Open Post

August 2019 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) 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 long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

With that said, have at it!

463 Comments

  1. Hi JMG – Interested in your thoughts on the trend in the conservation world (at least in my neck of the woods in New England) towards foresty going along with conservation. A couple of questions specifically:
    1) Do you think it’s better from both a conservation ecology and local economy standpoint to have small areas that are heavily logged and others that are not logged at all or widespread light, selective cutting, including in conserved lands? (It goes without saying that reducing the need for forest products as much as possible would be more important than either harvesting strategy).
    2) What are your thoughts on “forestry for habitat management”? Examples would be logging a forested area to turn it into successional thicket for birds or logging dead/weak pines to create light gaps for hardwoods. Do you think it’s wise to intervene to try to make local ecologies stronger/more diverse or presumptuous to assume that we can understand, much less intenionally create, local ecological systems?

  2. Let the fun begin! I mentioned this over on DreamWidth for Magic Monday, and am repeating here: I have finished formatting-for-readability two William Walker Atkinson books, written under his pseudonym Theron Q. Dumont, The Master Mind and The Power of Concentration. These are in *.rtf format, which ought to be read-able by pretty much everything AFAIK.

    Oh, I feel obligated to mention that Atkinson’s books are out of copyright and freely available as scans of old library books online … folks, there is no need to pay for a copy on Amazon or GoogleBooks! Not unless someone has taken the time and effort to add something of value to it, besides just clean-copy formatting. If you can, preview any abridged or condensed versions before purchase … I probably ought not name the author, but I have seen versions that cut out entire chapters. In my *OPINION* too much was cut out. That and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee at the little local diner.

  3. I am preparing for the Transforming Yourself section of the DMH, with the extension of the SOP, and taking your advice to reflect on intentionality and ethics beforehand. Some thoughts arose during meditation on these topics. The elements are correspondences meant to cover the full range of human experience, and I started to wonder why and how we would know that to be the case. How can we verify that such a system really covers the full range of human experience in all its complexity and diversity? One of the things the SOP seems to do is to help locate oneself within this field through the use of the elements, which assumes that the elements really do cover the whole field.

    My only thought to answer this question was that we can’t verify it other than seeing how it works in practice through time, and that these observations about human experiences have collected through time and informed the system itself.

    I then realized that if this is the case, then one can approach intentionality through the elements, ie, each element in itself has its own intentionality, which I can relate to my own experience of them. My normal patterned reactions to things, human and otherwise, can be understood from the point of view of the different elements, a typical patterned reaction I have to a person’s emotions could perhaps be understood in a Watery or Fiery way, how I approach reading books in an Airy type of way. But then maybe I am going too far, and fitting everything I experience into some kind of elemental Procrustean Bed.

    Then I realized that my approach in thinking about the elements in this way is very Airy (if Air corresponds to the intellect). What would it mean to comprehend them according to different elements? Or that comprehension itself corresponds to learning (and therefore Water)? Am I simply stuck in Airy ways because my personality is influenced a great deal by what corresponds to Air?

    I then realized that if Spirit corresponds to pure awareness, then a difference between Druidry and certain Eastern religions becomes clear. In Buddhism, as far as I understand it, a goal is that the mind is supposed to be constantly in a state of awareness. In Druidry, awareness is part of the field of human experience, not better or worse than other parts of the field, so the Druid view on awareness within the range of human experience seems to be more balanced. Maybe?

    Is there a question in all that – I guess whether there are any unproductive directions here?

  4. I have no exceptionally cute kittens today, so anybody who wants to use the August Cute slot is welcome to it.

  5. This is sort of a magic monday question, but since this is an open post I figured I’d ask here. So I’ve decided to start doing the S.O.P. I did it for a few months a few years ago before switching to a different banishing ritual that was part of a course I started working through. I liked the old ritual, especially the closing. I like the opening of the new version though, where the current from below comes back up. Can I do the opening from the old and the closing from the new or would that not be good?

    Btw I’ve been practicing the Geomancy, and when asked what the outcome would be to start doing the S.O.P. it came back with Albus as RW, LW and Populus as judge, and when asked if I didn’t do it the first house was Rubeus so I didn’t even finish it, and figured that was a pretty clear answer. I asked also about a divinity to call on for it, as I have worked with several through the years but no real connection and it spelled out B I P E C, and Populus in the 7th house (to identify an unknown person.) I can find no divinity with those letters in its name, so I’m just gonna go with impersonal names. Do you or any commenter know a divinity with those letters?

    I was going to ask it about the opening and closing of the S.O.P. but I figured you’d have a clearer answer as you are the one who reworked it.

  6. Hello JMG, i have a question about brexit. If the UK crashes out of the EU on oktober 31st , does being out of the EU and having to rebuild all their trade treatises meaning in some ways they are outside the (international)law make The UK a bad place to be on Halloween, wich is the night after the brexit date?

    regards, Wilco Bokken.

  7. Oh, and also, I’m going to be adding a new section of the S.O.P
    every few days instead of every week as I’m already familiar with it, see any problem there?

  8. JMG and all –

    Any thoughts on Shakespeare’s play *MacBeth*? Along with its general macabre atmosphere, the cascading murders, nightmares, trance-sleepwalking, etc., it has some distinct occult/supernatural features – the Old Hag-like witches, prophecies, curses, spells. Probably most people know about the play’s reputation as being “cursed” – actors who have roles in a MacBeth production never refer to the play by its proper title, rather they call it “the Scottish play”. Evidently, some actors prior to and during actual production perform protective rituals for themselves, for the cast and audiences.

    I’ve heard part of MacBeth’s dark rep rests partially on the supposed number of catastrophic accidents and varied misfortunes that have accompanied productions over the last 3 centuries, not only to actors but all production staff, and to audience members. Not sure if this is factual; A Midsummer Night’s Dream productions probably have seen their share of mishaps and misfortunes as well. But I imagine that MacBeth-Dread has, over the centuries, served to fashion a distinct MacBeth egregore that comes to life every time the play is staged, that is, if the play didn’t come with one ready-made at its inception. It could be that the finer the talent involved and the more sophisticated the play-goers, the more lively is the egregore. In any event, when something untoward happens re a MacBeth staging, *it gets noticed*. A lot of frontline film directors have tackled the play – Welles and Kurosawa among them – but the MacBeth director people really remember is Roman Polanski.

    There is a theory – King James, the reigning monarch in Shakespeare’s time, had what one could call an unhealthy obsession with witches, particularly after experiencing two sea storms while sailing to Scotland and back, which he blamed of course on the satanic machinations of witches who had intended to kill him. To James, this was treason of the highest order with a supernatural twist – by attempting to kill James, the divinely ordained monarch of England, the witches were attempting to kill God, and there’s no greater treason than that. Witch trials were held, naturally, and then James actually published a treatise on witchcraft and demonology, Daemonologie, (“the science of demons”), a work he put a lot of research and effort into. Shakespeare very likely used Jame’s treatise as source material for MacBeth’s witches, and – so goes the theory – placed actual curses in the mouths of his 3 witches, thus every staging of McBeth is in effect a conjuring of nasty demons, and thus all the supposed mayhem that has attended the play’s staging over the years. In any event, James’ Daemonologie did much to spur on the anti-witch hysteria of the time;and Shakespeare’s MacBeth immortalized, in effect, the vision of witchcraft as being nothing but the practice of demonic conjuring.

    My own take on MacBeth rests on my perspective of Shakespeare the author and what seems to have become the lasting significance of his work (and it doesn’t matter if the author was actually Francis Bacon or the 17th Earl of Oxford or whoever). If any artist could be said to have held a mirror up to (mundane) human nature it was Shakespeare. Not for nothing he’s been referred to as “the Divine Hack”, the author of the “secular scriptures”. Shakespeare limned earthly human nature with such incisiveness that in lit critic Harold Bloom’s words, he allowed us to “overhear ourselves “, that is, to reflect on ourselves, to see the patterns of behavior to which we too often habitually subscribe. In doing so, I imagine that Shakespeare imagined/created what amounted to secular archetypes that have a real power. His characters are the essence of what they represent – eg., Hamlet is the essence of over-intellectualized self-loathing, Iago is the essence of blind, scheming jealousy, etc.

    By this token, MacBeth is of course the archetypal essence of murderous ambition. One murder leads to another and another, and though MacBeth and Lady MacBeth are tormented by their consciences, they seemingly are helpless to stop the cascading murders. They have conjured up an uncontrollable evil that overtakes them and brings them to ruin. The story is so compact, so basic, so “of the essence” that I speculate the play may have come with its already intact egregore, one that has been fed considerably over the centuries.

    Other Shakespeare plays have their occultish dimension, to be sure, eg., Hamlet’s father appearing in the flames of purgatory and the cavorting Fae in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but MacBeth is the play that I imagine most people associate (perhaps unfairly) with the occult. There are some who believe that Shakespeare’s works are replete with occult significance, and that in many instances the occult is “coded” into his plays. On this I’m not knowledgeable enough to have a perspective.

  9. Ryan, 1) What kind of forestry works best in a given ecosystem depends wholly on the nature of the ecosystem. In the Douglas fir forests of western Washington, for example, you’ve got to log areas large enough to let the sunlight in, as Douglas fir saplings won’t sprout in understory shade. When you’ve got trees with saplings that prefer understory conditions, by contrast, selective logging is a much more effective approach. You may be surprised to hear this, but I’m not at all opposed to logging; I just insist that at least as many trees are planted, and grow to maturity, as those that are harvested. (I’m also very much in favor of logging alternatives, such as industrial hemp for paper feedstock.)

    2) Habitat management is a normal human ecological strategy. The native peoples of North America did it constantly, using fire to increase the carrying capacity of local ecosystems in order to make up for their own harvesting of food animals and plants. If it’s done with close attention to local conditions and to the results of interventions, rather than on the basis of an arbitrary doctrine, it can be a very good thing — a way to balance out human impacts on the environment by making the environment more welcoming to other species.

    Are you familiar with hedgerows of the northwestern European variety? Made in the traditional way, they harbor many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertbrates, and make for farmland that’s actually richer in species than untouched woods or meadows. To my mind, that sort of thing is a crucial way forward for constructive human interaction with nature.

    Dfr1973, huzzah! Do you think you could make a list of links to freely downloadable Atkinson works online, and get it to me? That’s important enough that it deserves a page on this website, linked from the Blogs, Essays, FAQs page.

    Anonymous, excellent. No, nothing unproductive at all, as far as I can see.

  10. I have thought about the coming into existence of prophetic religions and a question came up: Are there any examples of religions with a founder which were snuffed out early before they could spread and become a major religion? I’m thinking of situations where a religion has only a few followers at first, like Islam in its early days, where the only Muslims were Muhammad, his wife and a few friends.

  11. I have a thought/question similar to that of Anonymous at 12:54. I’ve been thinking a bit about mindfulness since the discussion on it a few posts ago (and yes I am enjoying the irony of possibly thinking too much about the topic of mindfulness!). A practice I’ve worked on for years is to be more aware of emotions arising, which can be a helpful thing generally. Some of the buddhist and new agey texts (mainly Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckert Tolle) I read a long time ago suggested that being aware of unhelpful emotions should be enough to shift them – sitting with them, feeling them, watching them evaporate. I read (perhaps read into) a little of that logic in the first chapter of the Cosmic Doctrine – not kicking against a negative force (which could lock it in place) but letting it go and rise up to the outer ring of your experience (or hating it, as the text says). But my practical experience of shifting really strong emotions, especially anger, suggests that stronger action is required than just awareness. I find running, or chopping wood or other vigorous pursuits to be good for moving unwanted emotional energy, much more effectively than just being aware of it and sitting with it. But at the same time I don’t want to lock negativity in place. So I guess I’m looking for any words of guidance here. Also, I have enrolled in a Tai Chi class for the fall, so am looking forward to that.

    Thanks

  12. Hi JMG, I have seen different descriptions of The American Dream.Everything from the standard version of the Horatio Alger Myth to the equal opportunity to self realize and others, depending the different axes to grind. How do you see it, sir? Please?

    Thanks,

    Mac

  13. A couple general notes: I will be uploading in the early morning, as I am on metered bandwidth – rural satellite connection here. Also, there is a named storm in the Caribbean now, headed for the state of Florida. If I don’t answer over the weekend that will be why. Finally, I do have some commentary and background I’ve found on WWA over at my DW journal – just click my name here and that will take you.

    John Michael, you *do* realize he wrote about a hundred books, right? The two sources I use are GoogleBooks, just go there and put in his name, and the other being http://www.iapsop.com/ssoc/ starting in 1900 and ending in 1922: the various names are Atkinson, Ramacharaka, Dumont, Three Initiates, Magus Incognito, and the anonymous Arcane Teachings … bah. OK, I’ll work on a list.

  14. @JMG

    I’ve been curious about this for a while – whether you think that Western culture’s obsession with Progress vs. Apocalypse is rooted in the Christian myth of the Fall?

    The idea being that people started out as godlike beings with unlimitted potential, and by way of their bad choices, ended up in a life far worse than the one they should have had?

    The upshot being that Westerners view the world, and its inhabitants, as the constant victims of human mistakes which make circumstances worse than they could have or ought to have been. And hence, the constant urgency of making the right choice in the present so that we have a very good future instead of a very bad one.

    And so the old idea that men were semi-divune until they fell from grace gets rewrapped as a delusion of omnipotence combined with a fear that we’ll do ourselves in with it – so the only way that Man will stop progressing is if he is dead, and the only way he’ll end up dead is if he does it to himself.

    Whereas it would seem that in your spiritual tradition, man is just a small part of nature, which sets our limits – our own choices for either good or ill not having much to do with the matter.

    The odd thing with me saying all this is that, as a Christian, I believe in the myth of the Fall, in the true sense of the word “myth” – the idea that men have vast potential, which they invariably fall short of, is a story that does a pretty good job of making sense of the world.

    (The problem with the secularized versions of the myth being that they leave out the detail that man ALWAYS falls, so people end up convinced that eventually, one of these days, someone will avoid the old mistakes and build Utopia – and that never seems to get around to happening.)

  15. @Ryan,

    I wish I could remember the source… but I saw an interview with a landowner that practiced sustainable forestry. He planted trees and let them grow until they reached maximum economic value (which is quite large and mature) rather than cutting them as soon as they could be sold. He had pockets of various types of trees (say 15 oaks here, 25 maples over there) and as he walked the land said “these are being harvested next year, those will be ready in 15 years, but I’ll be retired by then so I don’t know if they will be allowed to fully mature…”

    Of course, that’s not the only way to manage a healthy forest and still harvest wood.

    That type of land management isn’t possible in a corporate, “maximize this quarter’s profits” setting. I think most of today’s problems are caused by short-term thinking.

    And of course, this late in the game, our planet needs to end up with more trees, not less… (That is, if we want a stable, diverse ecosystem).

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  16. I thought of this question yesterday, a day too late:

    From an occult view, how does hypnosis work?

  17. John, et al.–

    The regular energy news, from your soi-disant energy reporter.

    More nuclear fallout from VC Summer:
    https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article233783632.html

    Legal wrangling in OH:
    https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/08/ohio-attorney-general-shuts-down-proposed-referendum-to-overturn-ohios-new-nuclear-bailout-law.html

    Because it’s worked out so well here on Earth:
    https://www.space.com/nuclear-reactor-for-mars-outpost-2022.html

    Positive feed-back loops galore:
    https://www.euci.com/daily-natural-gas-consumption-record-is-set-during-july-heat-wave/?x=38415v242282Sy&utm_campaign=081419_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    Never lose an opportunity to screw the workers:
    https://www.dispatch.com/business/20190805/firstenergy-solutions-seeks-to-dump-union-contract-for-ohio-nuclear-plant

    If love is color-blind, then money is nonpartisan:
    https://riponadvance.com/stories/mcsallys-bipartisan-bill-targets-federal-dollars-to-u-s-nuclear-power-plants/

    LNG exports continue to expand:
    https://www.euci.com/u-s-becomes-third-biggest-lng-exporter-as-europe-becomes-a-more-important-market/?x=38253v242282Sy&utm_campaign=080719_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    What a pile of shale:
    https://www.rigzone.com/news/is_the_us_shale_boom_winding_down-6-aug-2019-159498-article/

    Costs on the rise**:
    http://www.euci.com/nearly-half-of-u-s-utilities-filed-rate-cases-in-2018-most-of-them-seeking-rate-increases/?x=38087w242282Sy&utm_campaign=073119_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    ** Just for the record, I’d like to note that we (the utility I work for) have also filed a rate case, but are seeking a fourth consecutive rate decrease. Of course, we are a (*cough* socialist *cough*) municipally-owned utility whose purpose is to provide these services at cost rather than for profit, which might have something do with it…

  18. Greetings. The first two entries in my series of essays on the “Down Home Punk” style of Green Wizardry are now online for fellow ecosophian’s and apprentice green wizards to read and discuss.

    Down Home Punk: an Introduction
    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/down-home-punk-an-introduction

    Squats, Slan Shacks & Dial House:
    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/punk-house-1-squats-slan-shacks-dial-house

    The articles are also mirror-posted on Green Wizards here:
    http://greenwizards.com/node/868
    and here: http://greenwizards.com/node/873

    The Green Wizards website is a fun place to hang out and there is plenty of room for more voices. Thanks to commenter David Trammel for hosting that space.

    From the intro: “This series will look at a number of aspects of the punk rock movement, how it played it out, and what worked within it historically and how that can be adapted for use by the aspiring green wizard, with our without the safety pins.

    First is a look at the punkhouse, or the shared living spaces created by punks to cut costs and pool resources so they could work and consume from the System less and do more of what they wanted, often creative projects. A number of specific and influential punk houses, and the cultures and legacy created around them will be explored. This section will also offer some thoughts on squatting, a rite of passage for many punks, and look into how squatting and group living can be useful tools for coping with homelessness and housing crisis. Some of the examples here will be Dial House, Positive Force, ABC No Rio, and other squats and spaces.
    Next we will look at the sustainable and ethical business models created by enterprising punks such as Ian Mackaye and his work with Fugazi and Dischord Records, and the work of Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio Studios. The way they handled the financial side of having a band, record label and music studio show that fair and just prices can be charged for products and entertainment all while providing a living for the workers. Green wizards with a craft or service will be able to use these as models for starting their own businesses, whether full time or a side hustle.

    Another section will explore the communication techniques of the punks that were honed in the days before the internet. The punk rock scene had a resilient and robust subculture of interconnected local scenes. People were able to communicate with each other, book tours, make pen pals and friends, all through small, independent fanzines and homegrown record labels and venues. It was an analog network that existed below the radar and made extensive us of the postal system.

    Still another section will examine the fusion of folk and punk. I will look at how punk rock is an urban folk movement and look at examples of how the music itself has drifted into folk over the past decades. Other elements of punk culture as folk culture will be explored. This last bit dovetails neatly with John Michael Greer’s original naming of one mode of Green Wizardry as Down Home Funk. That mode is characterized by “reviving the technologies of the preindustrial past.” This fits in with the egalitarian ideals of the punk movement and ties it to “the folk”. Preindustrial tech is tech that potentially anyone can use, and that the down and out and broke and common people can afford or make. These are techs that can be scrounged, dumpster dived, rebuilt, repurposed. The Down Home Funk option embraces regional flair and variety in its tools, but they are tools that have been tested and prove to work. By fusing the appropriate tech of our folksy forebears with the additional kit built up around the punk mindset individuals can begin the process of reclaiming their own authority and autonomy and live a good and noble life during the decline of western civilization.”

  19. Hello perspiring writers,

    How’s it going this month? I haven’t been doing much typing because of the move, and coughing most of the night makes my brain sluggish. I can’t take dextromethorphan and the medical board around here will not allow doctors to prescribe codeine because we have a big opiate problem, the obvious solution to which is to make everyone even more miserable than they were already. I’m getting over it, finally, so I anticipate a much better September and hope yours is productive as well.

    I want us all to write a lot because it’s enjoyable work and because in this case it seems to me that the rising tide really will lift all the boats. Say somebody reads all of A’s books. They want more fantasy, so try B’s books, then C’s, and so forth. That’s what happens in the romance field and I bet there are enough readers wanting something different that it can happen in our field too.

  20. I think it is hard to learn from bad examples of other people because these are negatives, and need to be reframed in order to sink in. “Reversing the signal” to make them easier to incorporate is often difficult. Any suggestions on what can be done to improve this?

  21. Greetings, dearest Host and fellow commentators

    So, after much doubt and fear,I finally dared to do my first linking pathwork on Tau last night.

    I figured that getting Tristitia on my reading was as good as it was gonna get for the path of Saturn. The resultant being Via, I was fearing mostly for my semester at school, so I did a reading asking for how would it affect me at school specifically and I got puella and laetitia as witnesses and fortuna major as judge, so that gave me the last assurance I needed.

    I visited a few of the sights I had known, and I found a hooded figure I had found on my first exploration carving a letter tau on a square slab of stone. On that first time I felt a lot of fear, but on this time I kind of felt it greeting me, as if it were congratulating me on finally daring to cross. This settled my suspicion that this figure was the Watcher in the threshold.

    When I got to the door of Yesod and entered the violet light, I felt as if my mind became lighter. A very similar sensation to getting back to the surface after a scuba diving session. I sat in the temple of Yesod and ended the session.

    So far, I’ve only had the eventuality of getting a call at 2 am of a lady asking for a mr. Filemón. I grumpily answered that she had a wrong number and went back to sleep. I find it significant because of the ninth sphere’s relation to sleep and dreams, but I don’t know why exactly an open path of Tau would manifest an interruption in my sleep.

    It might just be a coincidence but do you or someone here have any ideas? That is, before I get on to meditating on it 😉

  22. Oh another thing, a friend of mine’s neighbors sell crystals and stones (they had a quartz the size of my head), and he wants to know of a good resource on the magical properties of stones, crystals and gems.

    Anyone?

  23. @ Lady Cutekitten

    Re perspiration, written and otherwise

    My lady, this past month has been most productive, though I must confess that at times I fear that the amount bitten off exceeds my capacity to chew. I have set myself forth upon a path, having initiated not one but two series of stories to be serialized on Zendexor’s Tales To Astound. (The first began with August and a second parallel series begins in September.) We shall see if I can manage to keep two story-lines consistently fed over the coming year. But if anyone was looking for a dash of crime noir to go along with their OSS, why I’ve got just the thing for you…

    Over-all, very excited, very productive. Stories still being thought of faster than the pen can express them. Characters still running off in directions the author hadn’t considered. Not exactly problems about which one complains!

  24. Isaac, you can indeed mix and match different versions of the SoP — it was designed with a great deal of flexibility. Your geomantic readings were very clear — notably, the one you asked about not starting the SoP was telling you, “Give me a break, you know as well as I do that you’re going to do it whatever I say.” As for B I P E C, my immediate, somewhat wry take that this would be a deity with prominent BICEPs; I can’t offhand think of any more serious suggestions.

    Wilco, no, Britain won’t be outside of international law; it will just have severed connections with the EU. It will still be bound by all the other treaties it has entered into. You should be fine.

    Isaac, none at all. I’ve done the same thing.

    Will M, heck of a good question, to which I have no answers. I’m not a theater person, but the Scottish play doesn’t strike me as noticeably more ghastly than a good many other Elizabethan and Jacobean plays — Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus includes devils and a good bit of malevolent magic, for example. Why does MacBeth have the reputation it does? I dunno.

    Booklover, good heavens, yes. There have been hundreds of them if not thousands. Carlo Ginzburg’s book The Cheese and the Worms, to cite only one example, chronicles the career of a notably unsuccessful prophet in Renaissance Italy.

    Mark D, to my mind the things that get left out of recent Western presentations of mindfulness as a response to unwelcome emotional states are twofold. First, just because you don’t enjoy an emotional state, or maybe read somewhere that it’s “bad,” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an appropriate place in your mind and life. The Victorians taught us what happens when we label a set of emotions “bad” and try to repress them! Second, an unwelcome emotion that keeps on popping up inappropriately is usually the product of something in your life you aren’t dealing with. Journaling is often a good way to get a handle on what that is and how to deal with it.

    Mac, I have no idea what the American Dream is. I suspect that it’s different for every single person who talks about it.

    Dfr1973, yes, I do. That’s why it would be so useful to have a list of them in one place, with links, for students. I understand it’s a few days of work, so if that’s not an option for you, don’t worry about it — but I thought I should ask.

    Wesley, good heavens, yes. Oswald Spengler pointed out a long time ago that the rationalist ideologies of a culture, as well as its sciences and philosophies, are all just rehashes of that culture’s religion with the serial numbers filed off and intellectual abstractions plugged in in place of deities. All our culture’s myths of the future are chunks of the Book of Revelation pulled out of context and decked out in secular drag.

    Oleg S., Man and His Symbols is probably the best place to start.

    Your Kittenship, the hypnotist uses various gimmicks to shut down the conscious mind of the target and temporarily put the hypnotist’s will in place of the target’s.

  25. Hello JMG,

    Some time ago, I mentioned “The Arcane Teaching” book by William Walker Atkinson in a comment that I wrote under another post. I would like to ask a question to you about a concept in that book which differs from other esoteric philosophies that I have read about so far. This book says that “The Law” is the absolute principle and it is superior to “the One / the All” which is considered to be the supreme principle in pantheistic philosophies. I found the arguments that justify “The Absolute Law” in that book quite rational, but I haven’t seen the same or a similar idea in other esoteric philosophy books that I have read so far (maybe the “logos” term in the fragments of Heraclitus can be interpreted as “The Law”; different from other meanings of “logos” in other Greek mystery traditions). Is there any principle which corresponds to the same idea as “The Absolute Law” in other esoteric philosophies? Or is this just an ingenious invention of William Walker Atkinson?

    Thanks,
    M.

  26. I’ve noticed a trend in popular culture that I can’t properly fathom. Multiple books and films are set in steampunk worlds that lack fossil fuel, pretty much by definition; however, most of those worlds then have some magical or supernatural power (like Pullman’s dust) that allows them to continue to live way beyond steampunk limitations. The Golden Compass trilogy, Harry Potter series, Abigail, The Brothers Grimm, Lemony Snicket, Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, the new Sherlock Holmes, the new Van Helsing, and the list goes on and on. Half of anime films fit the bill while the other half focus on uber-modernist nightmares.

    So my question is what is going on here? Are we so impoverished in storytelling and imagination that our natural longing for simplicity in our hyper-complex world gets waylaid by our inability to imagine living without the near-magical comforts provided by fossil fuels? Given how many people around the globe still live with very little fossil-fuel impacts in their life, it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to find someone to describe what that life would be like. So are we instead ensorcelled by our own modernism, making it impossible to see out of our house of mirrors and imagine a step back to steampunk without endless modern trappings? Has story telling always been about gods and archetypes, so we just like hearing about people with matter-altering magic abilities whether in a “primitive” past (Conan, The Hobbit) or a “progressive” future (Star Wars, Blade Runner)?

    John Michael, your books Star’s Reach and Retrotopia were both set in countries using even less energy than steampunk fantasizes about, but you didn’t feel the need to insert some supernatural power to make up for any energy deficiency. And yet they were thoroughly engaging stories. Is it the media marketing that pushes authors into resorting to these oleum ex machina gimmicks if they want to get published? Or is this the Humanist civilization’s tyranny of abstraction, leaving us to obsessively fixate on our failure to escape the limits of reality as we slowly revert to the baseline we strayed from? I have to admit, I’m finding it harder and harder to read through books predicated on magical gimmicks to prop up our failed dreams. As for the nail-biting adventure films based on those books, they’re looking more and more interchangeable. Was that Lyra, or Harry, or Van Helsing who saved the day during this two-hour installment of brain freeze?

  27. JMG, this is a query regarding the Old Solar System anthology which you and I are editing, Vintage Worlds 2. I have not received an answer to the emails I sent to you in the first few days of this month, containing the suggested list of stories for inclusion, plus the text of the Introduction. Being left in the dark means I have no idea what’s going on. If you have simply been too busy to reply, that’s understandable, but if there is a technical problem in communication (email has let me down before now) then we need to figure a way round the problem; the inhabitants of the nine planets and umpteen moons are depending on us to get it right. One further point: I had expected that you yourself would submit a tale; the lack of which is another reason why I suspect something has gone wrong.

  28. @Justin Parker Moore So excited for this. I spent 2002-2009 flirting around the fringes of the Crimethinc “lifestyle anarchist” crusty subculture. I always felt that subculture, despite its flaws, had so many elements that were great templates for a collapsing or post collapse world. The things I learned in that milieu make me feel ahead of the curve with the ideas of collapse now and avoid the rush. In 2007 I visited the Bird House squat in Buffalo NY (https://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/magazine/06Squatters-t.html) . It was an inspirational visit they had rainwater collection for water, gardens, bicycle powered appliances and a overwhelmingly open but tight knit community. In the 2009-2011 period there was a melding of the lifestyle anarchist with apocalyptic and ecological ideas in the ideas of Post-Civ Anarchism which you should look into if you haven’t seen it before.

  29. Are there novels that depict the conservative ideals of Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre? All that came to mind was Gormenghast, and there I don’t think you’re supposed to side with House Groan. 🙂 Do you think the rituals of Gormenghast would have been potent enough to hold the society together as long as it did? (I haven’t read the books but did read some discussion of them and saw the BBC series.)

  30. @ JMG,

    About the Fall myth – that certainly does explain a lot. I’m reminded of Jordan Peterson’s remarks about how rationalist ideologies are like hobbled religions – religions trying to walk around but some of their hands and feet are missing! Well it looks like in the West, some of those missing limbs are the parts where man ALWAYS falls, so we don’t actually reach our vast potential, and also, that the New Jerusalem coming out of heaven DOESN’T get conjured up by human effort.

  31. John–

    I’ve gotten better about being able to observe the inanity of political rhetoric (particularly as we gear up for another presidential contest), but as something of a constitutionalist (not in the sense that it is holy writ, but rather in the sense that acknowledgment of its parameters is what holds our nation together), I find this talk about how awful the Electoral College is and how it needs to be dispensed with (because, you know, we didn’t get the result we wanted) very troublesome. Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned, but the original construct of the US as a federal republic of states appeals to me. For all its flaws, the EC is a reasonable compromise balancing states as individual entities and over-all population. (Rather like our bicameral legislature…) I think a popularly-elected President would be a Bad Idea, however much the coastal enclaves believe it would benefit them in the short-run. We’ve suffered through Bad Ideas before…prohibition comes to mind…and managed to fix them, but why not avoid them altogether? (

    (Given my ‘druthers, as one says down South, I’d give each state one electoral vote and require a majority for winning on the basis that if you’re going to be President of the all the states, you should have the support of a majority of those states. This would make each state equally valuable in a presidential contest. The existing back-up mechanisms would remain in place.)

    I’m hoping that this all is just bluster and that it gains no traction.

  32. JMG, I didn’t know that there were so many failed religions. I might have read about the unsuccessful Italian prophet in a book of yours. I assume that religions fail in most cases because the prophets and their early adopters, if any, fail to convince anyone else.

    In a book about alternative history there was treated, among others, the querstion “What would have happened if Jesus hadn’t been born?” Now, after reading Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee and you, I know an easy answer: In the course of the Second Religiosity of the Roman Empire there would have been another religion or some other religions with the current Prophetic religious sensivity, which would have come to domination. Books about alternative history often have elements of wishful thinking, for example, the assumption hat the world would have been a better place if, for example, Chiang Kai-shek instead of Mao Zedont had won the Chinese civil war.

  33. I think we may be close to peak internet. I’ve noticed lately a lot of what seems like propaganda about how horrible life without the internet is; I’ve also found out recently that quite a few services people rely on are under attack: according to a friend who works in the provincial government there’s a push to ban phone books, and another friend of mine who works for a newspaper with quite good print subscriptions says that they’ve just been told by some of their largest advertisers that unless they kill the print edition they’ll walk away.

    And it looks like internet use in a host of countries is becoming more expensive, and the tacit support governments used to give the internet is fading*. I took a look, and I can find data up to 2017 for internet use, but nothing for 2018 yet. However, there were a flurry of articles about why internet growth is slowing down**

    What’s interesting about it is that all of this fits together: the propaganda serves to keep people from thinking of leaving ,while the attacks on basic services people use without the internet will make it harder for those of us who want to leave to do so. Thus, the way these are both picking up seems to suggest the possibility that the power centres behind it are getting nervous about something. A decline, or even an impending decline, in the global number of internet users would do it: some of the most influential people today get their power from the internet, and so if it starts shrinking they start losing power.

    Taking the pace at which the growth of the internet seems to have slowed and extrapolating it forwards, there’s not much time left before it turns negative, and the number of internet users drops. Once this happens, then the rate things change will depend on how quickly the internet drops. I can think of plenty of factors which will make the decline faster than the growth, and plenty of factors which will make it slower. Thus, until I see evidence otherwise I think it’ll likely be about the same.

    Thus, if internet peaks in 2020, then 2030 will roughly correspond to 2010, 2040 to 2000, and so on. Thus,in 2030 about 80% of the population of Canada will use the internet, in 2040 it’ll drop to about half, in 2050 it’ll be less than one percent, and the last servers will burn out sometime in the 2070s or so. I think the rate of decline in the US will be faster, as the collapse in general will occur faster than here.

    This has a few implications. The first is that even ten years from the peak, in well off countries the internet will probably still play a large role in day to day life for most people. It’ll be over the decade after that that the big shift away from the internet gets underway, but even so, twenty years from now it’ll play a large role in society. It won’t be until about 25 years after the peak the internet will shrink down to being used exclusively by the rich, big companies, and government.

    The second is that the services that the internet replaced probably won’t start being rebuilt in earnest until sometime in the late 2020s or 2030s: the problem being that until then, at least in rich countries, the people who lose internet access will be very poor, and until there are quite a few of them, there just won’t be much of a market for the replacements. In fact, I suspect that the gutting of the alternatives will continues even after the internet peaks: too many people will want to cling to it even though that means dramatic declines in their standards of living elsewhere, and so a lot of things will get gutted as people frantically try to cling to the internet, and the power centres that profit from the internet make sure that getting offline is as painful as possible.

    Even after the peak the future will look much like the present. Dramatic changes will happen, but my guess is that in 2050 most people won’t think much of living without the internet: it’ll just be life. However, while on the large scale change like this looks gradual, I think a lot of people will have the brutal experience of one day having internet, and then suddenly losing it and needing to figure out how to get by without it.

    David by the Lake,

    Thank you for these. I find the news you provide quite useful for keeping up to date in the energy sector, much more so than anything I can find myself.

    *https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180927/03323140725/african-countries-shooting-themselves-digital-foot-imposing-taxes-levies-internet-use.shtml

    **https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/why-is-internet-growth-slowing-down/

    **https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/18/exclusive-dramatic-slowdown-in-global-growth-of-the-internet

  34. Ryan, for starters you could do a lot worse than following the recommendations in this publication by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire’s Forests. https://extension.unh.edu/goodforestry/assets/docs/GoodForestry2010FINALreducedsizeSECURE.pdf I also highly recommend Mollie Beattie’s Working with your Woodland. Your local extension agent is a great source of free advice. If you are planning a cut, hire an independent forester to make sure your goals are clear and achieved. If you’re crazy enough to do it yourself, keep your hardhat and chaps on!

  35. A few open posts back I described some mystical experiences. I think it’s worthwhile to describe the other side of them, that is the Dryness.

    The mystical experience — as far as a can tell from reading and personal gnosis — has two components. The first is an upwards feeling movement in which one tastes the Divine. The second is a corresponding downward movement in which one tastes one’s personal Sin.

    These two movements slowly alternate, with both increasing sense of sublimity, and then a correspondingly painful sense of self-understanding.

    In the strong light of the Divine it becomes impossible to hide from oneself in the dark corners of the Soul. The dark, dank, filthy corners of the Soul are filled with light. At that point comes the work of Expiation, of working through the Sins so revealed. The more that the Sin is made conscious the easier it becomes to access more exalted states of Contemplation. the more Contemplation the more aware that one must become of the stain of personal Sin.

    And so it goes, painfully and ecstatically, the two experience irrevocably in tandem; the Oceanic states of Union and Refulgence followed by the experience of Filth and Sin and Purification and Expiation. At times the two experiences are even simultaneous in that I feel both Divine Light and my own Miasma preventing me from deepening the Contemplation. More often, though, one or the other fills my awareness the most.

    It’s interesting to note that while I am a mystic of a Hellenic Goddess, my experiences are nearly identical as far as I can tell to those of Christian mystics, and perhaps mystics of other deities — here I’m relying on Evelyn Underhill’s work. it may be that regardless of Deity the basic terrain of mysticism remains more or less the same.

    And so I share this both as a data point and to continue the conversation regarding mysticism that others seemed eager to engage with a few open posts back. It only seems fair to discuss the depths after discussing the heights.

  36. @JMG Thanks for your reply! Hah, Biceps… yeah maybe.

    @Justin Patrick Moore That’s a really cool thing you’re doing! I have a folk band that is loosely in the folk punk scene (the band’s name is The Hills and the Rivers, we’ve got a lot of stuff online if you want to check us out) We’ve done the DIY touring thing for years hitting a lot of punk houses, meeting lots of farmers, herbalists, train kids, supported ourselves with dumpster diving and busking too since those shows don’t make much money lol! There are definitely some problems with that scene, one of them being a very dogmatic and myopic approach to politics, but there’s a lot of good too. The DIY ethic is the core, in my opinion.

  37. @ JMG,

    After reflecting on it for a while, I think that it’s the subconscious belief in the Fall myth – along with my training as an engineer and attendant knowledge of the wide gulfs between what gets considered in a project and what actually gets built – that has led me to a never-really-questioned belief that our civilization is going down without ever actually maximizing its technological potential. And that leads me to this rather long post about a point of confusion I’ve encountered in your writings – the clash between, on the one hand, your generally anti-chronocentric attitude, in which our present civilization’s trove of knowledge isn’t all that unique or complete, and on the other hand, your confidence that the natural limits to progress as understood by (some of the members of) this civilization are here to stay.

    That was the point I was trying to argue in a very ham-handed way a few weeks ago, when I argued that, since past civilizations have found ways to deal with harsh and previously-unsurvivable places (the ocean, the arctic tundra, etc.) it would be arrogant to claim certainty that outer space won’t yield to the same process, as knowing that human exploration has for real reached the limit this time requires us to have privileged access to knowledge about the future that other civilizations didn’t have.

    I’ve since realized that this was probably a bad way to argue the point, as your reasons for rejecting the possibility of space colonization go quite a bit deeper than “Because it would require progress, and progress is dead,” and also include a belief that any piece of civilization trying to exist apart from nature is extremely fragile (i.e. the “Silent Running Fallacy”), that the “pioneering spirit” I talked about is subject to diminishing returns, so that the “Final Frontier” is actually more like the bottom of the barrel in terms of places to go, and though science may one day invent a better barrel-scraper, it’s still the bottom of the barrel. And ultimately, every planet is a spiritual entity that produces the type of life best suited for it, so interplanetary migration is impossible, but at the same time unnecessary.

    For what it’s worth, my own cosmology doesn’t allow for mankind’s infinite expansion, either. Mormons believe in the existence of millions of inhabited planets, so we can’t solve Fermi’s Paradox by saying we’re the only ones here. Thus, I’ve always believed interstellar colonization to be rare or nonexistent, though without ever considering that it might be physically impossible – only that every world ends in either self-destruction, or advancement to a spiritual state in which physically expanding to more planets is pointless. The sort of space colonization that I see in a potential human future is more modest, i.e. someone discovers resources on Mars or the asteroids that are worth the expense and danger of getting there, after which any potential space habitats, being very costly and fragile, will be abandoned or destroyed during the next era of decline, leaving civilization to start over on the (much more durable) Earth.

    My argument in favor of this – that human adaptation to a new and harsh environment has happened before and might therefore happen again – is problematic because, repeated indefinitely, it would lead to human omnipotence and limitless progress, since every hypothetical advance can be compared to something successful in the past. But your response, that the physical problems are too hard and “the Universe doesn’t care about space colonization/fusion power/fill in the blank,” isn’t all that sound, either, as the universe does not, in a literal sense, “care about” any hypothetical technology, yet inventors have repeatedly figured out how to achieve things, from powered flight to feeding 40 people on an acre of organic farmland, that defied conventional beliefs about what was possible.

    So the question becomes one of how to find balance: how do you know when your civilization understands the universe well-enough to say that further progress isn’t a possibility? When do you get to say “Our knowledge is complete enough that anybody who thinks that what happened to the Greeks and Romans, (in terms of their technology being radically surpassed) will happen to us is just indulging in a fantasy?”

    I’m not even saying all this because I think that the ecotechnic future you anticipate is undesirable – I actually find it quite appealing. Sure, back when I believed in the Monofuture (not all that long ago, I’m sorry to say) I aspired of going to space and being a pioneer, but mainly to get away from the malaise and stultifying conformity that we were conditioned to expect here on Earth. If things play out the way you think they will, space colonization will be as unnecessary as it is impossible. Just as long as we don’t get the cyberpunk outcome – “the Monofuture is inescapable even though it’s nasty”- I’ll be happy.

    My ultimate concern in probing you is one of epistemological modesty – how do you reconcile the claim that our present time isn’t all that special, with the claim that today’s science lets us know where the limits to progress will stand until the end of time, and that those limits are roughly equivalent with what 21st-century man has already accomplished?

  38. David BTL, many thanks for this!

    Justin, likewise, many thanks for this!

    Packshaud, I usually think, “What could they have done instead?” and use that as a source of ideas.

    Juan Pablo, well, Carl Jung’s spirit guide was named Philemon, for whatever that’s worth. As for resources on the magical properties of stones and gems, I put a little of that into my Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, but I haven’t studied that more generally. Anyone else?

    Minervaphilos, it’s Atkinson’s equivalent of Tao, with some borrowings from the Buddhist concept of Dharma. In the books of Manly P. Hall’s middle period — I’m thinking particularly of Self-Unfoldment through Disciplines of Realization — Hall uses the same concept, which I’m pretty sure he borrowed from Atkinson.

    Christophe, that’s an excellent question, to which I have only tentative answers. You’re right that an enormous amount of bad fantasy out there involves gimmicks that replace petroleum. Is it a matter of deliberate propaganda — “we can’t let the rabble realize that life is actually more pleasant without all that energy” — or simply the mental blindness of the privileged classes whose members run our entertainment industry? I’m guessing the latter — and you know, I’m thinking this may have quite a bit to do with the way that fantasy literature and media have fixated at the same time on special-snowflake characters born to bright shiny destinies

    Zendexor, did you by any chance send that to my old email address at Verizon, rather than my new one at Ecosophia? The former is defunct at this point — I’d mentioned in an email a while back that that would likely happen. I’ve sent you an email from the new address — please respond soonest and we can get this rocket ship back on course. As for a story from me, I’d hoped to do one, but being landed with a roleplaying game contract and three books to revise for republication ate my available time; Iruwon’s chronicles have unfortunately been delayed as a result. I hope to get back to that shortly, though it’ll have to go into later anthologies!

    Yorkshire, I’d have a hard time imagining a novel that bridged the gap between Burke and Le Maistre! If you want a brilliant evocation of Burkean conservatism in fantasy form, though, that’s easy enough: there was a conservative author named, oh, what was it — Tolkien? Yes, J.R.R. Tolkien, that was the name. He wrote a hefty trilogy you might even have heard of. 😉 I mean that quite seriously; Tolkien was way over on the rightward end of the political spectrum, and put a lot of his politics into his legendarium.

    Wesley, are you familiar with the distinction between premilennialist and postmillennialist eschatologies in American Protestantism? The premillenialist position is very nearly the only one you encounter these days, but the postmillennialist version was huge between the Civil War and the 1960s. Basically, according to the postmillennialists, the Millennium — the thousand years of bliss from the Book of Revelation — was going to happen before the Second Coming (Jesus’ arrival was after the Millennium, thus “postmillenial”). The idea was that under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Christians would convert the entire world to Christianity, every evil custom and habit would be abolished by good Christian reformist movements such as Abolitionism and Prohibition, and the world would be made perfect, whereupon Jesus would show up and bring the New Jerusalem. That form of Christian eschatology dropped out of favor because most of the people who believed in it drifted out of Christianity into secular reform movements — and they still basically believe the same thing.

  39. Hi Will J,

    I think the Internet will always be around in some fashion, as the U.S. Dept. of Defense can no longer function without it. This would be quite worrisome if DOD engaged in any actual defense, but what they actually are nowadays is the Department of Middle-Class Welfare , so at least I don’t have to worry about somebody else’s tanks rolling down my narrow street. Not that anyone would be likely to go to the trouble and expense of conquering the U.S. when it’s perpetually up for sale anyway. 😄. So I think the Internet will become one of those salary class luxuries while the peasantry ends up going to libraries or Internet cafes (remember those?).

    If anyone was wondering, as far as I can tell after 30 years of observing DOD, no department has picked up the actual functions of defense. The closest thing we have is Immigration, and all they deal with is mostly harmless border jumpers. Defending the infrastructure—crickets. Which means that if you need a particular medicine to keep you alive, and your insurance company only lets you refill the prescription when there are 2 or 3 days’ worth left, and some terrorist group, or disgruntled individual, or hurricane, decides to take out a few bridges or air-traffic control towers along those just-in-time supply chains…

    (I am always amused by articles that earnestly advise Americans to keep an extra month’s worth of medication on hand in case of emergency. Great idea, but few of us can afford it!)

    David by the lake, you’re a good example to us all!

  40. Booklover, I read an alternate history theory that if the Nationalists won in China, the following decades would have been dominated by a Vietnam-style guerrilla war, scaled up to the size of China. Which both Russia and America would have gotten involved in. It doesn’t get much further from wishful thinking than that. 🙂

  41. Greetings John,
    I was wondering, are you are a fan of Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, “The Wheel of Time”?

  42. Thanks for that! I knew I had heard that name recently. It was in my paging through a transcription of the Red Book.

    As for the book, reddit has recommended one called Love is in the Earth

  43. Hi John Michael, sorry I’ve been so quiet, lots going on. One of the things that stuck out to me in a previous post is when you spoke of the environmental conference on the island of Sicily. There is a lot of hypocrisy like that going around unfortunately. What we can do is make sure that we ourselves are walking our talk and doing what we can personally. I always learn a lot from your posts, even if I don’t always comment on them. I am grateful we have this community and look forward to reading and learning more!

  44. Not sure where this fits in, but it occurred to me that this letter from a reader that Rod Dreher reprinted on his blog might explain something about the world and the societal forces that shaped Greta Thunberg:

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/lord-of-the-flies-letter-from-sweden/

    I don’t want to sound like a ‘kids these days’ kind of curmudgeon, but the abdication of adult responsibility and leadership cannot possibly be healthy for Swedish society or for Swedish children in particular. Of course authority can be wielded with a heavy hand, but its absence creates its own problems. The notion that children are inherently innocent and good and can be counted on to act that way all on their own seems to have run amok after being elevated to the rank of secular religious dogma – defying the experience of billions of parents, I might add.

    I’m wondering if this is the inevitable result of a culture that has replaced religious belief, or at least a reverence for the divine, with self-love and self-indulgence, along with the notion that human beings can simply will themselves into a better world.

  45. David BTL, I expect it to go away in a hurry after the 2020 election if, as I expect, Trump wins a narrow majority of the popular vote, and those states that have signed that compact obliging them to give their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote find that they’ve just helped Trump win by an electoral landslide!

    Booklover, they don’t often get the press they deserve, but in every generation there are people who proclaim themselves the revealer of the One True Faith that everyone should follow. Most attract tiny followings, or none at all, and vanish from sight promptly; a few found small religious sects; one in ten thousand, maybe, creates a viable religion that attracts a significant following. As for Jesus, if Saul of Tarsus had knocked his head on a stone when he fell off his horse on the way to Damascus, and been buried in a roadside grave, one of the other One True Faiths of the late Roman world would have stumbled into the role of recruiting among slaves and disaffected intellectuals rather than the well-to-do, and become the dominant faith of that era.

    Will J, that’s pretty much what I’m expecting. I’m not sure if it’s actually going to peak quite as soon as 2020, and I expect it to decline to a plateau for a while rather than following its growth curve in reverse, but other than that, exactly.

    Violet, thanks for this.

    Isaac, just one of the services I offer!

    Wesley, fair enough. Of course I don’t know for a fact that interstellar travel is forever impossible; it sure looks that way when you consider what we know about physical matter and energy, but it’s impossible to prove a negative. The reason I tend to push the issue hard is that so many people use “the stars” as a secular equivalent of Heaven, and behave in ways that are worsening life on Earth because of their obsession with that faux nirvana. I had an argument yesterday, for example, with a guy who was insisting that the facts that human beings can’t survive being in space for long, and that the economics of bringing fuel and raw materials back from space to Earth don’t work, just doesn’t matter — after all, we can build self-replicating robot spacecraft and send those out through the galaxy! In response to the obvious question — “why bother?” — he did the usual thing, got all misty-eyed, and talked about how all humanity shares this urge to spread its intentionality across the cosmos. I refrained from labeling that utterance as the pseudomystical crap it is, but it took an effort. There are millions of luminous futures we can build right here on Earth, instead of wasting resources on a garbled myth about reaching heaven — thus my tendency to push hard against the delusion of Man’s Future In Space.

  46. @JMG,

    I’d heard of the premilennialist/postmillennialist distinction, but never seen it put so clearly. Obviously, in the version of the religion that I follow, postmilennialism (or the Joachimian Shape of Time as you’ve called it elsewhere) is nonsense. People do not perfect themselves, and you’d be a fool to expect an era of peace until AFTER Jesus comes down out of heaven riding on a white horse to set things in order himself. No wonder the people who thought that drifted into secularism.

    That said, I’m not even sure I can subscribe to the Augustinian Shape of Time, either, as it gives the small band of faithful whose actions constitute ‘Sacred History’ too high an opinion of themselves. History, as I see it, has more than enough examples of people who thought they were the chosen ones ending up just like everyone else, and so sacred and profane history get mingled up together in one chaotic mess.

