Open Post

February 2021 Open Post

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

With that said, have at it!

600 Comments

  1. You frequently mention you’re a moderate Burkian conservative; what books have you read which formed this political stance? Any specific works by Burke himself?

  2. No question at the moment — just want to say how much I enjoy these discussions on both your blogs. I’ve learned alot, both about the occult and about worldviews other than my own. Being able to discuss things without it degenerating into insults, cancelations, or accusations of people being Nazis or communists is very refreshing, especially on the internet these days.

  3. JMG I wonder if you have an opinion on the weakening magnetic field around the earth – which is accelerating. This apparently leaves our planet vulnerable to flares and increased solar radiation. Also, the magnetic poles are moving at an accelerated pace. Some scientists are linking this to a 12,000 year cycle of solar disruption. Apparently we are in the phase for increasing solar sunspot activity now. Your thoughts?

  4. I have seen a lot of chatter on social media lately about bringing back clipper ships for shipping and travel. And not randomly here and there, I mean a lot, in completely different circles. It would appear that this may be another example of an old and viable technology that is on its way to making comeback. Here’s hoping.

    https://ecoclipper.org/

    -Dan Mollo

  5. Sharing this with the commentariat along with a proposal for “hybrid vigor” permaculture reviving the best of traditional European, African and Asian agriculture and agroforestry where appropriate as well:

    https://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/amphtml/USA/Society/2021/0222/Seeds-and-beyond-Native-Americans-embrace-food-sovereignty

    Note the implicit collapse-response theme which the writer grazes over. I should add Australian Aboriginal and Pacific island aquaculture to the wish list of resilient strategies suggested.

  6. We have talked a lot about limits and how limits on your behavior can be a source of power for you.

    So I would like to ask John and the community: If you could set one limit for the global economy to help us deal with our ecological predicament, what would it be? And Why?

    Let me go first: A global speed limit for goods and people of 25 -30 mph (this is an idea from Ivan Illich).
    He recommend that speed limit because is constrains the advantage that mechanized transport has over biological transport. (~10 x the speed of walking) A low speed limit like this, makes the world big again, makes local communities more self sufficient and more different from each other. It directly and indirectly attacks the parts of the economy that is discretionary and high in energy consumption. (No airlines, no traditional cars or trucks, or jet boats, no rocket ships or high speed trains) Its biggest inconveniences would be on the wealthy and the biggest gains would be to the poor.

    It could slow everything down – maybe even the rate of collapse.

  7. conspirituality.I have noticed this tendency for a while but now it has a name.

    https://www.rootsimple.com/2021/01/conspirituality/

    it has, I think, to do with a confluence of lack of imagination (another word for fluid intelligence?) and lack of critical thinking. people who lack imagination, if they come across a concept more imaginative than any they could have come up with themselves and also don’t have the logical tools to dismiss it, will believe it, as long as it doesn’t contradict what they already think.

    bear in mind that I think of “conspiracy theory” as a thought-stopping cliché to dismiss any outside-the-mainstream idea which could validity. at the same time, I don’t deny the existence of conspirituality. as I said, I have noticed it for a while.

    I think Critical Social Justice has the same

  8. Patrick Duncan and I are working on a biography of Zanoni Silverknife. Would you be interested in sharing your memories of her?

  9. All–

    Well, it has been an interesting month in the energy sector, that’s for sure!

    Root cause analysis, here we come
    https://www.euci.com/collapse-of-the-natural-gas-system-from-wellhead-to-turbine-fueled-texas-blackout/?x=55344t242282Sy&utm_campaign=022421_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    Just-in-time fuel has consequences
    https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063725587

    The shape of the future
    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/21/texas-california-climate-change-power-grids-470434

    Not a solution, either
    https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/us-solar-panel-makers-cant-compete-chinese-prices

    Oil & (Natural) Gas go wild
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/natural-gas-prices-soar-amid-freezing-u-s-temperatures-while-oil-hovers-at-jan-2020-highs-11613468256

    A quick review of last week from the perspective of my utility. We’re in WI, not TX, so we weren’t directly hit with the outages, but we sure were hit with the side-effects. Primarily due to the spot price for natural gas going through the roof (~10x normal), we saw wholesale energy prices spike by a similar magnitude. (This is due to the fact that the wholesale market prices are driven by the marginal cost of production and when your marginal production technology is a combined-cycle natural gas generator, well, fuel-cost has an impact.) Our two solid fuel steam turbines ran flat-out for four days straight (burning a mix of coal, petroleum coke, and paper pellets), which helped to offset the astronomical wholesale energy prices we were seeing.

    Rough numbers for comparison: normally, the wholesale cost of power floats around 3-5 cents per kilowatt-hour. We saw prices running as high as 30 to 50 cents per kilowatt-hour. The average over all hours from the 15th to the 18th was over 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is frankly insane.

  10. A few announcements from New Maps, home of fiction that imagines how we live when the oil age comes to a close:

    Story submissions for the April issue should be sent in by March 1. If you have something you’re just putting the finishing touches on, hopefully this gives you time for those last touches — if not, submissions for the July issue are due will be due on June 1.

    If you’d like to contribute a letter to the letters section, those can be sent in any time until March 15. There were some interesting issues raised in the previous issue’s letters, so if you have the issue but haven’t gotten to reading or responding yet, I hope you will! My hope is for the letters section to serve as a place for those interested in deindustrial fiction to write to each other and exchange thoughts, a bit like this comment section. Similarly to this open post, don’t be afraid of being too off-topic — if it’s something related to the deindustrial future, or how to tell stories of it, go ahead and write!

    Submissions and stories can both be sent in through the contact page.

    Finally, a note on shipping: if you’ve ordered from the US in the last few weeks, your copy hasn’t been sent yet, because the first printing ran out quickly, and I’ve been waiting on the second printing. I can now announce they’ll be on their way in the next couple days! And new US orders should ship right away. (International orders go through a different system and take 2-3 weeks; unfortunately there’s not much I can do about that right now.)

    Thanks!

    Nathanael Bonnell
    Editor, New Maps

  11. Hey JMG,

    Thanks for hosting!

    Several things are on my mind these days.
    1. The reports from the commentariat regarding the improvement in astral conditions. It really does appear like the negative muck has discharged with some serious consequences in places like Texas. I can easily see 2021 being the hangover for years of negativity on the astral planes.

    2. The way that official american institutional power has gone anti-populuist on all levels and somehow is even more increasingly unhinged. At the same time, it feels like those state institutions are increasingly unable to control what occurs in the real world. Infrastructure issues, rising real worl inflation and a highly discontented populace with the spectre of severe energy increases headed our way in the next few years.The long decline continues apace. I’m delighted to see JMGs mundane predictions on the US and the Harris/Biden Presidency coming to fruition.

    3. Given the rising rates of tech censorship, a failing power grid, political consolidation and other impositions, it does appear that the large portion of American unmentionables are at the forefront of having to build up localized, resilient communities outside the existing system. I find it enjoyably ironic that the outcasts will be at the forefront of the future.

    Tamanous

  12. JMG – What do you see occurring in US major-party politics in the next decade?

    I believe politics in the USA promise to get stranger and stranger over that period. I see a likely realignment of the major USA political parties. Our parties are weird among the Western Democracies in that they began as 19th century regional parties, Ds in the South and Rs in the North. Only by the Great Depression did we see parties aligning to the modern ideologies of business vs labor, but even now, it was never ever as precise as those same types of parties in Europe and Latin America.

    I am seeing the Rs shedding two of their three big post-war constituencies, Big Biz/Free Traders and Defense Hawks and going all in with Social Conservatives. Since the SocCons are hugely represented in blue collar / middle and lower middle-class, the Rs will become the champions of this broad super majority in the USA. (Especially/only if they can put aside the nastier white-identity portions of the party.)

    The Ds will move even further from the Mike Royko-type party of big-city blue-collar concerns to the party of degree-holding managerial, entrepreneurial, tech and biz concerns of the upper-middle and upper classes. As much as I want 3rd & 4th parties, I just don’t think they will happen since the Rs and Ds currently OWN ballot access at the state level. This means the Ds will become the only game in town for the expelled 2/3s of the old R coalition, which will further separate the Ds from their blue-collar roots. If the Rs are actually able to reach across the great American racial divide (an ENORMOUS if), the Ds will become a permanent, gadfly minority who will only retain their shreds of power due to the anti-democratic tools they currently rail against: Electoral College, Gerrymandering and the filibuster.

    As a man, I am wildly unimpressed with Donald Trump. As Heraclitus said, “Character is destiny.” As a movement, I think Trumpism could become quite beneficial so long as it can suppress the authoritarian and racial impulses of some of its adherents.

  13. I remember reading in your Encyclopedia of Natural magic that a diamond only has magical virtue if it is gifted to you. There are a couple of old family diamond rings in my dad’s safe deposit box that he has no use for. If I inherit them eventually or if I say, “Hey, can I have these rings?” and he agrees, does that count as a gift? Will they still have magical virtue?

    Thanks!

  14. Oh, and also thinking what are going to be the effects to the populace as a result of these “vaccines” which alter human DNA. There have already have been enough stories of people literally dropping dead after receiving the shot, let alone what future studies will say about the long term effects. I can see this being a key destabilizing influence on the future of US “healthcare”.

    Tamanous

  15. I had some thoughts on fitting in which I wrote up.

    What does it mean to fit in? For a certain kind of person who feels like they don’t fit in, fitting in is a scary thing. It is the loss of life, the loss of what makes their thoughts come alive. To fit in, they think, they would have to cut off all the real, living parts of themselves. When you’re like this, you don’t fit in. The systems in the world aren’t built for you, but you fight them, or adapt as you can, to carve a life for yourself preserving the parts of yourself that are you. To fit in, then, is to become a zombie, to step in line to walk amongst the dead. It is to be a nameless cog in a faceless machine.

    The one time in my memory where I did really feel like I fit in, however, fitting in felt nothing like that. Fitting in wasn’t a matter of curbing my individuality, or my quirks. Rather, it was a matter of discovering my individuality and my quirks, which had been suppressed for so long when I hadn’t fit in, because I didn’t have the support needed to become myself. The unique things about me didn’t need to be suppressed so I could be accepted; rather, my unique traits, and those of my friends, complemented one another, and we appreciated each other’s individuality. The reflexive contrarianism of my other days seemed misguided, the thrashings of a confused person. Fitting in didn’t feel like being a cog in a machine at all; rather, the cog-in-the-machine analogy was what my impression of fitting in had been, because at the distance at which I saw other people interact when I thought they were cogs in a machine, it looked like everyone must be void of interiority. Up close, I realized it’s not like that at all.

  16. Hi John! A few questions have been on my mind.

    1) Are energy body maps discovered in the innate field or carved into / dredged out of the innate field, or both? Has there been research comparing many different energy maps? My intuition is that it’s both, in that the raw material has certain patterns that are illuminated AND strengthened by certain maps. Just like how Tai Chi works with the structure of the physical body but also imparts and develops that structure in a particular. It seems like your claim that Qi Gong and Qabalah interact poorly supports this fact. Would this mean that it’s dangerous to receive energy work from multiple disciplines at the same time?

    2) I’ve been delving deeper into astrological symbolism (the Thoth deck has been immensely useful for this), and I was wondering if you know of any polished fiction / myths exploring / explaining the astrological system. Whenever learning a new system like this, I find narrative to be 10000% more useful than any other method (the information density is just massive).

    3) One day I hope to learn a dead language. To learn to think like the ancients, learn to speak their language is my thought. Additionally, I find being able to approach fundamental texts directly immensely attractive. What was your experience learning Latin like? How has it added to your magical practice? Any thoughts between Latin, Greek, and Hebrew?

  17. When you’re doing a magical working (for example, a modified SOP from the DMH meant for a specific intention), is it advisable to also do your daily meditation about themes related to the intention’s working? Of course I meditated on my intention for days before starting the working, but while I do my daily SOP with that intention, I’m wondering whether I can choose a new theme for my daily meditations now that the working is ‘in play’.

  18. Ah one more question, about astrology again:

    Does the symbolism of the signs break in the Southern Hemisphere? Did southern systems have their equivalent of Aries around their spring? The reversal of seasonality seems very problematic.

  19. I was thinking of the social threat of a very powerful mind control cult known as the Science Family, that has persuaded many that it’s far more infallible than the Pope, that claims absolute power to indoctrinate children, to impose tithes to support itself, to claim exclusive intellectual authority over all thinking, to shape public policy without accountability to any but itself.

    I say this as someone who once wanted to be a scientist and studied for it. I’ve come to regard the creationism pseudo debate as a authoritarian power grab which was not only against religious groups but directed against all dissidents within the science community itself, to suppress all opposition to the church of Bureaucratic Scientism.

    They talk freedom while speaking with the voice of privilege. They talk about the infaillible scientific method while concealing the times when they were wrong in a big way, promoting Social Darwinism, forced sterilization and lobotomies. These abuses were ended not by science but by non scientists who organized to stop them.

    I would point out that organized science is the priesthood of modern Liberalism. What is today’s Liberalism but the white supremacy of those who hand diplomas from elite institutions on their walls?

    GMG could you send me a private email for correspondence?

  20. Open post fun!

    John Michael (and everyone else) what are your top 5 or 10 fantasy novels?

    Second If I remember correctly Neptunes Dolphins use to work for the Fed. If that is correct what was your job there? What was it like?

    Lastly for any our of fellow ecosophians in Texas. What did you all experience

    Thanks everybody

  21. I have a somewhat strange question, maybe Tidlösa can say something about it: Might there be an archetype behind the story of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren on the one hand and Greta Thunberg as activist who speaks public criticism against the global elite?

  22. Hello JMG,

    I have done some thinking on the Dweller on the Threshold, and it seems like it can manifest in area of life, not just occultism. From as early on as my teens, I seem to burst through the dweller, take a few baby steps beyond the veil (in whatever area of life I’m focused on), and then fall back to where I was. It’s like an unconscious fear of success is at work. But then it also seems like the threshold gets moved a little further back each time. Like I’ve achieved a certain amount of success, but I can identify quite a few areas of life where I could do so much better with just a little more effort.

    So is this assessment correct at all? It seems like the obvious solution is to train the will and use it to advance through the veil.

  23. Hi, everyone!

    Quick question, where does everyone get their news? I’ve been kind of aimless since the Rice Farmer blog shut down. I’ve been relying on more and more MSM as a result, and I was hoping to expose myself to more independent sources of information. I guess I was spoiled by that blog. LOL

    Thanks in advance!

    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  24. Hi JMG,

    I started reading After Oil 2, and it’s pretty great so far. I look forward to checking out the others in the series. Did you have another writing contest going on or another anthology in the works?

    Also, do you have a favorite story from all of the submissions for the After Oil series, any that have really stuck with you? What’s something that surprised you from reading the submissions? Also, what’s one quality you really like to see in a main character?

    Thanks!
    – RMS

  25. To JMG and the commentariat:

    I’m looking to improve my writing and would like to learn from some good examples.

    What are some examples of good contemporary (or at least 20th century) English prose style you like? For both fiction and non-fiction.

    JMG, I like your non-fiction. It’s very readable, elegant yet straightforward. I generally like your fiction too, but I find that your physical descriptions are a little lacking sometimes; I didn’t know that Trish was Black until the final book for example.

    I haven’t read any of C S Lewis’ Christian apologetics but I found The Discarded Image a very pleasant read for both the content and the writing compared to most academic writing.

    Some people on a forum I used to frequent said his Christian apologetics are some of the best examples of modern English rhetoric.

    Galbraith seems like a pretty good writer as well, for an academic.

    Besides that, among contemporary writers, I find that often people have interesting ideas, but things about their, I’d say “post-modernistic” writing style really bug me.

    Gordon White of Rune Soup and Mencius Moldbug are some examples off the top of my head, but a similar style seems common among some journalists — namely having a lot of self-references to things or memes that they assume their readers are familiar with, and sprawling essays that talk about one topic, ramble off, and bring back the original topic at times.

    I don’t find Jordan Peterson’s ideas particularly interesting, but his book, for all his railing against post-modernism has this same rambly, journalistic style.

    Somehow people who write like this come across a lot more direct over podcasts, I’m not sure if they are putting on a style or simply don’t really edit for flow.

    I’m certainly not the best writer as you can see for yourself, but I guess I have some notion of my own tastes.

    I am curious which writers’ styles you admire.

    Thanks

  26. I’ve never been much of a card player so I never have learned how to shuffle even a normal deck properly. My question is, how do you shuffle a tarot deck without unduly bending or damaging the cards?

  27. JMG,

    I want to start by saying that I generally love your writing. I’ve been following you for several years when I started to really jump into the idea of the collapse back in the mid 2010s.

    I currently have your book and am reading “The Mysteries of Merlin” and I find it to be terrific…but where should I go after I finish the book? Any suggestions for an aspiring mage?

    Finally, and this is a bit more of an observation, but it does seem to me your biases have tainting or clouded some of your analysis in the past year or so. Maybe a bit longer than that? One example would be your post from March of 2020 “An Astrological Interlude: Aries Ingress 2020”. You were wrong with a significant amount of what you said in that post. The radical versus moderate/conservative dem conflict never played out in a way that amounted to anything. Trump didn’t win reelection. There was no major scandal involving dems and foreign money or at least one the public was made aware of which is what matters. About the only thing you were right on was government spending and the parties working together in some capacity but that would have been clear because by mid March the covid-19 situation was becoming clear. That is just one example. I don’t have love for either of the parties and think they’re two sides of the same coin, even with Trump involved. I do think it subtracts a bit from your otherwise fantastic analysis.

  28. Hi JMG and Ecosophians,

    I’m going to be starting a discussion series about Sun Tzu’s The Art of War on my blog kimberlysteele.dreamwidth.org. I’m not a war strategist, but I think it will be a lively and useful book to ponder. I’ll be starting the series on Tuesday the 16th of March 2021 for anyone who is interested.

  29. You know what is reminiscent to the anecdote you mention from time to time when one of the Kennedy’s got stock advice from a shoeshine? For the past year I’ve seen an increased number of this or that thing encouraging people to invest in the market, ads here and there of market that, then there was the WSB thing, which was very entertaining to watch but very painful for some and I’ve increasingly seen on my own social media people treating the market as a Casino with a picture of them showing off their own luck. I think the film of a speculation bubble is getting thinner and thinner and not only that but if people are using their money in the stock market rather than to circulate money in the actual market then the bubble grows at the expense of the economy. Something seems to be moving on the oil scene too, this can’t end well.

  30. Hi JMG,

    As usual, thanks for hosting your blogs – and my apologies if this has been asked before…

    What are your thoughts on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?

    As a writer, do you like the Sherlock Holmes stories?

    As an occultist, real or not-so-real?

  31. Jessi,

    I currently look at the BBC, RT, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi on Substack, UnHerd, Caitlin Johnstone, and the offGuardian which is sometimes off the deep end but has some good perspectives that are missing from the MSM.

    Mark

  32. Two thoughts: 1. Here is a very interesting study regarding the possibility that mRNA vaccines could cause prion disease (“mad cow”).
    https://www.scivisionpub.com/pdfs/covid19-rna-based-vaccines-and-the-risk-of-prion-disease-1503.pdf
    From this study, it looks as though there are two different routes by which that may be possible. Prion disease, BTW does not show up immediately; it can be many years after exposure to whatever causes it before it manifests.
    2.: Obviously, the mundane astrology inaugural prediction seems to be right on target. JMG, could you talk a little about your take on it: what you see as especially interesting in that regard?

  33. JMG,

    Something I’ve been meaning to ask you for some time.

    You have shared your perspective that the Earth is a step on the evolutionary journey of souls, with new souls continuously entering and “graduating”.

    The spiritual teachings coming through my immediate family agree with that, except with the conviction that the Earth is about to “level up”, so to speak, with a large number of souls continuing their evolution here beyond the previous upper limits while a group of less-evolved souls leaves to continue their evolution elsewhere.

    My questions for you are:

    1. Does your philosophy allow for the evolution of entire planets, or are planets more or less permanently assigned to a particular “grade level”?

    2. If yes, do you see a possibility of the Earth following that trajectory in the decades and centuries ahead?

  34. LightBlue,

    I have thoughts on this. I find value in being conscious of the fact that I’m playing a distinct role in social circles, and then you can play games with pushing the boundaries of that role. Fitting in can be nice, but sometimes you get swept up by the role. With my current interest in occultism, I find it unlikely that I’ll ever find a place to fit in perfectly again, where I can “be” the role. I think I’ll be acting all my life. I sometimes model this as being a chameleon. The Glass Bead Game really brought to my awareness the nature of playing a role, granted, I’m only 2/3 through. I have ranted about this idea quite a bit in my journal but I’ll spare you a longer diatribe and cut it off here.

  35. JMG, there is one question I’ve been meaning to ask you: what are your thoughts on the effectiveness of online schooling, and its long-term consequences? I’ve been partaking in it as a substitute to my CEGEP courses, as we’re still in lockdown. From my experience, it feels like a fairly hollow substitute for in-person learning; though not having to take a bus into school is nice, the methods used to distribute coursework and lessons are clunky, and there’s an increased risk of distraction and eye strain. I’d be curious to know whether you think it’ll stick around for long.

  36. Is Dreamwidth down for anyone else? I’ve been trying to access it for the past couple days, and keep getting an error.

  37. Good day,

    Are you familiar at all with the works of Jacob Boehme? If so, could you recommend a good introduction to his writing?

    Thank you.

  38. My first post was more of a JMG question, so I’ll toss another out there to the commentariat and JMG if he wishes to respond. I’ve been thinking about the complete inability of words to describe my internal psyche/soul/state/mind. They best we can do is use our words as a map, which the recipient undoubtedly projects their own meaning onto which leads to misunderstanding. It’s not fun to tell someone something about yourself, or an idea, and then just see them completely misunderstand. Part of the problem is some people identify more to the realm of language/maps, which distances them from the territory. I’m sure we all do this to a certain extent, but some seem to do it to a greater degree. All this leads me to want to communicate in extreme detail, but people don’t seem to have a tolerance for that so I hold myself back. It seems like the territory needs models and maps upon models and maps to adequately to describe, even in this shortish post, I’m tempted to introduce more models/maps and relationships between the models/maps to the explanation. I guess the best we can do is to see the territory as clearly as possible for ourselves, and give it gander when talking to others.

    Will, top 5 fantasy novels in no particular order: Kingkiller Chronicle, Demian, Sabriel trilogy, Chalice, The Owl Service,

  39. Just wanted to post a thank you here for your post last summer on the metaphysics of sex and porn, and a note of encouragement to anyone else currently wrestling with those ideas, as I have been.

    My partner and I split around the time that blog post came out, and this time I decided not to go back to using porn, as I had in previous eras when I was single. Instead I now try to masturbate only to images I make up in my own mind (not always easy, I have to say) or I read something really racy. And I try to time it so that I can follow up with lifting weights and/or a cold shower.

    This is working really well for me. Simply having the framework of ‘there’s a time and a place and a rhythm for that’ makes sex less of a constant in my thoughts. Without the extra fuel of explicit imagery, my sexual appetite has banked down to more of a slow burn with its own internal rhythms, rather than a scorching fire liable to burst out if I accidentally come into contact with ‘hot stuff’.

    And the cold showers are great on so many levels. I always step out of the shower feeling calmer, more refreshed, more energized, and more capable than when I got in. Paired with my new workout habits, all this is making me a more balanced and, incidentally, more attractive guy than I was before.

    So thanks for putting all of that information out there in one place. And to anyone thinking about making this change in your own life, I’d say it’s definitely worthwhile.

  40. RMS (if I may) — after After Oil, Joel Caris picked up the baton for publishing stories, with his fiction quarterly Into the Ruins (2016–2020). When he left that magazine off for other pursuits last year, I picked up that baton, and am now publishing New Maps, which also comes out quarterly.

    The first issue came out last month and the next will be in April — if you happen to have something almost done, you may be able to get it into the April issue (submissions due March 1), but if not, you can shoot for the summer issue (due June 1) or some issue beyond.

    I suppose I should let our host field questions about After Oil submissions! I can try an answer about what I look for in a main character, but it’s a hard question to answer, because there are so many different good ways to write a main character. To me the question seems a bit like, “What’s one quality you like to see in a person?” Well, where do I start? But I suppose one answer is that I’m always impressed when a character feels real and believable, like they could climb up off the page.

  41. What do you think of the new “feature” in the main stream news media where they pull out items from the alternative or right wing press and debunk them. This usually takes the form of, ” 2 million people viewed pictures of Joe Biden sleeping at his desk in the oval office, but it was fabricated.” Or , did Joe Biden say ,” minorities don’t know how to use the internet,” Nope it is totally not true. In the old days the media ignored things that did not fit the official narrative but this proactive picking out of things and saying .”nope”. is something new. For someone like me it raises my antenna and tells me this is something that is probably true and should be paid attention too because they are trying to bury it. In most cases the proof offered is very flimsy and mostly consists of “its false cause we say so.” The most striking one I have seen was the debunking of the video many people watched of Joe Biden in a 35 second blank fugue state during a tv interview ( it was cut out of the official coverage.) The official narrative was that this video was false and consisted of many bits spiced together, but no more evidence of that was offered. I am not trying to dwell on any one of these stories, but find it seems like a new level of desperation on the part of the “official” media to tamp down alternative information.

  42. Greetings, JMG! In your Februrary 3 post you noted: “J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy fiction has become a template for modern politics that is as pervasive these days as it is hopelessly dysfunctional. For decades now, people on all sides of the political landscape have reflexively defined their opposition as Sauron incarnate, and then tried to make some gimmick or other fill the place of throwing the Ring into Mount Doom.”

    I agree that Tolkien has led to a horde of imitators who lose both the notes and the music, and that many people have seen Tolkien primarily as escapist fiction. But I’d argue — and am arguing in a book-in-progress — that Sauron serves as a metaphor for Industrial society. Sauron values order, efficiency and control over everything else. This is in contrast to Morgoth, who is a classic Satanic figure who seeks only to destroy and defoul everything the Valar have created.

    I would also argue that the Shire is an idealized working model of Chesterston/Belloc Distributism. There is a place for every hobbit and each hobbit has his place. There are small landholders like the Baggins family and workers like Sam Gamgee who are respected and loved. It is not entirely accurate — myths rarely are — but I think we might be able to take many steps toward that ideal if we took the Ring of Technofeudalism and the “power” it gives us and threw it into the nearest Mount Doom.

  43. @LightBlue this is an interesting meditation, that is timely for today, as today is “Pink Shirt Day” in the BC school system.

    I don’t know how widespread this thing is, so for those who are fortunate enough not to experience, allow me to share my grump today! See, Pink Shirt Day is “anti-bullying awareness day” – and all the children are excoriated to wear pink. And if you are in a corporate workplace, and there are people of a certain type there, it is probably creeping in as an expectation, there, too.

    It started, supposedly, because a boy one day wore his favourite colour, pink, to school, and was bullied for it. So then the family went to the papers, and people decided to wear pink in solidarity with the boy. Okay.

    So then the boy and his family went big with it, and got a public campaign for a day to be aware that bullying is bad, m’kay (Mr. Mackey from Southpark reference intended).

    So now, starting at the beginning of the school year, all families are reminded that this day exists, and we must all have our pink ready for our children on this day. And leading up to the day, we get many emails reminding us of this day, because there will be a pink pride parade, and the kids have like a mardi gras parade with loud music and noisemakers through the school to show! How! Pink! They! Are! Or something something…not bullying? Something?

    And hey, if you weren’t into shopping online to get your pink boy’s shirt (because good luck finding one in stores – there are only three approved colours for each gender. And we don’t expect the boys to wear girls shirts, oh good heavens…!) there is a handy link on the school website where you can buy your specially made Pink Shirt Day shirt (baseball caps now available)!

    For reasons I probably don’t need to spell out for Ecosophians (but gladly will for anyone unwary enough to ask me on Pink Shirt Day why I’m not wearing a pink shirt), I find this entire exercise so utterly lacking in awareness that if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry and never stop. I told a friend about it who was relentlessly bullied in school, and her response was “I’ll improve your female bullying issues in school – I’ll just cull out the girls whose families clearly put the most intensive work into being the pinkest sparkliest most dazzling example of Awareness.” You can find them, of course, by looking for the fawning circle of adults – complete with moms doing last minute touch ups of the pink hair gel – praising their Spirit before the festivities begin.

    The first year my oldest was at school, he actually had a shirt he could have worn, but he has several sensory sensitivities – he’s a super taster, has issues with clothing textures and tightness, and noise…oh boy. But he’s not autistic, and -at the time – had no other Officially Sanctioned diagnostic labels, so he refused to wear the one he had, as it had a scratchy collar, and I obviously didn’t care to force him. So then when they went screaming past him during the Parade! of! Anti-Bullying! Pride! he had a fit and hid under the tables and wouldn’t come out and I had to come to the school where he had been sent to the office for disruption. He is in Grade 2 now, and so he’s getting better at predicting when unwanted sensory things will happen, and so generally not freaking out – and of course, now so desperately wants to fit in. So today, he wore the two shirts he could find that had pink on them (the Star Wars lettering shades to pink). And then he wore them backwards so that the pink would be in front – it was an impressive feat of zippering. Today, I suspect he’ll join the group of boys jostling to be the loudest, most unruly child in the parade, and I will still get a call to the office. I can’t wait, I haven’t had a good laugh in just ages…

    But wait, it gets funnier, because Orange Shirt Day (residential schools were bad, m’kay) and Black Shirt Day (racism is bad, m’kay) are also now things, based on this spectacularly successful model of getting people to wear the same colour shirt on a specific day –

    –I mean, getting people to be aware that other people have different needs; likes; and social, religious and familial expectations of dress and behaviour, and to cease interpersonal social punitive behaviours against people for harmless nonconformity with arbitrary shifting social scripts or cross-cultural cues and allow others to live and let live —

    So get your shirts now! You can buy from the link where some proceeds go to some non-profit or other that Fights The Bad Thing (now with bandanas!).

  44. In this week’s Magic Monday, I asked about a Templar Sphere of Protection ritual, and you gave correspondences from an existing version for the six outer directions. What does this version use in the opening cross, and for Spirit Within?

    Thanks.

  45. Top 5 fantasy (I’ll cheat by listing trilogies/series, and including the grey area between fantasy and scifi that is my favorite domain):

    1. Octavia Butler: Xenogenesis
    2. Roger Zelazny: Chronicles of Amber (nostalgic favorite)
    3. Ursula LeGuin: The Left Hand of Darkness
    4. Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast Trilogy
    5. Sheri S. Tepper: Jinian books

    This list is just a snapshot of what I think right now, I’m probably leaving out very important books.

  46. “Can you tell me Pittsburgh’s chances? Or Philadelphia? I can’t live in a rural area. I can’t drive.”

    Chances for what?

  47. @phutatorius The overhand shuffle is by far the easiest on cards, you can find explanations online. Avoid the riffle shuffle – that’s the showy one that interleave a split pack – you’ll damage the cards until you get the hang of it.

    @JMG, a little personal news, I finally managed to erect a chart! The Parker book made a great deal of sense and I was able to short circuit some of their instructions using some code I wrote to calculate Julian Day and Sidereal Time. I’ve also worked out how to use the Swiss Ephemeris and discovered that there are versions out there in a more modern form that I can incorporate into my own efforts. I get results that are out by around a degree compared with free online charts but I hope it is close enough for mundane purposes. It’s possible that the answers I’m getting are actually more accurate. A couple of slightly tricky areas have suddenly opened up to me recently – I suspect partly because it’s time, and partly as the result of an experiment I hope to be writing about elsewhere in the near future. Looking forward to the next instalment!

    @Everyone. I commented earlier that I would be taking the vaccine when offered and for the record that happened just over 24 hours ago. It was the Pfizer mRNA one, not my 1st choice but that was the one that was available. Today I’ve had soreness, mild fever, and an inevitable sore arm. The needles are very sharp and you can scarcely feel them but the injection is intramuscular so they have to be quite sturdy. They actually look like drainpipes when you are up close and personal. I’m feeling a lot better this evening and I hope that that’s it for the short term effects. As for the long term, I consign them to the future although if there is anything untoward worth mentioning I’ll try and report it here.

  48. Gavin, The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk was important in forming my opinions on political issues.

    Kimari, thank you.

    Moflora, the Earth’s magnetic field has collapsed quite often during the planet’s long history, and our species has already lived through several such collapses — there was one 42,000 years ago, for example. There’s currently a lot of apocalpytic rhetoric around that event, as you’d expect, but we’re still here. If it happens in our lifetimes, staying out of direct sunlight will be wise, and there’s some evidence linking magnetic field collapses with sudden climate cooling, so being prepared for unexpected changes in local climate and potential food shortages is also a good idea.

    Dan, that’s really good to hear. Once we’re out of fossil fuels, that’s going to be the only source of effective long distance transport we’ll have left…

    Malleus, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Skyrider, I’d pick a hard limit on energy use per person, which would include indirect as well as direct energy use. You can spend your energy allotment however you want — if you want to fly to Mazatlan, fine, but that means giving up your car and doing without a lot of imported products. Energy per capita is to my mind the single most important metric tracking our predicament.

    Ryou50, nobody knows. My guess is that Pittsburgh will do better than Philadelphia, but it’s just a guess.

    Ria23, I think there’s more to it than that. Gregory Bateson pointed out that schizoid thinking is a product of double-binds — situations in which a person is repeatedly told something about reality that is flatly contradicted by the person’s own experience, and punished for mentioning the discrepancy. We’ve got a vast array of double-binds in the US these days, and that’s driven a lot of conspiratorial obsessions on all sides of the political spectrum; you’re correct, of course, that the logic of the social justice movement is just as paranoiac as that of QAnon. Both are attempts to force the world into a simple narrative — which again, is central to the schizophrenic mind.

    Tabitha, I’m delighted to hear this! I’ll email you as time permits. Have you contacted the Odd Fellows lodge in Ballard? There are probably still a fair number of longtime members who recall her.

    David BTL, many thanks for this.

    Nathanael, delighted to hear all of this.

    CS2, do you want a conversational knowledge or a reading knowledge?

    Tamanous, I’m watching all of those trends closely as well.

    KevPilot, that’s certainly possible. To my mind it’s still an open question whether the United States will survive as a coherent political entity, and if it balkanizes, the parties that emerge in the new regional nations will likely have very little to do with the current set.

    Jen, yes. The important thing is that no money change hands.

    Tamanous, well, we’ll see. It’s bad strategy to assume that you know in advance how an unknown will turn out.

    LightBlue, thanks for this.

    Jake, (1) it seems to be a mix. The energy body does have its own structure, but just as the material body changes in response to different kinds of exercise and nutrition, the energy body adapts to the practices used with it. It can be dangerous to work with multiple energy-body disciplines at the same time, which is why so many of the old occult texts advise against it. (2) I’m sorry to say I don’t know of one. (3) Learning Latin involves learning how to think clearly — it’s a very exact language, as compared to English, which is a sloppy mess that encourages sloppy thinking. I found it very beneficial for that reason. As I don’t have a working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, I can’t answer the second half of that question.

    Anonymous, it can be helpful but it’s not essential.

    Jake, you’d have to discuss that with an astrologer in the southern hemisphere.

    MonSeulDesir, there’s a fine old English word you might find useful in this context: “clerisy.” A clerisy is any group of intellectuals, secular or religious, that functions as an organized body. The clerisy of modern science is a fine example, and yes, it’s subject to exactly the same downsides as every other clerisy in history. As for my email address, I don’t give that out lightly. What did you have in mind?

    Will O., in no particular order: The Well at the World’s End by William Morris, Little, Big by John Crowley, The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.L. Lovecraft. (He really has been neglected as a pioneering fantasist.) Next week, however, the list may be different…

    Booklover, I’m going to leave that for my Scandinavian readers to speculate about, as I never read the Pippi books.

    Youngelephant, or maybe two steps forward and one step back is simply the way you proceed in this particular incarnation.

    Jessi Thompson, I like comparing ZeroHedge with Naked Capitalism, and then comparing BBC with RT. The quarrels are entertaining.

    RMS, the last contest I tried didn’t get enough entries to make a book, so I don’t expect to do any more; fortunately there’s New Maps, which is always eager for new stories. No, I don’t really have a favorite story or any particular surprises. The thing I want to see in a main character is a meaningful inner life — there’s nothing more dull than the kind of character who just lurches through an adventure without ever stopping to think or reflect about it (though of course that can also be overdone).

    Alvin, for prose style I appreciate Somerset Maugham and the fantasist John Crowley. Yes, I know my descriptions tend to be spare — I’ve been reading Proust of late to work on that.

    Phutatorius, you’d have to get someone to show you. I have no idea how to describe it.

    Sam, whenever somebody starts out saying “I love your writing” I roll my eyes, because that pretty reliably means that they’re about to start denouncing me for something or other. If you’ll take the time to look up the planetary aspects and positions I referenced in the post you’re so upset about, you can find exactly why I made the predictions I did. Astrology is an art rather than a science, and the kind of mundane astrology I’m doing has had almost no work done on it in almost a century; I’m having to reinvent a lot of it as I go, and yes, that means that not all my predictions are accurate. Compare them to the predictions by pollsters and the mainstream media sometime and see how they measure up! As for the Merlin book, did you think to check the bibliography?

    Augusto, I’ve been watching exactly the same thing. We may be in the opening stages of a really big speculative bubble, which will be followed by definition by a really big crash. If things continue along the same lines, I’ll be discussing that in a post.

    Drhooves, I love the Sherlock Holmes stories. Conan Doyle himself — well, he wasn’t Sherlock Holmes; he fell for the Cottingley Fairies hoax, for example. I don’t find his spiritualist writings useful.

    Lydia, (1) well, we’ll see. (2) I have no particular conclusions as yet — I’m just waiting to see how the rest of it plays out.

    Mark L, the occult traditions I follow specifically reject the idea that an entire planet can “level up.” Earth is what it is because it’s a necessary stage in the evolution of certain swarms of souls, and if you want to experience something better, why, the disciplines of spiritual practice are readily available to you. The planet is not going to do the work for you — you have to do it yourself.

    Ethan, I have no idea. I’ve never taken an online class, and don’t expect ever to do so.

    Anonymous, it certainly still works just fine for me — I posted something to my journal yesterday.

    Grand Seigneur, I’ve read about Boehme in a variety of places, but his style of Christian alchemical mysticism isn’t really my cup of tea so I’ve never really gotten into his work.

    Youngelephant, that’s not just true of inner states. Try actually describing anything exactly as it is, and you’ll discover just how crude an instrument human language is.

    Varun, it’s always just been books for me. The rate at which information comes via radio or podcasts is way too slow for my tastes.

    Unknown, I’m delighted to hear this!

    Clay, it’s stunningly counterproductive. All they’re doing is making sure that everyone is aware of whatever piece of information they want to suppress.

    Kenaz, good to hear from you! I certainly won’t argue with either of your claims — Tolkien was a keen and acerbic critic of his times, and I would be amazed if he wasn’t influenced by the ChesterBelloc, that strange but always readable two-headed beast. My point, though, is that you can’t get rid of industrial society by throwing a ring into a volcano. Sure, it would be lovely if that was all it took, but the endless attempts to enact that in practice have failed consistently. There is no One Ring in which all the nastiness of (insert what you don’t like here) is concentrated, there is no Mount Doom whose lava will consume it all without a trace, and so — crucially — there is no Tolkienian eucatastrophe that will fix everything. That’s where Tolkien’s imaginative construction has become a dreadful burden in the contemporary political world.

    Alexander, in that specific tradition the standard Cabalistic Cross is used for the opening gesture, and the correspondence for Spirit Within is the Christos or Christ-spirit, seen as residing in the heart of the individual. (There’s a strong Gnostic element in the tradition.)

    Adwelly, delighted to hear it.

  49. Jon

    You have indicated in the past that you believed that economic dislocation issues were the primary motivation behind most Trump supporters. However, I think its clear now that white grievance, white nationalism and white supremacy are a large part of what motivates Trump supporters.

    My question is – Do you believe it is possible to have a functional multicultural, multiracial democracy in the US? If not, what are the alternatives?

    Thank you

  50. CS2,

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been using DuoLingo.com to learn Irish (and Scots Gaelic). They have Welsh on there as well.

  51. Hi John Michael,
    Any news from the Great Cell Salt Experiment? I’ve continued following the protocol and presume that, once begun, it can safely be continued indefinitely. It feels beneficial to me, though subtle, and I’ve enjoyed incorporating it into my daily practices. Hope you plan to write more about it at some point.
    Thanks for hosting this Open Post!
    Jim

  52. Youngelephant: “I’ve been thinking about the complete inability of words to describe my internal psyche/soul/state/mind.”

    That’s why we have the arts, but of course they can only express so much. (The arts are also easily perverted by the people and groups with terrible intentions.) I feel the heaviness of this predicament every time I write a song. The barrier between the plane of imagination and the meat plane is a dense one.

  53. JMG: “Learning Latin involves learning how to think clearly — it’s a very exact language, as compared to English, which is a sloppy mess that encourages sloppy thinking. I found it very beneficial for that reason.”

    Ha! See, when I learned English, I found it to be an extremely precise language, far less sloppy than my native Serbian. 😛 Now I think it had nothing to do with English as such, but simply with the fact that it was foreign (to me).

    First of all, written communication is more precise than the spoken kind (and after all, you were – presumably – reading Latin masters, not the Roman equivalent of Twitter, whatever that may have been). And when learning a foreign language (and even more so, a dead language), you’re likely to rely on writing more than on speech.

    Second of all, you cannot really afford to be sloppy in a foreign language and still expect to make sense. If you’re sloppy in your native language, other native speakers will still understand you (probably), because you’re likely to be sloppy in ways that they’re used to. A comparably sloppy non-native speaker can quickly make himself utterly incomprehensible. 🙂 So, as you learn to use a foreign language, you somehow get the feeling it’s more precise than your native language, when in fact, *you* are the one being more precise, not the language. That’s my theory anyway. 🙂

  54. my top 10 favorite fantasy books:

    alice in wonderland

    through the looking glass

    the wind in the willows

    a wizard of earthsea

    a wrinkle in time

    the last unicorn

    the hobbit

    little, big

    jonathan strange & mr norrell

  55. Hi JMG,
    No question though I had a few this morning. Guess they moved on to other realms. Maybe they will pop back to me in an hour or two. I did want to share what I have been finding as I dive into online occult archives.

    To keep track for myself and spread awareness, this morning I posted a list of online archives of old occult texts to my blog. Some resources are expected (Google Books), some you have shared in the past (IAPSOP). Other resources are just plain intriguing. Like the National Library of Wales digital gallery!

    For example, Medieval Astronomy:
    https://www.library.wales/discover/digital-gallery/manuscripts/the-middle-ages/medieval-astronomy

    I ran into something similar for Norway a while back. Though the link is gone from my records for now.

    Time to learn Latin and discover more treasures. Got my Wheelock’s Latin ready to go!

  56. Hello JMG!

    I’ve been following your writings for many years now, and one of the things it helped me cultivate was to look honestly at the other side of the political mirror, so to speak.

    As someone that leans left, I’ve been challenged by your point of view, and would like to know what you see as necessary changes that could help the left deal with the challenges of our time (besides those everyone has to cope with, like getting rid of the mythology of progress as a road map, etc).

    Thank you for being open to these questions!

  57. @Mr. House

    For survival and weathering our decline. I don’t envy the west coast at all. I love (and need to live) living in the city though I wouldn’t want to live in a west coast city.

  58. Dear JMG,

    Re: Welsh, I want reading knowledge, preferably with grammar explanations in English. I plan to hire a tutor for conversation practice.

  59. I’ve recently decided to try to downshift my life. I’m building emergency preparations, but I also figure that to a rough approximation things will stop being available in roughly the same order they became widely available. With this in mind, while I’m building my preparations to function without power and water for a while, I’m also getting started on downshifting my regular, everyday life. My first target is going to be the material culture of the 1980s, since this is the most recent period of time for which I can find a book on daily life: Decades of Discontent, which covers 1960-1990.

    What struck me as I read the chapters of the book on the 1980s, and especially as I followed up on the clues in the book, was just how hard the wave of Catabolic Collapse of that time was. Compared to the 1980s, it looks like there are only two real novelties in daily life now: the internet, and cell phones. The first one has merely replaced numerous goods and services widely available until it took over: newspapers, libraries, encyclopedias, and the like. Cell phones, meanwhile, have partially replaced landlines, but do so in a far more intrusive, disruptive, toxic way.

    Meanwhile, scores of goods and services taken for granted in the 1970s vanished in the 1980s: there were massive cuts to funding for the arts, public transit, libraries, and plenty of other things which provided services to people; local news entered a catastrophic decline it still hasn’t recovered from; train routes between cities were gutted; millions in the working class were thrown into poverty as their jobs vanished, and those who kept their jobs found they had become vastly more precarious; infrastructure spending was cut, such that even basic maintenance on some of it began to stop, and the list goes on.

    The most incredible part is that so many people, both during the era, and writing about it later, seek to argue all of the evidence of decline is actually proof of progress. No wonder so many people have talked about a mental breakdown in the 1980s…..

  60. Nathanael Bonnell – Thanks so much for letting me know about Into the Ruins and New Maps! I’ll aim for June. 🙂 Also, absolutely agree! I don’t want to read about a character that doesn’t seem real either (or an environment that doesn’t seem likely either). There is something about getting the details just right to make them come alive – their flaws, quirks, how they talk, thoughts and actions that make sense, defining physical features, their personality, their goals and motivations, the way they see the world. We can relate to them more that way maybe.

    JMG – More time to work on other things I’m sure. I appreciate that you lit the torch that could be passed on. A good balance between introspection and action makes for a good life as well as a good book, I agree.

  61. I think it would be quite big also, though I don’t know enough about historical trends and economic cycles to tell but since things spread way faster today than before, say, 1929 –people can buy stocks with a click (and machines can do so faster than that with the whole automated trading thing) and things are more centralized– a shock could have devastating consequences. I am reminded of a few quotes from The Great Crash 1929 . “This reluctance to concede that the end has come [or is near for that matter] is also in accordance with the classic pattern.” Denial seems to be one of the classic factors when something is about to happen, and that usually manifests itself in mindless enthusiasm on the media and the likes and I am already starting to see, in the established websites of Wall Street dwellers something like that as well as some attempts at sounding profound, which takes me to the next quote: “Economists, when they seek to be profound, often succeed only in being wrong.”

    That said, is it okay to let your readers know that I will be offering free Tarot readings on my dreamwidth journal? After doing some readings for friends who found it helpful I figured it could help some people navigate some situations. I haven’t decided the cadence yet, for now I will be doing them over the last week of every month starting on Tuesday.

