Open Post

December 2021 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 paid propagandizing, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic. (Well, with one exception: there’s a dedicated (more or less) open post on my Dreamwidth journal on the current virus panic and related issues, so anything Covid-themed should go there instead.)

With that said, have at it!

393 Comments

  1. Winter greetings!

    I have posted the twelfth of my explorations of American Iconoclast’s in the vein of “Johnny Appleseed’s America”. Interested readers can find it here:

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/going-native-in-america

    This excursion focused on the life of Frances Slocum, later Young Bear or Little Bear after she was kidnapped by the Delaware tribe and later married into the Miami tribe.

    It also takes a look at the circus culture in Peru, Indiana where the Miami Nation of Indiana was/is located. Peru I think is one of those holes in the American quilt where you can fall through and see a different version of the reality usually given. I hope to make a pilgrimage in time.

    Little Bear wasn’t the typical iconoclast as were others in this series. But when I learned about her, I knew she had to be the one I looked at for the last in this series, because of her process of “going native” even if it was against her will, having been taken from her Quaker parents at age 5.

    Later the way she and her descendants became influential within the Miami in Indiana was fascinating.

    I’d like to say again, thanks to JMG, for the inspiration vis a vis, Johnny Appleseed, and the encouragement to look into the lives of eccentric Americans. It’s been an amazing journey and I only scratched the surface of the people out there in this land. & thanks to those who’ve read and followed along.

    I’d also encourage anyone who hadn’t done so this year to pick a biography or two for next year of some eccentric American type and reflect on how they lived and how we each might live as sovereign individuals in liberty, free to pursue our own path and dreams in a land where others are also free to pursue a way of life that will be copacetic for them. So much inspiration from history is out there. It’s really enriched my thoughts this past year.

  2. Happy winter JMG. You’ve discussed practicing and learning music now so you can carry it on the next go round/incarnation. What instruments can you play now and what are you looking to learn?

    Also what style(s)?

  3. Hey everybody, just want to share a couple things. Firstly, I read herbalist Matthew Wood’s new book “Holistic Medicine and the Extracellular Matrix” and found it very stimulating. It gives a scientific explanation for holistic medicine, including how things like cell salts, flower essences and things that work on the etheric body work, as some are calling the extracellular matrix the intersection of the etheric body and the physical. Anyway, we released a new episode with him on the Plant Cunning Podcast today, which you can find here: https://anchor.fm/plantcunning/episodes/Ep-61-Matthew-Wood-on-Holistic-Medicine-and-the-Extracellular-Matrix-e1c10v9

    We also get a little bit into foxxinations, and herbs that might be able to help with certain side effects.

    Also, I found out about the work of Joseph Lofthouse on one of these open posts, and we read his new book and interviewed him too. I highly recommend the book (“Landrace Gardening”) for any gardeners, permaculturists or seed savers. It gave me a new perspective on spiritual traditions too, and how those can adapt to new lands and peoples. You can find that episode here: https://anchor.fm/plantcunning/episodes/Ep58-Landrace-Gardening-with-Joseph-Lofthouse-Part-1-e1b2l89

    Thank you again JMG for this lovely forum, and I wish everybody here a happy solstice, and holiday season.

  4. I was thinking about what we talk about here when I read this essay by Stephen Buhner, the herbalist yesterday. https://www.stephenharrodbuhner.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/ON-IGNORANCE-2.pdf

    bottom pg 5 ” People tend to use a lot of words without much specificity as to their exact meaning. They use
    the word world to mean both Earth itself (the real world) and the virtual reality that human
    beings have built on top of the real world. The virtual world, that is, our civilization (and which
    has a slightly different form from culture to culture) is often mistaken as being real rather than
    virtual. This is an easy thing to do since it is so extensive, so big, so dominant, so . . . well . . .
    heavy and filled with so much stone and metal. And because that virtual world is so extensive
    and natural ecosystems so very uncommon now to those who live in cities it is easy to make the
    mistake of thinking the virtual world is foundational instead of contingent.
    6
    The people in Pompei and the Roman Empire made this same category error long ago. It
    didn’t turn out well then and it is not turning out well now. ”

    page 8 ” Schooling is at root just a means to getting a job among the elite – as well as the money and
    proportional degree of power that come with it. The trouble is, however, that there is far less
    room among the elite than there used to be – the competition has become fierce, brutal in fact.
    (One of the major elements in the breakdown of virtual worlds – that is, the fall of civilizations –
    is an overproduction of meritocratic elites. As an example of that overproduction: Ph.D.s who
    work as adjunct teachers, without hope of tenure, who make a pittance, assuming they can find
    any job at all.) ”

    pg 12 ” I have learned to feel the touch of mystery upon me and revel in my
    not knowing rather than be afraid that what I don’t know will hurt me, that there might be
    presences in that forest far beyond the human, that they might have other plans that don’t
    12
    necessarily include me or my species. I have learned what it means to be humble – and respectful
    – before powers far larger than myself.
    And so I know, without question, that when I approach a plant I am approaching a node
    of consciousness, an intelligence, that has been growing itself for hundreds of millions of years in
    a thousand different forms (which we call species). And those hundreds of millions of years are
    inside every plant that is, present in it, even though to the outward eye it appears to be a simple
    flower of the field.”

    Enjoy. He is also a very good herbalist

  5. Hello JMG,
    First, as 2021 draws to an end, thanks for many hundreds of erudite and thought-provoking articles over the last 15 or so years. Modern Monetary Theory – MMT – seems to have popping up more frequently in various blog discussions in the last few months as Covid goes on and on, with most Western governments spending huge sums to prop up economies that have been crippled by their own Covid regulations, financed by printing money and buying bonds on an ever-greater scale. Some are arguing that as this huge spending seems set to continue with Green New Deals, etc, some governments are drifting towards adoption of full-blown MMT almost by default. What do you make of MMT and do you think it will lead to hyperinflation and cause the financial collapse predicted for the end of this decade by Forecastingintelligence and others?

  6. Have you read Marvin Motsenbocker’s “Take Back the Power”? Seems like a more sustainable route for energy than we’ve been on. Fascinating that the whole power grid revolves around satisfying the insatiable demands of compound interest. Motsenbocker says when he went to trade shows there were mostly bankers. Since bankers want compound interest, and compound interest is never sustainable and for the last 2,000 year we’ve given up the jubilee year (practiced in Mesopotamia for more than a thousand years before Moses), some of the things we should be doing to avoid a collapse are guaranteed not to happen.

  7. Hello JMG,

    In the Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, you mention that you have picked the ones listed because they are safe and easy for people to use but that there are many others.

    I’ve looked at your bibliography and it’s extensive! If one wanted to do more research into a plant that is not listed in your book, do you have a first place you would start researching it?

    Also, any advice on avoiding bad sources? For instance, I had one of the Cunningham books and then in a blog post you mentioned you found them inaccurate. I would have fallen right into that trap!

    Thank you,
    KMA/prayergardens

  8. Boston and Camberville meetup

    January 8th, 2pm
    Andala Coffee House
    286 Franklin St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    I’ll be wearing a pastel scarf and will stay for at least one hour.

  9. My fellow ecosophians,

    First off, a happy holiday and solstice celebrations to everyone!

    Now, for your (somewhat) regular energy news tidbits for this month:

    Courtesy of the EIA (Energy Information Administration), an International Energy Outlook 2021 Focus report on economic growth in China:

    https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/IIF_China/?src=email

    President Biden and EV Infrastructure: more bureaucrats will save us!

    https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/biden-plan-supports-nationwide-ev-charging-creates-new-joint-doe-dot-office

    For a bit of a deeper dive.

    The above story includes a link to the DOE’s (Department of Energy) recently-published national Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, which I’ve included below:

    https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/articles/national-blueprint-lithium-batteries

    This blueprint, which I’ve given a once-through (it’s only ~20 pages long, with pictures and tables and charts), includes a number of stated goals, the implications of which are rather fascinating in light of the push for transportation electrification (a Very Big Thing right now, particularly in the power industry) and in light of basic geophysical limits.

    Let’s focus on the first goal (out of five), which I’ll give here in its entirety:

    Goal 1 Secure access to raw and refined materials and discover alternatives for critical minerals for commercial and defense applications.

    This goal is repeated on page 18 of the report, along with Table 1 which lists key resources (lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese) with estimated US and world reserves and the equivalent storage capacity thereof. Ignoring the tighter limits of cobalt and nickel (which will be resolved via R&D, per Goal 5), let’s focus on the numbers given for lithium specifically.

    Per Table 1, US reserves of lithium amount to 750 metric kilotons, equivalent to 7,470 GWh (gigawatt hours) of storage capacity. World reserves amount to 21,000 metric kilotons, or 209,163 GWh of storage capacity.

    Now for some fun with numbers–let’s do some (admittedly quick-and-dirty) BoE (back of envelope) calculations:

    In 2019, there were ~284.5 million registered vehicles in the US. For round numbers, let’s assume an EV has 100 kWh (kilowatt hours) of storage. (I think 75 kWh is standard right now, but some of the newer models I’ve heard of have >120 kWh.) 100 kWh = 0.1 MWh (megawatt hours). 1 GWh = 1000 MWh.

    If all US vehicles had 100 kWh battery packs, this would amount to ~28,500,000 MWh of storage capacity, or 28,500 GWh, which would require ~14% of world lithium reserves and ~4x US lithium reserves.

    So tell me, how is a declining empire which represents little more than 4% of the world’s population going to acquire and maintain control of 14% of the world’s reserves of a critical resource? (It won’t, of course!)

    And that’s just to handle all vehicles today. What happens when these batteries need to be replaced? Even with recycling, you’re going to have degradation and less than 100% recovery.

    I’m sure they’ll think of something 😉

  10. I’ve been thinking for a while that the bored game market, sorry, board game market needs an update. Now I have the inspiration. Anyone up for developing ‘Oligopoly’ with me?

    This was news to me today courtesy of one of Robert Malone’s Twitter posts today – yep, I know – how behind the times am I? – it’s like they don’t like to publicize this stuff! Anyway, I’m just letting it sink in.

    https://twistedeconomix.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/the-big-four-that-rule-the-world-state-street-vanguard-blackrock-and-fidelity/

  11. Also, a request to the commentariat (and John, of course!)

    I’ve been rather bitten by the bug with respect to this notion form last week’s discussion of self-referential models and tipping-points in model elaboration. Essentially, modeling the process of model development and evolution. (So very meta!)

    I’m trying to establish a framework for this kind of analysis and have hunted down a handful of papers which seem to offer some possibilities, but I don’t know what, if any, research has been done on this sort of thing. If anyone knows of any such research, I’d appreciate suggestions for texts, papers, or search terms that might be applicable. In the end, I’m looking to see if I can build a dynamic system model (I think) with which one might explore the behavior of models (vis-a-vis the underlying reality) as they become increasingly “embubbled” by self-referencing.

    Thanks in advance!

  12. With our gracious host’s leave, I’d like to invite anyone who could use a horary divination to drop me a line at FlexOnMaterialists@protonmail.com, and I’ll do my best to answer your query using the toolkit of traditional horary astrology. Materialists and even atheists (yes, even them) are welcome as well. I look forward to hearing from you!

  13. Since I missed the cut-off time for the previous post, I will post this quick-&-dirty working definition of reality for non-philosophers, courtesy of Philip. K. Dick, 1972.

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing it in, doesn’t go away.”

  14. As I have done during the last few open posts, I’d like to gift y’all with one piece of music from my homeland. I could not think of some Christmas song that was not either tooth-rotting sugary sweet or downright depressive, but the end of the year is right around the corner too. With that in mind, I’d like to say good bye to 2021 in full Mexican style . (the voice is that of the Immortal, Pedro Infante)

    Las Golondrinas, the Sparrows, is the theme of choice to say farewell in Mexico. It can be played at funerals, but needs not be so final. It is also one preferred song for graduation parties, where the now former students bring closure to a chapter of their lives and move on, hopefully to bigger and better things. In that spirit, I hope we move on into 2022 with determination and a good bit of luck.

    This time the translation is mine, and more euphonic that accurate.

    THE SPARROWS

    Where will it go,
    so hasty and tired,
    that little sparrow
    flying away from here.
    Or if up in the air
    will she look down, anguished;
    with no peace and no shelter
    that saw her take flight.

    Right next to my chest
    she shall find her nest,
    where she can rest
    and let pass the season.
    I am, you see,
    lost too in this region.
    Oh, Holy Heavens!
    And me, I cannot fly.

    I left behind
    my adored Motherland,
    also a mansion that
    long ago saw my birth.
    Today my life
    is wandering and rueful,
    and I can no longer
    to my mansion come back.

    ————————-

    Happy Holidays to all.

  15. @JMG from the previous blog: I read Amanda’s comment and think she meant it seriously. Caveat: I may not be that much better equipped to make that call than you are, but that’s how it sounded.

  16. Hi JMG, a happy solstice to you and Sara. I hope you had a restful and meaningful celebration.

    Since the past year has been a wild ride with inflation, food shortages and the like, do you think you’ll be doing an update on the Limits to Growth standard model run anytime soon?

    I know you did some updates in September but I wonder if any new global data has come in that could fill in the trend lines. With all the sudden changes we’ve experienced over the past year, I imagine many of the Actuals probably veer quite sharply in 2021.

  17. Mr Greer, I’ve been an enthusiastic reader of yours since I discovered your work – one thing I’ve wondered about your take on, however – what do you think was behind the Iraq war and similar neocon interventions? Was it oil, power or something else? And what do you think is the future of such (mis)adventures on behalf of the West’s ruling elite?

  18. On your discordian magic thread on the other blog I chimed in late in the comment cycle with an observation about a rhyme I noticed between recent history in astronomy and astrology and the story of the original snub from the Illiad. Namely, Eris gets excluded, then crazy things happen. In the ancient case of course she didn’t get invited to a wedding, apples, long brutal war, Agamemnon being the worst, all in the midst of the collapse of bronze age civilization. At the start of the century an object is discovered and named Eris, an object more massive than the planet Pluto; leading to a choice being made by Astronomers to refine their definition of a planet to exclude Pluto, rather than to declare Eris a Planet.

    It seems to me that the discovery of Eris should be as astrologically significant as Pluto, Ceres, Neptune, etc. And in this very specific case the choice to not declare Eris a planet seems unlikely to discourage this impact.

    I have empirical evidence; the last 15 years of history has, I’d argue, a discordant character. I would give examples, but it would be like pointing in the direction of the ocean while scuba diving. So consider anything you please that has happened in the last 16 years, its evidence.

  19. I think I remember reading in the comment section in one of your other entries that geomancy was an important skill for interacting with spirits. I haven’t been able to find that entrie since but I was wondering what made geomancy a better system for that than other systems?

  20. Hi JMG,
    What´s your take on declining male sperm counts caused by hormone-mimicking chemicals? Richard Heinberg seems to be very worried indeed. Quote: ” As a result of these, male sperm counts are plummeting at a rate such that they may reach zero, on average, before 2050. The effect is being seen in both humans and animals. Its implications are truly and deeply shocking. This trend simply wasn’t on my radar in 2011.” (This is from his blog at the PCI revisiting his book “The End of Growth”, which was published in 2011) Do you think he´s right to worry, or will this phenomenon taper off as industrial society declines?
    greetings
    Frank

  21. Hello JMG;
    About thirty percent of society is vulnerable to being locked into a mass intoxication brought on by the transition from a unfocused frustration and aggressive state to a state of release by accepting a narrative that identifies a source of their anxiety according to Mattis Desmet’s theories on mass formation. Their frustration can be directed to a particular cause or group. The cost is they must make a ritual sacrifice. Then they can be part of the social bond and find that positive mental wellbeing. They can focus in this case by directing their anger at the bad citizens who don’t follow the health dictate rules, and especially targeting those who don’t get foxxed. I am concerned that what will develop is that the people who challenge the mass psychosis even passively just by living their lives will continue to be singled out and separated from society. An effort will then be made to cut them out of the economy. This meme has been promoted heavily by our federal and state governments.
    In a totalitarian society the only social bonds allowed are the social bonds to the state.

    I want to do something to magnify doubt for this worldview at least in my region. There is the skeptical 40% that can be swayed either direction and the 20% that are not vulnerable to mental intoxication. Connecting with those people to make sure the mental intoxication doesn’t become the majority of the population will make the difference whether this whole thing goes sideways or not. I don’t want to see debate totally driven from the public arena. Then there is only a single voice and the truly awful abuses can begin in earnest as documented historically.

    The magic strategies you laid out in the “King in Orange” seem very good to me in general, but I am a newbie in this area. To my mind, they are; keep it simple, keep it secure, and keep it positive.
    Keep it simple: I know people that feel the same way as I do and I could start with a discussion group with them. Most of them are in the construction trades. But I also am tempted to contact the local people that organized the resistance to mandatory jabs in the two local hospitals. They are two very different groups; perhaps this is flawed regarding the simple approach.
    Keep it secure; I want to rely on letters, and word of mouth and leave the social media alone. Less danger from being shut down by arbitrary degree or attracting unwanted attention. Let it grow slowly and organically.
    Keep it positive; I want to welcome people whether they are foxxed or not and keep that status private. I am after the dialog with the skeptics and the middle group and want to make every one feel welcome. In short I want us to build our own social bonds in competition with what is being promoted out there and have it develop into an economic network. It’s crazy that this feels like a revolutionary act in today’s society.

    Some ideas include; visit our homes and sharing a meal, develop networks for barter, develop medical subscription alternative services bypassing the official medical complex as much as possible, and supporting local small businesses that are supportive of what we want to do.
    In other words creating parallel structures to the society that I see we may live in the future, and building new social bonds for ourselves.

    Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

  22. Hi JMG and Everyone,
    Happy new Solar Year too.

    Someone asked about learning a musical instrument to take a bit of skill into the next life. I decided to do just that.

    I am 57 and decided I wanted to study the cello. I mentioned this at a choir practice last summer when we were allowed to meet for the funeral of one of our members. One of the tenors said, “You can borrow mine!” Bless him and may the Gods be pleased with him.

    I have been studying for less than 3 months now and can play the D major scale and several songs. Playing the cello has become less about a skill to take with me and more about a huge source of delight in this incarnation. My husband was so inspired that he has taken up playing the guitar again after a 50 year pause.

    Hugs from Maxine

  23. Hi everyone. For Anyone who is is interested in B Kastrup’s take on reality, There’s a PhD at UC Irvine (if I recall correctly) named Donald Hoffman who has written a book entitled The Case Against Reality. For anyone who might be interested in the world as Will and representation, it is interesting to see that at least one person in a university setting is willing to see the world and its possible causes differently than the officially prescribed and endorsed story.

    Merry Christmas!

  24. Greetings!

    I was reading the book “Dumbing Us Down” by John Taylor Gatto and noticed it was published by New Society. That sounded familiar so I check a few books by JMG and…ah ha! Same publisher! You are both in good company!

  25. Robert Morgan asked about MMT. The place I would start is the website of Professor Bill Mitchell, the pugnacious Australian economist who was one of the originators of the idea. It’s at http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/ and contains a number of helpful and simple videos explaining MMT. As Mitchell says, it’s not a “theory” so much as an explanation of how government spending in modern economies actually operates, as can be confirmed if you have the patience to look at the websites of central banks. Essentially, and as Covid has shown, a government with a sovereign fiat currency cannot run out of money, any more than road builders can run out of miles. Governments, as he explains, don’t “print money.” On the other hand, spending is, of course, constrained by what’s available to buy, and if governments try to purchase more resources than are available, then inflation will rise.

  26. The stay that had been in place for OSHA vaccine mandate was lifted last Friday. If it goes into effect and the Supreme Court upholds it what do you think the political fall out will be?

  27. @Maxine Rogers # 29. Bravo on taking up cello. May I ask what you’re listening to? Any aspiring cellist should be listening to the Dvorak Cello Concerto and the two Cello Sonatas by Brahms. There are videos of the late and unfortunate Jaqueline Dupree playing them on youtube. Listening is an education in itself — as important as playing.

  28. Justin, thank you for this!

    Dmekel, one of the reasons I’m quite sure I never did anything with music in previous lives is that learning music is very difficult for me. I can play the mountain dulcimer, after a fashion, but the instrument I’m working on these days is a fine example of absurdity: the electric organ, that classic lowbrow instrument of 1970s living rooms. I ended up getting one for free…

    …and decided to learn how to play it. At this point I can do so, after a fashion; I don’t expect ever to be able to play anything but amateurishly, but it’s entertaining, and it builds skills.

    Isaac, fascinating. I find Wood’s work very useful, so this is especially good to hear.

    Atmospheric, thanks for this.

    Robert, John Kenneth Galbraith says somewhere that the word “innovation” in the financial world always means the rediscovery of one of a small number of bad ideas that caused total disaster every time they were tried in the past and can be counted on to do the same thing in the future. There’s nothing modern about MMT; it’s simply another excuse to spin the presses, and we’re already in the early stages of the severe inflation that’s inevitable whenever that’s done. Will it cause financial collapse? Depends on how long the presses keep spinning.

    Bradley, Marvin comments here now and then, and yes, I’m familiar with his work. As for compound interest, of course — that’s a normal part of the decline and fall of complex societies that have an abstract form of money, and it’s spinning out of control right on schedule. There’s a reason why the post-Dark Age societies of Europe and the Middle East considered lending at interest to be a mortal sin! (In Dante’s Inferno, usurers — that is, people who lent money at interest — are in a lower circle of Hell than murderers and fallen angels…)

    KMA, it’s been twenty years since I did that research, and I no longer recall the fine details of the sources — also, of course, much more has been published since then. I’d suggest going straight to original sources — that is to say, ancient and medieval documents in translation, rather than modern books about herbal magic — and check everything against a couple of good medicinal herbals to make sure of the safety issues.

    David BTL, thanks for this.

    Jay, funny. I don’t do board games, but there may be others interested in having fun with that.

    Joann, like most spirit names, it doesn’t appear to be in any known human language. All four of the elemental kings have names that don’t seem to have a human etymology, and books on the languages of the elementals seem to be hard to come by these days. 😉

    David BTL, I’m delighted to hear this. I don’t have any references to suggest, but I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

    Andrew, Mark, Patricia M, and CR, thanks for these.

    Patricia M, so noted.

    Anonymous, it’s going to be on the Lemurian deviation and the origins of human contact with the demonic plane that’s reflected in the old legend of the Fall of Humanity.

    Sim, yep. Declining democracies always fall into that trap.

    Benn, nope. Ecological changes happen at various rates of speed, some very quickly, but human societies have a certain amount of resilience and so it takes time for the changes to play out. Ecologically speaking, the collapse of the Lowland Maya human ecology was fairly fast, but it still took a century and a half for the Terminal Classic period to complete. That said, remember that we’re already well into the decline of industrial society — by most measures, it started in 1972, so we’ll be fifty years into it in the year about to begin — and the pace has been accelerating quite a bit in recent years. We could see some of the rougher parts of the decline in the not too distant future: at different paces and intensities in different regions, of course, but still…

    Blue Sun, we’re on course to follow the standard run straight on down from here. Have you noticed the spreading shortages of industrial output and food? Look at the graph below and I bet you can figure out exactly where we are…

    Sam, that’s a complicated matter. The very short form is that the Neocons wanted to stave off the decline of American empire by conquering the Middle East and turning it into a set of nice peaceful democracies under US suzerainty — the idea is that they could do to the Middle East what the US did with western Europe after 1945 and eastern Europe after 1989. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were intended to be the first beachheads in that campaign of conquest. The result, of course, was total failure. It’s quite possible that something of the sort may be tried again somewhere else, but it won’t be under US auspices, as the US is coming apart at the seams just now. If the EU goes ahead and establishes its own military, that’ll be the purpose for it.

    Ray, it’s an interesting hypothesis!

    Robert, hmm. I don’t recall saying that. Any system of divination can be used that way.

    Frank, depopulation is a normal part of the collapse of a civilization; in Rome, the use of lead water pipes helped drive it, and we’ve simply taken that up to a new level. The planet is drastically overpopulated as it is — any more than 1 billion people is too many — and so putting in a new Darwinian filter, so that the only males who reproduce are those less vulnerable to the effects of the chemicals in question, will doubtless play a role in the necessary decline of population. Yes, it will taper off, as natural selection favors men whose sperm are more viable in a chemical-laced environment.

    Daniel, mass formation is easy to start but very hard to control. That’s why the same process that led to witch burnings in early modern Europe also drove peasant revolts and the Protestant Reformation. To the extent that current elites are feeding that process now, they’re guaranteeing their own destruction, since the people being driven into a mass have deep and entirely rational resentments against the established order of their societies, and the distractions of persecuting the vulnerable will only keep that at bay for so long. If you can provide other ways for people to get the same things they get by becoming part of a mob, that’s an option. If it fails, however, be ready to flee.

    Del, thanks for this.

    Maxine, delighted to hear this!

    Casey, and I’m equally delighted to hear this.

    Matt, yep!

    Misty, I’m not sure yet. You might want to take this to the Covid open post, as I requested above.

  29. Hello JMG,

    My comment/question would be around the pollution line on the graph in the LTG models you frequently cite. Previously I couldn’t understand how that dynamic would work with less energy but more pollution but it seems like DEF shortages are going to give us a clue.

    I’m sure many readers on the blog know about China stopping its export of Urea and the chip shortage’s effects on the automotive market. The DEF supplies used in the NOx removal systems and the sensors that make up the systems themselves. both seem to be high in the chain of ‘complexity’. I believe eventually this will hit a crisis point the DEF systems will be bypassed in post 2010 diesel engines, possibly in an informal, but widely understood across the industry, manner.

    But to me the issue is that since the engines have been made so much more efficient, with higher combustion and exhaust temperatures, that the post 2010 large road diesel engines will emit more NOx per km than their predecessors did.

    So as this DEF crisis bounces down the staircase more and more NOx will be produced even with perhaps falling? diesel consumption rates. Does this align with your understanding of that part of the model? Is this one of the ways you can have less energy but more pollution, because the energy for the pollution control is what ‘goes’ first?

  30. I was terrified after reading Julian Darley’s book High Noon for Natural Gas for the first time back in 2004. Darley argued that North America faced imminent natural gas shortages, and that the only thing preventing us from experiencing an epidemic of blackouts that would bring modern life to a standstill was the mild weather we were then enjoying. I could find no fault with the case he was making–and still can’t–and yet the nightmare scenario he foresaw has yet to visit us nearly two decades later.

    JMG, I recently listened to one of your podcast interviews in which you stated that you expect electricity to be quite intermittent in the U.S. by the end of your lifetime. Do you believe that Darley was correct but simply off by a few decades? Obviously, the subsequent supply glut from shale gas took everyone by surprise.

  31. I had so much fun playing one of those at my grandfathers house!!! Well, more than playing, playing with, I was 5 or 8. They buttons to the side have such a satisfying click!

  32. Hi JMG,
    Have you started putting pen to paper for your yearly wrap up & outlook for the year ahead? I’ve revisited your previous a few times this year and am curious about your 2022 thoughts. With all the discussion of mass formation, I think your observation below is still very key.

    Keep in mind that the vast majority of active duty US police and military personnel—the final bulwark of any regime in crisis—voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and might not be in any hurry to come to the rescue of a system that treats them with the same casual contempt it turns on everyone outside the circles of privilege.

    You can’t drag people away and lock them up if the enforcer class isn’t willing to do it.

    The other thing about 2022 is its Chinese zodiac, it’s a Tiger year. Makes me think war could be in the cards but that’s just a broad interpretation going on the nature of a tiger.

    Who knows where this is all going but your outlooks have been solid.

    Best,
    JeffBKLYN

  33. Some musings brought on by the failure of a laptop belonging to an acquaintance: It’s a common event, often a cascading failure initiated by some software bug, leading to incompetent service, mass confusion, and ending with buying something new. Most often, the owner of said laptop simply has no understanding of the technology behind any of it, no concept of the hardware or software, or the difference between them.

    This always reminds me of the Arthur C. Clarke quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I’m not aware that Clarke was involved with the occult, so he’s probably referring to Harry Potter level “magic”, but the point is still valid.

    That led to realizing it’s not just technology – everything in our society has become so abstract and complex, and we’ve moved so far from doing things with our own hands, that nobody really has any idea how things work. Technology, science, medicine, law, economics – none of it is comprehensible (and much of it doesn’t work either). People have become used to doing things by rote, simply memorizing what buttons to push, what icons to click on, etc. It doesn’t make sense, it simply is. We don’t trust the science because that cannot be understood, rather we trust the scientists, and various other specialists, acting as priests.

    Finally then, I recalled the conversations here concerning the demise of reason, logic and rhetoric. I realized that these may have fallen out of fashion because they are no longer relevant in a world that cannot be understood. What good are reason and logic when you don’t know why you do the things you do? Why use rhetoric to convince people of things you cannot understand? I fear that the return of reason, logic and rhetoric may have to wait until we go through a great reduction in complexity (and the lack of them may hasten that). Those of us who strive to understand how the world around us works, even knowing how limited our ability to do that is, may have a very hard time of it in the coming years. We may have to use other tools to achieve our goals, while striving to preserve the old ones privately.

  34. “So tell me, how is a declining empire which represents little more than 4% of the world’s population going to acquire and maintain control of 14% of the world’s reserves of a critical resource?”

    It’s called “rolling the tanks.” It doesn’t tend to work, but it is what they try. Germany rolled the tanks, Japan floated the aircraft carriers to obtain the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, etc, etc. Then the next government has to reassemble the pieces after the empire comes apart. A guy named Kennedy wrote a book about it. And it doesn’t always fail, the US removed the Mexican government from a large part of what we consider the SouthWest. Manifest Destiny and all that.

    Besides the metals on your list you can look at the numbers for plain old copper. Electrifying the country will take lots of extra copper, which means new mines which the environmentalist will fight desperately, or strong-arming other countries to mine it out of our view and sell it cheap, or (drum roll) rolling the tanks.

  35. Yes, the extracellular matrix seems to scientifically validate so much of holistic medicine. Too bad the scientists are too busy destroying their own credibility to pay attention!

    I was glad to hear Wood is unfoxxed. There have been so many in the alternative healthcare scene who seem to trust the pharmaceutical-medical-industrial complex, the media and the government more than their own experience, bodies and traditions.

  36. John,

    Following up on your response to Daniel (Yes, there is a Covid element here, sorry), I wonder if we are about to see the first draft of the downfall of the elites starting soon, once it’s realized that the vaccines that they are trying to force on the Unvaxxed are now nearly useless. I could see Mayor Lightfoot of Chicago finding herself in the near future facing a lynch mob after what she has been saying. And then the leaders of Austria, Germany, Australia, New Zealand …

  37. Hi John Michael,

    Happy solstice to you and Sara. 🙂

    Far out man. Supply shortages are getting more strange and unpredictable with each passing week here. A couple of days ago I was in a business in the big smoke doing what I get paid to do, and over the commercial radio I heard an advertisement for fertiliser of all products. That was a new one for me and I’d never heard the product advertised over the radio before, and it is not as if it were a rural radio station advertising to farmers and people on the land. I’m already squirreling the stuff away, and in a funny way it is kind of like the story of ammo in a zombie apocalypse in that eventually you’ll run out, but with your seers hat on, do you see any break in supplies of fertiliser for people at my level (i.e. I already pay a sky high price for the stuff relative to bulk purchasers) in my future? I’m not sure how to proceed with this question.

    Cheers

    Chris

  38. Thank you for answering my question. It’s kind of weird to remember reading something that doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s a suggestion from my higher self/subconscious in the form I could most easily accept like a false memory of having read something.

  39. So I’ve been a big proponent of nuclear energy in the comments section here.

    In fact, since I believe nuclear energy is the future, soon I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is, as I will be shifting my investments from Cryptocurrencies to Uranium mining stocks.

    Had it not been for reading your books (ex: Dark Age America), I never would have been inspired to investigate nuclear energy or invest in Uranium mining companies. So I have to thank you for that!

    However, nuclear energy is not the only high EROI energy source. Wind energy is also a (relative to other renewables) high EROI energy source, and some major breakthroughs are being made there.

    The first commercial Airborne Wind Energy system is being installed in Mauritius by a German company named Skysails.

    https://twitter.com/SkySailsGroup/status/1468148061817950214

    Airborne Wind energy is the harvesting of wind energy using kites instead of windmills. By using flying kites, you can access wind at higher altitudes with a fraction of the material requirements of traditional wind. If the multiple companies investigating Airborne Wind succeed, that will provide humanity with another high EROI energy source besides nuclear energy.

    So industrial civilization is far from out of ideas for solving the energy crisis/peak oil.

  40. Hi JMG,
    Just wondering what’s happening with the Gristle anthology. Have you found a publisher for that yet?

  41. @JMG
    Over a decade ago, you wrote an article about the Fermi Paradox.
    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2007-09-19/solving-fermis-paradox/
    The solution makes perfect sense, but techno-optimists would not like the implications of that solution. Similarly, I think one of the reasons why so many people deny climate change is that it implies that their preferred lifestyle is unsustainable. Denial is a common human tactic to avoid confronting painful truths.

    To be frank, I also think some people who publicly deny climate change are just shills for the fossil fuel industry.

  42. it’s not a “theory” so much as a rationalization of how government spending in modern economies actually operates

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself. The “Magic Money Tree” is a widespread delusion these days.

    SCOTUS is already reviewing the OSHA mandate, so that story is far from over.

    EVERYONE (save JMG since I can’t yet find a manuscript) needs to see the Joe Rogan / Dr. Peter McCullough interview. Yes, it’s nearly 3 hours but it’s the best summary of everything that’s happening in the world today relating to COVID, and provides plenty of ammunition for dealing with the vaxinista’s that just won’t leave you alone.

  43. Stuart, that’s a good example of a much broader process. There are plenty of reasons why pollution goes up as resources deplete: as you’ve pointed out, mitigation technologies may no longer be affordable, but there’s also the fact that depletion means that industry has to extract resources from less concentrated, more difficult to extract, and more contaminated sources, and all these generate more pollution. Think of how much more pollution you generate if your petroleum supply consists of grubby, high-sulfur crude oil that you have to extract from deep offshore wells, as opposed to light sweet crude from shallow wells on dry land! Since the light sweet crude is what gets pumped first, of course, the further depletion goes, the grubbier it gets; this is equally true for every resource, and what it means in practice is that the further we go down the slope, the more pollution gets produced per unit of resource extracted.

    Frank, Darley’s book — like so many other similar books — suffered from too much linear thinking: here’s a resource, here’s the rate at which it’s being used, oh, no, we’ll run out by X date! What he and so many others failed (and still fail) to grasp is that economic feedback loops make matters far more complex. As natural gas runs short, fracking shales becomes economically feasible; if it costs too much, the political system will spin the presses, and so on. That doesn’t make the problem go away, but it makes things complex, and results in a ragged decline rather than a sudden stop.

    Augusto, if you want one, they seem to be readily available! They really are a lot of fun.

    JeffBKLYN, the crucial factor that will determine the shape of 2022 is the long-term effect of mass vaccination with a set of inadequately tested experimental vaccines using exotic and equally untested biotechnology. Nobody anywhere knows how that’s going to play out. If all we get is the bumper crop of heart attacks that’s currently thinning the ranks of professional athletes, that leads to one future; if some medical researchers are correct and the vaccines result in immune system collapse in most or all of the people who take them, that leads to a very, very different future; there are many other futures between those, and it’s impossible to know which of those we’ll be getting. Thus I have no way of predicting the basic shape of the future.

    Twilight, it’s entirely possible to use reason and logic to make sense of today’s world, but there’s a massive barrier in the way: you have to accept that most of what you’ve been told about the world by the official authorities is wrong. That’s very traumatic, and so most people assume that the authorities are right but the world makes no sense. Au contraire, the world makes perfect sense; you’ve just been lied to far too often. As for black boxes such as laptops, well, how many people in ancient Babylonia understood exactly how barley seeds work?

    Andy, funny. I’d encourage you to do that.

    Isaac, I’m delighted to hear that Wood’s sticking to his guns and doing the smart thing. As you point out, too many people in the alternative-healing scene knuckled under to Big Pharma the moment CNN told them to.

    John, I don’t know. I really don’t.

    Chris, it’s very likely that the supply of chemical fertilizers will be intermittent from now on, and that what you can get will be expensive and unreliable. Replace the phrase “chemical fertilizers” with the name of any other industrial product and it’ll be just as true.

    Robert, that’s entirely possible. You might give geomancy a try, if you haven’t done so already.