  47. Hi JMG,
    One thing that I am trying to do at your suggestions is to delve deeper into another civilization. I am trying to read contemporary documents from the long decline of the Roman empire. One book that you suggested (“De reditu suo”) was very useful.
    The problem is, other than this blog, is hard to find suggestions or links. I searched Gutenberg and Perseus with little success.

    You mentioned collections of letters from the period of collapse – do you have a link?
    In your blogs and comments there were other references that I don’t remember.

    Is it possible to create some bibliographies in your website (with the help of your readership)?

    Thanks again for your work, I just made a donation when I realized how much my life is different now (and better) because of reading you.

  48. Ethan, I never got around to reading it. I have an ingrained dislike for starting series when the author hasn’t finished them — thus Patrick Rothfuss’ KIngkiller Chronicles will sit in the library unread by me until he gets off his precious pink rump and writes the third volume! — and by the time the fourteen books were all out, I’d gotten very tired of stories about Dark Lords and haven’t gone back. If I feel like a very large dose of that kind of fantasy again, I’ll consider it.

    Juan Pablo, well, there you are. 😉

    Nbuffi, exactly — leading by example is the kind of leadership we most need right now.

    Beekeeper, I’m beginning to wonder whether some of western Europe at least has an unconcealed death wish…

  49. Hi Christophe and everyone else looking for fiction that doesn’t involve souped-up humans.

    It’s out there. I’m writing it myself as Odessa Moon.

    I am, I admit, using a terraformed Mars as my planet but after that, it’s a world without fossil fuels, made primarily by muscle power, and a feudal culture.
    The closer you are to Barsoom (the capitol, natch) and the richer you are, the more technology you have.

    Everyone else equals peasants.

    Oh, and the reason Olde Earthe, those rapacious, bloodsucking parasites are spending the enormous amounts of wealth to terraform Mars?
    To have a second planet with a slave race already installed.

    That’s why the various shades of green skin. Not just because it’s Mars and you need a way for a human body to better synthesize Vitamin C and D, but to be sure you know who’s the slave class.

    The residents (most of them descendants of conscript labor) know this and they don’t like it.

    Romance, strange worlds, and the class struggle!

    If you’re interested, look for ‘The White Elephant of Panschin’; I’m serializing it on Wattpad as Odessa Moon.

    Thank you all for this website and the previous one: they have both deeply influenced my writing.

    Teresa from Hershey

  50. Continuing the previous discussion of finding uses for nuclear waste, if you can separate the fission products like strontium-90, then the technology is very mature and well understood –
    https://ota.fas.org/reports/9423.pdf
    https://rps.nasa.gov/

    You’ve said nuclear power is just a subsidy suck, but France has been about 80% nuclear since the 1980s. If that is the case, how has their economy not collapsed under the weight of maintaining the subsidy? And if the situation became “do this or the lights go out”, wouldn’t that significantly change the economics of nuclear power?

    For those who like long, in depth videos, this makes the case for a type of breeder reactor (actually a ‘slow breeder’, something I didn’t know existed before), the liquid fluoride thorium reactor – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVSmf_qmkbg – and does it with the kind of charisma that can send people willingly to their deaths. 🙂

  51. Yorkshire, JMG,

    Russell Kirk, American conservative, historian and lit critic, and great admirer of Burke, wrote fantasy, sci-fi, and horror fiction. I’ve not read his fiction, so I couldn’t tell you just how Burkean/politically-tinged it might be.

  52. What are your thought s regarding the destruction on the Amazon rainforest . does it relate to the end written by the druids of old . where quote. fire and water will someday prevail ???

  53. @Violet your experience reminds me of the Theravada Buddhist mapping of Nanas, or stages of Insight. The Arising & Passing Away (or A&P) is followed by the Dukkha Nanas, the knowledge of suffering, sometimes called the Dark Night (though with controversy as that is a Catholic term and doesn’t quite fit Dukkha Nana.) Daniel Ingram goes over this in his (also controversial) book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (which is available online for free.) Just wanted to add another data point if folks weren’t familiar!

  54. @JMG,

    For someone who has an engineering background, “the stars” make a pretty bad equivalent of heaven. You’re way more likely to die in space, and I’ve always known that. When I believed in the Monofuture, I wanted to go there since it was where the big challenges and opportunities were, whereas life on Earth would be a homogenous, stultifying, low-stakes affair. But if the Long Descent keeps on descending, that description of life on Earth couldn’t be more wrong.

    I think one thing that critics of the “to the stars” line miss is just how rooted in secular Darwinism the whole “Man’s Future in Space” thing is. Our secular creation myth is that we are literally descended from fish who learned to walk on land, and that’s heady stuff! On a more basic level, we end up with the idea that the life form that adapts to the most new and radically different environments is the biggest winner. And when you know that the Earth won’t be habitable forever, the stakes get a lot higher – life must spread; the species that spread are the winners, and the species that don’t spread are the losers.

    Traditional religions, on the other hand, are calmer about the whole matter, the idea being that the God or Gods who created the universe may or may not have intended man to travel between planets, but either way, what we do or don’t do in the here and now is not going to affect whether there is still life in the universe after the Earth falls into the Sun. That’s why I had such an easy time giving up on the idea of joining Elon Musk’s Mars colony once I realized that its economics are bunk.

    When I look at the physics of interstellar colonization, I don’t see a scheme that’s outright impossible, just one that would take thousands and thousands of years. Since civilizations do not hold themselves together on those timescales, I don’t expect any interstellar travel in our future.

  55. Fair enough. I suppose I can get started on it, but will make no promises on how long it takes. Or, I can do up some here, some there. Do you prefer I post them here, on my DW journal, or send to you some other way?

  56. @JMG,

    And on the theme of “What if a future civilization is as far in advance of us as we were of the Romans” I actually find that possibility quite scary. Since I subscribe to “Human beings will bungle everything they do” as a dictum of human affairs, I can say with confidence that, whatever strange new technology anybody comes up with, it will eventually be used in ways that do more harm than good. And that led me to an idea I’ve thought about developing in a sci-fi work, the “Biotechnic Nightmare Future.”

    In short – after fossil fuel exhaustion, mankind realizes that consuming more and more energy was a dead-end strategy, so they come up with a new approach that handles every problem by throwing genetically modified organisms at it. Need to refine iron with no coal? Just create a strain of GMO chemistry to purify it from an ore-nutrient-broth slurry. And machine shops consist largely of vats where bacteria create fancy composite materials by depositing fibers along the line of polarized light.

    Pest control and weed control are all done by man-made viruses, which often mutate and attack the wrong host. And people themselves get genetically modified as well, often with ghastly unintended consequences, one of which is that when the whole thing goes down, howling mobs will hunt down and kill any GMO – human beings included – for fear of the gene pool remaining contaminated.

    This is, perhaps, one of the ways that the trope of ‘gaining temporary godlike powers by doing massive damage to the environment’ might not be a once-through affair. I’m really hoping that isn’t the future we get.

  57. Hello Mr. Greer.

    I was curious about an ancient history question. You have noted that we do not know civilization began roughly 6,000 years ago the way the textbooks say it did. You have even talked about the possibility of substantial human development during the ice age. My question is, do you think that civilizations during that time period, say 8 to 10 thousand years ago, may have started burning fossil fuels? Is it possible that we are not the first people to figure out that burning oil can unleash massive amounts of energy? If so, is it possible that humanity played a major role in ending the last ice age and its own civilization through the resulting rising sea levels? This may seem like a stretch, but a number of authors have argued that a global civilization did exist on the other side of pre-history, and since that civilization would have drowned beneath rising sea levels it is at least an idea I have been throwing around.

  58. @Beekeeper in Vermont,

    The letter you shared is quite disturbing. Just more evidence that, when adults abdicate their leadership responsibility, no amount of idealism on the part of the children (or idealism carelessly projected ONTO) the children, will substitute for that lack of leadership. The sad thing is that, no doubt, many of the children in those bullysome gangs thought they were doing right by threatening and punishing the “squealer” since the justice meted out by such mobs is the only kind of justice they ever knew.

    Let this go on long enough, and eventually you get war-band culture.

  59. @JMG
    I also drove a Burien route mostly mid day weekdays.
    On First South I think it was the 125 route. And there was something about Ambaum and White Center, maybe the same route. So who knows? Maybe we passed.

    There are efforts to bring back hedgerows just for the polinators. They rows were in the way of industrial agriculture.

    Interesting links:
    Stalinism 2.0 from D Orlov. I think maybe he is serious.
    Tuesday, August 27, 2019
    Resurrecting the American Economy
    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/08/resurrecting-american-economy.html

    Greta Thunberg almost ashore 3 hours ago.
    She looks good. Surprised that I care.
    Down the page shows what it’s like at 27 knots in fairly calm water.
    https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg

    Boris Johnson Seizes Power
    I hope the Queen tells him off, She has a lot of spunk.
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/

    Is Britain Becoming a Failed State?
    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/britain-brexit-failed-state-by-chris-patten-2019-08

    inohuri

  60. JMG, how much do you take into account planetary aspects when making talismans? For example, in early September it seems as if Mercury is square Jupiter. My astrology isn’t great, but I’m wondering how this would affect something Mercurial, such as academic success or gambling, if it were consecrated using rituals from Circles of Power.

  61. @JMG

    I’ve meant to ask you this for a while now, but I could never seem to read your blog at the right time of the month.

    So something strange has been happening in the last couple years or so here in France: collapse talks have become (relatively) mainstream.
    It all started with a book published in 2015 (“Comment tout peut s’effondrer”) about a peak-oil-type collapse which made quite a splash and sold 200 000 copies. Some journalists obviously read it, because starting last year, one of the country’s largest papers started to run a series of articles on the subject. It gave a voice to those on the fringes. Since then, some collapse-theory proponents have even become recurring figures in the media, and when I broach the subject with people, the reaction is no longer the hostility or incredulity that used to be the norm: it’s actually possible to talk.

    There’s a caveat, of course: the collapse everybody’s talking about is a Tverberg-like house of cards collapse, with everything going to hell overnight. When that fails to materialize, I’m afraid the we-kind-of-people will be sent back to the loony bin.

    I’m honestly very surprised by how quick this development came to be, because just 5 years ago, I would never have thought it possible.

    What’s your take on this?

  62. Hello JMG,

    I have been thinking about the parallels between the Roman civilization and the USA and wondered what you thought about the likelihood of the use of an equivalent to proscription, particularly against corporations? I could see the government using anti terrorist legislation or similar to do this and if they went after facebook or google it would give them access to a vast amount of information on people.

  63. Wesley, for what it’s worth, it seems to me as an outsider that both the Joachimist and the Augustinian shapes of time distract attention from the issues that matter. When Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you” that should have put paid to the obsessive attention to history, since what matters is how you respond to the questions of faith and compassion Jesus focused on in his ministry. Any attempt to immanentize the eschaton, to use Eric Voegelin’s fine phrase, is a mistaken act.

    NomadicBeer, thank you! I’m on a train at the moment, thus don’t have access to my library and files; I’m trying to remember what I had in mind when I mentioned letters, and not scoring any hits. Anyone else?

    Teresa, excellent! It sounds like a lively read.

    Yorkshire, a subsidy suck needn’t cause short-term economic collapse, it just requires massive misallocation of wealth that could go to other uses, and thus drives long-term economic decline. Look into some of the economic stats that surfaced when the Yellow Vest protests began and you can see some of what France threw to the wolves to maintain its warhead-making capacity. Look at the desperate impoverishment of Francophone West Africa, driven by France’s neocolonial policies, and you can see some of the rest of it…

    Will M, good heavens — I had no idea. Thanks for this.

    Rob, I hope you’re not referring to the current manufactured media panic over the agricultural burning season in the Amazon. According to NASA, “an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years.” Yes, I know that’s not what the corporate media is saying right now…

  64. Hi Teresa from Hershey,

    You go, girl! I love Mars’s capitol being named Barsoom.

  65. @JMG:
    the decline of France has very little to do with (civilian) nuclear energy. From 1945 to 2012, the governement invested about 200 billion euros in the industry (add to that about 10 billion a year to reach 2019). It’s a lot of money, sure, but it’s not even a third of what the country spends on social benefits in ONE year.

  66. @ Will J

    Re energy news

    Glad to be of service 🙂 I get a weekly industry newsfeed that I archive and pull from when the open posts cycle around. There’s always something I think the community would find of note.

    @ Lady Cutekitten

    Re writing

    I muddle with much muddleness, but I have so far muddled successfully. The voices in my head are indeed persistent…

  67. @JMG,

    I am agreed with you that the Joachimist and the Augustinian shapes of time aren’t of much use for a practicing Christian. In conversations with members of our congregation who liked to ramble on about everything that was wrong and crazy in the world and say “the Second Coming must be just around the corner,” my father liked to point out that the world looked quite a bit worse in 1942. Being a WWII history buff like he was makes you get used to the idea that bleak times aren’t followed by apocalypse; they’re followed by a future somewhere in between the best and worst possible outcomes.

  68. I read this today, seems relevant to the theme of last week’s post. It struck a chord because I worked there for a year when I was much younger. Beautiful old agricultural market town in the foothills of the Italian alps, but with a large corporate headquarters integrated in. It could be the former again, agricultural market town, but is taking a long time to digest and let go of the latter. Seems like they can’t quite give up on the dream, 30 years on. Bitter sweet – it was a lovely place to live and work in 1983.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/t-magazine/olivetti-typewriters-ivrea-italy.html

  69. JMG, something I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while…I’ve been doing a tarot card series of meditations that begin with an opening ritual which places the 4 angels in their quadrants and then when the tarot cards come out the 4 trumps are placed with angels. The sword is put in the East with Gabriel and the Wand is placed in the South with Michael. It seems more intuitive to me that the wand be placed in the East because of the rising sun and the wand’s association with a torch and that the sword should be with Michael. My question is, am I wrong in thinking this and is it wrong to change the placement? I set up the ritual as instructed but wonder about it. Thanks, JWC

  70. Yorkshire, JMG,

    Re France and nuclear energy – The USA has been picking up the Defense bill for Euro nations since the end of WW2, which probably allowed them to spend a lot of extra moolah on quasi-socialistic political experiments and perhaps nuclear energy programs that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to afford. National Defense costs a lot.

    Not a bulletin, but Trump wants Europe to pay for its own defense.

  71. John—

    Re the EC and 2020

    I know the polling was all wrong last time, but I have to wonder how the data could be so far off. Is it just that people don’t express their true thoughts? Or are these polls showing each of the main Dem contenders outperforming Trump in the key battleground states just talking to the wrong slice of the populace? What gives? Certainly, the notion of Trump winning the popular vote is inconceivable (“You keep using that word—I do not think it means what you think it means”) for many commenters I’ve read.

    In only tangentially related news, I saw this story just now:

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/08/28/mnuchin-mulls-50-or-100-year-treasury-bonds/

    Goin’ long!

  72. For anyone who’d like to read more about the French interest in collapse that Christophe describes, there was this NYT article two and a half years ago: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/books/france-michel-onfray-decadence.html A search for the term déclinisme will yield more including an academic review of the phenomenon from back in 2010: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25758335 (limited access though some colleges offer jstor access to alumni)

    Wilco, whilst no-deal Brexit would invalidate most trade treaties Britain made whilst a member of the EU, an act has been passed that makes most EU laws a part of British law when the country leaves the EU: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_(Withdrawal)_Act_2018
    If you are talking about being in the UK for a short visit round about the 31st, I don’t think many, even among the most pessimistic, would expect there to be a lot of trouble on the 31st itself beyond big demonstrations containing a large contingent of middle class people. It is when the effects of customs delays at ports start to bite in later days and weeks, leading to low stock of various items in shops, that some kind of trouble would become more likely. (Bonfire Night/ Guy Fawkes – Nov 5th – has a long history of people being out at public displays in parks, fireworks at displays and being let off by yobs in the street, kids collecting money etc, but the 5th is early in the week and a lot of public celebrations may be the weekend before rather than after. That is certainly what a sensible council would plan this year.)
    In terms of getting back to another country, it’s possible there may also be delays at ports and airports for passengers, but perhaps some of that will be mitigated by people avoiding pre-booked non-essential travel.

  73. Hello JMG and commentariat,

    Here’s something we are curious about: our son, who just turned 3, has an aversion to cell phone towers and has expressed it since he was about 2 1/2, “no like towers!”. We ask, why? And he replies, “Black light”, or sometimes, “loud”. He also doesn’t like the oil tanks that dot our small city…

    Any thoughts anyone? Thanks!

    Ellen in Maine

  74. @JMG – Interesting you should remind us “When Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you” that should have put paid to the obsessive attention to history, since what matters is how you respond to the questions of faith and compassion Jesus focused on in his ministry. “This place has an Episcopal service at 11:30 every Wednesday morning, only half an hour, but Father Dave got in a good sound sermon on the subject of “To Jesus, human need came before any rules. Human need must come first…” Not generalized abstractions, but concrete, individual, as personal as Christ healing the crippled woman who came into the synagogue in the middle of *his* sermon, and he stopped right there and healed her.

    After the generalized mush of the outside speaker at my daughter’s UU Church two weeks ago, it was like good wine after Koolaid. Even after the new minister’s sermon last week, of which I really can’t remember one bit now. And there’s no contradiction with being Wiccan; just because the Christian churches omit the Lady. You said in Magic Monday that anyone who had chosen baptism as an adult (long story – followed one of my few transcendent experiences, didn’t know what else to do) had a karmic tie to Christ for life. Okay.

    Father Dave preaches a Christ I can easily accept a karmic tie to.

  75. It has been a hot week in the garden and I am tuckered. But I gotta get this in as early in the comment roster as I can manage, because I am looking for guidance from JMG, as so many of us are, and from the commentariat at large.

    So I been busting tush to get The Hedge started. Its a community project I am trying to realize inspired by the Green Wizard Towers, but reinvented to try to fit into a niche I am vaguely feeling in my county. Imma share what I got on it here with y’all a looking for commentary and ideas. Help really is what I am looking for, because I am rounding up people, and pitching the group and pushing for it, but I need to get my words better so I can articulate what I am doing better with the folks I am attracting.

    ‘The Hedge’ is the name of the project at large, and there are two component events I am hosting, The Hedge Meeting and The Hedge School. The Hedge Meeting I did on about a month ago, and it was crackerjack, had 17 folks, many of them from regional farmer markets, come and everybody took a turn talking about concerns they have for the future, and a fair share of free association too, as I facilitated the group very loosely, because I was trying to fel out the group to see what there was interest in and such. The next Hedge Meeting in this Sunday. Then I am going to try the Hedge School for the first time on the 15th.

    First, this is what I wrote up on the purpose of the Hedge:
    “The goal of the Hedge is to encourage individuals to deliberately live in accord with their own perspective on how to make their own lives, the lives of others in the Hedge, our community, and the environment in which we all live prosperous, responsible, and secure.

    “On the first Sunday of each month all who are interested in such a goal, personally or in principle, are invited to meet and discusses its meaning and implementation over a meal at the Sharehouse at 30n Beech from 4 to 7 pm. This is the Hedge Meeting, and it works toward the goal of the Hedge by creating a space for candid discussion of relevant topics in a gathering intended to foster wildly divergent perspectives on what need to be done.”

    Then I been printing out little fliers to invite folks to the Hedge Meeting this is what they say:

    “First Sunday of each month at the Sharehouse
    30-D North Beech, Cortez
    Open at 4:00
    Dinner and Discussion 5:00.

    The only requirement to attend is the willingness to participate in a respectful conversation.

    Email questions to “Ray”
    Call or message “Ray”

    This month the prompt topic is what changes each of us can make in our own lives for the betterment of our community, by being more personally stable or by supporting those we depend on.

    A conversation on our concerns about an uncertain future, and what we can do about it. Many of us are worried about economic, ecological, or social instability looming before us, which the conventional ways of our time seem unprepared to meet. But the discourse on these topics in public life are waylaid by worn out rhetoric, the intense emotionality of the topic, and profound uncertainty about the situation and what might or might not make a difference. If these concerns seem worthy of public conversation to you, please join us to share your perspective on our situation and what that means to you. In doing so, we may be able to rise to the challenges before us with clearer heads, and perhaps even a new found source of support to try what we might to make the best of our situation as individuals, as a group, and as a community.”

    So that’s the material I already put out. The goal of the Meeting specifically is akin to a lodges ‘open’ meetings, its is more casual, just talking and everybody is welcome. Eat together, and I am going to give a rousing little spiel on the topic of the month then tell folks to go to tables and take turns talking about the topic dinner party style. Specifically I am working on focusing the group on getting folks from difference perspectives talking with each other, feeling comfortable disagreeing on what the nature of our problems are, but affirming that we can still work together to make out community better. I am currently working on a little guide for the conversation which I intend to present at the beginning of the conversation. “The four elements of a respectful hedge conversation” I haven’t yet found wording for it I am keen on, but I can roughly state the four elements as follows:
    1. Respect the time of the folks listening to you by being concise and staying relevant to the topic.
    2. Respect the diversity of worldviews in the conversation. Describe your views on the topic, no matter how controversial, but don’t try to debate or convert. We can disagree and collaborate at the same time.
    3. Respect the autonomy of the speaker. Listen for clues about how you might help or encourage the person speaking, as the are now, with their distinct perspectives.
    4. Respect your ability to learn. Listen for possible facts or experiences you have not considered when another is speaking, and endeavor to integrate them with your own knowledge.

    There is a great deal more I am working on, but this is more than alot to present asking for feed back on. The hope of course is the get the Meeting to start conversations and raise issues, and then later to establish a school which works in a more structured way to get projects started, do analysis, establish crude mutual aid. If it doesn’t strain patience I might ask a bit of feedback about how to do the more structured meeting down thread in a bit.

  76. Hi David by the lake,

    One of these days I hope to know where those voices come from. General Nuisance in particular comes out with stuff that makes me laugh, and I sure don’t think of his zingers—so who does? It’s a mystery! His sister makes me laugh quite a bit too, but we can’t say a talent for zingers runs in their family, as their family doesn’t exist…

    Hi Patricia Matthews,

    The original Christian religion did not, and does not, dispense with Our Lady; don’t remember why Luther did, it’s been a long time since I read up on him. I suppose, like most questionable decisions, it seemed a good idea at the time.

    Hi JMG

    I hope you had a good 🚂 train ride!

  77. Scotlyn,

    Since it is an open post, I may as well answer your querry at the end of last week. Frankly, I am a bit nonplussed by your question. It shows me that I am probably right and people are using emotion to read into the race question something that isn’t there.

    By the way, I knew a woman from a family like that. Out of 8 children, two came out with blond hair and blue eyes, even though the family looked more or less black. The woman I knew looked like a black woman with a very light complexion. She’s about 80, so a long time ago and her mom had some trouble bringing her sister home from the hospital as staff couldn’t believe it was her baby.

    So the answer is that these are mixed race people. It gives a lot more possibility for variation. Not everyone belongs to one race. But if you lined up photos of people from a tribe in Congo, a city in China, and far Norway, you would see the racial characteristics, and no matter how you might say it isn’t real, you nonetheless would accurately see and categorize every single one without a hitch. And so would any other person on the planet with normal vision.

    Race is not permanent. If you took every German Shepard on the planet and mixed them only with other breeds, the German Sherpard would no longer exist as a breed. All dog breeds readily produce offspring with one another. Are the breeds not real?

  78. Violet,

    I find your analysis of dreams very interesting, although I would add another dimension: how linear time is. In some of my dreams past present and future are clearly distinguished, while in others time is much more fluid, and past and future aren’t clearly distinguishable. When I’m dreaming I can follow it, but when I wake up, those tend to be very confusing…

  79. Hello jmg
    I’ve recently been reading Aldous Huxleys book “Brave new world revisited “ where he talks about the ways his novel Brave new world is coming true.

    It is a good, easy read but I have been struck about how wrong some of his assumptions are, particularly about overpopulation.

    The crux of his thinking about overpopulation is that “Death control” , his term for things that prevent death such as penicillin and clean water, is always cheaper and easier to implement than birth control because death controls can easily be mass produced by a few technicians, and because there are no social or religious reasons for opposing it.

    But birth control requires that the entire population cooperates with that goal which Huxley says is beyond the willpower and intelligence of “illiterates” to achieve. There are also religious injunctions against it, and most forms of birth control require to be constantly applied to each individual person directly which is costly. (Compare a single water treatment plant providing clean water to a pharmacy that provides pills which must be made in large quantities and require that each person in the town can and will buy then use the pills properly)

    After thinking for a while and noticing how the world had developed after his death I noticed a few problems with his assumptions.
    1- not all death controls are cheap and easy to implement and not all birth control is that difficult to give to everyone.
    2-a lot of people have willingly had fewer children, birth rates are dropping all over their the world because people don’t want a lot of kids.
    3-some people do oppose some forms of death control (anti-vaxxers) and people don’t care about religious injunctions against birth control.

    What do you think of all this? Also have you read this book too?

  80. Wesley,

    My take is that humanity has already passed through a terrible catastrophe, as recorded not only in the Bible, but that this has entered the collective unconscious and causes a persistent fear of total collapse. The Bible, I think Revelation, states that after the apocalypse and the falling of 1/3 of the stars from heaven, that there will be a new heaven and earth, the old one having passed away.

    What I’m saying is that this already happened. A new heaven means that even the positions of the stars and planets and constellations changed. The word heaven meant sky.

  81. Ellen in Maine

    [After writing this I would suggest you learn about what I said last about seeing auras. That sounds more like it from what you said.]

    Your child might be sensitive to electro magnetic fields (EMFs) and toxics. I am both and there is another on here with EMF sensitivities.

    Is he bothered by wireless or cell phones or laptops or similar? If the cell “tower” is disguised to look like something else does it bother him? There is one on top a near building that looks like fake bricks. If not it is less likely to be a perception of EMFs [or auras].

    Don’t question him. He might focus attention and become sensitive in the bad way like me if he isn’t.
    Just let him speak. Be patient and pay attention.

    ———

    There are other ways to be sensitive in a good way such as seeing auras. I don’t know much about that. Gene Egidio got shock therapy (a lot) because the adults didn’t like what he said he could see. It came back to him later on.

    You might be raising some one with potential as a healer.

    inohuri

  82. Wesley, I know I may be beating a dead horse here, but you might be interested in Karl Lowith’s The Meaning of History.
    https://www.amazon.com/Meaning-History-Theological-Implications-Philosophy/dp/0226495558
    He works backward from Marx and Hegel, through the Medieval Period and Modern Period, to Augustine, and ends up in Scripture. This is his conclusion: Jesus had one comment on history: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar, and to God what is God’s”. Paul expanded on that in Romans 13, and Augustine was both a man of impeccable Roman philosophy as well as faith, so there were several attempts at synthesis, but the modern period ended up rejecting reason and faith, seeing with one eye of reason, and one of faith, and then giving up on either. Lowith seemed to think that both the pagan antique view of history as “cycles” and the Christian theological view had more in common with each other, than either did with the modern period. The proposed synthesis (which would require an immense genius as well as practical (ahem) “magic” or “mysticism”, never gained ground – it declined into Modernity. Hence, the malaise. Both the antique classical period and primitive Christians thought history per se had no meaning, because it was only one dimension of time. Hence the “cycles” or the “rejection of the world”. I’m not trying to defend Augustine (I’ve only read the Confessions), but he did wrestle with legitimate philosophical issues (at one point, he was within an ace of becoming a Manichean high priest or something like that). Since there is a law in fractured history in the lower dimensions that all things turn eventually into their opposite, Modernity is a proof and an example this is so, in that it has despaired of both its classical and its Christian heritage. My personal intuition is that we can’t “move on” and become truly Modern in a constructive sense until we reconcile this, and turn the flow into a positive and creative direction. A lot of the most interesting work in this area comes out of the Slavic zone of culture (Soloviev, Sorokin, Berdyaev, etc.). But Slavs are constituted spiritually, or tend to be, in such a way that this truly modern synthesis is easier for them. Some esoteric writers (Jean Borella for instance) claim that you have a cycle of Philosophy-Faith-Science, ending in Art, which carries the work of Gnosis up to the higher level of the spiral for the next period (you can see this in the Fourth Gospel, for instance). JMG has mentioned that there was a brief period in the 1600s when there did seem to be a possibility of achieving something, I am interpreting perhaps a synthesis of Science-Religion-Art, but it was concentrated in the magical and esoteric fields, and fell victim to the renewed rationalism and reformed religion of the Reformation. There is a book both you and JMG might appreciate I just was privileged to have recommended to me, and now own:
    http://www.sophia.sk/en/kniha/sedem-archanjelov
    I am hoping the new religious wave coming can be used to help build the synthesis (albeit in limited ways), rather than destroying stuff (like the Reformation or Islam at its worst did). This book on angelology and the periodicity of human culture/civilization is a tremendous step in that direction. It takes the themes of Spengler and Sorokin and others and shows that they are expressions of the 7 archangels, as they effect human history, across the globe, in regular periodic movements following regular rhythms. Maybe JMG can comment on it, if he likes the look of it?

  83. @Rob, JMG, if I may:
    The fires in the Amazon are indeed not apocalyptic, but the average is, in this case, rather meaningless. Deforestation was high all through the ’80s and ’90s and at an all-time high in 2004 and was then reduced by more than 70% through concerted action by the Brazilian federal government, foreign governments and source certification by various industries (e.g. soybean and beef). It started rising again slowly after 2014, and this year rose much faster, though deforestation has not yet reached the 2004 level. Fires hardly ever start spontaneously in the Amazon, though they do in several other Brazilian biomes, they are preceded by cutting down the trees and letting them dry out for months. It is hard to tell what level deforestation could reach, given the current Brazilian government’s strong aversion to any kind of protection of the environment.

    So while the fires in the Amazon are not unprecedented, the day that night fell at 3pm in São Paulo was (and I have had this confirmed by people who lived there for decades). I haven’t yet found a reasonable explanation why the São Paulo sky and water was darkened by soot for the first time in recorded history.

  84. JMG,
    I made a comment late in the cycle a few weeks ago about the cognitive dissonance surrounding the stock market and environmentalists. Every time it comes up that I don’t utilize my company’s 401k match and I keep my money out of the markets I’m chastised for being stupid, even when I explain that a market dependent on limitless growth at the expense of the environment and the “commons” is not something I value. It really seems like the stock market funds are an investment in global industrialization. Yet I do have to admit that when I look at the numbers, I’m not sure how I’ll retire by just saving money in a bank unless I find some other way of investing. What do you make of the collective psychosis that will happen if things steadily decline as you predict and the investment vehicles traditionally used go down as well? People treat their 401Ks as their entitlement for retirement. I don’t see a lot of the salary class or working class for that matter using any other strategy. Just curious to hear your thoughts at that aspect of fractal collapse. Thanks for this forum!

  85. @JMG

    As someone who’s moved around a bit, how much you think climate and geography affects an individual? Do people have a “natural” environment where they thrive? Does ethnicity play a role? Life experiences? Cultural expectations?

    For example, whenever I’ve lived away from the ocean (most of my life), I feel a vague sense of malaise like I’m “trapped.” Rivers and lakes are great but the presence of saltwater and fishing boats bobbing in the water seems to balance my mood in a way that nothing else can. Not sure where this comes from. No history of great mariners as far I know. Just your normal Euro-mutt (Anglo-German-Italian) ancestry. No bad experiences with inland locations.

    Other people are different of course. Some people really thrive in the desert. Some people come alive in the mountains. Etc.

  86. ‘Nuther nuke power screw up. I worked on the “WPPSS vs Exxon Nuclear” case as a bottom end temp for I believe it was Bogle and Gates. I copied copies all day long. No special ventilation in those days. The originals were copies of everything in a set of files including every fracking page of magazines.

    The leftovers such as cooling towers have been put to interesting uses.

    “In July 1976, the Seattle City Council voted against participating in the building of the project 4 and 5 nuclear power plants based, citing a 12-volume study that recommended a program of conservation…”

    “In January 1982, cost overruns and delays, along with a slowing of electricity demand growth, led to cancellation of two WPPSS plants and a construction halt on the two-reactor Satsop Nuclear Power Plant which was 75% complete.[6][7] Eighteen months later in July 1983, WPPSS defaulted on $2.25 billion of municipal bonds,[8][9] which is the second largest municipal bond default in U.S. history.[3] The court case[s] that followed took nearly a decade to resolve, and WPPSS acquired the unfortunate nickname “Whoops” in the media.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Northwest#History

    inohuri

  87. David BTL: From what I’ve read, there were two key issues with 2016 pollsters that might be enough to explain that year’s polling by themselves:

    1) Most of the pollsters, for whatever reason (I suspect TDS was involved) completely botched their interpretation of the data they had collected, massively understating the chances of a Trump win. (Nate Silver was an exception; I’d need to dig up the link, but I remember him pointing out around Election Day that the polls actually showed about 1-in-3 odds that Trump would win instead of the much smaller odds everyone else was projecting onto them.)
    2) There was a larger-than-normal pool of undecided voters, and on Election Day they broke decisively in favor of Trump. (I’ve seen at least one person speculating that this had to do with a number of people going “am I actually going to vote for Donald bleeping Trump?” before concluding when push came to shove that yes, they would do exactly that.) That’s a line of logic I’m fairly familiar with from other contexts – “situation X was a corner case but it turned out we were in corner case world and we got the result you’d expect given that” (33% chances happen roughly one time in three, after all) – and while I’d want to check the historical data to be sure I’d expect 2016’s level of break in the undecideds to be rare historically. (To put it another way, let’s take a thought experiment. Take all the undecided splits from historical US presidential elections where we have reliable polling data. Deduct the undecided vote from the 2016 election – i.e, take a percentage of the total 2016 presidential vote in each state equal to the average undecided percentage in the polls leading up to the 2016 election, calculate based on the 2016 exit polling what percentage of that undecided vote went to each candidate and from that the approximate number of undecided votes that went to each candidate, then deduct that number of votes from each candidate’s vote total. Then, for each undecided split from previous elections, take the undecided split from it, reapportion the 2016 undecided vote according to the old election’s split – so if, for example, in 19XX 70% of undecided voters voted R and 30% voted D and there were 10 million undecided votes in 2016 then for this iteration of the experiment Trump gets 7 million voters and Hillary 3 million – then add it back to the rest of the 2016 votes and use that to calculate what the EC result would have been if the old election’s split had occurred in 2016. I suspect that you’d find that the 2016 results were something of an outlier historically.)

    (The 2018 polls, by way of contrast, did quite well overall.)

  88. Hi JMG, I posted this last week right at the end of the cycle, but missed the window for your replies. Hope you don’t mind me reasking in this cycle.
    —–
    The main question I’ve been turning over is related to the argument that the brain is too small to understand the universe. Which seems obvious… at least from a materialist perspective.

    Here’s my question:

    What if we break the assumption that the extent of mind can be equated with the physical size of the brain?

    In previous posts you have opened the idea that the material world is but one plane of many in the world’s of experience (and actually the smallest of them). Somehow there are touch-points between these planes, and if I follow, then the brain is one of those.

    As such ‘mind’ could be much more extensive in other planes where physical limits do not apply (although I’m sure other limits might).

    Thus if mind is something that may extend across more than one plane it may be able to comprehend much more than the physical brain can handle.

    So is it true to assert that the limits of understanding are constrained by the physical size of the material object of the brain?

    MCB

  89. David by the Lake – I think the polls are wrong. I was watching the news today regarding Boris Johnson suspending parliament. The video footage they used of the queen reading her statement on CNN had Trump in the background… It didn’t make any sense until you realized it was from his visit to the UK last year. The polls have got to be wrong.

    As for the electoral college, I can’t wait to see Trump berate California when it has bound itself to giving it’s electoral college votes to the candidate who won the popular vote. It’ll probably be about as entertaining as Brexit has turned out to be.

    The next presidential election can be summarized by this quote, Vizzini being representative of the Democratic party and the American thinking class.

    “But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you. Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet, or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I’m not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me…..Never go all in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.”

  90. Stephen D, about ancient civilizations:

    I don’t believe they were burning fossil fuels, but there were definitely civilizations before Sumer. You can read about “Old Europe” or “Danube valley civilization” that flourished 8000 years ago. They might have invented writing and they work gold and silver extensively (which requires a lot of fire).

    The reason I mention it is this: if we could miss a great advanced civilization in the middle of Europe, who knows what other civilizations we miss or have been destroyed (by raising seas for example)?

  91. Watching this clip I can’t help but thinking of the next presidential election and the decline of colleges and universities.

  92. David, by the lake,
    For your consideration: suppose you get a phone call claiming to be a pollster. There is no way to verify immediately that this is in fact a pollster, of course. Suppose you know your boss, or perhaps your spouse’ boss, does not share your political preferences and is very against yours.

    Suppose you believe voting fraud is likely or possible by the candidate you are opposed to’s supporters. Suppose you believe the candidate you are opposed to is savvy enough to put extra effort into get-out-the-vote operations in areas where polls indicate he is doing poorly.

    Might you not either lie to this self-proclaimed pollster, or simply decline to answer? It’s surely not worth risking your job, and after all your boss has made it very clear she doesn’t want anyone supporting that candidate working for her, and baby needs shoes. Why tell a criminal how many votes to manufacture, or a savvy and above board politician where to apply extra effort?

    I do not know how many people opt to lie to pollsters versus how many decline to answer for either side, but I know that in my circle folks discuss the above concerns in hushed tones in privacy and are certain polls are inaccurate.

    Myself, I don’t answer polls anymore. Used to, but the risks are too great these days. Nothing’s truly anonymous, and I have better things to do with my time.

  93. What’s the difference between Burke and de Maistre? Obviously the latter leans heavily on the Christian angle, but the rest of the argument seems the same.

  94. Wondered if you’d read this by Rhyd Wildermuth and had any thoughts. Covers some of the same topics discussed here recently but with quite different conclusions!

  95. Darkest Yorkshire, my contemplations lead me to the idea that, no matter, how history goes; no matter who won in the Chinese Civil War, in the Korean War, or who becomes the next empire, humans manage to make the world more or less as bad as it is. Surely there are scenarios that would have lead to a somewhat better world, but we don’t know exactly which scenarios that would have been.

    About the urge to expand and to fly to the stars, authors often assume chronocentrically, that the drive for exploration and expansion is an inborn feature of humans, where in reality it is just a property of modern Western civilization. Even the reaction the moon landings in the 60s weren’t equal all over the world.

    Stephen D, if any global civilization before ours had burned big amounts of fossil fuels they would have to go under before all the economically recoverable oil was exhausted, or we wouldn’t have found so many pristine oil wells to exploit. Or that civilization would have to have been localized and to have remained localized.

  96. datapoint from Oz:

    -Oz interest rates are low, very low. Pretty much as low as it is possible to go (in nominal terms) without forcing real interest rates into negative territory. Note: negative real interest rates are impossible if people still have access to significant cash reserves.
    -suddenly lots of noise in the media about Austrack prosecutions re the banks’ failures to report $10,000+ cash deposits. The banks failures in this regard have been known about for the past 2-3 years, since the most recent banking Royal Commission, however apparently it is suddenly big news.
    -media reports ‘reveal’ the banks have grossly failed in their obligations to report these large cash deposits
    -lots of additional details in the media reports re the most egregious cases of clear money laundering (eg employees of a fake meat export business walking down the street to the local bank to make weekly deposits up to $500,000+)
    -sudden proposal this month by government of legislation to ban cash transactions over $10,000 to end the black economy

    I think we do have issues with money laundering and the black economy however I see the timing of the above as suspicious.

  97. Running this a little early:

    DC 2019 Libra Ingress interpretation:

    – First things first: Leo is rising, so Sun rules the first house. You’d think that this indicates that the popular mood will be behind Trump for the next six months (ala Bush the Younger in 2002, which had Leo rising for the Aries ingress). I’m… not actually sure that’s what Leo rising is pointing towards in this case.
    The core issue is that Trump’s been in office for three years now and while he’s wildly popular among his base he hasn’t shown much sign of being able to gather support outside of said base, given both the consistent polling averages for the last few years (consistently at ~40% approval, give or take 5%) and the 2018 results (where, in a year with what looks like the best economy in two decades, the Republicans lost 40 seats in the House and only picked up two in the Senate despite a very favorable map). (If it was *only* the polls then bad polls would make sense, but the combination – and the part where the polls actually did a good job with 2018 – suggests that Trump is legitimately net unpopular [1]. There may be something more to some of the insistences I’ve heard claiming that Trump is popular even outside his base; I had a fairly heavy dose of a certain type of Obama supporter circa 2012, the kind “eleven-dimensional chess” was coined to mock, and I think the same effect may be kicking in among some of Trump’s supporters.) Given that, Trump’s personality (or at least persona), and the tenor of the national discourse, I’m having a hard time seeing how that alignment of popular will with Trump would come about. But I was still willing to write that off as me missing something until I ran a check; the very earliest versions of this interpretation had a note that, given the Leo ascendant, Trump would likely find this the happiest six months of his presidency.
    It occurred to me, however, that there was an obvious potential flaw in that assessment, so I double-checked to see if there were any Leo ascendants in a hypothetical Trump second term. I’d already run a bunch of DC Aries ingresses, so that was easy enough – especially since all of them have fixed or mutable signs rising. And as it turns out Trump will get one more Leo rising ingress during a second term… namely Libra 2023.
    Which set my “hmm” detectors off. Leo ingresses in 2019 and 2023, both during primary season, and nowhere else? That had a whiff of a pattern, especially given the next point below. So I checked a couple of past ingresses. 2011 has a different setup, but lo and behold 2015’s Libra ingress was live and had Leo rising – after a Mercury sign rising in the Aries ingress, no less. [2] And I don’t remember Obama getting a massive burst of popularity and support during the second half of 2015.
    I suspect, instead, that Leo rising in the Libra ingress means that popular attention and support will be focused on the office of the President rather than the President himself – which is to say, everyone will be paying attention to the upcoming election. (Though I’d expect Trump will be quite happy with the support at his campaign rallies!)
    – That’s reinforced by the most prominent feature of the Libra chart: a t-square consisting of Venus conjunct Mercury in Libra straddling the third house cusp, Moon conjunct North Node in Cancer in the eleventh, and Saturn conjunct South Node in Capricorn in the fifth. Moon rules the twelfth, Saturn rules the sixth, Venus rules the third, Mercury rules the eleventh, and Jupiter rules the fifth. There’s two readings that come to mind, and I favor the first: either the t-square is referring to the Democratic primaries or it’s referring to Congress looking into regulations on the tech sector. (Or possibly both?) If it is in fact the first as I suspect, I’d posit that Mercury is pointing to the media and Venus is pointing to women in the form of primary voters. I’m not sure who comes out on top there (lean Moon) – Moon and Saturn are both strong in their rulerships; Moon is more elevated, but waning, while Saturn has support from a sextile with Neptune (and possibly support from Jupiter in his rulership, via house rulership rather than aspect). (Note: Venus is a little over ten degrees away from Sun. That’s out of the orbs I tend to use for conjunctions, especially with no planets between the two to mediate, but it’s possible it counts as a conjunction anyways, especially with the stronger luminary involved. No idea how that would manifest.)
    – Sun and Mars are conjunct in the second house, with Mars peregrine in Virgo. That suggests presidential attention will be focused on economic issues for the next six months – probably trade war given the conjunction with Mars. Mars in the second, meanwhile, suggests that the next six months will see some form of economic trouble for the nation as a whole. Given the conjunction with Sun, that may mean the negative effects of the trade war (they may be outweighed by the positives, but they exist); given that Mars is ruling the fourth, I’d guess that farmers will be involved, though Jupiter remaining in the fourth should blunt the issue.
    (- Jupiter can also signify rain – I think Jupiter in the Aries chart was actually pointing to the Midwest flooding, with a side of increased crop prices from supply destruction and good times for resource extractors. We might get more Midwestern rains in the fall, and I imagine resource extraction should do well again – quite possibly until 2021, given next year’s Aries ingress.)
    – The other economy houses are in decent shape, however: the third (internal trade and trade with neighbors) is ruled by Venus in her rulership, the fifth (speculation) is, as previously noted, ruled by Jupiter (in his rulership, and in the fourth conjunct the fifth house cusp) and has Saturn present in his rulership, the sixth (workers, plus public health and the military) is ruled by Saturn in his rulership (I’ve already called this a late bubble economy ala 1999, though Venus next year may blunt any pain), and the eighth (other peoples’ money) is ruled by Neptune, who is in his rulership and also in the eighth house. I’d previously thought the current economy would start deflating this summer, but I may have misjudged Saturn in his rulership; the speculative instruments have had a pretty good summer (I hear Bitcoin is up over 10,000 again). Neptune in the eighth may indicate US delusion relating to something involving other peoples’ money (the slow replacement of the dollar as reserve currency?); if so, the tight Neptune-Mercury inconjunct (with both planets applying) means you won’t hear about it in US news, and US businesspeople probably won’t pay attention either. Neptune is, as previously noted, sextile Saturn (supporting the speculators?), and also square Jupiter – that may mean that what’s going on doesn’t escape the notice of the banking industry.
    – And then there’s Uranus, which sits alone in the ninth, elevated but cadent, and is completely unaspected when using just the major aspects. (The quintile line adds a quintile to Moon and a biquintile to Sun, and Uranus is also sesquiquadrate Mars.) Interestingly, he rules the seventh. I’m not sure what to make of that. Something relating to the Supreme Court is possible, but I doubt it’s a Justice replacement – if it was, I’d expect either Uranus ruling the eleventh or more/stronger aspects to the rest of the chart (I *guess* the quintiles and Gemini ruling the eleventh might do it, but there’s no Uranus-Mercury aspect). I think the best fit might be some sort of federal agency decision relating to international students. (Ninth ruler is Mars again, so this could also relate to the economy.)

    [1] – Trump may very well win reelection in spite of that; indeed, I would consider that more likely than not if there isn’t a recession next year (~60% odds – only that low because of the 2018 results – rising to >65% if Biden is nominated; “replay of 2012 with Biden in the role of Mitt Romney” looks entirely plausible to me). Of course, I strongly suspect a recession of some sort next year given that chart. (A “no job loss recession” because of rebalancing to the Midwest, as JMG has posited, is cromulent with the 2020 Aries chart; if that happens and Trump wins Ohio/Pennsylvania and loses anyways because coastal Texas get mauled and flips I will laugh.
    [2] – Interestingly, 2019-2021 and 2023-2025 have nearly identical rising sign setups: 2019 and 2023 both have Mercurial mutable signs rising for Aries followed by Leo for Libra, then 2020/2024 Aries have Scorpio rising and 2021/2025 Aries have Aquarius rising. The only difference is that Aries 2023 for DC rises in Virgo rather than Gemini. (2027, meanwhile, has Leo rising for DC during Aries.)

  98. Greetings all,

    From an occult perspective, could the universe harbour intelligent life elsewhere? Would it be a rare or a not so rare occurrence?

    Many Thanks

  99. John,
    You will be well aware of the move by PM Boris Johnstone to try and force through Brexit. Where are we sitting with the chart you did last year? I think it was August the chart was cast with a 1 year window, so we must be moving beyond it and an update is required, or is it still valid? Clearly this is a key moment in the UK, as the prime minister tries to deliver Brexit, in line with the referendum result, whilst trying to circumnavigate parliamentary arithmetic which has a majority of ‘remainers’ capable of stalling it.
    Regards Averagejoe.

  100. Hi JMG,

    I managed to take this idea about money and math out a little further. I thought since it was an open post it would be OK to send it.

    Jordan Peterson has an idea that Adam & Eve eating fruit from the “tree of knowledge” has to do with the invention of work. The idea that you can sacrifice today so you have security tomorrow. Rather than just exist in the flow of the present and “do your best”, we can plan ahead, store up food and be better able to weather uncertainty. I’m not sure if that is what the story is about, but I think the idea that work is sacrifice for tomorrow is interesting.

    What if my sacrifice was growing potatoes, but it turned out that God didn’t like that, and there was a blight and all of my crops were lost? In a social group, we can focus on different strategies and take advantage of the antifragility of that approach, some will succeed, and members of the group share the results and collectively survive, with everyone benefiting from this.

    Money takes this a step further and allows me to take my sacrificed time and exchange it with someone else’s who isn’t part of my group, who I do not necessarily speak the same language our share belief’s with. More important, it moves the sacrifice outside the material world and switches it for symbolic tokens. This allows me to hold my sacrifice outside the flow, so that in theory I can wait until God has played his hand before I cash it in. I can hold money indefinitely in an unmanifest state. It now is infinite within the numerical value of my sacrifice. I can cash it in in any direction, and this creates an infinity of paths, even without very much money. All options are open and it is possible to consider them. This is incredibly powerful, but has the side effect of moving us from engagement with the world, pulling us “out of the stream”. It makes all parts of your experience “exchangeable,” able to be manifest in any direction that best suits our needs.

    You start being able to consider your community as something that serves you personally, something you move in an out of, not something you owe something to and depend on. Living somewhere has the constant potential moving and people eye this resale value as another way to get more out of the flow, out of risk. You are less likely to work through difficult times or turn to your neighbours and more likely to decide that you don’t really need them and treat them as people who are not really in your life. There but not there. You can replace them through money, by buying insurance or maybe hiring bodyguards. In theory you could develop the same relationship with your body guards (etc) through genuine help and friendship, but you can never be sure if they are “really there”, is this just part of their sacrifice?

    The internet intensifies this trajectory because now there isn’t a physical limit on where you spend the money either, the stores are also infinite, always open and always a potential. So now you are in the flow but somehow outside of it. You keep all of your friends, in potential, with you all the time via cellphones and social media, maybe even everyone you’ve ever met, and all your family. Just in your pocket as a potential, only now you aren’t talking to all of them, most of the time, when you could, and this distance is somehow felt, but they offer an escape hatch out of anything in the flow that you don’t want to engage with. Everything moving toward the unmanifest, and away from flow of the manifest. Because you have all of your friends, you have none of your friends, and because you have all communities you have no community. The allure is you can stay always about to act, in an “away” we have created. We are free from commitments and being tied down which means free from roots and communities. We weaken what we have because we are eyeing our other options all the time. If there are no stakes then nobody has any “skin in the game”, nobody takes it seriously because nobody has to. “Tell me who is going to pay most for our sins so I can be somewhere else” rather than working on building the asset we have always relied on, our connection to the people around us.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  101. Hello JMG and Everyone,

    I thought I’d share an interesting phenomenon that I’ve come across. It looks like a crossover of technology and occultism.
    In short it goes like this: Using an app on your smarthpone (yes I know… just bear with me), you determine a certain radius around your location, and then you receive a randomly generated set of coordinates within this area. Then you proceed to visit these random locations, and try to interpret what you see there. Hence the name Randonauts for these people.

