more on the one quart end. Separately, when I wash my hair, I maybe use a couple gallons—if I focus, I can reduce it to one gallon. I have a contest with myself to see if I can make the one gallon even less. A person who uses dozens or hundreds of gallons per day, is a spendthrift profligate waster, and frankly, I have no respect for them. I haven’t died yet☠️, at age 73. I don’t even suffer from any sort of skin ailment🛌. All I use is a neem-powder now and then, on moist areas. I haven’t used underarm deodorant since the 1970s—the ingredients cause cancer. If my armpits smell bad halfway through a day, I do the unheard of thing called using soap and water.

    This is not to mention what people did in the nineteenth-century (and earlier) in the USA. They didn’t even have benefit of a bathroom. They did their business in their bedroom, where they used a washbowl, jug of cold water, washcloth, and one or two towels. THAT WAS THE f__k__g NORM. “Showering” was not affordable.

    History:

    https://www.showerdoc.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-the-shower

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🚿🛁💧💪🏼🦵🏼
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  81. At this link is the full list of all of the requests for prayer that have recently appeared at ecosophia.net and ecosophia.dreamwidth.org, as well as in the comments of the prayer list posts. Please feel free to add any or all of the requests to your own prayers.

    If I missed anybody, or if you would like to add a prayer request for yourself or anyone who has given you consent (or for whom a relevant person holds power of consent) to the list, please feel free to leave a comment below.

    * * *
    This week I would like to bring special attention to the following prayer requests.

    May Kevin P in Geauga County, Ohio have a successful knee surgery on Monday, 29 April and a speedy recovery.

    May Frank Rudolf Hartman of Altadena California (picture), who is receiving chemotherapy, be completely cured of the lymphoma that is afflicting him, and may he return to full health.

    Jay (SDI) and his family are in the process of moving. May they settle quickly and easily into their new town, and may their old house find its way to whoever is best to care for it next.

    May Erika’s partner James, who passed away on April 4th after a battle with cancer, be blessed, soothed, and lent courage in his soul’s onward journey; may Erika be blessed with the support she needs in this difficult time, and be granted the strength and self-understanding to avoid unhealthy levels of darkness and despair.

    Tyler A’s wife Monika’s pregnancy is high risk; may Mother and child be blessed with good health and a smooth delivery, and be soothed and healed from their recent pains and discomfort in a manner that supports a positive outcome to the pregnancy.

    May Deathcap’s friend Mike, who has begun a 5 week course of radiation treatment after a nearly fatal surgery for a malignant tumor on his leg, be healed of his cancer and return to full health quickly and as completely as possible.

    May new mother Molly M recover quickly and completely from her recent stroke and the lingering loss of vision and slurred speech that ensued, and may newborn Lela and husband Austin be comforted and strengthened through this difficult time.

    May John Michael Greer’s wife Sara Greer, who passed away on February 20th, be blessed and soothed as she moves into the next stage of her spirit’s journey. And may John Michael Greer be blessed and lent strength in this most difficult time.

    May Just Another Green Rage Monster‘s father, who is dealing with Stage 4 Lymphoma, and mother, who is primary caregiver, be blessed, protected and healed.

    May Kyle’s friend Amanda, who though in her early thirties is undergoing various difficult treatments for brain cancer, make a full recovery; and may her body and spirit heal with grace.

    Lp9’s hometown, East Palestine, Ohio, for the safety and welfare of their people, animals and all living beings in and around East Palestine, and to improve the natural environment there to the benefit of all.

    * * *
    Guidelines for how long prayer requests stay on the list, how to word requests, how to be added to the weekly email list, how to improve the chances of your prayer being answered, and several other common questions and issues, are to be found at the Ecosophia Prayer List FAQ.

    If there are any among you who might wish to join me in a bit of astrological timing, I pray each week for the health of all those with health problems on the list on the astrological hour of the Sun on Sundays, bearing in mind the Sun’s rulerships of heart, brain, and vital energies. If this appeals to you, I invite you to join me.

  82. I often have the notion that the kind of society, local and in the broad sense, we find ourselves in, particularly but specifically the so called west, with its’s medical system the way it is. With its food systems the way they are. It’s military doing what it is doing, and political leaders leading straight to an ever nuanced variety of rock bottoms. With the kind of energy availabilities currently available. How could it be any other way?

  83. Re @Patricia Mathews @Robert Mathieson @Clark comments on showers, I’m wondering if the gradual shift to people having *hot* showers daily has impacts on the etheric body which may have had an indirect influence on the general levels of health in Western nations. Could this also point to a connection with the benefits that so many claim for cold/lukewarm showers?

  84. @JMG: True. The essay I noted- “Coming to Terms with the Psi Trickster,” by James Kennedy in the Journal of Scientific Exploration- discussed this issue. They also noted the difference between how the phenomena are experienced by people- who generally view them as spiritual experiences- and the way certain scientists approach them, almost like they’re trying to create psi-based tech. So maybe it’s better if parapsychology doesn’t make any progress. But it is frustrating for someone hovering on the edge of doubt.

    I think one of the most convincing studies demonstrating psi is Rupert Sheldrake’s studies on dogs that anticipate when their owners are coming home. But that was around twenty years ago, unfortunately.

  85. Hello Mr Greer,

    Id love your views on Project Gateway which to sum up was a CIA program in the 50s / 60s to look into Astral Projection and the spirit world. Basically they where looking to see if the ‘spirit’ world exists and if so how they could weaponize it.

    This guy has a done a good summary of it;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIwrtZPzW64

    A good PDF whihc seems legitimate is here;
    https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00788R001700270006-0.pdf

    You can aquire the tapes from the internet and test drive it….

    Funnily enough 10yrs ago I would have thought of all this as nonsense. Then I started reading you on peak oil and the long descent and always though the druid thing was a funny quirk. To me it was clear your writings on the more ‘conventional’ topics where sound and rational and I never quite knew how to reconcile the druid / occult stuff.

    Then starting about 13yrs ago I started to open my mind a bit more to the less conventional stuff…very slowly…then gaining speed over the last 4 years based on personal expereinces and what was going on….

    So I was wondering if you would recommend trying the the gateway tapes (As I understand it a method for ‘going’ astral…). They do mention dangers to this as well….and that aligns with what I hear you and people on the forum discussing as well.

    One immediate reason for me (if it works) I would use it to try to regain contact with my two daughters I have not seen for over a decade….It was a traumatic separation for me and I strongly suspect for them also, though they are both young adults now and where children when it happened….

  86. To Bush Magus who tried to reach me via Dreamwidth.
    I couldn’t answer back! Anyway, it’s better to reach me via email.
    Use tdbpeschel @ gmail.com, removing the spaces before and after the at symbol.

  87. Thanks JMG,

    I will definitely check out Sheldrake. I’m always interested in scientists who had open minds and a courage to push back on the materialist assumptions of their colleagues. I’m sure you’re familiar with Ian Stevenson, who is another one of those.

    Warren,

    Mutation rates have been roughly approximated for numerous species at this point. For example, humans are estimated to have roughly 175 mutations per diploma genome per generation(from Bing). From there you can start working your way back and try to estimate how long it would take for beneficial mutations to accrue, although in honesty it is mostly speculative like the Drake equation. One thing you will note if you do it though, is that just like the Drake equation, most of the numbers involved are very big.

    Ken Wood,

    That was the standard line 20 years ago when I was in college too, I didn’t realize until later that my evo bio professor never actually plugged in numbers, it was always just words. Until this week’s voila, my go to was always just to operate with the assumption that infinite many-worlds theory was correct, because even a 1 with 100 zeros after it is small compared to infinity.

    And while I do still think that many-worlds is probably the correct answer to quantum theory, the idea of evolution as some kind of universal force has a lot of appeal in explaining how some of the super long shots could have occurred how they did.

    Now that I think about it, some biologist smarter than me needs to try and study speciation through that lens, of trying to measure rates and show that some universal constant is applied to nudging mutations towards being beneficial.

  88. “Dear John and kommentariat, do you have seen this type of theft in the US or the country where you are living? Thank you.”

    Copper is a common target, it’s easy to reuse compared to other resources of modern society.
    Here in California (where one of my business interests is a private security company), the thieves are mostly going for the material on construction sites and storage yards, there’s still house and infrastructure building and materials for the highspeed rail development – and that’s a lot less work than digging it up or stripping it out of buildings.

    That being said, there’s an old abandoned hospital nearby, and there are frequent attempts by a lower tier of material thieves (homeless and teens mostly) to break into and resource strip. Oddly, the thieves are far easier to keep out than the paranormal investigators, who are convinced the hospital is haunted. Security for that hospital site creates around 20 full-time jobs for my folks.

    Hope that helps flesh out the situation in this neck of the woods.

  89. Scotlyn,
    Thanks for those essays, I will read them as I get time. I’m not surprised surprised that natural selection rubs anyone with some degree of numeracy the wrong way.

    I will have to look more into the symbiosis idea, that seems like it could work with what I was thinking as I was responding to other comments, that it is totally non-sensical how much more rapidly multicellular life exploded as opposed to unicellular.

    I really wish I had thought of the idea at the end of my last comment while I was still going to grad school. It might be total hot air, but if not, whoever discovers the universal constant of evolutionary force is going to be right up there with Mendel and Darwin.

  90. @Robert Mathiesen #45 – I was reading an article on one of my daughter’s family’s many science magazines, that teenagers do smell differently and more strongly due to the hormones of puberty. It included a description of those smells that would do justice to a professional perfumer; IIRC, one of the components was sandalwood. (Sounds rather nice!) Which would account for young people being more avid showerers, especially since advertising started pushing “the horrors of (gasp, recoil) “B.O.” as it was called in those euphemistic times. “Bad breath” ran those ads a close second, followed by constipation. We’re talking 70 years ago here. Anyway, for what that’s worth.

    @Robert Gibson #47 – The “Four 80s” ere noted and analyzed in detail in two books written by Strauss & Howe. I suggest you hit the library for “Fourth Turning,” the latest of which were are certain in now, which I’ve known since 2001, then again, 2008 – some question as to this one’s start date.
    Russia, whose Fourth Turnings were the Russian Revolution ca. 1918 and the Fall of the Soviet Union ca 1989, is now deep into its Recovery period, as we were in the ’50s (ca. 1946-63.)

  91. @ Northwind Grandma #62
    You wrote: “I expect the possibly upcoming French-Foreign-Legion-Headed-to-Ukraine to be as incompetent and bungling as Abbott and Costello”

    The French Foreign Legion is an elite corps, very selective and with strong traditions. I’ve known some former legionnaires (all of them hard drinkers, btw) and I was briefly acquainted with the stepdaughter of one of them. I expect the legionnaires who were sent to Ukraine to do what the bravest Ukrainians did, i.e. die in combat in an absurd war, and it makes me sad.

    Hollywood movies and US TV series only have a very, very distant relationship with reality, but I guess that you already know that!

    @ Chuaquin #26
    The copper thieves you mentioned are a plague in France, too. They are members of the Roma (Gypsy) community of Eastern Europe, most of them are Romanians. They burn the plastic of the copper wires they steal to get the metal, as they do in Spain. They have a camp a few kilometers away from my home, and several years ago this practice caused a fire which I could see from my apartment.

  92. Aurelien #23- just read your article this morning and have enjoyed your previous work for some time. You’re based in Montreal and I’d love your thoughts on the future Balkanization of Canada. I’m a very disgruntled west coastie and more than a few of us think it’s time to separate. Removal (kinetic or ballot) of Little Potato won’t change a thing. Way too many PMC, bureaucracies, and smug lenocratic weasels will resist any changes.
    So if things get spicy Stateside might it trigger serious reforms up here? Russians had to go thru some mighty harsh decades to get to the strong civilization they are now. Methinks the 18-24 (see Edmund #48) will have the sand to do things as the older groups are way too complacent. Still shake my head in wonder at the COVID mass delusion and how many meekly went along. Maybe Freeland will invite 2 million Ukrainian refugees in June when it collapses.

  93. Open post question: does anybody here know of books on how to get the best use out of small quantities of yarn? There are a whole lot of ways to knit a single item out of multiple small balls of yarn, surely there’s a book on the topic?

  94. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks again for providing this forum. Out of sheer curiosity, is it just my imagination or are you responding to a large number of astrological circumstances of late? They seem rather baleful to me, and is that also a figment of my imagination? Basically, has the wind changed for western civilisation?

    For your interest, the population decline over in the land of stuff, was mentioned in the news today. The cynic in me suggests that sooner or later, possibly for their claimed greater economic good, that country may stop exporting its population. Even if this does not occur, I’m guessing what happens over there with their property market may be a taste of things to come for the west. What do you reckon about the probability of that scenario?

    Cheers

    Chris

  95. Corax (#39)
    The use of the term “gnosticism” to describe secular messianic/millenarian movements (like the Nazis, or the various Communist groups) probably goes back to Eric Voegelin, who came by it honestly enough. He was educated in Austria during the 1920s, and was reaching intellectual and academic maturity at about the same time that Nazi and Communist movements were getting going. Early on, he came to see both movements as “political religions”, ie, movements that took religious hopes and fears and folded them into the realm of the political, and that at the same time closed the door to a non-political realm of meaning or transcendence. He later described such movements as “gnostic” or pseudo-gnostic because they shared the view that ordinary reality is like a cast-iron prison ruled over by perverse Archons, powers and principalities whose aim is to mislead and exploit the masses, who are trapped in webs of false consciousness spun by the archontic spiders.

    The core of Voegelin’s understanding (this is vastly oversimplifying his work, which is erudite, subtle and capacious) is that human consciousness has a vertical dimension — that it reaches up toward realms of meaning and being that intrinsically escape precise formulation, but which are constantly present as potentials of experience. This vertical dimension is often closed off by the very attempts to capture and express it, which always fall short, as the finger falls short of the moon at which it points (not an example he used, but everyone nowadays has heard of it). This attitude is perhaps rooted in the Platonic tradition, in which Voegelin was well grounded — especially Plotinus (whose essay against “the Gnostics” also criticizes pseudo-mythological reification), and Damascius. (See Sara Ahbel Rappe’s Reading Neoplatonism and Damascius Problems and Solutions are very good on the constant criticism within Neoplatonism of the reification of Neoplatonic philosophers that tended to keep later generations from seeing what they were pointing at. These are desert island books.)

    Voegelin managed to leave Austria in 1938, and settled in the US as a university professor. His ideas gradually percolated into the American academic and political world. Some of them, specifically the critique of National Socialism, Communism, etc, were gradually adopted by people who found them congenial. (The slogan, “Don’t let them immanentize the eschaton” is indebted to readers of Voegelin.) However, ironically enough, his ideas were also subject to hyper-concrete interpretations and applications by people who obviously have little sense of what he was trying to say, but find “gnosticism” to be a useful label for badthink.

    Thus it has always been. When thoughts become slogans in the mass mind, it is often not worth trying to develop a systematic critique of how and where they were distorted. In a conversation with someone who uses such terms in good, though unsophisticated, faith, it’s better not to argue about terminology, and focus on what the person was intending to say. When someone hits his thumb with a hammer, and yells “Jesus Christ!”, bringing up Thomas Aquinas or the various Creeds will usually not do much good.

  96. Logo Dau, maybe your experience is different, but I find very consistently that outside of little self-selecting groups like the readership of this blog, if I point out that humanity isn’t going to settle other planets, that nuclear fusion is so hopelessly unaffordable that it doesn’t matter whether it works or not, or any other such statement that rejects some core element of the mythology of progress, most people simply won’t hear it. They’ll agree that their lives are getting worse, and if they have personal contact with some field of technology they’ll talk at length about the huge and rising obstacles to further advancement in that one field, but it’s rare for me to find anyone who can generalize from that and recognize that industrial civilization peaked decades ago and is in the opening stages of a long ragged decline. If you’re seeing plenty of people who have grasped that, who freely admit that we’re not going to the stars and that it’s not going to take some kind of apocalyptic catastrophe to wind up the history of our civilization, that’s a huge shift.

    Scotlyn, you’re welcome. The flight to moral absolutes is a standard feature of what Giambattista Vico called the barbarism of reflection — something I’m going to have to talk about again shortly.

    Quin, thanks for this as always.

    Travis, did you leave out part of this comment? I’m having trouble making sense of it.

    Warren, I find Sheldrake’s work especially worth studying, because he’s approaching it from a different perspective — not “what are these strange abilities some people have?” but “is there a morphogenetic factor in nature which has been ignored by modern science?” If your research results are consistently screwy, that often means you’re asking the wrong questions…

    Kiwigaz, there were quite a few such projects in the US military and intelligence establishment in the late 20th century. Did you ever see the movie The Men Who Stare At Goats? It was based on a real Pentagon project, and I knew the general who ran that project, Gen. Albert Stubblebine; after his retirement, Bert became a friend of my teacher John Gilbert, and watching him bend a spoon psychically was quite an experience. As for the Project Gateway material, if what you want is to see someone at a distance, remote viewing might be better suited to your needs — there’s a lot of material concerning that online.

    Sub, I am indeed. Stevenson’s work is to my mind first-rate.

    Chris, yep — there’s been a flurry of eclipses and outer planet conjunctions lately. I’m still catching my breath! As for the Land of Stuff, yes, very much so — once they reach a population level within the carrying capacity of their land, you bet they’ll stop exporting people. So will everyone else — and yes, the impact on global real estate markets will be something to watch.

    LeGrand, thanks for this.

  97. re: Ukraine

    Did you know that North and South Korea are still shooting at each other? And hacking at each other with axes (look it up)? Doesn’t make the news and the casualties are light but the Korean War never really ended, it just died back to smoldering embers. And the Korean governments never signed anything, it was only military actors that agreed to stop fighting and set up a DMZ.

    I mention that because I think that’s what likely to happen with Russia and Ukraine. You’ll see Ukraine military and Russian military sign some agreement that defines a DMZ and then it will be mined and fenced and watchtowered. And then they’ll proceed to take potshots at each other over the next 60 decades. It’ll never really end because nobody wants it to end, except for the people doing the actual dying. They will want it to end and they’ll work something out.

  98. It occurs to me that the supply of non-refugee would be migrants is likely to go down well before the supply of refugees. If people are running away from a war, it doesn’t matter if the population in the source area was declining before the war – and after the war the population in that country may well be a lot lower due to deaths and people fleeing, and not rise back up again, but continue dropping if the birth rate remains low.

    Also, within europe at least, didn’t a lot of eastern europeans move west for economic reasons, even though the population in their native lands were dropping and per mile was lower than many of the places they were moving to?

    If people think they’ll do better elsewhere and they can manage it, they may migrate anyway even as the populations in their home countries drop well below theoretical carrying capacity and are lower than where they’re migrating to.

  99. >I’m wondering if the gradual shift to people having *hot* showers daily

    Within living memory, in my own family, hot running water was something people only got in the late 60s/early 70s. Before that, if you wanted to bathe, you had to do it the ancient way – boil water on the stove and pour hot and cold water together into a washtub.

    And you got that water from a well. Municipal water also was something that was only available in the late 60s too. People back then were expected to scratch for just about everything. Different era. Not so much interdependence for sure.

    Personally, I’ve always given thanks to the hot water gods every time I take a shower 🙂 May their blessings um, shower down upon me.

  100. Warren says:
    #49 April 24, 2024 at 2:47 pm

    Hello Warren, in my opinion the operative word in your question is “–psychology.” When the study of psychology shows evidence of replicability and scientific rigor with a good solid working theory behind it, MAYBE “para” psychology can find a basis in science, too. My view is that we are dealing with two entirely different ontological orders: the order of things that can be adequately studied using materialistic scientific paradigms and the heavy firepower of statistics, and the order of things that can’t. Psychology, according to many scholars (myself among them) falls into the latter category. For a variety of reasons (too many to enumerate here).

    I’ve known people involved in major parapsychological institutes (e.g., the “Rhine Institute,” now known as the “Fellowship for Study of the Nature of Man,” I think), and various projects done at the physics department at Duke University. There appears to be a consistent “fatigue” fall-off for every study under the sun whereby initial results look positive for phenomena and the later ones fall below statistical norms, averaging out to “no result.” No matter what the study, where done, by whom. A psychic friend of mind who was a subject in some of these studies found ways around the fatigue factor, but even so she was the (statistical) exception to the rule. I doubt if there will ever be statistical proof of psychic phenomena, and I don’t think there can be. One reason (out of the many I alluded to), is that they pertain to how we arrive at perceptions of MEANING and cannot be quantified. That’s been my experience.

  101. I have a couple of thoughts regarding some conversation threads going on in the last post. I’ll comment on the discussion on driving and consciousness first, and I may post on my other thoughts later today time permitting.

    I’m someone who really likes driving and own two (older, 12-year-old and 22-year old) vehicles. That said, I made my living arrangement such that I don’t have to drive a whole lot; I probably do 7,000-10,000 km a year at most overall, and when doing so spend a LOT of time trying to carpool and consolidate trips with friends and family.

    Anyway, regarding driving altering consciousness – I can only speak for myself but it definitely does for me. It puts you into a kind of tunnel vision. Among other things, it makes your world really small – when driving I’m often really only conscious of me, the car, the very immediate surroundings (to ensure I’m not colliding with anything and still following the rules, etc.), and my origin and destination. Everything else is a blur. It’s not a surprise to me that driving incites “road rage” in a lot of otherwise polite, mild-mannered people, when your consciousness is narrowed down so much, a lot of outside interferences seem *extremely* intrusive to say the least.

    My theory is this is due to the nature of driving itself, which is a very dangerous and chaotic exercise even in ideal conditions. It causes the mind to hyper-focus because you really need to pay that much attention. This is also a big reason why, despite decades of research, billions (trillions?) of dollars of investments, and who knows how much fancy technology and training data, self-driving cars still routinely get stumped by the most basic hazards like weather, random objects, and even other things on the road like buses and emergency vehicles.

    Another thing I observed is that driving wears me out more than other forms of travel, perhaps with the exception of air travel (a whole ‘nother can of worms). Back in February we had a week-long trip to Japan, and we went around a lot in their deservedly-world-famous comprehensive and reliable railway network. I can be travelling for many hours, much of that time spent walking and standing. Then at the (literal) end of the day, I’d be tired, but a different kind of tired compared to me driving for the same amount of time and/or distance. A big part of that is that I get really sore sitting for long periods of time, so the walking and standing actually helps a lot, but there’s also some extra psychological (and spiritual?) weariness that driving puts on me.

    As an experiment, a couple of weeks ago here in Manila, I did a cross-town errand and semi-deliberately timed it to coincide with morning rush hour. Mostly I wanted to see the state of the rail transit lines, and I’m glad to report that it’s been significantly improved compared to 10 years ago. I am VERY surprised that Manila can actually run trains in rush hour every 3 minutes with zero incidents, that’s the best railway operations I’ve seen here, ever. But an unexpected observation is that when I got back home just in time for lunch, I was actually NOT tired despite spending about an hour standing and walking (either in an airconditioned train car or out in the streets in the heat). If I did the exact same errand driving, I’d come home needing a power nap. Even if I didn’t have to drive through so much traffic (which I would have)!

  102. Ken,

    As a fellow walk-to-worker, I can relate. But I think that slowing down your pace works its own magic. Pretty quickly too, if my experience is anything to go by. The world gets bigger in a hurry. You fill up your nostrils with the Russian olive-saturate air. You start to recognize individual animals, maybe say hello. You’re tentative at first, maybe you strap a knife on your belt just to be safe, but a couple weeks later you’re feeling right at home, as natural as natural can be. Maybe a couple folks driving by know you, and know that you’re a weirdo who walks to work, and doesn’t use a cell phone, but you’re generally a loveable weirdo, so they smile and wave.

    To me, slowing your roll is the solution within the problem of industrial-strength haste. I have no idea if other people respond the same way, but I can’t help but think they might. Maybe as more of us do it the arrogant pace of “normal” life will become the anomaly.

  103. JMG wrote,

    the price of defeat could mean the implosion of the economic and political arrangements that prop up their power

    I’m guessing it’s a complicated thing to address, but could you say a bit more about what economic and political arrangements might implode that would threaten them so?

    Thanks,

    Jacques

  104. From the Weighty Tome department my wife and I offer an 1886 edition of the Webster’s Dictionary, leather bound. Binding is good. Cover is a bit dinged up but intact. It measures about 9 x 12 x 5 inches and weighs about five pounds. Will ship! Or, if you are planning to come to the Providence Potluck we can bring it. A rare(?) chance to own a Weighty Tome! We can send pics when we figure out how to share them.
    Tad and Ellen

  105. A while back I shared the “Running on Empty” series by Alexander Macris over at Tree of Woe, but he’s just put out another, shorter economics post that’s touches on several interesting points along the way to explaining how the “Matthew Effect” (“the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”) manifests in the modern American economy. Nothing particularly new here for readers of Wealth of Nature, earlier Woe pieces, or Moldbug/Yarvin’s mostly-Austrian-based analysis of the financialized economy, but it’s all put together rather well, with links to dig deeper. Maybe most interesting/helpful to me was learning about Lyndon Larouche, who seems to have found his way into something very similar to “Energy Return on Investment” through his own efforts.

    https://treeofwoe.substack.com/p/the-rich-get-richer-and-the-poor

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  106. @Sub: I haven’t dove deep into Ian Stevenson’s work yet (for those who don’t know Stevenson has done research on children who remember previous lives), but it seems to me to be very difficult to dismiss. (This goes for his successors, James Matlock and Jim Tucker, as well as some others). Apart from the obvious limitation that his work is all field studies- there’s no way you can research this phenomenon in the lab- I can’t see much to criticize about it. Again, I need to do more research, but to me Stevenson and company seem like the people in parapsychology whose work would be the hardest for a skeptic to dismiss.

  107. The hits (to sanity) just keep coming,

    “One side effect of GLP-1 medications for weight loss is “Ozempic Face.” This happens when the rapid loss of body fat produces a hollowed-looking face, wrinkles, sunken eyes, and changes in the size of the lips, cheeks, and chin. To counter this, skincare companies are ramping up the marketing of products to ‘fix’ this side effect as these blockbuster drugs sweep the nation.

    Swiss skincare company Galderma Group’s Chief Executive Officer Flemming Ornskov told Bloomberg in an interview after this week’s first-quarter earnings that its skin treatments and dermal fillers “should be able to restore this [Ozempic Face].”

    “I think that will be another growth wave in that space, which I will make sure to capture,” Ornskov said.

    Chemically induced famine makes you look starved? Who could possibly have predicted that? So modern fashion requires a fat face and a rail thin body?

  108. To Rafael (16), Robert (53) :
    As a maritime historian and one who has worked as a museum educator for 24 years (in New England and California) I can assure you there is the knowledge and talent to build wooden vessels of good size all over the world. By “good size”, I’m talking about vessels up to around 100 feet or so (on deck). Here in Maine we have the tour schooner fleet which is comprised mostly of historic vessels but also some new construction. We also have the replica of the 1607 pinnace Virginia in Bath, Maine and the gundalow ( as sort of local sailing barge) in Portsmouth, NH. I think the greatest problems for building large sailing vessels will not be talent or knowledge, but doing it in a timely way with hand tools. This is not the 19th century, when a local pool (and some traveling) of skilled craftsmen could crank out a 500 ton full rigged ship in four or five months of six day weeks, dawn to dusk days. In the early 20th century they were building 3000-ton six masted schooners in six months (yes, with some powered machinery). The biggest problem may well lie in the materials needed hundreds or even thousands of tons of wood. No, the future lies in small vessels of the sort they build in Haiti, Indonesia and Dubai where they do real work and carry on real commerce.

    To Plutatorious (#77), I see your point about the schooner vs. ketch. I think the photo is distorted (look at the bow of that thing!). It also has a large deck house, further shrinking the after sail. They look more equal in size than would be the case of a ketch or a schooner. A “sketcher” maybe? Pretty, but not the way we have schooners looking Down East!

    Check out the cargo schooner Tres Hombres and their org Fair Transport.

  109. Sub – I believe I’ve read that it is well known that mutations don’t happen often enough to account for evolution, but there’s another process at work: re-assortment of genes. Asexual reproduction can only evolve through mutation, but sexual reproduction involves swapping existing genetic traits into new combinations. Random mutation is likely to impair functions (like randomly pulling bricks from a wall), but reassortment is like randomly picking complete features from two house plans. The result might not be an improvement, but the components will still work.

  110. I’ve read that Artificial Stupidity can be defined as the dumbing down of computers to approximate the natural stupidity of humans.
    If that’s the case, what is the probability of a battle between Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Stupidity resulting in Artificial Mediocrity?
    Are we there yet?

  111. Hello Mr Greer

    I have come across ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats?’ when reading about ‘Gateway’ but not watched it…I shall PirateBay it this evening.

    I guess remote viewing would be a good place to start. I’ve just downloaded a bunch of the GateWay Tapes so I think I might give that a go first!!!

    Its a crazy world, when what you once used to write off as ‘magic’ and superstition has actually been investigated by military institutions and the like…..

    And as you get older you see where some things you’ve experienced cannot be explained by conventional thinking….

    It really is an interesting world.

  112. I assume that as industrial society declines, those least dependent on it will fare best. In Western countries (I’m in Australia) this seems to primarily be newly arrived immigrants not yet fully immersed in consumer culture, as they have strong social structures that often operate outside of Government/corporate control. However, many of these social/ethnic groupings are self-contained and often in conflict with other similar groups. I’d be interested in how you see global industrial decline intersecting with the multitude of separate social/ethnic groupings that currently exist in Western counties. If we assume that the process of decline will be slow but erratic, is it more likely there will be chaotic, localised conflicts between ethnic groups for control of diminishing resources, or will demographics determine that the largest groups are likely to create stability through developing their own Government structures? Will large cities such as Sydney break up into smaller precincts based on culture/ethnicity, or will large cities simply cease to exist in any form without centralised infrastructure? Or are there too many variables to make any sort of realistic conclusion?

  113. I have been super busy and I did not have time to respond to the Dreamwidth post mentioning gatherings and potlucks… I am not much of a gatherer or traveler myself, but if anyone wants to come visit me in the far western suburbs of Chicago, they are welcome. I have three indoor cats who love visitors. I can also provide a voice, piano, or guitar lesson depending on what you are into.

  114. C R Patino @ 37 to continue with my thoughts, such as those might be, there is also the matter of just what is one being told to do. There is a qualitative difference between one’s confessor, or the pastor exhorting one to work and pray, ora et labore, and a thousand media voices screaming that you must, must buy this product, vote for that candidate, espouse those opinions, and be sure to send in your contribution, to be considered a respectable person. It used to be said of one party dictatorships that the only honest persons were found in prison. In a culturally corrupt society, I think the honest men and women reside on the far-out fringes of respectable society.

    Jean @ 84, I have been making myself long skirts, gored skirts. I find them practical and comfortable and far easier to manage in a public bathroom than trousers puddling around one’s ankles. I am fed up with T shirts and tight pants which are uncomfortable, don’t keep you warm and show every lump and bulge.

  115. @ JMG – Have you considered a post about the collective psychological impact of the baby bust and the contraction of human populations over the next century?

  116. An update on the preparedness series I initiated at my Grange: three meetings were well-attended (8-12 people out of about 40 total membership), and we covered preparedness as a mindset (encouragement to not assume “progress” is the norm, essentially), discussed whether or not to coordinate officially with local/regional emergency authorities (decision was no, let’s just keep the discussion amongst ourselves at this point), and decided to have a “preppers camp out” in June where several will offer some hands-on practice of things like fire-starting, open-fire cooking, solar ovens, and jump-starting/chain-installation on cars. We’ll likely also be holding first aid training and/or CERT training (and there was support for coordinating some sort of “learn to suture wounds” class somehow).

    Everyone seemed to appreciate that we were having these conversations as immediately after our first meeting, we had a big storm with 70mph winds that downed trees and took the power out.

    I’m not a particularly willing event planner, so the campout is somewhat loosey-goosey, unless someone helps me out, but folks HAVE stepped up for things like the first aid course coordinating. The group also preferred to have communication through facebook (though I’m not a fan, I did my best to put up engaging and interesting content, but as is the way with those things, there wasn’t a lot of actual group engagement there, so I’m not super impressed). Nonetheless, I’ve put info out about things as wide-ranging as the utility of credit freezes to prevent identity theft, the AT&T effort to do away with landlines, and prescription medication shortages. We also had members present some easy food storage option, and one person shared a canning-jar candle kit that she’d made that helped her during the power outage. I donated a few books and gave away a damaged copy of The Humanure Handbook (leftover from the group purchase I coordinated last year here) to an interested member.

    So, all things considered, I think it went pretty well and the slowdown can be attributed to the start of spring busy-ness (given that many of our members are active agriculturalists).

    —-
    Speaking of agriculture (of sorts), we have added to our scythe collection this week as one blade was not enough to manage the collective excitement at mowing (5 acres!) by hand. 4-6 times/week, at least 2 out of the 4 of us are getting good exercise, fresh air, and sunrise/sunshine. Things’ll really pick up speed now that we each have our own scythe.

  117. I got my anthropology degree in the 1970s, when second-wave feminism was rolling right along. There was a fair amount written by feminists looking at the anthropological record, trying to see whether the status of women varied with any particular set of conditions. My memory for those writings is probably imperfect, but the conclusion I recall is that it wasn’t usually the weaponry; it was the way nutrition was obtained. Where women depended on men to provide necessary nutrients, women were subordinate.

    The animal-drawn plow, the defining tool of agrarian societies, is so grueling for the human user that plowing while pregnant greatly elevates the risk of miscarriage, which is why it’s always been a masculine task. Wherever the type of farming that uses the animal-drawn plow produces most of the food and employs most of the people, the society will be male-dominated. I’m phrasing it that way because I also think urbanization and the switch from an economy in which a majority of people get their living by farming to one where a majority of people get their living by holding a job was a huge factor. Children working on family farms are contributing to the prosperity of the family, so couples are incentivized to have lots of them. (There’s an interesting book called The Myth of Population Control that digs deeply into this through a study of one village in India in the 1960s.) Children in urban labor markets compete with adults for opportunity, which is the real reason laws were enacted to keep them in school instead of working. At that point, the incentives run the other way. “Can we afford a(nother) child?” becomes a reasonable question. The practical reason for the deep sexual division of labor commonly found in agrarian societies is to keep up the production of babies by limiting women to work that is compatible with a life of frequent pregnancy, near-constant lactation, and a need to keep toddlers out of mischief. When that practical reason is no longer practical, custom and tradition can only hold it in place for so long.