    RustheRook, funny. Please do keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.

    Pygmycory, I’ve got a publisher lined up and will be contacting the authors in the near future.

    Stellarwind, well, of course! The technofetishists, as devout worshippers of the Church of Progress, have to believe that the universe will cater to their daydreams; otherwise they’d have to come to terms with the fact that progress is ending and we’re already well into the opening stages of a long age of decline.

  44. JMG, I was fascinated with your choice of learning to play the electric organ as a new hobby. Less than a month ago I announced to my wife ( after thinking about it for some time) that after moving in to a house ( from our apartment) in a few months, I was planning on obtaining an old Hammond B3 ( or the smaller home version), refurbishing its mechanicals and then learning to play it. Then shortly after making this pronouncement to my wife I was nosing around a l local industrial park looking for a space to move my shop to ( from inner Portland) and came across an unassuming space that held a huge collection of electric ( and mechanical) organs of all kinds. The owner buys, sells and refurbishes and supplies parts. I believe he is an ex employee of Rogers Organ which is one of the major makers of electric organs and is still located here in Hillsboro.
    Since we both came of age at the same time there must have been something about those old electric and mechanical organs in the the 70’s that planted a seed in out. minds. Maybe it was listening to The Doors and Poco Harem or just the booths at the state and county fair where the electric organs created the sound track for the blender, magic knife and fortune telling computer booths. Though they are much heavier, more complicated and temperamental the electromechanical Hammonds are my dream. I also feel a weird connection too them as we had one in the lounge of the mechanical engineering building where I went to school as the inventor was a fellow graduate. I have a small leg up on you as I took Piano lessons for 6 years as a child and played the saxophone in high school, but expect it will be some time before I have a “burner” ready to play. But like you I don’t expect I will ever become Chester Thompson or Jimmy Smith.

  45. As this forum includes people who observe in detail the motions of heavenly bodies, I thought this would be a good place to ask a question about the sun’s furthest south point at sunset at the solstice.
    I have a second floor home office with an eagle’s view over the paddy fields and rolling hills of the realm known as Hitachi in northern Ibaraki, Japan. At the solstice, of course I am going to be reverently watching the sacred procession of the sun each year at the solstices and also pay attention to its progression at other times. Last year I made a note of the sun’s furthest southern point of rising and setting. I mused that in ancient times people would have paid even closer attention to these things, measuring angles and so on and pondering over the significance. I would have expected the sun’s furthest south setting to be roughly at the same point on the horizon each year, which last year was at the very left edge of the bare branches of a huge zelkova in the distance. This year, it reached that point on about December 10, and so I thought maybe it would come back to where I’d seen it on December 21 last year, but it didn’t. It’s furthest south point was about one degree (two sun widths) south of there.
    Meanwhile, the sunrise was about a half sunwidth north of where I’d observed it last year.
    I of course assume that neither the zelkova nor the forested hill in the distance got up and moved during the year. (We’ve had earthquakes but nothing like that.) I also assume that if the Earth’s tilt had changed, we’d have heard about it.
    Does anyone have an explanation for what I have observed?

  46. SiliconGuy #42

    Ah yes, but that’s where the “declining” part of “declining empire” comes in! We’re in the process of learning that rolling the tanks doesn’t work like it used to. For us, that is. As for the powers who are rising, it will likely work in some fashion for a while.

    With re to Cu constraints, quite so! Not to mention that this proposed electrification of everything would require a massive increase in generation capacity, with all the associated costs thereof.

    Note, too, that Li being used in vehicles (such as the BOE numbers I crunched) is Li *not* being used for other things…like the utility-scale storage needed to manage all the large-scale solar generation being planned and installed.

    Eventually, folks will realize that we simply can’t get there from here.

  47. Hi John Michael – understood. I’m not actually personally struggling to understand what’s happening. Years of reading your posts, going back to TOD, and having turned off the TV nearly 20 years ago certainly helps. And I know our ability to truly understand this world is limited by our senses, but that’s not what I was getting at. Rather, it’s more about what the masses believe. If some of us wish to use reason and logic to make sense of our environment, that’s all well and good, but if the masses don’t it will be a struggle.

    I’m seeing all the time where those attempting to be rational and reasonable, presenting arguments that make sense, simply fail in the face of those using emotional appeals. These tools can win the argument but nobody notices. So then I wonder if other approaches are needed, at least publicly.

    Long ago there were secret societies and initiation rights for those who were capable, while many such things had dualistic interpretations. A simple one for the masses, and other more subtle ideas for those who would look further. What was the environment under which these structures formed, and will that be useful in our relatively near future?

  48. Hello Kind Sir,

    Just a quick question. Not about your pronoun (!), but your name.

    I know you will answer to Esteemed Arch Druid, John Michael Greer, JMG, John Michael, and John (and hopefully Kind Sir), but do you have a preference? Do you usually introduce yourself as “John” or “John Michael”? I won’t presume to ask what your wife calls you, but I would like to be friendly and yet respectful when I address you.

    Thanks!

  49. @JMG: well, congrats on scoring that electric organ. (I wanted to say “tacky” electric organ, but I’ll be nice.) However, I recommend in its place a CLAVICHORD for three reasons: a clavichord uses NO ELECTRICITY, it’s not loud enough to bother the neighbors, and (finally, as a bonus) that you’ll have to learn how to tune it, thus picking up an additional skill. And finally J.S.Bach’s “Two and Three Part Inventions” sound much, much better on a clavichord.

  50. JMG, thank you! Your point is well taken.

    In addition to Darley’s book, another one that had me really worried about natural gas back in the mid-2000s was James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency. As much as I admire that book, one of its flaws is that it came to the same conclusions about the North American natural gas situation as Darley’s book did. Writing in 2005, Kunstler stated, “The United States doesn’t have a decade to solve this problem [i.e., its natural gas supply crisis].”

  51. I often find myself on the “left” of various issues (though not always) One “progressive” issue I can’t get behind is the cancellation of student debt. Or rather, I could support a debt Jubilee for everyone, college educated or not. But I can’t get behind cancelling debt for the most advantaged segment of the population and asking the less advantaged to foot the bill for it. Give everyone 50K to do with as the please and I’ll support it, but a 50K gift to those who will earn the most during their lifetimes while doing nothing at all for those who didn’t/couldn’t go to college strikes me as very regressive.

    I also wonder if the Democrats have considered the optics ? (probably not) It could not be clearer that the Dems only care about the PMC – or PMC wannabees. Might as well come right out and say the working class doesn’t deserve a break.

    Also this approach to dealing with the cost of higher education encourages the continuation of the disconect between the value of some degrees and reality. By all means read philosophy if you’re so inclined – it can be very valuable. But don’t wrack up 50K in debt doing it. It simply isn’t going to pay off. Many collegee degrees just aren’t worth the money and that’s a reality that needs to be faced.

  52. @JMG,

    A question about the Long Descent: Do you expect that, as modern society comes unglued, the loss of the technology that makes it easy to control venereal diseases will lead to a backlash against the sexual revolution and a return to stricter sexual mores?

  53. Clay, Hammonds are lovely instruments — I got to play one at the Masonic hall in Cumberland, MD. They aren’t usually available for free, on the other hand, unlike Lowreys and other lower-end organs.

    Patricia O, good heavens. No, I don’t have an explanation for that.

    Twilight, gotcha. Of course that’s quite another matter. Human beings are not rational creatures by nature — au contraire, we’re about as rational as any other species of social primates, and only in rare cases can we train ourselves to be anything else. Nor can that be done to anyone else — you can only do it to and for yourself. As for the old Mysteries, they existed in pretty much every society that had agriculture, from little tribal village societies up to big empires ruled from crowded cities, so yes, that approach has its relevance…

    Slink, thank you for asking. Online I prefer to go by JMG.

    Phutatorius, maybe so, but a clavichord costs between $5000 and $10,000. The electric organ was free. If you’d like to send me a free clavichord, on the other hand, I’ll certainly play it!

    Frank, I admire Jim’s work, but one of his blind spots is that he’s kind of fixated on the notion of sudden catastrophe. Every year he predicts that this is the year everything’s got to fall apart, and when it doesn’t, somehow that never makes him wonder if there’s a mistake in his logic…

    Christopher, one of the things that fascinates me just now is that the Democrats are behaving as though they’ve given up on ever winning an election again. I’m really starting to wonder if the point behind these huge spending bills is that they’ve arranged somehow to divert all the money into a collection of suitcases, and plan on fleeing the country with the cash, the way the last president of Afghanistan did!

    Quinshi, yes, I thought of that too.

    Athelstan, I expect stricter sexual mores, but for a somewhat different reason. As birth control stops being available and the consequences of casual sexual activity once again reliably include unplanned parenthood, I expect to see people getting a lot more cautions. The mainspring of the sexual revolution, after all, was ready availability of birth control pills and abortion.

  54. The Witcher has become popular over the past year or so. It really connects with the world being a crazy place, and how that may be a result of the conjunction of the stars. I started reading the novels after watching the first season of The Witcher. They were first written in the mid 80s and finished up before the 2000s. What has really fascinated me has been the authors understanding of history and astrology. Andrzej Sapkowski combined Slavic mythology and astrology to develop a story line showing the chaos that would happen to the world. In fact, he labels magic as a type of control over chaos. The popularity of this show, and other shows with similar dystopian ideas has really caught my attention. Has the idea that the end of the world, as we know it, is neigh, really influenced thought so much? Is that because people are too scared?

  55. @Athelstan #65
    Another thing that enabled the sexual revolution is birth control. Birth control allowed sex to be decoupled from procreation.

    I also think your Anglo-Saxon screenname is cool. It means “noble stone” if I am not mistaken.

  56. I was born 1 Oct 1961 so my sun sign is Libra and my moon sign at the time of my birth was in Cancer. I once had an astrological map done of the position of all the other planets at my birth time and one element that was sorely lacking in the mix is the element of fire. Fire is important as it is what causes us to get things done, it can function as the spark of creativity. Oddly, I have struggled all my life with the “Lazy Libra” syndrome. I’m very aware of the positive gifts that we Librans are blessed with, but I would like to be more productive and have more “spark”, energy and be able to utilize that energy with some astrological fire. Any suggestions?

  57. David by the Lake,

    I always enjoy your insights, especially since we are relatively close geographically. You sourdough, I have a feeling, will satisfy. We have more in common too. I was born in Texas. You were also born in the South, although a bit more to the East. I am now in Minnesota not far from the North Shore, while you are in the North East of Wisconsin, close to another Great Lake. Like my brother, you are quick to assume that people will respond to the most logical of ideas. I hope we have a chance to break sourdough bread.

    Prizm

  58. @JMG
    There is an idea called Accelerationism. Accelerationists view the current government/system to be so corrupt and irreparable that the only way forward is to hasten the system’s collapse. I think it is possible that many people on both sides have given up on America as it currently is and want America to collapse so that they can rebuild it as whatever utopia they imagine.

    Happy Winter Solstice, by the way

  59. In your opinion why do so many children (the majority?) lose their curiosity (or much of it) before reaching adulthood?
    I suppose there are multiple reasons but what might be the main one(s)?

  60. If insanity is a valid reason for being Not Guilty, why isn’t stupidity also a valid reason?
    (Your Honor, please excuse my mental condition; I’m stupid — AND I CAN’T HELP IT!)

  61. Prizm, I think most people realize that industrial civilization is in rapid decline, and any fictional world that reflects that is going to be popular, since it feels honest to people who are tired of being lied to.

    Illegal, your best bet is to find a competent professional astrologer and get a full reading done. You can include that question, and get advice based on the entire structure of your chart — for example, the placement of your Mars can reveal where you can find energy.

    Stellarwind, that’s an old notion. It doesn’t work, but it keeps on being recycled — rather like flying cars, all things considered.

    Yoyo, because they get it bullied out of them by the public schools. As for stupidity, people can help it. That’s just it. Stupidity isn’t a lack of intelligence — it’s a lack of the willingness to learn.

  62. Since it is open post week, I thought I would pass this on. Andrew Sullivan, a former editor of The New Republic has a book of collected essays, _Out on a Limb: Selected Writing 1989-2021_. He is a gay man, so several pieces are on related topics, including the AIDS crisis. In an essay “America’s New Religions” originally published in New York magazine in 2018, he makes some observations about progress. ” Seduced by scientism, distracted by materialism, insulated, like no humans before us, from the vicissitude of sickness and the ubiquity of early death, the post-Christian West believes instead in something we have called progress–a gradual ascent of mankind toward reason, peace and prosperity–as a substitute in many ways for our previous monotheism. . . . Our ability to extend this material bonanza to more and more people is how we define progress, and progress is what we call meaning.” He goes on to examine how this relates to both the “Great Awokening” and to the Right’s distortion of Christianity, and how it has, in his opinion, contributed to the opioid crisis. The essay is an interesting analysis as are many others in the collection.

    JeffBKLN–re the enforcer class. I just read Matt Taibbi’s series on the Loudoun County, Virginia school situation. Too long to summarize here, but one point stood out. After the video of sheriff’s removing from the school board meeting a man whose daughter had been raped on school grounds, the sheriff stopped providing security for the school board, which is now relying on private security. The sheriff didn’t like his department being used to restrict comments in a public forum, especially after the school board requested undercover officers and a special strike team.

    JMG–you say that the US invasions of Middle East were intended to duplicate the successful conversion of W. Europe to peaceful democracies post-WW II and of E. Europe post 1989. But it doesn’t seem to me that E. Europe has quite settled into peaceful democratic mode. E. Germany, obviously benefited by being absorbed into W. Germany, but the rest of the former USSR seems to be a patchwork of leaders selected in dubious elections and some outright coups. Do you think that democracy will gradually prevail?

    Rita

  63. JMG, have you given any thought to the recent tornado outbreak in the vicinity where the 2017 and 2024 solar eclipses intersect in southern Illinois? It made me think of the New Madrid fault as well, wondering if it might produce a strong earthquake in the next few years.

  64. @patriciaormsby – the first explanation that comes to mind is that you’re comparing events based on two different criteria. A sunset is tied to geography, while the solstice is a precise location in the earth’s orbit around the sun, and occurs on different days (sometimes) and different times each year (always).

    Your method appears to assume that the Earth’s revolution around the Sun is exactly 365 days long – which is not true of course, and why we have leap years.

    I would guess that your approach would require at least five years of observations to see something close to a repeat – the few minutes/seconds in difference between the first and last observations would probably look similar.

    The last two solstices occurred:

    Monday, December 21, 2020 at 4:02 AM US Central Time
    Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 09:58 AM US Central Time

    And here’s a link with some nice graphs to explain the details of orbit:

    https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-december-solstice/

    The second thing that comes to mind is how you’re measuring the sunset. Hills and your house should be relatively stable, but a tree limb gets a bit iffy – even an inch or two change over the distance between your office and the tree could appear to be a very large difference.

    Hope that helps.

  65. JMG wrote:

    ” I admire Jim’s work, but one of his blind spots is that he’s kind of fixated on the notion of sudden catastrophe. Every year he predicts that this is the year everything’s got to fall apart, and when it doesn’t, somehow that never makes him wonder if there’s a mistake in his logic…”

    I conclude that Jim writes metaphorically, deliberately compressing the time line for the sake of compelling narrative. His passion for hyperbole always makes for a good read.

  66. Re: fertilizer

    I put together an annual bulk purchase of fertilizers, soil amendments, and growing supplies in my area – last year we brought in around 100,000 lbs total. It’s all organic stuff like bone meals, seed meals, chicken manure pellets, etc.

    Anyway I’m not seeing a major shortage or price increase (beyond inflation) in the northwestern USA at least. Anything from overseas is way up in price due to shipping rates, and ingredients for propagation mixes (perlite, vermiculite, peat) are either in short supply or more expensive, but the basic organic fertilizers and mineral amendments haven’t changed much (yet).

  67. @Your Yoyo

    This XKCD explains curiosity nicely:

    https://xkcd.com/242/

    And JMG is quite right, school beats curiosity out of children. Children naturally want to see what happens if they try something. School wants them to learn the correct answer through rote memorization. More often than not the schooling process kills creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking in favor of obedience, conformity, and performance in some narrowly defined metric.

    It makes for good cogs and not for good thinkers. Some survive the hazing, but they are the exception, not the norm.

  68. @Your Yoyo

    I can’t find the reference at the moment, but I remember reading an article about Australian school children liking:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner_(TV_series)

    Cell block H, because they identified with the prisoners. It was the most watched program for school children in Australia at the time because they empathized with the inmates in a prison more than any other programming that they could find at the time.

    You are invited to draw your own conclusions from this.

  69. Hello,

    Reply to Jay #10

    I don’t know how much you’ve been getting involved in board games but, in my humble opinion, if you were sticking to the big four “bored games” as you put it namely Monopoly, Clue, Risk and Scrabble, it’s perfectly understandable that you find them outdated and boring.

    Anyway, I have good news for you. For 20 years something, new games have hit the stores, with better game mechanics, shorter playtime and overall enhanced gaming experience.

    For starters, you can easily find Catan which is the ur-example of ‘german board games’. Players develop villages and cities on a tiny island trying to score points doing so. The game engine revolves around getting 5 different resources needed for building by rolling 2 dices. The result (between 2 and 12) indicates which region of the map produces resources and which players get their bounty. A built-in mecanism ensures nobody can get a resource monopoly: when someone rolls a 7, everyone discards their resources if they have more than 8 in hand. Games last around 40 minutes.

    If you’re more into the cooperative games that is games where players play all together against the game, there’s Pandemic. You and your team of cutting edge epidemiologists try to find a cure for 4 deadly viruses while preventing the epidemic from extending. Fun to play nowadays as good players tend to deal with the issue better than professionals 😉 Games last from 15 minutes to 2 hours from my experience.

    If you want something that looks like Monopoly but is far better and more fun to play, there’s Machi Koro which you guess it by the name is a japanese game. Try to be the first to build 4 to 5 achievements using the resources your city produces. Your strategy is to expand your city by buying buildings (cards) and getting money either from your own production, from production shared by others players or by looting them. Count around 30 minutes or a game.

    Now come the big mindscrewing games if you’re into planning, strategy, tactical combat and asset management. Scythe, Terra Mystica and Mare Nostrum.

    I won’t give you all the details of their gameplay but you can check for yourself on BoardGameGeek.

    I hope you’ll find these insights useful. One must not accept a game of Monopoly when alternatives exist. And believe me, developping your own board games is a tedious and daunting task.

  70. Hey JMG,

    Maybe this is a weird question, but how do you think the Earth feels about the presence of human civilization, and particularly modern industrial civilization, on her surface? Do you think our present situation is something that we should be actively fighting against in any way, considering the damage being inflicted on other species and ecosystems, even if the situation is going to change in upcoming decades regardless? What is the best course of action for someone to take on an individual level?

  71. As the governmental money presses drive financial bubbles to new heights, including virtual land grabs whose main economic usefulness is serving as Ponzi Schemes to appropriate more of the disposable income of the later comers (that’s called NFT these days), it is worth remembering that the best inflation-proof investment is to directly produce something that we actually need. A self-produced tomato is going to be worth a tomato, however much money governments may print in the mean time.

    On a related note, after having seen the announcement on No Tech Magazine (https://www.notechmagazine.com/), I have been binge-reading books by John Todd and the other New Alchemists (https://newalchemists.net/). To me, they represent a tantalizing vision for a scientifically-grounded to integrate society in Nature and satisfy human needs (including tomatoes!) from renewable living technologies.

    Reading back 30-40 years after, being born in the 80s in Canada, I can’t help but have to grieve the opportunity that my parents’ generation did not seize. As perhaps a reflection of the period zeitgeist, when the Prince Edward Island’s New Alchemy Ark was inaugurated in 1976 by no more than the prime minister of Canada Trudeau (father), my 20-something own father went West to work in petroleum industries for a year in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

    However, blaming the previous generation for not upholding my current ideals is not helping me get anywhere. So a more constructive perspective seems to learn from the idealists of the past, avoid repeating their mistakes, and achieve more workable solutions given what we have learned in the meantime as well as the changing circumstances. I see a few interesting lines of thought.

    First, we may finally come to the point where uncertainties and prices of fossil fuels reverse the economics that made renewable-based alternatives uncompetitive. As much as coal was too cheap to make the nascent solar-powered processes of Auguste Mouchot in 1867, and petroleum was too cheap in the 1980s to make investments in solar-passive housing and gardening competitive, we may finally be able to make the case today. TOWT estimated shipping price per kg, for their upcoming commissioned 1000-ton Sailing transport vessel, seem competitive with diesel-based cargo transport prices. Bakeries and restaurants in sunny regions may actually enjoy substantial cost-savings by using solar-concentrator ovens, a few are currently appearing in France.

    Second, while the Internet as we know it lasts and we enjoy digital finance tools, crowdfunding is potentially easier; world-wide knowledge sharing can also be faster than in the 80s. An individual or a small group with an active and regular online presence, may reach a large audience at a small cost, and potentially derive sufficient income from donations to fund significant activities. Digital technologies are however a double-edge sword, as they currently encourage distraction, short attention spans, and retreats in personalized bubbles, making the task of reaching out and coordinating around projects of general interest possibly harder.

    Third, as the market economies unravel and activities progressively move back to household economies, the worth of products and services produced in households is going to grow. Development priorities can focus on the household worth of products and services. The fact that one can obtain a significant (and growing!) gain from self-producing should incentivize more of those. This shall also have the second-order effect of making viable again businesses that simplify household production. Maybe we will see a shift from business-to-business activity towards business-to-households activities. But it seems we are still at a stage where most people/households may still need to have a job-related income.

    So given those, it seems to me that a follow-up to New Alchemist shall focus on building up robust crowd-funding rather than governmental grants, and prioritize development activities towards what would provide the most economic value to households today and in the next few years ahead.

    What else have we learned in the meantime, that could make follow ups to New Alchemists more viable and accessible?

  72. Is the new version of The Secret of The Temple coming out soon? I recently gave away my copy and need a new one.

    It wasn’t an intentional give away mind you, more like I couldn’t pry it out of the hands of my friend after I pointed out the similarities with many of the temples from his culture. He’s been working on reviving/reinventing lost practices for a while now, and I also shared your heads up about the auspicious election for starting a new religion this spring. Would you mind sharing the details so that I can pass them along? The Christian churches that his people belong to (which tie the whole community together) are in the late stages of discrediting themselves with avarice, and I have been assisting him with building a cultural life boat for future generations.

  73. @ David BTL #9 – I once had a, shall we say, “discussion”, with a person who was both driving and lauding the Electric Vehicle. I suggested that IF the electricity source came from fossil fuels then it would be less inefficient and wasteful to simply put the fossil fuel straight into the car, and that, in view of how difficult it is to run a grid efficiently with too high a proportion of alternative energy sources, the EV does not make more than sentimental sense. This was pushed back at, of course. But when I suggested a read of the figures presented at the website “withouthotairDOTcom”, my co-conversationalist brought the conversation to an quick end by speculating – “oh, that must be a far right website”…

    I had often heard it said that “facts have a liberal bias” – that day was the first one ever where I heard someone ascribe a “far right bias” to a very factual website… 😉

    In any case, this person recently came a cropper with a battery that died unexpectedly while on the road. It’s replacement? Valued at around EUR 25k… Which, incidentally would still buy you anywhere between 5 (if you are fussy) and 20 (if you are not) used fossil fuel cars around here.

    I cannot even imagine what will happen when battery lives turn out to be very much shorter than the lives of the cars they are in, and the cost of replacing one exceeds the cost of an old banger by orders of magnitude…

  74. I’ve been going to a chiropractor and doing associated exercises for a while now. Overall it’s been effective but I discovered a massive risk no-one seems to talk about. It’s not one of the things that look dangerous – I never had a problem with the adjustments that sound like your neck just broke.

    However there are a series of exercises to improve posture where you have your neck extended back over a pillow. Or a foam roller under your mid-back, and neck extension is part of that too. They are effective. But the most important thing is while in this position you must not swallow.

    Because it’s a weird position you’ll want to swallow more and while you can do it, it’s very difficult. I just did it anyway and didn’t think more about it. But doing it puts the throat and swallowing muscles under a great deal of strain. I got away with it for several weeks. Then after pushing my range of motion further than I had before, I got up pleased.

    The next time I swallowed a load of crunching sounds went down my throat. Every time I swallowed after that my throat felt to clamp down and there was crunching, clicking, snapping. I think it’s some combination of muscle tightness any hypertrophy from having to pull against so much resistance, and distending the gullet itself.

    It’s a disaster having something like that happen to an autonomic nervous system function – something you don’t normally think about. Once it started I couldn’t ever not think about it. Trying to ignore it or swallow as little as possible did nothing. Early on I woke up choking in the night and had to roll over and force myself to swallow. Numbing the throat didn’t work. I did discover sips of water let me swallow saliva without my throat clicking and feeling like I was trying to swallow a massive gulp of something. I thought maybe the muscle firing sequence had been messed up and the muscles were always trying to take a massive gulp, even for saliva. I don’t think that’s the case now, I think it’s just structural.

    Online resources were useless. Most talked about surgery. There was one physiotherapist showing how to move the hyoid, but without dealing with the muscle tensions pulling it out of place, that mainly seems to make it more clunky.

    Ultimately it’s responding well to extensive self-massage of the neck. Everything seemed to have something wrong with it – both sides of the neck and every muscle behind and under the chin and down the front of the throat. There were sore spots everywhere.

    Anyone doing these exercises I’d advise to never swallow in neck extension again. When you do need to swallow, don’t pull your head up with your own neck muscles – that supposedly counteracts the effects of the exercise. Instead, interlace your fingers behind your head and lift the head up with your arms, keeping the neck relaxed. Once you’ve swallowed, lower it back down into position.

    Please pass this on to anyone you know who’s into this kind of stuff. I’ve explained it calmly here but there was a considerable amount of insomnia and despair getting to this point.

  75. Mark L @14 and all with a song in their heart.

    Don’t know about ecological hymns but I’ve always been a sucker for songs that bring nature and the universal into a love song with a danceable rhythm.
    A couple come to mind here and in the spirit of modern pop, one sampled the other. The first is Idris Muhammad – ‘Could Heaven Ever Be Like This’
    First few lines…

    “I feel music in your eyes
    Rainbows in your kiss
    I have never reached such heights
    Could heaven ever be like this?”

    And the second is Jamiroquai – ‘Alright’

    “You, give me light
    So tonight, take me there
    I feel your sun
    Start to glow and I know it…”

    Feelin’ the interconnectedness!

    JK Alright vid:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9kXiLeBXzG4

  76. I expect stricter sexual mores, but for a somewhat different reason. As birth control stops being available and the consequences of casual sexual activity once again reliably include unplanned parenthood, I expect to see people getting a lot more cautions. The mainspring of the sexual revolution, after all, was ready availability of birth control pills and abortion.

    I would also expect that the decline of birth control will also prompt the return of orphanages, then workhouses, and then the reintroduction of widespread child labour.

  77. Jay Pine, if you’re looking for an update to Monopoly’s ruleset that better reflects reality, may I recommend Occupy Boardwalk? It’s a fan game using Monopoly’s pieces, but has the players playing as the banks and trying to stop protests while maintaining their obscene fortunes, turning it into a bluffing game of last-man-standing. Even if you’re not planning to play it, it could be good for a laugh.

    For my part, I’d like to share a very disturbing news story I saw recently. The CEO of Enbridge, a fossil fuel company, has gone on record as saying that, because of the advent of climate change and the limited lifespan of their tar sands, they need to jack up their prices so he can make more money now, not later. I don’t normally read Jacobin magazine, so I don’t have an idea of its biases, but this seems very counter-intuitive to me.

    https://jacobinmag.com/2021/12/enbridge-oil-pipline-fossil-fuels-climate-crisis-energy-costs

  78. This is both for JMG and the commenteriate. I think I read some remarks by you that indicate you studied Euclidean geometry. Did you work through the Elements?

    I am thinking of studying some geometry starting with said book and afterwards reading your book on sacred geometry.

    Assuming I am right, is going through the original Elements advisable? What kind of benefits and insights did you get out of it?

  79. Hi JMG, I’ve been practicing the solar and lunar charging methods from Paths of Wisdom for some time now, I believe to good effect. I have indeed found in my experience a felt difference in essence or qualities when working with the sun and the moon respectively.

    In studying Levi chapter 7, I noticed that the qualities represented by the sun and moon seem to map nicely to these experiences. Presumably from Levi’s point of view, these exercises would be a method of absorbing these qualities through the astral light.

    I’m wondering whether one might use this exercise similarly to work with the other traditional planets. I have also found as a side effect of the lunar exercise to be a more awareness or gnosis perhaps (albeit crude) of the lunar cycles and paths, which I’ve found valuable in itself. I think it might be an interesting way to cultivate a similar connaissance with the other traditional planets.

    Does this also seem sensible or useful to you? If so, does such a course of study already exist?

  80. Pondering last week’s essay and paying somewhat divided attention to abstract models that may or may not be useful I was reminded again of just how predictive I’m finding mundane astrology.

    The last few weeks have seen a series of stories and in one case even a picture of high officials in the UK government partying in Christmas 2020 like there’s no tomorrow and more specifically like there were no regulations in place preventing such gatherings. There’s been quite a backlash and one consequence is that the government is quite bereft of any suasive authority to impose similar regulations in 2021. So they have been dithering, and although Scotland and Wales have imposed regulations, England has so far escaped them completely, much to the disgust of any number of science committee members, spreadsheet model jockeys, and lockdown fans. Christmas is definitely on and the supermarkets are packed with last minute shoppers battling over the brussel sprouts.

    In the meanwhile, it turns out that the latest variant of the ‘virus that must not be named’ appears to sufficiently mild that it is essentially a bad cold. Infectious but not terribly dangerous.

    There will be a further discussion after the holidays, but as time goes on it may well turn out to be that not imposing lockdowns turns out to be both a sensible and popular approach.

    In other words, the combination of the action of political enemies and the natural attenuation of the virus have combined in a way that I could only describe as ‘sheer dumb luck’.

  81. Something to amuse us – in my blue town the posh historical neighborhoods are full of these yard signs that I consider a statement of faith. They say “In this house, we believe: health care is a human right, black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love.”

    Well the other day on my way home I passed a sign in the same neighborhood with a very similar appearance which said “In this house, we believe: Bigfoot is real, I am going to kiss him, he will be my lover, I will be the little spoon, me and Bigfoot will f***, and you can’t stop us.”

    Love it! It’s always nice to come across a fine sense of the ridiculous. Good Midwinter to you all.

  82. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I am having a hard time letting go of the myth of progress. In my line of work, it is easy to get excited by the prospect of AI and curing cancer for example. To think that it will all become lost knowledge in a few centuries really makes me wonder what it’s all for. Sometimes I wish I had never taken this red pill…

  83. As JMG is always advising young people to learn a trade, I thought this article might be of interest. Two things –

    Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that more women are learning trades.

    https://suffolktimes.timesreview.com/2021/12/female-enrollment-rises-in-traditionally-male-centric-trade-programs/

    I’ve been following the learning-an-instrument discussion with interest. I recently took up the recorder, and I think I did it out of a reaction to the insanity currently surrounding us. I picked the recorder because one, it was the only instrument with which I had any familiarity (having had mandatory recorder instruction in junior high), and two, it’s a cheap and relatively easy instrument to get started on. Good-quality plastic recorders modeled after historical instruments are very playable and not terribly expensive, and it’s “relatively easy” in the sense that it requires no special embouchure or ability to heft a heavy instrument – although of course no instrument is truly easy! In other words, I picked it for the same reasons that it’s the instrument of choice for schools everywhere.

    I considered trying to learn piano, but price was the sticking point. There is a chance, however, that I may be able to get my hands on a free electric organ – one that’s been sitting in some relatives’ low-brow living room since the 1970s, and whose aging owners may be re-homing it sometimes soon. So perhaps I will join JMG in the “learning the electric organ because it was free” camp one of these days! For now, though, my inexpensive recorders are doing the job of helping me improve my musical skills.

    And a happy slightly belated Solstice to everyone!

  84. An interesting data point on the changes in political and social attitudes can be found on popular television which tends to be a good barometer of social moods and attitudes. The fourth season premiere of Taylor Sheridan’s neo-western “Yellowstone” drew record audiences not seen in the scripted television market for decades. It’s popularity allowed Sheridan to spin off a prequel “ 1883” which debuted this last weekend with at least one more spinoff in the works. All of these shows are decidedly “unwoke” and share the same themes of manliness, loyalty, duty, self reliance and vigilante justice. In the first season a California developer who would not get the message and leave town was taken in to the woods by the cowboys of the Yellowstone ranch and hung. In the current season the main villain ( a Wall Street resort developer) is played by a woman who is a symbolic replica of Hillary Clinton. As you have said, big changes sweeping the country.

  85. Christopher L Hope – One subtle result of making college more affordable (which so many progressives seem to want) is that it makes college credentials less valuable (by increasing the supply). People might be reluctant to admit it, but would probably agree that “they fought for their degree(s), why should younger folks get in easy?”

    One of the Big Frauds of modern life is the aggregation of all college degrees into a single statistical category. When you partition the cost/benefit figures by STEM/non-STEM, or even engineering/non-engineering, the ratios are radically different. College student “financial aid” which is a debt trap is a related fraud.

    Speaking of Big Frauds, I’ve started accumulating a list, so I’ll have some answers at hand for the next time someone says “Why don’t you just trust the experts?” Just to start… thalidomide, vioxx, oxycontin, Theranos; the Dot-Com Bubble (~1999); the housing bubble (~2009), Enron, the “debate” over tobacco’s health risks, traumatic brain injuries in college “student-athletes”, ignoring the health benefits of Vitamin D, breakthrough infections on Covid vaccines, the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, and sexual abuse within the Catholic clergy. When Bret Kavanaugh was being confirmed for the Supreme Court, the spotlight was on allegations of a brief sexual encounter, totally ignoring a culture of under-age alcohol consumption that scoffed at black-letter law. And then, there’s the American experience in Afghanistan, for which words fail me (see “War Machine” movie for some insights). (Maybe this should be a running topic under the “critical thinking” section at GreenWizards.com.)

  86. To the author, looking at the current state of IC, has it surprised you that it’s taken such a quick downturn in decline or is it in line with your previous views from your former website?

  87. A reason for the loss of curiosity among many children in the upper middle class and above is that ferocious competition for spots in elite schools means that for many, the child’s life is programmed from an early age to produce the most impressive resume possible for college admissions. Even back in the mid-90s, I saw this with children as young as 5 or 6. It also has a quite negative impact on youth sports.
    This is how we now train our leaders. Curiosity has always been discouraged in favor of following orders in the education of those slated to be worker bees.

  88. Perhaps the answer to this question is obvious to anyone who graduated high school.
    So I have that excuse.
    I also am ok if this question is outside your wheelhouse. Irregardless, I am interested in your take.

    First, how does the body (internally) absorb anything? Particularly energy for work.

    Second, this dovetails to the first question, I can’t figure out, and I’ve googled it, of course it is a hard question to frame and the return is standard textbook jargon.
    An athlete, let’s say a long distance runner with almost nobody fat. What is their body being powered by? What is being used as their fuel since no fat is available. And what is the actual process of that fuel source to create the energy for the work?

    Merry Christmas 🎄

  89. “I am having a hard time letting go of the myth of progress. In my line of work, it is easy to get excited by the prospect of AI and curing cancer for example. To think that it will all become lost knowledge in a few centuries really makes me wonder what it’s all for. Sometimes I wish I had never taken this red pill…”

    The only reason knowledge becomes lost, it because nobody thought to write it down. This is the goal of one of my blogging projects, the Museum of Everything.

    https://tlongportfolio.wordpress.com/category/the-museum-of-everything/

  90. @ Mark L #14.

    ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ and ‘Morning has broken’ are a couple of nature-oriented hymns which might fit the bill. They are both pretty well known in the UK – or they were back when I was in school, a few decades back by now. I have absolutely no idea what the situation is these days.

    We used to sing ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ in September around the time of the Harvest Festival. ‘Morning has broken’ wasn’t associated with any particular time of year. It became quite well-known through Cat Stevens’ version, I believe.

    Although they are both Christian hymns, of course, this long-lapsed Anglican still gets something out of them. Perhaps people from non-Christian spiritual backgrounds might too?