    Now this is fun all by itself and also there is a whole ideology behind, with simulated realities and all kinds of quantum this and quantum that, but this is not my point.
    The interesting part that really caught my eye is that significant number of Randonauts report finding meaningful messages and experiencing synchronicities during their trips, especially when they start the process with a clear intention.

    So my question is, are these people unknowingly performing divination? I mean, asking a question to the oracle and interpreting the output of a seemingly random process would be just that, right?

  102. My impression is that the scenario of Will J. regarding the Internet is plausible, because there are the factors of shrinking energy availability, which will have an influence of such an energy-intensive technology as the Internet as currently constituted. Then there is the rapid decline of industrial output which the Standard Run of the Club of Rome predicted for the timeframe 2020-2030. That, tto, must have an influience on the Internet.

    Secondly, regarding the coup of Boris Johnson, this may hurt tender democratic sensibilities, but it increasingly seems to me that such cases of a “Machtergreifung” are the only ways to get things done nowadays. One should remember that there was a Brexit referendum three years ago, where the result was a majority for Brexit. I’m not sure what it would look like to people regarding the overall state of democracy if the Remainers had their way. Unsurprisingly, the left is on the side of the Remainers, because they are tuned to the myths of internationalism, globalism and centralism without regard to the consequences for the average native population of a country. The press is now going apoplectic about Boris Johnson’s parliamentary holiday, calling these steps undemocratic.

  103. Hi,
    it seems that the official data from Brazil itself prove that deforestation in the Amazon is increasing very significantly compared to last year. Also, as this type of deforestation is irreversible in the short and medium term, the ideal deforestation should be zero, not the same average as the last 15 (really bad) years.
    If I may, it seems to me that you will deny the reality of serious deforestation in the Amazon more to attack the narrative of sources you dislike, rather than because it’s obviously untrue.
    Personally, I believe that we should focus on reforesting our own bare countries (I’m from Italy), and refuse to sign free-trade agreements to import meat from Brazil, rather than pick fights with Bolsonaro, but still, stories like this are heart-breaking: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/29/xikrin-people-fight-back-against-amazon-land-grabbing

  104. Talk of China, civil war, and alternative religion reminds me of something I learned only a few months ago, the Taiping Rebellion. Taking place around the same time as the US civil war, it was the bloodiest civil war in history. “Estimates of the war dead range from 20–70 million to as high as 100 million, with millions more displaced”

    “In 1843, after carefully reading a pamphlet he had received years before from a Protestant Christian missionary, Hong [Xiuquan] declared that he now understood that his vision meant that he was the younger brother of Jesus and that he had been sent to rid China of the “devils”, including the corrupt Qing government and Confucian teachings.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion

    When the authorities tried to wipe him out, he raised an army against the Manchu Qing dynasty and ignited a civil war that lasted from 1850 to 1864 and involved most of China.

    It has been suggested that the current government of China is very mindful of the damage this rebellion caused China and is vehemently against organized religions like Christianity and Islam in case a similar situation arises.

  105. @JMG: Hurricane Dorian missed Puerto Rico, but with your evaluation of Trump as a cold, calculating fox, what ends would his contemptuous dismissal of Puerto Rico’s disaster relief needs serve? Under the axiom of “don’t bother to examine a folly, just ask what it accomplishes*”, I’d say, Puerto Rican independence. Any thoughts?

    * I know. The axiom was from that Virtues of Selfishness woman. But occasionally she had a few good points and that’s one of them.

  106. JMG
    On recently reading essays of yours in A Magical Education (available easily and quickly in the UK at reasonable cost, I should say) I noted your highly qualified support for ‘renewable energy’, on the basis that these sources are what we get back to in time, but they will not add up to our present extravagances.
    Indeed there are many limitations. An open letter in June addressed to the UK Statutory Committee on Climate Change from Professor Herrington of the London Natural History Museum and seven other scientists with relevant specialties in mining, geology and mineralogy and so on, is available at the following British oriented website.
    https://ecosophic-isles.org/
    There was a Press Release from the NH Museum, but no mainstream media discussion of this letter in the UK that I have discovered. I obtained the full letter after telling the Museum I wanted to address a small meeting of our constituency Labour Party. I have since decided to make access to the full letter available on the internet. There are implications that go much wider than UK, for instance for the adoption for example of electrified vehicles as part of any New Green Deal.
    best
    Phil H

  107. @GP: Thanks for your reply & enthusiasm! I appreciate it a lot. I am a bit familiar with “rewilding” which seems to have some connections to post-civ anarchism; but from a brief glance it seems post-civ is somewhere between classical anarchism and anarcho-primitivism. I’m a bit more familiar with the concept of horizon anarchy as promulgated by Dale Pendell. I’ll definitely be checking it out some more. I’ll also read the article you linked to and put in the research pile.

    I’m inspired by a lot of stuff, but the work of the Rhizome Collective is another touchpoint. ( https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2009-04-03/762546/ ). The work of Scott Kellog and Stacy Petigrew has a lot of “New Alchemist” influence as well. There book “Toolbox for sustainable city living (a do-it-ourselves guide)” is pretty sweet. Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew. Now they are in NY state running Radix Ecological Sustainability Center.

    As far as Anarchism goes, I consider myself more of an “Arachnist” –something else I’m tinkering with in both my fiction and non-fiction.

    @Isaac Salamander Hill
    Hey I love your band name. I’ll be sure to check it out. I’ve been wanting to do a folk-punk and anarcho-punk special on the radio show I fill in for sometimes (Trash Flow Radio on WAIF 88.3 FM.) When I do I will play some of your stuff. Any chance you read Gary Snyder’s “Mountains and River’s Without End”?… your band name reminded me of that… and he is a touchstone for some of this material.

    Yeah, for me, the reason to encourage “Down Home Punk” is in part the promotion of DIY, which can be done without adhering to punk aesthetics. I happen to be fond of those aesthetics myself. I was a skater punk starting around 6th grade. I made zines throughout highschool -and even a few years ago. My style of dress has changed since I was in my 20, and my taste in music as gone all over the place, around a few core “likes” .

    I’m not sure exactly where I’d stand politically with some of the crusty kids these days. I’ve studied philosophical anarchism. Since anarchism has emerged it has taken on various flavors, or branched out in various tributaries. It has remained as a thread of discourse and I’d like to see where it goes.

    I’ve always been fascinated by the history of hobo’s in this country, and the crusty kids certainly continue the legacy. There is enough stuff within the broad movement of punk that it is a juicy topic for writing and combining with other ideas.

    Thanks so much for the encouraging word.

  108. And to change the subject, I noticed Weird of Hali: Red Hook and Providence had a lot of magically-powered high technology and/or substitutes for technology. Not quite on the Lord Darcy level, but one could predict that in the far future of the Cthulhu-verse. Huge machinery to reroute and concentrate voor. Telephones replaced by tell-a-witch in the backwoods. Alchemist’s oil that never burned dry. And of course Charles Ward Dexter raising the dead all over the place – well, at least a few times. Is that the direction this world is going? Did the serpent-people hit some serious limitations and come to grief? Inquiring minds want to know….

    As for the fate of New York City, I dearly love a quote – about San Francisco – from Steve Stirling’s Emberverse series. “There should be a city here. This location demands a city. Just not this (forget the exact words – overgrown monstrosity will do nicely) of endless concrete….” New York is another such place, obviously.

  109. Tsunami model for Washington and SW BC August 27. Why you might not want to live near a low coastal area.

    Part of why JMG left this area. This has happened repeatedly and is overdue and unpredictable. With our just in time shipping food could be scarce until there is some repair and emergency reorganization. Port of Tacoma looks to be drowned. Stock up.

    This was discovered fairly recently by studies of coastal deposits and earthquake studies from data such as old landslides that left forests underwater. The last one was dated by records of a tsunami that hit Japan.

    The Long Beach Peninsula just north of the Columbia River is very low and in this model would be hit several times. There are several low coastal communities and those not near high ground are building sturdy tall structures that people can stand on top of.

    “What would happen if a Magnitude 9 #earthquake hit the Washington coast?”

    https://twitter.com/waDNR/status/1166727538837790721

    Seattle also has an earthquake fault running east to west. This could cause problems in the lakes as well. Think water sloshing around in a big tub.

    inohuri

  110. JMG, I’m looking to broaden my sources for news, as I feel that my current sources are too ideologically similar. Though I tend to be slightly conservative, I want to see some other perspectives as I feel my worldview is starting to get lopsided and ‘formed’. I’d appreciate the recommendations of youself and the commentariate.Thank you for your thought provoking essays, they are always something I look forward to. Also, thank you for moderating this forum, the quality of the discussions here is fantastic, I’m sure noone misses the trolls, at all!

  111. @Ellen

    Sorry to read about your child’s anxiety. This may be ‘megalophobia,’ a fear of large manmade structures. As a sufferer myself, I would compare the feeling of looking up at tall structures to a kind of vertigo. Rather than chalk it up to a kind of signal sensitivity you should try to extinguish this fear early so it does not become a lifelong affliction. In my case it is severe and resulted years and years of extreme avoidant behaviors. For example: there is a nuclear cooling tower on a regular route I must take and for years I would have to drive drunk just to make myself go past it without having a full on panic attack. Not good.

  112. John (& Tom A)–

    This may ramble a bit, so my apologies beforehand.

    A couple of comments you’ve made of late have touched on something that has been bubbling just beneath the surface of my thoughts for a while now. Two recent comments: one where you referred to our purpose (I’m going from memory here) as, among other things, “leading creative, meaningful lives”, and a second comment just a bit ago, re the conversation you had with the person who wanted humanity to spread among the stars and spread “our intentionality.”

    Ever since it was given to me those many weeks ago, I’ve been using the Carrot Of Truth* as a key point of my meditations. I’m sure (quite sure) that there are many more layers to be discovered, but the main aspect of that symbol I’m encountering right now is its relentless focus on the immediate, the now, the personal, and its complete rejection of comparison. Interpreting this as best I can, I’d say that the purpose of our lives is to be this part of the Dance to the best of our ability. I am to be what I am in this part of the Dance, here and now. The squirrel outside my window just a moment ago is to be his/her best squirrel-ness, here and now. The whole thing has a certain Zen/Ch’an flavor to it in its emphasis on nonduality and non-comparison. It is not necessary to look at what others are doing, how they are living, what they are pursuing, in order to do, live, and pursue my own course. In fact, not only is it not necessary, but those comparisons are irrelevant and distracting. So, instead of trying hijack the Dance (“spreading our intentionality” or trying to build monuments to our species or whatever), we should focus right here, right now, on our own lives and live those lives as best we can.

    I don’t know if I’ve stated this all terribly well, but it feels important somehow. I’ll keep working on it.

    *For those who might not have seen my comment in that prior post, the Carrot of Truth came in a meditation wherein I had “pushed back” slightly in my interaction with Whomever She May Be when I was asked in response to my inquiries, “Why do you need to know?” I persisted.
    She sighed (yes, I felt Her sigh) and she said:

    “You have a carrot. If that carrot is sufficient for your needs, does it matter if that carrot is larger or smaller, brighter or more dull, or straighter or more gnarled than anyone else’s?”

  113. Dear David by the Lake, Please forgive my cynicism, but we know that our political parties lie about and manipulate everything else, what makes you think they don’t also lie about polls? What I do notice is that Trump and the Democrats appear to be having a contest to see which of them can offend the most Americans. It might be a deliberate policy–if I/we can win without environmentalists, feminists, rural voters, labor unions, we can govern without consulting them. I think the EC is a good thing, because I don’t want the president chosen by voters in LA and NYC.

    It would seem that Mr. Orlov has revealed himself as yet another European intellectual, one of the breed which Jacques Barzan called the professional European, who doesn’t understand the USA. Updated one party rule is exactly what we do not need, nor would it be tolerated by Americans. What we do need, as many understand and have said, is devolution, regionalism, localism.

    Lady Cutekitten, the Dept. which does do defense of our land is the Coast Guard, and if the Republicans, being the guys in power right now, were actually serious about homeland defense, they would put more resources into the CG.

  114. I’ve seen others here asking about the Dolmen Arch course. The only thing I know about it is from the few pages about it in the DMH. Is the Dolmen Arch also a system of magic? Does it build on the Ogham fews? What do people get from doing the course?

    Also – somewhere, either here or on Magic Monday, I saw you or someone else refer to an idea made in a book by Carlos Castenada. It’s been years since I read (half of) that book, and one of the sections that I remember best was something about the 4 natural enemies of someone aiming for knowledge, with the first two being fear, and then clarity. Obviously I don’t remember the idea that well, nor the last 2 ‘enemies’. The comment in question referred to fear being the first enemy. Does that idea, the 4 ‘enemies’, have merit? What about Castenada’s work in general?

  115. @Will M: France was not even a member of NATO from 1966 to 2009…
    And the country spends more than 2% of its GDP on defense, unlike Germany, for instance.

  116. I know it’s a huge question, and one that you might have addressed in past posts and address again in future posts, but might you speculate a bit about what education (both formal and informal) might look like over the course of the long decline? I’m assuming that many universities will fold and that there will be much more apprenticeship. I’m also wondering about how humanities education might flourish outside the university structure.

    Thanks,

    Jacques

  117. Hi JMG

    Another question re the Roman ruins. I find myself intrigued by the presence of Egyptian oblisks in Rome (and Istanbul, for that matter) – particularly the huge one at the Vatican, replete with a cross perched on top. Do you know the story of how they came to be there and why the early Christian church chose to favor them as decoration? I am aware of the connections to Paganism inherent in Christian practices, but is there a specific occult significance or purpose behind this transplanting of monoliths. For that matter, what was their original intended purpose in Egypt?

    Many Thanks

  118. I don’t know if I’ve ever properly thanked you for making the ***** file available to download with its rich source of information on fixing up buildings and energy efficiency, but thank you.
    I spent 3 days at the beginning of this month crawling in and out of a tiny (i.e. less than 2′ max) space between the roof and the kitchen ceiling (my kitchen is single story off the back of my 1913 house), first to remove the paper bags of ‘insulation’ that had no effect whatsoever and then to stuff rockwool into the space making sure that every crevasse was plugged. It was a noisome, filthy, physically and psychologically strenuous job and your Green Wizardry book, your .pdf file, and “The Great Escape” (digging the tiny escape tunnel) was uppermost in my mind.
    However, the rest of the month, I’ve noticed the kitchen seems to heat up as soon as the door is closed, but yet is not that hot in the summer sun. I expect to feel a significant difference over the winter, and hope to see a significant reduction in fuel, as well.
    The walls are next.
    Thank you.
    Now I’m meditating on the cost of agency: why it was necessary to get my own place to be able to cut my energy use, because when I lived in an apartment, I had no control over energy wastage and a landlord has no incentive to minimize my costs. Obviously I can’t re-insulate someone else’s building, or swap out the bottom-of-the-line, inefficient, inexpensive appliances. I had to buy my own place to have a place to learn building skills (backyard timber-frame shed), get energy-efficient appliances (on-demand furnace), insulate living spaces (down 60% so far). So when I had little, I could do little more than put blankets (pretend tapestries) on the walls. I needed to have much more (my own house) to do more.

    Bruce

  119. The blog post on special snowflakes as main characters in fiction was fascinating and I tend to agree with it and I am glad I am not alone. As I also like detective and adventure I find the special magic turns up as a special friend who works for a competent top secret organisation with unlimited information and fighting skills rivalling superman. Think Parker’s Hawk, Coben’s Win, etc..

    My question concerns why do writers write the same story over and over? Is it commercial pressures? Do the fans want the same story and are happy with the familiarity? I am not thinking of formula books like James Patterson, but I am thinking of authors like Jim Butcher or Ian Rankin. Good writers and entertaining stories but by the third book the plot devices start to be repetitive and the characters never seem to learn or grow or learn. On the bright side you can skip over parts and keep continuity.

  120. Your mention of journaling upthread, as a way to work out personal issues, reminded me that I want to share a personal improvement with anybody who might be interested.

    In 3 months of systematic magical practice (Cabalistic), I have gone from a daily pot smoker/weekly journaler to a daily journaler/weekly pot smoker. And the cost/benefit analysis I did after my last smoke isn’t looking very promising for the herb…

    I’ve also happily cut out about 90% of my drinking. And internet porn use is trickling away too.

    At a campaign kickoff party for a potential city councilman last night I was told by a county commissioner that I should run for mayor! And she wasn’t the first to suggest it either. I think they like “my” idea of linking up various economic districts in our touristy mountain town with a streetcar system.

    That or perhaps I just remind them of a yella dog…
    Lots of good changes.
    Please carry on!

  121. Hope you’re well JMG — just finished Green Wizardry, which has given me quite a number of rabbit holes to explore! I wanted to ask your advice. Both my family and my wife’s family live in Southern California, and we just moved back down from Oregon. Being close to family is important to both of us, but the more I explore and consider the possibilities, the more it seems that this area is incompatible with a significant downsize in lifestyle — in large part due to its car-centric infrastructure and cost of living (as I’m sure most people know, the price of a house or bit of land is comical, and frankly the number of freeways make me feel sick). Any tips on what to look in an area when considering where to live in 2019, being cognizant of our likely future (I know you raised this point briefly in The Ecotechnic Future)? Also, it’s tough to parse whether trying to buy a place and tying oneself into a mortgage in a very uncertain economy, or staying flexible and renting is a smarter bet if you don’t already own a place. Any thoughts?

  122. If you all indulge me, yet another example of Brexit hysteria. I posted it because of the funny picture at the beginning. The text is in German, but is probably irrelevant either way

  123. Dear Mr Greer

    I have a question for you. A few years ago when America was going through one of those periods where the government had been shut down because they couldn’t agree on the budget; I was listening to radio 4 and some man came on saying the reason for this was that America is “the oldest country in the world and was stuck in the 18th century”. In saying this he didn’t mean that Americans went around in wigs and that their fastest form of transport was the horse. What he meant is that the American constitution and system of government was conceived in the 18th century and hasn’t changed much since then. Unlike America, most other countries in the world have undergone seismic changes in their constitution and systems of government through revolution, war, occupation etc. Even those few countries that has constitutions and systems of government that are as old, or older than America, like Britain have undergone greater levels of change than America has.

    Not knowing much about American history and even less about the American constitution it is difficult for me to tell whether this is correct. So my question to you, old timer and to you other old timers over there in the world’s oldest country is this.

    Is America in terms of its constitution and system of government the oldest country in the world?

    If this is true, could this be an advantage to America if our civilisation is slowly heading down Hubberts slope and back to conditions that will resemble the 18th century? (I realise that America is unlikely to survive the trip back to the 18th century in one piece. However many elements of the present constitution may well survive in the constitutions of any new states that replace the present United States of America. So my question could still be relevant)

  124. 🎼On a warm summer’s evening
    On a train bound for nowhere
    I met up with a Druid…🎼

    Sorry, couldn’t resist!

  125. Dear Isaac,

    Thank you for sharing! I read the guy’s account and found it interesting. That said, I’m a theist, and so I found his stages meaningfully differ from my experience. It is very different when a deity is leading you gently by the hand through these realms versus the sort of Western Buddhist conception that the book seems to have. More to the point, my entire experience is not of “no self” but “many selves” as their are many facets to me, my Soul, and the world.

    given this sort of existential priority I give to selfhood, the suffering I experience in my spiritual quests has a large degree of meaning and dignity. The vileness I experience is, of course, mine, or at least the type I habitually indulge in. And so it is *my personal* Sin I confront.

    Perhaps, though, I have an element of being unfair; while I’ve not had Christians try to convert me after the age of about 8 years old, I’ve had many, many Western Buddhists try to get me on board with the Dharma, something I’ve always had issues with given that I’m not willing to deny my experience of a Soul or the Divine.

    That said, the guy has clearly done good work mapping the inner experience of his system, and there is *some* resonance with my experiences, but the basic assumptions or so opposed it’s hard to meaningfully engage fully with his mapping.

    Again, a sincere thank you, it has been fruitful food for thought.

  126. Yesterday I saw a post on Twitter where someone gave their child a “magic anti-bullying oil”, with the instructions to rub it behind the ears to render any mean comments ineffective against him by making him not care about them.

    It made me wonder, If I wanted to make an actual magical oil that dismantles mean comments against my hypothetical child, what natural magic ingredients could work?

  127. JMG – or whoever,

    I’ve noticed that when someone comes up with a cyclical model of history they place the current era as the last or second-to-last before the cycle repeats, climaxes, resolves, restarts, etc.

    -The 4th Turning, written in the 90’s, identified it’s own time as unraveling

    -Spengler, nuff said

    -Kali Yuga, here we are in the end times

    I like cyclical views of history, because they present the past as someone we can learn from better than a linear model. But I wonder if this tendency is a tell that a model has been made to represent the psychological dynamics of its creator rather than to model external phenomena? Shouldn’t there be more cycles that place themselves at an early phase?

    My best guess is the motivation to create a cyclical model is tied to a desire to show that the apparent prevailing direction of events, of the popular conception, is too to reverse itself. In this case, the historical cycle as not a predictive model but a mythological tool to remind people that change can occur in any direction.

    It could also be a selection bias. Perhaps, if you are content with the direction of things you aren’t motivated to create a cyclical model. Who says, “things are good now, they’ll get better later, and then turn really awesome before it all goes crashing down?” I guess by the time you’re motivated to discuss cycles, you want to say that change is just around the corner, either to offer a warning to the complacent or offer hope to the despondent.

    I’m trying to root this problem out of my own thinking, but I only have three ideas.

    (1) If I’m thinking of a cycle and it places the current era at the end, be skeptical.

    (2) Practise coming up with possible models that place the current era nearer to the begginning.

    (3) Abandon models that map eras of history and focus on cyclic models of disparate phenomena. Don’t expect them to line up, cycle at the same rate, or have the same number of phases, etc.

    Thoughts?

  128. As I recall, carbon trading has been discussed here in the past, often in critical terms. A newsletter I receive has informed me of an egregious example of the abuse of that concept:

    https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/forced-evictions-green-resources-forestry-plantation-uganda?utm_source=reporter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=education&utm_content=text-version-link

    The short version is that Ugandan farmers are being evicted from their land to make way for a Scandinavian carbon credit forestry project.

    It’s easy being green when you’re rich.

  129. Dear JMG and all,

    Since your writings and the tone of this community in general seems to support local endeavors, I wanted to share the abstracts of two research papers by a friend of mine. He is a high school English teacher in rural Kentucky and his focus is helping struggling readers, both on the motivation side and the technical mechanics of it. He’s doing a great job, and I wish these academic publications were open access. Thanks for letting me share these.

    Here’s one abstract: Using a Youth Lens to Facilitate Literary Interpretation for “Struggling” Readers
    This article details the authors’ success in using youth as a construct to facilitate literary analysis skills among high school students who claimed not to like reading and who demonstrated difficulty with reading comprehension. The authors provide descriptions of the analysis activities in which the students participated.

    And here’s the other: The Potential for Using Small-Group Literature Discussions in Intervention-Focused High School English
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10573569.2018.1457459?journalCode=urwl20&

  130. Well BoJo is suspending parliament to stop the Remainers sabotaging Brexit. I was on Faceplant and the hysteria from the Good People is in full sway. Petitions galore. It seems your Aries ingress analysis is holding up, JMG, despite the change in date of Brexit. Their contempt of the 17.4 million is something to behold. Paul Kingsnorth writes well about it.

    “Some people, when I told them I’d voted to leave, looked at me as if I’d just owned up to a criminal record for child sex offences. Why would I do that? Was I a racist? A fascist? Did I hate foreigners? Did I hate Europe? I must hate something. Did I know how irresponsible I had just been? Had I changed my mind yet? I needed to go away and check my privilege.

    The eruption of anger that followed the vote, on all sides, was surprising enough. But what was also surprising to me was the uniformity of opinion amongst people I had thought I shared a worldview with. Most people in the leftish, green-tinged world in which I had spent probably too much time over the years seemed to be lining up behind the EU. The public intellectuals, the Green Party, the big NGOs: all these people, from a tradition founded on localisation, degrowth, bioregionalism and a fierce critique of industrial capitalism, were on board with a multinational trading bloc backed by the world’s banks, corporations and heads of government. Something smelt fishy.”

    Booklover – was there supposed to be a link?

  131. N.B. the ***** in my previous post was not language, but because I was (and still am) completely blanking on the name you gave to the whole insulate-the-house and decrease energy use papers.

    Bruce

  132. Wesley, true enough. Nietzsche pointed out that Darwin’s theory (by which he meant the versions of Darwin’s theory that were picked up by popular culture; Darwin’s own work was far more subtle) was simply the application of British capitalist ideology to nature.

    Dfr1973, when you get it finished, email me if you have my email address; if not, put in a post marked “not for comment” with your email address, and I’ll contact you and you can send me the file. Thank you!

    Wesley, that would make a highly readable story. My guess, though, is that as the infrastructure of modern industrial society goes down, the capacity to invest money in bioengineering will go with it, and so will the conviction that scientific progress is good in itself. Future societies, at least for a few millennia, may be much more cautious, as they consider our bad example…

    Stephen, I don’t think that such a possibility can be rejected out of hand. Since there’s a certain amount of fragmentary evidence for high civilizations in the last ice age, and most of the population centers and infrastructure of hypothetical ice age civilizations will be under the ocean today as a result of sea level rise, it would take some hunting to find the traces of such a civilization — and of course interest in such a research project isn’t exactly high in the universities today.

    John, if you went down First Avenue South as far as Burien, you were driving the 130 route; if you went via Ambaum way via White Center, you drove the 136. I took both buses fairly often, so it’s quite possible I said hi at least once while dropping money in the fare box! Many thanks for the links.

    Conner, planetary aspects are crucial in Renaissance astrologicla magic. If you’re going to make a planetary talisman, the planet needs to be well dignified, not in an applying major hostile aspect (square or opposition) to any planet, and not in aspect at all to Saturn or Mars (unless you want Saturnine or Martial energy, which are only valuable for very specific workings). Yes, that means that windows for talisman making tend to be very narrow!

  133. Hi JMG,

    The Divine Pymander offers seekers a very fundamental prescription: “Listen within yourself, and look into the infinitude of space and time. There you will hear the Songs of the Constellations, the Voices of the Numbers and the Harmonies of the Spheres.” Something that’s always jumped out for me in this is the primacy of Sound. Listen first, then look….to songs, voices, harmonies! Do you have any thoughts on this? This directive also mirrors Jesus teaching that ‘the kingdom of God is within you’. Perhaps inner space is the final frontier?

    Jim

  134. You’ve criticized environmentalists and climate activists many times in the past and I generally agree with you. You’ve also referenced young activist Greta Thunberg in a disparaging tone a few times. Unlike so many others, Ms Thunberg would seem to be “walking the talk.” I wonder if you could give us some specific criticisms of her approach to the climate situation. Thank you.

  135. @JMG, David BTL
    Re: Frack the Electoral College compact.

    That compact only comes into force when there are enough states signing it to where their electoral college votes will carry the election on their own. There are nowhere near that many signed on, and the current situation suggests that there will never be enough. So it’s not going to have any effect whatever for 2020, barring a genuine miracle.

    @Nothing Special
    Re: Fourth Turning

    There are only four phases in the cycle Strauss and Howe describe, and every one can be described as a crisis in some way or another. The numbering is somewhat arbitrary as well; the authors I know working in that system have different opinions about what’s the beginning and end of the cycle.

    Fourth Turning is a rewrite of an earlier book called Generations. There is a later book, called Generational Dynamics, by John Xenakis, that’s available for free from his site of the same name. It deals with several of the issues you raise.

  136. Dear Will J.,

    thanks for your comment regarding dreams! Do your dreams have shifts in sequence relative to your perceiving consciousness?

    My dreams have had some wonky time stuff, but it is always linear relative to the sequence of memory once I’m in the waking state. That is, the eternal episodes tend to be sandwiched between astral episodes. And so I can always place the non-linear portions within a linear sequence.

    That said, I don’t think my dreamlife is some sort of basis or metric for understanding dreams. It’s easy enough to imagine other axes that other folks have. What I wonder, though, is to what degree this sort of mapping proves to form a descriptive take on subjective states in general and how much it is idiosyncratic.

    An interesting note though — and please correct me if I’m wrong — is that given my schema, what you describe would show that you have a different relationship with the “forward and backward” axis, and so wouldn’t posit the addition or subtraction of an axis.

  137. Violet, you said
    “A few open posts back I described some mystical experiences. I think it’s worthwhile to describe the other side of them, that is the Dryness.”

    My mystical experience was very beautiful, had me in tears, but was not so much a communion with God/spirit as it was a gentle teaching from a female image (pretty obviously in my head, not a hallucination) representing that side of God who can interact with us -as opposed to the Creator. There was a hug involved.
    The prime teaching was on the order of JMG’s, that Jesus is a really easy guy. I could ignore him if he (as found in the bible) was a block on my path. After that, some advice on forming bonds with people and helping people form bonds. Some neat graphics there.
    Anyway the immediate downer was only loss and some annoyance that it had to end. I was mostly up(!) and returned to normality slowly, over weeks.
    I am a bit jealous of you, but not that sin-downer part.
    Thank you for your many contributions.
    David B.

  138. I have begun to think of the Park Service and Environmental Protection Agency as the left-wing narrative-followers and the Department of Natural Resources and Bureau of Land Management as the right-wing narrative-followers in the US government. This may be a flawed perception on my part, derived primarily from listening to CSPANN and trying to figure out how to really help the Chesapeake Bay.

    But as a sometime occultist, doesn’t the Park Service maintain those places that are the most like our temples of nature? While the DNR and BLM tend to advocate hunting and (oil & gas) exploitation. But the Park Service doesn’t get trees planted and the DNR does? The Park Service doesn’t advocate for abundance but instead constantly relies on scarcity to get its own budget increased.

    Am I right? Am I way off base? Is it crazy to think of park land as a more holy land than ordinary public land? Maybe it’s dumb to root for government agencies as though they were sports stars, but I do like to know which culture most aligns with my own wishes. Lately I just want more trees planted, so I root for the DNR.

  139. Will M., what I hear from theatre people is that Macbeth is an unusually dimly lit play, partly because of all the night scenes and partly because the supernatural effects are more convincing in low light. Thus a somewhat elevated risk of accidents (particularly for older actors whose night vision is not what it was!), which then grows in the telling as you describe.

    Christophe, forgive me for being a pedant, but your question contains a mistaken premise: steampunk worlds do indeed have fossil fuels, very much by definition! That’s ‘steam’ as in ‘steam engine’ as in ‘coal-fired boiler.’ The Industrial Revolution began nearly a century before the Victorian era, you know. Your fictional examples nearly all depict industrialized societies with gas lamps, coal furnaces and engines, and sometimes early motorcars, /as well as/ whatever techno-magic the author wishes to insert. So, the question isn’t “why do authors invent substitutes for fossil fuels” but “why do they begin with fossil fuels and then insert more tech anyway?” Which does not seem like much of a mystery to me: that’s just telling a normal science-fiction story, in which someone invents a macguffin which alters the range of the possible, but setting it in the past instead of the future for a change of scenery.

  140. Mike T, I am not a financial adviser so anything I write is in the nature of “something to think about” and not serious advice. Have you thought about specifying that money you put in your Roth (?) account go to environmentally friendly investments only? Can you specify what investments they might be? Alternatively can you simply save and buy shares that fit your personal philosophy? There would probably be tax implications but you should have that choice.
    Sometimes looking at things differently can help.
    Happy investing.

  141. Quos Ego, I’ve been fascinated to watch the emerging collapse narrative in France. Since I’ve never lived in France and don’t claim to have any clear idea of what the major currents in French popular culture and collective discourse might be, I’m not prepared to speculate about what’s driving it, but it’s interesting to watch. Do you happen to know whether it’s caught on in other European countries, or is it purely a French thing?

    KJL, it would be difficult to do it under the current legal system, but I suppose it’s always a possibility. You’ll want to check the histories of other societies to see if that’s a common trend at this phase of the historical cycle, or purely a Roman thing.

    Quos Ego, that’s the direct investment. Have you factored in indirect investment, including the various games being played to keep control of west African countries that have provided the uranium fuel?

    Wesley, a fine response! I’ve noticed generally that the folks who insist the Second Coming is about to happen, and therefore claim to know something that even Jesus said he didn’t know, have very little historical perspective.

    Mark, thanks for this!

    Jason, that’s a perennial subject of quarrels among occultists. I use swords for air and wands for fire, but plenty of other people do otherwise, and I’ve learned not to debate the issue — it very quickly turns into one of those circular flustered clucks that never benefits anyone. I’d encourage you to meditate on the issue, do divination, and make up your own mind on the subject.

    Will M, a good point.

    David BTL, polls these days are very often used as a form of propaganda, not a way of finding out what people actually think. I’m looking forward to the handwaving that’ll happen when the current round of polls turn out to be just as inaccurate as the last set.

  142. @ Ray Wharton – I absolutely love your project! Thanks for sharing news about it. I am looking forward to future instalments.

    I have no profitable advice to give, but I wondered if you were aware of the Irish history of resistance and resilience conjured by the name “Hedge Schools” which arose as a response to Penal Laws criminalising “nonconforming faiths”.

    Apologies if this is already familiar ground, but if not, it might be of interest.

    https://www.historyireland.com/volume-24/inciting-lawless-profligate-adventure-hedge-schools-ireland/

  143. @ Kevin and JMG

    Yes, the carbon credit system and some “renewable” production are destroying forest all around the world, specially in US where the forest are being clear-cut to feed huge biomass power plants in Europe, some big ones in UK

    https://www.businessinsider.com/europe-imports-wood-biomass-from-us-for-power-2015-12?r=US&IR=T

    The problem is massive and the poor countries in Europe (Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, etc…) are cutting their forest to feed the “renewable energy revolution” in the rich countries, because 60% of the “renewable” energy in Europe came from burning biomass and a good part is wood from forests

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-dragged-to-court-for-backing-forest-biomass-as-renewable-energy/

    https://www.dw.com/en/burning-wood-under-fire-are-forests-going-up-our-chimneys/a-41586050

    There are an increased opposition to the use of forest biomass but there are not too many alternatives for a “green energy revolution” with an stable, without interruptions, and reliable energy supply (similar to a coal power plant)

    https://environmentalpaper.org/the-biomass-delusion/

    The forest in the future will be fully industrialized and will become mere “monoculture wood plantations” , because the trend of our civilization is to maximise mathematical functions (as Spengler pointed out); and the forest that not became “wood plantations” will be burned and/or clear-cut for agriculture or livestock production

    It is “The Hurricane of Progress” (Walter Benjamin)

    Cheers
    David

  144. JMG, I see, thank you. I just saw a post from Magic Monday where you said “Lunar phase doesn’t have much relevance to planetary amulets.” Could you expand on this a bit more? I’m curious if that is true for talismans too

  145. @ JMG (& everyone else who chimed in)

    Re polling

    As a data analyst, I suppose I’m just not in tune with trying to produce a cause (who people prefer) from an effect (polling results). To me, I’d say the point is to understand the lay of the land so that one could campaign effectively, but there I go applying logic to the situation.

    The propaganda use seems rather silly…

    If I were a candidate, I’d like to know what was resonating with potential voters and what wasn’t so that I could modify my platform (within the scope of my own values, of course) to accommodate those needs. Is it just me or should that be obvious?

    Of course, if one views the voters as a passive entity to be manipulated, as you’ve described previously, then the other way makes more sense as a strategy, though not an effective one in the end.

  146. @onething

    In my comment I was idly wondering if there can be any use in a system that draws lines between people on the basis of their visible appearance, if that line ends up getting drawn straight through the members of aa single family.

    Of course there are human variations on huge numbers of characteristics (some visible and some not) that vary along geographical gradients. And the visible variations are often very visible indeed if one does as you suggest and take a photograph of someone Swedish and compares it to someone from Latvia or someone from Donegal. Each of those faces tells aa definite tale about its ancestry – and you can SEE it – your eyes are not lying.

    But there will be fuzzy places along the adjoining countries between Sweden and Ireland, and between Sweden and Latvia, and between Latvia and Ireland, where the differences merge gradually into one another, and all the edges are fuzzy. Where do you draw the line between one kind of face and another?

    To define a continuum of wide variation as “races” is to draw lines. It is to say there are 3 races (or is it 5 or 7 or 19?); it is to say Gill belongs on one side and Janet on the other. Even though they are sisters. It is to say that on this side ALL the people share traits on ALL continua of variation (eg skin colour, height, lactose intolerance, etc, are all found to vary together).

    And lines CAN be drawn, but always thry are found to be forced through a fuzzy edge. Why? Why do people WANT to draw lines that run right through people’s families? What does anyone gain from drawing a line through a fuzzy edge?

    We are not anyone’s breeding project.

  147. @JMG:
    – from what I can tell, it’s mostly a French thing, but I couldn’t be sure: I’m not fluent in enough languages to have a clear idea of the whole European landscape.
    – France imports its uranium from only one African country, which is Niger. The rest is bought from Kazhakstan or Canada. Again, it’s probably been a toll on the French economy, but I’m far from convinced it’s an important reason to its decline. What will start to hurt soon enough, though, is the fact that most of the current power plants are reaching the end of their lives.

  148. Lady Cutekitten & Nastarana: Nastarana beat me to the Coast Guard comment. Odd that the part of the government which is actually engaged in Defense is not part of the Department of Defense …. (It got folded into Homeland Security when that monstrosity was hatched ). The former name of the DOD (War Department) is far more appropriate.
    David BTL & JMG: I just responded to a poll by the DNC, asking which issues are most important to me. Of course, they did not include Imperial overstretch, or stop killing brown people, or any other reference to our foreign policy, so I was unable to answer most of the poll. Maybe some poor schlub of an intern will read the comment I left regarding wars, and get up and go to work at McDonalds or somewhere were s/he can respect themselves. I can dream, can’t I?
    I work from home, and still have a landline phone. I think I therefor get more polled than most, and most polls are structured as either 1-5 questions, or A-B questions, with no room for nuance. I remember getting a poll in early 2018 which clearly was exploring how Howard Schultz could run for President. My final comment was that Schultz shouldn’t waste his money. Remember that? There was a flurry of stories in early 2019. Now: (….crickets….) If they paid attention to what I said at the end of the poll, several well paid consultants would have had to get real jobs. The poll was not to learn what was important, it was to get the grifters paid.

  149. I should have included this in my previous question, my bad. In the Magic Monday post I mentioned, you suggest the poster make a talisman using natural magic methods and pray over it during the planetary hour. What are the benefits and drawbacks of that method vs that in Circles of Power with the symbol-on-paper talismans?

    I wonder if the two components could be combined and have an even stronger effect…

    Also, for the consecration rituals for talismans in Circles of Power, it says to finish by putting the talisman in its wrapper (silk or linen). Then it says to put it in a place that will not interrupt the flow of etheric energy, such as a manila envelope. Does this mean the talisman AND wrapper should all be placed in the envelope?

  150. Sorry to ask so many questions, this is the last one before I stop to read the usual informed commentary from yourself and the wise commentariat. Is it possible, though magic or other tools, to change one’s seemingly hardwired habits? For example, among other habits, I have a tendency to blush in social situations involving more than a certain number of people. I know intellectually where it comes from, but that still means in practice I can’t stop it from happening because it is so ingrained. It would seem to me that one of the practical aspects of magic is to change such behavior, but I’m not 100% sure. Thank you!

  151. Selkirk, if you want to sample one extreme end of the spectrum, consider this – http://isj.org.uk/

    Renaissance, nice job working the thin seam – https://media.istockphoto.com/illustrations/colliery-below-ground-in-coal-mine-from-1862-magazine-illustration-id471347283. Whenever I do anything involving the ceilings and insulation I end up looking like I’ve been down t’ pit. 🙂

    Jasmine, there’s a book on that subject called The Frozen Republic. I read it years ago but didn’t know enough about consitutional theory or how the American system is supposed to work to really follow the argument. You might get more mileage out of it.

  152. Selkirk Astronomer, assuming you’ve already considered the best-known non-conservative online news sites such as the Guardian, NTY, WaPo etc, here are a few other suggestions.

    Read news sites from other countries. Some big newspapers in non-English speaking countries produce English versions of their sites, e.g. https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/s-9097 , http://plus.lefigaro.fr/tag/le-figaro-in-english Think of a country and search. Likewise consider sources from English speaking countries you don’t live in, e.g. for an American or Brit: Canada, Australia and New Zealand, India, South Africa. Think of a country and look for a news site from it. There’s also Google Translate.

    Random radio stations on longer range frequencies, especially if you are in a small country or on a coast or near a border. I used to catch a Chinese radio station in English sometimes and it was interesting hearing some stories turned on their heads, and about their local stories that weren’t mentioned at all here. There is also the app Tune In Radio which has lots of stations from all over the world, though that doesn’t have quite the same appeal as turning a dial on an old solar powered radio and seeing what’s there among the noise.

    As you are commenting here you probably like long reads, though perhaps it depends on their stance. Anyway, a couple of far left sites (which don’t agree on everything) and which mostly have long articles:
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/
    https://newsocialist.org.uk/
    https://catalyst-journal.com

    Environmental news aggregator run from an ecosocialist perspective, which also produces some articles of its own: http://unevenearth.org/ (the aggregators are the “monthly links” posts)

    Eurozine, an aggregator of articles from cultural and intellectual magazines across Europe, mostly in English and mostly with a centre left to left standpoint: https://www.eurozine.com

  153. Hi John,

    I’m deeply convinced that is important for me to finish all that I start. To this day I rarely finish the majority of things I begin. My question is if this is an universal lesson to learn (for everyone behaving as me) or is a lesson only for me. Is there an occult side to it or only pragmatic reasons?

    As always, many thanks for all your work. It is changing me slowly but profoundly.

    Respectfully,
    Sergi

  154. Wesley – Tell me more about this “feeding 40 people on an acre” claim! I ran across something like that once, only to discover that it was “produce enough organic SALAD greens for 40 people a day”. Of course, man does not live by salad alone, though he can come a lot closer on “bread alone”. Are you saying that someone knows how to produce 2000 kCal/person * 40 people * 365 days/year from one acre of land? Tell me more…

  155. Ellen, your son may well be sensitive to electromagnetic radiation in that part of the spectrum; some people are. I’m far from certain that constant exposure to cell phone radiation is safe, which is one of the reasons I won’t own one.

    Patricia, delighted to hear it. I’m pleased to say that in recent years I’ve encountered a refreshingly large number of Christians who pay attention to what Jesus taught, and have more in common with his disciples than with the self-righteous Pharisees he critiqued so trenchantly. Glad to hear that your local minister seems to be one of them.

    Ray, excellent! Keep us and the Green Wizard forum posted on how it goes.

    Your Kittenship, indeed I did. I went to Lancaster, PA on Monday, filmed a video podcast there on Tuesday, and came home on Wednesday — took the train both ways, and had a fine time. Train travel is the last civilized mode of transportation in existence these days.

    J.L. Mc12, it’s been a long time since I’ve read it, but your comments seem reasonable enough.

    Matthias, I don’t happen to know why the sky turned black in Sao Paulo. I do know that a variety of apparently factual sources indicate that the current rate of agricultural burning in the Amazon basin is about average for recent years, thus the media panic that claims the current fires are unprecedentedly vast is at least worth a skeptical look.

    MIke, current notions of retirement are hopelessly unsustainable, and most of the people in the work force today will “retire” into more or less serious poverty. The idea of having money earn money for you is predicated on an expanding economy, and is having to be propped up by any number of ornate games now that the global economy is expanding only on paper. I don’t plan on retiring, and I’d encourage you to look for a second career you can use to keep yourself fed and housed in old age.

    Brian, it’s a real thing. My health worsens when I’m away from salt water for too long; I like the Midwest a great deal, but I can’t live there indefinitely. I don’t know a lot more about it than that, but moving to Providence has been very positive for me in ways I didn’t expect.

    John, I remember the WPPSS debacle very well — my wife used to do chore services for a guy who lost most of his money when WPPSS defaulted on its debt. Again, the great flaw in nuclear power isn’t technical, it’s economic — it simply can’t be made to pay for itself.

    MCB, it’s quite possible that human thought isn’t limited to the physical brain. Recorded history, though, demonstrates pretty conclusively that our capacity to think is about what you’d expect if we were using a few pounds of fatty meat to think with. Human beings simply aren’t that bright, and the repeated attempts by people to insist that human thought is vastly more powerful than it appears seem to me to have much more to do with our very well developed habit of vanity than with anything else.

    Chicken, funny — and very apropos.

    Yorkshire, good heavens, they have almost nothing in common. De Maistre insisted that institutions were inspired by God and that absolute monarchy and religious authoritarianism are good things. Burke argued that institutions came into being by trial and error, out of a long process of historical experience, and rejected both absolute monarchy and religious authoritarianism. Burke, remember, supported the American revolution and defended the idea that laws and institutions should be modified over time as experience shows the need for change — both these were anathema to de Maistre.

    Daniel, well, yes. Rhyd and I have been exchanging barbed critiques for a good long time — as you’d expect when a Marxist and a moderate Burkean conservative.

    TamHob, thanks for this!

    Lorenzo, start with things about which you have no emotional commitment at all. Put up a note somewhere in your home that says “touch your nose” and whenever you see it, touch your nose. Decide that you’re going to be somewhere you don’t have any reason to be at a given time on a given day, and be there. Wear only green socks for an entire week. Find other ways to make choices, not because you need to make them, or because you’ll get something by making them, but for no other reason than that you decide to make them. The goal here is to develop the habit of acting out of will rather than from some other reason; as you do this, you’ll get to the point that you can start making choices that matter a little — setting the alarm half an hour early each morning so you have time for magical training, say, or doing your banishing ritual every single day. You build strength of will the same way you build muscular strength, by repetition; over time, you’ll reach the capacity to do what you will, just because you will it. That’s real self-discipline.

    Username, I’ll read this after I’ve delineated the chart myself, and we’ll see how it comes out! I plan on posting my delineation in the third week of September this year.

    Karim, most occult writers known to me argue that there must be vast amounts of intelligent life all through the universe. They have various reasons for suggesting this, but it’s quite consistent — and I have to say it seems reasonable to me.

    Averagejoe, no, the chart was cast for the spring equinox of 2019 and it’s good for an entire year, until the spring equinox of 2020. The prediction — that Brexit will happen, despite a vast amount of yelling and handwaving, and that there will be very few problems with it — remains in place.

    Johnny, I’m going to suggest at this point that you consider putting all this together into an essay and finding a place online to post it. I think you’re moving in some very interesting directions and I suspect other people will want to read and think about this.

    Faluc, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Have you read Jung’s book on synchronicity? It’s when you randomize things that synchronicity, “the acausal connecting principle,” reveals itself — thus Tarot cards, and also the experiences of randonauts.

    Gaiabaracetti, did you happen to notice that the only thing I addressed in my comment was the manufactured media furore about fires in the Amazon? If OP comes back to me and says, “No, that’s not what I was talking about,” we’ll have a conversation about Amazon deforestation. Still, by all means splutter away if you wish…

    Martin, exactly. The Taiping rebellion wasn’t the only religious civil war in Chinese history, either — look up the Yellow Turban risings in the Han dynasty sometime. China has a long history of religious movements turning into revolutionary factions, and the PRC government is doubtless well aware of this.

    Patricia, that’s certainly a possibility. It may also simply be that Trump is a New Yorker, and the New York attitude toward Puerto Ricans is legendary.

    Phil, thanks for this. I’m glad to see common sense getting a word in!

    Patricia, good. Notice that the Serpent Folk machinery under New York City represents a technology that has never been replicated by other intelligent beings, and that messed up the flow of voor over much of a continent. The witches communicating through the moon’s beams was borrowed from Renaissance magic, and it’s meant to suggest amateur radio, which as you know I’ve suggested as a low-resource communications technology for a while now. I was more or less stuck with Ward’s resurrection alchemy once I decided to use his story as the keynote for Providence, and yes, that would mean strange destinies for many people in the future — though strange destinies are in the works more generally, as you’ll see in the final volume!

    John, thanks for this. When the Cascadia subduction zone next cuts loose, several million people are going to die — and yes, that’s one of the reasons my wife and I left the region.

    Selkirk, I find the best approach is to avoid all US news media, and to follow a selection of foreign sources. I personally like to pit BBC against RT — choose an issue, they’re on the opposite sides of it — and to add some European, African, and Asian media into the mix on a more catch-as-catch-can basis.

    David BTL, yes, exactly. The Carrot of Truth would make a good stick for Zen masters to use to whack the clueless over the head!

    Anonymous, the Dolmen Arch course is a correspondence course I worked up on the base of fragments of an older Druid study course. It’ll be published in book form later this year — I’m waiting for page proofs of the second volume right now. As for Castaneda, he was a con man who made it all up, and his books — especially the first three — are well worth reading and learning from. Yes, those two statements are perfectly compatible with each other!

    Booklover, I get the impression that Johnson Derangement Syndrome is even more extreme than Trump Derangement Syndrome. (Of course it also allows endless jokes about whose johnson has gotten deranged, but we’ll close our eyes, think of England, and pretend that no such suggestion has been made!) They’re right, in a certain sense, that a coup has taken place; the British voting public will actually get what they voted for, rather than having to accept whatever the managerial caste decides they should have…

    Jacques, I ran a series of tentative posts about that in 2007 and 2008. It’s a huge issue, and one to which I’ll be returning in due time. The very short answer is that we don’t know yet, because it depends on who’s willing to step up to the plate and build something as the academic industry goes broke.