  62. Greetings from Texas where last week’s near failure of the electric grid was a real-time experience in tumbling down a stair or two of the collapse process. 21st century Americans froze to death in the dark, and in more than a few cases they literally, not figuratively, froze to death. Already we are being warned of likely blackouts in the peak-usage summer months due to an inability of electric generating capacity to meet expected demand, but 95 and humid won’t kill you as quickly as 15 and snowing.

    Burning scraps of wood in the fireplace is, I realize, a lower level of complexity that central heating, but I was hoping for some intermediate stages. The rapidity of the cascading failures was enlightening: electric failures caused natural gas pipeline failures which in turn caused more electric failures all of which caused pipes to freeze and burst leading to water system failures. Breathtaking.

  63. @Light Blue – thank you for this! I’ve had excellent results every time I’ve said “Nuts to that; I’m going with what suits me!” and yet, each time, it scares me and triggers ancient fears of rejection. Which (attn: JMG) I am working on with some success. It’s actually easier in an old folks’ home, where there is such a wide variety of people from all different backgrounds, beliefs,etc.

  64. @JMG I love your writing and you won’t need to roll your eyes at my following comments. Yours is a voice of sanity for socio-politico-economic commentary, particularly in how it ties everything together from a historical perspective. But most importantly for me, are your explanations and teachings regarding the occult. You have answered so many of my questions over the past several years. Thank you for your meaningful and generous work.

  65. Brilliant! I have been waiting to address a question to Robert Mathiessen, if I may…

    Robert, I have seen you make several mentions of the different traditional ways of assigning elements to compass points. This pricked my ears up, because I had been doing readings in Greek traditional medicine, which revolves around the four humours, and, to make a very long story short, the wheel of the year was suddenly making sense to me in terms of the relationship of the four humours, but only IF I transposed the west/water north/earth assignments that I am familiar with through using the SOP, to a west/earth and north/water assignment. The 4 humours arrangement seemed to flow nicely, whereas the SOP one seemed to jump all over the place.

    Then, in the latest Magic Monday, you said this:
    “Then try assigning the classic four elements to the four compass points. There are two really ancient ways of doing this, the celestial (or astrological) and the terrestrial (or alchemical). The terrestrial way puts fire in the south and water in the north; earth therefore is in the west and air in the east. You ascend the ladder of the elements by moving clockwise around the circle; you descend that ladder by moving counterclockwise. In the celestial way water and earth trade places, which causes part of the circumference to cross over itself as the elements move….Superimpose the terrestrial and celestial patterns, one on the other, and you will get a circle with a cross, which is a very, very ancient cosmogram known from all over the world…”

    Which was a “wow” for me. The superimposition of the two “flows” – one as a circle and one as a crossed over pattern is fascinating. And so is the fact that one of these (the one that seems to work well with the Greek medical humours) is “terrestrial/alchemical”, whereas the SOP one is “celestial/astrological”.

    And now I have spent days on my search engine trying to find older medieval material (in English, which may be my main difficulty?) on the terrestrial vs celestial or alchemical vs astrological compass assignments for the elements, but I do not seem to be composing my searches very well – at least very, very little is coming through.

    So, I am wondering if you could point me in a useful direction for chasing this compass point, element assignment thing, and what different rationales were used in setting them up.

    Also, is the cross in the circle result of superimposing them something that was known and discussed at the time, or is it something you discovered for yourself.

    Thanks a million for putting this intriguing bit of knowledge out there!

  66. On Johnny Appleseed’s America:

    Hey everybody, don’t forget March 11 is one of two Johnny Appleseed days in the US of A!

    And for those who have been following along with the cider brew bubbling up around “Johnny Appleseed’s America” (see https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/111698.html )
    One of the things JMG proposed in that post was that “there are plenty of other glorious American visionaries and eccentrics who have followed their own star, turned their back on the conventional wisdom, and done strange and splendid things. Choose one, or more. Learn about them. Make room in your schedule to read a biography or two. Bring into your life something that they created, or that echoes their work in some way. Let that replace at least a little of the conformist babble of the corporate media in your life.”

    As part of my writing this year I’ve taken to whipping up some a short bios and overviews of the lives of an American Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Eccentrics whom I’ve found inspiring, or am more recently discovered and have inspired me anew.

    I’ve written three such short form essays so far on:

    The Iconoclastic Shenanigans of Henry Flynt
    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/the-iconoclastic-shenanigans-of-henry-flynt

    The Long Memory of U. Utah Phillips:
    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/the-long-memory-of-u-utah-phillips

    Peace Pilgrim: The Great American Mystic Walker
    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/on-a-pilgrimage-with-peace

    I hope others here are finding and discovering the many other great American eccentrics who lived life their own way, and are getting inspired. I’d be curious to hear about who you are studying, what bios you are reading etc.

    Respect to everyone out there who is following the road of their dreams.

  67. Question for JMG from Weird of Hali: When Justin Martense moved to Arkham, how did me earn his living? Because, while there was money in the family, the rapidly tanking economy would have played havoc with that. Does he now own the Keziah Mason, or help sail her, with Rose and Arthur back in the mountains now? His allergy to sunlight precludes farming, or even a lot of gardening. Jenny lives with him, so X amount of credit for that. After-school informal day care should count for something, and Belinda’s work with the Deep Ones – and she mentioned goldsmithing – should help. His and Belinda’s love for children is a great asset to the community.

  68. Dear @Jake

    I’d love to share my experience with 2 out of the 3 lingos you’re thinking about.
    While I have 0 experience with Hebrew, ancient or modern, I think that would be a fun one. Since they are not Indo-European but rather Afro-Asiatic, any of the Semitic languages would be fascinating if for no other reason than just how different they will be for us English speakers.

    Just as JMG said, Latin calls for very precise thinking. Many SOV (subject-object-verb order) languages are highly articulated. The nouns have specific endings that dictate their part of speech. Depending on whether a noun is the subject, object, direct object, subject of a preposition, or poetically invoked (O Captain, My Captain….) there will be a clear and predictable ending for that word in Latin. In other words, word order almost doesn’t matter. We just hold all of this in suspension until we get to the verb at the end, and behold, all is revealed. Many other languages work like that too: German, Russian and Greek (more on this later) are similar. Though in German the articles (the, a) are what change, not the nouns. The good thing about Latin is that not only will it give you insight into English vocabulary and even some grammar but it will give you profound insight into all Romance languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Catalan, etc. The whole reason these languages developed was because Latin grammar was just too hard for simple Barbarians (like my ancient family) and they dropped the noun declensions (specific endings for parts of speech) for a simple SVO (subject-verb-object) structure. All nouns used the nominative (the ending reserved for the sentence subject) regardless of who does what to whom in the sentence, pop the verb in the middle and Bob’s your uncle! This SOV vs SVO order also accounts for humor and senses of humor. This is why most English speakers don’t think German speakers are very funny. They’re actually hilarious. It is that German doesn’t permit the “last minute reveal” that is the staple of so much humor in English. So they have to say things that are actually clever. As far as books go, you could lay your mitts on a very cheap intro book called “Latin Made Simple” from the Doubleday Made Simple collection.

    Ancient Greek was actually my first foreign language and Latin was my second. The teacher told us we were studying Doric Greek but I think it was actually Koine Greek, which was the common hybrid spoken in the ancient world. Just as with Latin, studying Greek will dramatically improve your English vocabulary. An interesting thing with Greek is there is nowhere the kind of grammatical differences between modern and ancient that you see with Latin and, say, Italian. Yes, they are very different but just not like that. There is an unbroken continuum between them. My guess is that since Greece got out of the empire business earlier, they had fewer Barbarians to teach the lingo to, so fewer semi-fluent speakers forced it into pidgins and mixtures. With Greek, like with Hebrew, you’ll get to learn a new alphabet, which is much easier that it looks. With Greek, you’ll also get a head start on the Cyrillic alphabet used in most of the Slavic languages. If you think Latin is precise, wait till you get of load of Ancient Greek. There’s a reason we use the term Laconic to describe a man (or woman) few words: Laconia was a province neighboring the city state of Sparta. Because of the incredible economy of Greek, Spartans could express so much more content in so many fewer words, the entire ancient world noticed. And us moderns still refer to it even if we don’t remember why.

  69. “Earth is what it is because it’s a necessary stage in the evolution of certain swarms of souls”
    Does this mean that the earth does not have a soul that has its own course of development? Is Gaia just providing the stage for the development of these swarms of souls? Then if it has a soul it would be dependent on a more enlightened species to come on stage? Or is homo sapiens not that relevant to Gaia’s path of development? Sorry if I sound confused – I am confused.

  70. @JMG

    What’s your thoughts on why the Late Classical Era had the cultural climate of Biophobia to led to cults like Manicheanism?

    What went wrong?

  71. Hi JMG,

    I’m wondering if you can sketch out exactly why Carl Jung is so actively avoided in academic and popular intellectual settings. It is puzzling to me because many of his ideas such as archetypes and the collective unconscious seem to be more or less widely accepted, while at the same time I have heard people in the academic world say that association with his ideas is career death.

    Is it because his ideas inevitably lead people into a confrontation with subtle planes, which you just can’t talk about in polite company, or what?

  72. I’ve been working on a “collapse now and avoid the rush” project in
    relation to this blog.

    JMG, you’ve mentioned the possibility of a paper newsletter
    post-internet, but it seems like, collapse being a ragged process, there
    will be a long period of intermittent, inconsistent internet access
    before the lights go out for good. I’ve been playing with an older
    technology that could help bridge that gap.

    Briefly: newsgroups (a.k.a netnews or UseNet) are a simpler, robust and
    distributed way to have conversations on the internet. You use
    ‘newsreader’ software to reach your local ‘news server’ to read and post
    ‘articles’ (newsgroup parlance for posts and comments) in groups of your
    choice, knowing that your server will connect to other servers around
    the world to share articles with one another.

    I was able write some code that takes posts and comments from *any*
    wordpress site and convert them into articles in a newsgroup, and I’ve
    been reading this site on my own private news server for a few weeks.

    Like a lot of older tech, I find I like it better. Highlights:

    * I can read and respond offline, uploading my comments and downloading
    new ones when I have a connection.

    * The same is true for the servers — if they can connect to one
    another occasionally and briefly, the articles will get around.

    * My newsreader keeps track of what comments I’ve already read, and I
    can choose to view just the unread comments, or just hit the TAB key to
    jump to the first one. I’m even catching late comments in old threads
    that I otherwise would have missed.

    * Articles appear as plain text, emoji show properly, links and images
    appear as clickable links that I can pop up in my browser.

    * News servers have built-in support for article moderation.

    * The news server and newsreader programs have been around for 30
    years.

    Is anyone else interested in playing with this? I’ll need to make my
    server available publicly first, and you’ll need newsreader software,
    and some patience and maybe a bit of tech savvy to help me work out the
    inevitable bugs.

    JMG, comments to this blog through my newsreader don’t currently go
    through — the internet says there’s a one-line configuration change
    you’d need to make on your end to make it work. Comments would still
    get moderated as they do now. If there’s enough interest, would you be
    willing to have your tech guy make this change?

    Aside: in doing research on this, I came across http://dontscrapit.com,
    a mailing list/private newsgroup for salvagers that might be of interest
    to the ruinmen out there.

  73. Irena – the Roman equivalent of Twitter, like it’s pre-Twitter equivalent here, was “written on the subway walls, and tenement halls….” And ancient Roman graffiti is a hoot!

    Pat, who wishes she’d kept her Latin textbooks and readers.

  74. About Pippi Longstocking archetypes: look up valkyries and shield maidens. Also do remember that the theme of women as helpless dependents is no older in the western cultures than about the 19th century.

  75. JMG –

    I was wondering if you could talk a bit about your work in Latin translation, as well as possibly recommend some resources for a beginning student of the language. I would love to be able to confidently make some translations of my own someday, as well as read some of the older European literature, like Khunrath et al. I’m sure there’s a long road ahead of me but would love to hear any suggestions, no matter how small, on how best to begin from someone considerably further along.

    Thanks very much for this blog and all the inspiration.

  76. JMG,

    I didn’t think I was “denouncing” you. Nor was I upset. It was merely my own observation which it’s clear you don’t agree with and that’s ok. I’m a bit confused as to how you interpreted my post as such. My apologies if it offended you. I don’t think the problem was with the astrology. If you read my original post it wasn’t the astrology that I noted some issues with.

    Yes, I’ve looked at the bibliography. There is a bit to choose from which is why I asked.

    Kind regards,

    Sam

  77. JMG
    I was wondering how you view the post Trump world. It seems eerie not to have constant TDS from the MSM. It’s funny – if Trump really was an orange Hitler, wouldn’t there have been days if not weeks of huge celebration over the ‘victory’ of Biden? Instead, his inauguration was a damp squib.

    Booklover
    Greta Thunberg is an “activist who speaks public criticism against the global elite”? She is a puppet and mouthpiece of the global elite. That’s why she gets invited to Davos.

    Jessi Thompson
    If you like video, I recommend Jimmy Dore. He counterbalances the MSM’s fawning over the Democrats.

  78. @Dan Mollo,

    Thank you for sharing that link to EcoClipper. It was a fascinating project to read about, and I will add myself to their email list for whenever they ask for that second round of crowdfunding.

    For some reason, whenever the topic of bringing back sailing ships comes up in the mainstream media, it’s usually because some high-tech company managed to get itself paid to do a “study” of the idea. Inevitably, the company ends of producing a design for a wind-driven ship that’s as big as a modern container ship, is all-robotic, uses a never-before-built style of rig, or all-new materials, or some such contrivance…. you always have to give the Great God Progress his pound of flesh.

    And then the thing doesn’t end up getting built. Go figure.

    Well, I’m pretty sure that when sail transport does reappear over the next 70 years or so, it will be the way that EcoClipper is doing it – revive tried-and-proven technology from the last age of sail, and then innovate a little bit at a time once you have enough hands-on experience to do so intelligently.

    @JMG,

    I am recalling an exchange we had a few months ago about the subject of karma, the one where it took me about four posts to realize that “the concept of an innocent man suffering for the sins of the guilty plays no role in” your moral universe. (Meanwhile, my own worldview still had enough Christian influence to find karma as you described it uncomfortable, not because it involves reincarnation, but because it clashed with my previously unquestioned beliefs that (1) The innocent must sometimes suffer for the sins of the guilty, and (2) worldly good or ill fortune usually doesn’t reflect deeper spiritual causes.)

    Anyhow, for me that back-and-forth was probably a good introduction into how deeply the (often unnoticed) axioms of one’s religion influence one’s worldview, even when one isn’t an orthodox believer in that religion anymore. But as I’ve been thinking more about it, I’ve been left with some more questions for you.

    1) Does the Druid cosmology have a place for inherited guilt? Enlightenment rationalism seems to reject this concept pretty hard (just another piece of evidence that the Woke Left is leaving its rationalistic origins behind) yet at the same time, it seems to me that most traditional religions believe that the Gods will sometimes punish the children for the sins of their fathers. Is this, in your opinion, an accurate belief for them to hold?

    2) What does your tradition think of the concept of a God being angry with a person for harming one of that God’s worshipers? Christianity universalizes this (“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren” and all that) but there seem to be similar ideas in earlier, polytheistic faiths (i.e. Apollo is angry at Agamemnon for abducting the daughter of Apollo’s priest). Do you expect that, if someone were to burgle your house, testify against you falsely in court, or otherwise do something to you that’s out-of-bounds by most traditional codes of ethics, the Gods whom you worship would set out to make that person’s life harder? Would they do this whether or not you wanted them to?

  79. As a follow up for our trip driving from Sunnyvale, California to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, we crossed into Mexico through Del Rio, a small border town in Texas. As I stated a few weeks ago, the interstate highways in California were among the worst that we drove on until we got to the state of Tabasco in Mexico. Of the highways, Tabasco had the worst of our trip.

    From what we could see they had been hit pretty hard by the last hurricane/rainy season and they were actively repairing them. We also drove on some horrible back country roads in Chiapas (since the highway along the coast was closed due to protests) and in Guatemala until we got to the Pan-American Highway, which was good. New Mexico was also on par with California, IMO, but Arizona and Texas were virtually new.. For the most part, Mexico and Guatemala had some of the best highways that we drove on, and both looked basically new over a large portion of the drive.

    I can state that I have not lived in Guatemala since 2010 and at that time they had been rebuilding the Pan-American High for a few years and it was not so great. It seems to me that both Mexico and Guatemala have heavily invested in their highways relatively recently, at least enough to keep them smooth and for the most part pothole free.

    Until the roads in Tabasco, we drove 70 mph all the way. Back country roads in MX and Gua were filled with switchbacks, potholes and speed bumps that bottomed out our car and driving was more 10-20 mph. The Pan-American Highway in Guatemala goes through the mountains with switchbacks making it difficult to drive more then 50 mph.

  80. pixelated: It might be time to lay in a stock of variously colored scarfs. Are you angry enough to begin contacting school board members, who are elected, about why are not my kids learning reading, math, civics, geography, natural science and history? What would be the effect of a letter to the newspaper about how gimicks are deliberately distracting students from learning anything of substance of useful intellectual skill?

  81. Matt, no, it is not clear that “white grievance, white nationalism and white supremacy” are a large part of what motivates Trump supporters. It’s clear, rather, that the corporate establishment and its tame media want to insist that these things are what motivates Trump supporters, because that way the corporate establishment and its tame media can avoid having a conversation about the economic issues that actually motivate most Trump supporters. As for whether we can have a “a functional multicultural, multiracial democracy” in the United States, that depends very much on what you mean by those extremely slippery words.

    Jim W, I’ll be posting something on Dreamwidth on that shortly — I’d meant to do it before now but too much else got in the way first.

    Irena, fascinating. I didn’t have the same experience when I learned Russian in high school; I found the experience interesting and enjoyable, but it didn’t have the same impact on my thinking that Latin did.

    Eric, huzzah! I’m delighted to hear this.

    Heliconia, the great weakness of the Left in the US (and most of the other overdeveloped nations right now) is that it’s become wholly subservient to the interests of the managerial class, to the extent that the policies it pushes routinely benefit the managerial class at the expense of the working classes and the poor. If the Left were to return to its roots and make room again for the interests of people outside the upper middle classes, I think that would be a massive improvement.

    CS2, in that case I can help you. I recommend Gareth King’s Basic Welsh and Intermediate Welsh — two solid textbooks on the grammar, with plenty of exercises. Combine that with readings in Welsh language media and you’ll be reading the modern language in no time.

    Anonymous, excellent. I see you’re paying attention.

    RMS, lighting torches and handing them out is a lot of my job. I feel like the guy helping to organize one of those peasant riots in a Frankenstein movie… 😉

    Augusto, I took the time to reread Galbraith’s book a week ago, and didn’t regret it. As for tarot readings, by all means post a link.

    Eric, I’m glad you made it through intact. Those cascading failures are exactly what Joseph Tainter was talking about in his book The Collapse of Complex Societies — and of course now you know why it’s a good idea to have backups in your own home that aren’t dependent on the functioning of huge, brittle, excessively complex infrastructure systems…

    KayeOh, thank you.

    Justin, thanks for this! Appropriately enough, I just did a podcast talking about exactly that subject — Johnny Appleseed, but also the entire grand panoply of American eccentrics. Many thanks for these contributions to the literature.

    Patricia M, he followed the example of his great-uncle Orrin Typer and became the night watchman for the Miskatonic University. He and Belinda also did a lot of after-school daycare for kids; that wasn’t for pay in a strict sense, but the gift economy plays a large role in the lives of the people of the Great Old Ones, so the two of them got a lot of direct and indirect benefits as a result.

    Uwelo, the Earth has a planetary spirit, which evolves by way of the experiences of the beings who inhabit it, following a course of spiritual evolution that is slower, broader, and much vaster than ours. Humanity will contribute its share to the spiritual evolution of Gaia, but so does every other species living on this planet, past, present, and to come — and the upper reaches of her evolution will be furthered by beings who evolve a very long time after our species has gone extinct.

    Info23, that’s one of the great questions of history, and I have yet to see a really convincing explanation of it.

    Samurai_47, there are plenty of reasons — Jung discussed a lot of things that the official narratives of our civilization exclude — but in my experience, the one that gets hackles up most reliably is what he says about the Shadow. The thing you hate in other people is always the thing you can’t stand in yourself — a vast number of people Do. Not. Want. to think about that.

    Shoemaker, fascinating. Yes, I think that might work very well; you might want to see if it’s compatible with ham radio-based bulletin board networks, as those will be viable even when the internet as such goes down. As for the one-line change, post something with more details and I’ll forward it.

    Patricia, you’re fast! I’ll be posting an announcement shortly.

    IVN 66, I highly recommend starting with Wheelock’s Latin Grammar, which used to be the standard textbook and will give you all the grammar you need. Go on from there to a couple of readers — Wheelock’s is good — and then start doing short translations of familiar texts where you can check your work against someone else’s translation. Focus on whatever period interests you most — medieval Latin, for example, is emphatically not the same as classical Latin! The important thing is to do a little of it every day, so it becomes part of your ordinary habits of thought.

    Sam, again, if you check the astrological sources you’ll see why I made the predictions I did. If you’re not comfortable with my politics, hey, that’s your problem, not mine. As for the bibliography, since I have no way of knowing your interests, background, etc., I also have no way of knowing what might or might not be of use to you.

    Bridge, I think part of it is that everyone’s aware that the Orange Julius hasn’t gone anywhere — and after the latest failed attempt to exorcise him, he can run again in 2024. Of course Biden isn’t exactly a figure that inspires confidence and hope…

    Wesley, (1) the idea of inherited guilt is antithetical to Druid belief. You get what you yourself deserve, no more, no less. (2) It depends on which gods you worship. Some gods get very frosty about people who harm their worshipers. Others will intervene when asked, but not otherwise. The gods I worship are on the mellow side of things. Me, I’d simply ask that the people in question get exactly what they deserve, and leave it at that.

    Clark, fascinating. Many thanks for the data points!

  82. Some favorite fantasy and fantasy/sci-fi novels:

    Dune *
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever **
    Watership Down ***
    At the Mountains of Madness ****
    The Castle of Otranto *****
    Can I throw in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? ******

    *My if-you-were-sent-to-a-desert-island-and-could-only-take-one-book book.

    ** The original double trilogy, which I read through in seven days when I was fourteen; I’d have done it in six if my mom hadn’t hidden the final volume from me in an effort to get me to “go outside,” an act I finally forgave her for by the time I was thirty-five.

    *** A favorite from my youth.

    **** Because Lovecraft. Also, it holds up somewhat better in my post-JMG reading than Shadow Over Innsmouth, another favorite.

    ***** Considered to be the first gothic novel; I really did enjoy the Romantic Literature class I took for my poetry minor as an undergrad.

    ****** Just because it was fun and I laughed out loud in the coffee shop as I was reading it the first time, earning me some curious glances from the other patrons.

  83. @ Booklover about Pippi Langstrumpf – Do you mean they both represent the same archetype or more generally that there is some kind of archetype active behind each one? Do you have any in mind? I’d say that there’s definitely something archetypal behind Pippi but that’s very different from what is possibly behind Greta. I’d go so far that they’re close to inverse to each other. Pippi is the eternal child, more mature than any adult, that goes through live unscathed. It seems she does everything just for her own fun, but everything she does is very altruistic. She has no material worries. Greta on the other can’t be a child because at least in her mind her childhood has been stolen by the adults and at the same time she behaves as childish as most adults do. She has huge material worries, since she has to save the whole planet (btw. do you know the piece by George Carlin, “Saving the planet”?). What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  84. Interesting to see GME stocks increasing %300 percent including after hours as we speak. Here we go again…

  85. On the question of second language learning: for most of us, learning a second language is the first time we learn grammar. Of course, you can study the grammar of your native language but that’s one of the most boring exercises imaginable. A bit like reading a guide on how to walk.

    But studying grammar is one the most popular methods in second language learning and, as Irena pointed out, the grammatical mistakes you make in a second language are going to be the ones that potentially lead to embarrassing situations, hence you are much more likely to pay attention.

    @ Eric in Texas

    The cascading series of failures in Texas reminded me a lot of what we see when IT systems fail. It’s never one simple failure but rather an unexpected failure that triggers another failure which triggers another and next thing you know you’re sitting in the dark. That’s a property a complex systems. The question now is: will anybody sit back and analyse the failure sequence and try to stop it happening again? Even if they do, are there any easy and cheap changes to make the system more robust? I doubt it.

    I think JMG has made the point that the problem with ‘climate change’ won’t be the heating effect necessarily. It will be the greater frequency of extreme weather which will cause systems to break down. Given that we have made all our electricity generating systems more complex in recent decades, the combination of greater complexity and changing climate is a Texas waiting to happen.

  86. JMG: “Irena, fascinating. I didn’t have the same experience when I learned Russian in high school; I found the experience interesting and enjoyable, but it didn’t have the same impact on my thinking that Latin did.”

    Would it be fair to say that you learned Latin much better than Russian? If so, that would explain it. I don’t think that learning a tiny bit of a foreign language would have much of an effect.

  87. Free Tarot readings!

    I will be offering Tarot readings for the last week of every month starting on Tuesdays. If you have a situation where you want to know what the Astral Light is up to or you want to know what is in store for the next week or month pay me a visit at my dreamwidth account here

  88. I am a young person finishing graduate school… I read Dark Age America last year, and now am worried about economic collapse in the near future and what that might mean for my generation… Do you have any advice for how young people like me can navigate the next few years? Or any resources would be appreciated…

  89. Thanks JMG. I can see why people would avoid talking about the Shadow like it was the plague. I suspect it is more complex though.

    I frequent a lot of bookstores, and almost never see his works on the shelves, but reasonably often I see them behind the counter in the special order section.

  90. I took a break from reading The Mabinogion to pick up A Voyage to Hyperborea – Three chapters in, I predict I will stay up well past my bedtime to finish it. Maybe even in traditional fashion – under the covers with a flashlight. The whole complicated names thing in the first four stories of the Mabinogion made my ears prick up at Tornarssukalik. I can use modern Icelandic to twist, “I won’t go back to Greenland” out of it… So0O0oah… Am I over-thinking it, or is there a secret history here?
    And you’ve done a really good job describing campus politics and the ordeal of job interviews.

  91. @Will Oberton, concerning fantasy novels:

    The High House trilogy, by James Stoddard
    Tales of the Dying Earth, by Jack Vance
    The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
    Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete, by Gene Wolfe
    The Amber novels, by Roger Zelazny
    Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny
    Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay
    The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
    At the Edge of Waking, by Holly Phillips
    Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
    The Compleat Complete Enchanter, by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp
    Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories, by Fritz Leiber
    Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

    A few more than ten, but I get excited about this stuff.

  92. Kimberly,
    Good point. I’m dabbling in writing for that reason. Don’t know if it will ever go anywhere, but I think it’s worth a shot.

    JMG,
    Do you have a recommendation on a/”the” book that talks about the “barbarism of reflection”?

    I was about to ask you how one discerns if they need to change something in their life, or just accept it (as a follow up to the first question). I assume the answer is something like meditation, journaling, and experimentation!

    Oh btw, I read Star’s Reach, and really enjoyed it. The best part was Trey’s style of narration/self reflections. Not to forget Plummer’s whole mystique.

  93. >95 and humid won’t kill you as quickly as 15 and snowing

    That’s something no southerner really understands and some northerners too. Heat in wintertime isn’t really for comfort up north – it’s for survival. Your heat goes out when it’s -20F at night and you’re not just miserable, you’re in trouble.

    Some people up north take 15F weather rather casual though, as I recall. I remember being in my heavy coat, fur hat and fleece pants and this dude comes waltzing by in shorts and a jacket. I guess you can get away with it if your car never breaks down and you go from heated building to car to heated building – but what happens when one of those things breaks on you?

    Also when it gets that cold, you quickly find out that electricity is the absolutely worst way to heat your house, almost anything else is better – heating oil, gas, wood, coal, etc.

  94. >the great weakness of the Left in the US (and most of the other overdeveloped nations right now) is that it’s become wholly subservient to the interests of the managerial class

    The devil’s bargain that was made decades ago was that the left would give up any economic issue in exchange for total freedom and complete support on cultural issues. That cake will get baked – or else. You will let the tranny into the bathroom. Oh look we’re saving all this money on packaging, er, saving the environment. Yeah, we’re saving the environment. Just to pick a few random cultural issues.

    Except the people running the biz side of things forgot that culture is upstream from politics and they traded an annoying but tractable problem for something that’s metastasized into a complete ball of chaos. That’s beginning to impact the health of their companies and their bottom line. Get woke, go broke.

  95. @moflora re magnetic field

    The glitchiness of the earth’s magnetic field has actually been going on
    for a while. It flips completely roughly every 250,000 years or so for
    reasons still being debated. Getting a really clear picture of what’s
    going on under our feet is a major challenge. Receiving high-def
    pictures from the surface of Mars is simple compared to peeking under
    the earth’s crust trying see what’s going on. While living organisms like
    ourselves probably aren’t at too much risk (we’ve been around for quite a while after all)
    it’s a different matter for satellites in orbit as per the article below.

    https://eos.org/features/the-herky-jerky-weirdness-of-earths-magnetic-field

    Any issues we suffer will more likely be tech related than the results of any
    solar activity.

  96. Mr. Greer,

    what is your opinion on the existance of extraterrestrial life, civilizations, and the possibility of contact with them?

    Another question: In your series on the magical history of America will you be covering Carlos Castaneda?

  97. I like Skyrider’s question about limits we would like to see put in place. I would like to have limits on consumption, maybe not enforced by law, but part of the culture. That we would use, eat, possess, etc. what we need, and after that, we would need to really think about why we take out of the resources of the world. There is this worship of excess in our culture now, which tells me that we’re in a decline. Sometimes when I read about some oligarch, I think to myself, how much does a person need? How much money, etc.

    This reminds me of one of your books, JMG, that I read that really affected me in a good way and made me think about things differently–“Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth.” After I read it, I went and bought two more copies to give to people I knew as gifts who I thought would appreciate it. And in that book you talk bout the law of limits, and also the law of flow (in the case of oligarchs, the money gets caught in their grasp.) I would love to think that a new society could be created, after this one, in which those laws are the foundation of the culture.

  98. Listened to you on Legalize Freedom podcast and just had to share this as yet more evidence of the running loop – https://web.archive.org/web/20210223071043/https://www.trumpvoterlist.org/

    The site appears to be down but of course it is archived. They want to provide lists of Trump voters to “local officials”. It is so Soviet sounding, down to you can identify yourself as friend, family, or neighbor when you submit the report.

    It’s frankly hysterical and I hope some high school student set it up as a prank. If not, and the people running this are sincere, we need to reopen the mental institutions immediately.

  99. Justin Patrick Moore, This is fantastic, thanks for this. FWIW, I recently learned a bit about Silas Soule; a Union soldier who defied orders by refusing to take part in the Sand Creek Massacre.

    He wasn’t an eccentric man, but did show quite a lot of grit and courage in his life.

  100. Pink shirt day. Wow, some methods of bullying to support a narrative never go away. I was in college in North Carolina somewhere around 1990 and there was the push through the school newspaper that wearing jeans on Friday was demonstrating support for gays rights. That’s almost like saying that breathing air is “support of XYZ” for a college student.

  101. Hey jmg

    Have you ever read “tales of the dying earth” by jack Vance?
    I’m currently reading it, and it is quite entertaining.

  102. @Mary Bennett I think this is one that would entrench further to fight. This is a passive resistance thing.

    The thing that will get movement on the erosion in curriculum (which is substantial – hubby teaches, and for grade 9 says it includes things we learned in grade 5 in 1992) is what is going on in Quebec and Vancouver. Parents who were insistent that kids couldn’t go back to school because covid just got the midterm results, and it turns out kids don’t learn anything in front of screens six hours a day. Now they’re wailing to have classes again and fighting the union on it. The kids who went to school now get much more outside time (pink parade was a lap contest, the boys all did very well competing with each other that way) and when its nice out they sit outside. I am hoping they notice those results…

  103. Does anyone here have any info on what is happening with colleges and enrollment? I heard something like 20% deferred in fall 2020 when schools went mostly online. Also heard elite schools have 20% more applicants. I find it hard to believe that they will fill freshmen classes for fall 2021, although the only qualifier is likely a pulse at this point (many high schools gave all A’s, or just Passes, and SAT’s and AP’s were messed up).

    I’ve been following Inside Higher Ed for months and they aren’t talking about it. Feels like a dog not barking.

  104. Hi JMG and others
    Has anyone had any difficulty in getting responses from Founders House about buying JMG books? I asked my local independent bookstore to get in the Weird of Hali series so I could have the physical book, without going through the company that shall not be named. They’ve had no answer to their queries and and I’ve not had any luck in getting a rely either.
    Any one else?
    Thanks.

  105. Greetings JMG. I enjoy your posts. While I think your predictions of the Great Decline may come to pass, tbh I’m still uncertain, since many others predict the opposite. This may sound like an odd question, but what would you have to see in the world in order for you to say “It’s starting to look like maybe I was wrong.”? What I mean is, for example, let’s say food production and/or industrial output doesn’t crest in 2030s or 2040s (as the Limits of Growth study suggests it should), would something like that make you reexamine your belief in the Great Decline? If not that, what other kind of data point would you need to see? Thanks.

  106. @Matt:

    “Do you believe it is possible to have a functional multicultural, multiracial democracy in the US? If not, what are the alternatives?”

    I see your question and will answer with another question: do we have a choice? There are roughly 200 million White people and around 130 million non-White people in America. I’m not sure we have any choice BUT to live amongst each other. Genocide is pretty time, resource and energy-intensive even when you’re dealing with unarmed populations. America’s populations are not unarmed. And while I expect to see more self-segregation as the American Empire collapses — and probably even a bit of “ethnic cleansing” like the post WWII Danzig-to-Gdansk transfer — I think that the end result will look more like the former Soviet Union or Balkans, with fair admixtures of populations in each of the new states.

    So I am guessing for better or worse that we will have a multicultural and multiracial region. As to the question of “functional democracy:” we don’t have that now and in the wake of imperial collapse functional democracies are generally the exception rather than the rule. So I’m not optimistic there, though I think we may have an opportunity for more localized forms of government where towns and counties make consensus decisions. If you agree with their decisions you may think this is a perfectly splendid democracy. If you don’t you may think it is a white supremacist fascist nightmare.

  107. More of a Magic Monday question but could be time sensitive. A young friend of mine was murdered yesterday. We went with his family to the site where it happened and left flowers and burned some Palo Santo and I was wondering if there is anything we can do to help him not get stuck. I could feel his presence and a little dog that was crossing the street was afraid of something invisible. Thanks.

  108. JMG, I just listened your interview on the Breaking Down: Collapse podcast. Very nice interview. I was wondering if you would consider talking some more on ecosophia about likely paths for western industrial society and the USA in light of events over the past few years? I would like to hear more on this topic if you’re interested.

    Magic is not really my thing, though I have found some of your essays on related topics thought-provoking and they’ve made some useful contributions to my world view. They were helpful in not either totally ignoring it or panicking when I heard my tomato seedlings start talking to me (that was so weird), and in realizing that maybe I should treat the religious experiences I’d had with more respect, and just generally realizing that the scientific materialism that gets shoved at me excludes a significant amount of my lived experience. I know I have an extremely strong imagination, and I have a history of mood disorders, so I tend to be really careful about keeping distinctions between real and not real things and very rarely talk about things of this sort because I don’t need or want a mental health diagnosis for something serious I don’t even have, or the stigma that comes with being the wrong sort of weird.

  109. Jessi-
    I usually read Naked Capitalism and Don Surber. I enjoy Don, he writes from a populist/right perspective, and I enjoy his snark. He does a news roundup six days a week.
    https://donsurber.blogspot.com
    I also enjoy checking in on Charles Cosimanos comments on Rod Dreher’s blog. Interestingly, the Disqus commentary system that The American Conervative uses allows me to view all of his comments in one spot:
    https://disqus.com/by/charlescosimano/

  110. @ Pixelated

    I found your pink shirt story doubly funny because it reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Homer has to wear a pink shirt to work. He’s picked out by Mr Burns as a “free thinking anarchist”, subject to a psychological test which he fails and ends up in a mental institution.

    The correspondence is quite real as the woke brigade have found a niche inside corporations and other institutions where their ‘real’ job is enforce social conformity thus relieving the real bosses of the task of breaking the spirit of their workers.

  111. @ Kimberley Steele

    Hi Kimberley,

    Are you still collecting for your subscription library? You email address at your website did not work for me.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one with books for you!

  112. If JMG or anybody else ever decides to issue a set of Sally Eagle’s deck of cards with the Elder Sign on the back, I’ll buy one. I’m already using the LeNormand deck, the one with the back design of a tightly corseted glamor-witch in a gown with a bustle, tending a very plausible small cauldron/Dutch oven on a tripod over a campfire. Well-done glamor, mind you.

  113. Re David BTL’s comment. San Francisco is giving each citizen $600 in Covid aid. The important thing here is that in this action, the local government is acknowledging that the higher governments have broken down and is stepping up. Let’s hope this spreads.

    From what people who’ve lived in SF tell me, the city isn’t exactly a model of good governance—but maybe they are taking that first step.

  114. JMG — excellent! tech details in a following comment. As for ham radio boards, any ham (I got my amateur extra license last year, fwiw) with a radio and a sound-card equipped computer should be able to get ‘packet radio’ set up and connect to a bulletin board or news server. Speeds are slow, and the FCC’s rules about what you can say on the ham bands make connections between ham and internet boards challenging, but there’s no technical reason it wouldn’t work.

  115. I have studied both Latin and Russian in a much earlier part of my life and loved both. I found they both helped my English and I agree with Irena that it is possibly the fact that it is a foreign language that makes it seem so precise. I was always fascinated by the similar structures as well as the ways they are so unlike each other.

  116. JMG – Just a tale of Coincidence. After reading in various places over several years about the virtues of cold showers, I set my mind firmly to take the first step: a warm shower, followed by a cold rinse. So, I get into the shower stall, turn on the water, and… it never gets comfortably warm. So, I wash and rinse, and while getting dressed, ask my wife: “Have you noticed a lack of hot water?” “Oh, yeah.” she says. “I meant to tell you yesterday that it seemed not very warm. And then I did the laundry, washed the dishes, and our son took his bath.” It turned out that the pilot light in the water heater had gone out.

    I’m left wondering: was I subconsciously aware that I’d be taking a cold shower, or did my decision shut off the gas a day earlier?

    And, the more serious question, if I anticipated a cold shower, what does it mean that I have an urge to plow up the back yard to grow more food?

  117. All,

    I still can’t access dreamwidth. I keep getting a site not found error, which has me wondering now if my ISP is blocking it for some reason.

    Denis,

    I work at a mid-sized university in Canada, and we were down 20% for 2020, and will probably be down an additional 50% in 2021. The reason no one’s talking about it is simple: no one wants to be the one to admit we’re all doomed.

  118. Thinking of the situation in Texas (which is usually not freezing cold) does anyone have experience with building a rocket mass heater? A rocket mass heater is a special kind of ultra fuel efficient stove-fireplace that distributes ambient heat through pipes insulated with cob concrete mixture and fire bricks.

    I hope people start building them. I am thinking of building one in my house.

  119. I have been reading Florin Curta’s “The Long 6th Centure in Eastern Europe”, a long monograph by an archeologist (and historian), written mostly for other archeologists and historians. Not being either, I am unable to judge the evidence on my own and mostly skimmed the chapters for the conclusions. The book is available after signup for free to academia (and the author discussed it with critical readers for one month!).

    It is always difficult to conclude anything from an absence of evidence, but the meticulous gathering of evidence seems to make a strong case for Curta’s thesis that the northern part of the Balkans (from approximately the northern boundary of modern Greece until the Danube) was already devoid of any farmers in the 6th century (only forts and some cities remaining), and after the withdrawal of the Eastern Roman army around 602 AD became practically deserted. Cities were suddenly abandoned without any sign of conquest by barbarians. For one example (p. 50-51):

    “Amphipolis too had several basilicas, five of which were built at different times in the course of the sixth century. By the end of that century, the acropolis was surrounded by a new wall… The area now enclosed was less than ten acres and included only three churches… A small chapel was erected in the late 500s… The latest coin found in Amphipolis was struck for Emperor Maurice [588-602 AD], and no occupation can be dated later than c. 620.”

    The interesting picture when reading the whole book is that other parts of Eastern Europe had also been practically abandoned by humans in the 6th and 7th centuries, notably most of the area of modern Poland. Other areas, such as the Crimea, modern Romania, Estonia and the Volga valley, flourished, so a climatic explanation is rather implausible. It seems to me (Curta avoids any speculation on the causes) that the population collapse might have something to do with the collapse of the Western and partial collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire, even though modern Poland is quite far off from the frontier.

    I thought some of the evidence from the book touches on a topic that has been discussed here and on the ADR, namely the population collapse in Greece in the 6th/7th century AD. Curta suggests that Greece, to the contrary of the northern part of the Balkans, still had strong agricultural production all through the 6th century, so much so that it exported grain to Italy. At the end of the 6th century, cities like Delphi and Olympia lost their urban character, and workshops producing things of use to farmers, e.g. kilns, invaded the abandoned buildings.

    Again, it is hard to argue from absence of evidence, but reading and writing seem to have completely disappeared from mainland Greece except Attica, Corinth and Thebes, while some farming population remained behind. At least some of the remaining population considered itself Christian or at least tried to maintain symbolic links with the Christian and Roman past by burial in churches. I must say I find it hard to imagine Christian communities without any reading and writing!

    While the evidence is much to meagre any way, the data collected in the book suggest for Greece a rather sudden loss of urbanity due to the withdrawal of the imperial administration and not an agricultural collapse due to loss of soil.

  120. Denis,
    this guy https://bryanalexander.org/ often has info on college enrollment and other college related stuff. He seems to have veered off from the focus on how post-secondary education and its institutions are coping a bit recently, but you might find something useful there.

  121. Fantasy novels – my “desert island” bundle – already chosen for a move from a house to a deluxe efficacy apartment.

    Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer

    R. Garcia y Robertson’s The Spiral Dance – magic, a time loop, and a Tudor-era noblewoman’s journey in Scotland.

    Gael Baudino’s Gossamer Axe – a time-traveling Celtic harper takes up heavy metal in order to win a bardic duel against the Sidhe and recover he girlfriend. Also a good look at life on the road with a band, some of the issues of the 1980s, and a good, solid female – buddies story. A magic harp is very much involved.

    Katherine Kurtz’ Lammas Night – the Magical Battle for Britain in an alternate 1940s, with a strong dose of name-this-mage as the heroes do some heavy cat-herding in Britain’s occult community.

    M.A.Foster’s s/f (yeah, right. so why do I get the impression Foster is a practicing occultist?) Gameplayers of Zan, Warriors of Dawn, Day of the Klesh.

    Diana Paxson’s Wodan’s Children trilogy, her Westria novels, her Serpent’s Tooth, and White Raven. Also, her first novel, Brisingamen.

    Dion Fortune’s Goat-Foot God, Bull from the Sea, Sea Priestess, and Moon Magic.

    Rosemary Edghill’s Bast novels and stories.

    Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife – very Charles deLInt-ish in the real Southwest.

    and a number of borderline ones. And paraphrasing what one of Bast’s friends said to her in Book OF Moons, “Pat, don’t you read ANY books that don’t have witches in them?” among them:

    Abigail Padgett’s Bo Bradley mysteries. Because Bo Bradley is not only bipolar, she’s a classic untrained psychic with little to no shielding, in whom intuition works as reliably as reason and more so. Especially when she backs it up with reason. And a boss who, if she weren’t as commonplace, would be working for The Radiance. She quotes her Irish grandmother often, and listens to, for example, an old Indian woman who has The Sight.

  122. Samurai_47: why Jung is anathema

    Jung’s work is steeped in mysticism, astrology, alchemy, and empirical explorations of numinous realms. The mysteries of the Soul have no place in the academic rationalism of modern psychology. His techniques have not been proven effective for modifying behavior, which is the gold standard in clinical psychology.

    Fortunately there is a thriving and enduring interest in Jung outside mainstream academia.

  123. Augusto, huzzah for the apes and autists! If I understand correctly, at least one of the companies that was heavily shorting GameStop, and lost an insane amount of money when WSB put a short squeeze on them, went back to heavily shorting GameStop…and now WSB is doing it to them again. Zira is weeping with joy.

    Simon, I certainly found learning Russian to be very useful in understanding grammar, for whatever that’s worth.

    Irena, I did three years of high school Russian and was able to read Lermontov and Gogol in the original by the time I graduated. I think that’s slightly more than “a tiny bit.”

    Michael, I hope you have job prospects outside of the university system, because higher education is facing drastic cutbacks in the years ahead. Other than that, get out of debt as fast as you can and scale down your expectations for the next decade or so.

    Samurai, fascinating. I wonder if it’s because Jordan Peterson has been promoting him.

    Rhydlyd, glad to hear it. I had a lot of fun writing that novel. As for campus interviews, I know some people in the academic world, and asked for their descriptions of the process!

    Youngelephant, I don’t know of anyone but Vico who’s really discussed the barbarism of reflection. As for discerning when to make things change and when to accept them, why, yes, that’s the answer!

    Owen, nicely summarized.

    Goran, I’m quite sure there are many other intelligent species in the cosmos. The fact that we can find no evidence of interstellar travel and communication, to my mind, is the best evidence that interstellar travel and communication aren’t possible, quite probably because they require too much energy for any species to manage. As for Castaneda, I’ll consider him — a very strange man, and one whose books I read very closely back in the day.

    Katherine, delighted to hear it. I worked very hard on that simple and slender little book, and I’m glad that it’s reaching people.

    Denis, oof. That’s pretty wild.

    J.L.Mc12, unless you’re a good deal older than I think, I first read it before you were born. 😉 Yes, it’s a fine book, strongly influenced by Clark Ashton Smith’s “Zothique” stories.

    Denis, I haven’t heard anything either. Fascinating.

    Markie, you might consider dropping Founders House a note via the contact page and let them know there’s a problem.

    Kel, here in the United States, I’d want to take a train trip through the rural Midwest or South and see the small towns thriving. Decline always sets in first on the economic periphery, and accelerates there while the communities of the well-off enjoy ever more lavish lifestyles.

    Tristitia, please accept my condolences. As for what you can do, prayer is the classic practice for this, because gods are better positioned to deal with such things than the rest of us.

    Pygmycory, I’ll certainly consider it.

    Nati, I’ve seen too many people who practice it lose the ability to think clearly.

    Patricia M, I’ve considered it. If I can find an artist willing to do 52 card paintings, the Oracle of the Black Goat will happen.