    If you’re looking for a bleaker ecological worldview, the Bradford-based band New Model Army might be worth a look. A lot of their songs (e.g. ‘I Love the World’, ‘Angry Planet’, ‘White Coats’) offer a very powerful take on our current situation and reflect some of the themes discussed regularly on this blog. Their songs aren’t hymns, but might still be worth a listen for their very clear-eyed, unsentimental and poetic take on things.

  91. Re kite-generated electricity being in the same class as flying cars, I not too long ago asked a friend about a mutual friend who used to be an engineer at a now defunct google x kite electricity company. So what’s he doing now, I asked? A: he’s working for Larry Page, google co-founder, on a flying car.

  92. is it just me or does Putin have a point about NATO and missiles right on Russia’s borders? I don’t want to defend the other actions of someone who several of my Russian friends say is a “very bad man” but still…..it’s interesting who gets to play geopolitics and “my backyard” and who doesn’t…
    and it seems to me Europe is over a barrel because of natural gas dependence…

  93. The governor of Texas is building a border wall on state land (and donated private land, he claims) with state money.
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/dec/20/gov-greg-abbott-building-the-border-wall-back-bett/

    I watched a brief You Tube of his photo/video op appearance while a pre-fab section of the wall was being put in place. Among other things, he claimed that apprehended illegal border crossers came from 350(!) countries of origin other than Mexico. I don’t think Central America + South America + Caribbean Islands amounts to 350.

  94. Prizm #70

    I enjoy this community we have here immensely and try to contribute where I can. And if we can ever cook up a Midwest ecosophian gathering, it would be great to meet you and the others in the region.

    Scotlyn #86

    EVs are a major thing in the utility industry. Even though I understand their significant limits, my utility has to respond to the market and prepare itself for the additional capacity that will be required as homes install these chargers. There’s a good amount of additional distribution infrastructure that will have to be built to accommodate the higher loads and peak demands. All that investment is going to get stranded, however, as EVs fail to live up to the hype.

    trustycanteen #96 (if I may)

    I was where you are now back around 2014 or so. It took me a good five years to work through the traditional stages of grief to acceptance of our predicament.

    Ethan L #90 (and the others discussing repurposing traditional board games)

    More a variant than a re-use, but back in high school, my friends and I developed a new version of Risk that we called “Nuke Factor Risk.” In essence, instead of attacking, the attacker could discard a card in his hand and “nuke” that territory, destroying all armies therein. A marker was placed (e.g. a penny) on the territory and all subsequent armies moving into that territory lost half. We also developed a “random nuclear accident” table which was activated whenever an attacker rolled 666. There were rules about multiple nukes of a territory, bleed-over effects, and the like. It was the kind of thing you’d expect from bunch of 14 year-old boys. Made the dynamics of the game completely different, since anyone with a card in his hand could obliterate the largest army if it was the right territory. Usually, half the board was radioactive slag by the time the game finished.

  95. Hi JMG,

    I hope you’re having some nice downtime around the (assorted) holidays!

    I’m wondering if you’ve every spilled any ink on the topic of “terrain theory”? From my recollection, you’re not opposed to vaccines as a generality, which I suppose implies a dim view of “terrain theory” but I’d be curious to hear your take, if you’ve ever given one.

    Anyway, feel free to decline to respond if you feel that it would be too divisive or uproarious or somesuch. It’s on my mind for reasons of just trying to wrap my head around the notion and I usually find your commentary on topics helpful and enlightening.

    Either way, knock back an eggnog and enjoy the short days!

  96. Its Wednesday and we are back in the basement with “An Introduction To Metal Wall Studs – Part 2”, where we begin to cover the metal frame we made in Part One. Since we are in a high moisture area we’re going to be working with a non-common material, cement backer board to do it. Its a great material but can present some challenges which we will discuss.

    Our blog post from last week, “One To Worry About – The Kessler Syndrome” has taken an interesting turn into a discussion of GPS and maps. Can you get by without your cell phone’s map app? Too many can’t. I guess I see the subject of my next blog post in January. Do you have a compass?

    The forum post on “Portable Soup?” continues with some results by Green Wizard members. Some varying results of everyone’s first tries, though successes too. Who would have thought garden pruners could be useful in the kitchen? Check it out.

    New for this week, “The Unsustainable State Of Childcare” looks at one of the dark secrets of our nation’s employment situation. You can’t afford to have your children cared for to work, and you you can’t afford not to work either. We get some inside information on the situation from a couple of people who have worked in child care. Share your experiences.

    And finally also new, if you have a cat, what is your preference, “Clumping, Non Clumping or Plant Based Litter”? It’s not a typical topic for a sustainable lifestyle until you think, where am I going to get litter as things collapse and supply chains have disruption. Not just pets, small animals you might raise to supplement your food need bedding too. Amazing isn’t it, how everything is connected?

    As always, posts are open to the public to read, though to make your thoughts known requires a free account. Contact me at Facebook via Messenger (https://www.facebook.com/david.trammel.545/) or with an email (green wizard dtrammel at gmail dot com) to get an account.

    Join us and share your thoughts and ideas.

  97. re: The Art of Memory in Renaissance England

    I’ve been reading into the history of the art of memory in the Elizabethan era, prompted by an essay of the poet Ted Hughes, in which he argued that Shakespeare’s plays show signs of thar the author may have employed a version of the art in his creative process.

    This lead of course to reading about Giordano Bruno’s years in London (and of course translations of Bruno’s memory books, of JMG’s and Scott Gosnell’s).

    As I became more familiar with the figures of the era, one name that kept cropping up was John Florio. Florio was an Italian-English figure who was living in the French embassy in London with Bruno, and they were close friends during Bruno’s time in London.

    Florio was a an interesting figure in his own right: he was an Italian tutor to many of the prominent nobles, poets, and playwrights of the era, such as the Earl of Southampton (who Shakespeare’s narrative poems were dedicated to and the sonnets may well be addressing) and was close friends with Ben Jonson, and so many others.

    He was a great editor and translator, and compiler of English-Italian dictionaries & language learning dialogues. He apparently introduced many words to the language that we still use today, about 1000 in total. Some rank him third only to Chaucer and Shakespeare in how many words he introduced to the language.

    Anyways, he also was known to have practiced the art of memory, in which Bruno tutored him, in addition to some Italian books he had on the subject. There are signs that he employed the art in how he memorized words and proverbs.

    The argument is too long to spell out here, but it connects into Bruno’s art of memory on Shakespeare. In short, I’m gathering that when the poet mentions “tables in my brain” in the plays & sonnets, he may well be alluding to the art! Apparently, Hamlet shows the most influence of Bruno of all plays.

    For those who like a/v material, this expert on Florio has been posting youtube videos on the topic, this is the third in the series:

    https://youtu.be/tDvmhvl6k0o

    It doesn’t go into many details related to the art of memory, but she recently presented a paper on Florio and Bruno’s connections to Love’s Labour’s Lost (the main character is “Berowne”:

    https://www.academia.edu/63179439/John_Florio_The_Ayde_of_Shakespeares_Muse_Practices_of_Collaboration_in_Early_Modern_Theatre_Authors_Printers_Playhouses_and_Their_Texts_02_04_December_2021_Online_conference_University_of_Passau_DE_and_University_of_Luxembourg_LUX

    Interesting that one of Frances Yates’s early books was on John Florio; it’s available on google books. Yates also wrote a book on Love’s Labour’s Lost, and concluded that Florio was a major part of the topical matters the play was inspired by.

    https://books.google.ca/books?id=Ju48AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=yates+john+florio&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=yates%20john%20florio&f=false

  98. I’ve been thinking about those pix you posted of star forts and other astonishing piles of masonry.

    They were built by men using shovels and wheelbarrows, hods, and carts.

    Why isn’t that ever noticed or discussed? Do we not want to consider the millions of man-hours that went into building a star fort, it’s walls, and moving all that dirt?

  99. Rita, interesting. I’ll put that book on the look-at list. As far as eastern Europe, of course not, but the Neocons were exceptionally gifted at seeing what they wanted to see, never mind the facts. No, democracy will not gradually prevail; in most eastern European countries it’s a facade propped up by the need to cater to Brussels and Washington DC.

    Ian, if I recall correctly, that area normally gets so many tornadoes that it’s called “tornado alley,” so I’m far from sure that the eclipses had much to do with them.

    Klcooke, well, that’s certainly one way to read him!

    Mark L, I’m glad to hear this.

    Tryptie, remember that our species is part of the biosphere. We’re not outside of nature; we’re just one set of organisms in the whole system, and our numbers are rather tightly controlled by other organisms. If the Earth wanted there to be a lot fewer humans, she could do it in a matter of months by tweaking a virus or two. Thus I conclude that, baffling though it seems, the current situation is here for a reason and will end when the Earth decides we’ve done whatever she wants us to do. It may be that she’s tired of ice ages and wanted to evolve some animals who were good at digging, to get some of that buried carbon back into circulation — and no, I’m not being facetious.

    Viking, a successor to the New Alchemy Institute strikes me as an exceedingly good idea, and a combination of crowdfunding and good old-fashioned annual memberships would be a good way to fund it and avoid the deathtrap of corporate and government financing. Are you volunteering to start the ball rolling? If so, I’ll give it as much of a boost as I can.

    Aloysius, there’s no new version in process yet, so you might as well get a new copy. What’s in process is a sequel, The Ceremony of the Grail, which will be out late next year. As for the auspicious election, you’ll have to remind me — I’ve been casting so many charts I don’t happen to remember that one.

    Yorkshire, thank you for the heads up!

    Phil K, depends on how fast population decreases. Child labor only makes sense when you have an expanding population — when population is declining, children are an investment for old age, and families scramble to get them and raise them.

    Bakbook, yes, I worked through Euclid’s Elements some years ago. It didn’t do much for my understanding of sacred geometry, but it’s a great way to hone your capacity for logical thinking, and you’ll be very good with compasses and straightedge by the time you’re finished!

    Paul, such a course of study exists in Taoism and in some esoteric Buddhist circles. I haven’t encountered any development of it in Western traditions, but it would be well worth experimenting.

    Jerry, I saw that. Hang on, and down we go. Whee!

    Andy, curiously enough, I was thinking much the same thing…

    SquirrellyJen, ha! I like that. Those virtue signaling yard signs have always made me roll my eyes.

    Trustycanteen, let me whisper a secret to you: the modern medical and pharmaceutical industries work on the principle that an illness cured is a customer lost. That’s why there’s no cure for cancer: it’s more profitable to “fight” cancer than to heal it. That attitude will be one of the things that goes away as industrial civilization sunsets out.

    El, thanks for the article, and congratulations on your recorder playing! If you get an organ, look for organ method books in the online used book scene — there used to be lots of easy-to-follow guides to learning how to play, though they’re long out of print.

    Clay, good heavens. That’s fascinating.

    Rod, by “IC” do you mean integrated circuits?

    Jessica, an excellent point.

    Travis, you won’t learn that in high school these days, but the process is well known. First of all, your body absorbs food by breaking it down chemically in the stomach and passing it through the intestines, which basically squeeze everything nourishing out of it and send the rest down to the rectum. The good stuff goes through the intestinal walls into blood vessels that wrap around the intestine, and then your bloodstream carries it all over your body to the cells, which literally grab what they need from the blood that flows past them.

    Among the things that the intestines extract and pass to the bloodstream are sugar and starch, which is what your body burns for fuel. (Think of it as gasoline for your engine.) Sugar goes straight to the cells; starch goes to the liver, which turns it into sugar, and stashes a lot of it, letting it trickle back out into the bloodstream as you need it. Your long distance runner has a liver full of sugar — that’s technically called “glucose loading,” and it’s perfectly healthy — and his liver doles out doses of sugar into his blood so his muscle cells have plenty to feed on as the blood streams past them. Body fat? It’s another, longer-term way to store sugar; the body chemically turns it into fat and stashes it in various places.

    Greco, that’s too funny!

    Marco, of course he does.

    Mary, no surprises there. I’m glad to hear Abbott is doing that.

    AtaraxJim, there are various versions of “terrain theory.” The one that suggests that most illness is caused by disordered conditions of the body, and that in most cases germs come along and take advantage of an already weakened system, the way that wolves go after weak or sick caribou — that’s simple common sense, backed up by vast amounts of evidence. The one that suggests that all illnesses happen that way and that germs don’t exist — that’s as unbalanced and inaccurate as the belief that germs alone cause illness and the condition of your body has nothing to do with it. Germs exist; they can cause illness; but every one of us has billions of germs on us and in us at every moment — the average human body is 10% microbes by weight! — so it’s not just a matter of evil germs crashing in on us from outside. As for me, I use alternative health care, and both the modalities I use — biochemic cell salts and acupressure — work with the terrain, not with the microbes. Do they work? Sure, when combined with a healthy diet, adequate rest and hydration, and reasonable exercise. If you neglect those terrain features, nothing will help much!

    David T, thanks for this!

    Daniel, fascinating. I’d heard the claim that Berowne was Bruno before — doesn’t Yates suggest that somewhere?

    Teresa, until less than a century ago, every structure everywhere was built that way. The time and labor requirements are discussed in old books on the art of fortification, for that matter.

    Quinshi, that’s odd. I just went there and on my browser it says 113 comments. Have you tried refreshing?

  100. Patricia O #54 and JMG. I noticed the same thing in my solar observations. For what it’s worth, I was told that it is due to a slight wobble in the rotation of the earth around it’s axis.

  101. re: Art of Memory in Renaissance England

    I’m only half way through Yates’s book on Love’s Labour’s Lost; she is pretty openly speculative in it, but does note the possibility that Berowne is based at least in part on Bruno. Berowne’s main speech on the nature of love reminded many of Bruno’s writing – the Heroic Frenzies I think, Bruno’s sonnets that were dedicated to Sir Phillip Sidney.

    Yates thinks the Holofernes character may be a caricature of Florio, but the Italian Florio expert I’ve been asking questions of disagrees strongly with this, though she thinks Florio us closely related to the play and may have even collaborated in writing it.

    Her name is Marianna Iannaccone, she has a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of Florio, Bruno and the literary scene in the reigns of Elizabeth I & James I. She’s very open to engaging & answering questions of anyone who’s interested (this is why I’m trying to help promote her work on Florio, in gratitude for replies to my queries!) She released a small volume on Florio’s sonnets, and I believe is working on a biography of Florio, an update on Yates’s as much new information has been uncovered in the decades since Yates brought attention to the topic. She’s got a website on Florio here:

    https://www.resolutejohnflorio.com/

  102. @JMG #66

    and plan on fleeing the country with the cash

    That’d be worth the debased currency if they actually left. They certainly bear no resemblance to the party of JFK.


    @Marco #106

    is it just me or does Putin have a point about NATO and missiles right on Russia’s borders?

    Check a map of military bases around the world and you’ll find ours surround Russia but they have relatively few outside their own borders. The US would never tolerate the provocations we inflict on them regularly.

  103. SquirrellyJen#95: ha! Another parody of that “In this house we believe…” lawn sign reads “In this house we believe that simplistic platitudes, trite tautologies, and semantically overloaded aphorisms are poor substitutes for respectful and rational discussions about complex issues.” https://www.etsy.com/listing/885421125/yard-sign-in-this-house-we-believe-that

    I’ve considered getting one made that says “In this house we believe in not putting sanctimonious signs on our lawn.”

    I go for walks in various neighborhoods of my Southwest city, and have only seen that sanctimonious sign in affluent white neighborhoods. I’ve noted the irony that I never see a lawn sign saying “No human is illegal” in a neighborhood populated by undocumented immigrants (although to be fair, most of them don’t have lawns).

  104. I have been using my own musical renditions of the Orphic Hymns (http://kimberlysteele.bandcamp.com) as a way of getting rid of earworms. I also have a Youtube channel called Queenie Songs with some of the Orphic Hymn arrangements on it.

    In my line of work as a music teacher, I am often plagued with awful, sticky pieces of popular music that run through my head non-stop including when I am trying to focus or when I wake up from sleeping at night. The Orphic Hymns are great because they are prayers so they doubly banish whatever vile cacomagic Ariana Grande’s team is trying to pipe into your head. This morning I found myself plagued with the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack, so I squashed that earworm by conjuring up the Orphic Hymns to Jupiter, Hera, and Athena in my head as I went back to sleep.

  105. Sébastian@82 and Ethan@90

    Thanks for these suggestions – I will investigate forthwith. I especially like the idea of repurposing Monopoly in that way – that amuses me.

  106. JMG, when I first read one of your essays which I greatly enjoyed I thought you’d be a grumpy man, but you aren’t at all. I’ve had such a great time talking with you and the commentariat here for the past two years: I’ve become smarter, I write and think better, my life has improved significantly and have had a lot of fun in the process, even though it has made me realize the future sounds very heavy metal. Why do you think reading about “realist” but not hopeful topics as the ones you talk about seem like that? How can one strike balance between pointing at what are the things going wrong with the world without becoming a pessimist?

  107. Hey JMG

    I want to share something remarkable which I think everyone would be interested as it relates to “the mainstream” paying attention to peak oil.

    Yesterday I finished reading “The bone clocks” by David Mitchell, a famous author who also wrote “Cloud atlas” which I have read and was popular enough to be turned into a film.
    “The bone clocks” is a novel that is essentially about the life of a woman, Holly Sykes, and how that life is directly and indirectly affected by two warring groups of immortals. The good guys are the Atemporals whose souls involuntarily reincarnate in a child 49 days after death, and the bad guys called the Anchorites (full name the Anchorites of the chapel of the dusk of the blind cathar of the thomasite monastery of sidelhorn pass) basically take psychic children and kill them to make a potion called Black wine which stops the ageing process for 3 months. Both have psychic powers called “Psychesoterica.”
    The book starts with Holly’s teen years in the eighties and ends in her old age in 2043. It’s the end of the book that shocked me because it is explicitly a decline in civilisation (dubbed “Endarkenment”) caused by dwindling oil reserves and overpopulation! Climate change that causes extreme weather events is also a factor.
    His previous novel “Cloud atlas” also has a dark age in the future but it was never explicitly stated to be caused by peak oil.
    The fact that such a high profile author has written peak oil into one of his works is encouraging, though this book was written in 2015. I don’t know if he is aware of your work JMG but I think he is one of the older generation who remembers the seventies concerns over oil.

  108. JMG,

    I was wondering if you had seen the latest news coming from Russia, about ultimatums and red lines in Ukraine?

    It’s the hot topic in Thesaker, Moonofalabama and smoothie’s (smoothiex12.blogspot.com)

    If you’re in a hurry, something tells me you’ll enjoy johnhelmer dot org – that has a very nice summary and all. Check out the December 20th article, ‘russias non aggression pact…’

    It seems the suicidal collective West wants to have a very good go at it. If the Russians are losing their cool, things must be getting serious

  109. Having re-read and enjoyed “Three Winters” & your Q & A in “An Archdruid’s Tales,” I found myself wondering what happened to all the plastic hanging around in 2050 and probably not gone by 2100. Desperate, hungry people, finding a plastic chair, or bowl, or whatever, would be certain to use it unless there were serious religious strictures against it – in which case, what would be done with it? Enquiring badger wants to know.

  110. Hi John Michael,

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    More broadly on the subject of the shape of the future, I’d have to suggest that your worst case scenarios in relation to the health subject which dares not be named might not go over so well with the population. As you’d be aware, there will be a lot of people who will not quietly go off into the night – so to speak. And given the enthusiasm with which the so called preventative treatment has been pushed upon workers who have access to weapons, surely the politicians and medical folks realise the implications? Nobody could be that stupid, could they? I mean it wouldn’t take too many of those workers kids or partners to die before one of those workers decides that a physical response is required.

    Incidentally, I’ve never used synthetic fertilisers here. Although I see no great harm in a one-off application of that stuff just to give the soil minerals a boost. It’s the repeated applications that are the problem.

    But really, any decline in industrial production will impact upon both of the above stories. How could it not? I mean if food production declines due to declining synthetic fertilisers and the machines which are used on large scale farms, then continuing production of so called preventative treatments just sounds like the narrative in a really bad George Romero zombie film.

    Cheers

    Chris

  111. @Sim P. and JMG – for a lament for our dying democracy, have a look at the latest issue of The Atlantic. The one with the black cover (highly plasticized) and jagged yellow cover story title. And p.s., the back cover is more heavily plasticized than the average print-on-demand book! I could hardly get a grip on it without gloves with little plastic lumps on the palm sides.

    Also recommended, for a very good picture of the mess we’re in, the latest issue of National Geographic. And note the occasional odd note of “Of course, it won’t be forever, look at….”

  112. Data point from the 2020 census: The U.S. population has only grown by 0.01%. Florida’s population has grown quite a bit, but by people moving here from other states; the natural statistic (births and deaths) show a strong decline.

  113. re student loans–while a student loan forgiveness would benefit many who majored in subjects with little career potential, we should remember that there are also many working class students who were taken advantage of by for-profit trade schools that promised more than they delivered. Even in non-profit schools these students are often the first in their families to seek higher education and don’t really understand how the system works. Every department in a college is in competition for majors to justify their budget. They all have a motive to exaggerate the worth of their discipline, and they do. I have seen pamphlets extolling philosophy as an excellent pre-law major, for example. Graduate schools are particularly at fault IMO, as they have known for years what the actual job prospects of their graduates will be, yet continue to recruit. Shameless greed. And once one is a few years into an expensive graduate program it is easy to fall into the fallacy of sunk costs. If you quit, you have nothing–no employer is impressed by years of study that led to no degree. So, on you go, borrowing more to finish even after it is obvious that the jobs just aren’t there. It is like the audition scene in Chorus Line, seeing that there are many applicants for every part but having to pump oneself up with hope of being the one.

    Another example of the law of unintended consequences is that the level of subsidized loans help drive up the cost of college and the increase in college graduates lowers the value of a degree.

    Rita

  114. On the subject of Putin and the current absolutely terrifying situation with Ukraine:

    Every long-established state has an egregore of its own, or (to use less esoteric terminology) a national mythology that defines and justifies all its geopolitical actions. For many centuries the national mythology of the Russia insists that its history began in the territory around the city of Kiev, which at present is located in Ukraine, not in Russia. As a consequence, only a small minority of Russians are willing to concede even the smallest measure of historical legitimacy to any sort of Ukrainian state and Ukrainian nation (narod), but reflexively “know in their heart of hearts” that sooner or later Ukraine will and must be reabsorbed into Russia, and Ukrainians must be made to become Russians, no matter what the military cost might be. Even a nuclear war would be justified, in Russian eyes, if there were no lesser way to reach that goal. (In another part of the world the attitude of China toward Taiwan is somewhat similar.)

    Consequently, there is not really any safe way whatever for the USA and/or Nato to play geopolitical games with Russia over Ukrainian independence, as they seem to be doing now. This is the closest the world has ever openly come to a nuclear holocaust within the eight decades of my own life.

    I think the odds are better than 60 to 40 that all our recent discussions about preparing for collapse will be rendered moot within the next three years, and that the population of North America and Western Eurasia will be reduced by more than half within those same years.

    I do not scare easily, due to having an atypical neurology, but even I am running scared about this. I do so hope events may prove me wrong!!!

    (For more on the historical background here, see my long comment on the November 3rd post to this blog.)

  115. Team10Tim: Thanks for the XKCD – It’s a wonderful gift to the people of Earth. For those of you new to it, there’s always a pop-up message if you hover over the graphics. It’s a second punch line, sometimes better than the first.

  116. @Jerry re: #93

    I laughed at that. Logically, the only impact COVID could have had on the 2020 census’s reported population growth would be the ~130k U.S. deaths imputed to it at the time, nowhere near a large enough figure to make an appreciable dent, particularly considering much of the 2020 census is based on things that happened between 2010 and 2019…

  117. Speaking of the employment situation, CNN ran some numbers and came up with the large percentage of over-55’s, retiring early, in the Great Resignation. I have to say I am not at all surprised.

  118. Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year to you, Sara, and everyone here on Ecosophia!

    I’ve been scrolling on last MM, and saw a comment concerning prayer and magic. Honestly I see no difference, and I think a lot of the tension comes from the issue that two legalistic sides seriously just don’t want to think or find similarities. I believe that prayer is a type of magic or at least a vehicle of it but not all magic involves or is prayer. Ask and you shall recieve, Knock and the door shall be opened, we heard and read it somewhere at least three times in three different settings. So in a sense I agree with your comment.

    I think theres a small detail with a big impact that many people who lose their faith in x system of belief with a consumer mentality forget at a fundamental level. God, Gods, the Universe, or any system of belief worth our attention isn’t going to grant us miracles and wealth with sunshine, unicorn rainbow farts, and sprinkles on top, at least not in the way we want when we want. And that’s unfortunately how people treat prayer and magic today, as a way for instant gratification. And there’s reasons why we have stories about not trusting the first person who promises us what we want when we want it.

    If people are willing to pour hours worth of research, mental energy, and pain into a project, it doesn’t matter what the method is used so long as it works, is constructive, and functions in accordance to Nature’s laws.

  119. Screenshots:

    https://imgur.com/a/fpFJQ1j

    I’ve used other web browsers and also an american proxy (I’m not from USA), It keeps showing it.

    I don’t know if it is only me or if someone else sees it.

    It did this last week too, and I think the wee before that.

  120. team10tim (no 81), Japanese schoolchildren seem to like “Battle Royale,” a manga and film franchise set in a future dystopia where ninth-graders are forced to kill each other. It seems to remind them of their real-world examination system, which forms the basis for later social stratification:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Royale_(manga)

    I guess the equivalent for our time (though not so much for schoolchildren) would be “Squid Game.”

    ——————–

    stellarwind72 (no 71), I guess this means that Venezuela and Lebanon are well on its way to becoming utopias. I’m always curious to know people mean by “collapse”–i.e. what level of collapse has to happen before it becomes “collapse.” As we know from Mad Max, things can get pretty dismal while still having political authorities of some kind. (My anthropologist friend uses the term “violence specialists” for both mafia types and soldiers.)

  121. Yes, I understand that old books go into detail. Today though, it seems that people believe castles and fortifications sprang fully-formed into being.

    As though we well-educated moderns can imagine building a mammoth building by hand. It must have been alien technology.

  122. @Bei Dawei

    “As we know from Mad Max, things can get pretty dismal while still having political authorities of some kind.”

    By the same token, we know from Star Trek that we will have warp drive, and go flitting about the galaxy.

    Mad Max is fiction…

  123. JMG, in your interview on Hermitix, March 24, 2021, you postulated that the Golden Dawn would have formed an alternative, gnostic-esque church to coincide with the Order. Crowley did the exact same thing in tandem with the OTO and the A*A* by using the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. In your opinion, did Crowley have an inkling or maybe even personal knowledge of the Golden Dawn’s future plans?

  124. @ Marco #106
    Putin has a point. The US has overthrown 4 governments in the past 2 decades, (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine), stood by during coups in several others (Honduras and Bolivia), and attempted several others (Syria and Venezuela).
    Last summer, the US did military exercises with medium range rockets in Estonia roughly 300 km from St. Petersburg, and regularly sends the Navy to patrol the Black Sea. Remember our reaction when the USSR installed missiles in Cuba, and imagine the American reaction were the Russian navy to engage in “freedom of navigation” exercises in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Russia has the current liberty of being a major supplier of natural gas, with 2 large customers in either direction. When one customer refuses to sign long term contracts, they can sell to the other.
    The comment by Robert Mathiesen (#134) covers the more emotional reasons for Russia’s willingness to finally call our bluff.

  125. @Justin Patrick Moore – thanks for posting the link to your series of American eccentrics (influenced by JMG’s Johnny Appleseed’s post). Great reading and recommend your site to anyone that found there way here to Ecosophia (http://www.sothismedias.com/ for those that don’t want to scroll back up to the 1st post for the link).

  126. Well Mr. Greer .. are you happy now?? Since taking on your suggestion to skip Black Friday .. thereby indulging in slacking out, eating leftovers till I pop! .. my heads’ now exploded after seeing ‘Greta-on-a-Tree’- courtesy of the fine folks at the Babalon Bee – the gift EVERY child wants to ditch – once the shedevilofallthingsgreen opens her banshee piehole, guilt-tripping hapless, innocent youngins to tears!, like a kind of woke anti mistletoe.. I just knew if I followed your advice NOT to consumer binge on That-One-Day, I’d likely miss out on owning my very own prickly, partayy-pooping, non-cuddly, little green elf from Hell.. supply-chains being what they are ..**

    How Dare U!!

    **pure sarc on my part

    Hope your solstice was a pleasant one. Here’s to a splendid new year’s for you&your’s.

  127. @Christopher L Hope,

    Most college students of the last few decades have been basically scammed. Many professions don’t pay for their educational (and other) requirements anymore. A friend of mine said she can’t get a vet degree because all the costs of the degree, insurance, opening the practice, etc. would keep her in debt for decades. She knew alot of people who regretted doing it. She has worked as a vet tech for 2 decades eventually became manager of a corporate farm instead.

    Even for potentially lucrative degrees, there aren’t enough jobs available that require them. So a lucky minority benefits from their degree and the rest contine working whatever job trajectory they started in high school (waitressing/bartending for me).

    I agree that cancelling the debt isn’t a good solution. I really really wish bankruptcy was an option, though… even if you had to wait ten years to do it. I suspect the reason that’s not on the table is because it might actually fix the problem, thus bankrupting the parasitic forces that profit from the current situation.

    Around the 2008 housing crisis, a coworker and I used to jokingly argue about which was the bigger mistake— her home mortgage or my college degree. Good times (sarcasm, JMG, but you could probably tell that one).

    Anyway, the point is we should all try to find sympathy for people who have different problems than we do. We are all getting screwed here, just in different positions.

    Sincerely

    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  128. @Prizm, David BTL

    hey what a coincidence, I am also from Texas, and I live in NE Illinois right now, walking distance to the WI border.

    Cool 🙂

    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  129. Dear JMG,
    A big discussion on the dissident right at the moment is the vax / digital ID / digital money roll-out by the World Economic Forum, The WHO, and other world NGO’s after covid.

    I agree that this is what they’d like to do to the world over the coming decades, but knowing what I know about energy and resource depletion, it’s just not possible.

    Do you think it’s worth my time trying to educate these commentators about energy depletion, etc., and how much energy it would take to maintain these systems of control in the future, or just let them believe that this is the future we have in store?

    Most of them believe in the future of progress, and that there’s no limits to technocratic tyranny.
    Karl

  130. Robert #134

    I´m very worried too (live in Sweden). Russia has also issued a declaration about “security guarantees” which in effect demands that NATO dissolves itself. Obviously, NATO will do no such thing.

    The most moderate interpretation I can think of is that Putin issues impossible demands so that his *real* demand (get at least half of Ukraine?) will then be considered “reasonable”.

    The official viewpoint in Sweden seems to be that Russia won´t attack Ukraine (sic). Some people in the media take a grimmer view: Russia knows that NATO won´t intervene to save Ukraine if the Russians actually invade…

    Both scenarios have one thing in common: there won´t be a third world war. Well, let´s hope they are right!

  131. Archdruid,

    I’m looking at the limits to growth model and I notice that food production drops faster than population. Am I reading that graph you posted correctly?

  132. @Travis

    Food is absorbed in your intestines. There, it is transported by your blood to the cells all over your body. The mechanism involved in burning calories is weirdly similar to the chemical reaction of fire. You take in hydrocarbons as food and the hydrocarbons release energy when they are broken apart. Once the bond is broken, the hydrogen binds with oxygen to make water and the carbon binds with oxygen to make carbon dioxide. I think this reaction happens in the mitochondria of the cell, but I’m not terribly sure how it works at the cellular level.

    The body stores extra energy as fat. It only stores fat if the energy isn’t being used right away or if the food is easier to make into fat than to burn directly. Even thin, muscular people have fat stored in their bodies. If you take in the same amount of calories as you burn, you keep the same amount of fat. If you burn more calories than you eat, your body uses up the fat (well, most of it. Some fat isn’t for energy, but for your vital organs). If your body starts running low on fat, it will start to burn muscle. When you run out of fat and muscle, then you start to starve.

    That’s my understanding, some other commenters may explain it better. I’m not an expert 🙂

    Sincerely
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  133. @Mary Bennet,

    Since there are only 195 countries in the entire world, I think it’s safe to say he’s wrong about that. As an expat Texan now living in the Midwest, I would like to apologize for all the really dumb comments from our governors. Most of the time they sound perfectly reasonable. But when they do say something stupid they have to say something REALLY stupid.

    Sincerely
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  134. Honyocker, hmm. The wobbles I know of shouldn’t be fast enough to cause that much variation. That said, I’m not denying that people experience it!

    Daniel, thanks for this.

    TJ, I’d be good with it, too. In my novel Twilight’s Last Gleaming, the next to last president of the US flees the country with a lot of wealth on a private plane. The plane is forced down somewhere in the Amazon basin. Neither he nor the wealth is ever seen again, but there are marks that may be bloodstains inside the cabin…

    Rod, thanks for the clarification! I’m not at all surprised by the recent downward lurch. If you were reading me back in the days of The Archdruid Report, you’ll doubtless recall that I pointed out repeatedly that a long descent is not necessarily a smooth one, and that crises, catastrophes, and sudden shocks were a normal part of the decline and fall of a civilization. We’re getting one of those right now. It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last.

    Kimberly, thanks for this! I’ve generally used Wagner for that purpose — he’s bombastic enough that pop music glurge cannot survive — but I know that’s a matter of personal taste…

    Quinshi, at least one other person has seen it. I’m baffled — but then the internet does that to me tolerably often.

    Augusto, I credit a study of history. Look at things from the perspective of deep time and it’s easier to remember just how little the squabbles of the present matter.

    J.L.Mc12, I’m glad to hear this!

    Festina, I’ve been watching it closely. The West is bluffing, and the Russians are getting ready to call them on it.

    Patricia M, most kinds of plastic degrade considerably over time, becoming brittle and crack-prone. The fragments are still around but I doubt there’s much usable plastic by 2100.

    Chris, I know. If we get anything worse than a few per cent dead, things could get very, very ugly.

    Quinshi, hmm! Curious.

    Patricia M, data points duly noted. Here we go down the slippery slope — wheeeeeee!

    Robert, I’ve been watching the situation closely. My take is that the US is bluffing and will crumple if push comes to shove — but we’ll see.

    Patricia M, no surprises there. The managerial class has made work so miserable that anyone who can find another option is walking away.

    Lathechuck, thanks for this!

    Copper, many thanks and likewise! That’s a fine summary of a necessary truth.

    Tlong36, curious. Thanks for this.

    Teresa, okay, gotcha. That point went zipping over my head.

    Zauberspruche, it’s entirely possible that he did. He could well have gotten that information from Allan Bennett, for example — though it’s just as possible that he got the idea from the French occult scene of the time, which had Gnostic priests practically falling out the windows.

    Polecat, heh. I read the Bee regularly, and was especially struck by this article: Man Mistaken For Redhead Complains of Being Misgingered

    Karl, I wouldn’t recommend wasting your breath. A great many people cling to fantasies of limitless technocratic tyranny because it allows them to keep believing that the world is subject to human control.

    Varun, that’s correct. Right now we produce quite a bit more food than people need, though a lot of people still go hungry through maldistribution. As food availability drops, expect actual famines caused not by maldistribution but by shortages of supply.

  135. Varun, Archdruid:

    Another thing you got to know about our food production is that a lot of stuff isn’t grown for human consumption. I heard (from a retired Veterinarian who owns farmland) that around 90% of the corn we grow is for Ethanol and Animal (pig, cow) consumption. Make all gasoline 100% petrol and turn Meat into a Sunday Special Dish, and you have a long way to go before starvation becomes a matter of supply; repurpose land used to grow soy for family farms and you have plenty of space to fill in before farm size becomes an issue.

    [I also note that he also said that US farmers get 1/3 of their income from The Government, so I can also see people starving from being unable to afford food.]

  136. I have been thinking about what is unique about Occidental civilization – not putting it on a higher or lower level than others, but simply distinguishing it.

    European history, as JMG summarized a few weeks ago, is full of violence. However, that is not terribly unique. Many men tried their hands at conquest. What is possibly distinct, and may explain part of the violence, is that none succeeded at uniting all or even most of Latin Europe for more than a very few years. Excluding Charlemagne, those who came nearest may have been Otto I., Henry VI. of Hohenstaufen, Charles V. Of Habsburg, Napoleon, and Hitler. Compare their lack of success to the Pharaohs, the Caliphs and the Shang and Zhou emperors.