    Tony, well, a lot depends on whether you take seriously the theory I proposed a few years ago in my book The Secret of the Temple, which argues that some ancient religions had among their secrets a method of improving agricultural fertility using temple buildings as resonators (probably for electromagnetic energy); that this technology was passed on to the medieval European church, but was lost during the Reformation; and that Freemasonry came into being out of a failed attempt to recover it. The obelisks, according to that theory, were originally used to accumulate electrostatic charges and/or to do something not yet well understood with paramagnetism, and they were brought to Renaissance Europe by churchmen who knew exactly what they were and what they could do.

    Renaissance Man, delighted to hear it! The ***** stands for Master Conserver papers, I take it.

    A1, I know part of it is that publishers really like formula stories, because they can be sure of steady sales. Part of it is that coming up with a new gimmick for every single story is a lot of work, and if you’re writing full time to pay the bills it may not be something you have time for. Part of it, finally, is that writers write the stories they like to read, and many of us have habits. I know my stories tend to fall into certain very definite patterns!

  156. Ray Wharton,

    Those are some interesting ideas you have put forth! I had a few thoughts based on what you’ve said, related more to the process side of things and less to the content side. Since you’re in the exploratory stages of your group, it might be worthwhile to spend a while longer on your informal gatherings than you may have planned to do, before moving to the more structured Hedge School that you are hosting in a couple weeks. For a more structured meeting which you would facilitate, you’d want to put together an agenda which outlines specific items to discuss, goals, projects etc. I think people often go into a formal meeting with a lot of wonderful creative energy, but it can be dissipated unless it is limited and directed into quite specific goals and outcomes. If you’re not quite feeling that you’re at the point where you could get an agenda together for the Hedge School, perhaps just spend more time informally gathering information, as you’re already doing, and learning what people are interested in. My apologies if you have already thought of all of this!

    I think your writing is great, and your vision for what this group is all about will solidify as you go along. Taking the initiative to get something going is often the hardest part, and you’ve already done that.

  157. BoysMom wrote, “I do not know how many people opt to lie to pollsters versus how many decline to answer for either side, but I know that in my circle folks discuss the above concerns in hushed tones in privacy and are certain polls are inaccurate.”

    In 1990 I enrolled in one statistics class at university. As an arts major, it wasn’t likely to become my new passion. But, with a scientist father, I certainly didn’t find the subject dreadful. In the first class the professor, a middle aged, married white guy, told the students that whenever he answered polls or questionnaires he claimed to be a single, black mother, under 20. He explained that in his own crowded demographic, his responses would get averaged in and have no appreciable impact on the results, whereas in his alias’ demographic there might be only four respondents, so his answers could massively sway the results. Then he told us that he always filled out polls and questionnaires with the answers he thought were least likely to be given by other respondents. Again, this was to get the greatest impact in the results.

    Laying aside the moral implications of this man’s choices, his pathetic attempts to assuage his sense of inadequacy by proving he could game the results did nothing to endear me to the field of statistics. He had dedicated his life to amassing and interpreting great quantities of information whose validity he questioned – fair enough. But did he start doubting his profession before or after he made it his mission to falsify survey results as thoroughly as possible? Talk about a self-fulfilling prophesy! In one two-hour class he had managed to convince me of the corruptibility of statistical data, the soul-destroying nature of the profession, and the lack of integrity throughout the field.

    At the end of those two hours, I went immediately to the registrar’s office and dropped his class as though it were MRSA, ebola, and the black death all rolled into one. If the statisticians themselves lie to pollsters, how useful are the results? If the professors teaching the next generation of statisticians train them in how best to corrupt any data obtained through polls or surveys, what is the point to the field in the first place? When tripping up one’s colleagues takes priority over collaborating with them to strengthen the field’s reputation and results, the countdown to irrelevancy has begun.

    In a world of simmering populism, don’t look to polls generated by elites with TDS or BrexitDS to reflect anything other than their imploding dreams of relevancy and power.

  158. Not really a question, JMG, just something to share which others might find interesting. I was in Hamilton (Ontario) a couple of weeks ago visiting family, and we went to visit a project called McQuesten Urban Farm. A community group got together to get the project up and running. They got the City of Hamilton on board and were able to make use of about three acres of land at a closed-down school to host the farm. They also have some local corporate sponsors and lots of volunteers. It’s mainly an education project aimed at teaching local people how to garden, with the aim of combating food insecurity in the neighborhood, which is low-income and in the middle of a ‘food desert.’ They run workshops and camps to get local people interested in growing their own food. While the farm itself isn’t set up as a business, they do employ several people including a full-time project coordinator and local farmers. It seems to be viewed as a huge success for the community.

    Their website: https://www.mcquestenurbanfarm.ca/

    And an article on the project: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/kids-lead-mcquesten-urban-farm-1.5257451

  159. JMG, do you have any thoughts on retired NY Fed Chairman William Dudley’s Bloomberg Op-ed in which he suggested the Fed not attempt to offset any economic difficulties Trump’s policies may cause? Even if Dudley thinks this is a viable course of action for the Fed or discusses it with former colleagues, how can he be clueless enough to publicize it? Dudley’s advocating the Fed actively undermine the policies of a sitting President. So much for the facade of Fed independence. Even Larry Summers concludes this was the result of TDS.

    I’ve stated I would prefer for Trump to lose in 2020, depending on the opponent, but it’s hard to deny Trump has caused most of his opposition to lose their collective minds. I think this calls for an investigation into how the Fed uses its powers to “undermine our democracy.” Is Mueller busy? 😉

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-08-27/the-fed-shouldn-t-enable-donald-trump

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/lawrence-summers-slams-former-fed-top-official-dudley-for-essay-on-trump-2019-08-28

  160. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for offering this service and forum. 🙂

    I have had a question bothering me for a while, and it is: How does one walk the path between living a virtuous life and the murky world of virtue signaling?

    Cheers

    Chris

  161. @Lathechuck,

    About the 40-people-an-acre – you will have to ask the Archdruid! All I know about it is that it’s mentioned in one of the old ADR posts, “Feeding the Deindustrial Future” -archdruidmirror.blogspot.com/2017/06/feeding-deindustrial-future.html – as perhaps the most important, though overlooked, accomplishment of early-twentieth-century science.

  162. Tripp, excellent! I look forward to addressing you as “Your Honor,” and maybe someday taking a ride on that streetcar.

    AndyJ, my personal opinion is that southern California is going to be the Rust Belt of the 21st century, plagued with pervasive poverty and crime, economic and political dysfunction, and the collapse of institutions and infrastructure; there will be few worse places to be as things proceed. In your place I’d get off the west coast altogether and look for someplace that has adequate rainfall, plenty of local agriculture, and modest cost of living. Still, it’s your call, of course.

    Jasmine, that’s a common exaggeration. The US has a fairly old governmental system as nations go, but Britain has a considerably older one — the reforms made to the basically medieval British system are about on a par with the reforms made to the US constitution since the 1780s. The point I’d make, though, is that the critique assumes that something must be bad because it’s old. Not so; a constitution that’s been in use for a good long time, and has been modified without having to be overturned, demonstrates by that fact that it probably works well enough.

    Your Kittenship, fortunately the song didn’t end the same way!

    Juan Pablo, you’d want solar herbs and oils, since those strengthen the ego against outside pressures. I’d use bay laurel oil and angelica oil, for example.

    Nothing Special, that’s certainly worth considering, but there’s at least one more factor at work: a society, or any other human thing, has to have a certain amount of history behind it before people can look at its trajectory and say, “Hold it, hasn’t this happened before?” That’s why cyclical theories of history appeared in classical times late in the Roman Republic, when Polybius could look over the histories of Greece and Rome and point to similar patterns; and that’s also why they appeared in our history beginning in the 17th century, when Giambattista Vico compared Western and classical history and saw the same thing. That is to say, the appearance of theories of cyclical history is itself an event that happens at a certain point in the historical cycle!

    Kevin, yeah, that sounds just about right.

    Pondering, thanks for this! I’ve read, for what it’s worth, that Mexico’s successful program to spread literacy in its population depended on comic books, which were cheap, widely available, and very, very popular; I wonder if that might be another angle for your friend to look at.

    Bridge, I’ve been watching that whole flustered cluck with great amusement. BoJo did the obvious and necessary thing — shut down a Parliament that was completely unable either to get behind giving the people what they voted for, or to come up with an alternative a majority could agree with — using a perfectly legal mechanism that has been used, if I understand correctly, quite a few times previously in Britain’s long history. Now he can give the people what they voted for without having a gaggle of Parliamentary geese nipping at his heels every step of the way. When Brexit goes off smoothly, as I expect it to, and millions of British voters are saying “So what exactly was all that shrieking in aid of?” he can call new elections, with a very high chance of increasing the Tory majority in the House of Commons to the point that the DUP can be told to go smoke its shorts, and an even higher chance of having the Opposition fatally divided between two parties whose leaders can’t stand each other, and whose members all blame the other for the failure of the Remainer cause. Meanwhile the Remainers are playing into his hands by behaving in ways that make him look mature and dignified. It should be entertaining to watch!

    Jim, my advice is of course to give it a try, and see what results you get!

    Pteridomania, if you’ll go back to the post that offended so many fans of St. Greta, and actually read it, you’ll find that I acknowledged in so many words that she was walking her talk, and simply made a passing comment on the way she’d turned the normal adolescent desire for attention into a significant social presence. I don’t have specific criticisms of her to offer; the very well-funded movement that’s exploiting her temporary celebrity, on the other hand, is worth very close and critical study.

    Tomxyza, interesting. I’d say if it works for you, then by all means.

    John, thanks for this. I’d missed that detail.

    Flawedempires, that seems fairly reasonable to me.

    DFC, my guess is that the “forest of the future” will go the way of the flying car, the jetpack, and so many other waves of the future that broke and ran back out to sea. Still, we’ll see…

    Conner, you worry about the lunar phase if it’s a lunar talisman, or if it’s something else that works with lunar energies. Otherwise, why would it matter?

    David, you’re assuming that the people who are doing this are entirely rational. At this point I’m far from sure that’s a safe assumption.

    Quos Ego, do you happen to know what France is doing with its nuclear waste these days? I knew a couple of decades ago, but that’s likely to be old news at this point.

    Peter, that’s an excellent point — polling companies have to tell their clients what the clients want to hear, so that the polling companies get paid. That’s doubtless a huge factor in the prevalence of bogus polls.

    Conner, the method I outlined on Dreamwidth was for someone with little magical training or experience. The method in Circles of Power is far more potent, but it requires a good deal of previous training and practice. If you can do that, I wouldn’t bother with the other.

    Anonymous, yes, but it takes a lot of work. Have you considered, to start with, journaling to find out if there’s some knot of past emotions and experiences that produces that effect?

    Booklover, thanks for this. I think somebody’s johnson is thoroughly deranged!

    Sergi, there’s an occult side to it. Training yourself to finish what you start is a way of strengthening the will, and that’s essential as a part of magical training. To begin with, you might choose one project you haven’t finished, and make yourself finish it. Then do another. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you have a lot of projects left undone, so take ’em one at a time.

  163. Stefania, thanks for this! It sounds like a very worthwhile project.

    Ryan, my jaw hit the floor when I saw that. The entire justification for the Fed as a central bank independent of government is the claim that it won’t game things for partisan advantage. Dudley’s just blown that right out of the water. It would not surprise me if, once the populist insurgency reaches high tide, the Fed is replaced by a national central bank run directly by the Department of the Treasury.

    Chris, Jesus actually had some excellent advice where that’s concerned: don’t tell anyone about your virtuous acts. Just do them, don’t publicize them. That keeps virtue from becoming an excuse for virtue signaling.

    Wesley (if I may), the experiments in question were published in David Duhon, One Circle (Berkeley, CA: Ecology Action, 1985).

  164. John Michael,
    I’m very much looking forward to taking that ride together on “my” streetcar line along the river one day. It’s a scorcher of an idea; thank you for putting it out there.

    On a related note, my 9 y.o. naturalist son had the pleasure of spotting an Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake this morning (5′ long he said!), between our house and the neighbor to the north. After I posted this morning I became concerned that bragging about my recent transformations might be placing that momentum in jeopardy, but after reading about the viper/adder’s symbolism in druid lore, my mind was easy once again. It even presented itself on the elemental earth side of our house. The family on that side have lived there “since about five minutes after Eve bit the apple,” (quoting from memory) and say they’ve never once seen a rattler…

    As omens go it seems a good one.
    Best,
    Tripp

  165. More about the division of people by their skin color. It is superficial, surface only, incomplete. If you are guessing at a person’s value to you by their skin color alone without getting to know them you are doing yourself a disfavor.

    This morning my doorbell rang. I live next to the office which has a hidden door so I often get potential tenants in spite of my little “Not the office” sign with little arrows around the corner. She was SE Asian but that is as close as I could get. Her shape, face, accent, posture and attitude all were SE Asian.

    I have enough experience to usually tell African from African American, Han Chinese from Indian from SE Asian from Pacific Islander etc. Many people can do that because they have the exposure.

    When I went on welfare in 1992 I was asked to describe someone and I guessed African American and I got dirty looks. She was an Islander and I did not have the experience to know. Now after about 15 years of immersion in race I can often get it right. There are several characteristics and I am fascinated by these cultural and genetic differences.

    Most of my neighbor immigrants and refugees have trust issues, they must have been cheated over and over. When they borrow a tool they often feel no duty to give it back and if they lose it that is just too bad for the lender. If they say they will pay later they might dismiss your effort to collect. That isn’t especially unusual, just more of an extreme. It is very hard for them to just do business. Knowing what their culture is can help when choosing an approach.

    So who can I trust? Minush, ‘Pino, Mahmud. All from different continents. 3 out of more than 100. If I find someone I can trust they get instant service.

    So out of necessity I am less communal and generous as I am at an extreme end one way and others often care primarily about family. I’m out hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours. When I work on their kids stuff the gratitude is infrequent. I often get nothing back, no respect, friendship etc. There is a limit. I have learned to ask “What’s in it for me?”

    Why should they care about the kaffir* / gringo? I might be born here in Seattle but currently I am the minority, the weird outsider. It’s actually kind of fun and certainly educational.

    But it would be nice to have a real friend.

    *East African word for infidel.

  166. Juan Pablo,
    If I may, regular inhalation of the solar qualities of frankincense has undoubtedly steeled my will, and since we started burning it in the house every day my 11 y.o. daughter has told her succubus of a best friend to hit the road. Permanently.
    Best wishes.

  167. Re Academic Industry and What replaces it:

    If I may, on this subject, I’m a bit dour. For several years I devoted untold hours to teaching herbalism either for free or sliding scale. During this time, I literally put tutoring private students at the center of my schedule. Everything else was secondary. In doing this I had explosive passion, religious zeal, and all the charisma I could muster.

    The result? A few people learned to identify and use Plantain, St. John’s Wort and Lemon Balm. Some gardens were started, mostly by myself. Last I hear, at least three are still maintained.

    To my great surprise and horror, most people it seemed didn’t really want to learn. Even with someone willing to tutor them and give them homework and take them on as many herb walks as they liked.

    Now, herbalism is immensely useful, practical, and in the circles I travelled in it was even *sexy* and fashionable. And yet, that was the best I managed to do — a few gardens and a a few dozen folks who knew the very, very, extreme basics. I think of the folks I taught, maybe two actually read a book I recommended — most just took the hand outs I wrote. Of course, I’m not a trained educator and probably made lots of mistakes. Still, the inability for nearly anyone to learn what I taught to any real degree of depth, understanding of mechanism, or technical ability was ghastly, and extremely disheartening.

    Remember too, herbalism in that time and place was literally sexy and cool. I shudder to think the uphill slog of teaching folks mathematics, ancient languages, or historical scholarship, will look like as the academic industry comes crumbling down.

    I share this not simply to tell a sad story but to let folks understand how bad the situation is right now. I think creating fraternal lodges, homeschooling, etc are extremely important. I imagine that the information that manages to get passed down in the coming years will do so on account of families who invest in teaching and fraternal organizations that keep private libraries and manage to instruct folks on specific subjects.

  168. A question for all,

    I have been trying to compose my Go Fund Me campaign with some input from my daughter. She thinks I should remove almost all reference in my story to the fact that I have tried alternative treatments at home and don’t believe in chemo. She thinks people will be unsympathetic because I ‘ignored’ standard treatment.
    I had put in there a short explanation of why I didn’t pursue chemo. I am actually doing some low dose chemo now, but in the context of numerous other simultaneous approaches I think it makes sense.
    I also read that you don’t really get many donations from total strangers but people in your circle or who know those who know you. In that case my heresy will not be that much of a surprise.

  169. Re polls—the big polling outfits used to sub-contract out the politicals to local pollsters. I worked for one. One evening we were all put to work filling in blank questionnaires to turn in to the client, as not enough people had answered the phone and the due date for the project was coming up. So that’s how reliable political polls were in the ‘90’s. They’re probably even less reliable now, not so much because of such deliberate fraud, although I’m sure that still occurs, but because these days it would be very hard to get much variety in your demographics. Many people don’t answer the phone unless they recognize the caller’s number, and black and poor white people were generally suspicious of pollsters in the ‘90’s. I suspect a lot more demographic groups share that suspicion nowadays!

    If telephone polling is not feasible, the only other practical method to get a reasonably random sample is to stop passers-by in a city business district at lunchtime or in a large public venue such as a mall or a fair. There aren’t many malls that draw crowds any more. In a city business district most of your respondents will be salary class—messengers, lunch deliverers, and such won’t have time to talk to you. Anywhere else, I imagine the fear of TDS would indeed come into play. If you preferred Trump, would you risk being honest with a pollster in a public place when for all you know that group walking by, who may overhear, is antifa?

    Phone polls, what few can still be conducted, end up weighted towards the elderly (young people are busy with their kids or their 2-3 jobs) and liberals, who LOVE to talk politics; it’s the closest thing many of them have to a religion.

    For all the above reasons, I am pretty sure the potential Trump vote is underreported, but I have no way to know by how much. Democrats are clearly scared or they wouldn’t be working so hard to kill the electoral-college system.

  170. JMG, I sure hope you’re right and the Fed IS replaced by a national central bank.

  171. Hi JMG,

    Thank you very much. I hadn’t actually considered that but I might look into it. I have been seriously considering publishing a hand photocopied zine and trying to sell it on the street during these art crawls that happen around here. They used to be gallery openings but have morphed into basically a big unregulated market for local people hawking their wares. Seemed like it could be a fun way to connect with people around here (Hamilton – with it’s second shout out in your comments this week) who had similar ideas. I used to be too uncomfortable to write but I think I figured out a workaround (just be ok with being bad at it) that has made it much more approachable. I find a similar thing that you described, that sentences kind of pour out fully formed as soon as I give them an opening, as if some other part of my mind is working on them in the background. Anyway, thank you kindly for the encouragement!

    Johnny

  172. Mike T asked about getting ready for old age. I’ve read a *lot* of thrift writers over the years. The Economides summarized it nicely. As best I can remember it goes like this:

    Pay off all consumer debt
    Pay off all vehicle loans
    Pay off the mortgage
    Save up a year’s salary in the bank
    Save up more so you can pay cash for replacement vehicles and repair work on your house.
    Invest in your local community.

    In addition, do all the usual stuff: sleep properly, eat properly, wear your seatbelt, be active in your community and with your family, exercise every day, don’t smoke or do things to make you sick, etc. Taking care of yourself and your life will ensure lower medical bills.

    Then, when you’ve done everything above, take the money left over and invest it in the stock market.

    As for polls: I always lie. I lie about my age, my gender, my orientation, my race, my income, and who I plan to vote for.

    Christophe: WRT to your one-time statistics instructor. You could also say that he was teaching everyone in the class to fully understand that statistics can be made to lie very, very easily and to not put your faith in numbers.

    Teresa from Hershey

  173. JMG, I think it is worth being exact about the Amazon (since this is an open post…). You are of course quite right that this is not the end of the world, and every year until 2004 was much worse than 2019 has been so far. The current media may in fact be hysteric for the bad reasons; Tony Blair proposed private international guardianship of pieces of the Amazon (and the consequent monetization of the claims) more than 10 years ago, and Macron’s proposals now are more than a bit colonial.

    However, it is not correct to conflate the fires entirely with agricultural practices. There are every year fires on already cleared and cultivated land. That is a low-tech and rather inefficient way of getting minerals into the soil, but those fires don’t much affect global CO2 concentration. At the same time, there are fires on land that was primary forest until a few months ago. Rain forest does not burn spontaneously (some other biomes do). The tress are clear-cut with huge machines and left to dry for months before they can be torched. Satellites can tell whether the land was primary forest or cultivated land a few months ago. The currently available satellite data are not yet completely curated (those will be released next year), but they are good enough to show a sharp increase in the clearing of primary forest in the Amazon this year (though, I repeat, this has not yet reached pre-2004 levels).

    People who have lived in São Paulo for 40 years have told me they never saw anything like the soot that turned the sky black on August 19th. It does not seem probable that the fires in the Amazon are the only or even the major cause of this phenomenon; there seem to be other huge fires in neighboring countries (that I know less about). Still, some combination of factors here is unprecedented, and it seems reasonable to try and stop the abrupt reversal of deforestation control measures that had been quite successful during a decade.

  174. I’d like to thank everyone who emailed me requesting the Master Conserver files (including Juan Pablo, who initiated the whole thing). It looks like I emailed… 17 people!

    I just posted some before and after pics of my front yard which I transformed into a stealth-edible-medicinal-pollinator garden. I say stealth only because I think of David by the Lake’s effort to get a front-yard gardening initiative through his city council. There are lots of edible things that are attractive and that can be planted in unassuming ways to get past city governments and HOAs and while my garden won’t fully feed us, it’ll supplement my backyard veggie garden nicely and it brings an unbelievable amount of joy (always a health promoter if ever there was one!). Photos are here, if anyone’s interested: https://temporaryreality.dreamwidth.org/3444.html

  175. JMG, thanks again! I see @lunar talisman, that makes sense. I thought that in general magic should be timed according to moon phases due to the effects of the moon on etheric energy.

    My understanding was, anything intended to draw things into one’s life should be done during the waxing moon, whereas magic of decrease and dispersal be done in its waning phase

    Violet and Will J – or anyone interested in dreamwork, your discussions brought to mind past dream explorations I did following a book called “The Phase” by Michael Raduga. It’s from a hardcore materialist perspective, but has a lot of information on dreaming and the astral projection experience.

    An interesting exercise he mentions is “dream mapping” where you write down locations in the dreamworld rather than just events, and eventually the dreams become more interconnected.

    He also discusses the “depth” of the state, and how to increase or decrease it.

    I’ve always been fascinated by the dream world so I love hearing others share their experiences!

  176. I have relatives in Lancaster county. Beautiful scenery but don’t move there if you’re a pet lover—it’s Puppy Mill Central. Also don’t move there if you like to get where you’re going quickly as you WILL get stuck behind a buggy on a 2-lane road.

  177. @JMG

    What do you think of the 2020 Democratic field? Seems like another disaster for them. There’s Obama’s senior sidekick along with a bunch of old people with old ideas. Tulsi Gabbard got my attention with her straight up anti-war views (a big part of what got Obama elected they seem to forget) but they won’t let her touch the debate stage with a ten foot pole after she savaged rising star Kamala, who, similar to Hillary, no one seems to like outside of political circles.

  178. HI John Kincaid,

    Much of mankind, if not all of us, divide everyone into Us (we follow the rules amongst Us) and Them (Katy bar the door). The introduction of markets added a middle category, Them With Whom It Can Be Profitable To Treat Them Like Us At Times. Your problem is everybody thinks you’re one of Them, and how you become one of Us, I don’t have a clue, but I wish you luck.

    This situation is why the story of the Good Samaritan was revolutionary when first told.

  179. HI Onething,

    I agree with your daughter. Don’t take chances. Keep mum on the alternative treatments. That’ll put you in the best possible position if your Gofundme goes viral.

  180. Three years ago I found a meteorite, the size and shape of a large peach pit. The circumstances that lead to finding it were beyond improbable. I can only say that I was MEANT to find it. And when I picked it up I had a vision, a vision of a fireball streaking down into the forest near where I was standing, of me running into the dark woods to find it, and looking down at the red-hot stone in its little crater. I sat with it until it was cool enough to touch, and then picked it up and put it in the leather pouch hanging from my belt. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell if I was Cherokee or a white settler in the vision.

    Back on the normal timeline, near where I found it, I had planted an apple orchard earlier that year. In the process of digging in those little trees I uncovered an old campfire ring – rounded river stones still arranged in a circle, charred earth and bits of charcoal inside. Staring down at the remains of that fireplace I felt a sense of deep connection to what seemed to be an old homesite.

    That’s the only past life memory I’ve had so far; I’m guessing that the pouch and its contents were buried with my body right there on that rise above the creek I was now standing near. Or maybe I lost it and had come back in the next life to find it, or maybe someone else took it when I died and left it there. I keep the little meteorite on my nightstand near my head with a chunk of amethyst, both set on a flat piece of glowing white selenite.

    The amethyst I keep nearby to promote sobriety, not just to reduce the temptations of intoxicants, but also to help with discernment, to keep from being fooled. But I havent got the first clue about the natural magic of meteorites. Any chance you can shed some light on this mystery?

  181. Tripp, good to hear. Over the last few months we’ve had cottontails and a skunk spending time in our backyard, and the local bird population has been regulated by a couple of sharpshinned hawks, a merlin, and — our real surprise — a big gray gyrfalcon: they stray down this way from Greenland very rarely, but we had one hanging out in the area for a few weeks. Over and above the omen benefit, all this speaks to a welcome expansion of wild things into the region. (Rhode Island also now has its own permanent population of black bears, for the first time in something like two centuries.)

    Violet, that doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve found that the more fashionable and “sexy” a subject is, the fewer people actually want to study it. Those magical disciplines I’ve had the most luck teaching to serious students are those that are crashingly unfashionable. Come up with some way to make herbalism sound boring, difficult, and old-fashioned and you’ll find your market — and yes, I mean that quite seriously!

    Onething, my guess is that if you explain why you avoided chemo you’ll be more likely to get support from other people who are skeptical of the medical industry. Still, I don’t know that for a fact.

    Your Kittenship, that corresponds with what I’ve heard from other sources.

    Johnny, a zine would also be a possibility! I’ve never done that but I know people who’ve had good experience with zines.

    Matthias, thanks for this. I appreciate the news from the front lines.

    Temporaryreality, congrats. That’s one very nice-looking garden.

    Conner, that’s true if you’re doing simple magical practices and don’t have any more specific sense of magical timing. As you start working with more specialized energies, the broad simple rules don’t apply so much.

    Your Kittenship, fortunately, I take the train, and the Amish generally keep their buggies well away from the tracks.

    Brian, the current Democratic field looks like some Hollywood impresario picked up the phone, dialed, and said, “Central casting? I need a couple of dozen people to play total losers. You know, complete bottom of the barrel types — but nicely dressed, ’cause they’re supposed to be running for president. Seriously! It’s a comedy. You got anyone?” (pause) “Great, great. Those’ll do fine. Can you add in an old guy who’s good at sounding senile, and, oh, I don’t know, a white chick who pretends to be Native American? Sweet! Manny, you’re the best. I mean that. Have ’em show up at the office on Friday.”

    Violet, thanks for this!

    Tripp, I don’t recall seeing anything about the magical properties of meteorites. If you’re meant to have it, you’re meant to have it, and the energies that come through it will do what they’re there to do.

  182. Hello Ray Wharton,

    Thank you for the energy you are putting into your project, and very good luck to you. I worked on a community organizing effort a few years back, based around a community garden and garden education. I don’t have a lot of wisdom to offer, and I don’t know your community at all, and this may come across as shots from the good ship obvious. So take these ideas with a pinch of salt.
    – The creative energy from sharing ideas will tend naturally to build, crest and peak and then ebb away. Before it dissipates, try to focus the group in on a few specific projects where you can get some clear accomplishments that match the core concerns raised during the discussion stage. And then you can bring this same focus to the topics for the Hedge School.
    – Be realistic about the resources that you have (which will be mainly the time people can spare) and what you can get done. Focus, focus, focus.
    – You will need some sort of transparent way to capture all the good ideas from the discussion stage and prioritize in a way that keeps everyone on board.
    – Try to avoid doing all of the leadership work yourself. Often community efforts stumble because one or two people end up doing the organizational heavy lifting and they get burnt out. It’s usually a good leading indicator of how promising a group effort is going to be if it’s hard to persuade other people to help lead it.
    – Keep it fun, and loose. There’s a tendency for these things to get process heavy – lots of meetings and emails and stuff and, gods forbid, a facebook page or something. But all that requires time to administer and takes away from getting stuff done.
    – Make sure to talk with other similar groups in the community (eg. there may be an agricultural extension office or grange nearby or something).

    Hope that helps a bit. Good luck again!

  183. I was wondering what the Druidist perspective on the human body has to say about body modification and to what extent the physical particulars and the reasons for doing it (religious initiation, cultural, or just wanting to look a certain way etc.) may affect the person and their surroundings in non-physical ways.

  184. While I appreciate the responses I got regarding my stock market post, I can’t help but chuckle that both of them said “invest I the market.” It’s a behemoth that thing.

    Jill, the company 401k doesn’t let you pick your investments, and even if it did, I would imagine there are very few, if none, stocks that have a good return and are a net benefit to the environment in some way.

    Teresa, those are fine suggestions and squarely in line with the way I go about my finances. I’m still trying to get a house payment. Haven’t found one in my price range that’s worth it.

    Violet, your experience with herbalism sounds about right. I was fortunate to be in a year round program with many caring souls, but when it came to test time, many people shirked their studies. I guess it just wasn’t worth the extra effort for them. Piggybacking off of Johnny’s comment above, some of that might be the internet acting as a prosthetic for actual learning. Why learn if the information is always “there” on your device? Tragic really

    JMG, your advice definitely resonates. I’m getting more active in home winemaking and as mentioned above have a decent base in herbalism. It still spooks me how people view the stock market in general as the great god of retirement. I think things will get very ugly if that faux god turns its back. Do you think the entitled investors will do everything possible to prevent that from happening? Including devaluation of other forms of investment? Are there any historical comparisons that you know of? Thanks again

  185. RE: Selkirk RE: news sources

    Very sadly, what you are looking for can be called investigative journalism for one. JMG’s suggestion of news sources from countries at odds with each other is a very sound one, but you can’t just believe the reporting, you have to compare one source against another. If you can find some resources for pure data to check them against it is also helpful.

    A couple of references. One can change one’s internet location by adding the right internet “country Top Level Domain”

    https://www.worldstandards.eu/other/tlds/

    So Google news for me is: https://news.google.com/?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US:en

    But, say I want to know what Mexican or New Zealand is thinking about headline news. I can change it to:

    https://news.google.co.nz (New Zealand)
    https://news.google.mx (Mexico)

    And it will feed me different news stories.

    On data verification, there was an article recently about the increase in US natural gas exports, and it gave the impression that the US had enough natural gas to supply other nations which I didn’t believe was accurate led to a quick check with energy export data browser http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/ which confirmed that the US is still a net importer of natural gas.

    You will also run into news sources that do a very good job on some things and are flat out delusional on others. Falls Church News comes to mind. They covered peak oil repeatedly and well, but also promote the most ridiculous new break through energy technology BS stories.

    It is all a mixed bag. A very useful trick is to check the references and try to follow them back to the source to see if it says what it claims to say. I saw an interesting energy technology article and followed it up. Five phone calls to hunt down the university professor cited, he was enthusiastic and said it just needed funding. More research on the company founder with SEC filings, the company used to be an internet health insurance company. The founder also had three other, now defunct companies, with SEC filings including internet mortgages in 2007. That was 2008, and I saw a great article about how promising this new tech was and how it was going to be a game changer on Falls Church News in 2011.

    The closest thing that I have found to real investigative reporting that is consistently correct is Consortium News: https://consortiumnews.com/ by the guy who broke the Iran Contra scandel. They have a descent (worlds away above everyone else’s garbage accuracy and veracity, and I haven’t yet found an obviously cooked and transparently false story) integrity and insight and cutting edge, breaking news, but they publish one or two stories a day.

    That reminds me of a simple question that I had about the Federal Reserve. They create money to buy government bonds and those pay interest. I wanted to know what happened to the interest payments. I couldn’t find the answer anywhere so I called them up. Twelve phone calls before I got an answer. I encourage you to repeat this experiment. It will be instructive.

    Sadly, we are living in an era where one can not get good sources or reporting from any one source. If you want to get get info you are going to have to invest a lot of effort into obtaining it and then verifying it. Sorry.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  186. @ Onething Regardless of how you decide to phrase your gofundme, I hope (with our host’s approval) you will post a link here. (I will be among those who know of your quirky and self-sustaining ways, from a distance, and takes a personal interest). Best wishes to your ongoing recovery of health and well-being.

  187. @temporaryreality-
    What a lovely change! I love the intentions you put into the space. The hummingbirds love Russian sage at my place.
    Thanks for sharing.
    –Heather in CA

  188. Where do you stand on the question of whether Protestantism led to capitalism, or if capitalism was the prime mover and just found a good fit with Protestantism?

  189. I worked for a few market research and polling companies in the UK, including, in the early 00s, one of the biggest. We always had to keep making calls until we got respondents from the required demographic quotas, which at the end of a project generally meant a handful of us staying late until we managed to get them. (It was nearly always 18-24 year olds who were the hardest to find.) Whilst it’s not impossible a few respondents might have lied on the phone because they felt like answering the poll, I hardly ever heard people whose voices sounded very different from their stated ages. So maybe there were a few 26 and 27 year olds pretending to be 24 year olds of the same sex, but as it was on the phone, not 50 year old men pretending to be women in their twenties. For the most part people were glad of excuses not to spend their time answering, and quite a few objected to the demographic questions for privacy reasons, so couldn’t participate. You’d only speak to maybe 2 or 3 a shift who expressed disappointment about being screened out because we already had enough, say, 45-54 C1 women.

    Phone polling is more expensive than online, and it has been hypothesised that people were more likely not to admit to supporting parties they thought others disapproved of (the “shy Tory effect”), but on the other hand people were probably less likely to misrepresent themselves demographically.

    Online survey companies maintain profiles of respondents, rather than using random phone number generation, and they check for discrepancies via all the data collected on people by cookies shared between sites, and do stop people answering if they find too many. I reckon that the most common thing people actually fib about in online surveys is income and employment status. There are millions of people trying to earn extra money or vouchers from surveys (basically selling their data) and as a result there are huge numbers taking polls who are in categories for the lowest income brackets, and groups such as home-based freelancers, part time workers, carers, stay at home parents, disabled, unemployed etc. You’ve a lower chance of getting to answer if you’re one of these, so I’m sure some of them consistently state a higher income (and some must go substantially higher, not just 5K or so more) and create a profile around that in order to get more questionnaires and more rewards.

  190. Temporaryreality,
    I tried to post a comment to your dreamwidth post but it rejected my anonymous status. Oh well. It’s truly lovely. I wasn’t so considerate with my front yard garden when we lived in Spokane, WA. I planted a full-on veggie garden in raised beds on contour, everything from corn, sunflowers, and potatoes to leeks, garlic, comfrey, and calendula. My next door neighbor hated it, but he was an a-hole anyway. Everyone else seemd to love it. Some even thanked me for my presence in the neighborhood, subconsciously keeping an eye on their property.

    Ive heard that since we left the neighborhood has gone downhill significantly. No doubt the jerk next door blames that on me and my ugly garden…

    Cheers!

  191. Thanks, JMG. FWIW, I totally agree about the gradual return of biodiversity. I’ve been heartened to see once-rare critters showing back up over the last decade or so as well. Tiny green snakes, kestrels, tortoises – that is definitely a silver lining of energy descent.

    But a gyrfalcon? That’s awesome. I once saw a caracara in central Florida while doing fieldwork on the upper St. John’s River basin, about 13 years ago, and that was super cool, but a gyrfalcon down from Greenland? What a treat!

  192. John–

    Re the Dem establishment

    Apparently, it is working hard to reinforce it’s reputation, this time via the DSCC:

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/08/29/dscc-pressured-consultants-on-colorado-senate-race/

    Must slam head into wall one more time…

    @ all who commented re polls

    Thank you. I honestly had no idea of the prevalence of that behavior. Does make sense tho, particularly in today’s environment.

    @ temporaryreality

    Re the garden

    Thank you as well. Guerilla gardening is probably the best tactic in this situation, I’m thinking. At least for the time being!

  193. Some thoughts on the timing of manifestation of cyclical theories:

    In order to develop a cyclical theory on time, you have to be *thinking* about the nature of time with at least a somewhat rational eye as opposed to a mythical eye (your mythos might have cyclical time, but that’s part of the cultural backdrop, not being viewed anew as a theory).

    During the dark age / winter period, you’re likely too busy thinking about more important things (like survival).

    During the spring period, your culture is too young to get a proper idea of what’s going on. You don’t know if your culture is going to endure or if it’s going to get conquered or subsumed by a more muscular power.

    During the summer period, everything’s going well culturally. There isn’t the cognitive dissonance between what the culture claims to value and what it actually values, and elite senility hasn’t kicked in yet.

    Only once things stop getting better – or at least, once they *start* to stop getting better – then these theories can start developing. Using the (boreal) year as an analogy, by about mid- or late-August it’s pretty easy to see that something is “wrong”: it’s still hot and everything’s in bloom coming toward a harvest, but the days are starting to get noticeably shorter, and now that I think about it, it’s not AS hot as it was earlier in the month…

  194. John, et al.–

    Re the discussion of the Amazon

    Never lose the opportunity to exploit a crisis for one’s political ends:

    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-08-30/the-open-amazon-and-its-enemies-a-call-for-action-and-optimism/

    Note the discussion of the evils of nationalism (“right-wing politician”), the obvious “self-evidence of global citizenship,” and the appeal to the humanistic credo (including, naturally, Protagoras’ quote).

    Relevant to an earlier discussion, note too how the author claims authority to speak on behalf of future generations–all of future humanity, in fact.

    For a globalist, globalism solves everything.

  195. @ Christophe: The thing to remember, I think, is that tech punk stories (Cyber- Steam- Diesel- and Solar-) are *about* as a matter of genre conceit, how people are using technology in the present. The majority of stories in the Steampunk mileau choose that period not to contrast with petroleum technology, but to tap into a stereotype of “how people in the 1800s must have felt about technology”. Myth of the Lone Genius, Anything is Possible, The Romance of Technology. All “truths” about the golden century of science (18X0 to 19X0) that would better fit in raygun gothic planetary romance stories. Except for the part where that fantasy is dead and all. And to tell this kind of story, that is really an inspiring parable about How We Can Make Petroleum Technology Work, you need to handwave the fact that that isn’t at all how steam power works. On a meta fictional view, that’s hilarious of course, because of all the ‘magic’ involved in The Future of Petroleum Technology.

    @ David BTL I think the EC has some logistical problems in how votes are assigned and tabulated, that make it really salient that there’s something funny in the whole thing. But the real problem is metaphysical.
    I’ve lived in three parts of my state. A hilly medium sized town of wealthy people and drug users in the South, a rural farming and pastoral area in the East, and the urban capitol city. And each of these three areas was basically part of its own folk that seamlessly integrated with a similar geography across the state line: the southern town had more in common with towns in the state to the south, the farms had more in common with the farms to the east, and our capitol has more in common with the capitol cities of neighboring states than any of the three have with each other. So if my state doesn’t have a coherent single culture or economy, why is it intuitive that we are a single political voice? And if we aren’t a single political voice, why do we even work together to elect Senators and Presidents? Can you defend the EC without making any reference to a state as an institution or a group of people?

    Also, the thing that made polls go all wonky is the bit about “a poll of likely voters”. See how you get that poll is “poll a statistically strong slice of the country, then use demographic information to guess who in the sample isn’t likely to actually vote. Throw all of those people’s answers out, then compute the result.” By specifically trying to get people to vote for him who don’t normally vote *at all*, Trump sent the whole thing off course. People would say they liked trump, but hadn’t ever voted before and didn’t seem like “the voting type” so pollsters assumed they would sit this election out too, wistfully hoping that somebody else would vote for Trump.

    @ Ellen. You know how sometimes electrical lines will make a hissing noise, or an older tv at night kind of whines when you turn the sound off? They actually make those noises all the time, but people learn to tune them out. People who don’t learn or can’t learn are treated for this filtering deficit under the lable Sensory Processing Disorder.
    What it sounds like to me is your child can hear ‘the tv screaming’ as I put it as a child, and is freaked out by the loud sound nobody else is responding to. No idea about the light: does he report auras around other loud objects?

    @ Onething on race: you may think of the observation that race isn’t “real” as cashing out to “in the same way that color names are an attempt to take an unbroken spectrum and arbitrarily divide it into parts for ease of abstraction, race is an attempt to break a series of spectrums of human appearance and culture into arbitrary parts for ease of abstraction.” So for example: in the United States there are 8 races: White, Black, Arab, Indian, Asian, Native American, Latinx, and Hawaiian. But there’s actually no way to put some of those lines down: if you go by genetics, all Arabs are White on one level of zoom, and you get like 12 races if you zoom in enough to seperate them. If you go historically then Aboriginal Austrailians aren’t Black and Latinx is just Native American. If you go by appearance alone you throw some weird results in terms of culture: most tribal reservation population is now white, most of India’s population is now black, that sort of counter intuitive cultural sort.

    A few things I’m curious about: firstly, there is apparently some noise that the survivalist bubble is popping. Sparsely attended conventions, decreased spending at vendors, etc. I’m wondering what if anything to make of that.

    And secondly: the numbers coming out of the shale oil industry and the recent revelation that every jobs report in the last year was 30% exaggerated sounds a little 2005-ish. If the next stairstep of decline happens in the next five and half years, what consequence if any would that have for the major parties in American politics?

  196. Tripp:

    Lately I’ve been finding small seashells inside and outside the house, but I live up in the Green Mountains, hours from any sea shore. All the shells are roughly the same size and appear to be from the same kind of animal. I’m at a loss as to where these are coming from and why they’re laying on my lawn. I can’t imagine they were left behind by the previous owners, we’ve lived here for years, we regularly mow the lawn and would have seen them before. Mystery.

    ———-

    It’s interesting hearing other people mention what kind of places they feel most comfortable. For me, living near the ocean has no appeal, I haven’t been to the beach since my children were small and don’t miss it at all. Cities or any built-up areas are no more appealing: I feel terribly claustrophobic and can’t wait to get away. But mountains! Now that we live in the mountains I feel as if I’ve really come home.

    Paramagnetism:

    Philip Callahan has written a couple of books about paramagnetism; I’ve read “Nature’s Silent Music” and found it really interesting.

  197. Hello JMG,

    I find it interesting that the number of dots in tetractys symbol is equal to the number of spheres in the “Tree of Life” diagram. Is it possible to devise a map like Tree of Life (or “Wheel of Life” in Druidry) by drawing some paths between some dots in tetractys symbol?

    Thanks,
    M.

  198. @John Roth

    The 4th Turning suffered from unrigorous definitions so it will be nice so get another view on it. Thanks!

  199. Greetings!

    I came across a very interesting documentary last week called “The Great Hack” on Netflix. I’m wondering if anyone else here has seen or heard of it and what your take might be.

    It was about Cambridge Analytica the data company. They’re now defunct, but they were not the only one, just the biggest, most successful there are similar companies filling their void. They collect and trade in data, mined mostly from social media platform, Facebook, Instagram are the top two,then the others that follow. They collect data points on everyone , seemingly random interests and purchases, tags of where a person lives, visits, friends etc. They then use these points to assist in elections, by whomever hires them, (they’re a business after all.) They were first hired by the Obama team in 2008, they’ve worked for various campaigns, but most notably Donald Trump in 2016 and the Brexit Leave campaign.

    In the US market/elections, they claim to have over 1,000 data points on every single registered US voter. They analyse the data, identify those voters who they call “persuadable”, (definition pretty obvious – swing voters) then they identify which state and district/delegation those voters are in – if they are in a swing state, in a swing district, CA ‘targets’ them via their social media accounts and floods them with news/opinion stories to sway their vote towards C.A.’s candidate. In the 2016 election that specific demographic was narrowed down to something like 7,000+ voters.

    It’s actually a brilliant strategy and their results speak for themselves. Almost every candidate they’ve worked for has far surpassed any poster’s expectations.

    Cambridge Analytica is now closed, but again – there are other companies rising to take their place. As one C.A. employee/self-described-whistle-blower in the doc said, “Data has now surpassed oil in total value on the market.”

    Most interesting was one quip “We thought social media would bring us closer together and it has done the opposite. We’re further apart than ever before”, similarly I think “We thought unlimited access to information, (remember the phrase “The information super-highway”?) would make us all smarter/more informed/on the same page; but it has done the opposite because a person can now find anything to support and deepen previously held perspectives and ignore conflicting information.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX8GxLP1FHo

    So, yeah, I wonder how closely aligned to the truth this documentary is, how much influence C.A. really had on the 2016 election – and what influence other data companies will have on the 2020?

  200. @flawedempires Sounds like you are highlighting the dichotomy that exists in the outdoors hobby. There is a division between “active” and “passive” users of the outdoors. “Active” users are hunters, fishermen etc. “Passive” users are hikers, cyclists, adventure sports etc. As a hiker/backpacker I am a “passive” user but I’ve really mentally been able to get beyond the “hunters ruin the outdoors” trope that is the default hiker mindset. Although I’ve never hunted in my life I realize that hunters actual have a deep active connection with the outdoors when they are out in it. A connection which is less superficial then the hiker walking through and observing. The conscious hunter is placing themselves in the environment and become part of it. I’ve tried telling these insights to fellow hikers but the only response I get is “but they kill animals” so I just give up trying to explain.

    In the face of anti-public lands legislation the active and passive users of the outdoors need to band together and realize their common ground: https://www.outsideonline.com/2155826/public-lands-defense-glimmer-bi-partisan-cooperation

  201. OK, Conner, I have one for you, and any other oneirophiles that might be interested. This may only be interesting to me because I haven’t had many dreams lately. Really none that I can remember for several weeks. Until last night.

    I found myself in some sort of lobby, not sure what it was a lobby for, probably doesn’t matter. There were 3 other people in the room with me, 2 of whom seemed to work there – a dark-haired man about my age (mid-40s) who was obviously the clerk and probably part-owner, and an older lady, also part-owner. Anyway, the floor of this lobby had many depressions in it, in a regular pattern, shallow little recesses that each contained a silver coin. Since no one else seemed to notice them I started to collect the coins, some of them pre-1965 90% silver dimes and quarters, but some of them much older halves and dollars, some of the latter ancient enough to be worn thin and irregular around the edges. These in particular were strikingly beautiful, and obviously valuable. I collected quite a pile of the coins; they seemed to replenish themselves when I wasn’t looking.

    By the time I had a nice little bag full I turned and asked the clerk and the older lady if they belonged to them. They both just smiled and looked at me like I was collecting dust bunnies for a mercifully-hidden refuseum back at my hovel. (Just made that word up!) Then the 3rd person in the lobby handed me a couple of handfuls of modern coins, heavy on the copper pennies, like I was some kind of charity case. I took them graciously, trying hard not to show my disdain for these worthless (or worse) tokens. When I got to the next room, just outside the lobby, I dumped them in a pile out of sight, and pulled a few of the older, larger silver coins out to admire. Then the dream ended.
    ____________________________________

    It seems fairly straight-forward to me. Given my recent transformations via regular magical practice, the coins are probably little tidbits of insight and wisdom, collected one at a time through the consistent exercise of will, memory, and imagination. This seems especially likely given that no one else in the room could see anything worth collecting in the first place. The lower-value 20th century coins were recent additions to magical lore – valuable, but not yet polished through the passage of time or the buildup of an extensive egregore – some older, more intricate and developed, showing that luster that only time and use can produce. The modern coins, including all the pennies, represented the tenets and values of modern pop spirituality and superficial lukewarm mainstream religion. It seemed to be telling me that I was on the right track, to keep at it even if nobody else understood. Or at least that’s my take.

    Or it could just be that my wife got a promotion yesterday and a huge raise, and I was just dreaming about money…

    Anybody else got anything to offer?

  202. My second stint surfing the the shortwaves happens this weekend courtesy of DJ Frederick Moe and Free Radio Skybird. The broadcast will happen on Sept. 1st @ 1900 UTC (3 PM EST) on 6070 khz.

    By some tricky time travel magic Sunday’s show can be heard today! Actually, this is a recording of what will be broadcast, but without the fun fades and fizzle and pop of the ionosphere. Want a taste of freeform community radio? Here it is:

    https://soundcloud.com/djfrederick/free-radio-skybird-1-september-2019

    Thanks to all who tune in!

  203. “If you’re meant to have it, you’re meant to have it, and the energies that come through it will do what they’re there to do.” -JMG

    Which is what it seems to be doing! But I admit, there is a slightly alien edge to it…
    Just curious if you had ever dealt with meteorites before.

    Either way, it is one of my most cherished possessions.
    Cheers!

  204. @Justin Patrick Moore

    I am traveling to Idaho this September and may meet up with an old penpal I met via the Flipside Fanzine classifieds about 35 years ago, at 15 years old we wrote daily letters to each other, and I somehow managed to find him a few years ago online. I am also still in touch with a wonderful person I met via LowLife fanzine, he gave me a couch to crash on when I found myself homeless in Atlanta in 1986. I mostly grew up in OC/LA (California) and was a part of the LA County “scene”. The community, the attitudes, the politics certainly helped save my life back then. Crass was my favorite band and probably had the most influence over me (I was a “Peace Punk” as we called ourselves, and straight edge for most of my teens). Unfortunately I met Steve Ignorant in Berkeley in the mid-1990s (that taught me to never meet your idols). I have very mixed emotions about the whole punk scene and what it turned into, although I feel that way about every “scene” I’ve dipped my toe into (most recently it’s been the Permaculture scene, ugh). While I met loads of wonderful individuals, I found most of the groups and people in them to be toxic in the end. And nearly all my friends are dead now, so although it saved my life, it didn’t have the same effect on most I knew. In the last 20 years I have learned that the best thing to do for me is create a network out of the good and trustworthy people I meet, and to be very wary of anyone who is part of a defined group or “scene”. All the friends we know, trust, and barter our food, supplies and labor with are all over the map socially, economically and politically, and to me that’s a wonderful thing. All that said, I look forward to reading your series. it’s nice to think about what was and could have been, so thanks for doing it.

