Open Post

February 2020 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

With that said, have at it!


  1. JMG, do you have any comment/prediction on the current coronavirus situation… maybe along the lines of what you wrote about the ebola situation a few years ago?

  2. Two unrelated items…

    The first item I ran across a while back, and it struck me as the kind of trend you’d expect to see given the innovation/performance dynamic at work ( Back in the day, there were lucrative opportunities to set up a workshop and build widgets for a market that had none. Now, one can develop a refined design for a widget flux capacitor spanner and build a giant high-tech factory to manufacture them for folks who need their capacitors spanned a bit more efficiently. Hence, as we exhaust the easiest opportunities, interest rates have a long-term trend down.

    The second item comes to me from someone who was present when this happened. At a recent Pagan convention, a certain Big Name Pagan decided to do a binding ritual against Trump in the middle of a class. Mind you, there was nothing in this class’s description that suggested there would be a binding, or indeed anything political at all. I don’t know how this person thought it was a sensible idea to do a political ritual with A) a group of people who aren’t expecting it, and B) who the Big Name Pagan doesn’t know, let alone what their allegiances (political or otherwise) are. There were 60 or so people present, so even if most Pagans aren’t Trump fans there’s still a fair chance at least one Trump supporter — or even just someone in the mood to cause some mischief — was present.

    Happily, my friend, despite being very anti-Trump, had the good sense not to contribute to that working.

  3. Dear JMG and commentariat,

    Thanks for this! Something I’ve been meditating on — and even posted on my blog — is the idea that the Mandatory Cult of Niceness, the War on Boys, the entire Social Justice policing might in part be considered a battle against a certain archetype in the American psyche, that is Tom Sawyer. This then can help explain the senseless rise of evil magic as it allows for Tom Sawyer-type activities of digging holes in graveyards, leaving things at crossroads, and fooling around with candles, along with the problems of road rage, teenage gangs, lone-wolf shooters, and the like. It seems a lot of these behaviors are terrible manifestations of the same impulse that leads one to wander into a fetid marsh, climb a tree to scout about, or catch some fish for dinner.

    Basically, I wonder how much the Magical Resistance may express something more than the return of the repressed, how much it may express an archetype akin to Wotan in Jung’s famous essay, that is, the awakening of Tom Sawyer who, we read, goes with Huck Finn to the graveyard with a dead cat to meet the Devil to cure warts — an inexpressible *bad* idea! How much of this recourse to magic is simply a specific puerile psychic force seeking expression in unhealthy ways since salubrious expression is foreclosed?

    Part of the reason I suspect this may be so is the desperate look of longing I get from most men when I describe my adventures riding trains, hitch hiking, squatting, and playing my Tom Sawyer to the hilt. There tends to be a look of longing, of regret, the look of a wounded animal. I always find this look very eerie and encourage folks to simply stick out their thumbs, carry a knife, find a friend, and ramble on, but very few people have followed through.

    This then would be a specific pathology of the European Pseudomorphosis. And indeed, this seems like it was a huge factor in the US Civil War. The Union armies from the more settled East were no match against the rough-and-ready Tom Sawyer armies of the Confederacy, here I think especially of Jeb Stuart who had a banjo player on staff so he could go into battle with strum-strum music playing! The adventures of Jeb Stuart — not to mention Nathan Bedford Forrest — are straight out of Mark Twain.

    And then comes US Grant and William T. Sherman and their Western Armies of Tom Sawyers and the Union side finally gives a good showing. What is the Vicksburg campaigns but the sort of thing that Twain wrote about — all of the fruitless canal building, the crazed plans, the endless frustration, the reckless march on Jackson and then Vicksburg — all of it seems the stuff of grown up Tom Sawyers.

    To my mind, that is perhaps why Tom Sawyer is always a child — because the structures of the Pseudmorphosis don’t allow him to grow up, and one can view the Western Expansion of the United States as folks fleeing the Pseudomorphosis they then inevitably implement. Saliently, reading European literature I never get the sense of Tom Sawyer characters. I’ve never encountered a Tom Sawyer in Dickens or other authors that cover similar ground. Tom Sawyer might, then, be unique to the genius of North America.

    And so I ask you JMG and commentariat what you may think of this idea — that Tom Sawyer may be an archetype indigenous to North America and that many of the social pathologies around us can may find reasonable explanation in the idea that the Tom Sawyers within the psyches of the inhabitants of this land remain largely thwarted?

  4. Hi John,
    How can I explain the nightmares to my six years old daughter? There is an occult aspect to them?

    Thank you,

  5. Hello JMG,

    I have been waiting for weeks for the chance to ask you this:

    Regarding the Superbowl half-time show. I didn’t watch it (or the game) but there were many reports of the J-Lo/Shakira “Fertility Dance”.

    Now I’m not the kinda guy to begrudge any lady a chance to do a “Fertility Dance”. Especially when done by very fit and talented ladies … but I’m very curious what you think it says about Western culture that said dance are being performed by 40&50 year old women.

    Low-to-no fertility women doing fertility dances seems to fit within the pattern of elite senility that you have brought many times but very curious on your take. Maybe I’m reading too much into what was probably a good time for all involved …

    Feel free to ignore this question if you don’t want trolls.feminists or other nutters ruining your blog. I’d rather have no answer than no Ecosophia Open posts!

  6. JMG: RE: The Locust swarms. I am stretching memory a bit, but my brother was in the navy back in the 60’s, at one time working on fire control radar. It has long been known that a radar transmitter is a big open ended microwave oven, so, after repairing one, they saw this unfortunate duck flying over, aimed the transmitter at it and fired. The duck hit the ground medium rare.
    I have since wondered what would happen if a suitable beam with a suitable wavelength was swept through a locust swarm. (I understand that the hind leg muscles make good eating.)
    I can’t possibly be the first to think of this.

  7. I’m curious what your current thoughts are about the various Medicaid For All programs floating around. About four years ago I thought it might be the best fix for our healthcare clustercuss, but I admit to (willingly) falling prey to Trump’s decentralizing spirit, as well as losing faith in the federal government to effectively administer such a program. Do you have a critique of MFA and do you see another near-term fix to our predicament? Thoughts from other commenters are also welcome.


  8. Good Day, sir.
    A couple of thoughts on architecture inspired by last weeks post.
    In Toronto, the city manager in the 1920s insisted that public buildings be beautiful, so this city is graced beautifully built buildings in Art Deco style, such as old incinerators, Electrical power transfer stations, and a magnificent water purification works that has been used for movie sets and in which people have had wedding photos taken. Really, the inside, amongst the machinery, is an elegant, beautiful space.
    Near me is a re-purposed incinerator built in 1927, when most of the refuse was organic, that was closed down in 1970 because most of the refuse was composed of… interesting… chemical products. These incinerators are now being re-purposed as, for example, an entertainment complex with a restaurant, a brewery pub, and some very elegant party rooms. A taste for architecture is returning.

    It occurred to me that modernism, beginning with Bauhaus, Gropius, Wright, LeCorbusier, & al. was a (possibly unconscious) attempt by designers who had survived the Great War to break from the past and they chose to reject any and everything that had reference to the Empires who had gone to war in 1914, and the arrogant attitude that had led there. They survived 4 years of slaughter on a scale hitherto unknown (e.g. 150,000 Austro-Hungarian deaths in the Carpathian mountains between January and March 1915 and the Russians had similar losses), including 1917 when a hundreds of thousands German civilians (to name just one nation) died of malnutrition, notwithstanding the casualties on the front lines. Moreover, the fighting on the western front stopped on 11 November 1918, but we in North America forget that wars continued across the rest of Europe and the Levant for the next 2 to 3 years as the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Czarist Russian Empires collapsed into anarchy and civil war as every ethnic group tried to grab as much land for their new republics as they could and as Bosheviks fomented violent revolutions everywhere across the continent. The political fighting continued throughout the 1920s and 1930s to the point where a couple of historians have suggested that there weren’t two wars, there was really only a second Thirty-years war.
    So I think it possible that these designers were rejecting everything from the past, hoping to create a new mindset from scratch in a new environment that would obviate the human desire for war.
    Or maybe they were just obsessed with the misery of the war years and this was their attempt to purge the trauma from their psyches.


  9. In your book Secrets of the Temple you discuss how these structures were built and designed. My garden is my ‘temple’ and my focused intent is to grow beautiful, healthy, nutritious food & flowers. Would it help to lay out my garden using sacred geometry proportions, and also attempt to accentuate the earth’s electro-magnetic energies in some way, possibly with copper spirals or some other simple device. Any suggestions appreciated.

  10. Dear Commentariat: Submitted for your review and approval is the following audio podcast conversation about the hubris and tragical downfall of the managerial elite. Far be it from me to test our host’s patience with blips of video, so be advised this is a purely audio interview for one’s listening meditation.

    Here is the link: Russell Brand & Adam Curtis “Under the Skin”

    Be warned in advance to marshal some patience to deal with the interviewer’s tomfoolery, as Russell can occasionally rise to the level of Lear’s fool with his wit and wisdom, but not in this show. In this interview, he is clearly bowled over by the erudition of his guest, the inimitable Adam Curtis, who calls him on his avoidant humor and patiently ploughs away at making his incisive intellectual points about the age of managerial elitism whose final act we’re witnessing in spite of it all. Thank goodness their off-stage relationship makes this a friendly contest of wills, egos and intellects that is as fun to follow as artful ring combat.

    For what it’s worth, Adam’s works of documentary video art are so genius at exposing the emotional manipulation of media image, music and political personality that I would invite our esteemed host to listen to them with the visuals turned off, as Adam’s narration is trenchant enough on its own accompanied only by his powerful selection of musical tone.

    Then, one might occasionally hit pause and examine the still image to which he’s exposing the audience if you’re interested in examining the multidimensional sigils, icons and idols that this wizard of the BBC archives is slinging onto the wall of postmodern phantasmagoria. He does exactly what he accuses the managerial elites of doing because he is one, he admits it through his art, and thus one may hear from the horse’s mouth what an heir of imperial elitism and beneficiary of central London managerialism really thinks is going on. I highly recommend beginning with his latest works that can be easily searched on YouTube, “Hypernormalisation” and “Bitter Lake” then working one’s way backward through his filmography for best results.

  11. JMG and all,
    Since people here were discussing the Irish election last week, I thought you might be interested in my article on it for the American Conservative:

    This could, to some extent, be seen as the overturning of old elites as you were talking about, but only to an extent; Sinn Fein is very pro-EU and not particularly opposed to globalization or immigration. Like Bernie, I suspect some elites are able to embrace them, while others are alarmed by them – not just because of their socialism, but because of their history.

  12. Mr. Greer,

    You are probably familiar with Robert Gordon’s book “The Rise and Fall of American Growth.” Briefly, the idea is that from the Industrial Revolution to WWII there was a period of technological change at a heretofore unseen pace. Around 1950 or so this began to level off, and by the time of the Recession in 2008 we had returned to historical norms of slow, incremental change – except in one sphere: computing power. From horses to Apollo 11 in one lifetime, from Apollo to the iPhone in the next.

    This has some obvious connections to ideas often talked about on this blog, and one of the more humorous connections is that every time Gordon’s book is mentioned or reviewed or discussed (i.e. by Paul Krugman or NPR or David Brin) the counter-argument boils down to, “But the iPhone is so powerful, and the Internet so unprecedented, that they must be the preamble to more epochal progress.” Then someone usually invokes A.I. I am skeptical that true A.I. in that sense is possible (as I assume you are), but I wonder further what we would ask such beings to do, should we succeed in creating them. After all, we have created very powerful computers already, and so far we have used them to make economic growth more efficient (so to speak), increase the power of the government and other institutions to collect data on their citizens, to help out in wars, and to give us more instantaneous entertainment. That is to say, we have asked them to help us to do things we were already trying to do.

    The dream, then, seems to be that actual A.I., if achieved, would provide us with new goals. With new big ideas. I confess that it is as difficult for me to accept that the time of big ideas (the Faustian age) has passed as is it for the chatters on NPR. I almost want to burn whatever gargantuan pillar of money we would need to burn to actually set foot on Mars, even knowing it to be a fools errand, simply for the beauty of the symbol.

    I realize there is no question in there, exactly. Just an invitation for further reflection on such themes, from somewhere deep in the snowbound Midwest. Thanks.

  13. For those of you wishing to place a beautiful image of deindustrial civilization in your mind instead of the wailing and thrashing throes of its predecessor’s fall, here is the visual poetry of Li Ziqi. This is the greatest contemporary Taoist expression of art I’ve found yet on social media, and she is a star for a reason. For those who haven’t been exposed to her already, don’t drive yourself mad trying to imitate her recipes, that is not the point. However, it is very instructive to see the traditional tools she uses from cutting bamboo poles and making furniture to crafting her dishes in the authentic Sichuan kitchen. She has deindustrialized with a degree of artfulness we will be hard-pressed to imitate here given the expertise she borrows from the rural culture of her province. There is much to learn from her technique, from raising ducks for eggs and picking peppers and mushrooms to banking a fire and treating a wok properly. The best part is at the end when she eats with grandmother as the feeling of filial piety that she cultivates transcends all the works of Confucius IMHO. Her video is pure Chan (pronounced “Zhen” or “Jhen” and commonly transliterated as “Zen”)

    Here is the link to a favorite episode: “I planted shiitake mushrooms on the mountain!”

  14. Hello JMG. Much of your writing touches on military themes – events and ideas in books like Twilight’s Last Gleaming, Retrotopia, among others. How have you imagined the nature of warfare in the Star’s Reach world? I suspect it isn’t a direct analogy to any historical period such as late 19th Century, U.S. Civil War or 18th Century but a mix of weapons and tactics that might be possible in a low-energy setting? A board war-game set in that period might be an interesting exercise with a variety of unit types. Thank you.

  15. Hello!

    I was going to ask this on the next Magic Monday, but this opportunity presented itself first. Having somewhat regular interactions with non-material entities, my partner and I were reviewing the material in your book ‘Monsters (10th Anniversary Ed)’, specifically on the subject of Angels and Demons.

    In your book, you discuss how entities with direct access to the Mental plane can answer any factual question about the past or present immediately, and with perfect correctness. My partner asked the question, “What if an Angel were asked to define the current state of a system that is too chaotic to define? Given that there are a finite number of Angels in existence, and the human population now vastly outnumbers angels, isn’t the Now far too complicated for even a being based in the spiritual plane? At the point where the Angel made a definitive statement, it is highly likely that the system will have completely changed, rendering the Angel incorrect.”

    Seeing as the academic field of Angelic Theory fell out of style long before modern Thermodynamics rolled around, it is doubtful that the old works have much to say about the overlap of spiritual completeness and the unstoppable march of entropy. So I was wondering, theologically speaking, does chaos ever outpace other higher powers, and can the complexity of our worldly system ever make an ‘infallible’ entity incorrect?

    I would appreciate everybody’s thoughts.

  16. I know we have talked about this before but I failed to write down the recommendations last time. So my question for everyone is which are the best old cookbooks for basic instruction.

    Thanks everyone

  17. John–

    During a recent meditation–and in response to what was admittedly complaining on my part–Whomever She May Be said, rather bluntly: “You are not here to do Great Things. You are here to develop your soul.”

    Aside from being put firmly in my place, this prompted me to seek to understand what “soul development” entailed and precisely how on goes about doing it. Do you have any suggestions and/or pointers?

    I realize that there’s a good chance I’m looking at it the wrong way (no surprise there) and seeking to do something better/faster/sooner that isn’t really amenable to that kind of approach. Also, I do have copies of Hall’s Self-Unfoldment and Steiner’sHigher Worlds, which I figure would be places to start.

  18. Another item… Last week you and Sam made reference to rebuilding Notre Dame de Paris? While it was still burning, and money was already being pledged to re-build, there were people arguing against any money (let along millions of dollars worth) being spent on reconstruction because “poor people hungry in the streets” & racism/sexism/LGBTQ+ discrimination/&c. &c. so we should not waste money re-building a monument to Eurocentric Heteronormative Patriarchal domination.
    I am not kidding, I saw such arguments being proposed even while the flames were still blazing.


  19. Polytropos, thanks for this!

    Doodily, the CoVID-19 coronavirus belongs to the same family as many of the viruses that cause the common cold. It’s got similar properties — it’s highly transmissible from one human respiratory system to another, and causes an upper respiratory infection that, in some cases, turns into pneumonia and becomes serious. Apparently quite a few people who catch it show no symptoms at all or have an ordinary cold — mild fever, runny nose, you know the score. The great majority of the people who’ve died from it were very old, were in bad health already, or worked themselves to exhaustion. (This happens to doctors routinely in epidemics.)

    At this point it looks as though it’s going to become a global pandemic, meaning that most people will be exposed to it. If you’re old, sick, or immunocompromised, or if you work in a health care field that will be involved in treating cases, you could be at serious risk. Otherwise, treat it as you would a case of the flu. Don’t use health care facilities when the epidemic is moving through your community, unless you absolutely have to — they’ll be working overtime to deal with the people who need serious medical help. Also, remember that this is a normal part of life; most people in most periods of history have had to deal with epidemics that were much, much worse.

    Bipeninsular, what nobody’s talking about when negative interest rates come up is that they are evidence of sustained economic contraction. Positive interest rates make sense in a growing economy, when a dollar’s worth of X will on average be worth a little more than a dollar in the near future. Negative interest rates make sense in a contracting economy, when a dollar’s worth of X will on average be worth a little less than a dollar in the near future. As negative interest rates become normal, that’s a sign that growth is over and decline has arrived.

    As for the big name Pagan, yeah, now surprise me. The collapse of Neopaganism into a venue for frantic virtue signaling and Boomer-centric navel gazing is picking up quite a bit of speed these days.

    Violet, that makes a great deal of immediate sense to me, but I’ll have to brood over it for a while. Interestingly, I’ve been told that the novel Tom Sawyer is hugely popular as a kid’s book in Russian translation — another society with a strong frontier tradition and a Faustian pseudomorphosis…

    Sergi, a lot depends on what you’ve taught your daughter about the world so far. Does she know that people sometimes see each other’s thoughts? If so, you can explain that when you’re asleep you can sometimes pick up on other people’s thoughts, and if it’s someone who’s having a really bad time, then you have a nightmare.

    Stuart, it’s a great metaphor for Western industrial society — still lurching through the motions of being fertile, creative, and vigorous when, let’s face it, we’re past it.

    Michael, yes, you could probably do that. I tend to suspect, though, that locust swarms have an ecological function, and if you fry them out of the air some other aspect of the ecosystem will come unglued to your detriment.

    Peter, nearly all the health care schemes being circulated these days are corporate welfare scams for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Since most people can no longer afford the absurdly inflated cost of health care in America, our corrupt politicians are scrambling around trying to figure out how to squeeze still more blood out of a turnip, so that the income of big med and big pharma can keep on rising at double-digit rates per year. None of them will help for long, since greed is infinite. An effective answer to our health care crisis would require cracking down on the monopolistic behavior of big med and big pharma, forcing providers to compete against each other in a free marketplace, and letting supply and demand drive prices down. Until that happens, nothing’s going to help.

  20. @ Will Oberton re cookbooks:
    Older versions of Joy of Cooking have reams of great information. I have the 1975 Edition, and it’s at the point where I need to get it rebound.
    A simple book which I relied on to get started is The Impoverished Students’Book of Cookery, Drinkery & Housekeepery. As it says: “One cup of rice* equals 3 cups of RICE**. Rice expands something fierce. That is all we will tell you about rice, but no other cookbook will tell you that about rice.” (paraphrase from memory).

  21. Has anyone else noticed how more and more advertising is being used to sell advertising? I suspect it’s a sign we’ve reached a major turning point: advertisers wouldn’t be wasting their product on themselves unless there was no one willing to buy it, so I wonder if the surge in advertising selling advertising is a sign that the business is running into problems making sales.

    If this is the case, an awful lot of economic certainties over the past few decades are about to vanish. We seem to live in interesting times.

  22. There’s something which has bothered me lately about your writings about the plight of the working class in the US, and how Trump is fixing it. I think you’ve nailed an important point noting how severe the decline in standards of living for millions of Americans has been, but I think that treating it will cause a very severe crisis itself: if the American working class returned to levels of prosperity seen in 2000, to say nothing of earlier, what would that do to global oil prices? What would it do to the stability of third world nations?

    Unless there’s a massive drop in standards of living for the wealthy, which I’m not seeing much evidence of yet, any increase in prosperity for the American working class will have devastating impacts for other nations, and risk destabilizing dozens of countries. You might have addressed this predicament, but if you have, I missed it, but I’m curious how you expect this dynamic to play out.

  23. @bipeninsular and others

    I’m not sure that there is a strong connection between the state of the economy and opportunities for innovation.

    Within universities and corporations there is a sense of diminishing returns, where most questions worth asking have been investigated and the latest iPhone and Tesla features add complexity and cost without improving user experience.

    Step outside of that world to where the real work happens, as I did six years ago, and it quickly becomes evident that most of the products available cost too much, break too often, and fail to perform basic functions as advertised. I think there are plenty of opportunities for innovation for those who understand the day to day realities and value functional simplicity over electronic gimmickry.

    Six years ago, defending my PhD in bioengineering, I never dreamed that my next career would involve building small scale seed cleaning machines. Life moves in unexpected directions…

    In case anyone on here needs such a machine (they’re great for dry beans and grains as well) the plans are online and you can build one yourself.

  24. Hi JMG! Reading an old comment on chapter 2 of the Cosmic Doctrine (prompted by your cheeky reply “As for your second comment, I gave fair warning… (whistles while walking away)” (, it came to me in a flash that I am moving in sympathy with the prime evil in the central cosmos of our progress-driven culture. And I call this good.

    Would you let me know if my vision here is sound or flawed? Okay, here goes:

    In a world of countless cosmoi, when one of them aligns with poor ideas such as Progress above All, and Endless Growth, the fibrous networked relation of all cosmoi are threatened. Beings that intersect with this cosmos, and who, with gratitude overflowing, know the harmony of greater cosmoi whose evolutionary line fills them with the greatest sympathy and desire to participate, cannot help but move at right angles to the centripetal force of the errant cosmos.

    What’s more, they will seek to awaken other beings, and lead them out to the Ring-Pass-Not. To lead them to a place where they are now on the outside. Sparing no thought to looking back, because this could be an unfortunate re-enchantment, they continue on to better arcs of being.

    We move to the fringes. Most of us here have done it our whole lives. We know and expect, in the end, we will be identified as Enemy by the great cultural cosmos in which we’ve spent so much of our energy.

    We shouldn’t worry too much. Thinking recursively, it must follow that an errant cosmos (I’m defining this as one whose ring cosmos is aligned with what I regard as a ring chaos of another, greater cosmos), is itself moving out…out to the Ring-Pass-Not and beyond of some higher cosmos. Culture isn’t everything, after all. It is perhaps a world, but not the world.

    Beings who identify with the Ring Cosmos of our Growth Culture may at times seek to use people like me to evolve further on their line. Describing me as always and only pessimism incarnate, they’ll create new visions of planetary exploration (perhaps). They may even succeed to a degree. I will not resist their efforts. Seeing the greater cosmos in which this one is drifting out, I hold to my own line — falling out of their world, moving ever toward the center of my own.

    I find it strange/whimsical that I’m imagining from this point of view: I am an “evil” about which “the good” attempts to form a thrust block!

    Okay I owe everyone who sat through that a beer :D.

  25. Hi JMG (& others),

    Given the future we’re most likely to get, what are the most intelligent ways to spend/save/invest one’s financial resources? I realize the details will vary pretty drastically for each individual, so I’m just asking for a very general strategy here. And let’s also assume that debt is not an issue.


  26. I am interested in making jewelry to wear for the purpose of planetary devotions. I would use metals, colors, stones, and numbers appropriate to whatever planet the piece would honor, as well as possible imagery of that planet. Do you think this would be safe for anyone to wear regardless of the placement of the planet in the wearer’s natal chart? I don’t want to accidentally hurt anyone.

  27. @adam And here’s an interesting thought. Suppose true A.I. is invented, and does provide us with new goals… only we don’t like the goals.

    @Will J – Agree re: ads selling ads. You’re going to see some of that even when things are great, simply because advertisers want you to use their services instead of the competitor’s, but if it’s coming up all over the place, then it’s likely because they can’t find anything else to fill that slot.

    @JMG and everyone

    The main issue I see regarding the virus in the U.S. is the supply-chain impact. Printing money to the point of hyperinflation doesn’t do you any good if the stuff you want (or even need!) isn’t available at any price, and while it’s true that most of the things we currently source from China could (and frankly, should) be sourced locally, retooling will take time, and in the meantime the shelves are still empty.

    Not to mention the potential effect on if the virus hits the Middle East and interferes with oil sourcing.

    On a different subject, it’s struck me as odd that despite seeing a ton of “For Lease” signs all over former retail centers (and I live in a growing area), the commercial real-estate market remains largely unaffected. Are the remaining brick-and-mortar stores enough to maintain their revenue despite a massive number of vacancies that will likely continue to increase as long as the trend remains for more internetization and Amazonization of retail, or should we start expecting CRE defaults/foreclosures and bank/city repossessions any time now?

    And as for diminishing returns: The greatest shortcoming of the human race is not the ability to understand the exponential function; it’s the inability to tell the difference between it and the first half of a sigmoid function, and the ramifications that entering the second half will have on all the assumptions you made during the first half.

  28. @Violet

    “And so I ask you JMG and commentariat what you may think of this idea — that Tom Sawyer may be an archetype indigenous to North America and that many of the social pathologies around us can may find reasonable explanation in the idea that the Tom Sawyers within the psyches of the inhabitants of this land remain largely thwarted?”

    I can say my biggest reluctance to have children comes from the ability to foster a childhood like my own, one key feature being lots of woods to get lost in.

  29. Re COVID-19, most of the estimates I’ve seen for mortality rate are on the order of 2-3%. Even assuming significant numbers of mild or asymptomatic cases that aren’t being counted, that’s a lot higher than the common cold, more on the order of the 1918 flu.

    I’m storing more food than I normally do, plus making sure I have extras of nonprescription medications and other essentials and making sure all my prescriptions have been filled as far ahead as I’m allowed. Part of this is out of concern for virus-related supply disruptions as well as the possibility of quarantines. Unfortunately my landlady is a nurse and her daughter goes to a day program, so I figure I may well get exposed whatever I do, but I’m not old and my cardiovascular health is just fine despite the fibromyalgia etc. If I get it, it will most likely be like having the flu. I can cope with that.

  30. Hi JMG, I’m wondering if you can give a brief progress evaluation of our Commander-in-Chief as concerns foreign policy.

    When he first moved into the White House, my understanding was that he was aiming for a staged retreat from the overextended American Empire, hence the immediate signalling to European and East Asian allies that they needed to plan on less American military support going forward.

    Since then it seems he’s been constantly grappling with the neocons and Congressional hawks who want showdowns with Russia and Iran. I was disappointed when he nixed the intermediate-range nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, and I wasn’t sure whether to see that as a necessary concession to his political rivals or as a sign that he’d lost all sight of his initial foreign policy goals. Then there was the Soleimani killing, which in my view brought him down to the level of Bush and Obama, with their readiness to assassinate sitting heads of states.

    Opinion continues to be divided as to whether he’s deviously clever or randomly thrashing about. I’m willing to believe that as a businessman he knows what he’s doing as far as economic policy but is out of his depth when it comes to geopolitical strategy. Any insights?

  31. Re killing locusts with radar

    I have heard a version of this story (the version I heard involved a hapless seagull) but
    have always been a bit skeptical. According the link below, it is doable but the energy
    outlay required to cook a locust swarm on the wing would be prohibitively expensive. Also
    I think the locusts would have to be pretty close to the source of emission.

    (got an error the first time I tried posting this. Apologies if it shows up

  32. Hello JMG, all. So I’m reading “The Mystical Qabalah” and finding it quite good. I’m reading it at a moderate pace, about a chapter a sitting, then meditation. In chapter 5 I meditated upon the phrase “Kether is the Malkuth of the Unmanifest” and I got the image of the 3 veils of Negative Existence as the 3 rings of the Cosmos, with Kether being the Cosmic Logos, the One Thing, the center that is concentrated by the 3 veils. Today, in chapter 6, she says that “Kether is the first activity of manifestation, movement… the First Swirlings, the commencement of Whirling Motions” and to me this sounds much more like the Ring Cosmos. Is she trying to show how unthinkable for a mind this all is or was I mistaken in my first meditation?

  33. Hi!

    So I’ve been trying to increase the eco-friendliness of my travel habits as much as possible (given my affection for the UK and my sister and various close friends being on the opposite coast) while still staying within what I can afford. One thing that occurred to me is that Amtrak gives you two beds in a sleeper compartment, but puts you in alone if you’re travelling by yourself, for legal CYA-ish reasons.

    Thus, I was wondering if there’d be any interest in a website/mailing list/etc matching people who’d like to split sleeper cars for journeys or portions thereof? (I could even see expanding it to long-distance carpooling–heck, if anyone’s sailing across the Atlantic and wants a passenger who can work off at least some of the fare by, say, peeling vegetables and washing floors, that’d be awesome.) I am not great at coding, so at the moment I’m thinking a written summary of, say, origin/destination, social style (“chatty companion” versus “disappears into a book” versus “argh I have to work”), food smells you can’t deal with, etc.

  34. @Violet & commentariat: Re: Tom Sawyer.

    I haven’t read Twain yet (I know, heresy against the American canon) but I’m still American enough to agree. I think what you are hitting at though also includes the lack of adventure and danger in general in this country of ours. It is cool you’ve had the travelling, train hopping, wandering, rambling experiences you’ve had.

    To that end I recommend the concept and book by British adventurer Alistair Humphrey’s “Microadventures”. You can read about it here: & here

    There is also an intertview with him here for those who like audio:

    The microadventure is simply that: an adventure in miniature. Something you could do after work or on a weekend that injects that feeling of getting out into the unknown and doing something exciting into the midst of your days.

    A microadventure my wife and I took last summer (very Twainish actually) with a friend of ours who had a boat, was to go down as far on the Ohio to the next lock before turning around and coming back. We were out all day. My dad and I have done some kayaking in the river after work, and that gets the feeling too.

    Walking home from work a different way (or instead of commuting). Taking a different bus route. Just getting on the city bus system and riding around.

    I bought a longboard since my work moved locations and I’m eager to get back on it once the rain stops (if ever). That not only brings back the joy of my skateboarding youth, but the exhiliration of riding, winding on the streets, that real sense of adventure teenage boys (did) have skating in the city.

    When the only thing to look forward to is the next half-baked plotline of whatever show the media is pushing, that kills adventure.

    Microadventures are kind of easier to plan for most of us than going off to the South Pole. For those with money & family considerations to take into account (i.e, most people) the microadventure also serves to scratch that itch by say, doing a weekend camping trip in a new place, rather than feeling like you have to hike the whole Appalchian trail to be successful as an outdoor oriented person. Those little bits add up and they can all help.

    (I do plan on reading Twain sometime…if my reading whims ever get around to it. “A Confederate Yankee” and his “Personal recollections of Joan of Arc” are on my own lists anyway… as I suppose is A Tramp Abroad”)

  35. Regarding COVID-19 again, I’m watching the economics with a t least as much worry as the virus iteself. The possibility of supply disruptions, and a major recession do seem pretty high. Not so worried for myself on the recession front, since I’m already on disability and my eye problems on top of the other stuff meant I gave up my job last November and I have money stored up, but the global economic is a ponzi scheme.

    Nothing like a major panic to bring the deck of cards low… though not to the ground, of course. Even 1929 didn’t work that way. But I’m no longer expecting the price of oil to go up significantly in the next year or two. If people continue canceling plane flights and cruises, as well as shutting factories the way they have been, demand is going to do quite the nosedive in the next few months, even if the wider worldwide economy doesn’t follow suit. That might have the longer-term effect of causing a bunch of companies to stop projects (the giant Teck Frontier mine just pulled its application, for example), or to go bust entirely. Over the longer term, that sort of thing is likely to decrease supply as force prices up, but I will be interested to see what CO2 output and oil prices look like this year. We really do live in interesting times.

  36. @ Colter

    The best financial investment one can make is to buy things that will be intrinsically useful but not perishable. Real estate, furniture, tools, etc. would be good choices; government bonds, currencies, gold, etc. would be poor choices.

  37. Last open thought today (I promise) about the rise and demise of the managerial class.
    News Item flashed in elevator: experts in the Department of Foreign Affairs in a report last year warned federal government not to get too cozy with China.
    Immediate thought: “Obviously, another example of JMG’s professional managerial class trying to dictate policy.”
    Next thought: “…but given the appallingly bad decisions by elected populists e.g. the current Premier of Ontario who is, after all, definitely NOT a professional, or an expert in anything other than convincing people that every complex problem has a simple, obvious answer, which inevitably turns out to make things worse, is that not precisely why we need to have experts who know what they are talking about to provide advice?”
    Upon reaching the bottom floor, it occurs to me that this is possibly like one of those strange attractors from mathematics, where the equation curves about, but never reaches, some point in the graph. Maybe analogous to the Carnot cycle in thermodynamics rocking between heat, pressure, and entropy, only this is between political power, social order, and wealth.
    A tension between common people with their needs and experts whose good advice benefits them for a while, then doesn’t as they become too comfortable, too self-focused and their prescriptions cease to benefit anyone but their class. So they fall out of fashion, ignored by demagogues with simplistic proposals to complex issues which appear to work, at first, then, eventually, fail, until people turn to the experts again in desperation. But by this time time the chastened experts proposals actually address the concerns of the common people again, and so the cycle repeats.
    Sort of like the political anacyclosis from anarchy, whose benefit is great freedom but weakness is insecure disorder, resolved by the appearance of big-man tribal chieftains (gang leaders) who provide some, but not enough, security, but less freedom and no wealth, resolved by monarchy, with lots of security, some wealth, but little freedom, resolved by aristocracy with more freedom, more wealth, but still secure, through democracy with “still not enough” freedom, more wealth, but less security, and on back to anarchy again.
    That is, I postulate that there is an ideal situation about which we constantly circle, but can never reach. Maybe the ideal situation cannot exist because reaching that ideal point would become stasis, which is death.


  38. Book Alert: This just in at the library and maybe something other people here might want to read:

    Jung’s Studies in Astrology, Prophecy, Magic and the Qualities of Time by Liz Greene, Routledge 2018.

    From the back cover: “C. G. Jung had a profound interest in and involvement with astrology, which he made clear in virtually every volume of the Collected Works, as well as in many of his letters. This ancient symbolic system was of primary importance in his understanding of the nature of time, the archetypes, synchronicity, and human fate. Jung’s Studies in Astrology is an historical survey of his astrological work from the time he began to study the subject. It is based not only on his published writings, but also on the correspondence and documents found in his private archives, many of which have never previously seen the light of day. Liz Greene addresses with thoroughness and detailed scholarship the nature of Jung’s involvement with astrology: the ancient, medieval, and modern sources he drew on, the individuals from whom he learned, his ideas about how and why it worked, its religious and philosophical implications, and its applications in the treatment of his patients as well as in his own self-understanding. Greene clearly demonstrates that any serious effort to understand the development of Jung’s psychological theories, as well as the nature of his world-view, needs to involve a thorough exploration of his astrological work. This thorough investigation of a central theme in Jung’s work will appeal to analytical psychologists and Jungian psychotherapists, students and academics of Jungian and post-Jungian theory, the history of psychology, archetypal thought, mythology and folklore, the history of New Age movements, esotericism, and psychological astrology.”

    (It has a section on Max Heindel as one of Jung’s astrologers too 🙂

  39. Here’s an enlightening look at the social justice warrior scene, from the blog “Experimental Theology” by Richard Beck:

    The goal isn’t to deflate justice work. I want us to seek justice. But if injustice and oppression are rooted, at least partly, in moral problems, we’re going to have to turn to moral solutions to address those problems. For example, how can you ask people to be anti-racist without that becoming, very quickly and profoundly, about morality?

    Personally, I think many social justice warriors, deep down, know this to be the case, that the problems we are facing are deeply moral and spiritual. Let’s revisit Michele Alexander’s assessment:
    [quote] I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power.
    I think the reason the moral, spiritual aspects of justice work gets marginalized is because most social justice warriors disagree with Michele Alexander. They believe that a political revolution actually will get the job done. That’s the appeal of marginalizing morality and going all in with the systemic focus: it keeps hope in the political revolution alive.
    [end quote]

    But if Michele Alexander is right, if she’s right that we can’t “win justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout,” if she’s right to question that “working for some form of political revolution will ever be enough on its own,” then social justice warriors have to face a very uncomfortable truth. Specifically, social justice warriors are ill-equipped to lead the “spiritual awakening” Alexander thinks we need.

    In short, the revolution we’re all looking for is inescapably religious, and that’s something most social justice warriors are unable to admit because it’s a revolution they know they cannot lead. Consequently, they throw shade on any suggestion that there are, indeed, “moral, ethical and spiritual dimensions of justice work,” claiming that oppression and injustice is all “systemic,” that the political revolution will be enough.

    Here Beck’s link:

    I’m pretty sure JMG has pointed this out, or maybe hasn’t, in which case it follows from the more general idea of a new religiosity.

  40. Hi JMG, I am reading a great deal of Wendell Berry work just now* and a phrase of his jumped out as summarising one of your own recurrent themes.

    “I reckon the future is full of disappointed people. Optimists who thought it would be better, and pessimists who thought it would be worse.”

    *I’m still mulling over a concept of “common rights” – local, directly related to one”s labour of care for THIS place vs the more current concept if “human rights” – universal, and disconnected to place or personal qualities. The concept, which I mentioned a few posts ago in a comment on the Magna Carta’s Charter of the Forest, seems to have always been present, if seldom written, in the midst of the kind if agrarian continuity of knowing that Berry describes so well.

  41. In regard to your comments about Europe returning to war, that really interested me.

    This FT article popped up a day after I saw your comment:

    “A recent opinion poll for the Pew Research Center reveals that startling numbers of Europeans are not satisfied with their nation’s borders. Asked whether there are “parts of neighbouring countries that really belong to us”, 67 per cent of Hungarians replied in the affirmative, as did 60 per cent of Greeks, 58 per cent of both Bulgarians and Turks, 53 per cent of Russians and 48 per cent of Poles. Such sentiments even lurk in western Europe — 37 per cent of Spaniards, 36 per cent of Italians and 30 per cent of Germans also agree with the statement.”

    Now, I have a few thoughts on this:

    – the demographics within Europe are bad. Birth rates are collapsing and millions of young people have emigrated from a depopulating central/eastern Europe. Is it realistic to think that an increasingly elderly population will start fighting each other? Usually its a surplus of young men that triggers wars.

    – the growing divide, at least in western Europe, will surely more likely be between the Islamist minded Muslim population and the remaining nativist population (France and Belgium are prime examples). Isn’t that a likelier source of future conflict than between national states?

    – climate change and water scarcity (let alone peak oil) is likely to trigger further mass migrations from the Global South into Europe in the coming decades, Again, facing this threat, isn’t it more likely that a scared Europe will stick together rather than fight each other?

    Interested in your thoughts.

  42. Greetings ADJMG and wife!

    Any thoughts on Chaos magicians associating coronavirus with Lilith, who herself is associated with a Sumerian demon? Xi’s choice of words is coincidental?

    Also, since coronavirus mainly effects the elderly, and our main presidential candidates are close to 80 years old. Going to mass rallies, shaking hands, most likely they will be infected, could some chaos be in store?

  43. Violet brought up Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn. I had the misfortune of trying to re-read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” a couple of years ago. At the beginning, it appears that Huck’s pal, Tom Sawyer is attempting to organize a criminal terrorist gang; just good clean American boys having fun. I progressed through the book up to the point where Tom Sawyer, in a fantastic instance of synchronicity, reappears. I couldn’t finish the book, it was so lame. I do recall that Huck, who hails from Hicksville, Ohio (featured in “Retrotopia”), if I’m not mistaken, decides at the end to “light out for the west.” I don’t think I’m the first to speculate that Cormack McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” is a sort of sequel to Huck’s adventures. The protagonist, “the kid” appears, down and out, and having come from somewhere back east. The tale proceeds from there. “Blood Meridian,” at least is not lame.

  44. In 5 hours I am going to a meeting in my small town concerning our farmer’s market. For as long as I have lived here the Dolores Farmers Market has been free for anybody to show up at the park and sell, trade, or gift goods or services Wednesday’s 4-7 all summer. They I heard someone decided to move the market to Friday (which would make it compete with the two largest markets in the region), and to add a $50 fee to pay for advertising and live music.

    Well I don’t like those changes, and have got a good fraction of the regular vendors to show up for a meeting about in, hoping we can push back on these changes. Doubly so because it is being pushed by a non vendor pokenose.

    A free open market in our community is a valuable asset for small vendors and farmers. It gives people a chance to try their business out in a free manner. Then suppose they make this into an organized market, well, boy howdy there a lot of work to get bit off. Is it going to be run by vendor vote? Will there be bylaws? Written by whom? Will it be a for profit or non-profit thing? Will the Market itself then need liability insurance? Who will mediate disputes? Will there be a manager?

    I contend that the Dolores market is simply too small to support all that non-sense.

    Please wish me luck in this matter, I’ll write back about ho w the meeting is going. I got a gut feeling that the time is right to draw lines in the sand on intermediary meddling.

  45. Renaissance, I think that was probably the conscious side of it. The return of the repressed being what it is, though, they proceeded to make an architecture that resembles nothing so much as the fortifications and bunkers of the First World War, complete with a no man’s land surrounding it.

    Ron, I’m delighted to hear this. As you’ll know from reading The Secrets of the Temple, one of the crucial things that’s needed right now is people willing to experiment with sacred geometry and other factors related to the old temple tradition, and see how it interfaces with plant growth. I had the chance to do some experiments when I lived in a place with a backyard, and got corn stalks 11 feet high — I have a picture of that somewhere! — but your best bet is probably to read up on sacred geometry and such other subtle technologies as you want to apply, and start experimenting on that basis.

    David BTL, thanks for this.

    Kim B., thanks for this.

    Brian, thanks for this also.

    Bruno, no, if it follows normal viral-spread patterns, it’ll be settling back down into the microbial background by May or June. (That’s also what the astrology predicts.)

    Adam, it always amuses me that the pundits grab onto the one end of technology that hasn’t quite settled into stability yet and insist that we’re on the verge of another great wave of change. Au contraire, computer technology is also settling down into mature forms as it finishes its era of rapid development; Moore’s law no longer holds, and everyone I’ve talked to who actually works in the AI field tells me that the people who insist that human-level intelligence is just around the corner are smoking their shorts. The crucial problem with artificial-intelligence research is that nobody seems to be able to figure out what this thing called “intelligence” is — try getting a coherent, meaningful, and complete definition out of anybody in the field — and you can’t make something if you don’t know what you’re trying to make…

    Kim B., thanks for this also.

    Daniel, I actually gave quite a bit of thought to that back when I was working on the novel Star’s Reach. You’re right that it’s not quite identical to any historical equivalent, but it’s not that far from early 19th century warfare, leaving out the gargantuan mass armies of the Napoleonic Wars and the Civil War. Armies are mostly infantry, not very well trained, and armed with repeating rifles of varying grades of quality; cavalry is important for scouting, guarding flanks, getting behind the other guy’s lines to mess things over, and so forth; artillery is somewhat limited because the nations of the Star’s Reach future are relatively impoverished. The major advantage a jennel of the Merigan army has over, say, George Washington is that he has a signal corps with decent shortwave radios, and so the fog of war is a good deal less opaque — a cavalry detachment that observes an enemy advance in an unexpected area can radio a report back to headquarters.

    In terms of naval warfare, the lack of fossil fuels means that all-steel warships are utterly unaffordable; not even the Meycan Empire can throw around that kind of money. Every navy has some ironclads in important areas — in Meriga, that means mostly Banroo Bay and the Great Lakes — but mostly it’s wooden ships powered by wind with auxiliary steam engines. River warfare is important where the rivers are navigable, and Meriga keeps ironclad steamboats for use on the Misipi and Hiyo watersheds — they’re basically mobile forts, as their equivalents were in the Civil War.

    I don’t know if there’s anything like enough interest, but yeah, a wargame set in that or a similar future would be fun. If I were writing Star’s Reach over again, which I’m not, I would include ultralight aircraft powered by alcohol-fueled engines as one of the accepted technologies — having half a dozen of those for scouting purposes would be a huge asset to an army or navy of the sort I’ve sketched out.

    Dylandrogynous, most people these days don’t understand the difference between time and eternity, so these confusions are hard to avoid. Eternity isn’t a long time; it’s not even all the time there is. It’s the condition of being outside of time. An eternai being experiences time the way we experience space. Imagine that you were an ant crawling across a table, with no way to know what you would encounter more than an antenna-length or two ahead of you; as you proceed, you encounter the things on the table one at a time. Now imagine that you’re human again, and standing with a good view of the whole table; you can see things that are still in the future for the ant, and if you could communicate with the ant, you could predict exactly what the ant will encounter if it continues on its way.

    Eternal beings are in the same situation relative to us. They don’t predict the future — they see it as it happens, because they’re outside of time. That’s why they don’t make mistakes. How do they know what you’re going to do six weeks from now? Why, they look at that part of time, and there you are, doing it right in front of them. It doesn’t matter whether the system is too chaotic to define; the angel isn’t defining its state and predicting from there, it’s directly experiencing the outcome of the condition.