    This directed my thinking towards the fact that in Occidental civilization, very early on, a group of intellectuals, men of the pen, conceived the plan of dominating the men of the sword, and had considerable success on that path. It may have started with the monks of Cluny, who disdained working with their hands or fighting with swords, who planned the defeat of the Muslim invaders at Fraxinetum in 972, then supported the Iberian Reconquista, and one of whom gave the signal for the overseas crusades in 1095. From the humiliation of the German-Roman emperor at Canossa in 1077 to King John offering England as fiefdom to the papacy in 1213, the hierarchy of supposedly possessionless and celibate intellectuals might well affirm that it ruled supreme.

    On rummaging through the scraps I know of other cultures, the nearest parallel I could find was early Mesopotamia. Spengler has very little to say about Mesopotamia, he doesn’t even propose a Prime Symbol for that culture. I learned from David Wengrow’s “What makes civilization” and David Graeber’s “Debt” that the earliest Sumerian city states were communal affairs under the control of the temple bureaucracy (and possibly trade and neighborship associations), while military leaders and monarchs appear quite a while later. Their book collaboration “The dawn of everything” must contain much more on this – Scotlyn has beaten me to reading it first!

    I do know that Mesopotamia was eventually, and temporarily, united under military conquerors, Sargon of Akkad, later the Ur III dynasty, even later Hammurabi and others, while our civilization has so far been successful at avoiding/unsuccessful in achieving that fate. Maybe in a way the EU bureaucracy are the descendants of the Triumphant Church that Gregory VII and Innocence III fought to achieve.

  137. By the way, while reading through Spengler, I found the following passage (Decline of the West, p. 130), which shows at least some recognition of the power of place as opposed to culture (a point that was discussed some weeks ago with respect to North America):

    ‘Once more, it is the mysterious power of the soil, demonstrable at once in every living being as soon as we discover a criterion independent of the heavy hand of the Darwinian age. The Romans brought the vine from the South to the Rhine, and there it has certainly not visibly – i.e., botanically – changed. But in this instance “race” can be determined in other ways. There is a soil-born difference not merely between Southern and Northern, between Rhine and Moselle wines, but even between the products of every different site on every different hill-side; and the same holds good for every other high~grade vegetable “race,” such as tea and tobacco. Aroma, a genuine growth of the countryside, is one of the hallmarks (all the more significant because they cannot be measured) of true race. But noble races of men are differentiated in just the same intellectual way as noble wines. There is a like element, only sensible to the finest perceptions, a faint aroma in every form, that underneath all higher Culture connects the Etruscans and the Renaissance in Tuscany, and the Sumerians, the Persians of 500 B.C., and the Persians of Islam on the Tigris.’

  138. And finally one anecdote on disdain towards the past. At the virtual end-of-year come-together of the company where I work, I was randomized to a discussion on “historical figures”. All who spoke before me chose 20th century figures – an actress, a soccer trainer, a scientist. That last example animated me to speak of my admiration for Nicholas of Cusa, who proposed heliocentrism, non-spherical orbits and the infinite spatial extension of the universe in the 15th century, and for Robert Grosseteste, who proposed the spherical expansion of the universe out of an infinitely small starting point, by the infinite outward radiation of light, in the 13th century.

    Discussion quickly moved on to figures like Stephen Hawking, and how great it is that these scientists are still living among us. I replied that I was amazed that people 600 and 800 years ago could conceive somewhat similar ideas, but that remark fell flat.

    On a completely different note, a blessed Nativity to all those who celebrate it tomorrow!

  139. Earlier this evening, four bystanders were caught in the crossfire between two shooters in the poshest mall in the suburbs of Chicago, Oakbrook Mall. I was nowhere near it — Oakbrook is the sort of place I tend to strenuously avoid, basically it’s my vision of hell — so please don’t worry about me. The shoppers who got shot were all taken to the nearby hospital, Good Sam, and supposedly they are going to be OK. Let’s hope so.

    Oakbrook has been turning into little Chicago; it’s nothing new. I have not wanted to go there for years because it’s carjacker’s heaven. Now that the Magnificent Mile has been thoroughly looted, it’s Oakbrook’s turn. One has to wonder at what point status merchandise loses its prestige because every status store is a looter’s free for all. What’s the point of paying for it? The problem of being caught on camera has been solved: looters wear masks just like everyone else.

  140. JMG, I can confirm that food production would indeed drop very, very sharply this year. Most of the farming these days is done like making products in a factory. All the inputs — seeds, water, nutrients and pesticides are supplied to a lifeless soil. There is very little left in the land for the next cycle after the crop is harvested. As long as the fertilizers and pesticides were flowing freely, food production was rising. Crude oil and Natural gas are the key raw materials for most common fertilizers and pesticides. Phosphate and Potash come from nonrenewable mineral deposits. So the depletion of the raw materials would hit food production very, very hard.
    In India, fertilizer prices are up by more than 80% this year. It is raising globally, too. This would show up as higher food prices and shortages.
    https://www.thehindu.com/business/india-faces-record-fertilizer-subsidy-in-2021-22/article37783578.ece
    Governments can stave off starvation by subsidising the higher cost, but they cannot do that for long. Diverting a larger share of societies’ scarce resources in a declining world to food production would lead to a contraction in other sectors of the economy and push people into poverty.

    I predict that the crash in food production will stabilize at a much lower, as we slowly complete the work of restoring soil fertility using sustainable farming methods. It might take about 25-30 years in my opinion. It roughly matches the LTG prediction of around 2050 when food production settles at a lower level.

    On the brighter side (for me), the couple of tonnes of cow dung manure we produce every year might get a decent price now. We were practically giving it away for the last decade.

  141. Hi JMG,

    Thank you for doing these open posts, I have been a long time lurker. What kind skills/areas of work would you look to make a half-decent living at if at a mid-life career change in 2022? Its so weird to be at this odd neutral point of being mandated out of a good mechanics job (I will never take the prick, tired of the job anyway so its a blessing), no debt, no dependents, not much savings in a growing mid-sized city in the Pacific NW Canada. After listening to many of your interviews and perusing your books, I know its all about the skills. Gardening, home based business, some type of craft, a new trade…I feel like I could make so many things work, but the thought of staring a moving colors on a screen all day, or being around petrol products so much…just help a guy brainstorm…my only real goal is to learn to draw and paint before I pass on to the next dimension. Its always nice to have skills “in demand”, especially when the demand hits hard.

    Also, one book recommendation on learning to do a daily divination for oneself using astrology would be awesome.

  142. Hi JMG,

    Thank you for doing these open posts, I have been a long time lurker. What kind skills/areas of work would you look to make a half-decent living at if at a mid-life career change in 2022? Its so weird to be at this odd neutral point of being mandated out of a good mechanics job (I will never take the prick, tired of job so its a blessing), no debt, no dependents, in a growing mid sized city in the Pacific NW Canada. After listening to many of your interviews and perusing your books I know its all about the skills. Gardening, home based business, some type of craft, new trade…I feel like I could make so many things work, but the thought of staring a moving colors on a screen all day, or being around petrol products so much…just help a guy brainstorm…I realize this could be moot due to things getting ugly.

    Also, one book recommendation on learning to do a daily divination for oneself using astrology would be awesome.

  143. Is it normal for a soul to go through a lifetime where they feel completely disenfranchised with humans and with life in general? The general selfishness and stupidity – I mean how can so few grasp the concept of limits? How have we gotten ourselves into such a mess? And why do we never learn?

    I feel so much distaste at coming of age in a world that looks like this, and the general blindness and ignorance of everyone around me.

  144. @Jay 10, @Sebastien 82

    It’s probably worth mentioning that if you do get into modern board games, buying them can be rather moreish, in the same sense that heroin is. I am sorry to admit that I have a shed full including several that I purchased when my friendly local board game shop went under as an ‘act of charity’. That’s what I told my long suffering wife in any case. There are still a few that I haven’t managed to get to the table yet.

    Advanced symptoms including joining a local group and having actual conversations with them during play. Personally, I’m done for. I do occasionally manage to arrange sessions of the notorious Twilight Imperium 4th Ed. It takes a minimum of 10 hours to play and ideally 5 other equally addicted people – all of whom have to give up the best part of a weekend to participate. I have yet to do any better than last place in this – so my enjoyment is certainly not about winning.

    To Sebastien’s recommendations I would add Carcassone which is a deceptively simple tile laying game where you construct a landscape of medieval walled cities.

  145. @varun

    The Limits to Growth model has some updates and reruns that show more info about the original model. Search “limits to growth food per capita” or “services per capita” to see the resource per person. Food per capita does drop sharply, but it doesn’t drop below 1920 levels by the end of the run in 2100.

    So, even with a very bleak future, there should be enough food to give 1920 levels of nutrition to the people of the world. But I imagine that things will be even less smooth, organized, and cooperative then they were in the famines that did happen between 1920 and now.

  146. Merry Christmas All!

    ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ used to be a regular TV Christmas tradition. Sold to NBC some years ago it is hard to find now. I wonder why? NBC runs it with commercials at
    https://www.nbc.com/its-a-wonderful-life

    Amazon Prime customers can get it without commercials at
    https://www.amazon.com/Its-Wonderful-Life-James-Stewart/dp/B07JMZ4HVH

    I don’t have cable TV but do like to project internet videos to TV which is easy to do with Windows. Go to: ‘Settings’ > ‘System’ > ‘Display’, scroll down to ‘Multiple Displays’ and click on ‘Connect to wireless display’. Make sure the TV is on and the computer will search for wireless devices. Click on the TV and your computer will connect in a few seconds. You can close or shrink the ‘Settings’ windows, enlarge the video of the link you’ve chosen and enjoy an old uplifting traditional Christmas movie.

  147. Re: Boston and Camberville Meetup

    I just wanted to make explicit that the purpose is to meet likeminded people, discuss JMG’s ideas, and explore how to apply these ideas in our lives.

    Feel free to RSVP here (if our gracious host will allow it)

    Thanks!

  148. Thanks, JMG and team10tim and Jessica.
    My “curiosity” question was prompted by this online quote attributed to Carl Sagan:
    “You go talk to kindergarteners or first grade kids, you find a class full of science enthusiasts. And they ask deep questions! They ask: “What is a dream, why do we have toes, why is the moon round, what is the birthday of the world, why is the grass green?” These are profound, important questions! They just bubble right out of them. You go talk to 12th graders and there’s none of that. They’ve become incurious. Something terrible has happened between kindergarten and 12th grade.”
    But there was no hint of what the “something terrible” might be.

  149. Yes indeed. When the BB hits those flyballs – which is quite often, they don’t just just pop outta the stadium .. they go full-on stratospheric! Gotta love those courtly jesters..

  150. “A reason for the loss of curiosity among many children in the upper middle class and above is that ferocious competition for spots in elite schools means that for many, the child’s life is programmed from an early age to produce the most impressive resume possible for college admissions”

    This is, in my opinion, 100% true. And it goes beyond just a loss of curiosity.

    See, I went to fancy private schools and an elite liberal arts college. Back in the day, those places did provide a good education if you wanted one – but the vast majority of us weren’t sent there for an education. We were sent there for reasons related to either the preservation of, or the acquisition of, a high position in the socioeconomic hierarchy. Elite schooling is indeed all about competition and getting ahead.

    And I know from first-hand experience what kind of person thrives in the elite status competitions, and, by extension, what kind of people wind up as “trusted experts” and occupying positions of power and influence.

    The kind of people who have earned the right to run the world are people who, when told by someone in a position of authority to “Jump!”, have, for the entirety of their lives, always immediately asked “How high?”, followed by “Did I jump well?” and “How did my jumping compare to everyone else’s jumping?” and “What can I do to improve my jumping performance?”. People who, when told to jump, ask “Why?” do not rise through the ranks to occupy positions of power. Anyone who genuinely questions the system is quickly weeded out.

    I went to school with people who became doctors and medical researchers; people who went to law school and joined powerful, influential firms; people who became politicians (including a congressman and the current mayor of a mid-sized city), as well as people who worked as top political staffers (including at least two people who worked for senators and at least one who worked for a cabinet secretary); people who became journalists (or what passes for journalists today, anyway) and whose names might even be recognizable to people who follow mainstream media; and people who work at the highest executive levels for big, international banking conglomerates These were people with whom I sat in classrooms for 17 years, and about whom I get to read in my alumni magazines. Lucky me.

    But don’t tell me to “trust the experts” or try to convince me that the people in charge are there because they are smarter and more talented than everyone else. Oh, they have some brains – being reasonably clever is generally a necessary but not sufficient quality to succeed – but there are lots of smart(er) people who don’t rise through the ranks of the elite. One of the other necessary conditions to be “successful” and secure a position of power is a willingness to support the status quo at all costs. The world is run by people who may be reasonably smart (in a narrow way), but not at all willing to question anything – the system ruthlessly selects for the most ambitious, conformist, unquestioning, and incurious of the reasonably-smart set who gain access to the ladder of the elite. I spent my school years watching it happen in real time.

    “Trust the experts” – yeah, no. I went to school with those yahoos, They never had an original thought in their lives, and were always the kind of people who repeated whatever they were told to repeat in order to earn some reward. That’s how they got there in the first place.

    Sorry if I’m ranting, but – well, I just got my year-end-appeals from all of the schools to which I never donate money, so it’s on my mind. I do skim my alumni magazines, though – they are a wonderful insight into the workings of the elite. Sometimes I wonder what happened to my more-interesting classmates who asked “why?” instead of “how high?” – but they tend not to make the alumni spotlight. Go figure.

    On the unlikely chance that anyone is looking for more ranting on this topic, I can highly recommend William Deresiewicz’s “Excellent Sheep”.

  151. >This is the closest the world has ever openly come to a nuclear holocaust within the eight decades of my own life.

    Meh. I’m no sunny optimist. But I don’t think that we’re in any danger of nukes yet. I’ll go out on a limb and make this prediction. By the time nukes start flying, the people who will hear the news will shrug their shoulders and go back to whatever they were doing. Partly because the cities have decayed into such miserable places and partly because it took the news a day to reach them.

    Otherwise, don’t worry. At least not about that. Plenty of other things to worry about.

    The only thing that would make me worried nukes would start flying right now is if we had a real pandemic, something that started killing +10% and not 0.03%. I would not put it past them to start thinking that pushing buttons to make it all go away would sound like a good idea to them.

  152. >Most college students of the last few decades have been basically scammed. Many professions don’t pay for their educational (and other) requirements anymore.

    I’d say the thing that drove kids into the colleges over the past few decades has been the grinding bear market in labor. Future expectations of wages/conditions lower tomorrow than today. You don’t want to take the bear market to the face, hedge against it and get a college degree. And the strategy did work up to a point.

    But now like you said, a degree is too expensive and something I would claim – the bear market in labor is beginning to end. It’s probably going to take a decade or two but watch for future expectations to stabilize and then flip to wages/conditions tomorrow higher than today.

    If I were in academia, I’d be thinking about heading for the exits. Get out while the getting is good.

  153. I saw some pictures of the latest absurd attempt to turn people away from reality to cash in on their attention “the metaverse” and noticed something quite distinctive about it. The “avatars” they use to represent themselves in this lalaland _have no legs_, literally, they are floating torsos hovering around like jolly specters. Isn’t that quite telling? They have removed, completely, the energy center at the feet and their connection to Earth. It’s amazing when the symbol speaks for itself quite readily.

    Just recently I saw the Gigantic Viagra Maker release their anti nothing-burger respiratory infection virus pill and notices that it sounds quite a bit like “vax loving”. What the hell!

  154. @JMG (#159):

    I certainly hope with all my heart that the US is indeed bluffing, and that the It’s-time-for-a-decisive-war-with-Russia-at-last contingent in the US foreign policy establishment gets effectively sidelined once and for all.

    As for The Saker, he’s always been like a rabid dog on the subject of Ukraine and Ukrainians. But he’s quite right when he says that Russia would happily accept losses of vastly more than 25 million Russian lives to win any war on Russian soil against any foreign enemy. Such a war would be a war almost to the very last Russian standing, and any and all available weapons would be used down to the last available weapon–even a “death-star” weapon that would destroy the entire planet, if they had such a weapon (which I think they do not).

    I do not think that the US populace, in its present condition, would be up to a comparable sacrifice of lives to win a war on foreign soil, if that is what it took to win such a war. (A war on our own soil, maybe …)

    And to Russians, Ukraine (and Belarus) are Russian soil, every bit as much as the soil right under Moscow is. That’s never going to change, no matter what any foreign power does, and no matter which regime sits in power in Kiev (Kyjiv)!

  155. @ChrisAtFerndale re #46

    I can foresee chemical fertilizers getting scarcer and scarcer which
    means large agricultural firms will go under as their food products get
    too expensive to purchase. Of necessity, food production will become
    local using locally produced fertilizers such as compost as well as
    animal manure. If we can ever get over the ICKY-YICKY factor, human poo
    and urine can be added as well.

    When it comes to soil fertility, which always seems to be a big issue with
    a lot of people (‘we won’t be able to feed everybody’), Mother Earth is an old hand at this.
    I’ll always remember going into the patch of woods in back of my home
    to pull out and get rid of an old piece of corrugated aluminum. It had been collecting
    pine needles and fall leaves for ages. When I brushed the rotting leaf litter off,
    I was hit by an organic aroma so delicious it just about knocked my socks off.
    Yes, homemade fertilizer is tediously labor intensive but that wonderful smell still
    lingers in my mind and tells me it will be more than worth it.

    @ Patriciaormsby re #54

    A couple points. Did the zelkova get trimmed over the year? And that the forested
    hill you were using as a reference point wasn’t suffering from land slump or logging?

    https://courses.lumenlearning.com/cuny-lehman-geo/chapter/reading-slump-and-creep/

    It’s a little alarming just how malleable the earth is. We like to think it’s so solid
    and unchanging. If none of the above, then I can only confess to being as baffled as JMG.

  156. @JMG After reading Overshoot by William Catton, I was convinced that China was right all along with the One Child Policy. I think that all countries should consider implementing similar policies.

  157. @RM (#180)

    Robert,

    I enjoy all your posts but I think you’re letting the past define the present and the future. I’m definitely not an expert in all things Russia, but reading some of the blogs from people who are there – definitely check out smoothie’s and johnhelmer’s. It seems to me that the feeling about Ukraine has become more revulsion than anything else.

    Perhaps you haven’t heard their nickname? Ukraine is country 404.

    The Russians were the ones that effectively defeated H in the Eastern front, where he had actually sent his best men and equipment. I think the human cost is the one thing that the West has forgotten (besides the correct version of history) but it’s very present in the minds of normal Russians. Only reason I mention this is because what do you think Russians really feel when they see ProNazi insignias, symbols and all the rest being shown with great pride by the Ukranians…MSM has absolutely gone radio silent about all this, I cannot believe how much they do go out of their way to ignore all this but Russians do remember

    So, although I disagree with the motives I do agree with your fears. Poking the bear is one thing, but letting the spectre of the most recent bloody past e.g., letting Nazis run free in Ukraine and actually help them while they gloat – doing Nazi salutes, wearing old insignia and all the rest of it… I think that’s where patience has gone bye bye. I don’t think the Russians feel anything good about the Ukraine anymore. ( how many millions of Russians lives were lost in the Eastern front so nowadays pretty much every Jane and Joe can say that it was the Americans that defeated H? Seriously? I know ignorance is supposed to be a bliss… but !) More importantly, they have been doing everything they can so that they will never have to fight a war in their own territory…and that’s something that most of us elsewhere have never understood

    So I guess that’s where my fears come from, all the broken promises made to Russia, about NATO not expanding towards their borders – worthless promises, same old, same old – have had unintended consequences. .. They are really in a position to destroy the planet twice over, and in a way it is hard to argue why wouldn’t they if push comes to shove…

    Anyways, interesting to hear more from you, JMG and others that may have other insights

    Thanks!

  158. Here is more “ but our democracy” drivel from Pravda on the Potomac. Like the bad philosophers we discussed last week this one disguises bad reasoning with insider terms and circular logic “performative centerism???”. Is it just me or does this one make no sense?.

    https://apple.news/AuNvkgk-rSqiPc_poPlVfMQ

  159. Okay. JMG, when I turned on the computer and called up your blog, the comment count read “143.” When I hit the “read more,” it bounced up to 180, which it is at while I type. If that helps. It’s been happening that way for the last couple of days, for what it’s worth.

  160. @Owen (#177 and #178):

    What you say about nukes would make sense is Russians were basically the same critters as Americans underneath fairly superficial differences in language and culture. But they’re not: the psychological differences run very deep. One of the things that worries me is that the US foreign policy establishment mistakenly thinks that the differences between Russians and Americans are only superficial, and don’t really affect one’s ability to game the geopolitics successfully. False assumptions lead to unexpected consequences …

    Note that Tidlöse in Sweden (#154) is also worried. Swedes live closer to Russia, and understand Russians better, than Americans seem capable of ever doing.

    As for getting out of academia, I couldn’t agree more. I got out in 2005, and really ought to have done so much earlier.

  161. I need some advice. My neighbor died this morning (thanks for all the prayers). What do I do about Mr. Neighbor, whose e-mail is the one on my daily e-mail list? I can’t send any more cheery Christmas stuff, but it doesn’t seem right to fall silent either.

  162. Augusto, that’s paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould’s term for time beyond the human scale — historical time, geological time, cosmological time, the time scales in which the longest human lifespan registers as a blip if it registers at all.

    Godozo, granted, but making the necessary transitions in the teeth of economic crisis and unstable climate promises a lot of hungry days ahead.

    Aldarion, imperial China also approximated the same model — the Confucian bureaucracy ruled while emperors merely reigned — so it’s a known pattern. I would say with Spengler that the thing that sets Faustian civilization apart is its utter intolerance for limits of any kind: for good and ill, this civilization can’t conceive of any alternative to limitless expansion. Ironically, that’s where you get the failure of unity, because every nation saw itself as the center from which expansion had to take place!

    Kimberly, ouch. Another good reason why avoiding the markers of status is a good idea.

    Ramaraj, that’s why I consider a good practical knowledge of organic farming to be so important!

    James, it really depends on what your personal skills, talents, and interests might be. Not only is there no one option that suits everyone, the people I know who are thriving right now — myself included — have done it by creating a personal economic niche that nobody else fills. So I have to throw the question right back at you. What are your interests and passions, the things that you might be able to do better than anyone else, and how do those mesh with the human needs that are going unmet in today’s malfunctioning corporate societies? As for the book, there isn’t one, which is why I’m busy writing it!

    Sparky, yep. It’s a normal part of extracting yourself from the collective mentality of your time and place so you can begin to become a unique individual. Now what will you make of yourself?

    Patricia, that link goes straight to Outlook — I think it’s trying to log into your email account.

    Yoyo, of course Sagan didn’t mention what the “something terrible” was. He was part of, and dependent on, the system that destroyed them.

    Augusto, funny. Gives a whole new meaning to the slang term “legless.”

    Robert, the British have already admitted that they won’t send troops to Ukraine to resist a Russian invasion, and Biden has babbled about the harsh economic sanctions he’ll impose if an invasion happens. I think an invasion’s quite possible — there’s been the inevitable first incident, an attempted firebombing of a Russian consulate in Lviv — but it’ll be met with volleys of angry rhetoric by the West, and nothing more. As for the US, it’s busy making its military transgender-friendly and discharging troops for failing to comply with the vaccine mandate…

    Stellarwind, that would have helped back in the day, but global population is already peaking and will start to decline within a decade or so. (Africa is the only continent on the planet that still has ongoing population increases, and it’s nearing the tipping point as well.) So at this point, such policies are locking the door when the horse is long gone from the barn.

    Clay, oh, it makes perfect sense. “They’re not hating the bad people as much as I think they should! They’re not treating every policy I don’t like as a threat to democracy! Waaaaaaah!” It’s childish, but it makes sense.

    Patricia M, hmm! Thanks for the data point.

    Your Kittenship, I’m sorry to hear that. As for your question, though, I have no idea. Anyone else?

  163. I remember during a Magic Monday you said a great election is coming up for starting a religion, and I want to help a friend get his order off the ground. Was that the Jupiter Neptune Conjunction on April 12? It’s opposite my midheaven by less than half a degree.

  164. @Festina Lente (#183):

    As Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The past always defines the present; there are no fresh starts ever.

    Yes, I’ve heard “country 404,” but I have no idea what 404 means. (Remember, I’m nearly 80 and therefore a tech dinosaur.)

    Russians generally think, when they hear Ukrainian spoken, that it sounds like Russian baby-talk. (Lots of vowels which in Russian words sound like “eh” and “oh,” sound like “ee” in the corresponding Ukrainian words, so there is some real basis in psycholinguistics for that impression.) And the old official Tsarist names for Ukraine and Ukrainians translate as “LIttle Russia” and “Little Russians.” So even before WW2 the idea that Ukrainian was a distinct language and Ukrainians were regarded as a distinct people (narod), struck Russians as inherently ridiculous, outside the bounds of even logical possibility: how could “children” and their language ever be taken seriously? (For the record, I am convinced that Ukrainians are a distinct people and that Ukrainian is a distinct language with its own history–a history that for centuries was NOT closely linked to the history of the Russdian language.)

    Of course, Russians are hugely offended by pro-Nazi displays in Ukraine, which also feel to Russians like the most offensive and disrespectful anti-Russian displays possible.

    However, my Ukrainian friends, who are not pro-Nazi, remind me that during WW2 Ukraine was caught between two hostile powers, each of which despised them equally. Very many Ukrainians considered the horrid consequences of taking the Russian side worse than the horrid consequences of taking the German side. They had already experienced the cruel horrors of Soviet Russia at first hand (including the Holodomor); the horrors of Nazi Germany were but a distant rumor a that time. When you have to choose one or the other of two very great evils, or die, you are in a very hard place indeed. (If you think that the Soviets dealt with Ukraine benignly before and during WW2, think again.)

    So I think one should not blame any particular Ukrainian for having chosen to live, and then having choosen to side with either the Nazis or the Soviets–each side seemed equally monstrous to a Ukrainian. And make no mistake, each side–Soviets and Nazis– actually was equally monstrous and evil in those days. Yet it was the evil of the Soviets that Ukrainians had experienced most recently. (Again for the record, I despise and condemn the Soviets and the Nazis equally for their evil and for the vile deeds they did.)

    And none of this has any bearing whatever on how the US should deal with Russia vis-a-vis Ukraine. Any successful foreign policy is always immoral to a large degree.

  165. @ Aloysius # 85 – re: The Secret of The Temple
    I have a copy which I would like to give away (too many books, too little space and I want to buy one of JMG’s newer books and need to make space). I’ll be happy to send it to you, if you wish. I will pay shipping (US). (Just give something to JMG’s tip jar.) My email (no spaces) is h a n d m a d e n 7 5 at g m a i l

  166. Hi JMG,

    I thought that you and your readership might be interested to know that an organisation called the Master Key Society is putting a lot of classic New Thought and Theosophy books onto Youtube. Their videos are set up as audio books, although the text is included on the screen:

    https://www.youtube.com/c/MasterKeySociety

    What is quite surprising is how many views these books are amassing. The Kybalion now has 705,000 views after being up only four months, which is very impressive indeed.

  167. @James Nard (#167):

    Since you had a mechanic’s job, I would recommend locksmithing as your new trade. Most locksmiths work for themselves out of small shops, even in these days, so you won’t have to deal with “Management™.”

    You can get some of the basics of the trade from books, but to get really skilled in a reasonalbe time-frame, you’ll need to apprentice to a senior locksmith. I don’t think there’s another long-established trade where there are so many genuine trade secrets, and they are so closely held, as locksmithing. If, now and then, some advanced trade secret does see print, it’s always in some magazine or book that only a locksmith would find out about–and even so there’s often a small outcry against it from other locksmiths.

    And locks are going to become more and more necessary as the age of collapse unfolds.

  168. Patricia and others commenting on “old” comment counts when you first go to the Ecosophia.net page:

    I believe you are running into cache expiration issues, or more specifically, that your browser is pulling up the saved page from the last visit instead of getting a new copy each time.

    JMG’s Ecosophia web site doesn’t seem to set an expiration date on its pages (which is not unusual). This places the burden on your web browser to determine whether a page may have changed or not since the last time you viewed it. In many cases, the browser default is to just display the cached page and let you determine whether to force the reload/refresh the page again or not.

    In Firefox (the browser I use), there is a setting in the advanced preferences that can be changed to force a reload every time you visit a web page. That is done (for those comfortable in using about:config to change settings) by finding browser.cache.check_doc_frequency and changing its value from the default value of 3 (for never) to 1 (for always). Be aware, however, this setting will now apply to all your browser activity, not just JMG’s site.

  169. Oops, a small correction to my Firefox values for page caching and refreshing:

    The Firefox default of 3 is not “never”, but “only when the page expires,” which for a page that doesn’t set an expiration time is effectively the same thing. The setting of 2 is actually “never.”

    And although I suggested a value of 1, which means a refresh every time I view the page, an alternative value to use can be 0, which in Firefox means once per session (where session is the time during which you have Firefox running until actually closing down the program). If you are one who has their computer (such as a smartphone) always running, and you have Firefox always running as well (and never stop the program), then a setting of 1 is what you want. But if you are one, like I am, who actually turns off their tablet or laptop computer between uses or at the end of the workday, then a setting of 0 might work for you and not cause to the web browser to need reload a page quite so often.

    Most mainline web browsers will have similar means to adjust caching of pages like Firefox does. I just don’t know these other web browsers well enough to know where/how to change their cache expiration setting.

  170. Dear fellow Ecosophians,

    I’m not sure if you discussed this before, but I’m VERY interested in religious politics, especially at our times and how they’re cloaked in civil and secular clothes. To my knowledge, Trump himself had a sort of religious mission and backing towards the holy lands which is not an unfamiliar sight with many republicans but I’ve never seen it as explicit as this, correct me if I’m wrong.

    On the other hand, we have the tensions rising between Iran and Azerbaijan with martyred Armenia in the middle as always, there’s something more than meets the eye in these wars. Iranian government believe they’re under the authority of Imam Mahdi (Christ-like figure of Islam), and what’s most important is that at the “end times” both His and Christ’s followers will unite against a single known enemy. This is what Hezbollah been trying to do in his religious discourse and alliance with Christians in Lebanon, and probably what Iran is going to do with Armenia. I’m always baffled by the role of this little country in recent history, they seem to be the “wounded side” of Christ, but that’s just my view.

    I wonder what you guys make of this? And why most Christian conservatives in the US support Israel so vehemently?

  171. Here’s another idea for a career: I was having a conversation with an old friend yesterday to try to line up some sawmill work for another friend who will be cutting down an English walnut tree and wants to use some of it for lumber. He said he won’t have time for a few months because he’s backed up with butchering beef right now. Apparently there are fewer and fewer slaughtering and butchering services available because the workers are aging out. I asked him if he’d be willing to take on an apprentice, and yes he would , if the person knows how to work—it’s a hard job.

    So find one in your area and see if you could apprentice to them.

    As for me, I’m retiring to a studio at my house to continue my chiropractic career off grid. No more insurance and intermediation for me! I’ll garden, homestead, and deepen my herbalism practice right in my yard.

    Happy times for me during catabolic collapse in Orygone.

    Annette

  172. I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Festivus for the rest of us (December 23) – my family was too engaged in the Feats of Strength (“Festivus is not over until you pin me, George!”).

    May your Airing of Grievances have been cathartic, and your Festivus Pole proud.

    For those who are unfamiliar with the tradition, George’s father* from Seinfeld created the holiday as an alternative to glurgemas after personally “raining blows” upon a man in a store in a fight over a doll, and realizing “there had to be a better way!”

    I love a story of redemption.

    *Actually, one of the writer’s real life fathers did, in 1966, and as with many of the plots on Seinfeld, the writer worked out his trauma by sharing it with the world…

  173. Archdruid and others who replied on the food issue,

    Yes, I suppose that this does make sense. Food production and distribution is already uneven, it also makes sense that a hard turn toward more restorative forms of agriculture in certain parts of the world is inevitable. Thus while food production would drop, people would find other means of sustenance that doesn’t depend on current industrial inputs.

    By the way, on the whole Russia-Ukrainian-NATO discussion. As one Indian analyst put it, “the Russians enjoy suffering, they make a virtue out of suffering, which is what makes Russia a very dangerous country. The like pain and any strategy that causes the Russians pain is doomed to failure.”

    Regards,

    Varun

  174. Hi John Michael,

    The comment numbering thing happens with my browser too – even if I refresh the webpage. On the other hand, it seems like a nothing burger to me and far out, mate, you can waste a huge amount of time on computer issues and they quietly get resolved on the next software update. Think of it instead like an unwanted Christmas present. When I was a kid, one grandmother (she was a bit odd to be candid) used to give me a box of handkerchiefs as a present. I never understood that, I mean it was not like I was a snotty kid or anything like that. Thus proving my earlier point that some things are just mysteries and we should spend our energies elsewhere. 🙂 I now retire from the logic chopping field with full honours!

    Hey, as to the more serious stuff relating to the health subject which dare not be named, is that that is my sticking point. Unless of course the whole affair is akin to a roll of the dice, and then that outcome wouldn’t surprise me at all. Anyone who would throw such a set of dice, probably hasn’t thought matters through all that well.

    The other thing I reckon to watch for is the land of stuff cutting off, or reducing supplies of herbicides and pesticides. I reckon those will be next. I don’t rely on such stuffs here, but it is not lost on me that with food products I bring back to the farm, the farmers who produced that stuff probably do (although I do try to purchase as much certified organic items as possible).

    And I would never dare offer you a Christmas present of a box of handkerchiefs, although they are an elegant technology.

    Cheers

    Chris

  175. Blue Sun said in #22:
    “Since the past year has been a wild ride with inflation, food shortages and the like, do you think you’ll be doing an update on the Limits to Growth standard model run anytime soon?”

    The original John posted from the original “Limits of Growth” made the decline look much smoother than it actually is. There is a lot more deviation than those smooth curves imply in the actual data.

    This graph is more typical of the fluctuations though it doesn’t show actual data from 2004 to now (hope this displays).

    As John has said, we will see lots of stair steps of decline, with sharp drops and then flat times as the system uses the extra resource freed by the decline to shore up things until the next collapse.

  176. @greer

    By the way Greer.

    I know you have something of a “minor” interest in astrology. My Mother does as well. She’s from Thailand, where astrology and belief in spirits and stuff is far bigger than in the US.

    Anyway, I mentioned your name to my Mom and told her that I was reading your books. It turns out that she heard of you before, although she couldn’t remember where exactly. I’ll have to ask her again when I see her this Christmas.

    So, you really are quite popular in some circles!

  177. Aziz, they think Israel has to be in existence for the Apocalypse to occur.

    —Princess Cutekitten

  178. @JMG, How would you suggest to “start the ball rolling” on a successor to the New Alchemists?

    I might have access to a garden in the next few months or so, and I am thankfully financially secure for the next few years. So I should be in a position to experiment and drive experiment priorities by on my own household economics. However, I don’t yet have the skills to follow-up in John Todd steps, lead such a research program, and feel comfortable asking money to do so. I am guessing it should take me a number of years to reach that level. I am also not personally in need of crowd-funds for the moment.

    But I could help (voluntarily) coordinate small grants for others. The program could be organized as such:
    1. Members contribute a minimal annual amount, let’s say 20-100 USD, that get pooled in grants of 5,000 – 10,000 USD;
    2. Each member gets a vote, regardless of the amount contributed, to prioritize which project(s) to fund;
    3. Anyone may submit a project proposal, on which members will vote;
    4. Funded project leaders commit to write regular updates on a public blog on their progress, and a final retrospective on the objectives achieved and lessons learned. Project leaders that provide regular updates and interesting results will build up trust and have a higher likelihood of being funded in subsequent rounds.

    I could also help voluntarily review self-published science-oriented articles on the results obtained. There would be no need to publish in existing academic conferences, although if that worked out that could be useful too. The main mean of asserting the validity of results would be members or other enthusiasts documenting their hopefully successful replication of the results.

    How does that sound?

  179. JMG and all: Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Season’s Greetings for any and all religious holidays during this turn of the seasons!

    JMG, I was wondering if you found out why your picture no longer accompanies your posts. I often read comments and questions in one window with your answers in another, and having your image visible makes it much easier to scroll through and find your next list of answers!

    Plus, congratulations on your growing success on the organ. I have found the perfect song for your next accomplishment, and it fits right in with the festive season!

    Winter Solstice: The Druid’s Call. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5qaKC4umAQ

    Lastly, I found an online book about druids that I thought I’d share with everyone. I haven’t had time to read it yet, and do not know how accurate it is, or well known. Perhaps JMG or some of the commenters here are familiar with it.