  118. @Brunette Gardens

    There are numerous examples of wildlife recoveries when humanity just leaves an area alone. The Korean DMZ has a thriving tiger population.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/wildlife-thrives-dmz-korea-risk-location-180967842/

    2 miles wide and 155 miles long, it is a refuge for a number of endangered species and is apparently thriving, despite the landmines.

    It might also interest you that feral cats in Australia have doubled in size (size, not population, biggest 1.5 meters long nose to tail) and birds of prey have adapted to eating cane toads. Life finds a way.

  119. To Northwind Grandma (#87),

    I loved reading your description of the “sink bath”, something which I had never read or heard any reference to before, but something that makes eminent sense. And it is something that I used to routinely practice, without having a name for it.

    When I was in my teens and early 20s, I suffered from a rare condition called aquagenic urticaria, which strangely as it may sound, has the effect of the body (the skin) reacting to contact with water as it it were an allergen. EVERY time I got wet, or bathed, within minutes the skin over most of my body (excepting the head) would break out in angry red hives that were phenomenally itchy, and which caused me great grief. After every shower or bath, I had to allot at least 90 minutes to allow the hives and horrible itching resulting from contact with water to subside. So needless to say, I was HIGHLY motivated to NOT take a shower or bath every day!

    In practice, I fully bathed only about once per week, with more frequent (but still not daily) “sink baths”, which did still result in hives and itching, but only in the areas directly bathed, which was less miserable and more manageable. And I never had anyone tell me that I had body odor, or smelled, despite my unorthodox and miserly bathing regimen.

    Fortunately, this aquagenic urticaria started diminishing in my early to mid-20s, and by my later 20s had totally disappeared.

    On the subject of body odor, have you ever noticed how armpit sweat resulting from stress is MUCH more offensive than the same resulting from hard physical labor or exercise? I’ve often noticed this on myself, and wondered why it might be.

  120. Hi JMG,
    I read “The Book of Haatan” last week and wanted to let you know that I enjoyed it very much and am already craving more. I do have a few questions, though.
    First, the magical attack that occurred near the end of the book. Is that something that can actually take place and do you know of any cases where people have been attacked that way?
    Second, do you have any idea when the next book in the series will be out and can you tell us how many more books you have planned in the series?
    Finally, might you be able to include a map for Adocentyn in an upcoming book or something? That would make keeping track of the geography a lot simpler. Thanks again and I look forward to the next installment.

  121. Dear JMG,

    Lastly I was pondering on the relationship between suffering and the Law of Limitations. It seems to me that big chunk of the suffering on this planet is caused by the Limitations of the material plane and our inability to accept it. Will we still have all sort of Limitations even when we don’t have material body anymore? Does that mean we will still have many sufferings too? Or we will be able to accept and share the resources more wisely?
    That brings me to the second question. When we developed the mental body does that mean we are wiser and less selfish? I mean could we become a dark wizard like Sauron or something? Having high level of mental capacities and yet evil? Like the most selfish, narcissistic people you can find among yoga teachers and other spiritual leaders…
    As you said there are harmful creatures in the unseen too. Where do they come from if the spiritual evolution has such a nice ascending curve?
    Thank you very much for your advise on this subject.

  122. Hello JMG,
    I was interested to read your lengthy reply regarding the likely outcome of NATO defeat in Ukraine. An alternative view of the cause of the conflict I’ve come across in a few places is that America wanted to break up a nascent economic alliance between Europe, China and Russia, in which Russia supplied the energy and other raw materials, China produced the manufactured goods and Europe supplied the expertise and finance. What’s your view of that?
    I was surprised yesterday to read an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph basically stating that Ukraine is likely to be completely defeated within 6 months. Recently there had been little or no negative opinion of the war situation there. So the consequences you mention may arrive sooner rather than later.
    The feeling I get in the UK is that cheer leading for Ukraine and indeed interest in it, has largely faded, most people wish it would go away and hope Russia is not too angry with us afterwards. It may not work out like that!

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/04/23/ukraine-has-only-six-months-left/

  123. @JMG

    Regarding Rupert Sheldrake and his theory of morphic resonance, do you think dynamical attractors are the ‘instruments’ which enable such phenomena? For example, Sheldrake’s experiments with dogs knowing when their owners coming home, could be explained, IMO, by the formation of attractors in this morphic field. What’s your take on this?

  124. JMG and others dismiss the Great Reset as the ‘Great Re-Hash’. Or I might compare it to China’s disastrous ‘Great Leap Forward’.

    Anyway, here’s a neat 4 minute summary of the mad elites’ promotion of transhumanism, including clips from their darling professor Yuval Harari:

    https://twitter.com/TruthSeek01011/status/1783278772101509144

    In the face of this constant move towards totalitarianism, which seems to feature a worldwide ‘deep state’, I can’t wait for the great collapse, sorry ‘great simplification’. That’s Nate Hagens’ term for it, anyway.

  125. @Chuaquin,
    In Japan, and especially in the rural, semi-mountainous prefecture I live in, a lot of farmers and other land owners were given financial incentives to create massive solar arrays and those started taking over the scenery. Recently, those have been targeted by metal thieves. We suspect foreigners are doing this as a sideline to car thievery, running it all down to the dock right away so that by the time the owner is aware of the theft, the good are in international waters.

  126. @Sub #96 – you might also be interested in the work of James A. Shapiro – who is extremely generous in sharing his work on his university webpage here. https://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Presentations&Videos.shtml

    Some quick highlights:
    1. he gives serious consideration to evidence that the genome has a form of agency and makes active decisions… (you’d have to dive in to get into the detail behind this).
    2. he postulates the genome is not “write only” but a “read-write” system… again, some fascinating detail to ponder as he outlines this theory.
    3. he concentrates his own research on genomes, but is also a theoretician who recognises that the genes aren’t even the whole story when it comes to heredity. Remember that while sperm tend to be tiny, efficient carriers of DNA and little else, egg cells are large, and contain the whole non-genetic active entities of the organism.

    Lynn Margulis herself also made this last point. In her view (slightly differently to Shapiro’s view, in that he grants more agency to genomes), DNA alone does nothing. It is the whole cell that reproduces, acts, and lives, and while living, makes choices that alter what it will pass on to its descendants. It is the whole cell that uses the DNA as a store of information, recording its choices, and documenting its “recipes”, and using its genome as a library. In other words, in her view, Dawkins got this exactly wrong. It is not the gene that drives the cell, but the cell that reads, stores, curates, and conserves the gene.

    There are lots of other biologists who have pursued these ways of looking, but of course, it can still be difficult to escape the ideological trappings of theorists wishing to entirely dispense with a need for agency and active choice making, whether on the part of an ultimate creator, or on the part of any part or portion of creation thereof.

    Anyway, if the subject interests you, remember, all sciences have “edgelords” doing fascinating and independent work – their work is out there, just not taught in the mainstream. You have to seek in order to find.

    Enjoy! 🙂

  127. Hi John Michael,

    Well, yeah absolutely! It would be hard to have an economy which leans hard upon the construction industry, when the supply of constructed things, exceeds demand. I ran the scenario as a thought experiment, and it’s messy and honestly looks a lot like an ever dwindling salvage economy.

    In the short term, when inflation as experienced on the streets, out-paces income growth, well, at some future point there is a moment reached for individuals and collections of groups of people, where staying involved makes little to no sense. The great walking away, but to where? I’ve been thinking about what you said recently with the possibility of hyper-stag-flation. An ugly collection of words, if I may say so. However, it seems like the extreme other end of the Great Depression, with much the same results, and no easy way out, although I can think of a few hard ways out – which will probably be taken.

    It’s a fine joke when a timber post costs around $100. I need quite a few of them for a replacement firewood shed and second greenhouse. Building materials are not cheap these days. Interestingly, making them from local resources is more profitable than doing paid work. How does that make any sense? Crazy days, huh? The great walking away…

    Even in dark moments, life goes on!

    Cheers

    Chris

  128. > copper theft @ Chuaquin #26

    Copper theft has been a thing in South Africa for many years. The cables feeding streetlights along lonely roads are a favorite target; so much so that some municipalities keep the streetlights burning day and night to deter thieves. (Stealing live cables is often fatal.) When the commuter trains stopped running because of mismanagement, thieves invaded the tracks and stole the heavy overhead copper conductor strip

    > mutation rates aren’t nearly high enough @ Sub #35

    The average life of a species is estimated at 10 million years. It strikes me that in 10 million years there are going to be many climate shifts. You don’t need a global climate change; a regional one affecting just the local species is good enough, like a big eruption or huge fire. A sufficiently large shift will kill off most of the species members, leading to a population bottleneck, and they will then radiate again with more sharply defined genetic characteristics.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_bottleneck

    > The Wuhan Coverup @ Phutatorius #56

    It’s been estimated that 10 million died of Covid worldwide; one million in the US alone. Assuming a world population of 8 billion, we can calculate the death rate per million:
    In the US, 10^6/330 = 3030 dpm
    In the RoW, 9×10^6/7670 = 1173 dpm
    Either US medicine is not very good, or the Chinese are close to mastering the art of developing bioweapons targeted at nations.

  129. I’m not sure if you’ve encountered the works of Charles Stross, but it occurred to me his Laundry Files book series basically takes place in the Haliverse, only the protagonist is a soldier for the Radiance. Despite his loyalty to that organization, its awfulness is described with the kind of acerbic gallows humor one can expect of a British Author who spent time in the civil service.

    I believe you both have TTRPG systems set in this somewhat-shared universe, which makes me wonder what you think the odds are of a future adversarial collaboration between the two of you, or players of your respective systems, might be. I believe TTRPGs are one of the great art forms of Faustian civilization, and I’ve heard of arrangements where one DM runs two groups of players acting as foils for one another. think there’s a chance I could see something like that happen?

  130. Oops! re my last to Sub
    This should have read:
    “…he postulates the genome is not “READ only” but a “read-write” system…”

    And instead of “edgelords” I probably should have said “fringe researchers”… the connotations would be more in line with what I meant to say.

  131. My wife and I have decided to go our separate ways. Even the most amicable of separations (of which I would say this was one) is an emotional endeavor. However, a silver lining of sorts is that I have been able to experiment more deliberately and effectively with down/right-sizing my life, possessions, attachments, interconnectedness, and other aspects of existence. So far, those results have been largely positive and I’m finding that I require much less in the way of things and connections than I previously thought in order to have a fulfilling life. No TV and no internet connection, for starters. A very modest apartment, both in size and style–“working class luxury apartment” might be a fair description. Lots to sort out yet, both financially and emotionally, but I’ve accepted that it is a process and one that must be honored if I wish to obtain the best results in the long run.

    I’m looking forward to our farmer’s market season starting next month and plan to source much of my produce shopping from there.

  132. @Northwind Grandma #52, Bernadette Banner has a YouTube channel wherein she posts (really lovely) videos showcasing her love of sewing historical garments in the appropriate historical manner. She has several videos on corsetry and the making and use of foundational garments through time. She just posted a video in which she hand-sewed a pair of Regency-era stays. The finished product looks quite bra-like to me. Of worthy note, she celebrated the fact that the binding on the stays only took 6-7 hours to complete rather than the 15 hours she was expecting. (In fact she thanks the binding in her closing credits.) There’s a reason most women only had one corset and wore it until it literally disintegrated.

    Squirrelly Jen

  133. A comment on the personal hygiene thread (Northwind Grandma, Robert Mathiesen, and others): a certain amount of water is required to get solid waste from the toilet to the street. When I installed low-flow toilets in my older (1950s) home several plumbers among my acquaintance noted that I was being saved from a clogged sewer line by my teens’ extended showers.

  134. JMG, here is a choice rant of Lindsay’s:
    https://newdiscourses.com/2021/08/calamity-scientific-gnosticism/

    Most of his rants though are long video lectures (I know you don’t do videos). Here’s a summary of one he gave where he throws “Hermeticism” into his confused mix:

    “In the Esoteric Religion known as Hermeticism, there are a number of core principles of operation, perhaps most famously the Principle of Correspondence. It’s often worded “As above, so below,” but this is only half of the principle. The full expression is “As above, so below; as below, so above,” which outlines a snake eating its own tail as a driver of Hermetic alchemical magic. In his third lecture for the Mere Simulacrity conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in December 2022, Dr. James Lindsay explains how this principle is a driver of what he calls the “Secret Religions of the West” in an elucidating way. He contends that Karl Marx was the first to realize that the principle of correspondence must be applied from the bottom. Working on the world (as below) to change it (so above), and then the world (as above), changed, will socialize and condition people (so below) to accept the changes and make them “actual.” Marx called these two dynamics “praxis” and the “inversion of praxis,” but now we can expose them clearly for what they are. Join Dr. Lindsay to understand the mechanism behind the activism in many evils, including Marxism, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory and feminism, Modern empire building, and even right-wing reactionary response, which plays its crucial role in this ongoing dynamic of destruction.”

    LeGrand, sounds about right. I am aware of Vogelin’s influence on how “Gnosticism” is being used in this manner. Your point about Americans concretizing and misunderstanding European intellectuals is spot on. IIRC, our host pointed this out in his piece here on Rene Guenon and the Traditionalist School. I personally have met several Americans who have the attitude, “if Guenon said it, then it’s true.” Similar to how some American followers of Rudolf Steiner’s works behave.

  135. Hello JMG and Everybody,
    I want to share some tiny bits regarding the Russian sanctions. There are a lot of jokes about them in Russia. One of them is about the French cheese Roquefort. It used to be a status symbol in Russia. PMC couldn’t get enough of it. For people of modest means, Roquefort was incomprehensible – moldy, smelling like socks, and prohibitively expensive. Now there is no more Roquefort on the shelves of Russian supermarkets. Most people don’t care. However, the upwardly mobile still long for it. Here is a rhyme (translated by me) sung by a girl whose boyfriend is upset about not being able to get French cheese:
    My sweety is in detox –
    Sniffing his stinky socks.
    He is cursing sanctions in trance –
    He is missing Roquefort from France.

  136. Hi JMG – recently I was thinking it would be funny if you did a follow up post to something you wrote a while back (either on this blog or the Archdruid Report, forget which). The theme of that post was the constant refrain of “this time it’s different” that believers in the myth of progress shout anytime they are forced to grapple with the reality of diminishing returns on energy investment. The underlying point – that no, it’s not different, all civilizations follow along paths of rise and fall that directly correlate to the laws of energy conservation and entropy – was of course true and no less so now. It would be amusing, however, to hear your assessment on what makes this particular civilization and it’s tipping point unique. The sheer scale of the fossil fuel era is both impressive in its own right but may also have funny/interesting implications for the decline and the pseudomorphosis of the transitionary cultures that fill the gap between now and the becoming of whatever emerges next (i.e., something like the last “McDonald’s” serving reindeer burgers in some far flung Alaskan outpost 200 years from now). Perhaps the best medium for this sort of thinking is fiction but would nevertheless appreciate your musings on the subject.

  137. If Scientific Gnosticism is here (even in its own muddled way) we must be at a point where the religion of progress might split into a bunch of different sects, some deemed heretical.

  138. Other Owen, I doubt the Russians will be willing to settle for that, and there’s no reason they should. Two Ukrainian brigades just broke and ran on the front north of Avdeevka, and the Russian forces stepped into the gap and seized the strategic town of Ocheretnye; there have been smaller-scale collapses of the same kind already, as the Russian strategy of grinding attrition takes its toll. There’s every reason to think that in the weeks and months ahead the Ukrainian army will suffer the same thing on larger scales, leading ultimately to the collapse of their army and Russia dictating terms of surrender. Those terms will not permit a Ukrainian military that can continue to carry out hostilities.

    Pygmycory, that’s quite probably correct. As for Eastern European migrants, remember that after the Iron Curtain fell, Eastern European countries were systematically stripped of wealth; the population density may have been lower back home but all the wealth was flowing west, and jobs and population followed it. As that kind of wealth-pump operation breaks down, the population flow will break down as well.

    Carlos, many thanks for the data points.

    Jacques, my recent post on lenocracy summarizes those.

    Jeff, thanks for this.

    Siliconguy, one of these days some heavily marketed pharmaceutical like Ozempic is going to turn out to have unexpectedly lethal long-term side effects, and the bodies will have to be stacked like cordwood. Oh, wait…

    Tad, thanks for this. I also expect smaller vessels to play a dominant role in the near deindustrial future, just as they did in the last set of dark ages — the average Viking age knarr, as I recall, was about 50 feet long.

    My Dog, it’ll be interesting to watch the competition between artificial mediocrity and the natural kind, which is in such ample supply!

    Gaz, it is indeed — a much more interesting world, in fact, than the flat gray world the media insists we live in.

    Mark, to judge by past examples of the process, it depends utterly on local conditions. Competing ethnic groups can come to a mutual accommodation or plunge into mutually destructive struggles, cities can fragment or empty out or struggle on somehow, all depending on the fine details of who chooses to do what and what resources, opportunities, and crises are present in that specific location.

    Ben, I’ll consider it, not least because my post on the practical side of depopulation got, all in all, a thoughtful and calm response.

    Temporary, glad to hear this.

    Joan, so noted. I’d note that materialist theories of that kind were very popular just then, in the heyday of figures such as Marvin Harris.

    Shane, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Chronojourner, I’m glad you enjoyed it! The magical attack is based on one that I experienced, so yes, that sort of thing can and does happen. The next volume in the series, The Carnelian Moon, will be out next spring — the plan is to release one a year. I have no fixed endpoint for the series; the fourth book, The House of the Crows, is about 2/3 completed, the next two and another further on have been plotted out, and I have rough ideas for several more. As for a map, hmm — I’ll consider that, or at least arrange to make one available.

    Anna, yes, the law of limitation affects all beings, whether or not they have material bodies; those limits tend to press a little less harshly once matter, the densest and most limiting form of cosmic root substance, is no longer in the picture, but they’re still there. As for evil on the higher planes, human souls don’t graduate from matter until they’ve reached a certain level of basic goodness — that’s what karma is for — but human souls are only one of many classes of spiritual beings in the cosmos; some of the other types of beings are evil from our perspective, though they also have their place in the cosmos.

    Robert, I’m sure that such concerns also played their part, since Europe is anything but a unified bloc, but it’s not as though Europe has that much expertise to offer these days — compared to China, European industry is technologically backward — and its financial “contribution” is pure lenocracy, as the blowback from the sanctions demonstrated. I’d say that American interests were concerned that Europe might become too dependent on Russia and China and not dependent enough on the United States.

    Viduraawakened, I honestly don’t know enough about the theory of dynamical attractors to have a meaningful opinion on the subject. It certainly sounds worth exploring.

    Neil, “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”…

    Chris, well, the US is already tipping back into stagflation — we’ve got slumping GDP and rising inflation, according to stats just out today. Fun times! No question, a lot of people are starting to wonder if walking away might be the better idea. A lot of them will engage in “quitting in place” — going through the motions of participating in the system while doing the absolute minimum that will get by. As folks used to say in the Soviet Union in its latter days, “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

    Christopher, I’ve read and enjoyed some of Stross’s work, though I mostly stayed away from modern Lovecraftiana while I was writing my tentacle novels — I wanted to catch the original ambience of the Weird Tales era as closely as possible, so I read and reread everything from before the Second World War I could get my hands on but avoided later stuff. I wonder, though, if Stross might have been influenced by the same thing I was, the Delta Green supplements for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The Radiance is basically what happens when you cross Delta Green with transhumanism of the Yuval Harari variety, and crank the psychotic craving for power up to 11. As for some kind of joint project, in every interaction I’ve had with the mainstream Lovecraftian scene since my tentacle fiction started being noticed, they’ve been very hostile; the Lovecraft outlet across the river in Providence, for example, won’t carry my books. I’m not sure if they’re offended by my politics or whether they just can’t stand the idea that the tentacled horrors might be the good guys after all. One way or another, though, I don’t recommend getting your hopes up.

    David BTL, please accept m condolences — even an amicable separation is a wrenching experience.

    Corax, excellent! This is very much what I had in mind, so thank you.

    Kirsten, thank you — I needed a good laugh, and that ditty provided it.

  139. About Gnosticism: does there exist in English any good scholarship about this phenomenon of Late Antiquity? Does it make any sense for us to speak of what, I gather, please correct if I am wrong, was a collection of diverse sects within and outside the late Roman Empire as if they were in some fashion a united movement? I am afraid I was not impressed at all by what I read by Elaine Pagels; what was I missing?

    From the cited essay by Lindsay:
    “The essence of Gnosticism can be expressed in three beliefs. These are (1) that it is not you or your theories that are wrong, but the world itself; (2) that we have been flung into this miserable and intolerable condition against our wants; but (3) are able to attain a consciousness, a knowledge—a Gnosis—that will allow us to repair the world and ourselves.”

    I think the second principle comes from Buddhism–life is suffering, and the third sounds like a Jewish prescript that the Chosen People must repair the world. A crude interpretation might be gain knowledge and understanding so you can become someone of importance.

    I also note that Lindsey appears on the evidence of this one essay to have firmly confined his ideas into the failed paradigm of left vs. right dichotomy. The French Revolution did occur about 250 years ago; I never cease to be astonished by how many otherwise thoughtful and intelligent people can’t seem to grasp basic facts of chronology (or geography, but that is another story.)

  140. A number of the features of a late stage empire come together to insure its quick demise. Here the multiple lenocratic schemes of Insurance, Lawyers, Automobiles and Taxes come together to insure a quick trip to the bottom.
    https://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/2024/04/woman-claims-life-altering-injuries-after-driving-over-portland-pothole-in-36-million-lawsuit.html-2

    As municipalities lose the ability to fund road repair, they will face the prospect of being sued for dangerous roads. This will leave them with the only course of action to grind up the roads and turn them to gravel, ( also dangerous to the modern motorists), or shut them down to cars, leaving them as walking or bike paths.
    The age of the automobile may end much more quickly than most people think.

  141. @Squirrelly Jen #140,

    I’m also a Bernadette Banner follower and have learned a lot from that channel, but especially her book Make, Sew, Mend, which is a nice beginner’s guide to hand sewing in the Victorian tradition. I recommend it to anyone looking to build a solid base in the techniques she uses on that channel. It’s refreshing to find a whole Youtube subculture of people who appreciate historical garments and techniques and eschew fast fashion.

  142. @JMG (#148) on the local Lovecrafters:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with either your politics or your take on tentacled horrors. My sense (based on very limited interaction with a few people in it) of the Lovecraft scene here in Providence is that it operates as a small clique of a few alphas and very many betas basking in the reflective glory of the alphas, and the alphas hate any new thing that might upset their current status. If they did let you in, you’d clearly be a new alpha, not a beta — and they know it! The store you mention has always felt to me more like a brick-and-mortar “fanzine” kept up by some of the alphas than like a truly profitable commercial venture, and I’d be surprised if it weren’t largely supported [subsidized, even?] mostly by the betas at the behest of the alphas.

    As for me, I like Lovecraft’s work a lot, but I’m a self-contained “sigma,” and I don’t really understand on a gut level how dominance hierarchies can interest the people around me.

  143. JMG and @team10tim, thanks for the other examples. Much appreciated.

    On chicken keeping:
    @Jen, we have something called a chickshaw, portmanteau for rickshaw for chickens, and it’s great now that we have the fatal flaw fixed, which was part of the original design: It had an open window “egg door” in back. Not sure why, in retrospect. A raccoon easily breached it and decimated our first flock. Maybe the celebrity homesteader who pushes the chickshaw meant it only as a fully supervised coop for pasture grazing, which would seem to severely limit its usefulness. We’re planning to surround the chickshaw w/ a hen pen for day grazing so we can use the chickens as garden workers. But I’m wondering if we shouldn’t have opted for the electric fence, thought it’s 7X the price.

    @Michele7, completely agreed on all your points.

    @Maxine Rogers, sounds like a workable solution! I’ll have to look into mink cages for when the chickshaw eventually falls apart.

    @Jerry D, you’re the only one who tackled the “apartment chickens” part of my message, so thanks for that. Yeah, I have the same skepticism, but I suppose it could be done with a really fancy coop setup, and as long as you don’t have indoor pets. Our cat would go bonkers. Yes on the hardware cloth; at least the chickshaw is lined with it. Their poop falls right through to the ground, which is genius. If it just weren’t for that ridiculous egg door! We’ve now turned it into a sun roof, LOL. We’ve noticed the taste difference as well as quality of the egg (yolk size, color, consistency) just with our neighbor’s eggs (he is generous), though his flock does not free-range. Glad you found us at http://www.brunettegardens.com. It’s been a process. I got a lot out of Harvey Ussery’s book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock.

  144. Hi, all. I am a long, long-time lurker. I was just wondering whether anyone here is located in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

  145. “Personally, I’ve always given thanks to the hot water gods every time I take a shower 🙂 May their blessings um, shower down upon me.”

    Here here.

    Hot running water and refrigeration are where civilization peaked, or at least where diminishing returns set in. For as long as it lasts Wikipedia is also great. An encyclopedia of everything saves a lot of time, and for that matter fuel going to the library to look something up. Then much of the time the local library doesn’t have it either. A University class library at your beck and call is a wonderful thing.

    For a brief period of time between the development of the CD and the start of the Internet CD based encyclopedias and other reference works were a thing. Will they or something like it (SD card encyclopedias?) return, or can we keep a simplified internet running? A 100 MHz computer used to be just fine on the internet, it doesn’t have to be the current bloated monster most of which is to push advertising.

  146. @JMG #148 re: Stross and Delta Green

    I actually just read a blurb on him a week or two ago as I wrapped up his Merchant Princes* series, and he said that he came up with the concept for The Atrocity Archives and related books separate from Delta Green, but that when he learned about DG, it tempted him to pick up the dice again. If it’s of enough interest, I could likely track it down, but it might have just been on his wikipedia.

    *Started out fun enough, turned into a fairly boring paean to the technological and economic side of the myth of progress, with a heavy dose of Bush-era politics, with characters I didn’t particularly care about. So, altogether, can’t very strongly recommend.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  147. > bras made of jersey that had no fastenings at all

    HAND-KNITTING

    This gave me an idea. The fabrics of today’s stretchy cloths (like jersey) would take forever if knitted by hand. I can’t imagine anyone hand-knitting such tiny stitches. A question for knitters—is knitting tiny stitches a thing? At what point is a stitch too small to make a garment not worth making?

    MACRAME CORSET

    An alternative would be knotting a macrame bra, or short vest, even with no straps. A cotton cup for the bosom itself. A macrame corset. The garment would be laced up the front. It may, or may not, have a peasant blouse underneath.

    I don’t do macrame. Macrame is in a separate category, like sewing, knitting, spinning, dyeing, mending, fitting (clothes), each its own specialty, each taking years to master. For someone skilled in macrame, bra-making would be an interesting experiment.

    Macrame itself has a fascinating history. Seafarers invented it, back in the wooden ship days. Macrame started out as a man-cave thing.

    AROUND THE WORLD

    A separate thing would be for a cloth-textile-lover to investigate customs around the world on past customs to bind bosom, and how one does it these days, using woven fabrics only. Big-busted women need a strong warp and/or weft to support the weight.

    FASHION NETWORK

    I doubt such a study has been done, although I am not in a position to know, not being in any sort of “fashion network.”

    BOSOM BINDING WOVEN SCARF

    Or a woven scarf around one’s chest. I may actually experiment with this concept in my hand-weavings. Some handwoven stitches are stronger than others—some stitches are more breathable. The scarf would button up, or lace up, the front. Even large hooks and eyes might work. Bosom-binding-scarf. Hmm. Got me to thinkin’. I certainly have never seen any such mention in the hand-weaving world.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🪢👙🧣
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  148. @ JMG – Good to know the comment section on that one remained calm. I read the post but didn’t partake in the comments.

    The reason I ask is two-fold.

    1- I’m curious what you think the collective reaction might be to population decline.

    2- Do you think it might turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Aside from environmental pressures (and that’s no small factor), might the perception that the future will be fracking shale, in part due to low brith rates, might lead to even lower birthrates? Put another way, if you perceive a lack of kids as being part of the problem, it might disincline you from having any?

  149. Mary, quite a bit of it, and the best of it challenges the entire notion that “gnosticism” existed as anything but a very broad general category of diverse sects. I recommend Stevan Davies’ The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom as a good intro and Bentley Layton’s fine collection The Gnostic Scriptures for a deeper dive, as much for the commentaries as for the translations.

    Clay, you know, you could be right. Heh heh heh.

    Degringolade, hmm. I’ll consider it.

    Robert M, fair enough. I suppose it won’t help in the least for me to mention that I have zero interest in elbowing my way into anybody else’s fiefdom; I walked away from my own Druidical example of the species, after all, since in the final analysis I’m much more a sigma than an alpha. I wouldn’t mind an author’s badge and maybe a place on a few panels at the next NecronomiCon, and I’d be delighted to see my tentacle novels carried by more bookstores — those stories are very dear to me — but that’s the height of my ambition. Like a certain other Rhode Island author, I value my solitude and prefer to do much of my interaction with other people by way of correspondence…

    Jeff, okay, then I was wrong. It does happen! I’m sorry to hear about the Merchant Princes series; the couple of short Lovecraftian pieces I read were quite good.

    Northwind, I can actually answer that, by way of Sara’s longtime interest in British Regency culture and dress — yes, Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer were favorite authors of hers; how did you guess? 😉 Those skintight pantaloons that Regency gentlemen wore?

    Many of those were handknitted, with very fine needles and even finer yarn. Traditional knitting includes fantastically small stitches. Yes, a skilled knitter could make a good bra that way — though “skilled” in this case probably means “started learning at the age of three and can make a sweater in a week.”

    Ben, it’s a reasonable question. The very short form is that I expect the reaction to be diverse but intense. Some people will doubtless launch a crusade to get birth rates back up again; others will freak out and be even less likely to breed; the great majority will just muddle through and have fewer children — but it’ll be a loaded issue on all sides, with vast amounts of panic, rage, and other emotions flailing around.

  150. On body odour:

    A Wiccan woman versed told me she trained with others to identify human emotions or their following products in cloths soaked in someones sweat.
    Kids and adolescents have a distinctive smell that I’ve come to notice in the past years.
    Diet is of course a big influence.

    As great german vedic doctor Ulrich Bauhofer reminds us, all our thoughts and subsequent emotions release lots of hormones.

    When you are observing carefully, you can clearly feel this in your body.

    On washing:

    I faintly knew a guy as well allergic to water.
    My grandmother who died recently at 97 1/2 was used to cloth washes in her youth.
    The pits of the human body where sweat collects are often enough to wash off deposable body odour.

    On psychic abilities:

    I managed to make my mobile phone screech and do weird colors once. I used to have these energetic surges through my body, make me shiver
    spastically for a second. I held them back due to social reasons and did not understand them.

    I directed one such spasm against the phone that day, for intentionally wanting to try what happens. That were before my conscious energetic
    training days, but I had the classic mantra “mind over matter” in my head that day, I read it somewhere.

    One unethical thing I did, not too bad but wrong, a woman in the metro was somewhat rudely pushing, and I directed mental darts at her
    lower back shooting them with my fingers like an imaginary pistol. She grabbed her lower back and crooked her back, shortly after impact.
    But immedeately afterwards I was aware that it is wrong and did not do so again.

    @JMG

    So…”psychic energy” is like the mental focus that may leave our body, and it can densify etheric substance to a point that even spoons bend?
    Do I get this right?

    On genetics and mutation:

    As a kid influence by biologist parents I always liked to believe spontaneous mutation cant be the only source of evolution; I suspected environment
    factors.

    Through the years about 2003 to 2012 or 2014 I read the german edition of Scientific American.
    Maybe not a bad exercise at that, what I found was:

    First the human genome project and its overblown high hopes of what we can do. I was interested in that as a child.
    Then the come-down of “ah its more complex than that”.

    And that process reiterated many times there! I clearly saw how contributors often wanted to see their findings and horizon of recognition
    as a final line where it goes no further.

    “Junk DNA is just useless stuff amassed through evolution” “OK Junk DNA seems to serve SOME purpose after all…”
    “When we decode the genes we know the determined path” “OK twin studies show differences yet again, seems the proteins on top of the DNA
    uncoiling seem to play a part”

    Also overblown future fantasies that were really bland. I was a materialist but I always revered nature the most, and by that I always meant
    “ecosystems on their own, uncontrolled by any modern ways”.

    I valued their ideas especially on environmentalism negatively, as it always came down to “we need to controll it all” and absolutely no willingness
    to step back a little

  151. Hey JMG and the commentariat in general,
    I’ve got a bit of an odd question, I think. Are there any practices (esoteric or not) that deal with undoing what I’ve come to call “symbolic poisoning”? By that I mean the unconscious influence from symbols, advertising, etc. that seems to remain as detritus insofar as one lives in modern society, as well as past personal associations (such as some place being strongly associated with an emotion, etc.)

    Maybe this is a bit too vague, but it’s worth a shot.

  152. JMG, so you beheld the spoon bending of Stubblebine? What a treat! What did he comment, if anything? I guess like admiral rickover, but for different reasons, he embarrassed them and it got him sacked when he offered to do it publicly.

  153. Edmund,

    I see the same things that you do. I am 27 years old and most of my friend work in high end white collar professions: pharmacy, satellite and computer programming, and one is on the top engineering team for blue origin. They make a lot more money than most people but still talk about the hopelessness of the future financially. When I brought up the problem of peak oil after first learning about it they all brushed it off referencing the law of supply and demand, “when oil supply becomes too expensive something new will be created to meet the demand for energy.” Or more simply, “they’ll come up with something.” It seems to irritate them badly to hear such things so I’ve stopped bothering them with it and let them stick to their religion of progress. Just the other day my blue origin friend was telling me that, “eventually we will have to leave this planet and have a space civilization in the stars,” just a few minutes later he was saying he, “would need to buy a second house and rent it if he’s to have any retirement at all.” His short sightedness to his own concept of the future is obvious to me, yet everyone else in the room agrees with him!

  154. @JMG
    your confidence in the EU and area of Europe at this point seems to be low?

    Recently Peter Denk was in Austria giving a talk, in German you can listen on youtube.