    David, those are in fact good places to start. The very short form is that every soul has within it a set of unique potentials for experiencing and acting in the world, and the process of spiritual evolution is the unfolding of those potentials. What are yours? The only way to find that out is to go through the ripening process, over many lives, that unfolds them. This is why the highest grade of spiritual attainment available to humans has the title Ipsissimus, Latin for “most completely oneself.”

    Renaissance, no surprises there also. There’s a lot of covert hatred of the cultural heritage of the West these days, and much of it disguises itself as compassion.

  46. Dear JMG,

    That’s fascinating about Russia! It also makes sense that they might grok Tom Sawyer just as much as I grok Alyosha Karamazov.

    Dear Nothing Special,

    That’s an excellent point!

    Dear Justin,

    You’ve never read Twain?! He’s the punkest writer there is after Voltaire!

    From Chapter 7 of _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_:

    “When school broke up at noon, Tom flew to Becky Thatcher, and whispered in her ear:
    “Put on your bonnet and let on you’re going home; and when you get to the corner, give the rest of ’em the slip, and turn down through the lane and come back. I’ll go the other way and come it over ’em the same way.”
    So the one went off with one group of scholars, and the other with another. In a little while the two met at the bottom of the lane, and when they reached the school they had it all to themselves. Then they sat together, with a slate before them, and Tom gave Becky the pencil and held her hand in his, guiding it, and so created another surprising house. When the interest in art began to wane, the two fell to talking. Tom was swimming in bliss. He said:
    “Do you love rats?”
    “No! I hate them!”
    “Well, I do, too—live ones. But I mean dead ones, to swing round your head with a string.”

    What a gentleman!

    As for microadventuring that sounds good! What I mean, too, though in the Tom Sawyer energy is something that goes well beyond mere adventuring in any mundane sense: it’s in the recruiting advertisement in the Memphis Daily Appeal that Nathan Bedford Forrest ran after convalescing from wounds in the Battle of Shiloh: “Come on, boys, if you want a heap of fun and to kill some Yankees.” He wrote, and by all account his troops managed both. By the end of the war, Forrest had survived 29 horses shot dead underneath him, he killed thirty Yankee soldiers in hand-to-hand combat and was wounded 4 times.

    It’s in the battle of Shiloh when the Union troops stood close to total defeat and William T Sherman found US Grant under a tree smoking a cigar at midnight. Sherman had been preparing himself to beg Grant to surrender but felt a deep and wise impulse in the presence of the general and said: “Well, Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” and Grant responded: “Yes. Lick ‘em tomorrow, though.” And that night Buell’s troops come and stave off disaster.

    This spiritual quality is in the roving career of Woodie Guthrie, singing on the subway to soldiers going to fight, singing with black musicians, rambling, drawing silly pictures, and music flowing through him. This quality permeates the entire Jazz scene, with Louis Armstrong perhaps an exemplar — he who learned to play coronet after being sent to a reformatory after firing a gun!

    There’s something stirring, visionary, and dangerous in all of this. Some spiritual quality that the English language I write in lacks. There’s something imaginative, improvised, playful and ipse dixit about this energy. Again, I lack the words to describe this quality accurately and submit this comment to continue the conversation!


    I haven’t done this with a scrapped wind turbine blade, but I have used 96″ fiberglass/polymer pipe scraps (ends that are lopped off) to make water catchments. You just pour yourself a nice concrete slab, drop in the piece to make the walls when the concrete is 1/2 cured. Wiggle it around to settle it in, and then add a bit of water to blend the concrete around the inset piece of pipe.

    Once the concrete cures, you check for leaks. If you find one, then you run a fat bead of caulk around the inside of the tank (it is a tank now, because you just made the bottom for that scrap piece).

    Fish and water simply don’t care if the shape is erratic.

    What is it with people that they cannot re-purpose anything? A SMALL commercial fish tank will cost you a grand. More for a big water catchment. This “waste turbine blade” thing has a lot more uses I am sure. Buy a nice gas cutting saw and carve it into roof sections. Us longer strips of it to line a ditch to channel water…. SMDH…

    The corona flu thing is such a fine example of media influence and disinformation that it is hard for me to believe people just accept that any news, as delivered, is truth. When you look at annual deaths by influenza, you will see in about ten seconds that this is a guanoburger or less. CDC own numbers are 12-60k deaths annually by influenza in USA.

    I can’t say I miss the old network news – it was totally controlled. But today the net let’s people see and decide on their own – they just need to be able to work a mouse or thumbhump their smartphone. Maybe it’s just inherent laziness of humans….

  48. Dear JMG, I asked this question in the October Open Post but I was late so I think you missed it.

    I’ve been thinking about the idea I’ve heard from you, that souls take millions of years to pass through many incarnations of different bodies, from the smallest cell to human beings, in order to slowly progress to higher stages of complexity or experience in more advanced life-forms that can support such complexity.

    Could it be possible that, with the current extinction event occurring on this planet, that we human beings have doomed ourselves and possibly billions of other souls incarnate on this planet to millions of years of further unnecessary incarnation in less complex life forms, because this extinction event will wipe out the only higher level life forms that can support complex souls? If human beings are wiped out, will my soul be forced to fall down to a lower level of incarnation upon death, simply because there is nowhere else to go, and no body exists that can support the current complexity of my soul, unless I can somehow achieve a state of enlightenment or fully experience the human condition in this current life in order to progress beyond incarnate existence? Or will my soul wait for millions of years in limbo until mother nature can rebuild sufficiently complex life forms again?

    Having said that, I’ve also heard you say before that asteroidal impacts that extinguish almost all life on planet earth are actually necessary and intended, so nature can work with a clean-slate and rebuild towards higher complexity anew. Could it be possible that we are inadvertently doing the asteroid’s job for nature, by hitting the reset button, without even realising it?

    This reincarnation idea has fascinated me and has incredible intuitive appeal for me, but I’m struggling with it because of its contrast with traditional beliefs such as Christianity. I have thrown off the blatantly obvious nonsense that is modern materialism that I was brainwashed into believing as a teenager, but I’m stuck on where to go next. I’m inspired by my Catholic friends, who seem to clearly have something real and true and good that the unthinking masses don’t, but the idea of transmigration of the soul is abhorrent to Catholicism so I find myself struggling to believe Catholicism as a result. My great Catholic friend is certain that this is his only life, and a strong tenet of Catholicism is that the body and soul are intertwined, and they will rise together as one into heaven upon death. If the soul truly does migrate, what do I make of Christianity and Jesus?

    I hope you read all this and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

  49. I read The Nyogtha Variations and the chess scenes reminded me of something I read about how computers have altered the game.

    On one hand, to get better you have to play against opponents better than you. It can be difficult to arrange games against grandmasters, so it was a big advantage to be able to play against that level of skill and higher every time you turn on your PC. But chess also has a lot of history, traditions, and aesthetics, such as what is considered an elegant move. The computer doesn’t care about any of that, it just wants to win. Players who spend most of their time practicing against computers develop the same ruthless style.

    There was an open chess championship where any combination of people and machines could enter. The team that wiped the floor with everyone, from grandmasters to supercomputers, was two guys with three laptops. They were decent but not exceptional players and the laptops were regular ones, but linked together and programmed to analyse moves differently to anything that had been done before.

    This can all be justified as chess is a competitive activity, and a winning strategy is a winning strategy. But I couldn’t help notice how closely it matches your criticism of the fiction trope of the young, rebellious, innovative thinker, who takes on the ossified establishment and wins.

  50. Dear Ray,

    Good luck with all of that! May I ask, what level of well-wishing are you open to? Would you be into folks praying on your behalf, lighting a candle on your behalf, etc?

  51. @ Renaissance Man

    You reminded me of a similar impulse in Victorian Britain – which for some reson decided that water and sewage pumping stations should be ‘Temples of Hygine’. There’s a minor example in Streatham, London, not so far from where I grew up that I still look out for when I go by on a train into central London.

    … and the interior of Crossness Pumping Station is simply eye popping. Well worth a Google.

    @ Wil Oberton

    I can recommend ’James Beard’s American Cookery’ that I picked up on a visit to that country many years ago (it’s still in print). I’m still using it regularly. One day I may be brave enough to attempt Brunswick Stew. Probably tastes like chicken now I come to think of it.

  52. For anyone who’d be interested in such a presentation:

    AEO2020 Issue in Focus: Alternative Policies release
    March 5, 2020
    9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET
    Livestream the event.

    On March 5, EIA will publish an Issue in Focus article with results from four alternative policy scenarios to the Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020). The article will examine the potential effects of a range of alternative energy policies on the future U.S. electric power sector through 2050. EIA researchers and industry experts will discuss the results at an event hosted by Resources for the Future.

    Agenda and panelists:

    Panel I: Describing the Range of Uncertainty—results from AEO2020 Issue in Focus cases
    • Christopher Namovicz, EIA Renewables Team Lead
    • Manussawee Sukunta, EIA Renewables Team
    • Erin Boedecker, EIA Residential/Commercial Energy Demand Team Lead
    • Perry Lindstrom, EIA Integrated & International Energy Analysis Team
    • Moderator: Karen Palmer, Senior Fellow and Director, Future of Power Initiative, Resources for the Future

    Panel II: Impact of Current Policies on Electricity Markets
    • Benjamin Hobbs, Director of the Environment, Energy, Sustainability & Health Institute, Johns Hopkins University
    • Jennifer Macedonia, Principal Consultant, JLM Environmental Consulting
    • Robert McMurry, Director of Resource Planning, Duke Energy
    • Moderator: Richard G. Newell, President and CEO, Resources for the Future

    For more information or to view the livestream, visit the event webpage.


    I’m interested, of course. But it’s also part of my job 😉

  53. Thomas, nope. A 2.3% fatality rate, mostly concentrated among the elderly and immunocompromised, won’t cut it.

    Glinwq, thanks for these.

    Will J, the advertising industry is facing a serious correction, partly because high-end retail is contracting and partly because an increasing body of evidence shows that many kinds of advertising have no noticeable effect. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the internet survives. As far as the effects of ameliorating the state of the working class, notice that you’ve divided all of society into the working class and the very rich. What are you leaving out?

    Michael, good! You only become a thrust-block if you resist, though. If you simply shrug and walk away, the force goes spinning out to the Ring-Pass-Not and dissolves into the void. That’s more or less what’s happening right now. The mania for progress got its strength from the fact that there were so many people resisting it; now that the people who distrust it have begun to learn to simply shrug and walk away, it’s disintegrating. Yes, I’ll happily take that beer!

    Colter, depends on how old you are and what risks you want to take. Myself, I’m not doing any investing at all — my resources are spent acquiring skills, which are far more useful as a long-term income source than any investment, and building social capital by supporting certain charitable projects.

    Victoria, as long as you’re not consecrating them magically there should be no risk at all.

    Barrigan, the risk of supply chain disruptions only applies early on, when there’s still some hope of containing the virus. Once it’s everywhere and quarantine becomes a waste of time, the focus will shift to maintaining essential supply chains — and of course the longer things proceed, the more people will already have had it and can go back to work. Your comment about the sigmoid function is spot on!

    NomadicBeer, nah, it’s just one more example of why I left Seattle and will never go back. I got inured to that sort of excrescence a long time ago.

    Pygmycory, ihe mortality rate from the Spanish flu is estimated at 10% to 20% of all those who were infected, and it hit young adults especially hard, which gave it a disproportionate economic, social, and cultural impact. A 2-3% mortality rate mostly among the very old and already ill isn’t great, but it’s nothing on the order of the Spanish flu.

    Dylan, the Trump administration has to do a very careful balancing act these days. The great division of power in DC is between the Pentagon on the one hand, and the State Department-Justice Department-CIA nexus on the other; the latter is of course on the side of Trump’s enemies, but the Pentagon supports Trump, and so he has to be exquisitely careful not to alienate the military — which means letting them play with their toys. The partial withdrawal from Syria and the recent truce and agreement with the Taliban are signs that things are moving in the right direction, though; we’ll have to see how things unfold from here.

  54. @Will Oberton

    Cookbooks: I have a 40’s edition of the red-and-white Betty Crocker cookbook. We refer to it as “the Oracle”. It’s where we go when we need simple, functional instructions for… everything. Biscuits. Gravy. How to cook a turkey, duck, leg of lamb, venison haunch, rabbit, pound cake, potato salad, etc. but without the “can of mushroom soup” or the “packet of onion dip” nonsense. I have heard that nearly any general-cookery book from the same era is worth its weight in gold.

  55. For all of you that have dreamwidth accounts and block anonymous comments, openID does not work with dreamwidth on most browsers, so you will get comments only from dreamwidth accounts. Ecosophian and Violet, that means you! ;-). Ecosophian, you’re missing lots of jmg interviews from Kunstler and C-Realm. You can find his Kunstlercast interviews on, but most of his C-Realm interviews are only on the Internet archive, and they’re a pain to find.

  56. @JMG and Dylan:

    I taught for about four decades at an Ivy League university (Brown) in a department that was one of many departments set up in the ’40s and ’50s by “spook” money, A fair number of my colleagues in those departments had come to their faculty positions after long service in the CIA (or its predecessor, the OSS). Some also had had deep family backgrounds in the US diplomatic service. To judge by what I heard, the majority of CIA and State Department personnel were basically well-educated, cultured rational pragmatists. To the best of my knowledge, too, very few men with this sort of Patrician and Ivy-League background ever went in to the military, which drew its officers from other sectors of well-educated Americans, chiefly from universities and colleges in the Old South.

    So the division JMG highlights between the Pentagon and the State Department–Justice Department–CIA (and NSA, which has to be included in this picture) seems spot-on to me, as does his sense of Trump’s need to work within this complex landscape of old alliances, strong prejudices and opposing backgrounds.

    Of course, no gentleman would ever so much as mention this division between these two major “internal parties” in the governmental establishment. But then I have never claimed to be a gentleman, at least not in this old-school sense. And I have always been keen to peer into such “unmentionable” things when I encounter them.

  57. JMG – I’m 29, married, have two kids, and we own the home we live in. I have a pretty good-paying job as a critical infrastructure analyst. However, it’s a government job that relies heavily on working with computers, so I don’t know how viable that will be when things really start to slide downhill, whenever that is. I have a few savings/investment accounts, but I’ve been hesitant to dump much money into those. My vague plan is to begin learning deindustrialized skills (as laid out in your Green Wizardry book), acquire useful appropriate-tech items, learn as much as I can about how things might shake out, and be prepared to relocate to an area that will hopefully be politically/environmentally stable. Would you suggest implementing any other steps? And what are some examples of charitable projects?

  58. (corrected for initial mistake)
    Hi JMG,
    On from your first reply to Doodily Doo. I’m concerned you’re under-estimating how serious CoVid-19 is. It hits the lower respiratory area in most people not the higher. It causes inflammation in the airways – not good. If it goes so far, and the immune system hasn’t dealt with it, even with helpful meds/ machinery, your survival odds drop markedly. With SARS, death rate was initially estimated at 4% – this ended up 10-15%. This one had intial estimates at 2% – you can see where I’m going. It ain’t a bad cold. Really worth avoiding.
    As to economic chaos etc. – really hope food supplies are ok.
    In other news, below revelation caught my eye. Sure these farms were creating quite a breeding ground, regardless of whether they were a direct reason for this outbreak…

  59. JMG, would The Secrets of the Temple be a tie-in for the (much anticipated) upcoming sacred geometry course you’re working on? Will the course have as a potential outcome students capabilities to work with such geometric principles on the (literal) ground and for the aim that Ron mentioned?

    And finally, you’re still planning the release of the first part of the course this year?

  60. Good Afternoon JMG,

    I’m wondering if you or the commentariat have any recomendations for resources (preferably books) for learning about perception. I’m not interested in physiology, but rather in what we do and don’t know about the processes which occur between physiological stimulation and a representation arising in consciousness. Anything that disscusses this would be very welcome. I’m not even sure what query to put into a search engine.

    Also (and unrelatedly), I asked in the comments to your December 2019 “A Place for Books” post about advice or strategies you might have for deciding which books to include in an esoteric reading room, and you said “Hmm! That’s a worthwhile theme for an upcoming post. I do have some suggestions, but a little time and thought will be wanted.” I just wanted to make sure the bug’s still in your ear 😉


  61. Isaac, for your next meditation, why not see if you can reconcile those two approaches?

    Bird, hmm! Strange.

    Pygmycory, oh, it’ll unquestionably have significant economic effects in various directions. With any luck it’ll help along the unraveling of the global economy, and encourage economic relocalization, which we need anyway.

    Packshaud, many thanks for this!

    Renaissance, it’s not that non-experts are any smarter than experts. It’s that both are equally dumb, and qualified experts are just as capable of making bad decisions and supporting self-defeating policies as, say, premiers of Ontario.

    Justin, thanks for this! I’m not at all surprised that Jung used Heindel — H.’s books on astrology were pretty standard textbooks in the early 20th century. I wonder if Jung got into Heindel’s Rosicrucian works…

    Olbab, fascinating. No, I hadn’t pointed that out, and yes, you’re seeing another of the green shoots of the Second Religiosity.

    Scotlyn, thanks for this. Berry’s on target as usual.

    Forecastingintelligence, (1) it’s precisely the drain of young people out of eastern Europe that’s contributing to demographic contraction and keeping the lid on militarism. As the EU comes apart, that’s likely to change. (2 and 3) I’d encourage you to read the history of Spain before the Muslim conquest, or for that matter the rest of the now-Muslim world before the Muslim conquest, and see how well your proposition holds up against the test of history. People do not always, or often, do what looks like the smart thing in retrospect…

    Dashui, wholly predictable. I’m surprised they don’t do workings focused on a spirit named Acne-chan.

    Ray, best of luck and some favorable energy on its way. It occurs to me that the pokenose may be trying to get a job, for pokeself or poke’s friends…

  62. @ JMG – I didn’t have time to post this last week about the evolution of public architecture. I can’t get images to upload here, but the Wikipedia page for city government actually has three good pictures of the evolution of city hall. The original was build in 1922 and straddles an interesting change-over moment in architecture. The building includes columns on the façade, and doesn’t look completely ugly, though it certainly isn’t good looking either. The building seems to occupy a similar place as a second choice to go to senior prom, not great, but not the first choice….

    The city hall build it the early 60s looks like every other office building constructed between 1950 and 1980, and is about as attractive.

    The city government took over a glass office building built by Williams corporation to house their speculative finance arm when they were trying to get into the ENRON game in the early 2000s. Needless to say, the city acquired the building for pennies on the dollar. Nicknames for the building range from the ice cube to the Borg cube. It really does look more like a place of business than a space for citizens to congregate.,_Oklahoma

  63. Hi JMG

    Regarding the Covd-19 it seems for me too much of an effort what China is making to contain the epidemic if it is only a “normal” flu.
    The chinese economy, tracked by the drop in atmospheric contaminants (forget oficial data), has almost fully stopped, and there are millions of people (around 60) in quarantine surrounded by armed guards and supervised from thousands of drones; the internal flights in China have decreased by around 70 – 80%, the corporation where I work has been adviced of delays in the supply of hundreds of components and spare parts.

    As you said we have to see what happens outside China, but what we can feel from what is happening inside China is not good at all, and I expect an economic depression lasting some months in the next weeks because the trade and tourism are falling down like a stone

    Regarding to the people infected and the provisional fatality rate, we can follow the data for example here:

    Right now (26-2-2020 21:30 GMT) there are 81.272 people infected and only 3,41% fatality rate (anyway more than a normal flu), but if we consider only people who have an outcome, at the end, we have 30.312 recovered and 2.770 dead, that means we have a 9,13% fatality rate from “people who have an outcome from the disease” (or recovery or dead); and this is what we can compare with the data from the Spanish flu today. So to have the “definitive” fatality rate to compare with the Spanish flu we have to wait until the end of the epidemic, of course when the epidemic have more time we will have a more clear (close) idea what the “outcome” will be, specially outside China, because many people suspect the chinese data are fake, and are underestimating the fatality rate because the hospitals are flooded of people an many people are dying at home without too much scrutiny (or it seems now).

    Also if we consider the total number of people in the serious/critical conditions right now (8.657 people) we have that almost 11% of all infected need important hospital care, but again we have starting the epidemic, this could change a lot when more people infected be more time with the infection and the hospitals be overwhelmed.

    I consider this pandemic much more severe than a normal flu, but people today are better feed, better hygienic conditions and better heatlh systems (at least in some developed countries) than in 1918.

    What I am sure is that this pandemic will crush the global economy. It is a real black-swan event

    Anyhow we’ll see


  64. Ok, sounds like the stats I heard for the 1918 flu were for percentage of the whole population, misquoted so it sounded like they were for those who were infected. Thanks, that’s reassuring. Current situation bad, but not as bad as I’d feared.

  65. Hello again Mr. Greer,

    I have been thinking a lot lately about the implications of catabolic collapse and there is a question asked from two distinct angles I want to run by you.

    First, lets make sure I understand you correctly. As I see it, your theory states that as a civilization rises it eventually enters overshoot. Its resource consumption surpasses the carrying capacity of its environment, whether that be the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in ancient Mesopotamia or the whole earth in modern industrial civilization. The civilization instead of realizing it has gone to far will almost always double down on the policies which led to overshoot in the first place. They will further complicated when they should simplify. This eventually leads to a periods of partial collapse (whether that be from famine, war, poverty, pandemic, natural disaster, infrastructure collapse, or some combination of these things). The resource consumption of the civilization then drops to temporarily sustainable levels, but civilizations rarely if ever take advantage of the opportunity to change, so give it enough time and a new round of crises set in. The pattern oscillates between crises and relative calm for however many cycles it takes for a civilization to be ground into dust.

    That is how I understand the theory in a nut shell. Which leads me to two questions. First, does this mean that although civilizations will usually undergo fairly smooth upward trajectories since no one interferes with increasing prosperity (I am imagining the smooth slop from a peak oil graph) they will conversely undergo a stair step pattern on the way down?

    To ask the same question in a different way, you have noted that U.S. history tends to run in 80 year cycles from stability under one leader to a period of chaos with diffused power. This is a relatively smooth period of ascension. It means we can go 240 years with only 3 crises. It means that crisis is a once in a lifetime event. But on the way down, should we expect crises to come every other generation instead of once every four generations? Should we assume that there will be a quickening in the rate at which dramatic periods come? Or do civilizations tend to fall at the same rate that they rise? Is the rising arc and falling arc roughly as steep on either end, or does one side drop off much quicker than the other?

    My knee jerk impulse is to say that civilizations fall faster than they rise. In finance there is a saying that tells us bull markets take the stairs up, but bears markets take the elevator down. I would assume that any lasting union which a political leader could establish today could not last for another full 80 year cycle and take us to the end of the century, but I am curious to know what you think.

  66. Since most people can no longer afford the absurdly inflated cost of health care in America, our corrupt politicians are scrambling around trying to figure out how to squeeze still more blood out of a turnip, so that the income of big med and big pharma can keep on rising at double-digit rates per year.

    JMG nailed it. How can anyone look at a full government takeover of healthcare as a solution when it’s government that has purposely enabled and continues to defend the existing rackets. It’s not uncommon knowledge that big med & big pharma wrote ACA.

  67. Steve,

    Why would you say “gold” is among your poor choices? It’s the very definition of intrinsic value.

  68. @ JMG – On the Star’s Reach military tech and tactics topic:

    I work with a man with a taste for both military history, and a personal background in the military (US Army for be specific). I was talking to him at one point about a ‘mental exercise’ involving mixing mostly early 19th century technology and modern tactics. He suggested that small units (platoon-size), operating independently, would maximize mobility and ability to surprise the enemy, especially is short wave radio was available to coordinate their actions. He did not think that large scale armies would not be very practical, since accurate, rifled muskets make massed formations self-defeating. He did think that mobile dragoon-type units would be very useful, especially for rampaging thru enemy supply lines or disrupting their movements.

    I think you’re right that artillery would be quite limited due to the energy expense of forging the barrels of the guns. I would think artillery use would be limited to siege operations, and maybe limited field use if one could build and operate a Puckle gun style field piece with a revolving cylinder.

    I wonder how long repeating rifles would remain viable, only because forging brass cartridges is fairly energy intense. I know that brass can be reused, but that only works for so long before the cartridge begins to warp. This problem is compounded by the fouling effects of black powder on the fine mechanics of a repeating rifle. I could see a needle-gun type breech-loader remaining in use far into the future, as long as mercury fulminate is available to ignite the powder.

    As for air power in the post-industrial world, I really do wonder if it would be available. I think alcohol powered ultra-lights are technically feasible, but I suppose whether or not they will see use in the far future depends on all the techniques and know-how needed to build them making it to the far future…

  69. Oilman2, could you please write up a detailed account of how to repurpose a wind turbine blade and post it somewhere online? That’s a solid point, and it would be helpful to be able to point to something when the issue comes up.

    Kuja, first of all, it’s only in the overheated imaginations of activists that the current ecological crisis is going to take out every complex life form on this planet. Yes, we’re in a crisis, but the scale of that crisis has been massively inflated by those who like to use scare tactics to push their political agendas. A bunch of species are going extinct, but that’s a frequent event on this planet — it last happened at the end of the last ice age 11,000 years ago, and it happened at regular intervals before then. We’ll go through the usual bottleneck, and then new species will evolve out of the survivors as usual. Human beings, in particular, are likely to come through this in good shape — we’re a very successful generalist species, right up there with rats and cockroaches, and no easier to exterminate.

    With regard to reincarnation, yes, I’m aware that the Catholic church and the whole range of Western prophetic religions generally insist that there’s only one life and that body and soul are resurrected together at the end of time. From my perspective, they’re wrong, but of course they’d say the same thing about me. If you want to know what Christian faith looks like from the perspective of a believer in reincarnation, Dion Fortune’s Mystical Meditations on the Collects is a good place to start.

    Yorkshire, exactly. That trope has been rehashed so often it’s been reduced to paste. That’s why I wrote two novels about a young but traditionally minded composer taking on a rebellious and innovative establishment, and winning. 😉

    David BTL, interesting. Thanks for this; I wonder just how much variability they’re willing to consider.

    Robert, thanks for this — that’s exactly the division I have in mind, of course.

    Colter, in your case I’d pursue a nimble investment strategy, focusing on stability rather than asset growth, and work toward getting some secondary income streams going — even if they’re small to start with, they’ll give you experience and potentially a lifeline if your current job folds. Your steps sound very sensible. As for charity, I’m a Freemason — that’s part of helping to build community, but it also gives me easy access to a lot of charitable projects that I know aren’t being run for somebody to profit from. One that I support particularly — it’ll be getting most of the income from my copyrights after my wife and I are both gone — is the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Program, which runs free clinics for children with speech and language problems. There are plenty of others, though.

    Jay, ever since I began blogging, people have been getting annoyed at me because I look at the latest offering from the Apocalypse of the Month Club and point out that it’s nothing like as dire as the members of same club want to believe. By all means draw your own conclusions and do as you wish, but I’m going to call it as I see it — and what I see is an ordinary respiratory infection in its early stages of moving into a population. If anything, this is less of a crisis than many other respiratory infections, as children seem to be all but immune to it (there has not been one death so far among children 9 and under).

    Temporaryreality, what’s being released this year is a reissue of my Sacred Geometry Oracle, which includes 33 introductory exercises in sacred geometry. The more extensive course has been folded into a broader project, the first two parts of which will probably be released next year. All of this ties into the themes of The Secret of the Temple and its forthcoming sequel, The Ceremony of the Grail, but the broader pattern will take a while to sketch out. Stay tuned!

    Alexander, I wish I knew what to suggest. As for the books, why, that’s part of why I started doing a book of the week as part of my Magic Mondays — I hope to use that as an incentive to think about what books in the Western esoteric tradition matter.

  70. Adam,

    Read an article some time ago about significant patent filings. The upside is that major, impactful inventions and/or discoveries used to be made somewhat regularly by individuals, whereas now they are few and far between and involve huge teams.

    Regarding energy specifically, virtually everything we talk about these days as potential saviors — nuclear/thorium, solar/PV, etc. — were initially identified a century ago or more. Unless some aliens show up soon, we seem to be running short of truly new ideas to build on.

    The power of an iPhone is awesome, but somehow that hasn’t translated into the space travel that happened using far more primitive “technology”.

  71. Well I finally noticed that there was an option to subscribe so I don’t have to guess when a new post is made – yay!

    When it comes to ‘simple’ yes or no questions or questions that just require a numerical answer … what is the difference between using Geomancy (or other divinatory tool) and being in the same mental/spiritual/seeking state and rolling a dice/flipping a coin eg hypothetically should I ask Ms X to marry me (yes or no … head is yes heads = yes) When should I propose … should it be in 2020 (flip coin – no) 2021 (yes) what month (roll 12 sided die – March) – what day in March (roll percentile die) etc etc?

  72. Peter,

    I am not sure about medicare for all, but I have some issues with moving toward that without solving what I consider to be bigger problems. That is cost. I have had insurance through Obamacare, and it has been reasonable in cost to me, but the taxpayers are paying a huge price every month to give us that. And because the program comes from insurance companies, that same high price is paid for my husband, who has good health and rarely goes to get any care. Medicare used to be direct in such a way that my husband would not have incurred costs, but with this system, he does. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, perhaps it all goes into the same pool.

    But medical costs have risen way faster than inflation, and the costs for care, either doctor appointments, surgeries, hospital rooms or tests, are through the roof and we have pricing scams that allow for all this. So lack of pricing transparency, which is a lack of actual competition, drives up costs. Our nation won’t be able to afford this price gouging, regardless of who pays for it. But one thing medicare does is negotiate prices so that is probably a good thing. I don’t feel the government can run a program, but I do wonder if we will have much less health freedom if everyone is in one system.

  73. Violet,

    There’s another part to your meditation. If you have a bunch of folks Tom Sawyering about it is inevitable that one of them will upset the status quo. That’s the thing with the process of discovery, there’s many a thing out there that people would rather not have discovered.

    I forget, Was is Tom or Huck that took down those swindlers?



  74. Ben, thanks for this. You can put images into the comment field by using the HTML tag “img” — here’s a guide on how to do it.

    DFC, what exactly is going on in China right now is anybody’s guess. That’s why I consider the death rate outside China, in countries that have relatively open media, to be a much better guide to what we’re facing than the muddled and heavily managed reports from inside China. By the way, every six months or so something’s about to crush the global economy once and for all; I wonder why it occurs to so few people to notice this, and draw a conclusion or two.

    Pygmycory, yeah, that sounds like what happened. The habit of rounding things up to make the current situation look as apocalyptic as possible is very well established these days.

    Stephen, basically, yes. The speed and severity of decline depend, as the original article points out, on the degree to which a society is dependent on nonrenewable resources and the rate at which those are depleted. It actually does happen that societies go into catabolism, bottom out, and recover — see the history of imperial China for a flurry of examples. In the present case, our rise was very, very quick — consider the difference between the neighborhood where you live as it was in 1820, and what it looks like today — and the decline is likely to be equally steep in the opening phases; in both cases, this is due to the role played by highly concentrated fossil fuel energies. How that process maps onto the generational cycles that govern US politics is a complicated question, and one I haven’t explored in detail.

    TJ, exactly. It’s all about corporate welfare. Give consumers the right to choose their own healthcare even if it’s alternative, remove the barriers that prevent nurses and PAs from opening clinics on their own to provide routine care, and break up the monopolies that keep health care and pharmaceutical costs sky-high, and health care will become as affordable as it was in the 1960s, when most families could easily pay for a trip to the doctor. Of course that means a bunch of people who get seven-figure salaries are going to be in a world of financial hurt, but I think it’s time for them to take one for the team.

    Ben, those are all good points. Fulminates can be made with medieval technology — I’ve got an alchemical recipe, supposedly for the philosopher’s stone, that was actually a lethal booby trap, as it produces a couple of ounces of really unstable gold fulminate and then tells you to pound it up good and hard in a mortar and pestle! I don’t know enough about the manufacture of brass cartridges or equivalents to know at what level that would be insuperable. In terms of formations, of course you’d have to go for a more dispersed force structure and more firing from cover. As for the ultralights, my take is that the internal combustion engine is sufficiently widespread at this point that somebody’s going to preserve it, and once you have that you can make an ultralight fairly easily — and the military advantages of aerial reconnaissance are such that if one side has it, all sides will have to have it.

    Warren, none whatsoever. Flipping a coin is the simplest of binary divination methods; geomancy and the I Ching add layers of complexity by adding additional digits. (You can get perfectly good geomancy readings, btw, with a quarter, a dime, a nickel, and a penny: toss these four times, heads for one dot, tails for two, with the highest value coin determining the top line and so on down from there. I call this my 41 cent oracle.)

  75. @Jon from Virginia

    Thanks for the tips.

    I fixed the comments settings, now everyone should be able to comment.

    I will also search through KunstlerCast and C-Realm archives and add more podcasts to the list later this week.

    (C-Realm podcast are marked in my list as KMO, after the host)

  76. To further the discussion with Adam and JMG with regards to AI, there are a few factors that regularly get swept under the carpet in regard to AI.

    When JMG says Moore’s law is dead – it is dead, ground up into dust and used for composting at this point. I wonder what Moore makes of this today seeing as he is still around to see it get smashed into said dust.

    The strangest thing that we see when it comes to future predictions of technology is that optimistic technologists project this ambitions of the future, most well meaning if blindly optimistic, economists tend grab hold of these ideas and make some outlandish predictions based on exponential growth models, regardless of the physical/mental limits imposed.

    This is what befell supersonic flight predictions, exponential growth based on the early 20th century meant that super sonic, economically cheap, flight was inevitable. Only problem was that physics had the last laugh on that one, so it turns out planes today are no faster than they were in 1959.

    We would be living in a ‘Green tech’ world by 2020 based on these same predictive ideals of the early 2000’s. Car batteries will become so cheap that “you would be a fool to buy a gasoline car!”, AI will steal your job and we will have the chance to live on Mars.

    The more extravagant predictions of AI has fallen to this trap as well. Jeremy Rifkin, an economists, in his 1995 book ‘The end of work’, predicted that by the year 2000, most of us would be out of work by the hand of AI. That never happened. Side note : His latest prediction in ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’ is the end of fossil fuels by 2030 due to green tech, lets see how that will work out. I’m not holding my breath.

    Data driven AI systems like we see today had some great initial results, IMB’s Big Blue winning at chess against Kasparov in 1997 was the first big example of that. Rather than make a smarter machine that understood the rules of chess and played with that knowledge, they merely made a computer that could crunch data faster to get the similar results. This is how AI has progressed over the last two decades. Throwing ever more data and computing power at problems to try and get similar results to what we desire. However, as JMG pointed out, we don’t really understand how to get what we want.

    Early progress was made on the low hanging fruit such as audio/visual recognition and general data analysis but that progress kept slowing down as the data sets got larger and our needs started to get more difficult to define. For all the progress we have made, a 3 year old child can recognize a chair more constantly and better than even the best AI and supercomputer on the planet.

    For those following along, get out your copy of ‘Green Wizardry’, I think it is chapter 2 (don’t have it on hand right now) that explains the difference between Data and Information. The systems we have built to feed AI are great at collection data but are terrible at getting information out of it. The big slow down in any meaningful results was inevitable.

    Staggering optimism runs rampant in these fields but rarely deliver. It was back in the mid 70’s, Marvin Minkski the head of the AI division of MIT once set a challenge to his students over the summer break. Take the language fundamental ideas that Noam Chomsky had set out, build a program that could translate German to English using these supposedly simple rules. They figured it could be done in about a month at the longest. They failed miserably mostly because the base theory didn’t stack up in real world use. Even today some 45+ years later this is still a challenge that has yet to be figured out adequately. One of those students, Jaron Lanier, now the head of AI at Microsoft is at least is very honest in these failings of the technology compared with the vision. He jokingly says “AI is the latest term used to acquire and waste venture capitalists money”. Other terms that have done the same thing at VR, AR, Block-chain and Web 2.0.

    Arthur C Clarke predicting that by the year 2000 we would have computers as intelligent as people, this was the inspiration behind HAL on 2001 : A Space Odyssey. At the same, Issac Asimov, refused to look at the then modern progress of computer AI sciences for he feared the clunky ugly reality of them would ruin his imagination and visions of the future. He willingly did away with the limits for the sake of story telling. Just look at his short story ‘The Last Question’ to get a good sense of this.

    As always we will be seeing more pronouncements of the bold shape of the future but will they will die with a whisper like most of them do.

  77. @ Will J in regards to advertising advertising. What part of the world are you in?

    I’m in Australia and I too have noticed in the last few months the large uptick in these billboards, it is not just regional.

    A few slogans I have seen are as follows.

    “Unsee this! Advertise with us”

    “Remember that featured article? We don’t.”

    And my favorite one because of how blunt it is – “Advertise or Die”

    I usually forget these sorts of things (they are black magic in action) but they finally advertised something I am interested in, the decline of the advertising industry.

  78. JMG et al. – I have enjoyed opening correspondence with Roy after his request in the December open post. I’d like to extend a similar invitation – I write a farm-and-family newsy-letter 2-3 times a month (except when the gardens are REALLY going) and also enjoy writing letters one-on-one with folks who are interested. This self-selecting group always has great ideas and thoughts to share, and I’d love to have a paper-and-post office interaction with other folks as well. I’m thinking of several of you whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet in person, but truly, I’d be delighted to have pen pals among many folks of the commentariat! You can reach me via yahoo mail (I’m old, but I’m not AOL old!) and I go by ‘gardengirlgarden’ – kinda like “Run Forest, Run!” You shoot me an email with your postal address, and I’ll send you a letter.

  79. Is the modern classical genre of “postspectralism” as described in The Shoggoth Concerto an actual real-world genre or an invention for the book? I’m vaguely aware of what spectralism without the “post” is, but I’m not much versed in classical music besides a few of the, well, classics…

  80. Hi JMG,

    Some time back you mentioned James Laver’s ‘The Age of Optimism’. Since it covered the period of history my husband and I are specifically interested in, I got a copy.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    Why? Because the book allowed Bill to solve the mystery crime that inspired Agatha Christie to write her second Poirot novel, ‘The Murder on the Links’. She couldn’t remember the particulars and no one ever worked out the details because this particular crime of the century took place in France and so all the pertinent documents were in French.

    There she was: Marguerite Steinheil, adventuress, and the mysterious death of her husband and mother-in-law and a cast of remarkable characters. Marguerite lived a hugely dramatic life, including a torrid affair ending in the death of the president of France under mysterious circumstances. That’s not the incident that inspired Agatha, by the way.

    So, thanks to your recommendation, we’ll be able to solve this mystery when we publish our annotated version of ‘The Murder on the Links’.

    Teresa from Hershey

  81. @ Stuart Cram

    I heard about (and saw some pix) of the Super Bowl pole dance seen round the world.
    I hadn’t thought of fertility rituals.

    Thinking about it, maybe they were! The participants were 40 and 50 somethings and for women, once you get past 40 your fertility drops off a cliff.

    Every time I read about some celeb over 40 having a baby, I always wonder who’s egg they used.

    Teresa from Hershey

  82. Will at 1129 A. M. – In Re: Cookbooks

    My mom had a copy of the Fanny Farmer cookbook; a wedding gift to her when she married my dad in 1947.

    Isabel at 1:28 P. M. – In Re: Freight Sailing

    Its possible to get stateroom on a freighter; check out Or Google something like “freight passengers”, and you will get several sites you can check out.

    Kuja at 3:05 P.M. – In Re: Reincarnation

    I don’t think all humans or “higher animals” are going to go extinct, but those the don’t will see drastic reduction in their numbers. Certainly true for humans, as I don’t see the current population of 7.8 billion being supported without fossil fuel energy. But if there aren’t enough humans for everyone to reincarnate here on Earth, why could reincarnation not happen on some other more or less Earth-like planet elsewhere in the galaxy – or even another galaxy. All such planet would need would be at least one species of animal that was more or less at the same level of development as we Earthlings are.

    Ben at 5:20 P. M. – In Re: Ultralights

    The question with ultralights seems to be what altitude can it attain. They don’t fly all that fast, and if it can’t get several thousand feet up, it would seem to be a juicy target for someone with a rifle on the ground below.

    Archdruid: In Re: Trump Unchained

    If Trump should be re-elected, what do you think are the chances that he will be able to break away from the CIA/Deep State neocons who have hindered his every foreign policy move? Might we start hearing his “You’re Fired” dismissal being issued to numerous swamp creatures, and see him appointing people who will assist him in implementing the policies he says he wants?

    Antoinetta III

  83. Hi NomadicBeer, JMG and all. The new substation in Seattle could have been a bunch of transformers surrounded by razor wire and prison fencing. I have some sympathy for the attempt to balance functionality and aesthetics. I am actually more concerned that by putting the switchgear indoors, secure and out of the rain, the consequences of a fire are worse than with the historical design of a row of ratty cabinets like oversized gym lockers sitting in the open.

    An invisible component of trying to build anything since 2003, when the substation project started, is the explosion of code requirements. A few years ago, the regulations changed in the middle of erecting a six story building. We were neither finished enough to be grandfathered in nor early enough in the project to easily make changes. It cost all kinds of money to comply. The public, reasonably enough, cannot figure out why it costs $1100 for a studio apartment now that the building is renting.

    The city now requires that new construction have 5% of the parking places equipped with electric car chargers and the building have the power system ready to increase that to 20%. Very green and forward looking. It’s impressive how much adding car chargers to 20% of the parking places increases the calculated load. The larger load requires larger service entrance equipment and a larger transformer. The real kicker is that larger transformers have larger fault currents. That means that if some joker with a backhoe goes through the main power conductors to the building, the equipment must be sized to take the fault instead of exploding in fire and smoke.

    It can TRIPLE the cost of the service entrance gear, not to mention the upstream costs of upgrading the power distribution network.

  84. Today was Ash Wednesday. I am someone who is in the process of a slow descent from being a hardcore Catholic, and is at this point, is a middling Catholic who somehow makes it to church most Sundays. For the most part, my attachement to Catholicism is more a combination of habit, indoctrination, and nostalgia than anything else. Anyway, I went out, got my ashes, had a few beers, forgot that it was Ash Wednesday, and ate a chicken sandwich. After I had eaten the chicken sandwich, I remembered what day it was, and how I wasn’t supposed to eat a chicken sandwich. I was frustrated with myself for my failures, but mostly, I felt a deep sense of exhaustion. I’m exhausted with fearing eternal damnation. I’m exhausted with the idea, and the self-imposed burden that I’ve been carrying around for as long as I can remember, that I’m supposed to have a religious and/or political philosophy that solves all of the life’s problems, and has the answers to all of the questions of the universe. Whenever I think that I’ve found the answer, I ride it out for a while, before I realize that I can never fully live up to whatever ideals that the idea is pushing. Of course, it is not long after this that I realize that the solution in question does not live up to it’s own ideals, either, and then I am left with a deep sense of disappointment and a feeling of being adrift. Most of all, though, I’m exhausted by always having to be right. I want to be free to live my life, and to enjoy it as best as I can.

  85. Thanks for the reply.
    May your reading of the matter be right.

    Ultimately we can only work with what info is out there, though I’ve tried to be discerning. To confirm: I certainly don’t think this ‘the apocalypse’, but it is the biggest event to stir things up for quite a while. Forest fires and floods just aren’t enough it seems.

  86. Renaissance Man,

    “…people arguing against any money (let along millions of dollars worth) being spent on reconstruction because “poor people hungry in the streets” & racism/sexism/LGBTQ+ discrimination/&c. &c. so we should not waste money re-building a monument to Eurocentric Heteronormative Patriarchal domination.”

    I have come to the conclusion that these people are a bunch of bullies. The only thing to do with bullies is stand up to them. They have been given way too much platform.
    why does everyone keep bowing to them? It only makes them crazier.

  87. JMG, I was unsure about bringing this up earlier on, but now that a certain amount of discussion has taken place regarding the virus in China, I thought I would do so now, just to see what anyone would have to say. I will relay briefly what I’ve seen without providing any links, since there seem to be a quite a few sites carrying this info, some of them click-bait types. I however happened to learn about it on a Facebook page operated by an anthroposophist veterinarian (for what that’s worth).

    It appears that the pop thriller writer Dean Koontz wrote a book in 1981 called The Eyes of Darkness, which featured as a plot element a bioweapon created by the Chinese called “Wuhan-400.” In the page screen-shot usually featured, one of the characters, talking about a Chinese scientist who defected to the US, says that “they call the stuff Wuhan-400 because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundreth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center.”

    Now obviously there’s nothing close enough for anyone to cry “prediction” — and I am not sure that would be the right term describing this coincidence either. But it is kind of unnerving. Also raising the eyebrows further is the fact that this element appears in the 2008 reprint of the book, whereas in the original edition, it appears to be skewed as Russian: “The Russians called the stuff Gorki-400 because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of Gorki, and it was the four-hundreth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center.”

    And so, I was wondering about the following possibilities:

    a) author unwittingly downloads “info” from the Akasha while working (that is, if the Akasha contains not only past but future streams)?

    b) in switch from Russian to Chinese setting… deep state shenanigans?

    c) just a coincidence

    d) none of the above

    Some of community here might indeed make short work of this, and I apologize if I’ve strained some of your patience, especially as the current events around COV are serious. But there has surfaced among some conspiracy theorists something called “predictive programming,” wherein some kind of image, words or idea is introduced into a popular culture product, which then reproduces in an event much later down the road.

    I am not sure what the purpose of that might be as a kind of psy-op, but the idea also came up after the recent death of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash. Some stepped forward and pointed to a cartoon made several years ago — which appeared on the Cartoon Channel, and showed exactly that event happening to that person, in an episode of some series. The channel immediately pulled the video of the program publicly, and apologized to the Bryant family for the unfortunate coincidence.