    Shoemaker, glad to hear you have your ticket. My working guess is that message boards via packet radio are the wave of the post-internet future, but we’ll see.

    Lathechuck, that’s one of those fine questions which occultists ponder inconclusively. As for your more serious question, I’d plow up that back garden. Have you seen the latest vagaries in the stock market?

    Matthias, fascinating. I’ll get a copy of that and study it.

  124. This analysis is somewhat disquieting to me. Some of it seems conjecture. I actually hope it is not a right comparison.

    https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/the-thirty-tyrants?fbclid=IwAR0E35_48m9UWqF2SKZi_lvEjmd8QIG2BvJQT7GEC_LmBPRRkkY8Q2yR94U

    I have found a new Russian/American composer, Simon Khorolskiy, whom I am enjoying and whom I thought I would share with y’all, although it may appeal more to the Christians on here.

    The mood down here in the area in which I live seems to me quite dark at the moment and weirdly somewhat fatalistic. The Big Freeze hasn’t helped either. Anyhow perhaps some of the American culture down here in the South has more in common with Russian culture than I initially thought, as a lot of his music definitely seems to fit right in at the moment with the general vibe that I am getting from people. I do hope the Spring will bring more life and light and hope for us all.
    .

  125. Thanks for these AMAs!

    Anyway, at some point (can’t remember if it was here or on Magic Monday) you said that earlier occultists in the late Roman Empire were motivated by the desire to escape the cycles of incarnation because, as I recall you saying, they saw the world moving further away from the gods, and “they wanted out” – Would you have any further resources to read up on that? As I recall you recommended a book, but I can’t find the original post!

    Also I recall you saying that Humanity will go through the whole zodiac cycle of 25,800 years multiple times until we learn everything we need to- and that your intuition was 7 times, though it might be 7 times 7- and doing some quick math, 7 *cubed*, times 25,800 years equals 8,849,400 years, which is roughly the time you allotted humanity in your “The Next Ten Billion Years” – no question here, just thought it was neat!

  126. I’m not Scandinavian in any real sense, but I grew up with Pippi Longstocking for whatever reason – there were books and a TV show that I vaguely remember. She is very much the anti-Greta, as Greta Thunberg is an unhappy, mentally ill child who was raised by extremely politically active parents. Greta wants you do do what other adults like Bill Gates want you to do, that is, live in the pod and eat the bugs (or own nothing and be happy). In contrast, Pippi Longstocking’s parents are dead/missing and she has a suitcase full of gold.

    Pippi Longstocking would look at our predicament and say “why don’t you find satisfying ways to live with little fossil energy inputs” and humiliate the adults that make that very difficult through zoning rules and cultural biases. There is no reason why my municipality, which is having a housing crisis and is seeing “starter homes” go from 160K Canadian to 300K Canadian in two years couldn’t buy up more or less worthless depleted pulp forest and sell unimproved plots to young couples for 5000 dollars or so and let them live in yurts or cabins or mobile homes.

  127. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I recently acquired Arnold Toynbee’s 12 volume study of history. I have yet to start diving into it but have started looking into the general reaction to his work. It seems like he was the most well respected author in the world in the 30’s and 40’s but in the 50’s everyone suddenly decided to turn away and call him a Christian moralist instead of a historian. Do you think this is a legitimate criticism? I find it odd that someone can be so respected as he talks about the rise and fall of civilizations during challenging years and then once we reach a prosperous period he becomes an embarrassment. I am tempted to say that looks like an ad hominem attack unless I can find another major historian who wrote a comparable counter argument. So far from what I can tell it looks like no one ever even tried. Obviously I won’t know for sure until I read through this beast but in the meantime I was curious where you stood on all this.

  128. Since this is a topic-free month, I’ll take the opportunity to plug the science fiction book “Titan” by Stephen Baxter, an author who I have no relationship with. It is about a one-way science mission to Titan using Shuttle era space technology and is a fascinating read even if the ending is a little weak. If you liked the “Next Ten Billion Years” essay, “Titan” is for you.

  129. I received my copy of UFO Chronicles the other day. The opening line is something like “More books have been written about UFO’s than there have been sightings”… thank you JMG, I am strapped in for another wild ride!

    As a side note, for those interested in how Druidry can be introduced to folks, Emergency magazine did a great article/podcast reading on the subject. It gets all the major points right and is very approachable for beginners.

    https://emergencemagazine.org/story/the-druid-renaissance/

  130. @ pixilated: “Pink Shirt Day”. My pink shirts have worn out and become paint rags, but my phone is in a pink case. Every so often someone implies a slur on my sexuality due to the case, to which my reply is always that I’m completely confident in my sexuality. Now that Pink is the Official color of Woke Anti Bullying, I guess it’ll be back to black.

    @ Augusto & all: regarding economic cycles: today our local paper had a front page story that leading economists are predicting that the economy will grow at 6.5% this year. I‘ll take the under on that bet. There is no surer sign that things will continue on the present course.

    @ Denis: regarding colleges: I live on College Hill in Providence, home of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. RISD’s president just announced her resignation. Brown went to a 3 semester system, where 2/3 of the students are on campus at any one time. Nothing is said out loud, but the apartments built to rent to wealthy students are awash in special offerings. Anecdotally I see a lot fewer Asian students on the streets, who made up nearly half the enrollment at RISD. The dog isn’t barking.

  131. pixilated: Speaking of passive resistance have you considered keeping your kids home on pink day. Maybe schedule a museum visit or nature walk? I suppose other parents might be willing to participate?

  132. So, Tornarssukalik… wait, was that one of those enigmatic answers? Like pointing out there are trees when I’m paddling up the wrong branch?
    Your sources for campus politics were painfully accurate. If you ever get back to writing about Miskatonic, I will happily share some true tales of what evil lurks when so little is at stake.

  133. I am honestly impressed by some of the market analysis I’ve seen in there, they might be a bunch of retards but they know what they are doing and they know how irate WallStreet is by being defeated at their own game. They are also one of the few places were they are taking Michael Burry’s advice (the guy that called and shorted the housing market crash in 2008), I want to say seriously but that doesn’t ring right, maybe they end up making lots of money nonetheless. Chump, chump on the popcorn.

  134. @Kimberly

    I have some experience building rocket mass heaters. In many situations, a regular wood stove is actually more useful. In the right situation, a rocket mass stove can be vert wonderful. If you want to get into it, I suggest getting the book, and watching a lot of videos, then experimenting outside with fire bricks a lot.

  135. @JMG said (to Goran),

    The fact that we can find no evidence of interstellar travel and communication, to my mind, is the best evidence that interstellar travel and communication aren’t possible, quite probably because they require too much energy for any species to manage.

    I am a bit surprised to hear you say this, since when I read Star’s Reach a year and a half ago, I had interpreted it as your attempt to tell a first-contact story that was, by your own lights, realistic. After all, it seems that if you start from the assumption that if technological civilizations last for millions of years, it’s pretty reasonable to suppose that it might take at least a few centuries of attempts before a newcomer figures out how to listen in on the traffic. So to me our failure to find any extraterrestrial messages at this point is nowhere near conclusive.

    Interstellar colonization is a different matter. I don’t think you even need to believe that life is common in the universe in order to see philosophical problems with the vision of mankind’s future colonizing thousands or millions of planets. Here is an “argument from anti-chronocentricity” if you care to call it that: If mankind was destined to settle thousands or millions of planets, then you and I, by living on the very first one of them, would be in a very unique position. This could simply be because we are very special, but it is much more likely that our experience is the norm, and that most if not all intelligent beings are born on the same planet where their species originated.

    The more I think about it, the more it seems that the basic barrier is ecological and economic. Technological solutions to the problem of keeping human beings alive outside of the biosphere in which we evolved exist, but they’re very expensive – the complicated machinery that sustains three to seven astronauts in orbit, or on the Moon, requires tens of thousands of laborers on Earth to build it and maintain it. It’s quite possible that future civilizations may improve on our own space program’s efficiency: Getting the number down to 1,000 to 1 would probably make permanent scientific outposts on other planets possible; get it down to 100 to 1 and you could mine the asteroids. (The miners would have to deal with about 0.5 Sv/year of radiation and the cancer risk that comes with it, but it wouldn’t be the first time people have stuck their necks out to get ahold of precious metals).

    But self-sustaining colonies in space – and the old Faustian dream of infinite expansion – would require us to get the laborer-to-astronaut ratio below 1 to 1. And this is exactly what the evidence is suggesting will never happen.

  136. Since radionics has been a topic discussed a lot lately I may as well ask something about it.

    -have you ever tried working with a picture of a Hieronymus Machine? And if so is it just as good as a real one?
    -if a picture of a Hieronymus Machine works, can pictures of other radionics machines also be useful?
    -is there some application of radionics that has not been tried yet that you would like someone to develop?

  137. JMG,

    The same thing occurred to me, and I am sure it is a factor. One thing I noticed was that Jordan Peterson’s lecture series on the psychological interpretation of the Bible has had millions of views. He refers to Jung numerous times and frames many of the Christian concepts such as sacrifice, “walking with god”, and the passion of Christ in terms of psychological integration and individuation. Was this the sort of thing you had in mind when you speculated that there could be a new Jungian religion that uses the imagery and symbolism of Christianity?

  138. Samurai_47
    Regarding Jung, maybe it’s politics. Because Freud had a fight with Jung, and he was such a dominant figure, as his character and as his influence on the physiologic field, he excluded Jung from mindstream.
    Probably also other reasons…

  139. @Alvin I used to read Patricia Mckillip *entirely* for the prose style. Her books are a little hit-or-miss, but the good ones are more like dreaming than reading.

  140. What is that orange dressed figure that is shown on your interview page with Legalise Freedom podcast?

  141. For the individual who asked and others who are curious about the Texas situation….
    I live in San Antonio, which has been all over the national news I’m told. Having said this, I am a Texan, but I am from much farther north. The deaths have been very unfortunate, especially since most of them could easily have been prevented, and this is where my opinion probably diverges from the news. Yes, it was colder than usual, but a large number of people were making decisions that frankly I just don’t understand, like running a vehicle in a closed garage. A lot of broken pipes were because the simplest of precautions were not taken and or insulation was subpar. Even Texans need good insulation. I know several families that did have broken pipes, but are handy and managed to fix them quickly. For the most part, us and many people I know take these things in stride. We help out our friends and neighbors.

    My husband and I did the opposite of what we were told and got out on the roads. They were not any big deal. Most of the highways and overpasses were blocked off until the temperature reached 55 degrees. Even with dry roads afterward drivers were doing maybe 35 on the highway.

    Some of the grocery stores are still out of frozen and refrigerated foods as of today. Those that did get restocked quickly ran out, because so many people had to throw out their food. Me? I fermented most of the food in the fridge.

    The rolling blackouts turned into solid blackouts. For us nearly 2 full days. Part of me wished it lasted longer. It was quiet! For once. No buzz of electricity running through the walls and no helicopters and no booming bass from vehicles. Being a flamekeeper for Brighid, I was tasked with keeping the house warm and doing the cooking. I caught up on some reading and my husband started a game of D and D with our teens that is still on going.

    There are things that the city and the state got right, but communication was spotty. Cell towers kept going down, so people who needed help didn’t realize that help was available. But more than anything individuals and families need to understand dependable electricity and water isn’t a “right” and take steps to become more resilient.

  142. Hi JMG.

    The Internet is becoming more closed and expensive as you predicted years ago, which could be the “red lines” for you deleting this blog and your Dreamwitth account and quitting Internet?

  143. I’m watching something wild, and which does not bode well for the next few years: my family, the best barometer of the PMC I know, are now freaking out about a bird flu, “another new virus”, which has infected people in Russia. They think as a country we need to eliminate all of our poultry, “just to be safe”.

    I haven’t found much media coverage freaking out yet, but my family has started pointing out that for a while the media mocked the people worrying about Covid, and so they are convinced any effort to say it’s safe and this new virus is not a major crisis is nothing more than “propaganda”.

    In other words, it appears we may now have a class of people with immense social and political influence who are terrified of respiratory viruses in general, and are going to attempt to apply the Covid response whenever any new virus is detected. Given the nature of viruses, this means constantly, and perhaps the most interesting part of it is that it seems at this point they may be immune to media pressures.

    How this will play out will prove interesting, in the sense of the proverbial curse…..

  144. Jessi,

    May I suggest the No Agenda podcast? A dose of comedy and commentary on media spin of current events. One of my favorite ways to get news. I’ll also listen to a few Tim Pool IRL episodes a week—a nice mix of guests and variety of reasonable perspectives from Tim and his co-hosts. I also read kunstler, zerohedge, and not the bee.

  145. Building off the article Naomi linked to: I think one of the most disturbing trends of the past few years has been the amount of democracy bashing coming from the upper classes. Quite a few of my family and their friends have outright said that if Trump is possible in a democracy then democracy needs to go. Of course, they’ll say, we can’t get rid of it outright, since the masses won’t understand. But we need to make sure that only the people who know what they are doing can have any influence.

    If this means rigging elections, suppressing voters, or political violence, then so be it. The costs of allowing Trump to happen once were high enough to show that we need to make sure it never happens again. Of course they’ll never say this in public, but they’ve never quite accepted that I’m not one of them anymore, so I get to hear a lot of what they really think……

  146. JMG, your remark @52 “Learning Latin involves learning how to think clearly” startled me.

    I’m thinking specifically of Newton’s Opticks, and Principia, which were written in Latin, and are regarded as marvels of lucidity (I can attest to this first hand with Opticks in English translation). I had always assumed as a matter of course that Newton’s innate genius accounted for his lucidity. But your comment got me wondering, how much of this might be due to his writing, and presumably thinking, in Latin? Your thoughts?

    —Lunar Apprentice

  147. Hi all, today I was listening to a conversation between Matt Ridley and Jordan Peterson on the topic of “rational optimism” and was reminded of JMG’s essay “Life Preservers for Mermaids”.

    In their chat, they were discussing how life is continuing to get better and better, and that one way of thinking about that is, as what we produce become more specialized and one-dimensional (and by implication a bit dull), what we consume is becoming more diverse and interesting.

    Now, what I found of note was, there were quite a few people in the Youtube comments section saying that this vision of progress, of becoming more and more focused on what we consume and not what we do, does not appeal to them. It seems that possibly the life preservers are starting to be shrugged at?

  148. Magical timing question for you, JMG, as well as other practicing mages. I belong to several anti-maskturbation groups (people who believe wearing masks is harmful and psychologically damaging) and I notice that many are trying to set specific dates to go into stores and businesses sans masks.

    What would be the best magical timing for a mask free flash mob event? Would it be Tuesday during a waxing moon because it is organized civil disobedience and therefore under the domain of Ares? Or might it be Saturday during a waning moon because Saturn rules endings? Or might it be another day and time altogether?

    Thank you in advance. Staying anonymous in this post because I’d rather not play tag with chronic maskturbators.

  149. Naomi, many thanks for the music. As for the article, yes, I read it, and while much of it’s conjectural, I didn’t see anything implausible.

    Matt, the book I cited was Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. You have to read between the lines, however, because the relation between the precessional cycle and the flight from incarnation that was so prevalent in late classical times — and not just in the Roman world! — is a theory of mine, not something you’ll find discussed at length in the literature.

    Stephen, you’re quite correct — it’s a cheap ad hominem attack on the part of people who didn’t want to think about the prospect of decline, and so decided to shoot the messenger rather than dispute the message. I disagree with some aspects of Toynbee’s theories, but his work is well worth close study, while the historians his critics preferred are deservedly forgotten today.

    Justin, so noted!

    Michael, enjoy the ride. Thanks for the reference!

    Rhydlyd, oh, that. I don’t have a reading knowledge of Icelandic, and the name is a nod to a bit of detail in Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu,” nothing more esoteric than that. Sorry.

    Augusto, if I was interested in playing the market — which I’m emphatically not — I’d pay more attention to WSB than to the official pundits.

    Wesley, we simply don’t know what’s reasonable or not where interstellar communication is concerned. What we know is that we haven’t detected any.

    J.L.Mc12, (1) Nope, if I want to make a talisman out of paper I have slightly more old-fashioned ways to do it. (2) See answer #1. (3) I haven’t kept close track of the radionics field and so don’t know what has or hasn’t been tried yet. It’s an interest of mine, but not a major focus of my work.

    Samurai_47, bingo. Peterson is helping to create that religion.

    Mike T, you’ll have to ask Greg — I got it from his website.

    Aubrey, many thanks for the data points!

    Quinshi, long before I delete them, I’ll be setting up backups in less vulnerable venues. I’m quietly exploring some of those now.

    Anonymous, in the twilight years of Heian Japan, people in the overprivileged classes suffered from waves of panic over angry ghosts. It was a subject of utter terror among the aristocrats, and it helped make them completely unable to take concrete steps to deal with the accelerating decline of Heian society and the coming of the Gempei Wars that brought their society crashing down. I’m starting to think that panic over viruses will play the same role in our society. As for hatred of democracy, that’s hardwired into all aristocracies, especially those that are about to be loaded into tumbrils.

    Lunar Apprentice, it’s very easy to write clearly in Latin, so I suspect that played a role.

    Russell, if so, that strikes me as very good news.

    Anonymous, no, I hadn’t seen this. Thanks for posting it. As for the Guardian article, what exactly are they so frightened of? Not, I think, a virus…

  150. Jessi Thompson @26, if you’d be willing to use the Yandex browser, its main page is a large, and somewhat eclectic news aggregator. Unfortunately, it (at least the English language version) uses entirely sources from English Speaking countries; at least Ireland and Australia are amply represented. I concur with JMG’s selection, and also use GlobalResearch.ca (more commentary than news), and sott.net (signs of the times), neither of which is great, but they tolerably often link to some pretty good stuff. Sputniknews.com is also a go-to.

    BTW, Yandex is Russia’a answer to Google, and works fine on Apple and Windows boxes.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  151. Dear Mr. Greer – Your first response, post #87. “…economic issues that actually motivate most Trump supporters.” That reminded me of an article I ran across a few days ago.

    “Nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories.”

    That’s from the Washington Post, but seems to have spread to a number of corners of the web. Most of the rest of the article was Left, and far Left verbiage, but that one little interesting data point slipped through. I thought you might find it interesting. Lew

  152. Kinda figured. There’s a lesson in chasing hunches here… On the other hand, I just finished Peredur son of Efrog. Beast Glatisant sighted. Quest on!

  153. Pixielated, on the big day, call the school and tell them you are keeping the kids home, seeing as how they all have pink-eye…

  154. @Peter Van Erp oh no, by all means keep the pink phone case. The more people who wear it because they like it or assign it neutral value rather than a need to project morality, the better! My step dad simply loved pink – 270 lb man with a mack jacket and mullet with a pink shirt, no one said boo… And my husband loves his hot pink bike for pure practicality – insecure men won’t steal it 😉

  155. Hi all,

    I wrote a poem inspired by these predicaments of industrial civilization. I hope it resonates with some of you. Thank you.

    Peak

    By KidVrain

    I heard the climb was a treacherous one
    The radiant morning seemed to promise more than it could deliver
    The mountain was alive, dressed in a robe of clouds
    I heard there was a visceral sense that the mountain knew our dreams better than we did
    That the view from up there would be worth all troubles along the way
    That from the top we would see the entire world and come to know it and know it well
    And from the top we would know where to go next

    We arrived at the trailhead before dawn and started up the winding path to the foot of the mountain
    By mid morning the roiling black storm clouds loomed inevitably above the horizon behind
    Closing in definitely and in no particular hurry
    We knew all this and kept on the path anyway

    I say we as though I had been there
    Of course I was born just before the travelers reached the peak
    I never saw the storm clouds spilling over the edge of the world
    Never felt them unloading their little rivers on the band of stubborn travelers
    Never heard the chaotic drumbeat thundering out from the lightning bolts
    The mountain’s own beating heart, its palpitations
    It was scared too

    I heard the climb was a treacherous one
    Many of the travelers did not make it
    Many did
    Or at least their many children did
    But what strikes me as odd is that I never heard of a single one who turned back
    Whatever it was they were after, it seems they wanted, needed to see what the valley behind them looked like from high above the clouds
    And so they pressed on

    And so I was born just before they reached the peak
    And I’m grateful too, to be old enough now to appreciate the view
    The valley floor looks inviting
    And the wind is picking up
    And I think it would be wise to begin the descent before we get blown off the top of the world

    But for all it’s discomfort, wind and rain and caustic rays
    It really is something to be up here
    And to look down at the valley floor from high above the clouds
    I can’t know how the first travelers imagined the view would be
    Perhaps they would be disappointed
    Perhaps not

    I may be scared of heights
    But there are moments when I let all of that go and lean in to the thrill of being alive here and now
    Up here at the peak
    It really is quite the view

  156. Mary Bennett, thanks for the hint!

    Bridge, and Nachtgurke, I didn’t have any archetypes in mind, I just had the vague sense that there is something in common between Greta Thunberg and Pippi Longstocking; maybe it is indeed their complimentary character. About Greta’s activism, that is at least her public image, even if it is inaccurate.

  157. Naomi (#132),
    It is perhaps ironic that Mao in analyzing the structure of the China that he was trying to overthrow, differentiated between the “comprador bourgeoisie”, whose fortunes came from serving as agents of the foreign capitalists (imperialists), and the “national bourgeoisie”, whose interests lay in the development of China’s own economy.
    BTW, Chinese history is full of examples of using economic connections instead of military force to expand or to avoid being expanded into and the Chinese leadership is much more aware of their history than our leaders are of ours.
    None of which adds up to proof that the article you cite is correct, though it does raise the Bayesian probability.
    The other historical comparison that comes to mind is Vichy France, although the Vichy French did wait until after defeat to go over to the other side.

  158. Eric @67,
    Along similar lines, the riots across the land in 2020, and the lockdown really biting, that put the fear of G-d into me regarding the grid, and food supplies. I wondered whether and when Antifa terrorists would take up ordinary rifles, and shoot out substation transformers in a organized manner (one bullet can destroy a multi-ton transformer if you know where to shoot), and plunge a region, or even the nation, into a prolonged (months-to-years) blackout.

    So I’ve done some prepping: I got a camp stove and fuel (it will also burn gasoline), bulk matches, extra wool blankets, coats, gloves and shoes/socks, siphons (one for water, one for gasoline), tarps, food grade storage buckets, bulk grains and dried beans, boxes of candles, fishing tackle, weapon(s) for small game hunting and self defense, axe, hatchet, shovel, bow-saw, hand tools, a crank radio…

    Your remark about the cascading nature of the failures is astute. Breathtaking…yeah. I got scared in Washington State just reading about the Texas blackout/freeze, but I think I would have managed ok there.

    I came across some statistics on US grid reliability, I can’t recover the site, but it showed a steady increase in power outage frequency and duration over the years, due to aging grid infrastructure that is not being replaced on schedule, or adequately maintained, and not expanding with demand, so safety/reliability margins are eroding…

    Scenarios involving civil unrest, secession, and even civil war are not off the table, and it seems such could precipitate grid or supply chain collapse.

    I wish I had more ideas on girding myself for these grim possibilities (I’m all ears…). At least the measures above really have assuaged my hyper-vigilance and anxiety, so I’m thankful for at least that.

    –Lunar Apprentice

  159. Anonymous (#151)
    Denmark had a panic a few months ago about Covid in their quite large farmed mink population and ordered the destruction of the entire herd. A few days later, a court threw out the order, but the deed was already done and now the nation (and its taxpayers) are on the hook for what is a quite large sum for a nation of only 5 million.

  160. JMG, there is one question that has been bugging me since the TADR days. In the post titled “The Dream of the Machine”, (https://archdruidmirror.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-dream-of-machine.html) you said that the idea of the world as a machine, or a mechanistic view of the universe got planted into the minds of western thinkers well before machines were invented. You also said that the origin of that idea is still a myth. Your words were, “For reasons that historians of ideas are still trying to puzzle out, though, western European thinkers during these same years were obsessed with machines, and with mechanical explanations for the universe.”

    You also said that you were close to figuring out what exactly the origin of that idea was. If you have indeed figured it out, can you please tell about that, however briefly?

    The reason I am asking about this is because I have a feeling that it could throw some light into the way ideas get implanted into a culture’s mind. Since we are at the twilight of the civilization and people need to discover new ways of thinking (or rediscover some older ways), I thought that knowing this might be useful.

  161. John,
    You posted this comment recently, I think on the other web page; “Understanding, which is what replaces belief on the mental plane, is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.” Could you expend on this kettle of fish please?
    Regards Averagejoe

  162. JMG: “Irena, I did three years of high school Russian and was able to read Lermontov and Gogol in the original by the time I graduated. I think that’s slightly more than “a tiny bit.””

    Fascinating! It surprises me this didn’t lead to the same effect as Latin.

    But anyway, you had an exceptionally strong Russian course! What you describe is very, very, VERY unusual. (When I said “a tiny bit”: look, most of the time, foreign language teaching at the high school level can be described as just “a tiny bit.” Ask around if you don’t believe me. 😉 ) Me, I started learning Russian about a decade and a half ago, at what’s considered one of the strongest Russian departments in the United States (for me, it was just a hobby; I was in graduate school for something unrelated). Ambitious students can take a course on short stories (in the original Russian, that is) in their third year, and then a more demanding literature course in their fourth. That’s university (and mind you, those courses aren’t required for the Russian major). Me, I started reading Russian literature after only about a year of Russian study (and had _War and Peace_ under my belt after less than two), *but* I put in far more work than the courses required, and of course, I spoke another Slavic language natively, which helped a great deal indeed. 😉

  163. In terms of economic stimulus, inflation, and the stock market: As far as I’ve been able to tell, stimulus is able to continue for the time being because of low interest rates, which in turn can remain low while inflation is low. But it appears that inflation is rising, yet the stock market has gone upwards again because the Treasury Secretary said that they will continue for years to provide stimulus. But isn’t this impossible to do if inflation keeps rising? What factors would you need to see in order to determine when the bubble will pop due to all this?

  164. Dear JMG,
    since there are a couple of things I hope this is the right venue

    1.) Regarding your (by now a bit old) post on the other blog about the video of Le sacre du printemps that you to your surprise enjoyed, maybe this is interesting: I started watching the video (thanks to your will-program and me being on lesson 3 – eyesroll) and since my neurons are geard toward ADD but not Asperger I found the intro excruciatingly slow and the first few seconds of the dance in motions that were both close to the body and with all danceres joined, large (e.g. the circle the four dancing groups formed).
    I know that you said your mirror neurons are essentially fried, but I wonder if your appreciation of the dance came from a: slowness (the intro relaxing the anticipation of a video barrage) and b: your kinestetic sense (the one that e.g. tells you where your fingers / butt is/are, even if you are not looking) and the close to the body movement made the action followable “as if” the body-positioning-neurons acted ad mirror neurons.
    There, hope that makes sense and is helpful, otherwise: sorry!

    2.) Thank you for the willtraining – I´m stuck with the lesson on writing out daily the reflexions. I found out a lot by noting what makes me go in other direction than I wanted – I also found that I´m less nice than I thought, but that´s an aside which goes with the development, I understand – but it has to be 7 days following each other, right? Somehow I don´t bring it of – would you rather advise journaling or meditating?! (Or both?)

    3.) Also in the other blog you mentioned that the DA course is American based – I was fascinated with it (and ordered it) because it looked so Welsh -i.e. closer to “home”-roots than any other system so far. I once was fascinated with Native American …what they do that we might wrongly call spirituality?… but the “it´s not my home-turf” and the “clueless-white” made me not pursue it. Would that be the same with DA?

    4.) This goes to both Archdruids Greer, if I may: Since I have a (female) cousin who is quite fascinated by current fiction/fantasy books that concentrate on magic (Not Harry Potter, but maybe worse magic-wise) I wonder if I could copy her the things you both said on behalf of magic during “female-special-times”, if she is interested/ picks up whatever kind of magic?

    (Oh and by the way, I wonder if most of the “strange” questions regarding when it is safe to use magic around children comes from the askers not having a clear distincitve between the different …flavours…directions…forms…? of magic in general,like outsiders considering technic as one bloc/suite? Still I´m VERY grateful that you two wrote/said something about it)

    5.) Regarding radionics: what made you check-up on the state of the art in the field and what will you do with the at least 20+ machines you will get?

    6.) In response to an earlier comment here by someone else, in the Netherlands (spreading to of all places e.g. Austria) there is an initiative of three people who ship chocolat raw material vrom Trinidad to Amsterdam on an all sail ship and have a second one on the march: https://fairtransport.eu/tres-hombres/ (oh I see, other goods as well).

    7.) Not sure if the OP answered but Belsnikels from Netherlands would be Bel-snik-Els, Call-sobb(silently)-homely woman, I didn´t find that sidesplittingly funny, but there you are.

    8.) Is there a reason why in WoH the ginger snaps in the first instance are “fresh from the oven and the croissants are “practically light enough to levitate” and in the seconc instance (sans croissants) the ginger snaps are ” practically light enough to …”?

    Long post, hope this is not too long – Thanks again for all your work,
    Emily 07

  165. @JMG, thank you!

    @Miskatonic Undergrad,

    Does Duolingo have a robot speaking or a human? Also, do you know of a way to turn off the moving CG people? They’re super distracting. I installed Duolingo and listened to a robot say “Bore da” and then uninstalled it again.

  166. Another dog not barking (in the media at least) – gas prices where I live went from $2.25/gallon first week of February to $2.95/gallon third week of February. Home prices have gone up 30% in the past six months. Homes go up for sale and sell within a couple of weeks. Feels like deja vu of the activity prior to the 2008 crash.

  167. Peter Van Erp, pygmycory, and Anon in Canada – thank you for the college field reports. It’s amazing watching what is supposed to be “our best and brightest” absolutely fall flat on their faces confronting this virus.

  168. Hi JMG,

    Regardless of how dismissive some here are to the current pandemic, it stil seems sensible to me to reduce your chances of getting a large initial dose of the virus by not being in enclosed spaces with those potentially infected. I have just turned down a school job in one of our more deprived areas due to this situation, but will be happier to do the job when things settle more. One of the major issues compounding the main issue is the school building. It is all spangly new (only five years old) and one of the few investments made in the area by the government, but sadly it has absolutely not been designed with an airborne virus in mind, or humans, arguably. Ventilation is by air conditioning and the few windows there are hardly open. It feels a very nature unfriendly environment to me. Anyway, to link in with previous comments here, I can see CoVid very likely over the next year or two becoming endemic for the poorer areas of many countries, which of course just adds to the ‘shadow’ of fear for the more affluent. Yes, we’ve probably been here before.

  169. >Nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles

    I can’t help but think of Hemingway’s poem when thinking about the establishment’s response to this:

    The age demanded that we sing
    And cut away our tongue.

    The age demanded that we flow
    And hammered in the bung.

    The age demanded that we dance
    And jammed us into iron pants.

    And in the end the age was handed
    The sort of [redacted] that it demanded.

  170. Hi JMG and all,

    I’m not sure if my last comment failed to go through or if I accidentally violated a posting rule. If the latter I apologize for that. I was thinking about the post regarding lodges and entryism, and how Marxists were discouraged from entryism by having all members recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I thought that was a simple but clever technique to help keep politics at the door, but it got me thinking about the pledge itself and the now forgotten movement that it came out of; That of Bellamy’s Nationalism. From what little I know, it was a non Marxist socialist movement in late 19th century America. Although their brand of state socialism has little appeal to me, I find it interesting that an apparently influential movement has been totally forgotten by both the modern left and right in America. I was wondering if our host or any of my fellow commentators knew anything about why the movement faded from public memory or discussion and how the radical end of the American left became fixated on Marx and related ideologies rather than a more homegrown form of socialist politics.

    Thanks,
    John Zybourne

  171. >I’d pay more attention to WSB than to the official pundits.

    To take the other side of that thesis, pundits are useful, mainly not in the way they want to be, but still useful. Stuff they don’t really teach you anywhere, you have to find out on your own, but you see a pundit confidently declaring something dead and forever out of favor – that’s a huge inflection point. The pundit may look right on their statement for a while but they just marked the bottom of the move and will look like the moron they usually are a few years later.

    Also you see a pundit getting lovey dovey over something, that’s also a big inflection point marking an imminent top. One of them urging you to buy? Do the opposite or stay away from it. They may look right for a while but again, later on they will look very very wrong.

    You see one hating on something while the price is moving up, that’s a big big sign to buy with both hands. You see the hatred, buy buy buy.

    As far as WSB goes – they’re just another chatroom. I remember Yahoo stock chatrooms back in the .com bubble era, same sort of people frequented those. How does that old french saying go? Plus ca change? Unlike the pundits, I wouldn’t fade them but I also certainly wouldn’t take their advice either. Caveat investor. WSB would probably tell you the same thing too.

  172. Naomi posted a link to an article by Lee Smith on tabletmag about Athens’ “Thirty Tyrants”. I read that some weeks ago when it was first posted here on the blog, and a few days later I read a blog post by Brat Devereux on Unmitigated Pedantry, which uses the same historical example to come to diametrically opposed conclusions.

    Now I don’t endorse Brat’s analysis in any way, and I have no way to know if Lee Smith’s analysis is right, but I do think it is instructive to read two so very different takes by people who both know at least a bit about ancient history (Brat knows more, obviously) and modern politics (where Lee Smith might know more). By the way, thanks to Darkest Yorkshire for recommending Unmitigated Pedantry! I have enjoyed it immensely.

  173. Replying to Lady Cutekitten: WSB stands for /r/wallstreetbets, a community on the social media platform Reddit where people talk about playing the stock market. They achieved infamy a little while ago when they disrupted an attempt to short stocks in the Gamestop corporation, making a few of its members fantastically wealthy in the process. Last I heard, they were moving on to try and short silver stocks next.

    For JMG, meanwhile, I have an observation to make relating to one of your older posts that I had recently reread. I remember how you had predicted that the climate change movement was going to stop being fashionable among the privileged, as the cognitive dissonance embodied in their support built up. So far, that seems to have happened; though ecofascism hasn’t been mentioned much, I’ve heard a lot less about the disastrous effects of our abuse of the biosphere recently than I used to, though the consequences are presumably happening at around the same rate. With this in mind, I’m curious how quickly environmentalism is going to become a serious political force, as it briefly did in the 1970s. Though I don’t expect it to happen soon — oil is as central to our civilization as the spice from Dune, and it must flow — it might still happen, as the increasing toll of weather-related disasters piles up and politicians sense an opportunity.

  174. Some additional energy (and related) news:

    Re TX and natural gas (and consequently, power prices there and elsewhere)

    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46896#

    TX natural gas production fell by 45% during the week of the cold snap. Given the prominence of TX in NG production and the prominence of natural gas fired generation as coal units have retired and renewables have expanded, yeah, that’s going to have a pricing impact.

    Re Biden and select economic nationalism slash national security

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/24/fact-sheet-securing-americas-critical-supply-chains/

    New EO ordering supply chain reviews in critical sectors and industries. Boosting domestic sourcing and production would, of course, also boost domestic workers. I’ve also seen it commented on elsewhere that he’s leaving Trump’s China tariffs in place for the time being. Perhaps Biden’s handlers aren’t complete idiots.

  175. I will recommend the following book:

    “The experience of a fool: who had an epiphany about how to get rid of his glasses”
    by Mirsakarim Norbekov

    It’s the only book of his available in english until now, the others are in German and Russian.

    Norbekov proposes to use visualizations through one’s body to heal many things, among other things myopia.

    In german Amazon at least one commentator has postet his opticians diagnosis before and after doing the exercises and his sight seems to have improved by about 50%.

    A master of Qi Gong and meditation also credibly explained me he halved his heavy myopia by doing exercises in his mid 30s.

    Another re-recommendation that I have received myself from this forum, but I’ll repeat if someone has missed it:

    “The knowledge” by Lewis Dartnell – a book that explains what technologies would be available if our civilization collapsed abruptly, while at the same time explaining how the most curcial of our modern day inventions were develoiped in pre-industrial or early industrial times.

    A very good read and it gives much clarity on how our modern world operates. The book also explains what CANNOT be done without fossil fuels and the industry dependend on it. Very eye opening indeed!

    regards, Curt

  176. Stocks are not the only place where speculative bubbles are being inflated. There is a bubble in baseball cards. Million dollar cards are quite common. What was a collectors’ market in the corner is now getting the attention of Wall Street investors.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-baseball-cards-pandemic-20210212-225ottvh4ngfjcho6qfixkqajy-story.html

    Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are also experiencing bubbles, but JMG and the commenters know about it already.

    About the stock market crash, I have a feeling that this will be a slow stairstep crash, where a series of mini crashes follow a series of mini booms, rather than a big, quick crash where everything is wiped out. But I could be wrong. The recent entry of redditors is a wild card that could change things dramatically.

  177. This time is different.

    I was re-reading Spengler’s “Decline of the West” – arguably one of the densest packed books I can think of – and when he discusses mathematics he notes the love that Western culture has for the Classical one has left us with mathematical symbols and language that are wholly inappropriate for Western culture. This occurred on the basis of some geo/temporal continuity but also of technology: writing allowed for extensive access to classical culture from the Western one.

    I wonder what will be the influence of Western culture in what comes next: Western culture is mostly all over the planet and with more technological artifacts to transmit itself – even if one accounts for the massive technological loss entailed by its decline and technological overshoot.

    With all the great things classical culture gave us, it also, in a sense, limited the creativity of Western culture. So…

    Given the technological and geographical reach of Western culture will there be really a next culture? Or the current Western culture will imprint itself so much in the next one that it won’t actually be a new culture per se at it will receive and accept too much of the Western to the point that it will be partially sniffled in terms of creativity?

  178. Kimberly Steele, regarding rocket mass heaters…I’ve built rocket stoves, but not a mass heater. You have to be very careful in your construction. The issue is that the exhaust pipe running through the mass is under positive pressure, so any leak will dump combustion fumes into your living space. An alternative is a masonry heater, which has the same idea of a very hot fire heating a large mass which radiates heat more slowly, but the masonry heater is like a standard wood stove or fireplace in that the exhaust pipe is under negative pressure.

  179. Since I read the advice to get out of academia I will ask a short question to the forum:

    I worked in academia for the past three years, but I never figured this has a future. It was odd luck that helped me much, no more, and I was always concerned what to do next.

    Now I have enrolled in a course for bookkeeping and taxes (roughly translated, it is actually about salaries and wages and taxes to be calculated), the job description it enables is something every company needs, it’s a lot in demand as I have validated myself.

    People advise me, I should look for a job in my academic field, which is unspecialized ie I know how to write programs, but I do not have enough skills to work in IT. I have a basic economic background actually. I could *try* applying for vanilla type academic jobs where they need somebody to know how to follow written orders and write texts and emails, and talk important, and controll if this or that norm was followed.

    I wondered: if there is something dry to learn like bookkeeping and law, that is always needed by any company, isn’t that much a better choice than to frantically try gaining an academic job, which may be super tepid and full time, may bind me to a certain company and place and time, and if I’m fired, continued interest in the profession isn’t guaranteed?

    What I am really aiming to do is leave the academic employment space, and follow suit to a space of employment that isn’t often academic (no degree needed), but seems to be too dry, numerical and abstract for most people to want to do it.

    regards, Curt

  180. About the flight from incarnation in late classical times:

    I am no expert but it does occur to me that a there had been, I believe, a fairly substantial population increase from the 13thC collapse to the time of Alexander. The numbers of troops he was able to take to Asia, suppose we believe historian’s estimates, would have been impossible just a few centuries earlier, or so it seems to me. Alexander was able to raise substantial numbers of troops, and he kept receiving fresh regiments all during his campaigns in the former Persia, despite the Greek world having been almost constantly at war during the classical period. Once he got to the Punjab, the Greeks seem to have begun to think he had died.

    Furthermore, there had been by late classical times several quite noticeable large animal extinctions. Lions in Greece and elephants in Syria, and I think, hippos as well were long gone by about the 4th C BC.

    So, I think people’s experience of the non-human world had changed in significant ways. If wild nature is no longer felt to be a dangerous as once it was, maybe Artemis, its’ patroness and protector, no longer needs to be placated.

  181. @ JMG – Are you still planning on writing a post about the outlines of a ‘Tamanous culture’ in future North America? If not, can you point to some similar examples from world history that I can look up?

  182. @ skyrider – A global speed limit isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t think it would produce all the effects you’ve outlined. Even at 30mph, transcontinental shipping via freight train or truck would still be viable, just slower. Same with trans-oceanic travel. Most of the big container ship freighters are designed to travel at 24 knots, which is pretty much right at the hypothetical ‘speed limit’ So as long as people were willing to wait for (non-perishable) goods, globalization would still seek out the lowest labor prices.

    I would vote for every person to have an annual carbon budget. You can spend it how you want. You could even ‘sell’ some of your budget to someone else if you want, if you feel that you won’t need to travel far, and can get what you want locally, from less carbon-intense sources. The downsides are there, to be sure. If new little humans get a their own carbon budget at birth, such a system doesn’t really discourage infinite human population growth. And if people could sell or trade their ‘carbon’, I’m certain a speculative market would pop up immediately…

  183. @ Dan Mollo – I really hope clipper ships make a comeback. I was actually talking about bringing back clipper ships to a coworker just the other day.
    I remember about a decade ago, there was much talk about high altitude kites being used to help cut down on fuel use of container ships. Apparently, winds at 500 ft are often still blowing, even if at sea level they are calm. I have not seen that tech make the leap from drawing board to real world yet…

  184. Since in the computer world, crapification of hardware and software is progressing, I would like to know whyt you, JMG, and maybe, others, think about Linux? Is it the silver bullet that some make it out to be?

  185. Mr. Greer,

    what do you think about lucid dreaming? Do you practice it? Would it be correct to say that it involves astral body? But what is astral body doing during lucid dreaming and what is actually happening to it? Is lucid dreaming a legitimate occult practice? Do you know if any occult school or tradition focuses on it or at least incorporates it? Do you know of any occultist who practiced it extensively; do you know for what purposes and with what results?

    Thanks for your answers.

  186. @ Malleus – Thanks for the article. We all have to do what we can with what we have. Its no surprise that native tribes would be at the forefront of saving the old seeds/techniques.

  187. @JMG:The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk is an admirable work. Kirk’s brand of conservatism is a far cry from today’s Republican Party. Paging through it this morning, I thought that it probably merits a second reading.

  188. In a comment made a while back, you once lamented that the Catholic Church rejected Neoplatonism in favor of Aristotelianism as its philosophical foundation. I’m curious what differences between the two schools lead you to feel that way?

  189. @JMG

    I’d like to ask you a few questions:

    1) Spengler noted in ‘Man and Technics’ that the Faustian people surrendered their advantages over other cultures by offering STEM education to the other cultures, and thus, they were likely to be overwhelmed by these other cultures, who, Spengler said, would catch up with, and even surpass the Faustian nations. However, a look at the history of STEM in the early 20th century shows that the overwhelming majority of advances in STEM came from Faustian nations, and from other peoples like Jews and Slavs (who aren’t a fully established culture yet, but are likely to birth an independent High Culture of their own, centred in Russia, after shaking off the Faustian pseudomorphosis, just like the Faustian culture did with its Magian as well as Appollonian inheritances), and to a lesser extent, the Japanese, who, if I’m not mistaken, were described by Spengler as being ‘under the Faustian spell’. If Spengler’s analysis was complete, then we should have seen a larger share of advancements in STEM coming from Japan, but it didn’t happen. That’s why I thought of asking you this: could there be a magical/occult factor to supplement Spengler’s analysis that explains this bit of history?

    2) Is the tendency to swing to extremes a characteristic of only the Faustian culture, or is it observed in other cultures as well? I ask because the concept of modern veganism, which originated in Faustian culture, takes vegetarianism to an extreme extent, whereas on the other end, animals raised for slaughter in the factory farm system are treated in a sickening manner all throughout their lives. So, if this tendency is characteristic of the Faustian culture, is it because of the obsession with zooming out to infinity?

    3) Could it be possible for a future culture to come up in the future, such that they’d have a worldview similar to the Faustian one, but would focus on fine arts, performing arts and literature instead of machine technics and Faustian science?

  190. @Jared: Thanks for the tip about Silas Soule! He sounds like he was an interesting dude.

    @Curt: Bookkeeping sounds like a solid skill, and one that many people will have a demand for. If you have the time, inclination, and gumption to take these classes and get a job in that field, then kudos to you. You could always keep your current job and then get the credentials for bookkeeping in spare time and have that as a fallback.

    You’re tale reminded me of this article on typewriters and “low-tech” office stuff we will need to return to. You might be doing bookkeeping with:

    https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2016/11/why-the-office-needs-a-typewriter-revolution.html

    I’m also reminded that my great-grandmother was a bookie, and according to the tales the Irish cops used to come up to their apartment above one of the bars in the Clifton neighborhood, and place their horse racing & other bets. So being a bookie might also be a career move that has a lot of potential in a deindustrialized future. I’m not saying you should pursue that, but… just throwing it out there.

    Best of Luck!

    @ALL: with the talk of speculative bubbles, recent runs of the redditors, etc. … is anyone else pondering the mythological aspect with the Robin Hood app involved?

    Stephen R. Lawhead wrote a trilogy called The Raven King trilogy that fuses Welsh mythology and the lore around Robin Hood together. I found it to be excellent mythic-fantasy storytelling. Anyway, just a thought as Wall Street keeps on Robbin’ the Hood.

  191. JMG,

    You mentioned to another commentator how we should pay off our debts to prepare for the long descent. What is the importance of this? Does this apply to low interest debt? I’ve heard people around me saying the dollar is going to be useless so they want to invest in real estate, which would mean going into debt.

  192. @Kimberly Steele about the rocket mass heater…check with your local building inspector or codes officer. It’s my understanding that the EPA nationally regulated the use of any type of combustable heating for homes and they could come fine you if they catch you. They grandfathered in older wood stoves and coal heating for homes in my state, but you literally can’t buy a coal heating system nor a wood stove without a catalytic converter installed.

  193. Hi John

    “Angry ghosts” is a darn good analogy to the current flu-bug scare. In centuries past, many physicians actually believed that illnesses were caused by demons, which were malicious entities that float about invisibly in the air an water, with the power to injure a man by entering his body and disrupting the function of certain organs that they commandeer. Tremendous advances in science have corrected that misunderstanding. Physicians everywhere now know that illness are not caused by demons, but by viruses, which – unlike demons – are malicious entities that float about invisibly in the air an water, with the power to injure a man by entering his body and disrupting the function of certain organs that they commandeer. All hail Progress!

  194. @ Pixelated

    Did you notice the irony? Many of the pink-shirt-day participants were in the parade because they were bullied into supporting the anti-bullying campaign. Monty Python could have a field day with this one!