    In short, what he usually talks about:
    – the messages of the spirit world. He takes them cautiously enough it seems, often giving likelihoods of things rather than fixed determination
    – The spirit world taking to natural disasters as a warning against certain elites that want a world war
    – The belief that spirit beings would always prevent anything as catastrophic as a nuclear war, probably as a means of keeping the flow of soul experiences here intact
    – observations of mass media and the many attempts to censorship
    – observation of geopolitics – apparently (dont listen for that long) he has a good track record of predicting wars and events
    – a lot of reference to astrology, numerology, coinciding aspects of major events
    – observations on the social phenomena of our time esp with respects to common belief in mass media and spiritual groups

    That described, I want to summarize his (always cautious) guess to the next few years:

    Firstly, he says a strong spiritual energy is increasingly impacting on the populace, which is beneficial for consciously spiritual people, but can turn other unconscious of the matter crazy or burden them. This goes in line with what that Austrian woman learned from a Yogi and giving meditation
    seminars here I visit says as well. People “waking up” that may be unprepared and unguided there.

    On to the beef of geopolitics and the material world. Not quite resources and oil he talks about, but economc connection.

    He assumes the Ukraine war will be over, for one, yes not big news here, and that at the end of this year in Germany and Austria
    “the world will not have fallen apart materially, but the wider thinking and imagination of the populace will have changed drastically”
    There will be no blackout the spirit world says, which surprises him as a learned electro-technician.
    A good analyst in the matter in Germany is surprised as well, showing official data that shows Germany imports a multiple of electricity now,
    a net importer. Theres one German city that has banned extension of the electrical grid to fancy electric appliances of our time, EV and so on, by the way.

    There will be political unrest in Germany, maybe in Austria, but it wont be as violent as in other parts of Europe this year.
    The Davos crowd and its minions trys a few things but accomplishes almost nothing, and is overdue to collapse.
    Due 2025 he says, disintegration of the system starts and material effects will show.

    These things are in line with an Austrian astrologer I could say was right a lot from experience. He cites him also, but without naming him
    (for a reason I know that however, they certainly know each other).

    The astrologer predicts accelerating economic downturn from October on, a difficult winter, an angry populace, worldwide changes in rulership but especially also here in Austria, a very difficult economical winter, highly possible an increased number of people wanting to leave the cities by next year, man and woman partnerships that will increasingly be found more by necessity than as a lifestyle relationship, sweeping changes everywhere especially these next two years.

    And one thing also they say, a lot of people will die, either due to the corona vaccine or also, because their souls kind of cannot cope with this new situation, are taken by the strong spiritual force storming down, and in some way decide to leave this incarnation.

    Well well. The comfortable classes around me are still hedonistic, progress believing and quite a few still like to believe “Ukraine” has a chance, though increasingly nervous.

    I am curious how long my bureaucratic govt job will be there. A woman was fired recently when she went on a education leave, in Austria you can do that with part of your prev years pay, I thing on govt cost.
    She went to study some entirely useless polit subject. She was a project manager. Two young guys in their twenties do the same right now, but havent been fired.

    Still, firsttime I witnessed this here, since last September when I started.

    Oh well for now this enables me to get enough spare time for following my physical, spiritual and sometimes social interest, and I am thankful.

    Tis a good boat for now that I ride to follow my true interest as much as I can.

    Stocking easily cooked grains two years ago wasn’t the worst of my ideas until here either, saves me some money.

  155. @Jeff Russel: re: The Merchant Princes…

    I do remember liking the first few books the best, but even though I didn’t agree with his technological progressivism, I still thought he had some good plot twists in the later books that turned things on their heads and kept me guessing . I really liked the character of Erasmus Burgeson and his network of Leveller’s. The spycraft in the first of the three last books (Empire State) in the final trilogy and all the stuff about the stasi was very interesting to me.

    I haven’t read any of Stross’s Lovecraftiana.

  156. I am really struggling after losing the myth of progress. I grew up in a upper middle class family fully immersed in the progress/tech lore, and now I find myself not knowing what to do with my life. I used to have a lot of ambition and still want to do something big but what? Wish there were more examples around me, and wish I knew what exactly to ezpect from the future in my lifetime (30M).

  157. @CR Patiño, as a Russian, I can certainly relate to selective disobedience. It is a big part of our culture, not least of all among people who are nominally loyal to their higher-ups (government, corporate, other…), but have little time for scrupulous adherence to either the letter or the spirit of the rules (laws, internal regulations, etc.).

    I might also share your dislike for unthinking disobedience, but here things get odd, because there is definitely a strain of kneejerk rebelliousness in our culture as well. I suppose it is more common among affluent urbanites these days (what one might call PMCs), but historically it has also been associated with various anarchistic and antinomian traditions. It’s not very new; it was certainly around in the 19th century, when Dostoyevsky wrote that if you give a star chart to a Russian schoolboy who has never seen it before, he will give it back to you revised. Dostoyevsky and another prominent conservative monarchist also agreed in a conversation that they could not possibly reveal a hypothetical terror threat to the police – because even to men of their beliefs, reporting a potential crime to an authority figure seemed fundamentally wrong and indecent. This may have been an intellectual disease at first, but it did not entirely stay in the intelligentsia (though it has always been more typical there).

    I think this attitude, while perhaps adaptive in some ways, has occasionally brought us to utter catastrophe (to bring up just one example: diverse groups of anarchists repeatedly letting themselves get used as cannon fodder by the Bolsheviks during the civil war, because woo, rebellion! Never mind that the Bolsheviks were already laying the groundwork of the most despotic regime in our history, to the great detriment of the anarchists themselves, their ideals and their freedom-loving constituencies). Cerebrally, I have come to dislike such thoughtlessness in us and in others. But on a visceral level, I can feel this kneejerk contrarianism in me too. It has taken me a while to learn to restrain it. From what you describe, your attitude towards it might be more intrinsic.

    I suppose I’m curious as to how typical your attitude is in Mexico, and whether there is an antinomian strain there as well. I would think there might be, since Mexico also has a long record of rebellions and revolutions. But then again, those things might not really require each other… effective rebellion also requires organisation and discipline, after all.

  158. Rafael, Robert, Tad, Phutatorius, JMG and others: speaking of schooners and such, I can’t resist mentioning the Bluenose II, built in 1963 in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, using the identical specs as the original Bluenose which sank off the coast of Haiti in 1946. Bluenose II was built by many of the same builders who worked on the original Bluenose in 1921. Not only the most beautiful sailing vessel I’ve seen, she is also fast: the original Bluenose was undefeated in the Fishermen’s Trophy international (US & Canada) competition (won 17 times before she sank). Also, being so fast, she also made an ideal rum runner (I sometimes wonder if the Kennedy family of Boston made some of their fortune from the Bluenose’s illegal cargo). Bluenose has graced the Canadian dimes since 1947. Bluenose is a big girl, though: 285 tons, 143 feet long, 27-foot beam and 10,000 square feet of sail. I suspect that most of the ‘working’ sailboats of the future will be in the 50 – 60-foot range like the dhows that still ply the waters off the Arabian peninsula. I do hope that there are still some Nova Scotians who know how to build such magnificent sailing vessels: to lose the skills to produce something that so perfectly marries beautiful form with useful function would be a travesty.

  159. fine knits. Women hand knit stockings to go under their skirts and keep warm, these were fine knits, thin yarn(string) on small needles. They knit very fine lace also.

    I would also expect that we will keep on with machine knitting and weaving for quite a while,

  160. I second the recommendation for Bernadette Banner’s book. I have a copy and I consider one of the very few recent craft books which is worth the cover price.

    An interesting aspect of the recent, and growing protests against our financing of Israel’s attack on Gaza is that the usual protest funding ecology does not seem to be involved. Antifa has not shown up, for example. If anyone cares, my position remains the same, a pox on both their houses.

  161. An alternate response municipalities may bring to the inability to maintain roads is a massive reduction in speed limit. One doesn’t need a good road to be safe driving 15 mph or less! And of course, lower speed limits is a source of police revenue, at least for a while.

  162. Mary (#149)

    There are at least two issues: “ancient gnosticism” and scholarship concerning it, and James Lindsay’s ideas and laims. I will address only the first here, to avoid an unreadably large post.

    The study of “ancient gnosticism” is pretty contentious, without even much agreement on the “gnosticism” part, let alone the “ancient” part. A substantial part of the contention has to do with the motives, agendas, or deep assumptions, of the students of the subject. People generally use terms to mean what they want them to mean, one has to read and evaluate each writer on one’s own, in terms of one’s own interests and projects. The best thing to do is to read studies that disagree with each other

    For example,
    This article surveys the reception of the Gnostic text Pistis Sophia in esoteric milieus in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. The first part of the article contains an overview of the text and scholarship on it. Then follows a study of the reception of Pistis Sophia in a broader array of esoteric circles. It becomes clear that the text was hailed as an example of ancient and great spiritual wisdom, although seldom discussed in detail theologically. Next, this is compared to the academic reception at the same time where it was, as previous scholars have made clear, discarded due to what was understood as a discrepancy with “Gnostic” characteristics. This article shows that Pistis Sophia was not discarded in esoteric circles but rather read in light of already established esoteric trajectories, for example Blavatsky’s, Krumm-Heller’s, or Papus’ particular spiritual evolutionary perspectives. Lastly, it is argued that the understanding of Gnosticisms that both these receptions reflect is still very much active today: academics and esoteric groups are guided by similar trajectories vis-à-vis Gnosticism, seeing it as a representative of a “universal religious essence” associated with progressive attitudes (for example regarding sex and gender), which allows/forces them to renegotiate the ancient sources themselves.

    Or

    In this paper, we discuss what is at stake in appropriating the thought of reactionary figures, such as Heidegger and Schmitt, for critical geography. We will argue that Heidegger and Schmitt were beholden to an arcane geopolitics shaped by supposed gnostic insights into the deeper currents of world history. This (geo-) political theology of Heidegger and Schmitt has not yet been given sufficient attention by geographers engaging their work. However, it is only in approaching their work in a theological key that the gnostic political theology that undergirds their arcane geopolitics can be fully understood. At the core of this arcane geopolitics is the conviction that modernity and all those identified as its agents is a force for ill, setting the world towards catastrophe. In this paper, we excavate this gnostic disposition in the thought of Heidegger and Schmitt in order to raise questions about how their work ought to be mobilized in and for critical, emancipatory, progressive thought so that this appropriation does not bring unwanted residues along with it.

    Or

    This review essay presents and critically engages April DeConick’s The
    Gnostic New Age, thereby elucidating a series of theoretical problems currently facing the
    study of Gnosticism and ancient religion more broadly. Notably, a post-theoretical
    shift—identified as pervasive in the field of religious studies in the 2010s—has
    emerged in recent Gnostic studies, a shift that has failed to embrace the critical insights
    offered by Michael Williams (1996) and Karen King (2003) and is on the rise in Gnostic
    studies. In addition, a historical “mapping” (in the sense offered by J. Z. Smith) of ancient
    religion into dichotomies leaves us with a romanticized ”Gnosticism” and a caricatured
    understanding of ancient religion and ancient Christianity. On the positive side, however,
    DeConick illustrates a rising interest in studying the experiential in Gnosticism while
    advocating the application of cognitive science of religion.

    To borrow from JRR Tolkien’s verse on the reception of the Lord of The Rings:

    Gnosticism is one of those things
    If you like it you do
    If you don’t, you boo.

    LeGrand

  163. @Bonaventure, @ecosophian:
    I find the dragon fight from the Fairy Queene oddly comforting to read. I bought a very nice edition on sale, but you can find it online. If you are not familiar with Spenser, read the first page of the first few stanzas of Book I (skip over all introductory material). This will give you a feel for the rhythm and rhyme and get you acquainted with the characters. You don’t need to understand all the words.

    Then jump to canto XI of the same book and read the fight of the Red-Cross Knight with the dragon. It has an almost magical, refreshing and comforting effect on me.

    Faint, wearie, sore, emboyled, grieved, brent
    With heat, toyle, wounds, armes, smart, and inward fire,
    That never man such mischiefes did torment;
    Death better were, death did he oft desire…

    If you don’t like this canto, don’t bother to read on. As C.S. Lewis wrote, Spenser is meant to be read with pleasure!

  164. >People “waking up” that may be unprepared and unguided there

    Remember that pilot who took shrooms a few days before and then concluded it was time to shut off the fuel valves while in flight? Some people just aren’t ready. But ready or not – here we come. Or go. Or something.

  165. #158, #160
    Silk knit and weave can be done very small, but I’m surprised nobody has modified hand looms to the curvatures of breasts. Specialty hat and sock looms exist, after all.

  166. MK, here are two sayings on which you might wish to meditate.
    ora et labora, which means pray and work.
    Grow where you are planted.

    I would suggest that you reflect on the reality that those who rise to “the top” in a corrupted society become either coopted and corrupt themselves or sidelined or assassinated. There is a great deal of useful work that badly needs doing right now. It saddens me to see folks with skills and credentials bowing out of the Rat Race, when those skills are badly needed. If you are an attorney, are there things you can do in the pro bono line? If you are a physician, can you set up in a neighborhood which has none?

  167. I had spotty internet and phone service for a while. My previous ISP seemed to have competent office staff but not the ability to repair hardware as accidents happened. The new ISP apparently has the reverse. And all the others are somehow worse. One explanation I’ve heard is all the internet providers are struggling to catch up to a huge new demand for bandwidth by something that’s not allowed to be discussed here. Or there is less bandwidth available as the world fragments with wars flaring up and breaking supply chains. Either way, I may be one of millions or billions getting a nudge to rely less on internet and phones.

  168. Curt, I don’t claim to know how it works. I simply know that it was remarkable to watch!

    Furnax, that’s one of the points of the daily banishing ritual I keep on talking about.

    Celadon, he wasn’t sacked — he retired after 32 years in the service, finishing up as a major general running the Army Intelligence and Security Command, and was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. A lot of his peers and superiors thought he was nuts, but I never heard that anyone complained about how he did his job. As for his spoon bending, it was something to watch. He would hold the spoon by the handle, stroke it a few times with his thumb, and then in a parade-ground voice, belt out “Bend!” — and the thing flopped over as though the metal had suddenly gone soft.

    Curt, thanks for this. Now we’ll see what happens!

    MK, you can still accomplish great things. It’s just that society isn’t going to do it for you! We live in a time of decline, when things are getting gradually more difficult for most people; that means that you’ll have to work a little harder to accomplish your dreams, but it’s quite possible that you can still accomplish them. I’d encourage you to read some history from other difficult eras and get a sense of how people responded to them; that will give you some perspective, so you can rise to the challenge of our time.

    Ron, thanks for this. Schooners in particular seem to be a living tradition in several parts of coastal North America, which is why I made them important transport vessels in Retrotopia and the latter phases of the Haliverse novels.

  169. @JMG (#160):
    No, I don’t suppose it would have helped, more’s the pity! In my experience, “alphas gonna alpha,” no matter what the situation; and sigmas just don’t compute in their world. Their loss …

  170. >but it’ll be a loaded issue on all sides, with vast amounts of panic, rage, and other emotions flailing around

    I speculated in 1993 that we would see something I called “downloadable TV” at the time. I reasoned that computers would get big enough, fast enough and those newfangled internet connections would too, that you would stop watching TV shows over the air and just download them over the internet. Here we are 30 years later, although they call it “streaming”.

    I just mention this (and I want to go on record here), I’m making another one of these kinds of predictions again. This one is a little risque. Someone is going to combine something like an Atlas robot frame – and wrap something like a Realdoll around it. We’re not there yet (and depending on how things collapse) we may never get there, but based on what I see, at some point, it’ll be possible, just like downloadable TV was. I’m guessing sometime in the 2030s?

    And if you think things are broken now, just wait until something like that is released. “panic and rage and other emotions flailing around” sounds like just the start.

  171. Robert M., oh, granted. In a slightly less idiotic world…

    Other Owen, hasn’t that happened already? I recall reading some years ago about sex robots in e-brothels.

  172. Shane #125 – that was a wonderful post and especially the point you made about acquiring a food without acquiring the food preparation culture that made it safe/safer to eat.

    In a wierd way, it links into the other conversation thread, about genes, and their relationship to cells. Because if you take the view (as some reputable scientists do) that genes are just one of the many “active” systems a cell has to work with and pass on to succeeding generations. And if an organism just acquires a new gene (by, say, CRISPR technology, or such) is it not the same as acquiring a food that your ancestors have no “culture” for using safely?

    Always fun to speculate… 😉

  173. @JMG (#177):

    Did you ever see the General bend a spoon that someone else had given him right there on the spot? There is a fairly simple stage-magic trick that can produce that effect in a spoon which the magician has gimmicked ahead of time. (Either way, I’m impressed with the General’s skill and knowledge.)

  174. To Robert Mathiesen (#53) “Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts has made a point of preserving the old Yankee knowledge of how to raise and train oxen for farmwork.” A friend of mine leads a 4-H group dedicated to these skills, and had oxen at OSV last weekend.

  175. 💨Northwind Grandma💨🧑‍🌾🌱🐄☢️👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🏚️🌏☠️🦣🐅🐋🦬🦭🤫💸🚀💣🐝🪰🐨🐇🦝🐺🙈🙉🙊 says:

    Shane Simonsen #125

    Very interesting article about maize.

    Food is one of my interests, hence, my cookbook collection.

    A couple years ago, I went searching books on the history of food, and the fact that corn is a primary crop in Wisconsin, suited for laymen. I could find almost no books. I did eventually find the book:

    * “Food in History” by Reay Tannahill, ISBN 0517571862,

    which I devoured [pun intended]. I just now see my marker showing that I read only half the book. I may read the second half soon.

    About the same time, I bought the 1945 book “Trampling Out the Vintage” by Joseph A. Cocannouer (1882 Illinois-1969 Oklahoma), by University of Oklahoma Press.

    This book, and two others, changed my life:

    * “Weeds, Guardians of the Soil” by Joseph A. Cocannouer, Devon-Adair, 1950, Amazon B0007DQV9Y; 1980, ISBN 0815972051.

    * “Weeds, Control Without Poisons” by Charles Walters, 1999, Acres USA, ISBN 0911311580.

    When I see other (even here) worry about humans ruining Planet Earth, I have to laugh. I don’t contradict them. If they only knew… Humans will do doodly-squat bad things to Planet Earth long-term. It is humans who will go extinct, not Planet Earth. From ignorance, humans are, and will continue to be, responsible for the demise of many species, but the overall trajectory of humans will have absolutely no impact on the life of plants and animals on Earth. The sooner humans collapse, the better it is for plants and animals. Animal lab-testing will stop. Mega-sounds by the US Navy will stop. What other evil things that the US Govmint and BigPharma have been doing since 1945, will cease? The sooner, the better. As the human race nose-dives, wild animals and plants will thrive, just like what has happened in the Chernobyl zone. When I look at the rise of aristocracies, I know that humans are doomed—humans simply don’t care what happens to each family’s poor cousins (genealogically speaking)—no-one cares about the siblings who DID NOT inherit the farm (and their progeny), so to speak.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🧑‍🌾🌱🐄☢️👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🏚️🌏☠️🦣🐅🐋🦬🦭🤫💸🚀💣🐝🪰🐨🐇🦝🐺🙈🙉🙊
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  176. > Bathing and BO @ Clark #70

    I won’t comment on British bathing habits except to say when I lived there in the ’70s we used to refer to deodorant spray as “Pommie bath”. (Pommie = Limey)

    Camping in Spain I was amused to see how much time the young Spanish guys spent in the ablution blocs… blow-drying their hair! So much for the macho culture.

    > a washbowl, jug of cold water, washcloth @ Northwind Grandma #87

    I can remember country hotels where the toilets were down the passage and you got a washbowl and jug in your room. I never used them, but I believe the technique was “pour water over your head and wash down as far as possible; splash water from the bowl and wash up as far as possible; finally, wash possible.”

    > saving water @ Roldy #141

    When Cape Town nearly ran dry I developed my own water-saving bath. Full a bucket with 9 liters of warm water (just under 2 1/2 gals US) and place in the bath with the plug in. Kneel in the bath and with a sponge wet, soap, and rinse yourself, including your hair. When finished, dry yourself off and scoop the water back in the bucket and use it to flush the toilet. You can get a good drain-clearing rush.

    Sometimes I stay over at my sister’s place. She asks me if I don’t want to use her shower to get a “real wash”. Actually no. I prefer my method to a shower. I think it’s cleaner.

    @ Eagle #147 Nice. We get the message instantly. (The image was vertically elongated. Don’t know why.)

    > apartment chickens @ Brunette #154

    What about bantams? My stepmother kept bantams. The are like chickens, only smaller, better-behaved, and prettier. The eggs are small, but as nourishing as chicken eggs. You just have to eat more of them to make up for the size.

  177. Alan #127

    I had never heard of aquagenic urticaria. How awful. Water as the enemy‼️

    I know hives. As a teenager, due to stress, mainly as a reaction to my mother’s behavior, I would break out in hives. One cannot do anything during an episode except sit and suffer. I am glad the condition went away on its own, and you got relief.

    Thanks for the info. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🩸💧
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  178. Hi All,
    I am curious if anyone has put together or knows of a good classification system for human skills and knowledge. As a home schooling parent I like to give my kids options on their subjects and how they relate but tend to be limited by the basic school categories. My attempts to find this on the web have been… limited to less than helpful abstractions for the most part. The best example I have found is this item:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figurative_system_of_human_knowledge
    “The “figurative system of human knowledge” (French: Système figuré des connaissances humaines), sometimes known as the tree of Diderot and d’Alembert, was a tree developed to represent the structure of knowledge itself, produced for the Encyclopédie by Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Denis Diderot.”

    I know it is an oversimplification but the skills trees used in many computer games and sites like khan academy were helpful it identifying the smaller steps that it would take to get to a bigger goal like building big wooden ships.

  179. @Clarke aka Gwydion:

    Your view aligns with those of James Kennedy, whose essays I’ve been reading. He thinks that psi is an essentially spiritual thing that acts on and influences people, not the other way around. He thinks the lack of reliably practical applications for psi preserves its spiritual and mystical aspects and he’s very critical of parapsychology research. He thinks that parapsychology is too beholden to the flawed ideas of J.B. Rhine- who thought that psi is a process we are all experiencing at a low level all the time- and that since psi isn’t really created reliably in the lab, the results from most positive parapsychology studies are flawed, and are the result of poor methods, biased reporting, or even fraud (or, more optimistically, psi on the part of the experimenters rather then the subjects).

    Of course his arguments may also be taken as showing the phenomena aren’t real at all. He isn’t bothered by this because he believes in the paranormal purely on the basis of personal experience. I have personally had some experiences with psi, but they weren’t very dramatic and definitely wouldn’t convince a skeptic.

  180. After writing my last comment I realized it might be helpful to link to James Kennedy’s website, given it’s a rather difficult name to search for. Here’s the site, if anyone’s interested: https://jeksite.org/

  181. Furnax,

    On the non-esoteric side, I have found that long periods of without symbolic inputs seem to “detox” one in a way (especially if combined with steady physical activity). I spent several months backpacking with no phone, music, or electronic devices once. It seemed like every commercial jingle, nursery rhyme, lurid movie or book scene, etc. I had ever encountered made its way into my consciousness, remained for a time in a rather compulsive way, and then made its way out. A similar phenomenon happened at a silent retreat I once went to, and when I spent several weeks applying cob and earthen plaster to a building. Easy and repetitive needlework such as crocheting a large, plain afghan will do something similar to a degree. But not if you watch TV or chat while doing it!

  182. @Jean #84 re: skirts etc. The 17th century “slops” – loose knee pants – were a lot more simply constructed than modern pants, because they were less labor-intensive, if my information is correct. But when I was in the SCA (the 17th was not my period then) I noted long skirts without jeans made it a lot easier to do what a bear does in the woods. Or the outhouse. That, also, period headgear meant warmer sleeping (our camps were at well over 5,000 feet altitude; the City was at 5k feet!)

    I noticed here in The VIllage, many of the older women and a good deal of the men were wearing their cotton shirts twice running. I’ve taken to doing that with my T-shirts; we’ll see if it bothers anybody. I think it would bother my oldest daughter. All this for what it’s worth.

    About sex robots in e-brothels: Tanith Lee had a charming little science fiction novel called “The Silver Metal Lover.” Though it assumed things about him not in evidence among today’s robots.

  183. A perfect example of Imperial collapse complete with corruption, senility, greed, financialization , and retribution against the competent is Boeing.
    https://prospect.org/infrastructure/transportation/2024-03-28-suicide-mission-boeing/

    This is a saga that has been playing out for 20 years now but it just seems to be getting worse and worse. Boeing is one of only two companies in the world ( till the Russians and Chinese get the bugs out of theirs) making commercial airplanes. Once a company which prided itself on quality and safety, it is now a rambling shambling mess that seems to be heading off the cliff Thelma and Louise Style.
    I think the of air travel for the masses is not far away, and not ( as I used to think) because of fuel costs but because we have lost our ability to accomplish large complicated tasks with consistency and repeatability.
    30 years ago I figured we would get our act together enough at the last minute to cobble together a useful passenger rail system but I think the clock has run out on that also. I guess with Planes, Trains and Automobiles gone it will be up to the Schooners.

  184. About skirts – I also noticed that long skirts are very hampering in cars, especially if you’re driving. Pants are better for that. Note: unless you have cloth seats, shorts and short skirts are NOT advisable unless yu keep a towel over the seat.

    oops. Supper time. Gotta run.

  185. Chris at Fernglade #135

    > It would be hard to have an economy which leans hard upon the construction industry, when the supply of constructed things, exceeds demand.

    People no longer know how to build things, nor does it seem they want to learn how to build things. They don’t anything unless others make it FOR THEM.

    UPSTATE NEW YORK, 1950s

    My grandfather Isaac and his elder brother Fred (both born around 1890), in their 60s, built their own two houses, together, as a team. They came from a family of farmers and canalers (boatman on a canal), and had grown up learning how to build anything and everything. Someday, people will be brought up similarly, just like farmers’ kids do now. Farmers’ kids’ know-how is awesome. Someday, people will want to learn how to build things, and go ahead and learn how to build things, and then teach their kids.

    Isaac and Fred inherited money from their elder brother George in 1950. It was enough money to buy land and construction materials for the two modest, side by side, houses, but not labor. Isaac was an electrician by trade, and Fred was a plumber by trade. As a kid, I don’t know how long it took them to build the houses, but I remember visiting my grandfather in his house, and seeing Fred’s house next door. My sense is, whatever they didn’t know how to do already, they figured it out by themselves, and/or got advise from family and friends, or the odd contractor.

    Those days of ingenuity and gumption will eventually return, we just don’t know when. When someone needs something badly enough, one finds a way to accomplish it—if nothing else than by doing it oneself (DIY). Needs must win out.

    Why people expect others “to do for them” rather than “doing it themselves” leaves me speechless. People are so passive. For example, these days, people expect “others to make their meals for them” (let’s say costs $10) rather than “learning how to cook” (costs $2.50). Why aren’t people jumping at the chance of getting a 75% discount in their food bill? If they would only learn how to cook, what was $400 could be $100. I just don’t understand the disconnect in people’s brains. I started out by not knowing how to boil an egg—believe me, if I can do it, so can others.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🍳🥘🍝🍆🧄🥔🍅
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  186. Hey JMG

    Have you ever read anything by the author/artist Nick Bantock? He is well known for is novels which involve heavy use of collage style art, and occasionally letters and other paper objects as in his most famous work the “Griffin and Sabine” trilogy. I’ve recently been reading “The venetian wife” which is about a woman who is contacted by the ghost of a 15th century Venetian merchant who needs her help to complete a collection of Hindu idols with spiritual powers. It is quite good both story and art-wise. I also enjoyed “museum of purgatory”.

    https://www.nickbantock.com

  187. @Warren #49 re: Parapsychology

    Hi Warren,
    I think that parapsychologists ran into some of their trouble by assuming that the bit of the universe they want to study is passive and consistent; For example, you can get pretty reliable results between experimental trials to find the boiling point of water at the same atmospheric pressure. Water does not care if you boil it, or not! But in parapsychology, you are studying effects and abilities of living beings that can get bored, or maybe are in contact with other beings that might be taking part in your experiment just to mess around with you. That said, there are a couple of things you can try for better results:
    1) Astronomy-related:
    Spottiswoode SJP. Apparent association between effect size in free response anomalous cognition experiments and local sidereal time. J Scientific Exploration 1997 (II)2;.
    Summary–
    Remote viewing/clairvoyance/ESP work about 3 times better if you do them within a certain 2-hour time window that is defined by your Local Sidereal Time, ie., between 12:30 and 14:30 Local Sidereal Time (LST). What is LST? Well, Sidereal Time is a projection of 24 slices of time onto the apparent globe of the stars in our night sky that allows them to define where a star or constellation appears. The part of the sky that appears above your head right now is your ‘Local Sidereal Time.’ LST only matches clock time once a year.
    If you want to have more accurate clairvoyance, figure out when LST of 13:30 occurs, and schedule your clairvoyance for then. For example, today at 1 PM daylight savings time where I am, the LST is 02:21. 13:30 LST for me today will occur at about 10 minutes past midnight, and the 2-hour time frame will be 11:10 PM to 01:10 AM.
    2) Kozyrev Mirrors.
    Kaznacheev VP, Trofimov AV. Cosmic Consciousness of Humanity – Problems of new cosmogony. Tomsk, Russia. Elendis-Progress. 1992
    Get some sheets of aluminum metal flashing that are thin enough to be flexible and about 9 feet (3 metres) high, and wind them into a more-or-less Fibonacci spiral that has a 3 x 3-foot area in the centre, big enough for a chair. Polish the inner surface so that it is at least somewhat reflective. Cap off the top, and perhaps the bottom, with a sheet of aluminum too. Mount the whole thing on a base that can be rotated. It should resemble a tall, aluminum closet when done, and inside, the metal should block the Earth’s magnetic field almost completely. This is one version of the Kozyrev Mirror (KM).
    Advantages:
    According to its developers, Remote Viewing from within a KM can be done of any destination and at any past, present, or future time with 80% accuracy. It can also be used to send and receive messages accurately at great distances, but its not clear whether you need a KM on both ends for 2-way traffic.
    Disadvantages:
    When they made the first KM, it emitted a field of ‘you-are-going-to-die-if-you-get-inside-this’ for several weeks, and there were various bursts of light and UFO-like phenomena in the sky above the town.
    People who went inside it had very accurate remote viewing, but also experienced permanent changes to their psychic abilities and perceptions of their world, and this made some of them mentally unbalanced. –So, its easy enough to make one, but is it really a good idea? There are numerous YouTube videos on this topic, of widely varying quality.
    3) Both at once?
    I have not come across any accounts of someone using a Kozyrev Mirror between 12:30 and 14:30 Local Sidereal Time, and probably I wouldn’t want to be the first one to try it! Chances are that one or more governments are testing these things out.
    4) Exercise caution and restraint;
    If anyone decides to try these practices, remember that the Universe is alive and may actually care if we are using psi to bless and alleviate suffering vs. if we are just being jerks or greedy.
    Hope that’s of some interest, Warren!

  188. Hi John Michael,
    A couple of things.
    1/ We’re all familiar with the metastatic growth of regulations that serve the usual “useful” purposes of adding to lenocrat job creation and increasing overall stress levels that must be soothed.
    ie “When the going gets tough – go shopping.”
    I’d like to point out the increase in medical standards and tests the serve the same functions.
    As an alternative practitioner I’ve seen over the last few decades a huge increase in the number of people taking more and more “routine” tests; and of course the “necessary” treatments.
    A few decades ago the alternatively interested never mentioned anything like that. Now my 5 in 10. Admittedly I’m an ageing practitioner with an ageing clientele, but it’s common now even in the younger people too.

    2/ I’m running a sort of ad hoc experiment that started as a joke.
    Whenever possible I ask people in the course of conversation “….oh, do you have a Satanic device?”
    So far everybody -Everybody! – says “Oh you mean my phone ?” The lag time is not more than 15 seconds. They all know. Then I usually say “Well isn’t it ?” and the reply is “Well yes .. but.. ”
    They alll know what it is; fascinating !
    cheers
    Lurksalong

  189. @JMG #179
    Oh yeah, I’ve been seeing the effects, thanks for that! I was just wondering if there was something else I could be doing as well. Maybe this is just me being a little bit hasty, but sometimes it feels like I could use some extra help on that front. If it ends up being just a matter of time and consistent application of the SoP, that’s fine by me! Have no intention of stopping doing that after all.

  190. Chuaquin, copper theft in the USA is a sizable problem in certain regions. One heavily-affected item is the charging cables for electric cars, both at public stations and at homes. Here’s a news quote from my region (Fresno is a city in central California): “Fresno has been affected by EV charging cable theft, particularly in public areas such as Roeding Park. In December 2022, the cables on EV charging stations at Roeding Park were cut and stolen. This is not an isolated incident, as the city of Fresno has reported that over a dozen city-owned EV charging stations were vandalized, with heavy cables used to connect the curbside chargers to vehicles being severed for the valuable copper wire inside. According to [federal] authorities, copper wire thefts account for more than $1 billion in losses each year, making it a significant issue. The theft of EV charging cables is a concern not only for the inconvenience it causes but also for the potential safety hazards it poses.” Most recently the city of Fresno began retrofitting dozens of chargers with expensive steel locking cabinets to hopefully protect the cables, at a cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Another two articles:
    https://www.kbb.com/car-news/ev-charging-cables-become-new-theft-target/
    https://electrek.co/2022/02/07/tesla-supercharger-cables-stolen/

    Another article, with embedded video, that discusses some of the potential social reasons why this may be occurring: https://cleantechnica.com/2023/12/03/crackheads-are-stealing-ev-charging-cords-for-copper-we-need-to-help-them-stop-doing-this/

    It is a BIG problem here!

  191. Greetings JMG,

    Have you heard of major spiritual discoveries in terms of methods and
    understandings in the past 1000 years, or has it be the same time of the Buddha,
    Jesus, etc. ? Or maybe that is not a good way to ask about this?

  192. I was writing another comment here about last week’s post, but I got all rambly and long-winded and ended up erasing it. However, I got reminded of a post from a bit further back, which reminded me of these famous Sermon on the Mount passages from the Gospel of Matthew:

    ‘“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.’

    The birds of the sky, the wild flowers, the grass of the field… and also, the wolves of Chernobyl.

  193. Robert M, I can’t swear that he didn’t pregimmick the couple of spoons I saw him bend — and yes, I know that stage magic can get the same effect. Whatever the cause, it was quite something to see.