    FYI the grandfather that raised me was a hobo. He was born in Los Angeles in 1907 and was homeless by the age of 13. He rode the rails for years, met my grandmother in 1939 in Pennsylvania and they became migrant workers as the traveled back across the country to California. My father got into heroin and spent most of his life in prison or on the streets. I’m nearly 50 now, been in the same house for 20 years and have a respectable job working in tech, but always feel restless and like I am living the wrong life. As I get older I feel that connection to those ancestors more and more, and recently started putting it all together. The hard part if figuring out what to do about all of it. I am getting more and more comfortable with there not being an answer, I guess that’s progress. But I like thinking about the connection of the hobos and the punks and the travelers. I still smile a little to myself when I see the groups of youngsters roaming around Berkeley with their dogs and bags, and would often rather plop myself onto the sidewalk with them rather than walk back to the office..

  205. “I have no exceptionally cute kittens today, so anybody who wants to use the August Cute slot is welcome to it.”

    One of the kittens from the shelter I volunteer at. She went very fast as soon as people say this photo. Couldn’t think of a good caption

  206. @JMG,

    Re the “Biotechnic Nightmare Future” – I will definitely consider using that in one of my stories, though I certainly share your hopes that funding for GMO research will dry up in the near future, hopefully before we get anything like the starfish-corn scenario in Retrotopia.

    As to the prospect of a future civilization exceeding our technology and the “can’t prove a negative” response – it seems to me that there are certainly degrees to that trope, i.e. nobody would say that in response to a claim that the sun might rise in the west. So even though in the past I’ve accused you of chronocentric arrogance for asserting that current technology has (uniquely) reach the limits and can’t be dramatically exceeded, what kept me coming back to your writings – and where I think your philosophy really shines through – is with the deeper trends of human imperfectibility and the transience of technology that connect all civilizations, past, present, and future.

    For example: it seems to me perfectly plausible that a future civilization will understand materials science much better than we do, and figure out how to build a space elevator. But whatever uses they find for it would be subject to diminishing returns, any outposts they build in space would be fragile and expensive to support, and they would be in danger of overshooting whatever resource base they used to build the thing in the first place. Eventually, the whole civilization would come down in its own long descent, and something else would get built on the ruins. And so on and so forth.

    The end result being that, while we’re in no position to say that future men won’t make big discoveries that we’ve overlooked, we can be pretty sure that those discoveries won’t put them in a position to conquer nature, and that their delusions of omnipotence will still be delusions.

  207. Dear Tripp,

    For what it’s worth, I tend to think that the interpretations that someone offers for their own dream is the most valid. After all, you were there and I wasn’t!

    I’m curious, though, what was the quality of the lighting? Did it change as the dream progressed from beginning to end? You mention two people who seemed to work there, and that there was another person not you in the dream. Who was the other person? What was the emotional tone you got from the other people?

    One thought I have is that silver is the Lunar metal, and so the moon, I would imagine, figures into the dream prominently. Copper is Venereal, of course. This symbolism may lead to some insights; you mention the pennies being worthless or worse, perhaps then the dream subtly communicates how the pleasurable, the aesthetic, etc may be contra to the replenishing wealth of the Moon.

    To my mind then, the dream may offer a meta-commentary on your substance use; the Lunar currents that you now find value in and are so neglected by society are free money, so to speak, and what the folks in the lobby can offer you are little more than dirty pennies.

    Of course, it’s interesting to think of the hierarchy of silver and copper; second and third place respectively, with gold the first. Was gold in any way present in your dream? If not, perhaps the dream may subtly communicate as well that you have more work to do. You now know where the silver is — in Spanish “la plata” simply means “money — and you know that you no longer find value in the copper that folks deal in, but that’s still second place to getting the gold!

    Also, notice you use the term “recess”. That ties the entire finding of silver into a pun; you find the silver in “recession” or economic downturn. This can be read in such a diversity of ways that I merely mention it.

    The other detail that I think may be subtly important is the ambiguity of the lobby. Why are you there? What are you doing there? What is being sold?

    The fact that you don’t know and don’t find it important *yet are still there* seems important. If you had to assign a part of your life to the lobby, what part would it be? It seems like there is some structure of your life that you are participating in that you are unconscious of, hence the element of ambiguity of the lobby. Places in dreams represent structures in your life bigger than you. What the lobby is is of course important to the greater meaning of your dream, even if it can’t be defined.

    You leave the lobby and enter into another room. How does the room differ from the first? How big is it, what is the lighting like, are there smells, are there windows, or plants? Is it clean or messy? Somehow I imagine the room being relatively smaller than the lobby, simply on the basis of your word choice. What is the floor of that room? What are the walls made of? Does it have tasteful interior decoration? Any obvious symbols?

    At any point during the dream did you see the outside? If so, what season was it? Having a season in the dream can connect the dream symbolically to the meaning of the seasons (here the Encyclopedia of Natural Magic offers a good guideline).

    Did you smell anything in the dream? Taste anything? Did you smell the pennies or the silver? Did the folks look you in the eyes? What sort of doors separated the lobby from the room? What did the floor of the second room look like?

    these sort of fine-grained detail based questions are what help to reveal secondary dream meanings.

  208. @ Nicholas C

    Re the EC

    To your question: “Can you defend the EC without making any reference to a state as an institution or a group of people?”

    I don’t have to. Your question ignores the core reality of this country, so often forgotten these days, which is we were constructed as, and are, a federal republic of semi-sovereign states with a central government assigned certain, specific, and limited powers. The states are not political sub-divisions of the nation. They, instead, the constituent components from which the union is constructed. A plain reading of the text of the Constitution shows this. (E.g. no state may be created from the territory of an existing state with that state’s consent; equal representation in the Senate is required and cannot be altered even by amendment; modifications to the Constitution must be ratified by a super-majority of the states, regardless of population.)

    I would again suggest that if one is to be the chief executive of a union of states, one ought to have the support of a majority of those states, thus my suggested modification. The EC as it exists is more liberal toward the notion of population disparities and was a reasonable compromise between (for example) a purely national vote and what I’d suggest. One tweak of the existing system, which I’d be willing to support, would be to award *all* of the “House” electoral votes of a state proportionally and to award the two “Senate” electoral votes to the plurality candidate state-wide. (I’d also solve gerrymandering by getting rid of congressional districts and going with proportional elections of state delegations to the House, but that’s a completely different issue.)

    Possible language for such an amendment:

    Proposed Amendment #5 (Electoral Votes)

    Article 1. With respect to electors for President and Vice-President, each State shall award two electors to the candidate with the highest number of votes within that State. Remaining electors shall be allocated to each candidate in proportion to the total vote for that candidate within that State.

    Article 2. Proportional allocation of electors shall be accomplished by awarding to each candidate a number of electors equal to the whole number of that candidate’s proportion of the total vote within that State. Any remaining electors shall be awarded singly, beginning with the candidate with the highest number of votes within that State and proceeding to the next-highest, until all remaining electors have been awarded.

    Article 3. For purposes of this amendment, the District of Columbia shall be treated as though it were a State.

  209. Regarding comments about environments where we feel most comfortable living in- I once read a book by a naturalist who lives in the Kootenay region of B.C. His name and title of the book escapes me. He believed that we are hard wired to a certain bioregion. Sometimes it’s the region we’re born in but not always. He called it our primal landscape. It really was an aha moment for me. I currently live and have for many years in the rain forest of west coast B.C and have grown to appreciate it. However I was born and spent my early years in the semiarid desert of the interior of the province. Whenever I go back there I feel such a strong sense of belonging and deep contentment. It has always felt as though it is my primal landscape.
    Continuing to enjoy this site for providing such thoughtful comments and of course JMG’s wonderful posts. Thanks to all who participate!

  210. This is a question for anyone who knows a lot about nuclear weapons. All modern hydrogen bombs are ‘variable yield’, with a dial that alters how it detonates, creating a yield range between sub-kiloton and 100+kt. How does the setting affect the amount of fallout produced? I imagine choking a potentially much more powerful bomb down to a very low yield would lead to a lot of ‘unconsumed’ nuclear material being spread over the environment.

  211. @ Mike T – re investments. I’m with you. When I was young and employed I started paying into a pension fund – it was billed as a tax free way to save for retirement.

    The fact that I was, essentially entrusting my hard-earned to a bunch of gamblers, who had not obligation to me, not even to prevent me losing my hard-earned, should their bets go the wrong way, was never once mentioned. The fact that once it was in their hands, I could never touch it again, for many many years, must have been somewhere in the teeny fine print. The fact that while they had my hard-earned locked away from my use, but could help themselves as they would for commissions, gamble it completely away, or (lately) pay parts of it up on my belalf as taxes, all escaped my notice.

    Well, along came the bank crisis, and pressure to economise, and finally the thing I was looking at was my pension – how affordable was it to keep paying in?

    Well after doing sums I figured I had paid in around €30k over a period of 15 years or so, saved around €8k in tax over the same period, and my fund was now worth €16.5k – my esteemed gamblers had lost more than I’d saved in taxes, while (mid)managing my hard-earned.

    I immediately stopped laying in, called it a “paid up” pension, and put it away until such the as it is “unlocked” for me, at which time I don’t expect much. It has gone up and down since, but never gone as high as the sums I originally paid in.

    It was a bad idea. And not the least bit “prudent” as we are meant to believe, to “invest” in the casino called “the stock market”.

    Be well.

  212. JMG, interesting, thanks! One more question on talismans, if I may: for the method of consecration in Circles, should the talisman remain wrapped in silk/linen when put inside the envelope or other container?

    Tripp, interesting, thanks for sharing! I haven’t done much with dream interpretation and I don’t have much to add. It seems to me that it shows you now value things in your life which are seen as insignificant or unimportant to others. Which goes along with the idea that it refers to your magical practices and tidbits of wisdom you’re gathering.

  213. Thanks for the advice JMG — RE: “there will be few worse places to be as things proceed [than Southern California].” Mind pointing out a few reasons why SC will be hit harder than most places?

  214. @JMG

    I’d push back a little bit on the idea of Southern California as the Rust Belt. I lived in LA from 2001-2005. It’s certainly not the best place for resilience but not the worst either.

    LA has the same climate as Athens or Rome (Mediterranean, NOT a desert). Those two cities have been around for a while so I don’t think that’s a limiting factor per se. One benefit of the dry climate is that neither heat nor air conditioning are necessary.

    Water is a big problem of course. Without the umbilical cords over the mountains, LA is toast. The aqueducts need to be maintained and/or more rainwater capture needs to happen. But all cities have challenges. Imagine the frozen pipes of Chicago without massive inputs of natural gas all winter long.

    As for public transit and walkability, LA is surprisingly not bad (SoCal in general, not so much). I lived in the central area of LA without a vehicle for year or so. I eventually got a motorcycle but still took the light rail to work. And unlike, say, Manhattan, it’s largely a mid-rise city of tightly packed 2-5 story buildings. If the elevators stop working, just take the stairs.

    As far as social and racial problems, results may vary. It’s definitely moved on from the the LA riots days and as far as high crime areas, it’s not even on the radar any more. Demographically, it’s a majority working class Latino population, while the rich along the coast are largely white and asian. With identity politics, that could be a tinderbox.

    On the other hand, it’s not hard to defuse as there’s not the historical animosity that exists between white and black. I lived in a poor neighborhood on the edge of Koreatown composed mostly of Mexican & Central American immigrants. They were great neighbors, very family oriented and always down to help me work on my bike, have a couple Dos Equis or what have you.

    As for the economy, yeah it’s in a bad spot. Entertainment and trade (the port of LA) are two big industries likely to suffer and cost sensitive industries continue to move to Texas and beyond. I imagine in the future it will continue to lose population and revert to the more informal service economy, light manufacturing, etc. that it started out with. It won’t be the end of the world though. It’s still a nice stretch of beach and the largest flat area on the entire West Coast. If costs come down, many industries would return, because let’s face it, Dallas is never anyone’s first choice.

    Anyway, sorry for the novella, but I always feel compelled to stick up for SoCal when it pops on everyone’s apocalypse list…

  215. SpiceisNice, as with most things, there’s no one “Druidist perspective.” Druidry is about your personal relationship with nature and the spiritual powers within nature — however you personally conceive of them. We may offer suggestions but we don’t do dogma, and when it comes to something as personal as choosing whether or not to get a tat or a piercing, the response you’ll get from people in the Druld Revival traditions will amount to “in what possible sense is that anyone’s business but yours?”

    Mike, there are quite a few historical comparisons; 1929 comes to mind. It’s an open question, though, whether the stock market will suffer a crash, or whether the value of the dollar will be diluted by high inflation while the market remains steady. One way or another, if you provide a good or a service that individual people (as opposed to businesses) need or really seriously want, you’ll do fine.

    Yorkshire, I see them as twin phenomena rising out of the internal dynamics of Faustian consciousness; you might as well ask whether the cat’s head caused the cat’s tail, or vice versa.

    Tripp, it was really something. The first time I spotted it, I was walking down the street and something flew overhead — big, gray, and with a falcon’s wing shape. It came to light on the crossbar of a power pole, and I just stood there for a while taking it in. I looked it up in our bird book as soon as I got home, and there was nothing else it could be. It gave us plenty of other opportunities to see it thereafter, until it went off one day — back to Greenland to prey on dovekies and skuas, no doubt.

    David BTL, nah, don’t slam your head against the wall. Let the DNCC slam theirs. They’re doing such a good job of it!

    Barrigan, that makes perfect sense; thank you.

    David BTL, of course! Those who are loyal only to their privileged class can’t stand the thought that anyone should be loyal to their community or their country…

    Beekeeper, I cited Callahan at length in my book on the subject; his work is among the very few relevant studies.

    Minervaphilos, what a fine topic for meditation! I’d encourage you to devote the next few weeks of daily meditation to that.

    Caryn, to my mind, it’s like election fraud. All parties do it, and barring a great deal of incompetence in the upper levels of the campaign leadership, all parties do it equally well; thus it tends to cancel itself out.

    Justin, delighted to hear it.

    Tripp, no, not so far.

    David, it’s worked for me consistently! Post the url in a comment and I’ll repost as an image.

    Wesley, that seems quite reasonable to me. I certainly don’t mean to suggest that future civilizations won’t waste their available resources on impossibilities, the same way we’ve done, and a space elevator sounds like a great way to do that — as with our rockets, it’s a way to get mass into orbit, which we’ve already shown can be done. The barriers cut in when you try to do more with that than flex your collective ego, put some useful satellites into Earth orbit, and send out some space probes.

    Your Kittenship, I don’t know. That’s an interesting question, though.

    AndyJ, it’s hugely overcrowded, it’s got severe water supply problems, and its economic base is going away as the US turns away from an import-based globalist tribute economy to a manufacturing and farming economy protected behind tariffs. Those are three huge strikes. There are other places on the west coast that are also going to be slammed, but most of them have adequate water!

  216. Speaking of the salt air being good for you, did you mention you have a salt lamp?

    Does it benefit your health in any way?

  217. As a clearing-up question from last Magic Monday, I would like to know if there are magical tools which must be protected from the Sphere of Protection.

  218. @JMG: 2 more minor things about the W of Hali series: Rereading a comment about Von Junzt’s “lurid tales of elder races and lost civilizations,” I finally realized that just because he wrote in German, doesn’t mean his work was scholarly! And since everyone with the slightest interest in the Elder Gods had a copy – almost a trademark – VonJ actually does have an analog in this reality (ours). Helena Blavatsky. True? Or way out in left field?

    And rereading Innsmouth, the first time around when Owen went to bed, troubled, and thought he saw a being with pricked ears and pale unblinking eyes watchmaking him, my first thought was “…and then it let out a soft “meow” and glided down off the bed.” The current reread hasn’t changed my mind one bit. Especially since we now know who his patroness among the Elder Gods is.

  219. Dear JMG

    Re: The Managed Society

    I have missed you last week’s post and could not comment. I would like to do now

    Your post and the current situation of the elites in the western world remind me the famous poem of Bertold Brecht “The Solution”:

    “The People had forfeited the confidence of the Government, and could win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve The People and elect another?”

    I think in all the toynbean “Universal State” in the declining phase of civilization one of the strategies of the elites (Dominant Minorities) is always to “change The People”, you can see it in the failed short lived “Universal State” of the Macedonian empire, or in the latest phase of the Roman empire where the end of the “parroquial states” wars (like WWI and WWII or Peloponesian war) means the dawn of a supra-national, supra-cultural, supra-ethnic “global” entity associated with cosmopolitan philosophies or religions like stoicism or buddhism or enlightenment (progress), so the huge differences between the “New People” makes it much more easily manageable (during some time)

    Cheers
    David

  220. “It seems to me that it shows you now value things in your life which are seen as insignificant or unimportant to others.” – Conner

    And there’s the story of my last decade of life in a nutshell…

  221. @Darkest Yorkshire,

    Re nuclear weapons: higher yield will usually produce more fallout. Unconsumed fissile material isn’t all that dangerous: U-235 has a half-life of 704 million years, and Pu-239 is 24,110 years. Fission products, on the other hand, have a huge range of half-lives, many over human timescales of days, months, and years, so the more material is converted to fission products, the nastier the fallout.

    This is also why, at a nuclear power plant, the biggest potential for disaster is a containment accident at the spent fuel pool, rather than in the reactor itself.

  222. Not a question, more of an observation:
    I am now retired from years of teaching math and physics at various colleges, and prior to that, years as a Presbyterian minister. I enjoy having a foot in both camps.

    Re: Your comments in “Managed Society” about A New Kind of Science:
    “Stephen Wolfram in his fine book A New Kind of Science demonstrates that there are plenty of systems whose output cannot be simulated by anything simpler than the system”.

    You also talked about this in “Retro Future”.

    This got me thinking about science and religion.
    In a sense, it might be said that they start out in each other’s camps. (OK, I’m going to stretch things a bit, but it is at least fun).

    Some religions, at least, start out, or are moved along, with an experience. This is sort of data, the stuff of science. From there, they are quickly molded into a set of beliefs, which are easier to control from the top down. This certainly happened to the teachings of Jesus. But a belief is simply a tool for making sense of experience. A belief is also a model, the stuff of science.

    Science starts with a statement of faith, that the universe is intelligible, can be modeled, (domesticated, castrated). This can never be proven, but a well crafted set of experiments could, at least, call it into serious doubt. This makes our scientific world view very vulnerable.
    Enter Wolfram, also Godel, and it could be a wild ride.

  223. Your Kittenship,

    To my permacultural way of thinking, the lack of June bugs in your life suggests that the ecosystem around you has come into balance. Those that aren’t are still plagued by them, I assure you! We had them at our farm for the 1st five years, and then they just went away.

    Curiously, when I dropped a few trees late last winter, the rings showed the same sort of pattern. Disease-infested for the 1st five years we were there, and then balanced and healthy the last two.

    Just my .02 though…

  224. @Nastarana “It would seem that Mr. Orlov has revealed himself as yet another European intellectual, one of the breed which Jacques Barzan called the professional European, who doesn’t understand the USA. Updated one party rule is exactly what we do not need, nor would it be tolerated by Americans. What we do need, as many understand and have said, is devolution, regionalism, localism.”

    I’m pretty sure you’re completely off base with your assessment. Stalinism 2.0 is SATIRE! Dmitri’s highlighting some of the more critical dysfunctions within the US (the supremacy and greed of our giant corporations, our thoroughly corrupt political duopoly, our absurdly complex and overgrown legal system, our insane medical establishment, etc.) and imagines the extent to which drastic measures would have to be taken to revive our divided, decaying society. Seems hard to believe you know his work well. He’s certainly a brilliant, eccentric and unapologetically opinionated fellow and I think he’s been getting a bad rap in these parts in recent months. I often find his satiric voice rises to Swiftian heights, and I think he gets the good ‘ole USA far better than you imagine.

  225. For guerilla gardening, may I recommend Paw Paws? The large leaves look interesting and slightly exotic (and actually hide the fruits), but they grow in most states east of the Mississippi. In 2007, I planted some in my front yard 10 ft. from the street-the only people to comment yet are science teachers at nearby schools. Meanwhile, I expect to deliver another bumper crop to friends and co-workers. They have a very rich taste, and people either love or dislike them. Most of the people on my Paw Paw list are from the Virgin Islands or Jamaica. Some have even started growing their own, but the trees need about 6 years to fruit. Final note-If you don’t pick them just before they are fully ripe, they will VANISH-the strong ripe smell apparently attracts a vast multitude of critters large and small. They simply disappear like the lost colony of Roanoke…

  226. Polls:

    As soon as I realize it’s a pollster on the phone I tell them that we don’t answer polls at our house. A few intrepid folks call back the next day and the following day, but they get the same answer until they eventually give up.

    Tripp:

    I hear the outrage about Cadbury’s candy yesterday, rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache. Come on people, aren’t there more important things to worry about than candy bars in the wrong shade of chocolate? Is that what our civilization has come to?

    Heather in CA:

    This summer there have been three Mourning Doves that come to our back porch each day. I wish them all a Good Morning! and put out a handful of seeds on the railing – it’s not permitted in Vermont to have bird feeders out when there’s no snow cover because they attract bears, so I only put out what seeds the birds will eat quickly. Mourning Doves are usually ground feeders so they’ll eat whatever falls off the porch too; later on the chickens come by to clean up after everyone. If I walk outside gracefully and don’t make any sharp noises the doves will watch me but not fly away. In the evenings when I’m out in the vegetable garden one of the doves perches on the peak of our roof, the other two head for tree tops – always the same trees – and they call to each other at dusk.
    We have a neighbor at the other end of the village who keeps pigeons, all of which occasionally decide to sit in the middle of the road in a group for reasons I cannot discern. Of course everybody has to slow down for the birds so our neighbor calls them his traffic control pigeons and says it’s a service he offers the village for free.

  227. John, everyone–

    This actually touches on the topic of last week’s post somewhat. At work, one project I’ve been given is to develop a white-paper exploring the possible applications of “big data” (large-scale analytics, cognitive computing, etc.) in the context of the operations of the municipal utility where I’m employed. We are in the middle of an AMI (advanced meter infrastructure) project and are in the process of replacing all ~18,000 electric meters in the city with “smart” meters that will enable remote meter-reading, hourly-level data granularity, extensive sensor readings all over the distribution system, and a host of other capabilities. Needless to say, a massive amount of data will become available and we want to understand how we might be able to best utilize that data to improve our operations. Certainly, as an analyst, the more data (and the more granular that data), the better my modeling can be.

    But I do wonder about the longer-term implications. To the extent we begin to rely extensively on these capabilities, what happens down the road as those capabilities decay? This kind of managerial approach, with its massive data-flow, is computationally-intense. Without the high-speed computing power we more or less take for granted today, the data just sits there (or might not even be available at all).

    So part of me (the math-nerd analytical part) is excited about delving into this realm, playing with some neat toys and building some functional models which would enable us to better manage our system. But the longer-view part of me wonders how helpful this is all going to be in the long run and what degree of pay-back we are ultimately going to get on this investment. (Given the longer trajectory of decline, that latter concern may be less significant.)

    I feel very bifurcated, I guess. It is an odd sensation.

  228. JMG, Heather, Tripp, and DavidBTL, thanks for your compliments on my front yard. I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the insects as well- all manner of pollinators and others (like sweat bees who sleep in every morning, “head bonker” bees, blue butterflies and clouds of painted ladies to name a few. Others fly too fast to identify.) …and to think this is only the second summer!

    Additionally, white sage grown in this yard was offered on behalf of Onething recently, and was lit for Bill Pulliam and ShaneW when they passed. So, essentially the “pollination” continues in other ways 🙂

    (oh, Tripp, I’ll figure out how to enable anonymous comments. Sorry ’bout that.)

  229. Hi JMG,

    I noticed that you posted a photo of Dane Rudhyar in a recent Magic Monday. I know you’re not a great fan of the psychological astrology he pioneered but also that you agree he was a brilliant thinker, occultist and astrologer. Recently I’ve been rereading The Lunation Cycle and had forgotten what a superb work it is. Do you incorporate any Sun/Moon phase analysis when assessing a horoscope? This particular work would certainly rank high on my recommended reading list for all students of astrology. Rudhyar also authored a fascinating work entitled An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Wondering if you’ve ever explored that and, if so, what your impressions might be?

    Much lively discussion this week…thanks to you all.

    Jim

  230. Hello, Violet! I hoped you’d jump in…

    And my, what astute observations you’ve made. I admit, I’m going to have to pay more attention to details in my dreams from now on if I’m going to publish them for such analysis!

    Most of your questions are likely unanswerable, but I’ll try to fill in where I can. I woke up at about 5 AM this morning, which is half an hour later than my usual first stirring, and since I hadn’t had a dream that I remembered in so long, much less one so interesting, I forced myself out of bed to go write in my journal. (One of the few downsides of sleeping with a spouse is that I can’t just sit up and turn on a light.) It was chilly in the living room – weather’s been glorious here lately, and our windows were open all night – so I hustled through the recording in my boxers and chill bumps before diving back underneath the covers.

    Funny you ask about gold. There wasn’t any gold inside this dream, but I had another very brief dream, before and then again after this one, where I had a handful of 1/4 ounce gold pieces that I was pouring back and forth between hands, wondering if they could really be mine. I remember coveting them. That’s it though.

    I really have no idea what the lobby was for; in my dream it was center stage. The lighting there was, in the immortal words of Bill S. Preston, Esquire, most tranquil. (That’s probably a generational joke…) Really, it was very pleasant, toward the blue end of the visible light spectrum, so early morning maybe, and there were green plants in the lobby, a typical desk like you’d check in at in a decent hotel, and the floor was dark blue-green, sort of a conglomerate, terrazzo-type material. The silver stood out well against it.

    My clothing wasn’t appropriate for summer or winter, but whether it was spring or fall I don’t know. It definitely wasn’t winter, that much I know for sure. The blue-end ambient light coming in through the high clerestory windows suggests Spring to me. Other than those, the only windows I remember were the glass doors – one behind me, out of the view, and one back right of the desk, where the doorway to the other room was. There was no door that I recall, just a doorway.

    The other room was probably just as big as the lobby, but sparsely furnished, exceptionally tidy, and brighter white in lighting. I hid the modern coins under sort of a countertop, maybe a podium, on a shelf just before the dream ended. I don’t remember anything else about that room really, just that it was bright, light whiter than in the lobby, and the decoration too modern and spartan for my taste. (That’s what triggered the “Bill and Ted” reference.)

    The third person in the lobby was a bit character in my memory. Just someone who seemed to pity me and my activities. Maybe he thought I needed some money for a beer or something.

    So that’s about all I remember. Thank you for the prodding. And I look forward to more of your analysis! The copper versus silver comments were especially enlightening/fascinating.

    Tripp

  231. Dear JMG, by “Druidist perspective of the human body” I was referring to the view of the person as having bodies in multiple realms (e.g. astral, mental, spiritual). Since my knowledge of this system is superficial at best, I’m inquiring whether you can offer me meaningful insights based on this perspective relating to body modification, particularly the more drastic forms. Whether these insights would be dogmatically shared among all Druids is not my question, my apologies if it seemed that way.

    While I’m personally curious as to your reply, I don’t ask this for merely selfish reasons. When people who are dear to me open up and seek advice on what they consider a serious decision, I really hope to speak to them from an informed position and be as helpful as I can. It’s of course up to you if you’d prefer to avoid this subject matter altogether. If the latter is the case, I apologize for wasting your time.

  232. The issue of nuclear energy is one I have a tough time working out in regards to peak oil. I remember pouring over two sources that really went into the nuts and bolts of energy and the different alternatives- those being the book “Renewable Energy Without the Hot Air” and Tom Murphy’s “Do the Math” blog- and both just sort of hedge on nuclear energy. After running you through all the incredible difficulties of renewable energy all they don’t really offer any knock-down argument against nuclear. Which is a bit weird because if they don’t have a knock-down argument against nuclear why are they even worried about all these problems with renewables?

    I still think- or at east have a gut feeling- that people who think we’ll be riding high on abundant thorium are wrong. But I’m not really sure *why* they’re wrong.

    On the other hand our leaders seem keen to shut down nuclear plants in a lot of places. Even France is moving away from dependence on nuclear power. Nuclear advocates blame paranoia over potential disasters, but it seems naive to believe that’s the *only* reason.

  233. @ David BTL

    …the obvious “self-evidence of global citizenship…”

    Ah yes, global citizenship. I had to laugh because I was recently having an email discussion with my Mother about U.S. trade policy and illegal immigration issues when she replied: “That reminds me that you are still not accepting that we are a global community.” I guess these are the types of things she’s been reading. Being a troglodyte, I was unaware my citizenship status had changed.

    Perhaps I’m cynical, but I think the primary benefit of being a good global citizen is that you can ignore the deprivation of fellow citizens in your own country because their needs conflict with your role as a good global citizen.

  234. @Selkirk Astronomer

    You said: “I tend to be slightly conservative” then “I want to see some other perspectives”

    I read Naked Capitalism to balance the content –and especially the commentariat– here at Ecosophia. There is a lot to take in there, many daily links, and a really good group of commenters. A lot of topics are discussed in-depth over there that would never see the light of day on Ecosophia.

  235. Beekeeper,
    That’s pretty odd! In your place I’d tend to blame the brownies…

    I’m a mountain dude myself. I’ve lived at the beach, and don’t want to do it again. Fun to visit, but then I need some crisper air.

    The meteorite I found was on land in our county but north of our old homestead, and east of where we now live. I think I lived there before. Felt very comfortable.

    Downtown works for me these days though. After 7 years of primitive life out in the sticks we all adapted incredibly fast to our new life here among so many neighbors (especially the women). Magical practice helps with that I think. I can be so very connected to larger forces without even going outside. Not that I don’t love being outside; I just don’t have to be immersed in wild Nature to feel Her presence these days. Which is a good thing, since I don’t think I could get my daughter back out to the farm if I hog-tied and dragged her outta here!

    Cheers!

  236. @Antonomasia

    “August 29, 2019 at 5:35 pm
    Selkirk Astronomer, assuming you’ve already considered the best-known non-conservative online news sites such as the Guardian, NTY, WaPo etc, here are a few other suggestions.”

    Was that a typo? Maybe you meant neo-conservative instead of non-conservative ?

    I’m assuming that NTY meant NYT.

    The Real Big Brother
    August 29
    https://consortiumnews.com/2019/08/29/the-real-big-brother/

    inohuri

  237. Scotlyn,

    It isn’t a matter of people nefariously wanting to draw funny lines that separate people. It’s simply that the races exist, and it is silly to try to go against nature, our brains and our eyes.
    For your friend’s family, there are no lines because none of them belong to one race, and at least one of the parents doesn’t either, or they are a mixed race couple? As for all those people in Europe, there probably are some generally recognizable slight differences between certain nations of white people, but that is much more difficult to define. Likewise, there probably are similar differences in appearance between people from Taiwan, Cambodia, Viet Nam and so forth but none of that is what I am talking about.

    You ask if there is any use in a ‘system.’ There is actually some use, medically at least, but again, it is weird language to speak of it as a system.
    You speak of a breeding project…again, I am not sure where you are coming from?
    Unless you mean what I said about the human race possibly having been bred. Yes, I think that is distinctly possible.

    I should rather perhaps ask you, what do you think ought to be the reaction to the obvious fact that people who have lived separately 40,000 or more years and have developed obvious physical appearance differences? You think you can train the mind not to categorize and label something? And what would be the virtue in that?

    I really want your answer, but I am going to answer it myself as well! It is driven entirely by guilt and emotion, because if you accept what is, there should be little or no reaction to it. There is no reason whatsoever to be concerned over the fact that there are races unless one has baggage about the mistreatments people have meted out to one another. Which is very real but silly mind games won’t solve it. Until the baggage about the past got to a certain point, no one would even think of denying the reality of race. It was just what one found when traveling.

    I love all the races and so I don’t worry about it.

  238. @Caryn Banker re: “information superhighway” –

    I wonder if it occurred to any of them that (super)highways usually have lanes going in two opposite directions…

  239. John Kinkaid,

    “If you are guessing at a person’s value to you by their skin color alone without getting to know them ..”

    Big assumption there. I think you have just proved my point.

    “Now after about 15 years of immersion in race I can often get it right. There are several characteristics and I am fascinated by these cultural and genetic differences.”

    So are the differences real?

  240. Brian, I’m not saying that Southern California is going to be an apocalyptic wasteland. I’m just suggesting that it’s going to be like Baltimore or Philadelphia today, with half its current population, an economy flat on its back, and a bad case of political cluelessness and corruption putting off any noticeable improvement for a generation or more. By 2100 it should be a nice place to live again — well, unless climate change and infrastructure breakdown make the water problem insoluble, in which case it’s going to revert to what it was in 1800 or so.

    Alexander, it’s the same company under several different names, I’ll post a link once it’s available.

    Bridge, yes, and the negative ions appear to have significant benefits for the respiratory and nervous systems. I haven’t done controlled experiments, but anecdotally, it helps.

    Booklover, nope. Well, if one of your working tools is having a harmful influence on you, that might be affected, but other than that, it shouldn’t affect them at all.

    Patricia, excellent! Blavatsky’s somewhat analogous; another, at least in old-fashioned American pop circles, is Spalding’s LIfe and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East. Von Junzt’s book is half travelogue, half alternate-realities book, of a sort that used to be much more popular than it is now. As for Owen’s dream, I meant it to suggest one of Nyarlathotep’s black dogs, but one of Phauz’s cats would also qualify!

    DFC, true enough! And such schemes always fail, because once the people stop putting in the constant, undervalued support that keeps the whole shebang standing, down it comes.

    Michael, hmm! I like it.

    David BTL, I suspect a lot of people are beginning to feel that bifurcation…

    Jim, I haven’t really gotten to Rudhyar yet. I tend to focus on one teacher at a time, basically, absorbing as much as possible of their way of understanding a subject before going on to something else, and Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson is still my current guide in matters astrological. I’ll have to tackle Rudhyar sooner or later, but all in good time.

    Temporaryreality, hah! Life imitates art…

    SpiceisNice, one of the basic rules of occult philosophy is that the planes are discrete and not continuous — meaning basically that what goes on in any one plane affects other planes only through specific, rather narrow linkages. For example, if you have an arm amputated, only the physical arm goes away; the etheric and astral arms remain — which is one of the major sources of the odd experience most amputees have of feeling a “phantom limb” out past the amputation. Tattooing and piercing follow the same rule. They affect the physical body, not the other bodies, so it’s purely a matter of what you want to do with your physical body.

    Warren, there’s no knock-down argument against nuclear power; it just never pays for itself, and nobody knows what to do with the waste.

  241. Hi Tripp,

    I kind of enjoyed watching June bugs bumble around. I wonder if their disappearance isn’t connected to the increased number of apartment complexes built in the last 30 years. Unfortunately, the first thing a lot of people seem to do when they move out of an apartment is dump the cat, and June bugs are easy prey.

  242. @Will j

    A few quick questions will clarify what I am going to write.
    When was the last time you bought a PC? When was the median time of purchase of all your laptops and Internet installations you know in your vicinity which work perfectly fine?
    Everything I write here goes through “stuff” which is five to ten years old. The copper is possibly 50 to 80 years old. The DSLAM is probably the most recent device connecting me to the Internet. Soon and our modem is eight years old.
    Mobile Phones will go through the same market crunch as PCs did. At some point your five year old phone still works – why replace it?
    The same is happening with 5G now. Shiny and new, but 4G is just good enough and will not be replaced that fast. Some countries let their 3G Antennas work until they break in the periphery. This can take twenty years. Mail will probably still be around and text chats too, so even 3G is a hundred times more than enough. 5G does not mean many small antennas and thus high maintenance/energy usage. It also brings many more devices per cell and bandwidth for each device – at the same time. When those towers are operated, one large antenna can serve thousands of users for 20 years.
    There are ham radio enthusiasts buying up old 2G equipment and perfectly fine 3G equipment got sold to poorer countries in bulk. I understand that “The Internet” as a whole is incredibly energy consuming. But fringe developments work counter to that. Look up “Comparison of software and protocols for distributed social networking” and stuff like LoRaWAN – the future of ad-hoc Système-D type networks will be exciting.
    On the server side of things there is a large movement to save energy. And even without this, when you leave out the surveillance bugs, one salvaged old corporate server can serve hundreds of sites or thousands of users for a few hundred watts.
    Then there is the social and economic power aspect of it all. I am not thinking about the DoDs of this world, but that everybody outside of WeChat/Tencent territory WILL put some resources into something resembling what them Chinese have. Or else!

    My forecast: Highways will be decommissioned sooner than the Internet goes away. And nobody will care. When they could care because the Internet went away, they’ll live in such a different world that they just don’t care anymore.

  243. Tripp, well, it’s the story of my entire 23 years of life in a nutshell too, so at least you aren’t alone 😜

  244. JMG, RE: your statements about the military using UFO lore to cover up their latest aerial critter.

    It made me think of years ago when I was hired to run the physics labs at a small university in New Mexico. The old timer who showed me the ropes was a wonderful professor named C B Moore from the days when people were hired for their competence rather than a bunch of degrees.

    He had done research for the military years prior to that, which finally got declassified while I was there. He and others were testing, if memory serves, things like cockpit and suits for high altitude jet pilots by sending them up in high altitude balloons. The balloons, of course, came down where the wind took them, including , perhaps, ranches around, ah say, Roswell and environs.

    CB found the legends highly amusing, but, being old school, he was not about to say a word until declassification.
    Somewhere I saw a T shirt with a alien kid saying “my parents visited Roswell and all I got was this lousy t shirt.”
    Hee, Hee.

  245. Berserker,
    I absolutely love pawpaws. I never see them around here in north Georgia, but whenever I’m visiting my dad in the Missouri Ozarks in October I usually find a few ripe ones. Although sharing them is more difficult…that’s why I usually also bring in some good mushrooms. Rope-a-dope. Aren’t these mushrooms delicious?? [turns head to spoon down huge scoop of pawpaw while everybody is oohing and aahing over lion’s mane pompoms]

  246. I’m an ocean person. Specifically, the Pacific Ocean. More specifically, Los Angeles and environs. I romanticized it since I first heard of the place growing up in the frozen upper Midwest, and when I finally got to know it in reality, it was even better than I’d imagined. Like home. I’ll probably go to my grave kicking myself for being too weak-willed to make living there permanently a reality.

    The ocean person vs. mountain person dichotomy seems pretty robust. I’d noticed it before, and the comments here seem to bear it out.

    David, by the Lake, it seems to me that Nicholas C. is making an argument about legitimacy, and it’s worth taking seriously. Yes, this republic started out over 200 year ago as a federation of semi-sovereign states, but is it worth respecting that legacy in a contemporary nation in which all of the big questions are decided at the federal level and have been for decades, and the practical divide between, say, urban and rural is much greater than that between state and neighboring state? To what extent can the states be said to coherently represent their citizens’ interests anymore? I don’t personally favor abolishing the Electoral College, but I don’t have a good response to that challenge off the top of my head, either.

    As an aside, I share your inner conflict about new tech and big data.

    Selkirk Astronomer, I second the vote for Naked Capitalism. It’s how I found my way to the Archdruid Report, quite a few years ago now. I don’t tend to visit regularly these days, but I remember it being mostly good, smart, independent commentary from a left-wing perspective; not a mouthpiece for the corporate/DNC left or a craven identity-politics clickbait mill for the millennials.

    Justin Patrick Moore, thanks for the essays on Down Home Punk. I personally never went in for punk fashion, but I definitely shared the values.

  247. Here’s an esoteric question. In “The Hounds of Tindalos,” it’s a explained that the Hounds are the result of an unspeakably evil deed done in the beginning of time, so far back that mankind has only distorted memories of the dread deed in the tale of Adam and Eve. Did anyone ever write a story explaining what exactly the deed was? Or was I supposed to figure it out from the text in “Hounds,” and, if so, what the heck was it?

  248. Esteemed JMG, I’m currently wading through, The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky, Abridged by Michael Gomes. Finding it tougher to understand than, The Cosmic Doctrine, by Dion Fortune. However, I see various parallels between the two books, as well as between the two authors. (I noticed Blavatsky died in 1891 & Fortune was born in 1891. The Cosmic Doctrine feels like a 2.0 rewrite/upgrade to The Secret Doctrine — perhaps even written by the same soul in a successive incarnation?!) Any comments or thoughts on, The Secret Doctrine? As always, thank you for your help.

  249. A third on Naked Capitalism. A fine site! Also a good bellwether, since the more psychotic leftists never forgave Yves for blaspheming the goddess Hillary. If writers at a particular site get hysterical at the mention of Naked Capitalism or Yves, you know not to waste any more time or brain cells on that site.

  250. Juan Pablo said: “Oh another thing, a friend of mine’s neighbors sell crystals and stones (they had a quartz the size of my head), and he wants to know of a good resource on the magical properties of stones, crystals and gems.”

    I would be interested Juan, please email me at green wizard dtrammel at gmail dot com

  251. P.S. I have a subplot going about General Nuisance’s son writing a dog training book, and if I weren’t worried about copyright, I’d love to have a scene where Nuisance Junior brings in an angular, snarling, frothing, terrifying Hound of Tindalos: “Look, everybody, I finally got him to heel!” 🐕😄

  252. Dear Tripp,

    The gold passing hand to hand is very much reminiscent of the Temperance tarot card, which in the Cabala, of course, corresponds to the path leading from Yesod to Tiphareth. Wondering if the gold is yours is so deeply poetic as it gets right to the heart of the paradox of identity. Do you live through your soul or does your soul live through you? Whose gold is it?

    Also having the pieces be 1/4 to my mind is an oblique reference to the mandala shape you’ve been practicing with the LBRP. Carl Jung noticed that folks having individuation crises would often have dream images that involved references to mandala shapes, or circles with an equidistant cross in them.

    Point being, to my mind at least, your description of gold coins in your dreams is dead on target symbolically with the tradition.

    As for the lengthy response to my response, I’ll hold my tongue and simply note that every single detail of a dream is fodder for discursive meditation. Seriously — every single detail is worthy of deep thought. Carl Jung wrote that, to my understanding at least, dreams were how the soul communicated to the persona. And so every detail can be meditated on for self-knowledge.

    Of course, different folks have different relationships to their dreams. I happen to adore them, and talking about them, and, in this case, writing about them! I tend to find them suffuse with achingly lovely meaning. Other folks’ milage varies considerably.

  253. @Onething
    “August 30, 2019 at 7:01 pm
    So are the differences real?”

    Yes they are and no they aren’t.
    I can hold both views.

    Caution with places like Viet Nam and Taiwan. There are several tribes, not just the dominant group.

    My favorite face (and I didn’t say so) was a medium brown probably African American guy with the deepest blue eyes. I only saw him once. Striking.

    A place like Kabul, where so many races have wandered through, is one of the places I like to see pictures of people. I think it was in Nat Geo that I saw a 1960 Chevy with a trunk full of kids going down the road, each child different. I wish I had that picture. I hope the lid didn’t slam down.

    The best Tuvan throat singer, in my opinion, I describe as the fat guy with the flat East Asian face because I can’t remember his name. I can say that without prejudice. My last GF weighed about 220 pounds and I weighed about 125. She was of course scholarly very smart but impractical.

    Are you using the one drop rule and setting aside attractive, cultured, well educated Octaroons as ineligible for marriage with Whites? That is the “race” I don’t care for.

    Many “white” people, especially in ex-slavery South USA, doing genealogy find the next relative on the chain to be listed as ‘colored’ and start over because it can’t be right just to end up back at the same individual.

    So how is “race” used? Divide and control or the joy of little differences? Is there an unfair prejudice against a group by their overall appearance? An unfair privilege? Can it be said that a girl is beautifully wonderfully dark without others being upset?

    So what are your prejudices? Mine are the (often non-white) people who blatantly hate me because of what I am. I am a “white” semi-intellectual who looks and acts and speaks very much like the Authority Figures who abused them. They won’t arrive at the understanding that I am tolerant and mean them well.

    Again, it is attitude that matters to me.

    inohuri

  254. JMG, your gyrfalcon might still be in the general area. On Tuesday my wife and I saw a raptor over the Agawam River here in Wareham MA that was considerably larger than our ospreys (which we see practically daily), and the right colors. We didn’t get a close enough view for a clear identification, and we had no binoculars or camera with us. There’s probably a 90% chance he was something else, but just maybe.

    I’m a seashore person, but not a beach (as in crashing waves and sand) person. If I were wealthy I probably would have chosen some stony cove where trees grow next to (usually calm) salt water. Instead, this estuary chose me, and I learned what I’d been missing.

    The tide is everything here. Today the low tide was extra low, so I crawled out (literally) into the mud flats to pull out old pieces of pipe, waterlogged boards, a chair, and other miscellaneous trash left exposed. (Some readers might recall the a certain scene in the bathhouse in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Except there was no flood of pure clean water afterward, just more muck until the tide came back in. But the muck belongs here.)

    Engaging with these spirits via physical contact. That’s where my conversation, reflection, and practice has been going, as I complete my first full year living here. Now I just have to survive the local, currently “critical,” EEE mosquito peril until first frost.

  255. Scotlyn,

    Thank you very much, especially since we are arguing!
    I have it nearly written, maybe it will be ready tomorrow. It was not possible to not say anything about alternatives because it’s too much part of the story and I am at an alternative treatment clinic now and my need to stay a bit longer is the reason for the funding campaign.But I did tone it down quite a lot.
    I have to hope that JMG is right, and it will attract about as much sympathy as it deflects. I think that people in general are getting closer and closer to rebellion about our backward cancer treatment options. I’m quite pleased that black Americans are perhaps over-represented here, and there are at least as many Canadians (including black Canadians) as Americans.
    Incidentally, in the treatment rooms, where several patients are together in one big room, they don’t allow cell phones or laptops! And I think it is great. Much more peaceful and we talk to each other.
    As to my progress, it seems to be picking up steam. I had a lymph node at my neck that was the size of a hazelnut in the shell and almost as hard, and is now more like the size of a kidney bean except round. Still have a ways to go. The body can only clear up a mess so fast…

  256. @JMG

    I feel stranded politically. I like things like public transit, local food systems and a safety net for poor people, which marks me as a bleeding heart liberal. On the other hand, I’m a fiscal hawk. Looking at the federal budget pie, math suggests that the military, medicare and social security need a reality check if we are to maintain said safety net and hold the core of the American Empire together. Speaking of Empire, if we don’t share some kind of common cultural understanding (e.g. the English language, freedom of speech and religion) we are fated to dissolve into separate states. These kind of thoughts are all banned on the Left. Modern Monetary magic wands and virtue signaling will make it all better, right?

    As a self described conservative, how do you view the current malaise on the Left? I feel like a lot of people with nuanced views feel stranded and are migrated by force to extreme islands of thought and/or checking out of politics entirely (my favored coping mechanism.)

  257. GP,

    “The conscious hunter is placing themselves in the environment and become part of it. I’ve tried telling these insights to fellow hikers but the only response I get is “but they kill animals” so I just give up trying to explain.”

    I am sure every last one of them is vegetarian?

  258. @Tripp and others with a bent for growing paw paws and/or environmental history.
    Paw paws were once the only large North American fruit. But they don’t ship or store well, and taste best when overripe and ugly looking (you can, however, freeze your surplus and make ice cream or pies later, and I suspect a killer brandy could also be made). But I digress-the main reason they are uncommon today is that they rarely propagate by seed. They prefer deep rich bottomland soils-the kind of habitat that became farms and mills here in western PA. They rely on a carrion fly to pollinate, but have an extremely weak dead-meat smell. At the risk of looking like a voodoo practice in your yard, the trick is to secure a couple of chicken bones to each tree in late April. My wife strenuously objected to this, but it ensures copious pollination….

  259. @ escher

    If I may, I’d like to consider your response to David BTL:

    “Yes, this republic started out over 200 year ago as a federation of semi-sovereign states, but is it worth respecting that legacy in a contemporary nation in which all of the big questions are decided at the federal level and have been for decades…”

    When the Republic was founded the states were sovereign, full stop. Not semi-sovereign. The states delegated limited powers to the Federal government as defined in the Constitution. That said, you’re correct about the big questions being decided at the Federal level for decades. In fact, it has been since the 1930s when “the switch in time saved 9” on the Supreme Court and allowed New Deal legislation to go forward based largely on a broad interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause. That switch cemented Federal control which had expanded since the Civil War. All of this raises the question of whether or not all of the big questions should be decided at the Federal level? Reasonable people can certainly differ on this question, however I’d argue (see below) the answer is no if the Union is to survive in the long-term.

    “…and the practical divide between, say, urban and rural is much greater than that between state and neighboring state? To what extent can the states be said to coherently represent their citizens’ interests anymore?

    One of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution is the freedom to move from state to state. People are free to choose to live in states that most closely align with their view of the world. On average, it would seem that a state’s politics will generally represent the views of its residents. From personal experience, there are several states my wife would not consider moving to for political reasons. I think this is fairly common. I’d argue that as a general matter states do represent their citizen’s interests in a fairly coherent manner. That’s why no one confuses the politics of California and South Carolina.

    “I don’t personally favor abolishing the Electoral College, but I don’t have a good response to that challenge off the top of my head, either.”

    I also don’t want to abolish the Electoral College, in large part because I want the Union to survive and I think retaining the individual character of states is important to achieving that goal. A looser federation may give people the opportunity to go where they are most comfortable. The current winner take all approach to difficult social issues such as abortion, gun rights, education, drugs, etc., makes me question whether the Union can survive as states yell past each other. Hopefully I’m wrong and the Union is not that fragile, but I think the Electoral College is important to retaining the federal nature of our government.

  260. Hey hey Wesley and JMG,

    RE: The Biotechnic Nightmare Future making a good novel

    It is already out there. Or, at least one good version, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. It isn’t as accurate a forecast as Twilight’s Last Gleaming or as constructive and useful as Retrotopia, but its failings are as interesting as its successes.

    It is post peak oil, not post apocalyptic, and the greater scale of our civlization has enabled greater resilience and greater damage and it doesn’t end with the StarTrek singularity or the zombie apocalypse.