    Druidism: The Ancient Faith of Britain, by Dudley Wright. Published by Ed. J. Burrow & Co., LTD. 1924. 230 pages.

    https://digital.nls.uk/dcn6/7894/78949486.6.pdf

    The Druids now, while arms are heard no more,
    Old mysteries and horrid rites restore ;
    A tribe who singular religion love,
    And haunt the lonely coverts of the grove ;
    To these, and these of all mankind alone.
    The gods are sure revealed, or sure unknown.
    If dying mortals’ doom they sing aright.
    No ghosts descend to hell in dreadful night ;
    No parting souls to grisly Pluto go.
    Nor seek the dreary silent shades below :
    But forth they fly immortal in their kind,
    And other bodies in new worlds they find.
    Thus life for ever runs its endless race.
    And, like a line, death but divides the space :
    A stop which can but for a moment last,
    A point between the future and the past.
    Thrice happy they beneath the northern skies.
    Who that worst fate, the fear of death despise.
    Hence they no cares for this frail being feel.
    But rush undaunted on the pointed steel ;
    Provoke approaching fate, and bravely scorn
    To spare that life which must so soon return.

    Rowe’s Lucan.

    Joy Marie

  180. @Princess Cutekitten, maybe bring him some meals? Food that’s good but not overtly festive.

    As for daily emails, that’s rough. The best you can do, most likely, is to keep it simple and blandly comforting. He’s in your thoughts; you miss (Mrs.) Neighbor; you’re sorry for his loss. If you have your own good memories of Neighbor, mention one of them from time to time.

    I’d suggest not saying anything that even remotely implies how he might be feeling or should be feeling or how he might feel someday. For instance, any statement starting “At least…” (e.g. “…you have wonderful memories of your many years together”) is unhelpful even if it might sound supportive.

  181. @Robert Mathiesen #190
    In case a hundred people have not already answered, from a quick internet search:
    “A 404 error is an HTTP status code that means that the page you were trying to reach on a website couldn’t be found on their server. To be clear, the error indicates that while the server itself is reachable, the specific page showing the error is not.”

    “Country 404” sounds, to me, like a way of saying that Ukraine is a failed state, and not a true viable country.

  182. Regarding Ukraine…

    Zelensky, NATO & the MIC use “Russian Invasion” to garner American money & attention the same way NK & Iran use nuke development. They’re unlikely to want that game to end any time soon. Follow the money.

    IMHO Putin just wants to secure his flank and safeguard the eastern population of Ukraine that’s largely Russian as well. If he truly was looking to invade he would act on the false flags instead of calling them out publicly.

  183. @Alan, @JMG re: Techno-Tyranny

    You are quite right that the idea of totalitarianism via implanted microchips, QR codes, etc., is a strategy with a limited shelf life.

    On the other hand, totalitarian regimes have been established with far more limited technology. The first “thought police” in the Western world was the Roman Catholic Inquisition, which was originated, not in Spain, but in Languedoc (Occitania) in the south of France, in the aftermath of the Albigensian Crusades.

    Morris Berman, in his chapter on the Cathars in his book Coming to Our Senses, describes the process as follows:

    “By 1227 the Church had instituted a primitive police system, in which people were appointed to report on their neighbors. The procedure was exacting and meticulous – a good example of ‘the banality of evil,’ as Hannah Arendt put it in another context. The sign of repentance was to name other suspects. Long lists were accumulated, lists that included anybody who had ever spoken to a heretic. These lists were then checked against other lists. Penalties were graded, which also helped with the process of denunciation, for you could get off lightly with fast cooperation. As of 1233 inquisitors has autonomous power … prisons were constructed to house for life those who simulated conversion to the Church; and the testimony of criminals was approved in cases of heresy. Almost anyone, in fact, could be a “reliable” witness, and witnesses were typically examined behind closed doors. The goal was to weave a network of secrecy, suspicion and terror, and in this the Inquisition was very successful. …

    [It] was easy for ordinary Catholics to stray onto heretical ground without even knowing it, and suddenly get caught up in a complicated ecclesiastical machinery that pressured them to admit certain practices or ideas that they were not clear were wrong, and to supply a list of names of those who had behaved or believed similarly.”

    None of this requires industrial-grade technology to do. Thus, I fear we have not seen the last of totalitarianism by a long shot.

  184. I’ve been doing a bit of research on the Late Bronze Age collapse (which is not to be confused with the middle Bronze Age collapse that led to the fall of Sumer & Babylon and rise of Assyria). Some observations that may be applicable to our current downward slide.

    The first thing I noticed is that imperial collapse can actually be very good for the peoples living at or just outside the imperial fringes. As the Hittites collapsed their Luwian cousins to the west picked up the slack. (You may have heard of their western outpost city Wilusa, known to the marauders who sacked it as “Ilium”). I am guessing Mexico will become a regional leader in the wake of an American collapse, and while they may not expand as far as the Aztlan radicals would hope, I expect them to retake a fair bit of territory on the other side of the Rio Grande as it becomes clear nobody else is governing the place.

    The second thing I found interesting is that a couple centuries after every collapse there appears to be a conscious effort to rebuild the “Golden Age” that was lost. (Britannia spent centuries quarreling with the Roman oppressors, then spent more centuries trying to recapture the peaceful glories of Roman Britain in myths that became the Arthurian Cycle).

    This can also be followed by a period of self-reflection as we realize our “Golden Age” was no utopia. The big example I’d give of this would be the endless plays pumped out by 4th Century BC Greece on the theme of parents sacrificing their children, with Game of Thrones levels of incest, murder, and cannibalism thrown in.

  185. @ Greer

    > Please do keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.

    You seem to imply that I am emotionally attached to a belief civilization will not collapse. I would like to be provocative and push back.

    The best way to keep our beliefs in check is to make testable predictions that stem from our beliefs, and to try to falsify those predictions by looking at empirical data.

    We are justified in saying that beliefs that are contradicted by the empiracal data are false, while beliefs that are not falsified are more likely to be true, relative to those beliefs. (If this sounds familiar, you may have heard of the philosopher Karl Popper).

    You have cited the Club of Rome’s book The Limits to Growth as justification for your belief in the collapse of civilization. BUT, the Club did not say civilization WILL collapse. They gave 4 senarios, two of which ends in collapse (BAU and BAU2), one of which ends in modest decline (CT), and one of which ends in stabilization (SW).

    It’s been 50 years since the original prediction, so we can use empirical data to see which senarios are more likely to be false. And one researcher has done just that.

    https://www.clubofrome.org/blog-post/herrington-world-model/

    https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/37364868/BRANDERHORST-DOCUMENT-2020.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

    As we can see, SW followed the data the least closely. However, BAU was the second least likely senario. The two senarios that fit the data most closely were CT and BAU2.

    Thus, since the Club apparently used BAU as a baseline, it seems that the Club consistently underestimated the pace of technological advancement or the amount of resources available to humanity. Since we use technology to increase the amount of resources we can use, the two possible mistakes are probably two sides of the same coin.

    It makes sense the Club would underestimate technology because human knowledge builds on itself and thuse increases exponentially and not linearly. Exponential trends are harder to predict.

    So based on this, and other reading, I feel reasonably justified in saying that civilization will decline in the coming decades but not fully collapse.

    —————————————————————–

    Ah Greer, I have such a love/hate relationship with your work. I find many of your talking points in an impressive number of suprising places. One day, I have to post a list of all the thinkers I’ve read who’ve said similar things.

    You have an incredibly well though out and captivating vision of the world. And…… I have to admit that I probably should have been more respectful towards you in our discussions.

    Nevertheless, after spending a while reading your books and other works, I just think there are answers to many of the questions you pose.

    You’re blog is still one of the most awesome blogs on the internet and I love reading it! 😀

  186. (I think a reply in progress may have been swallowed: if not feel free to delete Post #1. This is the second attempt.)

    A couple things I have noticed during my studies of the Late Bronze Age collapse and fall of Western Rome.

    1) Things tend to get interesting on or just outside the fringes of the empire. Britannia turns their longing for the good old days of Roman rule — days during which they spent most of their time complaining and squabbling with Romans — into the Arthurian cycle. As the Hittites begin losing their hold on power, their Luwian cousins on the western fringe of the civilized world start rising to power. They turn into a few interesting civilizations in western and central Anatolia like the Lydians, Carians, and others. (One of their biggest western outposts, Wilusa, has come down to us in stories told by the marauders who burned it as “Ilium” or Troy).

    As the American empire falls, I expect to see Mexico and, to a lesser extent, Canada, rise as regional powers. It wouldn’t even be a “conquest” so much as local governments rising in the wake of a fallen central power, and throwing their lot in with Mexico the way the Luwic-speakers threw in with Greece and ultimately became subsumed into the Hellenic community. I suspect a lot of America that is already culturally Mexican will become part of Mexico Muy Grande.

    My doubts about Canada come because Canada is far more integrally tied into our economy and culture than Mexico, and likely to get pulled down further by our economic fall. I can envision a situation where we see nations evolve at the Canadian/American border, but I suspect we will see more cultural activity on America’s southern border as they come out from the shadow of the Hollywood cultural complex.

    2) People who are dreading/hoping for Mad Max can relax or quit holding their breath. As JMG has pointed out many times, the decline and fall of an empire can take a while. I’d date the beginning of the LBA collapse to the Santorini eruption in c1600 BC. That gave the Myceneans room to overthrow their Minoan overlords and become a huge problem to everyone in the civilized world. By the time everything fell apart in 1187 BC, it had already dissolved and reformed a couple times in most regions.

    My guess is that we will see an American government in Washington for at least the next several decades. That government will become increasingly irrelevant and communities will gain more de facto autonomy as they are forced to take care of their own needs. I also expect that the PMC and political class will, as it shrinks, continue insisting that all is well so long as they and their friends have jobs. One constant in civilizational collapse: there will be people insisting that X will Endure Forever No Matter What Conspiracy Theorists Say even as the barbarians sack the place.

  187. @JMG

    “Are you at all familiar with Berkeley’s philosophy? He was on this a couple of centuries before the quantum physicists got there.”

    Interesting. Although there is a range of Philosophies that isn’t validated and remain an abstraction

    But this is one of them that got validated by the Scientific Method. I am well aware of the notion of “Idealism” he put forth. And has been vindicated by the very Materiality that is measured that Materialists fail to grasp.

    Matter isn’t as “Solid” as we think it is. But given form by Rational Mind. Even the apparent irrationality of the curves of Nature is a far more elegant order than the order of “Materialist Rationalists” that also coincidently is very Beautiful and Majestic.

  188. Robert #183

    404 is the error code that appears when you take your browser to a URL that doesn’t exist. So, in context it would be ‘country not found’

  189. Princess Cutekitten, I would suggest, send sincere condolences along with some fond remembrances of how much you enjoyed interactions with his wife and how much you will miss her. Chances are, he isn’t focusing on her email correspondence with her lady friends. Depending on how, or if, he answers, you could then remove him (or not) from your list.

    James Nard @ 167, there is a great and ever-increasing need for people who can fix, sharpen and repair just about anything. I imagine you have metal working skills? If you have a truck, there is in most areas need for reliable short distance transport, empty lot clearing, etc.

  190. Snuffy, thanks for the reminder! Yes, that’s the one. Find a day when the two planets are applying to the conjunction, and the Moon is waxing and in good aspect (sextile or trine) to the conjunction, with no negative aspects from Mars, Saturn, or Uranus, and then choose a time when the conjunction is in the 9th house, and you’re set.

    Phil K, delighted to hear it! “The Master Key” is the New Thought success course by Charles Haanel, a very popular course in its time and available again in various formats; if this organization is familiar with that, they’ll go far.

    Aziz, I hope some of my other readers can help you out here. The bloodthirsty politics of the Abrahamic faiths have always baffled me.

    Varun, that makes so much sense…

    Chris, I have quite a good supply of handkerchiefs myself!

    Rus, hmm! Interesting.

    Viking, that’s certainly worth considering. My suggestion would be to start by joining the Green Wizards forum at https://greenwizards.com/ if you’re not already a member, and discuss the project with the people there. That’s a hotbed of interest in appropriate tech, and you’re likely to find people who have skills you don’t have. See what kind of organization evolves organically out of the discussions, and then proceed to start a website, with links to existing appropriate-tech resources, and a well-moderated discussion group. Move from there to crowdfunding projects. From there? The sky’s the limit.

    Joy Marie, it’s some kind of software glitch. Thank you for the song, and for the reference to Wright’s odd but readable book!

    Michael, of course we haven’t seen the last of totalitarianism. (Look up the Qin dynasty in China sometime for another low-tech example.) The point I’d make is that techno-totalitarianism requires one set of skills, and the old-fashioned jackbooted kind requires a very different set; they’re different enough that the current elite would survive for a week at most if they had to try to maintain their power using thirteenth-century methods. So the changeover will see a certain amount of disruption and confusion, during which constructive change can potentially happen.

    Rus, er, where did you get the idea that I believe in the collapse of industrial civilization? Not so — I recognize that industrial civilization is already declining, and is likely to continue declining for the next one to three centuries, ending in a dark age out of which new societies will emerge. I’ve been saying exactly this for fifteen years now, and I find it fascinating that so many people simply slide right on by that and cram the debate back in the dreary binary fantasy of endless progress vs. sudden collapse. If you’re going to push back, that’s fine, but please do take a moment to listen to what I’m actually saying, and not waste your time beating up a straw man of your own construction!

    Kenaz, that’s entirely plausible. I tend to think of the United States as simply the most powerful peripheral state in the early post-European age, destined to rise and fall the way various powers on the fringes did in the past; the northeastern seaboard of the US, like some parts of the eastern seaboard of Mexico, has a fairly strong European imprint and may cling to a shadow of Faustian civilization long after it’s dissolved elsewhere (and quite possibly long after Europe itself is a collection of new nations inhabited mostly by the descendants of immigrants and/or invaders from Africa and the Middle East). But we’ll see.

    Info, good. You really might want to read Berkeley, if you haven’t done so already. He was a Christian bishop, if that’s any incentive.

  191. @ Greer

    I’ll be honest. Stuff like your reply always makes me doubt your credibility. When you say things like this, it feels like you’re trying to turn it into a semantic debate.

    So let’s take words out of the equation and use numbers and pictures.

    This is a picture of how much of each energy source we use:

    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/exports/global-primary-energy.svg

    It is YOUR claim that in one to three centuries, we will only use biomass as an energy source and other energy sources (ex: wind) will be trivial. Oil, coal, natural gas, and all renewables will no longer feature on the chart. Life in 2200 looks more like it did in 1800s than 2000.

    It is MY claim that by the end of the century, we will successfully replace a large percentage (20% or more) of our energy use with wind, solar, and nuclear power, and we will be able to sustain that percentage without fossil fuels. If we succeed in replacing just 20% of our energy use with these energy sources, that puts humanity’s energy use level at the same place we were in the 1950s.

    What were the 1950s like? Racism was rampant, international tensions were high, much of the world was not democratic, colonized by imperial powers. Genocides were common. Much of the world was impoverished and there was an enormous gap between rich regions and poor regions. BUT…. we still had nuclear power, limited space travel, air travel, mass communication, cars, and the like.

    I think 2200 will resemble the situation I described above, a DYSTOPIAN 1950s, as opposed to the 1800s. And the reason why is because

    1) high EROI energy sources that are not fossil fuels are (in principle) available to us. These include small modular nuclear reactors, airborne wind energy, and concentrated solar power.

    2) We have at least a few decades more of fossil fuels to build out those sources. At the very least, natural gas is not expected to peak until later this century.

    3) Climate change will devestate the world slowly and unequally. Some parts of the world will actually benefit from climate change and thus retain the technological capacity to build these energy sources.

  192. @James Nard,

    I myself have taken up book-binding and mostly taught it to myself, though there are book-binders in my city, so I might one day get professional training when there’s not rolling lockdowns. This was something I felt so called to do I was already learning how to do it while juggling my other jobs, and I continue to do it even after the realization that it might be years before I start making money at it.

    Your background as a mechanic might lead you in your explorations. My husband is the type who is good at brainstorming and fixing things, and that will be absolutely critical in the years ahead. If you make a name for yourself as someone who is willing to try to fix something, for barter or on the cheap, you’ll have no shortage of business. A wide breadth of experiences might lead you toward something you end up being really passionate about, or realize that helping others in this way is what feeds your soul. Just my two cents. Good luck!

  193. Princess Cutekitten, I’ve always assumed they did so in hope they will convert “the lost sheep” of Israel before the second coming, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are those who think the nation itself is evil and a necessary part for that narrative to unravel. Oh how I wish to sit and have a conversation with those crazy fundamentalists in your country one day haha.

    JMG, just as the pagan barbarity and supremacy that Ancient Israelites faced was baffling to them as well, though unfortunately the constant persecution and division within their nation caused their most horrible characteristics to manifest as survival mechanism. But at this point and despite my reservations on their recent politics, I find this idea of mediation between Islam and Christianity as a gesture of hope. It’s also the esoteric aspect to it that I’m most interested in, Imam Mahdi will come back with a sword but he will enter the holy land along the dove of Christ, this should tell us something. I truly hope Armenia to get out of this safe and indeed not make it another stupid war near the Balkans in this case.

  194. Jmg

    Ever since I read “cloud atlas” I have begun read more of David Mitchell, he is quite a good “lit fix” novelist. He also helped translate the autobiography of a Japanese autistic man, and apparently has a autistic son.

    Something else I want to ask you is about the common accusation/criticism that people often say about autistic people, which is that they are narcissistic. Do you think that is a misunderstanding, or a half-truth?

  195. @Dr Hooves, thank you for your reply!
    The tree in question is about 300 meters distance, so two sun-widths would constitute an enormous chunk of it and there are other reference points (a denser camphor tree in front of it), so…my memory? Anyway, thank you for the resources! I’ll have a look at them. The sun rose at solstice just barely south of a steel transmission line tower about 2 km away last year, and somewhat to the north of that this year, but I would not have observed it at exactly solstice either year. That direction has the disadvantage of cloudbanks over the Pacific in winter, meaning I don’t get a reliable view of it every day. Oh well, it’s still fun.

  196. @JMG

    “You really might want to read Berkeley, if you haven’t done so already. He was a Christian bishop, if that’s any incentive.”

    That sounds right up my alley.

  197. I was quite surprised when listening to both The Kyabalion and Charles Haarnel’s Master Key System that Herbert Spencer was praised for his insights and influence, as he is the very last person I would have associated with occult philosophy.

    Have you ever investigated Spencer’s esoteric thought, JMG?

  198. Quick comment on the food issue –

    Something that greatly affects food availability and cost at the grocery-store level, at least in the over-developed parts of the world, is packaging. I know someone who is an experienced manager in the supermarket sector, and he’s told me that a lot of recent shortages are due not to lack of product, but lack of packaging, and that for some cheaper foods, packaging can cost more than contents. He talks to suppliers all the time, and says that the package-sourcing issue is much bigger than most people realize.

    I’m not sure how that will play out long term, but clearly the current system of packaging food – food that is often relatively inexpensive to grow – in plastics and metal and glass containers that are starting to be harder to source than the food is not a sustainable system.

    Just another aspect that’s often overlooked – there’s the food production and the food transport, and, in modern societies, the food packaging as well.

  199. Just curious-aren’t you going to do a post of predictions for the new year like you normally do?

  200. Any thoughts on Comet Leonard?

    Near as I can tell from web searches and Twitter, the first reported naked-eye observation came at approximately 6:13 a.m. GMT in the Davagh Forest in Northern Ireland, with the comet at right ascension 14h 8m 25s = 2 degrees 6 minutes tropical Scorpio, putting the comet near the 12th house cusp (Scorpio is also on the ascendant) and giving it a semisquare with Mercury at 16 degrees of Sagittarius and is otherwise unaspected at the time of observation. It appears green in color, which as I understand it means it should have some similarities with Venus.

    So a comet with Venusian qualities, seen first in the 12th house… seems to portend possible financial woes for or restrictions on large companies and tech/media companies (from the Mercury semisquare)

  201. @rustherook, if I may: in the link you gave, Gaya Herrington explains quite clearly that the difference between BAU and BAU2 is the quantity of resources supposed to exist, not technology. BAU2 leads to a collapse that is even steeper, just a bit later. Didn’t you read that?
    In her opinion, data don’t yet allow to differentiate between the BAU2 and the technological fix scenario, though she considers the latter one unrealistic.

  202. @El #176: I have a similar background and can confirm your observations. It’s too bad that it’s difficult to find out what the ”why?”-people are up to, whereas the ”how high”-crowd are highly visible. Unsurprising, of course.

  203. It seems to me that one of the more cruel aspects of the Long Descent is how our medical establishment treats its patients. Both my parents are in the hospital, my 89 y.o father with a brain tumor. The hospital discharged him back home (he lives with my mother who is in the hospital as well) because his insurance wouldn’t authorize him for treatment. The hospital didn’t call us, they just discharged him at 2 a.m in his pajamas and put him in a cab. The callous disregard for his welfare was appalling.

    Do you have any thoughts about medical care for the elderly for the Long Descent? I’m assuming we’re all looking at shorter lifespans in the future without the intense modern medical intervention we’ve grown to expect, but the callousness my family has experienced is rather abrupt and disturbing…

  204. JMG,
    Re Food production: I don’t recall if pesticide resistance (and the resulting decline in crop yield) was a factor in the LTG model. I think that will play a key role in bringing down food production, among other things. The mechanism behind development of Pesticide resistance is similar to that of drug resistance in microorganisms.

    Our area had a significant rodent infestation last month, right at the time of summer crop harvest. Though the damage to the crops was controlled fairly quick, we noticed that the rats were able to survive 2-3 times the typical lethal dose of rat poison. They are also developing resistance. This is very under the radar now, but could become a big problem if the resistance becomes stronger.

  205. RusTheRook @ 202, What kind of astrology is used in Thailand? Chinese or Hindu? I think they are different.

    About future food shortages: I am beginning to feel like the boy who cried wolf here, but (sigh), I will try once more. The time is NOW to get in place legal and customary rights of self reliance, BEFORE some corrupt PMC or corporate sycophantic person or faction decides the way to deal with the shortage, redefined as crisis, is to give some special faction, whether company, nation, ethnic group or family, a monopoly on supplying bread, say, or vegetables or corn, sourced from wherever. Nice people don’t ask. You think this can’t happen? It has already begun. For example: When I lived in CA Central Valley, for my sins, farmer’s markets were few and far between. Why? Because very county has an office which issues permits for markets and for participants. The man in charge told me once, well we can’t have too many people selling tomatoes. Try explaining to your country commissioner or HMO secretary about how you can’t really afford to buy vegetables at Safeway and your special needs child/elder/sibling requires a chemical free diet and the answer you are likely to get is something like my cousin Wally can supply you with all the veges you need.

    Don’t imagine that PMC/The Left is the only enemy here. There were once over 700 community gardens in NYC. Problem was, they were (with permission) on city land, and Mayor Guiliani sold over half the lots to his friends in real estate.

    Princess Cutekitten, I have always liked and respected the evangelical Christians I have known, as honest, diligent and productive people. But,… the Good Lord doesn’t love stupid. There is a reason why wisdom, sapientia, is one of the cardinal virtues, along with prudence, courage and justice.

  206. Since narcissism has come up, #220, can someone please explain what the term ‘narcissist’ means? Linking narcissism with autism (what on earth?) only confirms my notion that ‘narcissism’ is the latest in a long line of all purpose complaints to be used against anyone the speaker doesn’t like. ‘Manipulative’ was the insult du jour a few decades ago. Most recently, before ‘narcissist’ came into vogue, it was ‘opinionated’–meaning anyone whose tastes differed from yours. I feel I have to say, I truly dislike the cultural tyranny of the sort of people who interpret every difference of opinion or taste as a personal attack. The amount of verbal placating these folks demand–I have nothing against lovers of blue, but my own personal favorite color is yellow–is astonishing.

    Ramaraj, this is why many ancient cultures, Egypt of the pharaohs comes to mind, held that rodent hunting animals, including snakes, were sacred. A Roman visitor to Alexandria set off a riot once when a rumor spread that he had killed a cat.

  207. MERRY CHRISTMAS to JMG and fellow commenter!

    @RusTheRook #215

    It is MY claim that by the end of the century, we will successfully replace a large percentage (20% or more) of our energy use with wind, solar, and nuclear power, and we will be able to sustain that percentage without fossil fuels.

    As of 2019 data 16% of energy already comes from “low carbon sources” therefore a 4% gain over the remainder of the century is a foregone conclusion. Converting an additional 20% over 78 years is certainly possible but effectively meaningless. The fact that renewables can never appreciably grow much beyond that is key as the decline in carbon sources will easily outpace any gains elsewhere well before then.

    As many of us have noted in prior post’s comments… You can’t build or even maintain wind, solar, nuclear or hydro facilities without fossil fuels and -AND- There’s not enough economically extractable resources left in the world to get there if you could.

    Overall the EROEI simply isn’t there once you remove the direct and indirect subsidies provided by a world run by fossil fuels.

  208. They finally did it: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/dec/25/nasa-launches-james-webb-space-telescope

    I found the deep-field images of Hubble very touching. I’m both a physicist and a teacher and I think so far no class escaped from being shown these images. It’s always a great experience to see the awestruck expression in the face of my pupils once they realize the implications of what they see. Not all do, by far, but I’d say roughly 10% understand to some degree.

    That being said, I think JWST is the last big telescope our civilization will have blown into space, just like LHC is the last big particle accelerator our civlization will have built. I’m very eager to see what JWST (should it work as supposed) will accomplish, but the law of diminishing returns is a very real thing in science, too. And given the overall trajectory of our civilization I strongly doubt that there will be enough resources available to build and maintain even bigger machines. It’s something I’d call infinite dispersion – to build even more complex systems, we’d need to disperse even more resources on even more subjects and details, which might soon be beyond our capacities. It’s going to be interesting to see what will emerge out of the ruins of what current science will have left.

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with the CCC-theory of cosmology Penrose et. al. have drafted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformal_cyclic_cosmology – If I get it right, once matter has completely decayed into radiation (infinite dispersion, I’d call that…), there will be no reference frame left and everything being everywhere becomes the same as everything being at one point and there you have your singularity and everything starts anew. Penrose believed there’s some evidence for his theory in the observations of the cosmic microwave background since for former cycle of the universe (which he calls an aeon) should leave some imprint in the structure of space in the new universe but both theory and the judgement on the experimental data are out of my reach. Still, having the little knowledge and experience of the occult that I have in my mind, I have the gut feeling that there may be some truth in his theory.

    I hope you are all doing well!

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  209. Regarding “narcissism” –

    There are two ways to read that word.

    “Narcissism” can be a catch-all phrase that people use, often imprecisely, to describe a condition of being self-absorbed, self-centered, vain, full of oneself, etc Very often, the word doesn’t truly apply in any meaningful sense – not everybody who’s a little immature and self-absorbed, or a bit puffed up about their accomplishments, is truly narcissistic. And like any word it can be weaponized against people one doesn’t happen to like (e.g. , “people who don’t want the covid vaccine are just selfish and narcissistic”).

    But the word can also refer to someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. I’m not going to try to give a detailed description here, but in my experience, there absolutely is such a thing as is described by NPD, and it has only passing resemblance to many of the vaguer, milder traits that sometimes get called “narcissism.”

    Anyone who has had the misfortune of actual first-hand experience with a person with full-blown NPD knows it’s no joke. True narcissists are absolutely toxic. I know – I was raised by one. True narcissists lack empathy, and have no real concern for anything but themselves, They’re unwaveringly selfish, vindictive, manipulative, and exploitative. They don’t care who they hurt or what sort of damage they do, because their lack of empathy means it doesn’t impact them, and they don’t experience normal feelings of guilt. And they don’t change. At least not in their current incarnations.

  210. Rus, once again you’re beating up a straw man of your own construction. Nowhere have I ever said that in one to three centuries biomass will be our only significant energy source. I’ve been saying all along that wind, solar power, and hydroelectric energy will be significant energy sources in the future — take a look sometime at my books The Long Descent, The Ecotechnic Future and Green Wizardry if you want to remind yourself of what I’ve actually said. So, no, the claim you’re trying to push on me is false; either you’ve misunderstood everything I’ve said for the last fifteen years or you’re deliberately lying to try to pick a fight. Nor is it accurate, by the way, to claim that I said that 2200 will resemble 1800 in any way that matters. (I rejected that sort of thinking in detail in The Ecotechnic Future among other places.) Did they have shortwave radio, light aircraft, and solar water heaters in 1800? They’ll have those in 2200. Please do take a moment to check on your facts before you start making sweeping accusations!

    The difference between our two views can be more accurately framed as follows. We both agree that industrial society is in decline. You believe that nuclear power will be viable over the long term and that, together with wind and solar power, that will make the decline bottom out at a level of energy per capita more or less equal to what the world had in the mid-20th century. I argue instead that nuclear power will not be viable, for economic reasons, and that solar, wind, and hydropower — important as they will be — will not provide adequately stable electricity to maintain regional power grids, or enough power of any kind to maintain the kind of transport grid we have nowadays. The result will be a society of technological pastiche of a kind that doesn’t resemble any past period, in which some elements of relatively advanced technology will coexist with much simpler technologies, the mix varying locally depending on available resources. Some of those advanced technologies, by the way, haven’t been invented yet; once the reality of permanent resource scarcity sinks in, I expect an era of innovation as principles currently used in a setting of resource abundance get reworked and reimagined for new conditions.

    That’s what I’m predicting. If you want to argue with it, by all means, but please actually argue with what I’m saying, instead of pretending that I’m saying something that I’m not.

    Aziz, if I may be frank, I’ll be more interested in hopeful signs involving Islam and Christianity when they start extending some charity toward religions with more than one god.

    J.L.Mc12, it’s a misunderstanding. People on the autism spectrum don’t pick up on nonverbal communication, so people with normal nervous systems think we’re ignoring them or not taking their feelings into consideration.

    Info, enjoy!

    Phil K., I’ll have to look up Spencer first. I know very little about his ideas.

    El, that’s an excellent point, and one that needs to be factored in.

    Tolkienguy, I’m not sure yet.

    Brendhelm, I’ve been too busy with financial astrology to really devote the necessary time to the astrology of comets. Your prediction seems plausible — but we’ll see.

    Joshua, that’s horrible. (Mind you, the US medical industry is one of the most corrupt and dysfunctional industries we’ve got right now, which is saying something.) In the future most health care will take place in the home, and that includes care for the elderly. You might find this Red Cross home nursing textbook worth considering as a model.

    Ramaraj, the LTG model didn’t deal in specifics — it worked entirely with broad categories. It’s a common factor in every kind of system that it evolves around any pressure you place on it.

    Luke, I heard about that. I’m glad I’m not Biden…

    Mary, I ain’t arguing.

  211. @Joshua (#229):

    That’s the hospital bean-counters at work, alas. It’s telling that they discharged your grandfather at 2:00 am, when few MDs were around to notice and challenge his discharge. Similar things have been going on in hospitals for years.

    In Los Angeles, IIRC, the practice of one hospital was to dump the unprofitable discharged patient, still in his PJs and sometimes with a catheter still in him, at the nearest enclave of the homeless, and hope he died before anyone noticed what they’d done to him, and register his corpse as just another nameless derelict. It was a five-days huge scandal maybe ten years ago, and then the local media suddenly all fell silent about it.

    For a fair amount of hospital upper management, it’s a hugely profitable business just pretending to be a care-giving institution. A neighbor of ours worked at the best hospital in the area, filling the supply carts from which medical staff drew their medical supplies. Two years ago there were three such people on the payroll. COVID inspired two of them to resign; my neighbor tried to pick up the slack. Once it was clear that this was going to be the new status quo for a while, she asked for a $1/hr raise. Management refused, and not politely. A week or so later, a huge influx of federal money came in, thanks to COVID. Management called all wage staff in for a meeting, where they announced with fanfare that every last dollar of that money was going into bonuses for management, and not one penny into raises for them.

    Talk about rubbing it in with such an open display of contempt for the wage-class workers!

    Our neighbor quit on the spot. She didn’t say how many others quit with her, and I didn’t think to ask at the time.

    Very many individual people are worthy of a person’s trust. But only a [undruidly word] blinkered fool would trust any large institution (as an institution) in anything these days.

  212. Regarding home healthcare in the future – will those of us under 30 who don’t have children likely be in trouble by the time we reach old age?

  213. I need to withdraw what I said about neck massage helping with the throat clicking. It was helping a lot but then I moved something I shouldn’t have and the clunking is back with a vengeance.

  214. Anny-

    My elderly parents (in their mid-80s) live hundreds of miles from me. (We love each other, but I chose a career with no opportunities in their state.) As far as medical support goes, they’re not getting any from me. However, their Methodist church has a “parish nurse”, who the congregation pays to attend to their minor medical needs, including transportation to medical treatment. JMG has written about a doctor being paid by the members of a fraternity or trade union to help keep the members healthy. The doctor (and the parish nurse) get paid the same whether or not treating members of the group, so there’s no financial interest in maintaining them in a state of care (rather than a state of cure).

    This is a form of insurance, of course, and as always, the idea is to share risk. Don’t expect to be vested in the system when you show up with a medical problem and request membership. Join when you’re healthy and pay your dues, and do what you can to keep the system going until you need it.

  215. Hi Anny, yes, I think it’ll be very bad for the childless. It took at least two people to take care of Mom (vascular dementia) and as dementia patients go she was easy to manage. Nursing homes aren’t the answer. Nursing home work is hard physical work—even if people enjoy it, as some saintly souls do, you can only move adults around for so long before your body breaks down. In the U.S. there’ll be the additional problem of language barrier between the patients and the non-English-speaking nursing home employees. I look for Christian religious orders, if any survive, to take up some but not enough of the slack.

    —Princess Cutekitten

  216. Has anyone had really weird dreams lately? I had one that was about the craziest ever.

  217. Aziz A. (no. 196) ” the tensions rising between Iran and Azerbaijan with martyred Armenia in the middle as always” […] [This is… probably what Iran is going to do with Armenia.”

    The regional Realpolitik has little to do with religion per se. Also, Iran is an ally of Armenia, not its enemy.

    Iran, Armenia, and Russia are allies–partly from lack of other options, partly because of historical accident. (During the Cold War Iran and the USSR were enemies.) Theirs is a north-south axis, meant to interfere with Turkish / NATO plans for an east-west axis that would connect Turkey with Azerbaijan and Central Asia (thus weakening Russia).If Armenia falls–or less likely, switches sides–then Turkey connects with Azerbaijan (there is a lot of rhetoric to the effect that the two countries are really one people), and NATO and Turkey win.

    It is widely understood that Russia considers all of the former Soviet republics (except perhaps the Baltics) to be part of its natural sphere of interest (the “near abroad”). Georgia and Ukraine have resisted this, and suffered Russian invasion / territorial reduction as a result. Azerbaijan understands that it cannot act too precipitously without Russian permission. (It is widely assumed that Russia must have given permission for Azerbaijan to invade Karabagh. There is debate over which country came out ahead, Turkey or Russia.)

    Russia has a mutual defense treaty with Armenia (although this does not extend to Karabakh). Also, Armenia belongs to the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union. (Azerbaijan does not. Iran has a free-trade pact with the EAEU but is not a member.)

    Iran and Russia have joined together to resist NATO and international sanctions. That is, they have made common cause with one another (and with China) on the basis of being non-democracies. Turkey is equally autocratic, but finds more advantage in pretending to support NATO and Europe (which in turn see advantage in not protesting Turkey’s democratic failings too much). Armenia is a democracy, however flawed, but realizes that it is too peripheral to Western interests to ever be able to rely on NATO / EU protection, and so is forced to remain in Russia’s orbit.

    The borders of Iranian Azerbaijan (a region of NW Iran, not to be confused with the Republic of Azerbaijan which is an independent country) were formed through centuries of war with the Ottoman Empire on one hand, and the Russian Empire on the other. Present-day Iran is concerned that Iranian Azeris in its own NW sympathize with Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and may one day break away. Iran also has trade interests at stake, since (a) they have a land border with Armenia, and (b) a lot of east-west trade traffic used to go through Iranian territory.