    Bill, what a fascinating question. No, and it hadn’t occurred to me that there were such things.

    Clay, growing up south of Seattle, I knew a lot of kids whose dads worked at Boeing. The Lazy B, as it was called, was very much a local institution, and there was a lot of local pride in its planes. Then it bailed out on Seattle, relocated its headquarters to Chicago, then to suburban DC, and turned into a typical American lenocracy; problems snowballed from there. At this point I expect it to go down with the federal bureaucracy and to have its remaining assets bought out by a Chinese corporation within a couple of decades. That is to say, a perfect microcosm of the decline and fall of imperial America.

    J.L.Mc12, no, here again you’ve cited somebody I haven’t read yet. I dimly recall seeing some of the Griffin and Sabine books.

    Lurksalong, thank you for both data points! I like the “satanic device” thing — that’s remarkably revealing.

    Furnax, you might try wearing a red bag amulet, of the kind described in the Magic Monday FAQ. Some people find that very helpful.

    Tony, good heavens, yes. The fundamental principles remain the same but methods change considerably with shifts in collective consciousness. Over the last two centuries, for example, there have been significant new developments in the use of the human imagination as an instrument for spiritual perception and action — a great many of the techniques currently used by operative occultists, for example, are relatively new. Please note that this doesn’t mean that we’ve “progressed” — the myth of progress is even more dysfunctional here than elsewhere, which is saying something. It’s just that consciousness changes over time and so, accordingly, do methods of working with it.

    Carlos, ahem. “Consider the wolves of Chernobyl; they glow not, neither do they fall over dead from cancer…”

  194. I just finished reading a collection of Lovecraft’s stories. I found them quite enjoyable, but none of them gave me the creepy-crawlies like “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” did.

    In “The Shadow Out of Time,” Lovecraft seems convinced that the living, time-travelling pyramids are horrifying in and of themselves, even though they seemed fairly civil and understandable. But the main character finding his own writing in a 150 million year old book was a bit eerie.

    In “The Whisperer in Darkness,” he seems to be trying very hard to convince me that the deep forests and granite mountains of New Hampshire are horrifying, but all he did was make me want to move there. The hills are like hieroglyphs left by an ancient race of titans? The forests seem to throng with elementals? The region is beyond the borders of that territory subjugated by industrial civilization? Don’t mind if I do!

    I did enjoy how the narrator was the archetype of the smug, clueless academic, though.

    Anyway, regarding your recent mundane astrology charts: Do you have any advice for navigating all the Neptunian energy coming our way?

  195. This week, news of a cyberattack on part of our lenocratic medical industry came to my attention. The attack happened in February, but it’s only now reaching the mainstream news media. I thought it worth pointing out, not just for the effects of this particular attack, but because the medical industry isn’t the only one in which attacking a small part of it gums up the whole works. The two paragraphs are from early in the article; a link to the article follows.

    “Change Healthcare—the clearinghouse that touches from one-third to one-half of all medical claims in America, including those submitted by Function Better’s billing firm—had been [cyberattacked]. Change processes a stunning $1.5 trillion in claims annually in the U.S. And the February ransomware attack on the subsidiary of United Healthcare, which has been described as ‘the most significant and consequential cyberattack on the U.S health care system in American history,’ has affected almost every corner of the industry.

    Seventy-four percent of hospitals reported in March direct impacts to patient care as a result of the cyberattack, and 94% said they felt financial impacts. And the hack is still snarling the health care system: As of April 3, 36% of physician practices reported a suspension in claims payments, while 32% said they were unable to submit claims for payment, a survey by the American Medical Association found. ‘For most physicians, functionalities dependent upon Change Healthcare systems are still not up and running, at least not completely,’ the AMA told Congress last week.”

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/america-health-system-still-crisis-165940784.html

  196. Mary (#149)

    As for the James Lindsay part, remember that he’s originally a mathematician, one who was perplexed and exasperated by certain current academic fashions. He was one of those jokers (Alan Sokal perhaps being a role model) who sent out preposterous papers written, more or less, in the academic Higher Gibberish mode, some of which were accepted and taken seriously enough. This gratified him and his collaborators, but seriously annoyed others, including some authorities at his university.

    I suppose that, like many people who encounter certain dominant, or at least domineering, intellectual fashions, he could tell there was something really off about what he was encountering, but did not have the conceptual background to give it a “local habitation and a name”, so he ended up clutching at tools from the collective noosphere that were close enough, but not really the most suited to the task. — rather like someone who grabs at a screwdriver when a chisel, or a pry-bar, would be more suitable. Or, perhaps, like someone who learns about irrational numbers and turns to psychoanalysis to shed light on the subject.

    His item (1) has to do with systems that have built-in protections against disconfirmation, with a serving of ad hominem argument on the side (“If you bring up what you say is a disconfirming argument, it just shows how vicious you are.”) . His item (2) has to do with the defensive maneuver that says “my unhappiness is your (someone else’s) fault” — the opposite of the Buddhist (and Stoic) claim that one’s unhappiness can best be addressed through work on oneself. His item (3) has to do with the idea that there is a “secret” or “insider” way of seeing and talking about the world that empower those who master it to re-write the programming of the world , and that if everyone spoke the right way, they would think the right way, and problems would go away. In general, these points all have to do with the erosion of the concept that one can test one’s ideas about reality against reality itself, and that reality has the last word. — And that “reality” refers not only to data, but the tests of validity of inference.

    Basically, it seems to me, that he was so scandalized, and horrified, by what he saw happening around him that he shifted from dispassionate analysis (for which there was probably not much place) to polemical engagement. A polemical project often does not provide leisure for reflection, and so a polemicist may end up clutching at any handy defensive or offensive weapon, no matter whether it is entirely fit for the job. Coming across the shards, shells and rumors of “gnosticism” in the sea of received ideas, he found it made sense out of what he was experiencing, and so he went with it, without giving over six months or so to silent reading, digesting, and arguing with colleagues to test his grasp of the subject, and its fitness for the use he wanted to make of it.

    He probably would not have been so casual about some mathematical idea.

    LeGrand

  197. @ Gerard
    Thanks!

    JMG,
    You might have heard that there is currently a housing crisis in the big cities here in Australia with rental property availability at an all-time low, rents spiking and the possibility of owning a home disappearing fast for the next generations. Meanwhile, immigration is also at record highs. All that would be bad enough but we have the left wing political parties insisting that immigration has nothing to do with the increasing unaffordability of housing, which is at best delusional.
    What’s interesting is that the left wing parties in Australia have traditionally been the ones who wanted to control population. As late as the 80s, population was one of the main issues of the environmental movement and the left wing parties in general. It occurs to me that the capitalists, who always wanted more population, defeated the left wing from the inside by turning immigration into an issue of “racism”. Now the capitalists don’t even have to get involved in the debate anymore. They just sit back and let the “left wing” parties shout down anybody who wants to curb immigration by calling them racists. A neat trick.

  198. JMG, have you done any working concerning your comment section? Like, something to make people think twice or thrice before posting anything? Because this blog’s comment section is amongst the best there is.

  199. @JMG #205
    Oh, thanks! I’ll give it a try. I should check the FAQ more often… sorry if I’ve been asking too much!

    @Jen #193
    Thanks for the tip! I was suspecting that a period of symbolic “fasting” could be helpful, and frankly I only haven’t done so out of a mixture of apprehension and not wanting to leave a certain misguided comfort zone (maybe here we have the real issue…)
    Nonetheless, I’ll organize myself to do so. Frankly, I’m quite tired of the empty, fast-food-like feeling that symbolic poisoning brings, so that’s a good an incentive as any to bear any superficial discomforts.

  200. @Owain D.
    ‘There’s more to it than stately homes, impoverished inner-city no-go areas and out-of-touch middle-class suburbia, you know?’.
    The upper classes, middle classes and working classes can be found in both town and country.
    ‘Current British firearms licensing law is exceptionally restrictive.’
    Deer stalking and pest control are universal good reasons in rural areas. Even a clay pigeon shooting hobby is enough. For veterans who live in the countryside the process is almost automatic.
    ‘…farmers and gamekeepers, but I wouldn’t say they constitute ‘plenty of people’, not even in the countryside.’
    Farming, forestry and fishing are the mainstays of the rural economy, but ‘field sports’ also support a number of jobs. They are not a ‘fringe activity’.
    ‘…my knowledge of rural Britain is confined to north and west Wales.’
    This whole region bears the scars of mining and former industry and, in Scottish terms, it is little more than shouting distance from colonial Cheshire and the great cities of Southern Lancashire.
    ‘upper class’ landowners are such a vanishingly small element of British society as to be basically irrelevant…’
    It’s true that their power has diminished over time. Currently only thirty five percent of members of the House of Commons and sixty two percent of members of the House of Lords attended one of the thirteen elite boarding schools (which are modeled on Roman military academies). However, since the landed gentry is also interwoven with the City of London their overall influence remains quite substantial.
    ‘Sure, they may have historical firearms collections, but those have to be licensed too.’
    In practice the owners of stately homes don’t usually bother with such paperwork, as their collections are never checked. In any case they would never be prosecuted.
    ‘…common currency among organised criminals, but that’s nothing new…’
    Since the nineteen nineties most criminals have had access to military firearms. As a result of the conflict in Ukraine they will likely be able to source even heavier weapons in due course.
    ‘..less fun parts of British inner cities, I’d be way more worried about knives…’
    For my part, I watch out for gunfire, slow driving vehicles, and masked youths with backpacks on cross-country motorbikes.

  201. #127 I think the underlying reason for the difference is that there are two types of sweat gland, the apocrine sweat glands and the eccrine sweat glands, and it is the apocrine ones that are concentrated around the armpits etc. and they produce stuff that feeds the skin bacteria which produce most of the odour.

  202. @Justin Patrick Moore #166 re: Stross

    Fair enough, the tradecraft throughout was one of the highlights. I just wish we had actually gotten to see folks making more of the dangerous, unorthodox uses of world-walking that they kept alluding to – something like a crazy heist that could only work with that power would have been great. Ah well.

    Also, I haven’t read any of his Lovecraftiana either, though I picked up The Atrocity Archives years ago when a friend said “it’s basically Delta Green, the book.” Unfortunately, my experience of the Merchant Princes moved it a bit further down the list yet, but it’s by no means banished to the outer darkness.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  203. HI Northwind Grandma,

    Not everyone fits into that unable to construct things category. I ain’t bragging, but my wife and I built this here house ourselves, using our own labour, in eighteen months. That’s just a fact. Could have done all the plumbing and mains wiring too, but wasn’t allowed due to a lack of licensing to do the work and paperwork.

    People are more capable than they think they are.

    Cheers

    Chris

  204. 💨Northwind Grandma💨❄️🏊‍♂️🪵👨🏼‍🏭🪠⛵️🫏🚣🏼🐝🐛🥔🏞️🌊💧🌱🪨👞 says:

    MK #167

    In three words.

    Learn to build.

    Learn to work with wood, or metal, or electricity, or water (such as plumbing, waterfalls, rivers, canals), or stone, or plaster, or leather, or insects, or food, or trees (arboring; woodstoves), or plants, or farming, or horses, or… hmm, else. What strikes your fancy as “interesting”? You may have an existing “feel” for, say, insects, leading to (short list) silkworms or beekeeping. Or, you say, plants. Plants sound interesting—what can I do with plants?

    For example, in the wood category, there are a LOT of sub-categories, some more vital than others. The skills used in framing a house, personally, would be more useful than, say, building a baroque chest of drawers. Learning to build Mission/Gustav Stickley furniture would be more lucrative than pyrography. But I suppose pyrography could be meditative, so what do I know?

    Depends on where in the world you are. My mother’s father’s line were canalers on Lake Champlain (between New York State and Vermont) connecting New York City and Montreal. THAT route will always matter. Before that, prior to leaving England for Quebec, it is altogether possible this lineage were canalers in County Norfork, England. Dunno. There are canals throughout the USA, little known. One has to root them out, to get to know them.

    I happen to know a lot about canals, having my familial background. One stupendous book is:

    * Life on a Canal Boat: The Journals of Theodore D. Bartley, 1861-1889, by Theodore Bartley and Russell Bellico.

    Little known fact: Man, wife, and children lived on a canal boat, roughly eight months of the year. Their year started when ice broke up in waterways (April) and ended when ice stopped boats in their tracks (November). Now with climate warming, navigability is more like March to December.

    Another little known fact: The canal boats were a particular build. They were built “exactly.” The boats had to be good (long but not too long) (wide but not too wide) (flat but not too flat) all along the Hudson River, and for the canals and locks north of Albany to Montreal, plus good in New York Harbor. A couple men in the family trained—late 1800s—as tug boat captains in New York Harbor. (I still think tugboats are adorable.)

    A third little known fact: Insurances involving boating in New York Harbor was (and still is) a big deal. If even one boat nicks another boat, there was a lawsuit coming, and insurance agents had to be good at negotiating shallow waters (pun intended).

    My grandfather Isaac, born 1890s, even though home-base was Albany, New York—his birthplace was Hudson riverfront New Jersey, because that was where the boat was near when his mother went into labor. World War I killed off the family’s canaling livelihood.

    Neither New York Harbor, or Montreal, are going to go away even in decline. The waterways between them will become more important over time. New York State has maintained the New York State Canal System (New York State Barge Canals) all the way through the last hundred years, gods bless them.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Canal_System

    There will be no shortage of business, towns, and farmland along Lake Champlain. Worth a vacation there. Anyway, how did I start talking about canals?

    Back to build. Learn to build.

    Warm wishes,

    💨Northwind Grandma💨❄️🏊‍♂️🪵👨🏼‍🏭🪠⛵️🫏🚣🏼🐝🐛🥔🏞️🌊💧🌱🪨👞
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  205. @Michelle Chandler (#186):
    Thanks for letting me know! It’s good to see that people are keeping these old skills alive. My wife and I have been supporting Old Sturbridge Village for decades now, just for that reason. Alas, it’s been years since we’ve visited there, what with old age and my mobility issues. It’s a wonderful place, but one has to explore it on foot, and walking any distance is slow and painful for me now.

    @Tad (#115):
    I do know about the gundalows from the Portsmouth, NH, area! One of my wife’s gt-gt-gt-gt-grandfathers, Nathaniel Jordan, lived on Great Island back in the later 1700s, and we have visited it with other descendants of Robert Jordan, the first of that surname to settle in Maine. At least one of the other early settler families there (the Amazeens) came there from the Eastern Mediterranean lands, and ever since I first saw a gundalow–which instantly reminded me somewhat of a dhow–I’ve wondered whether the model for the first gundalow was brought to Great Island in the memories of the earliest Amazeens.

  206. @bryan Allen,
    I had never thought of thieves stealing charging cables before. That could end up being the straw that breaks the back of the EV revolution (cough cough). The faster the charge desired, the bigger the copper cable needed. Tesla’s. Newest super fast chargers push so many amps that a cable large enough to not overheat would be too heavy to lift, so they add a water jacket to cool an undersized conductor with pumped coolant. What do you think one of those costs to replace?

  207. Hi John Michael,

    Ook! That’s not good, and hasn’t yet been reported in the news down here.

    Quitting in place is an option, for sure. It’s like adding a further brake to an already slowing train don’t you reckon? What I’m curious to see is whether the fenance and goobermint folks let go of their grip and let smaller more agile enterprises have some room, or as you’ve noted before, err, cold dead grasping hands hang on far too long.

    More and more of the same is losing its appeal. The mountain range is under siege at the moment from the leaf change tourists. The population here is small, the amenities few, and the tourists are dumping a lot of rubbish and making the place ugly. A little bit of tourism is good, this scale though is off the charts. It’s an extreme form of population pressure, and a cheap day out for the tourists. The weird thing about the situation is that it is expensive for the locals, like we pay the costs of the clean up and management. It’s a ludicrous situation. I’d charge every single one of the tourists. What worries me is that some local will cut the gordian knot on this situation. Hmm.

    Cheers

    Chris

  208. Re hyperstagflation

    I know that it’s different this time. But maybe it’s like my dad said, it’s always different, it’s just the end that’s the same. So, anyways, I’m reading a book about 1923 Germany, titled, prosaically enough, ‘Germany 1923’ by Volker Ullrich. I’m about half done and it’s in English btw.

    You would know without even reading it that the fantastical German inflation of the time is a main theme. Just before it really achieved escape velocity, a prominent industrialist and politician thought that the inflation was no big problem. For one thing, apparently German politicians argued that they couldn’t make required WW1 reparation payments because of the unfavorable exchange rates that came with inflation.

    Well, it turned out to be a gigantic problem. French and Belgian troops ended up occupying large areas of Germany to forcibly extract payment. And you can imagine the friction between locals and the foreign soldiers that lorded over them.

    No surprise that German farmers were the least worst off. City dwellers with nothing to eat would trek into the countryside to barter their valuables for food. Maybe there’s a lesson here.

    What I didn’t know was that ordinary working people from neighboring countries whose currencies didn’t suffer from the same massive devaluation as the German mark would go to Germany to stay at opulent hotels and to buy luxury items like jewelry and fur coats all for a song. You can imagine how that must have stung the Germans who had to either sell or not eat. Maybe there’s a lesson here too.

    I haven’t yet got to the Munich beerhall putsch. It’s a bit later in the book. That fiasco must have looked comical at the time to a lot of people, German and non-German alike. In 1933 maybe not so much. Yet another lesson?

    So, history does what history does, that is, not so much repeat as rhyme. But how will the ballads and couplets go? Will it be 1970s stagflation or the stark lunacy of 1920s Germany? Given our idiot elites I have no optimism.

    There were two recent incidents that may turn out to be nothing much. Or maybe otherwise. They were the freedom convoy and the J6 affair. Like the beerhall fracas they too fizzled, you know, idiots and extremists and racists so what can you can’t expect? But maybe, given time, they’ll also come to be seen in a different light.

  209. Bill #190: “I am curious if anyone has put together or knows of a good classification system for human skills and knowledge.”

    Library cataloguing systems are one way of doing that: The Dewey Decimal System is typically used in public libraries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dewey_Decimal_classes) and the Library of Congress system is often used in university and research libraries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress_Classification.

    There are other library classification systems, but Dewey and LC (as librarians affectionately refer to them) are the two most widely used, at least in the U.S.

  210. JMG,

    This is rather mundane, but inspired by Owen’s thesis labors in your first tentacle novel which I have recently picked up—have you any suggestions for countering the physical effects of sitting and reading/writing for long periods of time? I feel it more now in my middle thirties, especially when alternated with farm labor. The obvious answer would seem to be stretching, but nothing much really seems to happen when I stretch, and I also find it terribly boring, so I am hoping you have some more appealing answer. Input from the commentariat is also welcome.

  211. Warreb,

    I loved Ian Stevenson’s book. I thought it sounded like a scientist investigating some pretty interesting cases that strongly suggest the possibility of reincarnation. It’s a captivating read I think. Worth the time.

    Children, allowed to express themselves at a very early age, also strongly suggest the possibility of reincarnation. In my experience anyway.

    Cheers.

  212. Jen,

    I’ve always wanted to spend the 6-7 months doing a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail (I could walk to the Southern terminus from home in a few days – how cool!), and just for that reason. For family and paying off house reasons I really can’t do it any time soon, but one day, who knows. I’m convinced it would be one of the most instructive chapters of my life.

  213. Cliff, oh, I know — a lot of the things that Lovecraft brandished about, thinking, “Oh, this will horrify people!” make me feel warm and fuzzy. Shoggoths are at the top of that list, as readers of my fiction will doubtless know, but a lot of other things are on it. As for the Neptune influence, that depends on your natal chart; whichever houses Neptune rules or is placed in will be strongly affected, and you’ll need to exercise great care in those parts of your life to avoid confusion, deception, and misunderstanding.

    Peter, I suppose it takes all kinds. Gah.

    SLClaire, I wonder when it’s going to start occuring to people that they can thumb their nose at all this by going back to file cabinets and typewriters…

    Patricia M, hmm! Now there’s a surprise.

    Simon, it’s really quite remarkable to see how many notional left-wing parties have become so subservient to corporate interests.

    Bruno, it’s really very simple. I post my rules and then review every comment before it goes up, deleting any post that violates the rules and banning people who won’t stop misbehaving. Most of the ugly nonsense that makes so many online forums such a waste of time is the work of a very small number of people. Refuse to let that tiny minority of jerks drag down the quality of the discussion and you’ll find that most everyone else is polite, interesting, and fun to talk to.

    Chris, oh, no question, it’s pouring grit into some very fragile machinery. As for the tourists, yuck. You have my sympathy.

    Smith, interesting. I may have to read that one of these days.

    Jen, the only way I know is to find some kind of physical exercise I enjoy, and do that at intervals during long sessions of writing and study. Your mileage may vary, but that’s what works for me.

  214. Hi JMG,
    Thank you for the additional information about the Ariel Moravec series. I’m very happy that there are at least four more books planned. I really like a series about magic that’s real, rather than the fireballs from the fingertip variety. And thanks for considering making a map available. I’ve very spatially oriented and I really like being able to trace the movements of characters in books and make sense of them.
    I do have one more question, though. Did the attack on you have similar effects on you as on your characters and similar consequences for the perpetrator? The reason I ask is that I’ve had things of a “supernatural” nature happen to me since I was a child, including premonitions, contact with at least one ghost as well as one or two other (non-human) spirits, and actually seeing death on one occasion (and no, I’m not making up that last item). As a result, I’ve always been interested in other people’s supernatural experiences as a way to show that these things are real and that I don’t have “an overactive imagination,” as my parents used to put it. Thanks again for the information.

  215. Mr. Greer, et all: As far as the possible, or speculative effects of population decline, there’s an interesting novel by P. D. James called “The Children of Men.” Also a film, for the visually inclined. The plot is, infertility sweeps the world. The last child is born. Society begins to break down …

    @ Brunette #154. Chickens in apartments. I live in subsidized senior housing. Every once in awhile, when I want to make the Lenocracy that runs the place nervous, I blurt out that maybe I’ll get an emotional support chicken. 🙂 Just to underscore that I “might” be serious, I comment that washable chicken diapers, are available, on-line.

    On Personal Hygiene and keeping your clothes clean. Ruth Goodman has a wonderful book, “How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life.” For those not familiar with Ms. Goodman, she’s a British historian. Besides her books, she’s been in several BBC series. “Victorian Farm,” Wartime Farm,” Edwardian Farm,” “Tudor Monastery Farm.” She and a couple of archaeologist side-kicks live a year round, on a farm from that time period. So each series has about 12 episodes. Most are available on U-Tub. Or, from your local library. Lew

  216. @ Northwind Grandma – Sort of from last week. I have 300+ cookbooks. Though that is kind of misleading, as a lot of them are books more about the history of food. Food during the Great Depression, food rationing in WWI and WWII. What Benjamin Franklin ate. I also have a few books, each, of a wide variety of world cuisines. For when I get the urge to cook up something “ethnic.”

    If the place was on fire, the three cookbooks I’d grab would be “The Betty Crocker Ring Bound Cookbook” (Mid 1960s), my “Joy of Cooking” (1975) and my “Laurel’s Kitchen.” Lew

  217. Dear Mr. Greer – The next time you have one of those “vote on a topic” posts, I’d like to nominate “Food, cooking and cookbooks.” Thanks! Lew

  218. @Scotlyn, #74 and #83
    I would have to think about dominion vs domination… but to address your skepticism: if you observe social mammals you will notice they are rarely egalitarian. They form hierarchies (often very simple ones, because their brains would impose limits on how much complexity they can process). Whether the difference in physical strength is the driving factor or not, some individuals are compelled to climb those ladders. Furthermore, the extent to which those ladders are widespread makes you think that those behavior should be (or should have been) adaptive to the survival and prosperity of the groups that exhibit it, not only the individuals (because otherwise you would only observe it in a few species, which inhabit isolated areas with strong barriers that keep potential competitors out).
    About the Lycopodium thing, glad you found that useful. It is my belief that this is one possible manifestation of this impulse to ladder climbing, in individuals who are themselves flawed or imbalanced. It is not the strive to just climb, but to pull the ladder up and prevent others to climb in the future.

  219. @Mary Bennet, #121
    There I must agree with you. It comes to a point when you just, in good conscience, cannot obey silliness or ill intent. My point being that I have observed the demographic mentioned before to bee a little bit to prone to assume silliness and ill intent when confronted with unpalatable requests.

    @Daniil Adamov, #168
    Oh, the Mexican character has no shortage of contrarianism, with a mischievous, almost playful streak in it. I was wondering if someone would point out the similarities between the Russian idiosyncrasy and the Mexican one.

  220. @Travis and recycling. When it comes to plastics, here in Australia about 9% are recycled one time. This can only be done one time and turned into some very questionable products. 9% are burned. The rest is rubbish of which a lot is shipped overseas to 3rd world country to be their problem and probably burned. Out of sight out of mind right? As JMG said, If it wasn’t for the Aluminum/Glass, there would not be a recycling program.

    Also there is this fun little thing, “Recycled Plastic Bottles Leach More Chemicals Than New”.

    https://www.chemicalprocessing.com/environmental-health-safety/news/11288779/recycled-plastic-bottles-leach-more-chemicals-than-new-chemical-processing

    I used to work in food manufacturing, and the plastic guys are surprisingly honest about their limitations and issues behind doors. With many plastics, they don’t really know the exact chemical composition of their materials. This is because there is usually many different materials coming from many countries that are not being to careful and they are being combined into a single product. There is also the issue that every oil field has a different chemical composition that is the base source material. What is in mass plastics? Nobody really knows. This could be an issue or maybe not, I suspect it is only once plastics are fading into the rearview mirror that we will know.

    @Anoymous regarding AI bubble. If you are interested in podcasts, lookup ‘Better Offline’ by Ed Zitron. He did a two part on this “Are we at Peak AI?” & “The AI bubble is bursting”. Ed has a much more realistic look at many areas of the tech industry.

    @JMG “A lot of them will engage in “quitting in place” — going through the motions of participating in the system while doing the absolute minimum that will get by.”

    On occasion I have been know to be talking with a Druid and his followers during work hours. Allegedly. 😉

  221. Hey JMG

    No question, Nick Bantock is not as famous as famous as he should be.
    Oh, I remember a while ago that you mentioned some casual interest in Surrealism. Today I finally got a little-known book written by the great Dali himself, “50 secrets of magic craftmanship.” I have not read it yet, but AFAIK it is essentially a manual of surrealist art techniques, including methods of coming up with surrealist ideas for art. It could be thought of as the surrealist’s Picatrix, but this is only an assumption.

  222. @Tengu #214

    Thank you for your comprehensive reply to my reply. I don’t want to get into an extended back-and-forth, so I’ll just note a couple of things.

    The point I was trying to make is that, just in terms of sheer raw numbers on the ground, there aren’t an awful lot of British people for whom guns are a necessary or significant presence in their lives, and that gun ownership, for whatever reason, simply isn’t relevant to the daily lived experience of the vast majority of the population.

    When I say that field sports are a ‘fringe’ activity, I’m not trying to be dismissive towards the people who engage in them or whose livelihoods depend on them. I mean that those people can’t be considered to be especially representative of British society as a whole these days.

    Similarly, that’s why I specified that I was referring to upper-class landowners ‘in terms of numbers’. The question of the disproportionate power and influence that this tiny demographic yields is exceptionally interesting but a separate matter.

    ‘In any case they would never be prosecuted’. And isn’t that just the truth.

    Since I seem to be ticking the points off anyway, I’ll go all in.

    I wouldn’t say north and west Wales are particularly ‘scarred’ by mining and former industry, which is one of the reasons why so many people like to go there. You’ve got the huge former slate quarries around places like Llanberis, Bethesda and Dyffryn Nantlle, but I can’t think of much else. A few slagheaps near Wrexham, maybe. The South Wales Valleys are a different matter, but I don’t know them.

    As mainstays of the rural economy, I really wouldn’t underestimate tourism, the public sector and government grants. Large landowners seem to be very good at getting their hands on the latter.

    I won’t bore you with my personal history, but I’m more than familiar with the close links between north Wales and Cheshire/Lancashire, or at least those areas that now constitute Merseyside and Greater Manchester. Liverpool is sometimes referred to as the capital of north Wales – a joking remark, with a lot of truth to it. Yes, from a Scottish perspective, it’s all very bunched up, but that underlines the point I was originally trying to make. An area becomes ‘remote’ by virtue of it not being near to large centres of population. By definition, there aren’t many people there, so whatever they may or may not get up to, whether involving guns or not, can’t be considered representative of overall trends.

    ‘For my part, I watch out for gunfire, slow driving vehicles, and masked youths with backpacks on cross-country motorbikes.’ Worth remembering, but also worth remembering is that, annually, England and Wales see around 10 murders involving knives/sharp instruments for every one murder involving a gun. For the period April 2022 to March 2023, in England and Wales, there were 3,789 hospital admissions following assaults with blades/sharp objects and 108 (0 in Wales) following assaults with a firearm. You might want to watch out for those knives a bit more.

  223. Well, thank you John and kommentariat for your answers to my question about copper thefts!

  224. I’m currently listening to David Graeber’s ‘Promises, Promises’, and a sentence popped into my head:
    “To forgive, you have to be a Gläubiger.” That word in my language means both ‘believer’ and ‘creditor’.

    To think that Protestantism succeeded in convincing people that rather than mutual and periodically forgiven debts, accumulating and leveraging other people’s debts was pleasing to their God…

  225. @Patricia Matthews: I wonder if article in National PMC radio you linked to was an attempt to write something to bring back all the people who left, or never listened or read to begin with -a response to that kerfuffle from two weeks ago…

    @Jen: Stretching is kind of boring, but so is meditation, yet I wouldn’t give up either because of they have great rewards. I try to limber up most mornings with at least a little stretching, and then once a week my wife and I do pilates, which is kind of bougie, but I like it anyway. You don’t necessarily need the equipment. We started off doing a mat class before our teacher turned it into a business (we probably would quit if we didn’t get the long-timer discount). But there are probably plenty of videos for doing the mat work at home. I like that it combines a bit of rigor from strength training type exercise with the deep stretching. Other than that, I walk. Sometimes when I am writing at home I will get up and stretch or hang from a pull up bar I can throw up in a door jam. I also got a standing desk so I can write standing up, which also helps.

  226. An Alchemical Dawn

    Woken this morning by a golden moon
    Punching a hole though the sky
    The trees and my windows

    Seeing the divine
    Shining though
    The ordinary

    (true story about my morning)

  227. Hi JMG,

    Recent polls in the United States are showing, and my own interactions with others are confirming, that interest in the upcoming Presidential election is at historic lows. Why is that? I’m quite surprised by this, given the mood of 2020. The recent pro-Gaza campus protests seem rather muted compared to the large-scale destruction of the George Floyd riots, and the mood on the Right doesn’t seem to lend itself to any outbursts of riotous activity similar to January 6th. Overall, people seem “checked out” and resigned with regard to the upcoming election and the leadership of the nation.

    Again, I’m very surprised by this. If you would have asked me, back in 2020, what the political mood of 2024 would be (given a rematch between Trump and Biden), I would have guessed an even more amplifiied version of the 2020 mood. But a general mood of apathy? That’s taken me by surprise.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

    Thanks!

  228. Hello Mr. Greer,

    You recently said on a podcast that half the souls in humans today are descending further into matter, not ascending into higher spiritual realms, and thus should not pursue spiritual practices as their main focus in life. I am curious to know how that kind of a life is supposed to look. Wouldn’t that mean these people are supposed to become more carnal, thus more intoxicated by sex, violence, and the like? Or does it simply mean that they should pursue things like athletics, the arts, and so on? Would they still get much out of prayer, meditation, and so on? Also, is this vision unique to occultism? Every other version of reincarnation I’ve encountered never mentioned a descending teleology for half the population, even if said people eventually reach matter and turn around.

  229. Chronojourner, the spell that Sara and I faced was not quite so intense — the person who cast it was in poor health, which can be a problem with some kinds of magic — and no, he wasn’t found dead on the sidewalk the next morning. He died about a month later, after his health took a sudden drastic downward turn. I don’t use Dr. Moravec’s specific methods, btw, but his sense of magical ethics is based on mine.

    Lew, I’ll consider the novel. Still, there’s a difference between population decline and the kind of worldwide end of births that James described. As for your nomination, save that thought — May has five Wednesdays, and I’ll be asking for nominations in my first May post.

    Michael, to judge from my website stats, a lot of people do that. Allegedly. 😉

    J.L.Mc12, that sounds fun. I’m still studying Leonora Carrington’s tarot trumps, which are surprisingly plain for creations of so famous a surrealist, but have a lot to teach.

    Michaelz, it was an astonishing distortion of the older faith!

    Dobbs, thanks for this!

    Balowulf, it’s intriguing to watch. I get the impression that a growing number of people are realizing that their problems can’t be solved by replacing one old man with another, or by voting for one of two mostly interchangeable parties. The question is simply what they do instead.

    Stephen, haven’t you met the kind of person for whom life in the world — making a living, raising a family, and so on — is what matters? The kind for whom the life of ideas is empty handwaving? I’ve met quite a few. Some of them are fine people; they work hard, treat people well, go to church every Sunday, and leave the world a better place than they found it; others are complete douchebags; still others are scattered across the broad space in between — but what they have in common is that their world is bounded by the limits of matter, and religion to them (if it’s anything at all) is a matter of having the right opinions and following the right rules. Those are souls who are learning how to be human, who are grappling with life in material human bodies and learning its lessons; in later incarnations, when they’ve finished learning those lessons, they’ll awaken to the subtler levels of existence and be drawn step by step toward one or another path of initiation. I have no idea whether or not this concept is unique to Western occultism, but I think it’s valid nonetheless; I’ve seen people who had the other belief — the notion that everybody ought to be spiritual — twist themselves into square knots trying to deal, or avoid dealing, with the hard fact that a good half of humanity doesn’t share their view.

    Justin, thanks for this!

  230. @ J. Goldstein #199 – if I am not mistaken, you have mentioned the Spottiswoode paper before. What I am most curious about, is what part of the sky is overhead in the sidereal time window they mention. I have just spent a fruitless hour trying to find out what part of the zodiac maps to what local sidereal time, and other than the widely publicised fact that 0deg Aries at zenith marks the start of a sidereal day, there do not appear to be “sidereal zodiac clocks” that help you figure how each of the zodiac signs progress around the sidereal clock. (I’m not sure which way is forward or backward, even).