    I thought it was well written and good scifi of the type that existed before it all became about faster than light space ships and I also liked the way it handled the element of magical realism. It wasn’t as prevalent as it is with Salman Rushdie but it was done as well.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  261. JMG: “current notions of retirement are hopelessly unsustainable, and most of the people in the work force today will “retire” into more or less serious poverty. The idea of having money earn money for you is predicated on an expanding economy, and is having to be propped up by any number of ornate games now that the global economy is expanding only on paper. I don’t plan on retiring, and I’d encourage you to look for a second career you can use to keep yourself fed and housed in old age.”

    I vividly remember when I first had the realization that I would never be able to “retire’ (circa 1980, age 26)…caught up in the lean logic of our irreversible decline. It’s always seemed natural and right to me that we all work at something that makes a productive contribution to society right up until the end if possible. The notion of getting to enjoy ‘golden years’ of leisure,comfort and security after ‘paying one’s dues’ seems so misguided and unrealistic.

    The ‘retiring into poverty’ movement has already begun in earnest and will only be picking up steam because, as you rightly observe, the expanding REAL economy is over. The extreme scams of financialization will collapse at some point, as all Ponzi schemes must. Having faith in financial ‘conventional wisdom’ seems like utter folly now. You’ve counseled previously that folks invest in tools, in learning, in connection with community and family as a humble, meaningful way forward. This seems spot on to me…poverty does not have to mean misery and deprivation. Not easily embraced however, in the midst of our insane culture. We’ll mostly be learning the hard way.

    Jim

  262. Just wanted to say that I wholeheartedly support your call for a central bank that is a part of the US Treasury, as opposed to the Federal Reserve. Most people do not really grasp the reality that the Fed is mostly privately owned…the implications of that are staggering when one begins looking in to it. As you point out, once the broad populist movement is more well established we may manage to give the Fed the boot. Perhaps in the second Gabbard administration (’28 – ’32)?

  263. Hi John Michael,

    Nice to read that your health is benefiting from a cooler ocean climate, and hope the same goes for Sara.

    On occasion I do feel the need to visit the ocean (much like some of the off world characters in Kim Stanley Robinson’s most excellent book Aurora), but the rising tides in areas which I’ve known of for decades is a bit troubling. So, I much prefer the forests and mountainous areas, and that is where I’m found these days. Dunno, why though, it just feels right to me living up here and I feel it in a way I wouldn’t have considered even a decade ago.

    Thanks for the earlier response and advice. It is a complicated line to weave, but no doubts the guy knew a sensible path to follow. Of late, I’ve been just dropping the odd hint here and there with people and just seeing whether they’re at all curious. Otherwise it just comes across poorly. I’ve had to consider how to broach the subject with people and it is not easy at all. I’ve noted over the years that with the dogs (and this was true of work teams as well) that I couldn’t make them follow all the time, they had to want to follow. With the dogs I use love but that tool bounces back on me too, which is no real drama as the dogs are OK.

    On the other hand one of my goals with my blog was to show anyone who was at all remotely curious that it is a lot of hard work to live this way. And if they’re put off by that, great, I couldn’t give a fig. In some ways it’s a bit like your ‘flake filter’ which we discussed a long while back. It works.

    Cheers

    Chris

  264. @Ellen,
    Your son could be sensitive to EMFs. You would think that he would also react to hand held cellphones as well in that case, but among that parameters that can determine the degree of effects is near field versus far field. In the case of the American embassy workers irradiated in Moscow during the Soviet era, the workers in the near field (nearest the microwave transmitter) showed fewer effects than those in the far field, though that is counterintuitive.
    I hope it is merely a fear of tall things, as one commenter suggested, which I can recall feeling when I was very small. Nevertheless, I recommend looking into ways of minimizing your family’s exposure to unnecessary levels of EMFs. There are ways of doing that without being pariahs, and are likely to improve your family’s health overall. I recommend this site: https://www.electricsense.com/

  265. @Onething – if races “exist” and it is “nature, your brain and your eyes” that tell you this, then please tell me how MANY races does “nature, your brain and your eyes” tell you that there are? Name and describe them.

    As to my reasons for disagreeing with you, I wonder if you have considered that, leaving “nature” out of it, as neither you nor I are in a position to speakfor her, it just may be that MY brain and eyes *see* [the same world] differently to yours?

    That is to say that the terrain is whatever it is [nature] but my life experience map model [my eyes and brain] is differently organised to your life experience map model [your brain and eyes]? There doesn’t *have* to be any nefarious reason for either how you see the world, nor for how I do, you know.

    My comment about “breeding projects” was partly in response to your original reference to dog breeds – which, please note ARE visibly different, are NOT races, and do arise because of breeder’s obsession with *controlling* mate choices (ie forbidding free or autonomous mate choosing).

    My comment was also based on my prior experience of meeting people who use the phrase “race exists” where this has is accompanied by an obsession about “breeding”. They are often anxious to prevent certain ancestral lines from converging in any single individual.

    I find that this obsession with breeding “pure” “races” rubs against own obsession with the autonomy of the self-willed individual, because, of course, the LAST thing a breeder can allow is mate selection freedom in the “bred”.

    I want to stress that I have never found you to be particularly obsessed with other people’s mating choices, so I know that what I have personally experienced in relation to other “race realists” doesn’t hold true for you.

    But, that means I remain curious as to what aspect of the world this particular “map model” of human “races” that “obviously” exist, is making sense of, for you?

    FWIW the thought that humans night in fact BE someone’s breeding project never crossed my mind. So just now I have no view on that.

  266. Quick little note I wish to share with those amongst us that use the Orphic Hymns for any reason:

    While Frankincense and Aromatic Herbs are easy enough to purchase in commerce, Storax is much less so. doing a little online research, I found that storax comes from Liquidambar orientalis, a tree that grows in Greece and Turkey.

    Luckily for those of us in Eastern North America, there is an easy work around. The Sweetgum tree is very closely related (Liquidambar styraciflua). The species name of the binomial means in Latin “flowing with storax!” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidambar_styraciflua)

    While I’ve never found any resin on the sweetgum trees, I have found that burning the bark and buds to be a perfectly acceptable substitute for storax for honoring the Greek Gods who prefer storax as an offering.

  267. @ escher and @ Nick C

    Re the EC and the nature of government

    Oh, I understand the sentiment. I just disagree vehemently with its premise. We are not a unitary nation subdivided into states. We are a collection of disparate states which came together to form a nation. The states are not a function of the federal government, rather it is the federal government that is a function of the states. The states were not created to represent a constituency, that is that their purpose; they are polities which exist in their own right. So the fact that they are heterogenous in their make-up is irrelevant.

    (And I’d like to apologize, Nick, if my language came off sharp. I usually soften my language with more “I would argue”s and “I’d suggest”s than I used in that response.)

    Yes, we have centralized our operations over these two centuries in our march to empire. I would argue that centralization was a mistake, as was that empire, but in any event both are temporary phenomena which have already crested the high-water mark and whose ebb will accelerate as our empire crumbles away in these coming decades. None of that alters the fact that the Constitution says what it says and that our roots, which would serve us well in managing the shocks to the system we’ll be having to bear, are based on decentralized and robust self-governance at the state and local levels. I would urge a return to those roots as our best strategy for navigating the terrain of the coming century.

  268. @barrigan: LOL, good point, no clearly no one thought about that.

    @Copeland: Thank You so much, I’m going to check out Naked Capitalism. I do like it here, because I am a lefty liberal, but I do appreciate differing and opposing points of view that are not talking points, but I also like discussing left-leaning issues that we’re just not going to get to here.

    @Brian, As a native from SoCal, (Vista, S of L.A. and N of S.D.) I agree with you. It will always have it’s challenges but it became a huge city for a reason – Overall, it’s a pretty sweet spot.

    @Lady Cutekitten – come to Florida if you want to see, feel, taste, (through no fault of your own) Junebugs in late spring /early summer. The air is thick with them.

    @Onething/Ryan: I can’t believe it, it doesn’t seem to happen often, LOL, but I agree with Onething on this. I think the trouble is again the semantics of what we are calling ‘race’, as how we as lay-people most often and casually discern between people based on skin colour and physical features. In fact the separation is more to culture or sub-culture. These sub-cultures have been separated along the lines of skin colour and features for a century or more primarily due to European Imperialism and the African slave trade – both of which were in turn instituted for economic exploitation – so ‘false’ or arbitrary reasons. False or arbitrary in terms of actual human worth.

    IMHO: Onething is right. There are differences even if “race” is scientifically an inaccurate descriptor, it is currently the most commonly understood word to describe that- There is no intrinsic value, one race/subculture/group worth more or less than the others. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, some are better at some things and weaker at others and vice versa.

    @JMG: I DO hope we get to some discussion on race, (using the most common definition, however inaccurate scientifically). I personally DO feel a hazy undefined sense of guilt for being the lucky recipient of the exploitations of the past as well as a lop-sided, uneven playing field in the present. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t personally ask for this, I’ve got it. ” One writer I read wrote: Anyone of any colour/race raised in the Western world, perhaps especially America has taken in the baggage, the lessons of racism, the separation and hierarchy of races in large, institutional ways and tiny microscopic personal ways”, (Circling back to the sub-thread of SoCal, LOL) “It’s like saying I live in Los Angeles but don’t breathe the smog. Nope, sorry, If you live there, you’re breathing it”.

    To me, I think this means all I can do is be aware of the unearned privileges, (sorry, I know that is now a trigger word, but for lack of a better one…), and try to be a better person, in voting and fighting to make the playing field more even, and to act/interact/and wield this ‘privilege’ responsibly/ethically. I have to say – just being aware goes a long way. It makes the rest far easier.

  269. Dear Violet, I would like to second what Mr. Greer said about boring, difficult and old-fashioned. I have actually walked out of quilting classes which I thought were far too superficial and not worth my time. It is exactly the boring, difficult and old fashioned which make it worthwhile to spend time and money with a teacher. The simple stull we can teach ourselves. Not, I hasten to add, that I believe your classes were at all simple and superficial, but you might have without realizing it attracted the lovers of fast and easy,

    Dear Jim W, Satire, is it? If you say so. I am well aware of the dysfunctions of contemporary life; I live with most of them, nor am I shielded by wealth or class status from some of their worst effects. I have lived and worked in inner city neighborhoods and impoverished rural towns at low rent, wage earning level for many years, As for Orlov, sorry, I am not a fan. IMO, only a very few European commenters about the USA have ever had a good understanding of their subject, John Lukacs, de Toqueville of course, Henry Fairly sometimes.

  270. @John Kincaid: The average US conservative considers the NYT and WaPo to be liberal papers, so I described them as non-conservative to someone who’d described themselves as conservative – though there are of course different perspectives on these papers from other parts of the political spectrum. I think that centrist neoliberalism may be a better description of their overall editorial stance (but then the US Overton window is somewhat to the right of the British one). And, as the article you linked essentially says, when they support intervention in foreign wars and big up big data (due to ownership by big data, i.e. Bezos) this can end up bolstering hawkish neoconservatives whom many of their journalists criticise for other reasons. These are areas where the interests of neoliberalism and neoconservatism have significant overlap.

  271. @ JMG – I’m enjoying the commentary, and had not thought I’d be putting in a question, but here I am with one that just came to me – I hope it is not too late.

    I have evangelical Christian relatives that are on a Rene Girard “kick”. They contrast Christianity (which they call the anti-sacralised, anti-religion movement) to all other religions, which they state, without exceptions, disguise in every ritual, in every myth, in every expression of reverence for the sacred, the violence of “random scapegoat sacrifice” – and its capacity to unite them socially – which lies at the core of all of them.

    This quote is a sample of the kind of things they post:

    “Until someone is able to demonstrate otherwise, it seems to me the most appropriate working definition of the term ‘sacred’ is that it stems from violence, so much so that the terms ‘sacred’ and violence can be conjoined (as in Violence and the Sacred) or are even synonyms. Girard’s theory of religion, namely that all that humans call sacred, the gods, sacred places, sacred texts, sacred rituals, etc, all stem from the process of ritual sacrificial practices against random scapegoats. In other words, the sacred is bloody.”

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christianityischanging/2017/02/the-desacralization-of-christianity/

    Needless to say, I find this all-encompassing mischaracterisation of natural religions, and of the rituals and myths that arise from people’s personal experiences of the numinous and of the sacred, extremely troubling, although I can hardly articulate exactly why.

    I wondered if you had come across Girard’s ideas, and if you have any considered response to the theory of religion it posits. If so, I’d welcome a taste thereof. With many thanks!

  272. JMG & Tripp: On the resurrection of the wild here in Providence: About 11 years ago, we invested in a sewage storage tunnel which captures the overflow from the sewage system, which used to go into the Providence river. Since then, the river has recovered tremendously, and is now at least as clean as it was in President Lincoln’s time. With that has come back all the life that belongs there. I drive boat tours on the river, and I’ve seen ospreys stooping, great blue herons spearing fish, and cormorants diving for 30 seconds. For the past 6 weeks, we’ve had a great egret hanging around. At first s/he was bit skittish, but now s/he struts for my guests, and with any luck, spears an immature menhaden just as we go by. S/he is a glorious bird, all white with an orange beak, nearly as big as the related great blue heron.

  273. John–

    As one data point for the upcoming 2020 election, I’d like to share a local observation. I’ve started seeing some Trump banners around my smaller Wisconsin city. (We are something of a Democratic enclave generally, but have our Republican contingent as well.) What struck me in particular was that these were printed, fabric banners, not hand-made signs, and the message was both direct and memorable (and edited for this bog):

    TRUMP 2020
    No More Bull[shale]

    It is going to be an interesting election…

  274. re: news sources

    There was a scholarly .png that showed major news outlets by different parameters. It is gone. Hard to read anyway.

    The most neutral and unbiased according to the research was
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/
    B runs a one man shop, works really hard and if he gets it wrong he says so.

    The comments are out of my league, often as good as the article.

    Very good news Aug 29 and 30:

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/08/saudi-arabia-acknowledges-defeat-in-yemen-starts-to-sue-for-peace-.html

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/08/syrian-rebels-feel-left-behind-burn-traitor-erdogans-picture.html

    ——

    Mint press was next to MOA in the research.

    About MintPress News

    MintPress News is an independent watchdog journalism organization that provides issue-based original reporting, in-depth investigations, and thoughtful analysis of the most pressing topics facing our nation.

    We focus our coverage on issues relating to the effects of special interest groups, big business and lobbying efforts and how they shape policies at home and abroad, including American foreign policy.

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/about-mint-press-news/

    inohuri

  275. Hi John

    The Brexit epic story continues and it looks increasingly likely that we will get a hard Brexit by 31st October. Our media and celebrity elite have gone mad over this prospect which is hugely enjoyable to those who voted Leave.

    Eurointelligence, who are hardly a Brexiteer website, have a good take on the latest developments.

    https://www.eurointelligence.com/public.html

    “The political reality is that the anti-Brexit campaign has committed one strategic blunder after another, and failed to attract enough support. They lost two general elections, one European election and one referendum. The ferocity of their reaction is best explained as a sudden realisation that they lost. They did not see this coming.”

    Your comments on China fascinated me. Given your views on the dodgy nature of the Chinese political economy are you still sticking with your forecast that global economic/geopolitical power will shift from America to China by the end of next decade?

  276. My question for anyone is where does this country go from here? There appears to be broad consciousness of the fact that the empire is rapidly crumbling, and that identity politics have resulted in open and aggressive tribalism.

    What’s next? I’ve always assumed that this would fall apart gradually, but I’m beginning to believe that we are in for upheavals of historic proportions.

  277. Michael, the balloon that came down at Roswell was part of Project Mogul, a classified high-altitude balloon project that snooped on Russian nuclear tests by catching shockwaves in the upper atmosphere. It was declassified in 1994, and since then the details have been discussed repeatedly in several sound books, but the allure of the UFO myth is so potent that the “Roswell crash” (full of details borrowed from the completely bogus “Aztec crash” story) has remained an icon among true believers. Another of the balloons came down in Fulton County, GA, but the local farmer who found it identified it as a balloon, so Fulton County lost its chance to host an annual UFO fair…

    Escher, I wonder if you spent time there in a previous life. If my memories are anything to go by, I did, and in the 1940s and 1950s it was really a wonderful place to live.

    Your Kittenship, one of the standard gimmicks in weird tales, especially but not only in Lovecraft’s time, was to leave vast chunks of stuff unexplained, to get the audience to feel the same sense of puzzled bafflement the characters were feeling. Frank Belknap Long used that to the hilt in “The Hounds of Tindalos,” and of course I borrowed the same trick repeatedly in The Shoggoth Concerto. So nobody knows what the dreadful deed was. Feel free to hint colorfully about it in your own stories!

    Shivadas, I don’t think they were the same soul — Fortune recalled a lot of her past lives, and that wasn’t one of them — but Fortune was a member of the Theosophical Society for some years and studied The Secret Doctrine very closely. Thus you’re quite correct that The Cosmic Doctrine was meant as a commentary on Blavatsky’s work, or at least a work intended for those who knew their way around the worldview of Theosophical occultism (which was standard for everyone in the occult scene in Fortune’s time).

    Your Kittenship, the Hounds are out of copyright — that’s why I used them in The Shoggoth Concerto and again in the last volume of The Weird of Hali. Feel free to put one on a leash and take it for walkies!

  278. Dear JMG,

    Thank you for your response — points very well taken. As noted in my comment I was an amateur teacher and I made a lot of mistakes. At this point I don’t want any personal students, perhaps for similar reasons that you’ve outlined; people too often come for reasons quite different from what they say.

    I volunteer at a local community theatre and today went on a long walk in an urban area. Something that I say at the theatre was that I was by far the youngest person volunteering. In the urban area I was at I saw most folks my age and younger glued to their smartphones.

    So while I wholly agree with what you are basically saying, I also think that the reality of teaching folks around me — as I was doing with herbal practice — was that while doing so I was doing so in a context of what I think can fairly be called ‘culture death’. I mean this quite literally — culture tends to be transmitted generation to generation. The older folks that I volunteered with today clearly are able to participate in their local community, but I doubt nearly the same fraction of folks my age or younger have anything like the skills.

    What happens if the folks in my generation have children? What sort of culture will be transmitted? Is there enough fiber and strength to spin a thread, or will new wool be needed?

    Who was it who wrote about doing what you can where you are, with the people around you, with what you have? What happens when in your living communities nearly everyone in your generation is addicted to smart phones, unable to think coherently, and filled with partisan political rage? These are certainly the conditions that I experience now in my living community and they were the conditions under which I attempted to teach herbalism. Again, I think that I made a lot of mistakes which I own and would do things quite differently were I to do the same thing now. That said, I think there was more going on than my own personal failings as a teacher, and I think that this wider context is worthy of discussion for those of us concerned about transmitting knowledge to the future and so I mention these considerations here!

    Dear Nastarana,

    Many thanks; that makes sense.

  279. Thanks, JMG! Now I can just call the place Tindalos and readers can chuckle knowingly and I can give them an actual look at the Hounds. Whee! What I had done was, the Reverend Fastleft snuck away from his bodyguards and took his GF to Tindalos to make his marriage proposal in peace and quiet (you usually have an hour or so before the Hounds notice you). I had called Tindalos something else and kept the Hounds offstage. Now I can quit fudging and let it all hang out.

    Sneak preview: he hiccuped his way through the proposal (being in Tindalos always gives him the hiccups), it was enthusiastically accepted, and I hope to let them live happily ever after. 🥰. Although in a milieu of sulky magic swords and hiccuping High Priests, nothing is certain… 😄

  280. @Antonomasia
    August 31, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    I got this little problem:

    Neoliberals and neoconservatives all look alike to me.

    inohuri

  281. P.S. If you haven’t read “The Hounds of Tindalos,” by Frank Belknap Long, drop what you’re doing and go read it right now, it’s great fun. At one point, the guy who’s been messing with Things Man Was Not Meant To Know is frantically scribbling notes about the Hounds. His notes include “…their tongues…aaaahhh…”. Now, that’s a dedicated note taker, to even transcribe the scream! 😄. Long wrote another story, “The Space Eaters,” that was equally nutty fun. He wrote these when he was a member of the “Lovecraft Circle” of young men (I doubt Lovecraft could get away with that Circle nowadays!). Long went on to become a science fiction writer of some note.

  282. According to my hard-won local fish wrap, Tezuka Katsumi, the guy who wore the Godzilla suit in the original movie, is 107 today! Happy birthday, Mr. Tezuka! I hope he is still with us next year!

    🎂🎂

  283. @Onething – of course we are arguing, but we are arguing *here* where arguing is part of a process of listening and understanding and reflecting.

    And although our eyes and brains tell us different things about the world, tge chance to listen over time, to what yours tell you, has been an enriching and rewarding process.

    I’m delighted to hear that messes are being cleaned up, and lumps are shrinking – and also that it is happening in good company. So, I continue to wish you well, with candles lit, and will look to adding to your fund and spreading the word, also. Be well!

  284. Greetings JMG. If I remember correctly, a few months back there was mention of a potential network of physical ecosophic ‘nodes’ where discussion could take place and learning could occur in a convivial atmosphere free from people yelling political slogans at one another or demanding that others eat the same diet they do. The idea of setting such a place up here in Cornwall has been on my mind for a while and greatly appeals to me. The only trouble is, I have no idea how it would operate and how exactly the focus of it would be decided.

    Now, I am very lucky to be in possession of a piece of (in my opinion) enchanted woodland/forest, which would make a pretty cool venue for such a hub, and I thought perhaps it could be combined with a skills centre where people could learn various woodland crafts associated with low impact living such as charcoal making, greenwood carpentry, willow weaving etc.

    So, I’m just wondering if the idea has progressed any further and if anyone here is developing something similar so that we can pool ideas. Apologies if it’s already been discussed but I haven’t had as much time as I’d have liked to read all the comments recently. Luckily, I have far more time now that I’ve recently escaped an 18-month sentence in an office environment.

    Many thanks – Jason

  285. Thank you, all who responded to my request for news source suggestions. Naked Capitalism looks very interesting and is precisely the kind of thing I was hoping to get turned onto. I am quite wary of most American MSM offerings, regardless of which side of the isle it originates, it just reeks of propaganda. Given the hyper-consolidated nature of the US media landscape and recent (2013) law changes allowing the intelligence community to directly propagandize to the domestic audiences, I think my disdain and skepicism are well founded. I just cannot gag down Huffpo or NYT, not mention CNN or MSNBC (or Fox, for that matter!). When time and energy allow I will take the advise of several, including our host, to compare and contrast foreign news sources. That this blog is wonderful for broadening one’s perspective is something I think we would all agree on!

  286. @ NomadicBeer – A good book on Ancient Roman history will likely have primary sources. If i recall correctly, ‘SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome’ (by Mary Beard) used a lot of primary sources.

    @ Christophe – re: statistics. The phrase, “lies, damn lies, and statistics” comes to mind. Not only can data be manipulated and fudged, but reasonably good data can be incorrectly applied. (for example: Q: “Are these oranges good, fair or poor quality?”; A: “Yes, they are large, medium and small.”).

    @ Pondering – Your friend’s work sounds very interesting. I strongly agree with JMG’s recommendation re using comic books to teach and enhance reading skills. My son told me that comic books had been a big help for him all those years ago. Also, kids can also create there own comic books as a way to promote writing. I don’t know if your friend has looked at that.

    To all in the path of Hurricane Dorian – my prayers for your safety and well being.

  287. Hi Violet,

    The other day I read a news story about how Twitter mobs & similar phenomena really took off in 2013-14. Nobody was sure why but thought it might have to do with the first smartphone generation coming of age.

    Me, I think if ever there were toxic egregors, Twitter and Facebook are exemplars.

  288. Inohuri,

    “Are you using the one drop rule and setting aside attractive, cultured, well educated Octaroons as ineligible for marriage with Whites? That is the “race” I don’t care for.”

    Um…I am slow to take offense and quick to forgive. Did you intend to say something so uncalled for?

    I feel like I am trying to get across an incredibly simple point and people are wandering all over the map in response.

    I don’t think that disliking when people are against you because of your race is a prejudice. If we’re going to deal with racism (which I don’t consider a big problem) then it means we level the playing field. No one gets a free pass. Otherwise, it’s the Hatfields and the McCoys forever. And right now, SJWs are encouraging the nonwhites to indulge in any amount of prejudice and even hatred toward whites. This saddens me in the same way that lack of respect for free speech saddens me.

    What are my prejudices? Well, I try to be a Sufi and always give everyone the benefit of the doubt and judge them as an individual. But my pet peeve right now is lack of ability to engage in rational discourse.

  289. Walt, that wouldn’t surprise me at all. They apparently get around!

    Reese, things like that can have really weird effects. Did they mention what the female cosmonauts do, btw?

    Brian, there’s a very solid, straightforward, and honorable term for what you are: a moderate. That’s not at all a bad thing to be, as it allows you to pick the things you like from the two sides of the political battlefield, and propose the kind of workable compromise that we’ll probably end up with anyway. As for the current left, they’re in disintegration mode — the right was there a decade ago, and things came together in a new, populist form in the last few years, complete with red MAGA hat. Give the left a decade or so, and it’ll get its act together, ditching the extremist proposals that get so much air time right now and crafting a new set of policies that will actually appeal to American voters. This sort of thing happens quite regularly in American history.

    Phil K, thanks for this.

    Jim, exactly. I’ve been very poor at a couple of points in my life, and once you know how to handle poverty competently, it’s nothing to be afraid of. I plan on working until I die, but that’s partly because I love what I do — and I know that a writer who keeps on bringing out new books every years has a very good chance of being comfortable in old age. As for the elimination of the Fed and its replacement by a central bank run by the Treasury, I’m fairly confident that that will happen, quite probably in my lifetime; it’s a common theme as civilizations age that the diffusion of power among the aristocracy gives way to a centralization of power in the hands of government bureaucrats. The Fed is a typically aristocratic institution, “private” in that its management is in the hands of an elite class rather than a bureaucracy; as we move deeper into an age of Caesarism, that’s a power center that will inevitably end up in the hands of Caesar.

    Chris, I get that. I miss the mountains of Washington State — the little rolling hills we have here on the east coast don’t qualify, not when you’re used to this:
    real mountains
    — but Washington State’s a dungheap these days, and if I have to choose, I’ll take salt water over real mountains. Still, it’s not an easy choice.

    Caryn, I have a different attitude toward privilege. I’m certainly aware that it exists, and in fact, I’ve written about it at length in past blog posts. The points that strike me as crucial are, first, I didn’t choose it; second, I didn’t make it happen; and third, I can’t get rid of it — even if I somehow managed to erase every trace of the consciousness of privilege from my mind, everyone else would still treat me as a privileged person and give me the benefits of privilege. All these things, taken together, mean that it’s as absurd for me to feel guilty because I have privilege as it would be for me to feel guilty because I’m more or less able-bodied and many other people aren’t. I came out a winner in the lottery of life; that’s not praiseworthy or blameworthy, it’s just one aspect of a universe that doesn’t cater to our sense of justice. What deserves praise or blame, on the other hand, is what I do with the privilege I’ve been assigned. Are you at all familiar with the grand old concept of noblesse oblige — the idea that privilege incurs obligations to those less privileged? That, rather than wallowing in guilt for something you didn’t do and can’t change, seems like a reasonable approach to me.

  290. BCV, my recommendation is that you get a copy of Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, keep it in your bathroom, read a paragraph or two at a time when you’re sitting on the pot, and think about what you read. That’s a far more productive way of making sense of a challenging text than getting someone else’s canned and predigested opinion on the subject.

    Scotlyn, the best way to deal with that sort of thing is to roll your eyes and walk away whenever they start babbling about it. Girard is a good example of a circular, self-confirming belief system; like all such systems — well, those that are competently built — it’s complete in itself, and has a canned answer to every possible objection. People retreat into such belief systems when they can’t handle the alternative, which is being open to the world of experience — which can always prove that our beliefs were wrong.

    Peter, I’ve watched great blue herons fishing on the Seekonk River, too, and wild turkeys wandering through the graveyard where H.P. Lovecraft is buried. The entire bioregion seems to be doing very well these days.

    David BTL, okay, the odds of Trump winning reelection have just gone up noticeably. That’s a brilliant slogan, as it undercuts the entire structure of rhetoric the Dems have been trying to cobble together. If his team keeps up that sort of lateral thinking, the Dems may never know what hit them.

    Forecasting, I think that’s a pretty good summary of the situation regarding Brexit. It’s hard to conduct a competent campaign when you’re convinced you can’t lose — and that sort of thinking has hobbled the Remainers (or as some of my Brexiteer friends call them, the Remoaners) since the referendum was originally announced. As for China, a lot depends on the next couple of years. If Trump stays in office and continues to raise tariffs and pursue a sensible trade policy, China’s rise is seriously in question.

    Hedgeapple, keep your eyes wide. The tribalism is only part of the picture; there’s also a rising tide of nationalist populism that could overwhelm it.

    Violet, I suspect you’re quite correct that culture death is a massive factor just now, and there’s an unsettling reason for that. Over the last half century, the middle classes have been riding high on the hog and the working classes have been stomped. Now the pendulum’s swinging back the other way, and I suspect you’re going to see the same kind of anomie, and the same explosive spread of substance abuse and suicide, among middle class people that we’ve seen in the working classes for decades now. It’s not in suburban Massachusetts that a viable culture will endure!

    Your Kittenship, I’m going to assume that the hiccups are a reaction to angular time! Also, huzzah to Katsumi-san. In honor of whom…

    Jason, the basic idea that’s been discussed is a reading room: a space with some comfortable chairs and a table or two, a collection of books, and a meeting room in back. It’s modeled on the reading rooms hosted by alternative spiritual organizations back in the day, of which the Christian Science reading rooms (very common in older US cities) are very nearly the sole survivors. I don’t know that anybody’s taken it beyond the conceptual level, so you’re potentially moving into new territory.

  291. I’m looking forward to the post on race and ethnicity. In the meanwhile…

    Imagine you see four women talking at a gathering. One is 1.75m (5’10’)’ and blond, from Sweden, one is 1.55m (5’2”), dark-haired and darker-skinned, from Sicily, one is 1.60m (5’4”), rather dark-skinned, from Moçambique, one is 1.80m (6”) and very dark, from South Sudan. Will you believe scientists or your own lying eyes (@onething 🙂 which tell you they are different? Of course they are different! Two are tall and two are short, and nobody can make your eyes unsee that difference.

    Oh, you meant a different difference, skin color, not height? But why? Why is skin color more important than height?

    Oh, there are other physical characteristics that correlate with skin color, but not with height? Which ones? If we expand the sample to include some Syrian, Pakistanis, Southern Indians and aboriginal Australians, I think it will be difficult to group them.

    Oh, but the people with darker and with fairer skin share a long common ancestry and many genetic similarities? It is indeed true that the women from Sweden and from Sicily share a lot of genetic similarities. They share them with people from China, Australia and Amerindians, too.

    However, the women from South Sudan and from Moçambique are probably not any more similar to each other than to people from outside Africa. That is the main result of modern human genetics.

    So, eyes indeed don’t unsee skin color, but they don’t unsee height and other characteristics either. One chooses to privilege one visual aspect over others.

  292. Hi JMG—no one really knows why the Hounds can cause hiccups, not to mention an uncontrollable urge to transcribe screams, but your theory has promise!

    I am also pondering the Bookstores of Doom. You know all those weird tales where the narrator spends the first half of the story talking about how fantastically rare some eldritch volume is, and in the second half he walks into a bookstore and there it is? Well, those stores are a chain. N. Yarlathotep, founder and principal stockholder. (There were a few other stockholders, but they have all mysteriously disappeared…)

  293. All the writers, including John—

    As I’m still learning-by-doing with this writing thing, and hopefully will always be, I’d like to ask you all something. While my writing has been still quite direct and I’m working on the embellishments of description and more intricate plotting, I’m wondering how to go about building more…substantive…narrative. Villains worth their villainy and not, as our host so aptly describes it, evil for the sake of being evil. In part, I ask because I just read (ok, swallowed in a single gulp, but that’s how I tend to read fiction) the second volume of a fun-but-formulaic sword & sorcery series which was a nice read but rather like eating a bunch of cotton candy, lacking substance in the end.The villains seem to be evil, though, for little reason other than their desire to kill the heroine, an outcast-royal-now-queen-because-she’s-the-lone-survivor-of-the-assassination-plot. In this case, I’d figured out who the key traitor was about halfway through. How do you go about making your narratives more substantive and your plots less apparent?

    Many thanks!

  294. @Team10Tim,

    The Windup Girl certainly seems worth checking out. I hadn’t heard of the Biopunk genera before, but it seems like exactly what I was thinking of in terms of how mankind might try to carry on the ‘making nature do whatever we want’ theme in an energy-poor world.

  295. Dear Tude,

    You are so welcome!

    Dear Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat,

    Fascinating! I can see your point. I do wonder if the very structure of those platforms really encourage the worst sorts of behavior, as well. Facebook really seems to help foster communities of the dreariest conformity; and while I’ve never used Twitter, it seems even worse, with people fighting over catchphrases! Whatever consciousness those platforms have is the opposite of nice and good. I’m grateful that I’m in a position to stay well away.

  296. This is a question for the general readership as well as JMG:

    A while ago someone on this blog referenced a news site run by a former government official (that’s as specific as I recall, it could have been anything from a governor to a vice president). The site was (I believe) an aggregator who’s mission was to give a voice to news media that is denied mainstream attention.

    I’ve done my own searching, but have been unable to find it.

    Anyone have any clues?

  297. Scotlyn et.al. re dogbreeding and race

    I thin it was an article in the Atlantic Monthly several years ago that talked about the relationship between racial politics and the movement for purebreed dogs in the US and Europe. The subject also is discussed in A Matter of Breeding by Michael Brandow. Briefly, there have always been regional and occupational differences in dogs, even dogs used for the same purpose–some accidents of isolation and some purposefully bred for. But the preoccupation with purebred x’s and y’s developed, according to these authors, in tandam with the rise in racialist theories. The farmer just cares that the dog he is buying was sired by the best sheep herding dog in the county, not whether it has ‘papers.’ Similarly he will be upset if his best setter bitch is mounted by the neighbor’s terrier not because the puppies are of “mixed blood”, but because such a mixture will be unlikely to be of use as either bird dogs or rat killers.

    The Field Museum in Chicago still has the bronze sculptures created in the 1930s by Malvina Hoffman to illustrate the different ‘races’ of the world. You may have seen reproductions of them in older reference books. There were 104 of them–no one now thinks that there are 104 races–but at the time recording the difference between an Irano-Caucasoid man and a neighboring Arab seemed important. There is a passage in one of Tony Hillerman’s Navaho detective stories in which Jim Chee expresses amazement that a white person can’t tell the difference between a Navajo and a Hopi, differences that seem obvious to him as a Navajo with Hopi neighbors. Then he reflects that when he attended university he couldn’t tell the difference between a person of Norwegian descent and another type of European. Similarly, anyone who knows Asians will have learned that some members of different groups take extreme offense at being confused with members of a group that is indistinguishable to Western eyes. NOT Japanese, or Korean or . . . In the sciences this is sometimes seen as lumping vs splitting. Lumpers look for large patterns–all one race, three major races, etc. Splitters looks for differences, Alpine vs. Mediterranean Italians, Mongols vs. Laotians, etc. Now if one believes as some still, unfortunately, do that certain races are fitted only for brute labor and others are clever and intended to manage the world just noting that races exist in some sense is a threat to peaceful relationships. Study some history to learn that every race has its genius and criminals (sometimes the same), its idiots and saints, its artists and its vandals.

  298. Re: PatriciaOrmsby: thanks for the EMF link. I was a radar tech in the USAF and then worked in Telecom for most of my career. Firstly, the Telecom Act of 1995, passed by the Gingrich congress & signed by Bill Clinton, was heavily promoted within the telecom companies. It contains a provision preempting state or local governments from barring cell tower/antenna siting decisions based on health concerns. The only basis for a state or local gov’t to bar a new cell tower/antenna is aesthetic considerations. If a new tower is just too ugly, then maybe there’s some hope of preventing it. (Expect a long, expensive legal battle.) But telcos get around this easily by hiding or disguising the antennas. Inside church steeples is one favorite; what church can turn down that extra monthly income? Do you know what’s inside your church’s steeple? Even fake trees can be used to hide antennas. There are “law review” articles about cell towers in plastic trees – if you have Nexus/Lexus or some other similar premium search access you can find these articles. I’m apprehensive about 5G. I carry a flip phone for emergencies but try my best to use only wired connections at home. No wifi at home. No smart devices. My house has aluminum siding and I plan on keeping it, as opposed to the now-popular vinyl siding. Who knows; next time I need to replace my shingles, I may even consider getting a metal roof! There’s a case to be made for living in a “faraday cage.”

  299. Not a question, just an observation. And good news from Hurricane country – according to my daughter, the hurricane is going to miss us completely; it’s turned north and east. (She owns a radio. I’ll get one when the retirement center bus makes its next Walmart run – on the 19th of September.)

    Pantheons – long story, bottom line, am looking for one with a strong, unmistakable Magna Mater – who is my Goddess first, last, and foremost – and an analog of The Wanderer, with whom I find myself in love. Erda and Woden come to mind. Thor has been on a secondary altar for a long time. Better look up the links to the Heathen Golden Dawn stuff and see how that works. I know the links are somewhere obvious, but could use a memory refresher.

  300. Hi Scotlyn,

    I’m going with 3 main races. There are possibly more or some subdivisions such as Semitic versus Nordic which are both considered Caucasian. I’m not trying to make abstruse or complex what is simple. There may be complexities involved but they aren’t my concern.

    If your eyes and brain see things differently, could you try to explain in what way? I think that earlier you had said you would indeed be able to pick out a Congolese from a Chinese.

    I do find dog breeds a useful comparison but perhaps too extreme. But they would all dissolve into a single breed if left to their own devices. It was Darwin, by the way, who noted that humans looked like a domesticated species.

    You say you run into people who say “race exists.” I never have. The idea that the races don’t exist I heard just once before about 20 years ago and it was some college kids on a blog. I don’t know who you have run across that is obsessed with breeding pure races or with protecting ancestral lines. This is not something I have ever heard discussed anywhere.

    I’m finding myself feeling a bit sad and sick that these bizarre questions are arising. I am saying something simple. I am saying some people have existed in isolation for some 40 thousand years and it has resulted in what we call race, visible local differences in appearance. And which would happen to absolutely any animals such as tigers or deer that were separated as well. Why don’t we deny that an eland and a white tailed deer are different? I bet they could interbreed.

    You ask: “But, that means I remain curious as to what aspect of the world this particular “map model” of human “races” that “obviously” exist, is making sense of, for you?”

    It makes sense of reality. You call it a map model. Sorry, I don’t buy it. You’re intellectualizing. I don’t really understand where you and Inohuri are coming from. I’ve never had conversations like this. How did you learn that races don’t exist and do you stay in some bubble where everyone believes that and thinks that all who don’t are all sorts of racists?

    And is there an underlying assumption that it would be better if there were not races? Because I would find that impoverishing. I love the variety of life forms. I not only find it likely that the races may also be slightly different in temperament but I absolutely hope so and celebrate it.

    How about we learn to love and appreciate others instead of trying to eradicate them and ourselves?

  301. Your Kittenship, bookstores like this one?

    “The place was dark and dusty and half-lost
    In tangles of old alleys near the quays,
    Reeking of strange things brought in from the seas,
    And with queer curls of fog that west winds tossed.
    Small lozenge panes, obscured by smoke and frost,
    Just shewed the books, in piles like twisted trees,
    Rotting from floor to roof—congeries
    Of crumbling elder lore at little cost.

    “I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heap
    Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through,
    Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep
    Some secret, monstrous if one only knew.
    Then, looking for some seller old in craft,
    I could find nothing but a voice that laughed.”

    (That’s the first sonnet from “Fungi from Yuggoth,” Lovecraft’s sonnet-cycle. The guy could write!)

    David, one trick is to write down your immediate idea in a notebook, and then always do something different. Very often your first instinct is borrowed from pop culture or some book you no longer remember. Set it aside and say, “not that — so, what instead?” You can take that a further step; come up with a plot, and then change every detail to something unexpected.

    Patricia M, glad to hear it! If you find the tag “Heathenry” on the left hand side of my Dreamwidth journal and click on that, it’ll get you everything. For simplicity’s sake, though, here you go:
    https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/26433.html
    https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/31086.html
    https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/57664.html

  302. Scotlyn,

    I found your question about your relatives on religion quite disturbing as well and several questions occur to me, but the big one is, have they not noticed that Protestant Christian salvation theology has violent sacrifice at its core? Do they reject that?

  303. Inohuri,

    I just reread my prior post to you and I see that it may have appeared that I said you were not capable of rational discourse. I did not mean that at all.

  304. @Onething
    August 31, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Please go back and actually read what I said.

    I do agree with you and delight in differences. That is what I said.

    It isn’t very hard to spot pygmies and eskimos if they are near racially pure. That is as much size and shape as it is skin.

    However I am also in agreement with the view that there is no such thing as race because it is fundamentally a very superficial and often harmful way of categorizing people.

    I assume you are “white”. Try going to Hawaii somewhere away from tourists where you are racially in a small minority. As a haole you might get to experience what prejudice is. I have felt a bit of that hate from Samoan neighbors in Seattle.

    40,000 year isolation where? The Aboriginal Australians might satisfy. Where else?

    Basically every human bred with every other human in a fairly random way. That includes Denosivans and Neanderthals. There are exceptions but not that many and they probably don’t go back that far. Try Papua. Maybe there are isolates there but not up to the Australian Aborigine duration.

    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/denisovan/

    You might also get your genes checked to see how pure you are. You might find you are part Neanderthal.

    inohuri

  305. “So, eyes indeed don’t unsee skin color, but they don’t unsee height and other characteristics either. One chooses to privilege one visual aspect over others.”

    No, height is memorable, as is gender and many other things. Why should we discount or forget anything we see?

  306. I just wanted to heap a little praise on JMG and as to how the comments and open posts are handled.

    Over the last few months I can come across people that are absolutely livid again JMG because he wouldn’t post things they have tried to submit here.

    I probe a bit deeper on these things and it is usually people that have some nonsensical world that will “prove everyone wrong” including JMG’s ideas and they are trying to force onto others via comment sections. It is a shame because some ideas are vaguely reasonable to discuss but their execution is absolutely awful, usually riddled with as many swear words as they kind find.

    Just want to thank John for keeping this place so clean. It is rare to see such good discussion on the internet these days.

  307. @ everybody debating race

    You guys are talking past each other.

    I don’t recall if I have told this little story before, so my apologies if you already know it.

    Back in the Chines period of the Warring Kingdoms, there was a debate between the Daoists and the Legalist (another sect of philosophers, often confused with Confusians) on whether it was possible for a ruler to impose his will over his vasals and servants. Daoist said you cannot, Legalist said hell yes, you can.

    The prince that was to become the Emperor decided to head the Legalists, and with his command and control organization was able to raise an army like no other warlord back then; defeating them all and founding the Qin dinasty. So the Legalists were right.

    But then the vasals grew tired of their Emperor’s yoke, and within a generation the Qin dinasty was overthrown and replaced by the Han dinasty. So the Daoists were right after all.

    Turns out “you can do it” meant “it is not only possible but advantageous to do so”, which turned out to be true; but “you cannot do it” meant ” it is not sustainable, and if you keep doing it you will undermine your own goals” which also was proben true.

    Now and lesser know, but hopefully more amusing story.

    A long time ago, I was pulled over in Rusia by a law enforcement type (he looked military to me, but I cannot tell if he was some sort of swat police or an actual soldier). I was a student at the time, running late into the metro of St. Peterburg, loaded with a big big back full of books.

    I am also light-brown skinned, and given than there are practically no Mexicans in Russia, light-brown translates to Muslim over there. Turns out a cell of Chechen terrorist had blown a car bomb on the May 3rd parade, a couple of days before.

    To be honest, I had been warned about this potential for misidentification the next day I came out of the plane. And it was not the only such event that happened on that trip, but it was the only one where I felt unsafe.

    So this guy was demanding my passport in Russian, and pointing his assault rifle at my chest. And I was a little panicked so all I could do was to blurt out in English “I am Mexican”. I could see the relief in the soldier’s eyes, – nonetheless because he was no longer a heartbeat from being blown to pieces, – and he began to speak a heavy accented English and demand to see my papers and ask what I was doing there anyways, the rifle pointing not quite in my direction but not exactly retrieved, either. The memory gets blurry after that, but I was allowed to go on my way with a quick admonition to not run in the metro.

    So, the soldier was wrong when he assumed that “different” means “enemy”; and therefore it was racist from me to pull me over.

    But then, he correctly noticed that I did not belong there, and that I was behaving in an unusual way, so it was his duty to pull me over, at least while he assesed if I was an actual threath or not.

    Truth is, we all have the innate wiring to tell “kinsman” from “stranger”. Those do not always correspond to the “friend” of “foe” cathegories, but if there was no correlation at all, the human race would not have evolved to notice. And of course there are other related pulsions as well; on the one hand there’s as much xenophilia as there’s xenophobia, and then there other ways of being “different” that have nothing to do with ancestry, and which human beings are equally good at noticing.

    I think there’s wisdom to be had in discussing when it is or isn’t fair, or reasonable, or humane to make a distinction based on perceived ancestry. But pretending the impulse to notice is not there is not going to make it go away.

  308. JMG or anyone here care to weight in.

    So I was walking through the woods yesterday thinking about the Principles of the Cosmic Doctrine… The different planes etc.

    Anyway… I then got to thinking about relativity and equilateral triangles.

    Here was my thought if you’re walking through the woods and you and your friend take two different paths you might end up at the same place at the end, but we all intuitively know on a spiritual level you don’t. Enter relativity and triangles.

    So let’s say you and your friend come to the fork in the road. One path is twice as long as the other, but both paths end up in same place. (For simplicity let’s imagine the paths form an equilateral triangle) Let’s also assume each side of this triangle is 1KM long. So you decide to travel the 2K path while your friend travels the 1KM path.

    Now let’s assume for the moment you and your friend are super human and can run at relativistic speeds. You decide to meet at the same time, so your friend runs his path at 100,000 kilometers per second. You run your longer path at 200,000 kilometers per second. D=RT to the observer so you’ll arrive at the same time.

    However – The time your friend won’t be 1:1. Your friend will observe 1.06seconds while you observe a 1.34seconds….. So even though you both left the same starting point did you both just end at the same place only at a different time? T=T0(1/√(1-v^2/c^2))

    Going back to the cosmic doctrine… If the path we take to get to the endpoint matters as much as the end point might that not be related somehow as to what information/actions can be transferred between each cosmic plane? Might that also mean that through things like time displacement we can encounter things that might not otherwise be apparent…. like say Big Foot.

    The most I would liken this idea to is how at the end of LOTR sailing to the Undying Lands requiring following a particular path and not a straight line. IDK

  309. Wesley, thanks, I hadn’t thought of it that way round. It also reminded me of the theory that if a neutron bomb goes off near an Abrams tank, the depleted uranium armour will stop the neutrons, but turn into plutonium in the process. 🙂

    Warren, the problem with current reactors, nearly all solid fuel, water cooled, is that they are terribly wasteful. They’re like the nuclear equivalent of the Newcomen engine – the first steam engine, that was so inefficient that the only places that had them were coal mines, because they were the only places that had enough coal. 🙂 If they continue to be used, the uranium will last between 40-100 years, and we’ll be lumbered with loads of nuclear waste.

    Any alternate outcome would would require liquid fuelled breeding reactors, with on-site, on-line reprocessing in a chemical plant. Whether it’s the fast breeder U-238 to Pu-239 or slow breeder Th-232 to U-233, either allows use of fuel sources that could last thousands of years. Liquid fuel avoids the hassle of fuel rod fabrication, and allows complete reprocessing that yields much greater fuel efficiency, other useful products, and minimal waste that is also short lived.

    The basic principles are known to work, but there are problems with every stage of the process. Competitors pushing other designs deride it as a ‘pure cycle’ that will probably never work. That may sound like the most probable outcome, until you realise that another previously impossible Holy Grail of engineering is now coming into production. The ‘full-flow staged combustion cycle’ rocket engine has a similarly troubled past to advanced reactors. The Soviets researched it – project cancelled. NASA researched it – project cancelled. But the SpaceX Raptor engine has done it. It hasn’t flown commercially yet, but the fact it can run for more than ten seconds without melting its own fuel pumps means the main problem has been solved. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbH1ZDImaI8

    So if that’s possible, who can say what would be possible in the nuclear field with further research.

  310. Hey, Violet.
    You’re right, the feeling I got from pouring the gold back and forth between my hands is precisely the feeling I get looking at the Temperence tarot card. In fact my magical practice and experience of the world around me seems to fit the Theoricus grade perfectly, which pleases me very much, considering I still thought of myself as a Neophyte! (I know you’ve been working hard for a while now; out of curiosity, and if you don’t mind, where do you sit on that scale?)

    It took me so many years of reading our host’s books and weekly offerings, including a general aversion to the WoG despite wanting to read it, that I assume this is my first participation with magic, the first incarnation in which I’ve pursued anything like this. But it is so worth the effort! I’m just blown away by the positive changes that are coming into and restructuring my life for the better.

    “The Silver Dream,” as I’ve come to call it, immediately struck me as important, and I can’t thank you enough for helping me interpret it. Your skills are impressive! And I will continue to assimilate your interpretation with my own musings and meditations of it for some time I’m sure. (I’ll probably want to start following your Dreamwidth journal too…) And if you ever want to dialogue off-forum my email address is trippticket at gmail.

    Thanks again,
    Tripp

  311. I’m visiting family in the US this weekend, and I want to share some observations as a Canadian. Many of these are things I’ve noticed before on my travels, and so I think it’s a general trend. The first is the US is rather visibly in worse shape than Canada: the roads are worse maintained, the bridges are rusty in a way that would have them closed for repairs back home, and even the “good” roads in New York state are in pretty bad shape.