    Very spooky stuff.

  88. Sergi, John – re nightmares

    Another possibility is past life stuff.
    The case of James Huston Jr/James Leininger comes to mind. Young James Leininger was troubled by nightmares of being trapped in the cockpit of a burning/crashed airplane during World War II near Chichi Jima when he was James Huston Jr.

    see the book “Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot”

    An interesting video of the parents and young James talking about writing their book.

    A third possibility is sleep paralysis, see the book
    The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions

  89. Regarding the new coronavirus disease, the mortality rate tracking so closely with age and certain co-morbid conditions, particularly cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it seems to me worth exploring a relation to mitochondrial dysfunction. So at the least, eating foods that boost mitochondrial health seems like a great idea, and will potentially have knock on benefits. One popular version is the Wahls(tm) diet; essentially it’s tons of veggies, especially cabbage family, dark greens, garlic and other sulfur containing plants, and protein foods, preferably meats.

    One speculated cause of higher mortality in the 1918 flu was the recent discovery and consequent heavy use of aspirin (fatal cases often looked like Reyes syndrome). Of note, historical records of that time showed that patients at homeopathic hospitals (common then) almost never died. I’m currently researching genus epidemicus remedies for this disease, and anyone interested may wish to read this excellent book on homeopathic treatment of influenza:

    Homeopaths don’t treat based on the type of bug, but based on the reaction of the patient’s vital force (that is, the symptoms). A genus remedy or remedies is selected to match the constellation of symptoms in the affected population for that specific outbreak. Therefore, the remedies discussed in the above-reference book may be helpful if the symptoms match well enough. An odd thing about homeopathy is that treating acute cases is often easier than treating chronic ones,when at least regarding remedy selection and dosing. Please note, pneumonia can obviously be deadly, so that situation is nearly never a time for amateur hour. If a genus remedy or remedies are identified, they will be most useful for prevention and treating early cases before they can turn into pneumonia.

  90. Aha. I didn’t make my question clear. I was wondering if there is a cycle?
    Something that goes… managerial bureaucrats become arrogant and detatched, population rebels by electing “anyone” a populist who speaks about their needs, possibly competent, but probably not spouting a collection of simplistic, plausible, but generally wrong policies fuelled by anger. The populace realizes that they can change things, and then begin to elect competent politicians who are focused on ideas. Eventually, the politicians turn increasingly to the chastened managerial class which begins to re-acquire influence. For a while politicians begin to rely more and more on them while they become more and more focused on ideology rather than ideas, until the managerial class is running things and politicians are focused entirely on life-and-death ideological squabbles and the neglected populace chafes in frustration. The managerial class becomes arrogant, the populace turns to a populist, and the cycle repeats.
    Is that what we are seeing here? Is there such a cycle? Or what am I missing something important that would negate my hypothesis?


  91. @Steve

    I agree with your suggestion to buy useful items. My only concern is that those items could be taken by someone in a more powerful position, if it comes to that. Do you have any suggestions as to how someone could keep their property safe from confiscation? Some ideas that occur to me are 1) focusing on appropriate- or low-tech items that might not appeal to most people and 2) owning real estate that is not obviously valuable but potentially agriculturally productive. Do any other ideas occur to you for safeguarding one’s material investments?

  92. Some personal remarks: Earlier today I attended an Ash Wednesday service for the first time. (Mormons don’t do Lent or any of the liturgical-year stuff; I went as a guest to a Catholic church). Part of what prompted me to do it was thinking about the condition of modern society regarding holidays, and how modern Americans usually only know one way to celebrate a holiday: take the day off work, buy stuff, eat and drink. And yet, throughout most of history, there have been holy days dedicated to penitence and mourning and fasting and supplication and all sorts of other things besides the one “let’s be happy and party” attitude that seems to be all that’s left in most people’s emotional vocabulary these days.

    So I’ve been working on trying to recapture the old sense of sacred time. And sacred space – I pray facing Jerusalem, which will sometimes leave a friend or family member wondering why I am acting like a Muslim; have they forgotten that just a few centuries ago Christians would face their holy city too? Even the Salt Lake Temple was built facing Jerusalem for goodness sake!

    For all I know I might be the only person in the world who makes a point of fasting on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith (Hurrah for religious syncretism!)

    Anyway, all that talk about ultralights made me recall a line from one of our host’s comments in an article last summer, viz. “I think it’s quite possible that the epic poems of deindustrial Dark Age America will feature heroic deeds on the part of ultralight pilots.”

    Which got me thinking: what would the commentariot here think if some future volume of After Oil or issue of Into the Ruins included a thousand lines of dactylic hexameter on the exploits of a famous airman during one of America’s wars of dissolution? Is it something you would want to read? Would our host want to publish it?

  93. Violet, et. al. on Mark Twain–_Tom Sawyer_ and _Huckleberry Finn_ are quite different novels and their main characters are quite different as well. TS can safely be assigned as a children’s book; though the ‘lost in Indian Joe’s cave’ scenes are scary they probably won’t faze a modern child reared on Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. Tom is a middle class boy who gets up to mischief after school and on weekends but is safely corralled and returned to school and Sunday school by a stable set of adults. His plans to form his schoolmates into a outlaw band are no more real than a session of Dungeons and Dragons. Huck Finn, on the other hand, is the son of the town drunk, an abusive and neglectful father who resents Huck for having been taken in by a respectable family and sent to school. HF is a complex novel in which Twain confronts many terrible aspects of human nature and of his society in the form of slavery, blood feuds, con men, the tarring and feathering of the con men. When Tom shows up at the end of the novel he turns Huck’s serious intent to free the runaway slave Jim, into a farce with a ridiculous and unnecessary plot derived from his fondness for boys’ adventure tales. Tom knows that Jim’s mistress died and freed him in her will, so he is in no danger of being returned to slavery. All his plan does is prolong Jim’s agony. But unlike Huck, who has come to recognize that Jim is human like himself, Tom, as the product of a society which regards slavery as normal, sees the imprisoned man as just an actor in his fantasy. At the end of the novel Tom returns to family and friends. One can well imagine that he will marry a local girl, enter some proper employment and perhaps, amuse his future children with tales of his wild youth. OTH, since both novels were published after the Civil War we could equally assume that Tom dies in the war or returns home with a missing limb and a drug addiction. At the end of HF, Huck decides that he doesn’t want the middle class future that the well intended citizens of St Petersburg offer him. Instead he decides to “light out for the territories” where no one will correct his grammar, expect him to attend Sunday school or give up smoking. Twain does not address the question of whether part of the appeal of ‘the territories’ is the lack of slavery, for Huck would have been well aware that if Jim’s owner had not freed him he would have been severely punished for having run away. The two books provide a contrasting view of American character–TS full of good, well intentioned people, with the villains, such as Indian Joe, clearly outsiders and most of the boyish mischief fairly lighthearted. HF has good citizens as well, the Widow Douglas who takes in the orphaned Huck, for example. But even good people will sell their slaves down the river for a high enough price, participate in feuds and riots. Evil is not confined to the foreign or outcast, it is part of the fabric of society.

    My daughter has been in Venice this past 10 days. She reported that the public Carnival events were cancelled after the first few cases of Corona were reported, but some private parties continued. Museums were closed as well. Too soon to know about screening at the airport on the way home.

    Kuja–funny thing, in regards to climate change I said to friend a week ago “We’re our own asteroid.” Great minds think alike, as they say.

  94. “I know that brass can be reused, but that only works for so long before the cartridge begins to warp.”

    Warping is less of a problem than work hardening. Eventually the cases crack. I hand load, and most of my failures are cracked necks. Annealing can get another few reloads from a batch of cases once the first few have cracked. Operating pressure also matters. Seven or eight reloads for something like a .270 Winchester. Twice that for a 30-30. A 38 Special should last at least 20. I lost count on the 357 cases or I could be more exact.

    However, if you go back to mercury fulminate primers, the mercury attacks the brass and destroys the case.

    Brass cartridge cases came out just after the Civil War, they are not that hard to make. Deep drawing dies were the hardest part (in several senses of the word) of the technology to make.

    Interesting trivia, rifled barrels were invented about 1500, 350 years before the machining technology was good enough to build a bolt action rifle. The part you think is difficult often is not the part that is actually difficult.

  95. Violet,
    Thank you for the post! I’ve enjoyed pondering it all day long, reliving my childhood adventures. There were no more All American Tom Sawyers than my brother and I growing up in the 60s. We were always to be found on the edge of the things. Following every creek bank, fishing every lake shore we could find. And if we were trespassing all the better! We weren’t evil, we were testing the margins of every limit we encountered. The contemporary impulse to conjure evil magic may be one of the last limits some folks can find to test. Bound in the chains of “wokeness” they strain to express the wilderness of youth that inflates them.
    I’m familiar with the desperate looks you describe, peering into me as I recount my back country hiking vacations, shared because they ask. They are comforted knowing someone in the office always has a pocket knife and secretly wish they had one too.
    They want me on that margin, need me on that edge. It gives them hope and vicariously sets them free.
    Tom and Huck lived, and live, on the the narrow living “cambium” of society where all of the living and working and learning gets done. The rest is dead bark and bland cellulose.
    The manifest destiny that spawned Tom and Huck, that great plains fire of expansion, is playing out in the US and is long dead in Europe. We are offered the illusion of sending a handful of martyrs to Mars, so in the meantime some poke the edge of a magical frontier spoiling for a fight.
    Mark L. Thanks for this!
    Colter. If I were young again I’d invest in the means of low energy production of essentials like good clean food, shelter and water. Hand tools and the skills to use them.
    Isabelcooper. An emphatic yes to said list!

  96. JMG, and Forecastingintelligence, I have my doubts about the interview of the Pew Research center about the borders of european countries. I could imagine, that in Eastern Europe, there are quite a few people who aren’t content with the current borders, but I have in my whole life encountered nothing which would lead me to believe that more than a small minority of people in Western and Middle Europe are interested in annexing lost former territories, like Southern Tyrol, Silesia, Alsace-Lorraine or others, with military means. Research interviews can be manipulated in quite a few ways to get the desired results.

  97. Dave Babcock,

    I’m genuinely puzzled. My take on the social justice movement is that it is largely fantasy that there are real problems with social justice in our various modern western countries. Where is it?

  98. Oh, dear, in my post about medicare I said I did not feel the government can run the program, but I meant to say I do not think that they can’t. I think some government programs are run fairly well.

  99. Michael, Jeremy Rifkin probably deserves some kind of award as the world’s worst prophet. He published any number of highly touted books on the future, and I don’t recall one of his predictions that actually succeeded. He did achieve one thing, though — it was after reading one of his more embarrassing failures that I first realized that progress was a mythological concept.

    Michelle, so noted.

    James, it’s fictional, like shoggoths. I wanted to have a convenient label for the latest avant-garde art music style that didn’t tar and feather any one species of that unlistenable genre more than any other, so took spectralism and added the inevitable post- to it to make it more cutting-edge.

    Teresa, good heavens. Well, I’m glad.

    Antoinetta, it depends on how narrow the election is. If he wins by a landslide, by the ordinary rules of American politics, he can do pretty much whatever he wants. It’s because he squeaked out such a narrow win in 2016 that he’s had to be so careful so far.

    Raphanus, the explosion of code requirements is one of the ways that governments keep real estate prices rising. When that changes, you’ll know the revolution has succeeded.

    Waffles, you’re free. You’ve never been anything but free — but the entire weight of religious, political, and cultural authority has been exerted to keep you from realizing your freedom. Right now, stand up, stretch every muscle in your body, and realize that the entire evil fantasy of eternal damnation was invented by a bunch of frightened, greedy old men who couldn’t control themselves and settled for controlling you instead. Let it fall away from you; realize that what shapes your future is your own attitudes and actions, full stop, end of sentence; and come out of the fearful darkness into light. Yes, it’s that simple.

    Jay, we’ll just have to see. I expect it to be all over the US over the next couple of weeks, and old news by early May.

    SMJ, I don’t think anyone outside of a small handful of intelligence agencies will ever know the full truth about that.

    Petrus, fascinating! Science fiction has a long track record of doing that. There’s a novel titled The Wreck of the Titan, written in 1898, that got most of the details of the sinking of the Titanic correct, fourteen years in advance.

    Sunnnv, that’s certainly another possible source, but the child has to know about reincarnation first.

    Chrysanthemum, I’m pretty sure that the great war of mainstream medicine against homeopathy was triggered by the superior results of homeopathic treatment of the Spanish flu as compared to mainstream treatment. For what it’s worth — and please note that this is historical data only, not medical advice! — physicians using the cell salts, the offshoot of homeopathy I use for home health care, found that Ferrum phos. 6x and Natrum sulph 6x., 4 tablets each under the tongue 4 to 6 times daily, worked extremely well when given in the early stages of the illness. (That was the standard treatment regimen back in the day for any flu-like illness.)

    Renaissance, I could see it. The one variation I’d suggest is that the populist isn’t always wrong; Trump’s tariffs and deregulatory push seem to be genuinely helping things.

    Wesley, interesting. Not toward Manchester, NY, where Joseph Smith had his revelation from the angel Moroni and found the golden plates? As for long epic poetry, it would have to be really good.

    Booklover, I’d expect eastern Europe to be the flashpoint anyway. It usually is.

  100. Hello Waffles,

    Can’t resist your post. Damnation – a favorite topic of mine.
    The short version is: you should no more fear God than you fear your next breath.

    And I decided some years ago that I will defend God’s character as it is not God’s nature to defend his/herself.

    It would appear that certain religions are talking about an evil being, not God.

    “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) And this utterance was meant to give the readers “full joy.”

    Now I ask you, is fear and unforgivingness of the light or of darkness?

    Who blasphemes then, John or the theologians?

    It was when I realized that God is good that I was able to love him with all my heart.

    Hold onto that. Jettison the rest.

  101. @JMG: On the topic of the “managerial elite,” do you think Bernie’s victory in the Democratic primary would represent a substantial loss for them? What if Bernie wins the Presidency in November? Is there any chance that he could seriously threaten the power of the corporate plutocracy? Or will they simply find a way to turn his agenda toward their own ends (as they did with Clinton and Obama), and failing that, render him irrelevant through Congressional opposition?

    On the flip side, what happens if Bernie wins a plurality in the Democratic primary, but fails to get the majority and gets denied the nomination as a result? I can envision a scenario in which Bloomberg ends up getting chosen as the Democratic candidate in a brokered convention, despite getting less than 10% of the popular vote. If we end up with President Biden or President Bloomberg in 2021, would that effectively constitute a lasting victory for the elite? At that point, people would rightly start to feel like their votes literally don’t matter, causing voter turnout to plummet even further and thus allowing the elite to retain even more of a stranglehold on the reins of power.

  102. @JMG,

    Yes, I face Jerusalem, not New York. Mormons are still Christians and we make – or at least we’re supposed to make – a bigger deal about Jesus dying on the cross than about any event from the life of Joseph Smith.

    Also, on an unrelated topic that you mentioned on the very tail end of last week’s comments, namely, how the desire to see the Coronavirus as a man-made bioweapon is indicative of the anthropocentrism of our age.

    My own take is that there is also a big, if not even bigger, element of chronocentrism in the thirst for conspiracy theories like that. Anyone can look at the history of virus outbreaks and see that:

    1) They have been happening from time to time, through natural causes without any overriding purpose, since before anyone can remember.

    2) The last two decades are chock-full of new diseases that were hyped up by the media as the next pandemic, but then fizzled out like Ebola or turned out to be fairly mild, like Swine Flu.

    3) Even if the current epidemic takes the route of the worst-case scenario, it would still end up being one or two orders of magnitude less bad than the Spanish flu, which Spanish flu did NOT bring the global economy crashing down.

    The past, then, is full of new diseases emerging from nature without any guiding telos, killing a few hundreds or thousands or millions or people, but almost always stopping short of turning into a truly world-changing event.

    And yet when people look at the present, they see a disease that was created on purpose as part of a vast conspiracy destined to bring the present world order crashing down.

    It looks to me like this is just one more example of people making whatever leaps of logic it takes to see a present and a future that are both radically different from, and more interesting than, the past.

    Whereas if you approach things with the axiom that, more often than not, this year’s news won’t be any more interesting than last year’s news, you’ll come to a different set of conclusions entirely.

  103. I’m frightened of Covid 19, as I already have a lung condition and am not young, and also because for demographic reasons I suspect the region where I live may well prove to be the hardest hit in the United States.

    JMG, I once obtained through ILL a copy of a go-to book you recommended for understanding and using cell salts. I confess I could hardly make head or tail of it. Is there some more introductory level work you could recommend? Is there a trustworthy web resource? And since you’ve mentioned that cell salts are an offshoot of homeopathy, what would be one of the better (and more available) sources on that topic?

    And by the way, where do you *get* cell salts? I feel I’d better get cracking on preserving what health I’ve got.

  104. Hi JMG – did you ever find the time to read “The Big Sleep”? I know you’ve got a million things going on, but I’m curious if you’ll find Chandler’s writing enjoyable. Every now and then I try to read something outside of my normal tastes, just to see if I learn anything. Recently I checked out Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath” from the library, one of which I read many moons ago in high school. And while I can somewhat appreciate Steinbeck’s skill as a writer, it’s certainly not my cup of tea. I found the plots to be very boring, which is not the case for most gumshoe works. Not that I could write anything better….yet.

  105. JMG,

    Have you ever experienced a wedding with magic included in the ceremony? How was it included?

    @Polytropos – Nice! Thanks for sharing!

    Also, @Violet, very curious about this Tom Sawyer archetype question. I’ll be thinking more about it too. Initially, Iwonder if the fear of instability plays a role in preventing Tom Sawyers and the crave for some degree of chaos and break from order creates them.

    – RMK

  106. Thanks for that tidbit, JMG. To extend my thoughts a bit more, I am also entertaining the idea of some type of egregore being involved in these kinds of cases. After all, if you wanted to “put something into the ethers” you’d have to have a lot of people participating — as in, for example, the occasional TM global meditation, simultaneously performed in a focused way by millions, reportedly saw successful results.

    As Dean Koontz is a very popular writer (probably with million-seller titles), and with a book that appeared 50 years ago, a lot of people have read that text by now and charged its content emotionally and imaginatively with their own wills and attention. Now, would any portion or aspect of that text serve as a kind of etheric marker (if you will) that could be exploited at some point? I am especially struck by the change of context (from Russia to China) in this case, as if some contingencies may have developed over time which waranted such an alteration. After almost 40 years of the book having that Russian peg (Gorki-400), supported by the psychic energy of an untold number of readers, why switch context? Would the narrative element (of many people affected by a mysterious virus) still work even with a change of locale?

    Russia was still in the Western coldwar crosshairs at least until the Soviet Union collapse, and then pillaged for as much as the globalists could grab under Yeltsin’s drunken eyes. But Putin has been able to do some exceedingly difficult work over the years to get his country back on its feet, and even managed to push the central bank to the periphery. Losing Russia has been a huge loss for the global cabal, and no doubt why they shifted everything to China: industry, jobs, intel, investments; even Rothschild was busy shipping lots of gold there to build China up as their next world economic power. It was very soon after China and the US signed Trump’s deal that the COV outbreak occured. Esoteric insurance policy, using the egregore of a fictional marker? And Koontz didn’t need to know anything, did he? I leave everything hanging.

    Your Titanic fiction book also seems a good candidate for this type of reflection — that a kind of energetic matrix is first laid out as a preparation, to be the more easily enacted later on since the psychic groundwork would support or facilitate the event. I’ve read that there was an increasingly strong push to bring back the central bank into the US (after Jackson abolished it), and that some of those resisting and fighting the return of a Fed Bank found themselves invited onto this celebrated luxury liner for a memorable cruise… ensuring a smoother establishment for the Fed afterwards. I am just guessing with any of these suppositions, but I’m hardly alone.

    As a last image that is somewhat related, I recall the words of Daniel Andreev, a Russian anthroposophist who was imprisoned during the Soviet era, and who wrote a marvellous text called The Rose of the World, which delineated the various spiritual dimensions which he saw in visonary experiences during the years of his incarceration. Now and again he mentions some souls whose spiritual status is elevated because of the constant love poured out on earth for their previous earthly efforts, and says that Dante occupies a very high place in one of the heavenly levels because of the continual love for The Divine Comedy. (And: in how many translations and versions by now?)

    Our cosmic life of “thinking, feeling, willing” (Steiner) is not least an endless and fascinating intersection with other beings… non-benevolent results notwithstanding.

  107. The meeting concerning the Dolores Farmers Market was a absolute unconditional victory. It will remain a place where absolutely anyone can show up during market hours and sell their wares. The couple of farmers who got wise to the changes managed to pack the room with many of the regular vendors and customers. The people from the city were informed that any form of organization, application, fee, or management beside traditional anarchy was intolerable. The rule of the market is to remain “don’t do anything stupid enough or mean enough to make somebody else say ‘there ought to be a law'”

    Actually the lady from the chamber of commerce was very agreeable and receptive of feed back once she groked what the market’s values were. Her goals by adding fees was to raise about $1000 to buy vinyl banners, posters, and hire musicians. A fella from the city government said the city might vote to cover the cost, and the farmers offered that at any short fall from the city we would pass a hat round to fill. As we all saw that good signage was desirable. But, none ought be compelled to pay for signage merely to use the space which has always be available as a commons. If we cannot gather enough money to pay for all the fanciness by donations, then we will make do.

    The lady from the chamber of commerce still wanted folks to sign up for their free spots, and we said that a person should be able to sell without any permission or check in. So she will leave a signup option of the chamber website, that there can be a contact list for communicating news, but it was agreed that signing up is not required in order to sell at market.

    The City Manager asked that vendors at least agree to stay from 4-7, to be present for the whole market, but several vendors said that wouldn’t work for them, and they would be doing market on their own schedule. Though the larger more business minded booths tend to work that way as a matter of course.

    Finally it came up that the notion of collecting money was brought up by some musicians seeking paid gigs. If the city will pay for them, fine, if not, well buskers are welcome to try their luck as peers. Farmers can farm for their money, and buskers can busk for theirs; neither need be compelled to support the lifestyle choices of the other. Also, any hired music will be put on the side of the park nearest the highway, so as the attract traffic, and that their noise won’t disrupt the vibes of the market, which is a very chatty conversational market. But there is a good tree there, and free space for people who want to go over and enjoy the music, and those who wish to listen can set the booths up closer to the musicians.

    Some vendors suggested we may form a voluntary group to forward some promotion, but that participation shall not become a condition for selling at the market.

    We held the line. Thank you all for prays, candle wax, or well wishes which may have been involved.

  108. A question about prisons. A prison is supposedly a closed environment. The authorities must have control over what goes out and in. So how come we hear so often about drugs in prisons? Do the drugs ooze through the walls? Do they materialize at the end of a matter-transmission beam? It occurred to me that the authorities might deliberately be turning a blind eye, but if so, what’s in it for them? A quiet life with docile stoned prisoners? Doesn’t seem to work that way. There’s something I don’t get in all this.

  109. Hi JMG
    RE: Religions
    During my recent visit to India, someone pointed me to Sadhguru (available on youtube).
    “His speach is Western style, so something for you”
    I liked the guy for his very plain and open speech.
    Amonng other things, he called BS on all religions.
    The argument: if you believe, you are convinced that you know everything and thus you close your mind. Only if you admit that you do not know opens you mind and imagination. With that open mind you will gain much more knowledge.
    Thus religions are a prison for your mind.
    Interesting thought indeed.
    He looks for me like a Druid from a different tradition.

  110. JMG (and anybody else who has a take on it),

    If you’re right in your estimation of corona virus, then the Chinese government’s containment effort would seem to be massively excessive and they have inflicted unnecessary economic and political costs on themselves.

    One of the more confusing aspects of corona virus is the large discrepancy in government response with the Chinese at one end of the spectrum and the seemingly lackadaisical response of western democratic governments on the other.

    Does anybody have a good explanation for this discrepancy?

  111. @ Michael Ian Grey

    I work in IT and write novels in my spare time. As a result, I follow various literary organisations.

    A couple of weeks ago I saw a seminar which was about ‘blockchain for writers’. The price – about $250 AUD.

    Note, this wasn’t a seminar about understanding blockchain so you could incorporate it into a story. It was how blockchain was going to revolutionise royalty collection etc.

    It’s not just venture capitalists who are getting fleeced by new tech buzzwords.

  112. TJandBear – not Steve, but if I may, re gold and “intrinsic value”.

    The question you have to ask is whether the source of value you rely on for making long term provision against want is centred in who you are, what you know and what you can do (and also who knows and respects these things about you). You want to BE valuable to others, to lessen their incentives to remove you from their own path to survival.

    The value of gold being “intrinsic” (to the gold(, it adds nothing to the value of you.

    If you have no skills or knowledge or friends who trust and protect you, as you trust and protect them, you are just a person standing in front of a bunch of gold, and you’ll look more like an obstacle than an asset.

  113. Colter and TJ, these are the main points of the case against gold: If I was rich enough to be thinking along those lines, I might be tempted by a small bag of gemstones. That could contain value in the millions, but if things really went bad be small enough to stuff in your pocket and run. You wouldn’t get far if you tried that with bars of gold. 🙂

    It may be good to put your money into something like this: If there isn’t fuel anymore and you have a fleet of vehicles like that, I believe the technical term becomes ‘merchant prince’. 🙂 But then you do have to remember how many men under arms the Medici family had to protect what was theirs.

  114. It’s part of my family lore that I had a previous life in San Francisco. When I was three years old I knew things about the city that I couldn’t know any other way. More evidence was added when I read Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built. it includes a photo of Sutro’s Cliff House (1896 version). I just locked onto it, started thinking about it a lot, tried to find information and photos of the whole area. I like architecture so look at a lot of pictures of buildings, but had never had a reaction like that before. So there’s a good chance I saw it with my own eyes. It’s a tragedy it didn’t survive to the Roaring Twenties. It would have become legendary.

    Brand’s book also says something interesting about the true nature of ‘organic’ architecture. It’s actually a roughly square box with large enough rooms to be versatile in use, and the ability to extend if necessary. While more aesthetically organic buildings actually have far less cpacity to change use and grow. A Gaudi cathedral may look like a coral reef but you can’t build an extension on it. 🙂

    Thinking abut my architectural influences I realised the effect of growing up watching 70s and 80s movies and tv, particularly the series Knight Rider. They subtly conditioned me to think organisations should be run out of mansions rather than skyscrapers or corporate campuses. If I was running a big organisation, these are some examples of what I’d want headquaters to look like:

    The convent Katy Perry and those nuns got in a legal battle over, that previously featured as the Helios Society mansion in the Knight Rider episode ‘Chariot of Gold’

    Donnafugata Castle, home of a retired Mafia boss in Inspector Montalbano

    Belgrade Royal Palace, location of organised crime peace talks in McMafia

    If the Bolsheviks could operate out of a posh girls’ school, I can have this. 🙂

  115. @Violet: I guess I’m just going to have to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to understand what you are getting at. I did read Voltaire before but I’ve forgotten it all. I should probably brush up on my countries history too. I know the battle of Shiloh but not many details. I end up picking up history mostly by reading biographies, but I did mention before in a previous post, that I wanted to get a better grasp of U.S. history. I think the upcoming series of posts by JMG here will help with that in some of the lesser known and dusty corners of that history.

  116. The niveau of the comments is very high, as alsways. But I have some observations to add. It occurred me during the last few days that apocalyptic thinking seems to me more widespread among the left than anywhere else. There aren’t many problems where the left doesn’t spin a worst-case scenario as a matter of course. About social justice being a moral issue, the problem here is that religion isn’t necessary about moral; the Abrahamic religions deal with morality, but there were and are many religions where morality is dealt with differently or in a different sphere of the culture of that people. So it is not necessarily about religion, but rather about the fact that the Left and the Social Justice Warriors aren’t themselves well suited for following their own teachings.

    The differing assessments of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson by commentators of different political inclinations are probably due to the fact that the smoke and mirrors of the modern (dis)information society are a profound hindrance for seein what really is happening. It is related to my observation that, strangely, one of the first victims of the decline and fall is actually the modern press, as we have known it during the 20th century. In pre-industrial civilizations, newspapers and journalism in the modern sense didn’t exist, and it is interesting to see these things going away quite fast, with the consequende that it gets more and more difficult to get an unbiased view about events outside one’s own environment.

    And thirdly, what I have read about past civilizations led me to the conclusion that ugliness for its own sake is restricted to Western civilization, whereas other civilizations merely got a reduction in quality, fineness and vitality of their arts, crafts and architecture, but no ideology of ugliness. The total rejection of tradition was absent or very rare; maybe, because the rise and fall of a civilization without fossil fuels is culturally less disruptive, because the energy per capita doesn’t change as much as during the rise and fall of an industrial civilization.

  117. @Booklover, @JMG

    Re flashpoints of war

    I believe it was Bismark who observed (accurately, it turned out): “Probably some d—- fool thing in the Balkans.”

  118. John, I’ve been wondering for a while, if you have a view of the following. Looking at it from a reincarnation perspective, what roll did the mass extinction of the dinosaurs play? Was there a need for a mass clearout of ‘individualities’ or was that just a side effect of ‘natural events’?
    Regards Averagejoe

  119. ‘my resources are spent acquiring skills, which are far more useful as a long-term income source than any investment’. What sort of skills do you consider worth acquiring, if I may ask?

    Thought for today…our state is in process of lowering its standards for high school graduates, and that got me thinking…when I was going through school, we were tested in multiple ways-essays, short answers, fill in the blank, etc, and rarely had multiple choice-which seems to be the default today. I wonder if that had any effect on developing judgement, considering that in my opinion most of my classmates in 6th grade had better judgement than a lot of high school graduates. Supposedly the brain isn’t fully developed until 25, but considering history shows 14-year olds running empires…

    On a completely different note, does anyone have a good source(s) to suggest for information regarding hermanubis?

  120. re: Ultralights

    When thinking about ultralight aircraft in the long descent, do remember that today’s ultralights are subject to exacting legal regulations– especially in America, where they are subject to FAA’s Part 103. This sets limits to not just weight, but speed, power, and fuel load. (No altitude limits, though, Antoinetta– so if you have oxygen during the long descent your Knights of the Air could be duking it out quite high indeed. IIRC the record is around 30,000ft, but in the Land of the Free you are limited to rather below that).

    For an example of low-horsepower aircraft that aren’t limited to Part 103s 55 knot (63MPH) airspeed, check out the Davis DA-11. It would fit Part 103– it’s light enough!– but for the speed limit. The DA-11 was a one-off aluminum monoplane with an 18hp Briggs&Stratton lawnmower engine dragging a single pilot though the sky at 125MPH. Small, light planes don’t have to be slow!

    As for “the knowledge” — well, listen. It’s not rocket science. Is a new-designed airplane easy? No. But! Bernard Pietenpol was a self-taught auto mechanic who designed the first ‘Homebuilt’ aircraft, the Pietenpol Air Camper, in the 1920s, without any instruction. Air Campers are still being built and flown to this day– and while there have been crashes, not a single incident has been attributed to a flaw in Mr. Pietenpol’s design. Not one.

    Photos, paintings, bone-yard scrapped aircraft… something will survive to inspire the dream of flight, even if it gutters out for a little while. (And, honestly! I doubt it will be interrupted. Aircraft are incredibly useful, mostly as scouts. I can see dark-age war bands in famine years starving their peasants for grain to fuel the ultralight… because if they don’t, someone who did will get the drop on them, and they won’t have peasants anymore!)

  121. Violet, have you read Wendell Berry’s essay “Writer and Region?” It includes a fantastic review of Huckleberry Finn, where Berry diagnoses the end of the story as exemplifying a key problem in American life (in his opinion): the lack of a constructive synthesis between freedom and community. Huck and Tom can react to the stifling orthodoxy and hypocrisy of their town in bad ways (summoning the devil) and in good ways (helping Jim escape slavery), but it’s always a reaction, a way of expressing freedom and independence, and in the end the only choice they have is to settle down into hypocritical orthodoxy or to strike out West (and probably repeat the same problems a generation later). There’s no middle ground where a man can be bold and inventive and keep his convictions while supporting and being supported by a strong community.

    Anyway, it might be worth a read if you keep meditating on these themes for a while.

  122. JMG,

    Have you been following the goings on in Canada at all? We’ve got major pipeline protests across the nation, apparently inspired by a hereditary chief who doesn’t want natural gas crossing “his” land… contrary to the will of the elected band council, who are happy to pocket the proceeds. Protests and blockades across the nation are siding with the hereditary chief. My question: how much does the constant invocation of ‘land acknowledgements’ magically empower this sort of thing? Does it give the hereditary chief (who, legally, is Just Some Guy) the memetic boost I think it does?

    Could you stand to guess what magical effects reciting land claims have on the Canadian body politic in general?

    (Here, for example, is the invocation recited before any offical business or ceremony in the city of Toronto:
    We acknowledge the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.
    The names of the tribes and the treaties change, obviously, but similar boilerplate is in use across this land. It seems too stiff and stilted and lacking in intention to do much… but by sheer repetition?)

  123. Dear Phutatorius, to each their own! That said, I want to note that I have been referencing a different book much more that is the earlier _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ which I enjoy vastly more than the _The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn_. The point you make about the gang though is important to my train of thought — as I mentioned in my response to Justin, how different is Tom Sawyer’s activities in the first few chapters of _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_, made flesh, different than, say, than Nathan Bedford Forrest’s? As for _Blood Meridian_ I thought that book was really bad. Granted, it brings the “ultra-violence” but blaming everything on a demon struck me as weak, and the narrative to my eyes got weaker and weaker as the story wore on. Again, to each their own! I agree though, that McCarthy definitely utilizes the Huck Finn character, but McCarthy eventually shoves the Kid aside and just focuses on his pet demon! Again, I found it all rather dreary.

    Dear Jon, thanks for this note — I’ve reset my account to allow for anonymous comments if you have further difficulties please send me an email at

    Dear Danaone, a lot of people draw correlations between Tom Sawyer and Coyote. There may be something to that, but somehow I’m skeptical of that exact parallel. My intuition is that they are distinct.

    Dear Varun, that’s an excellent point! As mentioned in the Civil War examples, when Tom Sawyer comes out to fight a lot of people die, and things change, sometimes forever. By all accounts US Grant was a nondescript man, his only salient features being his sensitive eyes, his firm mouth and the fact that when he showed up things began to happen. It was Huck that eventually fessed up to the antics of the King and Duke.

    Dear Rita, agreed! The narrative styles are very different too — _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ is written in proper English in the third person whereas _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ is written in vernacular in the first person. Personally, I think that Tom Sawyer is a much simpler work, and with its simplicity comes much greater depth than we see in Huck Finn’s novel. _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ strike me as well-done social commentary, _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ strike me as an archetype moving in the depths, and I view that book as straight up mythology given how profoundly Tom Sawyer types seem to exert an influence on the historical movements of the United States.

    Dear Gawain, Interesting and thanks for this! I wonder though how much of this is only “frontier” — basically, I see Tom Sawyers in teenage gangs, too, and I see him in musicians, authors, mages, drifters, travelers, and everyone who refuses to give sensibility any ground. Tom Sawyer brings the fantastic down to earth, who refuses the idea that the fantastic is over and done with, and rather sees the fantastic everywhere, ready to make manifest. There is no place he can’t be because there is no place that can’t become fantastic when painted up right with one’s imagination.

    That, too, is what gives his adventuring its profundity — he’s just a boy in a sleepy southern town, and yet give him a dead rat and a string and he’ll have heaps of fun, give him a raft and he’ll figure out how to attend his funeral — the proudest moment of his life! Mark Twain portrays St. Petersburg, Missouri as a very boring place, and what makes Tom Sawyer so amazing concerns his inner genius at making the fantastic manifest. All throughout the narrative we see the fantastic come clearly into register when Tom Sawyer comes on to the scene. He doesn’t need a frontier, he doesn’t need to buy anything, he doesn’t need approval from others, because streaming out of him is this imaginative fantasy made real. He would be nothing more than an amusing character if it weren’t the fact that so many of the greatest heroes, statesmen, generals, authors, and musicians follow this pattern closely.

    Again I think of Louie Armstrong, who sings in his cover of “St. James Infirmary” :

    When I die, want you to dress me in straight-lace shoes
    Box-back coat and a Stetson hat
    Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
    So the boys’ll know that I died standin’ pat

    and then he starts *laughing* and then rips into an amazing trumpet solo. He, too, attends his own funeral! Or consider the song “Heebie Jeebies,” or anything he recorded with his Hot Fives. Louie Armstrong was utterly fantastic, his fantastic trumpet phrasing and melodies, his fantastic lyrics, the fantastic boisterous joy that attends every note of his music, his fantastic touring schedule, etc. And who was Louie Armstrong but a waif, an 11 year old drop-out, who’d gotten in trouble for shooting his father’s gun at a New Year’s parade, and who, as his long career proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, happened to be a real life genius of the fantastic?

  124. JMG, I was going to post something on the behavior of a certain organization, but I decided it would be better to stay quiet, since my ability for magical protection is probably not up to an angry mob of infuriated members.

    One of the many things I am grateful for, in all those years following your blogs, is to develop the concept of triage. I can’t save the whole unsustainable world. Some… no, many times the better course of action is to watch it burn from a safe distance.

    And there is also the point that humanity exists to be a big school, where learning happen from errors. What would be the fun in having eternally sustainable cultures, living in balance with nature, without some idiot wanting to be king destroying them all?

  125. JMG
    Leftover from previous hints; I would not be too surprised to find us virtually up Wissahickon Creek shortly. That’s trying to guess the plot for you. Smile

    Goodness, Tom & Huck.
    That sandy tunnel has had a way of surfacing over here in GB. I remember a story from my father supposedly for real about his own experience in childhood before the first world war. It certainly popped up in a few fictions in my childhood, and it has had reappearances in my own dreams in later life in many guises. I have suspicions in some versions of an older story back to the beginnings of our poetry after Orpheus with his lute made trees.
    And the rafting?
    I had my own wandering which later left me, it seems, with the problem of finding my way home.

    best to all
    Phil H

  126. I’m sharing something that got through one of my news feeds:

    What Do Animals Know and Feel About Death and Dying?

    Of special interest is one of the links provided on the article, providing references for material on the subject:
    Responses to death and dying: primates and other mammals

  127. Onething:
    You are absolutely right about these types being bullies. I think the reason they are tolerated, and why they have so much power these days is because they play off people’s natural sympathies for tragic stories and that society has come to agree with the principle that people must be judged individually on their own merits, not condemned to limited opportunities based on accidental conditions of birth, such as gender or skin tone or ethnic background.
    They have defined certain specific groups that Jonathon Haidt called the ‘seven sacred groups’ (i.e. people of colour, women, LGBTQ+, Latinos, Native Americans, disabled, and Muslims — replacing Jews who are officially off the list now because of Israel vs. Palestine) as being disadvantaged because they have fewer members in the upper echelons of society and business than the dominant group, which is European Heterosexual Males. They assert that every other group must be exploited and suppressed through “systemic injustice” by the dominant group. Therefore, the dominant group is defined as evil, and the subject groups are obviated from any responsibility for their own behaviour, which is assumed to be blameless.
    I’m a keen student of irony, so I love the observations and extensive description by our host about how they use shaming and bullying to suppress any hint of dissenting opinion, even as they bitterly complain about being suppressed, shamed, and bullied (by Euro-ethnic, heterosexual, patriarchal males, of course). The same people who are incensed at the thought of being slandered by a slur against their sex, sexuality, or ethnicity have no compunction or restraint about saying much, much worse things about ethnically European Males. Irony. I love it.
    I’m also entertained when the agendas of these groups begin to collide. For example, I have friends who are all currently offended by and upset at a feminist writer who objects to male-to-female transsexuals, who have not undergone therapy, using women’s public change rooms and public toilets. Basically a case of some women who are absolutely against “the patriarchy” controlling them and telling them what to do (shake fist in air now) vilifying other women because they won’t let this special group of *men* tell them what to do.
    Or when ‘Black Lives Matter’ starts to collide with #metoo when they began criticizing the white women who have had lucrative careers and then — quite rightly! — complained about the sexual harassment and abuse they suffered, whereas there are many black women who were harassed and then did not get lucrative careers. So the suffering of the latter trumps the suffering of the former…

    Quite right, I agree: just because someone is a populist does not mean they are incompetent, or even that their decisions are all bad and many can be a mixed bag. I’m just thinking that the overwhelming number of populists over the past 3 centuries have overall track records which were considerably less than beneficial to the world in general.


  128. Children are born with a natural bubble of defense within which spirits cannot reach. (or precisely, humans are born with a greater or lesser egg of protection which cannot be breached without either permission or enormous energy they are unlikely to meet). Therefore, what children see in nightmares is not that it isn’t real, but that it cannot hurt you for YOU have the power and command over THEM (within your space) and unless you invite them in – and even then only willfully and continuously – so they are more shadows of men outside the window, attempting entry, attempting reaction, not unreal, but just as, we consider ourselves safe if we tell them to go away, to not unlock the door with rituals and drugs, to not open it with longing intent, and to call 911 and order them to leave if they enter. And they must. For unless you are completely shattered, YOU have the ultimate power within your two feet of space where you make a stand, and “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” It’s hard for children to recognize that they, however small, as humans are still given FAR more power than larger things, and that as honest animals, they have a right and duty to use it.

    How much more the rest of us. This is why they wish to promote drugs, rituals, that open the “doors of perception” so that they can get in and have OUR power, influence over OUR lives. Don’t open your door to random lunatics out on the street, don’t open a shop that traffics with them unless you’re willing and able to have the power to deal with random and sometimes disruptive guests responsibly. I’m not telling you you shouldn’t anymore than to lock yourself in your house afraid of the world, but “It’s a dangerous business, going out your front door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Those are not all good places, and can kill you, as that book attests.

    I would call on the name of Christ as an ally and talisman, but it is not the only name. I imagine they will see that it works, and wonder why.

    Tom Sawyer may have some leverage, but it’s only a symbol and archtype gathering a bundle of real world and drawing a chalkline around it. Does that make it real?

    Ironically, locusts swarm when the weather IMPROVES, and there is a new green world to hatch in and eat – they outpaced their predators that are slower and fewer. I know that seems like they can’t catch a break, but as these dry places suddenly green, they need to get through to tomorrow and to new green pastures of plenty in a re-balanced system. That’s a good thing, not the end of the world. See both sides of the moving ecosystem here.

    A massive drop in standards of living for the wealthy wouldn’t help the working class any as such. There are too few of them to raid their mansions and get more than a hatpin – the same bad math that says “tax the rich” when taking 100% it wouldn’t even balance the deficit for two years. A re-focus of the system would do this, but that’s not a wealth transfer, it’s leaving people alone and not stolen from and bled white. So I’m proposing it’s a false dichotomy: just as before, EVERYONE got richer, even the poor, was the better way for the rich to prosper, even now the poor can stop struggling and the rich barely notice. …Because we’re wasting probably 50-70% of the system and we could just: not waste it. That means no real additional oil use, at least over 1999 levels, because we waste half our gas driving a few miles too far to work and picking up Jimmy from soccer. Stop. There’ll be plenty. With China offline there’s a certain glut for a year if not more. Again.

    Besides ads selling ads, true, they are posting only government ads to get the tax break. All billboards here are filled with PSAs, meaning there are no real businesses buying, yet rates are low (or they would let some billboards fall down).

    “[Social Justice] problems we are facing are deeply moral and spiritual.” Yes, but that means that FORCING people to change is evil, authoritarian, violence. If the problem is within a human and human nature, you have to relax, teach, a draw out a better realization, the OPPOSITE of force and violence. As long as they have violence as both a method and a goal, they are my enemy, and the enemy of the majority of other normal population as well. You cannot win that way. And as proven, they haven’t, they are now losing steadily. MLK won because he did NOT use and promote violence and DID promote Christian morality and manhood with bravery and sacrifice, not whining and ordering.

    Reincarnation is not contrasting Christianity: “Who do men say that I am? “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah…” –Matt16. He then seems then to say that he is not Elijah, but John is. Right there to read. Sounds like reincarnation to me! What book are they reading?

    I wouldn’t say an iPhone is powerful or even useful, I can defeat one with a drop of water.

    If brass works 30x then obviously after that you melt it into a block and start over. It’s chemically just copper and zinc: new, inert. Just search reloaders who already solved this fully. If you’re on here, you’re on google, all your questions can be answered in seconds.

    Bruce one cycle is “The Fourth Turning” by Strauss and Howe. Well-hashed, well-known. There are others like Kondratieff.

  129. Waffles,

    May I suggest an alternative approach to that of our esteemed host? I, too, am a former Catholic, but now convinced that the Assyrian Church of the East is the True Church.

    One of the unanticipated discoveries I made when I became convinced that the Nestorian Church is the True Church of Christ is that this ancient Christian tradition also maintained a staunch universalism. More broadly, most of Eastern Christendom through the 6th centuries was decidedly universalist in sentiment. Many names among the early Eastern Fathers could be mentioned.

    This is not to say that sin is not subject to severe punishment, even in hell – it is – but it is to say that this punishment is not eternal, and that it is ultimately redemptive rather than retributive.

    My point is that it is possible to be a traditional Christian and also disclaim the sorts of terrifying fears of unending hell that the Latin Father Augustine, and the Latin North African Church more generally, did so much to propagate during early centuries.

  130. @JMG

    There are a number of thinkers who uh… think that the root of our problems is civilization itself and that we need to return to a hunter/gatherer society, with indigenous communities as the prime example. They think that agriculture itself is evil and leads to wrong thinking about the nature of the universe.