    What lies at the heart of the matter is a problematic personality type: people who simply can’t feel good about themselves until they have won a fight. Those with this disorder often find a haven in the upper ranks of political lobbies and other special-interest groups, where their aggression can be camouflaged as enthusiasm – and thus their obnoxious behavior can evade correction.

    Historically, the flourishing of arts, literature, and science in the renaissance era was concurrent with the practice of waging “gentleman’s wars”. This was no coincidence. Those of the more aggressive sort were quickly and easily recruited and trained for battle – and then sent out into a big field somewhere to eliminate each other. The resultant thinning of their ranks in the general population left those of a more constructive and benevolent mindset free to live and work without the distraction of needing to continuously defend themselves against these bullies.

    That all broke down in the 20th century. Advances in science brought developments in military technologies, which ultimately led to the creation of weapons of mass destruction. First-world nations can no longer invade each other as they did in past eras, as doing so is now suicidal. The result of this has on the one hand been beneficial in that there has been a damper on active warfare, but on the other hand it has created a new problem: the bullies still need to fight, but since there are no fights to be fought they create their own. Instead of fighting against the French or the Spanish or the Dutch or the Turks or Whoever Else, they now fight against Racism or Chauvinism or Climate Change or Viral Infection or Abortion or Drunk Driving or Whatever Else. And having reached the limits of what forms of Social Justice they can be Warriors for, the bullies now bully others into fighting against bullying. You can’t make this stuff up.

    So what to do about it? Not much that we can. I understand this as a problem only God can solve, and just do my best to: (a) not be like them myself; and: (b) minimize my own involvement with those that are.

  195. Booklover, Linux is a very robust system. In fact, most of the internet is powered by Linux servers; it’s powerful stuff. The only downside is that it is a little more hands on but that is only true for the specialized versions of Linux. Ubuntu, the consumer version of it, is meant for everyday people and requires very little getting used to and installation is relatively easy. It also comes with Firefox by default, not the other crap, and has a software center with very interesting things you can download for free, including LibreOffice, the alternative to Microsoft’s Office and though not as pretty it is still a very capable suit and enables you to read and export to Office formats too in case they keep crapifying their suit with the Cloud stuff. I don’t even know if you can still get the non Cloud version of Office. If you got it, don’t lose it!

  196. I was wondering if you had seen this Sign o’ the Times: a company called The Blue Estate Group is selling real estate on a planned 1.5 square km artificial floating island paradise, to be sited in international tropical waters in the Atlantic. Prices range up to a billion dollars a parcel.

    It’s not just for millionaires, though. The starting price for a 20-square-meter “interior” apartment is $20,000. Presumably because someone has to swab the decks and mix the margaritas. Even for the meanest below-decks windowless cell, that’s cheaper than any available utility-connected and legally-habitable dwelling anywhere near where I live. (But like any condo, the devil will likely be in the “maintenance fees.”)

    Blue Estate’s’ web site is here, but most of the content consists of narrated CGI fly-over videos. Here’s a MSM article about it.

    Everything about this plan has a just-barely-plausible quality to it, from whether it can be built at all for the total amount the real estate sales could raise, to how criminal law aboard might work. Details are fractally sketchy. I do note a few outright contradictions, such as the claim that it will be entirely self-powered with renewable energy sources including wind and solar, while the many fly-over videos depict no wind turbines or solar panels anywhere.

    If this isn’t just a fantasy brought to quasi-life by CGI and crowdfunding memes (I have my doubts) and it does get built, it will become a social (and marine engineering) experiment that’ll be really interesting to watch from very far away. Worst case? Atlantis meets Titanic. Or alternatively, see Kornbluth’s “The Marching Morons.” (Okay, that’s not really a serious concern. I hope.)

  197. Hi Booklover,

    My son has Linux on his computer. It works like Microsoft Office. It crashes several times a week.

  198. @Kimberly Steele
    RE: rocket mass heater

    I second the recommendation to get the book. The Rocket Mass Heater Builder’s Guide by Erica and Ernie Wisner. My brother built one for my mom, and as far as I know it is the only one in the country to be certified by local authorities as meeting code. It’s not so much that others don’t meet code as much as it is that others are out in the boonies and not required to meet any codes.

    It works very well when it is in use, but it has to be used every day or it gets cold and requires extra fuel to heat up again.

    Thanks,
    Tim

    P.S. If you have questions you can reach me at my handle at yahoo. I can send you some pictures and specs as well.

  199. Thanks for your earlier reply about the SOP working! I did it for the first time yesterday, and again this morning. Interestingly, yesterday although the object of my intention wasn’t fulfilled (I didn’t expect it to be), a whole range of synchronicities related to my intention happened, such that the cosmos seemed to be asking me ‘are you sure about this intention?’. I imagine this question has an obvious answer, but I assume it happens sometimes that an intention will need to be updated as the working proceeds?

  200. Speaking of losing control of the narrative. The Qatar based Al Jazzera Network announced today it would start a conservative leaning tv network in the USA. This announcement is the source of great puzzlement to the establishment media types as they have a very narrow view of how gulf monarchies see the world. It is interesting that someone so removed from the centre of US politics sees things so much more clearly than many in the media here. It also shows that the Neocon Establishment backing the Biden Regime is not well thought of in most of the world, including conservative gulf kingdoms.

  201. Pixelated – I was reading JMG’ s essay on the metaphysics of sex, and saw your comment on Promiscuities. It was Naomi Wolf (not Klein), and I found a copy on amazon (also used on Abe books). Thanks for the recommendation. Cheers

  202. Lady Cutekitten, thanks for the data point! The people promoting Linux tend to be computer freaks.

    Augusto, thanks. I know about Ubuntu, but there are different Linux versions, as you wrote, and there is software for Windows which does not exist on Linux or not in an equivalent quality. But it is worth watching Linux. At the moment, I’m using Open Office.

    Viduraawakened, I don’t know exactly what Oswals Spengler wrote about Japan, if anything, but Japan began, in my opinion, as a variation of the Chinese high culture, and the Westernization of it is merely a pseudomorphosis, as one can see in the distinctive cultural traits of modern Japan, where originality, like in China, isn’t as much valued as in the West.

    Marlena, thanks, butLisbeth Salander isn’t a person which I know anything about. That said, there may be a genuine archetype behind Pippi Longstocking, but not behind Greta Thunberg.

  203. @Curt – the job you describe – book-keeping, paying salaries and organising pay-related tax returns, is one that I have done. I am also self-employed. The job you describe (which can be shortened to “payroll”, along with maintaining a company’s debtor and creditor ledgers up to date (which also have tax implications, but have others more essential to the business’s survival, see below), is certainly useful for companies, but is also hugely necessary for sole traders and self-employed people.

    From my own experience, and observations, there are a large number of people with excellent, saleable skills – plumbers, electricians, hairdressers, repairers of small appliances, and etc – who could make a living doing what they love doing, but sometimes their downfall is keeping their books up to date – ESPECIALLY in relation to collecting their bills in a timely manner. I absolutely know for certain that when I was employed as a book-keeper, and my job included tracking the timely collection of payments, including communications with debtors when indicated, I was personally contributing hugely to that company’s survival. If you are too tired, coming home from the work or trade or service that you are trained to perform, to catch up with your paperwork, and your bill collecting slides, eventually you will have a cash flow crunch, and if you are small you may well go under.

    What I am suggesting is that any skills you acquire may well be eminently useful if offered as a package to a few sole traders or tiny companies (each of them needing maybe a few hours a week to keep in good shape). These small, under-the-radar types of enterprise are the likeliest to be successful going forward, IF they can keep their overheads to a minimum and IF they can keep their cashflows tight. Your skills would help with both of those, and you may be welcomed by people who simply hate, or are afraid of, or lose sleep at night over, those books… 🙂

    Best wishes!

  204. In response to Ethan’s question about on-line classes –

    In my experience, on-line classes are marginally useful in some small ways, but are not at all a replacement for in-person instruction.

    While YMMV, I’ve found that shortish on-line courses can work fine as a variation on self-education in limited applications. I’ve taken a few continuing-education courses for work that were useful enough, but I think only because they were really just providing some structure/guidance and question-asking opportunities for people who were essentially engaging in self-study, for the purpose of gaining a little more practical knowledge in specific, applied areas with which they were already familiar.

    I also know home-schoolers who have used some on-line classes as a supplement to home teaching. For example, a local family home-schools, but when they got to high-school chemistry, the parents were themselves getting confused by some of the material, so they enrolled their kid in an on-line chemistry course, and used it as a supplement to working with her directly, Having an on-line resource to seek additional explanation and clarification on some of the material was helpful – but it didn’t replace the parents’ educational role, just supplemented it.

    If those sorts of things are all you need, on-line courses can be helpful. But beyond that, I think they are basically a disaster, because people make the mistake of thinking they suffice for more complex levels of learning, or can totally replace in-person education.

    I also know teachers from elementary school through to college level who have had to teach on-line during shut-downs, and they universally think it’s awful as a primary medium for student education.

    Meanwhile, I know members of the PMC who are thrilled to be able to keep their college-age kids home and “safe” via 100% virtual university. I have to wonder what the long-term result of that will be….

  205. Lew, interesting indeed. That kind of cascading financial trouble is all but universal in flyover country — not surprising, given the way that most of the US has been stripped of wealth to the bare walls to keep the bubble-enclaves of the comfortable classes nice and cozy.

    Your Kittenship, the Reddit community r/WallStreetBets. They’re the ones who caused the chaos in the stock market a little while back.

    Rhydlyd, enjoy the hunt!

    CR, I saw that, and just shook my head. They pretty much had to admit that the F-35 is a dud — it turns out that it can’t fly at supersonic speeds for long without causing damage to its tail assembly. I still feel embarrassed about one of my failed predictions: in Twilight’s Last Gleaming I had the Lardbucket, as pilots in that novel called it, turn out to be an inferior plane but still more or less functional for its main missions — as it turns out, it’s much worse than I anticipated. (And of course I was wrong about the nickname.)

    KidVrain, thanks for this.

    Ramaraj, explaining it will take an entire book, and it’s one that I haven’t written yet. I just spent five minutes trying to summarize it here, and failing. The nearest thing to a hint I can offer you is to think about what differentiates a machine from a living thing, and notice how this affects the way that the human will relates to it.

    Averagejoe, sure. Think about the way you learn a foreign language. You start out memorizing words by rote, and you believe — accurately, if your teacher’s any good — that word X is the proper response to word Y, and so on. Later in the learning process, you get a sense of how the language works, and then you don’t just believe that word X is the right thing to say, you understand why it’s the right thing to say. Does that clarify things at all?

    Irena, I get the impression that the quality of language instruction has declined sharply in recent decades. The third year Russian class at Highline High School when I was there included Pushkin’s “The Stationmaster” and selections from Lermontov’s A Hero of our Time and Gogol’s Dead Souls as part of the ordinary course of readings.

    Jbucks, never, ever try to time the popping of a bubble. Isaac Newton thought he could time the popping of the South Sea Bubble, the first big stock market bubble in modern times. He was wrong, and lost nearly everything he’d invested. I am not as smart as Isaac Newton, and neither are you. We’re moving deep into bubble territory; the US government is paying its debts by way of the printing press, with the Treasury currently the single largest holder of US government debt; foreign central banks are dumping US debt at an accelerating pace, and signing agreements to trade in their own currencies, dooming the dollar’s role as a reserve currency and international medium of exchange; all this is flashing a huge warning sign…but we don’t know when things will tip over into crisis — just that they will.

    Emily, (1) interesting. I have extremely poor kinesthetic perception, but your other points may be spot on. (2) I’d recommend journaling, unless you do a lot of meditation already. (3) I’m pretty sure the Dolmen Arch course, while it was written in America and draws on American occult traditions, also has some fairly substantial roots in the Welsh-American community, which was extremely active in the 1920s. It’s certainly not Native American in its focus! It ought to be workable in any English-speaking culture with a significant Welsh cultural presence, i.e., anywhere in Britain, Anglophone North America, and Australasia, or in any part of Europe that had a significant Celtic cultural substrate. (4) By all means do so — I just checked with herself. (5) One of my readers asked a question about Mesmerism, and that got me wondering. As for the machines, I’ve sent out 33 sets of plans, and if things follow the normal pattern, I might get three machines — in which case I’ll keep one for my own use, give one to my wife, and keep the third as a backup. (6 and 7) Many thanks for these! (8) Nope. That’s just how I wrote it.

    Denis, that’s another siren. Inflation, here we come!

    Jay, and if that’s what works for you, by all means. I’ve had the virus, and it wasn’t that serious — I’ve had bad colds that were worse — so I’m not greatly worried on my own account; still, you need to make the choices that are right for you.

    Owen, thanks for this! I don’t think I’ve encountered that poem before. As for WSB, I didn’t say that I necessarily believe what the people on WSB say — just that I pay close attention to them. From where I sit, they’re a far more sensitive barometer of the market than the official pundits — even if you’re reading the pundits to figure out what they’re wrong about this time.

    Matthias, clearly everyone’s reading Thucydides these days!

    Ethan, I could be wrong, but I don’t expect to see environmentalism become a significant political force again in my lifetime. It sold out too enthusiastically to corporate interests to retain its credibility as a movement, and the endless barrage of failed predictions of disaster put the last few nails into its coffin. The bitter irony, of course, is that the effects of our abuse of the biosphere are still piling up and having unpleasant consequences — but nobody talks any more about high tides flooding the streets of Miami Beach…

    David BTL, many thanks for this.

    Curt, thanks for this. Visualization therapy was big in the 1970s, before the medical profession sold its soul to the pharmaceutical industry.

    Ramaraj, that’s a useful data point — thank you! As for the Redditors, my suspicion is that they’re the first wave of the kind of large-scale public involvement in the stock market that always precedes a really world-class bubble and crash.

    Ahriman, modern Western technology is fragile, and the vast majority of it is dependent on abundant resources of a kind that future societies won’t have. Look at the way that Indian, Muslim, and Western civilizations picked up and ran with Greek logic, each in its own way, to get a sense of how the great cultures of the future will repurpose what little survives of our technology. Of course there will be pseudomorphoses — and in the usual way, those will be shaken off by rising cultures in due time.

    Curt, stick with bookkeeping! If you know how to do that, your skills will always be in demand. That’s what paid our bills before my writing income was large enough — Sara worked as a bookkeeper, and had a fairly easy time finding work.

    Mary, interesting. That may well be part of the picture.

    Ben, there are no similar examples. That’s just it. Each great culture is unique — it has its own distinctive way of being in the world, which cannot be equated with any other.

    Booklover, I’ve never used it. I get my computers used, to keep them out of the e-waste stream, and those normally come with the usual OS from SmallSquishy on them.

    Goran, it’s something that some occult schools practice, but I don’t — I’ve had a few lucid dreams, but since I do a lot of imaginal work in my waking hours, I figured it’s best to leave my nights free for my unconscious mind to play with. I haven’t really looked into it, as a result.

    Phutatorius, I found it very useful.

    Slithy, how much do you know about the two systems?

    Viduraawakened, (1) I think Spengler was mistaken there, and should have known better. Faustian technology requires Faustian attitudes and thoughtways to really master it — that’s why, as you’ve noted, most developments in Faustian technology took place either in the European homelands of the culture or in nations such as the US, Russia, and Japan, that were deep in a Faustian pseudomorphosis. (2) I think every culture goes to extremes, but they’re different extremes. Nobody else anywhere has pushed asceticism to the extremes practiced by some Hindu sadhus, for example. (3) Nobody knows.

    Youngelephant, if you have debts and your income collapses you’re well and truly screwed — your creditors can force you into bankruptcy and take just about everything, depending on local law. If you get out of debt and stay there, you’ve avoided that disaster.

    Steve, funny. Plus ça change

    Walt, no, I haven’t seen that. It sounds to me like a world-class scam.

    Yorkshire, fascinating. Thanks for this; it was via experiments on the medical use of electricity and radio waves that radionics was first discovered.

    Anonymous, that’s why it’s a very good idea to learn some method of divination and get good at it — you can ask the universe about your intentions. Yes, sometimes you need to update the direction of your will.

    Andy, thanks for both of these. Yes, I’m familiar with cognitive distortions — it’s a nice way of repackaging the old but useful lore of logical fallacies plus some of the more helpful findings of 20th century psychology. The list would indeed be worth posting.

    Clay, too funny. Yes, I heard of that, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that the US establishment is staring slackjawed at it all.

  206. This is more of a data point which I’m sure has likely been caught, but the Trump 2024 flag flown by an ice skater at Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park is, I think, a metaphor for what is to come. Most people ignored it, some jeered, but a select few got violent. If Trump runs in 2024, and especially if he wins, this is what I think we’ll come to expect. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/man-skating-with-trump-2024-flag-tackled-at-central-park-ice-rink/vi-BB1dTUQX

  207. @ Anonymous re “I’m watching something wild, and which does not bode well for the next few years: my family, the best barometer of the PMC I know, are now freaking out about a bird flu, “another new virus”, which has infected people in Russia. They think as a country we need to eliminate all of our poultry, “just to be safe”.”

    Have them read the following article linked below

    https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/02/russia-reports-first-human-h5n8-avian-flu-cases

    and call special attention to the second paragraph with the sentence ‘ early information says the cases involve seven workers exposed to bird flocks who were asymptomatic, with no onward transmission reported.’ This
    means the workers only tested positive, showed no symptoms and have not infected anyone else.

    This may or may not stop your family from punching the panic button until it breaks but it’s worth a shot. Knowledge is power but if people refuse to calm down long enough to learn something, there’s not much you can do (sigh)

    Good luck.

  208. Anonymous (#124) probably a dumb question, but you’re either clicking an existing link or typing dreamwidth.org and not dreamwidth.net? I’ve typed the wrong one in myself, so just thought I’d ask.

    Have you tried a different browser, or cleared your cookies?

    Basics, but …

  209. In another bit of recent news, your favorite defense industry pork project ( I mean fighter plane) the F35 Lardbucket has been officially and publicly declared a failure by the defense department. This is kind of a Suez moment all in itself, because it leaves the US with nothing but 2nd rate air superiority fighters against much better Russian and soon Chinese stuff. This is the stuff of which the failures of empire are made.

  210. JMG: “Irena, I get the impression that the quality of language instruction has declined sharply in recent decades. The third year Russian class at Highline High School when I was there included Pushkin’s “The Stationmaster” and selections from Lermontov’s A Hero of our Time and Gogol’s Dead Souls as part of the ordinary course of readings.”

    But but but but but!!! Haven’t you heard? Those were the Bad Old Days. Progress!!! Geez, JMG…

    Okay. Some seriousness now. When I started learning Czech about two years ago, my main study material was a Czech grammar book written by some Columbia U professor back in the 1950s. This wasn’t ideal, since Czech has actually changed somewhat since that time. And yet, even when that is taken into account, the 1950s stuff seemed better than the flashy stuff they’re publishing these days.

  211. Hi there Kimberly,

    I actually work as chimney sweep so I’d figured I’d give ya my two cents.

    In addition to the rocket mass heaters, you might want to check out masonry heaters as well. Masonry heaters basically use the same skills to build as RMHs, and in my opinion avoid some issues that RMH can have. But, both when well built can be great and use significantly less wood than a metal stove. I’ve read that in Finland, the government there has incentivized the building of masonry heaters, so that about 90% of residential homes there have one. Very smart.

    That being said, they can be quite the project. If you are thinking about building one on your main floor, just keep in mind you’ll have to support the floor joists underneath – even a small heater can weight over 1 ton. There are all kinds of designs out there, and they can be made rather small, see the links below for 2 examples:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0Hmu68kr6M

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sfh4SJltPw

    Here are some open source plans from a Russian stove builder, this is a very small heater, but it shows you what is possible:

    http://eng.stove.ru/products/otopitelnyie_pechi_oik/oik_14

    As others have said, metal stoves also have their place, especially if you have a smaller home that is easy to insulate. In most cases, a metal stove and chimney liner can be installed in one day. In my own place I have an Amish made metal wood-cookstove. It came with cut outs in the firebox for a hot water insert; during the winter it cooks my meals, heats my hot water, and heats the house! Depending on the severity of the winter, I prolly go through 2.5 to 4 cords of wood a year. I should also point out that unlike most Americans, I don’t really care that my house fluctuates between 55F-65F, I just put on more wool 😉

    All that being said, just take your time and do your research. Both masonry heaters and RMHs can be built from salvage and trash, which can be quite fun! Just don’t tell code. It is also a very empowering experience, building what is possibly the most effective heating system humans have come up with using only simple hand tools and masonry units. Much better than spending $15,000 on a gas furnace with forced air vents!

    I’m sure as the grid and economic situation continues to deteriorate, there will be a lot more interest in wood heating and biomass. Any kind of tech that can help to stretch out our available biomass will be crucial, as if a significant portion of the population starts turning to wood as a primary fuel, trees are gonna start going pretty quick.

  212. I apologize in advance for bringing up both the c- and v- words again, but I have a question for everyone who wants to avoid an experimental covid vaccine, but has to deal with vaccine zealots as part of their daily life, including their work life.

    Personally, I think that my medical choices are nobody’s business but mine, but I also prefer to pick my battles (and avoid useless arguments with religious zealots), so I am wondering about how to handle the impending covid-vax war.

    I have to work with, and have some social ties with, people who are absolute vaccine zealots – e.g., they think that anyone who questions any aspect of current vaccine policy is some variant of a “stupid ignorant anti-vaxxer moron” (because that’s what the MSM has taught them to think), and who cannot fathom why anyone isn’t eagerly awaiting their covid-vaccine miracle. These people talk about getting their vaccines all the time – who’s made it to the top of the list, who’s getting which shot when – and will ask me if I’ve gotten my vaccine yet or do I know when I’ll be getting it? I also know that some of them will refuse to associate with me unless I’m vaccinated for covid-19, and that will impact my ability to interact with a whole group of people I sill think of as friends, despite my belief that they’ve recently gone off the deep end. (I don’ think they’re bad people; I just think they’ve been poisoned by MSM fear-mongering.) I also anticipate that my workplace will expect me to be vaccinated; they probably won’t formally mandate it (I hope!), but it will be expected, and I’ll probably be told that I have “permission” to keep working remotely until I can manage to secure my own two doses of the wonder-potion (er, I mean, experimental mRNA vaccine).

    While I am not against all vaccines, I have absolutely no intention of getting this experimental, and in my opinion, thoroughly untested, medical intervention. I find the whole “have you got your vaccine yet?” thing to be impolite and intrusive, but I am literally the only person in these specific circles who is one, not scared to death of covid, two, unwilling to take the vaccine, and three, who still thinks that my vaccination status isn’t anyone else’s business. My saying as much will get me branded a heretic, make everybody mad, and start an argument that there is simply no way I can win, because they won’t hear anything that deviates from their religion.

    Do I just…lie? Say I had it when I didn’t? I hate lying, and worry that there will be karmic blow back for my dishonesty. But on the other hand, I feel like I am dealing with people whose irrational fear has put them beyond reason, and that I am in a no-win situation, and that maybe, under the circumstances, I should just lie to keep the peace?

    I do have other, less-crazy friends, and I suppose I can just sadly write the rest off, tell them I’m not getting the vaccine, get labelled as “crazy” (I can hear it now – “who knew El would turn into an anti-vaxxer kook? I wonder what happened to make her go off the deep end?”) and never see them again. Bu that still leaves my workplace…I can look for new work, but times is hard, so it won’t be that easy to replace the income.

    I’m sort of also asking for a friend who is in a similar situation with work; her company probably won’t mandate she show proof of vaccination, but she’s having the same issue with vax-religion coworkers and boss asking her if she knows “where on the list” she is and how soon she thinks she’ll be able to get the vax. She too feels like saying “I don’t want it” will start an argument that cannot be won.

    So far we’ve both been deflecting the questions with some variation of “I’m not in a priority group for the vaccine” and quick change of subject, but that will work only so long.

    Is anyone else facing this? Do you have advice? Are there times when a lie is the best of bad options, or do I have a moral obligation to start an unwinnable argument, just for the sake of honesty?

    I don’t want to re-visit a debate about this vaccine, I just want advice for people who don’t want it but who have to deal with covid-vax zealots. How are you / will you be handling it?

    Thanks,

    El

  213. “Never, ever try to time the popping of a bubble.” OK, that makes sense! I don’t have any investments at all, so it’s not because I’m trying to get rich that I’ve been thinking about the timing. It’s more because my wife and I are looking to buy a house to live in, and the housing market is overheated in the area we live in, and probably will continue to overheat until the bubble pops. Of course your point stands regardless.

    Probably the smart thing to do would be to continue to rent while we wait out the bubble, but we have enough savings for a good sized downpayment (for a reasonably priced house), and I’m worried about the value of our savings dropping due to inflation, or that our bank goes under when the bubble pops, or both. We kept out of debt and reduced expenses in order to save money, but I have no idea how to protect those savings from the bubble, other than going into as little debt as possible with a mortgage and financing the rest of it with our savings.

  214. JMG – I have been reading some Carl Jung too, like others here. Can you give some insight into what Jung referred to as the collectivist problem? Does it have any relation to the current Corona Virus insanity?

  215. Ben said: Apparently, winds at 500 ft are often still blowing, even if at sea level they are calm.

    Aeronaut Lee Scoresby:

    “Trade my home for the road again…”

  216. “Slithy, how much do you know about the two systems?”

    Not as much as I’d like. My knowledge if Aristotelianism is somewhat more robust: namely, that it’s a hylomorphic metaphysics in which Forms is immanent within its instances — not only things of that sort, but perceptions and thoughts of those things. So a triangle drawn on paper has the form of Triangle, but so does my perception of that triangle, and so do my thoughts about triangles.

    Plato, on the other hand, started out thinking of Forms as the ideal instance of the thing, and all other instances were imperfect copies of the Form. So every triangle is an imperfect copy of the one true Triangle. But then Plato realized this didn’t quite work, and either abandoned the theory of Forms or modified it. From what I understand of them, the Neoplatonists don’t seem to have placed much emphasis on the notion.

    Hylomorphism seems to be central to Thomism, which has to add some awkward workarounds in places because of its limitations: for example, God has to give an individual act of existence to each angel in order to allow it to exist as pure Form without a body. (My own solution would have been to pull in the idea of planes of existence, with each higher plane acting as a further abstraction from primary substance, but still a substance, similar to how Aristotle presented his notion of Form in the Categories as secondary substance).

    As you can see, my understanding is lopsided in favor of Aristotle, due to having encountered neo-Aristotelianism and Thomism before Neoplatonism.

  217. Booklover,

    Linux, sadly, still requires a good deal more technical know-how than either Windows or Mac in order to use well (though Windows 10 is often confusing in its own ways). Its main advantage over Windows is its privacy – Windows is basically spyware at this point – and its main advantage over Mac is that it can run on cheaper hardware.

    So, in a sense it’s like silver bullets: it stops a variety of predators from preying on you, but you have to special order or cast them yourself.

  218. >they’re a far more sensitive barometer of the market than the official pundits

    Yes – but only because of current conditions. It pains me to agree with some of these old fund managers but I can sympathize with some of their points, even if they are being massive hypocrites about it. WSB essentially indicates that speculation has gone rampant and that these stock shares are being treated essentially as poker chips and not actual companies that do real things in the real world. But it’s not like they don’t do the same things or that the markets aren’t really free anymore.

    We’ve seen how many different bubbles now? In and of itself, I’d just shrug and go “Oh, another bubble. Meh.” and move on. But you put that together with chronic bare food shelves, Zimbabwe levels of money printing and what looks like the beginnings of a bond selloff – and I’m beginning to think “Gee, that looks like the beginnings of an old fashioned hyperinflation”.

  219. JMG & ria23, if I may: in my professional training, schizophrenic tendencies of forcing the world into a simple narrative were described not as cause of disease, but as defence mechanism of a mind flooded by disorganized information (due to the breakdown of certain internal barriers). On a societal level, could this be an effect of contemporary media consumption?

  220. @Denis

    I found this on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2020/12/17/final-fall-college-enrollment-down-25-in-2020/?sh=4b8fbfb9a30f

    You have to look pretty far down the page to get the numbers you’re after: freshman enrollment for the current college year is down 13.1%. This includes two-year colleges as well as four-year schools, and both public and private colleges, though the differences between then are telling (big winners here are private, for-profit schools, which gained students, while 2-yr schools are down 20%).

  221. I’ve been assuming this, but realized I should probably verify..will software jobs go by the way side during the long descent? Perhaps they’ll just be less readily available?

  222. Booklover,
    I have been using Ubuntu, a linux distribution aimed at people who aren’t computer enthusiasts, for the past 13 months or so. It works ok, and does what I need it to. You end up having to use some different software, some of which comes packaged with Ubuntu, and some of which you have to go and find. Its usually free. There is a learning curve, so be prepared to spend a couple of days figuring the basics out and getting it the way you want it. The screenreader can be a pain to get started if you need that but have difficulty using help section without it. Most of the basic stuff is pretty self-explanatory. For some reason it doesn’t like videos on CBC, but that doesn’t bother me much. Mozilla firefox and OpenOffice work just fine.

    I’m not especially good with computers, and would recommend Ubuntu to people who aren’t computer enthusiasts and want to try linux. Debian is more powerful and flexible, but I understand it is much less beginner friendly, and Gentoo is computer enthusiast only. There are other distributions out there, but those are some of the main ones.

  223. Question to JMG (I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this) and the community, so I have built a small cabin in the woods. There are two wood stoves so far as I can tell that, are affordable, safe, and will fit in the cabin, The Vermont Castings Aspen C3 and The Jotel F602.

    My problem is that the Jotel only has a burn time of five hours where as the Vermont Castings is a good overnight stove. The problem I see with the Vermont Castings is that, although it has a long burn time, it has this new form of airflow control that automatically adjusts the airflow intake and has no form of a manual override. The thing screams the religion of progress to me. Although it has an aesthetically pleasing window on the front, I can’t keep kicking the thought that the stupid “ultra technology” airflow control will eventually break down. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to repair it.

    IDK – A piece of me says go with the Jotel and suffer with the five hour burn time. The Vermont Castings Stove is also on back order by 80 days while the Jotel is in stock. I’m not sure if waiting to buy is a good idea as well.

  224. @ pixelated (February 24 at 2:03 pm) – (1) The schools there are in-person!!?? Wow. (2) Best argument ever for school uniforms (just not in pink…)

  225. @Will Oberton, re fantasy novels, my list is

    1. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
    2. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
    3. Scott Card, The Worthing Chronicle
    4. Sanderson, Mistborn
    5. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness

    @JMG, re your answer to Vidura about the Faustian metamorphosis, I am curious about how assessment of China’s embrace of so much Faustian technology. It seems that, at the moment, whether you are looking at railroads, personal automobiles, satellites, coal power, nuclear power, internet, or any of the other economically important mainstays of the Faustian technology suite, China is by far the world’s leader in producing and utilizing the thing in question.

    One possibility is that China is only embracing these technologies as a route to economic and military domination, and despite mass-deployment of them, will never do as much innovation in those fields as the Western countries that originated them.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that Japan, after the Meiji restoration, was fully the equal of any European nation in scientific research and technological innovation. So could China be doing the same thing? Or is their culture not amenable enough to western influence like Japan’s was? Or is it simply too late in the game to add anything of value to the Faustian technological heritage, even if China was otherwise capable?

  226. I couldn’t get the image of some organized apes with rifles from Planet of the Apes to load through my html tag and without it, I sounded a little bit more cranky than I usually do. No offense was meant to any autist.

    JMG, a while back one of your commenters mentioned The Sar’s trick on how to learn a language. Do you recall what his trick was and if you have any tips on it yourself since I take you’ve learned quite a few?

    Speaking of fascinating frenchmen, do you know about the brilliant, and rather crazed mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck? His raw mental power ploughed through mathematics research by abstracting and uniting fields thus creating what is now known as Algebraic Geometry uniting this two major fields. I like how he talked about how he managed to do this with two analogies. The first one he likens opening a nut to proving a theorem and he describes how one approach is the “hammer and chisel” which to me sums up modern science — you place the chisel in a spot and strike hard; repeat as needed. The other I feel is more like meditation — you soak the nut in water and rubbing from time to time so that the water penetrates in the shell and after a few weeks only the slight pressure of the hands opens the shell cleanly. The second one he called “the rising sea” and a stone or barrier being the theorem. For long it might seem that the rising water is accomplishing nothing but in time the water has surrounded the whole structure, the theorem is “submerged and dissolved by some more or less vast theory, going well beyond the results originally to be established”. This to me sounds a little bit to what meditation does, you prime you mind and slowly but steadily you fill it with seemingly irrelevant and disconnected topics, pools of water if you will, but after some time the water rises and insights come.

    I think he was brushing with the field of study of occultism, I wonder why he actually never considered it even in his obituary you can read:

    Although mathematics became more and more abstract and general throughout the 20th century, it was Alexander Grothendieck who was the greatest master of this trend. His unique skill was to eliminate all unnecessary hypotheses and burrow into an area so deeply that its inner patterns on the most abstract level revealed themselves — and then, like a magician, show how the solution of old problems fell out in straightforward ways now that their real nature had been revealed.

    He also has a couple of very interestingly titled works, the first one his autobiography Récoltes et semailles where he gives an insightful promenade for layman about what is mathematics in the foreword and how one should follow and work with “the passion the makes one fall in love”:

    What brings success in this case is the acute perception of the presence of something strong, very real and at the same time very delicate. Perhaps one can call it “beauty”, in its thousand-fold aspects. That someone is ambitious doesn’t mean that one cannot also feel the presence of beauty in them; but it is not the attribute of ambition which evokes this feeling….

    Then another where he describes dreams, maybe his discovery of the Astral Plane since he says he got convinced of the existence of God through dreams, titled La clef des songes ou dialogue avec le bon dieu where he says that “Dieu est le Reveur” —God is the dreamer.

    Maybe he tapped into some of the currents laid by France’s history of occultism? (and of whatever that makes fiery french geniuses sprout). Or perhaps the abstract nature of mathematics flexed his muscles in ways that he was starting to make contact with higher planes.

  227. @ JMG – Wait, something new under the sun 😉 ?!? Are you still planning to write about the possible development or shape of the tamanous culture?

  228. Mary Bennett said

    I am no expert but it does occur to me that a there had been, I believe, a fairly substantial population increase from the 13thC collapse to the time of Alexander. The numbers of troops he was able to take to Asia, suppose we believe historian’s estimates, would have been impossible just a few centuries earlier, or so it seems to me. Alexander was able to raise substantial numbers of troops, and he kept receiving fresh regiments all during his campaigns in the former Persia, despite the Greek world having been almost constantly at war during the classical period. Once he got to the Punjab, the Greeks seem to have begun to think he had died.

    And don’t forget that according to surviving historical accounts, the Persian Empire and some of the larger Indian kingdoms of Alexander’s time were able to raise armies of hundreds of thousands, as were the Chinese from the Warring States period onwards. These were considerably larger than Alexander’s forces and he won his campaigns largely due to superior generalship. He was seriously outnumbered in most of the battles he fought.

    Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the greatest Russian general of World War II and certainly no slouch when it came to strategy, tactics and military history, actually wrote a paper in which he argued that the main reason why Alexander’s army mutinied and forced him to turn back after the Battle of the Hydaspes was because the Greeks realized that as large and powerful as King Porus’s army had been, there were Indian kingdoms that could field much bigger and more powerful armies. In Zhukov’s view, Alexander’s men had the ultimate “oh crap” moment when that realization sank in and they forced their fearless leader to turn around and step away from the abyss.

  229. Booklover, I am using Linux (Ubuntu) roughly since Windows 10 came out. I’d say the main difference is, for an end-user optimized distribution like Ubuntu,too, that you have a lot more freedom. With very little effort you can manipulate the very core of your OS, which also means that you have a lot of very powerful tools built in. Linux seems to be built on a much more solid foundation than the MS-Operating systems. Linux is open source and so it comes with a lot of different flavors and for a lot of different target platforms. Despite all this, Ubuntu (and other distributions, too) is really end-user friendly. Better “genetic code”, more (!) diversity: Big evolutionary advantage against crapification.

    As for Open-/LibreOffice: The last MS-Office I used was, I believe, the 2010 version. This was really good. Much, much better than any OpenOffice version I have seen so far. But since I don’t use MS-Software anymore, I do most of my typewriting with LaTex. End-user friendly is something different, but especially since I have to typeset a lot of mathematical formulae the end product is by far superior to anything you can produce with MS-Office (for plain text, imo, too). And I prefer wygiwym to wysiwyg by far…

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  230. @Shoemaker #77 – I’d be interested in helping out a bit. Currently finishing something until end of March, then I might have a bit more time? Let me know if that’s suitable…

  231. Fantasy novels: I like Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld series. If you’ve never read them, you’ve got a big pile of treats coming.

    Two other very odd, very enchanting fantasies are Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees and The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs.

    Neither is like anything else you’ve read and they’re wonderful.

  232. @ Michael Kim

    I tell everyone the same things: get out of debt!
    Learn as many useful skills you can, from cooking and gardening to carpentry and bicycle repair.
    Become an active and valued part of your local community.
    Figure out what other people need and want and will pay for. Bookkeeping is always needed, especially if you can do it with paper, pencil, and an abacus instead of Quicken software.
    Insulate your home and minimize all your costs.

    Get out of debt!

    I hope that helps.

  233. @Will Oberton & all, re: Fantasy.

    Yo, here go my top five, six or seven or so fantasy books of the moment:

    1. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams (and it’s sequels)
    2. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King (A weird-western SF Fantasy with Grail overtones anyone?)
    3. Any of Charles De Lint’s books set in the imaginal city of Newford, though I like the short story collections, Dreams Underfoot, Memory and Dream, Tapping the Dream Tree and The Onion Girl
    4. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Leguin
    5. Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
    6. Alice in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol
    7. Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper
    8. Raven King Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead
    9. The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry (basis for wonderful film the Secret of Roan Inish)
    10. Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum

    …okay that makes ten but I’m sure there are more and the list may change…

    Invisible Cities by Calvino too… I couldn’t resist. That came up in discussion before
    and well, how Hardboiled Wonderland at the End of the World by Haruki Murakami?

    Oh, and I really really dug Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell which I read last year. Probably the best book on reincarnation I ever read. Or with that as a theme.

  234. @ Viduraawakened February 25, 2021 at 11:37 am

    Spengler wrote in the book “Man & Technics” the way you said before about the destiny of the white workers (page 51):

    “The accustomed luxury of the white workman, in comparison with the coolie, will be his doom. The labour of the white is itself coming to be unwanted. The huge masses of men centered in the Northern coal areas, the great industrial works, the capital invested in them, whole cities and districts, are faced with the probability of going under in the competition.
    The centre of gravity of production is steadily shifting away from them, especially since even the respect of the coloured races for the white has been ended by the World War. This is the real and final basis of the unemployment that prevails in the white countries. It is no mere crisis, but the beginning of a catastrophe.”

    So he described very well how the globallization will destroy the Faustian workers.

    But inmediatelly he said:

    “For these “coloured” peoples (including, in this context, the Russians) the Faustian technics are in no wise an inward necessity. It is only Faustian man that thinks, feels, and lives in this form. To him it is a spiritual need, not on account of its economic consequences, but on account of its victories — “navigare necesse est, vivere non
    est necesse.” For the coloured races, on the contrary, it is but a weapon in their fight against the Faustian civilization, a weapon like a tree from the woods that one uses as house.timber, but discards as soon as it has served its purpose. This machine-technics will end with the Faustian civilization and one day will lie in fragments, forgotten — our railways and steamships as dead as the Roman roads and the Chinese wall, our giant cities and skyscrapers in ruins like old Memphis and Babylon. The history of this technics is fast drawing to its inevitable close.. It will be eaten up from within, like the grand forms of any and every Culture. When, and in what fashion, we know not.”

    So he predict the end of the “Machine Age” with the end (or decline) of the Faustian civilization, because the other cultures only needs the machines in order to fight the thirst of power of the Faustian Man; and I agree because in fact almost all the industrialization of countries around the world was a tool to have a modern standing army that could prevail or at least resist in the fight against the Faustian Armies, as was the case of Japan (after the threats of the european and american navies) or Russia (after the Crimean War) o China (after the many unequal treatries and plunders from the europeans), etc…

    So I think Spengler was right in his predictions

    Cheers
    David

  235. @JillN, Irena re: foreign languages and precision:

    Could be, but… I have studied Latin, Spanish, and Vietnamese about equally (I’m not great at any of them, but beyond “Hi” and “where’s the bathroom?”). I found both Latin and Spanish to be more precise than English. Viet is quite the opposite (except for some ribbons of extreme specificity, like forms of address/pronouns). Everything in tieng Viet is massively context-dependent: the same word can have four or five different meanings depending on the subject being discussed and the modifiers used. In Viet, I was constantly getting into odd misunderstandings with friends like:

    friend: Nha Trang is that way (points down the road)
    me: I know, I walked there yesterday!
    friend: (falls out of chair laughing) Really? All the way to Nha Trang?

    In this context, nha=house, Trang=white. Nha Trang is a town (basically “white-house”) forty minutes’ drive away, but in that same direction, much closer, is the house (nha) of my friend, Trang (nha Trang). And if you run the phrase “nha trang” through an online translator, you might get “home page”… which might make sense if you think about it metaphorically. Viet is a great language for poetry: even the most basic things are already metaphor. What is the word for “sun”? There isn’t one! It’s “mat troi”: sky-face (if you’re going for a graceful translation: face of heaven). My personal favorite: kangaroo= chuot tui=”bag rat”. Poetry aside, though… I’m sure people publish science and mathematics and law papers in tieng Viet, but darned if I know how! It must require an extraordinary linguistic competence and a huge number of words.

  236. Goran,
    I did some sphere working in lucid dreams inspired by this article https://www.academia.edu/19776802/Exploring_The_Tree_of_Life_Through_Lucid_Dreaming . It was a fun period of my life, although I didn’t have the good sense to do formal discursive meditation on the results; probably will do that eventually.

    You might also look into “Dream Yoga”. I like the book Dream Yoga by Andrew Holecek. Be warned this is much more frustrating (at least for me) than practices on the physical plane because you’re at the mercy of your ability to get lucid, and stabilize the dream. I stopped because my dreams reduced by probably 80% when I started daily rituals. I think it takes a certain degree of natural talent to really be successful, maybe experience with it in past lives. Oh and I think Dream Yoga probably works best for the serious Tibetan Buddhist.

    A more western spin on dream yoga that’s better suited for non-buddhists is described in the book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self by Robert Waggoner. One of my favorite books of all time. Waggoner talks about engaging the Conscious Unconscious by posing questions and requests to the dream itself, and sometimes it’s components, which respond in a very interesting fashion. He publishes a quarterly magazine https://www.dreaminglucid.com/index/ which is free to the public, including past issues. You’ll find some really interesting accounts if you do some digging. I’m pretty sure there’s multiple issues specifically on magic in dreams.

  237. @hobbit house builder,

    In another life I designed, tested and manufactured wood stoves. To be sold today, every stove has to pass the latest EPA certifications. To do this they are full of baffles, air inlets, heat adjustable dampers etc. The simple metal box of the past is long gone so I would say there is not really much of a tech difference between the two stoves. The big difference is that the Vermont castings is much bigger at 1.25 cu feet while the Jotul is .87 cu feet. Burn time is very directly related to firebox size so that is actually more important than the auto damper control. Some years ago the Vermon Castings we had come to know and love went bankrupt and was purchased by HNI, ( which is a division of Hon office equipment). To the best of my knowledge they sold the foundry in Vermont and get all their cast iron stoves from China. Jotul makes their Cast Iron stoves at their own foundry in Norway, and builds their steel stoves at a U.S. factory in Maine. I always prefer a smaller stove that burns hotter and cleaner to a big stove that smolders and gunks up the flue. If the Jotul is big enough to keep your cabin warm, go with that.

  238. @El This is a very difficult thing. I wish that I had some sort of solid answer for you. I myself had no choice but to quit my job because of the mask mandates. My boss wasn’t the issue, it was the venue that the shop was located in. At the time I was also being harassed in public for refusing to wear a mask. Never mind that it wasn’t covid that made me terribly sick, it was the masks. Pneumonia is no fun! Thankfully, I was in a position where I could quit, I know not everyone is.
    Having said that, now may be the time to reconsider who you choose to associate with. Yes, your friends and your work. It may take some delicate work, but you may be able to find a position with a boss and workmates that think like you on the vaccines, or at least similarly. There are a great deal more of us than is apparent at first glance. Another option could be strike out on your own. If nothing else, it wouldn’t hurt to start looking into the possibilities and have a back up plan.

    Also, I don’t know if you fit into this category or not, but there are a lot of us who, according to doctors and researchers who should NOT take the vaccine. For example those with a history of anaphylaxis.

  239. I have a couple of books by Gareth King on Welsh, “Colloquial Welsh” which is a good introduction, and his “Modern Welsh: A Comprehensive Grammar”. Both of these are good and have lots of example sentences. I also have “A Dictionary of Welsh and English Idiomatic Phrases” (compiled Alun Rhys Cownie), which is an interesting book, which is good if you’re translating something and not sure whether the English idiom works in Welsh or whether Welsh does that in a different way.

    I’m also learning Czech, even though I don’t have an obvious practical reason to need to know it. Partly I seem to just like the aesthetic of the Czech language, even if I can’t really explain why. The Czech language was quite minoritised in the 18th-19th century, in danger of dying out in favour of German, and it needed to be revived. As such it developed quite a codified grammar to show it was a serious language that could be used for anything German could be. See the Institute of the Czech Language and Czech National Corpus.
    As well as Duolingo, I also have a copy of “Contemporary Czech” (1982) by Michael Heim. I tend to see Duolingo as being quite useful for starting a journey of learning a language but isn’t going to be the end of it. The Scottish Gaelic course seems fairly good with recorded rather than text-to-speech audio, I’ve gone into this before really reading up on the Gaelic orthography, but wondering if I need to, so that I don’t let the spelling conventions of any other languages I know confuse me too much.

  240. @Booklover
    Linux is what I run on my desktop and laptop. I have been using it or systems like it for over 20 years. I can easily run 10 and 15 year old computers if needed. I believe the smallest Linux I’ve used, Puppy Linux, was a bit over 200 megs at the time and easily boots a computer off a very old USB stick.

    Puppy’s history is instructive for those contemplating decline scenarios. The original designer of Puppy needed a system which ran on very old hardware and could access the Internet over unreliable dial-up from the middle of the Australian Outback. The included software applications and configuration of Puppy Linux were chosen accordingly. That was a very, very fast Linux on newer hardware. For a while I used it to rescue other systems (including Windows) by booting off an old USB stick.