    The air is somewhat noxious compared to home. This is both a physical level and inner plane phenomenon: there’s a great deal of kegare, and so I’m a little off balance. I suspect I’m quite susceptible to it, since I have a general sensitivity to these sorts of things, but I’m making the best of it.

    There’s also quite a bit of obvious social class issues: we’ve been staying at a low end hotel, the sort where “People look they just came from Walmart,” to quote one review, and it’s a quite pleasant hotel, the staff has been pleasant and helpful, and I quite enjoy it. The free breakfast is quite good (by US standards, more on that later), but the fact that it’s low end and we’re quite clearly salary class has caused a certain amount of confusion.

    The food in the US is quite different from home. A lot of it is heavily processed, and compared to home there’s much less fresh food. My body is making its displeasure with the food here very well known. It feels really weird to be physically stuffed and etherically starving, but that’s where I am. We stopped in a grocery store to look for fruit and found much less of it than we would back home, so it doesn’t seem to be an effect of where my extended family like to eat.

    There’s also way more advertising. It’s fascinating to look at how much effort is expended to make sure people are aware there’s a McDonald’s a mile that way, and to know exactly how much that fancy watch sells for, or how much interest the bank is charging on a loan for such and such.

    The one other thing which struck me was the sheer number of “now hiring” signs, and the fact that it seems quite different from last time I was in the area a few years ago. This seems quite surprising, and it does seem to support the claims that things are getting better, economically, for the wage class.

    Violet,

    I’ve mentioned this to a few other people and no one else seems to experience it, so I’m prepared to accept it may just be me: my experience of reality is very fluid in general, and so it’s possible almost no one has dreams like this.

    In most of my dreams, time works how I experience it while awake. In a few though, something weird happens, and the boundaries between past and future blur, and so things can happen because of events that will happen, and time is a jumbled mess. So it may not require another direction, but it does seem to suggest that time itself on the astral plane is somewhat fluid.

    What’s really interesting about it is I seem to be able to follow it while asleep, but once I wake up, it doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but it strikes me as potentially very important.

    Conner,

    Thank you for the book suggestion! I plan to see about getting myself a copy, sometime soon: dream-work seems like it’s something very much worth exploring.

  312. John, et al.—

    Re 2020

    An brief (and likely premature, given we’re a year out) but interesting post re the potential dynamics of the 2020 electoral vote and the possible pivotal role of WI

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/08/31/2020-electoral-map-could-be-smallest-in-years/#disqus_thread

    The commentary thread, on the other hand was more dismissive, pointing to Trump’s poor polling and approval numbers in WI and the Midwest generally (which was one reason for my earlier question) and, more legitimately, that it is far too early to make any such distinctions. On the other hand, there was much discussion of Trump’s future landslide loss, including a blue TX and similar predictions. And, of course, no small amount of lambasting the evils of the Electoral College. Oh, yes, and the irreparable harm that would befall America if, perchance, Trump were reelected. (That last bit comes up a lot in these threads.)

  313. JMG, @Escher, and others, according to my personal experience, the mountain vs ocean thing is real. I’m a mountain person; I feel healthier, energized and can breathe better in mountainous regions than in lower places. As for ocean settings, it takes but a few days to feel stuffed and uncomfortable with the humidity and salty air when I visit those places. Interestingly, that does not apply to river settings: they are not as benefitial as mountain settings to me, but they don’t feel as bad as ocean settings either.

  314. JMG: Thank You for your reply, Yes, we’ve had this discussion once before, so I’m probably not explaining myself very well. For me, I don’t think it’s absurd to acknowledge the guilt, because 1) guilt or uneasiness is just a feeling an emotion. It doesn’t go away due to lack of logic, (“stupid emotions, why don’t you behave?!!”), so I have to deal with it regardless. 2) The concept of Noblesse Oblige doesn’t spring from nowhere – it springs from that initial feeling of uneasiness. 3) I am coming to learn how to sit with negative feelings, that they are not always to be avoided or explained away. They have a purpose and in keeping them in mind, they will help guide me to right and honest actions; to truly effective and sincere actions for the change I want to see. Without the initial feelings of unease, I can see attempts at Noblesse Oblige going sideways / ending up in hypocrisy, like the actions, (or inactions) we have all seen from our Establishment Liberals in the DNC and mainstream, both on issues of racial inequality and environmental issues that we’ve been talking about here. I believe they didn’t start out as hypocrites. They started out thinking they were doing the right thing.

    If you actually don’t have any feelings of unease, GREAT! for you. I do, always have so I’m laying this out there in case anyone else onboard may be also.

    So…. segue to my fellow commenters on ‘race’ – yes we see differences in humans, skin colour takes centre stage in that because if one has been brought up in Western culture, particularly American culture – skin colour has been politicised for centuries and made to fall into a hierarchy of ‘worthy’ or ‘good’ or less worthy, ‘bad’. In the past in the forms of slavery or Jim Crow laws, in the present In institutional and large ways like drug laws and criminal sentencing to small or invisible ways like accepted norms of beauty. Like the smog in Los Angeles, if you’ve grown up in this atmosphere – you have breathed it in, true for white people, brown people and black people, all people can’t avoid having breathed it in. SO For us – many of us growing up during or post the civil rights era, with the concepts that racism is bad, separation/segregation is bad, racists are bad people: the idea came up to become ‘colour-blind’, to be a non-racist was to not even see differences of colour, which as Onething is trying to point out is simply false. We DO. The quest (for me, possibly for others) is to disassociate seeing our differences with categorising them into hierarchy as good or bad. To acknowledge the mental ‘smog’ and mindfully choose to dispel it.

    UGH! Don’t know if I’ve done any better this time at explaining, but the conversation is helping.

    Lastly, @Onething: Prayers and good vibes your way from sunny Florida for healing, recovery, health and margaritas! Thank You for persisting. 🙂

  315. @Wesley

    I’m pretty sure that Biotechnic Nightmare Future has already been written. It’s called The Windup Girl, but Paolo Bacigalupi, and is about as icky as you might expect a bio-dystopian future to be.

    @BoysMom, David By the Lake

    What BoysMom said. It’s not just her circles. I’ve seen this, too.

    I don’t answer polls. My political views are the sort that’ll get you pilloried in the public square these days, and really, how long before trolls figure out that you can call people, pretend to be a pollster, and then publicly post the identities of a whole bunch of people who dared to give the wrong answers, targeting them for retaliation? That seems to be the far left’s M.O. these days. They’re perfectly willing to do it to campaign donors (Joaquin Castro, anyone?). Why not voters?

    I believe the primary result of the far left’s relentless pursuit of public conformity (have the right opinions or suffer consequences!) is that it is now impossible to get honest polling results. You don’t change people’s minds by shaming them in public or threatening their jobs and families. But you sure as heck make people less likely to tell you what they really think. And that’s ramped up considerably since 2016. Enough to skew the polls? We’ll find out next year…

    I didn’t vote Trump in the last election. But I probably will in the coming election. Sure, he’s a public embarrassment on Twitter. But his presidency has been good for my area and my tax bracket, and he hasn’t gone and bombed anyone.

    But I would never tell that to a complete stranger on the telephone. Just complete strangers on the internet 😉

  316. “Caryn, I have a different attitude toward privilege. I’m certainly aware that it exists, and in fact, I’ve written about it at length in past blog posts. The points that strike me as crucial are, first, I didn’t choose it; second, I didn’t make it happen; and third, I can’t get rid of it — even if I somehow managed to erase every trace of the consciousness of privilege from my mind, everyone else would still treat me as a privileged person and give me the benefits of privilege. All these things, taken together, mean that it’s as absurd for me to feel guilty because I have privilege as it would be for me to feel guilty because I’m more or less able-bodied and many other people aren’t. I came out a winner in the lottery of life; that’s not praiseworthy or blameworthy, it’s just one aspect of a universe that doesn’t cater to our sense of justice. What deserves praise or blame, on the other hand, is what I do with the privilege I’ve been assigned. Are you at all familiar with the grand old concept of noblesse oblige — the idea that privilege incurs obligations to those less privileged? That, rather than wallowing in guilt for something you didn’t do and can’t change, seems like a reasonable approach to me.”

    John Michael, I appreciated your response to Caryn on the topics of privilege and justice.

    Ahh, yes…the universe that does not cater to our sense of justice. This reminds me of our brief discussion last month about the blessing/curse “May the gods reward you with everything you so richly deserve”. If there is such a thing as Cosmic Justice then each and every human critter on the planet has exactly what they ‘deserve’ at each and every moment. Admittedly, this is difficult to accept philosophically, especially when the suffering is personal.

    Still, the fact that this may be an absolute truth doesn’t negate our obligations to those less privileged, nor the good in cultivating compassion and humility. A robust revival of authentic old school noblesse oblige would be most welcome. In our era of decline and fall however, I’m not too optimistic it will be widely embraced. Guilting, blaming and shaming are not effective tactics for encouraging it though.

    @Nastarana I hope you don’t feel I was implying you were clueless about our manifold dysfunctions. I’ve appreciated your contributions to this forum for a long time. Can’t say I feel especially especially insulated by my ‘wealth and class’ as I’m very much in the median/middle. Regarding Dmitri Orlov, we’ll just have to ATD (agree to disagree). I do recommend Shrinking the Technosphere if you can get past your Orlov aversion…it’s very worthy.

  317. I’ve got an example of the stupidity of the Myth of Progress and how the symbology of rationality can become more important than actually thinking rationally.

    Peter the Great was passionate supporter of the Enlightenment and an enemy of ‘Old Russia’ with its mysticism, wooden architecture, and beards. So he decided that obviously the logical way to modernise was to build St Petersburg, a capital city of European architecture, and force his government ministers to wear European clothes. In a sub-arctic climate.

    There are loads of stories of people freezing to death in Petrograd / Leningrad during both the Russian Revolution and the Second World War. Presumably people froze to death in a lot of places. But I wonder how much of that city’s prominance in cold deaths was because the vernacular architecture was much better insulated, while the fashionable European buildings dropped to lethal temperatures much faster and deeper once fuel supplies ran short.

  318. I think it says something about our modern hangups around race that even on this board– where we can usually have a friendly dissensus — it’s got everyone all hot and bothered.

    Why? Baggage! Race realists are Nazis, don’t you know? Or White Supremacists, at the very least. That’s why every study by a race realist puts whites at the top of every hierarchy– or, wait. No. No, they don’t. Every race-realist study I’ve seen puts Caucasians somewhere around the middle-ground. Less intelligent on average than Jews and Asians. Less physically capable on average than Africans. Oh dear, that’s some awfully poor white supremacy, there. But even the most anti-racist people happily admit the best sprinters are from East Africa and that Eastern European Jews win way too many Nobel prizes for it to be co-incidence. Maybe the so-called realists really are interested in reality? Some of us?

    Please, to keep our discourse civil– don’t read between the lines of Onething’s comments. Try and ignore your emotional reaction to what you think they’re saying, and only pay attention to the actual words. I’m pretty sure they mean exactly what they say, and aren’t actually working from a troll farm on a secret Nazi moon base.

    For what its worth, I think the broadest categories– though obvious– are pretty useless. Yeah, 9 times out of 10 you can guess which continent a human’s ancestors are from, if you take “from” to mean where the source population was >500 years ago. That doesn’t tell you much about the person other than that brute fact. But it is something.

    If you drill it down, further, though? Like JMG has said, the big “races” are just too broad. The category carries too much baggage, anyway. I’m happy to throw it out. Drill it down, just a bit further. Look at a white guy.** OK. Which white? My wife is of pure Germanic stock. She has a cold, analytic mind, yet is quite sentimental with strong in-group preference. Nothing there doesn’t fit the stereotype of “German” — but she’s never been to Germany.

    I am a mongrel– but I have an Irish temper. That’s to be expected. My grandmother was of fairly undiluted Irish blood. (Through a bloodline that hadn’t set foot on the Emerald Isle since the Famine). This kind of “stereotyping” is actually accurate enough to be of some use (as long as you don’t get dogmatic about it). Another: I learned first from family, then from personal experience that I really ought to abstain from alcohol. (Though, being a mongrel, I don’t know if I should blame the “Irish Curse”; I have another bloodline in me with a similar stereotype. Perhaps the genes reinforced.)

    (Makes sense to me: I once rescued dog who is mixed pointer and Shepard. She points, then she herds.)

    Are the Irish a race? The Germans? Once upon a time, yeah, that word was used. Now it’s not. Now it’s got too much baggage. If you want to do scholarly work, you don’t talk about “race realism”, even to the public. You talk about “population genetics” and undertake the very same study. I’d happily talk about ethnicity, if that’s a word we can agree on.

    Now for the record, I’m not going to say, “Well, if you’re X I don’t want to deal with you because you have trait Y.” The correspondence isn’t 1:1 or direct. At the same time? I might be a bit more ready for trait Y to be expressed, and being ready for it, be more able to forgive it.

    **I’m only going to talk about white folk because we’re accultured not to accept such discourse about “people of color” — which is the absolute most useless, overgeneralizing category there is.

  319. I forgot to mention—if you have a Kindle, “The Hounds Of Tindalos,” “The Space Eaters,” and a whole bunch of other great Lovecraft and Lovecraftian stories are available in The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack from Wildside Press, for 99 cents. This collection includes what I think is the best Mythos story ever written, “Dagon and Jill” by John McCann.

    There’s also The Second Cthulhu Mythos Megapack for another 99 cents.

  320. @Caryn Banker, JMG

    This might be because I never got over my youthful Marxism, I think you (Caryn) misplace where your privilege comes from. You think its skin; I think it is class.

    Most of the rhetoric about privilege I’ve seen relates back to the fact that certain ethnic groups are more likely to succeed by certain metrics. Avoid jail, go to collage, enter the salaried/professional workforce, own a business, that sort of thing. Can we agree that that is a good way to measure privilege? I want to find something that isn’t purely subjective. (though I know that the origins of the idea are, in fact, purely subjective).

    Right. Lets take a rich black kid (the least privileged color) and compare them to a poor white kid. Which demographic group has better odds of staying out of jail? Going to college? Entering the salary class? Owning a business? In every single case, money talks. (Statistically speaking).

    It’s not about skin color, it’s about class.

    OK, yes, there’s some correlation with ethnicity and economic class, which is where the confusion comes from. The poverty rate is higher among black Americans (but there are more white Americans living in poverty, because they’re the majority). Nobody likes to point it out, but Asian-Americans have higher-than-average household incomes by a decent margin, and Jews are more likely to be in the upper class. (But there are more white Americans in the upper classes and with high incomes, because they’re the majority.)

    Interestingly, there have been studies done where they analyze what the whole idea of “white privilege” does– and it does not lead to the noblesse oblige that JMG suggests. Rich whites who believe in their privilege do not extend the hand in friendship to poor POCs. Sure, they feel vaguely guilty, in general, but in terms of changing behaviors? All teaching about privilege does is raise the disdain and hatred for poor white trash, and thus lead to their further exclusion. After all, they’ve got all that privilege, so what’s their excuse?

    Of course, no matter where you are on the economic ladder, no matter what your ethnicity– there are people worse off than you, and it behooves us to act with compassion. If we could ditch this identity-based privilege and just adopt the idea of noblesse oblige , I think it would be a better country.

  321. @onething:

    Before I forget, all the best and God’s blessing for you at this difficult time!

    With regard to temperamental differences between groups of people, whether you call them ethnic groups or “races”: I can’t exclude the possibility that there are inherited differences in personality between groups. However, it is easy to show differences in (average) personality transmitted by the environment. Personally, I happen to know many, many Brazilians with German family names and even stereotypically German looks, who nonetheless happen to behave at parties more like stereotypical Brazilians than Germans! On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to show genetic influences on personality in groups of people. I am not aware of a single undisputed example.

    In that situation, what good does it do to suppose genetic influence on personality? Again, it is not impossible, but what good does it do to talk about unproven possibilities when there are well-known alternatives?

    Just to make it explicit, when I say that such differences may be more probably cultural, I certainly don’t want them to disappear!

  322. JMG
    Thanks for including the poem extract in your reply for Kittenship. I have not read any Lovecraft until now.
    I see in Wikipedia a nice story … “In 1926, famed magician and escapist Harry Houdini asked Lovecraft to ghostwrite a treatise exploring the topic of superstition. Houdini’s unexpected death later that year halted the project, but The Cancer of Superstition was partially completed by Lovecraft along with collaborator C. M. Eddy Jr. A previously unknown manuscript of the work was discovered in 2016 in a collection owned by a magic shop.”
    Bookshop … Magicshop? I like the sense of humor!
    best
    Phil H.

  323. Your Kittenship, whenever I can travel anthward or ulthward far enough to get there!

    MichaelV, thank you. I bet you got an earful; over the last two weeks I had to delete more trollery than usual, and ended up IP-banning a few people — I’m pretty sure at least one of them was a rent-a-troll, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. This blog is a place for me to write what I want to write, for those who want to read it; this comments page is a place for people who want to discuss what I’ve written in a courteous manner. There are literally millions of other places online where people can do other things, such as shriek insults at those who don’t believe whatever the corporate media says this week, and I have zero compunction telling people who want to do such things here to go away.

    Mathgician, seems to me that you’ve just sketched out the raw material for a good month or so of meditations. Get on it! 😉

    Yorkshire (if I may), I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but France has just cancelled its proposed ASTRID fast breeder reactor, after sinking more than three quarters of a billion dollars into the project; it was just too big of a subsidy dumpster, with the constant risk of catastrophic fire if the liquid sodium coolant sprung the smallest leak. As usual with nuclear power, overinflated dreams resulted in dismal realities…

  324. Onething- it is truly not hard to find people online and in print who worry that the ‘mud races’ (which they define as including Jews) are overwhelming the white race through interbreeding and who are frightened by the prospect that whites are now a minority in certain states, etc. Look at the Proud Boys among others. Part of the opposition to women’s suffrage and other women’s rights issues in the early 20th century was caused by concern that white women (sometimes specifically Nordic women) were being distracted from their duty to their race–either not marrying at all in order to pursue careers, or not bearing enough white children, while ‘inferior races’ in which Italians, Greeks, Poles, etc. were included, were having large families.

    On the other side there were the many efforts to prevent ‘inferior races’ from reproducing. In the so-called Mississippi appendectomy women of color would be involuntarily sterilized while hospitalized for some other procedure–and not informed of what had been done. This also happened to Native American women in BIA hospitals. POC were not the only victims–many states had laws for sterilizing the ‘unfit’ that were applied to poor whites as well. It is fairly well known the Hitler admired and copied the American Eugenics movement.

    For purposes of identification we could drop the racial designations. Have a scale of skin tones with neutral descriptors such as S-1 through S-12 to denote skin tones from albino to darkest. Hair tones similar and hair texture, eye color. So instead of a stupid description of two men as a dark skinned Hispanic and a light-skinned African American you would have S9, H12, T1 (=completely straight hair) E-B) and S 7, H12, T 6 (worn in cornrows) E-H (hazel eyes) or something like that. We all know of actors who can be an Iranian soldier one day, a Hispanic police officer the next and an Italian fisherman the day after that. Which makes it clear that while we can all tell the difference between the Alps and the California foothills there are many cases in which one person’s mountain is another’s hill.

    This is the area in which race can clearly be seen as a social construct–if I have to look at your passport to know if you are Iranian or Colombian, or at your birth certificate to see that your father was Negro, it is not biology I am looking at.

  325. I hadn’t heard about the French fast breeder being cancelled, but do know the terrible reputation of sodium-cooled reactors. Apparently they leak and catch fire so often the staff become totally blase about dealing with it – “Fighting a Class D fire? Must be a Tuesday.” Part of the sales pitch of the molten salt reactor advocates is “At least ours doesn’t catch fire on contact with air or explode if it gets wet.” 🙂

  326. Violet,
    Just wanted to say thank you for your herbal teachings which luckily I printed before you removed your old blog. I should have told you sooner how much I appreciate the efforts you shared. I refer to your info regularly. It was not a wasted effort. I leave a lot of violets and cleavers growing in my yard now.
    Much appreciation for sharing your knowledge.

  327. XR hits the US.

    “Climate activists will escalate their protests next month in Washington DC, seeking to shut down traffic with blockades at key intersections to bring attention to the intensifying crisis.

    Several local groups are planning the action for 23 September, as youth leaders call for a global strike and a week of action. Hundreds of events are planned, with more than 100 of them in the US, organizers said.”

    To me it seems like another Occupy. This won’t really change anything. Local action and individual change is where it’s at.

  328. Just me / Violet

    I am interested in learning about herbalism. Is it possible I could have those notes emailed to me please?

    My email is avalonbridge (at) gmail. Thanks.

  329. Will, fascinating. None of this surprises me, but then I’ve spent enough time in flyover country to know how the other 70% are doing.

    David, thanks for this. My guess is that the Midwest will again be crucial, but Trump may be able to pop some unexpected states elsewhere into his camp as well. Still, we’ll see.

    Bruno, that makes perfect sense to me. I wonder — are there also plains people?

    Caryn, it seems to me that you’ve just taken the Christian concept of original sin, filed off the serial numbers, and are applying it inappropriately to issues of social class. If that’s the way you want to live your life, by all means, but spending your time feeling guilty because of something you didn’t do and can’t help seems, well, rather silly to me. It’s hardly true, by the way, that noblesse oblige comes out of uneasiness — quite the contrary, it’s the people who are uneasy about their own social standing who are most likely to abuse those lower on the ladder than they are, and those people who are comfortable inside their own skins who are most likely to treat other people well, wherever they stand on the ladder. (That’s why we use words like “classy” or say “she really has class” when we mean that somebody’s been gracious and kind.) If anything, the current fashion among privileged white Americans for cultivating a shamefaced attitude toward their own privilege probably has a lot to do with the really quite graceless way that so many of these same privileged white Americans maltreat retail workers and servers at restaurants. I’ve worked in retail and also in restaurants, and nobody anywhere treats their supposed inferiors worse than white women in expensive business clothes whose purses have buttons on them supporting the leftward cause du jour…

  330. Dear Caryn Baker, I believe the concept of ‘noblesse oblige’ was originally founded in the notion that Christian society was organized as a system of mutual obligations. Naturally, the theory was much honored in the breach, but the basic idea would have been that the ruling, fighting and praying elements of society had obligations to those who kept them fed and clothed, made the weapons they used and built castles, churches, roads, and bridges.. Nowadays, members of the investing and salary classes appear to believe that they have no obligations at all to wage earners–“useless eaters”–although they are quick to insist that we workers have obligations vis a vis various salary and investment class clients.

    Do you, Mr. Greer, or anyone reading this, particularly persons from the UK, have any thoughts on how long Scotland will remain in the UK? Or on how much longer England will retain it’s constitutional monarchy? To me, an outsider, it seems awfully expensive. Not the fault of Brits, of course, but I do note that in American popular culture, royalty seems to be treated with what I think is exaggerated respect since about 1980. After WWII, kings and queens were figures of ridicule, see for example the monarchs in Dr. Seuss’s books. Now, teen girls are being fed an intellectual diet of princess this and that which I think is appalling. This change in attitude towards kingship was pointed out by Kevin Phillips in one of his books published in the 80s, I don’t remember which one. Phillips seemed to think the change was deliberately induced by people who expected to benefit from it.

    For whomever was inquiring about classical history, I suggest the best writer to begin with is the Irish historian, Michael Grant. His best books are the earliest; all combine scholarly rigor with a most felicitous style and are quite accessible to any reasonably competent reader.

  331. Thank you Just Me for the kind words!

    Dear Bridge and anyone else interested in herbalism,

    If you seriously wish to learn about herbalism you’ll have to do the difficult, boring and old fashioned work of reading books and taking notes. I’ve put together a reading list that I’ll share here:

    I began studying herbalism in 2009 and practicing it since 2014. I wish to share a few relevant thoughts, and, since most of these thoughts are rather complex, I think it’s wise to present it more as a reading list than to attempt to discuss each of these distinct things at length. After all, that’s what the following books do so well!

    First of all, there are legal issues. This issue is explored at length in Legal Guidelines For Unlicensed Practitioners by Dr. Lawrence Wilson.

    That issue disclaimed, there are excellent resources for herbal research and study. Personally, I have found Matthew Wood’s books to be extremely useful in practice, especially both volumes of Earthwise Herbal, The Book of Herbal Wisdom, and The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism. He has an excellent PDF on herbal fist aid that he’s made available here: http://www.woodherbs.com/FirstAidHerbs.pdf

    Matthew Wood also brings a very helpful and relevant spiritual dimension to his practice. I remember reading somewhere that he considers himself less of a healer and more of a matchmaker between humans and plant spirits! He also really, really, really knows his stuff and his work teaches how to decode older herbals.

    On the topic of the spiritual aspect of plants, I find the redoubtable Maud Grieve’s A Modern Herbal to be amazing. It is a compendium of gardening instructions, history, folklore, historical uses of plants and then modern uses. The folklore and history provide extremely useful contexts. The entire text can be found at http://botanical.com/

    Since I find astrological symbolism to be extremely helpful in all herbal operations — even in the garden! — I personally find Nicholas Culpeper’s classic Renaissance textbook to make lively and informative reading. He also adds a very interesting spiritual perspective in that, as he goes into in the introduction, he viewed herbalism as a way of contemplating the work of his god. It can be found in its entirety here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/49513 . This text took me a long time to digest properly, but has been extremely rewarding.

    Let’s not forget though that herbalism was, until the American Medical Association clamped down on alternative practitioners, a form of serious medicine, anything but “hippy-dippy”. Culpeper had a thriving practice, although to be fair, he practiced medicine in London illegally. Others practiced within the bounds of the law and developed extremely impressive diagnostic techniques such as pulse diagnosis, tongue evaluation, etc. One textbook that I am particularly found of is Finley Elingwood’s American Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmacognosy. It can be found in its entirety here: https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/ellingwood/index.html

    If you seriously want to learn about herbalism study these texts for the next few years very closely. Do old-fashioned study and carefully learn about plants and how to identify them. If you’re serious, that’s how to do it. Study carefully the notes of the masters. Almost all I learned, I learned from them.

  332. Hi Inohuri,

    “However I am also in agreement with the view that there is no such thing as race because it is fundamentally a very superficial and often harmful way of categorizing people.”

    Okay, but note here that you agree with a view not because of something concrete, but because you don’t like the effect.

    “As a haole you might get to experience what prejudice is.”

    Sure, and for this reason, if the world in general is to become less ‘prejudiced’ it is not the white people who primarily need to change! There is much prejudice flowing the other way. And there are plenty of white kids who happen to be in schools or neighborhoods where they get picked on for their race.

    “40,000 year isolation where? The Aboriginal Australians might satisfy. Where else?”

    A rough estimate based on reading the literature here and there. I don’t say it is accurate. The point is, it was long enough for what happened to happen.

    “Basically every human bred with every other human in a fairly random way. ”

    But only locally. The great majority of humans who have ever lived mated very close by. If that weren’t the case, we would not have the races.

    Why should I get my genes checked? Who cares? One of my daughters did it though.

  333. Dear Mike T,

    Thank you for your observations. I wonder if the fact is that herbalism is, at this point in time, just a little too sexy of a subject matter for many people to bring with them the requisite Saturnine qualities to study it well. I think that the deep, patient, hard-working hours logged of studying dusty books and tasting plants is what is needed for serious results, rather than workshops and retreats. To my mind, attendees at workshops and retreats almost always have an ulterior motive for going. That is, to find romantic partners.

    With any serious subject though, to do it well, one must be willing to go it alone. If one must choose between the subject and a romantic partner, one must choose the subject. If one must choose between friends and the subject, one must choose the subject. If one must choose between eating adequately and the subject, one must choose the subject.

    To sacrifice is Latin for “to make holy” and if one is serious about any subject, that ultimately looks like a whole lot of sacrifice. I personally take the archetype of the Starving Artist close to heart. If something isn’t worth suffering for it, is it worth it at all? If something isn’t worth hundreds and thousands of hours of hard work, is it really worth it? What is meaning without sacrifice?

    Part of why I think so many people live such sad lives is that they have lost the understanding of the awesome power of sacrifice. Sacrifice is what opens up the doors to the inner world.

  334. @CR Patiño September 1, 2019 at 4:28 am

    “@ everybody debating race

    You guys are talking past each other.”

    Part of the fun. Race is so ambiguous and misused and real and doesn’t even exist.

    Play around with it. Gently push some buttons. Say one thing and the opposite and it all fits.

    Help others who care to find out where they are at.

    We need better terms for race in all its different meanings.

    If you really want to get stuff done bypass race and concentrate on ethnicity.

    inohuri

  335. Nastarana, I think in the North of England the main attitude to Scottish and Welsh independence is NO DON’T GO YOU CAN’T LEAVE US ALONE WITH ALL THESE ******* SOUTHERNERS 🙂

  336. Jim W., exactly! Guilting, blaming, and shaming are completely counterproductive as ways to get people to change their behavior — they simply make people dig in their heels and do more of whatever it is you’re trying to make them stop doing. That’s especially the case when, as at present, they’re being used as not-so-covert tools of class privilege — you’ll notice that it’s almost always overprivileged middle class people telling the underprivileged that they’re bad and wrong and deplorable, and phrasing it in terms of race and gender so they don’t have to talk about their own exercise of class privilege relative to the people they’re denouncing…

    Yorkshire, thank you! That’s an excellent example.

    Dusk Shine (if I may) I’m not arguing. It’s precise the vast overgeneralized categories labeled “races” that are useless because too broad to mean anything. Ethnicities, on the other hand, are biological as well as cultural realities. “Irish” means something, and so does “German;” lump them together in one category labeled “white” and you’ve just lost any actual meaning.

    Here’s another example. I live in a neighborhood that’s largely inhabited by first- through third-generation immigrants from the Azores and the Cape Verde islands, two Portuguese-speaking archipelagoes in the Atlantic. Azoreans have relatively light skins, Cape Verdeans have dark brown skins. In terms of behavior, attitudes, and everything else that matters, they have more in common with each other than, say, Cape Verdeans have in common with African-Americans (another dark-skinned ethnicity) or Azoreans have in common with a light-skinned Scots/Welsh/English/Lakota mutt like me. That’s one example of why the concept of “race” is meaningless, while ethnicities actually matter.

    As for your comments about class — yes, exactly. The one thing you’ll hear least often from the people who love to talk about racism, sexism, (fill in the blank)ophobia, or what have you, is honest talk about their own class privilege relative to the people they’re denouncing.

    Phil H, you’re most welcome. Lovecraft also ghostwrote a horror story for Houdini, which was published under Houdini’s name — not one of his best, but it’s fun.

    Yorkshire, of course. Have you noticed that whenever one variety of nuclear plant turns out to have problems that make it hopelessly uneconomical, advocates of nuclear power immediately bring up a different variety, which hasn’t turned out to have equivalent problems quite yet? I certainly have. The history of nuclear power is a tale of vaporware that’s always safe, economical, and successful until one gets built…

    Bridge, oh, it’ll change something. Everybody who gets stuck in traffic for half an hour or more because XR is throwing another public orgy of virtue signaling will become 5% more likely to vote for Donald Trump in 2020 per repetition of the experience, out of sheer irritation. I’ve seen that happen more than once.

    Nastarana, my working guess is that the next Scottish independence referendum will succeed by a good margin. For a good many Scots, the point to the EU is that it keeps the English on a short leash; once that’s no longer the case, a modern equivalent of the ‘Auld Alliance’ with France is geopolitical common sense. What’s more, the Tories in England will weep crocodile tears about the United Kingdom but will do everything in their power to ease Scotland toward the exit, because when Scotland leaves and takes its largely left-wing electorate with it, Labour becomes a permanent minority party. The question in my mind is whether they’ll try to do the same thing with Wales, another Labour stronghold.

    As for the monarchy, I expect England will keep it, if only because it draws tourists. The costs of royalty could be decreased quite sharply by simply requiring the royal family to cover its own bills out of its own income, with no subsidy from Parliament. “The king should live of his own” was a slogan much heard in the Middle Ages; now that the royal family’s duties are purely ceremonial, it would be easy enough to return to that principle.

  337. “I think you (Caryn) misplace where your privilege comes from. You think its skin; I think it is class.”

    Bingo. This is the conclusion I have come to but wasn’t ready to articulate. This is unrelated to the existence of race itself but instead is about my reaction to the SJW stuff. They seem to say every single white person has privilege and every single person of color does not.

    Well, what is privilege? If you want badly to go to college but can’t, are you privileged? If you grow up poor, are you privileged?

    I was not privileged. I was homeless at 12. I couldn’t figure out how to go to college and my useless parents didn’t say much, although both had degrees.

    I may be privileged in one way. Being white doesn’t hurt – but it is only one factor. For example, after my divorce and with no credit, I was almost never turned down when I asked if I could write a check. What if I were black? Likely, it would have been worse, but what if I were white trash? They get turned down a lot too, because their lifestyle shows. My parents were very dysfunctional, but were also both intellectual, idealistic and honest. So I speak like I belong to the salary class, and I am sincere so people pick up on that.

    Where I live in Appalachia, some teachers have told me the numbers of (white) children in chaotic homes with parents on drugs is very high. These kids are also poor and no doubt feel somewhat shamed. Many or most don’t have two parents. These kids are not privileged at all, and for a high percentage of them their life statistics will bear that out. I think it would burn to be told they have natural privilege and a leg up in life.

    On the other hand, Michelle Obama, according to her book, came from a family from which it would be hard to fail in life. She was far, far more privileged than either me or the local Appalachian kids. Does that mean that she never experienced feeling like an outsider or got less welcome than if she were white? No, but no one has it perfect. She had it quite good.

    It is probably better in a mixed population to be a member of the majority if people tend to cut more slack to their own, but black people also do have many opportunities to give one another a break in their own neighborhoods and businesses. If I were in a black neighborhood, I’d get better treatment if I were also black.

    Other than perhaps just being treated a little nicer or with more trust, I don’t see any actual privilege that goes with being white.

  338. I might be a plainsperson. Deserts and open forest land give a real lift to my heart. I like oceans and rivers but it is not the same and rainforests make me uneasy, although I enjoy their beauty when visiting.

  339. JMG: Thank You again for your reply. LOL Yes, even as I typed that, I recognise my Catholic upbringing creeping out. Hey, if your perspective works for you, and you have no hang-ups to get over; then great. I find that “silly wallowing” / accepting discomfort from time to time keeps me humble enough to remember I am no better or worse than anyone else, and therefore helps me to NOT become one of the privileged white ladies you describe, I’m OK to keep in touch with it. I’ve personally been all over the map and back again in socio-economic ‘class’ in my life. I definitely recognise what you’re talking about.

    @Dusk Shine – Thank You for your replies as well, yes, “Hang-ups” is a perfect descriptor for what I was talking about. Clearly not true for everyone, but for me; looking squarely AT the hang-up, even if it is uncomfortable is the only way to get over it and move forward in a positive way.

    I know this is going to rankle some people, apologies in advance, but if I may clarify – the concept of “White Privilege” does not mean that all white people have every privilege, so yes, of course, it’s not only possible, it happens all the time that some non-white people have certain privileges too, that some have more than most white people, and that economic class completely separate from skin colour, height, intelligence or any other factor is a massive differentiator of privilege or lack thereof. It doesn’t negate the fact that the black rich kid in your hypothetical still needs to keep his hands on the wheel and in plain sight, and respond very respectfully if he gets pulled over by a cop. The poor white kid of course SHOULD, (we all should) respond respectfully, but it’s not a survival tactic. It’s just manners and therefore optional.

    I think our society has moved mountains ahead of where we were in terms of equality/equal treatment, but I don’t think we’re there yet. & No, I see no evidence of widespread threat to the survival of white people as a group. I’m just not seeing evidence of that.

    And lastly – I understand and totally agree with the oft-spoken phrase “The universe owes us nothing”, when faced with the unfairness of life; but this is not something the universe or nature is doing – this is what people do to each other, so I don’t think it’s out of bounds to argue for, fight for or expect some level of fairness.

    And I’d also like to express my gratitude toy JMG for overseeing this in such civil way. Most of us DO have hang-ups, so I personally think it is a difficult discussion to have.

  340. Thanks Violet – that should keep me going for a while 😁

    Re Scottish independence, it will happen but I wonder why the Scots then want to hand power over to an autocratic EU? If Brexit goes well maybe Scots will rethink their commitment to it.

    The Royal family imo don’t boost tourism. The French ditched theirs and they still do very well with the tourists. Whenever the cost of the Royals is mentioned, the immediate response is, “But they are good for tourism!” Seems like brainwashing to me.

    Yes XR will help to make environmentalism both annoying and fringe. The founder Gail Bradbrook thinks that only civil disobedience on a large scale can bring about the change that is needed. She seems a bit unhinged.

  341. Jmg, speaking of other thinkers, have you read anything by Daniel c. Dennet?
    I read a few interviews and his book “Intuition pump and other tools for thinking “ and despite the fact that he is a staunch materialist he does have a lot of good and interesting ideas.

    For example, when I comes to free will he has a very similar view to you and has written that the only reason someone would want to be able to make decisions absolutely divorced from any outside influence would be if they wanted to try and outsmart a god.

    Also in his interviews he has expressed how fragile the modern world actually is and does believe it is possible for it to crash.

    His book intuition pumps has a lot of good ideas for thinking tools which he calls “intuition pumps” as well as a “computer program “ you can carry out simply by moving piles of coins around according to set rules to do simple math.

    He is one of the few materialist atheists worth paying attention to.

  342. Just a couple of quick notes:

    Re: fallout from nuclear weapons… my understanding is that the weapon itself provides relatively little fallout, regardless of how it’s configured. It’s the ordinary soil, rock, and building materials that get irradiated and blasted into the atmosphere that you need to worry about, and that’s determined to a large extent by the altitude of detonation.

    Re: Race-bias. I heard an explanation on NPR that slavery was, in the early Middle Ages, an occupation open to all, if you fell into debt or simply had no one around to defend you when the slave-catchers showed up. But slaves that could blend into the local population were hard to keep, so the slave traders got a ruling from the Pope that dark-skinned people (from Africa) were the preferred source of slaves, and so much more convenient to track down and recapture when they didn’t show up for work.

  343. Darkest Yorkshire,

    The opposite end of the climate spectrum gives us another example of the stupidity of trying to imitate architectural practices that are inappropriate for local conditions. (If anyone is interested enough in this I’ll track down the exact details for you, but) I forget which African group, that traditionally lived in earthen round houses decided to start building square houses completely out of corrugated tin. When asked why they exchanged their comfortable little mud and thatch cottages for such a thing they replied, “yes, they are ovens in summer, yes, they are freezing in winter, and when it rains hard you can’t hear yourself think, but that’s what people in the developed world build their houses out of, right?”

    Just about the only example I can think of that’s even more idiotic is the architecture of the developed world itself, where the front door and the majority of the house’s windows all face the street and the neighbors’ houses, regardless of solar orientation, simply because that’s how we do it here…

    Energy descent is already in the process of rendering an embarrassing percentage of American homes absolutely useless without access to constant mechanical climate control. When will we learn??

    Cheers.

  344. Do the Scotch still want to make Sean Connery king of the new Independent Scotland? I remember reading about a group in favor of so honoring him because he was open in being mean in favor of Scotch Independence long before it was cool.

    I wonder if they can make a go of it economically? I know they have some offshore oil, though how easy it is to get to I don’t know.

  345. Jason, check out Ray Wharton’s posts in recent weeks on the hedge circle/school he’s calling together.

    Violet, thank you for sharing both the wonder and the work of divine connection. And for all the tidbits of plant lore you share with us. Oh, and for your take on dreams and their flavors and meanings.

  346. Two more comments. In Magic Monday, when someone asked about how to be virtuous without getting into virtue signaling, you quoted the Gospels. No surprise there. I just found a nearly identical statement from Chinese wisdom literature, “The sage benefits them [the people] yet exacts no gratitude, accomplished the task yet lays claim to no merit.”
    Lao Tzu, LXXVII #185, translated by D.C. Lau, Penguin Classics.

    Second, rereading W of H: Kingsport, I just now realized – in form it is a totally classic Gothic Novel, the poor relation coming to the rich family’s house to stumble on spooky secrets and nasty villains and end up running for her life. Except, of course, for the wonderful twists and turns; the most priceless being when, eek! The butler is a robot! If that was on purpose, my hat is off to you – the Southern belle white straw with the flowered hatband and pseudoflower of the same fabric. And the Northranger Abbey Award for the biggest twist on the genre ever known.

    P.S. If Jenny was able to score a cardigan with pockets, and presumably buttons, from a thrift store any time recently, my plain cloth baseball hat is off to her; they haven’t made those for women in years. I know. I’ve looked. And the Salvation Army takes just about anything, however unfashionable. The boys’ clothes rack might have had them, though.

  347. @ Nastarana and @ Onething I’m minded to hear what @ C R Patino notes about people talking past each other, and be more concise.

    C R Latino [apologies for not having the keyboard to spell your name properly] says, “I think there’s wisdom to be had in discussing when it is or isn’t fair, or reasonable, or humane to make a distinction based on perceived ancestry. But pretending the impulse to notice is not there is not going to make it go away.”

    I see that I must clarify the following. I have nowhere addressed the question of whether “it is or isn’t fair or reasonable or humane to make a distinction based on perceived ancestry”.

    The point I have been making instead is that “race” is simply not a useful conceptual tool with which to understand distinctions based on perceived (or actual) ancestry, because it hides much more than it reveals in relation to matters of ancestry and of distinctions.

    “Race” blurs and conflates actually existing differences – such as those I can clearly see between faces of people of western Europe, eastern Europe and Northern Europe, and clearly hear in the accents of people from different parts of the country, and clearly detect in people’s differing economic and political interests and clearly experience in people’s diverse cultural practices and religious sensibilities.

    All of the above are made to disappear behind an invented “whiteness” or “blackness” which cannot tell you who your people are, or (more importantly) who your people aren’t.

    Neither category speaks to who you are related to, who you share values and interests with, whose language and cultural beliefs you mutually understand and share. None of the actual differences that have meaning in a human life may be permitted existence, because they interfere with the project of being able to put everyone on one or the other side of the category line, Americans uniquely invented, distinguishing “white” from “black”.

    This single category line (with an added third minor category here or there to allow for those occasions when “what your eyes can see” still trumps “black” vs “white”) obscures differences between enemies, friends, oppressors, oppressed, peoples diverse languages, cultures, histories, family networks. The only differences allowed to be acknowledged are those which cram people into one of these two new shiny fake makey-up all-purpose “races”.

    “Race” stops people perceiving actual differences, and obscures potentially tight connections, running its single permitted distinction straight through families and even straight through “mixed race” individual people.

    In my humble opinion “race” as a conceptual tool helps no one discover their people.

    @Onething – if you ever want to see what I meant by connecting “race realism” with an obsession with breeding, google the term “white genocide”.

  348. @JMG: You asked “are there also plains people? ” I’d say, yes, at least according to several cowboy songs etc. And certainly there are born and bred desert rats, many of whom love off-grid in very hot, dry, remote places by choice, and love it.

  349. How about the union of Scotland, Wales and Ireland?

    Yeah, I know, it’s really unlikely and unnatural etc.

    But there it is, almost in plain sight.

    USWI or UWIS or….

    inohuri

  350. @JMG:
    Thanks. The tree planting mentioned at the end seems particularly interesting to me out of the list.
    (“The Soyuz launches are full of rituals, in which cosmonauts plant trees at Baikonur, get haircuts, watch the Soviet classic “White Sun of the Desert” and have an Orthodox priest fling holy water on them.”)

    re female cosmonauts:
    Aye, briefly:
    “Women astronauts are not obligated to participate but some have been known to bring vials of their urine to splash on the tire instead.”

  351. John–

    Re the 2020 electoral map

    I agree. I don’t see how the Midwest can’t be pivotal yet, though WI may or may not be the kind of fulcrum the original post discussed. I suspect the Four Amigos of the Rustbelt (PA, MI, WI, and MN–the last of which Trump lost be a very narrow margin, as I recall) will once again be key. If nothing else, if WI goes for Trump again next Nov, folks online won’t be able to claim that a Republican administration suppressed black voters in Milwaukee, of which I’ve seen much talk these last years. (Though i’m sure something else would be brought forward.)

    @ methylethyl

    Re Trump in 2020

    I understand your position. Like you, I did not vote for him in 2016, and like you, I may very well be voting for him next November, and for many of the reasons you’ve given. Plus, if as I expect they will, the Democrats cannot muster anything more than warmed-over status quo ante in the form of one Joe Biden. I am hopeful that, if all unfolds as I think it will (the Dems go with Biden or another establishment creature and Trump solidly wins a second term), that the shock of that loss will finally remove the party’s collective head from its collective backside and kick-start the needed reformation to make the Democratic party a viable option for the working American once again. In part, I’d like to see this because my social views do lean leftward and civil libertarian generally.

  352. My latest rant, for those who are interested: I just had a birthday and my mom sent me a card. She lives in a small town 15 miles from me. The card had a postmark from Grand Rapids which is 75 miles away. So I gather that my birthday card traveled about 150 miles, roughly 10 times as far as it would have traveled if the Post Office had simply sent it directly. Can we by this make the intellectual leap of assuming that everything is traveling 10 times farther than it really needs to travel due to our notions of “efficient routing,” just-in-time-inventories and so forth? if so then there are 10 times the number of big trucks on the roads as are really necessary, using 10 times the amount of fuel that is really necessary, and producing the equivalent carbon footprint, etc. This seems to me to be a perverse result. Certainly a really smart species could make wiser decisions.

  353. In regard to being a mountain person or an ocean person, I am neither. I am a forsest person and need the green cathedral for my sanity.

    @Justin : I haven’t read that particular work by Snyder, but he is a favorite poet of mine!

    @Violet : I appreciate your engagement! Yes there are certainly some big differences, I was just intrigued by the similarity, the cycling of spiritual highs and lows, almost like civilizations. 😉 I have also experienced the preachy darma folks before, and though I have benefited greatly from the time I spent working with the Buddha Dharma, there is a lot that I can’t reconcile. That said, Ingram is an interesting, pragmatic and hardcore spiritual practitioner who also does work with magic and dieties.

    Also, in regards to your herbalism work, my partner went to Sevensong’s herbalist program and I think one of the reasons he does so well is that he is very technical, dry, and no woo woo, so maybe JMG is right about making it unappealing lol! Anyway, glad there are plant people like you doing their thing, I also work with plants in many capacities.

    @Berserker /Tripp : Pawpaws are actually very easy to grow from seed as long as you don’t let the seed dry out and you put it through cold stratification!

  354. Oi, I should really review my spelling before submitting these replies… I don’t have a computer right now, just my phone. I’m a ‘forest’ person, not a ‘forsest’ person…

  355. John, et al.—

    Re the EC

    More anti-EC rhetoric:

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/09/01/the-electoral-college-is-in-trouble/

    I mean, why ought anyone “blithely accept” the Constitution as it’s written? Forgive my sarcasm, but if one wants to alter the text, there are provisions for that: use them. I admittedly have little patience for this kind of nonsense and it rapidly turns me off to the Left.

    The fact that the coastal enclaves cannot unilaterally dictate the direction of the nation is beginning to wear on them, it seems.

  356. JMG, Australia’s outback is full of ‘plains’ people who feel claustrophobic if they can’t see the horizon on all sides. These types get twitchy in cities and when surrounded by mountains, but often feel ok by the ocean, because horizon. Although one friend I knew when I lived in the outback always worried when she was near the ocean, that she was going to fall off the edge of the world.. she was always so relieved to get back to the safety of miles of red sand and scrub in every direction.
    Me, I’m a mountain and river person. The ocean gives me the heebie jeebies. I’m convinced it’s coming to get me. My nightmares generally involve tsunamis..

  357. The silver dream prompted me to finish reading the material on Cabalistic theory in PoW, and now I have. And I remember you saying at one point that you no longer hold the beliefs you laid out in this book. Would you mind clarifying what beliefs precisely you espouse in PoW that no longer jibe with your worldview? IIRC, you said something about a “real howler”?

    In the book you also estimate that humanity as a whole is at the Practicus level. When I peg my progress along the Secret Path at the Theoricus level does that mean I’m less spiritually developed than the average human?

    Thank you!

  358. JMG,

    The most interesting thing from my point of view is the sheer amount of cacomagic, much of it in the form of billboards. You can’t look anywhere without seeing at least one, and usually several. It seems to suggest that there’s a massive push for something, within the US and not here in Canada. What has me intrigued is that most of the problems in the US emerge, directly or indirectly from the habit of hyper-consumption, and this seems to relate to the cacomagic.

    So, here’s my question: why is it so important to the elites in the US, and the US alone, that people consume well beyond their means? I have no good answer, but if someone has any ideas, I’d love to hear it.

  359. Will J,

    Stuffed and Starved was a good movie title, and obviously fits your experience of the food here in the US. FWIW, I totally agree with you. One really has to go out of one’s way to eat etherically-pleasing food in this country. And of course it costs more. And gets you labeled as a special snowflake by people who don’t understand. It’s pretty sad.

    My guiding dietary principle is to avoid machine-made food and drink whenever possible. Doesn’t seem like it’s THAT tall an order, does it? But it is. Hoo boy, it sure is.

  360. Peter van Erp,

    I would love to take that boat tour on the river with you. Sounds really nice. Never seen a great egret before.

  361. Thank you all for commenting on my son’s fear of the towers. I do think it may be more the fear of large objects, as today he expressed his dislike of two very tall and imposing white pine trees, a tree he normally loves. And Patricia, thanks for the link to the EMF avoidance site. For what it’s worth, we have still have a landline, use flip phones and never use the WiFi. We’ll see what else we can do.

    An aside about herbs: my son noticed a scratch on Daddy’s leg so he picked some yarrow and mashed it on the scratch! As I learn, I’ll try and teach him too. Since the early ’90’s, I’ve felt a calling to pass on knowledge for the future that is currently deemed irrelevant. So my little boy will be hopefully absorbing lessons to pass on to someone else someday . . .

    Ellen in Maine

  362. On environments we feel comfortable living in:

    I suspect we “imprint” on the places we grow up. I grew up on the coast. Of the three other places I’ve lived, two were coastal, and the third only a bit farther inland. The two years I spent in that third place were the worst of my life, health-wise. I’ve visited the mountains, and they are lovely, but I do not feel comfortable there. The weird part is, I don’t even like going to the beach. But I feel better knowing there’s a bay or an ocean nearby.