    In any case, what I wonder is whether there is any chance that the Spottiswoode lst window has Sagitarrius either directly overhead, or at the nadir (ie blocked by the bulk of the earth). Because Sagitarius marks the galactic core, and it seems that part of the sky would be where we would see the greatest concentration of “galactic” energy flows. Do you know how to find this out?

  231. Junk Radios + Nuggets = The Shortwave Garage Sale

    https://www.reddit.com/r/shortwave/comments/1cdmsx1/junk_radios_nuggets_shortwave_garage_sale/

    Hey, man! Is that the Shortwave Garage Sale?”

    “Yeah, man!”

    “Well, turn it up, man!”

    On Sunday 28th April 2024 at 0900/1300 hrs UTC on 6160 kHz and then at 2000 UTC on 6160 kHz and 3975 kHz we have The Shortwave Garage Sale beamed to Europe via Shortwave Gold. Pull open that garage door, crank up your shortwave radio to 11 and enjoy our rousing Garage and Psyche special. Why not even get into some overalls and lie down on one of those mechanic’s creeper things and really get into the garage vibe!

    We are still looking for some financial help to cover our production and transmission costs for our shows on shortwave so here’s our fundraising video below. We’d love to keep our show on the air for the rest of the year and we are looking for donations (no matter how small as everything helps) to keep our shows bouncing off that ionosphere. Remember, radio connects us all!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwP4w-lulBQ

    Stay tuned for future themes… Test Cards on Radio will be coming up in May.

  232. Quick note about cookbooks.
    I have 3 I use, but all of them recommend mostly hard-or-impossible-to-get ingredients. However, all the ingredients can be readily substituted with stuff that is available in my grocery store. But since all three books are missing basic instructions for basic dishes, currently my go-to to learn how to bake biscuits, make pie crusts, make quiche (egg pie), make pizza dough, &c.. is an online resource:
    http://www.allrecipies.com
    They have everything from the most basic to the fantastically complex on pretty much any dish you can think of. There are videos which show how to do it, which is great if you are a visual learner like me, but you have the option to print out all the instructions for recipes (by hand, like I do, if you like) and add them to your own cookbook, and the instructions are simple easy to follow. Even I can follow them and *finally* make homemade pizza that doesn’t taste like ketchup on a tea biscuit…

    Bruce

  233. It came to me this morning, while going through my old astrology notebook to look up my Neptune in Virgo, that Venus in Scorpio in the 9th house and overhead might be one of the signs of a witch.

    I just placed an order for 2 clasp-in-front bras (2 different styles), since overhead and arthritic shoulders are the match made in the inferno. Let’s see how they do without the Spandex.

  234. @Balowulf #243 – Can only speak for myself, but my vote amounts to “A plague on both your houses.”

  235. Hi JMG,
    I wonder what astrological system you use for determining houses and why?
    The first book I studied recommended the equal house/whole sign method, while Placidus seems most popular.
    They give such different results that I was put off putting too much confidence and credence in the houses at all, but I’m reconsidering since I think it might have hobbled my understanding.
    Thanks!

  236. >At this point I expect it to go down with the federal bureaucracy and to have its remaining assets bought out by a Chinese corporation within a couple of decades

    There’s a little problem with that – they also make military hardware. I’d modify your prediction. The military side of Boeing will keep the name, the civilian side will be renamed and split off. And then the Chinese will pick it up. Or maybe Airbus will get it, who knows.

    And once Boeing goes full military, it’ll never go out of business. Or it’ll be rolled up into MartinMariettaLockheedBoeingMcDonnellDouglasNorthAmericanAviationAndSomeOtherNamesImForgetting. My Modest Proposal is to call it Deep State Aviation and be done with it.

  237. Open posting. OK then I will. I’ll post about carbon fee and dividend.

    To begin with. Carbon fee and dividend is not a tax. Taxes are collected by government for government use. A fee collected and paid to all people equally is a payment from the social commons not a tax. It is important to understand this or you likely will dismiss the benefits.

    Consider oil as the example, coal and gas would have fees collected as well but talking about one is easier. Money is taken at the wellhead where it is mined. Before first sale. If a dollar worth of oil is pulled out of the ground a percentage of value is taken from it. A percentage determined by a citizens assembly. After that the added cost is passed on as markup in the distribution chain. All the money is equally divided among all citizens. This allows the individual to cancel the added fee added at the wellhead if they use an average about of fossil fuel. If you use less fossil fuel than average the system pays you money. If you use more you pay more.

    Collected money is equally distributed with kids get a percentage starting at 16. Younger children don’t use gasoline or diesel, and the money, all of it, must go to citizens who use oil products. Young kids are excluded because they do not buy anything and the money is paid out to offset the added price.

    Having a citizens assembly set the fee is appropriate and should not be done by government. Government provides infrastructure, but the commons should decide to do with the commons. Not an elite group.

  238. JMG’s picture of a Regency dandy reminded me of a bullfighter’s costume. I wonder if some fancy sewing techniques can be gleaned by pursuing their manufacture.

    “With its glittering gold details, el traje de luces, or a “suit of lights,” is a fashion ensemble so steeped in history that it is still made using traditional techniques. These extravagant and elaborate suits worn by toreros, or bullfighters, in Spain are often completely handmade, with up to 50 people working on one ensemble for up to several months, requiring many fittings to perfectly tailor the costume.”
    https://phxart.org/blog/the-history-of-el-traje-de-luces/

  239. In a used book store, I stumbled over “The Dream of Confucius” by Jean Levi (Le rêve de Confucius) and found it intriguing enough to buy and start to read it. In a way, it’s a historical novel set in China, mostly during the civil war between the death of the First Emperor and the rise of the Han dynasty. However, the story is told as if the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching had guided each step along the way.

    Levi explains that he simply couldn’t understand how the man who became the first Han emperor won the civil war. That question was already posed by his rivals at the time, and there is still no rational explanation. The winner was of lowly origin, he had no special talent or quality, and he used to lose his battles. Why then did he come out on top and not somebody else?

    The author resolved to tell a story of destiny, or better of a secret society founded by Confucius playing the role of anthropomorphized destiny, which guides history according to the I Ching. It’s a wild basis for a novel, but the actual history is wild, and Levi certainly knows all the details both of history and of taoist thought inside out.

    I thought this forum was the right place to ask if anybody has heard of Jean Levi before (any relation to the other Levi?), or of any other attempt to write a historical novel based on a form of divination.

  240. . I lost my youngest son the 18th of March #Punkboystrong.

    He was 7 and fought brain cancer for almost two years. My question for you is, How do you get your mind back in order after a great loss? I can’t focus on my meditation, working, or anything. I’ve been on my path for about four years and have never had any problems in meditation or working with deity until now.

    If you don’t want to or can’t answer me, I understand completely. I just figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    I appreciate your time,
    Kennis Smith

  241. @Corax #39 I also think you’re on to something. Though I’d propose the term “yesterday’s progressives” (or, tongue more firmly in cheek, “reactionary progressives”). I think part of the issue is an intrinsic problem with the idea of progressivism. Although it presupposes a consistent tendency of things to change in one desirable direction, the mainstream definition of progress itself keeps changing, sometimes drastically (a hundred years ago, many people associated progress with eugenics, colonial empires and suppression of “sexual deviancy”; I have encountered some such progressives in this century, but they are obviously not mainstream). People who identify as progressive are always at risk of falling out of the progressive mainstream unless they update their ideas to match the rest (consciously or not). If they do fall out, they can either defect to the non-progressives or insist that their progress is the real progress and someone else (the capitalists? the Marxists? I haven’t heard of the gnostics being involved before this, but why not them as well?) has stolen their flag. This happened to many parts of the Old Left before, for instance. It doesn’t always devolve into paranoid ranting, but that is a common outcome.

    I do think that you’re right about this new manifestation having something to do with a general crisis of confidence in the cult of progress as a whole. That would make people even more frantic than usual. Not that this is the first one; WWI also gave a lot of people pause back in the day. I wonder if there were some similar reactions then as well.

  242. Scotlyn (if I may), you need an ephemeris or an app to find that. According to my handy Rosicrucian Ephemeris, at noon GMT today the sidereal time was 2 hours 19 minutes 55 seconds, and the time at noon GMT tomorrow will be 2 hours 23 minutes 51 seconds; the sidereal day right now is thus 24 hours 3 minutes 56 seconds long. Divide that by 24 and you have the number of sidereal hours in a clock hour; divide the result by 60 and you have the number of sidereal minutes in a clock minute. Where you are, you should be able to work out the interval easily enough that way — just leave a little wiggle room at both ends.

    Or you can use an app like https://sidereal.app/calculate .

    Justin and Renaissance, thanks for both of these.

    Astronewb, I use Placidus, because I find that it gets the best results. Whole sign emphatically does not work for me because intercepted signs (signs that do not have a house cusp in them) can be important indications in mundane and horary astrology, and whole sign doesn’t permit those.

    Other Owen, once the current US government falls, nobody’s going to want to pay for fantastically overpriced military hardware that doesn’t work, and that’s all that the US arms industry can produce at this point. That is to say, I stand by my prediction.

    K-Dog, okay. Did you have a question about that?

    Martin, hmm! I have no idea.

    Aldarion, sounds like an interesting read.

    Kennis, please accept my condolences — what a ghastly thing to have to go through. It’s one thing to lose someone after you’ve spent most of a life together and have had plenty of time to prepare for the inevitable, but someone that young? I don’t know if there are words. I’m not sure I can offer you any useful advice, as work and meditation were precisely what helped me the most. Still, I also benefited a lot from getting extravagant amounts of sleep — up to 12 hours a day — and also getting a professional massage regularly. Those might be worth trying if you can arrange that. Might you also be willing to have my readers pray for you and anyone else in your family who has been affected by your son’s death? We do that, you know.

  243. Lew #229

    > Ruth Goodman has a wonderful book, “How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life.”

    Back in the 2000 aughts, Public Broadcasting System (PBS) came out with a video series called:

    * Colonial House
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_House_(TV_series)

    One thing I am pretty sure the writers got wrong was that one house had been built and assigned to “one family” (the highest status family). Rather than having the rest of the characters sleep ON THE FLOOR of the house while they were building their own houses, those in charge of the show had them sleep outside. I am pretty sure the-sleeping-outdoors would not have happened in real life Colonial Massachusetts in the 1600s, given hypothermia and wild animals. This always rubbed me the wrong way. I would have to watch the series again to get the exact details.

    Other film series coming out about the same time:

    * Frontier House
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontier_House

    * 1900 House
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1900_House

    * Victorian Slum House
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_Slum_House

    As far as I know, all these film series’ are available streaming on PBS-related networks, like Acorn and Masterpiece Theatre. They are also available in DVD format per series. They also could be streaming on some other networks.

    Colonial House had a huge impact on my life. After seeing that set of shows, I still look at cars on the road, and ask “Why and how are cars here—now? There is something wrong with motorized vehicles, being completely out of step with the biologies of people. When will cars disappear? When will we return to hand-tools?” (at 73, not in my lifetime, crapola)

    PBS also came out with 1940s House, Edwardian Country House (early 1900s), Regency House (~1810), Coal House (1920s), 1900 Island (1900 fishing village), Outback House (Australia), and The Colony (convicts, 1800, New South Wales, Australia).

    Keep a lookout for these series—there were several. The various series’ are well worth watching—they have their flaws—nonetheless the videos do help one imagine what life was like in the old days, and what life COULD be in future decline. People back then managed to live decent lives, usually full of hardship, but that was the way it was. I remember one episode of 1900 House on how difficult it was to keep a stove (I think wood-burning) working safely.

    Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts has a real-life historical village one can visit during the summer season. It is a great place to take the kids multiple times. Utterly fascinating. I remember the spinning wheel and Colonial clothes.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🛻🚛🛠️🪓🪛🪚⛏️🪵⚔️🐖🐴
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  244. LeGrand @ 209 Thank you for the response. About your point 2, the defensive maneuver, I think that, often, both are true. That is, there really, truly, are malevolent people who enjoy doing harm just as there are careless people for whom collateral damage to “me getting what I want” simply don’t matter. An important life lesson for some of us has been learning how not to attract the former and avoid the latter. And, also, one still has to heal him or herself from the harm caused. It doesn’t help recovery from a disease to blame the organism which caused it. I recall once consulting a psychiatrist, a very smart man, said I was the worst case he had seen, which was rather frightening, but a devout Evangelical Christian with a strong belief in the fundamental goodness of the intact, two parent family and therefor incapable of understanding the kinds of families which, while seeming ordinary if a bit eccentric in public, do in fact harm their offspring.

    Many of us are horrified by what we see happening around us. My own view is that late stage capitalism is making people insane. And, I would add, “leftist” ideologies, Marxism chief among them, seem to me like harmful viruses.

  245. TemporaryReality #232

    > supportive kirtle

    Wow. Fascinating‼️Thanks for the lead.

    This looks so straightforward and easy. Not the aggravation of learning how to fit using the “ bodice sloper” method.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨👗👚🧵🪡
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  246. Aldarion… That sounds good, thanks for the tip on that novel. I’m studying the I Ching now, so it would be good as another way into it.

    As for novels based on divination and or using it, check out Italo Calvino’s “The Tavern of Crossed Destinies” if you haven’t already, which makes explicit use of the tarot as plot. I’m not sure if it totally fills your criteria, though, of being a historical novel.

    I’ll be curious to hear what others might share.

  247. Balowolf @ 243, The murder of George Floyd took place here in the US and was a culmination of a string of such extra judicial summary executions which took place in many locations. And, as was reported at the time, but quickly suppressed, it is not only black folks who have been subjected to extreme police violence. Furthermore, the incident was video taped and immediately put online for all to see. Police in the USA are not authorized to carry out summary executions. A man lying on the ground, unarmed, is no threat to anyone. We have judges and juries to decide guilt and innocence and appropriate penalties.

    As for Palestine and Gaza, Israel has been playing this game for a long time. Be mean to the Palestinians and some dumb happy country will take them in. Unfortunately for that plan, it would seem that what looks to be a majority of Palestinians don’t want to live somewhere else, don’t think they should have to go elsewhere, and Americans are in any case fed up with migrants who appear to have no intention of assimilating or even respecting our laws and customs. We also know that if you move into a dangerous neighborhood, you had better a. make yourself useful, and b. not behave in an imperious or provocative manner. I think that the Israelis attempted something which never could have worked, grafting a European high urban lifestyle onto a place which doesn’t have the resources to support that project. It has not escaped our attention that the Gaza strip has two quite valuable assets, beachfront property and access to underwater natural gas fields, which Gulf State financing would surely have been willing to help develop.
    By and large, Moslem migrants have not made themselves welcome in the USA, and are not, as a whole, particularly well thought of. For a personal example, your average believer in multiculturalism might look at women in full Islamic garb as examples of interesting diversity; I look at that get up and wonder who is doing their housework because clearly, they aren’t. And then I tend to think we do not need yet more aspirants to PMC status who won’t get their personal hands dirty. Hey, I have never claimed to be a nice person.

  248. #250 Renaissance Man – I also had a hard time finding a good pizza crust recipe. Tried several, from different books. Finally found one that is great,, simple, and works every time. Where did I find this gem? On the back of a five pound bag of Bob’s Red Mill, Artisan Flour. I cut it out and added it to my recipe box. Lew

  249. #229 @ Northwind Grandma – I’ve seen all of those. We have a great regional library system, here. When those came out, the library got them all. Sadly, over the years they’ve either become unplayable or have strayed. And weren’t replaced. But, most of them are still available on U Tube.

    I’ve been watching a six part series, “Wartime Kitchen and Garden.” Each segment is about 25 minutes long. It was broadcast in 1993, and the old duffer gardener, and the old duffer cook, had lived the experience. I’m sure they’re gone, by now, but I am glad they got them on film. Lew

  250. @ CR Patiño #233
    Thank you so much for coming back to me.

    Yes, you are right, social mammals are rarely egalitarian.

    Apparently this is because, unlike modern humans, they lack equalising technology, such as guns…. 😉

  251. @JMG #260 thank you for that. Yes, I can easily find resources that help me find out what my own local sidereal time IS. It’s just that I cannot find out what zodiac sign attaches to that time (or ANY given sidereal time). And yet it seems that if (say) there is a peak sidereal time at which psi phenomena work best, that specific time must be linked to the same specific zodiac sign being at the zenith every single sidereal day. So which “way” along the zodiac, is the earth both facing, and facing away from during Spottiswoode’s sidereal time peak psi activity window (as referred to in E. Goldstein’s comment)? If it is Sagitarius, then this would suggest the galactic core is somehow involved in the phenomenon.

  252. Hi JMG,

    A DA question, how many times should I work on the completion exercises for the third grade? I did the first for two weeks once per day, and I am two weeks into the second along the same pattern.

    With the second exercise I sense a differentiation between the body that is saying my name repeated and the center of consciousness that is I. An interesting experience to say the least.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  253. Re: homemade bras, for the last few years there’s been a fad for crocheted “bralettes”, intended as outerwear. Many patterns can be found on ravelry dot com and similar websites that offer crochet patterns.

  254. Do you think people in their final human incarnation, or perhaps their last few human incarnations, are more likely to be drawn to lives of celibacy? This would go along with letting go of worldly pleasures and delights and focusing on higher things. St. Paul in his epistles certainly seemed to think something similar, even if he was not (so far as we know) a believer in reincarnation.

    Or, to go go completely the other direction, would a spiritually advanced person be more likely to rejoice in the pleasures of earthly life but without being ruled or controlled by them?

    Thank you.

  255. #259 “People who identify as progressive are always at risk of falling out of the progressive mainstream unless they update their ideas to match the rest (consciously or not).

    I always think of this if I go to the Grauniad website and see an article that is a few months or years old, and there’s this yellow label which says this article is more than X months old or this article was written in 2018 or whenever.
    It reminds the reader that they need to check whether its views align with the current views of the Party and whether we are currently at war with Eurasia and/or Eastasia.

  256. In relation to Scotlyn’s comment way back, I grew up in an ordinary family. There was no question of the men dominating the women. They were all pretty strong minded and, in many ways, led fairly separate lives. I did not see violence perpetrated against each other. They did disagree but left it at that. We seem to have changed the way we interact with each other. We seem to care more that people see and do things our way. The women and men also got on OK among themselves and if you could know how different they were from each it would seem a bit of a miracle. There were certainly underlying tensions but no reason to be afraid of each other.

  257. I’m awaiting cataract surgery and am having increasing difficulty reading the ever-popular light-gray print on white background. I’ have all my screens turned to the boldest print possible and some sites, like this one, are still very difficult to read. Any suggestions?

  258. @ Marry Bennet and Beowulf

    George Floyd was not an example of extra judicial summary execution ! He was not executed. They did not want him to die. It is an example of the complacency and partial, I cant think of the word, dehumanization is close. On top of “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome, but applied to a class of people, drug using criminal I am trying to arrest for example, as a whole rather than seeing the individuality. SO, in this case, so many resist arrest by claiming to be in distress, day in and day out, that they think it is like the last 100 times and are not checking the particular instance they are in now. I have heard of similar thing happening at the ER, woman is turned away because it reminds them of the ones that come in day in and day out that relay dont have anything wrong with them, she dies in the parking lot. They treated her not as an individual but identified her with a group they see alot of.

  259. Scotlyn, gotcha. 0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds of sidereal time = 0° 0′ 0″ Aries. The other signs are at 2 hour intervals from there: Taurus starts at 2 hours, Gemini at 4, and so on.

    Matt, there isn’t a fixed number of repetitions. Back when this was a correspondence course, you started the completion exercise when you sent in your exam and stopped doing it when the next lesson arrived in the mail. Two weeks is a good amount, though you can do more if you feel that you’re getting something from it.

    Christopher, it depends very much on the soul! The further each of us proceeds along our path of evolution, the more differentiated we become and the more our path becomes uniquely individual.

    Your Kittenship, duly noted! I’ve darkened the print a little — does that help at all?

  260. Our dual-god religion of Progress! and Science! has been on display recently here in Australia, of course in the military area.

    Some time ago we wanted to replace the old Huey troop transport helicopters. Originally designed in 1956 and flown through the Vietnam War, this was a very proven design, it’s just that our particular ones had been acquired in the 1970s and so were wearing out. They chose the Taipan to replace it.

    However, there were some differences. Firstly, the nature of flying troops around is that sometimes they’re landing or taking off places where the people don’t like them. So you want weapons on the helicopter to chase them off. A pilot can’t hover the helicopter so troops can disembark or embark while also controlling a weapon, so this duty must fall to someone else. The Huey had a wide doorway, so that one soldier could be on a bolted-on machinegun while a line of soldiers got on or off behind him. But the Taipan had a narrow doorway, so you could have a doorgunner, or soldiers, but not both.

    This problem was “solved” by having half the Taipans have guns and the other half have troops only. One would land while the other hovered protectively. This of course meant that we could transport half as many troops around. Or if we wanted to keep the same troop movement capability, it’d mean twice as many $30 million helicopters and twice as many pilots with $2 million of training behind them (who tend to leave as soon as they can to work in the civilian sector, which is not only safer but is much nicer on family life).

    This problem was of course one which could have been pointed out by any common soldier with at least one helicopter ride behind them. But it was apparently overlooked by the government ministers and Generals who went to the sales presentations years ago, and everyone in the various departments signing the contracts.

    The second issue with the Taipans is that last year, one of them fell out of the sky into the water, taking its crew with it. Usually the absolute minimum you expect of any aircraft is that it can remain airborne and not kill its crew and passengers. Even the old worn-out Hueys were pretty good at this, the rather more expensive and complicated Taipans, apparently not.

    The government has now grounded them all and has gone over to a proven American design once again, the Blackhawk. What’s amusing is that they immediately started scrapping the Taipan and – I’m not kidding – burying the pieces in holes in the desert. When asked why they were burying them, they explained it was because these held high technology which we couldn’t let adversaries know about. Surely we don’t mind if they copy technology which makes aircraft ineffective at their job and fall out of the sky? But perhaps it was being buried in another sense…

    More recently, an article came out with someone prominent saying it was a great tragedy we’d set aside the Taipan, as it was “the Lambourghini” of helicopters. My first thought was, “yes, the Lambourghini only lets one person get in or out at once, too,” and my second was, “the Lambourghini is absurdly expensive, difficult to maintain, very beautiful and totally impractical for any ordinary task.”

    And that thought took me back to so much of the writing JMG has done, where he speaks of our obsession with producing things which are absurdly expensive, difficult to maintain, very beautiful and totally impractical for any ordinary task. But Progress! and Science!

  261. @ Simon, JMG: Australia does have the Sustainable Australia Party, a group which explicitly aims for a stable Australian population of less than 30 million and an immigration policy to suit. Unfortunately, the last time I brought them up the instant response was, “Isn’t that a right wing party?”

  262. JMG, yes, it helps a LOT! Thank you!

    So, now I can still drive—unless they change the lettering on white street signs to light gray—and I can read the Archdruid. Life is good again!

  263. Oof. Nearly 300 comments to slog through already. I better get started. But first….

    Millions of dollars are being invested in my area for more ethanol production to keep us going until we all buy an EV.
    https://abc57.com/news/german-company-verbio-buys-new-ethanol-plant-in-south-bend
    They say “There are still emissions, but it is not a fossil fuel since it doesn’t involve fracking or drilling” but I’ve read reports that ethanol is worse for the climate than gasoline.
    https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/us-corn-based-ethanol-worse-climate-than-gasoline-study-finds-2022-02-14/
    https://news.engin.umich.edu/2020/05/were-doing-ethanol-wrong/

    A bigger investment than that is the billions going into an Amazon web services data center. How much energy will that eat up?
    https://www.wndu.com/2024/04/25/11-billion-investment-coming-new-carlisle-amazon-web-services/
    They’ll get a tax abatement, of course.

    Joy Marie

  264. More American “advanced” armaments absurdity
    https://pjmedia.com/rick-moran/2024/04/26/ukraine-sidelines-abrams-tanks-after-russia-figures-out-how-to-kill-them-n4928543
    The underlying assumption of the Western elite 20-30 years ago was that the Chinese and Russian systems would always stay “behind” or dumber than the “West”. I remember reading repeatedly, that no worries about free trade and globalism, the Chinese system didn’t have the innovative abilities and tendencies of the American way and we would always do the fancy advanced stuff and China would just provide the cheap stuff in Walmart.

  265. @Princess Cutekitten #275
    Check out the accessibility settings of your browser or device.
    There are usually several options for people with low vision, including high contrast color schemes, screen magnification, font size, etc.
    You may have to experiment to find what works for you.
    Hope that helps!

  266. I was going through my bookmarked links and I forgot I had aimed to post these items in a previous month, but time slipped away and it didn’t get done. At least I don’t remember posting them.

    I think their claws are coming out. “either volunteer or have it shoved down your throats.”
    https://abc57.com/news/multiple-township-fire-departments-to-possibly-consolidate-to-single-county-fire-territory

    Headline: “drama over homeless shelter” rather than “concerns over homeless shelter”. Is it media magic at work? Also, very interesting that the meeting was closed when public comments were to begin.
    https://abc57.com/news/mayor-mueller-responds-to-drama-over-homeless-intake-center

    State: to allow school boards control over sex educational info, opponents complain “will be controlled by school boards without training or degrees in the subject.” Goodness, no credentials? Eeek! Also, from the article “…opponents say the bill would allow the contesting of settled facts on human sexuality and the politicization of health education.” I see a lot of problems with this statement.
    https://www.wndu.com/2024/02/01/indiana-bill-seeks-regulate-teacher-lesson-plans-human-sexuality/

    Is all this evidence that the local elite are quaking in their boots?

    Joy Marie

  267. Re-reading the chat about the rise of Women’s Rights movement following the invention of revolvers, I would argue that it wasn’t the revolver that caused the change in attitudes and values, but that both the revolver and that change in social sensibilities were the result of Industrialism.
    The rise of an urban middle class whose wealth came from industry, instead of the agriculture-based wealth of the traditional aristocracy brought with it a vast array of different attitudes. The spread of the Women’s Rights movement is also co-incident with the Urban-based Dignity Culture that eventually replaced agrarian-based Honour Culture, and the development and spread of the ideas of Socialism, which began and took root in the newly-expanding industrialized cities, not the labourers of the countryside, to name two examples.
    I don’t think it is a question of women being able to effectively defend themselves — because as the Weinstein case and the Cosby case are showing us, they still can’t and don’t — but rather the sensibilities of the urban middle classes who had to learn to cooperate and turn to a neutral third party (courts) for dispute resolution rather than reaching for a sidearm when angered, are quite different from the agrarian culture in which isolated villages and farmsteads have to rely on themselves for protection and must show a willingness to fight for their wealth as a deterrent to bandits.
    I’m pretty sure you don’t need a full essay by me to see where I’m going with this hypothesis.

    Bruce

  268. > Readability @Princess C #275

    You could try “right-click, select all, copy” and paste into the word processor of your choice and adjust the font and size to suit. But this can destroy the formatting and be awkward to read.

    What browser do you use? There might be options or add-ons that can help.

  269. @JillN #274

    The same seems to be true of my family, going back four or five generations. Certainly in recent memory.

    Judging from various family stories, some of the men were more than ready to use their fists at times, but only against other men, and even that had certain unwritten ‘rules’. Physical violence against women was not smiled upon.

    The factor that arguably tipped the balance in one case I know of was alcohol. One of my great-grandmothers was very afraid of her father, who appears to have been quite a thug and a drunkard. Her mother had died when she was still very young.

  270. @Owain D.#238
    First you used wild generalisations, speaking on behalf of ‘Britain’ as a whole (just as Gaia was speaking on behalf of ‘Europe’), then you asserted that rural people don’t have guns (which is nonsense), and now you’re claiming that you were only ever talking about numbers. Just because there are millions of urban fools doesn’t make their foolish opinions more weighty. I know you were just rehashing the old trope about primitive Americans and their gun crimes, but the fact is that unarmed urban British people may come to regret their present distance from ‘the Briton’s right to bear arms’. This ancient right was always meant to be exercised by freedom loving individuals against an oppressive rogue state, it was never about defending oneself against other citizens. ‘Knife crime’ is just propaganda to distract you from the fact that modern criminals actually have assault weapons, just as ‘Channel crossing migrants’ are meant to distract you from the fact that countless migrants are actually coming ashore in the remoter parts of Scotland and Ireland where the neo-liberal state can’t afford to have customs patrols.

  271. @Princess Cutekitten:
    Pressing the F9 key in most web browsers will switch on and of a “reading mode” that simplifies the text layout, making it more readable. It might not work properly with some complex text, but it is always worth a try.

  272. @JillN #274 – Yes! Exactly! This is exactly my experience too! 🙂 Growing up surrounded by people of widely varying capacities, competencies, talents, intelligence, strength and inclination. But no one trying to dominate anyone else. If you encountered someone like that, you’d avoid them, if you could. Disagreements, ok, even fights. But no one trying to lord it over another person, “just because I’m… stronger, better, smarter, or whatever…”

    This is why I am so sceptical of the idea that mere differences in strength, intelligence, talent, competence, etc, is sufficient to account for dominating behaviour. It can just as easily account for “rubbing along with each other” behaviour.

    There is something else at work… and i’m not sure what that something else is. But (based on my own experience) I cannot believe that mere differences between people’s abilities and strengths can account for it.

  273. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks, I appreciate that. The road leading directly off this part of the mountain range is closed due to construction of a roundabout just out of town. I know you don’t drive, but spare a thought for my situation – the detour to get off the mountain range now takes an extra twenty minutes. And just for good measure you end up stuck in the leaf change tourist traffic. Yay for progress! I can see the future need for the roundabout as they’d just turned two paddocks into a football field as well as netball courts. Both of which are at the opposite end of the nearby town to where most people live.

    I’ve been trying to imagine how things would work day to day if a contracting economy caused everything to produce the disarmingly innocent sounding result of: a deficit. The word doesn’t seem appropriate does it? My gut feeling suggests that this is already under-way, and is only masked by the loose money supply expansionist policies as well as artificial pressure on demand. But if that was stopped, or even slowed, what next is what I was trying to wrap my head around. Do you have any clearer idea of how things would look and work?

    PS: Just curious if you’ve re-read any older familiar books of late? Sometimes I find comfort in familiar old enjoyable books.

    Cheers

    Chris

  274. @Kfish – I know what you mean. I’ll cite something that seems to make sense, and be told, dismissively, “He’s a Republican,” or “That’s a right wing site,” or once, in discussion about foreign affairs, “that’s a Russian website,” or “she’s anti-gay (in a discussion that has nothing to do with her beliefs in that sector.)

    The ancient Greeks were onto that one long ago; it’s called “ad hominem.”
    Incidentally, back in the day, you’d see a woman’s comment dismissed for reasons connected with being a woman, and I promptly added “Ad feminam” to the logic book. You can multiply that by whatever category is being put down just because…. and today, they’re all over the political, social, and cultural discourse. That should be worth a blog post some time. “The reign of the Ad Hominem.”

  275. JMG, thank you! Now I’m getting somewhere. I didn’t know, and couldn’t find out, if the signs run around that clock forwards or backwards. 🙂

  276. Warburton, that would make a hilarious satiric novel! Thanks for the data points; it’s comforting, in a bleak sort of way, to know that the good ol’ USA isn’t alone in that sort of stupidity.

    Kfish, no surprises there.

    Your Kittenship, glad to hear it.

    Joy Marie, thank you for the data points.

    BeardTree, it’s one more example of the current elite’s inability to imagine the possibility of a future that isn’t the present with more elaborate toys. That’s going to cost them bitterly, and quite possibly fairly soon.

    Joy Marie, and thanks for these data points as well.

    Renaissance, this is fascinating. I’ve said in so many words that the role of the gun in the process we’re discussing has nothing to do with who was shooting whom, or with whether women were defending themselves using guns — it’s a matter of the way the gun as iconic metaphor changed the way violence was imagined and understood in large parts of the Western world. I don’t mind if you disagree with that, but it would be nice if you acknowledged somewhere in there that that’s what I’m talking about!

    Chris, you have my sympathy; we’ve got a major bridge falling down here in East Providence and it’s causing no end of chaos even for people like me who don’t use cars. As for the implications of economic contraction, I’m still trying to figure that out, not least because literally every aspect of a modern economy depends on the fact that most businesses make a profit each year. You’re doubtless right that a lot of what’s going on right now in business, government, and economics is an increasingly desperate attempt to paper over the fact that most economies are already in contraction. With regard to familiar books, good heavens, yes — that’s most of what I’ve been reading, in fact. My dining table reading — I don’t have my familiar conversational partner across the table any more, so meals are reading time — is Toynbee’s A Study of History; I expect to read all ten volumes.

    Scotlyn, glad to be of help.

  277. @JMG #295

    No problem, boss.

    On another matter, I have a recollection that there was mention a while back that The Complete Archdruid Report was due to be reprinted. Am I imagining things, or is that indeed the case?

  278. Re insect numbers, I work in gardens and pay a lot of attention to insect numbers, and wildlife in general, and have noticed that they ebb and flow from year to year. 2020 was a good year for them and the car windscreen was more splatted than for many years previously. The birds liked 2020 too. In the gardens I work in I’ve noticed that if I can persuade the client to ease up on their desire for total control, insect populations bounce back quickly. One client was gently persuaded to let the grass grow long in his specimen tree area and during one of our regular ‘tour of the estate’ walks he remarked that he’d never heard so many grasshoppers and I was pleased to reply ‘That’s because you’ve got grass’. The orchard is also now allowed to grow long grass and fills with all manner of insects during the summer. You walk through it and there are all sorts jumping and flitting around in there. The latest thing is trying to slowly introduce the idea of tolerating anthills, which is something people can get into quite a state about. They want to spray them with poison or hack them to bits, which won’t make any difference because a young queen will simply turn up and start building elsewhere.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that once there isn’t the fuel for current levels of driving and industry, and once there are fewer humans, nature will reassert itself with vigour. I’d like to live to see that, but maybe it will have to wait until the next life.