    Russia is trying to re-open the old Soviet railway that used to lead from the Russian Caucasus through Azerbaijan, through southern Armenia, into the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhjevan (on the Turco-Iranian border), then back into Armenia, and ultimately to Kars, in Turkey. (Extensions into Iran have also been mooted.) If built, Russian peacekeepers would probably be in charge of it, since neither of the other sides trusts the other. A danger for Armenia is that Azerbaijan may prefer a guaranteed “corridor” across southern Armenia, without any of the additional benefits for Armenia (like rail connections with Russia and Turkey).

    Russia and Turkey clash in, or negotiate over, other regions of the world as well, such as Syria and Libya. Russia also conflicts with NATO / the EU over Ukraine. So these may figure into the calculations over Armenia.

    Over time, NATO and Russia are both likely to weaken, while Turkey is strengthening (despite its current economic woes). Armenia is also weakening–declining demographically as well as geographically (the loss of Karabagh, now border conflicts). Armenia has less than 3 million people (and falling–apart from the threat of war, there are not enough jobs), vs. about 85 million in Turkey and 10 million for Azerbaijan.

    Religion does not seem to matter very much, except as an ethnic identifier. Irans (other than Iranian Azeris) think of Armenians as their ethnic cousins, and consider that to be more important than the religious difference. Meanwhile, Turkey and Azerbaijan gloss over the Sunni / Shi’ite difference. Although Iran and Azerbaijan are both majority Shi’ite, their religiosity is of a completely different kind–Azerbaijan is secular, with religious authorities controlled by the state (as in Turkey), and imams with close ties to Iran are treated as political threats. Meanwhile, Georgia and Russia are enemies, despite both being Chalcedonian Orthodox (as opposed to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is non-Chalcedonian). Georgia remained neutral during the Karabakh War, out of concern for its trade ties with all three countries (Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan) and with NATO / the EU. And of course the USA, which is majority Christian, supports Turkey over Russia and Armenia (as they did Muslim Bosniaks and Kosovars over Serbs).

  218. Joshua @229: That sounds like a very unsafe discharge! When I was an inpatient attending doctor, (last in 2015), that was beyond unthinkable. There were checks in place to ensure that could not happen. To not even coordinate with folks at his home? 2:00AM?! Many hospitalized elderly have daily bouts of confusion, disorientation known as “sundowning”. Was he lucid? Could he walk unassisted? Could he manage his self-cares? Did he have balance and coordination issues? Perception/cognition issues? Was his judgement sound? Was he safe alone? Did he have a key to his house? Did he have critical prescriptions that needed filling ASAP (e.g. anti-seizure meds, antibiotics, chronic benzo’s, rescue inhalers, diabetes meds/supplies, some heart meds), and some confirmation as to who would fill them when? Discharging complex, fragile, elderly patients is complicated and fraught with peril…

    Did he have inpatient physical therapy? Therapist notes would have commented on these matters. Get a copy of his chart for that hospitalization!

    That discharge could easily have resulted in a very bad outcome for him, resulting in huge liability for the doctor and hospital. I’m frankly wondering if that was a criminal offense of endangering a vulnerable person.

    You might want to talk to the state Attorney General to see if they think there are grounds to file a criminal complaint. There should also be a local elder protection service (similar to child protection service) who might get involved if you rattle their cage.

    If what you describe is widespread, and not practically chargable or sanctionable, then I’d call that a dire straw in the wind…

    –Lunar Apprentice

  219. Since home health care has come up, I will post a question I had been considering. My Faceplant feed has produced advertisements for _The Home Doctor Book_ by Dr. Maybell Nieves. According to the ads, Dr. Nieves is a Venezuelan surgeon who has been compiling information on how people can survive in short term (blackouts, etc.) or long-term social collapse. The book is claimed to contain lists of essential supplies, first aid information, guides to diagnosis and treatment when no doctor is available, some herbal information, etc. Is anyone in the commentariat familiar with the book or with the author? Or with any other such guides out there? I remember that the old Whole Earth Catalog recommended the Chinese _Barefoot Doctors Guide_ but I would imagine it is pretty far out of date, although I see it is available online

    re. Ukraine–I went over to Dmitri Orlov’s blog to see his opinion. He seems to feel that, other that the Russianized east and the Crimean, Russia has no real interest in the Ukraine, regarding it as a broken down, looted area not worth the trouble. Many of his posts are behind a Patreon wall, but there were a couple of free ones on this subject.

    Rita

  220. Just to butt in where maybe I am not wanted. I do not read any deliberate misinterpretation on either JMG’s or Rus’s part. I think that some terms are being understood differently. For example, I would argue that your Lakeland Republic could be considered a form of “Collapse of Industrial Civilization”, just not a total collapse. Having seen how adament the advocates for either end of the false dichotomy of Mad Max ot Stat Trek futures, I guess I could see how hearing someone talk about “Collapse…” could be seen as intending to mean a Mad Max future. It is just really hard to have nuanced conversations over the internet, I think.

    Well, if this was unhelpful, I will offer my apologies; the debate is interesting to me, but maybe not as productive as it could be.

  221. JMG

    (You) argue that nuclear power will not be viable for economic reasons.

    I agree. Fossil fueled power plants can produce electricity cheaper than nukes. Renewables are even cheaper than nukes if you ignore intermittency. But what happens when fossil fuels run low? You could A) take last of the fossil fuels and generate 5 cent electricity for ten more years till they’re gone or B) use that energy to make nukes that last 60-80 years even if their electricity sells for 20 cents a kwh. I know what I would pick.

    Do you believe that nuclear power generation has a negative EROEI?

  222. Hi Mary,

    The problem a lot of evangelical Christians have isn’t stupidity but ignorance. For one thing, all Protestant versions of the Bible are missing 7 entire books that Luther didn’t like for one reason or another, plus portions of Esther and Daniel that he also misliked. He took out the Epistle of James, too, but later Protestants put it back in. The problem of Biblical ignorance is particularly serious in the U.S., which has a serious ignorance problem in general. For example, there’s a very expensive college in Tennessee called Vanderbilt. I had a chat once with a Vanderbilt student who was surprised to learn that Vatican II occurred in the mid-20th century. She thought it was back in the 1850’s. Now if a Vanderbilt student can be that ignorant of world history, there’s little hope for the average American public-school victim, who’s lucky if he can sort-of read. Also, while I’m sure the Rev. Michael King was making a devout gesture of admiration when he changed his Christian name to Martin Luther, I sure wish he’d stuck with Michael, because I spent many years trying to explain to average evangelical Americans that “Luther “ is not “Martin Luther King” before giving it up, as most of them didn’t believe me anyway and so would earnestly explain to me the highlights of King’s life, so as to get me sorted out from all that Catholic theological error. I owe it to those fine, if confused, folks that every year, on the third Monday in January, I can run the Martin Luther King category on Jeopardy.

    —Princess Cutekitten

  223. Aziz A @ 219. ” It’s also the esoteric aspect to it that I’m most interested in, Imam Mahdi will come back with a sword but he will enter the holy land along the dove of Christ,”

    I expect you know more about esoteric matters than I do, but to me that reads like Muslims rule and Christians work. Ora et labora is part of most Christians’ cultural DNA, but we tend to like to govern ourselves.

    Bei Dawei, @ 247, why do you think Russia is likely to weaken? I grant you NATO has outlived whatever usefulness it might once have had.

  224. @ Darkest Yorkshire

    I’m a semi massage therapist..

    Can you have somebody work on your pectoralis muscles (Or at minimum look into a stretch for them)? Its very common for them to get too tight and pull the shoulders forward which puts strain on your upper back and neck. It’s the source of many a bad neck, the bad neck will keep coming back. A teacher I once had cheekily called the neck and upper back money muscles, you can keep rubbing them and it feels soooo good and then the client will be back next week every week because unless you fix the pectoralis muscles they will just keep going out again.

  225. @JMG and the commentariat

    Another example of “we’re headed for collapse, but tEchnOloGy will save us and put us on the road to a glorious future”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r71yNnfY6ss. I guess it’s just become boring at this point.

    Also, I have one question: has anybody among the commentariat (and our host as well) experimented with electroculture in their home gardens? To be more specific, has anyone tried out Prof. Lemstrom’s experiments? If yes, what were your results like? I ask because when those experiments were first performed a little more than a century ago, the soils hadn’t been degraded and poisoned the way they are now. So, in today’s soils, does it still give good results, or is some additional care required?

  226. Re: Ukraine etc.

    As someone living in western Europe, I must say I’m much more afraid of the Americans than of the Russians.

    From my perspective, the Russians do everything they can to make sure that the war doesn’t turn kinetic, while making sure that they are ready for it if it does. The Americans, on the other hand, are quite bonkers.

    (Our own leaders are mostly irrelevent: they are PR people posing as politicians. We haven’t had a meaningful foreign and defence policy of our own for years: they just do as America says)

    I think our main hope lies in the possibility that the Russians can convince the Americans that if a hot war breaks out, it will also be taken to the American mainland. If they fail, and the Americans think they can get away with only a Europe in ruins, I’m afraid they may do something stupid.


    fuzzy gnome

  227. >What you say about nukes would make sense is Russians were basically the same critters as Americans underneath fairly superficial differences in language and culture. But they’re not: the psychological differences run very deep.

    Eh, they’re still humans. From my perspective, I rate the so-called people on our side as more unpredictable than the Russkies, mainly because it looks like they still have adults running things – and we do not. Only children, and bratty petulant children at that.

    If I had to reduce it to two households, we’ve been poking around on the edges of their property, they’ve taken notice and are coming out to talk to us carrying loaded guns. But because they’re adults, they’re not just going to start blasting away. They’re going to talk first. Depending on what we say, they could start blasting away though, they could very well.

    I base my nuke prediction on nothing more than intuition. I think things have to decline quite a bit more before the people in charge think they have essentially nothing to lose by pushing the button. Then again, we are dealing with children running things and I could be wrong.

  228. JMG said:
    “one of the things that fascinates me just now is that the Democrats are behaving as though they’ve given up on ever winning an election again.”

    I noticed that since before the 2020 election and I jumped to the conclusion that there will be cheating in every election from now on. I don’t want to debate if that was true or not in 2020 – I don’t have the data and honestly I don’t care – either way the majority of the population is at least passively agreeing to this.

    From the perspective of the oligarchs that own the politicians, it’s really cheaper to just cheat instead of buying votes. As for the politicians themselves, I think they will get suitcases with money but not directly. Why would they break the law when it’s perfectly legal to do the “two step”:
    – oligarchs pay the politicians
    – politicians make laws that give govt money to the oligarchs.

    Given the fact that most western countries basically don’t have any opposition parties anymore, it’s hard to deny that there is some form of mafia style agreement that did that.

  229. JMG and Karl,
    about limitless technocratic tyranny.

    I was actually so shocked last year by the scamdemic that I am afraid that it might be possible even with reduced available energy – see N. Korea for an example.

    So for me any news of broken supply chains, weather disasters and fossil fuels shortages are actually hopeful. Yes, I know people suffer but that was a given either way.

    JMG, if you ever have the opportunity, I would like to read a historical post that looks at the energy reqs for past societies, especially authoritarian ones.

  230. @ Greer

    > The difference between our two views can be more accurately framed as follows.

    I think that paragraph pretty much sums it up, yes. 🙂

  231. JMG, not extending or sharing charity (especially material one) with non-Abrahamic nations shouldn’t equate malicious usury and behaviour on the other hand, hopefully we are past that at this point, and should hold far more open diplomatic relations and discourses with others. This sort of closed ethnic economy is something we should learn to adapt on this level, it’s one of the few positive things the Third Reich tried to do for instance, we are learning the lessons late and bitterly.

    Bei Dawei, thank you for this, first time to know about Russia’s railway interests! I’m quite aware that they are allied with Armenia, though I’m afraid you didn’t fully understand my remarks. Of course the whole thing has business and expansion interests, but (part of it) is also cloaked in these secular politics, especially from the side of Iran. Azerbaijan is one of few Muslim countries that has a thriving Jewish community, Iran has a problem with anything related to Israel directly, and that’s exactly what’s happening in Azerbaijan. Armenia is perfect ally for Iran not only since they’re ethnic cousins, but because of their religious heritage and geographic role. As I said, in Islam it’s known that in the second coming Christ will be accompanied by Imam Mahdi to reclaim the holy land, and this is exactly what’s happening at least symbolically in these alliances (Hezbollah with Maronite Christians, Iran and Armenia). One thing most people should know is that Iran’s politics are truly Islamic, and it goes deeper than mere Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (Wilayat al-Faqih), as they’re most likely following the hadiths and their plans on the end times, there are hundreds if not thousands of sayings by the Prophet and Twelve Imams (both weak and strong in source) about the details of what will take place, it’s like their own version of Book of Revelation, and they’re most likely following or working to fulfil these sayings in one way or another.

  232. @greer

    > Rus, once again you’re beating up a straw man of your own construction.

    I’m going to take a drink of water on that one.

    You’re clever with words my dude. That’s all I’ll say.

  233. Scotlyn (and all) – Hearing a report on coronavirus testing on the news just now, I’m drawing another analogy: covid tests are to covid risk as standardized achievement tests are to education. The stakes are high, and the tests are not sufficiently reliable to justify their use. Covid tests (AFAIK) are sufficient to explain WHY someone feels sick, but a negative test today does not guarantee that one will not be covid-infectious tomorrow. So the idea of “testing prior to gathering” to prevent the spread simply doesn’t work, and more than the idea of “testing the students to evaluate the school” is often confounded by external factors.

    Testing tells us something, but it doesn’t necessarily tell us what we want to know. Like other types of “bad science”, it explains, but does not predict.

  234. @Lathechuck

    Diet will play a much bigger role in the future. And Healthcare will have to focus on being far more preventative rather than curative which is becoming more unviable by the day in Modernity.

    The majority of American diseases is because of overconsumption of refined sugar. And lack of eating healthy organic foods. And the more healthy complex carbs compared with the more unhealthy simple carbs which convert to sugar much more quickly. Causing insulin and blood sugar spikes with its attendant problems.

    There is also a movement away from seed oils specifically hydrogenated oils:
    https://www.livestrong.com/article/272066-why-is-hydrogenated-oil-bad-for-you/

    Likewise with how Canola is made as shown here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfk2IXlZdbI

    Very revolting to watch. And have encouraged my own move towards olive oil, coconut oil and animal fats.

  235. @Princess Cutekitten Re #244

    Since I always have weird dreams, I can’t say they are any weirder lately than they’ve always been. There was the one last week where I apparently have an x-ray machine in my home that I used to create a 3 dimensional skeletal image of my brother’s foot to show to the doctor.

    Then there was the one from a year or two ago where I reincarnated myself by going through a pink flower which turned into a birth canal and I emerged as a little Hindu goddess who went on the warpath against somebody who was building flower cages to catch people in.

    That last one is actually my favorite. Unfortunately, my dreams always seem to end just when it gets really interesting.

  236. @Jay Pine,

    As you look at potential board games, I would like to suggest games of the Alea Big Box Series. (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Alea_big_box_series) My family doesn’t own all of them, but we own quite a few. All that I have played have been wonderful (and they represent a variety of game mechanics). My husband is partial to Ra and Chinatown. My daughter loves Traders of Genoa and Puerto Rico. My favorite game (which isn’t an Alea Big Box) is Thurn and Taxis (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/21790/thurn-and-taxis).

    I would also suggest visiting your local game store. The stores in our area frequently sponsor game nights… they have an area with tables and chairs and a library of games available to play. You can bring enough friends to play with a group or people you know, or you can meet new people. It is a great way to try a game before you commit to purchasing it. (And our store’s game night is free, but you cannot bring your own food or drink. But the store has some available for purchase, and it seems fair to buy some drinks (non-alcoholic) when you use their games.)

    @Temporaryreality,

    Thank you for the crochet link. I have recently learned crochet and that seems like a fun project!

    @Andy,

    Yes, Carcassone is deceptively simple and addictive. And it can be played with just two people, too. I cannot count how many times one game turned into “ok, let’s play for two out of three” (and then another game) (and another…)

  237. @JMG

    I’ve been wanting to learn and practice discursive meditation as described on your Dreamwidth blog, but I had read there that it is not advisable to do so when under the influence of drugs. That’s where I wanted to get a doubt clarified – I had been diagnosed with psychosis 8 years ago, and it was due to a dopamine imbalance in my body. My doctor, who’s not a materialist atheist (he believes in the efficacy of homeopathy, reiki and Ayurveda as more than just the placebo effect) prescribed me a very low dosage of a particular tablet, and even after I came out of it, I was advised to continue it as a maintenance dose. He told me that he plans to gradually phase it out by decreasing the regularity of consumption (currently it’s one tablet every night).

    Now since it’s still a pharmaceutical drug, I’d like to ask you if it is advisable for me to learn and practice discursive meditation as you described on Dreamwidth. Am I eligible to do so, or would you advise something else?

  238. My coagulated experiences on physical movement and health (I stand corrected):

    Sitting right means sitting on your cheekbones. They are two small dots below your buttocks.
    When you sit on them, you cannot crook your spine. When you can crook your spine while sitting,
    you don’t sit on your cheekbones.

    Most people these days will hava a hard time sitting on them because their hips are inflexible, and
    their lower back is permanently flexed.

    The muscles on your back along your spine flex as a reaction to danger. People who sit all day and do nothing have nevertheless developed some muscles which protect the spine.
    Since those are important those are easiest to use. Overusing hurts the spine. That’s why in sports and movement, you ought to use your belly muscles more than your back muscles, unless you have developed both well.

    Your lower abdomen below your belly button is especially vital for a good posture. Many casually training people don’t develop it, they have a few bigger muscles developed and an over hardened body, so they never reach those in any of their movements.

    You can fake a hard body core by pressing your chest inward and disjointing your shoulders. This is bad practice.

    Besides your lower back there are two sets of muscles which rotate your feet outward. Most people have their feet pointing outwards like a duck, when
    standing or walking.
    The most natural and simple posture of standing is with your feet apart in roughly the broad length of your pelvis. Your big toes should slightly point inwards.
    When you stand and let your toes point inwards, it is easier to release the muscles of your lower back that support the spine.
    Good Salsa dancers dance with their lower back and base of the spine especially in a released and soft and flexible condition.

    When you stand, and you have your toes pointing slightly inwards, there begins a galaxy of points to fine tune your posture. Traditionally in the monasteries of the far east where they trained young candidates for warriors destined to protect the monastery,
    they first learn to stand for hours. You may have seen these movies where kung fu adepts need to stay in a strenuous posture for long, often with their feet wide apart and knees bent. The reason apart from gaining strength is (probably also) that if you overuse on the same few bigger muscles while standing and underuse all the many finer muscles everywhere in your body, after a time these big muscles will tire and you will
    be forced to use the other ones.

    The muscles of your body are like a three dimensional network with nodes. If you have many permanent tensions like most nowadays, releasing a tension
    on one part, one muscle group, in your body will tense another somewhere else.

    Wholesome movements come from using the whole of your body. Most people only use their upper body and disjoint their shoulders when doing strong work.
    I have seen a farming women in her 30ies in my country who forked hay (even in an industrialized economy, that may sometimes happen). She rotated and swung her hip dynamically so that it supported her force when shoving the fork into the hay. Most people will just stand on one leg more than the other, have tensed back muscles, have a tense hip, and will only move their upper body, not supporting their movements with their hip and feet.

    If in an orchestra a symphony is played, it is a complex interplay of many instruments. A dynamic and elegant movement, which is always the healthy choice,uses all the small and big muscles in your body dynamically.

    An example: do a punch. Start by standing sideways facing your front, your back leg maybe pointing behind you, front leg before you (with the big toe slightly inwards). You have your weight at your back leg. Now push your body fowards with your back leg, then rotate your body from sideways to front, then extend your front arm in a swinging motion from hanging to pointing before you with your fist. Use the minimal distance for your joints to complete the movement.

    When your body is flexible yet strong and balanced, the traces of your movements in the air will draw geometric curves and lines. Being imbalanced and inflexible, it becomes zigzag lines.

    Many people when picking up something, the will just bend down and crook their backs. Never mind that squatting with a straight back is impossible for many in civilized life.

    Always keep a straight spine, and always see that the weight upon your body and the responding muscle movmements are evenly distributed across your whole body.

    Through use of entertainment devices and screen time, most people nowadays have their head permanently craned forwards. Suggesting to move their head back again usually results in raising or lower their chin. But to straigthen out your neck, you should move your straight face backwards.

    Points to consider when standing, and in general:

    – most people stand on the outer half of their feet
    – most people cramp their feet and toes when trying to hold balance
    – often the outer side of your leg is stronger than the inside, letting your knees fall inwards (or vice versa)
    – often the ankles fall inwards
    – The knees should be inline with your feet as much as possible, and not extend forwards over your feet.
    – A naturally straight posture has the chest emerging without effort, your solar plexus pointing slightly upwards
    – shoulders disjoint when grappling something prevents you from distributing the weight you engage with evenly across your body

    …and remember, quick fixing one of these problems usually activates another in your body!

  239. Unsure as to it’s significance as a sign o’the times, but a decal I saw on the rear window of a pickup truck today:

    When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.

  240. About NATO and Russia. Countries in Central and Eastern Europe joined NATO because they don’t trust Russia.

    @info #262 I don’t think it is a good Idea to increase consumption of animal fats. Too much animal fat can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

    @JMG and commentariat
    Something to ponder: Why has Japan had far fewer covid deaths per capita than the U.S. despite having a higher median age (48.6 vs 38.5) and a higher population density (337/km2 vs 32/km2).

    Possible reasons
    1) Japan has a narrower definition of covid deaths than the U.S.
    2) Healthier population: Only 4% of Japanese people are obese while more than 30% of Americans are obese.
    3) Cultural Factors

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_median_age
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population_density
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_obesity_rate

  241. Okay hopefully this will be the last update regarding my neck. It seems rather than being too aggressive I was actually being too conservative. I’ve now substantially pulled my larynx side to side and dug in through the sides of the neck to move the hyoid and break up the crunchy areas. (So the physio’s video wasn’t wrong but it required much firmer handling than she showed.) The clunking is getting much rarer, lighter and shallower, and now I know how to keep it heading in the right direction.

  242. For Ross #251 and others interested in nuclear power.

    Nuclear power has a whole supply chain wrapping around the globe several times and ending in rare earth mines in China. The obvious big stuff (concrete, steel, etc) has enormous imbedded energy. Less obvious is the copious supply of cooling water required and all the controls embedded in the energy generation process.

    Nuclear engineering has been falling in popularity in universities for decades, resulting in an aging and declining workforce of people who know how to keep the aging and declining plants running. Most of the people entering the field are former submariners, another dependancy.

    An unintended consequence of fox mandates for the captive population of federal employees may be the further decline of the people who have to be there 24/7/365 to operate the reactors and respond to unusual conditions.

    The money tells the story better than diving into the details. The current nukes were built with taxpayer subsidies to jump start an industry which has huge upfront costs. That’s a government thing, seen in irrigation projects, dams, temples, and whatnot since antiquity, to mobilize the resources of many to provide a burst of caapitalization for big projects with extended payback times. The idea at the time (I am old enought to remember this) was that the next generation of nuclear power would be financed by bonds managed by banks. The banks wouldn’t do it, because they could see that the projects would not pencil out. That is to say, the nuclear plants did not generate enough excess energy (money) above capital, operation and maintenance costs to be worth funding.

    So nukes cannot save us. We may get a little more life out of our existing plants, at the ever increasing risk of something going sideways. Remember that nuclear power disasters generally involve failure of the cooling system, as in the Tohoku earthquake, where the reators survived but the generators for emergency power to circulate the water were underground and flooded out.

    The more knowlegable commentariat can fact check me on this, but my recollection is that everybody except Russia has hit peak uranium.

    Raphanus

  243. @ Temporaryreality, @ RandomActsOfKarma

    Re crochet

    Thanks for the link.

    I’m working on my first cabled project at the moment. It’s a throw that I’m estimating will take me 3 months or so. I’m one month in at this point.

  244. Anny, that depends. In preindustrial times, an old person who still had useful skills was an asset to any household, and could readily find a place, since most economic value was still produced in the household economy in those days. That’ll be the case in the future as well. Your priorities, which you can get started on right now, are (1) be sure you have lots of useful skills you can do and teach, which are valuable in a household-economy setting, and (2) do your best to stay healthy and fit into old age.

    Patricia M, thanks for this!

    Your Kittenship, my dreams are all weird, but I haven’t noticed any increased weirdness of late. What kind of weird dreams are you getting?

    Varun, another reason why setting up private subscription libraries is important.

    Your Kittenship, thanks for this.

    Rita, interesting. I haven’t read it, though. Anyone else?

    BCV, fair enough. I suspect that some serious confusion about the meaning of the word “collapse” is involved here — though I’ve always tried to define what I mean by it!

    Ross, nuclear power has a low EROEI if the entire supply chain is factored in, as it needs to be, and a great deal of the energy that goes into supporting nuclear power is of course from fossil fuel sources. Exactly which side of the zero mark nuclear power’s net energy falls on is a question for specialists; my take, based on the inability of nuclear power plants to pay for themselves even with abundant fossil fuels to fuel the supply chain, is that its EROEI is low enough that it can’t sustain the level of social and technological complexity it needs in order to survive.

    Viduraawakened, how fascinating! I don’t know of anyone who’s tried to duplicate Lemstrom’s work. Do you have access to the necessary soil and equipment to give it a try? A test garden wouldn’t be that much work or trouble, and the information would be exceedingly valuable.

    NomadicBeer, I’d agree with that, except for the results in this year’s elections — the Democrats got clobbered in some very influential races. The 2022 midterms will be an interesting test. (And did you know that no fewer than 23 Democrats in the House of Representatives have announced that they won’t be running for reelection? That doesn’t sound like a party that thinks the fix is in…) As for the energy requirements for past societies, I’ll certainly consider it.

    Russ, okay, good. So we have a disagreement about the slope of decline and the point at which things bottom out; that’s reasonable, and can be discussed.

    Aziz, the concept of economic autarky is likely to get a lot of attention in the years ahead as the global economy goes to bits, so your suggestion is timely.

    Rus, says the man who insisted at such length that I believe something that, in point of fact, I do not believe…

    Viduraawakened, in your place I would discuss the matter with the doctor and, if he’s okay with it, do some careful experimentation with discursive meditation. It may be fine in your case.

    David BTL, oof. Not that it’s incorrect, you understand, but…

    Stellarwind, Japan also allows quiet under-the-table use of Ivermectin as a Covid treatment…

  245. @ Princess Cutekitten re #252 “I had a chat once with a Vanderbilt student who was surprised to learn that Vatican II occurred in the mid-20th century. She thought it was back in the 1850’s.”

    Holy Crapola! The folks in charge of Vanderbilt must be laughing all the way
    to the bank. You can look that one up on Wikipedia. My late mother converted
    to Catholicism when she married my father. They each had a bible and were intrigued
    over chapters that were in one book but not the other. My father’s Catholic bible
    went off with one of my brothers but I still have the old,old, very old Protestant Bible (140 years
    or so, I’m not really sure) of my mother but it does have the Epistle of James in it.

  246. An observation re That Which Shall Not Be Named, but also touching on the subject of the powers that be and their attempts to retain that power:

    In response to indications of the most recent variations lesser severity, I’ve seen numerous articles proclaiming that “it’s too soon to tell” or “there are no indications” that is true. Got to keep the fear going, I suppose, though it seems to me that the broader populace is getting over it already. Will this cause the upper strata to dig in deeper? Or will they realize that folks are done?

  247. @ Raphanus

    > Nuclear engineering has been falling in popularity in universities for decades

    Merely an anecdote. Nothing to back it.

    Fortunately, google exists. I have not researched number of nuclear engineering degrees very carefully, so if I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

    According to this survey by Oak Ridge National Laboratory the number of nuclear engineering degrees is increasing: https://orise.orau.gov/stem/reports/ne-brief-82-2019-data.pdf

    This article from NPR on the topic doesn’t show decline: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/15/619348584/as-nuclear-struggles-a-new-generation-of-engineers-is-motivated-by-climate-chang

    I’ll grant that the BLS shows a decline in the number of nuclear engineering job over the decade, due to natural gas being cheaper than nuclear. However, I’m still not seeing nuclear engineering being a particularly declining major.

    > The money tells the story better than diving into the details.

    Well then…. let’s dive into the details about money!

    https://www.vox.com/2016/2/29/11132930/nuclear-power-costs-us-france-korea

    If we look at this Vox article, you will see that costs for new nuclear plants did balloon…. but not everywhere.

    > France started making a big push for nuclear power in the 1960s, …….. As Lovering, Yip, and Nordhaus show, overnight construction costs stayed relatively stable throughout this period, hovering around €1,400/kW ($1,500/kW). Nuclear kept expanding until it provided more than 75 percent of France’s electricity:

    The article credits a single standard design being mass produced at different sites with keeping costs low. In South Korea actually decreased in cost. So nuclear is expensive not due to anything inherent in the technology, but due to how nuclear is regulated and designed.

    France gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear and Sweden gets 50%. But they both have below average electricity costs (relative to Europe).

    > The more knowlegable commentariat can fact check me on this, but my recollection is that everybody except Russia has hit peak uranium.

    Peak uranium, like peak oil, isn’t absolute, it depends on how much is economical to extract. If the Uranium price goes over 500 dollars per kilogram, it would become economical to extract Uranium from seawater.

    This sounds expensive but the cost of fuel is only 14% of a nuclear plant’s operating costs: http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2018/ph241/wang-k2/

    ——————————————————————————————

    Finally, any argument about the non-viability of nuclear needs to be addressed at designs that will be coming online later in the decade. There are numerous companies pursuing small modular reactors that are supposed to be cheaper and safer than current reactors. Just this week, China opened a 200 MW gas cooled reactor.

    Given that most of the cost for nuclear is safety regulations and upfront costs, and SMR reactors are specifically designed to be passively safe and reduce the upfront costs, it’s easy to see how nuclear could scale to the rest of society.

  248. @Lathechuck re: #99

    Good point about degrees becoming less valuable. As for reasons not to trust the experts I simply cite the Economics profession.

  249. Aziz A. (no. 261) I did miss your intent with the apocalyptic aspect. Yes, Shi’ites are broadly allied with native Christian groups in several of these countries. I wouldn’t read apocalyptic significance into it, though. The only regional actor that cared about such things was the Islamic State, which saw Damascus as having this kind of significance. People understand that apocalyptic prophecies can be interpreted in various ways, and made to mean whatever the interpreter wants them to say. (At one point I remember Trump being identified as the antichrist, because his private plane was said to match the dimensions of the antichrist’s donkey!) I am aware that some of Fethullah Gulen’s supporters see him as the Mahdi. (Well, good luck.)

    Trump is not normally thought to be very religious, or knowledgeable about religion, although he is of course allied with pro-Israel US Protestant groups. He famously expressed disappointment with Jewish voting patterns during his re-election. Ronald Reagan seemed more open to Christian end-times speculation. (Reagan was open to a variety of things, including astrology–very California. One writer caught him quoting Manly Palmer Hall.)

    You’re right, economic interests are an important dimension. Russia greets Armenian political reforms unenthusiastically, because corruption is part of how Russia maintains influence. Iran is sorry to see Armenia lose control of Karabakh, partly because they were quietly involved in exporting some of its resources, and has plans for a trade route from India to Georgia that would pass through Armenia. Armenia hopes for trade links (including the railway) to be established in all directions, and is willing to set aside Genocide recognition as a precondition. Azerbaijan, which is normally focused on natural gas (exported via Russia), seems to have just acquired a gold mine, and Azeri reconstruction projects in the newly-won territories will provide opportunities for graft and largess. (They’re not just letting the people who were expelled decades ago go back.) Turkey sees economic opportunities mainly with Azerbaijan and Central Asia.

    You’re quite right in highlighting Israel’s ties to Azerbaijan. (They sold drones to them during the Karabakh war.) Iran is Israel’s main regional rival (they compete primarily over Syria and Lebanon), and would like Iran to cease being a regional power (following the path of Syria and Iraq). They are allied with the USA, which hates Iran because of the 1979 revolution. So now Iran is trying to prevent Azerbaijan from allowing Israel / the USA / NATO from being able to set up all along their common border. (Russia has some influence here.) The stated reason for global concern is that Iran may develop nuclear weapons, but what is left unstated is why that is considered bad. (Pakistan has them, and nobody much cares.) The reason is not that they are worried that Iran would nuke anybody, but that it would be harder for Israel and/or the USA to threaten a nuclear-armed Iran.

    I wouldn’t think that regional Jewish communities (in Azerbaijan or Iran) (Armenia has less than a hundred) would be much involved in this, but who knows.

  250. @Nomadicbeer, @JMG,
    The commentators I’ve been listening to about dangers of possible vax/digital IDs / money are out of Western Europe. They’re farther down the slope of tyranny then we are in the USA. The USA with it’s 50 states and large landmass is harder to control and impose mandates on, than a small county like Austria. Plus our hundreds of millions of gun owners probably doesn’t hurt either, which Australia and Canada lack.
    I live in a very liberal / Democrat area, and I can go in my gym wo a mask-on or showing my v status, and no one says anything or cares (about 1/2 the gym goers wear a mask).
    Karl

  251. The official embrace of shunning also caught my eye. This goes to the increased balkanization of our society generally (not just with re to the immediate crisis du jour) and I’m trying to understand the elite endgame.

  252. Mary Bennett (no, 253), “why do you think Russia is likely to weaken?”

    Mainly demographics.

    https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/russian-demographics-and-power-does-the-kremlin-have-a-long-game/

    Think of it this way: Russia’s total population is approaching parity with those of Turkey or Iran. It’s doubtful whether Russia could even defeat Poland militarily. Its population and economy are dwarfed by those of China, which seems intent on integrating it (along with most of Eurasia). At some point Putin will die, and then what?

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    If industrial civilization collapses (fast or slow) and Russia survives better than the other countries for some reason (maybe because they’re used to it!), then the situation could be very different. This is sort of what happens in S.M. Stirling’s “Emberverse” series, in which industrial civilization collapses (never mind why), leaving North Korea and the Church Universal and Triumphant (Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s Ascended Masters cult in Montana) in much stronger positions than before, relatively speaking:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emberverse_series

  253. Regarding power, nuclear or otherwise… There’s the “Law of Receding Horizons” wherein the current low EROEI of renewables is so heavily dependent upon cheap fossil fuels that any rise in the cost of those fossil fuels will inevitably push all the renewables’s EROEI negative.

    Yes, we’ll have solar, wind & hydro in the future, but it’ll look much like it did in the past — classic windmills, water wheels and good old sunlight for raising food. 😉

  254. @Mary Bennett

    You know….. you raise some good questions.

    So I’ve been to Thailand a few times and I have the impression it is a more Hindu influenced culture. The Buddhist monks chant in Pali, which is an Indian language. Likewise, one of the big landmarks, Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha has a massive (and I mean, gigantic) mural of the Ramayana, which is a Hindu creation myth.

    So you would think it would be Indian astrology, but actually, I remember my Mom being more familiar with Chinese astrology. I was born in the year of the Monkey, for example.

    But….. why Chinese astrology of Hindu astrology? I don’t know, but I love learning about my family history, and I ought to know this!

    So I’ll definitely try to find out more about my Mom’s astrology and give you a full report next month! It will probably be more interesting than this EROI debate we’ve been having.

    Mary, is there anything you would like me to ask my Mom about Southeast Asian astrology, before I see her again?

  255. Hi Jeanne,

    In the kid’s defense—and she was a very nice kid—this was about 25 years ago, so there was no Wikipedia, and the very expensive college did not seem to be teaching its students anything about world history. I suppose the modern equivalent would be to be unaware that the Vatican exists. Like him or not, Christ existed, and was of enough historical importance that large portions of the world divide time into the Before Christ and After Christ periods. People need to know these things. Those who have no past also have no future.

    —Princess Cutekitten

  256. Hi JMG,

    You probably remember the old song “Angel of the Morning,” at least the Juice Newton version (Juice’s husband, Fig, played rhythm guitar on that). I dreamed of a person from Reality performing that song for an audience of Americans, Canadians, or both, who were probably PMC (no cowboy 🤠 hats or heavy metal T-shirts). They don’t speak English anywhere in Reality so someone must have transliterated the lyrics. The audience was clearly enjoying the performance and why not? The acoustic musicians were good and the singer had a nice baritone—

    Wait a minute. What the [unDruidly word]? Yup, the Angel of the Morning was a dude. That was a weird one.

    For those too young to remember either the Merrilee Rush (late ‘60’s) or Juice Newton (early ‘80’s) versions, the song, in first person, is the thoughts of a girl who jumped her boyfriend’s bones the night before (…”it was I who chose to start.”). She assures him she’s not going to blame him for whatever happens next. There is just no way that song makes any sense sung by a man. Shrug.