    Others put the blame on The Industrial Revolution, e.g. fossil fuels and if we just get rid of those and/or transition to a low energy lifestyle, it’s all good.

    Finally, some point to the size and complexity of the Global Order (i.e. Pax Americana) and say that we need a return to a more national or state focused government.

    I think they all kind of have a point. My ideal society is something like an independent city state fed by local resources. Big enough to defend itself but small enough so that citizens can have meaningful input into running things. The original 13 colonies (a federation of city states, basically) strike me as a good compromise.

    I’m not sure if any of these ideals are relevant in our current era or even for the next 100 years, but thoughts?

  131. Last week had a fairly interesting discussion on how European “barbarians” came to rule the planet, which is a fascinating subject that our current culture wars tend to obfuscate.

    In order to understand the world 18th and 19th century Europe conquered, you have to go back a millenium and a half, to the early centuries AD. For many centuries, stretching back before Alexander the Great, warfare had been a matter of formations of men with swords fighting each other. The Roman Legions, and militaries like them, were the dominant force on the battlefield. Until, that is, some unknown personage, somewhere in the howling, arid wastelands of Central Asia, invented the stirrup.

    A stirrup is the leather footrest that hangs down from each side of a horse saddle. It seems like a humble, even obvious technology, but at the time it revolutionized warfare. Before the stirrup, it was almost impossible for a man on horseback to attack an infantryman without getting knocked from his saddle to the ground, and so cavalry had been a relatively peripheral part of armies, serving mostly as highly mobile scouts. With stirrups, however, a cavalryman with a lance could spear infantrymen all day without falling off his horse, and the infantryman with his sword had almost no way to counter him. Thus, cavalry became the dominant force on the battlefield. Wars consisted of mounted-and soon armoured-horsemen charging and fighting each other, and footsoldiers became an afterthought-useful during sieges, but creamed anytime the knights showed up.

    The consequences this would have on the next thousand years of world history are almost impossible to overstate. Horsemen and armour were expensive, and the training to use them effectively took most of one’s childhood. Throughout the Old World, militaries-and thus society-came to be dominated by an elite aristocracy of mounted soldiers. In Europe, this took the form of Feudalism, a system set up to allow a settled, agricultural society to field as many mounted knights as possible-and to ensure those mounted knights dominated everybody else. Europe, however, was a backwater, and in the really important parts of the Medieval Old World-the Middle East and China-the stirrup mostly benefited the Turkic and Mongolian steppe nomad cultures that had created it.

    Unlike agricultural peoples, who lived by raising plants to eat and supplementing their diet with meat, nomadic peoples primarily raised herds of sheep, cattle, horses, and other animals. Producing food this way was much less efficient than agriculture, and so nomadic societies always had much lower population densities, and were usually restricted to areas-mainly the Eurasian Steppe-that could not support agriculture. However, because of their social organization, nomadic societies had more horses per capita-most adult men owned at least one-and people rode on them, and fought from horseback, from childhood. And in the era of mounted warriors, when the cavalry charge was the dominant force on the battlefield, this meant that every steppe tribe was an army, more numerous and better trained and its civilized opponents could hope to match.

    Thus, from about 900 to 1500 AD, the Islamic World, India, and China were hit by wave after wave of steppe invasions-the Mongols are the most well known, but there are also the Seljuks, the Ghaznavids, the Timurids-all steppe dynasties that rampaged through the civilized world, looting, pillaging, and then conquering what was left. By 1500, pretty much all of the Old World outside Europe was or had been ruled by a Turkic or Mongolian dynasty-so in a way, one could say that the steppe peoples colonized the world just as thoroughly as Europe would. But, unlike Europe, the steppe nomads had no permanent home or high culture of their own-when a steppe tribe conquered somewhere, they would (after the initial orgy of looting and burning) usually move to the newly conquered territory en masse, set themselves up as the new aristocracy, and adopt the high culture and religion of the conquered people.* Thus, steppe colonization usually didn’t result in a large scale transfer of wealth out of a conquered territory, and wasn’t nearly as challenging and destructive to the identities of the conquered lands as European colonization would be.

    *(The exception was the Turkic dynasties of India and Anatolia, who had passed through Persia beforehand and thus been drenched in Persianate high culture, which they then imposed in areas where it was foreign. The Viking-descended Normans conquering Sicily and Catholicizing it is a good analogy).

    Thus, we now reach the world of 1500, dominated by cavalry armies, whether Feudal (Europe) or the three-or-four-generation removed descendants of Turkic steppe tribes (everywhere else). But, the world of warfare was about to change again. In the high mountains of Switzerland, somebody else-again unknown-invented the pike.

    A pike was a ten or fifteen foot spear wielded by an infantryman, that allowed him to reach a charging knight before the knight could reach him. The truly revolutionary nature of Swiss Pikemen though, was not their weapons but how they used them. Swiss officers relentlessly drilled their troops to move in coordinated formation, so that a wave of charging knights was presented with a wall or circle of spears, and would impale themselves by their own momentum. Again, this was game changing-for the first time in almost a thousand years, someone had developed a technique by which infantry could reliably defend themselves against cavalry. And furthermore, pikes were cheap, and a peasant could be trained to move as part of a pike formation in a few months. From Switzerland, the pike began to spread throughout Europe. But massed Pikes remained vulnerable to archers, until another person-Spanish general Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba-developed a new military formation, the tercio, that combined the pike with another revolutionary military technology-firearms.

    A tercio consisted of pikemen mixed with gunmen. The gunmen picked off any archers that tried to attack the formation-and if a group of knights charged a tercio, the gunmen fired into their ranks, thinning out and disorganizing them even before they hit the pikes. A tercio formation was utterly invulnerable to cavalry charges-an group of knights that tried wound up dead. And thus, in Europe, the cavalry era ended. Warfare became groups of tercios slamming into each other over and over again until one side broke, and cavalry-from being the core of the army-were demoted back to highly mobile scouts and raiders. Over time, the tercio would evolve into the battle lines of 18th century European armies-guns became better and more effective at close range, so the tercio, which had been dominated by pikemen, was replaced by firearm-dominated formations, and ultimately, the invention of the bayonette would allow each gunmen to be his own pikeman. The basic concept, though-highly drilled lines, often made of commoners, marching and attacking in coordinated formation-remained the same.

    This military revolution, though, remained restricted to Europe. The armies of Eurasia adopted cannons for sieges, and put sharpshooters with muskets in their armies, but the coordinated lines of battle of Europe never appeared. The Turkic-descended dynasties that ruled India by and large continued to practice the same Feudal, cavalry-dominated way of war that had worked so well for their ancestors. Until the lines of battle of the British East India company chewed them up, the same way their tercio predicessors had chewed up Europe’s knights. And unlike the steppe nomads, Europeans had their own, rather bigoted high culture, and their own cities and homes to send all the plunder of conquest to. In 1700, Bengal was the wealthiest and most industrialized area on Earth, but the next century would see it conquered by armies its rulers didn’t know how to fight, armies that broke every law of military tactics everyone in the Old World knew. And in turn, its industries would be destroyed and its wealth plundered and shipped off to London. Ever notice that so many of the diamonds in the British crown jewels have Persian names? Now you know why.

    And thus, when you run across a Steven Pinker or a Niall Ferguson who tries to tell you that Europe dominated the world because of “Enlightenment” or “Liberty”, like people of Bengal somehow flocked to be beggared and impovershed by Britain, you can safely ignore them. Despite everything your Western Civ teacher may have taught you, the European-dominated modern world has very little to do with Isaac Newton.

    The modern world was created by Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba.

  132. Thank you for your clear reply. I see you have a well thought out response to the identity question which I agree is a common opinion. Your response lends an interesting view through an unfamiliar lens.
    I think one of my contentions with you on this issue question in your presentation of the Anglophone Canadian masses as a sort of dumb slow moving animal with horse blinders on assimilating everything in it’s path. Although it is a funny image to conjure up. Of course there are Anglophone people in this country of who know other cultures up close and personal so I fail to see how your perspective is dominant in this matter. I lived in Russia with family after the fall of Communism in 1991 ’92 and again lived in Poland in 2002 during their bid to become part of the European Union to name several meaningful contacts that spanned several years and my grand parents were german speaking. I don’t see myself as being too far outside the norm either. I have also helped people immigrate to this country as well, they are generally wholeheartedly lied to by Canadian immigration about their prospects here which helps prevent assimilation. My experience is new Canadians often end up living in Toronto close to or inside of communities where everyone continues to speak the language from their home country and their children assimilate along the usual path through school. Some people don’t want to become English speakers and so they don’t.

    Although I personally like hearing you talk about how our culture is strong I do not see it. Perhaps I look too closely through the young people I support who more often then not trade in their personal identity for media and video game addiction. I would point to mass ipadding and absurdity as the dominant culture currently effecting Canadians with English as simply the most convenient way of communicating because of our founding population. Our young people are learning nothing of British culture. I welcome with open arms any other forms of identity they want to attach themselves to especially aspects of their people or culture from their country of origin. Perhaps it is foolish to think a stronger culturalal identity would help.. however our disagreement on that front may be a matter of personal experience and personal view. I see that we will not agree in the basic assumptions but i think this place is as good, or better, then any other for debate.

  133. Waffle: The hardcore Catholics forget about what the Gospels say about god’s love and mercy. What’s more, they can’t have read the Ash Wednesday lectionary very well. Both Isaiah and Matthew fulminate against the hard legalism of the religious authorities of their day with their nitpicking regulations and ostentatious piety, and proclaim that “That. Is. NOT. What. God. Wants. Of. You.” Oppressing the workers: Mortal sin. Forgetting and breaking the Ash Wednesday Fast? Trivial.” I don’t have time to dig out the exact quote – from Christ’s own mouth – about “you nitpick the smallest regulations and ignore the larger questions of mercy and justice (enormously paraphrased – someone help me out here?) but who do you want to believe? Bishop Crozier-where-the-sun-don’t shine? Or The Source HImself?

  134. Re: coronavirus – it occurs to me that putting Pence in charge is a clever way of setting him up for failure and thereby giving Trump a rationale for replacing him – with Ivanka, of course, who would then run after her father’s second term. Who else could he trust to pardon him or otherwise protect him once he stands down?

  135. Wesley – now flashing on a humorous song from back in the day called Snoopy and the Red Baron. Ballad form. I wonder if The BAttle of New Orleans will make it into the heroic epic canon? It’s memorable enoughto deserve to.

  136. @Brian Kaller. Thank you for the article on the Sinn Fein. I read it yesterday. I know nothing of current Irish politics but this laid some groundwork for me to follow along a bit perhaps.

    I also found your website, which is a great name. I’ll be looking forward to checking out some more of your articles there and listening to some of the interviews. Thanks for putting it together.

  137. @JMG (via Chrysanthemum :)… I’ve used some homeopathic remedies as part of my alt-health care explorations / regimens, but never cell salts. Is there a good source for learning about them, in a book or otherwise, and where do you procure yours from? I’d like to try these too.

    For what its worth to all, I’ve also had good results with Bach Flower Remedies.

  138. On the topic of modern concert music, when evaluating the work of living composers consider past mediocrities.

    Behold, mediocre composers of the past. The structure, the clarity, the sheer acceptability!

    Really dig into the above pieces before cleansing your palette with, say the Rite of Spring:

    Point being, we’ve got an odd historical perspective when we compare random joes to pinnacle creators.

    Most people don’t understand at all what makes a Mozart special. When you do it sheds light on some of the changes more recent composers felt necessary.

  139. Blessed Lent to all y’all who are observing it. Orthodox lent starts Monday, and I’ll be giving up most internet for the duration. It’ll be interesting to see what the time looks like without it… Ciao until after Pascha!

  140. Teresa:

    My mom was no celebrity (except to us!), but she had two children after the age of 40 the natural way. It’s something of a tradition in my family: marry young, have a couple of kids, take a break then in one’s early 40’s have another child or two. It is a tradition that I declined to carry on. I remember Mom saying that having toddlers in her 40’s was enjoyable, but two teenagers while in her 50’s was exhausting. I have no idea whose eggs these over-40 celebs might be using, but it’s just possible they’re their own.


    What an interesting comment!


    When I was a young child I attended my local Roman Catholic church which later went the way of the Charismatic Renewal. The Renewal did some wonderful things, but it also went heavy on certain inanities like guitar masses and stripping Catholic rituals bare; by the time I was a teenager I really lost interest in it, because it just didn’t seem serious to me anymore. After that I made my way through a series of other faiths: Quakerism (believe whatever you want about Jesus and the Bible, we won’t criticize), Pentecostalism (emotional, but some real meat there) and then Neo-Paganism, which I found to be interesting but still empty.

    Oddly enough – most especially to me – I’ve made full circle as a result of reading some of the books recommended by our gracious host, including “Experience of the Inner Worlds” (Gareth Knight) and “The Science of the Sacraments” (C. W. Leadbeater). I am finally starting to understand the Mass and other Catholic rituals and to appreciate their power, especially the rosary, something I did not grasp when I was a child. Maybe even the nuns and priests who taught at my Catholic elementary school did not understand either. I’m not back to the point of weekly Mass because the local churches seem desperate to hang onto largely liberal-minded parishioners (this is Vermont, after all) and I wonder if there’s any there there. IMHO, if you’re looking at the Church’s requirements as disjointed “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” topped off with some eternal damnation you’re missing the really important stuff. Hope this helps a little.


    My husband’s and my experience in scrounging around flea markets and yard sales for old, but serviceable, tools and implements is that most people really aren’t interested in them even if they (a) know what they are and (b) know how to use them correctly. If these items were genuinely desirable nowadays they’d be priced more than a couple bucks so grab them while you can. On the other hand, if there is a real implosion in society others might suddenly realize the value of your stash so maybe don’t advertise what you’ve got. With the urge to share every single darn thing on social media these days it seems society has forgotten about boundaries and real privacy. Nobody needs to know what you’ve got stored in your basement.

    Oh, if you need to know how to use old tools properly and you can’t bring up the info on YouTube or the like, look around your area for events that include historical reenactors. Those folks know their stuff and most are really pleased with public interest in what they do.

  141. Beekeeper in Vermont, regarding your last comment on the last post, I, too, have the impression that multiculturalism has failed; immigrants and natives nowadays tend to go separate way, and there is the ghetto effect described in the article cited by you. These are observations from the city where I live (in Germany), and it seems to have become rather stronger after 2015. But I don’t know that there is a panacea for this problem.

  142. Regarding eternity: consider an eternal being observing from outside of our continuum. In order for that being to change anything, or to engage in movement or thought of its own, there must be an additional dimension of time. That is to say, for the eternal being to cause or experience change, there has to be a separation between states, hence time; but the time we experience is already complete in eternity, so eternity’s time must be along a different axis.

    This implies that our past and our future, if not fixed (in which case no eternal being would have any power to change either one), are equally alterable. But our faculties and memories are bound to our single time dimension “t1” and so are not capable of perceiving any such changes to our continuum in “t2.” (The result of such a change would be what SF usually calls an alternate timeline.) It’s possible, though, that some phenomena within our continuum (perhaps consciousness and/or free will, perhaps the existence of a shared present, perhaps quantum wave function collapse) can only be explained by taking t2 into account.

    It’s conceivable that such an eternal being could in turn be part of a continuum that can be apprehended in its entirety by an f-ternal being experiencing t3, and so on. I sometimes find that concept to be a useful way of visualizing higher realms; rather than e.g. a nesting of increasingly tenuous larger spheres, an unfolding of additional directions of movement and change.

    Or that could be all wrong. But it might provide some insight about how free will and a comprehensive unitary eternity can coexist. Which is a question pretty likely to come up, given your answer to dylandrogynous.

  143. I’d like to add a comment on the subject of The Dance! No stranger to the dance floor myself, and older than both those two redoubtable & highly energetic ladies, I’m intrigued that people are just seeing it as a “fertility” dance. I first came across Middle Eastern dance, where their performance’s roots lie, in a family setting; when the guys are away (gone off to football for the afternoon, in this case) the ladies dance! Ladies of all ages, sizes and stages, getting together, shimmying and hagallah’ing, and thoroughly enjoying themselves, laughing, keeping fit and active. It certainly won’t harm fertility if you’re in that zone, but it also helps with balance, core strength, keeping mobile, and also being sociable & having fun. Plus there’s self-expression and actual artistry, once you’ve learnt the basics, taken on board the cultural differences, and learnt to interpret the music & “hear” the cues.

    One of the best & most moving performances I’ve ever seen was given by a Turkish lady in her 70s. No spring chicken, and certainly not willow-slender either, but she entertained us superbly and though we couldn’t speak her language or “hear” the music properly back then, we could intuitively understand the stories she was telling through the dance. So there’s rather more to it than just a “fertility dance” and my goodness, those two girls really can dance!

  144. Hi JMG,

    I have recently started following your advice of a daily practice of ritual/meditation/divination and have a few questions regarding this:

    1) For a ritual, I have been trying to find a banishing ritual that resonates with me. I don’t connect much with GD or druidic material, but I find that reaching back further in history seems to resonate with me, especially Greek or Latin, in terms of the languages used in the ritual (I prefer if the ritual contains no english since this can take me out of the “zone”). I have recently found Crowley’s Star Ruby ritual, which is performed in all greek. My concern here is with the obvious Egregore surrounding Crowley. Is it unsafe to use this ritual? Or is it ok since it is a banishing and not invoking ritual? (I have no intention of doing any other Thelemic work. This ritual just seemed to speak to me more than the others I’ve seen). If your suggestion is to drop this ritual, do you have a different one you could suggest?

    2) Re geomancy, I have been doing daily readings and have noticed some things. If I do a simple yes/no reading, interpretation of the chart is easy and generally very accurate. But things get tough when I do a general daily reading (such as “what of importance do I need to pay attention to today?”) Since there are so many interpretations and 12 houses to contend with, I am more lost in terms of these readings. My guess is that something of importance relating to each of the houses wouldn’t happen on every single day, but each house does have a figure in it in the reading, so I must give more importance to some over others. One technique I try to use is to give more weight to houses with shared figures. Do you have any other advice on how to best interpret a daily chart?

    3) What are your thoughts on “should” questions vs “will” ones? Obviously the “will” questions are less open to interpretation… either something will or it won’t happen, But a lot of times I am more interested in whether or not I should take a certain action. The problem here is that what does it mean when a reading says I should or should not do something? Who (or what) stands to benefit if I do or don’t do the thing in question? Do I interpret this as “I will fare better if I do/don’t do the thing I am asking about?” or is it “the world will fare better…”? or is it a case by case basis? And will the reading give me more clues as to why I should or shouldn’t do the thing? Any pointers you give here would be well appreciated.

  145. @JMG, Robert Mathiesen:

    Thanks for the insights. Again, as with all things Trump, another level of detail is almost always required to distinguish the method amid what appears to be madness.

    So the appearance of ‘bad strategy’ on his part may have more to do with having to placate rival domestic factions by turn. I’ll have to pay attention in future for signs of this Pentagon vs. Patrician rivalry. It’s a useful lens through which to look at other countries’ foreign policies, too.

    Another thought I had was that what appears to be ‘bad strategy’ to the imperialists could simply be Trump trying to sabotage previous administrations’ imperial legacies so that his successor won’t find it easy to reverse what he’s done with another overstretch into globalism. Thus the strengthening of relations with proximate and/or longtime allies Canada, Mexico, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, and a rude awakening for Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

  146. There are Trump-derangement sufferers wishing COVID-19 on Trump, his family, and his inner circle right now on my Facebook feed.

    These are some of the same people doing amateur hexes on Trump even though they are “atheist”.

    They don’t believe in magic, yet when they do magic, they cannot manage to put it together when the blowback brings tragedy to them and their families. It’s like they are begging for sickness and death to visit them just so Trump can be mysteriously responsible for more evil in their lives.

  147. What learning resources would you recommend to a beginner mountain dulcimer player? I’m interested in learning all types of folk music.

  148. Dear RMK, on my blog I’ve written one set of thoughts on what may prevent Tom Sawyers which I call “The McClellan Problem” which I consider the confusing of inner and outer resources. McClellan at several points in the Civil War could have marched straight into Richmond and/or destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia….if he had the inner resources. Instead, he kept demanding more men and making sure ever road was perfect so that he could haul his enormous and cumbersome guns. Sherman in his famous March to the Sea did the opposite — he evacuated Atlanta, destroyed the entire city, and then marched on to Savanah without a supply line, without communications, living by thievery and destroying everything in his wake. McClellan’s strategy of trying to substitute the inner resources for the outer gave little but a string of absurd defeats, Sherman’s march that placed the bulk of his trust on the inner capacity of the troops helped in no small part to win the war.

    Dear Justin, Delighted to hear it! They are very rewarding books and well worth reading.

    Dear DaveOTN, Thanks for this! I’ve never read anything by Wendell Berry. I confess, though, I disagree with his basic binary premise. As I wrote in a comment above, I consider Louie Armstrong a Tom Sawyer type character and he was both bold and inventive while supporting and being supported by a strong community!

    Dear Phil, Fascinating! I would love to have a long chat with you about Mark Twain’s literature in Great Britain, and discuss how folks experience Shakespeare here in North America.

  149. Hello again to all,

    For those who are interested in following along with the articles I’ve been writing on the Down Home Punk flavor of Green Wizardry, the latest one I’ve written is now online at the Green Wizards website.

    This article explores the Straight Edge philosophy & lifestyle (no smoking, no drinking, no drugs). This is not an essay designed to tell people what to do or not do, or how they should behave, but about the choice to not partake as a strategy for having an edge in a world suffering from the fallout incurred by drug addiction and alcohol abuse.

    Here is the intro:

    “On the bus ride home from work the other day I overheard an interesting conversation. Two guys were talking about their experiences in and out of prison, with the courts, with probation, with the criminal justice system in general. The two fellows talked about how the elevators at the justice center were broke for days on end, and how because the elevators were down, visitors weren’t allowed in. Not being able to see friends and family made their stay all the more miserable. As I sat there listening in I thought it sounded right on target, par for the course with societal collapse. As local governments lose funding for repair of public buildings, it makes sense that our jails might not be first on the list to get fixed.

    One comment really stuck with me though. When the guy said he knew four dudes who OD’d on fentanyl while he was in the slammer, I wasn’t surprised, but I was shocked.

    People on the street are dying from this stuff. Now it seems so are the people who get picked up off the street by the police and thrown into jail for possession. Now they can OD from the convenience of their jail cell. I guess those cavity searches aren’t going so well….”

    Read the rest here:

  150. @Colter

    1. Two of your useful items should be a good quick-loading crossbow and a recipe for curare. Very useful for hunting, amongst other things.
    2. Fly under the proverbial radar – the more conspicuous your acquistions are, the more likely they are to be coveted.


    ‘Intrinsic’ value of gold is a misnomer; it should be called ‘extrinsic’ instead, because the only real value it has is what other people will give in exchange for it. Other than some limited (and mostly advanced technological) applications, there is nothing that can be done with gold that cannot be done almost as well with a more affordable metal. In fact, most of the world’s supply of refined gold is sitting idle in bank vaults, and most of what hasn’t been hoarded as money is used strictly for ornamental purposes. Gold is therefore just another form of liquid asset and as such has the same vulnerability as currency. As the economy crumbles and basic commodities become scarce, gold will lose its value by virtue of the fact that everyone is selling off their hoards of it to get those scarce items. The playbook on that strategy was written at the New York Stock Exchange in the fall of 1929. Moral of the story? Hoard the soon-to-be-scarce commodities, not the gold people expect to buy those things with.


    The observance of Lent is one of the teachings that Catholicism created by extrapolating bible teaching with Orwellian absurdities in order to achieve a very non-religious objective. Its purpose has nothing to do with anything they will tell you about it and everything to do with the fact that the medieval world had no refrigeration. The practice of fasting for Lent is and was nothing more than a food-rationing program that was ascribed to religion as a means of encouraging compliance. Want your conscience before God to be clear? Forget about the church: just go read your bible and develop your own relationship with your creator.

  151. Hello Violet, I appreciate your viewpoints on literature and music. As for “Blood Meridian” I can’t say I liked it, as in enjoying it or experiencing a literary “frision.” I wonder why he used that stilted diction, for instance: to make it sound biblical? I tried to re-read it and didn’t get far. I didn’t get the demon stuff you mention, but what McCarthy portrays does seem like “positive evil” in the CosDoc sense. I don’t quite see the book as a 20th Century “Moby-Dick.” And yet…..

  152. Jasper:

    “I wouldn’t say an iPhone is powerful or even useful, I can defeat one with a drop of water.”

    My late, lamented computer was utterly done in by an unfortunate incident involving some iced tea. When I brought it to the Apple guys I told them that despite the cost of replacing the Mac I felt a little better knowing that when our Cyber Overlords come for us, all I need is a glass of iced tea for protection.


    I have not been back to Germany in a number of years; I’d like to visit again to see family and see the house I lived in when I was small, but my friends have really warned me off. Between problems with Muslim and North African youths, Albanian criminals and whatnot they’ve said they’ll come visit me this year in boring Vermont. I guess Frau Merkel’s “Wir schaffen das” has not worked out as she hoped. It’s sort of ironic since a few years earlier she had declared that multiculturalism doesn’t work; now she should know for sure.

  153. @ JMG re repurposing turbine blades

    I have no place to post as you describe. I used to write repurposing and homesteading articles, but that went away as it became fashionable to be a “prepper” and knowledge began to get monetized everywhere.

    This video outlines how to make an above ground cistern from a large galvanized steel culvert:

    If you cut transverse cross sections of the turbine blade, you can use them in the exact same way. Any tank that holds water can be used to grow fish, freshwater shrimp, etc.

    If you cut the blades in half longitudinally, you get a pair of sluices you can use to direct water or stop erosion in gullies – just by placing the section in the bottom of the gully.

    The blades are designed to be 100% water resistant, do not rust and do not degrade in UV.
    Due to this, one could cut them into smaller tiles and use them for roofing most likely. I do not know if bringing them up to near melt point would deform them, but likely so. In that case, one could press them into larger flat tiles with myriad uses due to UV integrity.

    Note that each of these repurposes cannot be used in an urban setting – little can due to HOAs and city councils and the usual torrent of rules and regs. But in rural places and communities they could be utilized quickly and they will not degrade.

    There are myriad ways to repurpose these things but current generations are based on throw-away societies.

    If I lived anywhere near the disposal site, I would have already bought a gas saw. A man could sell these things as stock tanks, install them and make a living easily selling them as “lifetime”, because they would be exactly that.

  154. RE: Artificial intelligence etc: I was programming a computer at the university of michigan back in 1966. The outlines of questions of AI and “when would these things wake up” , and so on, were beginning to circulate. The best answer I ever encountered is also one of the oldest. An operator asks his computer “when are you computers going to start thinking like we humans do?” The compute replies “that reminds me of a story”.

  155. Okey dokey John, here’s my question – why do attempts at environmental spirituality, ecospirituality and the like have tunnel vision about the inclusion of technology in any spiritual experience – given the thousands of accounts of spiritual experiences in which the gnosis includes the artificial, or takes place in an urban setting, or even where technology is instrumental ? Monasteries, LSD labs, Tibetan singing bowls, shacks in the woods, meditation cushions, nuclear power plants, Skype – all as instrumental as rivers and mountains and wotnot ? No ?

  156. Hi John

    Good points.

    I do think that the possibility of nationalist inspired conflicts in central-eastern Europe is plausible over the longer term. Hungary is a prime example of how, already, tensions exist with neighboring countries on Hungarian minorities and the tendency of the nationalist Orban government to promote Greater Hungary nostalgia.

    The poll I referred might only be one poll but it is still startling to see majorities favoring changes to their national borders in eastern Europe.

    My tentative forecast is that in western Europe tensions will be predominately internal e.g. between nativist and Islamist populations whilst in central-eastern Europe it will more likely involve national tensions over historic border disputes. The Balkans is almost certainly a tinderbox ready to go off given the existing ethnic, national and religious tensions across the region.

    I also think that European wars tend to be in 100 year cycles and the next European conflagration is due bythe 2040’s. This could coincide with mass migrations from a dying Middle East/African regions and a return of Russian influence across eastern Europe.

  157. Tolkiennguy said:

    “And thus, when you run across a Steven Pinker or a Niall Ferguson who tries to tell you that Europe dominated the world because of “Enlightenment” or “Liberty”, like people of Bengal somehow flocked to be beggared and impovershed by Britain, you can safely ignore them. Despite everything your Western Civ teacher may have taught you, the European-dominated modern world has very little to do with Isaac Newton.

    The modern world was created by Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba.”

    Except as you said yourself earlier, the nomads of the Asians steppe were highly successful in military terms but had no high culture or fixed homeland to send all their plunder back to. Perhaps if they had their dominance would have been far greater.

    I am certainly not downplaying the sheer brute force and highly successful military tactics of Europeans in Conquering large parts of the world, and up to a point, non conquered people imitate them simply because they are powerful, although as Toynbee points out, the influence of a high culture (like western European culture) usually extends far beyond the borders of the officially conquered territories. Many peoples/ countries that were not directly conquered by Europeans imitated or adopted European ideas/ technologies etc.

  158. Hello JMG!

    I’m a student currently majoring in Environmental Sustainability studies, emphasis in food systems and community resilience. I’m sure you can imagine the way your work has jivved with me. Especially as you don’t really propose or consider apocalypse narratives at all.

    Something I feel some legitimate concern about, that seems like it does have the potential to push us into some extreme climactic scenarios is methane leaking from under the Eastern Siberian Arctic shelf, and permafrost melting in general.

    I found you discussing this in brief here

    you state:

    (In the last quarter of the article)

    “The first point to grasp from this is that methane releases aren’t the end of the world. Our ancestors got through the last rounds of it without any sign of massive dieoff”

    As someone who’s currently in a Global Climate Change class that’s going pretty deep into the paleo record, and can likely access the data and research around this, I’d like to be able to trace this claim.

    What time period are you referring to in specific? Any good research leads for me to follow?



  159. @ Beekeeper in Vermont

    Glad to hear the women in your family remain fertile long after forty. Not everyone does.

    Similarly, I had three live births and one miscarriage AFTER I had surgery at 27 that scraped my internal organs clean of endometriosis and took the dead ovary along with the scrapings. I never suffered any of the usual symptoms of endometriosis. Mine was diagnosed when they opened me up to see why I had a massive cyst. That was why. I kept getting asked by a host of doctors: “you had no pain?” No, I did not.

    There are always exceptions but they are not the norm.

    Maybe better diet and health overall prolong fertility.

    Teresa from Hershey

  160. Ashara, if Sanders gets into office he’s going to get exactly the same treatment Trump has gotten from the media and the establishment, unless he crumples completely and does exactly what he’s told. If Bloomberg or, gods help us, Biden gets in, we’ll see a sharp swing back to business as usual, armed insurgencies in the south and mountain west within weeks, and no guarantees that the national guard or the rank and file military will obey orders if they’re sent to crush them. Trump has shown millions of Americans that there’s an alternative to the intolerable status quo that was inflicted on middle America before 2016, and if they can’t get it via the ballot box, there are other options.

    Wesley, fair enough; I don’t claim to be particularly well informed about the Mormon faith. As for chronocentrism, that’s an excellent point.

    Kevin, there’s a very good introductory book, The Biochemic Handbook, which you can get here. The same company has other good introductory books on homeopathy, and a good online intro to the cell salts. Yes, they also sell cell salts; another good source for cell salts and homeopathic medicines generally is this site. (No, I don’t get any money for referrals from these; I just use both sites.)

    Drhooves, I bought a used copy and then got caught up in other things, alas. I’ll be getting to it fairly soon, though — as research for a roleplaying game project I’ve got under way, I’ve been reading old Eric Ambler spy novels from the 1930s, and finding them (a) absolutely gripping and (b) very instructive in terms of writing techniques I don’t know yet. So Chandler’s next up.

  161. Re: Presidential Election

    Most of the outfits that claimed last go around that Hillary would win (Nate Silver, Larry Sabato) were claiming until recently that Trump would likely win reelection. So perhaps he should be nervous.

    But then in the last couple weeks they seem to be entertaining the idea that Sanders has a chance. Which is surely good news for Trump and bad news for Sanders.

    Speaking of news… (and science fiction was mentioned in the thread above) any news on Vintage Worlds 2?

  162. @Robert Gibson & Justin Patrick Moore on drugs in prison:

    As Lord Acton wisely noted, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

    In the context of a prison or a jail, the power of guards over inmates is almost as close to absolute as it ever gets in our society. So of course a sizeable fraction of the more experienced guards in any prison will eventually become corrupt. And a fair number of the prisoners who enter the prison will already be skilled in corrupting their marks (In this case, their guards). That’s all it ever takes to establish a clandestine pipeline for drugs through the prison walls.

  163. Final one from me for this round,
    JMG. What was the scale of your assessment of ‘fallback’ of the virus as spring kicks in north of the equator – US, North America, Northern hemisphere or Globe? Obviously, that has relevance. Thanks for all you do. Tipping the jar again, imminently.

  164. John (and any Canadians or British among the fellowship)–

    I’ve seen some stories in recent days re the Sussexes, their security costs, and the Canadian government apparently ceasing to assist with said costs at some point in the near future. Reviewing some of the language in the various conversations surrounding the duke and duchess moving (more or less) to Canada and stepping back from royal roles, it seemed that there were claims that security was still needed (due to their status as Internationally Protected Persons? I’m not quite clear on that point), but now there’s a question of who’s paying for what.

    My (admittedly Yankee) take is that this is shaping up to be a mess, but I’m not sure I’m seeing it properly either.

    Any thoughts or observations from those more “in the know”?

  165. @ JMG, RE: domestic insurgency

    I have several friends who are current or former law enforcement officers. Most of them flat out told me before the 2016 election that if Hillary got elected, they fully expected a major insurgency to break out and that they would probably end up joining the insurgents. There were an awful lot of cops, military personnel and National Guard members who felt the same way. Every police officer and member of the military I’ve ever talked politics with has made it clear they are a staunch Donald Trump supporter.

    I agree with you that we dodged a bullet in 2016. If Sanders gets elected and then caves in like Obama did, or the establishment somehow manages to push Bloomberg or Biden into office and the Democrats try to reimpose business as usual, its a near certainty we will see an insurgency break out and while most military and police will probably remain loyal to the government initially, there will almost certainly be a lot of defections as time goes on. Not to mention there are huge numbers of well armed military vets out there, many of whom hate liberal Democrats with a passion and would not hesitate to join the rebellion once it got going.

  166. Hi JMG and commentariat

    So everybody knows that the Covid-19 started in Wuhan, but there is a very important virology institute in Wuhan with a BSL-4 cathegory (the highest/risky) and at the head of this research facility is the doctor Zhengli-Li Shi, this woman, as top researcher, wrote with his group of Wuhan in 2015 the following article I have read & study because I think it is extremely interesting for all what they said:

    I invite JMG and the commentariat to read carefully the full length article, and I extract some paragraphs I consider interesting, for example they say:

    “Therefore, to examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats1—in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone. The hybrid virus allowed us to evaluate the ability of the novel spike protein to cause disease independently of other necessary adaptive mutations in its natural backbone. Using this approach, we characterized CoV infection mediated by the SHC014 spike protein in primary human airway cells and in vivo, and tested the efficacy of available immune therapeutics against SHC014-CoV”

    So they create a “chimeric” SARS-CoV virus that can cause disease (in humans)

    They continue:

    “we synthesized the SHC014 spike in the context of the replication-competent, mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone (we hereafter refer to the chimeric CoV as SHC014-MA15) to maximize the opportunity for pathogenesis and vaccine studies in mice (Supplementary Fig. 2a). Despite predictions from both structure-based modeling and pseudotyping experiments, SHC014-MA15 was viable and replicated to high titers in Vero cells”

    So they “maximize the opportunity for pathogenesis” and “replicate to high titers”. Very interesting…

    And then they continue saying:

    “To test the ability of the SHC014 spike to mediate infection of the human airway, we examined the sensitivity of the human epithelial airway cell line Calu-3 2B4 (ref. 9) to infection and found robust SHC014-MA15 replication, comparable to that of SARS-CoV Urbani (Fig. 1c). To extend these findings, primary human airway epithelial (HAE) cultures were infected and showed robust replication of both viruses”

    So in the last paragraph they have found that the new chimeric virus they have created (they called it SHC014-MA15) “show robust replication” in human cells. A great success I guess…

    But they continue with the research and say:

    “We next analyzed infection in more susceptible, aged (12-month-old) animals. SARS-MA15–infected animals rapidly lost weight and succumbed to infection”

    So they test the new chimeric virus (they call it SARS-MA15 and also SCH014-MA15) in mice and they saw a high pathogenicity in the lungs of the animals, more acute in older ones.

    Then they continue with the trials of the SHC014-MA15 chimeric virus they created:

    “Similarly, antibodies 230.15 and 227.14, which were derived from memory B cells of SARS-CoV–infected patients13, also failed to block SHC014-MA15 replication (Fig. 2b,c). For all three antibodies, differences between the SARS and SHC014 spike amino acid sequences corresponded to direct or adjacent residue changes found in SARS-CoV escape mutants (fm6 N479R; 230.15 L443V; 227.14 K390Q/E), which probably explains the absence of the antibodies’ neutralizing activity against SHC014. Finally, monoclonal antibody 109.8 was able to achieve 50% neutralization of SHC014-MA15, but only at high concentrations (10 μg/ml) (Fig. 2d). Together, the results demonstrate that broadly neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV may only have marginal efficacy against emergent SARS-like CoV strains such as SHC014.”

    So it seems that the new chimeric virus they created is quite resilient to the antibodies normally used to treat SARS. So there are not good news.

    Still more about the risks of their chimeric virus:

    “the creation of chimeric viruses such as SHC014-MA15 was not expected to increase pathogenicity. Although SHC014-MA15 is attenuated relative to its parental mouse-adapted SARS-CoV, similar studies examining the pathogenicity of CoVs with the wild-type Urbani spike within the MA15 backbone showed no weight loss in mice and reduced viral replication23. Thus, relative to the Urbani spike–MA15 CoV, SHC014-MA15 shows a gain in pathogenesis (Fig. 1). On the basis of these findings, scientific review panels may deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded”

    So they recognize they have created a very dangerous chimeric virus with a high pathogenesis, nobody expect to be more pathogenic (paradigm change), and easily transmitted in human cells and hard to fight by antibodies, and they said at the end “building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathegenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded”
    Do you feel a cold sweat?

    At the end of the article they said:

    “Coupled with restrictions on mouse-adapted strains and the development of monoclonal antibodies using escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic efficacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF research concerns; the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved

    So I have some questions to ask:

    a) What are the probabilities that a strange new virus, never seen before, very easily transmitted and very pathogenic, started exactly some hundred meters from the research lab where these people were creating risky chimeric viruses one day and the following?

    b) What are the probabilities that a new “wild” virus be so similar to this chimeric virus created in 2015 for this study? Could it be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    For me “something stinks in Denmark” (or in the Wuhan Institute of Virology)


  167. Patrica Matthew–“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin [sic], and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel” Matthew 23:23-24, part of a long section condemning the Scribes and Pharisees for hypocrisy and putting visible observance of commandments ahead of true charity and love. I may be a Pagan now, but I didn’t sleep through Sunday School. Remember in reading this that scholars feel Mathew is most critical of the Jewish leaders because he is addressing a Roman audience. It is Matthew who has the priests urge the crowds to free Barabbas rather than Jesus and accept the guilt of Jesus’s death on themselves and their children. Very political.

    To whoever was asking about the Bible and reincarnation, another section used to support the theory that some Jews believed in reincarnation is John 9:1-12 in which Jesus heals a man born blind and bystanders ask who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind. The argument is that if it was his sin that is being punished, it would have had to have been one committed in a previous life. Now in the actual text Jesus says that the man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed. Make of that what you will.

  168. @Onething et al.

    I’ve been fairly well surrounded by social justice concepts and messages at a series on conferences on my field over the past few weeks. From this I have concluded:

    1. The injustices experienced by marginalized groups in the present day USA are very real, and in many cases impact their ability to succeed. Read the book “Farming While Black” for some examples.

    2. The legacy of historical injustice also matters, in that transfer of land and wealth is often hereditary and the vision of the US as a meritocratic “land of opportunity”is largely a myth.

    3. There are a lot of beautiful people within the social justice movement, doing things like “rematriating” Native American seeds to their peoples of origin, and leading a revitalization of oppressed communities. There are also a lot of angry people who will use the platform to bully others or to induce feelings of guilt. In that way it is like any other group of human beings.

    4. The utopian vision of a country where categorical (i.e. race, gender, religion, etc.) prejudice is relegated to the compost bin of history is one that I can get behind.


    5. The metrics used to measure equity are always of the form of a proportion of a particular group (farmers, doctors, college graduates, landowners, inmates, minimum wage workers) occupied by each demographic, and thus victory is defined as a world in which demographics are not predictive of outcomes.

    6. This conveniently ignores the vast (and growing) structural inequalities among those groups, and so it’s ok if a quarter of the population lives on the street so long as white, black, and brown people are proportionally represented there.

    7. By ignoring class divides, the movement remains largely unthreatening to the elite and allows them to claim social progress without sacrificing any of their wealth.

    8. Because it is so tangled up with elitism, the social justice movement has become the enemy of populism, when in fact those who are marginalized through poverty and those who are marginalized through prejudice have much in common and could effect real change if they could join forces.

  169. Scotlyn,

    The original query involved ultimate safe-haven investments for someone with money. Of course building up personal skills & community are hugely important but not germane to the question. The acquisition of various older but reliable manual tools & equipment is a great recommendation, but (as with anything with current or future value) those things should be purchased with cash, stored out of sight and never discussed. People won’t come for things they don’t know about.


    Gold has been money throughout history and will continue to because people inherently believe that it is, even if they consciously claim otherwise. Governments certainly do; they’re the biggest holders & buyers by far. It isn’t a protection against typical inflation or deflation, but major political and economic instability — check the Great Depression, Weimar Germany, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Venezuela, etc.

    Furthermore, portability and convertibility are the hallmarks of gold, which is why RAF pilots always carried a gold sovereign. The shiny stuff rings true across all borders when paper will not. Yes, gemstones may be a more concentrated form of wealth, but very few have the need (let alone funds) to exchange for that, and showing same would instantly make you a permanent high-value target.

    Scotlyn / Darkest,

    Ultimately gold is best as a means of preserving wealth as one system fails and another arises. Daily transactions are best limited to silver and or “junk gold” (i.e., minor jewelry). Those are lower value — more in line with typical transaction amounts — and low profile, enabling transactions without providing predators the idea that you have more to be taken by force.

  170. I have been wondering that maybe the world is just perfect, or exactly as imperfect as it must be, to assist our souls in making their way to where we must go. Does this make any sense?
    Concerning war between western europeans in the next 30 years, it is very unlikely, we are nations of old people, old people are very hard to be convinced to go to war which is uterly
    unconfortable and can result in death! I suspect the muslims will take Western Europe with very litle resistance in 20 years or so most likely democratically as in Houllebeque novel Soumission. Eastern Europe will not go to war because of that, they will unite to resist islamisation.

  171. Greetings Mr. Greer! Since we’re talking about Decline and Fall in this thread: may I ask what kind of home emergency prep do you personally practice? I mean, to what extent?

    Being a pessimist, I do considerably more than what U.S. Gov’t guidelines recommend for (say) a hurricane, nothing like what a survivalist prepper would do. Unfortunately, I’ve got few sustainable systems such as a food garden — working on that — but I figure I could get by in my urban home for a few weeks with no help or services at all. It’s the neighbors I’m worried about.

    This question is really a setup for a more philosophical question I intend to ask about in your next open thread.


  172. Re: Soleimani assassination

    Do you think that’s the end of the matter in terms of direct consequences? There hasn’t been any reporting on it recently, but that might be because of the coronavirus.


  173. (to all)

    Reframing the COVID-19 event might be a good exercise, rather than relegating it to a binary of “end of the world/not the end of the world.”

    I find it useful to use the various panicky things that crop up now and then as practice runs. So, fires in the distant hills, threats of power outages, and potential for evacuations on the menu this month? Good, take some time to come up with your evacuation plan, make sure you’ve got an emergency pack for family members, can feed yourself for a few days sans electricity, and make your landscape conducive to decreasing fire damage if you can.

    Pandemic of a disease with unknown/unproven consequences swinging through the neighborhood this week? Ok, how are you connected to global travelers? Are you prepared to decrease social contacts? Can you survive without work/school for a few weeks? Can you stop compulsively touching your face? What’s your baseline health status and can you improve it? Do you need to have an emergency supply of prescriptions (etc etc)? Could you manage a two-week quarantine at home?

    Is said pandemic revealing that supply chains are fantastically fragile and that many of the things that make (y)our lives possible will soon be in short supply? Have you looked recently at the ways you could be making your life, home, community more resilient? Do you need to stock up on food/water/medicines to give yourself a bit more time to learn how to make do or do without the trappings of global civilization?

    While COVID-19 remains unproven in its long-term health effects, it’s undoubtedly going to cause massive ripples (if not outright tsunamis and vortexes) of change and disruption. Are you prepared for any of it?

    Taking a mental step back and saying, “Ok, time for a dry run” and treating it like a drill allows for less stress, productive action, and grants creativity more access to the effort than would be allowed by a mind in full-on panic mode.