  279. I’ve been slowly reading a 2006 Russian-language history of the Urals working class in 1900-1941 (by Postnikov and Feldman, though I would be surprised if those names said anything to anyone here…). The book is badly written (both extremely dry and undereditted) but offers many interesting facts. One recurring theme is that – contrary to much of Bolshevik messaging – there wasn’t a very clear separation between the workers and the peasants. Workers all over the Russian Empire, but especially in the Urals, tended to own land and spend a lot of their time working on it rather than in the factories. Moreover, even in the Soviet period, most of their food came from their own gardens. Stalin tried to crack down on those at one point, but eventually quietly let it go. The situation reminded me of the critique of economics textbook thinkng in some ADR posts. Factory workers are supposed to be just factory workers, whose sole economic activity is working in a factory. But in practice even a totalitarian state bent on proletarianisation could only do so much about ingrained habits of life.

    The book also reveals a curious kind of inconsistency. Its authors are duly critical of orthodox Soviet historiography, but mostly take for granted the superiority of a classical industrial society (which, they believed, existed in Germany and the USA, but not in Russia and especially not in the Urals). That’s the kind of society where you can tell workers from peasants; where they are economically and culturally wholly refashioned to serve an advanced industrial economy rather than being mired in peasant traditions and folkways. Even so, now and then they admit that the transformation to full-fledged worker was in many cases traumatic and by no means an unequivocal improvement. They acknowledge some cultural losses in the destruction of peasant traditions (though they mostly associate that with specific, deliberately destructive Soviet policies). But then they go back to talking about “improvements in the workers’ cultural level”, as though that was something objectively quantifiable, or the woefully “incomplete” state of their movement towards the industrial ideal. It gave me the impression of an implicit belief in the inherent virtue of the industrial model that goes unquestioned even when one can actually see and recognise the flaws.

  280. Thank you, JMG, for your gentle yet firm hand on the tiller of this discussion space. My practice when I fall into a discussion with someone online and we end up going back and forth and I reach the point of repeating myself I then let the other person have the last word and end it.

  281. Hello all. I was wondering if anyone here remembers an out of print book that was mentioned years ago on here (in the comments) about Weeds. I think it was published in the 50s and it was about how our understanding of these plants is all cockeyed( among other things in our modern western understanding of things). I know this sounds obscure but I don’t have any other details than that. Any info is helpful. Thanks.

  282. Joy Marie #284

    FIRE DEPARTMENT & AMBULANCE SERVICE

    One of the reasons my husband and I sold our house in Northern California and moved to Wisconsin (2020) was because the small🏢City we lived in had manipulated inflated “fire department & ambulance service” salaries to humongous levels, to over $200K, since the 1960s.🤑The fire chief was getting over $300K when we left, and the second and third levels received salaries in the high $200Ks. Over a 50-year period, two or three long-time families had gotten into the right ‘high places’ in the City goobermint, and gave themselves, family, and friends continually increasing salaries City-wide. I called them “The Mob.” One of the third level fi-idiots, call him Person M2, lived over my back fence—he had an emotional age of no more than 12 years old, had a hair-trigger temper that got him in the newspapers a few times, and could not have had an IQ more than 90, yet was pulling in a 250K salary for a couple decades.

    His father (call him Person M1) had been a corrupt mover-and-shaker in the City from the 1960s through 2000 aughts, who bribed his way to getting several of his adult childrens’ (and friends’) salaries upped to the 200Ks. After M1 died, the grandchildren had no such luck getting inflated salaries—I am sure it was a big surprise to those grandkids when the only thing they could manage was to flip burgers at minimum wage. But the lock on the City is a done-deal—his mob has infiltrated the City such that they have close to bankrupted the City. The City was always complaining it was short of funds (I wonder why).

    I have wondered what other villages, towns, and cities across the USA have similar arrangements where the “fire department & ambulance service” employees have gotten rich by misappropriating taxpayer money. If I am not mistaken, ambulance services didn’t start until after World War II, coming to be a financial burden on municipalities by the 1980s. Many ambulance services turned into definite lenocracies. Personally, I feel ambulance services should be abolished across the board.

    I really love those departments’ excuse for NOT DOWNSIZING.

    They say ”When you call 911, don’t you want someone to come ‘save’ you?” My answer is, “No, actually this 73-year old doesn’t want anyone to come save me. Why would I want to end up in the deathtrap people call ‘a hospital’? I don’t give a cr_p. Just let my dead body decompose on the floor a few days.”

    ‼️They don’t like to hear that‼️

    I then privately proceed to give them the middle finger (insert middle finger emoji here).

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🚑🏥💸
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  283. Dear JMG and fellow commentators:

    Recently on Unherd, Malcolm Kyeyune posted an essay: “Why the West will refuse to fight: Citizens won’t sacrifice themselves”.

    He notes
    “Western politics is defined by a conflict that is always awkward and sometimes cringe. On the one hand, our leaders are full of loud-mouthed passion, warning that the days of peace are over and that we now need to prepare for total, generational war. On the other, it’s beyond obvious that nobody cares. Across Europe and America, politicians now openly exhort their populations to feel righteous patriotism and to answer the call of duty, but all seem to accomplish exactly nothing: our militaries are shrinking due to a lack of recruits, polling shows a massive disinterest in fighting for King and Country, the young in particular remain completely unmoved. Even in embattled Ukraine, young men are choosing to dodge the draft and go clubbing instead.”

    He points out Arnold Toynbee and the concept of the internal proletariat, and continues:

    “What makes this situation so intractable today is that our political elites have more or less made themselves immune to the negative consequences of their own policies. They neither apologise for mistakes nor accept responsibility for them. To take just one example: the war against Ukraine was supposed to be won quickly, and those who warned about the negative economic consequences of introducing sanctions were ridiculed and marginalised. More than two years later, those measures are wreaking havoc on ordinary people, and yet there is seemingly no contrition whatsoever from those who got it wrong — just more calls for the plebians to sacrifice more.

    “Our political elites have more or less made themselves immune to the negative consequences of their own policies.”

    “Of course, to say that this is somehow a unique aspect of the Ukraine war is far from the truth: the war in Iraq, which cost the United States massive amounts of blood, sweat and treasure, is now widely recognised to have been based on lies and misinformation, and yet few were punished. It was the same story after the great financial crisis of 2008. Lack of accountability is at this point endemic.”

    “Thus, we find ourselves in a situation that has much in the way of historical precedent: an insulated, out-of-touch ruling class protected from the ill effects of its own policies, and a general population that is sullenly withdrawing from public service and both mentally and physically “checking out”. Because it’s happened so often before, what happens next is not a great mystery: at some point, yet another crisis will roll along, one that the elites will simply not be able to manage without the active support of the people they rule over, only to find that said support doesn’t arrive. The terrible revolutionary years that Mexico suffered after the botched election of 1910 is one example of where this dynamic can eventually lead.”

    Definitely worth a read. Our ruling class is lost in a cloud of self-delusion! Even if the commoners cared enough to fight, the US and Europe have stripped their industry, their militaries are for show only (and Lenocracy; can’t forget that), and we can’t raise, equip, and train the mass armies required.

    Who thought 31 M1 Abrams tanks would be decisive in the Ukraine. For Heaven’s Sake!!! Try many hundreds, at least!!

    Cugel

  284. JMG #294

    Is (at least) 25% of your table piled high with books?

    💨Northwind Grandma💨📚🍽️
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  285. In response to comments 244 and 247…

    “haven’t you met the kind of person for whom life in the world — making a living, raising a family, and so on — is what matters? The kind for whom the life of ideas is empty handwaving?”

    Oh, yes, I have definitely met quite a few people like this. In fact, I am tempted to say that these kinds of people outnumber those who need lots of mental stimulation. The thing is, its easy for me to make sense of this using what I thought was the standard reincarnation model. I was under the impression that most people who believed in reincarnation would say these individuals had not spent many lives as humans and were thus still working towards higher levels of mental development. This, regardless of whether or not it is true, at least has a certain amount of internal consistency. If you were recently an animal then you might still think like an animal. But things get odd when you say that half of humanity is reincarnating towards lower levels of reality. Think about it like this. Suppose you were just existing on the mental plain of existence and you just entered the human form in this life. Wouldn’t that make you an absent minded philosopher? I would expect that kind of person to be walking into doors while pondering how many dimensions there were, and only after a lot of lifetimes come to understand how to be an alpha male or a good mother or what have you. Yet, there aren’t that many socially awkward bookworms when compared to the number of people who love their bread and circuses. That’s what is curious to me. Western occultism as I understand it teaches that half of the human population recently left the mental world and are only now entering into their lives as human. That seems to imply a particular type of person that I just don’t encounter very often should be far more common. Quite frankly, humans do not look smart enough for this to make sense. What am I missing?

  286. Maurice #300

    WEEDS

    You are likely thinking of one or more of my posts about weeds. I am into weeds. Here, in these comments, this week, see my comment #187, starting with “Very interesting article about maize.” Further down, I mention the three books about agriculture and weeds that I have found life-changing.

    The book you are thinking of is probably:

    “Trampling Out the Vintage” by Joseph A. Cocannouer, 1945 (1882 Illinois-1969 Oklahoma), by University of Oklahoma Press:

    https://www.amazon.com/Trampling-Out-Vintage-Joseph-Cocannouer/dp/0806101415/ref=sr_1_1

    Cocannouer’s other book is ”Weeds: Guardians of the Soil” by Joseph A. Cocannouer, 1950:

    https://www.amazon.com/Weeds-Guardian-Soil-Joseph-Cocannouer/dp/1329209168/ref=sr_1_1

    Joseph Cocannouer (b 1882 Illinois; d 1969 Oklahoma) is my hero‼️I think he wrote more than these books.

    A third, more recent book along the same lines, by a different author, is:

    Weeds, Control Without Poisons” by Charles Walters, 1999, Acres USA, ISBN 0911311580:

    https://www.amazon.com/Control-Without-Poisons-Charles-Walters/dp/0911311580/ref=sr_1_5

    Happy reading.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🌱👨🏼‍🌾📚
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  287. Maurice, you might be thinking of Weeds, Control without Poisons, by the late Charles Walters, founder, owner and managing editor of Acres USA. He was a true American patriot, the real kind, not the posturing flag outside the suburban mansion in between the huge boat, the gas guzzling SUV and the wife’s Buick kind.

    Following on an unusually mild winter, we have had a long, cold spring. I am beginning to see a few insects, and a humble bumble today! I wonder if the dearth of our six legged friends might have been caused by preemptive spraying, official or private, in anticipation of the expected cicada plague.

    BeadTree, in online fora, I do agree that if someone thinks they must have that coveted Last Word, let them have it. In personal conversation I prefer to say something like, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that point. I do not need whomever telling anyone who will listen about well, I just set her straight about XZY, right after I announced to someone else my firm support for their views on XYZ.

  288. All – So much of what’s wrong in my urban community is symbolized by the fact that the weekly (Spring through Fall) Farmers Market is being suspended next Saturday (May the 4th), so that someone can stage a Star Wars-themed parade! (This is apparently inspired by a twist on the sage advice “May the Force be With You”.) Our farmers, crafts-people, and food preparers are being shorted a week’s income … for WHAT? One of the Market vendors pointed out that, if they just ran the parade in the opposite direction, people could follow the parade TO the Market, and maybe they’d get more sales. But, no. I’ve toyed with the idea of picketing, with a sign that says: “Food, not Fantasy”.

    Official announcement: “This year’s parade is about coming together as a community to embrace our diverse universe and revel in the joy that Star Wars has bought generations.” I don’t know anyone who thinks this is a good idea, but, then, there are a lot of people in this town that I don’t know.

    By the way, this is College Park, Maryland, the home of the University of Maryland, and most recently in the news for having the City’s “equity officer” comment in social media that she wants the US to burn to the ground, so it can be rebuilt according to her own sense of justice. Before that, its mayor was convicted of using city computers to distribute gay child pornography and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

  289. >When you call 911, don’t you want someone to come ‘save’ you?

    I remember when one of my grandfathers needed the hospital back in the 80s. It was there, he was taken care of, nobody questioned the competence of anyone who worked there, etc. Rock solid.

    Some of my relatives have told me stories about what hospitals are like today. And how if nobody else is there to catch their mistakes, they can kill you (and almost did). Corner cutting and cost cutting. But at least the hospital is still there, although you don’t want to go there unless you’re really desperate.

    I wonder. I wonder when I’m their age and I need that hospital, will it actually be there? And if it is, will anyone want to go to it? I’ve more or less concluded the answer is “probably not” and “no”. The question I ask myself is “How do I plan and respond to this?” I don’t have a good answer.

    I’ve concluded the medical system in this country is unfixable and the only thing you can do is work around it and avoid it whenever possible. I wonder if a jet flight to a foreign hospital where things aren’t as screwed up is actually cost effective these days? It’s actually cheaper and more cost effective to fly to a foreign country than it is to get any sort of care here. I haven’t run the numbers, but I wonder.

  290. @ Maurice #300

    …coincidentally… 🙂

    Check out comment #187 on this very thread which contains a full reference to the 1950 “Weeds: Guardians of the Soil”… (excellent, IMHO) along with references to other, similar books which may also interest you.

  291. >which won’t make any difference because a young queen will simply turn up and start building elsewhere

    It does make a difference. They’re building elsewhere. I don’t really care what they’re doing, as long as they’re doing it somewhere else.

  292. Owain D (#82) – While your American associates may have had some personal experience with gun violence, mine haven’t. I grew up in semi-rural Michigan, where my father had several guns for hunting, and deer season created vast traffic jams as people drove “up north” to the hunting land. Opening Day was an excused absence from high school. My father, my uncles, and friends would shoot a few deer most years, and sometimes gamebirds. I have my grandfather’s old but usable shotgun. My adult sons have guns. I don’t recall hearing about ANYONE in my family, or high-school, being the victim of gun violence.

    Come to think of it, though, I did fear for my life on the way home from the Hunter Safety course I had to take to get a hunting license. We had arranged to be driven home from class by the father of a friend, and he was drunk.

  293. The local library sent out one of their flyers and there is one interesting book.

    How to Forage for Wild Foods Without Dying by Ellen Zachos.

    Also on the page, Edible Housplants by Laurelynn Martin. It claims to be about growing tropical fruit indoors.

  294. Chuaquin mentions in #26 copper theft
    https://www.ecosophia.net/april-2024-open-post/#comment-113182
    It happens in Toronto as well. My cabling guy has had a few jobs that were to rewire a building that had sit unoccupied for a while where all or most of the cabling had been stripped out. Pennies are no longer made fully of copper anymore because the copper costs more than a penny’s worth.
    I’ve heard of spats of manhole cover thefts in some places for the value of the steel in them. As resources get more expensive to extract, the more someone will figure out the theft of it.

    On the topic of shipping. There is a quite a push for sailing vessels for cargo going on, with several commercial endeavours already on going and building new sailing ships for cargo.
    The wind-ship.org membership has quite a few along those lines, like the SailCargo building a 3-master in the jungle with local materials.
    As for the Bluenose, there are efforts to build another, as the Bluenose II is getting on in age for an operating wood ship. Lunenburg it working to maintain the basic skills and has used then to launch a new wood ship every year or so.

    in #100 Kfish
    https://www.ecosophia.net/april-2024-open-post/#comment-113264
    search – scrap or scrappy at Ravelry.com
    There is plenty out there, just not well organized. Perhaps an idea is to build a community around the topic, with possibly the aim to get such a book published (crowdfunded such as Kickstarter)?

    Siliconguy asked in #156 about local wikipedia equivilants
    https://www.ecosophia.net/april-2024-open-post/#comment-113327
    Check out the https://www.cd3wdproject.org/
    Along those lines, I do make a point of saving useful post internet/grid data locally, making sure it to have copies on longer lasting media. Given that flash storage such as SD’s and regular burnt CDs/DVDs start degrading in less than a year, I’ve now invested in an MDISC burner and media https://www.mdisc.com/ Previously it has been to dump copies to older hard drives than otherwise now sit disconnected on shelves.

    As for super fine stitching/knitting wondered about in #158 by Northwind, and in addition to JMG’s response, it was standard training for precise stitching of many kinds from a very early age. Seeing the 50-60 count Cross-Stitch work from the 18 and 19th century orphanages of 8-11 year old as their stitch quality resumes/CVs as future domestic help is quite something. To see more about them, look up ‘reproduction samplers’ with https://hands-across-the-sea-samplers.com (HATS) being one such vendor of such patterns who includes great history of each pattern and the girl who stitched it. My wife became hooked on HATS Bristol Samplers a couple of years ago, only to then discover some of her family comes from that area.

    On the topic of chickens in/near apartments. Make sure they are hens. You do not want a lonely rooster, as they are NOISY, crowing/calling for mates all day. Someone did that near us a decade ago, and it magically disappeared just before animal services finally came for it. I got some good pictures of it before that to help that whole lenocracy process along, as we work at home, and it was most distracting. https://www.konecnyad.ca/rooster/rooster.html
    Not that I am suggesting anyone to use sung knowledge to scare any noisy neighbours, not at all.

    Your Kittenship, do remember to start your required drops the week before your surgery. When I had my troublesome eye done, it was amazing how many thought they were only for post-op.
    And thank you for the prod to JMG as I do dispise that silly low contrast fashion thing being so in vougue still. I argue against it where every I can and have some influance like you do here.

  295. Since this is Open Post, I have an Ariel Moravec question. I noticed in Book of Haatan that she was doing things she liked to do, especially to tick off her mother. She scored a lovely classical dress at the thrift shop and that was the first thought going through her mind. That’s just being ruled by her mother’s opinions with the signs reversed. Of course, she’s only 18 (and, from the first book, her sun sign is certainly Gemini*), but IIRC, the idea is to do what you like or what you see fit regardless of what anyone else thinks of it, especially an overbearing parent. Will this be addressed later?
    Also, going back to a thread about hoarding on last week’s post, her mother used to take away some of her little treasures, saying “you don’t need this any more,” which left me totally hornswoggled. And she’s not supposed to be abusive? That’s uncalled-for cruelty!

    *Gemini because when Witch of Criswell opens, it’s just past her 18th birthday, and she has only 8 weeks to stay with her grandfather before school or community college starts again, and that spells early June to me, since these days school starts in August! And I don’t see her as having a sun sign in Cancer. YMMV.

    A few days ago, I was reading a novel about parental expectations and incessant pressure to succeed, written and set in the early 2000s, in which the pressure came from the father, a highly successful doctor who would settle for noting less than A+ excellence. The viewpoint character was the daughter who followed in his footsteps – I note, he had no sons, and that was mentioned, too – until a family crisis arose. Her younger sister (this was not the crisis) had bagged college in favor of becoming a baker’s apprentice, and at the time of writing had a successful bakery in town – and her father was sure she was living on the ragged edge of poverty. Not that he ever visited the bakery nor tried one of its products. Now, this was more familiar.

    [I think I know what changed things. There seems to be a rhythm, in which the children of an overbearing parent rebel, and among other things, raise their children with a lot more freedom, possibly (given an urban environment in some sort of chaos) leads them so vow they’ll never leave their own children at loose ends, and so they over-parent. I was an eyewitness to some of it myself. And why the mother and not the father? Because girls, given a lot of freedom and told to do their own thing, are more vulnerable in adolescence to the harm caused by youthful mistakes than boys are. I note – now – to cite a popular musical drama of the period, “Hair,” that the young debutante who dropped out and was pregnant by a boy her parents would never accept, could never go home again. Another musical drama, “Grease,” was a lot more realistic about that. And nobody these days understands why the pregnant girl in that was so upset and desperate. I saw the contemporary remake. But let’s not get into a flame war over whether I’m right about those consequences or not… the point is that the rhythm is there.]

  296. “may Erika be blessed with the support she needs in this difficult time, and be granted the strength and self-understanding to avoid unhealthy levels of darkness and despair.”

    QUIN! i happened upon this as i was taking a much-needed break and reading up here. THANK YOU. i smiled because yeah… my mom’s helping me find a lawyer and organize all this against me and even she’s exhausted from it all. there are multiple cases and it’s all confusing and traps are laid EVERYWHERE. i said i feel like the past 9 months i was running a marathon and now i’ve gotta sprint another 26 miles.

    thanks, Quin. i definitely need prayers and want to be granted the strength and self-understanding to avoid UNHEALTHY LEVELS OF DARKNESS AND DESPAIR. i’m struggling not to fear and dislike Normal People. they are very scary to me.

    thank you again.

    x

    erika

  297. @Peter #4

    We live nearby but have never been able to come because our family reunion is usually then. But this year we’re going to my in-laws’ anniversary party instead, so we might actually be able to make it. But I wanted to ask–

    * Lately the signup sheet no longer lists what everyone else is bringing, so I don’t know what the potluck could use, what have people liked in the past?

    * Can we bring our 2 year old?

    Thanks!

  298. Grover #226

    I hiked the PCT and it was transformative. Probably the best thing I ever did. I turned 47 on the trail, so you still have lots of time. If you get a chance to hike the AT, take it! I’m not sure the AT is far enough away from people to have the desired effect for me. Sounds crowed and you’re never too far from civilization (the PCT has a stretch of over 200 miles between any road of any kind).

    Or maybe don’t hike a huge, long, popular tail, and just get out there. I find that it takes two weeks or so to settle in to the new way of life, and another few weeks to get to the zen experience of it all. You don’t need to be out there for 5-6 months. After 2-3 months I begin to feel lonely and homesick, partly because I’ve achieved the mental state I was looking for already. Happy Trails!

    RE: Cookbooks

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned 3×5 cards they inherited from their ancestors. I have a box with about 100 3×5 cards of recipes I got from my grandmother, and I suspect some of them are actually from her mother.

  299. Lurksalong @200 and Atmosphere @276 Our ailing medical system is a star example of maladaption. Older doctors carefully honed history taking and examination skills. They were trained before MRI’s existed, and when labs took a long time to run (except the ones they did themselves using a microscope and simple devices). Yes, much modern care is worthy, but the system often gets in the way. The overwhelming complexity is a mess – there have even been suggestions for learning surgery via computer simulations. Much primary care and triage gets allotted a few minutes – if they checkbox the history and rush the pseudo-exam, they can overuse pricy tests for a closer look, then move on to the next patient. Or push the ill ER patient to the back of the line, for refusal to completely fill out the several page ER computer history.

    This is such a sad response for burned-out staff, dealing with out of control systems that punish those who take time with patients, and promote those who master the billing acronyms. Lenocrats never seem to consider increased clinical staff or simplification…

  300. Mr. Greer, I stumbled upon the Hermitix Podcast episode about Polytheism vs. Monotheism today, and it reminded me of a question I have often pondered. Perhaps I should finish the episode before I ask the question, but I wanted to get to it before I forget.

    When I read the Bible, there are multiple mocking references to people praying to gods they had made with their own hands. The idea seems to be “Can you believe these idiots? Do they really think their god is made of stone, clay, or straw?” As I read it, I think the writers might be missing the point. These ancient polytheists surely did not think the representations they prayed to were the actual gods. I imagine they would have seen them as representations. I am a Byzantine Catholic, and our churches are full of icons. We bow and pray before them all the time, while being very aware that the beings are actually in Heaven (and also present with us in some mystical way).

    Do you think the ancient Biblical writers were actually confused by polytheistic practices, or was this some form of polemical argument mean to mock the pagans and keep their own people in line?

    Thank you.

  301. Hi JMG, I was hoping you might be willing to offer your opinion on the difference between magic and magical thinking. As you’re no doubt aware “manifesting” is a very popular topic these days in books such as The Secret, but the way it’s presented strikes me as glib, more hype and marketing than actual substance. I’d love to get your thoughts on the topic.

  302. Owain, it was a possibility, but not a likely one. Those don’t sell much. I may arrange someday to have them made available as print-on-demand volumes at cost or a little above, when I have the time to figure out how to work the system.

    Daniil, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Dogmatic notions about what an “advanced” society ought to be are embarrassingly widespread these days.

    BeardTree, you’re welcome. It’s part of maintaining the conversational commons.

    Cugel, to my mind Malcom Kyeyune is one of the best bloggers around these days. He’s spot on, of course, and the Toynbee analysis is crucial here.

    Northwind, nope. I’m actually a little picky about my personal spaces, and so there’s one book at a time on the dining table.

    Stephen, okay, you’ve misunderstood what I’ve said. No, they’re not reincarnating toward lower levels of reality. They’re coming to terms with matter on the human level, having previously lived through mineral, plant, and animal lives. It’s just that the first half or so of your lives in a human body focus on dealing with material reality from a human perspective, and only then do you begin work on transcending the human level.

    Lathechuck, thanks for the data points. Ugh.

    Furnax, glad to hear it.

    Random, thanks for this!

    Patricia M, of course! She’s only eighteen, and for the first time in her life she’s out from under her mother’s domineering presence, so she’s being a little stupid about it. She has a lot of growing to do — and so does her mother, whom we’ll be seeing more of a little later. As for the habit of taking away a child’s treasures, one of the many things Sara and I had in common is that both of our mothers did that.

    Christopher, exactly! If the old Pagans treated Christians the way too many Christians treat Pagans, they’d have insisted that Christians worship an old man, a sheep, and a magic bird. Christianity has many virtues but it also has its besetting sins, and one of the worst is that its followers tend to lose their ethical compass completely whenever they talk about other religions — it’s one cheap shot after another, snarking about the mote in their brother’s eye while ignoring the beams of hypocrisy and hatred in their own.

    Joshua, what gets called “magical thinking” these days is ironically the kind of thinking that operative mages — people who actually practice magic — don’t do. I’ve been tempted to call it economic thinking, because economists are far more prone to it than mages! To call The Secret meretricious is an insult to honest prostitutes — as far as I know the author and the publisher are the only people who profited from it, and I knew quite a few people who tried to use its methods to get rich in real estate and lost everything in bankruptcy. You cannot bully or wheedle the universe into giving you whatever you want just because you think you deserve it, and that is emphatically not what magic, the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will, is about.

  303. Maurice #300

    I don’t know about your book from the 1950’s, but I recently read an excellent book that changed my perception of “weeds” greatly. It sounds like you might like it: “The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation” by Fred Pearce.

    My two sentence summary: Who are we to decide what should grow where? Maybe just leave Nature alone.

  304. Hi John,

    Any word on when The Fires of Shalsha and Journey Star will be going back into print? I am a huge fan of your work and those two rank up there, along with the Weird of Hali series and Retrotopia, as being among my favorite novels of all time.

  305. Hey JMG

    I really should have a look at that tarot deck, a surrealist tarot does sound intriguing. It would certainly be interesting to compare it with the rider-Waite that I usually study.

    Speaking of bizarre art, what are your thoughts on art nouveau? I recently got an art book devoted to it, and the art gallery of my nearby city has some lovely glass vases on display.

  306. Three times this week a sales person ( usually much younger than myself) has ended our transaction with, what has become a common bit of banter. ” Do you have anything fun planned for the rest of your day?”. There are different versions of this but they all amount to ” will you be doing something fun after this.” I know they are just trying to be friendly but it always strikes me strangely as I rarely set out to “have fun”.
    I am certain my father or grandfather would have stared in bewilderment at such a statement. They ( and I suppose me) thought in terms of accomplishing something, or achieving satisfaction in a task well done, or learning something. Sure something fun might have happened along the way but we don’t plan our day around “fun”.
    Have I become a curmudgeon, or has the late stage empire become more frivolous and driven by a preoccupation with amusement.
    Has every day become Saturday night after a cattle drive? Is this the result of an education system, leadership and society values going down the tube or could it be on purpose?
    I am pretty sure the Men and Women of the Apollo program, who put the first man on the moon, didn’t spend 8 years thinking about “fun”. But my guess is that if they had it to do over again they wouldn’t trade it for 8 years of riding jet skis, break dancing and Karaoke.

  307. JMG, Thank you for the response. I was also reminded of Weird of Hali: Kingsport and a certain small statue in a character’s room. I’m being vague on purpose to avoid spoilers for those who have not read it, but clearly the character understood that was not the actual being to whom she was praying. It did help her focus her thoughts, however.

  308. @Cugel #302

    “Because it’s happened so often before, what happens next is not a great mystery: at some point, yet another crisis will roll along, one that the elites will simply not be able to manage without the active support of the people they rule over, only to find that said support doesn’t arrive. ”

    I think this is a key point. The Soviet Union did not fall because of an active uprising against it by the population. Most of the population was either indifferent to it or lukewarmly in favour of reforming it. But when a faction of the elite decided to take it apart for the sake of their own interests, the loyalist factions found that they can count on nearly no one to fight for them. There are other models – the French Revolution was certainly different – but an active mass rebellion is not necessary to destroy a political system; indifference can be deadly enough.

  309. @Lathechuck #311

    Thanks for this. I think the point I was trying to get across was that guns appear to have a much more prominent role in criminal violence in the US than they do in Britain, which seems to be borne out by a couple of figures I dug up. In 2021, firearms were associated with 81% of murder cases in the US. In England and Wales, in 2022/23, the comparable figure was 4.9%.

    However, in total, the number of gun murders in the US that year was still only 20,958, which isn’t an awful lot in a country with a population of 333 million and substantial gun ownership.

    My observation regarding my American acquaintances (‘Make of that what you will.’) wasn’t intended to convey any great truths about US gun owners per se, and I’m sorry if it came across like that, although I can see how it might. Ironically, I’m generally the one who tries to introduce a bit of nuance to the equation when I’m discussing these things with some members of my family. A former colleague of mine was very impressed with gun safety and responsibility when he was staying with his in-laws in the US on one occasion. We tend to be fed a totally different image.

    Incidentally, my older son wants to get his hunting licence here in Germany. One of his good friends, who is 20 years old or thereabouts, already owns around 10 shotguns and rifles. My comments were not motivated by irrational animosity towards anyone who enjoys shooting or hunting. Far from it.

  310. Hey JMG

    Almost forgot, I have something of a follow up of that news article about Australian job providers rorting the system that I shared a few weeks ago. Essentially, they are also coercing people into providing the payslips from the jobs they found without the “provider’s” help so they can use them to claim public money.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/apr/28/payslip-wars-australian-jobseekers-suffer-harassment-in-a-crazy-system-that-doesnt-work-for-anyone

  311. Bacon #297, Owen #310 and JMG

    “It does make a difference. They’re building elsewhere. I don’t really care what they’re doing, as long as they’re doing it somewhere else.”

    I love nature so long as it is not doing its thing in my back yard?
    We’ve always drawn a line with regards to mice and rats trying to get into food storage; beyond that it is a dance… rescue bumble bees et al but happy to frazzle the mozzie in the bedroom but finding the balance is always interesting.

    If there is a niche, nature will fill it and anthills attract woodpeckers so that the ‘unseemly’ anthill messing up the law of straight in a lawn is offset by the beauty of seeing green wood-peckers.

    Now I like rats for their tenacity, but when one managed to chew a hole into the back of a refrigerator compartment in the garage it was a case of putting a stop to that track by introducing a new path with more robust protection – didn’t have to kill the rat in that case, it just died of unknown causes and it was a matter of following the smell and flies to find and remove the rotting carcass.

    In Oxfordshire recently there has apparently been an uptick in thefts from vegetable allotments – not just tools etc but also produce. This mirrors an increase in shoplifting from convenience stores and supermarkets with a recent report that in some areas, maybe only one reported theft out of 5 will have an officer allocated.
    RFID tags have been appearing on ever smaller packs of meat.

    Talking to a local ‘Community Support Officer’ (i.e not a policeman) informed me that that day he was the only person on duty in the area. When I asked what happened if he needed back-up, he said he’d need to call for it from the town I live in 18 miles away or another town 15 miles distant.
    When I asked him what would happen if there was more than one incident, he related a tale of being at an arrest of a shoplifter when they were told to release the suspect on scene in order to attend the scene of a stabbing.

    Things may be even more tenuous than they seem, and that is saying something!

    In the last six months we’ve had 776mm (30.5″) of rain – this area usually gets around 640mm (25″) annually.

    Many farmers in UK missed autumn planting, winter crops (like parsnips) have been rotting in fields and spring crops have not been planted becuase ground is sodden – in some places still underwater coming end of April.

    Places like Morocco where large quantities of veg are produced for UK to import has apparently had problems with drought affecting irrigation.

    Ants making hills in the lawn is an inconvenience; human ants stealing produce from small vegetable gardens (‘allotments’ in UK) will be raised to a more serious level in short order – taking a families own grown food has a limited shelf life.

    I dunno, but seems like a storm is brewing.

    If things percolate down from subtler realms to gradually manifest in the dense material level, I can’t shake the feeling that human’s choice to disconnect from nature and treat life as a casino/whorehouse under the illusion of separateness and superiority is a hand of cards whose bluff is about to be ‘called’ by the house.

  312. Slink,

    Appreciate the insight! And I’m sure my wife would be happier if I just did a section hike instead of the whole thing…

    Maybe I should do the lower half one year, and the upper a different time. I think most people do it that way anyway. And that would give me the ~3 months in the woods you recommend as an upper limit. Being able to drop into a town for a cold beer and a hot shower now and then sounds right up my alley, too.

    Your PCT experience sounds pretty incredible, BTW.
    Cheers.

  313. Hey Aldarion

    I recall the Author Will Buckingham writing a compilation of stories, each one inspired by a hexagram of the I Ching, titled “64 chance pieces.”

    Also, someone asked for the name of a book about how the common discourse on weeds is wrong, and I think it may be “The new wild” by Fred Pearce.

  314. Dear JMG,
    I would like to follow up on your question to Hispalensis (#81). Considering Europe’s future, it is tempting to leave. However I wonder where an European family could realistically go. Where the region loses the influence and prestige, I’m afraid the welcome from the rest of the world would vanish as well. Russian had to encounter that circumstance after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Would it be better to make do with a small land at the outskirt of a middlesize city where one can provide a large part of necessities and stay near to the large family and community? We have scaled down our life ten years ago following your LESS guidelines. Therefore, we are not afraid of labors and poverty. On the other hand, as foreigner myself in Europe, life is like a war filled with humiliations and obstacles. And I don’t want that life for my wife and my children who are well settled in their country and can speak their mother tongue. One exception would be a war outbreak, like in Ukraine, I’m prepared to send my sons abroad until the conflict ends. I would appreciate greatly to have thoughts from you and this blog’s reades.
    Sincerely,

  315. A neighbor has informed me they ARE NOT renewing their mosquito abatement contract! : ) This lovely couple adores their kids – a recent conversation about weighing the harm from the chemicals versus mosquitos may have contributed. The kids love the garden, especially sweet cherry tomatoes and blueberries directly from the vine. : )

    Acknowledgement of moral injury for healthcare workers is making some waves, for what it is worth: https://wendellpotter.substack.com/p/moral-injury-enters-health-care-lexicon

  316. All – OK. I don’t get out much. That is, to mingle with the more commercial institutions of our society, but last night, my son took us out to one of favorite restaurants in the city. While I have heard stories about cities banning the use of natural gas in new construction, citing the CO2 emissions from its intentional combustion, the risk of damage due to unintentional combustion (gas leak explosions), and the climate impact of methane leaks from the well to the point of use, I’m not quite ready to throw out my gas-fired water heater (and clothes dryer, when hanging the laundry outside to dry isn’t feasible). But I was dismayed to see natural gas flames used as decoration around the outdoor seating area at the restaurant. Imagine an open pipe below a flame of 2-3 feet, enclosed in a glass chimney, for each of the six outdoor tables. Maybe that’s part of the reason that a bowl of ramen (with a slice of pork, and a hard-boiled egg), costs $20! Another restaurant nearby had the propane-fired patio heaters that stand about 7-8 feet tall, and radiate infrared heat throughout the area.