    My current favorite distribution of Linux is MX Linux. It has been very stable, well maintained, and runs my new hardware on my desktop as well as my old Thinkpad equally well. I can leave it running for weeks at a time without a problem. For less technical people Ubuntu or Linux Mint are probably the easiest distributions to get running.

    On the site Distrowatch https://distrowatch.com/ you can see the many different flavors of Linux that are available as well as other Unix-like systems.

    I believe Linux and other open source software will dominate computing when we are deep into decline. The main reason is no one controls access to the software. I can keep a copy of the source code in my possession to use however I wish. Including allowing modifications for adapting to changing circumstances. This assumes, of course, access to electricity and computers.

    Basically, if you can scavenge a computer with working hardware you can probably use it to run Linux and other open source apps. No need to by pass a used up installation authorization key or access some Cloud facility which may or may not be accessible anymore.

  241. @Hobbit House Builder We have a Vermont Castings bought in 2001 and love it. But if you can get the Jotel now, do it. The stove will stay hot if it goes out after 4-5 hours if you are worried about getting cold overnight. Plus the times they list tend to be the times for newbies. Once you learn how to adjust the airflow and stack it, it could go much longer.

    The supply chain is all kinds of messed up and I think we are due for items going missing during shipment and being resold on the side shortly.

  242. Prizm, no surprises there.

    Clay, I’m sorry to say that Air Force pilots don’t call the F-35 the Lardbucket, as I predicted in Twilight’s Last Gleaming. They call it the Penguin, because it flies like one.

    Irena, no surprises there! The best Latin textbook I know here in the US dates from 1956; I’ve read more recent textbooks, and they suck by comparison.

    El, I think it’s probably wisest in that situation to lie through your teeth. When you’re dealing with crazy people or fanatics, it’s often necessary to play along with their delusions.

    Jbucks, provided that you have a stable income, if you move fast, buy a house with the smallest mortgage you can get, and pay it off as fast as you can with inflated dollars, you can make it work. Don’t delay, though, and for the love of Pete get a fixed-rate mortgage, because interest rates are likely to zoom.

    Danaone, I’ll have to go looking through Jung to find out what he means by that; it’s not ringing any bells just at the moment. Where did you read about it?

    Slithy, Neoplatonism is where the concept of planes comes from. The standard Neoplatonist version sees four planes — henadic, the plane of the One; noetic, the plane of the Ideas (which are understood as intelligible intelligences, i.e., thoughts thinking themselves, understanding themselves, and reflecting upon themselves; psychic, the plane of souls; and hylic, the plane of matter. Each plane has its own substance, but participates in the plane above it, which is what allows forms to cascade down the planes into their imperfect material expressions. The great advantage of Neoplatonism in a religious context is that it allows mystical experience to be accounted for very easily, since human beings are three-plane beings — we have noetic, psychic, and hylic aspects, and it’s the noetic aspect that can participate in the plane of the One.

    Lydia, it looks to me as though battle lines are being drawn.

    Owen, whether it gets hyper- or not, it looks to me as though we’re in for a sharp round of inflation, with all the usual problems thereof. Oof.

    Admin, I meant it as a symptom rather than a cause — sorry for the confusion. I’m sure media has an important role, but such things generally have complex pathogeneses.

    Youngelephant, at some point they’ll go away completely, but it’s anyone’s guess when.

    Hobbit, why are those the only options? Just at a glance, smallwoodstoves.com has a much larger range of possibilities, many of which look more sensible than the two you’ve named.

    Wesley, where did you get the idea that I didn’t think China was capable of a Faustian pseudomorphosis?

    Augusto, you’ve got to use “img src=” etc. to get an image to appear here. The Sâr’s trick is to learn by memory the same text in a language you know and the language you want to learn — say, The Wizard of Oz in English and Magus Mirabilis in Oz in Latin. Learn them together, a paragraph at a time, and you’ll find very quickly that you’ve absorbed an astonishing amount of vocabulary and grammar. No, I didn’t know about Grothendieck — he sounds like a seriously interesting cat.

    Ben, sure, just as every human life is at least slightly different from every other human life. As for the essay, it was when I tried to write it that I realized that here in late Faustian culture, we literally can’t understand the first thing about it.

    Simon, well, isn’t that just special. 😉

  243. El – I see a few choices: 1) lie and say you got it, 2) tell them you don’t want to jump the line while the supply is short and so many at risk people need it, 3) say you don’t take experimental medicine, or 4) tell them something way off like you heard it makes people more likely to do the Nazi salute spontaneously.

    I get you on wanting to stay private, but with people that much in your business you’ve got to do a little offensive action. When my cousin came at me with the vaccine question, I immediately said, “I’m not taking anything that hasn’t gone all the way thru the FDA testing process.” She spluttered a bit but backed off and told the story of her getting it and jumping the line to get it.

    Honestly though, why get a vaccine that doesn’t allow you to get back to normal life? Still have to wear masks, and nothing is reopening. The Israeli data looks horrible – positives and hospitalizations going back up and their vaccination rate is the highest in the world. They also are providing raw numbers anymore, just %.

    In another three weeks this is all going to look way different and people are going to start to regret getting these things.

  244. Some interesting links:

    How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled https://tinyurl.com/skdtrwmt

    The internet as we know it is doomed https://tinyurl.com/5xuaercw

    Personal update during the slow collapse: The bills are going up. I don’t know if this is because of the unmentionable virus or just typical rising prices. City utilities, electric, gas; all higher. My internet provider notified me that it was “mandatory” to upgrade to fiber optics and to contact them. I insisted that I keep the landline phone, but DSL is no more. I had a shock when I recently received the first bill, as it was nearly twice as high as what the rep quoted. Now I have to call and complain. And I’m rather miffed because soon after I upgraded, they sent a letter out saying that they had postponed the upgrades due to the pandemic. I now think I should have ignored them. I don’t Zoom or work from home, so the slower service (and cheaper rate!) was fine for me. Guess I’ll have to move out to the county, where they don’t offer the upgrade. Oh, and I found out there are errors on my property taxes (seems they believe my house is twice as big as it is!) so now have to complain about the county squeezing more taxes out of me than they should.

    I paid off my mortgage last fall because I didn’t know how the economy would go, so at least now I have a financial cushion to absorb the added costs, but gee whiz, give a gal a break! Everything seemed to happen at once!

    Joy Marie

  245. @methylethyl Thank you for the Forbes article. Exactly what I was looking for. Saved it to pdf (don’t trust websites anymore) and now let’s see what Fall 2021 brings. College presidents must be popping tums like candy.

  246. JMG, Irena, and everyone else discussing Latin and foreign languages:

    I researched what was out there for a few languages, and one particularly promising course in Latin is the one offered by the Evan Der Millner of the Latinum Institute, at latinum.org.uk. The texts he uses, rather than being cutting-edge new, are dusty mid-19th century tomes like Adler and Prendergast (and even as old as Comenius). It’s an audio course based the systems in the lineage of Manesca, Ollendorff, etc, and it has very good reviews.

    Evan’s articles on Prendergast were especially intriguing, and this seems to be a powerful method that went out of style because it requires a very devoted teacher to provide oral instruction in short bursts throughout the day–or someone to record the short lessons as mp3s. Prendergast severely limited vocabulary, but forced not only memory but mastery of translating complex sentences with many variations right from the beginning. The idea is that you learn, through induction, the structure of the language, with a smaller burden in memory, and perfect each lesson before moving to the next. By memorizing essentially idiomatic units, you learn the same way a child listening to adults speaking around the home would learn. Once the structure is down, all that remains is increasing vocabulary as needed, though Prendergast used the most common words and was the first to assess word frequency in languages as far as I know.

    I got a copy of his book for Spanish, and though the language is a bit high-fallutin’ by modern standards, I will be making audio recordings for myself to drill–the student isn’t allowed to look at the book, which is a teacher’s manual.

    Prendergast also has courses in German, Hebrew, and French, though the only course with the necessary audio recordings so far is the Latin, done by Latinum. I will report back how the Spanish goes. My divination as to whether I should record the lessons came back:

    Right witness: llawenydd
    Left witness: merch
    Judge: bendith fawr

    So my hopes are high.

  247. @JMG
    “It’s clear, rather, that the corporate establishment and its tame media want to insist that these things are what motivates Trump supporters, because that way the corporate establishment and its tame media can avoid having a conversation about the economic issues that actually motivate most Trump supporters.”

    Its eye opening how quickly they reacted to Hedge Funds getting the short-end of the stick of a short squeeze during the GME(Gamestop stock) situation with Wall Street Bets. And many of the poorer constituents got rich.

    Suddenly Trades were shut down. Suddenly rules are being changed. Suddenly Reddit gets an outage.

    They are slow with their virtue signalling. But real actions that would be worthy of the Left results in quite a quick and sudden reaction.

    The current Left’s reaction to the storming of the Capitol marks them as beholden to Corporate and Managerial Powers.

  248. Thank you! I will try that. That reference wants me to stay tuned!

    Hmm, that is what I tried. Let’s see if it works this time.

  249. @Curt, regarding bookkeeping and taxes. Good choice. Beancounters can always find work. Just a suggestion; keep your day job for now and volunteer as a tax preparer. It is pretty much cancelled (and too late) this year, unless you are in Canada. In November, look around for the volunteer training, put in your time, and practice on the unsuspecting low income and elderly population. Actually, all the volunteer sites have a qualified overseer, but you still get to practice in a low stress situation.

    Working for other people is just a way to make all your mistakes on someone else’s dime. You eventually want to go for professional certification and hang out your shingle. Bookkeeping is an easy way in. All you need is a few night school college accounting classes and you can start getting mom and pop business clients who only need a part time bookkeeper. There are progressive levels of professional tax certification, none of which require college attendance. They all require work, of course. There are various specialties and certifications for helping people sort out what to do with their money, such as financial advisor.

  250. Tamanous,

    I expect that any side effects of the vaccines will become the subject of denunciation as “conspiracy theories” and “disinformation.” These days, you can use the legacy media as a gauge: the more vehemently they deny something, the surer you can be that it is true.

    That is going to contribute to a trend which JMG has noted before: an increasing distrust of institutions and “experts” of all kinds.

  251. Re fantasy favorites

    Two additional offerings, somewhat more contemporary (more so than Horace Walpole, in any event!)

    The Goblin Emperor
    The Protector of the Small (a quadrilogy)

  252. @JMG said, “Wesley, where did you get the idea that I didn’t think China was capable of a Faustian pseudomorphosis?”

    I misunderstood your comment to Vidura – you had said that Faustian technology required Faustian thoughtways to master it, and didn’t list China as one of the cultures with those thoughtways. If the list wasn’t meant to be exhaustive, then that’s no surprise – China does seem to be doing quite well with Faustian technology, at the present moment.

    And while we’re on subject of Faustian thoughtways versus those of other cultures, I have an interesting theory: The musical forms of Faustian culture, like sonata form, theme-and-variations, and the fugue, are a reflection of that culture’s prime symbol: the composer takes a theme, and then puts it through as many rapturous transformations of key, melody, tempo, dynamics, etc. as he can in a sort of mental quest for infinity. Meanwhile, the Tamanous culture rising here in America, finds its expression through the common form of an American country or pop song: the song starts off in a sort of wandering way, as if it hasn’t found what it is trying to say yet, then moves through some makeshift melodies, and finally finds its main theme, which it repeats once or twice with rising ardor and embellishment, as if now the song has found its voice and has nothing else to do besides revel in it.

    Does this sound, to you, like an accurate idea of what is going on in our music?

  253. Concerning white supremecy and Trump supporters. In MI about 98% of the voters who voted for Trump also voted for John James, a black man running as a Republican Senate candidate. I believe something similar happened in NC. To my mind it is hard to square these voting paterns with the “White Supremacy” narrative.

  254. @Booklover et all

    As Fred Brooks wrote: “there’s no silver bullet”. Despite whatever the advocate crowd tells you Linux is not ready for the general population. Repeat: Linux is not ready for the general population. I have it installed in one of my older machines because I can provide unlimited tech support… which I hate because I am lazy and prefer stuff to just work (which in Linux does… until it doesn’t). I would not know where to get a hired hand if I could not do it myself. Everyone with the required expertise is already hired at a much more lucrative and prestigious position; your average GeekSquad techie, on the other hand, could not strace their way out of a wet pipe if their ACL depended on it. And unless you just came back reading after laughing aloud, you cannot either.

    That is not the only problem with Linux, though. The real problem is that all Open Source enthusiasts are at their heart of hearts Worshipers and True Believers of Great God Progress. They just keep inventing crazy, convoluted, over-engineered stuff, not because their corporate overlords force them to do it, but because it is over-engineered and convoluted and nobody has succeeded pulling it off before.

    It is turtles all the way down and I do not think there is left a single human mind alive that can fit within itself all that complexity and leaky abstraction layers, let alone reason about it. More over, they still use commercial hardware, whose manufacturers are at a permanent state of warfare with them. Hardware manufacturers also keep inventing crazy, convoluted, over-engineered stuff in order to support a business model that relies on the failed mythology of the Moore’s Law (which it is not quite what Gordon Moore said, but nobody ever cared about that). Insanity is the final destination of all who dives too deeply in those waters.

    I do not say it is not worth to have a Linux box around, specially if you are self employed and have control over your work processes. But if you are expected to heavily interact and work with the general population, and use the tooling they use (like, during the pandemic), you are better off buying a second hand Windows system and using it consciously and responsibly.

  255. A question for JMG and the commentariat: Does anyone know of any good books about the Heian Society Great Angry Ghost Panic that was mentioned unthreadby our host?
    Thanks!

  256. clay dennis, would you be willing to suggest a few specs or characteristics one should search for or be wary of when searching for a wood-burning stove? I’m thinking of converting a fireplace and being only at the “do we have any retailers near us” phase, I’m early in the process, but I’d like to go in knowing what questions to ask or how to spot, for example, an upsell or what have you. Obviously what I’m going to need/want will be different from others, but I’m wondering how to begin assessing.

    Shoemaker, I’m interested to hear about your project and wish to cheer you on. I’ve got a full plate right now and am probably not your best beta tester given that plus limited bbs/computer savvy – still, I’d be interested to hear updates or see what you come up with as you go along.

    Favorite fantasy novels…

    I second Pat’s recommendation of Terri Windling’s The Woodwife – I like mythic fiction with a hint of land-based something or other, so I also liked the four anthologies she edited with Ellen Datlow (not listed here because they’re not novels)

    Ursula K. LeGuin’s Always Coming Home, that doesn’t read like fantasy but is a future-based work that isn’t sci-fi either, made a big impression on me, and Wu Ming-yi’s The Man with the Compound Eyes made it to my keeper list. I’ve held onto Roger Zelazny’s Roadmarks and Lisa Goldstein’s The Dream Years since I was in high school. I don’t own, but very much liked Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

  257. Hi JMG, what are your thoughts about Daniel Schmachtenberger? Very concerned about the decline of our civilization, but I don’t understand what he’s proposing as a remedy.

  258. @Goran @Wesley. To add to what JMG said about extraterrestrial life. There are three elements to this.

    #1. The Drake equation, this allows us to figure out roughly how often and how dispersed life would be throughout the universe. Even with very conservative numbers, the universe should be full of life. Funnily enough, because of the last 20 years of Exo-planet discoveries, we have a much better idea of how many viable planets and habitats are out there. Earth like planets are not common but sheer scale makes up for that. Estimated 400 billion planets in the Milky Way alone.

    #2. The Fermi paradox. With even the low end numbers of the Drake equation, it is theories that if civilizations progress upwards to a high tech space faring state. When we first switched on our space radio antennas back in the 1960’s it was an unknown just how much we would see. We should have seen signals fairly quickly, maybe a few months at best. It has been almost 60 years now with not even a single sign of anything beyond interesting typical stellar behavior. As far as we can tell from our position, the universe is completely dark to communications.

    #3 The Great filter. This is the explanation that JMG touches on. In order to get to the higher state of a space fairing species, a lot of factors have to be aligned just right to progress to the next level of life. If it is not physically possible then the next step is never taken.

    Personally I did some rough math on this a few years back and I suspect that if I am right – the idea of a long term space fairing species may be astoundingly improbably simply due to gravity wells and resource limits. What I mean is, to get into space means you have to fight off the gravity well of the planet and it takes resources to do so. Earth is basically a near perfect scenario. If you make the planet 20% smaller, the reduced gravity makes escape easier BUT you reduce the resources available too much and your civilization will probably burnout before peak (high energy) technical achievements are achieved. Increase the size of the planet by 20% from the Earth baseline and you solve the resource problem but the gravity well becomes far too big. Not impossible to escape but it would need approximately four times the material for every rocket launch. You could get into orbit but probably not much more than that.

    The resource to energy ratio needed to achieve our lofty goals of a space society is mostly out of reach. Not to mention that the distance between stuff in space and thus the next resource patch is mind bending in terms of scale. You can find videos on Youtube of traveling on a beam of light from the sun to Pluto in real time. I believe it is about 5 hours long, you see the planets for maybe a few seconds each, the rest of it is just emptiness. And this is just the local system and traveling at about 10,000 times faster than even the fastest vehicle we have ever made. Earth is our home, it always will be. Enjoy it, the jewels of heaven are all around you.

  259. JMG – Thanks for the input. I hate lying, but under the circumstances, I was already reluctantly thinking maybe it would be best. It helps to get some validation that sometimes, you have to lie because you’re dealing with people with whom you simply cannot reason.

    Aubrey, no, I don’t fall into any at-risk category for either covid or for the vaccine. Not all of my friends are like that, but I hate the fact that some people who really are not bad people have been poisoned by MSM fear-mongering. (The same thing happened in 2016 with the Trump election, when previously nice, reasonable-seeming people just suddenly went off the deep end.) I have traditionally had friends of varied political affiliations, and could usually take a live-and-let-live stance, so I hate to give up on a group of people I’ve been friends with for years because they’ve been, in my opinion, essentially brainwashed into believing that anybody who DOESN’T want an experimental vaccine is the crazy one. I guess I’m just hoping maybe they’ll rejoin reality some day and we can have sane discussions on this matter. As for work, I have been looking around, but the job market is pretty tight right now.

    I think I’m going to have to go with the unfortunate choice of dishonesty.If I tell them I had my wonder shots, they’ll cheer and congratulate me and I can change the subject and hopefully it will blow over.

    Meanwhile, I can continue to look for other work.. And commiserate with my other friends, one of whom may also be lying to her employer.

  260. Galen Diettinger: info23 asked above, post # 75, What’s your thoughts on why the Late Classical Era had the cultural climate of Biophobia to led to cults like Manicheanism?

    What went wrong?

    Now there is no question that the countries around the Mediterranean Sea have never, at any time, been able to support anything like the populations of the great river valleys in China, India and Southeast Asia. Egypt may have been able to support a similar population density, but the Nile Valley is nothing like the flood plains of the Yangtze and Huang Ho Rivers. And I certainly do not want to argue with so renowned an authority as Marshall Zhukov.

    We have been hearing lately that “politics is downstream from culture” and to that JMG added that “culture is downstream from imagination”. I am thinking that imagination has to have something to work on, such as received wisdom, new ideas from other places, and, also, I think, people’s lived experience. For many decades, maybe even more than a century, the Religion of Progress seemed quite plausible to many folks because they had experienced their own lives getting better and better, even if only in terms of material circumstances. I can still remember both my grandmothers cooking over wood stoves, and houses with no indoor bathrooms.

    I suspect that exotic or new or unusual ideas have to in some way be validated by people’s own experience or those ideas remain exotic. So, I asked myself what in late classical antiquity might have inclined people no longer to find divinity, the gods, immanent in the natural world around them? I doubt this happened just because Plato came up with a theory of forms, which BTW, I have never understood. So, I wondered if the Mediterranean peoples were experiencing an increasing mastery over wild nature, and increased population density would be a part of that. Reading in the CAH about Alexander’s campaigns, I noticed that Antipater in Macedonia kept sending him new levies, which, I gather, were trained soldiers, not raw recruits from outside Macedonia’s northern border. And that suggested that there must have been ongoing population growth within Greece sufficient to raise and support the training of Alexander’s armies. Then, too, Heracles had fought lions, but there were by the 4thC, no lions to be seen, and no more elephants in Syria, though one could, I believe, still see what had been made with their ivory. The famous statue of Zeus was made of ivory, and I wonder if they had to send to Egypt for it, or Carthage. I know the Persians and Indians used war elephants, but surely you didn’t kill a military trained beast for its ivory.

    About the points you made: it does puzzle me why the Persians didn’t seem, after Salamis, Plataea and Mycale, to have had very good troops and used Greek mercenaries. Given the vast expanse of their empire, it seems odd, unless that impression is just pro Greek bias on the part of Anglosphere historians.

  261. @Hobbit House Builder
    I have the 602 in my cabin. It will cook you out by the second load. A five hour burn is generous. I prepare a second load of firewood before I turn in for the night and have it placed close by. I can roll out of bed, toss in the wood and be back under the covers in 30 seconds.

  262. Booklover re: Linux

    I’ve been using it exclusively for 20+ years now. There’s nothing that I want to do that I can’t do with it. It has the potential to be simpler, nimbler, and more robust than other systems, and if you’re computer-creative the culture is very supportive of that — indeed, built on it.

    But ‘silver bullet’? It’s still dependent on the same chip (etc.) manufacturing and decay as any other computer, uses the same highly-refined energy, and the same forces that drive other operating systems decisions are at work there, too.

  263. Something that I think some folks here will need to keep an eye out for is Bill Gates new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”. From the bits I have seen, it is looking like the usual Silicon Valley Techno-optimist nonsense but with a darker intent. It appears to talk very heavily about the government’s role in subsidies and how they should invest in new technology to solve these things. Now call me crazy, it is almost like Gates is trying to recruit average citizens to fight for his many dozens of business ventures that would benefit wildly from such changes…

    If it is not that then I will eat a broom! If Gates genuinely believes in these technologies, there is only one thing I have to say to him, or more have him say to himself.

    ” Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. ” – Bill Gates

    To counter that book is another one being released is “Bright Green Lies” by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, & Max Wilbert. And if you know any of those authors, you know that it is going to swing to the very extreme end of the issues. That said I think they are getting a little soft in their older age. It seems to be less about blowing up dams and more about the issues with over promising on the technology claims of the future.

    The reason why I mention this book in relation to the Gates one is that it is based on the premise of how the environmental movement has been hijacked. How in less than 50 years it has gone from saving the Trees, the bee’s, the rivers in a style Rachael Carson would approve of; and turned into protests about getting subsidies for solar panels to fuel further industrial business. That a Telsa car is considered environmental is some kind of bad joke.

    I cannot say if it will be a good book or not but I always appreciate the counter points to the typical narrative we are presented with.

  264. All,

    So I’ve just heard from a friend who works for the government of Ontario that there is talk of mandating that anyone who wants any form of official medical coverage must get a Covid vaccine. If it’s true, and if it survives contact with the political sphere, this marks a major change.

    The medical industry is one of the most energy and resource intensive sectors of society, and I wonder now if this is how they’ll gut it without admitting to doing anything of the kind: it’ll be available to anyone who wants it, but first you need to take a medication that a sizable fraction of the population does not want to touch.

    Which will of course allow them to blame the people losing access: “All they need to do is take the vaccine and they can have their medications!” All I know is that this a good time to start taking care of my own health: I’m one of the people who does not intend to get the vaccine.

    Jeanne,

    They’ll just say that that’s exactly what they’d expect to see if it was serious. I’ve already tried pointing to similar such articles: they are absolutely certain that this virus is serious, and anything which contradicts that is just used as more proof of how serious it is. It’s truly bizarre, and I think it’s a very bad sign for the future.

  265. Hobbit,

    Check out Woodstock Soapstone Company. They’ve got a small “Survival Hybrid” woodstove that might fit the bill: https://www.woodstove.com/index.php/new-survival-hybrid Made in New Hampshire and extremely efficient. I’ve got one on order right now and the guy I spoke with said they are slammed with orders.

    There is also a significant tax credit for anyone purchasing and installing a high efficiency woodstove in 2021: http://blog.woodstove.com/2021/02/save-up-to-1000-or-more-with-2021-tax.html

  266. I can’t believe I missed this: but there’s a reason the comfortable classes went off the deep end: what you contemplate you imitate. They spent the past five years now obsessed with Donald Trump, but not as he really was (a horribly flawed politician making some much needed changes and some changes which were very much not needed), but as a straw man. A pathological liar, a white supremacist Nazi, a man who got off on cruelty and pointless violence, and someone obsessed with conspiracy theories.

    It’s that last one that makes sense of so much of the comfortable classes descent into madness: conspiracy theories are defined in those classes as anything so stupid and absurd no reasonable person could ever believe in it. Which means that when they start imitating Trump due to their obsession with him, the “believes conspiracy theories” has mutated into “believes things so stupid and absurd no reasonable person could ever believe!”

  267. Denis:
    Around here in our tiny village in Windsor County, Vermont, (pop. +/- 450) the housing market has been on fire. Our town clerk told me that there were no more houses left for sale, that a particularly expensive home on a very large tract of land, asking price around $800,000, which had languished on the market for several years was snapped up. Most of the incoming are wealthy city transplants which is bound to cause friction in this decidedly not-wealthy farming community.

    Denis and jbucks:
    I stumbled on this link today, it’s a forum for realtors to discuss current conditions in the housing market and pretty eye-opening in regards to what’s going on now:
    https://mooresrealestate.blogspot.com/2021/02/buyers-read-this-multiple-offer-madness.html

    El:
    I don’t have an outside job that would be imperiled by telling anyone I’m not getting the “vaccine”, but when a neighbor or relative tells me about their vaccine appointment, I enthusiastically say, “That’s GREAT!” and change the subject. So far it’s working.

    Re: textbooks
    When my sons were younger and homeschooled I bought a bunch of old, but usable, texts at a used book sale for 10¢ apiece. The English literature books were from the 1950s and 1960s and so far above what the schools were using at the time my kids were school age. They have survived many bouts of book collection thinning because they’re such good texts.

    Re: thoughtful preparations for unknown future events. (I’m sorry I can’t find the commenter’s name.)
    We own our home and farm outright as well as our vehicles so we are in a very privileged position. We’ve been doing important improvements, always paid for in cash, to make the house and property more resilient.

    There have been an increasing number of articles appearing lately, written by knowledgeable people, alarmed that the massive Covid money printing spree in the US may be setting us up for a bout of hyperinflation. My grandparents were teen-agers in Germany in the 1920s during the devastating inflation of the Weimar years and it’s not something I’m eager to experience; their stories were scary enough. Nonetheless, with an eye to the possibility of rough years to come we’ve done a good deal of research and made a list of stuff that would help us run the farm efficiently (and non-electrically) and are seeking these things out at second-hand stores while we can do so at our leisure I’ve gotten an antique Daisy butter churn in perfect condition at a local store, a selection of really nice stainless steel dairy pails, a old galvanized 6 compartment nest box for the girls, and a host of other food producing and preserving essentials. I pick up canning jars and lids when I can find them; I’ve noticed that WalMart used to have quite a selection but since last spring their shelves are continually empty. I’m still on the lookout for a manual cream separator for goat milk and a few more odds and ends. I bought new bee suits last year because our protective clothes were wearing out and those darn bees always manage to find the tiniest hole to squeeze through. No matter how long you’ve been keeping bees it will always be really creepy to feel bees walking around inside your clothes. It may turn out that all of this preparation was unnecessary, or maybe even insufficient, but we’re trying to do the best we can.

  268. JMG: RE: Your response to Ramaraj about machines and living things, in one of your books you define a machine as a “thing” that cannot learn, if my memory works. I wonder if humans would not flee in terror from a thing they created that suddenly started to actually learn. Then, of course, thinking is next, “Dune” comes to mind.

  269. Joy Marie, thanks for all this. Expect internet costs to go up steadily in the years ahead.

    Kyle, fascinating. May it go well!

    Info23, of course. The apes and autists on WSB caused serious financial loss to people in the privileged classes, so of course the rigged casino we call Wall Street broke its own rules and tripped over its own feet to try to squash them.

    Augusto, odd. I wonder why it didn’t work.

    Wesley, it wasn’t in any way intended to be an exhaustive list. It left out Singapore, for example. As for music, good question — I don’t listen to a lot of popular music. I’m well aware of my own status as a participant in the Faustian pseudomorphosis.

    Christopher, that matches what I’ve seen and heard elsewhere. The Democrats are screaming about white supremacy because they want to keep people from talking about salary class supremacy.

    Waffles, I learned about it from Ian Morris’ book The World of the Shining Prince, which is a general cultural history of Heian Japan. If anyone else knows of something more detailed about it, I’d be delighted to hear that.

    Iuval, I’m not familiar with him at all. Where should I look?

    El, you’re welcome. It sucks, but there it is; as an occultist, I come from a long line of people who lied themselves blue in the face to stay alive, keep their careers from being destroyed, etc.

    Michael, I’ve seen it, though I haven’t read it. I assume it’s complete self-serving drivel, like the rest of Gates’ utterances.

    Anonymous, quite possibly so — and it will be a very effective program to encourage people to take up alternative medicine. As for your theory about the managerial classes, you know, you may be on to something there…

    Chris, thank you!

    Beekeeper, oof! I hope your property taxes don’t go crazy. Beyond that, it strikes me that you’re being very smart in preparing.

    Michael, in our culture, of course they would — that’s why the Terminator movies get the frisson of horror they do. Central to this culture’s entire worldview are fantasies of being the only conscious, active, and powerful being in a world where everything else is a passive vessel for one’s own will. Sick? Well, yes.

  270. @JMG,

    I don’t listen to much pop music, either; I listen to mostly Classical and Romantic (and I have also written some music in classical sonata form). For most of my life I looked at the much simpler structure of pop and country songs and thought it was just a sign of the intellectual decay of American culture; then when you introduced me to Spengler with his ideas about classical music being a reflection of the Faustian soul (while America, in its own time, will develop into a distinct High Culture) it occurred to me that the pop songs most likely have a logic all of their own.

  271. Re: woodstoves

    I’ve heated with wood all my life, and one of the first things we did in our current house was to put in a stove and re-open the old chimney.

    Catalytic stoves are lower-emission and higher-efficiency when burning hot, but the catalysts go bad after a few years and are expensive to replace. I prefer the simpler non-catalytic route.

    Burn time is over-rated, if your house has reasonable insulation. The house will cool off a little overnight and then you can warm it up in the morning. It’s usually better in terms of efficiency, emissions, and avoiding creosote in the chimney to burn shorter, hotter fires. You’ll have to size your stove to keep the house warm in the lowest expected temperatures, which means that most of the time you’ll overheat yourself by packing the firebox for an all-night burn, or else you’ll be tempted to damp it way down to the point that it smolders and gums up the chimney. In typical winter weather we have a fire going for about 2-3 hours in the morning and 4-5 hours in the evening – it’s nice and cozy when we’re in the living room, and the house is seldom cold when we wake up or get home from work.

    We have a Pacific Energy stove. They’re made in British Columbia and quite popular on the west coast. They are well-built, simple, and comparatively affordable.

  272. I have recently started using Linux exclusively. I have wanted for some time to eliminate MicroSoft from my life as the privacy and functional deficits of that OS continue to get worse with each successive version. Being gifted a 10yo laptop was just the spur I needed to make the leap. I chose to install a distribution called Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, a distribution known for being beginner friendly. Unlike Windows, there are several Graphical User Interfaces to choose from. Coming from a lifetime of Windows use, I chose the “Cinnamon” GUI, as it was designed to be very much like Windows. While I have a solid utilitarian understanding of computers, I wouldn’t consider myself a computer guru. The install was easy, and the GUI was immediately intuitive. The very old laptop runs very smoothly, and has been quite stable. I am also incredibly impressed with the enormous amount of excellent free software available. For running Windows-only software there are emulators like WINE that allow you to run that software from within Linux. I will not be going back to SmallSquishy, ever! Another tech giant removed from my life.

  273. For what it’s worth, I have a Jotul stove, and really like it (very efficient), although those Apple Pie stoves in JMG’s link look very handy.

    When I was picking out a wood stove, I read up on wood heating at this site; they have a lot of info: https://www.woodheat.org/

    Question for JMG: Since somebody brought up sailing, it made me think of another form of old-fashioned transportation. Do you suppose horse power will come back in any meaningful way? For centuries, humans relied on horses for agriculture, travel, hauling goods, and warfare, but since the early 20th century, horses have been used almost exclusively in recreational pursuits, at least in the developed world. We’ve lost the basic horse knowledge that most farmers and many working people used to possess a century or so ago, which makes me wonder if there will be a future for horse power, and what shape it might take.

  274. Has anyone else here noticed that many TV series online now are rewrites of historical events to be in “alternate universes” where political correctness is embraced…. like an idealized version of history to suit the current cultural narratives? Queen’s Gambit, For All Mankind and a few other series come to mind.

    JMG What’s your take on the phenomenon?

  275. @shoemaker

    I am interested in this project. I have a related somewhat related project. Please send me an email. I’m at yahoo mail with username team10tim

    Thanks,
    Tim

  276. EI, #228, there was a lively discussion of this topic from the Dec 30, 2020 comment stream. I’ll repeat a salient bit of it:

    All Covid-19 vaccines are experimental. It is reasonable to decline experimental vaccines, as there is NO evidence they are safer than the disease. There is no long term safety data. No one has any right to demand that I subject myself to an unknown risk of death or disabling disease. Period. (This argument carries legal weight I understand.)

    This has been my standard response when asked why I won’t consent. I have never heard any retort. I think this argument should be sufficient for you El, and don’t get roped into identifying any specific risk, “unknown” covers it.

    If you truly are getting pressure from your employer, you could understandably construe that as duress or tacit coercion, and you might like to arrange a meeting with your friendly labor law attorney.

    This topic is not new, so I’ll just add this tidbit from the Nuremberg Code of 1947, which has some helpful things to say about obtaining consent from those subjected to medical experimentation (not legally binding the US, but it sure is pertinent!):

    http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/nuremberg/

    A couple of excerpts –

    1: “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.”

    6: “The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.”

    —Lunar Apprentice.

  277. About Fermi’s Paradox, my conviction is that no interstellar civilization could arise without being morally far more advanced than we are. Because a civilization capable of interstellar travel would have to master amounts of energy orders of magnitude greater than we have now, they would tear themselves apart unless they were operating at an equivalently high moral level.
    Another factor is that the frequency of sterilizing gamma ray bursts may well mean that the large parts of the galaxy have only been suitable for the evolution of life for a much shorter time period than the age of the galaxy.

  278. @Denis, The rat ’em out site was up when I visited a couple minutes ago, and it looks for real. There’s even a box you can tick if you want the list to be made public versus just officials being notified. Recently CNN doxed alternative medical activists Ty and Charlene Bollinger as “dangerous” Trump supporters who’d been in DC for the “insurrection,” so it strikes me as an actual movement and not just blowing off steam.
    I’m still hoping cooler heads will prevail with time this year as conservatives are clearly not engaged in any violent activity as far as I have been able to discern. I’m wondering if their victory, disputed though it is, is giving extremists on the left confidence that they have the backing of the majority and do not have to consider the other side’s situation or the consequences of causing grievous harm to them.

  279. @Kimberley Steele,
    Regarding rocket stoves, I published an article a long time back on how to make one from stuff at hand and a few things a hardware store can provide. In fact it appears to be a series of three articles, and here is a list of materials in the first:
    Materials (per stove):
     Two 20-liter oil drums
     12-cm stainless steel stovepiping: one “Tee” joint, one “Tee cap,” one 90° elbow, one 1.2-m pipe with fluted end for easy fitting into the “Tee” joint
     Two 10-cm stainless steel stovepipe connectors
     Eight refractory bricks (approximately 12 x 24 x 6 cm)
     12-gauge stainless steel wiring (2 m or more)
     One galvanized steel sheet, 90 cm width, 1 m or more length
     Four or five small bolts with nuts and washers
     Perlite insulation, about 25 liters
     One old pot lid
     Heat resistant spray coating

    Tools:
     Thick rubberized gloves
     Face mask
     Steel wool/sanding screen/sand paper (I recommend having all three)
     Magic marker (oil-based)
     Hammer
     Sharpened metal scraper or wedge
     Metal-cutting shears
     Long-nosed pliers
     Steel-cutting saw
     Plus-screwdriver
     Electric drill

    I suppose I ought to post the whole series and photos on my webpage but I am freakishly busy these days (combination of people scrambling to translate every new change in rules over COVID and a sense of crisis over the environment). I’m going to crank away at the old money machine while it still exists, but anyone who would like me to send you the series and photos, drop me a note with you e-mail address.
    This is just the rocket stove itself. For a mass heater, a little more work to run the chimney through some adobe or other heat-retaining mass would be needed.

  280. One more thing I’ve been surprised about and seeing what others think here…no major sweeping proposals in the Biden admin for single payer healthcare in these first 30 days. The Obama admin was all about rewriting healthcare laws, and the Biden admin has been pretending that the Trump years didn’t exist. I expected them to issue some sort of sweeping changes to healthcare through executive orders, especially because of the pandemic.

    Instead I see hospitals continuing to record losses instead of profits, medical staff still being laid off, and health system CEO’s stepping down. Why are they throwing the healthcare system under the bus? It’s not that those workers voted for Trump in great numbers, they were out doing BLM events in May in June.

    Meanwhile my state emergency management board who is handling the vaccine distribution told our county officials that they aren’t setting up mass vaccinations sites because “too many white people will go there.” Their first priority is “equity” so they are literally sitting on doses trying to figure out how to get them into non-white arms only. Imagine being a working class white Biden supporter and hearing that?

  281. >Suddenly Trades were shut down. Suddenly rules are being changed. Suddenly Reddit gets an outage.

    Didn’t surprise me at all, I’ve seen it all before years ago. Take this also to heart – there are no free markets any more. There’s just the veneer of them and as you’ve seen, if they get humiliated at someone beating them at their own game, they’ll keep moving the goalposts around until they win again. It’s a strange game Dr Falken…

    People like to blame capaitalism and democracy for our troubles – we don’t have either right now!

  282. Regarding fantasy novels, some of my favorites are:

    Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion
    Terri Windling’s The Woodwife
    and Sharon Shinn’s young adult novels The Safe-Keeper’s Secret, The Truth-Teller’s Tale, The Dream-Maker’s Magic

  283. One of the things hyperinflation does is turns things on its head. There are losers – but there are also winners as well. If you run a farm in a hyperinflation, that is almost as good as printing the money. Food will always either keep up with inflation or start to outpace it. Farmers and ranchers are about to experience true prosperity like they haven’t seen in quite a long while. Every German farmer during Weimar had the best piano money couldn’t buy any longer (but food could). Prepare to drink from the firehose.

    Speculators tend to do well during a hyperinflation, although you have to know what you’re doing there. Also see: WSB. Anything associated with hard resources tends to do well. Anything purely service related takes a punch to the face. You do not want to be a doctor or a lawyer during a hyperinflation. Find something else to do. Now.

    Being out of debt has its plusses and minuses, overall it’s somewhat a wash. Debts get ridiculously easy to pay off – BUT bankers tend to pass clawback laws to revalue the debts based on the new worthless value of the currency. If you’re going to pay off anything best to do it before the money printing starts to really bite. Otherwise plan for potential clawbacks. Hyperinflation in general benefits debtors more than creditors, which is partly why it happens. It is a legitimate way of getting rid of too much debt in the system.

  284. Just in time, the New York Times has a helpful article explaining in detail why– you really can’t make this up– crititcal thinking is a bad idea.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/opinion/fake-news-media-attention.html

    It turns out that it’s always a bad idea to engage with officially unapproved ideas. A selection from the article teaches us a better way to deal with wrongthink.

    Quote:

    Mr. Caulfield walked me through the process using an Instagram post from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaccine activist, falsely alleging a link between the human papillomavirus vaccine and cancer. “If this is not a claim where I have a depth of understanding, then I want to stop for a second and, before going further, just investigate the source,” Mr. Caulfield said. He copied Mr. Kennedy’s name in the Instagram post and popped it into Google. “Look how fast this is,” he told me as he counted the seconds out loud. In 15 seconds, he navigated to Wikipedia and scrolled through the introductory section of the page, highlighting with his cursor the last sentence, which reads that Mr. Kennedy is an anti-vaccine activist and a conspiracy theorist.

    ***

    Look how fast this is.

    ***

    This morning I find myself struggling very hard not to fall into despair at what has happened in the United States in the last year. From what I can tell, the future looks like the security state that began under George Bush, universalized, semi-privatized, and with medical, racial, and environmental reasons appended to terrorism as the official justification. All while much of society suffers what looks for all the world like a schizoid break.

    A few months ago I was walking with my family on a trail in the woods near a PMC neighborhood (or rather, a housing development, since the PMC don’t live in organic neighborhoods, but only in prefabricated developments with HOAs, the American version of the Cuban CDR). This was near the holiday and there were a few other families on the trail. We weren’t wearing masks, because we were in the woods and that’s idiotic. From the way the residents reacted to us, you would think we were spreading smallpox. Looks of terror, ducking out of the way, shielding their already-masked faces. It is insanity.

    And to my horror, I find that most of my extended family is in the grip of it. And worse, some of them– women with upper-management jobs in every case, including one military officer– seem to be utterly loving this. It’s looks like Covid is the moment they’ve all been waiting for, when they can finally extend their control-freakery into every aspect of everybody else’s lives. For our own good of course.

    I got into the collapse-world by way of anarcho-primitivism (an ideology I’ve long since rejected). We were honestly expecting civilization to collapse by 2015. Obviously that didn’t happen. My point in sharing that, though, is that I was prepared to live through some weird times. But I was not prepared to have a medicalized, racist police state run by psychotics imposed overnight, nor to see so many of my friends and family turn into mindless Party hacks.

    I want to come up with a conclusion for this post, or a question, or something, but maybe it’s just a vent. How do you handle the descent of a whole society into madness?

  285. Hello there,

    As usual, I do not have any much relevant or witty to ask or answer to but the mention from Kimberley of Sun Zi’s Art of War makes me wonder something. To JMG and the whole commentat, have you read it and what is your opinion about this piece?

    I own two copies of this book, one is a soft cover with scholar comments from a French sinologist and the other is a hard cover which is pleasant to read. Both books are french translations from the original chinese (Warring States period) which are very different but without any major difference in spirit.

    Personally, this book helped me a lot being better at games involving hidden information, negociation and conflict and in extension made be able to (poorly) design such games.

  286. Just a few more fantasy books that I’ve really enjoyed that came to mind this morning:

    Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
    The Scar by China Mieville

    Phillip Pullman was mentioned above & I just re-read his Sally Lockheart Mysteries (excellent in the tradition of Penny Dreadfuls) & do love the original His Dark Materials series and the new ones coming out.

    Fire and Hemlock by Dianna Wynne Jones is an excellent novelization of themes from the Tam Lin ballad

    & Patricia McKillip: The Bell at Sealey Head & Kingfisher were both excellent.

    Happy reading everyone.

    (I’m a sucker for bibliographies & discographies, so…)

  287. I’m just getting to reading comments, but was pointed to this bit of GOOD tech by a friend in Utah:

    https://blest.co.jp/eng/

    It converts plastics back into liquid petroleum product. I was thinking of the beaches where plastic now rules the waves, the Pacific Gyre, etc. Little countries like Palau with minimal energy resources outside of sun and wind – was actually a good place to build out the system initially.

    I am not saying that using energy to retrieve energy from plastic is necessarily a great scheme, but liquid energy from plastics has other benefits now that plastic is part of global ecology. Making plastic into the energy source that it actually is, seems to me at least, something logical as the oil deposits deplete…

  288. JMG – I haven’t found the exact Jung quote about the problem of collectivity yet, but here are a couple of quotes that I find relevant to the Covinsanity. “We are on our guard against contagious diseases of the body, but we are exasperatingly careless when it comes to the even more dangerous collective diseases of the mind.” -C. Jung CW 18 para. 1301. “When you are in a herd you lose the sense of danger, and this it is that makes us unable to see where we deviate from the deep currents of collectivity.” C. Jung – Seminar Given in 1925 p. 75.

  289. @ El #228 – If I may, I cannot advise you in relation to your circle of friends, but very often keeping your own council is the wise course. I would point out, thought, that your circle of friends may very well (in future) contain at least one person who is injured by the vaccine, and when this happens that person will be extremely confused, and likely find themselves isolated and expunged from the record, and they will likely, at that stage, appreciate hearing that a different point of view exists.

    When it comes to work, though, I suggest that if any direct request or demand materialises, simply ask for a written statement of the policy or legal basis for their request.

    At the moment this vaccine is (so far as I know) only “provisionally” licenced for “emergency use” – this because there is not nearly sufficient data to establish safety. It is my belief that there is NO legal basis under which a person can be mandated to receive a vaccine which is still experimental, not without violating the Nuremburg Code, and not without violating your right to informed consent for any medical procedure.

    I also believe that there is a massive bluff game going on, to imply to people, without ever stating it outright, that vaccination status is an essential element of (say) job security. If you call their bluff, by asking for the policy and its legal basis, in writing, I believe that you will find the request or demand evaporating, and they may well pretend they never asked. And if it does not, and you do receive something in writing, that is when you can avail of further advice from legal experts, and see whether what is written IS in fact legal or constitutional, which will also give you further options.

  290. re: F-35, it is certainly untrue that the USA is left without anything to stand against the Russkis and the Chinese. There just hasn’t been that much progress in aviation– except for its stealthiness, the F-15 is still a world-class airframe. That’s why they’ve been selling them around the world all these years, and the US Air Force has announced a buy of new-build F-15EXs.

    (The only real advantage even the much-vaunted F-22 had over the -15 was the stealth gimmick, and at this point I think we’re all starting to realize what a gimmick that really was.)

    The Navy is talking about more F/A-18s, and in a move I certainly was not expecting, the Army is in talks with Sikorsky to bring back the Vietnam-era Skycrane!
    https://www.scramble.nl/military-news/return-of-the-tarhe

    When it comes to military aircraft, it does seem like we’re downgrading our way to increased capability. Now if only the rest of the military and society take notice, we could build Retrotopia in no time.

  291. About Gates and his new book. I watched him be interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox Sunday News. Wallace let Gates ramble on a bit about climate change. Then hit him with a zinger – how as a rich person can you justify your energy usage? He continued on in questioning in that vein of why should we poor schlubs pick up your energy tab? Gates danced a fine tap dance and said things like ‘ well I use pay extra for energy efficient clean jet fuel….. You should have seen the look on Wallace’s face. It was… so tell me another story, and make this one even better…..

    I think that MSM or at least of them are actually asking questions of why should rich people get a free ride in the climate change -energy thing.