    Of course this requires a position of some luxury – if you’re living day-to-day and it’s all “lean” with little “fat” then you’re not experiencing a “dry run,” you’ve either already collapsed or you’re darned close. What creative thing can you do, then, given your particular situation, to generate a little bit of breathing room so you can react to our societal decline in a productive way?

    All of these facets deserve consideration so that when something arrives you can dance with it as best you can.

    I think it’s worth recognizing that some of these catastrophes-of-the-day that get bandied about are nonetheless true catastrophes for some people. Even if this particular one peters out in mid-May in the US, a broad and general regional designation, it will still have wreaked havoc in some locales. Will it do so in your less broad, less general region? How resilient is your community? How able are you to take some hard weather?


    Violet, a quick question if I may – does your neck of the woods just have better liquor than mine? Everywhere I look here, the vodka (and all else) is only 40 proof (80% alc. content). Where does the 50 proof live?

    Isaac, that was my thought too (“Trump must have Pence in his sights…”), though I didn’t get to the “Ivanka for VP” part. This’ll be interesting to watch, for sure.

    Onething, I didn’t comment when you’d mentioned it, but I’m glad to hear your oncologist is giving you high marks and that things seem to be improving.

  174. Re advertising for advertising

    Slightly tangential, but something that caught my attention: as I drove into work this morning, I heard three consecutive radio spots for job search websites (IIRC, they were Indeed, Robert Half, and Glassdoor). Not sure what it might mean, if anything. It was just sorta weird hearing them back to back (to back) like that.

  175. RMK, I’ve been at weddings where there was some lightweight magic — typically Neopagan stuff — inserted into the ritual: a visualization here, a mild invocation there. Serious magic? You don’t do that around people who aren’t trained participants.

    Petrus, I think it’s very likely that that’s one side of it. Equally, authors — because they tend to spend a lot of time in imagined space — are very often at least a little psychically sensitive, and so might be expected to pick up precognitive glimpses from time to time!

    Ray, huzzah! Delighted to hear it.

    Robert, it’s a matter of corruption, of course. Prison guards are rarely well paid, and most convicts have friends or family members on the outside who can afford a little bribery from time to time. Since it keeps the prisoners quiet, most prison authorities turn a blind eye to it except when they want to make an example of someone.

    B3rnhard, fortunately it’s only a subset of religions that are stuck with the claim that they know the truth!

    Simon, something very odd is going on in China, and in particular in Wuhan province. What that might be is an interesting question, to which I don’t pretend to know the answer — but it’s clear that there’s something more involved there than an ordinary coronavirus outbreak.

    Yorkshire, fortunately, Brand’s boring box and Gaudi’s over-the-top weirdness aren’t the only two options. Me, if I were running a big organization, I’d want to run it out of a big old brick lodge building like this Odd Fellows lodge…
    Odd Fellows hall

  176. Have any of you been watching the situation in Syria?

    The conflict between Turkey, Syria and Russia looks like its rapidly spiraling out of control. Turkish military forces have been openly intervening on behalf of the Jihadists in Idlib Province and have been shooting at Russian aircraft the last few days. Now it appears the Russians struck back by hitting a Turkish barracks in Syria, killing dozens. The Turks in turn have massively escalated their attacks on Syria. I can’t imagine the Russians not responding now that Erdogan has opted to double down and openly engage in a major act of aggression against a Russian ally. There are rumors the Turkish parliament will declare war against Syria tomorrow. Moreover, the Turkish government has announced it will open its borders with Europe and allow Muslim refugees to flood into the EU.


  177. @Petrus (JMG I lost my first attempt at this comment, so apologies if both show up). The fiction predicting real life thing happened to me.

    I based the hero of one of my romance stories on an ex whom I hadn’t spoken to in over 20 years. Didn’t even know if he was still alive. Naturally I was thinking a lot about him while writing it. Then, a few years later, I got in touch with him and discovered that the heroine I thought I invented had an eerie resemblance to his actual wife.

    They had the same hair color and almost exactly the same name. Jane Erickson vs Janet Eric, that kind of thing.

    My theory is that a lot of us artist types go into a light trance while working, and in that state we sometimes unintentionally access information psychically.

  178. Booklover, that makes perfect sense. For quite a while now, apocalyptic fantasies have been the standard go-to option for people on the losing side of historical change; it’s reliable enough at this point that when people start piling into apocalyptic fantasies, if you predict on that basis alone that the cause they support is doomed, you’re usually right.

    David BTL, Bismarck understood European politics to a degree that nobody since has shown any sign of managing.

    Averagejoe, I’m pretty sure one life-wave — one group of souls, in effect — had finished its time on this planet, and the next — ours — needed somewhat different conditions.

    KMB, that’s a choice each person has to make based on their own talents and interests. In my case, I’ve focused on skills that will enable me to earn a steady income in difficult times, based on what’s worked in the past and what’s showing signs of working right now. For example, plenty of occultists kept themselves fed and housed straight through the Great Depression by practicing astrology, and that’s a skill I’ve been picking up accordingly…

    Dusk Shine, the Davis DA-11 is quite a plane! The planes I imagine as reconnaissance platforms for deindustrial armies, though, are a little more like this:

    Fabric wings, absolute simplicity of design, and if the engine cuts out you drift safely to the ground.

    As for the protests, yes, if the idea that the land is owned by the First Nations is hammered into everyone’s minds by endless repetition, then you’re going to have that kind of result.

    Packshaud, oh, I know. There’s a certain grace in stepping back and watching a dysfunctional organization complete its life cycle and become a smoking crater.

    Phil H, up the creek without a crystal shewstone! 😉

    Renaissance, which puts them right up there next to the qualified experts!

    Brian, I tend to see all these as examples of mistaken concreteness. It’s so easy to go looking for The One Thing We Did Wrong! The result is usually the Christian myth of Eden and the Fall in more or less unconvincing drag. I’d point out that societies are not artifacts; they aren’t manufactured to spec, they grow organically out of collective action and experience. Thus it may be fun to imagine a better society — I’ve done it myself, and published the result — but that’s a recreational activity, not something relevant to what kind of society we’re actually going to live in.

    Booklover, oof. That’s just lame.

    Tolkienguy, good. The one correction I’ll make is that the coordinated battle line of musketeers did in fact emerge in one other place — feudal Japan in the last years of the sengoku jidai the age of civil wars that ended with the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate. In the battle of Nagashino in 1575, Oda Nobunaga’s army used massed musketry to shatter the forces of the Takeda clan; Tokugawa Ieyasu’s final triumph at Sekigahara in 1600 was also largely a function of massed musket fire. Once the civil wars were over, though, the shogunate looked at the consequences of musket armies — the end of the samurai as the dominant military class, since a peasant with a tanegashima (Japanese matchlock musket) could drop a samurai in his tracks — and relegated firearms to a minor role during the years of isolation. I suspect, in fact, that news of the Japanese musket armies, carried back to Europe by Spanish and Portuguese merchants and missionaries, had a lot to do with the willingness of European nations to abide by the Japanese isolation laws.

    For comparison purposes, here’s a Japanese musketeer with a tanegashima next to one of your Spanish musketeers fresh out of a tercio:

  179. @temporaryreality on high-proof drinking alcohol:

    Last time I looked, here in Rhode island you can buy Everclear at any liquor store. It is, IIRC, 95% pure alcohol (that is, 190 proof). It’s quite useful if one is going to make one’s own herbal remedies and nostrums.

  180. Greetings, Ecosophians!

    Asteroid (158) Koronis seems to be the marker for Covid-19. She was exact on the Part of Fortune in Wuhan’s Capricorn Ingress chart, and she was exactly conjunct the Sun/Moon this past Sunday at the moment of the New Moon in Pisces.

    (55) Pandora, too, figures largely. She was in exact opposition to Mercury at the time of the Capricorn Ingress.

    JMG, thank you so much for your knowledge. A bottle each of Ferrum phos 6x and Natrum sulph 6x are wending their way this direction as I type.

  181. Violet,
    Your observations are spot on. The requisite frontier lies within our characters Tom and Louis. I can see that it was a gift we carried with us as boys too, growing up in our boring midwestern town not too far from Missouri actually.
    Our town was an inviting and surprisingly receptive vacuum, drawing out and soaking up our irreverent shenanigans with a thinly veiled smile, reflective perhaps of the massive and open landmass surrounding our town. I can begin to grok the depth and colors of an archetype like Tom Sawyer, charged by immensity of potential and focused by youthful irreverent will. I’ll be rereading The Adventures again with a new eyes.
    BTW, it was Louis Armstrong who inspired me to take up trumpet in grade school. He was a lighthouse of mischief that thrilled millions!

  182. Renaissance,

    Things have gone way too far. What really galls me is that if there is a group or race that you are allowed to suppress, then it is a resurgence of racism, full stop. The way out is to stop it.
    I heard a fairly credible source (an ex-muslim woman once married to a jihadist) say that muslims are planning to overtake the west by 3 means: high birth rate, immigration, and using our (well-meaning) laws against us. I don’t see muslims as an oppressed minority. Just saying. The assumption that we are all on the same page is naive.

    I just spent a couple of days immersing myself in the whole trans world, mostly because I was interested in the detransitioning phenomenon. I sympathize with the feminist lesbians.

    My opinion is that women and girls need protection from rogue and predatory males. I was surprised to learn how far things have gone in the UK. Teenage girls in some schools have to share the bathrooms with boys. Not trans boys – boys. Some of them try not to drink, some stay home when on their periods.

    Male prisoners housed with women, and not just any prisoners. Convicted rapists.
    A mother in Canada came out to complain to the lifeguard that there was a bearded man in the changing room. The lifeguard asked the man if he identified as a woman. He said yes. The lifeguard told the mother he could not be asked to leave. The woman was so incredulous she couldn’t speak. She left, and her little girl never came back for her swimming lessons. A badly injured teenage girl in a ward with men, was sexually attacked.

    There has to be limits. There has to be boundaries beyond which society says no. I am sympathetic to inner feelings and mental states, but to say that we can change our gender because we wish it is rather obviously not reality. I don’t think that bearded man was trans, I think he was a voyeur. But his rights are upheld while little girls rights are not. Way to go Canada.

    Anyone who was not born yesterday knows that a small subset of men are twisted, fetishistic, and aggressive. This is not a new problem. Just part of the human picture. There is a subset of men, whether trans or not, who are sexually aroused by dressing and looking like a female, who are aroused by listening to women urinate. I should not have to be a masturbation object for such a man. I want to go to the bathroom in peace. Sometimes people focus on danger, whether women and girls will be attacked. But what if I a not attacked, but someone is masturbating in the next stall, and that person has a penis?

    Most trans ‘women’ still have their penises. Even those on hormones still have relatively high levels of testosterone. And many trans ‘women’ are heterosexually oriented. So, should a person with a penis and who is aroused by female bodies, be allowed in the dressing room and bathroom? Of course not! Should adolescent girls be subject to this? Of course not.

    If a transwoman appears like a woman and can enter the bathroom without causing a stir, I don’t have much problem with it. But the business of allowing any man, and one who is obviously male, enter women’s protected places on his say so, is ludicrous.

    And they are very aggressive about it. Often, when offered separate facilities, they turn it down. Isn’t that strange? I don’t know what percentage of transpeople really feel this way. I suppose most are reasonable people. But they are not the activists making the noise and changing the laws to give themselves free reign and the needs and feelings of 52% of the population be damned.

    It’s kinda funny that there is this whole thing going on with trans ‘women’ going to lesbian hangouts and trying to get lesbians to sleep with them. If they refuse, they are insulted and called phobic. But lesbians, by definition, don’t want to have sex with penises. I find it funny because it just seems like some sexually aggressive, hetero males upping the ante on creepiness, trying to coerce women into giving them sex.

    There is obvious absurdity to all this and I wonder, how did actual laws get changed to allow something that is obviously dangerous and will make women and girls avoid going out and doing things? There was no need to capitulate so totally.

    The behavior of these bad actors is very much that of bullies. I think its time to cut the crap and say that there are limits to the ability to change sex and stand firm on certain boundaries and if we don’t stand up to bullies whose fault is that? I feel the same way about racism. I find it unacceptable.

  183. Isaac, are you so sure he’s going to fail?

    Peakofnormal, as noted in response to another commenter, here’s a good introductory book on cell salts; you can order cell salts from this supplier or this one.

    Nothing Special, and yet most people would rather listen to any amount of Antonio Salieri, for example, than a single piece of modern avant-garde art music. It’s not simply that we’re comparing past geniuses to today’s mediocrities; it’s that since 1900 or so, composers have embraced an approach to music that is intended, for reasons rooted in snobbery, to drive away anybody outside of a narrow circle of pretentious cognoscenti.

    Methylethyl, may it be a rewarding season for you and all those who keep it!

    Walt, that’s certainly one way to model the concept of eternity. Another is to see eternal beings as immutable — they don’t change over time, not being in time, and their acts are eternal and unchanging acts, which may nonetheless appear to manifest to those of us in time as a sequence of events.

    JR, 1) if it works for you, use it. Have you considered revising the Sphere of Protection or the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram to use an ancient language and the gods of your choice?

    2) I normally recomment shield charts rather than house charts for daily readings — having two witnesses and the judge to focus on, rather than twelve figures in houses, makes the process of interpretation a lot simpler.

    3) “Should” questions have to be handled carefully, since they presuppose a value judgment — “should” in terms of what goals, what preferences, what values? If you specify those, though, they’re fine.

    Dylan, you know, that makes a great deal of sense too.

    Kimberly, it’s like watching a train wreck.

    Kwo, it depends entirely on what style of music interests you. I’m partial to the books (and also the albums!) of Neal Hellman.

    Oilman2, would you be willing to consider putting something like that on the Green Wizards forum? That would at least get the idea out there.

    Michael, funny.

    Koggush, that’s just the way things fall out — people who are into nature spirituality by and large don’t enjoy being dependent on machines. If you do, hey, you be you.

    Forecasting, that seems quite reasonable. The only thing that would tilt the balance hard would the rise of an authoritarian government in a western European nation.

    WindMan, it’s been years since I researched that. As I recall, it was the evidence related to the “clathrate gun theory” in relation to the temperature spike at the end of the Younger Dryas period that pointed to large-scale methane releases as a normal part of deglaciation, and the “super-greenhouse” events of the Toarcian and Cenomanian-Turonian intervals were among the indications that sharp spikes in global temperature are, again, something that happens routinely in Earth’s history. I don’t have the notes at this point, though.

    JoelJones, well, we’ll see. As for Vintage Worlds 2 and 3 — yes, we had enough good stories for two anthologies — they’ve been held up due to some personal difficulties on the part of the publisher. I hope to have an announcement in the not too distant future, though.

    Jay Pine, I’ve been tracking other things of late and haven’t factored that in. I’ll get back to you when I do so.

    David BTL, I’m not in the know where that’s concerned!

    Jacurutu, exactly. I know a fair number of people in the same categories.

    DFC, I’ll pass, thanks. I’ve already commented on my opinion about (a) the likelihood that we can get an accurate notion of what’s going on from articles on the internet, and (b) the fixation on finding some human being to blame, so we can avoid having to deal with the possibility that nature just up and does these things on her own.

    Elodie, that concept — the idea that the world is exactly what it needs to be for the sake of our spiritual development — is something you’ll find in the writings of many mystics, so I think you’re on to something.

    Caller, I’ve assessed the possibility of sustained economic disruptions in the near term, decided that the likelihood’s minimal, and have made the sort of preparations that most sensible people make to deal with ordinary events — a lengthy power outage, a bad flu season, or what have you. Since we’re in the Long Descent rather than the Short Descent, and I don’t live in an area at risk, I haven’t gone the prepper route.

    SMJ, I think it’s over and done with. Given the nature of the response, it’s possible that Soleimani’s removal from the scene was a relief to his side as well as ours.

    Temporaryreality, that makes sense.

    David BTL, fascinating.

    Jacurutu, yes, I have. It’ll be interesting to see how the balance of power shifts in the next few weeks — and just how deep Russia wants to get into this. If they start bringing in armored divisions Turkey could end up in serious trouble very quickly.

    Athena, fascinating. I haven’t begun to study asteroid astrology, but it’s on the list. With regard to the cell salts, did you know that they correspond precisely to the signs of the zodiac?

  184. Are we getting close to that open letter to the Christian minority in America you once mentioned yet?

  185. SMJ,

    The Iranian government seems to have decided to reserve their reprisal for the Soleimani assassination. If they rubbed out several American general officers in the US, they would have to be very careful to make the killings look like accidents or street crime. The neocon chuckleheads who arranged this murder were trying to provoke an Iranian military response. They got a missile attack on a US base, but the Iranians gave enough tactical warning that nobody got killed, and President Trump spun the incident as proving that the Iranians weren’t very dangerous. The point that the missile attack could not be interdicted was not discussed much in the official US media.

    The public Iranian response has been focused on a fairly calm prophecy that the blood of the shahid Soleimani will win an end to American military occupation of the entire Middle East.

  186. Greetings all,

    Just came across a short article that spoke of America’s “Faustian Bargain” with China, and how this latest viral outbreak might be the proverbial straw.

    Now, “Faustian Bargain” is a term I expect to see in this blog’s comments section, not from ex-CIA officer. (I’m cynical enough to ask, is he selling a book?).

    Among other issues, the article really spoke to efficiency being the opposite of resilience. Given the level and type of discourse, I think many readers here would appreciate.

  187. Mark,

    5. The metrics used to measure equity are always of the form of a proportion of a particular group (farmers, doctors, college graduates, landowners, inmates, minimum wage workers) occupied by each demographic, and thus victory is defined as a world in which demographics are not predictive of outcomes.

    I’m having trouble understanding this paragraph. Are you saying that success is measured when, for example, there are just as many female tree trimmers or deep sea oil riggers as men?

    6. This conveniently ignores the vast (and growing) structural inequalities among those groups, and so it’s ok if a quarter of the population lives on the street so long as white, black, and brown people are proportionally represented there.

    Again, what do you mean by structural inequalities and why do you say they are growing?

    7. By ignoring class divides, the movement remains largely unthreatening to the elite and allows them to claim social progress without sacrificing any of their wealth.

    My impression is that the movement is largely coming FROM the elites, and of course it isn’t threatening to them, but some of that is because they are so privileged that they think they can play games with teaching disdain for our culture and history and open season on white people without ever getting the crap beaten out of them or their children.

    8. Because it is so tangled up with elitism, the social justice movement has become the enemy of populism, when in fact those who are marginalized through poverty and those who are marginalized through prejudice have much in common and could effect real change if they could join forces.

    Again, perhaps I misunderstand you, but this works very well for the elites because they are responsible for teaching white and black people (for one example) to fear one another so that they do not join forces. And as for the elites who make up most of the SJ warriors, they openly loathe the working class. If they’re white, I mean.

  188. Hi everybody,

    Swamped in Fantasyland! Sorry!

    Bye everybody! See you next week unless I get caught up, in which case I’ll see you earlier.

  189. John kindly replied, “Koggush, that’s just the way things fall out — people who are into nature spirituality by and large don’t enjoy being dependent on machines. If you do, hey, you be you. ”

    Well, yeah, if a mountainside is the place of gnosis for someone, then that’s that. However there does seem to be an expectation in many people that nature should be the cure for spiritual malaise of modernity, whereas really modernity is absolutely not an impediment to most spiritual finders. A lot of people (not you) seem to be making promises that nature is a path, just like all those other promises bagged up with our various religions. Which is a shame because there must be a lot of disappointed expectation floating around. But you don’t know, until you know and that’s the way it shakes out, and god doesn’t seem to heed people’s demands of where and when he should turn up.
    But a pure nature experience has probably not been had since the invention of the stone axe, because if you’re one with everything then your axe and your fur tunic are going to be there with you, and right at the other end of the scale are those astronauts who found the divine via the best rockets money could buy. Which is a pretty good joke.

  190. Re: Drugs in prisons–so long as prisons are run by humans there will be contraband. Prisoners have endless time to plan and plot. They may also have resources on the outside. Contraband can be smuggled in by ingenious visitors, by prison workers (for a price), possibly through shipments or food or supplies from outside suppliers, etc. Prisoners can bribe prison workers or manipulate them in some way, including romantic relationships, that compromises them and sets them up for blackmail. Associates on the outside can also gather information that will be useful to gang members. There was a case in California in which a prisoner’s girlfriend got a job with Franchise Tax. She used her computer access to the state income tax returns to obtain the addresses of several correctional officers and passed them on the the gang members on the outside, apparently with the intention of having them killed. Fortunately she was caught — any tax employee who accesses a file that they don’t have assigned to them is going to be flagged and questioned and every employee is told this repeatedly. Don’t even think about looking up your brother-in-law’s tax return, or some famous movies star. I heard about this from both ends since my mom worked for Franchise Tax and my dad worked for Folsom Prison.

  191. @David BTL, JMG, others

    I think that one of the ironies of people promoting nuclear fusion as a problem-free energy source is the fact that the one fusion power method that everyone agrees is technologically doable was rejected long ago on account of, well, its problems.

    That would be Project Pacer – – which grew out of Edward Teller’s attempts to convince America to get its energy by exploding hydrogen bombs in giant underground caves filled with water, and run turbines with the steam. The people who investigated it concluded that, while the physics behind it were sound, the infrastructure would be so expensive that it offered no advantage over fission power. And manufacturing multiple H-bombs per site every day virtually guarantees that eventually, one would get into the wrong hands.

    But even if the most optimistic predictions about fusion power did pan out, it wouldn’t save us. Given the chance, we’d just increase our energy consumption until we strained the limits of the new system and ran into more blowback, of whatever form that blowback might take – hopefully something less bad than routine heists involving thermonuclear warheads.

    Here’s another thing to think about: Hydroelectricity is clean and technologically simple enough to survive the Long Descent. It currently provides about 17% of the world’s electricity. Even if we cut back our energy use to one-sixth of what it is now, we would still have vastly more energy per capita than anybody had before the 19th century. And yet, are we content with what would seem, to the folks a few centuries ago, like unlimited clean energy? No we are not.

    Greed is infinite. There will never be a post-scarcity economy because people are inventive enough to come up with new wants when their present wants are satisfied. And the pursuit of unlimited growth is a disaster. It would be a disaster even if resource depletion and climate change weren’t at issue.

    Just think: How do you grow the food industry? By convincing people to eat more food than they need.

    How do you grow the housing industry? By convincing people to buy huge houses that they can’t afford and that don’t make them happy.

    How do you grow the pharmaceutical industry? By convincing doctors to medicate for conditions that they used to not medicate for.

    And so on.

  192. @JMG re repurposing scrapped blades

    Sure. I leave for Canada tomorrow, but should have time to do a write-up with a few drawings while heels up in the hotel…

  193. @JMG,

    About Mormons and the Angel Moroni…

    It seems that if one starts from your beliefs that:

    1) The Gods intend for us to have religion, but they never intended for us all to have the same, immutable religion, and

    2) The Gods often give their followers useful myths rather than the complete and literal truth about how the world works,

    One might be led to conclude that the Angel Moroni was the originating spirit of the Mormon religion. That is, Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and caused him to write the Book of Mormon and establish a new church. The civilizations described in the book never existed, but they were a product of Moroni’s mind, not Joseph’s, and when some people claim to find evidence that it was originally written in a Semitic language, they’re telling the truth: Moroni was perfectly capable of filling his text with Hebrew wordplay and ancient literary styles beyond Joseph’s ability to recognize or imitate.

    The Book of Mormon is a very Christian book with a whole lot of emphatic declarations that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and the God of all the earth, because Christianity was very strong in that time and place and it would have been impossible to create a new religion without working within and borrowing from that framework. And yet, for some reason it was Moroni’s statue that ended up on top of all those temples.

    Obviously, no faithful Mormon could believe this version of events, but it’s fascinating to think about. Yet as far as I’m concerned, my religion asks me to worship Jesus, so that’s what I intend to do. Which in my case has come to involve things like praying towards Jerusalem and fasting on Good Friday, which even most Mormons don’t do.

  194. @Adam, regarding A.I., I’ve two thoughts. First, people think of AI as existing in small containers that can be easily bounded and analysed. But really, any formalised process is artificial intelligence. A legal code or a corporation are as much ‘artificial’ and ‘intelligent’ as any of the things we usually associate with the AI sticker, and the fact that they contain human processing power as part of their process makes them more inscrutable and scary, but not really different in kind from a chess engine. We can’t really pin down general intelligence even in human minds, and I think a big thing we tend to overlook is that we think of machines as smaller or simpler than us, instead of things we inhabit that possess their own volition. So I wouldn’t be too trusting of any machine learning ‘expert’ that assures you they know what they’re doing. A corporation is also a machine that’s capable of learning, but its thought happens on a scale we have difficulty modelling. I think that kind of cognition will be what’s most relevant in the coming century’s struggles between exploring and formalised decision making, rather than cleverly written and marketed algorithms working on the bounded problems we associate with computers.

    Which brings me to the second idea – there’s a theory that our brain halves are specialised for different tasks, with our left brain half being a consummate ignoring machine, able to focus on any particular task by ignoring everything else. Our right brain half by contrast, is excellent at deciding what to do by ignoring nothing, instead it sees the big picture and synthesises all information into a coherent whole before setting priorities. If there is a hierarchy to these at all, it would make sense for the priority setting half to decide what is important and delegate the execution to the focused/executing half. In that context, it’s noteworthy that for any particular, formalisable skill, silicon tends to outcompete carbon.

    But the fact that we tend to come up short in formal competitions where ignoring most of the universe to focus on a well-defined problem matters, does not mean we will also come up short in competitions of synthesising and prioritising. I actually tend to believe the opposite, that we’ve become enamoured with our ability to ignore and focus, and that once we become comfortable around an additional consciousness able to execute, we may be able to spend the necessary amount of time on prioritisation. So I think AI won’t so much give us new goals, as allowing us to shift a lot of our internal resources from executing our goals, to coming up with new ones.

  195. @ JMG – What are your thoughts on lighter than air craft in the post-industrial world? Do you think they will be feasible, or worth using, in a military context or otherwise?

  196. Tripp, I’m more or less waiting for the right moment.

    Chicken, thanks for this!

    Koggush, most people use the word “nature” as a convenient shorthand for nonhuman nature, or for those places and contexts not dominated by human artifacts. Many people — I’m one of them — do in fact find that such places and contexts are better suited to certain kinds of spiritual experience than places and contexts that are packed full of the products of industrial society. If you’re not one of those people, why, do what works for you — but please do remember that your experience is no more universally applicable than mine.

    Wesley, the quest for commercial fusion power is to my mind the best evidence there is that belief in progress is a superstition, not a rational response to the real world. What we’ve learned from seventy years of fusion research is that fusion power is not and will never be economically viable. At this point it literally doesn’t matter if a working fusion reactor is built tomorrow — given what we know about fusion, it’ll cost so much to build and operate that no nation on earth can afford to generate electrical pwer that way.

    Oilman, thank you.

    Wesley, that seems quite reasonable to me. My particular kind of polytheism takes the evidence from spiritual experience very seriously, and that includes the spiritual experiences of one Joseph Smith. Based on what I’ve read, I have no doubt that the Jesus worshiped by Mormons is a god; I suspect he may not be the same Jesus worshiped by other Christians, but then there seem to be a lot of Jesii running around these days, and the Mormon Jesus seems pretty benevolent. But then that’s one of the things about polytheism — from within a polytheist worldview, it’s simple common sense to recognize that different people worship different gods, and that all religions can be more or less correct about the things that matter even if some of them are stuck with the notion that their god is the only one there is.

    Ben, the world is nearly out of helium, so lighter-than-air craft will have the choice between hot air, which won’t lift much weight, and hydrogen, which has certain well-known problems…
    That being the case, I don’t expect lighter-than-air craft to see much use.

    Edgar, I think your post got cut off somehow halfway through. Can you repost the whole thing, including the link?

  197. @JMG,

    About fusion power, I’m agreed that it’s almost certainly a useless line of research, and for the same reason: even if they worked, all the methods would require infrastructure with a price tag even bigger than the one that got Teller’s bomb-in-a-cave idea rejected decades before I was born.

    But as for the superstition of progress, I think that it has so much appeal because it’s founded on a kernel of truth: the idea that our knowledge of the universe is incomplete, what we know is only a small fraction of what can be known, and that it’s good to ask questions about the world around you, look for gaps in the received knowledge, and try to add things to the present body of human knowledge.

    Which is why it’s so easy for our media these days to portray the opponents of progress, whether scientific or social, as villains: they saw no room for progress because they arrogantly believed that their picture of how the world worked, or should work, was complete enough to brook no change with time, while we, from our lofty viewpoint in the 21st century, can see how wrong they were.

    But when you try to take that kernel of truth – that what we know right now is small compared to what we have yet to experience or discover – and expand it into the Star Trek future of limitless, linear progress towards an idyllic future where every problem has an easy solution, you’ll find that history doesn’t bear you out.

    In real life, a civilization progresses for a while, and then it hits challenges for which its worldview has no good response. When you investigate the unknown, sometimes you find effective solutions for your problems, but sometimes you find that a problem for which you expected an easy solution doesn’t have one, or that a technology that you’re currently relying on creates more problems than it solves.

    The people who drilled the first oil wells almost certainly weren’t thinking about how what they were doing would affect the earth’s climate. And to use another example, just think of how in the early 20th century you could get sodas with cocaine and lithium in them in any American corner store. Were these psychotropic concoctions the wave of the future? I suppose they were, for a time, but eventually people had the good sense to put an end to them.

    So that seems to me to be the real nature of trying to be an innovator and explore the unknown. Sometimes you find what you’re looking for, and sometimes you don’t. And sometimes, you find evidence that your whole quest – whether it be for fusion power or for a way to keep the personal automobile viable or for something else entirely – is probably a bad idea through and through. And sometimes you listen to that evidence, and sometimes you don’t.

    And eventually, once a civilization has made enough mistakes, you get decline and fall and a dark age and the loss of a whole bunch of accumulated knowledge, and a tectonic shift in the worldview, and then the whole cycle repeats itself, with new thinkers and new discoveries and new problems to be solved and new problems that stubbornly resist everyone’s attempts to solve them.

  198. Hello jmg

    Do you think that pulse-jet engines, especially the valveless kind, could occasionally be used in the ecotechnic future?

  199. Beekeeper in Vermont, the conditions in Germany depend, obviously, on where you visit. One can see this, for example, in the quite different restults for local elections in, for example, Hamburg and Thuringia. I myself haven’t traveled much during the last decade, except for Berlin and for some towns at the Baltic Sea.

  200. Hi JMG, Do you have any advice for dealing with a new friend of the opposite sex and a possible love spell? This person also has some actual power over me (they’re my landlord for the next month) and might have caught me in their spell to find love (either unintentionally or intentionally). Unfortunately I have no occult training whatsoever. I have known them for 5 months and they told me a couple months ago they had done a ceremony or working to meet people or find love (i can’t remember exactly how they said it) and that it was really going well. Looking back I am noticing that a few weeks later I started to have feelings for this person that I wasn’t expecting. Recently our friendship briefly headed toward something more romantic, but that has passed and I’d like to keep it that way because I found out they are also romantically involved with several other people. As might be obvious, I am still a little more interested in them than I’d like to be even though I do not want to date them, and can’t tell if this is a spell or not. Ever since I met them, it has seemed to me this person has had a ‘thing’ for me but they haven’t really admitted it. For the first few months I knew them before they told me about the spell, I was only mildly attracted to them and not interested in dating them. Maybe they accidentally thought of me when they did the spell? Unfortunately I think they are unlikely to admit it or be of much help if that’s what happened. Anything that might shield me from future spells in case they are going hog-wild with additional workings? – It wouldn’t surprise me if they were. If you’d rather I ask this in magic monday on dreamwidth just let me know, and I’ll post it then instead. Thanks.

  201. Hi JMG,

    I have been thinking about tracks in space a fair bit and thought I would share two ways that is working out for me on the physical plane. The first is that I thought I would do an experiment to test it, and it occurred to me as I was typing something at work one day, that although I do peck and hunt typing, I might just know all the positions of the keys as a track in space and be able to just type without looking at the keyboard. Lo and behold I could, which was a fun discovery, a surprising jump up that I hadn’t considered taking before, but then I think somehow I started to doubt that I could – even though I had direct evidence to the contrary, and I lost the faith or something. I would increasingly feel the need to check the keys and eventually fell back into my greater track, the habit of typing in hunt and peck style.

    It was interesting for me to see how much belief directly related to this, I have been trying to switch back to not looking, I am not looking right now as I type this, but I do sometimes do a mix of the two, and can find myself falling into the older rut. I believe I will try to employ affirmations to get me all the way to this new style as it is faster and better (I can catch errors more easily as I can watch the actual words as they appear).

    This is the second thing I wanted to say, which is to thank you so much for your introduction to the concept of affirmations. I only knew them in a “pop culture” which amounts to unhelpful smears and had never tried one before. I was quite surprised how quickly they had an affect on my behaviour. I picked something I did not believe to start with, with an area of weakness I had a conviction about – something I did not think an affirmation could change. After only a bit of repetition it started to seem like a statement I thought was true. Then I became curious about the truth of the statement, and I would want to know how it was that this truth was going to become realized in a given moment and so I would act in that way and I would get the result the affirmation had told me about – I suppose because I was looking for it.

    It was such a quick change that I thought perhaps I had chosen something unknowingly that I just had a false belief about and I decided to add a couple at New Years (still maintaining the original one), these were to address simpler changes of habits rather than beliefs per se. I normally don’t find those yearly resolutions useful, I prefer to change behaviours immediately and do so through a prolonged act of will which sometimes I can maintain until a habit is ingrained and sometimes I cannot. I picked a couple things where this method had failed me, and again the affirmations succeeded easily. I started to see them as a track in space. Somehow, the moment where will was required, when I would have a pull in two directions, one towards routine, and when I would need to exert effort to redirect my inertia, was bypassed before it happened. My mind would just produce the affirmation automatically and it would lay down a track that my movement would be redirected along.

    The greatest challenge has actually been in figuring out how to craft statements that address something I want to change while being purely positive. I was planning on waiting for the one year anniversary to discuss all of this but have just been very excited with the results. Also I should say, somewhat shaken by how easily this works on shaping my thinking.


  202. TJ, I’ve watched the two-part PBS documentary and a lot of YouTube videos supporting gold, and the claim that gold is money comes up a lot. First there’s a question of how different currencies and commodities even are, considering how they are traded. Assuming there is still a significant distinction, gold has been money at one time and could be again, but unless it’s stamped with a face value and is official legal tender, you can’t count on it. The last time I looked a 1kg gold bar, about the size of a mobile phone, was worth $50,000 / £37,000. Go buy a car and try to pay for it with a kilo of gold. Then you’ll find out whether it’s money or not. 🙂

    With the case of countries hoarding gold, just because governments do something doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. 🙂 Is there an example from after the First World War where a country’s gold reserve really saved its skin? Or let it take advantage of an opportunity it couldn’t have otherwise?

    In hyperinflated countries like Germany and Venezuela, how did the use of gold compare with the use of non-inflated foreign money? Of course that depends on there being at least one currency left that still has value.

  203. Talking about wealth has got me thinking about crime.

    In the 2003 game Manhunt one of the enemy groups was an occultist Latino street gang who worshipped ‘La Cabra Negra’. That would make an interesting Haliverse spinoff. 🙂

    What sort of organised crime is there in the Lakeland Republic?

  204. For folks who asked for a good homeopathy reference for every day use, I recommend dr luc’s book -“The People’s Repertory”.

    It clearly lays out the common remedies both in the form of an index of complaints, the method to look them up, a short description of the remedies for the lay person and clearly separates the cases that can be treated by oneself and those that must be looked at by a professional.

    The remedy information is also available on his website, but I find the repertory form easier to use.

    From his website:

    General articles discussing common remedies in particular contexts:

    Hope some of you find these useful!

  205. Hi JMG, I have a practical question for the bibliophile in you, or perhaps one of your readers who is a librarian by trade….

    I’ve started pulling together a collection of children’s books, most of which are Newbury or Caldecott winners. My intention is to save up a collection that I can pass on to my grandchildren, sort of my own personal culture conserver’s project.

    I have intentionally been collecting books in hardcover format, for longevity. As I’m sure you know, most hardcover books come with a paper cover or dust jacket. Even the used books I purchase still have them.

    If not laminated, they’re constantly falling off or getting in the way, and I find it annoying. Anyone who’s read aloud to children can probably understand this particular form of irritation. (Only former library books come with the dust jacket laminated and attached, which avoids this problem.)

    My question is: Do you see any value to keeping these dust jackets?

    I’d really rather just throw them all away. Would that be a mistake?

  206. @JMG,
    I agree that Leeon Davis’ masterpeice would be far too much airplane for any dark-age warband, but I am not so sure about the powered parachute.

    We’ve identified, really, the two endpoints in performance on a spectrum of “What will fly on about 20HP” (Yes, that paramotor needs at least as much fuel to stay aloft than the DA-11!) — and as usual, I don’t think either endpoint of the spectrum will ever be common. A few reasons, if I may.

    One– the airframe is never the expensive part. The engine is. Not uncommon in the homebuilt world to have builds where the engine costs more than the rest of the plane put together. This means we’re going to naturally want two things, when looking at the airframe: one, to get our money’s worth from the more-expensive engine, and two, to get that engine back.

    Paramotors, I would argue, aren’t the sweet spot for that. I admit that I’m a fixed-wing guy from a family of fixed-wing guys, but! I do know that those who fly under parachutes do so at dawn or dusk, and only in perfect weather. The things just cannot take turbulence. (I can imagine it wouldn’t take too much downdraft to take the air out of the ‘chute, and then… you don’t get the expensive motor back.)

    A little more resources spent on the airframe to give you stiff wings, and you multiply the capability immensely. Say it’s half again as much on the whole build. But if it’s crashing half as often… the economics might make sense.

    I don’t think it’s half again as much, either. Those parachutes need very light fabric, as I understand it– if you don’t have dacron, you’re going to need silk. Otherwise they can’t keep form under their own weight. But if you stick a form inside the fabric wing –wood, yes, but bamboo is worth looking into–you now have the option of using much heavier, cheaper fabrics. (Hemp and cotton canvas were both common, before synthetics took over.)

    Depending on local economics, it might be cheaper to build a ‘real airplane’! No, not one to keep up with the DA-11, but something like a Trike or Dream Classic, Legal Eagle or Mini-Max will let you fly at all hours in a wide range of weathers– while standing a much better chance of bringing home the engine. (oh, and the pilot, too.)

    Even if that engine conks out; this type of plane glides nicely and lands slow. When it comes to engine-out landings, the ultralight folks I’ve met take a “when, not if” attitude to it. There are also wing configurations that allow a ‘parachute descent’ like the Pou du Ciel

    I could be wrong, but I think the sweet spot on the ultralight spectrum lies closer to the middle, somewhere around the trikes to pre-WWI-style territory, but with better airfoils,and more bamboo. If I were running a warband, that’s what I’d bet on, anyway.

    (Hey, if someone does a wargame, lets put in a unit-cost mechanism, all types of plane, and see how it games out!)

  207. Re the fusion story

    To be clear, tongue was firmly planted in cheek with that comment. I probably should have included the snark tag /s.

    I find it interesting that those stories show up in the finance pages but somehow miss all of the various energy industry fora and publications I read from being in the energy biz. Or rather, I’m not surprised at all…

  208. Colter- A few thoughts on investment: Gold is for governments (and people who enjoy the protection of a governed society), but if you think gold will help you through a failed government, well, I really like the way Scotlyn described it. You don’t want to simply be a barrier between a hostile world and a stash of gold. Personally, I have more ham radio equipment than I “need”, but the equipment that I use is a medium for connecting several circles of friends. The equipment that I don’t use can potentially be lent or sold to expand these circles. Their value as stolen goods is much smaller than most consumer electronics devices, because relatively few people are interested in using them. Their “street value” is insignificant. If you have skills and equipment to communicate when the commercial systems are failing, you become an asset worth protecting.

    And I think the same can be said for most of my workshop equipment. It might cost thousands of dollars to replace, but very few people would appreciate the value of any particular component if it were stolen and sold-off in pieces. Who needs a micrometer (and doesn’t already have one)? Who needs a box of 1/4″ custom-ground lathe turning bits (and doesn’t have their own)? Who wants to steal and transport 500 lbs. of mostly cast iron (in the form of a lathe) until it can be fenced? A few ounces of gold would be so much more convenient to pillage! And the lathe by itself isn’t useful without hundreds of obscure little items which themselves aren’t much use without the lathe. A few weeks ago, I applied half a dozen obscure tools to extract a screw with a stripped head from a firearm. If you become the go-to guy for patching up tools and weapons, you become an asset worth protecting.

    One might invest in garden tools, both to work your own land, to equip your employees (or serfs), or to rent to nearby gardeners, and the knowledge of what is worth growing in your climate (and climate-to-be) and how to best grow and preserve it. Here in mid-Maryland, I’m delighted to see that I’ve been able to harvest fresh kale and parsley through the winter, with only modest protection from harsh weather.

    One might also invest in a sewing machine and all the skills and accessories needed to do custom tailoring and alterations. I saw a serviceable-looking sewing machine at an estate sale a few weeks ago for $35. Older models often have an external motor and exposed drive belt which could be converted to a hand crank or foot pedal drive, or 12V DC motor, if you question the long-term availability of electric power. If you become known as the community go-to guy for repairing useful clothing, you become an asset worth protecting.

    And if nothing terrible happens during this phase of decline, any of these could be a satisfying hobby.

  209. Re Iran, a few weeks ago a US aircraft was shot down in Afghanistan; all aboard were reported killed. The Taliban apparently does not have the capability to down fixed wing aircraft at altitude, but the Iranian forces there do. There were reports that the CIA station chief for Iran, who was involved in planning Soleimani’s killing, was aboard.

    I don’t know if that account is true, but it would be a proportionate response from Iran and perhaps they consider the matter settled now.

  210. It appears that I will be traveling to Trantor for an industry conference this May, though (unlike Hari Seldon) there will be no sudden private audience with the head of state to discuss my ideas, I’m quite sure.

    I haven’t been to the capital since a field trip in junior high and I am wondering how I’m going to feel looking about the heart of the imperium, understanding the broad trajectory of things as I do now.

  211. John kindly replied, “Koggush, most people use the word “nature” as a convenient shorthand for nonhuman nature, or for those places and contexts not dominated by human artifacts. Many people — I’m one of them — do in fact find that such places and contexts are better suited to certain kinds of spiritual experience than places and contexts that are packed full of the products of industrial society. If you’re not one of those people, why, do what works for you — but please do remember that your experience is no more universally applicable than mine. ”

    You know, I’m not so sure most people do use it as such a shorthand. At least, a lot of people do for sure, but on the other hand a lot of people seem to subscribe to an unspoken view (or plainly spoken if they are of certain religions) that nature is a different category of thing from the human. Even those inclined to science, who well know the ape-human evolutionary story, will habitually talk as if there is a fundamental nature/civilization split, despite not being able to put their finger on when that split happened. The language is often reminiscent of the religions that science is supposed to replace, and I suppose that for many the mental faculties of humans are a swap for the God-given soul of the species in raising us above the natural. The religious are on firmer ground, in a way, because they have a moment in myth to define such things. I thought your writing on the similarities between the movement for scientific progress and eschatological religious world views was quite eloquent on this.
    Seems like some people are serious about humans being an extension of nature, some people are serious about humans being outside of nature, and some people don’t really think about it but use the language of the split anyway.

    Absolutely my experience isn’t universally applicable. Nobody seems to have the universal rules by which spiritual experience happens down pat, we’ve only just got to the stage where we can gather data from the whole planet.
    I wonder if it defies rule, or will a general theory of gnosis turn up ?


  212. In other world energy news:

    India’s sixth LNG import terminal comes online

    In January 2020 India commissioned its sixth liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, Mundra LNG, with a nominal import capacity of 0.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Mundra LNG is the third LNG import terminal located in India’s westernmost state, close to major natural gas consumption centers and a well-developed pipeline network.

    All LNG import terminals in India except one are located on the west coast along the Arabian Sea. The first two terminals in operation—Dahej (2.3 Bcf/d capacity) and Hazira (0.7 Bcf/d capacity)—were placed in service in 2004 and 2005, respectively. These two terminals are the most utilized LNG facilities in India, operating at nearly 100% capacity utilization. In 2013, the Konkan terminal (formerly called Dabhol LNG, 0.3 Bcf/d capacity), located south of Mumbai, and Kochi LNG (0.7 Bcf/d), located adjacent to the Kochi refinery in southern India, were placed in service. Last year, India commissioned its first terminal on the southeast coast—Ennore LNG (0.7 Bcf/d)—primarily to serve customers in the Chennai area.

    In the next three years, India’s LNG import capacity is expected to increase by one-third, with four terminals under construction expected to come online by 2023:

    •Jaigarh LNG Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) (0.5 Bcf/d capacity)
    •Dhamra LNG (0.7 Bcf/d)
    •Jafrabad FSRU (0.7 Bcf/d)
    •Chhara LNG (0.7 Bcf/d)

    Western India—the location of the Dahej, Hazira, and Mundra terminals—has a highly developed natural gas infrastructure, but the southern and eastern regions of the country lack pipelines to move natural gas from coastal LNG import terminals to major demand centers further inland. Future growth in India’s LNG imports will be contingent on the timely completion of connecting pipelines. There has been limited pipeline development to move natural gas to cities north and northeast of the Kochi terminal, affecting its utilization. In addition, the pipelines connecting the Ennore LNG terminal to cities to the north and south of Chennai still need to secure land permits before construction can begin. In the meantime, the Ennore terminal supplies a local refinery and city-gas customers in Chennai.