  363. @Lady CuteKitten of LOL – re “Does anyone know what happened to June bugs? I haven’t seen one in years.”

    Here in northern New Hampshire, I have noticed a distinct drop in June bugs, though they have not completely disappeared. One bug I haven’t seen in quite some time and don’t miss are Japanese beetles. (I live in a small town neighborhood with patches of woods mixed with residential homes). After a number of years where I was picking them off and dropping them into soapy water, they seemed to have completely vanished. I find it hard to believe I single handedly wiped them out so I suspect the weather shifts are changing the types of bugs we see.

    This past summer the pair of Washington Hawthorn trees on my front lawn put on a show of blossoms on their lower branches which allowed me to discover for the first time that the flowers smell like rotting meat. They attracted an enormous horde of flies as well as insects some of which were unfamiliar to me. In addition they drew in a very large number of honey bees. I wonder if the honey they made had an off taste…..?

  364. @ Mike T re investments

    Late in the comment cycle but I thought I would share another idea re investments if you are already looking at buying a house and also looking for something to support you as you get older. This idea is based on the concept of taking in boarders. Obviously, laws on this vary from area to area as does the economics and people’s appetite for taking on a mortgage; though in some areas it might be possible to do this without a mortgage.

    1. acquire a large, older house in an unfashionable location. Try to find one on a good public transport route and/or walking/cycling/kick scooter distance to shops etc. Sometimes you don’t need to buy the house, in some cases it may be possible to rent as a head tenant and then sublet.

    2. take in boarders – in my city, one can rent out rooms for up to three people to whom you are unrelated. As a bonus, you can also legally have two kitchens and laundries in one dwelling if you can’t stand the thought of sharing – pick the right house and you can just section off a flat for yourself with internal access to the living areas used by the boarders. In other places, you might just have to share.

    In my city, the rent from three bedrooms is enough to pay mortgage, running and maintenance costs on a standard large five bedroom house, meaning you have free accommodation and utilities. The income from your job can then go into quickly paying off mortgage principle and renovations to make the house more energy and water efficient and setting up a food garden. This is not for everyone obviously – my husband is a strong introvert and hates mixing personal and business interactions so I have to handle everything while he sneaks in and out of a side door to avoid the boarders.

    3. optionally, upgrade a larger house into a small boarding house. In my city, in unfashionable suburbs, unrenovated six-eight bedroom/three bathroom houses cost only 10-15% more than unrenovated four bedroom/two bathroom houses. They were often built by builders to live in themselves so are reasonable build quality, with lots of extra random rooms useable as bedrooms. This option might also work better for the introverts such as my husband since you can get away with just living close by.

    I see these as ethical investment options since you are: a) helping lower income people (in my case, single age pensioners whose only other options are horrendous badly heated, pest infested, crumbling former motels), b) utilising the existing overbuilt housing stock in a more efficient way, c) reducing the energy and water consumption of the house in total through smart renovations.

    Normally landlords will provide some services to their boarders such as cleaning common areas, laundry and pantry staples but once I become infirm I figure I can provide accommodation to someone in return for them doing some of this. In the meantime, I feel that cleaning toilets etc for my tenants helps me to maintain the correct perspective. Eventually, once the mortgage is paid off, the rental income will allow me to quit my office job and start a small business from our house as well.

  365. Dear John,

    I’m just as happy that I deleted my posts! All of my work can boil down to “read Matthew Wood, Nicholas Culpeper, Finley Ellingwood, and Maud Grieve.”

    Dear Bridge,

    you are very welcome!

    Dear Temporaryreality,

    You are so welcome; really, it is my pleasure!

    Dear Isaac,

    Again thank you! The guy’s work is certainly interesting, and I like his presentation and found his stages helpful although not directly applicable. As for herbalism and 7song, I’ve known quite a few folks that have interned under him and found it helpful. I’m seriously woo-woo and seriously hardworking and so his approach always turned me off somewhat. Dreams often informed me of the best use of plants, and all of the symbolic categories always come rushing into my awareness at crucial points. That said, he’s trained a lot of competent folks and I have the greatest respect for him and if I were still pursuing herbalism like I was a few years back I’d definitely be in touch with him.

  366. Will J, he actually has a free 2011 version available here: https://obe4u.com/lucid-dreaming-books-free/

    The newer edition for sale on Amazon really doesn’t add much beyond some biographical info about the author. All the techniques are still in the 2011 edition.

    The website and book were translated from Russian so they don’t always flow well, and the website is set up oddly in some places, but it’s been an interesting resource for dreams and out of body phenomena

  367. I just got back to comments. I did not say potential-King Sean was mean. It was auto-correct that cast that aspersion on his majesty, and I didn’t catch it. I keep auto-correct turned off but it is apparently rigged in favor of On; if I have to restart it’ll quietly come back on in the background.

  368. Jill, interesting. I find open plains somewhat disorienting, though exhilarating if there’s any degree of wind.

    Caryn, fair enough. There’s something to be said for anything that keeps people from thinking that they deserve whatever privilege they’ve been born with, rather than recognizing that it’s the luck of the draw.

    Bridge, France is more interesting than Britain. There, I said it. The weather’s better, too. You need pompous circumstances to make up for it. 😉

    J.L.Mc12, no, I haven’t read him. I’ll have a look at his books when I have some spare time.

    Patricia, Lao Tsu is always worth listening to! I cited Jesus simply because he was so specific about that one point. As for Kingsport, you’re quite correct, of course; it’s a sort of eccentric Gothic without the romance, and I wouldn’t be utterly surprised if someday there’s an edition of Kingsport with a cover showing a young woman looking nervously back at a looming Georgian mansion. I once saw a 1960s paperback edition of Northanger Abbey with that standard Gothic style of cover!

    And thanks for the feedback on plains people. I thought so.

    John, er, probably not. The Welsh and the Irish hate each other as much as either one hates the English — my wife’s mother was Welsh and her father was Irish, and the nastiness between the two is legendary. Add in my paternal ancestors, the sour-tempered Scots, and you’d have complete political chaos in hours.

    Patricia, glad to see it.

    Reese, fascinating.

    Antoinetta, yep. I read both sites repeatedly before I was able to get print collections of both authors.

    David BTL, one way or another, of course they’ll come up with an excuse!

    Phutatorius, why, yes, I’m sure that’s what’s going on — though layoffs of local sorting staff may also be involved.

    Onething, good to see. May it work well for you!

    Your Kittenship, it’s already up.

    David BTL, if Trump wins the 2020 election, we can confidently expect to see them denounce democracy as racist.

    Blueday Jo, many thanks for the data points!

    Tripp, it’s been more than a year since I last reviewed Paths of Wisdom and I don’t at the moment remember all the details. Nothing in it will land you in trouble, so I’d say don’t worry about it. As for humanity’s grade, two different things — the grade of our species shows which natural forces we’ve mastered, the grade of the individual shows which inner potentials you personally have awakened. Currently our species is midway through the Practicus ritual, having mostly finished traversing the Path of Shin, of fire-based technology and fossil fuel energy, from Malkuth to Hod, and now has to return to Yesod and begin work on the Path of Resh, the Path of solar energy that leads from Yesod to Hod.

    Will J, that’s an excellent point and one I’ll want to brood over.

  369. Hi Rita,

    I agree with most of what you wrote. Of course I know some racists exist, they’re just not part of my world. I also realize the inhumanity of man. It’s disheartening but right now none of that is happening.

    But as to the Iranian and Colombian, they are not racially much different, depending especially upon the Columbian. If he is of Spanish extraction, that is very close to the middle east and that part of the world has had the most mixing of peoples.

  370. Caryn,

    “but this is not something the universe or nature is doing – this is what people do to each other, ”

    I so agree with this.

  371. JMG, referring to your comment to Bridge, the left these days generally seems to be fixed on annoying people through their incessant demonstrations about every small thing and thus alienating people. That, at least, is the case in Germany, where every right-wing demonstration, no matter how small it is, is countered by huge left-wing demonstrations who paralyze the whole public transit of a city. How well will that come over for old and infirm people? I wouldn’t be astonished if more and more people were wishing for martial law in such a situation.

  372. RE: Will J RE: Cacomagic

    I have three thoughts.

    One, the wendigo might have influenced the American Psyche. I’m in no way qualified to evaluate this possibility. But the emergence of advertising to fabricate a perceived need that can be filled through consumption of a product was taken further, farther, and more enthusiastically in the USA then it was elsewhere. See also our current vampire fetish. I don’t know where or how this all came about or where it is going, but it doesn’t bode well.

    Two, easy money is bad for you. The USA came into fantastic natural resources and after WWII had half of the world’s GDP. It didn’t last, but for two generations the USA had fantastic growth and wealth and the reins to the UK’s old empire. American’s were frugal and industrious before WWI, but after we enjoyed the benefits of abundant natural resources, global dominance, a global empire, and an international order crafted by and for us. It made for some pretty cushy living and now that the money has run out the folks used to cushy living aren’t terribly keen to embrace austerity or hard work. An industry such as marketing or propaganda, that convinces us that everything is fine and we don’t need to come to terms with a new, different, and less pleasant reality would probably do very well.

    Three, the decadence of a declining civilisation. The late era Romans had some decadent dishes, an entire plate of peacock tongues, runners to get snow from the mountains for snow cones, and a chicken, stuffed inside of a duck, stuffed inside of a goose, stuffed inside of a pig, stuffed inside of a cow. See Thorstein Veblen, coiner of the phrase conspicuous consumption, about Veblen goods. Goods that are more desirable, not because they are better, but because they are more expensive and consuming them shows off just how much you have.

    Just my two cents.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  373. Lathechuck, I’m pretty certain it’s classified, but I’d be very interested what altitude ICBMs and SLBMs are actually set to detonate. They say even a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan would kick up so much muck into the atmosphere that millions more would die around the world from nuclear winter. Detonation height would significantly affect both fallout and nuclear winter, and I’m curious whether the war plans attempt to minimise that, or if they are just embracing maximum destruction – a ‘watch the world burn’ (or in this case ‘freeze’) strategy.

    Tripp, I’d heard of the metal huts from the Open University course Cities and Technology. Apparently the ideal combination of technologies is the hut with a thatched roof, but with a cone of corrugated metal on the peak of the roof, to protect it from weathering. There was another similar case of poor environmental descision making with a tribe that used to have stone houses. When they converted to Islam they started living in mud huts, because that’s what other Muslim groups did, despite the fact they dissolve in the rain. The stupidity of the main Western architectural style is even encapsulated in its name – the International Style. Like there ever could be one style of architecture that could work in every terrain and climate on earth.

  374. Phil H, JMG : re the Professor Herrington letter re resources for EVs

    For mainstream media, it has too many numbers in it, and people seem to freak out at numbers.
    For the doomers/skeptics, it’s been interpreted as “EVs are impossible”.
    What they really said is: we need to think about this.
    (and I agree – CO2-free is non-trivial, and things like trolleys, bike-lanes, etc. have their place too – and are often under-mentioned).

    I’m reminded of pre-Hubbert peak oil predictions: the eminent professors and bureaucrats would gather information from the oil companies as to how much oil reserves the companies had – only 20 years! OMG – we’re doomed. Except that from a commercial standpoint, if it takes (roughly) 20 years to find and develop new resources, it is a waste of money to have more.
    (this of course has changed with the peak in discoveries of conventional oil).

    So it is with (most) of the resources mentioned, why spend huge sums to develop a mine to sit around?

    BTW – a couple of Australian lithium mines have just come online to meet growing demand, and lithium prices are down.
    https://www.mining.com/spodumene-supply-surge-sinks-lithium-prices/

    Also reminded of the hysterical fetish for thin film PV some years back, when polysilicon prices hit $300/kg on the spot market. “Silicon is too expensive, we MUST develop thin film!”. But it was only processing capacity that was short (silicon is the 2nd most common element in the Earth’s crust).
    Now insiders are talking that it probably will rise ABOVE $8/kg next month.
    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/08/20/polysilicon-prices-to-rebound-in-september/

    The tellurium etc. Herrington et. al. think is so critical? Thin film PV has been loosing market share since 2009, peak market share back in 1988, now less than 5%. See pages 21 & 22 in:
    https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf

    The rare-earths for wind turbines and EVs? Optional. They make for some efficiency improvement in certain designs, but are not necessary.
    https://www.aweablog.org/rare-earths-wind-turbines-problem-doesnt-exist/

    BTW – September 14-22 is (U.S.) national drive electric week.
    https://driveelectricweek.org/

    Events around the country that week, including one in Providence RI on Sept 22.
    https://driveelectricweek.org/event.php?eventid=2006

    Also, there are guest drive events throughout the year, where EV owners let other people drive the EVs, I see they’ve gone nationwide.
    http://electriccarguestdrive.com/events.html

    John, I know you’re not interesting in getting an electric car – e-bike perhaps? (and kudos to your low-carbon lifestyle), but you might want to check out the EV owners and other green-ish types.

    Also – did you see the BNP Paribas report “Wells, Wires, and Wheels”?
    Claims that oil is no longer cheaper for transport than EVs and renewable electricity.
    direct link:
    https://docfinder.bnpparibas-am.com/api/files/1094E5B9-2FAA-47A3-805D-EF65EAD09A7F

    A review of the report:
    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/08/12/bnp-parabas-says-the-party-is-over-for-oil-companies/

  375. Re: the idea that the Democratic Party would learn a lesson from another loss and move to become a viable representative of the working class…….

    JMO but I don’t see that happening. A substantial portion of the Dem Party is not at all interested in the problems of the working class. We saw that with the nomination of HRC and we see it in the polling that shows Biden leading. Too many Dems think Democratic Party and Progressive are synonyms. They aren’t – not by a long shot. There’s a deep rift in the party, between the mainstream Dems and the Progressive wing. Co-opting the term “progressive” and applying it to all Democrats isn’t going to work, (at least in the long run) but the mainstream Dems have not figured that out yet. They can call Joe Biden a “progressive” but it doesn’t make it true.

    I think another loss, especially with Biden at the top of the ticket, will result in the further splitting of the party I’m not sure it will happen immediately after the election. I suspect it’s a slow process, after all we are dealing with a learning disabled organization. But we are also dealing with a party that is of two minds. I don’t see the mainstream wing suddenly getting behind the working class, except rhetorically. The mainstream branch is the party of the salary class. They truely believe their neoliberal philosophy. The salary class and working (wage) class have different interests that cannot be served by the same policy. I suspect we are witnessing the split of the Democratic Party into two seperate parties. I think the rift is too fundamental to be patched over. I don’t see the mainstream betraying their class loyalty.

    A narrow win by the Dems will make it even less likely they’ll learn anything. They’ll think everything is alright and they can go back to being Republican-Lite which will only bring on another “Trump”.

  376. @DBL

    “The fact that the coastal enclaves cannot unilaterally dictate the direction of the nation is beginning to wear on them, it seems.”

    Well, it’s not really “dictating” given that we have elections. And it’s no more “unilateral” than say Gubenatorial elections in which the winner of a plurality of the vote wins the election regardless of how the various counties voted. Eliminating the EC would simply mean that we elect Presidents by the old maxim one person one vote with nobody’s vote carrying more weight than anyone else’s.

  377. In his book “The class struggle in the ancient Greek world” historian de Sainte Croix points out that Roman political system facilitated most intense and ultimately destructive economic exploitation of the ordinary people, and that this same political machinery made radical reform impossible. The result, according to de Sainte Croix, was that men of real wealth drained the life-blood from their world and thus destroyed Greco-Roman civilization. One effect, not only one, was that there were no vital, virile working class recruiting pool left, and so no more truly effective military. Ability to fight in era of cold steel armies was strongly connected to manliness and prowess of soldiers as individuals, and destitute urban proletariat is less effective fighters than sturdy peasants. As one follows recent news in EU area, history seems to be repeating itself once again. At least to my eyes it seems that like ancient senatorial class in Roman Empire, international political class of Western Europe is sawing off the branch it sits on. Have do you feel about that?

  378. Will J:

    Billboards are not permitted in Vermont and haven’t been since 1968 largely due to the efforts of Ted Riehle, who thought they marred the scenic beauty of the state. When we take a trip somewhere outside Vermont it’s jarring to see mile after mile of visual clutter; I think we notice it more because we see it less often. We have family who live in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and along the major highways there it’s nearly impossible to see anything other than billboards.

    methylethyl:

    I suspect you’re right about being most comfortable living somewhere similar to where you’ve grown up, but maybe not always. Much of my childhood I lived in a place almost as flat as the proverbial pancake, but it’s in the mountains that I belong.

    Jeanne Labonte:

    Years ago when we lived in Pennsylvania Japanese Beetles just dripped off our rose bushes, our raspberries and certain other plants. I could fill buckets with them. Here in Vermont I see perhaps a dozen JBs every summer and when I dug out our huge vegetable garden, I hardly saw any grubs at all. I don’t know if it’s the climate or the composition of the soil, but there’s almost none and the chickens would sorely love to have some Japanese Beetle snacks. Sorry girls.

    Caryn:

    I’ve always understood Noblesse Oblige to mean that there’s a societal obligation for those with much to share their privilege with others who have little. It’s not a matter of guilt or uneasiness, but one of fairness. Maybe we perceive it differently these days in countries that have varying degrees of a safety net: perhaps because of now-common (but impersonal) government support for the downtrodden we’re no longer familiar with the idea of helping in a more direct, dare I say even intimate, way.

  379. For anyone who has been following the events in Hong Kong:

    Last week protesters created a human chain across 30 miles of Hong Kong Territories on the anniversary of the Baltic Way protests. You may have seen this because it was peaceful and beautiful, it was widely aired. Even on US news outlets:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/23/hong-kong-protesters-join-hands-in-30-mile-human-chain

    This week protests once again turned violent, although most of my friends still there ‘on-the-ground’ say it was not nearly as dramatic or bad as the news is portraying it. I know we’ve seen that in the USA with media hyping something up to keep us glued to their channels, so I’m somewhat inclined to believe them.

    This from on of my Hong Kong Moms:

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025238/hong-kong-burns-during-another-weekend-violence-live-shots?
    utm_content=article&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0O4km7UanTxmWMWnU-ZsFbRamn7lAOJ66ZE3hGv9M-6mbeV6KooYYHB_s#Echobox=1567270992

    There have been several previous articles on the Govt. using CCTV footage to identify protesters for arrest and future prosecution. All efforts thus far stymied by these 20-something college students far more adept at technology than the older adult govt. officials and police, but the most ubiquitous weapon or shield is again the humble brolly hiding protesters’ faces. They also use the medical particle-masks that became ubiquitous during SARS. Normal civilians still wear these if they have a cold or cough going out in public. These masks are a common sight. So now the police are lobbing them with paint guns to identify them later.

    And this opinion piece by Activist / Canto-pop singer Denise Ho:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/02/denise-ho-hong-kong-has-reached-a-point-of-no-turning-back

    I’m inclined to agree with Ho. I don’t know how this will end, but I don’t see it going back to the way things were. 🙁

  380. Re: Mountain people etc – I have always thought of myself as a mountains person, but find myself feeling quite content down here in flat-as-a-pancake cypress swamp territory. Maybe it was just the greenery I missed? OTH, the strictly manicured landscaping in the retirement center sometimes drives me batty, though there are forested parts, including one with a walking trail through it. My daughter’s exurban home feels wild, even though there is a house on every acre, and you can meet the neighbors on a short stroll. Maybe it’s just wild enough?

  381. Will J: it’s not just the hyper consumption, it’s the incessant, hysterical, high speed, loud hype! Spelled sensory overload to the max.

  382. John, everyone—

    Re the EC (again)

    My apologies for repeated comments on this topic. It seems there’s a considerable amount of chatter on PW recently about it. Another post and associated comment thread:

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/09/02/the-electoral-college-needs-to-be-fixed/#disqus_thread

    An interesting twist in the comments that I’d not seen before: an argument to make the EC “more democratic” by stripping away the two “Senate” electoral votes from each state and making the EV based solely on the number of House seats. (Not going to happen without an amendment, which ain’t gonna happen b/c any thirteen states can veto an amendment and I’m sure at least thirteen smaller states would be disinclined to such a change.). But a fascinating continuation of the ongoing general rant of how “hidebound” and “archaic” our system is.

    Also, more chatter about how we can’t allow the states to manage elections; these things must be centrally controlled and directed. Because only then will the will of the people prevail. Hmmm.

  383. I have an idea for the reason Americans are pushed towards hyper-consumption: it’s human nature to want to plan ahead and save for the future. These urges get stronger the less secure people feel, and insecurity defines the US these days.

    This means that tons of Americans, left to their own devices, would want to reduce their personal consumption. The fact that this isn’t the case, and that nearly all of the country’s problems come directly or indirectly from that habit, says there’s a powerful need for it, one that’s viewed as more important than anything else.

    This need is simple: The American Empire, not as an economic force, but as a political one, can’t work without it. This is because of one of the major ways the empire works: part of it is that central banks around the world invest in the US. The ability to freeze these countries’ assets, and thus cause enormous harm to them, is a major element of the political side of the empire. This produces a massive capital account surplus, which needs to be balanced by an equal and opposite trade deficit. Thus, in order to keep the empire running smoothly, the US needs to import an absurd amount, above and beyond exports, every single year.

    This forces a series of imbalances into the US economy, all of which need to be tolerated for the political benefits, and so the US puts up with both higher unemployment and faster growing debt than would otherwise be the case. These unfold due to the way that the domestic economy is gutted by cheap imports, and the fact that the stock markets can only absorb so much of the investments.

    What’s interesting is that both of those factors should push Americans to consume less: fewer jobs and higher debt make the economic prospects worse, and so the logical thing to do is cut expenses until income covers it all. The fact that so many Americans don’t take such a step is itself surprising, and comes back to the cacomagic.

    It thus seems to me that the cacomagic exists for the political purpose of forcing Americans to consume enough that the American Empire doesn’t collapse in on itself, as Americans would otherwise make the rational choice to refuse to play the part of debt-ridden, bankrupt hyper consumers.

  384. @ Chris Hope

    Re the Democratic party and its future

    I fear that you are far more correct than not. My guess, too, is that the Democratic Party is well on its way to becoming the conservative party of the status quo, quite possibly by jettisoning the economic progressive wing and welcoming the anti-Trump former-Republican contingent. As I mentioned, my social views are far more in line with civil libertarianism and generally more amenable to the moderate left than the moderate right, but perhaps it will still come out in the mix as things settle down in the aftermath of this transition we’re in the midst of.

    Re the EC, coastal enclaves, and voting

    Well, it’s not really “dictating” given that we have elections. And it’s no more “unilateral” than say Gubenatorial elections in which the winner of a plurality of the vote wins the election regardless of how the various counties voted. Eliminating the EC would simply mean that we elect Presidents by the old maxim one person one vote with nobody’s vote carrying more weight than anyone else’s.

    Ah, but that is not how we are constituted. And I’d point out that your analogy falls prey to the very false parallel I’ve mentioned earlier. Counties are creatures of the state government: they can be created, merged, and have the powers allocated to them altered at the whim of the state legislature. States are emphatically not creatures of the federal government. They are independent polities which exist in their own right and which have inherent powers which the federal government cannot (or ought not be able to) touch (see, for example, the 10th amendment). (Granted, in our march to empire, we have tended to look the other way on some of these things, but the Constitution still says what it says.) The county/state analogy doesn’t bear scrutiny in the end. States are rather unique within the architecture of our system of governance.

    Again, I’d point out that we are a federal republic of semi-sovereign states and not a unitary democracy. I would personally prefer that the national election of our chief executive reflect, in some manner, a balanced view across all those states. The current system is a cobbled-together compromise; not my preference, but it works okay. Rather like Nastarana commented further above, I don’t want NYC and LA electing the president. Just because the coastal enclaves have more people doesn’t mean that they get to drive the republic.

    This, too, is why we have a bicameral legislature and why equal representation in the Senate can never be altered, even by amendment (see the very last clause of Article V). And given that some very important functions are granted to the Senate (with its equal representation of all states) over the House–e.g.,ratification of treaties, confirmation of officials–I think it is clear how the Framers sought to limit the power of the more populous states over their less populous counterparts.

    Of course, I am also very much in favor of a decentralization of power generally and that preference is reflected in these positions I’ve taken.

  385. @ David, by the lake: You mentioned you wanted better villains in your fiction. Ask they what they really want and listen to what they say. I ask mine what their motivations are and they always have some, and they frequently aren’t the motives I gave them when I was working out the plot.

    Yes, my characters talk to me. They’re real people even if they live in my head.

    As for the mention of Wildside Press: They’re great people. I’ve met John Betancourt (the founder) several times now. He’s very interested in bringing all kinds of forgotten literature back into print. They do a nice job. Here’s their website: http://wildsidepress.com/

    I can’t seem to make the link live. Sorry. They’ve got tons of wonderful, genuine old-school pulp.

    Teresa from Hershey

  386. Dear Christopher L Hope, The Democratic Party, IMHO, can no longer be considered a genuine political party, ie, one which is interested in winning elections and representing the interests of its’ voters. I would characterize it is a large patronage scheme. Its’ salary earning apparatchiks are not interested in governance but in jobs and perks for themselves, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep their salaries and swag. Notice how simple, everyday reforms which could be implemented right now, this year, such as rent controls and extending existing public transportation are simply never part of the Democratic program.

    I agree that the party may split or fracture in the next decade. The Marxist Left, which calls itself ‘progressive’, a title from American history to which it has no right, is and has always been urban and internationalist. It will NOT give up it’s commitment to open borders and multiculturalism, no matter what voters want. This faction is smaller than it appears, but is concentrated in large cities, which is why it finds the EC inconvenient. It subsists mainly on subsidies from various large donors who want a cheap labor force and servant class.

    I think Trump is vulnerable in 2020, but the above faction has alienated so many voters that I doubt he will lose. He may be facing a hostile congress, however.

    There is a rumor in the far reaches of the internet to the effect that the Democratic party leadership has decided to in effect throw the 2020 election in order to destroy the party’s left wing. I can understand their frustration; unfortunately the self styled moderates have no program other than imperialism lite.

  387. Since I used to work in the silicon production business, I can vouch for sunnnv’s comments. The Moses Lake (WA) silicon plant is shut down due to the low prices combined with the tariffs, and those tariffs started under Obama’s watch. Very pure silicon is now very cheap. Chinese demand for new PV power dropped markedly because all that noonday power unbalanced their electrical grid.

    At one point the CdTe thin film cells were using 35% of the world’s production of tellurium. And there are no pure tellurium mines, it’s found as a byproduct with other ores, including gold. There was always a hard production limit with that technology. It still has an advantage in very hot locations though.

    The abundance of elements in the earth’s crust is show here, Tellurium (Te) is in the yellow band.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_elements_in_Earth%27s_crust

  388. @Darkest Yorkshire, Lathechuck

    Yeah, the bombs themselves aren’t too bad, fallout-wise. Its the irradiated ground bursts you have to worry about. Luckily, I wouldn’t worry. Sure, I can’t tell you what anybody’s targets are– it is classified in specific cases, but the basic physics that guides the decision making isn’t. Long story short? To maximize damage, you want an airburst of a certain altitude. This, fortunately, will produce very little fallout. Groundbursts that kick up great gouts of fallout have a much smaller blast radius, so unless you’re hitting an underground target (where you want the shockwave to propagate mainly in earth, not air) you don’t bother. I don’t know about Indo-Pak, but in all the cold war target lists I saw, there were never all that many groundbursts. (this depends on strategy, though: a first-strike policy targeting enemy silos would be much heavier on groundburst munitions than the usual city-killing MAD we think of when we think ‘nuclear warfare’).

    Here’s a simulator you can play with: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/

    Oh, and for those of you not aware: nuclear winter was bupkis. Carl Sagan pushed it after a back-of-the-envelope calculation that included no feedback, no weather, and no oceans. (Which retain heat very, very well.) Even if you take his silly “every nuke makes a huge sooty firestorm” assumption (which is dubious), and plug that into even 1970s era climate models, you don’t get the scary ice-age-level nuclear winter. IIRC, you get a degree or so of global cooling. Sagan himself retracted the original “nuclear winter” study in the early 90s, after the cold war was over and the political necessity was gone.

    (I don’t have the references handy, but the answer to this question on quora pretty much goes with what I had read previous: https://www.quora.com/Is-the-nuclear-winter-a-hoax — he’s more generous and admits a 2 or 3 degree temperature drop.)

    Listen– nuclear weapons are terrifying. I get that. BUT. There’s a lot of BS that was spread by the nuclear disarmament crowd that never really went away. For example, I have heard repeated fairly often the statement that 200 nukes would produce enough fallout to render the planet uninhabitable.

    Ok. Except. More than 500 above-ground nuclear tests have been conducted, most of them at lower level than a true ‘airburst’. Last I checked, the planet is still habitable. Heck, even Nevada (100 above-ground tests) is still habitable!

    Frankly, learning about nuclear warfare has, more than anything, led me to question climate change science…

    I was totally on-board with the IPCC. Until I realized what a tissue of good-natured lies the ‘consensus’ on nuclear war is. Now I don’t know what to think.

  389. You wrote: “As for the monarchy, I expect England will keep it, if only because it draws tourists. The costs of royalty could be decreased quite sharply by simply requiring the royal family to cover its own bills out of its own income, with no subsidy from Parliament. “The king should live of his own” was a slogan much heard in the Middle Ages; now that the royal family’s duties are purely ceremonial, it would be easy enough to return to that principle.”

    Apologies if anyone else has already pointing this out, it may be of interest that the funding for the Sovereign Grant, which is the latest version of the payment that has usually been passed through Parliament to the UK Sovereign, represents only a fraction, currently set at 15 % of the annual profits from the Crown Estates, with the rest going into the public purse which is kind of the opposite of their funding coming from taxpayers. The Crown Estates do hence at present pay 85 % of their annual profit into the public purse and it could be argued they would be much better off financially not in service as I am certain that other very rich families pay less into the public purse. I can see that it could be argued that the Crown Estates would in part be seized as part of any arrangement for the UK not to have a constitutional monarchy and hence that the Crown Estates’ income would remain available to the public purse, but it is not the case at the moment that they are an expense to taxpayers, despite this misunderstanding being repeated on at least an annual basis by the newspapers least in favour of the monarchy.

  390. JMG (and friends), I recently finished and thoroughly enjoyed the systems-theory centered philosophy of “Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth: An Introduction to Spiritual Ecology”. It makes a ton of sense and seems to offer lots of practical wisdom on how to break thru (or set up) barriers in one’s everyday life.

    One (perhaps unrelated) question I have is:
    Has anyone seen a good article or discussion that views contemporary coding or programming thru the philosophical lens of Ogham, Runic Magic, Sigil-Crafting, or “Words of Power”? Since Druidry deals with “re-enchanting the world” and many of us increasingly work with tech or automation, it seemed relevant.

    On the one hand it fits – words of power and a mind of their own ~ computer code that is just “words” that breaths life into material (and informational) systems. On the other hand, most “magic” seems aimed at directly impacting people’s emotions or subconscious. Any impact on the material world is mediated through people who tune into the magic. Computer Code can influence the info-material world without needing to implant symbols in people’s minds, so it seems a bit divorced from the emotive part of “magic”.

    If I recall correctly, in “Retrotopia” people have left behind computers ostensibly because of the risk of viruses, hackers, or electrical outages. Or maybe the factories and supply chains to make computer chips just became too unreliable in the crisis. Still, the ethos of the 1970s “hacker culture” and homebrew computing seems well within the scope of Retrotopia.

  391. Another data point here for needing to live in a specific type of environment. If I am not at least in sight of mountains I feel very disoriented.

    -Dan Mollo

  392. @Juhana
    September 2, 2019 at 8:39 am

    “no vital, virile working class recruiting pool left, and so no more truly effective military.”

    Many articles
    search term:us military recruitment problems

    Too sick, too crazy, too criminal. Oops, there goes the empire quite possibly because of bad food, bad education and toxics. All that matters is short term. The poor are spending on luxuries, the rich only need to get richer. I live in low income housing and the number of new looking cars is suspicious. I see the boxes for what seems really unnecessary stuff in the recycling. The cars are sometimes not cared for or crashed and that 5 year loan still needs paid.

    ———

    The US military’s real problem: Fewer Americans are joining

    When I was a commander in Iraq, many of my men were unfit for the battlefield. My unit needed them anyway.
    By John Spencer 12/27/15
    https://www.politico.eu/article/the-militarys-real-problem-fewer-americans-are-joining/

    “In 2008, when I was an infantry company commander in charge of over 140 soldiers in Baghdad, I saw firsthand how the declining number of volunteers is hurting the military. Thirty-six of my men were forced to deploy even though their terms of service were up, a controversial military policy known as “stop loss” or the “back door draft.” To meet the bare minimum number of soldiers, my unit took men who were medically unfit to fight. I had soldiers that could not leave our compound because they were medically prohibited from wearing their body armor or classified as mentally unfit. I had soldiers taking anti-depression, sleeping, anxiety and other drugs. I had a mentally unstable private viciously attack his sergeant, causing lifelong damage, and multiple other problem soldiers that detracted from the combat performance of my unit. This was symptomatic throughout the Army.”

    “This problem is going to only get worse: The Department of Defense estimates that 71 percent of the roughly 34 million 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. today would fail to qualify based on the current enlistment criteria because of physical or mental health issues, low educational scores or major criminal convictions.”

    So if conscription / the draft came back there still would be problems.

    inohuri

  393. @Christopher L Hope: Sadly, I fully agree with your assessment of the Democratic party. I know which side of the split I’ll go to, (er, already have.)

    RE: Personal Primal Lanscapes,
    I grew up in SoCal near the great Pacific Ocean and I do find it claustrophobic to live anywhere too far from some great body of water. It’s like living in a house with no windows or doors. I’ve also lived in the AZ and NV deserts. They have a subtle beauty, but you really have to look close and live there for awhile to see it. Wide open spaces. I know that’s why I love Cormac McCarthy’s writing. He gets that. Having spent a fair amount of time in the Rocky Mountains, I can appreciate why natives there feel so connected to those mountains, but they’re not mine. Not for me.

    Also being a Californian, & one-time New Yorker, I need a place where there are weirdos and crazy people and people from all different corners of the map. (Oh sorry that’s supposed to be ‘diversity’, LOL) Florida seems to tick all the boxes then. Full of loons, I fit right in.

  394. A couple of random thoughts very late in the week, I hope they can be helpful to somebody.

    First about racism/sexism etc. I grew up under communism and I developed a kind of immunity to this kind of “in your face” propaganda. For example when some religious nut started pestering me in the street asking me about my sins, I said “What sins? I am perfect!” thus getting rid of him.

    My modest suggestion to Americans trying to figure out their way out of their lifelong propaganda is this: read some old communist propaganda. Maybe a novel or two. Don’t laugh, just try to understand that people really believed that. Hopefully afterwards you can laugh at your TV. A good book is “How the steel was tempered” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_Steel_Was_Tempered) because the ending betrays a much deeper understanding of human nature than the slogans reveal.

    Second thing – JMG mentioned that Washington state is a “dungheap”. I am usually a negative person but I feel the need to stand up and defend my current home state. Yes Seattle and the coast in general is inhabited by the kind of clueless, mean-tempered and greedy “nouveau riche” that only Cascadia fault can cure. But… I spend some of my time in the poorest county of the state and the situation is very different. Most people are nicer and less rushed. For example I spent a day at a lake. We were surrounded by nice people of all colors (reminded me of JMG’s description of the midwest town where he used to live), most of them using kayaks, canoes or floaties. Yes there were some noisy motor boats out there but even other quiet motor boats disliked them. Compare that to the highway style driving I sometimes see on the lake in Seattle.
    Another thing that I started to notice is the amount of people that have home gardens (beans, corn etc) and even chickens. Yes, it’s nothing compared to Eastern Europe but it’s a start. More importantly people seem proud of their gardens. It’s not just because they are poor – they try to make it look nice and clean.

    I think we are living through another weird shift in american politics where the “rednecks” will become the greens and eco-friendly people while the former leftists from the cities will bellow about their right and need to destroy the land so they can feed themselves and their car. Maybe this is just my desire but wouldn’t it be nice?

    Thanks

  395. Hello,

    I am not sure if my prior comments were too long, too opinionated, or too off-topic and got deleted. If so, I apologize, and will seek more concision.

    Will tech and AI have a similar effect to the industrial revolution, both in terms of restructuring the economy, and in terms of dramatically increasing output-per-person? If so, even if energy & materials steadily go up in cost levels of output may hold steady for a time, even as materials dwindle at a faster rate.

    If society will take several generations to deindustrialize it will be interesting to see what a de-industrializing society with advanced AI will look like. Perhaps it will allow small firms to outsource/automate the repetitive functions to focus resources on more creative, locally-adapted, high-margin work. Or perhaps it will indeed be as dystopian as pop culture says. What made slavery profitable in the past was the easy ability to monitor and compel results. What grants us workplace freedom now, is the difficulty in supervising or coercing people to perform abstract, creative, complex work.

  396. Possibly too late for this week, and maybe better on Magic Monday (I’ll wait for that to ask a question), but, Ryan asked:
    What are your thoughts on “forestry for habitat management”?

    …and JMG replied:

    “Habitat management is a normal human ecological strategy. The native peoples of North America did it constantly, using fire to increase the carrying capacity of local ecosystems in order to make up for their own harvesting of food animals and plants. If it’s done with close attention to local conditions and to the results of interventions, rather than on the basis of an arbitrary doctrine, it can be a very good thing — a way to balance out human impacts on the environment by making the environment more welcoming to other species.”

    Next to the Rollright stone circle and Whispering Knights dolmen, there is a small woodland.

    Rather than just removing or burning brash, some of it is used to create ‘structures’ – at a fundamental level for mycelium, then of course invertebrates, mini beasts and beetle habitats not to mention the wealth of plants making their home in different niches. Small mammals move in and birds use them as cover against predation, winter larders and nesting. Within structures I am trying to keep hawthorn – over time, the hawthorn can be fed in and we may be able to turn ‘dead hedges’ into living hedges.
    Obviously the structures start decaying but this also has its own beauty and gives other species more to work with.

    Last and least, I decided to use patterns – a hint of order amongst chaos – because of the way humans identify patterns, it is a way of attracting attention for those who might choose to see.

    Most people discover it by chance; the plan is not for some dystopian disneyland – a tricky balance – Also, it very much depends on what people ‘bring to the party’ as to what they get out of it.
    Virtually everyone gets the ‘nature and environment’ angle (apart from those walking the footpath glued to devices who don’t even notice), from there it is decreasing numbers depending on aspect.

    Does it work? The increasing variety of flora and fauna suggests it might – but then nature would take care of that anyway without our interference! The mixed species woodland was planted some 25 years ago – many more trees took than expected and some considerable thinning is needed to allow space for trees to mature.

    Ash die-back is starting to having a significant effect – so in a place where ash had to be felled, a classical labyrinth now incorporates new planting.

    For anyone who might care to look – here is a short:

  397. “Nietzsche pointed out that Darwin’s theory (by which he meant the versions of Darwin’s theory that were picked up by popular culture; Darwin’s own work was far more subtle) was simply the application of British capitalist ideology to nature.”

    The physics of far-from-equilibrium systems seems to imply that the universe is a Capitalist. It invests entropy in new organization for VERY similar reasons to why a Capitalist might invest profit in new organization. The local decrease (of money/entropy) facilitates a global increase (of money/entropy).

    Given that life is also a far-from-equilibrium system I’m not surprised to find many parallels between how these systems function and Capitalism.

  398. My question for research: what is the outstanding mortgage debt on medical centers, hospitals, and clinics? The US has had the greatest influx of zero cost labor over the Mexican border. The health care mortgage debt should be the lowest it’s ever been. I’ve never seen these dollar figures calculated or reported.

  399. Dusk Shine, from reading Simon Pearson’s Total War 2006 (which also references an Open University course on nuclear weapons) I got the impression that the most destructive blast for a city is a fairly low airburst. It’s more powerful because the primary blast and the secondary wave that reflects off the ground combine for much greater destructive force. It’s not as bad as a ground burst, but significantly dirtier than higher airbursts.

    I’d had suspicions about the theory of nuclear winter but never heard it slapped down before. 🙂

  400. Hi Teresa from Hershey,

    Please tell Mr. Betancourt he’s got at least one loyal and grateful fan!

    Hi David by the lake,

    A good villain always thinks HE’S the good guy. See, for instance, Captain Hook. (In “Peter and Wendy,” if you read closely, Peter’s not exactly heroic—he “thins out” the Lost Boys every so often.

  401. On the Electoral College and the Constitution versus pure democracy:

    The Founding Fathers took seriously the argument that any pure form of government–whether a monarchy, an aristocracy or a democracy–would necessarily destroy itself in fairly short order, turning into tyranny, oligarchy or mob-rule. This, they thought, was what had always happened in the past, for reasons easy to grasp. Against this danger they established a system of mixed government. They provided for a democratically elected House of Representatives, an aristocratically chosen Senate (with Senators appointed by the wealthy elite who would inevitably dominate the state legislatures, not by popular vote), and a 4-year appointed quasi-monarch in the person of the President, who would be selected without any democratic input whatever by a college of Electors who had been appointed every four years by State legislatures, without any input whatever from the population at large.

    I find their argument about the decay of any pure form of government persuasive. So I am very strongly opposed to the United States’ ever adopting any pure form of government, whether monarchical, aristocratic ….. or democratic. Each form becomes equally toxic, sooner or later–often sooner.

    (Thus the Constitutional Amendment providing for direct popular election of Senators was, in my view, an enormous mistake; and the various state laws binding elector’s votes for President to popular voting results were another such mistake. Pure democracy seems to me to be just as toxic as pure aristocratic government and as government purely by the will of a quasi-monarch so favored by authoritarian types of voters.)

    What has upset the Founders’ apple-cart is advances in nation-wide mass communication, which provides an easy road to political power for any of the super-rich who are smart enough to deploy its addictive qualities. I don’t know of a good defense against that, but I am certain that more democracy is not such a defense.

  402. Booklover, and it never occurs to the protest bunnies that their antics might drive people into the opposite camp. It’s really quite remarkable.

    Sunnnv, thanks for this. I ride electric buses and trains whenever I have the chance; other than that, well, electric shoe leather isn’t especially interesting to me. Zoning changes to break up the nonsensical division of our cities into separate ghettoes for residence, work, and shopping strikes me as a much more useful step.

    Tidlosa, was it “Secrets of the Lost Symbol” or “The Occult Book”? Those are the two books of mine I know of that have been translated into Swedish.

    Christopher, I’m basing my prediction on what happened to the Republicans after their catastrophic defeat in 1936 — a similar situation, in that Roosevelt won in 1932 and sparked four years of epic meltdowns among the defenders of the status quo. The GOP was utterly convinced that Americans would never reelect FDR, and ran a campaign focused on how awful he was and how America needed to return to all the policies that had gotten him elected in the first place. In 1936, he won every state but Maine and Vermont. That was a body blow to the old GOP establishment, and over the next few years the GOP quietly dropped its advocacy of the policies that caused the Great Depression, and gradually figured out how to appeal to a reasonable share of the general public. They still didn’t win a presidential election for another sixteen years, but the party survived. My working guess is that the same thing will happen to the Dems this time.

    Juhana, that’s normal in waning civilizations — and Faustian civilization is definitely on the wane at this point.

    David BTL, Trump is always doomed. That’s why he keeps winning. He’s a past master at tricking his opponents into assuming they’ve already won. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he had his people help feed the Democrat fantasy that the Mueller report would doom him, just to keep them fixated on that daydream and not looking for other points of vulnerability. As for the election, my working guess is that he’ll make huge investments in those states, but that he’ll also target half a dozen other states that nobody thinks are in play, and do the same thing there that he did to the upper Midwest in 2016. Lateral thinking and the strategy of the unexpected are his core strengths, and the upcoming election will see them in full spate.

    Caryn, thanks for this. I think we’re counting the days before live ammo starts being used.

    David BTL, oooh, progress! I wonder how many people remember that the fascist parties of Europe between the wars pitched themselves to the voters as modern, progressive, and up to date, in contrast to the hidebound, archaic parliamentary democracies they wanted to overthrow.

    Wiil, that strikes me as a very plausible argument.

    Dishwasher, thanks for this! Can you point me to some online resources that document this? I’d like to be able to cite them.

    Nicholas, no, but then I don’t pay a lot of attention to computer-centric literature. Someone else may know of something.

    John, thanks for this!

    NomadicBeer, you’re right, of course. I’m reacting to the vast and fetid gap between what the Seattle area was in my childhood, youth, and young adulthood, when it was a very good place to live, and what it’s become now. With any luck, once the import economy implodes and Seattle becomes the Detroit of 2040 or so, the rest of the state will shake off the dust and go on with their lives.

    Nicholas, no, they weren’t; I tend to be very busy on Mondays and didn’t have time to review comments in the moderation queue until this morning. As for AIs, advanced or otherwise, did you by any chance read the comments thread to last week’s post? Some people who actually work on AIs had blistering things to say about the claim that they could live up to the hype.

    Earthworm, thanks for this! Highly druidical.

    David BTL, I notice that it’s an old article, too. Reboot culture hits the political sphere…

    Versling, notice also that capitalist economics evolved — they weren’t invented by anybody. As an adaptive system produced by a process of competitive selection, it’s not surprising that it would echo the basic patterns of the cosmos…including the pattern of rise and fall.

    Jenxyz, a fascinating question. My guess is that you’ll have to work long and hard to get that data!

  403. @ John Kincaid: Thanks for a very interesting link. I live in Finland, in North Europe. Through my work I hear and see the results of growing ”security deficit” that has crept silently black to EU area. Even in our quiet country three police officers were shot during one weekend, in two separate occasions last weekend. Manhunt after that was fast and effective, but motive behind shootings, made by former football hooligans, ambush style, are still very unclear. Police officer shortage and retention are huge problems in most West European countries, and in countries like Belgium, struggling with enormous amounts of Islamist extremism, very few are willing to join the force. Thin blue line is thinning with alarming speed. Docile, domesticated population probably does nyt understand how much this fragile veneer of order depends of few overburdened men and women, working in three shifts and being from time to time away because sick leave, free days or holidays.

  404. A late entry: I tried to make a donation to Onething’s fundraiser. The Firefox browser hung up when i tried to complete the payment. I was able to make the payment on the Chrome browser.

  405. There was an op-ed piece – am trying to remember the source – with the theme of “I’ll vote for Biden rather than the female candidate I want because I don’t think one can win; my (father, wife, neighbors, etc) would never vote for one for President,” further down in the article a wife says “I want to vote for her for President but I don’t think she can win because my husband and his friends would never vote for a woman for President.” I see one of those effects I’m sure there must be a fable about, where everybody stampedes into a pit because everybody thinks everybody else us doing it.

    Then, the Democratic debate list has been so trimmed down that there are only 3 women: Warren, Harris, and – who is Amy Klobuchar? Her program seems to be a pile of generalities:
    https://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/issues

    And the odds on anyone not on that list getting onto the primary ticket are not good.

    Sigh. So I irritated my best online friend by telling her I was throwing my vote to Bernie. IMO, Harris is almost certain to be Biden’s running mate. Warren looked promising, but for that entire “I’m an Indian too” (Yeah: Princess Diversity of the Wannabe tribe. I know one small and often-overlooked bloc of votes she lost right then and there with that one. Not that it matters numerically.)

  406. Does anyone have any thoughts on the Popeye’s chicken sandwich hysteria? (My thought is, a society where this could happen is probably beyond salvaging, but I’m concerned that whatever replaces it may be even worse.)

  407. David, by the lake and others:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that one of the things that contribute to the political power of the coastal population centers is that the census, which counts all people living in the US regardless of status, determines the number of congressional districts which, in turn, determine the number of electoral college votes a state has. That a considerable majority of non-citizens (legal and illegal) live in the big coastal cities and are counted in the census means that these places have a disproportionate amount of electoral clout (because of non-voting residents) at the expense of more rural areas with a higher percentage of actual citizens. I am quite sure that this is why the Democrats squealed so loudly about a citizenship question on the census; anything that might possibly someday be used to determine congressional districts on the basis of actual citizenship numbers would transfer some of their power to more rural (read: deplorable) parts of the country.

  408. Hi John

    Late in the day but amazing scenes tonight in Westminster.

    There is furious debate about whether parliament can force Boris to extend Article 50 or not. Some say they can others say the can’t.

    We will see.

    What is clear is that Boris ratings among the public is improving and Corbyn’s rating are absolutely dire. The Corbyn camp think that they call pull of a second surge but I’m not so sure. Corbyn was unknown to the public in 2017 but he is a established figure in politics and increasingly seen as just another politician.

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/09/02/after-one-month-prime-minister-public-attitudes-to

    This is another fascinating polling data. The British public view of our MP’s is horrific and frankly leading to pre-revolutionary moods.

    https://www.comresglobal.com/the-people-are-the-masters/

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/09/03/gambles-boris-johnson-taking-look-good-bets

    Again, good news for Boris.

  409. @earthworm, that’s some beautiful and harmonious-looking work. How the small fauna and mycota must appreciate it! Even via video, I can feel the compelling glamour of that labyrinth.

    By any chance are you familiar with (or possibly a student or colleague of) Andy Goldsworthy?

    @Nicholas, claims of similarities between computing and magic are often mentioned casually but are usually very superficial. For instance Danny Hillis’s preface to his book The Pattern on the Stone begins with this explanation of the title: “I etch a pattern of geometric shapes onto a stone. To the uninitiated, the shapes look mysterious and complex, but I know that when arranged correctly, they will give the stone a special power, enabling it to respond to incantations in a language no human being has ever spoken. I will ask the stone questions in this language, and it will answer by showing me a vision: a world created by my spell, a world imagined within the pattern on the stone.” The stone is a silicon chip; the language, computer code. The book is about how computers work. But the comparison to magic really only goes as far as how digital circuits work being something most people don’t understand.

    (The very next sentence, a claim that this description of his occupation would have gotten him “burned at