    “Clueless. Clueless, clueless, clueless.” (Sung to the tune of CSN&Y’s “Helpless”).

  317. Re: #307 Rather than protest the “May the 4th Parade”, I’ve arranged with the Asst. City Manager to pass out leaflets informing / reminding people who arrive at the location of the cancelled farmer’s market that the market will be back on May 11th. It just occurred to me this morning that there may be people coming to stage the parade who were not aware at all of the farmer’s market, and handing out the leaflets may increase traffic.

    The Market almost didn’t happen this year. Financially, it’s just scraping by, and the City considered not hiring a “market manager” for the season. Neighbors objected, but were told “The Market is not there for decoration or entertainment. If you want it to continue, you need to spend your money there!” There are arrangements for converting government food benefits into a form the farmers can accept. It persists, though, through the force of Will of several interested parties.

  318. @Christopher Kinyon and JMG

    This tradition actually dates back to Moses as well as Elijah who dared Baal to call down fire from heaven to burn the sacrifices at Mount Moriah. Which didn’t end up happening. But Fire from Heaven came down on his Sacrifice.

    Isaiah in particular says precisely what is criticized in the Christians in Isaiah 44. The Tanakh is full of condemnations of Idol Worship as Spiritually destructive to greater or lesser extent.

    Such that no matter their intentions. The moment they take an object and make a likeness of such a thing to represent what is worshipped in the form of creatures. They end up worshipping said Idol so the argument goes. A Living Image of God or a God has to be Alive and Responsive.

    Although even then Men are meant to worship the Invisible God which is Infinity and the Foundation of all Being that cannot be represented by any object that is fashioned by Men’s hands. This God is Jealous for our sole Worship and Glorification. Everything else being Finite and not Eternal and therefore being unworthy including every God that has a Name that implies limitation as Spiritual Beings. Being Creatures and Spiritual Powers or Angels that abrogated what rightfully belongs to him. The argument laid out by St Paul in Romans 1 is a condensed Polemic likewise talking along those lines.

    This kind of intolerance on the Spiritual level is from the very inception of Israelite religion. And also at the Heart of Christianity whether we like it or not. Said Monotheism has the assumption that all the Gods of the Nations which they worship if they did manifest Miraculously are Finite and Created High Angels that Rebelled against the Most High God.

  319. Ariel, all four of my remaining out-of-print novels — The Fires of Shalsha, Star’s Reach, Retrotopia, and Journey Star — are scheduled to be reprinted this coming autumn. Thank you, btw — the two Eridan novels are dear to me and it’s good to hear that someone else enjoys them.

    J.L.Mc12, Carrington’s 22-card deck is a fascinating and very carefully designed set. You can see some images here:

    https://www.artandobject.com/news/revisiting-lost-tarot-deck-surrealist-leonora-carrington

    As for Art Nouveau, I’m a serious fan of it. The art museum over in Providence has an Art Nouveau fireplace surround, all carved wood, that is gorgeous. Here’s an inadequate image:

    Nathanael, I’ve been scratching my head trying to remember where he’s from. Might I ask for a reminder?

    Clay, you’ve become a curmudgeon. In the twilight of a civilization, when everyone knows that the whole system is going to rack and ruin and no constructive action can change that, having fun is very nearly the only option left for many people.

    Christopher, exactly. In those passages, I tried to express something of what it’s like to experience a divine presence through an image — I suspect it’s something that anyone who’s prayed before an icon knows well.

    J.L.Mc12, no surprises there. Make a system that can be exploited, and — gosh! People will exploit it.

    Info, I wonder if you realize that a half century ago that same sales pitch was being used in the same way to extract money from suckers. Geothermal’s nice if you happen to live in an active volcanic zone, such as Iceland, and it’s quite possible that Kenya can get a portion of its modest current electrical needs met by exploiting geothermal wells in the rift valley. As with most of the other supposed panaceas for the impending energy crisis, though, it doesn’t scale adequately, and hard thermodynamic limits prevent it from being used anywhere you don’t have plenty of magma very close to the surface.

    Earthworm, thank you for the data points. A brewing storm indeed!

    Foxhands, if all you’re going to face is some equivalent of the collapse of the Soviet Union, that might be a workable strategy. It may not be anything like that gentle — and getting out now may be your one chance to find someplace else. Still, it’s your call, of course.

    Gardener, delighted to hear it.

    Lathechuck, interesting. I’ve never seen anything like that either.

    Info, sure, and if you’re Jewish — or if you belong to one of the Protestant sects that suffer from serious Judaism envy — it makes sense to follow that rule. Christopher and I don’t, and — well, you do realize that we believe that you’re profoundly mistaken, don’t you?

  320. @info #334
    Until now geothermal energy has been limited to areas with favorable geology – hot rock layers closer to the surface than usual. My guess is that Kenya is in one of those areas. Though the earth’s interior as you go deeper heats up; rock hot enough for geothermal in most areas is too deep to drill down to. However there is a new technology of improved drilling that is supposed to make geothermal power possible anywhere.
    https://news.mit.edu/2022/quaise-energy-geothermal-0628
    The plan is to drill down near present natural gas and coal powered power plants and power those plants instead with geothermal, using that to run the old steam turbines instead of fossil fuels to make electricity. Unlike wind and solar the geothermal power would run 24/7.
    We shall see if the devil manifests in the details as this proceeds forward. The article mentions engineering challenges to be solved. This is one of the items on my 30-50 years in the future due to hand in HW list I give my high school students to watch to see if it comes to pass. Other items is the ever promised nuclear fusion power, colonies on Mars along with the shut down because of climate change of the Gulf Stream current that warms Europe and about 15 others.

  321. Hi JMG – any update on writing contest(s)? I thought you posted a while back about considering a new contests with emphasis on imagination related to the deindustrial future coming down the pike. (my apologies if you answered this recently in the Open Post – I’ve fallen a bit behind in reading through them)

    In the meantime, the Gristle People are back with their contest, submissions due by June 24th:

    https://grist.submittable.com/submit

    I was poking around looking for the stories collected as a reverse-Grist satire contest you had a few years ago, but couldn’t find anything. I got part way through a story at the time, but life got in the way and didn’t finish it…..d’oh!

  322. >I love nature so long as it is not doing its thing in my back yard?

    I don’t love or hate nature but it gets quite rowdy down here and if you don’t send a strong message, the local wildlife will walk all over you. The ants are free to build hills 2′ high on the neglected property just to the south and I’m perfectly happy with that. Hop along and party on.

  323. Just so the commentariat here can be more informed, it is not “wooded areas” being target in California to lose insurance, as you have seen in headlines.

    Chart here, https://www.statista.com/chart/32142/california-zip-codes-where-insurer-state-farm-is-discontinuing-the-highest-shares-of-homeowners-insurances/

    Only one of those areas is a forested area, that would be close to me, the Santa Cruz Mountains. All of the rest are not forested areas, they are windy areas. Southern CA has those terrible “santa Anna winds” and such. GO ahead and look at images of Pacific Pallisades. East of Santa Rosa is rolling grass covered hills with oak trees, scrub oaks and brush too in areas, this is a typical California landscape, green in the summer, golden most of the year with dotsoak trees, and scrub oaks/brush. So, take Santa Rosa area, as I know that one, those rolling hills on the east between santa rosa and Napa, as you go west, you enter housing tracts and the city area, cross the freeway, more housing tracts, so open land, not much, then Sebastopol, continue east, more open land then eventually into the small forested area, by Occidental. Notice Occidental is not targeted for insurance loss, it is the dry non forest east hills.

    Just saying as there is always this false things put out that we need better forest management, and Im not saying we dont, but these areas in that list for cancellation are dry windy hill areas, not our large forested tracts.

    Except, maybe, for the area by me.. As I just looked up that zip code and it is Los Gatos, so the hills on the Silicon Valley side and the ridge. This will be a mix of dry hills doted with oaks and large forested area. ANd, most of the Forested Areas in this part of the coastal range are protected areas, State Parks, where it is illegal to manage the forest . https://i1.wp.com/www.santacruzsentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ValenciaCreek_Gazos_ContextforPress_8x11_030419LD.jpg?fit=620%2C9999px&ssl=1 The Los Gatos hills zip code ont eh chart is up by where the dotted line, the county line at the upper portion of that map, upper caste rock state park, the skyline county park matrix, the lexington reservoir protected watershed area.

  324. @Cugel #302 – ” The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.”
    You can always count on the Irish to call it on the nose.

    The Second Coming,
    William Butler Yeats

    “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    “Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

  325. Ages ago, there was a discussion on here about 3D printers, and what, if anything, they could be used for. Apparently they are being used increasingly to make wargaming miniatures, and having quite interesting effects disrupting the industry that makes them. Lots of small businesses popping up selling their own 3D printed minis, or the STL files which hobbyists who have their own 3D printers can use.

    Given Games Workshop’s high prices and recent price hikes, the situation looks like it should be interesting to watch. There are also some interesting new systems, like One Page Rules freely available on the internet that seem to be attracting people put off by Games Workshop’s various recent antics with crazy prices and suddenly discontinuing entire armies.

    Apparently, when you’re making little intricate plastic doohickeys, 3D printers are indeed useful. Who knew?

    Though they are also still fussy and a pain to run and more trouble than they are worth for a lot of people who want minis.

    Why do I know this? Because I just started painting a few miniatures, and watched way too many videos on youtube about wargaming related stuff, far beyond anything I’m ever likely to do.

  326. Regarding the state of the medical system and medical practice, I had a recent experience (in February) dealing with an injury my wife sustained in a fall. It needed surgical repair, and when that surgery was unexpectedly delayed, she was parked on her surgical gurney in the hospital’s crowded ER, supposedly pending assignment to a hospital room that never happened. We were there for 22 hours. During that span, some coping tactics familiar to these pages proved their worth. I know others have gone through much worse, but maybe sharing my own observations and advice will be helpful anyhow.

    Which comes down to this: do not let a loved one be there alone, at any cost. Here’s the reason: a stressed system will maintain its ability to usually perform its core function, but only that. If you go to a DMV you will probably (if all goes well) get your license renewed. If you take an airline flight you will probably (if all goes well) get to your destination. If you go to a hospital you will probably (if all goes well) get adequate medical treatment. But don’t count on any other services or comforts. Prepare as if you were visiting a wilderness. The nurses in the ER might have no time to cater to something as low priority as a patient needing to urinate or being thirsty. If you have to go there, bring water. Bring food. Bring all needed medications, and do not admit that you have them or agree to surrender them. A hospital’s policy is to have all medications issued by their own pharmacy. This is understandable; they don’t want to risk doses being accidentally doubled or mistaking a diagnosis because the patient is “on something” they don’t know about. Similarly with food: food before anesthesia can require canceling a scheduled procedure or have lethal consequences if the doctors don’t know about it. But their replacement processes can take time, doses or meals can be skipped, and they won’t dispense alternative medications. In many cases they won’t dispense strong pain medications even when there’s a prescription.

    Their processes and policies were designed long ago for them to provide all necessities, from sufficiently warm blankets to oxygen, but they no longer have the capability to reliably do it. Anything that doesn’t set off an alarm on a vital signs monitor or create clear grounds for a lawsuit is low priority. I had to beg repeatedly for a bedpan for my wife, until I finally told the desk staff (truthfully) that she was trying to get off her gurney to walk to the rest room. A nurse promptly rushed in… to affix a useless paper band reading “FALL RISK” to her wrist. But at least, someone else followed with a bedpan. For the rest of our stay I guarded it with my life, emptying and cleaning it out myself. I puzzled out the controls for adjusting the gurney (unlike a regular hospital bed, not designed for the patients to control). I spread my winter coat over her when she felt too cold.

    I should emphasize that I don’t regard any of this as any of the nurses’ or other staffers’ fault. In fact, none of this should be read as any form of complaint at all. It’s just the way things work now. Overall, I have nothing but gratitude for the hospital. In the end, that core function is what matters to me. Serving water and cleaning a bedpan and administering medications on schedule are things I can do. I can’t set those bones right. But what my wife would have gone through if I had left her alone there expecting the kind of personal hospital care from a generation ago is a chilling thought.

  327. @Erika Lopez re: “i’m struggling not to fear and dislike Normal People. they are very scary to me.”
    I think every one of us feels that way at one time or the other, and at other times, just get frustrated at their boneheaded insistence on things we either can’t relate to, or draw a total blank on. People! Who can understand them? Grrrr…..
    You’re sure not alone with this.
    Pat

  328. What do people think? Does the Ark if the Covenant inside the Tabernacle in the Wilderness count as an idol?

    @J.L.Mc12: The Leonora Carrington deck is well worth getting…
    __
    I also enjoy Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Both might blend with surrealist sensibilities for those who could synthesize them. That kind of care put into our homes & environment would be good for us. Been looking into the gesamkuntswerk as tgat concept championed by Wagner was taken up by the arts & crafts movement. Anyone with leads on that, I’d appreciate them

  329. Hello JMG,
    In your reply to Foxhands above and a few other times over the last few weeks, you’ve hinted at a fairly – or very – grim fate awaiting Europe in not too many years, partly as a result of the seemingly inevitable outcome of the Ukraine conflict which may reach its conclusion before the end of this year. Details and timescales are obviously difficult but could you give an outline of your opinion of what we might be in store for us on this side of the pond? Too much of the MSM in the UK at least, is mildly upbeat about economic prospects for the next few years even while drumming up concern about further Russian aggression.

  330. Joshua (#323) and JMG,
    If I may, after years of reading JMG, I knew I needed another term. So, I’ve come to use the term “wishful thinking” for what most people mean by magical thinking. Consider Jiminy Cricket from Disney’s Pinocchio:

    When you wish upon a star
    Makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires
    Will come to you
    If your heart is in your dream
    No request is too extreme
    When you wish upon a star
    As dreamers do
    Fate is kind
    She brings to those who love
    The sweet fulfillment of
    Their secret longing
    Like a bolt out of the blue
    Fate steps in and sees you through
    When you wish upon a star
    Your dreams come true

    But, I’m open to a different term.
    Will1000

  331. Info (#334), and JMG,
    We have a couple geothermal fields here in California, Geysers in NorCal and the Salton Buttes in SoCal. These are associated with shallow magma bodies and nearby active fault zones. But, as JMG indicated, these types of facilities only provide modest amounts of regional electricity.
    Data point: the Salton Buttes area contains extractable lithium and General Motors has a partnership with the geothermal firm to secure the supply.
    Will1000

  332. @Warren, my take on parapsychology is that the experiments carried out have all but completely ruled out the one particular model of how “paranormal” phenomena might work, and that’s the only model parapsychology can test. That model is, that the phenomena resemble electromagnetic fields and forces, and so can be manipulated and tested as such. What the results show over and over is they can’t.

    Tell me you can see or feel emanations from a crystal or a talisman from a short distance away, and I have no reason to doubt you. But I will confidently predict, based on a lifetime of experience and study, that you cannot consistently and correctly feel or see whether or not such a crystal or talisman is present at all, at that distance, when reaching inside an opaque box. Tell me you can see a person’s aura, and I have not reason to doubt you. But I will confidently predict that you cannot consistently and correctly detect a person’s presence or location in a pitch dark room. (Not without also touching, smelling, or hearing them.) That’s not a claim that such emanations or your perceptions of them don’t exist, but it does imply that they don’t work in a way that mimics electromagnetism (light, radio, radar, etc.), and that a typical controlled parapsychological test for them will have negative results.

    My explanation and the basis for my prediction is that the phenomena in question are fundamentally integrated with conscious experience and meaning. For instance, suppose your experience of a person’s aura is part of your experience of the person. In that case, hide the person and you hide the aura, even if you or some clever researcher thinks you “should” be able to perceive the aura anyhow (say, above the top of a screen the person is hidden behind) as if it followed the same physics as a glow of light or a stream of particles. If you think you can perceive meaning in poetry, does that mean you should be able to tell which of 10 sealed canisters contain poetry and which are empty, by sensing the meaning radiating from them? Of course not. Meaning is an aspect of consciousness, not a form of radiation. But that’s the kind of studies whose results parapsychologists and their opponents seem to be fighting over.

  333. Hi, Info, I am also profoundly mistaken, but this is a freedom zone with broad boundaries where true diversity is allowed.

  334. @Daniil #259

    >If they do fall out, they can either defect to the non-progressives or insist that their progress is the real progress

    Or just never adopt the term “progressive” in the first place and just keep the name “liberal.” After all, Corax mentioned “yesterday’s liberals.”

    I’m one of them–while I understand that the term “progressive” has a long history, I just…never heard it growing up (the one place I encountered it was in the fictionalized memoir /In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson/; the character’s classmate’s parent identified as a “progressive” in 1947). I was raised to be a liberal. My parents, now, they went on to adopt the label “progressive” when it came back around, and they have more or less flowed with their group on opinions and actions. I though… :shrug:

    My point–tangential to yours, but important to me that it doesn’t get forgotten–is there’s a difference between the religion of progress and any given set of ideals that ROP believers have temporarily taken up on their march toward…wherever they’re going. At any given time some people who “fall out” do so because they just…subscribe to those ideals, whether ROP believers do or not.

    I never heard of this “gnosticism worry” though. Back in the ’90s I read a book on how gnosticism had some valuable insights that had been overlooked due to Christianity’s removal of the “gnostic gospels” from their bible. I had no idea there were modern atheists upset by gnosticism.

    (BTW come to think of it, I think I gave up on the religion of progress around 2007, whereas I didn’t have my terrible run-in with wokeism till 2010 (I was on the sidelines of RaceFail ’09, should’ve learned from it, and didn’t). I wonder if that’s the difference.)

  335. @Lathechuck #340

    I also don’t get out much, but I’d guess these ways of warming outdoor diners might be in response to past bans on indoor dining?

  336. So I wanted to report an interesting discovery I made not too long ago about Shambhavi Mudra. First of all it’s a beginner practice one can self-initiate. No guru is needed to get started. There are videos available on Youtube that give instructions on how to do it. One big benefit to doing it daily is that it causes the pineal gland to shift slightly lower in the brain. Once this happens it will begin secreting a substance that creates bliss in the practitioner. It’s much harder for a dysfunctional society to threaten, kow or control somebody who has learned how to biohack their own neurochemistry.

    But that isn’t why I decided to submit this. I found out recently that there are six more increasingly rarefied occult levels beyond the first that Shambhavi Mudra ramps up to. Six higher occult dimensions can potentially open up for anyone who practices it daily. All this for a “beginner” practice anyone can do with zero cash layout and zero need for a guru.

    I admit I was surprised (and excited) to learn of it but maybe I shouldn’t after learning something similar can happen if you are initiated into Sri Vidya. The difference though is that real Sri Vidya requires a guru to get started primarily because there’s initial work being done on the energy subtle body. A guru is required to get started for authentic Sri Vidya. Shambhavi Mudra doesn’t. Self-initiation is all that’s needed. Being able to “hack” your own neurochemistry is a big level one win anyway in my opinion. But it ends up being a grand prize for anyone willing to stick with it.

    Now it probably is the case that to access these six higher occult dimensions also need a guru but if so the only way the universe will know or consider opening the door to them (eventually) is to get started at the self-initiation level first. Do this every day for the rest of your life and sooner or later somebody on the higher planes are going to sit up and notice “ah! here is a real apprentice willing to actually work for it.” – At which point, somebody will show up to open the door or doors to the higher occult dimensions.

    FYI – I am using the term occult in this post in the sense that JMG means when he uses that word.

    I learned about the seven levels from an indian guru’s book describing it that was listed on Amazon. [Thank you Amazon for your ‘sample chapters’ download for that]. Sadly by the time I had the spare change to get the book and went back to order it I found out the final copies were sold out and the seller (still) hasn’t restocked it.

    Nonetheless I’m grateful because at least now I know there are six more levels to go if I persist with the practice. I’m going on the theory that what’s true of Shambhavi Mudra will probably also be true of Shambhavi Mahamudra though of course I can’t be certain of that.

    Just thought I would put this surprise discovery out there for anyone who thinks ‘beginner’ practices aren’t powerful enough or that you should quickly blow past them and put them aside once results begin turning up. I have a suspicion a similar thing happens for anyone who chants AUM daily too though again admittedly that’s only my hunch.

  337. @foxhands #338

    Going by what you write, I think I may be in a similar situation to you. I’m familiar with the frustrations and humiliations of being a foreigner in a European country, even under relatively favourable circumstances.

    As far as moving is concerned … we thought about that almost every day when the Corona situation really started hitting its stride. But, however bad things got, the question kept on coming back to ‘Where do you realistically want to go?’. And we thought, and we thought, and there wasn’t anywhere. It was a scary thought, particularly with young-ish children, but we expected the worst and hung on. Things sort of worked out.

    Now, there are even darker clouds on the horizon and the question rises again. This time, I find it easier to answer. I’m not going anywhere. I’m out of steam. My sons have got the energy. We’ll help them as much as we can, but they’ll have to find their own answers. I’ll keep plodding on as long as I can, and then I’ll stop.

    I’ve just read a very powerful piece by C J Hopkins:
    https://cjhopkins.substack.com/p/fighting-monsters

    Under it, there was a comment from a certain ERIKA LOPEZ. I’m wondering whether it’s the Erika we know and love from the JMG forums. (If so, How are you doing, Erika?).

    She wrote, ‘There’s nowhere to go when you’re raised to not run away from a fight because wherever you go it follows’. That pretty much sums it up for me. At some point, you’ve got to make a stand. Best if you can do it in the place you call home.

    If you’re going to go, start learning the language *now*. I’m afraid that’s the only advice I can offer.

  338. @Christopher @Info @JMG

    To intercede in this discussion with an interesting tidbit.
    When God creates Man in His “image”, the word used is “tselem”, which everywhere else in the Bible is more accurately translated as idol (of a different god than Yahweh). So, God made a walking, talking idol of Himself, you can swap the word idol with icon, it’s the same meaning. This is the only time in the Bible when creating an idol is seen as a good thing, because God does it. Humans are (or are supposed to be) representations/icons of God, delegating His will throughout creation; yet the Bible never tells us to worship these icons(other humans), who, by the way, are made by God, not some monk in a monastery. Venerating the real thing by proxy through an icon/idol/representation is not part of Christianity or Judaism and never was.

  339. In regard to geothermal power, it’s not as easy as it looks. Hot water is a good solvent of many things, including your pipes. As the water cools the things it dissolved before it met your pipes precipitates back out. Here is more than you probably wanted to know.

    https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/13/20/11549#:~:text=Corrosion%20is%20a%20common%20issue,or%20even%20block%20the%20tubes.

    And the Carnot limit still applies. Thermal efficiency will be low. That means a lot of capital expense for a limited power output. No fuel cost but high capital cost. Sounds familiar. But geothermal can run around the clock.

  340. If I may post something to do with a piece of work I have been finishing up recently;

    JMG advised I put vision to paper several years ago. I jumped on this idea and created something in the realm of fantasy fiction. With good fortune I found a professional editor (who may, or may not, frequent this blog sometimes) to provide me with a firm critique of the 115,000 word novel. Thank you for your incredible services if you are reading this.

    I think I have more or less improved the piece enough that it is something of a readable journey into conciousness. Takes place in an Earth world many millennia from now, inhabited by sentient Boar folk clans, and a hegemonic set of human magical orders whom are in the process of being displaced.
    It is finished I think except for some final tweaking, deciding on a title, finding beta readers, and of course trying for a publisher. I have found one called Bay Press that is taking manuscripts. These publishers seem to go out of business at an alarming rate. If anyone has a lead on a small or medium publisher that is ok with fantasy manuscripts, would be grateful to hear about it. I might try and pitch the book this summer.
    The idea that fiction can be a hard sell is not completely lost on me, but taking a risk was worth it so far. The writing of it has been a great experience. Characters and themes are very much inspired and shaped through my reading and interacting with Ecosophia and it’s commentariate! Thank you everyone for keeping this collective pool filled with knowledge and magic.

  341. JMG? Protestant sects suffering from “Judaism envy”? I wonder if you might care to elaborate on that? I would also at some point be interested to learn what you think of Mr. Toynbee’s magnum opus. I seem to recall that Ortega y Gasset called Toynbee an English tourist making a grand tour through world history. I do remember, of course, that you write about what you like, most of which I will read with great interest, if not always agreement.

  342. @Justin Patrick Moore and J.L.Mc12: Thank you for the suggestions! I have always enjoyed historical novels very much (more than just about any other prose fiction), so I am reading the Dream of Confucius from that angle and haven’t yet made up my mind if the insertion of the I Ching has improved the story or not. But both the novels you recommended sound interesting.

    @Lathechuck: Those gas torches appeared in outdoors restaurant areas all over Germany in about 2005 (at least that was when I first saw them, coming back to Germany). Surely something to do with cheap gas imports… I wonder if they are still popular now. Those torches and the habit of jetting to London or Milan for an extended weekend would have been unthinkable around 1990, especially among people who considered themselves ecologically minded.

  343. @Christopher & JMG:
    Re: “… snarking about the mote in their brother’s eye while ignoring the beams of hypocrisy and hatred in their own.”

    I like this quote from St. John Chrysostom. I use this to guide my own life, as much as I can:

    There would be no need for sermons, if our lives were shining. There would be no need for words, if we bore witness with our deeds. There would be no pagans, if we were true Christians.

    @Info:
    I think you are missing something in your analysis. We Orthodox have icons all over our temples. And yes, there was a big controversy about it. It was called the Iconoclast Controversy, and it took up all of the 8th Century and about half of the ninth, until it was settled at the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Since then, the church has recognised the difference between veneration of icons and worship of idols.

    In my parish, when any of us purchase or receive a new icon, we have the priest bless it. So there!

  344. Hello JMG, when I see pictures of the 1960’s and 1970’s of islamic countries like Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan, I see images that are very similar to images of western nations. The women were wearing fashion that would be perfectly in place in Paris or New York, including short dresses etc. Not a burka in sight.

    Today is of course very different. Do you know what caused the ummah to take such a dramatic turn toward the arch-conservative notions of wahhabism?

  345. When reading your novels, JMG, I’m always curious what exercises you have in mind when you say someone like Owen in WoH did his morning exercises. Squats, pushups, situps, etc.? Your characters always refresh my motivation to maintain my spiritual practices, and I’m hoping to harness some of that toward taking better care of my body, too.

  346. Drhooves, the Gristle parody anthology is for sale here: https://looseleaf.pub/product/gristle/ . It’s seriously funny. The press that I previously used for anthologies has gotten out of the business and the market for such things is very small, so I’m encouraging people these days to place their deindustrial fiction with New Maps magazine.

    Erika, thanks for this!

    Pygmycory, fascinating. I remember when lead wargaming figures were cheap…

    Walt, thanks for this — it’s good advice.

    Justin, it had graven images of two cherubim, so it’s a double idol!

    Robert, I covered some of that here:

    https://www.ecosophia.net/the-next-european-war/

    But it’s more than that, of course. The temporary advantages that gave western European nations standards of living far in excess of what their own resources would support are gone now, or linger only due to the legacies of colonialism, which are themselves breaking down — cf. the recent changes in Niger. I expect western European economies to contract raggedly in the years ahead until they’re not much bigger than those of equivalently sized nations in the global South. Exactly how that process plays out is an interesting question, in the sense of the apocryphal Chinese curse, but it’s very unlikely to be peaceful or easy.

    Will1000, I once knew a seven-year-old who, after watching that movie, liked to sing, “When you wish upon a star, you don’t see things as they are.” That is to say, you’re quite correct. Pity more people aren’t as smart as little John Baker.

    Justin, thanks for this.

    Panda, hmm. Interesting.

    Rafael, you really do need to talk to some Orthodox Christians about their icons.

    Ian, I have no idea if they’ll be interested, but I’m having good experiences with Sphinx Books ( https://www.sphinxbooks.co.uk/ ), the press that’s bringing out my fiction these days.

    Mary, many Protestant sects are obsessed with the Old Testament and promote the idea that they’re God’s new chosen people; I see that as Judaism envy. As for Toynbee, I’ve read him already — this is another pass through an old favorite. Ortega y Gasset wasn’t wrong, but a sharp-eyed tourist can sometimes notice some remarkable things.

    Michael, I have no argument whatsoever with the saint. I’ve known a few Christians who seemed to me to be following that advice, and they were truly remarkable people; they also didn’t spend their days telling everyone else how wrongety-wrong they all were. I suspect there’s a connection.

    Boccaccio, it’s quite simple, and here again Toynbee was on top of it. Half a century ago the West still had the kind of charisma that inspired imitation in other cultures. Now it doesn’t. People in the Middle East have seen where subservience to Western political, economic, and cultural standards leads, and they want none of it.

    Adara9, yes, exactly — he took up classic exercises of that kind when he was in the Army, and returned to them after the events in Innsmouth. Here’s a US Army guide to calisthenics and physical training from 2011, if that’s any help.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

  347. Grover @#226: I find with some degree of back-country experience under your belt the transition to the nature-connected mindspace that Slink mentions can be, for me anyway, quite quick, on the order of three or four days, and with luck even two. One thing that seems to help is minimal or even zero contact with other humans, so either selecting a region to hike where there are few trails, or trails which get little use, is a facilitator. The prescription is: do 3 or 4 training hikes of 3-4 days and then set off on a longer hike. The first night is always disruptive for me in getting used to sleeping outdoors, but after that one can expect to transition to “the zone.”

    Trail-less areas are readily available in the Sierra, desert Southwest (but water there is a problem), and parts of the Rockies, but the Appalachians are less accomodating.

    Here’s an online article about a hike on the Muir Trail I did in 2007: https://sites.google.com/site/bryanlallen/jmt2007

    Having a satellite tracker (I now have a SPOT) is good for reassuring the folks back home.

  348. I know it’s late in the week so hopefully the right eyes see this post.
    @Warren,
    I don’t really have an issue with Stevenson’s work being primarily field study of individual subjects. For something like reincarnation, or even basic psychoanalysis, there really isn’t any other way to do it, but that type of research is still quite valuable.

    I don’t really understand the obsession with lab based results in a lot of the modern sciences. I always found that I distrusted my results simply because of how far removed my experiments were from the “reality” of what I researched, and I think any honest scientist should feel that way about a lot of lab research.

    Or for another example, why was that stupid “6 feet of social distancing” study given so much credence despite all the hamfistedness of trying to model germ spread in a lab environment? There are numerous randomized clinical trials with tens of thousands of subjects that have failed to show any benefit to mask wearing in infectious disease spread in the real world that should have much more weight just by nature of happening in the wild.

    @Lathechuck
    One of the places I have a problem with the proposed timeline of evolution by natural selection is that a lot of these cellular processes like random assortment, which would indeed increase the speed of mutation, didn’t start occurring until very late into the process of life. I’ve worked with prokatyotes a lot, and while it’s true that their form of reproduction doesn’t change their genomes as fast as ours, they reproduce at a pace that can startle people. So why did life sit at that stage for billions of years, only to suddenly experience this massive explosion in complexity only in the last 500 million or so? That transition becomes easier to buy with the universal evolution constant.

    @Scotlyn,
    I’m always interested in edgelord scientists. Since no one has mentioned him yet that I saw, Bohm and Pauli are a couple of other less far out but more recognized ones. Even though Margulis is a name that rings familiar to me, I am not very familiar with her work but I will be learning more after your comments. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that the human organism begins at the moment the nuclear envelope reforms around the new diploid genome, and that even when the splitting process diverges to produce monozygotic twins, they need to be treated as two separate organisms from that moment of splitting just because the cytoplasm contents aren’t split evenly. I’m convinced that a major portion of the mild differences in identical twins stem from not getting the same mixture in cell number one.

    @JMG
    I reread Twilight’s Last Gleaming this weekend, and for anyone with a sufficiently open mind, that book is worse horror than actual horror novels. Do you think the failure in Ukraine will be enough to slap sense into the leadership of our country a la Tanzania, or will they hide behind the proxy/”we didn’t really lose” excuse? Sadly, I know which way I will bet.

  349. JMG — from The Night Circus. You quoted him some months back — “All empires fall. It is the way of things.” My partner and I listened to that as an audiobook during a long drive last winter, knowing nothing of it beforehand, and we both enjoyed it quite a bit.

  350. INVENTIONS; PATENTS; FARM MACHINERY

    I am reading about the invention of the zipper, patented in 1893 (Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty by Robert Friedel).

    In decline, will we see patent applications to the Patent Office for LESS complicated, SIMPLER inventions, I presume, using technology used in the 1800s or, for that matter, earlier? Such as “inventions” using horses rather than electricity. Are patents from the 1800s still in effect?

    How do you think inventions and/or patents will be affected in a declining age? I don’t even have the right questions to ask in that I know virtually nothing about inventions, patents, and/or the process of patent-getting, or anything. Upon moving to Wisconsin, I have educated myself a bit on the history of farm machinery. A question I have is “Is the technological level of farm machinery used around 1910 or 1920 (which, of course, had been outmoded long ago), be just the thing in decades of decline (like 2035 to 2060)? And how do new inventions relate to the future usefulness of “old tech” as in “new inventions” using old tech.

    What is the future of inventions of old tech? Will old tech be a thing? Will the Patent Office cease to exist, fading away to nothing? (I don’t think the Patent Office existed in 1790.)

    💨Northwind Grandma💨🎩👨🏼‍🌾
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  351. @ Kfish

    Interesting. I had a quick glance at Sustainable Australia’s policy platform and it looks an awful lot like the original Green movement in Australia, which went under the name of the “green bans”. That movement was as much about conserving urban spaces from over-development as about larger environmental issues. The unions played a key role by refusing to work on projects that were seen to detract from local aesthetic and environmental standards. It’s sobering to remember that there was a time when the unions would actually push back on development. Now they’ll happily build any concrete monstrosity as long as they get their extortionate pay deals approved.