    Bcf/d = billion cubic feet per day

  213. Good discussions! @Onething, I understand gender dysphoria (cultural dysphoria for that matter). The belief that there is one inner aspect with a gender that may not match the body is too simplistic for me. We think we all have multiple aspects due to reincarnation so everyone has inner males, females, children. Usually there is one leading the current incarnation who usually matches the body. Sometimes that aspect can be damaged through abuse, neglect or other issues and a different aspect steps in to protect the self. That doesn’t change that biological sex of the body and while you can alter parts through hormones and surgery, it doesn’t make you the same as the other sex IMHO. Sometimes transformation is the best choice for the person, but the current activist environment tries to ignore basic biology (I’m not talking about intersex here). Trans-woman entering women’s spaces, sports, opportunities is just a bit to opportunistic for me so I entire agree with your assessment.
    @John Evans, The reprisal from the Iranians was in fact more damaging. About 100 US servicemen were shipped to Germany, some with very serious injuries. It was a drone base they attacked with very accurate strikes. They also shot down the plane that CIA guy who lead the assassination. So they made their point that they could do more.
    @JMG, Airships, lovely concept but not terrible reliable. The US used Helium and the German’s used hydrogen (safely for the most part). What brings down airships is weather. Big lightweight floating objects are at the mercy of high winds and so are generally used for limited applications where good weather is present. The US Navy Akron was used for ocean surveillance and had two small aircraft the could launch and return but storms did the big ships in. There have been numerous studies by the big aerospace companies and cargo airships and the like but none have ever got off the ground!

  214. As far as AI goes, it isn’t really Moore’s law that is the problem.
    The Big Data paradigm is where instead of seeking to understand a problem, just throw as much data as possible to as many machine learning algorithms until something seemingly intelligible comes out.
    Even if Moore’s law continued to hold, it becomes possible to do the easy processes to generate Big Data products faster than the more difficult process of getting any meaningful answer from it.

  215. Dear Mr Greer

    I have been thinking about the first chapter of the Cosmic Doctrine as there seem to be some profound thoughts in there. Dion says on pg “But the undisciplined man , if he knew the usefulness and goodness of evil, would us it on the positive side of its manifestation, not statically by availing himself of its negative qualities as does the initiate

    Dion calls evil (That is Negative Evil) as the scavenger of the gods. That brought to my mind an image of a Vulture clearing away all the dead, useless stuff that is getting in the way so that new things. Death is a good example of this. Our bodies are composted in the earth and new things rise out of theme. Negative evil destroys things and has its proper place in the world.

    I have been racking my brains to thinks of examples of the undisciplined man using evil on the positive side. It seems to me that a great example is the way that idealists and utopians end up using the power and energy of destruction in order to create the perfect societies of their dreams. They think that the only way of doing this is to destroy the existing institutions, culture and any one who they think is getting in the way of their utopia. Lenin, Stalin and Pol Pot would be good examples of this.

    An initiate would adopt a different approach if she were thinking of reforming her society. She would control the urge to destroy the existing institutions and use the energy that was in that urge to build on what was already there; keeping what worked and reforming what did not work work. The existing institutions would become a foundation on which to build something better. She would respect the existing culture rather than destroy it and try to bring the people along with her. She would recognise that there were limits to what she could do.

    The undisciplined Man man would recognise the power there is in destruction, but would fail to see the necessity in locking up the the evil and holding it inert. He loses control and the power and energy inherent in destruction takes him and his society right out to the ring of Chaos murdering millions in the process.

    I am not sure if I have got this right and would like to know what you think. Maybe there is no right way to think about this.

  216. Excellent! Looking forward to that.

    Just saw an email in my inbox letting me know that my signed limited edition hardback copy of The Dolmen Arch Volume 1, The Lesser Mysteries, shipped out from Oregon this morning.

    Looking forward to that too…

  217. I hate to break it to everyone who believes that Iran shot down that plane in Afghanistan with a CIA bigshot on it, but there is zero credible evidence that a) the plane was shot down in the first place b) there was anyone from the CIA on it, let alone anyone important. If you believe these things, you are buying propaganda claims made with zero supporting evidence by Iran, who are hardly an unbiased source. That plane was a communications relay platform, not the sort of thing a CIA station chief would have any reason at all to ride around in.

    Info about the plane:

    This sort of thing is a fine example of how information warfare is conducted. Various actors will make wild claims that benefits them, the claims ping pong around the interwebs, eventually becoming the “facts” for people who’s beliefs are backed up by whatever the wild claims are. Everyone can cherry pick their “facts” of choice with a quick and credulous google search, and the gap between reality and belief widens a tiny bit more.

  218. Ah, the Unmanifest is by definition not manifest, and any swirling or movement is already manifestation. So Kether is the manifestation of the Unmanifest. In one way of looking, the three rings and the Cosmic Logos are all One Thing, one process. The whole Cosmos is one process… but can be infinitely sub-divided.

    She says that the path of Initiation follows the lightning bolt, snaking up the Tree. The path of the mystic is a direct shot. In the interview you just posted, you said how Initiation reliably takes ordinary people and makes them extraordinary, like Fortune and Crowley. It’s been my experience that the mystics I know are exceptionally ordinary (except in the depth of their profundity, and other more subtle ways) – they don’t give a rat’s testicle whether they have fame, fortune, or even care about changing the world at all, they just help however they can. They (at least the students of Richard Rose) say that everyone makes their own path, every awakening is different and depends on the particular circumstances of the individual.

    Do you know of people who have successfully merged the path of the mystic with the path of the mage? It seems to me that they’re more of a continuum than a binary opposition. I just have this unquenchable urge to continually explore, learn, know…

  219. As this is an open post, I thought I’d update a comment I made a couple of months ago.

    I had said that while going through a box of old family photos I found a picture of a woman I thought was my great-great-grandmother based on a notation on the back. I checked with my cousin, maintainer of the family tree, and it is not our second great-grandmother, but our third great-grandmother, 1814-1901. As far as anyone in the family knows it’s the only photo of her. She was quite old when the picture was taken, but it’s still a precious find. Given our family’s habit of being overly orderly and discarding anything not of use (that’s why I’ll never be on Antiques Roadshow with a family heirloom) it’s amazing that it has survived in good shape.

  220. @JMG

    Salieri wasn’t a mediocre composer, though. A lot of people get that impression from the movie “Amadeus” – and the conversation around it – but his music has stood the test of time, so far, if not as well as Mozart. People know his name. He was a very-good-but-not-greatest-of-the-great composer. The people I’m talking about are those who were just good enough to make a living but whose works were immediately forgotten after death. Unsurprisingly they aren’t recorded very much.

    It’s worth performing deep listening to the pieces I linked to and ask “if I listened to this 100 times, would I develop an urge to hear something something with a less obvious structure?”

    It’s fun to fully consider. The truth is we really don’t have the perspective yet to judge the 20th century. Maybe not even the 19th. While many composers considered great now will be forgotten, there may be others are yet to be discovered? How many Ives and Nancarrows are waiting to be found?

    (As an aside, the experimentation of Ives and Nancarrow and Duke Ellington runs so parallel to your descriptions of the DIY American occult scene I’m surprised you haven’t checked them out. Also, whenever you talk about someone trying to shake off the European psuedo-morphosis Ives is the first person that comes to mind.)

    Regardless the influence of Bartok, Stravinsky, and Penderecki (and many more) lives on in Hollywood soundtracks which do reach wide audiences. I know from my experience as a freelance composer that the popular ear has changed quite a bit since 1880, and I would lose gigs if I didn’t account for that. It’s not simply that people accept different sounds today, they expect them. The sound world changed and credit goes to the earlier explorers, who carved out paths that popular composers follow today.

    From my own personal, lived experience, the first movement of Bartok’s “Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste” is quite thrilling, exciting, and expressive. I don’t say that to impress anyone. I say that because when I listened to it last week it blew my mind. The piece just gets better every time I listen to it.

    But, it took some work. There should be a place in this world for things which require some effort. As with magical practise, if I understand correctly, expecting immediate results is not how the game is played. But I’ll say that most people who listen to the first movement of Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste every day for 6 months will eventually hear its expressive richness and get a thrill out of it. (Probobly less time.) Not only that, but the effort will pay off. Will it become their favorite piece? I couldn’t say. Will it carve out its own expressive niche in one’s musical imagination? Certainly. Furthermore, anyone could make this effort. It’s open to anyone who wants to try.

    And there are many, many pieces like that. I had a lot of difficulty with Stravinsky’s “Symphomy of Psalms” but gave it about 10 listenings and can now hear inside it.

    Because I’ve put forth effort and seen the results, and because I engage in my own exploration, I can assure anyone with an open mind that composers in the early 20th century did conduct their own explorations and investigations and figured out what worked for them.

    There’s a lot of sounds in Bach, Wagner, Mozart, Mussorgsky, etc., that don’t quite fit into the formal systems they inherited. Some people will explore musical systems the way others explore magical systems, and find these rounding errors absolutely fascinating. By the time they emerge from their investigations they end up in quite a different place then where they started, and it changes the way they hear and compose music. Some of what they do will be clumsy and unworkable and some will be brilliant. There’s a lot of exploration that goes on which has nothing to do with status games.

    Just as there is no shortage of frauds, fake gurus, and magical hucksters, there’s no shortage of musical charlatans. I put Stockhausan at the top of the list. Like many of your historical posts, there’s a much richer history if you look for it, and there’s often more than two sides to an issue. Just because status games occur, doesnt mean it’s the only thing going on.

  221. @Simon S re the apparent over – reaction of China to the coronavirus. I provided my explanation in last week’s thread. In short, it’s to use it as cover for the dissolution of their economy. If they can pretend it was a huge black swan, while trying to convince their population (and foreign markets) they went to extraordinary measures to protect them, they can pretend business as usual will resume when it stops.

    Dr Morgan agrees that this was in fact an entirely predictable “bolt from the grey” –

    It won’t go back to business as usual, because China was nosediving for a solid year before the virus broke out. Germany had flatlined, the EU “fights like ferrets in a bag”, Japan was deep in negative interest rates, Canada is grossly over-indebted, South America is… Yikes. Australia is ash. The oil based economies are jostling with each other to be the last one standing as they all peak. That was 2019. My local airport (Yyj) reports to council that flights shrank by 5% last year, and that is without the Q4 numbers in yet.
    With the riots in Hong Kong (suddenly got quiet now, didn’t it? Hmmm) they feared what would happen on the mainland if they bungled it like SARS.

    I don’t think the CCP anticipated how much the existing, hidden from the superiors, cracks in their system would threaten their hospitals’ ability to control the outbreak, or by how putting people who breathe their pollution every day, with their compromised lungs, in close proximity in those hospitals would actually help the virus spread. It doesn’t have to be a real Spanish flu or super-Ebola to make the middle East boil over – a purple people eater sighting would do that, at this point. And again, those are populations ravaged by years of war and malnutrition… It’s a bug that threatens to eat all the emperors’ clothes, and they know it.

  222. Booklover:

    The particular German friends who are visiting this summer instead of me going to Germany live near Trier, and the house where I lived as a small child was (and hopefully still is) in Nürnberg. Of course you know that neither of these is anywhere near Berlin or the Baltic coast, although my Trier friends often vacation on the Baltic – when they’re not skiing in the Alps. I’d almost be a little jealous if I weren’t so terrified of heights and ski lifts.

  223. @ JMG

    Here is the write-up you wanted. I am packing and out of time waiting on the reply from registering @ Green Wizards to login. Feel free to post this as you wish using your acct.

    Some Ideas for Re-Purposing Wind Turbine Blades

    I was aked by John Michael Greer to explain some possible ways to re-purpose these giant worn out turbine blades. Before we go there, let me explain a few simple concepts.

    One is EROEI; directly it is ‘Energy Return on Energy Invested’, or how much energy does it take to make something versus what we get back from it. I have NOT tracked this for these blades, but based on their construction or wrapped fibers and polymers and their sheer size, I would suggest that there is quite a lot of energy invested in these items. The trucking alone, which I see across the state of Texas, is a huge thing.

    The second is the use of the term “diamond saw’ as something terribly expensive and of very high technology. This is a myth in the year 2020AD. Diamond saws and implements are available from Harbor Freight, Lowes and most other run of the mill hardware outlets. Diamond has become a commodity; the DeBeers cartel was broken long ago; diamond tipped things are now ubiquitous and not cost prohibitive. As I write this, innumerable diamond saws are cutting concrete, cutting marble counter tops and many other things. Quarries now use diamond drills and “diamond ropes” to remove stone rather than blasting and wedging – because industrial diamond is far cheaper today than ever before due to diamonds now being manufactured rather than mined.

    So we have a LOT of energy invested in these defunct parts. Now it seems they are destined for landfills, and they take up a tremendous volume of space. They are resistant to UV rays, do not rust or corrode and extremely bulky to even handle, although with todays modern forklifts that include 4WD, extensible forks, etc. they are not a problem once they are cut to smaller pieces. Here is an article recently out concerning this “problem”.

    Here is another article: This one details how to construct an above ground cistern from a large bit of galvanized culvert.

    Yes – these two things together make opportunity. Water cares not what the shape of its container may be, and its nature is to seek the lowest point and infiltrate every available space. If we were to cut the defunct blades transversely into pieces, the larger ends near the hub attachement are more cylindrical and volumetrically larger. There is also a large uilt-in flange for mounting o the hub of the turbine.

    By making a matching flange mounted in concrete with a drain integral to the mounting slab, the large end of the blade could be mounted and used as a very functional cistern.

    The next section, adjacent to the hub end, could be cut and utilized with the cistern construction in the above link. We have done this with 96” diameter polymer culvert ends at a nearby farm. They were essentially considered waste, as these ends (termed ‘drop-offs’) were too short for culvert use. We set these on end, mounted in concrete as outlined in the above video, and they are doing fine as water catchments for adjacent barn roofs.

    As the blade reduces in volume, use as a cistern diminishes. Yet cattle ranchers spend thousands of dollars anually buying “watering tanks” to set out in their ranchelands. These must be low enough for cows to drink from. There is no reason one could not use these blades, cut transversely into 2-3 foot long sections, to form water tanks for cattle to use. The current crop of watering tanks are either galvanized or formed of plastic, and both have limited lifespan. These ‘indestructible’ blades would be far longer lasting if set in concrete as watering tanks.

    I have re-purposed discsarded hot tubs as tanks for growing fish and combining them in aquaponics installations. These containers are typically 3-4 feet deep and former owners will give them away for free, as the loacl landfill operations hate them and often charge additional disposal fees. The fish do not care about the shape of the envelope containing their environment, and these re-purposed hot tubs are still functioning 20 years later. There is no reason sections of turbine blade could not be used similarly, by mounting them as outlined in the above video with a bottom drain and an airlift system for O2 and circulation. In the pictures in the Desmoine paper are accurate, there is easily an entire fish farm or two worth of grow tanks visible.

    The distal ends of each blade are volumetrically unattractive, yet there are several potential uses for these thinner sections.

    At my farm, we have multiple issues with erosion due to fast moving water travelling over steeper hillsides in alluvial soils. We are constantly planting erosion berriers, dropping rocks and gabions to slow water as it move across the land.

    A few years ago, one very steep gully was visibly cutting back into soil at every rain. We tried rocks, but the amount to slow this erosion was not palatable. Instead, we cut a galvanized culvert longitudinally, forming two troughs. We set these troughs into the bottom of the gully to route the water flashing through them off of the loose topsoil. We slowed the water and held the troughs in place with large stones. This allowed us to plant next to the trough and get roots going to retain our soil. It stopped the majority of the erosion in this steep gully simply by routing the water to the creek it was seeking without taking our soil with it.

    Similar use could be made of these smaller cross-sectional volumes – make them into sluiceways to route water and get it off vulnerable soils.

    Finally, we need to consider that polymers have plasticizer in them, even if there is fiber wrapped on a form in the initial construction. Heat will soften polymers, as long as we do not get too close to pyrolysis. I believe that cutting the distal ends of these blades into unifrom shapes could be done easily with a gas powered saw and PDC or diamond blade. These uniform bits could then be heated to some point short of melting, pressed flat, and then cooled rapidly. This would make large shingles that could have a lot of potential use, simply because they are UV and corrosion proof. Not just roofing but other construction uses.

    It makes no sense to chop theese things to bits and then try to re-purpose these bits, as we are dumping more energy into an already deep energy sink. The amount of wrapped fiber makes them unsuitable for traditional pressing, unlike waste plastic. These blades are similar to fiberglass hot tubs and Corvette bodies – there is no way to soften hot tubs and reshape them due to the fiber content and lack of plasticizers in their epoxy resins and their very convoluted shapes. Yet these blade sections may be “nearly flat” in many cases, and pressure and temperature make them much more amenable to reshaping into completely flat objects.

    In short: if this waste stream is truly as problematic as it seems, then this needs to be factored into both the design of wind turbines and their disposal included in the EROEI calculations before manufacture. However, there does seem to be alternates uses for this material in rural settings, as outlined above.

    Re-purposing requires creativity and vision, which are in very short supply in the corporate world and in government entities. Yet I see potential in this mass of detritus, using common tools and established methods to re-use an unconventional shape with super strength and resistance to sun and corrosion.

  224. @ Wesley & JMG

    Fusion power is what the world currently runs on, with a nice, mostly-safe generator 92,000,000 miles away. Now, the current mad energy usage is unsupportable using just this generator, but as things change in the next generation or two, I am thinking people will awaken to the fact that mimicking and piggy backing on nature is much better for us all.

    Funny how trees and plants do just fine working with this fusion generator…LOL

    And a few animals too – euglena anyone?

  225. Hi, Tolkienguy & JMG.
    I thought that was a very good summation of how Europe came to dominate. I didn’t get the reference to Pinker, but the best book I’ve read that explains ‘why Europe?’ was Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond. I’ll completely support your assertion that the Tercio was the precursor of modern military.
    In my own extensive experience, since I stopped using stirrups except for high jumping about 3 years ago, the stirrup doesn’t seem to be necessary for riding or fighting from horseback.
    A couple of points.
    First is that horses, until the 18th Century breeding programs, were a lot smaller than most of today’s horses. Most draughts are 18 to 19 HH (i.e. 72″ to 76″ tall at the withers — the base of the neck for those who don’t speak horse jargon.) most warmbloods are about 16 to 17 HH (64″ to 68″ tall) but when I went all over Europe last year, I confirmed with 7 museums that all the horse armour from the 15th C fits horses that were, at most, 15 HH (60″). The defined size of a pony is under 14.2 HH (58″). All of which is to say that, prior to that, most of the ‘horses’ we see in sculptures are a lot smaller than the ones we typically see today and it is a lot easier to wrap one’s legs securely about a smaller horse.
    Second, the equipment used, about 99% of the time, in melee combat, the prime weapon was the lance. The lance is long enough to reach the ground without needing to lean very far and thus didn’t need stirrups to keep one’s seat.
    Swords, yes, because it allows me to stand up and lean over and point to the ground with more security, but I cannot find any credible evidence that the stirrup suddenly created a new force on the battlefield. Xenophon in “Peri Hippikes” describes how to ride, including jumping, and in Hipparchikos how to fight from horseback; this was a millennium before the stirrup. The only time I’m in danger of falling off is when I am very tired, otherwise, I have no problem knocking over targets with a lance, neither raised, nor couched, nor extended. I also have no problem fending off blows. Alexander’s cavalry were very, very effective against the Persians, as they charged through them.
    I believe, again from experience, that the key factor in cavalry vs infantry is the training of the infantry.
    Infantry, for almost all of history, was composed of ad-hoc levies of self-equipped troops. They basically arrived on the field with a shield and a spear. If they had any money, they also arrived with, in order, helmets, greaves to protect the legs, padded gambesons or mail, or cuirasses of hard leather or metal for body protection. This is up until the high Middle Ages. The Saxon Fyrd was not significantly or tactically different from the Greek Bronze-age hoplite: they arrived for service, carrying their own equipment, spent a token amount of time learning to work together in a tight formation, then engaged in what was, essentially, a giant shoving match to see who could push the other off the field and win the battle. I’m simplifying here, there are differences in details, but that is the functional gist of it.
    The reason they came on foot was because, unless one belongs to a nomadic clan who keeps herds of horses on endless sea of grass, horses are expensive. Mounted men at arms are far more expensive to equip, train, and maintain than 10 times as many infantry. But those horsemen were very, very powerful, which is why the upper middle classes of Rome were the ‘Equites’ class: i.e. those who were rich enough to fight from horseback. and they were effective against infantry.
    Again, it depends on the infantry.
    Now, THE critical factor when facing cavalry, is the ability to hold fast when faced with a wall of horses thundering towards one, shaking the ground with the pounding of hooves, with a mass of spear-tips as the first thing one will encounter. I can assure all here that standing in a field with a wall of horses charging at one is a heart-stopping experience even when one is absolutely confident that nothing will happen because this is just for show and they will turn away at the last minute.
    Untrained troops will break. This happened a lot in history. You can see it in Dino de Laurentis’ 1970 epic “Waterloo” when the untrained extras, who were in no actual danger, lost their nerve and dissolved their formations during the climatic cavalry charge scene. (This didn’t happen in the real battle, of course.)
    Trained, disciplined troops will stand and defeat the cavalry. This happened a lot, too. I’ll cite Tours in 732, or Bannockburn in 1315 as examples, the latter, of course, being famous for using long spears in the schiltron formation. But in each case, the leader had time and resources to train the troops to stand firm.
    What the Swiss did that was new was to form professional mercenary companies. That meant they could offer the services of a trained army to whoever had the money to pay for it. The aristocracy, right down to a local squire, had households with at least one or two professional man-at-arms as retainers, but what the Swiss did was an order of magnitude more significant, which is why the massed pike formation was adopted, but not as hastily-summoned levies, but as permanent forces of trained fighting men. This evolved, as weapons changed, of course, but the reason the Japanese hit on the same solution was because the aristocracy all had their own standing armies and form follows function.


  226. I would just like to thank everyone for their cookbook recommendations. This time they all have been written down. Soon some will arrive by mail.

  227. Magazine Alert: Local Culture Magazine from the editors of

    Issue 2.1 is on the Distributists… something I’m excited about. To get the issue though you need to subscribe by March 1st. Luckily, as I just found out about this myself, there is an extra day in February this year to place your order for the magazine.

    The editorial for the issue is online now to whet your appetite and it shows the similarities between the Distributists and Southern Agrarians… excellent stuff. I’m super stoked.

    Hope everyone here has a happy February 29th, and if any of you have a birthday on that day, happy birthday.

  228. @ JMG

    Thanks for the advice!

    1) I will look into customizing the SOP. How much leeway is there in this? One thing I like about the Star Ruby ritual are the movements. Using the sign of Horus in each direction and casting the symbol out forcefully gives a very strong Banishing feeling which I don’t get from either the LBRP or SOP. I may try combining this movement with some of the other imagery of the SOP.

    2) Makes perfect sense! In your book, the example you give uses the house chart, so that’s what I’ve been using, but I think at least at first, I will stick to the shield chart and focus on the RW/LW/J combo along with the 4 triplicities.

    3) Good points. I will be very careful how I word “should” questions if I decide to use them.

  229. Dear JMG,

    You mention frequently The Decline of the West by Spengler. Thank you for your summary and analysis related to the book throughout several posts, which encourages me to read it. Another book attracts my attention as well, The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe. What is your opinion about it? Do the two marry well together ?

    Kind regards,

  230. “Asteroid (158) Koronis seems to be the marker for Covid-19.”

    An asteroid named “Corona”? What are the odds? That and a linguistic predictor, the “Sun disease”. That is a perfect literation of “Corona” and “Virus” maybe 5 years ahead of time.

    Anon: All things are known in the ether. Often you don’t have to go big but simply sit down and have a conversation with the spirit of the person about your honest intent and limits. Quite often their spirit seems to hear it and react. Subconsciously of course. If you need more, at least you’re no worse off.

  231. John, et alia–

    I hadn’t considered the game theoretic perspective, but the author here makes a good point:

    In a nutshell, the more likely a “contested convention” becomes (that is, no candidate achieving an outright majority of delegates), the more incentive the unlikely candidates (e.g. Amy, Elizabeth, Pete, and possibly Bloomberg) have to stay in the race in order to maximize their negotiating power at the convention. Of course, this makes a contested convention even more likely as it would continue to split the “moderate” vote and prevent the non-Bernie candidate (presumably Biden) from consolidating delegates.

    I think that Wednesday morning could be quite interesting indeed.

  232. I’ve been doing the basic (and classical) Golden Dawn regime – CC, LBRP, MPE, discursive meditation and tarot divination in support thereof – daily for 9 months now, plus daily geomancy for the last 5 or so, affirmation, and tons of journaling and study. And I’ll be wrapping up (a pretty intense!) 24 weeks of the Fool’s Journey at the end of the astrological year 3 weeks from now. But I’ve never really followed any kind of curriculum, nor done any formal initiation, which I desire and feel like I may be ready for, or nearly. I do have a copy of LRM, but the early stuff seemed way behind where I was already by the time I got it, and I never quite figured out how to jump in without starting over completely.

    Which brings me to my query. I’ve felt drawn to the Druid path for a good while now, and the first volume of the Dolmen Arch is on its way to my mailbox as we speak. Would the completion of the Fool’s Journey/the beginning of the astrological new year be a good time to “jump ship” and start working my way through a more formal course of initiation like the Dolmen Arch? Or would you consider me to be too entrenched at this point in a system that I should spend more time with? I don’t have any interest in playing Puella with my training. If starting on trad GD Pathworking and geomantic meditation is where I should be, then that’s where I’ll be. But I didn’t buy that Dolmen Arch book just for light reading…

    Your guidance would be appreciated, sir!

  233. On Artificial Intelligence:

    One of the most useful tools for programmers to have come out in the last decades is “git”, which helps keeping track of and joining the efforts of several people working on the same text. It is an intricate and at the same time reliable tool and almost indispensable for coordinating the efforts of a team distributed over several time zones, and it is also very useful for a single person when working on a complex text.

    While git is normally used for software, it could just as easily be used for applying changes to a proposed law, or even to a work of speculative fiction. You change the phase of the moon in Rivendell to “full moon”, but months or years later, after hundreds of other changes to the text of Lord of the Rings, you decide the phase of the moon Rivendell should be new moon, and you roll back those moon changes in Rivendell in one action so none of them will be forgotten. Somebody proposes changing the law so it applies to everybody over 16 years. Somebody else proposes that it only applies to permanent residents. The head of the committee decides to integrate both changes wherever they occur in the proposed law. All changes are logged so anybody can easily in the future pinpoint who was responsible for each change.

    What I realized is that git is basically a software alternative to Robert’s Rules of Order or any other deliberative framework for holding assemblies, adapted to the situation where people are not in the same room. I am not saying it is superior, because normally in a git project some people have more power than others, while in deliberative democracy all offices are temporary. What I am saying is that oral rules for holding assemblies, printed booklets like Robert’s Roles of Order and a software algorithm like git are all meant to fulfil analogous roles. “Artificial intelligence” is present in all three of them, or in none of them (since all three were designed by humans). Now I am aware that what people normally call Artificial Intelligence is quite different from git, but nonetheless it is always based on human design (that is a subject for a different post; let me just mention that Judea Pearl, one of the major figures in AI, makes a point of imitating human causal reasoning at every step).

  234. @Brian Kaller – thanks for the link to your article “The Rise of Sinn Fein” and congratulations getting it published.

    If you don’t mind me saying, though, your final sentence epitomises the kind of “cart before horse” thinking that to my mind generally bedevils election commentary everywhere.

    You conclude:
    “Voters are playing a risky game”.

    That, to me, is Game of Thrones kind of thinking which assigns the only important agency and decision making to the few contending with each other for the throne, and focusses all attention on their moves and countermoves, while denying or ignoring the agency of voters and/or expressing bemusement at their decisions. Even though a vote is a matter of selecting from a preset menu, the potential power of voters to transform the nature of parties and their policies is seldom the central subject of election commentary.

    (Although I grant you did acknowledge that politicians were quick to change those policies once the culture – where voters live – already had changed in relation to marriage equality and the safe, legal provision of abortion services.)

    Basically, it seems to me the lesson of this and several previous general elections is :

    “Governing parties have been playing a risky game”.

    Because it is very risky to fail to protect people from the effects of nationalising a debt incurred by private gamblers, without asking their consent, and risky to impose an economy-shrinking austerity regime on people to get them to pay it off.

    It is particularly risky to permit massive evictions to take place in a country where the eviction is strongly emotionally correlated with the experience of the Famine disaster, and truly risky to permit Irish real estate to be sold off lock, stock and barrel to foreign vulture funds., who now, for all intents and purposes ARE the “market forces” governing the cost of renting or buying.

    What risk did voters take? The chance that some one of the different contenders for the throne might, in tge course of taking it, decide differently what constitutes a threat to the lives and well-being of the citizens. Not much of a risk, really, because the alternative has already been experienced, and found to be intolerable.

    Believe me, Sinn Fein still has only a small core vote, but, in this election, a large vote from those willing to give them a fair go has been temporarily lent to them. Because the governing parties took one too many risks, the costs of those risks falling on too many people, in too many places who never volunteered for them.

    If the governing parties learn to be a bit cautious, and more risk-averse we might yet win something good from this election.

    Anyway, not a bad or uninformative article, but just too much of a “seen through the looking glass” back to front inverse perspective, I guess.

    We probably should try for another Irish meetup, to get these and other discussions going in earnest. 😉

  235. @temporaryreality re: using the apocalypse du jour as a dry run: I wholeheartedly agree. Coincidentally, or not, I find, such preparations nearly always make one able to do things that lessen ones environmental footprint, increase one’s health, and increase one’s local community connections. Almost as if these things all had something in common at the root…

  236. Hi Jamie,

    Hmm, what is cultural dysphoria? I think I may have it…

    Those are interesting ideas and speculations. I noted in my immersion in the subject that some people are saying there is no such thing as a male or female brain, but I am pretty sure they are wrong. Perhaps though, the activists have taken it too far and tried to make it too concrete when it really isn’t.

    When I see certain activists I see a kind of unhealthy obsession and I don’t think it does them favors to pretend to agree with them and allow their obsession unbridled free reign.
    I think we’d all be happier with some sensible limits.

  237. One question I had about Star’s Reach is why the boat they took up the river was powered by an internal combustion engine rather than a much simpler steam engine. A steam engine contains fewer precision parts than an internal combustion engine, and the materials requirements for key components like the valves are reduced. It can run on anything (although I imagine that Merigan society in 2500+ might not like the idea of engines that can run on anything that will burn) and its working fluid is water, not a mixture of combustion products.

    Bringing it back to ultralights, although I understand that armies of the future will be willing to spend enormous sums on such a tactical advantage, there are serious materials and machining challenges in making something with the power-to-weight ratio necessary for flight. Such an engine necessarily has to be able to function at high revs with a decent power-weight ratio, placing great demands on the valvetrain and bearing materials in the engine. As people have pointed out here, the airframe (except for parasail type designs where silk is the only suitable material that is going to be around 500 years from now) is the easy part.

    On the other hand, even if such an engine is a technological overreach similar to the late-war deployment of the German Me-262 jet aircraft, it, unlike the Me-262 would bring such a significant tactical advantage that it would be worth it.

  238. @ JMG – I knew about the lack of helium, and the potential safety problems with H2 are not insignificant. I thought you might know about some arcane 19th century technology that might see a second life after the next Dark Age lightens up a bit.

    @ Jamie – I read about the USN airships used in WW2. I read that they were fairly effect in anti-sub warfare, I was not aware they were quite that vulnerable to bad weather, though it does make sense.

  239. re Isaac: A few weeks ago I saw a reference to a crash of a C-27 Spartan in western Iraq on a couple of aviation websites (aviation safety network) with no further details. The next time I checked it had disappeared. Is that what you’re referring to?

  240. Hi JMG

    I’ve been recently lurking on 4chan’s /lit/ board, and one of the things they do there is compile literary suggestions of different topics into practical infographics where you can pick your poison. On one of those threads, I found an incomplete one about mesoamerican culture. I recommended the only book I know about it, El Pueblo del Sol by Alfonso Caso, but the guy who created it said he wanted to stick to english volumes. He then posted the story of a Mixtec king called 8 Deer who ruled around my hometown a thousand years ago. It felt really weird to hear the names of places near my hometown on 4chan, and I want to be of help, however I have no idea how to go about it.

    Do you, as a historian (you’re a historian, right?), have any suggestions?

    I’d like to share the picture as it is right now. How can I do that?

    Thanks in advance.


  241. Re Everclear: Since I follow some violin maker sites, I know that 100 proof Everclear is available in some states, such as Illinois. Michigan violin makers must travel out of state to buy theirs. They use it for thinning/dissolving spirit varnish and some of them know the chemistry to purify it even further. They don’t like to use the denatured stuff.

  242. @Onething: You said:

    “My take on the social justice movement is that it is largely fantasy that there are real problems with social justice in our various modern western countries.”

    Your comment is a testament to the wild variation in how reasonable adults see the world around them.

    Perhaps I can clarify to some extent: I am not referring to the people seen as pearl-clutching, virtue-signaling purists, the silly SJW crowd (and Richard Beck certainly is not).

    I suppose it’s a question of what is a “real” problem. There is a LONG list of justice problems I consider important, some very important to our moving toward a future fit to live in.

    I will attempt to go afield to defuse this a bit -Europe has a lot of Muslim immigrants, and they are starting to be a big problem, looking to get much worse. This is a SJ problem, real and important. It cannot be meaningfully addressed by ignoring it, or declaring it unreal. (Whether solvable is another thing!)

    I think probably you and I cannot see eye to eye. I see pain and injustice and cannot ignore it. You see? A nice world? But I’m pushing our host’s excellent rules…

    David Babcock

  243. @JMG, @Jacurutu: I really don’t see it happening. The right-wing survivalist militia types are scary, but my impression is that they’re a lot fewer in number than people think. Most of the people you see clamoring for revolution on the internet are probably just keyboard warriors who got all of their military knowledge from Call of Duty and wouldn’t last 5 seconds in a real fight. I’m reminded of “Crying Nazi” Chris Cantwell, a White nationalist who made internet videos begging and pleading for mercy when he found out the police were after him for his involvement in the violence at Charlottesville. As soon as these people realize that there are actual consequences to their actions, they immediately tuck their tail between their legs and reveal themselves as the cowards they are.

    And the few actual militants who are out there don’t have the coordination or the organizational skills to become a real threat to the system. At most, they’ll commit some mass shootings and lone wolf attacks, but killing innocent people at random doesn’t really threaten the elites or the infrastructure they’ve built up in any meaningful way.

    As for the revolutionary left, they’re even less of a threat. Most leftists are begrudgingly accepting of the liberal status quo, however much they claim to oppose it. They don’t seem to have any real tactic beyond protesting in the streets, which is only effective at drawing attention to a cause that the masses are already sympathetic to. Otherwise, it’s insignificant at best and counter-productive at worse. Even the far-left communist and anarchist radicals who talk about smashing the state and ending capitalism are generally unwilling to actually put their money where their mouth is.

    All in all, I see the majority of the American public as too complacent for any sort of uprising or popular insurgency. Which is why I expect the response to an establishment victory to be resigned despair at their political impotence, followed by a reluctant acceptance of the immutability of the status quo. And even if Bernie wins, I’m really not sure how much Congress will allow him to accomplish. Same goes for Trump if he wins a second term. I just don’t see any way for the establishment to lose in the long run.

  244. JMG,

    A couple life-after-death questions. What is your view on the belief that we are reunited with loved ones after we die? Also, I sometimes wonder if my house is haunted; my dogs sometimes react to something in the house by staring at something I can’t see, then barking or growling at it. A painter working on our house once said he sensed a presence in the house. My question is: are animals attuned to ghosts and such?

  245. JMG, a question that has intrigued me recently is the staying power of antisemitism. I recently read “The Jews; Story of a People” by Howard Fast which was quite interesting. I was surprised that for long periods of their history they have been anti violence and did not participate in wars. They seem to have been a very literate and well educated group for the most part. This is one of the reasons for success in business. He laid antisemitism at the feet of the Catholic church. I am curious what your view of history has to say.

  246. Three things. Sorry for the long post.

    Firstly, on the recommendation of JMG a few years back I got a copy of ‘The Great crash 1929’ by by John Kenneth Galbraith. In the 2009 edition his son wrote the forward on the book saying (approximately) “Just as this book is about to go out of print the markets have a down turn and demand for it goes up”. Maybe it was due to go out of print looking at the market volatility this week, although to put it like that is a case of the tail wagging the dog. 😉

    Secondly, @ Simon S Oh my gosh, I thought we had gotten past the block-chain thing. I guess once the VC folks have been burned they had to find the next low hanging fruit and exploit that.

    Third, I forgot to do my best impression of ‘David by the lake’. Some more energy and future links.

    ‘Government Agency Warns Global Oil Industry Is on the Brink of a Meltdown’ –

    An well written article about how some government agencies are warning of the next wave of peak oil. Nate Hagans pops up and does a good job putting it into perspective even if he doesn’t call it ‘peak oil’ any more. He calls it ‘oils peak benefit to society’ and he has a good point with that.

    ‘U.S. shale has already peaked for major service companies’ –

    A more economic view of how things are moving.

    ‘The great paradox of our time: everything is both better and worse than ever before’ –

    A good summary of our times. We have more technology than ever and yet it is being distributed to the top while the world is thrown under a bus.

    ‘It’s 2020. Where are our self-driving cars?’ –

    A bit of an update on the progress (or lack of) on self driving cars. Yet another example of folks waking up to the idea that they have been sold a false bill of good.

  247. “Such an engine necessarily has to be able to function at high revs with a decent power-weight ratio, placing great demands on the valvetrain and bearing materials in the engine”

    should read

    “Such an engine necessarily has to be able to function at high revs with a decent compression ratio, placing great demands on the valvetrain and bearing materials in the engine”

  248. Here’s another thing to think about: Hydroelectricity is clean and technologically simple enough to survive the Long Descent. It currently provides about 17% of the world’s electricity. Even if we cut back our energy use to one-sixth of what it is now, we would still have vastly more energy per capita than anybody had before the 19th century. And yet, are we content with what would seem, to the folks a few centuries ago, like unlimited clean energy? No we are not.


    Forget even that 17%. None of those major hydro plants could’ve been constructed without fossil fuels, and none of them can be maintained without them either. The term “renewable” applies only to the energy generated, not to what it took to make that happen (and permit it to continue).

    Go buy a car and try to pay for it with a kilo of gold. Then you’ll find out whether it’s money or not,


    Yes, you can waltz down to the corner car dealership with USD during normal times, but they won’t take Euros either. If you don’t have an international airport nearby it’s unlikely you can exchange those Euros (or any other currency) for dollars, too, and if you do it’s at a steep haircut. Of course, during true instability neither will be an option.

    OTOH, gold is truly global, and if the ATM’s and credit networks are down gold may be the only thing that can get you a vehicle, and not just from a dealership. Even if you have to exchange it you’ll find plenty of takers, starting with those ubiquitous pawn shops.

    A few ounces of gold would be so much more convenient to pillage!


    If the predators do come to your place, they won’t find your gold but they will find your equipment. You want something small of great value that nobody knows about and/or can find.

  249. @ JMG – Some more thoughts on post-industrial warfare:
    Artillery may not have much of a place in post-industrial warfare, because I think that even siege warfare might be uncommon, outside of some very specific contexts. My reasoning goes something like this; if small arms are reasonably accurate at distances up to 400 yards (or more in the hands of a good shot), then a besieging force has a strong incentive to simply surround a fort and starve out the defenders. With accurate weapons and even a minimum amount of cover, a relatively small force could pin any soldiers in the fort without needing to reduce it through a siege. Any soldiers in the fort that might be used to disrupt an invading force’s supply lines or threaten an invader’s flanks would be rendered un-deployable because they would not be able to get out of the fort and into the field without suffering serious casualties.
    Another thought about small unit strategy and post-industrial warfare; I think dragoons will be the most important arm of a land army. Artillery will play a small part in warfare, and, while infantry, especially in dispersed units, will be crucial to in depth defense, dragoons will be the only units that can move fast enough to evade detection from the air (or move quickly after being detected), and as an invasion force, will be the only units capable of moving quick enough to outmaneuver defenders and seize whatever targets the invading army is after. The only draw back will be the expense of horses… Your thoughts?

  250. Dear Commentariat and JMG,

    This might be my last correspondence for quite a while. I hope the next few days proves me wrong.

    I’m copying and pasting a message to a concerned relative:

    Yves, we are still living west of Mt. Fuji. I do not even know my brother-in-law’s address, even though we frequently stay there.

    Given the situation there right now, the next time we go, I will walk to the nearest real estate office and start looking into places to rent. My brother-in-law refuses to lift a finger to have a land-line installed from the telephone pole outside to his house. There is some sort of smart device in the house, probably the water-heating system, that puts out very strong EMFs once every ten to fifteen minutes, and two weeks ago I developed severe chest pains in the kitchen. Wearing my protective clothing and veil full-time in the house is necessary, and I can no longer sleep upstairs even with shielding. I fear that resolving the EMF issue would involve ripping out the wall of his nice new smart house. Even if it is harming him, and I think it is (growing anxiety particularly regarding said kitchen), he should have a right to live in a lovely smart home if he wants.

    Everyone here is experiencing such trouble right now, that I cannot even bring up the chest pains. Some are experiencing such anxiety that they explode with ridiculous accusations from time to time for no apparent reason, while others have become too spacey to carry on a decent conversation with a foreigner. My young students are exhibiting ADHD-like symptoms more than before. Part of it could be anxiety over the new corona virus.

    Japan was planning to turn on 5G in March, but apparently started two days ago. It is even worse than I feared it might be. Along with increased sensitivity to EMFs overall for no apparent reason starting two weeks ago, I am experiencing severe cardiological and neurological symptoms in town where they were planning to introduce 5G first. Yesterday in town I got palpitations, jitters and brain fog, reminiscent of several cups of very strong coffee. When I mentioned to a clerk that I couldn’t think straight, she said, “Oh yes! It’s the cedar pollen!” At least she seemed to be okay. On the street, drivers were acting confused, and Shinobu was extremely irritable.

    My protective clothing and veil that protect me reasonably from smart meter radiation do not shield me from this.

    With other people reacting with anxiety and irritation, and good friends aware of the issue having caught colds that they could not shake and not responding to e-mails since Tuesday, I face a crippling disability with nobody able to help me.

    Please note that the only case of relapsing COVID-19 outside of China is in Japan just this last week.

    Yves, I may be forced to flee for my life. Even in our house, where I am relatively okay, I am experiencing jitters.

  251. @ Nothing Special You have hit upon my definition of a highbrow: anyone who can listen to Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste without thinking of Andy Warhol’s “Frankenstein.” Actually I think the piece is quite wonderful even though the movie was awful & nobody should ever have to watch it.

  252. @ spirits for tinctures: I use 190 proof (95%) Everclear to make Limoncello, a tincture of sorts. Different states have different laws on the maximum alcohol content of spirits: here in Rhode Island (one of only two states not to ratify the 18th Amendment), we can get the high powered stuff. Everclear is only alcohol and water, so does not have any thing else added for flavor.

    @RMK: At a wedding last summer, I realized that a wedding ceremony IS magic. As Dion Fortune defined it, magic is “The art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will.” A wedding is the deliberate changing of two people into one family, and the will to make the other person into the most important person in the world.

  253. @blue sun. This is what Jan Tschichold has to say in The Form of the Book; Tschichold was the design director for Penguin Books in the late 1940s, and a noted typographer.

    “The jacket is first and foremost a small poster, an eye-catcher, where much is allowed that would be unseemly within the pages of the book itself. It is a pity that the cover, the true garb of a book, is so frequently neglected in favor of today’s multicolored jacket. Perhaps for this reason so many people have fallen into the bad habit of placing books on the shelf while still in their jackets. I could understand this if the cover were poorly designed or even repulsive. But as a rule, book jackets belong in the waste paper basket, like empty cigarette packages.”

    Frankly, I think that Tschichold is going too far with his last remark, but I do take his point that often the book jacket and the book itself are independently designed. From that perspective (and also if the jacket is not independently designed but merely imitates the cover), separating them is no big deal. What I might suggest is to separate book and jacket for practical reasons, but to save the covers as cultural heritage objects in their own right, of some historical value, putting them in a separate collection, apart from the books. If one day one of your grandchildren should turn out to be bibliophiles, they might appreciate that decision, and can rejoin book and jacket if such is their interest.

  254. Onething:
    You touched the nub of the issue: limits, or more clearly, the lack thereof in our society right now.
    Something I twigged to in the early days of the ADR was that the word ‘limit’ is not a concept that most people can wrap their heads around. There are obvious, physical ones, Limits to Growth, limits to fossil fuels would seem to be self-evident, at least to me as a teenager, but apparently the most highly-educated, most influential among us cannot grasp this simple reality.
    I’d suggest, at this point, it is anathema to the Church of Eternal Progress.
    What I finally got around to understanding just recently, looking at the social-justice turmoil, is that the concept of limits has been abolished from all corners of our society.
    Rich and high-status men like Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby do not recognize there are limits on permitted sexual behaviour towards women. Yes, there will always be women who are attracted to high-status males, but that does not mean every woman is always on the menu for the taking.
    LGBTQ+ activists, for example, do not recognize limits on their right to display their different sexuality. True, no one should fear for their life for being different, but that is not the same as deliberately tweeking the noses of more conventionally-minded people, so to speak.
    The managerial class does not recognize there are limits to how much wealth they can hoard from the rest of society or for how long. Sure, people must be allowed to gather earned wealth, but not unearned wealth that comes at the expense of, or exploitation of, other people.
    Something our society, in its insane wealth, has forgotten about.