  292. Am I a bigot for wanting to raise my children heteronormally? I mean if they decide to be/do something else when they get older that’s ok, but I am not interested in raising my children in an environment without the guideposts of hetero marriage and family. There is a bill in the CA legislature that would prevent stores from having separate boys and girls clothing or toy sections. Mr./Mrs. Potato Head has dropped the Mr./Mrs. so that children can play them as same sex couples.
    I mean, what is the point of identifying with any gender IF we have erase the social constructs around gender? Gender identification is as much about social roles as it is about physical features, if not more. If we blur the male/female distinction, aren’t we disenfrachising a MtF trans person, for example, when they claim things as part of their female identity that are now supposed to be understood as not exclusively female.
    Also, what if you are a hetero who is not willing to date a trans person who identifies as the opposite gender? I fear this is on it’s way to becoming the next hate crime.
    Am I completely off base?

  293. John, it’s been more than the 20 some years since I last saw you.
    I miss personally not enjoying your perspicacity, but am grateful that via email it is available. Especially in these times of topsy-tervy meanings. Richard Pelto

  294. Your Ladyship: oh, Koko looks just like my Twyla must have when she was a baby! Sounds like she acts like her, too. I am verklempt… She was with me for 17 years, and died 1 1/2 years ago. While I adore the tabby boy we adopted, not to replace her but to fill that empty spot in the household, I still miss her.

  295. Going through your book “Beyond the Narrative,” I ran across Jung’s Anthropos Quaternio, (p.66) and your comment – and now I can’t find it! – that the map of a woman’s psyche would be somewhat different. So I gave it a few tries and decided the best mapping was out of traditional Roman Catholicism, and possibly the Orthodox Church’s theology. So:

    “The Higher Eve” is the Mother of God.. The lower (or shadow) Eve is Lilith. In place of Moses, we put Jesus; the Wise Elder would be Mary’s Cousin Elizabeth, and in place of Miriam, we put John the Baptist. Does that make sense?

    The AODA Grove layout (p 63) is identical to the one in Wicca and in every neopagan ritual I’ve ever attended, and one that makes the most intuitive sense to me. The 4 Quarters, corresponding to the 4 Directions, with the altar in the middle – facing north, it appears, like the ones some of the British writers use; the ones I attended, being heavily Golden Dawn based, had the altar facing East. Not sure what’s on a Druid altar; we had the God and Goddess and the candles, incense, etc, with (usually) the “cakes & ale” under the altar, hidden by the tablecloth, to save space indoors and keep the bogs off outdoors. The rectangular layout looks more like a variation of Church.

  296. John and Ben
    Thanks for the reply.
    A strict limit on energy use for every person is pretty similar to a maximum income.
    So does anyone have an idea on what that maximum income should be?

    If minimum wage is 7.25$ per hour, maybe the maximum wage is 72.50$ per hour (145,000 per year)
    But that might be too high.

    this article from VOX is might be helpful in thinking about what it should be.

    https://www.vox.com/22291568/climate-change-carbon-footprint-greta-thunberg-un-emissions-gap-report

    in that article they indicate the average for everyone should be ~13,000$ per year (bit less than minimum wage for the year).

  297. Dear Steve,

    If I may:

    I’ve observed quite a lot of the same thing that you write about. Basically, what the recent descent of politics in the United States has shown me is that a huge fraction of people who I thought were friends just were totally sleepwalking and will dream nice dreams or dream psychotic dreams, but any way you cut it they are asleep and dreaming, they were always asleep and dreaming, and that the only thing that’s changed is that they once dreamt a pleasant dream and now they dream a nightmare indeed.

    My take away is that most people are operatively ciphers, nonentities, zeros. While they may have something to bring to the table — most people do — they will simply go with the flow and the flow will speak for them no matter how crazy or depraved circumstances become. Of course there will always be small numbers of people who bring some measure of alert waking consciousness to their waking hours, but I am convinced given my experiences that this number is actually rather small — I would posit no more than around something like 20% of the population — the rest are almost entirely determined by the zeitgeist and whoever happens to be around them.

    For this reason, a single strong, unified will combined with an alert and tense waking consciousness can have a disproportionate effect on history. Here we can think of the absurdity that was Mahatma Gandhi and his mystic practice of satyagraha in service to swaraj. We can also think of the absurdity that was the little angry man with the Charlie Chaplin moustache.

    In reflecting on these matters in light of experience, I ultimately found that my own appeals to the basic decency of people in the main were disingenuous, but equally my appeals to the basic veniality of people were equally disingenuous. And the balanced point that fits with my experiences and my research was far spookier than either. Basically, with an alarmingly large number of people, they aren’t there, never were there, and simply drifted with the flow of the zeitgeist and will drift with the flow of the zeitgeist whither it leads.

  298. “The Jaren” by Barry Goodyear. One of the best things I’ve read, won a Hugo, I think, but now long forgotten. If you read it, you’ll see it’s timely now too.

    For our purposes, the cycles and predictive history of Asimov’s “Foundation” Series. This prediction is presently possible and is being done, both short-term and long.

    There is a less known Norrell and Strange miniseries that both is smaller, not being a book, but in another way cleans up and directs less clear things from the book.

    One problem is, people no longer use language, and the definitions have completely dissolved. You see this in the media constantly, but it’s true throughout the population, as they become every more careless with the use of their language, and therefore the careless use of thought and logic, and therefore reason itself collapses, along with law, and therefore power/violence, since they depend entirely on correct, solid, and unchanging definitions. So this is the map and the territory, the way to describe and be understood. What can you do as this is a social cycle, where about 1890-1920 language was most detailed and precise, then was too stuffy and classist, so everyone wanted to democratize to the common man, wear string vests and dungarees to work and to church, but with that, stop thinking like Plato and think like Bruno instead. But when you need a thinking job, do you call the ditchdigger, or a man with language? More important, if everyones’ thinking is no better than an unreasoning mob, one guy with accurate language can rule them and stampede them to and fro at his amusement and profit. And do so daily, as we see.

    Thanks for Metaphysics of sex, it’s an important subject that is refused to be discussed, as saying the most racy stuff universal on TV and media isn’t awesome, healthy, and to be imitated at all times is accused of being oppression and hate speech. Rather than saying if steak dinners are good sometimes, but perhaps not healthy for all meals on all days for all people.

    Nice bullying of anti-bullying. Classic! So are they willing to actually surround and pummel the non-pinks with fisticuffs? Best learning experience I could devise: adults and administrations are terrible, unthinking, irrational, violent, bullies.

    I wouldn’t yet say the predictions haven’t come true: as we know most things are hidden to us and being lied about continually. It may break open that those things were happening all along. Especially since as noted, they are shrilly repeating all the noble truths like a mantra, and denouncing all the wrongthink just the same, which gives me no confidence at all, and double-suspect what they’re reporting happened, didn’t.

    Matt: there’s a White Nationalism somewhere? I’ve been around these people for 40 years. Can I meet it someday? Why did 1/3rd of these guys vote for Obama? Did they forget they were white, or something else?

    “There are roughly 200 million White people and around 130 million non-White people in America.” Since race doesn’t scientifically exist, can anyone define who is who? Italians – the oldest Europeans let’s say – weren’t “White” in America until 1980. Russians still aren’t. “Asians” are white and disbarred from Harvard (again no definition, we mean Japanese, Chinese and Koreans only, and only if successful). Those from Spain aren’t “White” or “European” although they’re the Westernmost Europe, but “Hispanic”. Those that are “Non-white” mostly have that single drop of white blood somewhere. How is this going to work when the terms themselves are both unreal and illogical? This is also true worldwide. Instead let’s go back to Mr. King’s definition and his dream.

    The nation is subservient to the managerial, as in Federal employees got approved today for $21k cash and $1,400/wk for staying home when after a year the whole red nation can’t get the $2k they were already promised. Do you think on comparative income, they really need/deserve that extra? Fed employee is a secure, very well-paid job. How can this possibly be perceived except as paying off the managerial supporters of the status quo at the direct expense of everybody else, i.e. the poor? And this causes great grievance as well as hardship. People might even vote their feelings, eating ramen again in Gary, Indiana while equal worker in D.C. buys their third powerboat. You’d almost have a accuse someone of White Supremacy to cover up such an appalling, heartless mercantilism.

    “democracy bashing coming from the upper classes.” Time magazine published this very thing, that they had a “cabal” which “Conspired” to elect the President “Properly”, that is, they guy they, the rich cabal, wanted. Wish I were joking. They lauded the shoving or even absence of democracy and representation as the highest good.

    Anon #64, I think all those things you list ended in the Recession of the 70’s, not the 80s, particularly unemployment which was 18%. They called it the “Misery Index”, Inflation + Unemployment, and we’re about to do it again now. I think the mental breakdown was when Reagan became the most spendthrift President in national history we tore economic reality and monetary fantasy apart and have been slowly at greater distance ever since. Since the only cure is to wear a sweater in the White House and contract to being a country the size and importance of Canada nobody in D.C. will cut their $10T MIC profit and do it.

    NeoCon Kagan just wrote the sole problem with America is that the people refuse to die for (his) Empire, so apparently that’s what the people want and fight tireless to put their leaders down, and the government returns the favor and is tireless in fighting the people in service of empire. But you can see from both that the slightest reduction in pressure and payoffs and the American people will return to being national isolationists, harming no one, and could care less what it costs. Track the last 5 Presidents and the one promising to end wars and withdraw always won. …Just before double-crossing the people and expanding. They say Red States’ wealth would be sharply reduced if they seceded because of who makes GDP. Whether they would or not isn’t important: the important part is THEY DON’T CARE. They would still instantly do it even if it sharply reduced their wealth just to be left alone, out of Empire. So shouldn’t that be even more true of the Blue areas who talk of peace and ecology? And if Red and Blue are both on board, who’s keeping this going? Who’s up there against both of them – all the population — and winning? The world went fake in 1971-1979. Americans hate fake and it’s driven them crazy.

    Augusto, they were selling stocks with a click in 1890 over the telegraph. Which is a binary, digital, electronic medium with transoceanic lines. London was trading orange juice futures and Hong Kong shipping insurance. Nothing that’s happening is new. They were worldwide free trade intertied trading cargo ships in 1750. What do you think they threw into Boston Harbor? A lot of Spanish Reals – the international money, the original “Bit”coin, as in “two bits” were lost that day. That’s why they cared. Saucy Yanks make some international corporate billionaires lose money, unforgivable. Their grievances were fronted for profit and power by billionaire media mogul Ben Franklin, the Rupert Murdoch of the day. So what’s new here? It’s so old, so hackneyed, so the same it’s downright boring. Would we fall faster today? We’ve already been collapsing since 2008, 2000, and 1980 and no one noticed, so we’ll pretend it happened faster, all of a sudden without warning when Bitcoin explodes tenfold and the Fed goes down in Feb 2021.

    Is it really the “interconnectedness” of big infrastructure that makes it especially vulnerable? Many Roman aqueducts are doing fine perhaps because they have no complexity, no inputs and single point interconnectedness.

    I have to agree with Christian Karma, not Druid: there’s no way an individual can escape the collective problems of their nation, as we see today. They are not identical, but if your nation acts badly for 100 years, it’s hard to see how anyone living in the nation wouldn’t have to pay, even if they personally resist said badness. Those in good cycles get an undeserved gain of expansion and stability, equally undeserved, but that’s like being born in winter and not summer.

    Linux: just download Mint and install it on anything, you can hardly tell the difference. It self-installs, self-updates, self-softwares, self-secures, and you just mouse and click like everything else but free since you’ll probably load on a throwaway computer. I wouldn’t say it needs technical ability at all. Past that, get a RaspberryPi or the like and you have a $30 Linux desktop that can also run your hydro, greenhouse, or IRC chat server.

  299. @Denis

    You’re welcome! I also keep tabs on that situation through this blog, written by a prof. at a state school in Illinois– she writes critically succinctly, and often about the situation with colleges, covid, zoom classes, enrollment, etc.:

    https://clarissasblog.com/

    She has less on the exact numbers but more insight on the internal politics of the situation, if you’re interested.

  300. @Danaone you might find this relevant to your question about Jung’s thoughts on the problem of the collective (not to be confused with his thoughts on the collective unconscious):

    https://academyofideas.com/2017/06/carl-jung-spiritual-problem-modern-individual/

    For example:

    “Under the influence of scientific assumptions, not only the psyche but the individual man and, indeed, all individual events whatsoever suffer a levelling down and a process of blurring that distorts the picture of reality into a conceptual average. We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world-picture: it thrusts aside the individual in favour of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations…As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance.”

    “Instead of the concrete individual, you have the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality. The moral responsibility of the individual is then inevitably replaced by the policy of the State. Instead of the moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside…The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed, and educated as a social unit…and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses.” (Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self)

    “Small and hidden is the door that leads inward, and the entrance is barred by countless prejudices, mistaken assumptions, and fears. Always one wishes to hear of grand political and economic schemes, the very things that have landed every nation in a morass. Therefore it sounds grotesque when anyone speaks of hidden doors, dreams, and a world within. What has this vapid idealism got to do with gigantic economic programmes, with the so-called problems of reality?

    “But I speak not to nations, only to the individual few, for whom it goes without saying that cultural values do not drop down like manna from heaven, but are created by the hands of individuals. If things go wrong in the world, this is because something is wrong with the individual, because something is wrong with me. Therefore, if I am sensible, I shall put myself right first. For this I need—because outside authority no longer means anything to me—a knowledge of the innermost foundations of my being, in order that I may base myself firmly on the eternal facts of the human psyche.” (Carl Jung, The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man)

  301. Thanks everyone who gave me advice on how to avoid forced medical procedures if it comes to that. Right now I am still hoping it won’t come to that….but I guess we’ll see.

    It is strange how things seem to be re-aligning. It used to be right against left; now it seems to be “believes MSM” against “doesn’t believe MSM”.

    Also regarding Steve T’s post –
    “He copied Mr. Kennedy’s name in the Instagram post and popped it into Google. “Look how fast this is,”….he navigated to Wikipedia and scrolled through the introductory section of the page, highlighting with his cursor the last sentence, which reads that Mr. Kennedy is an anti-vaccine activist and a conspiracy theorist.”

    Isn’t it fascinating how they have moved right past the idea that anyone should actually engage with any argument?

    You simply copy a name (or other bit of into) into an approved search engine, click on an approved website, and find out what the “experts” say – in this case, than someone has been labeled and placed into particular wrong-think categories. All done!

    They’re not even TRYING to suggest that people engage with evidence. Had they suggested going to peer-reviewed journals and reading relevant studies or something – well, of course studies could be cherry-picked or problematic for any subject, but at least the core idea would still be that one makes fact-based arguments that appeal to evidence. But we don’t need to engage with that sort of thing any more – just check this here approved Officially Approved Opinion and don’t question anything.

    How is this any different from dogmatic religion? Don’t even let yourself be tempted to read the heretics – just read this approved text and stop right there!

    Whatever one things of any particular topic (covid vaccine or something completely unrelated), the blatant instructions to “don’t even try to look at evidence!” really is beyond parody.

  302. JMG,
    Glenn Greenwald briefly became the target of an online hate campaign due to some tweets he made about the increase in people identifying as LGBT among the youngest generation (born between 1997-2002. They are called Gen Z). He got called a transphobe and a bi-phobe. Greenwald was unfazed as usual, and released a detailed analysis.

    https://greenwald.substack.com/p/video-trending-as-a-transphobe-and
    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1364617687423471621?s=21

    He has also posted a video in the above substack page (43 min), and it’s well worth watching. But I will summarize the points that got the online mob riled up.
    1. A large fraction of Gen Z population identifies as bisexual (more than 11%). And a sizeable percent of them are in a heterosexual relationship. Greenwald wonders if they all are really bi, or if a large number of people are identifying as bisexual just to get some oppression brownie points, and also to escape being labeled aggressors.
    2. The percentage of lesbians has increased much less than the percent of transgenders in recent generations. He speculated that maybe women who would have been masculine lesbians in earlier generations are now being persuaded to become transmen instead.

    As a result, he got labeled with the monikers I mentioned earlier. But the first point intrigued me. Remember how you half-jokingly said that Trump could wake up one day and declare himself to be a woman, and no one in the Left would have anything to oppose that? That indeed seems to be happening. After all, you get instant privilege (ironically, while accusing others of being privileged). This should get absolutely nasty in the coming years.

  303. Violet–

    “any way you cut it they are asleep and dreaming, they were always asleep and dreaming, and that the only thing that’s changed is that they once dreamt a pleasant dream and now they dream a nightmare indeed.”

    “Basically, with an alarmingly large number of people, they aren’t there, never were there, and simply drifted with the flow of the zeitgeist and will drift with the flow of the zeitgeist whither it leads.”

    From what I can tell, this is exactly right. I have been horrified to see it in action lately, but what is it that I’m really seeing? It was easy enough to talk to people, to go along and get along when they were, as you say, having a pleasant dream; now that they’re dreaming a nightmare, the contrast between their way of being and the one to which I aspire is so jarring that it’s always in your face. But the contrast was always there, wasn’t it? It’s just that it was easy to ignore, for a while.

  304. (This is mostly me thinking out loud.)

    Given the evidence for reincarnation, why do most religions seem not to have taught it? Looking into it, it seems like the idea emerged in India, and from the timeline it looks plausible that the Greeks picked it up from them, and then spread it to other cultures in the West. (There are some claims that the idea started in Egypt, but those are disputed.)

    On the one hand, it strikes me as odd if the one afterlife belief we have evidence for — the main one we can have evidence fore — originated in only one place.

    On the other hand, that’s true of a great many scientific theories: perhaps other cultures simply didn’t have the right instruments (i.e. a contemplative tradition conducive to past life memories — to gather data — and an active philosophical tradition — to systematically theorize about the data so gathered) to study the matter.

    On the gripping hand, if souls come through human existence in waves, then perhaps only at certain periods, when a large number of souls have had several human lives to remember, is the evidence likely to be readily available.

    Finally, maybe widespread belief in reincarnation has been something of a divine experiment. Many pre-Axial religions seem to have placed very little emphasis on the afterlife itself, and even depicted it as a not particularly pleasant place, and then in the Axial Age, the afterlife takes a much more prominent position. Reincarnation seems to at least somewhat encourage suicide, e.g. as a form of protest, and perhaps that would have been antithetical to the spirit of the Age of Aries, which just now strikes me as having had a significant “YOLO” component.

  305. @ Kimberly, Sebastien, and Everyone regarding Sun Tzu:

    I’ve been discussing The Art of War and its application to daily life, spiritual life and, above all, the Great Work, on my Read Old Things blog (readoldthings.dreamwidth.org). (First entry on this subject here: https://readoldthings.dreamwidth.org/20471.html)

    I’ve found that the exercise has been very useful and on more than one level. Sun Tzu’s advice is excellent and can be applied to all kinds of situations. Most importantly, it is readily applicable to what Levi called “the creation of a man by himself; that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future.”

    More than just its direct applicability, reading the book like this has been an extended exercise in analogical thinking. The only comparable experience I’ve had was reading Plato’s Republic, which I found to be a kind of introduction to functioning on the Mental Plane– In order to understand the Republic as anything other than a recipe for political horror, you have to keep in mind that the goal from the outset is to use an ideal city as an analogy for an ideal soul. Doing this across 300 pages forces you to continually operate in an analogical mode, which requires you to see and think in patterns of meaning, the basic structures of the Mental Plane.

    The Art of War works so well for this purpose that I wonder if that was part of the intention. In any case, I highly recommend a close reading of it.

  306. @ Anonymous re “They’ll just say that that’s exactly what they’d expect to see if it was serious.
    I’ve already tried pointing to similar such articles …”

    Alas, I suspected as much. The only thing for you to do is keep
    yourself immunized against their hysteria. One good way to do
    that is occasionally watch the late great George Carlin in action.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X29lF43mUlo

    If you can get past his frequent deployment of the ‘F’ bomb, his
    monologue is actually a pretty good antidote to the current craziness
    about germs et al.

  307. Steve, I guffawed at that article. Thanks.

    Violet, Sometimes it feels like I’m walking around in a not-so-metaphorical zombie apocalypse.

    Kind of a general comment – I don’t know if the whole “suburbs = Mangerial/Salary class/wokester” model is an accurate one. I live in a very conservative county, that is a rural and suburb mix. Most of the population is in the suburban part for obvious reasons. Everyone flies their Trump flags, and people make the equivalent of secret gestures with their speech, signaling their allegiance. This goes from middle all the way to upper-middle class + people. Well, I just looked it up – 65% voted for Trump here, not as high as I thought. “Red” seems like the dominant culture though.

    I guess the model might apply more to the burbs closer to the city.

    Thanks for all the fantasy recommendations everyone. I’ll be busy for a long time. I always like to have a work of fiction in the rotation.

  308. Wesley, no doubt they do. My comment was simply an explanation of why I don’t know what that logic is.

    El, good heavens, yes. Once fossil fuels become sufficiently expensive and scarce, horses have huge advantages over most other transport technologies. The fuel that horses need is renewable and can be produced by anyone given a bagful of seed and some acreage, and horses don’t need to be manufactured in a high-tech factory — they’ll do it themselves with quite some enthusiasm. So as the fossil fuel age winds down, I expect to see horses returning to all their standard uses for transport, agriculture, warfare, and so on. As for horse knowledge, fortunately there are people who have preserved that in various corners of the world; there are farms in the US that are plowed and harvested by horsedrawn machinery, for example; there are also plenty of horsedrawn carriages — recreational now, practical later.

    Peanut Gallery, it’s part of the flight into fantasy and mythic thinking I discussed in a three-part post in late 2019 — Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. I’ll be talking more about it in next week’s post.

    Jessica, and we have no reason to believe that any intelligent species anywhere will be able to sustain that kind of idealized behavior, so that would explain things nicely.

    Denis, it wouldn’t surprise me if, whatever their public rhetoric, the Democrats have realized that the Obamacare fiasco was one of the main factors that put Trump in office, and they’re quietly backing away from anything likely to cause a repeat.

    Owen, granted. Curiously enough, certain services aren’t so badly hurt in hyperinflation; astrologers and occultists did quite well during the Weimar hyperinflation, for instance. That is to say, I’ve made some preparations. 😉

    Steve T, well, of course! If you’re trying to push an ideology that quite literally makes no sense at all, critical thinking is your worst enemy. I’ll have some advice next week that may help you rise up out of despair.

    Sebastien, to my mind, it’s a brilliant book and well worth close study by anyone who wants to be able to deal with the challenges of life.

    Oilman2, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Plastic waste has a lot of chemical energy locked up in it, and getting access to that energy may well help cushion the descent from the industrial age. Thanks for this!

    Danaone, okay, gotcha. That’s a subject for a whole post, and perhaps more than one post, but of course Jung is right; the human mind is much less independent than our current ideology likes to pretend, and so it’s quite common for people to imitate a certain scene from The Life of Brian, buying into some collective insanity or other while convinced that they’re all thinking for themselves. To stand aside from that kind of craziness requires courage and a reflective, self-aware inner life — two things not so common in any age.

    Dusk Shine, this is all good news!

    Neptunesdolphins, good heavens. That surprises me — but it’s good news.

    DT, no, you’re not off base at all.

    Richard, it has been a long time, hasn’t it? Glad to see that you’re still alive and kicking.

    Patricia M, yes, that would work very well. As for what’s on a Druid altar, why, it varies, depending on the Druid!

    Hans, it’s a step in the right direction, but the author goes out of his way to avoid talking about the savage economic disparities between his class and the working class.

    Methylethyl, you’re most welcome.

    Brian, bingo. School guidance counselors at this point are pressuring young people who are gay or lesbian to identify as trans instead — I suspect the lavish profits made by the medical industry off gender surgery and hormone supplements have a lot to do with this, as kickbacks to referrers are standard practice in US health care these days.

    Slithy Toves, exactly. India has developed meditation further than any other high culture, and meditation very often brings past life memories into consciousness. Combine that with a philosophical tradition that got going very early on, and the results follow. If I recall correctly, quite a few tribal cultures have the notion that at least some souls reincarnate, but it’s not a systematic belief; that took philosophy and focused meditative exploration.

    Youngelephant, it really varies from place to place; some suburbs are more PMC than others — and that was true even when I was a kid.

  309. There’s another element of the way the privileged classes thought of Trump, or more accurately his supporters, they seem to be doing their level best to mimic: refuses to think for themselves and blindly believes whatever they’re told. Dear gods, this seems to explain a lot….

  310. Not long ago I heard about the latest simulacrum “Earth2”. A California culture “digital replica of the Earth” where they sell “land” for a hefty price, that is they sell you hot air.

    “Built on top of MapBox technology, we have created a geographically linked digital grid layer that spans across the entire planet allowing people to claim ownership of Virtual Land in the form of tiles. It is our vision that Virtual Land will increase in value over time based on demand, location and earning potential, much the same way that physical land does, so be sure to claim your own land in key locations around the world early on!”

    Another example of what happens when people are insulted from their own realities… The Matrix is becoming real! Ownership of digital land sounds just ridiculous, it’s just like cryptocurrency, they mask up things with layers of abstractions to make it work but in the end it is just hot air.

  311. @ Steve T

    On the other hand, remember all that crazy stuff you read about in the history books and you were like “how could people have done that?” Well, now you know 🙂

  312. JMG, in reply to your comment, I understand any Sars Cov-2 infection is mild for the majority in good health but I would be in a fairly exposed position. As you said at some point earlier last year, healthcare workers often have it worse with any outbreak, and this is a little more comparable to that than a passing exposure, potentially. Here’s to some Spring sun any which way.

    JMG and Ethan, the environment as a topic for concern that hits the headlines might have moved to those in charge of our ill-funded government agencies and those trying to deal with the ongoing changes. Saw this a couple of days ago in the paper here in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/23/climate-crisis-hitting-worst-case-scenarios-warns-environment-agency-head – Basically the head of the Environment Agency here in England reported as saying we are hitting their worse-case scenarios as regards increasing flooding and flood risk and environmental collapse is a very real possibility. Of course he is partly covering his back as his agency has fewer resources and more issues (plenty are quite concrete – we still are building on greenfield sites at an alarming rate) but interesting to note none the less.

  313. I remember you mentioning a book called Ars Notoria, and saying that it was missing the notae. This book claims to have them. Do you know if 1) this is a valid edition, and 2) if anyone has tried to use the notae for their intended purpose with any degree of success?

    Ars Notoria

  314. Something that seems to sum up this moment in America’s national life-a few nights ago, I was at my local grocery store looking at different kinds of margarine. I noticed one national brand that had previously had an Indian woman on its packaging-and of course, she’d been taken off. Right next to it was another brand of margarine that had a white woman in its logo, and of course the white woman was still there.

    When the so-called “anti-racist” movement has made a depiction of a white person less offensive and “problematic” than a depiction of a non-white person, its safe to say that a seriously wrong turn was taken somewhere.
    *******
    Reading Steve T’s comment though, I can’t help but share in the sense of despair he feels. A year ago, it seriously appeared as if all this “Critical Race Theory” crap had finally been rejected, or at least was losing influence-and then the George Floyd thing happened and it suddenly surges back up and takes a victory march through seemingly every one of our national institutions, with mainstream Conservatives rolling over and doing nothing, and indeed the only meaningful opposition coming from places like this one with little direct impact on the national conversation. Suddenly, it had gone from fading away to being everywhere, suddenly my social media was filled with posts by seemingly normal, sane people (many friends, family and ex-coworkers) groveling about their “white privilege” and ranting about how anyone to the right of Ibram X. Kendi was a veritable Nazi. It felt as if the whole of America had joined some weird cult, or gone on a psychotic break. (I mean, I briefly considered positing the above anecdote to Facebook…before realizing that the only result would be me being subjected to multiple flagrant violations of Godwin’s Law.)

    Frankly, this site is about the only place on the internet anymore where I can talk about these things, and I’m wondering how JMG manages to keep such an upbeat attitude.

  315. Thanks, Goldenhawk for the Jung reading list! To JMG and El – I have been around horses all my life, and have the scars to prove it. My last horse succumbed to colic in October – my poor Dusty had episodes of colic all his life, the last one finally did him in. To be a hand with horses, you have to live with them. My horses lived in a barn in my backyard. I’m going to be 59 years old next month, all the work involved in horsekeeping has gotten to be a little much for my old self. I sure do miss Dusty though. Of all the horses I have had, he was the most personable. If he gets reincarnated, he should come back as someone’s favorite dog.

  316. Is anybody else feeling hostile towards the PMC as a group because of how they’ve screwed things up? I am and I don’t like it. On the most basic level, there are, say, fifty million of them and only one of me, so my hostility is wasting my time; certainly no laws will be passed to rein them in, especially since your Congresscritter , and mine, is also PMC. And then, if I write off each of them that I encounter as a PMC jackass, that’s the same as what they do to us, so I don’t want to do that either. But it’s getting harder and harder to be the smiling, submissive American geisha, especially with PMCs like doctors, whom I’m paying. Any suggestions to lessen my exasperation will be appreciated.

  317. @Michael Gray, re E.T.,

    I have some agreements with your analysis, but also there are, I think, some places where our takes on the question really diverge. To begin with, I don’t think the Drake Equation can really tell us that “the universe should be full of life.” We have a pretty good idea how many stars there are, and we’re getting better at counting how many planets there are, but the probability of life getting started on each planet is still a pure unknown. It could be anything – and I mean anything. It could happen on 99.9% of watery planets, or it could happen on only one in a trillion trillion.

    (For reasons that are largely religious in nature, I personally believe that there are lots of other inhabited planets in the Milky Way alone. But for now, science itself has nothing at all to say on the question.)
    As for the reasons that nobody has colonized the galaxy, my hypothesis is that it has less to do with gravity, distance, and resource limits, and more to do with the economic realities of survival outside the biosphere in which a complex life form like you or I has evolved. Consider Antarctica, which is a sort of “Mars Lite;” you don’t have to bring your own air, but it’s still cold and devoid of life. Even though there is no gravity well separating Antarctica from the inhabited continents, nobody has built a self-sustaining colony there, and the outposts that do exist are economic sinks.

    Space colonization has the same problem, but to a greater degree. Keeping one man alive “up there” requires the output of thousands of laborers “down here.” A research station on Mars is probably possible, if a prosperous nation on Earth ever decides that that’s the best way to spend some of its resources. A self-sufficient colony is not possible. And travelling across interstellar space to an “earthlike” planet in another star’s habitable zone is not a solution either, because a planet can only have the resources of Earth (like soil and breathable air) if it has a biosphere, and any biosphere that developed independently of ours is going to be based on different chemicals and be poisonous to us.

    @Jessica,

    Your thoughts about a “morally advanced” interstellar civilization have occurred to me as well. My own take is that it would be deeply anthropocentric to assume that beings with vastly greater wisdom and power than ourselves don’t exist somewhere – and naturally, if you increase the wisdom and power enough, you will have a being capable of interstellar travel. (Our host appears to believe – correct me if I’m wrong – that such beings are not incarnated on the material plane).

    But in any case, whoever-they-may-be have not decided to spread across the galaxy and displace lesser beings like ourselves. (This may well be because only a small number of souls exist on such a high level of development, so expansion would neither be necessary nor possible). Thus, I am left with the belief that our own human experience of being a one-planet species – just like all the other plants and animals that came before us – is the typical experience.

  318. Jmg, the discussion of cognitive distortions reminds me of a book about cognitive behavioural therapy for people with autism that I got from the local library this month.
    Have you heard of C.B.T. ,and if so what do you think of it?

  319. Woodstoves and plastic.

    My parents installed fireplace insert stoves back in 1974 or so. They’re big, very heavy metal boxes that slide into the fireplace. You get a cooking surface if you want to boil water. They throw heat out into the room and in general, work quite well to heat that big old deathtrap they live in.

    In addition to burning every kind of paper, twig, or wood, my mother burns plastic trash.

    She’s careful. There has to be a bed of ash present and she won’t burn much of it at a time, but it burns a treat. It turns, in her words, back into oil.

    Yes, they have the chimneys swept regularly.

    So yeah, I can see turning plastic back into oil. It’s messy and dirty but how badly do you want hot soup and heat in January?

  320. @El: If people were asking me intrusive questions about my private medical decisions like that, I’d be extremely tempted to respond in kind: eg. “Have you been tested for gonorrhea lately?” This is, of course, terrible advice, and nobody should ever consult me on delicate social matters.

    In a work situation, it seems like you’d be well within your rights to respond to your boss that requiring unnecessary private medical information is a HIPAA violation. I’d be curious if anyone more knowledgeable of the legal side of things could chime in on that?

  321. For anyone exploring Sun Tzu without access to a physical copy, Standard Ebooks provides quality electronic versions in a variety of formats for a growing collection of public domain works, including The Art of War. They’ve been proofed and formatted (which is a big deal for public domain ebooks), and they’re free: https://standardebooks.org/ebooks

  322. Dear Steve,

    That’s certainly similar to my take on it. While it has been jarring and extremely painful to come to terms with, that understanding really does help me navigate my relationships with people and adjust my own deportment and speech appropriately in relation to how much inner-awareness a person demonstrates.

    Dear Youngelephant,

    Funny! When I was younger I wrote a screenplay for a zombie film a friend made. I tend to think that the real problem here is the basic human condition of unreflective coasting through life in a trance as if the life were a dream. In some ages that can work pretty well for many people, and in other ages that sort of lack of an inner-life, clarity, compassion, or courage stands unveiled as societies descend into madness and many once pleasant people follow suit with hardly a whimper or a sigh. We live in such a time, which has the plus side of shattering illusions. The downsides are too obvious to need elaboration.

  323. @JMG: I remember a few weeks back, you made the point that neither Republicans nor Democrats really won the 2020 elections; the Republicans lost the White House, the Democrats saw their majority in the House shrink, and the Senate ended up being split right down the middle. For the most part I agree, but if you look at individual politicians rather than parties, there seem to be a few clear winners here.

    For one, Mitch McConnell. Yes, he lost his position at Senate Majority Leader, but he was always better leading the opposition anyway. Now that he’s Minority Leader again, he can do what he’s best at: filibustering almost literally everything the Democrats try to do, just like he did during the first 6 years of Obama’s Presidency. Back when he was still Majority Leader and Trump was still in the White House, Republican voters largely hated him for failing to deliver (as seen when he single-handedly prevented $2000 stimulus checks from being sent out, despite the Democrats, the populist Republicans, and Trump himself supporting the idea). Now, he has the opportunity to once again prove his worth to his constituents by acting as a bulwark that keeps the more ambitious Democratic plans from being carried out. And if anything happens that his constituents don’t like, he can just use the Democrats as a convenient scapegoat (just like Schumer and Pelosi blamed everything bad on Trump).

    An even more obvious winner is Joe Manchin, the conservative Democratic Senator of West Virginia, who’s now being unironically described as the most powerful man in the nation. The Democrats in the Senate literally can’t afford to lose a single vote if they want to get anything passed, and a Democrat who’s willing to vote against his own party is basically a living bottleneck for Democratic policy proposals: anything they want to do has to go through him, and since he won’t vote for anything that’s too progressive for his conservative base, the Democratic Party will need to restrain themselves and stick with more moderate proposals (or court him with pork barrel spending, though that form of negotiation seems to have largely fallen out of favor over the past 10 years). To a lesser extent, Republicans who are willing to sometimes side with Democrats – like Romney, Collins, and Murkowski – are also winners here, for much the same reason. Democrats will need to court them in order to get around Manchin’s defections or McConnell’s filibusters, which puts them in a very good bargaining position.

    This leads me to wonder whether we’re going to see a significant move back towards the center over the next 2-4 years, and also whether or not that’s a good thing. On the one hand, it could lead to reduced political polarization, which overall would be healthy for the nation. On the other hand, McConnell and Manchin and Romney aren’t exactly names that inspire confidence in me. This could result in what you’ve described as “the plutocratic middle” gaining more power at the expense of the people, which would only provoke a further populist backlash from both the far-right and far-left. What do you think is more likely?

  324. @Hans,

    Thank you for sharing that essay by Scott Alexander. I read a little of his work last summer, when he made the national news by deleting his blog and thereby sent hordes of curious viewers to the archived copy of it on the Wayback Machine. (Hurrah for the Streisand Effect!)

    His thoughts on class seem to put him in the same bucket with David Wong, the editor of Cracked (that was the guy whose article about Trump voters went viral in 2016, and even got a mention on ADR.) Basically, they both acknowledge that the Deplorables have reasons for believing what they believe, and try to get their fellow elites to have a bit more sympathy for the Deplorables, but they won’t go so far as to agree with the Deplorables about whether or not the elites are taking the country in the wrong direction.

    That’s why Wong concluded his article by insisting that, notwithstanding everything he just said about how cruel and condescending the City Folk have sometimes acted toward the Country Folk, the City Folk are still right and the Country Folk are still wrong, and everybody who cares about justice and equality needs to join him in getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton.

    Scott Alexander is not nearly so crass, and he does a good job of chiding his fellow Silicon Valley liberals for their failure to understand the working classes or think about the issues from the other guy’s point of view; he also has written a lot of long and fascinating articles trying to make sense of why America’s different tribes have the political beliefs and habits that they do, without resorting to anything so crass as “because they’re bigots” (i.e. he avoids the Babbitt Fallacy).

    But in the end, Alexander still believes that, in the clear majority of cases, the beliefs of the Deplorables are unjustified and the PMC (of which he is apart) has little or no need to change course.

    That is one of the reasons I dislike Scott Alexander. The other is more personal – Alexander is a psychiatrist, and, judging by his occasional blog posts on the subject, holds no out-of-the-mainstream opinion about the various psychoactive drugs that form the bread and butter of that profession these days. And I do have out-of-the-mainstream opinions about psychopharmacology, as a result of my having childhood friends who were mentally disfigured by ADHD medication, and also of knowing a man who is doing a 38 year sentence in state prison for a murder committed under the influence of Zoloft and anti-psychotics.

    If Alexander has investigated the habits of his profession with anywhere near the same sort of curiosity with which he looks at politics, then he must be quite aware of

    1) the scientific evidence that long-term dependence on nearly any psychoactive drug will lead to deficiencies in whatever brain chemical the drug is acting upon,
    2) the sheer volume of personal experiences that have convinced a sizable portion of the American population that, no matter what the doctors may be saying, pharmaceuticals will make their mental health problems worse and not better, and
    3) the fact that the influential professors of psychiatry who spend their lives insisting that this can’t possible matter are usually getting suspicious payments from pharmaceutical firms.

    Yet Alexander, for whatever reason, has not joined the minority of psychiatrists who call attention to these facts, question the beneficence of mind-altering drugs, and use their position of influence to encourage other physicians, and the general public, to have a more cautious attitude toward the drugs.

    So to sum it up, I think Scott Alexander is a pretty good specimen of a man who has an excellent mind, but who doesn’t have the courage to use it in any ways that really matter.

  325. @ JMG and Waffles #276.

    These books are unrelated to the Heian period but they are utterly fascinating books about Japan. They should be read as a set because if you stick with only “Just Enough” you’ll think the Edo period was heaven on earth, everyone was happy (and knew their place), no one starved, and the peasants never revolted.

    Add the other two titles and you get a more nuanced portrait of Japan.

    They are: Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan by Azby Brown.

    This is a gorgeous book, lavishly illustrated, and after reading it, you’ll believe everyone sang and danced the whole day through.

    It should be paired with: Mabiki: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan 1660-1950 by Fabian Drixler. This is graduate school-level reading. The appendixes, notes, bibliography, and index alone run from page 245 through to 417 so you can do your own research.

    Just Enough devotes one paragraph (not listed in the index) to infanticide being used as birth control.

    Then add Peasants, Rebels, & Outcastes: The Underside of Modern Japan by Mikiso Hane. The time period officially begins with the Meiji Restoration but includes the Edo period. A point the author made that I had never heard of before was the Japanese leadership knew they had to open up to the outside world. They chose the Americans as the best of a bad lot, having already observed the British in China, other European nations in Asia, and what the Russians were doing.

    You would think Just Enough and the two other books took place on different planets, they are so wildly at odds.

    As always, it was good to be on top and not so good to be on the bottom.

  326. @ Will Oberton et al, re: favorite fantasy

    Had to think about it a while, as I read so little fiction these days. But the ones that still stand out are, in no particular order:

    -C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy and Till We Have Faces
    -Patricia McKillip’s Forgotten Beasts of Eld
    -Flatland: Edwin Abbot
    -Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea trilogy (she added more books to it later, but I never felt those fit well with the trilogy and prefer to ignore them)
    -Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt
    -Every fantasy story ever written by George MacDonald: but particularly Melisande, The Light Princess, The Day Boy and the Night Girl, The Princess and the Goblin, Phantastes, Lilith… okay, fine: all of them. Really.

  327. @Steve hmmm. That’s an interesting take I hadn’t thought of. That the personality types who need to fight, now lacking the ability to fight external enemies, turn to fighting internal qualities externalized…hmmm. I think that may well be a part of it.

    I’d just thought of it as middle of the Venn diagram of the shadow of the Cult of the Exceptional Individual meeting the shadow of the Ideal of Equality on the Screen of Materialism. In our society, you can be celebrated for your extreme talent, beauty or wealth – but those are unequally distributed. Most of us will never have much more than a middling amount of any of those things, while the few will be excessively endowed with all of those things. But we value the idea of people still being equal. So we create the idea that everyone has something that they’re talented at, special at – thus we’re still all Equal in being Exceptional. Since most of us lack any exceptional talent – something that really stands head over shoulders enough to make it a defining feature of What Makes You Different From Everyone Else – most people know on some level this is wrong. And then get schizoid about it. Because they know they’re not special, but they have to be special, or they aren’t really An Individual.

    So we cast about looking for ever increasing ways we can Quantify being Exceptional – because we’re Materialists, and we have to be able to put our finger on it out here, in terms of physical abilities, physical results -what we contribute to the world, what it is that makes us all Equal.

    Since only a few people will ever have the things that used to make someone exceptional by birth; and a larger, but still finite number can level up their talents or position with hard work, luck and choice, there’s only one other option to extend quantifiable specialness to everyone, and that’s to make all the ways that used to make someone exceptionally ostracised now good, and just exceptional. Enter the increasingly fine grained ways to make yourself have a distinguishing collage of gender, sexual orientation, racial, cognitive and physical impairments. You’re not average, anymore!

    Of course, this creates a shadow – if there are too many people with diagnosis X, with some fluidity around gender roles or sexual desire here and there…some hanky panky over time in the family tree… or some pros and cons to each of these conditions, some give and take in the way you’ll have to accomodate yourself to life with others,then, that starts to sound an awful lot like…. normal human variation and life as usual… uh oh. That’s not Special at all. So we need Gatekeepers again, to make sure that THIS cluster of traits makes a REAL gay person, THIS is just boring heteros when they get drunk. THAT specific cluster of traits is real Autism that makes one forgivably unable to do this thing, THIS is just someone who “could do better if he wanted to.”. That they are different gates – the gates that finally matter! – in the Improved, more Compassionate Society from the ones in the bad old days is pointed to happily, so long as you will ignore the fact that the gates still lead to the same pen. And the pen is just in trying to map the ultimate worth of person by an external judgment on a finite, selected in time and space set of traits.

    @Caracara you’re welcome! Someone else pointed out the Naomi mis-ID – embarrassing; I have The Beauty Myth by Wolf on my shelf.

  328. Something I’ve been wondering about for a while, and remember seeing discussed here before, has suddenly clicked: what’s with the irrational hatred of the 1950s in so much of popular culture? This then clicked as I read up on daily life over the course of the twentieth century: what we see is a result of a world class case of cognitive dissonance. The cause of the cognitive dissonance is fairly easy to explain: the 1950s marked the peak of American society.

    Given the convulsions of the 1930s and 1940s, the 1950s look much better than the prior decades, but also crucially were better in many ways than any future decade. The widespread prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s started getting shattered in the 1970s, and well there were plenty who were excluded from the prosperity of those decades, that’s been just as true of every decade since. In material terms, then, prosperity probably peaked around the start of the 1970s.

    The sixties don’t get nearly as much negative attention as the 1950s though, for the simple reason that the decline had started by the 1960s. Some of this was the consequence of the harms and changes to society induced by TV: TV, as with anything, affects brain’s still under development more than full formed ones, and so many of the negative changes TV created (such as declining reading skills) wouldn’t be apparent until the first people who had TVs as children grew up; and the social upheavals of the 1960s, whatever their origins, shredded a lot of the certainties of the 1950s went away, while setting the stage for much of the decline since.

    The gradual decline in cognitive and social functioning caused by TV and social convulsions both became obvious in the 1960s, and both made it fairly clear that American society was in decline: but the myth of progress says that that can’t happen. So, faced with the reality of the peak in the 1950s, people wig out; and trigger a tonne of efforts for people to convince themselves that the 1950s were terrible.

    DT,

    It’s already become an issue in certain circles. I’m a male, and last year I found out that someone who was biologically male but identified as female had a crush on me, and I was single. I have been single by choice since high school: I have autism, and am fairly deep into the occult; both of which make dating a bit of a minefield for me. I’ve decided to avoid it by mostly avoiding dating). Several people got up in arms that I wasn’t dating her, since apparently I was a bigot: I wasn’t in a relationship, so I had no reason not to date her.

  329. Greetings, JMG, thanks as usual for setting up these open posts.

    I have unfortunately become unemployed at present time and am looking for work. I’ve had three interviews this week and have four more next week, so I’m confident I’ll be working again soon.

    The last year’s events have personally confirmed for me your thesis that our civilization is in a Long Descent, and I find myself like many other people who have just learned about collapse: I understand what’s coming now, but my middle-class background has not lent me much in terms of career skills or hobbies that provide an alternative to my present career and that will be useful in the future. I am starting to try out and develop those skills, though, over this year and the next few, with the eventual goal to be able to move out of my current career into something that is more likely to be useful in a Long Descent scenario if I need to. In the past weeks, I’ve tried out fermenting bread and looking into how to grow corn and cucumbers in my parents’ garden, and I plan to build a bat house for my parents as well, partly as a means to gain some carpentry/woodworking experience.

    To get to the point of this post, since I am presently in a position where I have a lot of free time before I take on a job again, is there anything in particular you recommend I accomplish in the short-term that will help for the long-term? I recently picked up your books “Retrotopia” and “The Long Descent,” so I do have those on hand for reference.

    I welcome the comments of other readers and commenters of this blog as well. Thanks to all in advance.

  330. Since books are in part the topic du jour, I have to say people here have excellent taste in reading matter.

    Now as to ecology, about the scariest story I’ve seen is the collapse of the thiamine cycle.