  352. I found this gem over at Ian Welch’s site and am linking here.
    https://prospect.org/power/2024-04-24-my-dinner-with-andreessen/
    Folks, this is what we are up against. Overlords who think fentanyl is A Good Thing for keeping the populace lobotomized. Now we know why none of the veeery wealthy family who were pushing fentanyl will ever see the inside of a prison cell.

    There is a charming story in one of the Cambridge Ancient History volumes about how one of the Babylonian Emperors of the early 1stC BC made a military incursion into what is now southern Iran, and retrieved the cult statue of the god Marduk, which was restored to his temple in the sacred city, Sippur, to the accompaniment of “elaborate ceremonies and great popular rejoicing”. The way I have always understood “graven images” is that a statue was made in the deity’s honor, and then ceremonies and worship invited the god or goddess to inhabit or perhaps lend sacred power to the image.

  353. Hey JMG

    No question, Art nouveau may be another one of industrial societies’ legacies to the future, assuming that enough people preserve it over time, which is more likely than them preserving some of our times’ other artistic “achievements.”

    Also, on the subject of Geothermal power, do you imagine that Ecotechnic civilisations would be able to make use of it? I could imagine them in Iceland or some other suitable place using the steam/hot air from underground pipes to power a steam turbine/Stirling engine. I imagine that they could put such a source of modest mechanical or electrical power to good use.

  354. Hi John Michael,

    Ook about the bridge! Not good, and hope it can be fixed soon, and properly. The article I read made a suggestion, or hint, that the load rating on the bridge had been exceeded at some point. Looking at the images, I’d have imagined the bridge was older than it appears to be. Traffic volumes and loads were probably far less in those early days. That’s the thing with progress, you never know what chunk of infrastructure will keep up with the dream. It’s only as good as the weakest link.

    Good to hear. It’s quite civilised reading over a meal, and café culture is a thing in the big smoke. To sit and linger over a decent coffee (or tea in your case, although I hear odd reports about coffee in your country so I get your preference! 🙂 ) and a small slice of well made cake with an enjoyable book is a delightful experience.

    An excellent choice of books too. Are you picking up any additional themes or patterns from this latest re-read?

    Cheers

    Chris

  355. I foud this RT article interesting. Let’s see the particular issues in question aside for now (I don’t think they’re appropriate for JMG’s blog) and just consider the reporting,

    https://www.rt.com/news/596726-jill-stein-arrested-protest/

    “US Presidential candidate arrested at anti-Israel protest
    Jill Stein has accused the Jewish state of committing “genocide” in Gaza
    Jill Stein of the US Green Party has been arrested at a pro-Palestinian rally at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Stein’s arrest came amid a nationwide crackdown on anti-Israel demonstrations.”

    In 2020, the Green Presidential candidate got 0.26% of the national vote. In 2016, 1.07%. In 2012, 0.36%. And so on. However, the very first sentence of the RT report, while factually accurate – she is indeed a Presidential candidate – implies, to most readers, someone who has more than a snowball in a glowing magma tube’s chance of making it through. The Greens’ low Presidential vote is mentioned at the end of the article, but when combined with things like “video footage shows the 73-year-old being led away from the camp by three police officers, her hands apparently bound behind her back with zip ties,” the reader is led to believe the vote is actually suppressed by a tyrannical government.

    Further, “a nationwide crackdown” implies co-ordination at the national level – which I’m sure whoever is President and in Congress would be delighted to see, but this does not really reflect the muddled reality of state, city and county governments in the US – the United States are called “united” for the same reasons the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is called a democratic people’s republic – it is at best aspirational rather than descriptive.

    It goes on like that, you can see for yourself, and smile a wry smile if you live in or know about the US.

    Reading other countries’ reporting of your own country – or one which is culturally adjacent to yours, as the US is to my Australia – provides useful lessons when it comes to reading our own reporting of the event in other countries. In this case, they’re being factually-correct while implying things which are actually lies. There’s no reason to suppose our own Western media is any different.

  356. I’ve read a few times that there’s a movement afoot to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. I don’t know where it sits now. Likely in limbo.

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried to rebuild the Ark of The Covenant. I wonder if there’s any talk about it. Seems to me a less daunting task given the political and religious sensitivities around a new temple. I’ve read that some Jews say the temple shouldn’t be rebuilt until the arrival of the Messiah.

    I know that Jews don’t accept Jesus as the real McCoy. In any case, didn’t Jesus say that he’d come back like a thief in the night? Wouldn’t it be ironic if he’s already come and gone? Would he ever make a third appearance? Waiting for a Messiah, well, it could be a long wait.

    Even if the ark is an easier task, probably a big ‘if’, it might cost more than a few bucks given the gold needed.

  357. John, in comments #375,
    I agree with you about some Protestant sects being obsessed with the Old Testament. Funnily enough those texts that support their own view. I am of the Protestant persuasion myself but always feel nervous when people start to quote too much from this scripture. They use it to distort Christianity and probably distort those ancient texts too.

  358. Hi JMG,
    I wanted to get your take on something astrological. As many of us know, the great conjunction (between Jupiter and Saturn) occurs every 20 years of so and goes through cycles of +/- 200 years where the conjunctions occur in signs associated with specific elements (earth, air, fire and water). This conjunction has just moved back into air signs. An interesting (and somewhat alarming) fact is that when the great conjunction occurs in air signs, sometime during that 200 year +/- cycle, one or more major, long-lasting empires/nations/cultures/etc. end up being destroyed, usually by a transitory force or forces that last a few years to a few decades and then vanish. I’m inclined to think that we might get a “three-fer” this time around and that all three major, long-standing nations (China, Russia, and the USA) may get taken out a whole host of forces waiting in the wings. But, I’d definitely like to know your opinions on the subject. Thanks!

  359. Hi JMG – thanks for the link and update on the writing contests/submissions. That reminds me – I also need to get some of those back issues of New Maps. I enjoyed the issues of Into the Ruins back in the day, but after moving no less than six times in the last six years, I’ll be favoring the PDF copies….

  360. @Smith (#385):

    From what I hear, the project to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple is actually picking up some speed these days: the would-be rebuilders now, after many centuries, have actually acquired several pure red heifers, sourced from ranches in the USA. (One mustn’t rebuild the Temple without them.) I am watching this development with considerable trepidation.

    To rebuild the Temple, of course, requires destroying the building that currently occupies the Temple’s former site. That building, the al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount, just happens to be the third holiest site for Muslims all the world over, surpassed only by Mecca and Medina. I expect its destruction would set off a religious war between the entire Muslim world–not just the the Muslims in the Middle East–and Israel (or maybe even the whole Jewish world), which would end only with the near extermination of one side or the other — or maybe even of both sides, since both sides have nuclear weapons these days.

    What seems to have been forgotten by now is that the severe October 7 attack on Israel from Gaza, called by the attackers the “Al-Aqsa Flood,” was not some random act of violence, but a deliberate retaliation for a far more modest act of desecration by some Israelis at the al-Aqsa Mosque on October 5. The current Israel-Palestine war would probably be as nothing, either in length or in ferocity, compared to the war that would surely result from Israel’s destroyng the Mosque to rebuild the Temple.

  361. I wanted to ask the following:

    1 – Has there ever been any genetic-psychic programs in place, using human genetics to attempt to create children with supernatural/mental abilities?

    2 – Is there any evidence that humans have ever been successfully cloned with genetic changes implemented?

    It is unfortunate, but if the idea exists, then I am sure someone in the CIA has tried it at least twice. Probably 3+ times if considerable amounts of money changed hands.

  362. @adara9 #373 re: Calisthenics/Body Weight Exercises

    If I may, I was in the Army roughly the time Owen was, so I may be able to provide some insight “from the inside.” For an active duty, regular Army infantryman, every morning starts with an hour of PT (Physical Training). There’s been various trends and fads in what the Army kind of PT the army conducts, so depending on what time period you look at, you might find various things, but there are a few constraints that tend to keep things fairly constant:
    1) PT usually has to be conducted with absolutely no equipment, because you have a lot of people working out at the same time, and you can’t cram them all into a gym. Special Ops guys tend to have access to better facilities on a more routine basis, but plain old grunts work out on the parade ground (a field, basically).
    2) Though both are useful, the Army needs endurance more than strength, so most exercises are mild to moderate intensity for very many repetitions.
    3) Strength and flexibility training (push ups, sit ups, squats, stretches, et cetera) are secondary to cardio: you spend way way way more time running and rucking (speed walking with a packed rucksack) than you do on push ups, sit ups, squats, and the like.

    So, all that being said, if you’d like some exercises you can do with no more equipment than some space on the floor or the ground and a place to run, here are some to get you started:
    1) Sprints: either fixed distances or fixed times, either way, go as fast as you can.
    2) Long distance runs: Run a set distance at a pace that you can keep up the whole time. Note that “long distance” will change depending on where you are – starting out, a mile is plenty long, but if you do cardio most every day, you can run for miles and miles.
    3) Intervals: alternate periods of high intensity with periods of rest or low intensity. One simple, very useful interval is to walk quickly or jog lightly for 2-3 minutes, then sprint for 20 seconds, walk or jog for a minute, and repeat a handful of times, then cool down by jogging or walking another 2-3 minutes. If you have a smart phone, there are interval timer apps that can help.
    4) Rucking: Walk quickly with weight on your back. If you do this, you’ll want good footwear, preferably with ankle support (high, lace-up boots), and you’ll want a way to secure the weight relatively high up on your back (Army surplus rucksacks are the obvious choice here, but there are civilian ones made explicitly for working out these days). Start smaller than you think you need to here, as you’re not just training your lungs, heart, and legs, but also your back, and it’s easy to mess that up or learn bad habits, like arching your back to support the weight with bone-on-bone contact in your spine. Keeping up a normal walking speed (20 minute mile, or 3 miles/hour) under weight is pretty good, but expert infantry are expected to be able to carry 35 pounds at a 15 minute mile pace for 12 miles.
    Okay, that’s all the cardio stuff I’ll share for now, but obviously, if you’re not in the Army, you can find cardio you like better, like long walks, bike rides, swimming, or what have you.

    As for strength/muscular endurance, listed in roughly descending order of usefulness:
    5) Push Ups: A classic for a reason, these are a great upper body workout. If you can’t do any to start with, begin with your knees on the ground and keep the rest of your form as good as you can. If you can’t even do that, you can start standing, with your hands against a wall. You can increase difficulty gradually by going to a regular push-up position and having your feet lower than your hands, then gradually work your way to having your feet and hands level. If regular push ups are too easy, do the opposite: raise your feet, with the extreme version being your feet against a wall and doing vertical push ups. You can also get a lot of variation on what sub-muscles of your chest and arms you work from how close you hold your hands together (closer together works the center of your chest more, farther apart the outsides) and how tightly you keep your elbows into your sides (elbows tight to your sides works your triceps more, splayed out like a lizard engages other arm muscles).
    5) Crunches or situps: When I was in, the Army still tested on full sit ups, but these days, most folks would tell you to do crunches instead. If you have your feet braced, you’ll be using your hip flexors and legs a lot more, and if they’re unbraced, you’ll be using your abs a lot more.
    6) Squats: We didn’t do a ton of squats in the Army, since we ran and rucked so much, but they’re a phenomenal exercise. If mobility is one of your concerns, see if you can do a full “butt to heels” squat for each rep.
    7) Flutter kicks/leg spreaders/scuba kicks: For a combined leg and ab workout, there are a variety of workouts where you lay on your back, raise your shoulders/head, and then do stuff with your legs. The simplest is the flutter kick. Lay on your back, put your hands under your tailbone, and then raise your shoulders and heels off the ground an inch or two. Then alternate raising one leg and then the other, like you’re swimming, making a scissor motion. The others have the same basic starting position, but instead you either spread your legs to the sides or bring your knees toward your chest and extend your legs together. You can combine some of these for extra suckage/workout.
    8) Standing Arm Exercises (Cherry Pickers, Military Press, Overhead Clap, etc): There’s a variety of motions you can do with your arms from a standing position, and as easy as they may be to do once or twice, if you do enough of them, you’ll get a work out. Cherry pickers begin with your hands held straight out at shoulder level, then you touch your shoulders, then extend again, and repeat. The military press is taking your hands from your shoulders as far up as you can reach and back down (in a “raise the roof” motion). The overhead clap is just clapping your hands above your head, then back down to shoulder level, and repeat. Most of these can be made more intense if you have something with some weight to put in your hands (for example, the military press is a substantially better workout with a rifle than with bare hands).

    Anyhow, that’s likely far more than you wanted or needed to go on, but you can get a heck of a good workout without any equipment at all, though of course there are benefits to the kinds of workouts equipment can give you. If you have no other workout equipment in your life, finding a place you can do some pull ups is extremely helpful, as it’s almost impossible to do pulling exercises without something to pull on. If you have a buddy, he/she also makes an excellent piece of “equipment” – fireman carries are an exceptionally robust full body workout. Whatever you do, though, please start easy and work your way up – it’s far too easy to push yourself in a bout of enthusiasm and end up hurt, especially if you’ve been fit in the past and lost some or all of that (ask me how I know that one).

    I’d also point out, if you’re just looking for “good, body weight exercises compatible with spiritual training,” that you might consider the 5 Rites or the Daily Dozen. The Daily Dozen was originally developed for the military, though it’s fallen out of fashion, and the 5 Rites hits many of the same muscle groups, but is a little more “stretchy.” The 5 Rites are what I’m doing these days, and they’re great.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  363. JillEN says:
    #386 April 28, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    One thing that happens when you read the texts for themselves and not in service to an agenda is that all sorts of interesting questions and conundrums arise that have, basically, no answers provided. Which may be why disagreements among famous rabbis about basic issues is somewhat normative in Judaism.

    I’ve probably re-read the Five Books of Moses (i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) about twenty times in the past 25 years while hanging out with a bunch of Jewish folks, studying with people who range from Ph.D. scholars at an Ivy League school, to psychiatrists, to fellow enjoyers of the study of basic texts. Which, when I consider it, makes me feel a little less bad about dropping out on the study of Eliphas Levi’s work that’s ongoing here. Every class, someone raises a fundamental question that even the sages (i.e., ancient rabbis in the Talmud and elsewhere) have no answer to. Not even Rashi.

    If you even consider the pre-modern condition the characters in the stories lived with, and the writers and redactors understood, it becomes clear that it’s easy to forget just how nitty-gritty and down-to-earth their situations were. Day to day life was enormously difficult in some respects, and having a healthy community was what made life possible, hence the emphasis on rules we don’t think twice about nowadays. They mattered then. Consider for instance, that privacy (as opposed to solitude) was practically nonexistent. Could you live like that? Most of the denizens of the Old Testament (or Tanakh if you prefer) did.

    What I’ve observed among Protestants (and yes, I associate with them, too) is that very often, as is a historical norm of sorts, they read Old Testament texts as if late New Testament Christianity (post-Constantinian and even post-Reformation) was normative for those texts’ writers. To wit, inescapably, they were practicing eisigesis, which means reading their own agendas into the texts rather than letting the text speak for itself. It just seems to be very difficult for people to admit they don’t know what the heck the writer was banging on about. Just yesterday, we took over an hour discussing ONE SENTENCE out of a multi chapter text because it left us stumped. From Exodus Chs. 34 & 35, if you are interested. The people left off their jewelry after Sinai. What?

    Don’t let the faux learned baffle you with a blizzard of textual citations. Buckle down and read the troublesome texts (in context) yourself if you want to follow the Protestant model of each man (and woman) a priest. Or the Jewish one, for that matter. You may even find evidence (mostly in Genesis) to support the idea of early Judaism having been polytheistic, and what, pray tell, are we to make of THAT sort of information?

    It’s kinda hard to throw stones when you are busy asking what the frequent references to the Canaanites, Girgasites, Perizzites, Amorites (etc., there are from six to eight each time these “-ite” groups are mentioned) actually mean. Are they exhortations to extermination either by the Lord or by the Israelites, or is there something else involved? That kind of study will keep you busy enough, I think that you won’t have time to look down your nose at the practices of others. It has me. Reading any scripture text closely can be deeply disturbing. If you’re not disturbed by them, you likely haven’t been paying attention. If you’re soothed by them, you definitely aren’t.

  364. Dear JMG.
    Please forgive my rude omission and oversight. If may be so bold as to try to sum up your and Taylor’s hypothesis, and its implications, in my own words, to make sure I understand it, and we are discussing the same point.
    The relatively cheap, accurate, and available revolver handgun, as a cultural icon, embedded in the popular psyche the idea that violence to resist any oppressive bullies was now a potential option available to everyone, whether or not they availed themselves of that option.
    Thus, within the mind of even the most beaten-down and cowed individual, that individual could at least imagine the possibility of fighting back effectively. A few even did so.
    Therefore, everyone of any status could imagine themselves claiming the right not to be beaten down, even if most never acted on that thought.
    Once the concept that physical might is no longer the ultimate arbiter of power became embedded in the cultural psyche it was a small step to conceive that there was no rational or physical constraint on the active participation in political and economic public life, the right to better living conditions, and such, of any given person, because no one believed any longer that they were constrained to accept subservient status.
    Hence the Women’s Rights movement having a convention almost exactly 10 years after the introduction of mass-produced sidearms, which coincides with the wave of popular uprisings across Europe at the time, followed by the persistent growth of Marxist-Socialist movements demanding increasing rights for the lowest ranks of the economic and social hierarchy, and smaller ethnic groups feeling emboldened to demand increasing autonomy from dominant empires.
    The idea in the psyche was that the “violence inherent in the system” to oppress was no longer exclusive to the upper classes employing strong men to enforce their will and therefore their right to dominate based on accident of birth was null and void.
    Please correct anything I’ve got wrong or misunderstood.

    Bruce

  365. Re: The 2024 Presidential Election

    My guess as to why everything is so quiet presently is because everything has been pretty much predetermined. Biden will be gifted the Democratic nomination because any other choice would signal weakness a la 1980 (When Kennedy fought Carter all the way to a Reagan Victory), and Trump has captured the Republican Party. Not only that, but they’re trying to fan new fires of Black Rage in Chicago and it’s not working, thanks to the video showing that the “Oppressed” Black man actively resisted and shot first. There is little as of yet to get the groups activated, plus the scars of 2016 and 2020 are still raw enough to cause caution at this point.

    Once the expected confirmations happen, sparks should start flying. Only thing I can see disturbing things would be Biden or Trump dying before their respective conventions (they both already have Alzheimer’s, and there’s nothing to stop Trump from running for president while in prison like Eugene V. Debs).

  366. Sub, I expect the current leadership of the US to be just as clueless as Vice President Gurney was in my novel; I don’t think they’re capable of understanding that they can lose, much less just what defeat can cost them.

    Nathanael, er, I’ve never read The Night Circus. That comment of mine was not intentionally a quote — it was a variation of my more usual “All empires fall. It’s one of the most predictable things about them.”

    Northwind, US patents expire in 20 years; the duration has varied over time, but the last change was in 1995. Everything that was patented before 2004 is therefore in the public domain. The US patent office was founded in 1802, btw, with an original staff of one, but some of the colonies had patent offices long before independence. As for old technologies, it depends entirely on whether enough information about them can be recovered before the records are lost.

    J.L.Mc12, the usefulness of geothermal power really depends on how much energy and resource input has to go into making it accessible. If you’ve got hot springs, that’s one thing; if you have to do deep drilling and build complicated machinery, that’s quite something else!

    Chris, oh, that doubtless had something to do with it, but the Rhode Island state government is also fabulously corrupt, and substandard materials and other ways to divert funds into capacious pockets were likely also a factor. As for Toynbee, why, yes — I have some new posts in mind.

    Warburton, yep. It’s sometimes easier to see someone else’s propaganda as propaganda.

    Smith, I wish the movement to rebuild the Temple was in limbo. There are significant groups in Israeli society pushing for it, and making all the necessary preparations, including training priests and Levites in the traditional procedures. I haven’t heard of anyone trying to rebuild the Ark, though. (Well, except for Freemasons; replica Arks play a role in a certain Masonic degree, but those aren’t made of gold.)

    Jill, oh, granted. I used to defend myself against Bible thumpers by quoting the bit in Leviticus that makes it a major sin to wear garments of mixed fibers, and then demanding that they check the fiber content of their shirts. The results were often entertaining.

    Michael, hmm! Good to see.

    Chronojourner, I did a post about the 2020 grand mutation a few days after it happened:

    https://www.ecosophia.net/the-grand-mutation-an-astrological-interlude/

    The Air cycle that dawned in 2020 will be less heavily freighted with destruction than the last one, which began in 1226 and was dominated by a strong Mars in hostile aspect to a flurry of other planets. It’s quite possible that all three of the nations you named will fail to survive this Air cycle, but remember that it lasts until 2219, so the events in question may not be imminent!

    False Eruption, there’s a tradition in occult circles that during the last ice age, such breeding programs were systematically carried out by the civilization dimly remembered today via the legends of Atlantis; a lot of the survivors of those programs ended up in what’s now northwestern Europe, which is why the Celts have so many families with the Second Sight. Since then? Not that anyone’s admitted to. As for human cloning, I know of no evidence that it’s been done at all.

    Renaissance, basically, yes, that’s the suggestion. I’d add, first, that of course the psychological impact of the gun wasn’t the only thing contributing to those changes; second, that the gun wasn’t the only technology to become a major cultural icon at the time, and those other iconic technologies could also reasonably be studied to see what impact they could have had; and finally, that the image of the gun in its military context provided some important groundwork for the changes in question, since the European gunpowder empires were being created not by brawny heroes but by marching lines of ordinary soldiers, thus reducing the impact of important images that glorified masculine violence in pre-gunpowder days.

  367. @Smith re: #385, Mr. Mathiesen re: #390, JMG re: #396 –

    It strikes me that the Temple has a major role in Christian eschatology, especially as interpreted by more literal Evangelicals. The Antichrist, among other things, is supposed to stop the sacrifices in the Temple, but in order for that to happen, there must first be a Temple.

    If they were to actually do this, I have to imagine it would be incendiary across the entire Islamic world to a degree many in the West can’t comprehend. Many in the PMC and political world treat religion as, at best, an affectation and would have a hard time fathoming it being taken seriously.

    @JMG in particular – From the post it strikes me that you seem concerned about the Temple rebuilding movement to be in limbo. I’m curious as to why from your perspective – is it simply a matter of the risk that attempting to bring forth the Messiah by rebuilding it might risk bringing about Armageddon instead, or is there something else? (If it’s something better left unsaid, that’s also understandable.)

  368. JMG and Robert Mathiesen, too bad that this Temple thing is picking up speed. Talk about unleashing the furies. Those counselling compromise will be looking for alternate employment as the unthinkable becomes not only thinkable but doable and probably unavoidable. Imagine the horrors in European countries with large numbers of fighting-age Muslim men. On this side of the pond there’s this view that too many European infidel youngsters are critical theory infused cafe-layabouts, more useless, if that’s even possible, than their infidel counterparts over here. I hope it ain’t so because if it is the fighting will be brief. Maybe that’s the only consolation.

    Maybe fighting on this side of the waters too as the culture wars rev up but maybe not so brief. And life for Jews will be unbearable and extremely dangerous as open and vociferous Jew-hate becomes not only socially acceptable but expected of educated, left-thinking people and an integral part of progressive cant. If Jews feel unsafe now (especially on campus), just imagine.

    And as JMG has said just watch the woke converting to Islam. Just watch them trying to outdo one another in devotion to their newfound faith. Will those posturing knuckle-heads know what the penalty supposedly is for apostasy? A lot of Muslims will say that it ain’t so. But other Muslims say that it is so. Personally I don’t know.

  369. 1) I’ve posted a poll on my dreamwidth account for those who are interested in the General Canadian Ecosophia Meetup, or in organizing local meetups in Canada. You can find it here: https://taylorburgess.dreamwidth.org/460.html

    2) I find the discussion of firearms and feminism I started on the last post fascinating to watch. I don’t have much to add to it right now, but I’m going to spend a lot of time mulling it over, because there’s something seriously weird going on here, and I think it might be fairly important.

    3) I have an update on my goal of saving scuba for the future. I’m refocusing towards getting it through a major bottleneck I see coming up: the end of the computer age. There are plenty of skills needed to scuba dive, but it’s also a lot harder without a dive computer that can show direction and track air. I know how to navigate by compass, but it’s a lot harder underwater when it’s surprisingly hard to tell if something is level; and a lot of divers can’t use a compass on land. They also can’t do the mental math to determine when it’s safe to ascend, or how quickly they can rise; and then there’s the challenge of keeping track of air flow, since the amount of air leaving the system changes based on depths.

    Diving without a dive computer is possible, and in fact it’s apparently fairly easy, once the skills are mastered; but a lot of divers have never learned these skills, and so I’m finding it a little tricky to find people who are able to teach them to me.

    Since you also noticed that there would be a major bottleneck at the end of the computer age with astrology, I wonder just how many other fields of knowledge and technology are going to have the same thing: a major bottleneck where a lot of things get lost because people cannot remember how stuff was done before computers….

  370. It’s been discussed several times in the Ecosophia world that Christianity is very likely fading in importance and prominence in the world, and that as it was a religion seemingly very tied to the Age of Pisces, its fading coincides well with the reemergence of older deities and us moving into the Age of Aquarius.

    I bring this up because I’m still very influenced by many aspects of Christianity, most especially the idea of self-sacrifice it embodies – “the willingness to be the least,” giving yourself body and soul over to God. But synchronicities suggest this may not be most appropriate for what I can become on my spiritual path, nor that a Christ-like figure is what the world needs most at this time. Most recently someone I know commented that Christ was an appropriate model for his time but may not be an appropriate model for today’s world and the world we’re evolving into.

    To get closer to my question: I tend to view humility (at least in my personal sense) in Christianity as being willing to be the least, the poorest and most deprived person, in order to serve the most. And this seems to conflict with one possessing an active sense of power. Of course Christ embodied power by living according to his principles, yet there’s something I’m missing here, I sense.

    To try to best formulate my question: where do humility and power stand relative to one another? Can one practice humility in an exemplary way while not being “the least”? If so, where should one graciously and wisely apply limits to their power? Power here is probably meant in a more spiritual or magical sense, of ability to change consciousness and the world around them via changing their consciousness.

    Big question on something I’m still meditating on, but hoping Ecosophians can provide their opinions on this! Was going to post on Magic Monday but I don’t think the question concerns magic or spirituality enough to count.

  371. Dear JMG,
    Thank you for your response which clarified a major point. I’m sadden to realize the collapse of the Soviet Union is gentle compared to Europe’s potential future. Maybe a Soviet-style collapse which D. Orlov mentioned is a privilege for resource-rich USA and doesn’t include Europe. Would you mind sharing your underlying reasoning? Thank you.
    Sincerely

  372. Regarding the Ark of the Covenant. The original Ark was apparently lost with the destruction of the first temple. The temple of Jesus’s time destroyed in AD 70 did not have an ark in the Holy of Holies. The blood of the yearly sacrifice was sprinkled over the blank spot and any censing was done similarly. I imagine there are not plans to build a replica.
    There is also space on the Temple Mount sufficient to build the relatively small Jewish temple without destroying the mosque. Some scholars doubt that the mosque sits on the actual former site of the Jewish temple. Anyway I hope it doesn’t happen the world has enough conflict and who needs a temple when you can just pray to God as the human body for me is the real temple of God.

  373. I may have inadvertently initiated a bit of a religious debate. I think it entirely reasonable for people to be fervent in their beliefs, and to engage in thoughtful and respectful argument with those of other persuasions. We are all in a bit of a difficult position, because none of us actually knows with certainty what comes after death, or what religious beliefs (if any) will be beneficial to us at that time. We each have to do the best we can with the information we have. This will, of course, be heavily influenced by our own experiences and upbringing. My own Christian faith is something I inherited, even if I moved to a different sect as an adult.

    Thank you, John, for this respectful and intellectually stimulating venue for discussion.

  374. @Owain D. #365
    Thank you for sharing your insights and experience. Indeed, being a long-term foreigner can be erosive. It wears one down bit by bit without the person even realizes it. I believe it would get even more difficult in hard times.
    I also agree with you, mounting a fight is far more effective when one is at home. So I would prefer not to uproot my children to a new place.
    I sometimes consider move to my birth country. However, one is foreigner in his host country and becomes so if returns to his birth country.
    Sincerely,

  375. Hello JMG,
    Thanks for your reply about Europe’s fate. After Ukraine folds I can easily see the EU core and whatever is left of NATO trying to scapegoat the likes of Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia for being neutral or in the latter case, pro-Russian and attempt to overthrow their governments. That could easily end in a shooting war. Of course there are a dozen other scenarios.
    As a small step to collapsing before the rush, my wife and I now accommodate in our home her oldest son, his wife and their toddler. They moved in to avoid crippling rent and save money for a deposit to purchase a house of their own. Their hope is to do this within 2-3 years. My own expectation which I have kept to myself, is that they will be here permanently and I will have to guide them gently toward a view that steepening economic decline is the most likely future. That may not be easy as they are still techno-optimists.

  376. Nobody worshiped the Ark, or the two Cherubims, God’s literal presence dwelled in the Tent of Meeting, over the Ark, between the Cherubim. That’s what people worshiped. Ark or cherubim worship/veneration was not something God asked for. The early Christians painted the places were they assembled, but they did not venerate/worship images.

    I don’t care what Orthodox people have to say. In my country Orthodox priests allied with Communist authorities and persecuted Protestants and Orthodox people carry the tradition even to this day. It’s not as bad mainly because Orthodox people themselves no longer care that much for religious affairs.

  377. John,
    Funnily enough I have also quoted that verse in Leviticus for the same reason and it has never been well received.
    People think I am being facetious. There are lots of interesting laws in Leviticus and Numbers.

  378. Clay #329
    I first heard this from someone working at the hardware store where I was purchasing a kitchen sink faucet. When the guy asked me about fun for the day I thought he was just messing with me. I said I would be under the sink installing the faucet. I did not get a fun look from him.

  379. @ Warburton Expat #384 I can vouch for the fact that this is the exact way in which Western media typically covers Russian politics, with the same kind of distortions (exaggerate importance; create false impression of coordination; ignore local politics and everything that’s probably only interesting to locals). That’s not to say that American and Russian politics are the same, by the way. But media coverage of other nations’ politics is. I do wonder how much of this is propaganda and how much sheer sensationalism. A minor political figure being arrested for taking part in a local protest is just not as interesting as an opposition leader being arrested as part of a national crackdown.

  380. @Cary #359

    That’s fair enough. I don’t think there’s any reason why one couldn’t be a non-progressive liberal (or socialist, for that matter); it may be a historical coincidence that those political orientations have become commonly associated with progressivism. Certainly there have been conservative or simply progress-skeptical liberals. Still, that association does exist in the mainstream. You are also right in that it seems to come and go (meaning that progressivism as an idea is subject to cycles).

    Liberalism can also mean different things depending on where you are. In Russia, though still progressivist in general rhetoric, liberals are strongly anti-government and pro-business; in the US, at least on the level of standard rhetoric, it seems to be the other way around; in Australia, I understand they’re generally right-wing and not very progressivist to begin with.

  381. With the sustained contraction of the economies of industrial civilization, which we didn’t have before, outside of war economies for a few ears in some of the wars of the past, we enter uncharted territory. I don’t really have much of an idea how it will play out besides the already known effects of economic downturns. That said, one of the effects is the bankruptcy of enterprises. In Germany, the last remaining department store chain, Galeria Kufhof, has just announced that 16 of the 92 remaining department stores will close down. Galeria Kaufhof was already insolvent several times, but every time, there was an administrator of insolvence taking care of it, so that the workers could find different jobs.

  382. Hi JMG,
    As a long-time reader I have to say your ‘A Life Remembered’ post was amazing and inspirational and I hope I can do something even remotely close to that for my wife if god forbit I do not get to go first.
    I have taken your advice to others about writing and just started. My choice is Satire and I chose LinkedIn as it is clearly the funniest website on the internet to start that doing that under my own name starting two weeks ago.

    In your and your commentators honor I did a piece on Yuval Harari linked here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/yuval-harari-author-sapiens-homo-deus-struck-peugot-while-binkley-wfuje

    Hopefully you don’t need to be on LinkedIn to read it … to all please feel free to add me if you enjoy I am hoping to do 1-2 short articles taking 1-2 minutes to read per week, plenty of ammo given the clownworld we live in (esp. in Canada!) but only so much time to mock it …

    I am trying to come up with one about Neil DeGrasse Tyson but it is not there yet … I hope you will enjoy it if I can. Cheers, Doug

  383. Warburton Expat (#384)
    RT probably makes a point of Jill Stein’s status as a presidential candidate because the arrest of a presidential candidate with even less support in Russia would be headline news in Western media. Navalny’s support was probably on the level with Jill Stein’s.

  384. Thanks for the link JMG, I had forgotten that one. On the theme of likely upcoming war in Europe, even if it’s a couple of decades away, I’d suggest European readers with very young family members might want to attempt to steer them in the direction of what were called Reserved Occupations in WW2. People in these occupations were usually exempt from military call-up. A couple of articles on them are linked below. Of course such occupations may be very different in the near future to 80+ years ago but the principles of them and many on the list are likely to be the same.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20220616184900/http://anguline.co.uk/Free/Reserved.pdf
    https://www.royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk/the-haslam-diaries/reserved-occupations-and-exemptions

  385. Thanks JMG,
    I did look At their webpage and saw they are looking for A specific category of writing, but I could try to creatively pitch it. Its probably worth knocking on the doors of these places, even if they have their shingle out stating ‘not taking submissions.’ If it doesn’t get picked up I think I will be Alright. Writing it was an educative process and I can always self Publish, Try the e book world, Or keep developing the world and characters for a new story.
    The editorial letter I received Kind of peeled off notions I had that I knew what I was doing, and laid down some foundational instruction that I will be keeping in mind for future work.

  386. Hi John Michael,

    No free speech down here, can’t say nuffin about your observations. 🙂 I’m always amazed at the things said by folks in your country. Mate, if I’d said such a thing, I could be slammed by a defamation suit which would be unpleasant to behold.

    I was thinking about your ‘gun’ discussion, and thinking to myself: Yeah