  255. JMG – You discounted the practice of “magic” at weddings, but (having been in two of them myself), I regard the whole thing as a ritual designed to change consciousness according to will. It’s supposed to create a bond between the principals, supported by the community. Sometimes, it does, especially if the participants are not distracted by the popular commercial aspects of the modern American wedding.

  256. Reassuring Report from a gentleman who has The Virus:

    The entire article is behind the damn Washington Post paywall, that even Outline can’t penetrate, but Rod quoted quite a bit.

    I suspect that this may have hit the Chinese so hard because—

    —the men, at least, smoke like chimneys
    —in the big towns, at least, the air is a toxic soup of chemicals
    —standards of hygiene are, shall we say, somewhat casual

    Items 1 and 2 don’t apply here in the U. S., and item 3 seems to only apply in big cities in California.

  257. David by the Lake – If you’d like to meet up face-to-face while you’re in Trantor, drop me a line. My gmail account name is guessable, and we’re located within the ring, though not quite within sight of the Capitol dome. It might be fun to compare notes.

  258. John,

    There is growing speculation that the Corona virus may the be straw that breaks the back of globalism and Neo-liberalism. That is something that remains to be seen. By itself, the pandemic and its economic fallout probably wouldn’t be enough, but as a very heavy straw among a growing pile, we’ll see.

    One major issue that I see once renationalization of industry starts in earnest is it was not only cheap labor that was driving our out-sourcing of our manufacturing, but access to cheap energy as well. In the case of China that would be its coal. It’s interesting that some think that China might near, or at, peak coal so that could be an additional driver for pulling our manufacturing back home. So, what happens as the need to power our manufacturing returns to depending on the energy we have in this country, whether that energy is extracted domestically or bought internationally. While we are a prolific waster of energy, we are also energy constrained. What will have to give so we are able to manufacture again?

  259. Archdruid,

    So I have a writing question. I’ve been trying to write essays regularly, but I’m actually stuck on the one I started in response to your post on the Monofuture. This is a regular occurrence with me, I start writing and at some point I lose total track about what I’m writing about. I have a ton of material to work with, because as per your previous advice to other writers I just keep writing without editing. The problem is that I can no longer find the thesis, and some where in the muddle of words there are probably at least three or four thesis’. Any advice?



  260. As a secondary note, this seems to happen everytime I sit down and try to write an essay. I have a mountain of topics on the back burner because I get overwhelmed each time I start on one.

  261. Re: recommendations for humorous fiction (from last week): I’ve had a lot of fun reading Rudyard Kipling’s _Plain Tales from the Hills_. OK, so it’s not exactly modern (or post-modern, or post-post-modern, if that’s what we’re down to these days). But it’s a fascinating view of India during English rule, and Kipling has a lot more subtle respect for the local folks than you might expect from a few of his quotations. These are more-or-less independent short stories. Some are very funny, and some are more cautionary tales about Englishmen in over their heads in a foreign culture.

  262. @Blue Sun – I would encourage you to keep the dust jackets. I can’t speak directly to the collection you have, but I can say that some “collectible” children’s books (i.e., Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc) are far more valuable with the dust jackets intact. This is mostly because so fewer of them survive vs. the hardcover book.

    There are a lot of variables in the equation, and if these books will never be sold and only passed down to members of the family, it may not matter. But go ahead and google (“title” for sale dust) and see what the difference in prices might be. If you don’t have collectible versions, then it won’t matter.

    A second reason to keep the jackets would be that although you may not find them interesting, one of your grandchildren may. I always thought dust jackets were interesting if they had different artwork, and are especially nice when the book cover may have very little. Take them off the books, but don’t toss them. Lay them flat and store in a box for safe-keeping.

  263. Wesley, every mythology works in the real world for at least some people, in at least some situations. The myth of progress worked extremely well for a couple of centuries, which is more than many myths can claim! We just happen to live at a time in which so much of the low-hanging fruit of technological development has been harvested that the myth of progress works much less than half the time; it’s not that it was never right, it’s simply that it’s passed its sell-by date.

    J.L.Mc12, possibly, but only in periods where societies can afford to waste a lot of fuel.

    Anonymous, the first thing to try is the basic protective amulet described in the Magic Monday FAQ. See how well that works for you, and we can go from there.

    Johnny, delighted to hear both of these!

    Yorkshire, I’m sure there’s organized crime in the Lakeland Republic but I haven’t done enough research into the history of organized crime to work out the patterns and apply them. As for street gangs that worship tentacled horrors, that could be really interesting.

    Blue Sun, as far as I know, dust jackets are just a convenience for marketing, but I’ll defer to any of my librarian commenters if they have a different opinion.

    Dusk Shine, fair enough! I don’t actually know that much about ultralights, so am not surprised to learn that my intuition on the subject is faulty.

    David BTL, I sometimes suspect that people who pursue economics degrees must be secretly lobotomized at some point in the process. The finance pages are always so full of the most obvious nonsense…

    Koggush, my take is that there can never be a general rule of gnosis because the experiences lumped under that word are actually quite diverse.

    Jamie, also true. Blimps worked very well as antisubmarine platforms in the Second World War, though, so there may be niche applications for the technology.

    MawKernewek, there’s that!

    Jasmine, I think you’ve caught what Dion Fortune is saying, for what it’s worth. The undisciplined man thinks he can use positive evil to achieve his ends, and doesn’t realize that a goal pursued via evil means inevltably takes on the evil itself — yes, Stalin and Pol Pot are great examples. The initiate uses the negative evil that exists in the world as a thrust block for his own efforts, rejecting it in such a way as to propel himself — Fortune’s workings during the Second World War are a great example of this.

    Tripp, delighted to hear it. I’m expecting my author copies shortly.

    Isaac, everyone I know who pursues spiritual practice is either a mystic, a mage, or an occultist — that third option is one that I’m not sure Fortune understood well, but if the mystic follows the straight path of the arrow and the mage follows the zigzag path of the lightning bolt, the occultist follows the winding path of the serpent; where the mystic exemplifies the quality of love and the mage exemplifies that of power, the occultist exemplifies that of wisdom, or perhaps knowledge. No doubt there are people who combine those paths, but I haven’t met any of them — though I’ve met plenty of people who’ve experimented with two or three, sometimes at great length, before finally settling on one.

    Beekeeper, fascinating! Thanks for the update.

    Nothing Special, maybe so, but I confess I’m not willing to listen to something I find actively repulsive every day for six months on the off chance that exposure will make me like it, or perhaps simply numb me to its repulsiveness. I’m quite willing to believe that there’s more going on than the pursuit of snob value, but that’s a huge factor, and it pervades and poisons the entire field; even those who aren’t simply poseurs like Cage and Stockhausen are forced to write ugly music because music that anyone but the snobs can appreciate will wreck a composer’s reputation for seriousness.

    Aidan, as I’m not a university student or employee I can’t access the article. As for Orban, he’s a typical eastern European conservative strongman who’s had the good common sense to pay attention to what the majority wants.

    Oilman2, thanks for this. I’ll forward it to the site.

    Justin, fascinating. Talk about a blast from the past!

    JR, the SoP is almost infinitely customizable. It’s less obviously forceful than the LRP or the Star Ruby, but subtlety has its advantages.

    Foxhands, The Fourth Turning covers cycles on a much smaller scale than Spengler’s; I know of no reason why they can’t be made compatible, but it might take quite a bit of study and thought.

    David BTL, I’ll get more popcorn going!

    Tripp, have you cast divinations about that choice? That would be my first recommendation. As far as jumping to a different system, that’s an option, and you’ve worked with the GD work long enough to have some sense of its strengths and weaknesses; if you find on reading the Dolmen Arch that it appeals to you, yes, you could do that. It doesn’t include divination — that’s something that really didn’t become a core part of occult training in the US until the Golden Dawn papers saw print — so if you do take up the Dolmen Arch work, you may find it useful to keep up a divinatory practice alongside it.

    Matthias, interesting.

    Justin, internal combustion engines are much more efficient than steam engines, generating much more effective power from the same amout of fuel; a society that has the technology to make IC engines will do so and discard steam. I assessed the tech level of 25th-century Meriga carefully and decided that they did in fact have the necessary skills and resources to maintain the capacity to manufacture diesel engines. As for ultralights, exactly — they would be expensive and challenging to produce, but the military advantages of aerial reconnaissance are so spectacular that every nation that could scrape together the capacity to build or buy a few would do so. There might be only a few dozen in a good-sized country, but that would be enough to win wars.

    Ben, everything and its mother-in-law was tried in the 19th century as a means to lift lighter-than-air craft, and at the end of the day, the choices were hot air, hydrogen, and helium. Sorry!

    Lew, “innovative.” Gah.

    Churrundo, share the image where? Here? Use standard HTML image tags. On 4chan? I have no idea.

    Ashara, I’m not talking about keyboard warriors. I’m talking about people I know who served in the military, own fairly substantial arsenals, and know what they’re doing. There are far more of those than I think you realize.

    Lacking, whether we encounter the souls of loved ones in the afterlife depends, of course, on whether they’re still in the after-death state, or have gone on to a new incarnation; there’s a vast number of accounts of deathbed visions and near-death experiences in which dead loved ones put in an appearance, though, so it clearly does happen. As for ghosts and animals, good heavens, yes; dogs in particular are very good at seeing ghosts. Whether that means your place is haunted is another question, but it’s at least possible.

    Thomas, war is only to your advantage if you control armies and thus can benefit from conquests, and for all those centuries between the Bar Kokhba rebellion and the foundation of Israel, Jews generally weren’t able to do either. Since economies suffer in wartime, and a great many Jews supported themselves by trade of one kind or another, they had another good reason to be uninterested in war. So I’d tend to think that Fast is at least broadly correct.

    Ben, it’s not siege warfare that would make artillery crucial, but field artillery, especially the lighter sort that can be moved at high speed behind a team of horses. A couple of dozen cannon firing grapeshot can all but annihilate an advancing column of infantry. As for dragoons, no argument there — the expense of horses will keep most infantry moving on their own feet, but having a good strong dragoon force will be a war-winning move.

    Patricia O, I’m really sorry to hear about this. I hope you can find some way out!

    Lathechuck, I’m not discounting the use of a standard ritual at weddings. I assumed that the commenter was asking about bringing in additional magical techniques on top of the ritual methods normally used at a wedding.

    Your Kittenship, that sounds pretty reasonable.

  264. John B, it’s quite possible that this epidemic along with all the other strains will tip the balance away from globalized economics for a good long time. The interesting thing to me is that retail, and especially high-end retail, has been in a slump for several years now. It may be that a significant fraction of the production of goods overseas for US consumption won’t be replaced, it’ll simply stop, as the market for salad shooters and singing Santa Claus dolls falls through the floor. That would help balance the other side of the equation, which is that prices for domestically produced goods will have to rise to cover higher salaries and benefits, as well as higher energy costs. Beyond that? Anyone’s guess.

    Varun, you may be one of those writers who needs to outline. When you next start an essay, make it a short one — no more than 1000 words — and write out an outline first: where you want to begin, how you plan on developing the argument, where you plan to end up. Then write it. It takes a little practice to follow an outline without editing as you go, but that’s worth learning.

  265. David Babcock,

    See, I don’t even know what countries you are referring to. I mostly refer to the US. You say Muslims are becoming a problem, then you say they are experiencing pain and injustice. What I am asking for is concrete examples of what injustice you see. My comments are much more directed at the idea that all sorts of people, but mostly black, in the US, are experiencing injustice. I don’t think they are.

    Very privileged minorities are learning victimology and the working class is accused of racism, when in fact the privileged are the ones who are projecting their shadow. Overt racism has never been more rare.

  266. JMG, thanks for giving a broader view if how the several sacred geometry projects fit together. I see my wish list growing longer…

    Patriciaormsby, I’m so sorry the rash jump to 5G is so detrimental. I hope the realization dawns quickly on people and it gets shut off. May you be protected and well.

    Robert and others re: everclear. Not to be all smarty-pants, but I know of everclear and have a bottle of it among my herb paraphanalia and I really was wondering if some places DO have 50 proof vodka to fulfill that part of Violet’s recipe. I’m not a drinker, so lacking in experience in this regard

  267. John kindly replied, “Koggush, my take is that there can never be a general rule of gnosis because the experiences lumped under that word are actually quite diverse. ”

    Well, I think there are commonalities, as per perennial philosophy, core religious experiences. But the routes taken (or stumbled down) are as diverse as people’s lives. The stumbling bit is underappreciated due to the preponderance of deliberate paths like buddhism, yoga, occultism (don’t know much about that one) etc.
    Some achieve it, some are born with it and some have it thrust upon them, as the saying goes when it’s been mangled a bit..

  268. Jmg

    I guessed you would say that, I imagined that it they were used they would be for propelling Long distance rockets for military purposes.

    I have been thinking about pulse-jets since I watched a video of 2 men riding a homemade pulse-jet propelled iceboat, which surprised me since that type of vehicle features heavily in one of my favourite sci-fi trilogy’s “requiem for Homo sapiens.”

    Another example of science fiction coming to life!

  269. Thomas, nope. A 2.3% fatality rate, mostly concentrated among the elderly and immunocompromised, won’t cut it.

    That was about the fatality rate my wife and I calculated, based on reported rates of cases versus fatalities. So not particularly virulent like Ebola, but very spreadable, as the infected are contagious for a fair amount of time before being symptomatic. So we’re looking for an … interesting time. Wash your hands and stay out of health care facilities unless absolutely necessary.

    More interesting is the consequences for the global supply chain… the stock market is already reacting reflexively and not well. But this is a sign of a system stretched to it’s limits, with no reserve, very little flex or resiliency.

    An opinion piece in Wired magazine – which has the virtue of time to time looking at different aspects of things than the pundit corporate media … expressed an … interesting… thought – “interesting” of course, in the Buddhist sense. – 

    “Affluence politics is not the politics of being wealthy, though, but rather the politics of not paying attention to what creates wealth in the first place. That is to say, it’s the politics of ignoring our ability to make and distribute the things people need. With the banking collapse in 2008, the election of Trump in 2016 and his mourning of empty factories, and now with Bernie Sanders dominating the early primaries, that era may at last be passing. A pandemic disease outbreak would only hasten this progression and force us back into the politics of production.” – Matt Stoller, Opinion, Wired Magazine.

  270. @TJandTheBear,

    About hydropower without fossil fuels:

    People have been building large dams for well over 4000 years. The ancient Egyptians had artificial lakes before they knew how to write. The Romans built dams all over their empire and some are still in use. Only small modifications are needed to turn a Roman dam design into something that can generate power.

    And you’ve also got to consider the fact that the internal combustion engine will outlast fossil fuels; there will just be a lot less fuel to go around. Industrial projects like dams will come in at the front of the line compared to luxuries like the personal automobiles and commercial airliners that currently consume most of the oil in the industrial world.

  271. (JMG, thanks for allowing these discussions – I don’t seem to encounter as many different and eloquent viewpoints in my neck of the woods so I value this virtual community.)


    5. The metrics used to measure equity are always of the form of a proportion of a particular group (farmers, doctors, college graduates, landowners, inmates, minimum wage workers) occupied by each demographic, and thus victory is defined as a world in which demographics are not predictive of outcomes.

    I’m having trouble understanding this paragraph. Are you saying that success is measured when, for example, there are just as many female tree trimmers or deep sea oil riggers as men?

    Some SJW types would go that far, but no I wouldn’t say the goal is complete equality of outcome – it’s more that there is proportional representation of genders, ethnicities, religions etc. among levels of prestige, power, and wealth in society.

    6. This conveniently ignores the vast (and growing) structural inequalities among those groups, and so it’s ok if a quarter of the population lives on the street so long as white, black, and brown people are proportionally represented there.

    Again, what do you mean by structural inequalities and why do you say they are growing?

    By “structural inequalities” I mean – for example – that doctors (as a group) are able to own multiple homes while bus drivers (as a group) can barely afford rent and often can’t afford to retire. These inequalities are baked in to the structure of our society, and while I certainly accept that doctors ought to earn more than bus drivers I think that a majority of people would agree that any and all work that contributes to society ought to pay a living wage, and furthermore that if achieving this requires those at the top to earn somewhat less then so be it. I say these inequalities are growing because, to use the same example, doctors today have more wealth than they had 50 years ago while bus drivers have less.

    7. By ignoring class divides, the movement remains largely unthreatening to the elite and allows them to claim social progress without sacrificing any of their wealth.

    My impression is that the movement is largely coming FROM the elites, and of course it isn’t threatening to them, but some of that is because they are so privileged that they think they can play games with teaching disdain for our culture and history and open season on white people without ever getting the crap beaten out of them or their children.

    8. Because it is so tangled up with elitism, the social justice movement has become the enemy of populism, when in fact those who are marginalized through poverty and those who are marginalized through prejudice have much in common and could effect real change if they could join forces.

    Again, perhaps I misunderstand you, but this works very well for the elites because they are responsible for teaching white and black people (for one example) to fear one another so that they do not join forces. And as for the elites who make up most of the SJ warriors, they openly loathe the working class. If they’re white, I mean.

    Movements appear different from within than from without. While I agree that those in the upper echelons of power have much to gain from keeping the lower classes at each other’s throats, I don’t see that logic in play among the rank and file of the social justice movement. What I see instead are good intentions poisoned by self-interest.

    One of the trends embraced by the religion of Progress has been an expansion of the groups of human beings afforded a full set of rights – beginning with religious liberty and proceeding through abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, and gay marriage to name a few. Someone mentioned on here a few months back that MLK was assassinated about the time he started to turn his focus from racial injustice to economic injustice in general, and indeed economic inequality has received only alms (e.g. welfare, food stamps) and lip service since that time as the wealth gap has grown dramatically.

    I agree that affording a full set of rights to all humans is a good idea, and so I support social justice causes in general, but I also feel strongly that poverty is a much better predictor of misery in today’s America than any other demographic category. I feel that the social justice movement has been “sanitized” in a way to make it unthreatening to the elite, by suggesting that we ought to have more black and brown billionaires while ignoring the question of whether anyone should be able to amass that many resources. And yes, that does have the effect of erasing white poverty as an issue of concern, and so I completely understand why people are so angry.

  272. I rudely forgot to tell everyone here how much I have enjoyed my conversations with you and everyone else’s contributions to the commentary, and to thank JMG in particular for giving me hope in the future. Whatever happens, I will make every effort to stay in contact. Please don’t worry about me.

  273. Hi JMG,

    I have only done a little bit of it, but I was surprised that I could ask myself direct very fundamental questions in the journal and receive immediate answers. This was a technique I would not have tried without your suggestion but I found that it worked right away for me. My thoughts seem to generally pop up mostly formed, often fully formed, so it’s not massively different from normal thinking except that I am expressly listening and not steering at all. Anyway, I have had a few creative obsessions (first drawing then making music) and I can see writing journals is another one. I feel like I could just write all day long, that it just pours out from somewhere without end (typically I don’t get blocks of more than 3 hours or so to test this out, but I believe it would just persist if I had the time). I really like trying to emotionally relive moments, to try to remember them so much that I feel like I indwell some of how I felt at the time and can capture it, and then to go back later and look at the entry outside of that emotional state, often writing another entry that reacts to it – or even just suggesting to myself an angle to critique it on and seeing what comes with it.

    I guess the big liberation was just writing for myself and not caring that it be interesting of of worth to anyone else. Once I had freed my mind up that way I was surprised by how much enjoyment I got out of the process, and even just the day to day stuff it’s nice to have captured little memories of. We have two small kids (3 and 1) and everything is in flux so much as a result of them changing and just having so much impact on what life is like at any given moment it’s cool to have a way of checking back on some of the good and bad times after the fact.

    The only downside is that I have to sacrifice reading time a bit as it’s the same windows I make use of.


  274. This article by Ben Thompson of Stratechery has a view that the paradigm shifts in computing are all done now, and that the cloud/mobile paradigm is here to stay along with its dominant players, rather than expecting another paradigm shift to unseat Apple, Google, Amazon etc. with a fresh wave of disruptive entrants. He compares it to where cars were in the 20th century, with all of the large American car companies in place by the 1920s and new car companies being small in number and marginal to the overall market.
    Although, I expect data is being made bigger than it needs to be, whether deliberately or unconsciously, to give the cloud computing paradigm a raison d’etre because otherwise we can have all the computing power we need in our pockets.

  275. Re: Fourth Turning and Spengler – I have gotten good results from assuming that history’s cycles actually form a fractal pattern: I have in the past traced the Megacycles (~400-500 years) and the MacroMegacycles in what history I’m familiar with and found the pattern maps only to very well. The MacroMegacycles may well be the astrological ages; I need to check my notes in the back of my astrology class notebook.

  276. JMG, I’ve got three really big questions saved up for Leap Day today, and which training system to pursue after the astrological new year is one of them. I figured – Earthy geomancy, Taurus moon, Saturn’s Day, on a date that only comes around once every four years – great election for digging a little deeper into big questions, no?

    Just wanted to hear your opinion on the matter too. This has become a very important part of my life, and that has a lot to do with you.

    Just out of curiosity, do you have anything special planned for Leap Day?

    Many thanks for your time!

  277. There’s an interesting take on China here, that is synthesized from the thoughts of Bronze Age Pervert:

    BAP’s view is that whenever a country engages in a war with an enemy, even if only a cold war, then it will inevitably have to take on some of the characteristics of that enemy in order to defeat it. For example, the USA had to take on a ruthless “total war” mentality to defeat the Nazis, and an idealistic internationalist ideology in order to overcome the USSR. Many of the culture war problems that beset the US now are a lingering after effect of the “Sovietizing” it undertook up until the end of the Cold War.

    BAP thinks that the USA is now Sinoizing, and essentially replicating the social conditions in China, the dung-filled streets of San Francisco being a perfect example. Other Chinese traits are also materializing in the US, such as “bugman” tiny residential spaces, corporate employment increasingly resembling serfdom, and the ability to speak freely being constrained by a de facto (if not yet de jure) social credit system.

  278. To One thing

    You’re going on about the trans thing. I would point out that there are transgendered people who fed up with the way that the lefts activism is taking us. Go to You Tube and Look at Rose of Dawn and Blaire White and see what they have to say. There are others, not that you will hear anything about this in the main stream news.

    I am trans myself and am getting fed up with the way things are going. If you want a good example of this look Lisa Nandy who is standing for the leadership of the labour party and wants to introduce a policy of self identification for gender recognition certificates, so that people who want to legally change their gender will not have to get a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and prove that they are transgendered. This means that any rapist will be able to change their legal gender from male to female,  so they can gain access to women shelters or prisons and rape vulnerable women.  Lisa was asked about   this in a debate last week and responded that rapists who claimed to identify as female should be able to go to women’s prisons. When it was pointed out that this could put the women in that prison in danger, the only response she gave was that “Trans women are women” and the audience applauded. She could have responded to this question by saying that if rapists were put in women’s prisons they should be kept on an isolation wing so that they could  be kept separate from other women in the prison. This would show that she wanted to protect vulnerable women from being raped.  This she failed to do. See link to video below.

    I am sure that the woman asking Lisa this question is a feminist who has a transphobic agenda, but you don’t need to be a transphobic feminist to see that having rapists in women’s prisons is not a good idea. You just need to be a reasonable human being.

    When I first transitioned I had many threats of violence, with people calling me a pervert and a nonce (means sex offender). What Lisa has done is to give people a reason to hate me. She has associated the rights of trans people with rapists and an argument about our rights has become an argument about rapists rights. She is literally inciting hared against me. I know that this is not her intention and she thinks that she his supporting trans rights, but this is the practical outcome of what she said. With friends like this who needs enemies. I almost prefer the transphobic feminists to Lisa. At least with them you knew where you stood. I have tried to e-mail Lisa and the Guardian about this, but as my e-mails are anonymous for understandable reasons, I got no response.

    As you can imagine I have very real problems with a system of gender self ID that allows Roy the Rapist to change his gender without any need to prove he is transgendered. I don’t understand why this has become such a big issue. You don’t actually need a gender recognition certificate to change your passport, driving licence or have legal protection in employment etc. I also found the certificate easy to get I had thought that by 2010 all our rights were in place and we could have a party and then go home and get on with our lives. I simply don’t understand why this has blown up into such a big issue and I think the left are using us as part of their cultural war and don’t care about the damage this does to us.

  279. To one thing

    There are other problems with self identification and I have put some information about this below. Its a bit long and you don’t have to read this if you don’t want to

    The book “True Selves” written by Mildred Brown who is described as one of America’s most experienced Clinicians in the field of Transsexualism and the journalist Chose Rounsley published by Jossey-Bass in 1996 and gives a detailed account of what a transsexual goes through in order to change their gender. On page 106 it gives a list of the conditions that can cause some people believe that they are transsexual. This list includes

    – Individuals with Multiple personality disorder

    – Individuals with psychiatric disorders who may may if they have certian thought disorders such as schizophrenia have delusions that they are members of the opposite sex

    – Individuals who have been sexually abused and as a result of early trauma may find their bodies so distasteful that they will go to any length to change them.

    – Gay men or lesbians who are in denial or confusion

    – Effeminate men or masculine women who are uncomfortable with their gender role but not their gender identity.

    – Individuals with Munchausen syndrome

    – Individuals who have inappropriate sexual impulses towards exhibitionism, rape, molestation (whose fear engaging in such acts leads them to seek medical amputation or castration via hormones or surgery.)

    On page 107 The author states “In my years as a gender therapist, all these types of patients have sought gender counselling because they wanted to change their sex, yet none of them was transsexual. Had they been improperly diagnosed as transsexual, the resulting treatment could have lead to disastrous consequence. Careful diagnosis, therefore, is of paramount importance.”

    The last thing someone who mistakenly believes that they are transsexual needs is for the government to confirm them in their delusion by allowing them to legally change their gender. This is why it is vital that anyone obtaining a gender recognition certificate should be required to get a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a medical clinician, so that people who are in this situation can be prevented from going down the route of getting hormones and surgery and get the treatment they need for their condition. Failure to do this will lead to them being physically and mentally scarred for life.

    It may be argued that there is nothing to worry about here as someone who has hormones and gender reassignment surgery will still need a diagnosis of gender dysphoria before they can get this. This may be true if someone is having this done under the NHS, but many people go abroad for their surgery where things are more lax and there may be little or no attempt made to carry out a proper diagnosis of gender dysphoria. It is also possible that someone who has had their gender legally changed by the State will have a stronger conviction that this is the right route to take which could make it easier for them to fool a medical clinician into thinking that they have gender dysphoria and approving their request for surgery.

    Some people who apply for a gender recognition certificate have no intention of having hormones and surgery and may find the idea of having to go for a medical diagnosis to be a nuisance. However I would argue that if this prevents other people from having surgery and then regretting it, then it is a necessary nuisance and they should grin and bear it. Getting a diagnosis of gender dysphoria may mean taking few hours out of your life to be interviewed by a doctor, but this is nothing compared to physical damage and mental suffering that someone who mistakenly thinks that they are transsexual will have to endure if they take hormones and undergo surgery.

    I would also point out that having people regretting their surgery could give this procedure a bad name. This could make it increasingly difficult for people who really are transsexual to get the treatment they need. Therefore having people regretting their surgery is against the interest of transsexuals like me who do not regret it. This is why I want the government to take all reasonable precautions to stop this from happening.

  280. Re: the Dolmen Arch

    I know there is at least one person here, besides JMG, who has been working with this course, maybe more. Would you care to comment on your experiences with it? Maybe what you were doing before, how it compares, what you liked (or didn’t) about it, where you’re headed next, that sort of stuff. I’d be very grateful to hear more about any of that from people who’ve been down that particular rabbit hole.

  281. Dust Jackets on Books

    Well, you can just ‘tip’ them in: take the cover, cut it up and glue one or more of the sides inside the hard-back, just a thin line of PVA along the inside edge, so it’s preserved – many are attractive – but not a nuisance at all.

    Some artists work hard on those, above all books for children, and their work should be respected!

  282. @Aidan referred to an article online. The title of the article “”Over the horizon: Exploring the conditions of a post-growth world” turns up the authors. They may be OK with sending a copy of the paper if you email them. There are also a few sites on the ‘net that publish *all* papers, but they are considered ‘pirate’ – Wikipedia discusses one of them:

  283. @JMG,

    About progress being a myth that used to make good sense of the world but now doesn’t – I pretty much agree that that is what is happening. The point that I was trying to make in my last comment is that I see the myth of progress as the result of combining a good fundemental idea – that mankind’s present knowpedge of the universe should be assumed to be incomplete, that there is more that we don’t know than that we do know, and that it’s good to try to add to the body of human knowledge – with a disastrous case of knowing only one story, namely, the story in which a quest to expand our knowledge leads to the discovery of an effective technological solution to one of mankind’s problems.

    It does not take into account other stories besides that one – i.e. where a new technology turns out to make people’s lives worse rather than better, or where sustained research into a hypothetical technology just proves that the problem is way harder than anyone originally thought, i.e. the current debacle over fusion power, or the century-long failed quest to make battery-driven cars that can compete with gas-fired cars.

    I agree with you about the low-hanging fruit being pretty-much gone. I don’t think the period of rapid inventions that we got between 1600 and 1950 will ever be repeated. (And for a microcosm of what it looks like to exhaust low-hanging fruit, just compare the way the internet changed between 2000 and 2010 with how it has changed between 2010 and today).

    That said, I still think that slower technological progress, along the lines of what we had during the first millenium, is likely to be sustained for hundreds or thousands of years by future civilizations, especially when you consider the fact that they’ll be confronting problems related to how to make the best of a low-energy future that our current civilization has never had the incentive or desire to solve.

    The past was full of technologies that took centuries to reach mature form, so it seems reasonanle to me that the future might be as well, so that, for instance, the solar panels of 3000 will be cheaper to make and longer-lasting than those of 2500, in much the same way that the caravels of 1500 were better than the mideival round ships out of which they evolved. And millenia of selective breeding will improve oil crops in much the same way that it has already improved food crops.

    So even though the low-hanging fruit is mostly gone, I still find the idea that progress is stark dead to be too chronocentric to be believed. Past civilizations did not understand the world well enough to run out of things to invent, so why would we?

  284. JMG I have some questions that spring from your answer to Isaac. You said to him that people that practice spiritual disciplines are either mystics, mages, or occultists. First would the majority of church going daily bible readers fall into the the mystic category? Second I know the church says differently but in your experience is it possible to a christian version of each of those three categories?

    Thanks again

  285. @Scotlyn, that was a great summary of the situation with Sinn Fein. I voted for SF, Indep, FF and FG in that order. I think FG/FF have gone off the rails. Varadkar, despite being gay POC is more interested in rubbing shoulders with the EU elite than taking care of the Irish people. I think you are right, people know that any FG/FF government is just more of the same and SF offers something different. I think a FF/SF coalition could potentially move the conversation more domestically but it isn’t appearing that will happen. I suspect another general election is in the works so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. There is a love/hate relationship with the EU as we are so small, that being part of a larger confederation has real advantages but the increasing centralisation of power in Brussels is increasingly problematic.

  286. Varun,

    I’ve also been writing essays, and I had the same problem of losing a thesis at first–fiction is much easier to flow right into. What I’ve found is this:

    I write an “outline,” more like several pages of bullet points, in the fast and loose, no-edit style. I ramble off any thoughts, questions, or greats entences that crop up. Everything goes on the page, until I’ve run out of thoughts.

    That satisfies the fast, flowy writing, and it results in a lot of unexpected ideas. Then when I write the essay, I’m basically “editing” the stream of thought stuff. Putting it in a logical order, weaving a narrative, elaborting points, etc. This, too, involves some fast and uncensored bits for me, but it’s easier to stay on track because if I get lost, I look back at the bullet points, while allowing the essay to diverge and exclude certain bullets as it naturally wants to.

    Occasionally, I do it with fiction as well. I get an idea for a sequence of scenes suddenly, and I jot it all down in bery fast points without censoring. Then I beyin to write through the points, still trying to go fast, but having a thread through the labyrinth. Inevitably I diverge from the bullets, and allow myself to do so freely if that’s where the story wants to go.

    I find that I don’t like the rigid structure of a full outline, but I also find no structure whatsoever challenging at times, and this is the middle path that works for me, though I do still go structureless if I am totally out of ideas. That’s the best way to warm up my imagination and set off the next sequence.

    I hope you’re able to find an effective solution!

  287. There have been a number of articles and videos recently in which Bernie Sanders’s supporters and campaign volunteers have said really awful, inflammatory things: Trump supporters need to be sent to reeducation camps, gulags weren’t all that bad and the people there were paid a living wage (news to gulag survivors), if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination Milwaukee will burn, and on and on. You may even have heard the recordings, they’re easily searchable.

    If you don’t want to listen to streams of obscenity-heavy comments by Bernie Bros on YouTube, here are written articles:

    Now today I read that Bernie supporters had been showing up at the homes of DNC officials in Nevada with bullhorns, at night, to harass them:

    Bernie is my US senator, although I have never voted for him and never would; after seeing the behavior he elicits in his followers I’d be even less likely to support him (is there less than ‘never’?) and frankly, I find his people frightening.

    It’s become predictable that whenever anything bad happens in the US, Dems immediately blame Trump (in case you missed it, a NYT columnist has now dubbed the coronavirus, “Trumpvirus”) and point to Trump’s verbal and twitter carelessness as inflaming his supporters. Curious that Bernie, if he’s even confronted with his supporters’ actions by the media, simply says that he disavows it and them and that’s the end of it. If a single crazy surrogate says gulags are good, that’s one thing, but when multiple supporters are caught on tape saying these sorts of things I would think it prudent of Sanders to come out and directly state his position on gulags, reeducation camps, and riots in Milwaukee if things don’t go as he’d like. He does not seem inclined to do so. Has Bernie lost control of his ‘revolution’?

  288. Ben,

    Given the postindustrial lack of transport capacity, forts and supply depots will be crucial to maintaining armies in the field. Diminished capacity for arms production will reduce the quantity and quality of artillery but it will remain a vital part of the state army. Likewise, the accuracy of small arms at even 200 yards will be better measured in feet than inches.

    Generally a larger force is required to successfully siege a fort. An attacking force might only have the advantage of mobility, which is negated when they attempt a siege. Trying to pin a motivated garrison in place with a small force is not likely to go well.

    Dragoons are very useful, especially when attached with light horsedrawn artillery. Being fast and mobile is good but still requires sufficient firepower to do the job when fighting is necessary.

  289. John—

    How does the winding path of the serpent differ from the zig-zag path of the lightening flash?

  290. Huh, I had thought that mages and mystics were kinds of occultists… which would you be?

  291. I understood that hard cover books with intact paper covers in good condition were very much more valuable than those them. So preserve them just in case I am right.

  292. Just wanted to share this here – inspired by your ‘a space for books’ post, I set up one of those little free libraries along one of Nova Scotia’s scenic highways. This particular spot is a popular lookoff point for tourists on road trips, and I’m hoping one or two notice it and take out a book they find interesting. Pic for the curious:

    @Olbab, I never tire of pointing it out – people who yearn for justice are either saints or deluded, and the world doesn’t contain many saints. That’s not to say one shouldn’t work towards justice if it’s the ideal one aligns with, but expecting it not to be messy and painful when it shows up requires a dangerous amount of arrogance.

  293. Mark L,

    I think that during the open question week, the commentariat are allowed some free discussion. I likewise, find few people in person with whom I can discuss such things, as everyone becomes apoplectic so easily.

    “Some SJW types would go that far, but no I wouldn’t say the goal is complete equality of outcome – it’s more that there is proportional representation of genders, ethnicities, religions etc. among levels of prestige, power, and wealth in society.”

    I worry about those who DO think they should go that far, as only tyranny can bring it about. For those who would, I ask, Will you celebrate when the female suicide rate matches the male one and when injuries and deaths on the job for females equal that of males?
    At any rate, a main issue I have is that they want to use force. I am constantly now hearing about how certain minorities are underrepresented in this or that, but they are now going overboard in their numbers desired anyway, and furthermore, nothing is stopping anyone from succeeding. There are issues which may hold some people back from success, and they are not other people’s fault. Women, for one example, are not as attracted to certain trades that may earn well but are difficult. Black people have issues of their own. Doing well in school is stigmatized and black children who care about their grades and like to read are often teased, and with racial slurs as well, that they are acting white. I get where that comes from, but in the end, as a culture, black parents and their culture do not encourage or push their children to succeed. Meanwhile, certain other minorities who are supposedly oppressed – without any real examination because they’re brown (itself a soft form of racism), when in fact they are the highest earning demographic even though they are immigrants. Referring to India(ns). The children are definitely pushed to succeed.

    6. “Again, what do you mean by structural inequalities and why do you say they are growing?”

    I agree with what you answered on this.

    “While I agree that those in the upper echelons of power have much to gain from keeping the lower classes at each other’s throats, I don’t see that logic in play among the rank and file of the social justice movement. What I see instead are good intentions poisoned by self-interest.”

    I wonder who your rank and file are. I don’t think the ones I know are poisoned so much by self interest as by propaganda. I think what is happening is that we are in an age of propaganda, and the rank and file are carrying water for they do not know (or question) whom. It’s that naivete that irks me sometimes the most. These people know our media is owned and not free, yet they think only the deplorables are deceived. They never seem to ask, who is pushing this meme and why? Nor do they seek a balance of opinion on the matter.
    When it comes to propaganda, I am wondering, how to help people see it? Because I think they don’t realize that propaganda is convincing to the right people at the right time. Which is them. They have seen some old black and white films of Hitler ranting or heard about some Soviet nonsense, and it seems pretty absurd. But that is from a very different vantage point than the one in which those people at that time were immersed. To them, it was believable, and people in those times and places were not fundamentally inferior human beings. People seem very vulnerable to the same tactics with slightly altered details and off they go to the races. The same melody with different words and they think its a new song.

    But again, you speak of human rights. Tell me what demographic, as a group, are being denied rights? Is it not instead that the real issues are being covered up by taking people’s sympathies and playing on them for things such as racism that are not even happening on any meaningful scale? Maybe the income inequality and the structural laws that encourage and allow it is the real problem? This is largely a game of the privileged, you know, and the less privileged, like working class whites, are quickly tiring if being told that they are racists.
    One form that the racism of the privileged takes is “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” I marvel that privileged white people argue that presenting ID in order to vote discriminates against blacks. Do these people really think, and so subconsciously that they are not even blushing, that black people aren’t capable of even the minimum requirements of a complex society? That they cannot comprehend how to get ID? That they can’t find the DMV? That most black people don’t have driver licenses? And is it possible that they are duped by those at the top into carrying water for a nonissue to keep black people voting democratic? After all, about 90% of blacks have voted democratic for some 60 or so years now and they don’t even have to expend a lot of effort for their votes. It’s just like – the black vote? Check.

  294. Marceaux, very much so. Thank you.

    Temporaryreality, you’re most welcome. I’ve got a lot planned in the sacred geometry end of things.

    Koggush, sure, there are certain very broad commonalties, but it hasn’t escaped my attention that nearly everyone who wants to talk about the Perennial Philosophy seems to have a slightly different idea of what it is!

    J.L.Mc12, it’s entirely possible that the guys who built the pulse-jet iceboat read the same novels you did!

    Samurai, good heavens — actual common sense on Wired. Is that allowed? 😉

    Johnny, excellent! If you can take the same spirit of not caring what other people think and apply it to other kinds of writing, you’ll find the results are much better, too.

    Mawkernewek, that seems quite plausible to me.

    Patricia M, that makes a great deal of sense.

    Tripp, nope — to me it’s just another Saturday. Your mileage may vary, of course!

    Placitus, that seems uncomfortably plausible.

    David BTL, hugely significant. It it works, that’s a major step in the right direction.

    Wesley, when I say that progress is dead, I don’t mean that nothing else will ever be discovered. I mean that the myth of endless human betterment through a perpetually accelerating onrush of new technologies has failed, and people are beginning to discard it for narratives that do a better job of explaining their experience of the world. It’s interesting that some of the most technologically innovative of past civilizations had no concept of progress at all — the fact that new things got invented from time to time did not fill the mythic role in their societies that it has filled in ours.

    Will O, yes and yes. Christianity, Islam, and Rabbinic Judaism are all basically versions of mysticism reworked so that everyone can practice them; that’s why prayer and devotional ritual are so important in them, and why the development of a personal, emotionally rich relationship with a god is so central to them. These are basic to the mystical orientation. As for Christian magic and Christian occultism, they’re not only possible, they exist, and have existed for right around two thousand years now.

    Beekeeper, that doesn’t surprise me at all. I wonder if either he or the Democrats generally realize just now easily the GOP will be able to weaponize those actions and comments.

    David BTL, the lightning flash moves directly from sphere to sphere, the path of the serpent rises from path to path.

    Isaac, the term “occultist” is used with various meanings and breadths of application. As I noted a while back in an earlier blog, there’s a mode of occult study and practice that differs in significant ways both from devotional mysticism and from ceremonial magic. It’s occurred to me that this third mode deserves much more attention than it gets these days, and reviving the former use of “occultist” for practitioners of that mode would help do that. As for me, I’ve practiced a lot of ceremonial magic over the years, of course, but one of the things that led me out of the Golden Dawn into Druidry, and from there into various strange pathways,, is precisely that magic isn’t really where my heart is; occultism has that role.

    Greencoat, delighted to hear it.

  295. “Another [mental model] is to see eternal beings as immutable — they don’t change over time, not being in time, and their acts are eternal and unchanging acts, which may nonetheless appear to manifest to those of us in time as a sequence of events.”

    Right; in that case we would observe the consequences of acts of eternal beings in the form of results of the existence of those acts throughout time, causing the world to evolve in a particular way over time. This is much the same view as physicalists’, except they call such acts laws of nature. (In contrast to strict materialism, physicalism per se does not require revision if the laws of nature, and the aspects of the world evolving under those laws, include influences and bodies and beings that material science is unaware of.)

    I’m not trying to be provocative with that comparison. Contrasting mental models interest me, especially when they seem to set off in opposite directions, and then overlap at the far side of the circle.

    At this point I’m not sure what either of us are saying corresponds very well to Dylandrogynous’ view of, or experiences with, the nature of angels, so (barring a surprising reply, which is always possible here!) I’ll wait til a future month to go any farther.

  296. JMG, that makes so much sense regarding homeopathy and the 1918 flu! That’s around when all but allopathic medical education was deligitimized in the US. Julian Winston argued that the other schools were already starting to move away from their core methods and more toward allopathy, but losing legal status certainly signed the death warrant for the other US medical schools. Surrender or die.

    Since there seems to be some interest by readers, here are a few resources on cell salts and homeopathy:
    Article describing differences:

    Tl;dr: cell salts are prepared by the one of the same methods as the insoluble homeopathic remedies, but prescribed according to different rules; e.g. the example Miranda gives in the article above of the cat upset by the new kitten.

    Readable articles on homeopathy, including one by Dr. Luc:

    There is also a lot of good free info on national homeopathic sites, written in nonmedical language. The older material may feel obscure to modern readers (kind of like older occult writers!) with terms like dropsy and apoplexy… 😂 It’s well worth reading though. I think studying homeopathy helped me understand other planes and magic. For example, diseases can have a Spirit. Children with scarlet fever would talk about seeing the “red man” during fever-induced delirium. You’ll also get a more nuanced understanding of the vaccine debate.

    For those actively prepping, here’s a tip. If you have stock remedies you can make nearly unlimited quantities. If you don’t have milk sugar use cane sugar. For example, with 1 gram of a 3X cell salt, 9 grams of sugar, and a mortar and pestle, you can make 10 grams of a 4X powder. Do that two more times and you have 1000 g of a 6X powder. For dosing, use the same amount as you would of pellets. Pharmacists of old often dispensed prescriptions as powders. Since efficacy is not due to number of molecules it becomes clear that you can stretch a quantity almost infinitely. It’s a bit of work grinding and scraping an hour for each level, but cost effective and nearly anyone can do it. More reasons the deathcare industry loathes homeopathy.

  297. @Beekeeper in Vermont

    I’m not at all sure that Sanders ever had any control whatever over the so-called BernieBros. He’s not so much using them as they’re using him: he’s just the fiogurehead on the political ship they’re trying so hard to launch,

  298. Addendum to homeopathic remedy preparation:

    There is also wet grafting, which involves stretching a remedy by wetting blank pellets with a high proof alcohol solution of a dissolved pellet. Dry grafting is done by placing a remedy pellet in a bottle with blanks.

    While an indefinite replication can be accomplished by either of these methods, we shouldn’t do it generally because our homeopathic pharmacies need to stay in business. But in a pinch, they do work.

  299. Kyle,

    I’ll try it out and see how it works. I think it’ll keep me from getting overwhelmed by the flood of thoughts.

    Thank you.

  300. With regard to Placitus’s post about countries morphing into their enemies, it seems to me that the USA is perhaps absorbing another Chinese trait, and that is the relentless promotion of its own interests, and the almost total indifference to the wellbeing of foreigners and outsiders. For example, China is notoriously indifferent to the plight of refugees, and almost never takes any of them in, and this indifference is being increasingly replicated in the USA.

    i.e. the attempt by America to make China a “friend” was only reciprocated in the most insincere manner by the Chinese in order to promote their own interests. But as soon as the USA realises that China is, and always has been, an enemy then the absorption of Chinese characteristics can begin in earnest. The anti-immigration “America First” movement of Nick Fuentes etc., which is making bigger and bigger waves on the right, might then be, ironically enough, a sign of the US becoming more “Chinese”.