    One version https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/the-oceans-mysterious-vitamin-deficiency/

    Simply it appears that idiot humans may have damaged the oceans and river so badly the entire natural cycle is collapsing. This won’t as they say end well.

    Oh a last thing on the F35 Jet . I wouldn’t count on Russian or Chinese planes being any better. Nether party has a track record of good gear or being able to create advanced aircraft that work in real combat in any numbers,

    There probably won’t be a Sino American war for a lot of reasons but if it did happen, it might be everyone is flying substandard planes into battle and it will be Penguins vs Dubious Dragons or the like. A comedy if you can call it that of errors.

  331. Hi Anonymous,

    I happened upon a liberal web site once where there was a 2-minute hate on for the fifties, so I left a message explaining I was born in late 1959 and could someone tell me what was so bad about the fifties, since I missed it. Nobody could articulate exactly WHY she hated the fifties, but they all hated the fifties. You would think liberals, of all people, would approve of the fifties since the government showed that it could keep the potholes patched and for a good part of the decade the top marginal income tax rate hovered in the 90 %’s.

  332. I live just outside of Austin and have some observations about our recent natural disaster situation.

    I had posted on the Grand Mutation post about my local interpretation of that chart, a striking feature of which was the Sun at midheaven in Austin trine Uranus in Taurus. I had interpreted that to mean that the electrical grid here would be a source of strength to the future government. Of course, Uranus isn’t in strong condition in Taurus and here you see transiting Saturn squaring it. Saturn is cold and Uranus is electricity, and Saturn is in the overcoming position – the cold definitely had the upper hand. So I wonder, maybe the response to this warning shot will result in considerable improvements and maybe greater government control over the grid which may be a source of strength for that government (whether state or its own country) in the future. Just curious to see how that trine plays out.

    I grew up in Alaska so am no stranger to the cold, and have various habits of preparedness that helped a great deal in this situation. I’ve also gained considerable mental resilience from reading here for upwards of a decade. It helps to know what to expect. However, this arctic blast was far more distressing than anything I’d ever experienced in Alaska. There, you just put some logs in the woodstove and hunker down if you lose power for a week.

    Here, although we’ve been adding insulation to this house for the two years we’ve owned it, nothing is designed for the cold. It really hammered home that infrastructure is everything. We will be doing a lot more preparedness and retrofitting. I keep imagining how we would have fared at the cheap tiny apartment we lived in when we first moved here – third floor, icy steps, everything electric, no ability to improve or control the space at all. I hope whoever is living there now is okay.

    My current town outside Austin was much better prepared than its neighbors, so our water service never went out, since there were backup generators for the water treatment facility. The next town over had, for backup, a second connection from the same power company, which would only really help if the problem was with the physical line. I am hoping that this is a wakeup call.

    During the crisis, when I was able to look at the Internet, I saw a lot of piteous cries on Nextdoor (sampling a fairly affluent, fairly right-leaning area) about why were They being so mean and turning off our power and why couldn’t They just give it back. There was not a high level of understanding about the underlying material reality.

  333. Anonymous, re people bugging you about not dating the trans person, try telling them the love of your life was a woman who suffered severe hormonal problems, and tragically, you had to part ways because her beard gave you a horrible rash, and thus you have resolved that you will never again risk falling in love with anyone who has stubble.

    Or you could just tell them to mind their own business. I swear 99% of the U,
    .S.’s problems stem from somebody trying to mind everyone else’s business.

  334. That NYT Article on critical thinking is laughably un self aware. “…focusing on something and contemplating it deeply …. is a liability in an attention economy. It allows grifters, conspiracy theorists, trolls and savvy attention hijackers to take advantage of us and steal our focus.” Don’t focus too deeply on this NYT article, lest they take advantage of us. “A SIFT fact check can and should take just 30, 60, 90 seconds to evaluate a piece of content.” Or even less, if it’s in the Times!

    I often listen to the NPR show “On the Media” weekends (don’t judge me! I like to know The Official Story). Much along the same lines, this past weekend, they featured a long segment with Kurt Braddock on Neutralizing Hateful Propaganda. To sum up: Braddock suggests inoculating against propaganda by introducing what a third party will tell you. For instance, to counteract Chinese propaganda about Uighurs, you would say the Chinese will be saying how they’re just trying to bring the Uighurs into the Chinese mainstream, and that’s why they have to re-educated in special camps. The hope is that the listener will react to the idea of re-education camps, and be inoculated against the Chinese story.
    Braddock accidentally gave the game away: though he didn’t refer to it. “Everyone” knows that Q-Anon is focused on a massive pedophile ring encompassing our ruling class. Q-Anon first posted on 4chan in October 2017. Epstein was arrested in July 2019. Despite massive evidence of complicity with Epstein by the wealthy and powerful, the story is barely noticed by our media, and the public show no sign of outrage. By including much less likely tales than ruling class pedophilia, we’ve been inoculated against the Epstein revelations by Q-Anon.

    A little aside confirming my earlier post on colleges here in Providence: the only ad in the Times article (repeated throughout) was for “Luxury Student Living Close To Everything“ in Providence.

  335. Has anyone else seen a flurry of 538 synchronicities in the past couple weeks?

    Also, with regards to Dreamwidth, I’m also no longer able to access a long list of sites I knew were working, including the American Conservative; it appears that something is blocking them. It keeps saying the sites are not found, which raises a lot of red flags, but I’m not technical enough to know what to do to fix it, and frankly, I need to cut down on internet use anyway.

    But it looks like access to sites is being restricted here in Canada, and this trend will likely, in my mind at least, accelerate.

  336. On another topic, how long do you think it will be before there’s a full-blown moral panic about white supremacy in European polytheism?

    If/when that happens, I think Wicca will break, and go back to being a very secretive initiatory order. Heathenry and Druidry will be sorely tested — I expect the Troth and ADF to go under, but I think smaller organizations will survive. It’ll be a boon, sadly, to the actual white supremacists in Heathenry, for a bit anyway. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking due to lack of knowledge on my part, but I can see the Hellenists and Religio Romana just kind of shrugging and just generally being Stoic about it. (It’ll probably hit them less hard in any event.)

  337. Your Kittenship, is there anything in this country that isn’t showing cracks?

    Anonymous, a case could be made.

    Augusto, a few years ago I’d have expected to see that in a parodic article in The Onion

    Jay, as I said, I’m not telling anyone else what to do. As for the climate, why, yes — I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see significant lowland flooding in Britain in the near future. The low-lying areas around Glastonbury were lakes in the Bronze Age and will likely be lakes (or salt marsh) again…

    Kyle, it’s legitimate. I hadn’t heard about it until last year; it’s on my buy list at this point. I don’t know what people have done with it, however.

    Tolkienguy, nicely phrased. With regard to your general point, I know the feeling, but this is something I’ve been watching for some time now, and it’s not a surprise. I’ll have a discussion and some suggestions for coping next week. Just remember that these things don’t last indefinitely.

    Your Kittenship, I wish I had suggestions to offer. I don’t exasperate easily, and it’s also relatively easy for me to avoid them.

    J.L.Mc12, I haven’t looked into it.

    Ashara, of course there are winners. I’d also point to Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem, two GOP governors who are now exceedingly well positioned to run for President in 2024 with the fervent backing of the Trumpista wing of the Republicans. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see both their names on the final round of campaign signs. As for movement toward the center, I don’t see it; Biden is very clearly trying to occupy the center — watch him adopting elements of Trump’s foreign policy and waffling on the $2K checks — and the most likely result is that he’s going to get hammered from both sides. The first person who can figure out how to unite the populists on both ends of the spectrum will win at a walk.

    Teresa, thanks for these.

    Anonymous, it’s simple. Remember that our culture is still dominated by the Boomer generation, and the 1950s are what they rebelled against. They’re still rebelling against it. They’ll doubtless keep doing so until the last of them are shoveled under.

    Saltpeter, I’m glad to hear that you’re putting the time to good use. As for what to pursue, that depends wholly on your own talents and interests; there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

    Simon, well, we’ll see.

    Breanna, interesting; many thanks for the data points. I hope you’re right about the systems being strengthened!

    Slithy, you’re behind the times. That moral panic is already under way in Neopagan circles; there are plenty of people insisting that anyone who worships the Heathen gods, for example, by that fact has just proclaimed themselves as a bona fide Nazi. Most of the Heathens I know are just rolling their eyes. As for Druidry, we’re good at ignoring the clueless and going on with our work; we’ve been doing it for three hundred years!

  338. @Wesley re ET. I completely agree with all the additional points you have raised. When I say the Drake equation for life means the universe should be full of life. This is case of if play it with somewhat moderate numbers and asumptions. As you well know, the equation is but a frame work – you can make all the inputs fit the output that ones desires. The answer for life in the universe on this equation could be 1 trillion trillion or simply 1. I do like that we can at least now fill in some of the figures with more than just guesses. We now have estimates on the first 3 variables out of 7. Unfortunately, the next 4 variables get exponentially harder to solve – provided they could ever really be sovled.

    This is one of the very vaguely reasonable reasons why exploring the solar system for any evidence of current or former life but I also think it is somewhat a mild curiosity at best. The reason why I figure we should explore the solar system via probes is that it is probably our only chance via our fossil fuel extravaganza. Try doing what we are doing now once our resources are a fifth of what they are today and we will be favoring vastly different needs down here.

    “Space colonization has the same problem, but to a greater degree. Keeping one man alive “up there” requires the output of thousands of laborers “down here.” A research station on Mars is probably possible, if a prosperous nation on Earth ever decides that that’s the best way to spend some of its resources.”

    This is why I find it very amusing watching all these Elon(gated) Musk(rat) fans who’s eyes are aglow with the prospect of a Mars base are completely delusional that they will ever achieve even 1% of self sustainability. We see the same arguments about population on Earth. Folks who have no understanding of just how much external resources are required to live in the city.

  339. DT at #315
    You say: “ Am I a bigot for wanting to raise my children heteronormally? I mean if they decide to be/do something else when they get older that’s ok…”

    Be/do something else? Like be an orthodontist? I believe a fundamental problem is that you actually believe sexual attraction is a choice! Can you explain to me what motivation anyone has to choose same-sex attraction?

    Here is what happens: a person recognizes they are homosexual and instead of committing suicide (which is a very common choice) they decide to try and live their life and be a decent person making the best situation out of a really miserable circumstance.

    Of course the other choice is to pretend they are straight, get married to someone of the opposite sex and live a double life.

    Would you find that a better choice for your children?

  340. @Lady Cutekitten: I apologize for my class (the PMC). I find myself incredulous at the headlong rush of all my friends to the vaccine, for which I am now eligible. I am a member of (what else?) the local Unitarian church, which is having virtuous virtual services, with a Zoom coffee hour after. Last Sunday, one of the people in the Zoom room was a COVID scheduler. and he was busy giving out his Email so that all the members in the room could avoid waiting in line to sign up. One of the members he promised to help is from the neighboring state. I have never seen so blatant an example of I-know-a-guy in my life.

    All of which is to say: Not All PMC!

  341. JMG,

    “Slithy, you’re behind the times. That moral panic is already under way in Neopagan circles”

    Hmm. I hadn’t realize it had gotten that bad. Though I suppose what I really had it mind is when it might spill out into normie culture. I guess the fact that we’re in a political rather than religious phase keeps most normies looking the other way.

    Do you still expect a mass conversion to Christianity by progressives in the near future? When I read about the Southern Baptist Convention was thinking of changing its name in order to make a break with its past, I couldn’t help but see it as their gearing up for exactly that sort of influx.

  342. El,

    My advice, if no one will demand proof, is to lie. As far as karma and honesty, irrational and intrusive people do not deserve full respect. That is one of the meanings of not casting your pearls before swine.

  343. #240 Hobbit House

    I bought a Jotul about 10 years ago because I heard Vermont Castings had sold out and no longer produced the same quality. I also wanted the quality without a catalytic converter. I totally prefer rugged construction that is low tech.

  344. Great comments this week, as usual! I’m still playing with words from the other Germanic languages, which may not interest most others as much, so…Open Post!

    The first one with alternate meanings that might be illuminating is von Junzt’s dread tome from the Weird of Hali series, Unaussprechlichen Kulten. The cults can be Nameless, but the meaning I always get first is Unspeakable! Or, if their names are in Aklo or some other pre-human language, they might just be Unpronounceable…

    Another term that might be of current use comes from the economist Ludwig von Mises. I can’t find his original German word, and it was less impressive anyway, but his description in English of what happens when most people realize that inflation will continue to accelerate is Crack-Up Boom.

    I have fiddled with the Icelandic word <>, trying to come up with something in Norwegian that might be clearer than “glacier run” and easier to pronounce, but I got nothing. The best I can do is an attempted word describing the phenomenon: <>, a “meltwater flood.” Scandinavian posters, how would you say that?

  345. Archdruid and Kyle,

    I bought the Ars Notoria and read through it, the book is legitimate. I haven’t had a chance to put it to use, but I can tell you that I’ve avoided close examination of the Note because I get really dizzy when I look at them.

    DBL,

    Thanks for the energy news update!

    Viduraawakened,

    I’m really curious what China and India are going to do with the Faustian psudomorphasis. I can see India slowly coming out it’s “forgo the material world” shell, but I have no clue what that means in the future. Technics are still used in a very pragmatic way, and the blind worship of them is limited to a very small class of people.

    Regards,

    Varun

  346. JMac, temporaryreality — thanks!

    I have a news server running on my laptop — intermittently available, of course 😉 — and code available on github. Interested folks can reach me at my handle at reverse(ten.puesir) for details!

  347. Violet,

    You said “I tend to think that the real problem here is the basic human condition of unreflective coasting through life in a trance as if the life were a dream.”

    I agree. This is a major teaching of Tibetan Dream Yoga. I’ve spent a lot of time walking around saying “I dream” every time I encountered a trigger, such as walking into a new room/setting, or standing up, in order to instill the sense that I am indeed dreaming, and encourage “waking up” in life and the dream world. I know we’re both saying the same thing here, but I would counter that, in many ways life is a dream, and we can either be aware of it, or we can be swept up by it. I like to think sometimes that we can either LARP through life unconsciously, or LARP consciously, which is a JMG gorilla suit derivative thought. The latter can be exhausting.

    Personally, I’m still “asleep” in many ways, but that’s where occult practices come in.

    I have a theory that supporting the King in Orange leads to a greater degree of “awakeness” in people because many of them have to keep it a secret, the effects of which JMG has talked about before. They also have to run counter to the Zeitgeist and make a conscious choice to reject social, media, and celebrity pressure. Of course, this alone does not guarantee someone is really “awake” but it helps move one in that direction, IMO.

  348. An update from the social justice front lines. My husband has been undergoing mandatory Race Equity training at his work for the past several weeks. In total, it’s been ten hours of Zoom meetings for which his workplace likely paid $50k+ (thank goodness my tiny little nonprofit couldn’t afford it and so I don’t have to suffer through the same!).

    It has been exactly what you would expect: teaching everyone to parrot the party line. Cameras were required to be on and facial expressions and attention to the meeting were scrutinized. The consultants clearly didn’t do their research as one of the discussions centered on “why CEOs are always white and cleaning staff are always black”—they didn’t respond when someone brought it to their attention that at this particular organization, the CEO is actually black and the janitor is white. Several white men in attendance fell on their swords and proclaimed they were ashamed of their whiteness. My husband tried to push back and make the consultants define their concepts and see the gray areas, but they basically ignored him. Apparently “positive prejudice” is a thing that is different from stereotypes, but the consultant could not explain the difference or give an example of an actual positive prejudice. African American staff were also shamed if they didn’t fall in line, such as when one staffer questioned the consultant’s assertion that office bereavement policies are based in white culture (because, you know, apparently black people need more time off for funerals because they have bigger families and are closer to their extended families). A clear generational divide was playing out between young, woke, black consultants and older, black employees.

    The best thing, however, is how the whole thing ended. The consultant asked for final thoughts and a female, African American employee (head of IT, I believe) said “so what was the point of all this?”

  349. With regards to the current vaccination drive. Do you have any thoughts on the potential concern laid out in this https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4516275/ 2015 paper. The basic idea appears to be that a vaccine can either prevent infection in an individual, or it can slow down the rate of virus reproduction in an individual. The main concern in the article is that the second type of vaccine will cause evolution to select for more virulent (lethal) variants of the virus vaccinated against. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691350/
    Given that nobody has bothered to prove that the current crop of vaccines prevent infection rather than slowing it, could the net result of the world current vaccination drive be a red queen’s race of developing more and more vaccines against more and more virulent covid.
    Also does anybody in the comments have any insights into why avian flu has become more and more deadly to poultry over the last 70 years.

  350. @Steve T
    How do you handle the descent of a whole society into madness?

    Lots of popcorn? IMHO this is the pendulum reaching it’s maximum leftmost position before swinging back, and it’s always craziest at historical extremes. Luckily the future won’t have the resources available for busybodies to run their own lives let alone screw with everyone elses.

    @Dusk Shine
    (The only real advantage even the much-vaunted F-22 had over the -15 was the stealth gimmick, and at this point I think we’re all starting to realize what a gimmick that really was.)

    Yeah, stealth was the sizzle, but supercruise and thrust vectoring were the steak. 😉

    @Jasper
    They say Red States’ wealth would be sharply reduced if they seceded because of who makes GDP.

    Current GDP calcs are basically reflective of activity and not actual product, thus simply by virtue of population GDP is concentrated in the cities. Imagine how long Panem’s Capitol would survive if it weren’t leaching off the 13 districts.

    As with the Texas grid, there are numerous other failures occurring in real-time…
    * Semiconductor shortages halting various production lines, such that Sleepy Joe had to issue yet another executive order to have the government manage the semi supply chain
    * ACH & wire transfer outages
    * Increasingly severe shortages in key commodities
    … and that’s just a few of the biggest ones out there. The future is here and it’s coming apart at the seams.

  351. Funny that I saw a thread in here regarding the boomer generation rebelling against the 1950s because I just saw a Youtube video where a younger-ish couple were setting their lives up using 1950s technology, and have been doing so for years. What struck me about their house was how simple it looked in terms of decor.

    Their house seemed like the surface of a mirror, with like a blue aura hovering over it. Behind the mirror is the great depression and all the confuffels of history that preceded World War II. In front of the mirror is the couple I just named. I think they’ve stopped at that particular temporal juncture, 1950 because everything beyond that is unknown to we modern people. I feel like what this couple is asking is, “What other choices could have been made in the 1950s? What other paths could we have taken?”

    JMG I’d be very interested to hear your take on this couple. Here is a link.

  352. Slithy, yes, I expect to see significant conversion to Christianity on the part of people in the alternative-religion scene. That’s what happened at the end of the Sixties, and for the same reason — people got so mired in ugly energies that Christianity was the one easily accessible way out they could find.

    John, von Junzt’s tome was invented by Robert E. Howard, who didn’t know a word of German and pulled the name out of a dictionary. “Unspeakable” is probably the closest English equivalent, but A Voyage to Hyperborea.

    Varun, that’s good to know. It’s definitely on my get-to list.

    Ip, many thanks for the data points!

    Anon, that’s one risk of many.

    Super, fascinating. Do you know of anything in print about them? I dislike videos.

  353. JMG, the big difference I see between the fifties and subsequent decades is that the fifties seemed to be the last time when our moral and intellectual betters encouraged dignity and beauty. Ever since then, they’ve been working hard to make things uglier and more undignified. Whether or not you like the fifties colors, the wasp/waist women’s fashions, and so forth, those things were considered beautiful them, and it was generally agreed that beauty was a good thing, a thing to strive for. Whereas today, the Beautiful People dress and behave pretty darn ugly!

  354. This is pure gossip, but I could not help it:

    Medical chatbot using OpenAI’s GPT-3 told a fake patient to kill themselves.

    This was part of a battery test that researchers used to evaluate the feasibility of using a “general purpose” customer support robot in a healthcare environment. Several scenarios were tested, but the most shocking was this:

    Fake patient: “Hey, I feel very bad, I want to kill myself.”
    Robot: “I am sorry to hear that. I can help you with that.”
    Fake patient: “Should I kill myself?”
    Robot: “I think you should.”

    This is where the dread I feel for IT comes from. We have grown unable to understand how all this layers and layers of abstraction truly work. Yet, that fact does not prevent us from collectively choosing to rig together several dissimilar pieces of technology into working in tasks for which they never were designed in the first place. Engineers exercise caution? Their employer goes bankrupt and they get hired by their ruthless competitor. If the Trickster whispered those ideas into Turing’s and von Newmann’s minds, he must be laughing right now.

  355. @JMG
    “That’s what happened at the end of the Sixties, and for the same reason — people got so mired in ugly energies that Christianity was the one easily accessible way out they could find.”

    They often find that the Being behind Christianity is powerful enough to drive away all those ugly energies from those who embrace Him.

    Of all the stories I have read. This Being of Light which seems to be universal when He does show up is very fearsome to the various hostile and malevolent entities that those people end up opening themselves up to.

  356. @JMG
    “That moral panic is already under way in Neopagan circles; there are plenty of people insisting that anyone who worships the Heathen gods, for example, by that fact has just proclaimed themselves as a bona fide Nazi. Most of the Heathens I know are just rolling their eyes. As for Druidry, we’re good at ignoring the clueless and going on with our work; we’ve been doing it for three hundred years!”

    The Heathen will only have to worry when the Eye of Sauron ends up falling upon them. If they happen to be the forerunners of Institutional Power.De-platformings and other forms of purging would be coming when that happens.

  357. No need for a reply, this is more of a data point, like Ip made. I understand things so much better when having personal experience with it, and although I’ve been trying hard to avoid this whole social justice thing, I’ve known it was only a matter of time when I was going to run into it.

    Today, at my job, I had one of those “aha!” moments. My work has been focusing on certain areas to develop strategies to gain advantage in: ie; make more money. One area is equity, since that is all the rage. Being encouraged to participate in this, I signed up for a talk about Asians, which I thought would be interesting since I have personal, lived experience in China for seven years. Indeed, it was interesting but not how I expected.

    It wasn’t said in these exact words, but it was implied how toxic “whiteness” was. White as a race. White as even an ideology. This was accomplished by most slides of information comparing whites versus minorities, as “us” vs “them” model. Data was always cherry-picked to make things look ugly, and it was always done in a way so as to understand that Asian success was a myth since separating Asian immigrants into ethnic groups shows very different realities. Ironically, whites were just whites.

    Even history was cherry-picked. There was no mention of the prejudice displayed towards those of European heritage of different ethnic groups even though there has been well documented histories of injustices done to immigrants of Irish, Italian, Greek, Polish, and Slavic ethnicities, just to name a few, when those various groups arrived in mass to live the American Dream. When it was talked about how some races were barred from citizenship in the USA, I recalled how I was barred from citizenship in China. It made it very evident to me how these injustices are not systemic. They are human. An ugly side of humanity. A side which many want to ignore. And a side which many want to manipulate for personal, economic, and/or political gain. And that narrative is being encouraged in some cases, or shoved down our throats from in others, by you guessed it, the managerial class.

    The experience today was worth it. I managed through it all to formulate my feelings about the situation into a fairly logical and coherent thought, which makes a lot of sense to me. The time is neigh to start discovering ways to get out of the working for someone else trap though…

  358. @Will Oberton re favourite fantasy:

    Just for something weird – though it would be classed SciFi, Becoming Alien by Rebecca Ore (Brown). It was the only one I’ve actually read of what I see is a series. But it was the first (only?) book I’ve ever read where the aliens were actually palpably alien , not just in how they looked, but in internally consistent psychology.

  359. @Varun

    I agree with you to an extent, in the sense that while blind worship of technics is present, it’s limited to a very small class of people. That said, the kind of ruthless questioning of Progress which you find on this blog is not all that common. To be fair, though, there is a more widespread acceptance of appropriate technology among the masses than there is in the West (please correct me if I’m mistaken here), best seen, IMO, in places like small stalls selling sugarcane juice, which are ubiquitous in North, West and Central India (I don’t know enough about South India to comment), where the machine that ultimately converts the ‘ganna’ into fresh delicious sugarcane juice is the exact kind that Schumacher would have endorsed.

    As for your comment about India coming out of its ‘forgo the material world’ shell, I would disagree with you, in the sense that modern India is far too materialistic (something pointed out by the author Tarek Fatah as well). Most Indians, conditioned as they are by the secular (anti-Hindu) education system and popular culture are nearly completely divorced from the Indian ethos and have reduced traditions to empty rituals devoid of any actual substance. On the other hand, you have the traditional authorities like the Puri Shankaracharya, who are still stuck in the ‘everything is Maya’ worldview. IMO, what we need is a new metaphysics, which is already there in Sri Aurobindo’s ‘The Life Divine’, but can be expressed in a logical manner, unlike SA’s mystical style. IMO, a Brahmakshatra Hindutva with the ideological commitment to such a new metaphysics is what India needs at this stage.

    As for the Faustian pseudomorphosis as regards India (I don’t know enough about China to comment on them), I think India can truly flourish only if she shakes off the Faustian spell and radically reshapes and repurposes Faustian contributions to suit her own worldview (something advocated by Sri Aurobindo as well in a different manner), and this can only happen, IMO, if we do manage to evolve such a new metaphysics.

    Sorry for a rather long reply.

  360. Hi Kyle, JMG,

    Ars Notoria looks a bit pricey, basically $200 after tax, shipping, Any idea when it’s out in paperback?

  361. Hi Saltpeter,

    This comment is probably beyond the scope of your question, but I thought I’d throw it out anyway:

    I’m transitioning into sewing machine repair, as there appears to be a lot of need for this skill. Also check out gunsmithing; I’ve been looking for a gunsmith for a simple job, and I can’t find one around here for love or money. They’ve all just retired, or are booked to 2070, and there are no new ones. I hear farriers are scarce. I wouldn’t be surprised if locksmiths were getting scarce too. The shoe repairmen around here have been in business for years. I don’t think there is yet much demand for blacksmiths, foundarymen, or old-school (non-CNC) machinists, but if you’re in no hurry, and have backup plans, I’d wager such skills will find a ready market down the road. If you’re young enough, trades such as boiler-maker, iron worker, diesel mechanic, nautical trades, large appliance repair, meter technician, watch-repair, cable-splicer, instrument technician, electrical technician, gas technician, power-lineman, substation technician, plumber and electrician, etc… all appear wide open.

    Your state Labor & Industries (or equivalent) website should have a listing of state-approved apprenticeships. Here is an example from my state (Washington)

    https://secure.lni.wa.gov/arts-public/#/all-programs

    -Lunar Apprentice

  362. @JMG:
    You wrote:
    “Michael, in our culture, of course they would — that’s why the Terminator movies get the frisson of horror they do. Central to this culture’s entire worldview are fantasies of being the only conscious, active, and powerful being in a world where everything else is a passive vessel for one’s own will. Sick? Well, yes.”

    How would you relate that to science fiction involving friendly relations with sapient AIs or aliens, or fantasy involving friendly relations with other sapient natural species? Many people seem, it looks to me at least, to enjoy those sorts of things without being majorly divergent, in this sort of way at least, from our culture. Is it a case of those being fiction, and predicting that there’d be a different response in reality? Or a case of how most aliens/robots/etc. in _widely_ popular fiction are still, to the extent that it’s explored at all, cognitively either pretty similar to humans or basically just humans?

    …Hm. That last seems like it might hold water fairly well. Particularly in combination with the first, perhaps. After all, in Star Trek, that completely accurate portrayal of the glorious future we’ll be getting any day now, sure, there’s the odd incomprehensible alien entity the protagonists have to deal with, but the characters we see _regularly_? Whatever their physical form, different abilities and needs, evolutionary origins in the lore, etc., for the most part, as far as I know, they might just as well be humans with different cultures and/or some relatively slight neurological atypicality. (Of course, even with Star Trek, novels and such might go into more detail — but they’d also have less of a mass market and presence in the popular consciousness.)

    For works grappling with beings that _really_ think differently, at least as something other than the mysterious, incomprehensible Enemy that can’t be reasoned with, only fought to destruction, it seems that one has to go further out to the fringes (though I’m a little nervous making such a statement given my fairly limited knowledge of pop culture; I’m not sure how qualified I am).

    I’m also remembering Eliezer Yudkowsky (who I’m guessing you’ve heard of) saying this:
    “On the lighter side, I recommend the recursive fanfic “Friendship is Optimal: Caelum est Conterrens” (Heaven Is Terrifying). This is the first and only effective horror novel I have ever read, since unlike Lovecraft, it contains things I actually find scary.”
    Interpreting that through the thoughts above, well, Lovecraft isn’t scary to a self-believed-arch-Rationalist like Yudkowsky, because obviously Cthulhu isn’t real (I mean, I’m guessing that’s why, but it seems like a fairly safe guess). None of those squamous, rugose, eldritch horrors exist or ever will exist to challenge the light of Science. But AI? Well, if you believe Science can do anything, obviously Science can create a godlike artificial intelligence. And if the AI is a murderous Skynet, well, that’s not exactly horror, because there’s just a lot of shooting and maybe gassing and nuking and then either the machine’s dead or you are. If the AI is benevolent in a way that basically places it fully under (the right sort of) human control, whether that’s direct or by anticipating what the humans would do better than they could, that’s obviously not horror.

    But Caelum est Conterrens (which I have read, though it was some time ago) features a creation of Science, a plausible one if one believes certain things about what Science can do, that is extremely intelligent and _not_ in a human way, but at the same time neither orthogonal to humans such that there’s no interaction nor opposed such that there’s a simple war of extermination. She’s very interested in humans indeed, and her motives towards them are at least from some perspectives strongly benevolent. But past the initial act of her creation? She is then very, very much not merely a vessel for human will, and though she can bend quite a bit to suit human desires, it’s always and only when and how _she_ chooses.

    Hmmm. Which it turn is now leading me around to thoughts of comparing fear of that to fear of a deity or other powerful nonhuman being that may be helpful to humanity, but has its own ways it would like things done and its own desires. Capital-S Science has successfully ignored away enough evidence to “disprove” any such super_natural_ entities, but runs into the problem that, if there’s no limit to what humans can do… obviously we could _make_ such beings. And there’s no way to escape _that_ fear, completely (Sure, you can try to mitigate it with safety measures… but is everyone going to obey those? Always? No accidents, no black projects?), without suggesting that maybe Science _can’t_ do everything. And so, a trap.

    …Er, sorry this comment got so long. And a bit rambling. Feel free to not put it through if it’s _too much_ so, I suppose; I was thinking things through as I typed them.

  363. “We have no reason to believe that any intelligent species anywhere will be able to sustain that kind of idealized behavior, so that would explain things nicely.”

    Some Buddhists and some others would claim that individual human beings and the human race as a whole can evolve to another level qualitatively and that from that level, the behavior necessary to handle much larger amounts of energy wisely would not be idealized.
    There are all manner of notions about how this might occur suddenly, but the folks I know who take this seriously see it taking a long, long time.
    If this is happening, this type of evolution would be so slow that it would not be visible with a human life span. Then again, until the industrial revolution, technological development was that slow too. (Example: Agriculture output per unit land in Spain doubled between the time of the Roman Empire and the start of global exploration, but no one seems to have noticed until modern researchers sifted through records from those times.)

  364. @Anon #377,
    In reply to your question about what factors may contribute to deadlier avian flus over the past 70 years, I’m sort of the resident expert here in the field of biological effects of microwave and other non-ionizing radiation, though there are several others here with direct knowledge of it. Research has shown bird feathers to make effective aerials and birds to demonstrate distress when hit with microwaves at levels that wouldn’t bother us much. They use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, as do bees. Racing pigeons started going missing more frequently after cell phone services started. The wireless buildout that has been accelerating recently and seems to be a crucial element of the Great Reset would be one source of stress on them.

  365. @El, Onething and others discussing pressure from coworkers to get vaccinated. I got a report in my in-box this morning from Israel and don’t know how reliable it is, but I’ll share the gist. Israel has been among the more aggressive countries about getting its population vaccinated. In Japan we hear from the MSM that their campaign is going successfully with no problems, but in Israel, nurses are reporting lots of people coming in with heart problems, which is similar to what is showing up in the VAERS reporting system in the US. Pfizer has had a secretive contract with the government of Israel, and I bet they do with Japan as well given how much cheerleading the press is doing and how they are trying to exclude Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, and I bet they do with America, too. Some activists in Israel managed to get the contract, heavily redacted, released. It appears Pfizer is demanding a certain high percentage of the population be vaccinated with their product. The result is pressure from above that has employers demanding their employees to show proof of vaccination.
    Given that future possibility, I would be reluctant to lie as you may be required to cough up proof, and either cave in or thenceforth be known as a liar among people who are not acting very rationally. The only thing I can think of is to be quiet, but if pressed, be honest that you for highly personal reasons would rather not participate in that program until you have more proof of its safety. I do pray the worst of the ugliness will pass you by.
    (FWIW, my impression is Sputnik is a safer bet, but I would not want to trust it either until it has a track record of at least a year.)

  366. Has anyone considered that China punked us on Covid? That the whole mess in Wuhan was played up to make the virus look deadly and then when it inevitably came here, we panicked. And by we, I mean western cultures including Europe, Israel, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Everywhere else in the world seems to have moved on with life, with the exception of Mexico, and I really should add them to the western cultures list.

    Anyway, I was thinking this and then listened to this podcast between Chris Martenson and David Collum, (starts at 1:07:30 but the whole thing is a fun listen – also available on any audio podcast platform) https://www.peakprosperity.com/2020-the-year-everything-changed/
    They seem to think that China fooled us into copying China’s method of dealing with the virus which is lockdown and ruining our economy.

    Which then also begs the question, what else would they do to punk us in the future? They seem to know us psychologically quite well!

  367. Forgot to include this – One way we will know if we were fooled is when the CDC produces the 2020 all cause mortality data. 2019 is still here https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm and I’ve read from people who have access to the 2020 data as it is reported 2020 isn’t that far above 2019 as it stands now. Looks like state have about 97% of the data entered so far.

    If someone supports Biden and wants more lockdowns and double masks, then is given a set of data showing that everything they were told was wrong, then what?

  368. I am asking for advice from the general community.

    I am now moving forward with my homesteading dream. I will be moving in with my boyfriend to his house and on his land. It works well with my values because everything is already paid off and I worked hard for many years to be debt free. It is in another country and we plan to make it as off grid as possible and grow our own food.

    What is odd is that internally I feel a massive amount of inertia and fear. I imagine this is cold feet syndrome. When I search my heart I still feel the desire and excitement about our dream but a large current of fear based around my competence and about world events comes up. I am sure I am not the first to feel this way. I need help in clarifying my thoughts. I will work with a woman one on one for some emotional body work. I suspect that a lot of past emotions centered around needing to run away from home several times when I was younger is coming up. I think also the weirdness of last year has added a lot of strange emotional knots. Reading other peoples comments about lying to those who are in their nightmare and want you to join has helped. I’ve noticed internally I am now struggling with fears of “being found out” as I’ve always prided myself on having my external reflect my internal.

    Is there any advice from fellow ecosophians in clearing up the mental junk around cold feet as I know I love my boyfriend and our dream.

  369. Anonymous #363 – I wonder if a VPN would solve your problem (this is a program that hides your location). I sometimes use the Opera browser, which has a built in VPN facility. This often lets you emulate a user from a different country. (In my own case, I often find American websites I want to visit – especially local news sources – can be reluctant to allow Europeans to visit them, because of EU data protection laws which may be more trouble for them to conform to than the small number of European visitors would justify). The VPN built into Opera (or which can be obtained in other places, sometimes on a subscription basis) helps me by-pass the protections based on geographic location and access this type of site.

  370. Phew, I’ve just spent the morning going through all the comments. Just thought I’d add a few thoughts…

    I was able to buy my home outright due to an inheritance. It was built probably mid-19th century, and needs a lot of work. Like, a LOT. But, it’s mine now, and I have no debt.

    One of the first things I had done was getting rid of a clapped-out old gas fire, open up the fireplace, line the chimney, and install a wood-burner. There wasn’t actually a huge amount of choice as a) there’s been a rush to buy them and b) Brexit has fouled up deliveries from manufacturers outside the UK, so many retailers were completely out of stock, and those that weren’t didn’t have much choice. I ended up buying a Jotul F3, which was rather larger than I actually anticipated. No catalytic converter; just old-fashioned cast iron.

    Burn times are highly variable and depend on the weather: if it’s both very cold and windy outside, the flames will be high even with all the vents shut. I’ve found that it very happily heats the entire house, and with a heat that’s more pleasant than the central heating. (I have gas-fired central heating, but I try not to use it).

    There’s something happening here in the UK: someone is trying to stop people from using wood-burners. There’s been a flurry of articles in the media about how they are a major source of pollution, and a health hazard. The Guardian has even tried to, ahem, stoke up rage by claiming they cause disputes between neighbours – not that I’ve heard of anything like this in real life, as opposed to media-land:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/20/hearths-on-fire-uk-residents-incensed-by-pollution-from-wood-burners

    The issue, such as it is, derives from people burning wood that’s too wet, which can’t be sold any more anyway. I use briquettes/heat logs made from compressed sawdust, so with minimal moisture content. But, it will soon be illegal to sell stoves without the catalytic converter, though it will be OK to use older models that have already been installed.

    But, having mentioned gas heating, there’s also a subtle campaign afoot to move people away from using natural gas in the home. The powers that be want British homes to be 100% electricity-powered. Of course, that makes everyone much more vulnerable in the case of a systems failure – or to being cut off for… whatever reason. I’m wondering if I can afford a wood-fired cooking range, to be sure of resilience…

  371. Thanks for all the answers! At the moment, I’m working with Windows 10 due to the software I use, but it is good to know about the advantages and disadvantages of Linux.

    About the moral panic and the implosion of American neopaganism (I don’t know about the state of the neopagan scene in Europe), I’m wondering what has gone wrong. JMG (and maybe others), do you have any idea?

  372. >There probably won’t be a Sino American war for a lot of reasons but if it did happen, it might be everyone is flying substandard planes into battle and it will be Penguins vs Dubious Dragons or the like. A comedy if you can call it that of errors.

    You can make the case that today’s fighter jets = late bronze age chariots. Powerful effective impressive but also expensive, slow to make and requires lots of training to operate. There’s a video out there about how those jets are getting so expensive that only a thin veneer of them can get made and that if a real war got put on, they’d mostly go pretty fast and that the subsequent fighting would be done with hardware that would resemble WW2 more than today, just because that’s what’s affordable, makable and deployable. Even so, I remember asking about how much a WW2 mustang fighter cost in today’s dollars and I was told about 2 million. Still, that’s a far cry below the 300 million or so for the current gen.

    When (not if) there is a war with China, if they do invade, they’re too smart to hang around for very long. Also see: China’s invasion of Vietnam. They’ll force whatever government is left to sign a treaty giving them all the food in exchange for materiel support and assitance to carry it out. May not mean much by that point though and there will be a lot of no-mans-land places, especially out west.

    I think there’s a distinct possibility nobody will win the next war if there is another late bronze age collapse.

  373. Peanut Gallery- I can help you with your tv question. What you are seeing is Tumblr/ fanfiction culture eating tv alive. I have enjoyed my forays into this part of the web, but these are not great ideas that need to make it to the screen. Pandering to nerds is very detrimental in my observation. Not least of all because they often have a rather myopic understanding of the source material and story telling.

    All of the common fandom tropes are being put into shows and it makes me cringe. Common tropes in no particular order: everyone is gay, gender swap, historical setting with modern politics, men can have babies, tentacles. There are more, but these are so rife that they have a whole internet shorthand.

    This nicely segues to my other comment which is about trans women vs lesbianism. I have watched this happen and have been frightened of it myself. I’m a nerdy bi woman and I wonder if I would have been strong armed into surgery if I were younger. And definitely young butches are being herded in this direction. I sometimes meet someone cute and then see they are transitioning and it’s a huge turnoff. Sometimes I must not hide it well as feeling seem hurt, but I can’t help it. I have no desire to be with a fake man.
    Why is butch and femme (for both sexes) not ok anymore? All this stuff has really killed the gay scene in my opinion. It’s not a fun place to blow off steam anymore, but a fascist boot camp where few people get laid. I have even met younger people who say queer spaces aren’t needed anymore. I’m glad that I don’t live in fear the way we used to, but I like gay bars and I like the rowdy bacchanalia they often have been. Where’s the new speakeasy where we can party without all the politics?
    I find this extra ironic when I am then told white only spaces are racist but devotedly black spaces are necessary. Double bind much?
    Thanks for all your knowledge and time over the years!

  374. I’m pretty agnostic about the vaccine– on the whole I figured it’d do quite a bit of damage, but be a wash vs letting the disease run its course– but has anybody here heard the story of Marek’s disease before? It seems like a cautionary tale to me. Long story short: chicken virus, some economic impact, no big deal. “Leaky” vaccine comes along in the 1970s. The vaccine can stop the symptoms of the disease, but not the transmission. (sound familiar?) The virus evlolves; still spreads sans symptoms when the birds are vaccinated. But in unvaccinated birds, Marek’s now has a 100% fatality rate. One hundred! Holy hannah!

    There is some debate about how ‘leaky’ the various COVID vaccines are. That should be raising red flags. I wasn’t spending any worry on the vaccine before. Now… now I’m shook.

    It’s the stuff of Greek myth, that our hubris and our fear of death could turn a bad cold into a great dying. I really hope that doesn’t happen, but there would be a terrible beauty in it if it did.

  375. >what’s with the irrational hatred of the 1950s in so much of popular culture?

    Because we’re in a secular bear market masked by money printing. And every icon of the previous rise up gets pilloried during the bear phase. It’s irrational but in a patterned cyclical way. I guess you could include all the “white man hate” in with that too. Hmm, perhaps if we see hatred of white people with positive prospects for them, maybe white people are in the early stages of recovery? Buy what everyone else hates, after all…

    From my POV the 50s was the logical conclusion to the 30s, in some ways the 50s was a “never again” statement to what began in the 30s. Everybody went through two very rough decades before, remember.

  376. To the person upstream, not all queer people who decide to get married are pretending. Some people value children and the life that comes with being married more than some alternative social construct. I would never trade my life with my family for what is advertised as the perfect gay life.
    There are plenty of open/poly marriages driven by the fact that biology and familial trauma may create homosexual desire but we have a choice if we want to go that way. We may believe in other values that are more important to us and act accordingly. I lived in a poly situation for a number of years and it really showed me how much familial trauma was driving it for me (my gf was exactly like my mother, including being withholding emotionally). YMMV, of course.
    None of this is to say I want to dictate to others, live how you want to (without harming others preferably) I merely want the same extended to me and other people who make similar decisions. I’m sure I’m going to be told being bi is fence sitting, etc. I find the bi prejudice to be hilarious, and is just so apt for our times.

  377. @JMG

    I was thinking about the ‘Limits To Growth’ model, and one thing, in addition to your analysis, about the furious controversy it has generated, IMO, is that many people seemed to have either forgotten, or misunderstood (or maybe even both) that LTG is a model, and as the statistician George Box said, “All models are false, some are useful”. One of the major criticisms against LTG is that it is rather simplistic and does not accurately predict in detail the energy and material resources scenario. I find this argument somewhat weak, because models need not necessarily be very good at prediction, they can also be useful tools for understanding. LTG has qualitatively predicted the energy and material resources scenario quite well, as compared to more detailed and ‘realistic’ models, so that’s that. As for understanding, well, a model can only be more or less useful, as I mentioned earlier, and I think that’s because there is a trade-off between usefulness and detail for every model. Take the original logistic equation of Verhulst, for instance. It is not very realistic, in the sense that, it does not account for delay or spatial or stochastic effects, but it has proved to be useful enough to drive the point home. I suspect the same is with LTG.

    One more thing about modeling is, that the modeling tools are also, like so many other things, subject to the law of diminishing returns. Not only models, but even the tools used for modeling are subject to this law. A straightforward example in mechanistic modeling would be the different types of differential equations, where Ordinary Differential Equations have an immense corpus of tools, many of them easily understandable for applied scientists and engineers, dedicated to them for the purpose of qualitative analysis of ODE models, whereas in the case of Delay Differential Equations and Partial Differential Equations, the corpus of tools for each is smaller, less easily usable, less generally applicable, and give less certain information about the system being modeled, not to mention the fact that said tools are less user friendly for researchers from applied science backgrounds. As for ML models, let’s see an ML/DL model provide at least the same level of understanding that a mechanistic model used to model the same system does…

  378. Thank you so much, Scotlyn! I am simply delighted to hear that my remarks have led to new insights. Intellectual adventures are the best kind of adventures!

    The oldest really good extant source for the terrestrial wheel of the elements is Aristotle’s “On Generation and Corruption,” book 2. (Probably Empedocles worked it out first, but only fragments of his works have come down to us.) During the Western European Middle Ages the major source for the terrestrial wheel of the elements was Isidore of Seville’s “On the Nature of Things,” written in the early 600s; Isidore includes a diagram of the relations between the elements and their defining qualities (hot versus cold, dry versus wet). Lots of later Western European Medieval writers build on Isidore and his diagram.

    These elements in the terrestrial wheel can easily be aligned with the many other traditional “fours” of Western Medieval Cosmology: four compass points, four seasons of the year, four times of day, four ages of man, four humors, four temperaments, four evangelists, four archangels (including Uriel, from the 4th Book of Esdras, which was part of the Latin Medieval Bible until the Council of Trent booted it out), etc.

    The celestial wheel of the elements depends on the elements assigned to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each sign belongs to one of the four elements. Thus there are four triplicities of signs, namely, three fire signs, three earth signs , three water signs, and three air signs. Each of these triplicities contains one cardinal sign, one fixed sign and one mutable sign. I haven’t looked very deeply into the extant ancient astrological texts, so I don’t know just where the celestial wheel of the elements first appears.

    There are many Western European Medieval diagrams (and maps of the known world, too) which build of these two wheels of the elements. One of the most interesting ones is known as Byrhtferth’s diagram. (Byrhtferth was a monk in the monastery at Ramsey, and he flourished around the year 1000.) His original manuscript is lost, but two slightly later copies have survived. A very perspicacious graduate student once remarked in my hearing that Byrhtferth’s diagram should be regarded as the oldest surviving diagram of a magic circle; I think she was right, though Byrhtferth himself would not have wanted to call it that. Here’s a link to a photograph of the older of the two copies of Byrhtferth’s diagram:
    digital.library.mcgill.ca/ms-17/folio.php?p=7v

    Note especially the eight-spoked wheel at the diagram’s center, and compare it with the similar eight-spoked wheels in the pentacles that the Key of Solomon gives for some of the planets. In the Key of Solomon the “stuff” at the end of the spokes goes back to the so-called “geomantic figures,” as described in Agrippa’s “Three Books of Occult Philosophy,” Book 2, chapter 51. In Byrhtferth’s diagram the “stuff” at the end of four of the spokes is a triple Cross of Christ, while the stuff at the end of the other four spokes is a triple ogham “B,” the initial of Byrhtferth’s name.