  257. Concerning The Emberverse, the1632 series, and JMG’s own Three Winters – all three stories have, at one point, the problem of pain killers in a non-industrial economy. Only Eric Flint came up with the obvious, low-tech, grow-it-in-your-herb-garden answer, already in use nationwide.

    That’s because Stirling is dedicated to heroes and ordinary folks rising to the occasion by “Working at 10-10th capacity” as the ideal. One of his characters passes a badly burned war veteran sitting by the roadside advertising a hotel, and said character picks him to hire because he’s not “drowning his pain by getting drunk or high.”

    JMG, whose characters, many of them poor rural folks, but Yankees, who tend to be “Mennonites with tentacles,” as he put it, shows an old man dying of terminal cancer who can’t afford the very expensive opium, and can only turn to Stoicism for relief.

    Flint’s characters are ordinary working-class Appalachians who have a very high regard for hard work and willingness to get their hands dirty. And a lot less concern for respectability, many of them, even the Puritans – than an alley cat, though they have their own iron-hard codes of honor.

    Hence, when, in 1632, TSHTF, the town’s only holdover hippie calls on the one doctor who makes no bones about his origins in the Southside of Chicago’s worst ghetto, and offers his entire cash crop to the town for pain killers. Which is gratefully relieved by everyone in the medical profession in Grantsville, WV how have even an ounce of pragmatism in them. Later we see a man with a broken back, also near death, remaining lucid and functional on Stoner’s prime painkiller – long enough to throw himself on an IED the baddies lobbed into his home, and save every life in the house but his.

    And Eric Flint, for all his faults, is about the only post-toastie (pardon me for including you in that category, JMG; I’m talking very loosely here) to even think of that solution. That’s because he’s apparently a hillbilly at heart himself, according to the preface to the first book in the series. No stiff upper lip, nor heads-down-in-the-rain for them! Though they run the entire gamut of human behavior from two of the town’s down-your-nose matriarchs, to two of the town’s prime troublemakers, to the disgusting crowd hanging out at the most notorious redneck bar, not to mention the man-crazy trailer park drama queen and her long-suffering children….and assorted cranks, crackpots, and crazies. And just plain people.

  258. Can anyone confirm that China has locked down three cities of 10 million people for a new virus, not Covid. If so JMG what does it mean? Is some Chinese lab cooking these things up to keep our eyes off the Evergrand default?

  259. @stellarwind

    “I don’t think it is a good Idea to increase consumption of animal fats. Too much animal fat can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.”

    The Keto advocates disagree of course. And so far none of them have this problem. Of course with ample vegetables as well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_Kk7_sdmUk

    If combined with intermittent fasting and regular ketosis this problem may be avoided.

  260. @JMG

    “NomadicBeer, I’d agree with that, except for the results in this year’s elections — the Democrats got clobbered in some very influential races. The 2022 midterms will be an interesting test.”

    Doesn’t seem to matter politically. Since Republicans demonstrates by their actions that they are Democrats in slow motion. Giving an impression of a Uniparty.

    And somehow snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory as if they are that villain playing their part of the script that is meant to lose to the hero Democrats.

    Hence the discontent among the Republican base.

  261. David BTL, I’ve seen the same thing. It fascinates me that so many people are so invested in keeping the fear going.

    Karl, same here. I’m in a decidedly blue state and about half the people ignore the mask-required signs.

    David BTL, I’m not sure they have an endgame in mind. The thing to keep in mind is that their vision of time is a straight line that leads from the awful, awful past through the present to Tomorrowland, and the fact that Tomorrowland isn’t showing up — that in fact we’re visibly sliding further and further away from it — is causing immense cognitive dissonance. Their entire identities are invested in being the smart people who are bringing the shiny new future, and now that the shiny new future isn’t happening, it’s causing them to crack. Shunning is among other things a way to exclude those who disagree with them, so they can keep up the pretense a little longer.

    TJ, I think it’s quite likely that we’ll also have solar water heaters, modest amounts of electricity, and ultralight aircraft — all of that can be done on a fairly modest energy budget if you know how, and one of the advantages of the age of extravagance now fading into memory is that we learned how to do a lot of things like that. That doesn’t justify the claim that we’ll still have a Modern™ society, of course, but the future may not look all that much like the past…

    David BTL, nations do that just before they implode. If your armed forces are no longer getting adequate pay, you can kiss off the hope that they’ll fight and die for you when crunch time comes.

    Your Kittenship, you’re right, that’s good and weird.

    Patricia M, consider me dense, but I’m not sure which of the various possible plants you’re talking about.

    Info, funny how the people in Virginia don’t seem to be feeling that way…

  262. @David BTL #281: “I’m trying to understand the elite endgame.”

    At this point, I don’t think they really have an end-game. As I have said a few times here recently, I no longer believe that we are being ruled by “rational actors” in the game-theory sense of that word. Rather, I think that we are being ruled by Sorcerer’s Apprentices who have “called up spirits from the vasty deep” which they do not really understand, and over which they have less control than they imagine.

    Now, that is scary in its own right, but it is a different kind of “scary” than the assumption that evil masterminds have everything plotted out to the last detail.

    I share The Saker’s view that the last competent administration the U.S. had (i.e., “competent” in the sense that they knew how to run an empire) was the Bush Sr. administration. Between Bush pere and Secretary of State James Baker, you had people who could actually pursue serious policy, however reprehensible that policy was.

    Since the election of Bill Clinton, the Establishment has been an increasingly dysfunctional clown show. Right now, I think they are in a state of panic over the second- and third-order effects of their ham-fisted miscalculations, and are in full damage-control mode.

    Thus, I don’t expect either events in general, or the actions of the PMC in particular, to make an awful lot of rational sense at this point. To put it another way, I don’t think there is anything to “second guess” here. “There is no there there!”

  263. JMG, what does my weird dream mean, if anything?

    P.S. Having been reminded of “Angel of the Morning,” I looked up the singers. On this sad weekend when we lost Wanda Young of the Marvelettes, I’m pleased to report the “Angel” singers are still with us. Merrilee breeds sheepdogs and Juice breeds horses. For you youngsters, the Marvelettes were a ‘60’s Motown girl group.

    And if, tonight, that guy performs “Man, I Feel Like A Woman,” I don’t care if he knows what he’s saying or not, I’m going to give him laryngitis. 😄. I live in 21st-century America, I have quite enough weirdness in my life without people adding more in my dreams.

    —Princess Cutekitten

  264. @RusTheRook

    There is still the problem of “Nuclear Waste” that is the unconsumed 90% of uranium that doesn’t get consumed by the process of energy generation.

    If all the fuel can be utilized and there is almost no nuclear energy to extract left. Then it would have better metrics.

    And of course there is still the blindness to the life cycle of the Nuclear Reactors. And its fossil fuel dependent inputs to make it possible in the first place which you haven’t addressed.

  265. @JMG

    “funny how the people in Virginia don’t seem to be feeling that way…”

    Indeed. I am definitely speaking in generalities. And the reason the term RINO’s “Republicans in Name Only” was coined in the first place.

  266. @Rita Rippetoe

    “He goes on to examine how this relates to both the “Great Awokening” and to the Right’s distortion of Christianity, and how it has, in his opinion, contributed to the opioid crisis.”

    I would disagree with. At least as to his conception of the “Right’s distortion of Christianity”. Correct me if I am wrong but if the Church Fathers is any indication of Christianity. Early Christianity does lean Rightward Politically as far as we know.

    And Eastern Orthodoxy also leans that way too right now.

    Perhaps he is referring to specific examples that is unique to America.

  267. JMG responded to TJ saying..

    “TJ, I think it’s quite likely that we’ll also have solar water heaters, modest amounts of electricity, and ultralight aircraft — all of that can be done on a fairly modest energy budget if you know how, and one of the advantages of the age of extravagance now fading into memory is that we learned how to do a lot of things like that. That doesn’t justify the claim that we’ll still have a Modern™ society, of course, but the future may not look all that much like the past…”

    Yeah, but history has shown the library is the first thing the angry mobs come to burn….. Library of Alexandria for example. That includes the discovery of how to make such things…. like say an ancient roman steam engine or that clock device the Greek’s used for navigation on their ships.

  268. A hypothetical idea. Everyone feel free to revise. Idk how would an ecosophia market place work?

    JMG would it be possible to create a commerce section of the ecosophia webpage, geared towards the future we are headed for? The purpose of the market place is to simulate what was historically available in stores, when material items were hard to come by.

    I think it would work like this….

    1. The ecosophia bazar consists of items that exist outside the religion of progress. Spinning wheels, hand tools, things conducive to home economies.

    2. Sellers/items in the market place must be vetted by JMG. Each new issue will consist of no more than X number of items. (There is a listing fee, items are not guaranteed a listing. And the market place takes a % so if you bring ten socks to the market place the Druid gets two. Basically just trying to keep it scaled to that of a newspaper’s classified section.

    3. The technology level acceptable to said marketplace is pre-1912. So no TVs, smartphones…. etc.

    4. Nothing sold in the ecosophia market place will have built in obsolescence. Bad design sure… that’s why we keep the Cranks from that post a while ago around. (That’s why I’m saying 1912 because Ford started the crapification of his cars about that time.)

    5. Precious metals may not be bought traded or sold on the market place as the most voluble thing in the ecosophia market place is your skillset.

  269. info (no. 298), while the Church Fathers didn’t all agree with each other, their collective politics do not match well with either side of our current political spectrum. There seems to have been broad consensus against homosexuality etc., unquestioning acceptance of slavery / existing gender roles / imperial governance, praise for helping the poor, and the recognition of saints from a variety of ethnic, national and religious backgrounds. St. Moses the Ethiopian mentions being made fun of for his black skin (by Egyptians), and telling people that it didn’t bother him, but (as he confesses) it really did.

  270. @Michael Martin (#294) wrote:

    “I share The Saker’s view that the last competent administration the U.S. had (i.e., “competent” in the sense that they knew how to run an empire) was the Bush Sr. administration. Between Bush pere and Secretary of State James Baker, you had people who could actually pursue serious policy, however reprehensible that policy was.”

    I haven’t been reading The Saker regularly, so I missed that observation of his. But I think he’s quite right.

    The first president whom I remember was Harry Truman, and I thought all of them down to George H. W., Bush, except Ronald Reagan, had a fairly good grasp of geopolitical realities. And Reagan, though he began to show signs of senility while he was still Governor of California, remained an actor skillful enough to perform the scripts that other competent men wrote for him.

    From Bill Clinton on out, however, the Presidents were men of a different, lower level of competence, and the trend downward has been gaining speed. And they’ve all been Boomers, except Biden (of course), who is the oldest President the US has ever had.

    Pretty soon, I venture to predict, all the presidential candidates of the two major parties will be drawn from the pool of media celebrities, as only media-celebrity candidates would have enough name recognition among the voters to inspire most people to go out and vote.

  271. @JMG,

    but the future may not look all that much like the past…

    Agreed, and for a whole host of other reasons. Perhaps that would be good grist for a post — future tech! And by that I mean innovative yet much less complex solutions to everyday needs that don’t require exotic materials, global supply chains and huge amounts of cheap power.

  272. Stellarwind72

    “@JMG After reading Overshoot by William Catton, I was convinced that China was right all along with the One Child Policy. I think that all countries should consider implementing similar policies.”

    Probably going to have to have mandatory euthanasia at 65 to go with it.

  273. Princess Cutekitten

    Suggestion: Temporarily take Mr. Neighbor’s name off the email list, and send him a private note of condolence.

  274. Late to the comments and hoping to still get some feedback from JMG and the commentariat.

    I’ve been thinking of doing a year long project for years now where I re-live the lives of my great grandparents. Most were born around 1890 to 1905 and so their lives would have had simpler technology than ours. Each had different life – dairyman, farmer, coal miner, telephone operator, shop owner – but the point would be to de-modernize my own life and center it more in the local community.

    I’d get rid of the iPhone, credit cards, grow and preserve food, re-use clothes, budget, and most importantly, make it all look like fun and higher status than the way we currently live. One of JMG’s statements that is burned in my brain is how much Americans can not bear to be seen as poor or low-status. The media has made medical experimentation high status these days, and inflation has been quite a ride so far, so more poverty is coming for us all I fear.

    I picked people born at the turn of the 20th century because that is the time that our bureaucratic overstate began in earnest with state level vital records, mandated public education, federal draft enrollment, and the first government hand-outs. I’ll be looking for archival materials which may capture some of what common people were thinking of the time (if I can ever reliably get into archives).

    I would not be mentioning our current predicaments as I feel that speaking of them other than what is absolutely necessary gives them too much power. It would also not be focusing on the racism and sexism that modern scholars love to hang all history on these days. It would show that we maybe haven’t progressed in the ways we think but more survived under strange conditions since 1900.

    Would love to hear what people here think of such a project. It would be documented through audio recordings, some writing, and shared on YouTube is my current thinking. Audio because most people today do not read and I’m looking to move people to do similar actions and have fun with it.

  275. Hi John and friends,

    I need some help. These days I have been doing a lot of thinking into the Long Descent. The true reality is that I want the Long Descent to happen. I really so because if it does, the world can actually become a more healthier and better place to live in.

    Now readers on here might scratch their heads and say “but how?”. Reason? It makes the world a more divided place. It keeps the world freer. It promotes more healthier localised economies then the slave based one that is developing across the world. It means even more disruptive and ever totalitarian technology ceases to be developed (take a look at China – they are working on an AI prosecutor – like if that is going to be a good thing for Humanity!)

    But this is where I need help and I hope John can offer some reassurance. I am sort of losing my hope that it is going to form. Already I can see the elites are quite heavily investing in AI technology. If they can somehow keep people humming along with electric cars, they will do.

    Yet what they are offering is basically a serfdom society. A highly technologised upper middle and elite class with a poorer class basically living on welfare (they need their money to keep rolling in as people buy food to eat). Yet welfare in itself is helpful for people who need it but when it becomes a lifestyle choice with no other opportunities to build a better life, the future is bleak.

    Take a walk around Britain’s post-industrial council estates and it has created an entire three generations of people now who do drugs, drink alcohol and behave like, dare I say it, animals because they have nothing else to do.

    Yet the alternatives of working really hard in some dull office job is not appealing either. So its two difficult choices to make.

    At least with the Long Descent we have hope of more communitarian ways being adopted, new businesses being formed and life improving.

    But I am starting to lose my hope in it. Will it really happen? Is it just hopeful thinking of us right-wing conservatives where as people do not care and quite happily accept the system? Will it all endure with the scientists figuring out new ways to keep it going?

    I would also like to point out – we live in a mono-future already. Internet, computers, TVs, smart phones, now robots being developed. That said, its not exactly benefitting Humanity but with each step that is made, Humanity does indeed descend.

    The latest technology I see being developed cannot at all improve people’s lives. It is just constantly making people ever more redundant. All the time.

    So yeah, sorry for the rather emotional post but if you guys can give me some hope on this, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks

  276. Hi John Michael,

    Hey, have you noticed the huge number of aircraft flight cancellations or delays over the past few days?

    I keep suggesting to people that for reasons other than what the media is suggesting that it’s probably not a good idea to travel anywhere right now. But do they listen? Nope. You see what I have to deal with here? 🙂 One minute people are banging on about fear of anthropogenic climate change and the next they’re freaking out about health matters – but they still want to get on an aircraft and fly away to distant locales for a holiday. Ah, what to do. Things will be as they’ll be.

    Have you also noticed that after the most recent health subject which I mean, you know what I’m talking about, dumped Oil futures and lowered the price, that baby is rising up again?

    A fascinating time to be alive. I tend to believe that oil prices will continue rise, albeit with the occasional set back before then crashing demand – and a lot of other activities. What’s your opinion in relation to that?

    Forgot to mention that I rather enjoyed your casual mention of wombats last week. Nice one! Mate, I’m seriously flat out sorting out infrastructure on the farm and have not had as much free time as I’d usually enjoy. The work seems kind of important to do right now.

    Cheers

    Chris

  277. @ Lathechuck – thanks for this, you put out a lot to chew on in those couple of analogies… I suppose you could say that certain cultural themes are fractal, in that you can find them repeated endlessly at many different scales and in many contexts.

    The core theme at work here looks to me to be something along the lines of a substitution of a facsimile for an actual thing, while doing everything to cement in place the pretence…. no, the PERCEPTION, that it IS the actual thing.

    Meanwhile… to your observation “Testing tells us something, but it doesn’t necessarily tell us what we want to know” I would say, “Why, yes, it tells us that the purveyors of tests are coining it”… 😉

  278. @JMG – the plant was marijuana. Both the getting-high kind and the ones bred for pain relief. Sorry. I thought I’d specified that back in the comment about Stirling. And while stealth industrial pot farms hidden away in the woods are a plague on the landscape – because criminals don’t bother with niceties like keeping things clean – I’m quite sure a lot of people locked out of the medical “care” system will be growing and using it just as soon as the War on Drugs becomes unaffordable or unenforceable. Back in Albuquerque, I already knew a few people with chronic health conditions or lingering pain from a previous accident who had their medical marijuana cards and were grateful for it.

    The fact that many, many others consider it to be a moral issue first and last is quite counterproductive. Not that I have such a card myself, though I was picking up CBD cream for arthritis at one point.

  279. @Austin of oz – the libraries are more collateral damage, if for instance the masses decided that Harvard should be dissolved for its sins, that would include its libraries.

    There are lots of different versions of how the library of Alexandria was destroyed, but they all seem to align with conflict within Alexandria or conquest of Alexandria and the victorious faction not caring to protect the library.

  280. A decline clarification question to the esteemed JMG – If I remember correctly you think that a declining population is a result of economic decline instead of urbanization. Is it your belief that urbanization is related to the concentration of resources as there is less to go around?

    I’ve been impressed by the arguments in https://econimica.blogspot.com/ that the most impactful input to end to continuous growth model is that the amount of working age and younger people in non-poor countries has topped out. Thanks to whoever on this site first provided a link to it.

    In my state (Iowa) there is a continuing movement from the country side and smaller towns to the larger cities where costs, especially real estate, are much larger. This certainly leads to fewer children, but I’m not convinced that the sequence is decline drives urbanization and then accelerates population decline or if urbanization may be the driver of population decline in parallel to whatever else is going on resource wise. Thanks.

  281. @Raphanus #272:
    re nuclear power cooling systems failing:
    One thing that puzzles me is that, as far as I know, no nuclear plant anywhere has taken the route of building the reactors in a pit and gravity-feeding cooling water from above, with pumps to move it back up. As far as I can tell as a mostly-outsider, the result would be pretty much the same when the cooling system had power, but if it lost power, the cooling system around the reactor would _flood_ instead of drain, providing ample coolant to absorb remaining and decay heat from a shut-down reactor (because a properly designed system should also fail safe there, with the control system requiring constant power to _not_ shut the reactor down) and ideally still carry it away by convection. I doubt it would increase EROEI, might even decrease it slightly if building the system down takes significantly more energy than building it up, but it seems like it’d give some significant safety increases. Given this seems like such an obvious idea, I assume that there’s something I’m missing, but I don’t know what.

    @JMG #292:
    “and the fact that Tomorrowland isn’t showing up”
    Oh, but it’s already here! Famously down in Florida, in fact, and anyone can go! Well, now that it’s no longer closed due to the pandemic. And if you can afford the entry fees. And travel, and accommodations. And don’t mind the long lines, bit overcrowded, you know. And maybe avoid visiting during hurricane season. But it’s still there, and a whole thirty meters above sea level! For now.
    (Tomorrow may always come, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Tomorrow one was expecting…)

  282. @info

    Many people in this thread have critiqued my arguments, and I am grateful for all those criticisms. I may not get time to answer all of them, but I’ll give it a shot, starting with your comment.

    > There is still the problem of “Nuclear Waste” that is the unconsumed 90% of uranium that doesn’t get consumed by the process of energy generation.

    There are breeder reactors that can consume the other 90%.

    But breeder reactors or not, there are many uninhabited places on Earth where radioactive waste can be put. There are plenty of dangerous chemical waste sites on Earth. Uranium isn’t special.

    > And of course there is still the blindness to the life cycle of the Nuclear Reactors.

    What do you mean by this?

    > And its fossil fuel dependent inputs to make it possible in the first place which you haven’t addressed.

    Peak oil doesn’t occur in a vacuum. We’re not going to be dropped in a desert island with no oil one day.

    There are lots of fossil fuel inputs like plastics which can’t be easily replicated. However, if fossil fuel use for, say, transportation, that will free up fossil fuels for some of those inputs.

    Likewise, there are alternate ways of substituting some of those inputs (ex: using hydrogen to make steel). Some of these things are pretty uneconomical or far off. But peak oil is a couple of decades away and, with natural gas, peak fossil fuels is past 2050. That is enough time to make the transition to alternative sources.

  283. Your Kittenship: #244
    I rarely remember my dreams. The other night, I awoke suddenly from a dream/nightmare, so I remember it.
    Some background: most of my day job is as an architect, working with the franchisees of a national fast food chain. Said chain recently added a requirement to install an eyewash station in the backroom, without telling us architects about it. Eyewash stations are required by OSHA for locations which use corrosive substances. I can’t figure out what has been redefined as corrosive: maybe the dish detergent.
    To the dream:
    I was riding in a car sitting next to a Construction Manager from said chain. We were discussing various things, and then I asked him why the eye wash station had been added. Before he could answer, I was overcome by a feeling of panic, and awoke with a start. Why should I panic about eyewash stations? Now that I’ve had the opportunity to reflect, I realize the dream was telling me quit doing this work I hate which leaves me at the whims of a large corporation.

  284. @ JMG @ Michael Martin

    Re endgames, rank & file COLA, and the lack thereof

    What I have a hard time wrapping my mind around is how anyone who’s in charge can possibly be thinking that shorting the ranks cost-of-living pay is in any way a good idea. The military is the *first* set of people you want to make sure is happy with you. In addition to being plain common sense, it is a lesson from history over and over again.

  285. Hi JMG,

    I have two questions, both about your Weird of Hali series.

    First, I’ve read all of the books in the main series (they’re very good BTW), but I like listening to books and only the first one is an audiobook. So, is there any possibility that the others will become audiobooks anytime soon? I’d like to have them in both forms when I re-read them.

    Second, you once wrote that the books (WoH) basically downloaded themselves into your head. Did you mean all of the books or just the first one and then you had to come up with the rest. As a writer, I’m just curious as to how this worked for you. I know that HPL had ideas, plotlines, even whole books appear to him fully formed in dreams. He even got the Necronomicon that way, as a decaying tome in an old bookshop, if I remember correctly.

    Thanks!

  286. There have been a few comments on the Russia-Ukraine situation. I get the feeling that the Russian top brass senses that US power is quite diminished but that nobody has yet tested it. We won’t know for sure if this true until either somebody is daring enough to stand up to the US or the US is foolish enough to badly overreach. Either could happen. Afghanistan was not quite significant enough to count, but it may be a foreshadowing of a similar but more consequential setback. My sense is that there really has been some subterranean shift in the balance of power, but that this is not yet reflected in the ossified international arrangements.

  287. @Ksim

    The Long Descent will definitely happen – in fact, as our host as written, it already has begun. I don’t want to get into the ‘will we have XYZ tech/new source of energy?’ argument. Rather, I’d just like to point out that our waste and pollution streams are going from bad to worse. And no, AI and 5G will only worsen things – just think of the well-functioning hardware that’s become ‘obsolete’ and is now thrown out as ‘waste’ just to cater to the demands of the ‘techies’ and those parasites called economists, for instance.

    In my country (India), the per capita consumption of both energy as well as material resources is quite low compared to the First World. Yet, we have staggering piles of waste, and it’s only getting worse. Now, many people, especially on the ‘green’ side of things tout recycling as a solution, but the problem is that recycling has a substantial waste stream of its own. Add to it the fact that renewable energy cannot really be used to run a recycling process, and that the efficiency of said process is always << 1.0 (because thermodynamics), and you have a serious problem-turned-predicament staring you in the face.

    I do believe that industrial civilization will ultimately be undone more by the waste and pollution it generates, than due to a lack of energy resources. As our host has pointed out, beyond a point, growth and centralized production become problematic and self-defeating, because tangible resources needed for producing goods and services will be diverted towards dealing with the costs of industrial pollution.

    I personally am not quite sure as to whether I would like what we're going to get or not – I'd probably say 70 – 30, with 70 being against, and 30 in favour. I'm well aware of the plus points and gains of industrial civilization in the last 3 centuries, but then I have also read ancient Indian history, and there's one thing I can say: whatever the faults of ancient and classical Indian society, they did a fine job balancing environment and economy. Descriptions of those days by foreign travelers like the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hien, and the Greek author Megasthenes, suggest that the people, on the whole, lived simple but comfortable lives. Also, it was not as bad as believers in Progress would have everyone believe – for instance, surgery was quite sophisticated and reached a really high degree of skill and knowledge, especially when you take into account that they were doing all this on a resource budget that was a tiny fraction of modern civilization's fossil fueled budget. So such stuff still gives me hope for the future, in the sense that maybe, just maybe, some future civilization 2k years later can provide its people the opulence and comfort that ancient India (and also ancient China) enjoyed, while living within the hard limits set by ecological realities.

  288. @RusTheRook (#315) wrote:

    “There are many uninhabited places on Earth where radioactive waste can be put. There are plenty of dangerous chemical waste sites on Earth. Uranium isn’t special.”

    Actually, that’s true only if by “uninhabited” you mean “uninhabited by humans.” I doubt there are many places anywhere on earth that lack any life forms at all–maybe the craters of active volcanos in full eruption.

    And it’s all one global ecosystem; seriously harming life forms in one place always has adverse consequences–at times, very serious consequences–for many other life forms in many other places. We humans do not stand in the slightest degree apart from that one global ecosystem. As the global ecosystem goes, so go we.

    And the fact that “There are plenty of dangerous chemical waste sites on Earth.” is a thing to be deplored, not an excuse for adding to their number.

    Just to be totally clear where I stand, the “Progress™” that created these “dangerous chemical waste sites” has also become a thing to be deplored. It was a couple of centuries ago that “Progress™” passed into its Red Zone, where the klaxons of the planetary warning system continuously blare “Danger! Danger! Danger!” for those with ears to hear.

    But on this last point I fear that you and I may never agree …

  289. @Patricia+Mathews – I prefer this version of Krampus:

    “Most people know of the European Krampus who collected and punished bad children. There are quite a few German cards from early and mid-century that show a female version of Krampus who punishes bad men.”

    https://vintagenewsdaily.com/vintage-german-cards-from-early-and-mid-century-that-show-female-krampus-who-punishes-bad-men/

    But, being a woman, I assume she is merciful and will let them go if they stop listening to Shaggy from his 2000 song (It Wasn’t Me telling his buddy to tell her that night was day, and she didn’t see what she saw, hear what she heard, have on camera – and sing the bridge instead:

    “Gonna tell her that I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused
    I’ve been listenin’ to your reasonin’, it makes no sense at all
    Need to tell her that I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused
    You may think that you’re a player, but you’re completely lost
    That’s why I sing”

  290. @Rus #315

    However, if fossil fuel use for, say, transportation, that will free up fossil fuels for some of those inputs.

    Not to harp on the point, but there is no current viable non-carbon alternative for all forms of transportation unless you’ve got a Back-to-the-Future “Mr. Fusion” in your back pocket. The existing ~2M EVs in the US are already straining the grid and yet represent less than 1% of US on-road vehicles. That’s not even talking about mining, earthmoving and other construction equipment (or for that matter water- or air-borne transportation).

  291. @info 298: I have found Andrew Sullivan’s essay “America’s New Religions” online, it is for free. I think Rita was summarizing the following lines:

    “They have tribalized a religion explicitly built by Jesus as anti-tribal. They have turned to idols — including their blasphemous belief in America as God’s chosen country. They have embraced wealth and nationalism as core goods, two ideas utterly anathema to Christ. They are indifferent to the destruction of the creation they say they believe God made.”

    While it may be difficult to find ecological thinking in the Church Fathers (I don’t know and maybe there is!), I am quite sure that the identification of wealth with God’s blessing, or the encouragement to acquire wealth, cannot be found there, much to the contrary. The relation between Christianity and loyalty to the Roman empire certainly varies between different Church fathers, but from the little I have read, I don’t recall Gregory of Nazianz, Ambrosius or Augustine actually praising the Roman empire as chosen by God.

  292. @ Peter Van Erp #316
    Yes. Your dream is telling you that. Architects can always find things to do. You will be fine and go in new and interesting directions.
    A good dream, because you have time to prepare for transition.
    Best wishes in your new life paths.
    Raphanus

  293. Since the topic of economics came up, a comment on that seems timely.

    The big banks have arrived at a bind at last, where no matter which decision is taken, there will be trouble:

    1. The long-standing policy of the FRS (Federal Reserve System) is to have inflation every year, but not too much — although it was always higher than official numbers, it was subtle enough that there was no public hue and cry against it. But with the Long Emergency/Long Descent on us for real this time, that is no longer the case. Moreover the Fed has long desired to cease both their policies of purchasing assets (QE) and their regime of permanently low interest rates. It just was never politically possible, because anytime it was even started, the stock market started to tank, and with all the retirees and fixed incomes and the elite families wealth tied up in the markets, etc. it never got very far. The last time it was tried was during the Trump years, then quietly abandoned. However, the policies were starting to show diminishing returns as evidenced by the Repo Crisis of Fall 2019, only half a year before the COVID crisis began. The central banks want to change the game plan or it’s permanent stagnation a la Japan since the 1980s, but the consequences have to date been too painful so it’s the endless credit morphine drip. However…

    2. If they do NOT taper, and raise interest rates, which WILL have immediate consequences in the financial markets, we can just about be assured of double-digit inflation, which is also politically explosive. Again, in big finance inflation is viewed as “good, so long as it’s subtle” (it diminishes the real value of US debts to be paid) but now entering a climate of extreme instability there appears to have been a wake-up call. There’s an additional problem here, that historically when inflation gets bad, interest rates rise anyway despite the banks attempts to keep them low, as they are not the only credit-issuing institutions and investor pressure increases and so on.

    It’s a trap!

    Brace for serious problems in 2022 no matter which way they choose.

    Happy Solar New Year Ecosophians!
    -DA777

  294. Hi JMG, I know it’s Monday and you have better questions to answer elsewhere but I wanted to know if you had come across Dr Michael Yeadon’s Timeline to Tyranny? Saw it mentioned in the comments on Kunstler’s blog and had a look. It seems fairly accurate thus far. I get the impression from your response to my earlier question as well as others asking similar, you may forego the yearly forecast. I don’t blame you. Next year looks awful by the timeline Dr Yeadon laid out.

  295. Russ the Rook at #315

    Sorry to break the bad news, but Peak Oil is old news as it has already come and gone.

    Check out Art Berman’s site; he shows Crude + Condensate peaking in December of 2005, Shale peaking in November of 2018, and All-Liquids peaking in November of 2019. The effect of this has been masked by the virus so far, but as things gradually open up, demand for oil will start to grow, and the price will rise with it.

    Until, of course when the price rises the point that it causes large amounts of Demand Destruction, when it will crash again.

    And all this time depletion of a declining supply marches on.

    Antoinetta III

  296. I remember years ago you wondered in the comments sections under one of your posts about doing a post describing a counterfactual world where the US due to a slightly different late 1970s elected someone willing to take the oil crisis seriously and well, we didn’t get something that’d make industrial society more sustainable or ecotopia writ large but you did get a US on a much more sustainable footing than our world’s.

  297. @RusTheRook

    When trying to estimate the viability of nuclear power in actual economic use it is helpful to look at some actual examples as opposed to the hand waving of the Ted Talk crowd. The one I am most familiar with are the new modular reactors being developed by a company in Oregon Called Nuscale. They are trying to develop a small reactor design developed at Oregon State University. There two big hooks to get investor and research money ( who knows if they are actually the key things) are scalability and convection cooling. The small size means ( to them) that you don’t have build a huge plant all at once but can have a site with a few reactors and add more as time goes on ( can you scale the steam generators and cooling towers? Also the small size is claimed to allow the reactors to transfer heat from the core to the steam generator ( heat exchanger where steam is made) by convection which theoretically minimizes the risks of a pump failure.
    All that sounds pretty good but when you look at the details from their own info things start getting shaky. First of all they have only every tested their reactor design with electrically heated water instead of a nuclear pile. If all the research and tests go well they are predicting that the NRC will give them a license to run an actual atomic powered test model at a national site in 2030. So if that goes well they might get permission to try and build a real reactor to use in about 20 years.
    Right now there own info predicts that once these are scaled up and mass produced in a factory they will cost over $5000 per KW of output to build which is more than a regular nuke plant and is obviously optimistic as it is in their investor promotional material. To compare a gas generating plant cost about $800 per kw to build.
    For the nuke plant this does not include the site ( good trick with nukes) a retention pond for waste or the cost of decommissioning the plant when it wears out due to the effect of radiation on the materials it was built of.
    The only Nuke plant here in Oregon lasted less than 30 years before the steam generator cracked from radiation. It cost more to decommission than to build. So we can double the $5000 and add in for over optimism and it would probably cost close to $20,000 per kw to build such a ” nuke of the future”. Even by your own timeline we would be deep in to peak oil before we were ready to build these horribly expensive plants that would have to put out electricity that is unaffordable for the economy. I would leave this Nuke fantasy to Stewart Brand and the rest of the TED talk crowd.

  298. More and more, things like the following happen to me:

    1.

    A very disorganized local farmer from whom I buy my meat sent out an email with one set of hours, and put another set of hours on their web site, and yet another set of hours in their Facebook sidebar, and then put a Facebook post advertising their latest batch of meat which had yet another set of hours.

    The problem was that since I wasn’t logged into Facebook, the posts were all behind “See more…” which also wouldn’t load for a non-logged-in person. So I never saw the post with the latest hours (until the next day when I happened to visit the page logged in and was enlightened. But I only even have a Facebook from when I went back to school and was required to for class, so I don’t typically keep it logged in…). I went by the email from the day before, and when I arrived they were closed.

    They blamed me, didn’t understand why I didn’t know their actual hours.

    So my whole plan of getting my frozen Christmas ham in time to defrost it in the fridge was almost ruined. This farmer prefers texting for communications, so we worked it out via text, at quite a bit of inconvenience to us both. Good thing my phone can at least text.

    2.

    I recently had a video doctor’s appointment. I had done this a few months back and had no problems. When I went to start the video this time, it told me my browser was not supported and I had to use Chrome. (Sometimes you can just ignore “Browser not supported” notifications, but this one just refused to work.)

    This is something it should have told me long before the actual moment of the appointment, AFAIC! My Win 7 computer has the latest version of Firefox. It also has old Explorer (which sometimes works better than Firefox despite always getting “This browser is not supported get Edge” notificiations). It does not have Chrome. Luckily for my appointment, spouse has a newer computer which does have Chrome, so I was able to quickly switch to that and just barely make my appointment time.

    When scheduling the next appointment, I mentioned what happened thinking this way others could be told in advance that MyChart video appointments require Chrome. She said, “I didn’t know it requires Chrome…. You know, *most* people use their *phones*.”

    People post on here about how easy it is to live without these things (Facebook, smartphones), how they exemplify that to others and so on. So I wanted to ask everyone:

    **If you’re actually looking good to others on this score, instead of bad as I do, how are you avoiding or dealing with the above kind of issue?**

    (Sometimes I wonder if it’s just by “not having medical problems” or “not having the kind of body that needs to eat meat”…)

  299. @Bei Dawei

    That’s what I mean. Christianity is meant to be racially egalitarian and places great value on Human Dignity.

    But is Socially Conservative as far as your comment acknowledges. That’s what I meant.

    Its a no brainer that it doesn’t fit quite neatly into the modern day categories.

    Actual racism(not simply acknowledging Ethnic Differences and respecting them as human beings) under the Christian guise is a more recent development.

    A skinsuit as you will that dons the appearance of Christ but not his essence.

  300. @RustheRook

    “> And of course there is still the blindness to the life cycle of the Nuclear Reactors.

    What do you mean by this?”

    By this I mean the entire supply chain involved in putting Nuclear reactors together and their resource and energy requirements.

  301. @info Clearly the Right’s distortion of Christianity started long before 21st Century USA!

    One random quote from the New Testament: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

    Thoughts and prayers anyone?