  301. @ Tripp

    Re the Dolmen Arch

    I’ve been working through that program–and will be continuing via the book(s)–in my own plodding way. My experience has been positive, in an illuminating kind of way, exposing many areas of needed improvement in my regular practices. After much flailing about, I seem to have found something of a groove and feel that I am making steadier (if still slow) progress.

    @ Beekeeper

    Re revolutions and revolutionaries

    Ah, but catalysts of change rarely determine the outcome of the changes they invoke. Neither Trump nor Sanders, both of whom I would catalog as change-agents, are in control of the forces they are unleashing. That said, it is still necessary that those forces be loosed, as suppressing them further would only result in an even more catastrophic explosion down the road. Like the ancien regime of pre-Revolutionary France, it would have been better had modest accommodation made earlier, but that time has long passed. I have no illusions that Sanders will get the nomination–it is clear, I think, that the Democratic party would rather align with the Never-Trump Republicans via Bloomberg (or Biden) than allow the populist left to seize control–but I’ll likely vote for him in April when the WI primary rolls around, as he and Tulsi are the best opposition to the status quo within the Democratic ranks at present.

    @ Lathechuck

    Re Trantor

    Fascinating! I’ll be in touch. I’m getting in the day before the conference (which is actually outside the beltway, in Crystal City), so there may be a window within which we can meet. It would be very nice indeed to put a face to a name!

    @ JMG

    Re serpent path versus lightening flash

    That makes sense. Thank you.

  302. Coronavirus is certainly blowing up today around the world, and even in my home state. It will be interesting to see where we are at in a week or two…

    I’m less worried about the disease itself than about the massive disruptions and fear campaigns governments seem willing to impose on their citizens in increasingly futile attempts at containment. I actually would have expected the Chinese government to consciously decide to sacrifice 1-2% of their populace – most of them past working age and already in poor health – in order to keep their economic engines churning. That they have instead enacted perhaps the most massive quarantine ever attempted is – to say the least – quite surprising.

  303. It’s a bit of a long shot, but— I will be in Michigan for a week before April 19th to help out with the rehearsal process for a live performance of my musical adaptation of Salvador Dalí’s never-produced Marx Brothers film, Giraffes On Horseback Salad, at the Detroit Institute of Arts. I’ve never been to that area of the states before, I have no friends who live there, and it seems I will have a fair amount of free time on my hands. Are there any fellow ”friends of ecosophia” in that area who might have any inclination to meet up, should schedules align?

  304. Wesley,

    Yes, hydro power will never go away, but I’d argue that even with preferred treatment on public utilities that current 17% goes to 5% at most, probably less. There are far too many moving parts that are mined, refined, milled, machined, assembled, transported, etc. by and between far too many independent enterprises that all depend directly upon both fossil fuels and abundant, cheap electricity enabled by same.

    Not to mention that current hydropower is highly concentrated on larger dams far away from population centers. How do you even maintain extended grids without fossil fuels?

    In a world with less energy overall everything has to become much more local and decentralized — including power generation.

    p.s.: A description of the Hoover dam water turbine laughably stated that it results in carbon-free electricity, completely ignoring everything that went into getting it to that point.

  305. Patriciaormsby, hang in there. What you’re going through is no joke. This has been a tough couple of years for you. May your situation improve quickly.

  306. I must say I had a look over your Retrotopia posts and it certainly looks Arcadian ( Incidentally, your view of the 2060s Rust Belt is remarkably akin to the Our Fathers’ Stars scenario for 2068 that I showed you in an earlier post. In Our Fathers’ Stars, much of the Northeast is in thrall to a right-wing collectivist ideology called Municipalism ( that is highly Bioconservative (i.e. sceptical of technology) . Here is a 2064 election map (

    By the way, what are the birth rates like in the Lakeland Republic with both the abundant nature of high-fertility religious sects (i.e. Amish, New Shakers) and presumably an earlier age of marriage that comes with less need for education? Does high school still widely exist in the Lakeland Republic? It appears that college and university do not.

    In the meantime, here is some Arcadian music

  307. Hi John

    France would be the likeliest country to go full-in authoritarian.

    In terms of national wars with its neighbors, that still strikes me as rather unlikely, given that even Le Pen of the National Front doesn’t talk about re-changing the borders with Germany or Spain!

    Her focus is on crushing the Islamist threat internally.

    Whilst I still think Macron will probably win the 2022 presidential elections, its striking that Le Pen is now in the mid-40s in in the Macron versus Le Pen polling going on. As a general rule, the elderly (who associate Marine Le Pen with the fascist politics of her father) reject the NF and tend to vote for Macron.

    The younger French are more open to Le Pen and perceive her as more of a populist rather than an extremist figure within French politics.

    Of course, even assuming that Le Pen loses in 2022, the looming Long Descent, and various other crises hitting the EU would suggest that at some point a nationalist strongman (or lady) will win the French presidency.

    On that note, euro intelligence (whose position is critical friend of the European project) are savage in their latest take on the EU decision to keep the borders open.

    “Inaction is not only the result of the in-built complacency that characterises the modern-day EU, but also a consequences of the political and economic weakness of governments. A closure of borders is a taboo for politicians who are fighting parties of the right.”

  308. “Has Bernie lost control of his ‘revolution’?”

    “Beekeeper, that doesn’t surprise me at all. I wonder if either he or the Democrats generally realize just now easily the GOP will be able to weaponize those actions and comments.”

    I suspect The Bernie Sanders campaign will suffer or rather is suffering the same fate as Jeremy Corbyn’s movement. That is they become a movement of the downwardly mobile middle class intelligentsia who can’t quite bring themselves to throw off their prejudice against the working classes, thus they self destruct over their woke leftism…

  309. Dear Mr. Greer – How rumors get started. I was in the veg store, this morning, when I was told that a kid had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, on the Jackson Highway, just south of our town. The person relaying the tale, had heard it on the local radio station.

    When I got home, I did a quick internet search, to see if there was anything similar, floating around. A high school student, in Everett (far to our north) has been diagnosed. A student at JACKSON HIGH SCHOOL. Lew

  310. Patricia Ormsby – I’m very sorry to hear about your physical distress, and especially that it may be caused by high-tech installations you can’t escape. Best of luck to you, and may you find help with it, whether from priest or magician or a travel agent. Blessed be. Pat M.

    JMG – I copied your statement about the paths of the mystic, mage, and occultist, and I guess I must be an occultist at heart; I’ve wandered all over creation in search of knowledge, and hope some teacher or god might, if I sit still and listen, dribble a bit of wisdom into me. Thank you!.

  311. Good news for those Americans stuck in Afghanistan, and their families and friends—the U.S. government has finally decided to stop beating your heads against a brick wall! 🥳

    The government should have known better to start with. Even Alexander had a hard time subduing what is now Afghanistan, and that was long before religious fanaticism was added to the mix. Harrumph.

  312. @JMG said,

    When I say that progress is dead, I don’t mean that nothing else will ever be discovered. I mean that the myth of human betterment through a perpetually accelerating onrush of new technologies has failed, and people are beginning to discard it for narratives that do a better job of explaining their experience of the world.

    As someone who’s seen a lot of human worsenment through the adoption of new technologies, I totally agree with that point of view.

    If the time comes when people start innovating productively again – and as a believer in historical cycles, I expect it will – it’ll have to involve people who know more than one story, and have developed a more modest idea of the ability of technology to solve problems than that which prevails today.

    @Everyone talkijg about ultralights,

    I think that a big factor that’s getting left out of these discussions – especially when the motorized parachute model is touted as being simplest therefore best – is that this is a combat aircraft and needs to be fast and agile. Obviously these warbands will not have the ability to construct a modern fighter plane, but they will optimize for speed and agility within the constraints of the resources they have. They’re not going to be content to just have aerial recon, they’re going to do their darnedest to deny aerial recon to their enemies, and that means aerial combat.

  313. Hmm, I must have read that when it came out and integrated it, as that’s what I’m doing. I am not a part of any occult group or order though, except TAT, which doesn’t have a set system of training. Come to think about it, Richard Rose and his students don’t really fit into any of these boxes, it’s more like a mix of “occultist” and “mystic”… there’s never any devotion to a deity, unless that deity is Truth, it’s more just about study, meditation, self inquiry and group work. And “Love” is not the first thing that comes to mind as a goal, but “Truth.”

  314. I have the proof-reading abilities of a gnat. I meant more valuable than those without them. At least I hope that is what I meant and don’t find other mistakes here.

  315. Dear Anon,

    Thank you so much for what you have written.
    I know that there are trans people who are fed up and they should be. I agree with what you say about how it could backfire. I have watched numerous Blair White videos. Jordan Peterson has also stated that he has gotten many emails from people like you.

    I find it difficult not to wax conspiratorial. Who in the world has the kind of influence and power to make so many people afraid to speak? All the things you have said about wrong categories of people thinking they are trans applies double to children – many of whom are now being groomed toward sex change and puberty blockers and hormones. Any and all restrictions such as wait time and psychological evaluations are being fought. Kids are being inundated with gender ideology when they are far too young to understand it, nor are they nearly savvy enough to understand the implications of losing their natural and functional sexual organs and becoming sterile. For example, Blair White, who is 25 and started on hormones only at 22, now says she wants to be able to have children and will even go off hormones and hope her fertility will recover. Since Blair is a biological male with intact genitalia, she and her partner will look for a
    surrogate. I heard from many different people that once a child gets on that train is is almost impossible to get off. And professionals are not allowed to question! Imagine, that a child cannot be questioned about if they understand the decisions, such as sterility. It is so obviously horrible that I just have to wonder how such insanity could be accomplished in so short a time.

    I have a favorite saying, I will have to paraphrase it, something to the effect that people can clearly see the utter folly that previous eras have engaged in but are blind to their own. The blowback from these kids eventually will be fierce. Many of them indeed fit your list of not being really trans and not going to solve any problems by treating them as such. We look back at certain cruelties in the past – lobotimizing people including children and so on, but what will future people think of this? Allowing male rapists into women’s spaces and taking away the fertility and lives of children by egging them on and not allowing any question or evaluation? Who has engineered this?

    You hear about in the old days running bad politicians out of town, maybe tar and feathering them. I try not to have severe anger, but Lisa Nandy should perhaps be tarred and feathered, or housed with a male rapist? I don’t see someone like her being elected. Her audience who clapped must have been fake. Is it even possible that she gave such a response?

    My only question is that you twice called feminists anti trans. (Or do you mean lesbians?) Is this really so or is it just that they are standing up against this assault? Some of them also say that if you can simply announce that you are a woman, it trivializes womanhood, makes it into nothing at all. I kind of agree with this. If you have a penis you are male. And if your body is male but your mind and/or emotions are female then there are just going to have to be limits to what you can access. But of course trans women can’t ever be truly women as nature has invented the sexes for impregnating and giving birth. Humans are much more than their bodies, but we cannot wish physical limits away. Maybe feminists are upset about this? To say that trans women are women, period, well it just isn’t quite true. If it were, it would be the end of the human race! If we just had some common sense, I wouldn’t have to pound this point. I’ve seen a couple of trans women, like Blair, who are so feminine in appearance that I can’t really think of them as male and I’m sort of OK with that, but Blair never says ridiculous or unreasonable things.

  316. @ Ashara, re complacent panty waist gunners….

    You do not know me, but I can assure you that your assumptions are very wrong. Many of the people you imagine neutral or complacent are simply watching. Virginia was/is the test bed for the gun grabbers. They lost/are losing, and this next election they are likely to lose even more.

    Gun owners, whether hobby, sporting or self-defense, are sick and tired of having people that have never even FIRED a gun write idiot laws and make idiot assumptions. Go back and look at simple ammunition sales from Obama to present, then add in gun sales. Americans have armed up in preparation for this gun grab madness – which is why it WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The most highly armed country in the world is the USA.

    Most of us are not in a ‘militia’, yet we know each other from gun shows to the firing range to hunting leases to having some beer after a long day in a duck blind or sitting in a tree. There is an entire LANGUAGE with respect to firearms that is completely unknown to the unarmed and arms-hating part of this country.

    Your local law enforcement is more likely to be against red flag laws and other idiocy – because they are also gun owners, as are their families. They are going to be the ones asked to enforce confiscation, and they know what that will mean. Body armor is not proof against every projectile, and a laser sight makes hitting armor-free spots relatively easy, even on the run. Law enforcement know this as well, and know any confiscation order will fail, with casualties, if things are forced at the barrel of a bunch of guns.

    I know guys who have “murder rooms” ready and waiting in cities due to this communist craziness. Most of my friends have in excess of 2000 rounds handy, and many have more than 5000 – you can thank Obama and the Democrats for that.

    Nobody wants it to come to this, but attempting to disarm America will be a real Civil War. And funny thing is, it will put those with illegal guns (criminals) on the same side as the common gun-owning citizen. How smart is that?

    Prohibition did not work, and prostitution has never stopped in spite of thousands of laws passed….

    One final thought – how long do you think it would actually take for gun owners to band together in the digital age?

    I am not trying to offend you, but your assumptions are faulty IMO, based on the world I live in.

  317. Dear Patricia Ormsby,

    Thank you for checking in — that situation sounds dreadful and you have my utmost sympathies. If I may, are you open to folks praying on your behalf, lighting a candle on your behalf, etc?

  318. Dear Temporary Reality,

    If I may, regarding my recipe, I tend to use 80 proof vodka and more infrequently whiskey or brandy. I’ve used 100 proof vodka a few times but it was twice the price for the same end product. I found 100 proof vodka in liquor stores but I don’t remember the details since it was almost 6 years ago.

  319. Dear Phutatorius, Thanks for the kind words! I thought that McCarthy made it clear that the Judge character was a literal demon with how he never ages and knows all the languages and how to make gunpowder and the defrocked priest keeps on insinuating that the Judge is a demon, too.

    Dear Gawain, I learned to play trumpet too thanks to Louie Armstrong while I was living in a squat in New Orleans. It’s hard to overstate how truly great and artist Satchmo was and how inspiring he continues to be.

  320. Walt, why, yes. I tend toward physicalism, precisely because it makes room for the idea that there are discrete planes of being other than the physical. I have no doubt that the physical plane works more or less the way that current scientists think it does; the problem with contemporary science isn’t that it’s wrong, it’s that it’s incomplete, addressing only one-seventh of the whole cosmos.

    Chrysanthemum, thanks for this. One of the reasons that I like to talk about cell salts is that they’re very easy to lean how to use — the process of repertorization is much simpler when you only have to worry about twelve options!

    Phil K, also a good point.

    Mark, the Chinese situation is really odd, in that way and others. I wonder if we’ll ever find out what was actually going on.

    Aidan, no, Retrotopia isn’t Arcadian, just greener and more prosperous than its neighbors, and it still has universities — they’re just a lot smaller and fewer in number than they are in the US today. As for birth rates, I worked that out but that project was a long time ago, you know.

    Forecasting, I think France is quite possibly headed in an authoritarian direction, and if it does, the first venue for military adventurism will be Africa, of course. Le Pen isn’t talking about border revision now because France gained all its irredentist goals after the Second World War; if France goes authoritarian and militarizes, I’d expect it to get deep into the politics of eastern Europe, as it’s done in the past, and get drawn into a general European conflagration by that means.

    Churrundo, here’s a tutorial.

    BB, that strikes me as very likely.

    Lew, yeah, that sounds about right!

    Patricia, I think there are a lot of us out there. With any luck a forthcoming project or two of mine will help people clarify what path they want to follow.

    Your Kittenship, I was delighted to see that. The faint flickering light of common sense shining in the distance over an ocean of utter stupidity…

    Wesley, and it may well happen after a lot of technologies have been discarded or lost. That also happens, of course.

    Isaac, that sounds rather distinctly like classic occultism to me!

  321. JMG,

    Chris Martensen over at peak prosperity (coincidentally where I stumbled upon your work some 3 years ago) has been doing some excellent citizen journalism on the SARS2COV (covid19) front. He’s been front-running official sources by over a month.

    Independent studies have this at least as twice as infectious as the common cold and more lethal than SARS and MERS. Internal CDC guidelines are predicting a minimum of 1.8 million dead in the US, and that’s if the hospitals never get overwhelmed beyond capacity.

    Also Dr Paul Stamets is source worth checking out. He discovered dual anti viral/antimicrobial properties in the agirikon mushroom that made an order of magnitude better at treating SARS and smallpox than the best pharmecuiticals. A decoction made from it was an ingredient in Hippocrates “elixer of long life” iirc.

    Given how incredibly slow the govt’s and media has been to respond to this, do you think it might be a final nail in the coffin of institutional credibility globally?

    I’ve been trying to think of a silver lining in this, and so far the best I can think of is the new relationship of prices,wages, and real estate, that emerged after the black death and Spanish flu.

  322. @ Mark L

    I’ve been wondering about the Chinese quarantine myself and have spoken to several Chinese friends to try and understand better what might be happening. Here is one potential explanation:-

    Firstly, this virus was known to originate in China. Whether it came from eating bats or a laboratory error or whatever is immaterial. Everyone in the world knew it had come from China.

    Secondly, maybe the early fatality figures looked really bad. Or maybe President Xi is so used to getting inaccurate figures from his bureaucracy that he doesn’t trust them any more. He assumes the worst case scenario is a 20% fatality rate. If his government does nothing and this thing gets out, not only does he lose one fifth of his own population but so does the rest of the world. Because of point 1, everybody will be blaming him for not doing enough.

    Thirdly, it just so happens that the Chinese government has the means to quarantine cities. It has a huge standing army. The Chinese people are used to that army being deployed to enforce the government’s orders. It also has a relatively well functioning bureaucracy that it can use to keep things going in an emergency.

    I doubt that any other country on earth would be able to do what China did. Can you imagine if corona virus broke out in Dallas or Houston and the US Federal government tried to send the military in to quarantine the city 🙂

    So maybe China did what it did because it could and because it figured the cost of doing less would be greater than the costs that they have incurred.

    Just an idea.

  323. @JMG: Are they willing to take up arms against the state, though? That’s the key question. I think as long as Americans are even moderately safe and mildly comfortable, most of them won’t be willing to actually risk their lives in violent confrontation, regardless of how bad the political situation gets. As long as they have fast food and TV and internet access, they won’t do more than sit in front of a screen and grumble about how corrupt the government is.

    @Oilman2: I don’t think we’re even talking about the same things here. I didn’t even bring up gun confiscation, and I don’t know why you think that gun confiscation would be necessary for the elites to win. Keep the masses complacent enough, and it won’t matter if a fifth of the country is armed, they’re not going to be using those guns for anything but hunting game and shooting at the range. And the modern American population is very complacent.

  324. John – re: “… but the child has to know about reincarnation first. ”

    Ummm, I don’t see that in the cases I’ve read about.

    In the case of James Huston Jr/James Leininger, his nightmares started as he was learning to talk,
    and his parents were Christians, in that hotbed of reincarnationist thought that is the state of Louisiana USA. (joking about that last part!). Reincarnation was the _last_ thing on their minds when James’ nightmares began.

    In other cases, pre-verbal infants manifest phobias related to their previous death, i.e.
    someone who drowned may have a severe phobia of water, someone run over by a bus/truck will fear
    heavy vehicles or any motor vehicle, etc.
    There’s a paper by Dr. Ian Stevenson on that:
    Phobias in Children Who Claim to Remember Previous Lives

    As far as being taught about reincarnation, the better Cases Of the Reincarnation Type
    children remember their deaths, time in the spirit world and often picking their parents.
    No need to teach them, to them it is a real memory.

  325. JMG,

    Fair enough! Although that doesn’t ruin the rest of the election. But judging by my experience of it, the relevant spirits agree with you…they seemed cranky, annoyed at me for treating it differently. A note in my journal says “they could have said Yes, No, OR Maybe in clearer ways. It’s almost like they were mumbling obscenities at me under their breath.” So I put it down and spent the rest of the sunny day outside and with my family. Had a great Saturday.

    David, BTL,

    I appreciate your candor! Your description of your DA experience sounds a lot like my magical training to date. If I could just get out of my own way…but I guess that’s a fairly significant part of what it’s all about, isn’t it?

  326. @Justin Patrick Moore – I can’t thank you enough for the Local Culture Magazine plug, which I’ve subscribed to. Although I had been finding Wendell Berry most congenial, reading the Front Porch taster to the magazine was like discovering that there is a political/social/cultura/economic home for me, and for my yearnings, after wandering like a stranger in a strange land for almost 60 years. I have at least 10 new books on my to-read list now. I am excited. Thank you.

  327. To One Thing

    Thank you for your reply. I think that you are right in what you say about children and it is one thing that really worries me. The backlash of having young people and children undergoing irreversible surgery and regretting it could be tremendous and it would be against the self interest of Trans people. By making the hormones and surgery to easy to get, you may paradoxically make it far more difficult to get in the long term because of the backlash

    There are many children who go through a phase of identifying with the opposite gender and then grow out of it. Some of them will well be transgendered and they need support, but you have to be careful about labelling them at that age as you may set in stone the path they will follow.You have got to give them time and space to find out what they are for themselves. Having irreversible surgery or medical treatment before they reach adult hood is a bad idea. There may be an arguement for hormone blockers for those who are transgendered and suffering from real distress, but only after careful evaluation. This is not something I’ve looked at to closely so I don’t know all the in’s and outs of it.

    All the left are interested in is rights. This overlooks the fact that the most important question someone who is trans faces is not whether they have the right to have surgery and hormones, they already do have that right. The most important question is whether this is the RIGHT thing to do. Feminists say that the personal is political, but when it comes to this question ,the personal really is personal.

    As to your comments about anti trans feminists, there have been a number of feminists who have been consistently hostile and prejudiced against trans people for a long time. This dates back to the Transsexual Empire Witten by Janice Raymond. This was published in the early 1970’s, so this was long before transgendered people had any kind of rights and has nothing to do with the rise of Trans activism in the last 5 years. I have to admit that I do not like these transphobic feminists and have experienced problems with a couple at work.

    The way that the anti trans feminists have approached this subject is very unfortunate as it has helped to set the whole tone of the trans debate. All the bile, anger and patronising ignorance that they have directed at `trans people has now been directed back at them. As you can understand this does not lead to a healthy debate. The anti trans feminists did have some legitimate concerns and if they had adopted a more reasonable attitude and said that we support trans people, but we have some concerns about x or y, then maybe things would not have got so heated. This is a debate that has been led by the extremes. I have always regarded anti trans feminists as the enemy. However the trans activists and the left are now behaving in a way that is self defeating and goes against the interests of transgendered people. This is why identity politics is such a disaster. Its about everything that divides us.

    Much as I dislike anti trans feminists it needs to be said that the situation has now become so mad that I am finding that there are things on which I agree with them. A few years ago I would have thought that it was common sense that rapists should not be housed in women’s prisons. Now I find that I am on the same side as Germaine Greer on this issue.

    By the way Lisa Nandy did say that, look at the you tube video.

  328. Hi JMG,

    Thanks! I might experiment on writing something more outside my comfort zone!

    I have a question about affirmations. I know you have said that negatives won’t work properly with them, that they will have the opposite effect infact, but does a word like “prefer” have that same quality because there is an implied negative? Like “I prefer doing things in person” let’s say (not a real example but trying to work out the principal). I imagine it would be better to just rephrase it entirely positively, like “I love doing things in person”, but I was curious what your take was. I guess I’m trying to figure out how to correct for bad habits without calling them out.

    I was working this morning, for instance, on at least seeing if I could come up with an affirmation for the typing example I gave you, and I think the best way would be to say something like “I know where all the letters on the keyboard are by heart” or somehow stress that and not mention anything to do with “looking at the keyboard”? I’m not quite ready to try this one yet, but I have been working on a list of ones I’d like to try in the future.


  329. “An effective answer to our health care crisis would require cracking down on the monopolistic behavior of big med and big pharma, forcing providers to compete against each other in a free marketplace, and letting supply and demand drive prices down.”
    I beg to differ. A for profit system and competition do not work in emergencies. That why generally fire fighting is not privatized. It remains to be seen how the current pandemic works out in the US but already you have several community infections where the path of infection cannot be established. In Germany we have more confirmed cases but so far the path of infection has always been clear. It should become obvious that a system where a large part of the population cannot afford to see a doctor is furthering the spread of infections.
    Here in Germany most people are insured through federally chartered non profit insurance companies. These have to annually publish the salaries of their CEOs. Currently the top earner makes 324000 Euros annually. Of course doctors and hospitals have ways to make extra profit. But there is a limit because the federally chartered insurance companies get together and set price ceilings for procedures. The most common legal way for doctors to make extra profit seems to be to talk patients into extra procedures that are not paid for by the insurance because the effectiveness has not been established.

  330. Dear Violet,

    Would you light a candle and pray for me? I’ll bet I could feel the warmth and healing from way over here.
    I managed to squeak over to the Asakawa Kompira shrine one more time today and did a long prayer, thanking the Divine for many important things and praying for the safety of Japan, my friends at the shrine and my safe trip back home again.
    I will need their inspiration and will be praying daily. I have decided that it is important for me to tough it out here and just consider it a challenge. EMF sensitivity can produce depression very easily but I am beating that back with prayer and EFT (energy healing technique). And a close friend in Hokkaido who shares my condition (and is a fantastic activist-journalist, Yasuko Kato) is encouraging me to learn more about moxibustion.

  331. Since Jan Tschichold was mentioned, I would like to point out that he wrote standard works about harmonious sizes and proportions for books and page layouts. I don’t know how many of his works are available in English.

    In connection to the post about libraries, I would like to offer the following suggestions for handbooks:

    Cockertell, Douglas: Bookbinding & The Care of Books. Pitman Publishing, ISBN 0273403656.

    Cockerell, S. M.: The Repariring of Books. S. M. Cockerell, 1958.

    Lavender, Kenneth: Book Repair. Second Edition Revised. Neil-Schuman Publishers, Inc. ISBN 9781555707477.

  332. Do you see the explosion of higher education as a fundamental driver of Peter Turchin’s notion of “elite overproduction”. Would you say it began with the ’68er generation across the Western World? They were certainly the most educated generation in Western history and subsequently biggest generation to believe in the values of social permissiveness and cosmopolitanism that affect over-educated people to this day. These values were, in turn, easily translated into economic laissez-faire and globalization.

    A survey of “Hidden Tribes” shows how the most “progressive” and “conservative” segments of the American population (and hence the most polarizing) are simultaneously the most educated (not to mention the whitest)

    Also, highly educated people are more likely to be highly ideological or political hobbyists:

  333. JMG, I’m sonewhat surprised about your comment on ceremonial magic. Wasn’t it the most important discovery of your youth that magic exists for real and can be practiced by ordinary people? I remember that you said in one of the last threads that you still do some magical practises.

  334. @JMG, Tolkienguy

    For many centuries the Steppe nomads kept raiding and wrecking the Civilizations of Asia and even Europe. I suspect that gunpowder really decisively gave the farmers the decisive advantage needed to finally conquer the Steppe.

    Recommend this book:

    That and I believe the Columbian exchange opened up far more farmland to the agriculturalists through the introduction of such crops as potatoes, pumpkins and corn dramatically increasing populations around the world.

    Said surplus population then nibbles away at the steppe as said crops can be grown in a wider range of soil. And gunpowder outmatches the bow and arrow of the horse archers of the steppe.

  335. A question for Oilman if he’s still here regarding guns. I read your long post. As a life-long Democrat (but right now I’m not so sure), Vietnam-era veteran, and gun owner (who sometimes, at rather long intervals, visits the range) I’d like to know how much mental and emotional “space” do you allow guns and thoughts of violence to occupy in your own life? How much for the people with whom you associate? For me that is the big concern with gun ownership, intensive training for self-defense, NRA membership, etc..

  336. Hi John

    Would agree with that.

    French already have military forces in the Sahara and they have always ruthlessly protected their economic and security interests across Africa.

    I could also see France, once the EU de facto or de jure, disintegrates, aligning itself potentially with Russia or pro-Russian states in eastern Europe (Hungary and Czech Republic) or potentially with a Poland led anti-Russian/German bloc of central-eastern European states.

    Much will depend on the relationship between France and Germany which has always been complex to say the least! Germany is probably still the least likely country to go authoritarian given it’s Nazi legacy.

    What I would not under-estimate will be the huge challenge, given the changing demographics within France, of taking on the jihadi Hydra within the French cities. A generation of young Muslims are being brought up to hate the French republic and they are fertile ground for criminals and extremists.

    A final factor that I do think is significant is the growing pan-European links among the “far-right” and populist right-wing parties/movements across the EU. Whilst the AfD are isolated from this tendency given the lingering fear among non-German nationalist movements of the German nationalists, you do see growing connections across west and east Europe.

    The Nationalist International, if you can call it that, is driven by common fear of the twin threats of 1) domestic jihadi/Islamist ideology and 2) the connected threat of mass migrations from overwhelmingly Muslim populations in the coming decades that risk transforming Europe into a Muslim continent.

    I remain a tad more skeptical than you that these nationalist forces (at least in western and central Europe) will go to war against each other rather than unite to take on this perceived existential threat to their respective nation-states.

  337. Simon S, that sounds like a reasonable hypothetical explanation for the situation in China. And who knows, maybe the virus will turn out to be worse than currently suspected in terms of overwhelming health care facilities and long-term complications.


    “While I agree that those in the upper echelons of power have much to gain from keeping the lower classes at each other’s throats, I don’t see that logic in play among the rank and file of the social justice movement. What I see instead are good intentions poisoned by self-interest.”

    “I wonder who your rank and file are. I don’t think the ones I know are poisoned so much by self interest as by propaganda.”

    I wasn’t happy with that sentence when I wrote it, but then I couldn’t think of what else to write instead and I needed to go to bed. I think I could improve it by adding in your sentiment, to say that they are predisposed by self-interest to be poisoned by propaganda. What I mean by this is that there is an uncomfortable cognitive dissonance in the minds of those who are materially wealthy, as we face an age of limits and economic stagnation and also as the arrow of progress still points in the direction of greater equality for all. They want to be told that they can both keep their wealth and contribute to creating a more equitable society, and the propaganda says that’s possible.

    “They have seen some old black and white films of Hitler ranting or heard about some Soviet nonsense, and it seems pretty absurd. But that is from a very different vantage point than the one in which those people at that time were immersed. To them, it was believable, and people in those times and places were not fundamentally inferior human beings. People seem very vulnerable to the same tactics with slightly altered details and off they go to the races. The same melody with different words and they think it’s a new song.”

    I appreciate and agree with that perspective.

    “But again, you speak of human rights. Tell me what demographic, as a group, are being denied rights? Is it not instead that the real issues are being covered up by taking people’s sympathies and playing on them for things such as racism that are not even happening on any meaningful scale?”

    It is interesting to notice the difference between demands for justice coming from actual people of color vs. those coming from white allies. The former tend to be far more practical while the latter are more ideological. The civil rights movement was successful in eliminating most public displays of racism, but bias does still exist and is most impactful during certain private, one-on-one interactions with people in positions of power or authority. Things like job application reviews and interviews, housing applications and dealings with real estate agents, loan applications and meeting with bankers, dealings with police officers during traffic stops, etc. There are still problems in this area and the solutions can be largely practical: certain bad apples need to be fired, and putting more eyes and ears on these interactions (e.g. through body cameras and recorded conversations) can help to add transparency and discipline against bias where necessary.

    “Maybe the income inequality and the structural laws that encourage and allow it is the real problem? This is largely a game of the privileged, you know, and the less privileged, like working class whites, are quickly tiring if being told that they are racists.”

    Definitely, although the SJW crowd uses the racist label on all whites, including themselves. It is becoming common practice in that world to begin a presentation with, e.g. “I acknowledge that I am a white male, and privileged, and racist, and homophobic” before launching into a discussion that is all about the good work they are doing.

    I try to distinguish between social justice work and social justice ideology. Again this is easier to do from the inside than from the outside. It’s a bit analogous to distinguishing between the Christians who are serving meals for the homeless of all colors and creeds, and the Christians who are preaching fire and brimstone against gays and Muslims. It’s too easy for folks outside of Christianity to see the latter as representing the religion.

    Social justice work includes restoring land and culture to Indigenous peoples (through legal means, and not by force). It includes working to ensure that black, inner city schools have good teachers who believe their students can succeed. It includes listening to the experiences of marginalized groups and taking appropriate action, whether that might be better training for police officers, changes in corporate policies, changes to laws, etc. It includes ensuring that more voices have a place at the table when making decisions, so that fewer boardrooms are filled by old white men. I can stand behind all of these things and will do my part to support them at the ballot box and in local politics.

    Social justice ideology says that it is not enough to change how we act; we must also change how we think and how we conceive of our identities. It says we must affirm that due to the unjust historical basis of our society (e.g. slavery, colonialism) that white people are all inherently racist, and that while we can recognize that we cannot overcome it, nor can we ever fully understand the experience of non-whites (or women, or Muslims, or other groups etc.). In this way it effectively defines race as an Important Distinction which can never be overcome, which leads to a prioritization of differences between races vs. similarities, which could tend to exacerbate racism which I think is what you are saying.

    Social justice ideology has many of the other trappings of a dogmatic religion, including belief structures carried beyond their logical limits (e.g. “gender should be mutable” becomes “you are what you say you are, period, end of story, don’t agree? too bad”), distinctions between “Good People” (believers) and “Bad People” (nonbelievers), and increasingly an idea that emotional/mental work (feeling white guilt, believing oneself to be part of the problem, following approved patterns of thought and speech) can substitute for physical work that requires real sacrifice (e.g. leasing property at reasonable rates, paying a living wage to employees, reducing one’s resource footprint, or even taking direct action to reduce inequality).

    As to why this has become a religion with all of the failings of a religion, I have a theory this morning – which could well be wrong. The theory says that the religion of Progress, which has taken the place of spirituality-based religions in the minds of many Americans, is based on two arbitrarily defined axes: technological progress and social progress. Technological progress from stone axes to steam engines to unlimited energy and intergalactic starships, and social progress from slavery to civil rights to harmonious vegan interracial interspecies societies (Coruscant anyone?). As has been the central focus of this blog, the religion of Progress is in deep trouble in part because technology – rather than taking us to the stars – has reached a phase of diminishing returns and impending decline. But social progress, unlike its technological counterpart, is not subject to hard physical limits, and so believers are doubling down and determined to ensure that if they can’t have their starships, they will at least By God Have Their Social Equity and On Their Terms Only and Anyone Who Disagrees is a Backwards Troglodyte Racist Who Must Be Defeated.

    Anyway, thanks for this conversation!

  338. JMG,

    I know you have a lot on your plate. One thing you’d been working on was heathenry related. I know it’s run into a bit of a hurdle. Is there anything at all I could do to help? I’m not well-versed or practiced in things related to heathenry but I’d be glad to do any grunt work.

    Let me know,

  339. JMG,
    You mention that 25th century Meriga would have the capacity to manufacture diesel engines. Probably the part that needs the most precision in manufacture is the injectors.

    I worked with a man, Colin, who had been an apprentice shortly before WWII. At that time the British Navy’s ships were all diesel-driven. The engines were made in Britain but the injectors were made by Siemens in Germany because the British didn’t have the necessary precision manufacturing expertise. Obviously with war approaching this was an undesirable state of affairs.

    The main difficulty was drilling the tiny little holes the diesel sprays through. They have to be very precisely done to get an even spread of very fine droplets all the same size for good combustion.

    Colin’s boss was a noted mechanical engineer and set himself the task of making suitable tiny little drill bits. What he did was take a length of flat bar of appropriate size, heat it up, clamp it in a lathe, and spin it until the end snapped off. The remainder would have the twisty appearance of a drill bit.

    Colin said he watched his boss try this over and over, varying the the type of steel, the heat, the lathe speed etc etc, until finally he produced drill bits that were just right. Whether these were used in production I don’t know, it might be that someone else came up with a better solution, but this is what Colin told me.

    (Just for completeness, when war broke out Colin joined the merchant marine and went deaf when a V2 rocket exploded in the water in Antwerp harbor, so close it buckled the plates of his ship. He went on to become a draughtsman which was how I met him, being also a daughtsman. He was still wearing two hearing aids.)

  340. Ashara,

    Please remember that “change comes from the margins”. Consider the masses a stack of well-seasoned wood, and a highly motivated few the spark that actually sets it aflame.


    Follow the money. Just like the mortgage industry when it started making jumbo loans to anyone that could “fog a mirror”, DC blew a bubble when it started funding student loans. Even before that, the larger institutions were flooded with money from rich foreign students (e.g., China). Prestigious public universities have gotten plenty of criticism for favoring high tuition imports vs. in-state lower tuition residents since those universities were set up to serve the latter.


    Gun owners have zero thoughts about violence towards others. They’re simply prepared to deal with those that would do violence against them or their families. Personally I’m amazed at the people that *aren’t* interested in defending themselves, their loved ones and their property.

  341. Lucas, the death rate from CoVID-19 so far is around 2.3%, concentrated almost entirely among the very old and the already ill. SARS has an 11% death rate and MERS has a 35% death rate. CoVID-19 is extremely transmissible — not surprising, as other viruses in the same family are among the causes of the common cold — but it’s sheer scaremongering to insist that it has a death rate equal to the two latter. I’m sorry to see Chris caught up in that.

    Ashara, here again, I gather you don’t spend much time in flyover country. Until Trump’s economic policies started taking effect, people in middle America were being driven to the wall. I knew guys who blew out their brains with a shotgun because they couldn’t deal with one more day of being permanently out of work and denied any help because after all, white men are all privileged by definition, right? When people become desperate enough, yes, they’ll take up arms against the state, because dying in a firefight with federal troops is better than dying alone at home of suicide or alcohol poisoning or opioid overdose. (And it’s precisely because so many people on the left blinded themselves to the appalling human cost of the global economy, open borders, and the regulatory state that so many people like you don’t realize how close we came to catastrophe.)

    Sunnnv, nah, you misunderstood me. I meant that using reincarnation as an explanation for childhood nightmares is only a good strategy if the child already understands that people are born more than once. If the child remembers a previous life, then that’s taken care of.

    Tripp, maybe it’s just that I don’t have a good relationship with our civil calendar or something, but calendar-based things such as New Year’s day or leap day have never done anything for me. As previously noted, though, your mileage may vary!

    Johnny, where affirmations are concerned, the positive is stronger than the comparative and focus on ends is more effective than focus on means. What I mean by that is that “prefer” is a comparison — you’re including a reference to the thing you don’t want — while “love” is positive, focusing entirely on the thing you want. Similarly, if you want to touch-type quickly and accurately, you could use something like “I touch-type quickly and accurately” — or some other description of the endpoint you want to get to — rather than focusing on knowing the location of the keys, which is a step in the direction you want to go in.

  342. Mark L writes, toward the end of his post on the Social Justice movement: “But social progress, unlike its technological counterpart, is not subject to hard physical limits”–and hence the Social Justice warriors and ideologues.

    I would argue, however, that social progress is also subject to hard limits–just not physical limits, but biological ones. It seems to me inherent in human biology that humans are corruptible: corruption is not a thing that can be eliminated, or even significantly reduced, either by education or by any sort of change in the institutions of society.

    My touchstone here is Lord Acton’s dictum, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Humans, even in infancy, strive to gain power over the world into which they have been born. And it is this very human striving toward power that inevitably corrupts all of us, and thus dooms each and every movement toward justice to its due measure of failure.

    And so I maintain that there is no way to realize the old dream of creating a “new human,” one who would be utterly selfless in service of the common good of humanity. People have often tried to do this over the centuries, but always failed. Human nature itself would seem to be outraged by any such effort.

  343. JMG – When I read that there are hundreds of millions of dollars invested in “pandemic bonds”, my faith in the good faith efforts of the powers that be took another hit. Background: financing pandemic response with bonds, in which investors buy the bond and get their money back (with interest) if no pandemic came along, but the money gets USED to fight a pandemic if necessary, seemed like a good idea. But only now are we faced with the question of exactly what is a pandemic? Hundreds of millions of dollars hang on the exact timing of the declaration of a pandemic. If WHO can hold off on the declaration until June, the investors get their money back.

    Another instance of possibly unexpected consequences is my organization’s policy on COVID-19 absence from work. If you’ve recently returned from a “hot zone”, you’re granted employer-paid “administrative leave” for two weeks of precautionary quarantine. If you develop symptoms within that time, you switch to “sick leave” (paid, but limited). Employees thus have an incentive to not report symptoms as long as possible, so as to conserve their personal sick leave. Any policy that impedes the accurate reporting of health conditions can’t be good.

  344. JMG, on from Lucas’s comment.
    Wasn’t going to do another reply here but just to let you know Chris at Peak Prosperity is doing a mighty fine job. He and his team are providing generally good, balanced information and advice including an understanding that the death rate is hard to pin down (many factors influencing it in different locations) but certainly a fair bit lower than the original SARS.

  345. I don’t mean to sound ageist but I’m a young person who has a bone to pick with the boomer generation.

    JMG I just read your response to Lucas’ question and I had a thought about the Coronovirus striking older people. This is the first time the Baby Boomer Generation faces having its numbers decimated by illness, something all generations preceding boomers had to deal with.

    I think the doomsday dejour of the month is a baby boomer centric phenomenon. Baby boomers fear doomsday because they don’t get to retire comfortably. Every younger generation wants doomsday because it gets the baby boomers out of the way….. It seems baby boomer hate runs a lot deeper than society realizes.

    Like when you look at the recent fads of the younger generations, it’s not baby boomers they are emulating; it’s the fads of the 1910s and 1920s, bastardized but still early 1900s vintage….. Has anyone else noticed that?

  346. @ Phutatorius…RE Gun Thoughts…

    Not very much, in point of fact. As with emergencies – I was raised with preparedness an integral part of my outlook on life. This happens when you are poor in many cases, as you hang on to things in the event of the next stinky thing to hit your doorstep. It is part and parcel of living on the Gulf Coast, where we have hurricanes fairly often.

    When the first Obama gun/ammo threats hit, I bought 2 additional rifles. One was a long range semi-auto and the other was a pistol. My total guns are 5 at this point, and 3 calibers – 2 shotguns, 2 rifles, a pistol. As ammo expense climbed for the rifle, I got a reloader. I have my own range at my farm, and shoot every month to keep my hand in it. My primary use for the distance rifle is hogs, where I have been overrun these last few years at the farm. We don’t even bother to bury them anymore – just drop them for the buzzards and coyotes to enjoy.

    My primary use for the pistol is self protection when traveling industrial areas in Houston, TX. – where several people I know have had their vehicles hijacked at gunpoint, and one friend hospitalized in similar incident.

    I don’t sit about and think of shooting people. Killing men is not something edifying unless you are a psychopath, but it is something that is a part of life or else there would never have been that pesky 7th Commandment. I hate shooting feral dogs. I hate putting down crippled horses. OTH, I think the only good wild hog is a dead one due to the damage they cause my pastures and garden.

    I have what I need, know how to use it, and it’s like any other tool (4-wheeler, tractor, boat, 4WD, etc.). I daydream far more about having a 90 horse tractor with a loader and bat wing mower than I do guns.

    When/if the government causes auto makers to stop manufacturing ICE cars and trucks, what do you think people will do? Why, they will likely go out and buy what is cheaper before they are forced into the higher priced option…similar to what has happened with guns and ammo. Similar to the revival of refurbishing old tractors – because the new ones force the owners to pay the local dealership just to come out and diagnose them when they break down in the field.

    There is a response to things government does, or that corporations do – and it isn’t always what they anticipate, which is people rolling over – BOHICA.

    @ Ashara…
    I apparently didn’t make my point. I think many of the people you assume are complacent are simply watching what government is doing. Nobody wants to form up squads and go a-fighting. But enough of the 1st amendment and 4th Amendment has been eroded that people are growing tired of this type of slow encroachment of liberties. The 2nd Amendment is there for a reason, and that is to allow citizens to protect themselves from whatever is attacking them. That includes over-zealous government edicts enforced at the end of a gun.

    Complacency will end when government goon squads start roaming for targets. For now, people are watching closely to see if it looks like banding together may become necessary. Evidence of this is 2nd Amendment sanctuary movement at the city and county level in many areas. I don’t think those occurrences are indicative of complacency, but rather concerned people trying to hold a position in the face of state and federal Idiocracy in action.

  347. @ JMG RE crazyvirus

    Thank you for putting the number out there in this forum. It only takes a little bit of research to find out how overblown and hyped this thing has been/is.

    I went to the doctor before I left, and zero nurses or doctors were wearing masks. Same thing if you do a drive by of hospitals. It seems these splashing headlines are primarily from doom porn sites and the MSM, from where I sit.

    I would note that our Orange Man is NOT wearing a mask, and is apparently quite unconcerned about being in a venue with 50,000 screaming fans; and all should bear in mind Trump is reported to be a tad ‘germophobic’…

  348. Hi JMG and Forecasting, you discussed about the possibility that France and Germany may militarize and get themselves engaged in the future troubled Eastern Europe. Based on history, which might be the the direction that Britain would take in that context?


  349. JMG, I just heard on the radio that the Coronavirus is in RI. Be careful!

    Having shared that, I recognize that things might be overblown at the moment, but many think better safe than sorry. Yet there is some very silly stuff floating around out there. There are complaints that people are viewing Chinese and other Asians with suspicion, as if they might have the virus just because of their ethnicity.

    Also, sales of Corona Beer are down because, of course, Coronavirus.

    Sheese! Now, I’m going to get Chinese take out and pick up some Corona…beer.

    Joy Marie