    One could also check how consistently, throughout the Bible, followers are commanded to loot after single mothers, orphans, and immigrants (widows, orphans and strangers in a strange land)!

    The prosperity gospel gets short shrift in the actual Bible, and providing medical care to those that need it (no credit card required), another consistent theme, but apparently an optional extra in the richest country on the planet, consistently run with right wing policies, and claiming to be Christian.

    Clearly the early established church was simply making the same distortions as the US churches masquerading as Christian are today.

  302. JMG and Rus,
    about the future looking (or not) like the past.

    While I agree with JMG’s points about light planes, water heaters etc, I actually think the post-collapse future (a couple hundred years) will look almost exactly like the past (1800s? or 1200s? who knows).

    All the useful techs that can be created in a scarce world CANNOT be mass-created.
    So there will be light planes – a couple for an army. How many grunts will get to see them, not mention riding in them?
    There will be some solar applications – if a family is rich enough to afford one, they will be treasured and passed through generations, just like gold in the past.

    I could go on but my point is that the vast majority of people will live typical dark age lives, without travelling from their town/village and without ever seeing any tech different than what it was available 1000 years ago.

  303. @Andy #169

    Totally right and definitely worth mentionning.

    I’ve piled up a stash of boxes for 20 years, most of them given by a friend when its pet project of a local game library was cut off from city subventions in Brittany. I still have one or two games wrapped in plastic. The fun fact is my partner and I are both fans of games but we tend to always play to the same ones.

    For the social aspect of getting too much involved in that hobby, don’t tell me! I got into several clubs, managed one, was a bord member of the local boardgaming fair. I was even a guest star for some game presenting vids from the main french website about boardgaming (thing BoardGameGeek in French).

    Put all of it behind me and sticked to a strict policy of playing within a small cluster of friends and reorienting myself toward pen and paper RPG. The only thing that I kept was a tiny activity of game developper.

    Carcassonne is very enjoyable but, as a matter of fact, I don’t own it.

  304. Mary Bennett, I think both will do their parts of work. Yes, Muslims in that kind of world view will most likely have the political authority, but so does the Christians on a spiritual level, at least that’s how I see it, and if we assume this will happen in the near future, it will of course not be anything like what was in the Middle Ages, so we can hope about that.

    Bei Dawei, never heard about that theory on Trump, hilarious. And that Turkish guy is definitely not Imam Mahdi (who’s supposed to look like, well, an avatar), good luck indeed. On the other hand, I do respect and tend to take wilayat al-faqih in Iran more seriously though even if I don’t agree with all their views or politics, the hawzah tradition goes way back and deeply into the teachings and mysteries of Islam, actually a Shia friend of mine said one of her relatives went to study there and they teach them stuff almost like out-of-body experience, and it’s actually part of this sect to maintain secrecy for many reasons including political ones because of the inhumane persecution that Ahl Albayt faced, but also because the knowledge is supposed to be exceptionally passed from Imam to Imam only. I do believe the next renaissance of Islam will come from that source, the whole mess is a metaphysical reaction because the other sects are so cut off from the original source of initiation. And you’re every bit right in your skepticism as why only Iran is dangerous to have nuclear weapons.

  305. Andy @ #329 – your calling cards are bright, eye-catching and effective.

    It may be that in your next run, you might decide that, for sense and legibility, you want to add “-ly” – as in “currentLY out of stock”… 🙂

    I have no smartphone, so I cannot test this, but does this QR code lead to any specific website? Or is it a dummy? Curious people want to know!

    Best wishes with an excellent thought-provoker.

  306. @Rose kinda like the psoaz muscles and how basically a lot of lower back issues come from not working out that one muscle, usually as a result of sitting down for nong periods of time. Hurts like a mf working on it especially because it requires deep massage and it’s in a rather tender/vulnerable spot. The best thing to do to avoid running into the same issues again is to stretch/work out especially the core muscles.

  307. re: nuclear reactors

    All of you are missing the most critical part of why they’re no longer valid. And that is society is too dumb and barbaric to handle them safely any more. When math is racist, when 2 + 2 = petunia, nuclear is off the table.

  308. @ princess curltekitten #244

    I had a few wierd dreams the past few weeks. Somewhat vivid and was certainly being taught and mentored by someone vastly stronger and more intelligent than me. Can’t get the thought of a talking deer with wierd human like eyes teaching me Qabalah out of my head…

  309. Cary # 336
    The thing to remember is most people using tech haven’t a clue what goes into it. The statement from your Dr’s office “She said, “I didn’t know it requires Chrome…. You know, *most* people use their *phones*.” shows this nicely. There are also a lot of people who have only a smart phone as their only computer. The farmer problem shows this cluelessness, too. With them, I’d suggest a text to check what their hours are on the day would help. As far as the Dr, they have nothing to do with what browser is supported. Since you know it’s Chrome, either use the spouses’ machine, or get it yourself. Banging one’s head against tech ignorance is a waste of time and energy, because THEY are clueless

  310. @Cary re #336

    I buy my meats from the local food coop and there is a local farm on the outskirts of my town which accommodates visitors. While they do have an on-line presence, they make allowances for those who choose to remain tech-free.

    Doctors appointments are done face-to-face. Somebody would have to twist my arm off before I would even consider a video appointment. Of course I have the advantage of being retired and living in a small town whereas in an urban area this would not be so doable.

    The problem is not so much the tech as how it being used, namely for every single activity we could possibly engage in. The result is that you are now seeing what John referred to as the ‘law of diminishing returns’. We are getting less and less bang for our bucks as time goes on. This can’t last of course. At some point, this is all going to collapse into a miserable steaming heap, probably sooner rather than later. I saw the writing on the wall yesterday when I called 911 for my brother and was put on hold by an automated voice for nearly 15 seconds before someone picked up. I didn’t even know they had call waiting. Live and learn.

  311. What do you think of Will Durant’s 11 volume History of Civilization? I started on the first volume and am enjoying particularly the history of Egypt. His writing style is unpretentious and he seems to truly enjoy and appreciate each culture and time period. Refreshing to read someone who just enjoys the past!

  312. It’s not just truck decals, it seems:

    https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/587431-the-constitution-isnt-working?rnd=1640648206

    The ending argument:

    Thomas Jefferson once remarked, “I hold it that a little rebellion every now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical.” Let’s face facts: The Constitution isn’t working. It’s time for a little rebellion.

    I must admit my concern.

  313. @Robert Mathiesen

    To put it bluntly, in the long run, no one is going to sacrifice their children’s future to save a bunch of snails and lizards. I would rather adapt to what is physically possible and what humans are capable of doing, rather than being sentimental.

    @ info

    I think the other parts of my comments cover this.

    You substitute some parts of the energy chain first, then move on to more difficult parts later.

  314. re: dreams

    I haven’t been having especially weird dreams lately, but did have a memorable one last night. My mother and grandmother both passed away years ago but sometimes I see them in my dreams. I miss them and am happy to see them there. Last night in the dream my mother told me that my grandmother was flying to Minneapolis. I said, Why?? Our family has/had no connections there. I kind of “saw” her getting on a plane with two turquoise suitcases. My mother told me, don’t ask, it’s better not to say anything. I didn’t understand that either. But when I woke up I wondered if this meant that my grandmother was going to start her next life in Minneapolis soon. Any thoughts?

    Chris in VT

  315. @ clay dennis

    2 points, first about NuScale, second about the broader picture.

    You should provide some citations for your claims about Nuscale because I don’t see them.

    1a) You say “Right now there own info predicts that once these are scaled up and mass produced in a factory they will cost over $5000 per KW of output to build”

    Actually, their own website says $3600 per KW. And, reportedly, recent improvements to their reactor design have resulted in even lower cost estimates of $2,850.

    Sources:
    https://www.nuscalepower.com/newsletter/nucleus-spring-2020/featured-topic-cost-competitive

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3634464-nuscales-small-nuclear-reactor-can-produce-25-percent-power-expected

    1b) You say ” If all the research and tests go well they are predicting that the NRC will give them a license to run an actual atomic powered test model at a national site in 2030.

    Nuscale has already completed their design certification. Looks like they have plans for a first reactor in 2026.

    Sources:
    https://www.nuscalepower.com/newsletter/nucleus-spring-2019/powering-the-next-generation-of-nuclear

    https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/NuScale-SMR-receives-US-design-certification-appro

    —————————————————————————————-

    2) The bigger picture is that alternate ways of building nuclear exist. Maybe NuScale doesn’t work out. OK. Well, just a few months ago, China recently built a full 200 MW pebble bed nuclear reactor. Decades ago, Oak Ridge operated a molten salt reactor.

    Point is, it should be within the laws of physics to build nuclear cheaply, especially when entire countries get half their electricity supply with more primitive designs. I’m sorry your plant in Oregon didn’t work out, but it’s not appropriate to generalize one instance to the rest of the world, or what is within the laws of physics.

    Sources:
    https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/china-puts-pioneering-pebble-bed-nuclear-reactor-into-operation-2021-12-20/

    Now, nuclear has high cost relative to natural gas but that’s only upfront installation costs. In practice, society would combine nuclear with low installation cost renewables. Nuclear would provide a baseload to cover. This would make the costs more bearable.

  316. @JMG

    I’ve spent a little while looking for any introductory remarks on both your Golden Section and Sacred Geometry books, but completely failed to find anything. I know that there’s been a considerable production delay so I may not have delved deep enough. I’ve got a notion that you recently wrote that they are compatible though.

    Could you say something briefly about them, or provide a link where you have said something?

    @Sebastian – and there I was thinking that I had been badly bitten by the bug! I have a particular soft spot for Carcasonne as it was the first game I bought in the hope that my family would think it was fun. I have many happy memories of time spent on that one.

  317. Greetings!

    Re: the energy predicament and renewables, Alice Friedemann (www.energyskeptic.com) has a new book out:
    _Life after Fossil Fuels_.

    I found two good interviews with her on YT, one with D. Jensen (co-author of _Bright Green Lies_).

    Also, Joseph Tainter is still teaching; he’s added a measuring gauge (to help “see” the collapse of civilizations): the rate of innovation. He sees the rate of innovation in steep decline.
    (Also recent interviews/podcasts on YT.)

    It’s pretty grim.
    So, now for something completely different, courtesy of Dmitri Orlov’s wicked sense of humor, this “Insane TESLA Model S Explosion” by his disappointed Finnish owner:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7_9aVzf5C4

    (complete with “Elon Mask” in effigy!)

    Cheers!

  318. JMG, you have recommended looking at the climate of the hypsitherm (around 7000-6000 years ago) as an approximation of what the climate in a future warmer North America would look like. That sounds reasonable as a first-order approximation (though I would like to also look at the last interglacial or even the Pliocene wherever regional data are available), and it agrees with the weather trends observed in the last few years: drying out and heating of the West, continued precipitation and possibly slight warming in the East.

    The hypsitherm is usually called the Mid-Holocene Optimum in Europe and Africa because it brought both higher temperatures and also more rainfall in today’s arid regions. However, taking the Mid-Holocene Optimum as an approximation of future climate doesn’t fit with the trends of the last decades in these continents, which rather suggest increased aridity. Do you know of any research that suggests why precipitation patterns in these regions in a warming planet would diverge from the Mid-Holocene Optimum?

  319. Michael, I doubt that the Bible tells us to loot after the poor. Perhaps we are meant to look after them. However I did enjoy the slip.

  320. @RusTheRook (#352) wrote: “no one is going to sacrifice their children’s future to save a bunch of snails and lizards.”

    The ecosystem is not just “a bunch of snails and lizards.” Please tell me (but only if it is true) that those words were just a piece of over-the-top rhetoric on your part, and do not represent the measure of actual contempt in which you hold the global ecosystem as a whole.

    As the ecosystem goes, so goes humankind. Not all the human intelligence in the universe can provide humanity with a life worth living outside of the global ecosystem–no more than it can ever find a way to break any of the adamantine chains of reality that bind us all! As the quip goes, “Reality is that which will kill you even if you don’t believe in it.”

    If you manage to give your own children such a future as you envision, then you condemn your great-great-(ever so many times) great-grandchildren to short and miserable lives forever after.

    ——–

    Also, if you had written “hardly anyone” instead of “no one,” I might concede your point. But I note that my wife and I raised our own children by example–they are now both over 50 years old–to make do with as little as possible in their own adult lives, and the lesson in frugality seems to have taken.

  321. Hi RusTheRook,

    Your obsession with nuclear energy bores me.

    Any system is only ever as good as the availability of all of the items upon which the system requires.

    Basically it doesn’t matter how cheap some company or research institute says they can build a plant for if say, the right sand for the production of concrete of such a facility becomes limited in supply – as it is.

    Widen your lens.

    Cheers

    Chris

  322. @Rus #354

    In practice, society would combine nuclear with low installation cost renewables.

    There is no such thing as “low installation cost renewables”. I challenge you to find one that isn’t highly subsidized as they simply aren’t economical on their own merits.

    I’d also avoid citing nuclear industry press releases as their history of delays and cost overruns would make military contractors blush.

  323. RustheRook, I doubt I know enough about astrology and about Southeast Asian culture and history–if someone would like to recommend good books available in English on history of East Asia, Southeast Asia and India, I would be most grateful–to ask useful questions. One thing that has both fascinated and puzzled me is varying doctrines of elements. Western tradition from the earliest times recognizes four, earth, air, fire and water. No, Empedocles didn’t invent this notion. Chinese tradition adds metal, would that be made metal, as by a blacksmith, or minerals like gold and silver?

  324. Your Kittenship, I have no idea. Dream interpretation isn’t one of my talents.

    Info, all I’m suggesting is that your generalizations may be, ahem, a bit premature.

    Austin, oh, fashionable elite technologies rarely survive. That’s why it’s so important to get solar water heating back into use more generally. The other items I named — shortwave radio and light aircraft — will survive because they’re immensely valuable in a military context; look up sometime how many battles were lost because the general couldn’t find out what was happening on the other side of the hills.

    As for an Ecosophia marketplace, I think it’s a fine idea but it’s not something I have the time or skills to set up and manage. If you feel inspired to do this, I’d encourage you to start setting up the website and I’ll link to it in the sidebar and give it publicity.

    TJ, I’ll definitely consider that. More generally, I think it may be time for another reminder that the one-track future of the modern imagination is a delusional fantasy, and that the future is far more interesting and has far more wide a range of possibilities than current popular culture will let itself imagine.

    Yorkshire, you need to find a competent specialist, and fairly soon. It sounds as though you’ve injured yourself rather badly.

    Denis, that sounds like an extremely good plan. Keep detailed notes and take photos, and write a book about your experiences after the first year — my guess is that it’ll sell like hotcakes.

    Ksim, the Long Descent is already happening. Of course elites are trying to stave it off by investing heavily in vaporware, but their serfs are walking off the job — here in the US, something like four million people have walked away from officially recognized employment, and the economy’s lurching and grinding as a result. That’s just going to accelerate as we proceed. The price of oil remains well above $70 a barrel, Europe’s facing rolling blackouts because green energy is too unreliable, and the resources needed for the AI-based Tomorrowland simply don’t exist. So now’s not the time to despair — quite the contrary, I’m feeling more hopeful than I have in a while. I may be posting about that in early January, so stay tuned…

    Chris, I did indeed notice both of those — and there’s something about wombats that makes them unavoidable subjects of discussion. 😉

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    Drew, it’s one of those chicken-and-egg questions. What we know is that urbanization is very common during the early phases of decline, sucking in a lot of population from the agricultural hinterlands, and depopulation tends to pick up speed thereafter.

    Reese, funny.

    Luke, thanks for this!

    David BTL, not at all! It’s a tacit admission that The Future™ is not going to happen in the real world, and so they’re fleeing to an electronic hallucination where they can pretend that everything’s fine. Years ago I wrote a very, very harsh little short story about virtual reality with that theme. As for cutting military pay, it’s the classic marker of a regime that’s about to go under.

    Chronojourner, the audiobook of Innsmouth has sold very slowly, so it’s well down the list of projects for the producer, who has to do stuff to pay his bills. As for the downloading, it was complicated. The first book, Innsmouth, poured itself into my brain more or less intact; so did The Shoggoth Concerto, and so did certain scenes, incidents, and images in the other volumes. The rest I had to work to get.

    Cloven, that seems like a sensible analysis to me. The US is coming apart as a major power but nobody knows yet just how far down the slope it is, and so hostile powers are probing cautiously, like wolves circling a big but ailing elk. They can afford to be patient.

    Deneb Algedi, yep. Rock, meet hard place! It promises to be a very, very eventful year.

    JeffBKLYN, no, I’m not familiar with it.

    Kecky, I may still do that post someday.

    Cary, I don’t deal with businesspeople who can’t come up with a coherent schedule or who demand this or that bit of electronic gimmickry. The kind of thing you’ve described is simple incompetence on their part, and I figure that if they’re incompetent that way, they may be incompetent in other ways.

    NomadicBeer, that’s the conventional wisdom of our time — a disastrous narrowing of the imagination that leads people to think that there are no alternatives to the present or the (fake) Tomorrowland future but some rigidly defined point in the past. I encourage you to try to break out of that mental prison and imagine futures that are less dull.

    Tidlösa, exactly. The Modernist clergy are finally being honest with themselves and admitting that they never really did believe in God; notice that Myers admits that the people he doesn’t like are still following their religious beliefs.

    Denis, it’s very fun stuff! We had a set when I was in my teens, and I read them many times. There are some minor inaccuracies here and there, but by and large it’s pretty good as an overview.

    David BTL, the Left has been whining about the Constitution for some time now, since it doesn’t allow them to get everything they want. I wonder if they’ve considered what will happen to them if their Constitutional protections go away…

    Andy, I’ve posted something here.

    PG, thanks for all of these! I’ll have to check out Tainter’s piece in particular — if he can document the collapse in the rate of innovation, that’s a crucial point.

    Aldarion, I don’t know any research into that at all. I don’t think it’s a field that’s gotten any significant funding!

  325. JMG, you’ve mentioned that eating meat, especially red meat, can help keep a person grounded. Do you think it makes a difference if the meat we eat is “organic,” “no antibiotics,” “free range,” etc.?

  326. Tidlösa, exactly. The Modernist clergy are finally being honest with themselves and admitting that they never really did believe in God; notice that Myers admits that the people he doesn’t like are still following their religious beliefs.

    Something is missing here. Yes, the people who are staying might believe in SOMETHING, but can you really call whatever it is that they claim to believe in to be Christianity, when their professed beliefs are rooted in ethnic nationalism, greed, bigotry, misogyny and cultural superiority, all of which are a complete anathema to everything that Christianity is supposed to stand for.

  327. David, about reducing the pay of the military,

    I disagree with JMG about this. I think they reduce the pay because they can.
    Simply put, the military has become another form of welfare – mostly for billionaires but also for some poor people. Just look at the way they all folded to the fox requirements.

    JMG, about some dem politicians deciding not to go for reelection. They have gotten their millions and they are just leaving to enjoy. I don’t see that as a weakness, on the contrary they feel like they have won. Plus, like someone else mentioned, most of the republicans are no better – they are bought just the same.

    I think we are seeing the end of the republic in US. It was corrupt and directionless for decades but now it is over. Next year elections will see some obvious vote fraud if there are any candidates that are against the current narratives.

    The fact that the republic is failing is surprisingly irrelevant to most people’s lives though. I expect more states to become de facto independent of federal bureaucracy and some people’s lives might improve. This is all as some of the scenarios you described in your books and blogs, so it’s not a surprise for me.

  328. JMG, about the future looking like the past,

    I think you misunderstand me (or I you). I think the coming dark ages will be similar to previous ones – you mentioned this a number of times. You think they are going to be different?

    Obviously, the civilizations that will rise after will all be different and explore new ways of being human.

    Going back to my original point, the fact that most people will not see a radio or fly in a plane is not something that bothers me. Most people will have meaningful happy lives in a local, structured hopefully stable environment – is that so bad?

  329. It is now very late in the cycle, but I wanted to leave here the results of a preliminary search on the relevance of the Mid-Holocene for future climate projections. Most papers I have found using the following search key https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=%28%22climate+projection%22+OR+greenhouse+OR+%22future+climate%22%29+%28%22mid-holocene%22+OR+%22late+atlantic%22+OR+hypsitherm%29&btnG= propose that the Mid-Holocene is not a good model for greenhouse warming because the Mid-Holocene warming was due to a different distribution of solar irradiation between latitudes and between seasons, while the greenhouse effect is supposed to act in a more homogeneous fashion. However, they do recognize that some aspects may be similar.

    The monsoons were stronger in the Mid-Holocene than now, but the North American monsoon is rather weak and only reaches northward to Arizona and New Mexico. Monsoons are expected to not become as strong in the future as they were in the Mid-Holocene: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2018GL081589

    For the Arctic: https://cp.copernicus.org/articles/15/1375/2019/

    Current models seem to have difficulties in understanding why the Sahara became so green in the Mid-Holocene. This needs to be improved before one can begin to trust projections of future precipitation: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2020GL092043. In fact, some models predict increased precipitation in what is now the Sahara in a warmer future, though recent decades don’t look like it! https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/30/19/jcli-d-16-0299.1.xml

  330. @patriciaormsby – you’re welcome on my earlier response. I think your observations of celestial events relative to local landmarks is interesting, as I thought it would be nice to duplicate a portion of some of the places constructed for such purposes. One is Mystical Horizons, near where my cousin lives in North Dakota and a place I visited this summer, and is based somewhat on Stonehenge. I don’t see why a solar clock or something similar couldn’t be a part of one’s garden….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystical_Horizons

  331. Hello everyone. Lots of interesting comments. Just a thought on some of the topics covered: what is real is not what is imagined to be real. I’m as guilty as anyone of this. JMG, coming from the background that you do, are you predicting a future based on what you want, or what is likely?
    It could turn out that Gaia can exist in a much reduced complexity (it already is), and after some adjustment, we might be living in a stable but very dull world with nothing but soya plantations, algae farms, megacities, etc. Basically a giant airport departure lounge where the shit is dealt with out of sight by serfs, guarded by high tech mercenaries, while the 1% glide about on top in a giant mall. Nobody would miss the redwoods because nobody remembers them (like Elms here in the UK, or pub music for that matter).
    Ecovillages/farms/etc would be Reclaimed for Development, everyone will be in the Metaverse and love it, and freedom will not be missed because this is fine: we are all healthy, having fun, and not getting all dirty, and we don’t remember before.
    What if industrial civilisation can continue? No other civilisation had crispr, or carbon nanotubes, etc.
    Personally, this sounds like hell to me, but the future hasn’t happened yet and wishing for something isn’t the same as what will be.
    Same goes for US military spending, Covid, nuclear power, astrology, etc.

  332. re: the military personnel giving in to the vax – recall that a significant number of enlisted personnel are not U.S. citizens. They came to the country illegally and are promised citizenship upon completion of military service. Others are promised significant bonuses ($20 or more) for reenlistment plus there is the hefty pension and college benefits. Many likely shrugged it off as another annoying thing to do on the endless list of annoying things they are required to do as part of their daily life in the military. If one’s job is to kill on command without questioning it, how much internal debate do you think individuals did in the matter?

  333. >I think we are seeing the end of the republic in US

    I reckon the Republic died sometime between the start of the Great Depression and the end of WW2. Even when JFK got shot and the people who did it got away with it, that was just when it became obvious.

    They didn’t get around to it all until recently though. Back in the day, they were a lot more careful about keeping up appearances.

  334. John–

    Re the Constitution and its discontents

    You understand my concern, though. Any government, ours included, rises and falls on its legitimacy (or, as the Duke of Chu put it so eloquently, the Mantle of Heaven). If disdain and discontent with the constitutional framework and its inherent limits become widespread across the political spectrum, then its basis erodes considerably. I’m open to (and would advocate for) some significant changes via the prescribed methods–preferably via a convention of the states, as that is the best way to propose amendments reigning in the power of the federal government–but I would not be in favor of a revolution overturning the entire constitutional order, which could very much be in the cards if its legitimacy weakens enough.

  335. A correction:

    I meant “Mandate”, not “Mantle” (though I think that works too!)

  336. @ RusTheRook #352

    “no one is going to sacrifice their children’s future to save a bunch of snails and lizards.”

    I’m pretty sure Chairman Mao thought along those lines back in 1958 when he decreed all sparrows should be killed because they ate too much grain. Unfortunately for him (and the Chinese population), in nature everything is connected. Consequently…

    “With no sparrows to eat them, locust populations ballooned, swarming the country and compounding the ecological problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward, including widespread deforestation and misuse of poisons and pesticides.Ecological imbalance is credited with exacerbating the Great Chinese Famine. The Chinese government eventually resorted to importing 250,000 sparrows from the Soviet Union to replenish their population.” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Pests_campaign

  337. JMG thank for you the encouragement for the great grandparent’s project. I’ve noticed in the last two years of (almost) daily journaling many things. Top of my mind these days is drift. I have a tendency to drift if I’m not aware of it and it seems like my most effective tool to keep the drift from occurring is a daily log of some sort. Sure goals are nice but consistent effort and recording it seems more effective for me.

    Also glad to hear Durant isn’t some horrid waste of time. The books seem to be easy reading and I’m enjoying filling in the gaps of what I don’t know about history. Lots of those!

  338. @marlena13 #347

    Thanks!

    I wasn’t trying to get the doctor’s office to change it, I was trying to get them to start telling people that they would need Chrome for video appointments *at the time of scheduling them*. So they wouldn’t find out at the last minute like I did and potentially be late and throw off the doctor’s schedule. Do you think most people are so clueless they can’t even do that?

    “With [the farmer], I’d suggest a text to check what their hours are on the day would help.”

    Oh, I forgot to mention! They don’t reply to questions that they think you should be able to find the answer to on your own. They didn’t reply to the text I did send until I followed up with a text explaining that their email, website, and Facebook all had different hours listed and that’s why I was asking.

    I mean yeah it is pretty annoying but I’m also pretty sure it’s because they’re stretched very thin. So they only reply to the texts that seem super urgent.

    @Jeanne #349

    Thanks!

    I’m in a small town too. I have to see a doctor in this specialty regularly for a condition I was born with. My choices are this practice, which is within walking distance of my house, or else one of the practices that are an hour’s drive away in the city. This practice now requires a negative PCR test for entry, so I bet many people will go with video visits now. That’s why I was worried about other patients also possibly being surprised by the Chrome requirement.

    With the farmer too, they’re the locals. They’re my small town’s “farm on the outskirts.” I can even (barely) walk to them. That’s why I’ve stuck with them for so long.

    @JMG

    “I figure that if they’re incompetent that way, they may be incompetent in other ways.”

    I must admit, I have had this thought before!

    So…maybe the issue is just my town.

    “I saw the writing on the wall yesterday when I called 911 for my brother and was put on hold by an automated voice for nearly 15 seconds before someone picked up. I didn’t even know they had call waiting. Live and learn.”

    (Yikes, hope your brother is OK!)

    That reminds me of articles I’ve seen about how Australia’s apparently long-established emergency number call waiting now keeps people on hold for very long times, leading to deaths. :search: This isn’t the article I saw before, but it’s about the same incident: https://www.kidspot.com.au/news/victorian-dad-dies-after-waiting-15-minutes-on-hold-with-triple-zero/news-story/309e231f050d59fa428b7d36a145bad6?nk=b0eb89839f50e989fd25a2b33beac6b7-1640784360

    I’ve gathered that the call waiting system is “ESTA” and the emergency number is 000 / “triple zero”–the article I was remembering went into more detail about the difficulty they’ve been having getting ESTA and 000 to work together as intended.

    Maybe that’s what any area should expect to eventually happen after adding call waiting to the emergency number. :facepalm:

  339. I don’t know whether to post this on the COVID blog or here. But yesterday’s Gainesville Sun had a long article on the reporting and non-reporting of COVID deaths nationwide. The COVID symptoms the article reports that were put down to heart failure or to senility by overworked doctors and medical examiners sounded very like the “fox” symptoms you and the commentariat have been reporting on for just as long. This led to a long revelation that displaced my am meditation that day.

    1. Your side and the other side are looking at opposite sides of the same coin. My original vision was “two blind men groping opposite ends of the elephant in the room.”

    2. Both the virus and the vaxx side effects are real and are very similar and are both menaces to public health. Both sides are downplaying the reality of the other end of the elephant lest it dilute the very real menace of their end.

    3. One side is spending a lot of mental effort wondering why the other is a endangering public health because they are hysterical, controlling, and start, raving mad. Bananas up the wall. Utter lunatics. The other is spending somewhat less time wondering with the idiot yahoos of the first side and endangering public health for idiot yahoo reasons. Both images – I say this because I actually an very well acquainted with actual human beings on the’ hysterical, stark raving, etc side of the fence’ are caricatures. Even though there are such people in their ranks. The vast majority of them totally believe what they are preaching, for reasons that seem very good to them: to wit, the other side IS endangering public health by ignoring half the facts. This is a bipartisan problem.

    4. Conspiracy theories as well – one plausible one is that certain people with the sort of power thst considers huge institutions to be mere tools have a vested interest in Scrooge’s “Let them die and reduce the surplus population – so we don’t have to feed them.” On another front, “Let them die and reduce the surplus population to spare the ecology, which has gone into severe overshoot.” a.k.a. “Can you spell ‘fanatic?’

    5. Finally, if that old standby of “God, Motherhood, and Apple Pie” was considered to be the property of right, the left would be rooting up apple trees and stigmatizing those who ever baked an apple pie. And if a spokesperson from the left said the Sun rose in the east, the right would promptly start their mornings at sunset. Such is the insane polarization of our times.

    6. Come to think of it, “God, Motherhood, and The American Flag” seems to have become the property of the right, which is retorting with “Atheism, Abortion, and Anti-Americanism.”

    Oh, well, Strauss & Howe pointed out long ago that in times like these, “The Silent will be anguished, but had better stand, by, shut up, and help the young pick up the pieces.”
    And since none if this is within my control, Voltaire had the last word, “Cultivate your garden.” And that Candide should try to forget that France was falling apart all around him and just try to survive.

    But do,please, all of you, consider what I said in the first 3 paragraphs.

    The Grey Badger, on the way downstairs to check on the laundry. Which is within my control

  340. P.S. @JMG – since the article was not in yesterday’s USA Today, will clip it and send it to you, unless you found it elsewhere.

  341. @ Robert Mathiesen

    You’re right. That was over the top rhetoric. I can get a little “enthusiastic” online.

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

    That being said…….

    > If you manage to give your own children such a future as you envision

    It’s not a question of what future I want to give my children. Indeed I am quite frugal in my own personal life. I live in a small apartment and don’t even own a car. Like Greer, I walk everywhere. Indeed, my worldview and Greer’s are quite similar.

    The question is what other people around me want.

    I think most people will sacrifice the environment for their wellbeing, even if that means they are impoverished in some ways. Since I think these people are going to win, I would rather adapt and preserve what is valuable within the context of that world, rather than seek what is ideal.

    You guys at ecosophia deserve recognition for pushing people to recognize the intrinsic value nature has. “Snails and lizards” DO have intrinsic value. But…… we should still pursue nuclear energy as much as we can, and work to harmonize both values if possible.

  342. @ Chris at Fernglade Farm

    Just a general comment to the people saying the nuclear/renewable supply chain depends on oil.

    It doesn’t matter as much as you think that the nuclear supply chain depends on oil.

    If the energy from nuclear or renewables substitutes for energy that would have been supplied by oil, that leaves more oil to supply the nuclear supply chain.

    This means that these supply chains can last for an extremely long period, far past the period of peak oil, even if oil is still required.

  343. @RusTheRook (#385):

    Thank you for clearing that up for me. I had been wondering.

    If we’re talking about the majority of people, sadly I have to agree with you. So its hard times ahead, and getting harder …

    One of the old Delphic maxims was “nothing to excess.” I’m not against a modest public investment in economically sustainable nuclear power, without perpetual government subsidies. It is Time that will tell, not I, whether there can be such a thing.

  344. JMG,

    here’s one reference:

    Lobo, J., J.A.Tainter, and D. Strumsky. Productivity of Invention.
    In Leadership in Science and Technology: A Reference Handbook,
    ed. by William Sims Bainbridge, pp. 289-297. Sage Publications,
    Los Angeles, 2012.

    Separately, a British (Renegade) RT(?) interview with Tainter

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w9LL5zlZrVc

    is a bit weird but makes the curious point that the end-of-empire panem et circensem are often accompanied by Celebrity Chefs!

    Cheers!

  345. @Robert Mathieson,

    That was one thing I learned from Sun Tsu’s Art of War. It’s a totally different thing to fight to defend your homes and families than it is to go to some other country at the behest of your leadership and start killing people. I’d wager most countries would take the same approach if troops were coming and in raping their daughters and murdering their sons.

    Not every country is sitting on an old Soviet stockpile of doomsday weapons, though. They might actually have a death star… or enough nukes to simulate one.

    In the age of resource scarcity I expect the resource wars to start. Things could get ugly within the next decade.

    Sincerely
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  346. @Denis #309

    That sounds to me like an interesting, worthwhile project but it doesn’t sound like a “one-year” project. I’m going to mention a few things about the way I grow and preserve food, things you might start thinking about.

    Lettuce is the first thing I plant in the spring. The first step is preparing the beds in the fall – adding compost to the soil and a selection of organic fertilizers. Young plants need soft soil with air pockets to grow in. You do this prep in the fall – if you wait until spring you spent a lot of time waiting for the soil to dry out enough to be workable. (You might look at the Down to Earth webpage to get an idea of possible fertilizers.)
    https://www.downtoearthdistributors.com/natural-fertilizer
    https://www.downtoearthdistributors.com/free-organic-gardening-guide

    I buy lettuce starts from local nurseries, which use greenhouses to get an early start on the season. At the same time I save some space around the edges of my bed, and I plant lettuce seeds. Lettuce prefers some sunlight to help it germinate, so you cover the lettuce seeds just with a tiny sprinkling of dirt. You thin the seeds and by the time the first planting has been eaten you have lots of baby lettuces to move into the empty space.

    Tomatoes – fresh for eating, also for canning. I buy tomato plants in gallon containers. I grow small fruited varieties – my favorites are Sungold, Sweet Million, Early Girl, and perhaps Cherry Indigo. When I plant them I use use “Kozy Coats” or something similar to offer extra warmth early in the growing season. If I were planning to can tomatoes, I would buy Romas at the farmers market, at the height of the season when the cost is lowest.

    I freeze cherries and blueberries and strawberries. When it comes to cherries and blueberries I buy them by the flat, put them on a cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen solid I bring them back into the kitchen and put 3 cups or so in each plastic bag. I suck all the air out of the plastic bag with my mouth and put a twist tie around it. Then I put that bag inside another plastic bag suck all the air out, put a twist tie, and use masking tape to label the bag with the year. You can buy fancy gadgets to suck all the air out of the bag but I find this works well for me. If you don’t suck the air out of the bag then the berries won’t keep very long they get sort of frost on them. I wash the fruit after I take them out of the bag when I’m about to use them.

    Strawberries contain lots of water, so I use a completely different method. I rinse them off, cut off the green leaves, and blend them. Then I fill up small plastic containers and freeze them.
    One container will go nicely into a milkshake. They take much less space in the freezer than if I froze the individual berries.

    All of these methods are just the way I ended up doing things. Other people have developed different methods. You will end up developing your own methods after a lot of trial and error. You will probably grow things I don’t grow. So this is why it’s hard for me to think of it as a one-year project …. It goes on from year to year, preparing for the spring lettuce while you’re eating the carrots you planted in July. Then preparing for the tomatoes while you’re eating the lettuce. Then preparing for the fall cole crops and beets and carrots and more lettuce while you’re eating the tomatoes.

    A couple more very basic things: to grow food, you need sunlight. As you plan your garden, you need to figure out what areas get sunlight, and which are shaded. It will be different in the spring, when the sun is low in the sky compared to mid-June when the sun is at its highest.
    Also, as you plan your garden, keep in mind that you need to rotate your crops. I grow tomatoes in a bed, and then I grow something else in that bed for the next three years. The reason is that if you grow tomatoes in the same bed year after year you are much more likely to have tomato diseases.

    These are just a few thoughts, a few first responses to your project. I recommend Steve Solomon’s book, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, the 2007 or 2015 editions.
    This is a wonderful book even if you don’t live west of the Cascades.

    Good luck with your project!

    PS It just occurred to me that your grandparents probably did canning but not freezing. In the next couple of years you might learn about food preservation methods that were used earlier and might be useful in coming years.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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