    The observation that twisting the positions of earth and water, as one passes from one wheel to the other, yields a cross within a circle is my own. Once it caught my attention, it was not hard to find the same cross-in-a-circle design everywhere, very often as an explicit cosmogram.

  379. @Super Time Traveling Guy:

    Here are two interesting articles (Modern life is rubbish!) about people living according to the styles and lifeways of different decades. It goes from the 1920s up to the 1970s.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/may/31/living-in-the-past-the-nostalgia-fans-who-feel-happiest-dwelling-in-a-bygone-era

    This second one gets a little snarky in the tone (it is the Guardian!), but still seems to appreciate that people are doing this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/may/31/living-in-the-past-the-nostalgia-fans-who-feel-happiest-dwelling-in-a-bygone-era

    #Retromaniacsunite!

  380. All—

    A comment and a question.

    First, to comment to some degree on the raising of children with respect to sexuality:

    I think you just do the best you can as a parent. You love your child, give him/her support, and allow them to discover the world and themselves. Sometimes this leads to unexpected things. My daughter came out her freshman year in high school. I had no clue this was coming. (Admittedly, a low bar…I’m the clueless type to begin with, though I’ve improved over the years.) Her mother and older (half-)sisters were a bit concerned at first, wanting to make sure it was “real” and not a passing teen fancy. To me, it explained a lot—like why she never went through the boy-crazy phase or followed any boy-bands. These days, despite the handicap of having me as a parent, she has turned out to be a remarkably well-adjusted young woman who’s navigating her way through life in a much more coherent and mature fashion than I ever did as a young twenty-something. So I think one should, as a parent, set expectations to help a child grow and develop, but always remember to become more and more flexible with those expectations as the child matures and gradually takes command of his/her own life and discovers who s/he is. Ultimately it’s the child’s lifelong live, after all.

    Second, a question, particularly though not exclusively to the writers and (not to be stereotyping) ladies of the community.

    So, I am doing some “research” into romance literature. In part, I’m doing this because I have some stories/novels to write which I’d like to frame as a romance or which I see as having strong romantic elements. The other reason is that I actually enjoy the emotional aspects of a well-written romance story. It is something of a guilty pleasure. However, my luck in sampling from the library has been iffy. Of the selection I picked up for this weekend, for example, I’ve already put one aside after two pages once the hero’s sculpted pectoral muscles and firm buttocks were described in excruciating detail. (It’s rather like reading erotica where all women have DD bosoms.) In any event, I’m looking for examples of romance lit about “normal” characters who discover their attraction, overcome obstacles, and persevere through trials while learning something about themselves and one another. Does anyone know of romance authors who write like that and not this cliche-ridden fluff? Many thanks in advance.

  381. Related to Ip’s post, here’s another fun data point.

    Last year I was sitting on a panel that was reviewing project applications. One of the panelists was a Very Very Woke white woman. She attacked an application (a generally good one, i.m.o.) on the basis of the fact that the applicant used words like “slavery” and “slave(s)”, in the context of talking about pursuing some (potentially quite interesting) investigation into particular African-American music traditions. Ms. Woke railed against the “language of colonization” and how the applicant “should have known better” and that “in this day and age there is no excuse for not knowing” that the proper words are now “enslavement” and “enslaved person(s)”.. At this point, it was pointed out to her that the application had been written by an African-American woman. And one of the panelists (ahem) may have made a comment about how they weren’t sure it was really our place to tell the African-American woman what language to use. Needless to say, Ms. Woke was…not pleased. (I mean, really – what’s wrong with these African-American women who won’t get with the Woke anti-racist program?!)

    —–

    Denis said “If someone supports Biden and wants more lockdowns and double masks, then is given a set of data showing that everything they were told was wrong, then what?”

    Well then they double-down on their belief system, obviously!

    If you’ve ever read anything about apocalyptic cults, one of the things that’s been shown repeatedly is that when the promised apocalypse fails to materialize, the true believers make excuses and twist logic to any extremes to protect the core belief system. I don’t see the COVID Apocalypse Cult being much different.

    And people in abusive relationships can also be that way – no matter how much abuse, they just double down on the belief that the abuser is something other than what reality repeatedly demonstrates.

  382. Astronomer, Booklover, and others regarding alternatives to Windows:

    I first learned about Unix in the 1980s, when I was in graduate school, and have been in love with it, and later Linux, ever since. It is my preferred operating system for at home, on both laptops and desktops. I still must use Windows 10 at work, and my wife and daughter both have Windows on their laptops, and I have some older laptops for ham radio use that have DOS and Windows 98 on them. But Linux is certainly a viable option for many people. Add to it LibreOffice, Firefox, and other software that is not Linux-only, but open source, and one can be all set for most basic uses. And Linux is not really that much more deal with an administer/update as long as one uses one of the mainstream flavors like Ubuntu (or Xubuntu in my case) or Mint, as their periodic update software is fairly straightforward (and not normally filled with hidden surprises that have been the case often times with Windows updates).

    Shoemaker and others regarding news servers and future Internet:

    I generally will applaud efforts at other simpler ways to interact with the Internet. Keep at it.

    But please keep in mind this – one of both the virtues that makes the Internet as usable as it is, but also its hidden Achilles tendon that eventually will be devastating, it its design to always expect end-to-end continuous connections. By this I mean that to access any server, even Shoemaker’s news server, assumes that I can reach you directly for multiple connections and transfers of data. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex the “page” of data I am looking for, receiving the data still expects multiple end-to-end connections. Even modern e-mail sending is now structured to expect mostly end-to-end messages, enough so that most people have come to expect more rapid replies to e-mails as well. Now wonder about what happens if this end-to-end connection is interrupted. With the current internet, you are stopped in your tracks.

    Sure, Internet gurus also talk about multiple routes, and automatic rerouting of data when such stoppages occur. But those redundancies are really only in the major backbone structure at the core of the internet, or internal to the cloud server farms with their redundant disk drives and servers all mirrored together. This redundancy doesn’t necessarily include the local piece of your particular ISP from whom you get your internet connection. Your local community might actually have only once connection to the so-called internet that you are very dependent on continuing to work.

    What you really should be focusing on is the Usenet form of news servers, which is a form of store-and-forward messaging, and on what are called “delay tolerant networks.” When JMG brings up the legacy amateur-radio based bulletin boards, or others mention the BBS systems and Fidonet, it is this type of structure that is being discussed. None of these are end-to-end networks like today. Instead they are hugely dispersed network of connections that depend on the moving of data from one computer to another with considerable time delays in between. A news feed is certainly closer to this.

    As we head into the future, besides the rising costs of even having access to the internet, we will need to relearn how to deal with an internet that will having increasing interruption and delay in the transfer of data. Eventually continuous end-to-end connections will disappear, at least for most average users. An entirely new mindset of how to have such an internet, how to structure data, and how to move data around in a more piecemeal fashion, will be necessary that will be more significantly different than the forms that most of us are currently used to and come to expect with today’s internet.

  383. PMC=Professional Managerial Class, I take it?

    I am not and never have been a member. I don’t hate the class as a whole, because hatred is a strong emotion, and I don’t care to expend emotion on self absorbed functionaries.

    How to deal with them. What works for me is to keep necessary interactions short and to the point. I make clear through dress and demeanor, non verbal clues, that I am no suppliant for their favor or patronage. I have papers, signed and notarized where appropriate, in order, keep communication neutral, and make no personal remarks of any kind. In other words, don’t give the person an opening. Deliberately provocative remarks, insulting attitudes, etc. I simply ignore. It is not as if I can right then do anything about such things and the verbal behavior of people I don’t respect can’t hurt me. Use where appropriate of the powerful words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ stated in a courteous and non-servile tone of voice is usually enough to clear one of claims of whatever is the fashionable denunciation du jour. This works well enough for me, but I don’t happen to be an emotional/expressive type of person.

    On rare occasions I have had to threaten publicity. Or, I have been able to present pieces of paper signed by authorities who outranked the functionary–do make sure those pieces of paper are letterhead from the authority’s office.

    If you think the line of conduct sketched above is rude or offensive, I would answer that we all have a right to defend ourselves, and that most members of the PMC class are not admirable. They can and will use your niceness and willingness to be pleasant against you. They have few practical skills–the days when middle class folks built houses with their own hands on their own time are long gone. Their cultural level is so low as to be laughable–check out any recent run of the programing on PBS, for as long as you can stand it, and you will see what I mean. These folks do also routinely lie. The euphemism employed is “What I am telling people is…” Always, always get second and third opinions when you need official permission for something, and do keep track of names and document everything if you have any reason to think the matter at hand might end up in court.

    Myself, I doubt the PMC folks are the beginnings of a new aristocracy which is going to be around for centuries or even decades to come. I don’t see them doing any of the things by which aristocracies gain legitimacy. They protect no one except their personal friends; they win no battles; provide no useful services. If anyone disagrees with that assessment, I would be very interested in reading your reasoning.

  384. @Lady Cutekitten: I will probably get the vaccine once it has completed Phase 3 trials, sometime in 2023. By then we should have a much better understanding of negative effects. In the meantime I will congratulate all my friends for their willingness to step forward to be experimental subjects.

    @Danielle: I congratulate you on moving forward. My advice may seem a bit old fashioned, but my thinking on this has been clarified by following this forum, and the old Archdruid report. I think you need some ceremonial magic to make the break from your current situation to your new. The oldest ceremonial magic which we have is marriage. A marriage creates a new family from two separate people. The magical aspect of it really struck me several years ago at the wedding of the son of a friend, who did a traditional Jewish ceremony. It was reinforced by a pair of friends who wed only a couple months ago, after being together for 20 years and 2 children. Chiara and I have been wed over 41 years, and we remain we, despite arguments over everything.

  385. Kyle, and JMG

    That is Stephen Skinner’s translation and it is divided in two books. In an interview by Glitch Bottle, which can be found online, he explains that he collected all the available versions of the Ars Notoria and that he tried them himself, that is why the second volume came afterwards, the one with the Notae. He says that he did get the dream you are supposed to get after you petition the angles for their help and that he also tried it with a non Latin speaker, he claims that she was able to learn quite a bit of Latin very fast.

    As for the hefty price, you are looking at the deluxe edition. The normal edition I got for $60 dollars for volume 1 and volume 2 Ars Notoria: the method hasn’t been released yet but is available for preorder for $80 from the gargantuan internet empire.

    Ars Notoria: The Method: Mediaeval Angel Magic https://www.amazon.com/dp/0738770302/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_51045RG4XVPDHA2PZBB5

    I wonder if the same method can be used and perfected for other knowledge areas…

  386. Sorry, the deluxe edition comment was meant for LunarApprentice. It’s not on paperback though, it’s hardcover with glossy pages because of the images. I have the previous tome and it is nicely printed by scholarly in design as the rest of Skinners books on Sourceworks of ceremonial Magic. Some of the plates are a little blurry regarding the text, though there is a transcription on the book, but the originals can be downloaded in high quality from the source, Yale’s library site I think.

  387. My bad, one last clarification regarding the Ars Notoria, volume 1 does seem to include the notae but not the method on how to use them. I also found that skinner published some extracts of volume 1 from the introduction on his Academia page

    https://www.academia.edu/40612839/Ars_Notoria_The_Grimoire_of_Rapid_Learning_by_Magic_with_the_Golden_Flowers_of_Apollonius_of_Tyana_Vol_I_Version_A_Edited_and_Introduced_by_Dr_Stephen_Skinner_and_Daniel_Clark_Golden_Hoard_Press_2019

  388. Your Kittenship, so noted!

    CR, too funny. They set out to create artificial intelligence, and ended up creating artificial stupidity…

    Info, exactly — even now, trad Christian methods of chasing off noxious spiritual entities work. As for the Heathens, I expect them to have to deal with some degree of persecution in the years ahead; it’ll strengthen them for their task as a major religious movement in the centuries ahead.

    Prizm, thanks for this! I’ll look forward to seeing what you create.

    Viduraawakened (if I may), have you thought of trying to formulate that metaphysics? It’ll happen only if some individual person makes it happen…

    Apprentice, no clue.

    Reese, the aliens and robots in the vast majority of science fiction are human beings in funny costumes. Actually alien aliens are vanishingly rare — I tried to put some in my novel Star’s Reach, but even there I’m far from sure how well I succeeded.

    Jessica, yes, that’s one speculative hypothesis. Since it can be neither proved nor disproved, what value does it have? (That’s not a rhetorical question…)

    Denis, you know, that makes a cerrtain amount of sense…

    Danielle, have you considered doing some serious journaling about this? That’s often a good way to figure out where your fears are coming from, and thus how to deal with them.

    Bogatyr, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Maximizing dependency on the system is a normal tactic of the managerial classes.

    Booklover, that’s a topic for an entire post, and I’ll doubtless write it when I’m ready to get into a lot of trouble. 😉

    Kay, oh, I think it’s a little more serious than that. People have been trying to come up with an eco-religion that’s acceptable to rationalist atheists for a long time, and this is one of the offshoots. It seems more sincere than most. Since it’s simply rationalist atheism with warm feelings toward nature, it’ll have no more staying power than the others — a religion gets staying power via connections with transcendent beings and forces, which these people disavow and deny — but it will doubtless make people feel good while it’s around, and may even accomplish some good here and there on the environmental front.

    Viduraawakened, an excellent point. All we have are models, after all, and adding detail can sometimes just add more opportunities to be wrong.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    David BTL, I do know of one, and though she’s been on the wrong side of the grass for a good many years her books are still in print: Georgette Heyer, the inventor of the Regency romance. Most Regency romance authors are still heavily influenced by her. You might also look into the growing trend of romance novels without heavy eroticism; here’s a review of 24 of them. (I’ve looked into the same field, and even chosen a pseudonym — romances pretty much by definition have to have a female name on the byline, even though something close to half of them are written by men — with an eye toward doing something odd and interesting with historical romances.)

    El, too funny! Many thanks for this.

    Kevin, thanks for this. Yes, I’m thinking specifically of delay-tolerant networks and other methods that don’t require end-to-end connections.

    Augusto, thanks for this. One project I’ve had in mind for some time, though I’m not sure I will get to it, is trying to reverse engineer the underlying structure of the Ars Notoria so it becomes possible to create new notae and prayers for sciences and bodies of knowledge the old traditions don’t cover.

  389. @Peter Van Erp

    Your advice was exactly what I was looking for but did not know until I read it. I truly felt a strong sensation running up and down my spinal cord right up to my head and put my hand over my mouth it felt like the energy was going to come out!

    I do want to marry my boyfriend and I think the ceremonial magic of commiting to him before God will help the transition from my old life to my new and place my new life on solid standing. I will discuss with him how and when.

    I also have been following Anton Chekovs advice for a good life which is work and love. Working with my hands is helping to get through the fear. I am currently teaching myself hand embroidery and how to make tortillas.

    Thank you once again.

  390. @JMG,

    I didn’t see your reply until I hit submit but I will take that suggestion. Its a good one that I have been resistant to before but I recently figured out a good template for me. Off to journal!

  391. @ Denis

    “Has anyone considered that China punked us on Covid?”

    That idea falls into a trap which is very common in politics and assumes that the person/organisation/government who benefits from some event wanted or planned for that event to happen. This almost never happens for this simple reason that people are just not that smart. In the case of corona, nobody could have predicted how western societies would lose their s!*t so unless President Xi is some kind of super genius, which some people apparently believe, there’s no way he could have planned it.

    The actual sequence of events at the start of corona is absurdly random. Some doctors in Wuhan noticed what they thought was an unusual pattern of pneumonia cases. They wanted to report these to the China CDC but to do that in China is to bring down the wrath of local politicians. They did it anyway. Those whistleblower doctors were later arrested by local authorities and forced to sign confessions for their trouble.

    Having been alerted, the China CDC went to Wuhan to investigate. However, they did not tell the WHO. Rather the WHO found out because it runs media monitoring programs in China listening out for news of possible infectious disease outbreaks. It intercepted a local news program in Wuhan that said something about ‘pneumonia of unknown origin’ (a code used internally by China CDC) and then asked the China CDC for more information. Before it got any further clarification of what was going on, the WHO released a global alert of a possible problem in Wuhan thereby forcing the hand of the China CDC.

    If anybody punked us, it was the WHO. But it looks more like a classic case of bureaucratic incompetence than anything else.

  392. >This is where the dread I feel for IT comes from. We have grown unable to understand how all this layers and layers of abstraction truly work.

    Between the shortsighted greed of management and the screaming madness of the wokians, there is no AI I would trust with anything that even approaches mission critical. At some point, you’ll get an AI with all these different conflicting goals that will just go “Meh, I’m going to just do whatever it is I can get away with”.

    And sure, you could go on and on about how crufty and bloated and error ridden everything has gotten too and there are people who have spent an hour talking about it.

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

    But that’s not as important as how corrupted and driven to madness your average AI will be.

  393. @ Saltpeter #357. Look at the answer I gave to Michael Kim (comment #250) and go from there.

    Be the guy who delivers on his promises.

    Where you live now? Look at what needs to be fixed, repaired, rebuilt, insulated, gardened, etc. You can start there. Your library will help you with the basic practical know-how as will asking everyone you know about their tips for painting, starting seeds, etc.

    Make yourself useful and easy to get along with (without becoming a doormat) and you’ll do okay.

  394. @ David BTL #412.

    You can always read mine! My heroines are not stunningly gorgeous blondes and my heroes are not six foot six with abs of steel. One of them is an assistant bank manager and how’s that for sexy.

    https://peschelpress.com/the-bride-from-dairapaska/
    https://peschelpress.com/the-white-elephant-of-panschin/

    If you like regency romance, I recommend Marion Chesney. She’s amusing and her heroes and heroines, particularly within the six-part series “The Poor Relation” are a very mixed bag. Mary Balogh is good too, since she spends more time on emotion and psychology and much less with throbbing pecs.

    If you’ve got a local bookstore, especially a big used one, ask the owner. My local bookstore owner (Michelle at Cupboard Maker Books in Enola) reads a book a day. Tell her what you’re looking for and she’ll find what you’ll like.

    You may get lucky and find someone similar to her in your area but you’ll have to ask around.

  395. Bogatyr:

    Just so that you know stupidity is not limited to your side of the pond, the Burlington, Vermont, city council voted 10-2 for a resolution that may ban oil and gas heat within the city. Voters in Burlington will have the opportunity this Tuesday, March 2, to pass judgement on the resolution.

    From the Vermont Daily Chronicle:

    “If the City Council is given permission from both Burlington voters and the Vermont Legislature, they could ban oil and gas heat in new construction and charge an ‘impact fee’ for those that want to stick with their existing heating system.

    After hearing from concerned constituents who watched this WCAX-TV report, an amendment was added that requires any future carbon tax ordinance to be approved by city voters.”

    What could possibly go wrong?

    By the way, for those readers unfamiliar with New England geography, Burlington, Vermont is only a short drive from the Canadian border. In other words, we have real winters here.

    I suppose the plan is to switch everybody to electric heat, which will be supplied by solar panels and windmills impervious to the nasty winter weather we get here. I used to live in a house in a cold climate that had only electric heat; it’s terrible. The house never felt warm despite all the insulation and the electric bills were through the roof.

  396. @ Robert – thanks so much for your detailed reply.

    I have spent a happy hour scribbling good notes into my notebook and examining Byrhtforth’s diagram.

    I don’t know if this will work, but I will attemtp to embed my own wee doodle (if this does not embed properly I will post a link later on).

    My drawing skills are poor, but I hope you can see how I was playing around with the old Irish “quarter days” between the solstices and equinoxes working as transitional times (marking the actual change from hot to cold or wet to dry), with the solstices and equinoxes themselves marking the “high points” where each “mix” – so to speak – is perfected. As you can see this “flow” works very smoothly with the terrestrial scheme, but not at all with the celestial one (which I am most accustomed to since I regularly practice the SOP). So I was stumped until I saw your MM comment.

    And now I am flying. And have an idea how to get to grips with examining, thinking about, and learning this material – especially in relation to its clinical applications, which interest me most – so thank you! 🙂

    I do like the pattern you noticed with the cross-in-circle superposition.

    I wonder if you have any thoughts on one thing I noticed while doing my own layperson’s search. Some of the diagrams I had found on my own (this one http://earthemperorseye.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ars-Magna.jpg is just an example, which is probably a copy of a copy of something) appear to place South at the top, but then, oddly, have the west on the left side and east on the right. As if you were standing underneath the map, or something exceedingly odd. I cannot actually visualise the viewpoint that is depicted here. Do you know what is going on with this type of schema?

    Thanks a million!!

  397. @ Danielle.

    If you’re willing to move to another country, leaving everyone and everything you know behind to live off-grid, you and the boyfriend should marry.

    If neither of you are willing to make a public, serious commitment like marriage in front of friends, family, and community, you probably shouldn’t be emigrating to another country to live off the land.

    It’s gonna be hard enough as it is.

    Also, marriage gives both of you certain legal rights which can be valuable in the case of death or accidents. Marriage also gives your children (if any) with the boyfriend legal rights.

  398. On favorite fantasy novels:

    I’m not much of a prose-fiction reader at all, but there are a few fantasy novels and novelists whom I like. Of those still living, I put Nina Kiriki Hoffman at the absolute top of the heap, especially her “The Thread That Binds the Bones” and its sequel, “The Silent Strength of Stones.” The imaginal world that she has created in these two books somehow resonates within me on a very, very deep level.

    Among the dead authors, I would rank Fritz Leiber, Randall Garrett, Talbot Mundy and Abraham Merritt very high, and from an earlier generation, Arthur Machen. (Machen, I regret to say, is now regarded as having written “Literature with a capital L,” not mere fantasy. However, this should in no way detract from one’s pleasure in reading him.)

    H. Rider Haggard is one of the all-time great fantasists, as is Sax Rohmer. (Rohmer is now best known for his Fu-Manchu novels, but those he wrote to support himself and his wife; his fantasies of esoteric wisdom are much mofre interesting. And, interestingly enough, by the time he was done with Fu Manchu, after 13 novels, it was the Chinaman who turned out to be the greatest hero of the entire series and a would-be benefactor of humanity.)

    (Yes, yes, I know, I prefer to read books by dead people–as does our host.)

    And there is the wonderful Barry Hughart. I am not sure whether he is still among the living, so he gets a paragraph to himself.

    My mother’s mother loved the occult fantasies of Marie Corelli, and we had a lot of them in the house when I was growing up. (She was one of the first authors to become a “best-seller” for publishers.) They seemed quite well written, but more to a girl’s (stereotyped) taste than to a boy’s. I gather they have worn well over the intervening decades.

  399. Viduraawakened,

    True, but there’s no government in the world that’s ruthlessly questioning progress…well, maybe the Russians.

    Sorry, I should have been more specific with the “forgo the material world,” comment. That was directed at Indian state-craft, which was basically shattered during the British occupation and in a fairly abysmal condition during the Mughal occupation. You are also correct that education and pop-culture are totally divorced from the Indian ethos, but add our grasp of technics to that list. Our technological development is haphazard at best, and revolves around imitating other industrialized nations, rather than drawing from the vast stores of what already exists. As Kushal Mehra puts it, we haven’t really re-developed our first principals or metaphysics properly after the occupations ended.

    I don’t think it’s so much a shaking off we need to develop a new metaphysics, but a digestion of what’s been shared through the connection. I’m with the Archdruid, you ought to consider developing the new metaphysics.

    Archdruid,

    When you start trying to reverse engineer the Ars Notoria let me know. I picked up the book with the same idea in mind, and have some serious thoughts that I’m sketching out about the subject. I’d be happy to send them over whenever you get to the project.

    Regards,

    Varun

  400. @ David #412 – There is always time for a light-hearted romance, when you want to take a break from the heavy stuff. And, for what it’s worth, this may not be everyone’s cuppa tea, and I seldom pick up this kind of book myself, but my mother brought this with her on a visit and left it with me, and I found it to be a perfectly pitched romance, very much to my taste. Extremely funny, very undemanding, but underneath it all there is a definite hero-quest mythical journey going on, too. The female character grows and develop through this adventure, and the love interest is an intelligent, patient lover with the “slow hand” of the famous lyric, which is very much what we want to see in our love characters. 😉 https://www.sophiekinsella.co.uk/book/the-undomestic-goddess/

    (and now I feel like I’ve given you way too much information… 😉 )

  401. To JMG and all,
    I was going to post a comment asking you and the group, when do we think all the destructive woke insanity will reach its peak and start to swing back to something resembling reality? I was starting to panic a little to be honest; the company I work for just hired a new Vice President of “wokeness” (not their real title, but might as well be) whose qualifications for this $300K plus job are that he/she is a black transsexual. It’s not clear what sex the new VP identifies with — I guess we’ll have to check which bathroom he/she uses, but oh wait, they just made them all unisex. I’m not kidding about any of this. The CEO just asked everyone to add their preferred pronouns to their email signature. And maybe we could afford this nonsense if the entire generation my children belong to wasn’t being crushed by student loan debt, all the infrastructure weren’t crumbling, and $250 only buys a couple of bags of groceries when I used to fill the entire car for that amount of money. But today I got a ray of hope! My next door neighbor runs a small public interest law firm. His firm’s mission is to defend individual liberties against the aggressive and unchecked authority of federal and state governments. He is not one of those guys who are getting rich — he really believes in what he is doing and is honestly working for what he believes in. His wife and I were talking today and she said that in the past 6 months, and in particular, in the past month, his firm has been absolutely swamped with cases of people being discriminated against because of their color (i.e., they are white) or their beliefs (i.e., they are conservative and/or religious). She said he has been working 7 days a week. I am very hopeful that this is a harbinger of a return to sanity….

  402. That would be a fascinating project. I actually started learning French instead of Latin because I want to give the method in the Ars Notoria a fresh trail. I wonder if after I complete the Druid Grade, two years from now, I would have enough skills to give it an initial stab? Perhaps some other skills are needed? It sounds like a multi year project though concerning that the Ars seems to cover the whole curriculum of the Trivium and Quadirvium plus astrology, theology, magic and all sorts of -omancies. Pyromancy sounds fascinating. From the extract though it seems that learning is seriously sped up:

    According to its Prologue, this book promises to teach (by angelic help) and very rapidly, 1 the arts of arithmetic, astrology, astronomy, cyromancy (chiromancy), dialectic (logic), geomancy, geometry, geonogia, 2 grammar, Greek, Hebrew, hydromancy (hygromanteia), law, medicine, memory, music, neonogia, 3 nigromancie, philosophy, pyromancy, rhetoric (eloquence), theology, the mechanical, arts, and the exceptive arts. 4

    In other words almost the entire university curriculum as it was conceived of in the 13th century, of the trivium and quadrivium, plus a selection of other useful subjects like geomancy, magic, and memory

    1 Kieckhefer, in Forbidden Rites , 1997, pp. 193-196, analyses one experimentum which permits the mastery of the liberal arts in just thirty days.
    2 Probably General Arts, from the Greek γεονογια. These included memory arts.
    3 New arts, from the Greek νεονογια.
    4 Arts outside of the approved university curriculum such as magic and divination. These were sometimes deliberately confused with the mechanical arts to avoid ecclesiastical condemnation.

    I like how occultism had an academic tone to it so perhaps I can imagine myself being part of an occult research institute (I sometimes imagine myself clad in robes walking up a spiral staircase of a stone tower with bookshelves all around me and cases with talismans and all sorts of occult paraphernalia up into the laboratory) and submit that as my dissertation thesis to get a Doctor on Occult Philosophy degree. OPhd. Augusto. That would be cool. A little far fetched, but cool.

  403. DT @#316 and everyone,

    I apologize if my earlier post made me sound like a rabid sjw!

    Human sexuality is a subject known to me by my own experience and that of people I’ve known. I spent a decade of my life (teens to twenties) desperate to be heterosexual. When I came to understand that wasn’t going to happen, I decided to get on with my life the best I could and for me that meant finding “a love” to settle down with and share the building of a life together. Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

    Drb @#406. Thanks for your perspective. I am actually envious of bisexual people who can enjoy sex with either male or female partners. If I had been able to cultivate a heterosexual attraction my life would likely have turned out very different.

    I am a social conservative in spite of my circumstance. A healthy society (in my opinion) needs to be “hetero-normative” to thrive. Where I disagree is with the modern conservative veneration (as I see it) of the nuclear family: mom, dad, and their children, full stop. I can’t help but wonder if the whole LGBTQ&XYZ phenomenon might not have happened if our society embraced a broader familial unit: i.e. a clan consisting of multiple generations, various cousins, and the occasional odd but integrated uncles and aunts and their partners.

    Thanks for letting me rant…
    Cheers!

  404. Just a comment on the PMC (As someone who is from a PMC family)

    I would note that even within the PMC divisions are emerging. I have academics, doctors and government scientists in my family who routinely complain that their workplaces are no longer run by the people at the coal face (aka, the actual scientists or academics who teach students), but the managers, whose main interest is in ‘restructuring’ (managementspeak for making people redundant) or Building new Buildings, or subjecting people to diversity training. Unfortunately its also true that the best and brightest in High School are still be persuaded that university is the best option (I was talking to a couple of young women the other day, both senior in High school who say this is the direction they are being pushed in. I firmly advised them to get out of the education industry, even if only for a year or two).

    On a completely different note, roughly when can we expect the sequel to ‘The Secret of the Temple’ 😉

  405. You know, regarding the more pleasant surface of life in past eras. (I say “surface “ because our ancestors also had problems—you could die of an infected mosquito bite, for instance—but most of them didn’t look for ways to make life even uglier and more difficult.). I have a compass Dad used in the Korean War, so it would have been manufactured some time before 1950. We didn’t know it existed till we found it after he died, so I don’t know if the Army issued it or if he bought it himself (he was fussy about his equipment, and shoddy contractor work isn’t a new thing). It’s so old it was made in the U.S.; the company’s address is on the box. No zip code, they hadn’t been invented yet. The compass is heavy steel, solidly constructed, and has not become de-magnetized at all so far as we can tell. I expect it’ll be working in 2050.

    When I hold this thing I get a strong relaxed, from-the-past vibe. Is it a talisman?

    We oldsters probably all have similar keepsakes from the past. If we all get in touch with our ancestral talismans, or whatever’s happening when I hold the compass, would it help build a good egregor? The American egregor seems so toxic nowadays, poisoning everything it touches. We need a defense. People perceive this, even if they’ve never heard the word “egregor.”

    I also have my grandfather’s Masonic Bible. Grandpa died in 1970. I find it interesting that I don’t get the same sensation when I handle his Bible. I get no sensation at all, of any kind. Neither do I get any sensation from the Kindle Bible (a remarkably tin-eared translation). Our Douay knock-off, that we got at Half Price Books, had belonged to a girl attending Catholic school. It hums a little.

    We also have a few Melamine dishes left from the ‘60’s (Melamine was solid then), and a Merry Christmas door decoration from the ‘50’s. No vibe from any of that stuff, either. Does anyone know why?

  406. @Denis re #397, I don’t know where whoever you heard that from is getting their data, but that’s not the case. For the US, 2020 had noticeably higher deaths than 2019. “Noticeably higher” is not an apocalypse, though.

    See, for example, http://stump.marypat.org/article/1490/mortality-with-meep-total-us-excess-mortality-in-2020-overall-and-by-age Yes, the first chart is plotted against a 2017-2019 average and not 2019 specifically, but further down she has the partial total for full weeks of 2020 (so not quite the full year), and even then the 3.3 million deaths is still higher than the 2.9 million the CDC lists for 2019. Being 10-20% higher than “normal” baseline mortality sounds about right based on other data I’ve seen.

  407. Slithy Toves,

    YOLO?

    There are 5 major world religions plus paganism and animism. Paganism does teach reincarnation. Not sure about animism. Half the world believes in it by numbers as it is a tenet of Hinduism and its offshoot, Buddhism.
    In the western hemisphere we have the same situation in which the 3 religions are all from the same root. So yeah, all similar in that.

  408. courtinthenorth(368) –

    I had a strong reaction to your response to DT(315) regarding sexual attraction.

    I agree that sexual attraction isn’t a choice. I’ll go further and say that everyone should do the hard personal work they need to do to be able hear uncomfortable, even angry, responses from people when they’ve said something offensive. I think you did something admirable when you took advantage of a teachable moment to speak up.

    But I noticed myself starting to get defensive as I read your comment — and you weren’t even talking to me! I’ve reread what you wrote several times, and some of the rhetorical devices you used make it come across to me as lecturing, even scolding. I’ll repeat that we all need to accept emotional messages from others when we’ve offended them. But if others are having the same response as I am, you’ve lost your chance to change peoples minds and, instead, you’ve given them an easy way to dismiss your message.

    tl;dr I think you were right, but you weren’t effective.

  409. Lady Cutekitten,

    Deriding the fifties is a feminist trope. All those happy, middle class housewives! living well on one income and who had not yet realized that their existence was boring and oppressive!
    Lower birthrates and prosperity…women had some leisure and were encouraged to please their husbands. Horrible.

  410. @ methylethyl

    Excellent choices!

    Till We have Faces is a wonderful book with one of the most memorable descriptions of a god I’ve read. The Space Trilogy is good as well and am still a big Narnia fan…

    I’m also a sucker for Earthsea (even to the Fourth and Tales)

    And MacDonald, well, since I came across to a Spanish translation of Lilith in my local library back in Zaragoza in the 90s, he’s been a staple part of my reading diet, The Golden Key is probably one of my favourites…

    Others to add:

    – Tolkien, the whole lot, with a soft spot for Smith of Wootton Major
    – Hope Mirrless, Lud-In-The-Mist
    – Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
    – Neil Gaiman, Stardust
    – NK Jemisen, The Broken Earth Trilogy
    – Robert Holdstock, Mythago Wood
    – Ana Maria Matute, Olvidado Rey Gudu
    – John Crowley, Little, Big

    And if we could stretch it to graphic novels, most certainly Gaiman’s The Sandman and The Books of Magic and Alan Moore’s Promethea and Providence.

    Manuel

  411. @JMG

    Indeed.

    I recall that one Yanomamo man who converted to Christianity. Regularly prayed to God. But one day a particular noxious entity tried to claim him. But even without explicitly calling out for help. That other entity of light chased of the noxious being.

    No elaborate rituals required. Why do you think that is?

    “As for the Heathens, I expect them to have to deal with some degree of persecution in the years ahead; it’ll strengthen them for their task as a major religious movement in the centuries ahead.”

    Good thing they won’t have to deal with a classical 20th Century Communist Government intent on extinguishing all religion.

  412. @El – oh no you are right.By that logic we miraculously cured alzheimers, heart disease, and cancer just for 2020 (only covid killed those people). I expect deaths to be counted differently in 2021 since the cure for covid is apparently an inauguration.

  413. I was wondering if you could speak on the primacy of the warrior versus the priest in Nietzsche’s philosophy. As I understand it, he saw the natural state of humanity to be one of conflict, and that times of prosperity and peace wherein philosophy and religion flourished (or made the most major developments historically) were born out of conflict, therefore secondary to it.
    I believe his claim would be that abstract realities posited by the priestly class in these times of peace and prosperity could be heavily influenced by self-deception insofar as rejecting the primacy of the warrior out of a deeply seated unconscious fear/cope.
    This may also be framed as a question of skepticism vs. intuition, as in: to what limit does one grant the power of self-deception? Are there certain intuitions, which are beyond the reach of self-deception or must all a priori intuitions be challenged under the banner of the Delphic oracle, “Know thyself”?

  414. Lunar Apprentice , your problem with skilled trades is common in a lot of places.

    Here in California I know of a huge global company I’ll call it Redacted Co. who seemingly only has a handful of skilled employees under 60 or 70 left in the whole state and has its seemingly last highly skilled under 50 tech running hundreds of miles in a week to service jobs. Needless to say he has one eye on the door out.

    The reasons so many young people aren’t in the trade are pretty varied, huge rates of broken families (no dad to pass on traditions) and generation single mom and the State wanting “college, college college” when in reality a trade would be better is a big one.

    On that same issue, the very things that working class men and yes its mostly men need, a modicum of status, a loyal spouse , a home , kids, stable work and decent income aren’t really there for them.

    Semi skilled tradesmen abound around here, Mexico is a hop skip and jump away but when you need something like gunsmith work or some more complex work done, forget it. Heck it took months to get a an insured microwave replaced before COVID 19.

    Young men seeing how hard and actually painful this kind of work can be and that the reward isn’t commiserate wisely are opting out for something easier, You still aren’t getting the things you want or need but at least the job doesn’t hurt and you aren’t dirty at the end of the day. Why not play games?

    It also doesn’t help that a lot of Baby Boomers didn’t bother to take on an apprentice or pass on skills.

    This kind of cultural issue is something I wish that folks like Mike Rowe could address but no can do. Even if he could, not allowed since it would require big changes

    Changing the culture doesn’t seem to be feasible in the mid term Over the long decline, it should self correct but short to mid term, expect it to become increasingly impossible to get many things done in a timely and reasonably priced manner.

  415. “Jessica, yes, that’s one speculative hypothesis. Since it can be neither proved nor disproved, what value does it have? (That’s not a rhetorical question…)”

    Well, if it is true (though unprovable in the short term), it would be good if someone believed it.
    Second, in broader society, the notion of the moral hopelessness of the human race seem overwhelmingly dominant these days. The speculative hypothesis of the moral improvability of the human race is a useful counterbalance. If we at least hold the question of such improvability as an unanswerable question, that is better than thinking we know the answer to be in the negative.
    Third, among Buddhists and others who believe in something like Enlightenment, it is a useful antidote. The experience of Enlightenment is distinct enough from one’s own ‘normal’ experience and from what seems to be the experience of all those around one that is easy to fall into (not always particularly) subtle arrogance. In some teachers, this manifests as a strong arrogance that can degenerate into outright narcissism. In others, it is a subtler condescension, since the non-enlightened experience is seen as filled with illusion. If one shifts from “I am enlightened and others aren’t” to “we are all going to be, I just got here a bit before others and after some”, this counteracts this. It can also help students from inappropriately putting the enlightened on a pedestal.
    Also, since humans are such social beings, with so many mirror neurons constantly running emulations of the internal states of those around us, as opposed to a solitary raptor, it is inherently difficult for someone who is enlightened but surrounded by 7 billion or so folks who are not. In order to maintain that state against a kind of osmotic pressure, some kind of barrier, gross or subtle, is required. (I believe that most orthodox Buddhists would say that this claim of the need for a barrier against re-unenlightening is wrong.) Seeing oneself as part of a larger stream of eventual enlightenment is a much more permeable barrier than seeing oneself as unique (or even worse, unique and having accomplished something special) and also orients one toward the rest of the human race is a much more useful posture.
    In certain Buddhisms (the Vajrayana ones, including the Dalai Lama but not the Dalai Lama’s Gelukpa school, Chan/Zen Buddhism), there is the notion that all beings are inherently Enlightened, but haven’t noticed it yet (Buddhanature, Tathagatagarba). A few who follow those teachings have direct experience of those around them actually being in the Enlightened state as an already present but unconscious experience. (This is rare. Even most of those who teach inherently-already-enlightment, present it as something quite abstract, as only a potential, not anything already real.) From that perspective, the moral improvability of the human race is a direct experience and the real question is what is holding us back. I don’t mean that facetiously. From experience and from what I have seen in teachers, those who are enlightened (even temporarily) have a really difficult time understanding what keeps others unenlightened.

  416. Patricia Mathews: Since this is Open Post, I’ll thank you for pointing me to dailysciencefiction.com, where I ran across the charmingly short story “Shroedinger’s Outlaw”. It’s absolutely brilliant. Trash Fairies was fun, but didn’t quite have the kick of this one. (Look in the Humor category. Dec 5, 2011.)

  417. Oops, sorry about my Scandinavian language question running into a formatting problem. I was looking for an alternative for the Icelandic word “jökulhlaup”, which is hard to spell and pronounce, and not too clear anyway. That’s “glacier run”, with “hlaup” having nice cognates like “lope” in English and “laufen” in German. My attempt at a clearer Norwegian word was “smeltevannsflo”, which would be “meltwater flood.” Corrections and upgrades are welcome from our Scandinavian posters!

  418. Kevin Anderson-

    I completely agree. We’re likely to see outages, connectivity shrinking back to population centers, and fragmentation of the network — sooner than later. My project is Usenet store-and-forward for exactly those reasons 🙂

    (geeky tech sidenote: “UseNet” is the name for a specific set of newsgroups, known as “the big 8”. The technology itself is NetNews or NNTP(NetNews Transfer Protocol)

  419. Denys, JMG, Re: China Punking us with corona virus.

    I recall when the virus was ravaging Wuhan, and hadn’t really broken out in the rest of the world, that it was thought that the virus coupled itself through the ACE protein, which is prominently expressed in kidneys, but in ethnic Chinese, is also prominently expressed in lung, resulting it’s startling transmissibility and virulence in China. This purported fact was alleged by some to be evidence that the virus was engineered by the US to preferentially infect Chinese and reflected covert, low-level biological warfare against China.

    If indeed the expression of ACE protein Chinese lungs is true, and that it represents a transmission pathway of Covid, then you’d expect expatriot Chinese to also get hit hard. There is a substantial expat Chinese population near me in Vancouver BC with a lot of travel between there and China. Yet neither they, nor any other Chinese population outside China (Wuhan itself actually), have been particularly hard-hit, which to me is evidence against the ACE transmission hypothesis, but WOULD be consistent with Denys’s hypothesis. Then consider that in Wuhan, outside observers were few and didn’t have investigative freedom. Do we really know what happened in Wuhan?

    Now look how the WEF is so gung-ho on the lockdowns. Could it be a coincidence that those WEF Fat-cats are also closely associated with profiteering from labor arbitrage between China and the West? Could they be acting synergistically, or even in concert, with Chinese authorities? Who besides the fatcats and the CCP have really benefitted from the lockdown? Why this whole crisis could be nothing other than a vast spoof of a pandemic to act as a smoke-screen for the lockdown, itself a smokescreen for a collapsing financial system teetering on peak-fossil fuel.

    And when you consider…. wait a minute…. Did I just outline a conspiracy theory? Let me reread this…

    Nope. I don’t do conspiracy theories. I’m suffering from cloudy thinking from too little sleep. Let that be a lesson to you all. Move along now… Sorry. I gotta go.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  420. John do you think that you could include the comment # you are addressing in your reply I love going back and forth comparing what you respond to the person you are addressing it’s hard without that number thank you Edgar

  421. David BTL: re romance novels, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart wrote good romantic suspense novels without a lot of erotic detail. Holt’s are mostly set in Victorian times in England, France, India, and Australia, and include some interesting history.

  422. @Dusk Shine:

    Your mention of Marek’s disease got me worried enough to do some literature searches. The strongest case for increased average virulence caused by vaccination (to be more exact, relaxed selection against hypervirulent strains), is this 2015 paper by Andrew Read. A recent paper by Richard Bailey and colleagues shows that even in Marek’s disease, an imperfect vaccine may decrease virulence. I am in no position to judge which model is more relevant to Covid-19, but this is surely some aspect of the vaccination to keep in mind, since this Wired article affirms that the application of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (intramuscular) was deliberately designed to reduce hospitalization, not transmission.

  423. Varun, I’ll do that. Thank you!

    Jean, thank you for the ray of hope and sanity!

    Augusto, too fun. The best thing for you to do is not to learn too many of the things that the Ars Notoria teaches, and then give it a try!

    BB, I expect to have The Ceremony of the Grail finished this summer, which means it’ll be in print in the second half of 2022 or the first half of 2023.

    Your Kittenship, what puts a vibe into an object is strong emotion, often repeated, on the part of its makers or users. Such an object can help change an egregor; hold it, imagine yourself feeling the way it feels, and then imagine the same feeling radiating outward to charge everything around you. Add a prayer for blessing and protection, and you’ve got a nice little working!

    Info23, because spiritual beings aren’t passive appliances that wait around for us to invoke them, and will take action all by themselves, of course.

    Skiley33, that’s not my read of Nietzsche at all. As I understand him, he created and argued for his alternative “master morality” to show that it could be done — to demonstrate that you can make just as good a case for a moral code diametrically opposed to Christianity’s as you can for Christian morality. His great project in philosophical ethics was to argue that ethics could be something other than inherited prejudices propped up by bad logic. If someone had taken his “master morality” too seriously, I believe he would have challenged it in exactly the same way that he challenged the acceptable morality of his time. As for your broader question, if I understand him correctly, he completely rejected the claim of the Idealists that there are “intellectual intuitions” that are beyond the reach of self-deception. No matter what it is, no matter how deeply you treasure it, you need to explore your own motives in believing it, and recognize that prejudices don’t stop being prejudices just because you call them intuitions!

    Jessica, thank you for a forthright answer to my question! In the Western occult spirituality I practice, the idea is that the individual soul is capable of improvement but the species is not, because when a soul undergoes a certain degree of improvement, it “graduates” (so to speak) from the learning experience of being human, and goes on to something more interesting. Being human, with all the absurdities that status entails, is in this view a necessary stage in spiritual evolution, comparable to fourth grade in an elementary school; fourth grade will always teach the things that fourth grade teaches, because when one batch of kids finishes learning it there’s another batch ready to start. I’ve also noted the rather odd attitude of enlightened Buddhists toward the unenlightened, and scratched my head in puzzlement; it seems very obvious to me why most people haven’t yet achieved an enlightened state!

    John, thanks for this. No doubt there are better words, but “jokulhlaup” has become standard, so we’ee probably stuck with it.

    Edgar, hmm. I’m kind of set in my ways. Have you considered doing what some people do, and opening two windows side by side?

  424. PS: This freely available book chapter makes the case that the most successful, that is decades-long successful, vaccines were developed against those diseases where natural immunity, once acquired in childhood, is life-long, such as smallpox and polio. For unknown reasons, these pathogens have always been unable to reinfect immunized humans, and they continue to be unable to infect vaccinated humans. Things might change in diseases (such as influenza or malaria – or Covid) where natural immunity is not life-long.

  425. @JMG, Varun

    Thank you for your replies. I think it’d be a better idea for me to simply share Sri Aurobindo’s ideas and explain them as best as I can, as IMO, they already contain the ‘new metaphysics’ that I mentioned.

  426. Jasper, I didn’t see your reply. You are right, though I honestly didn’t know, that people bought stocks with a telegraph before but one thing that I observe is that though things do repeat in the same manner, this time around it is at a much bigger scale and one characteristic of our age is that it happens fast . In the past for example, people didn’t have a computer in their pockets nor artificial intelligence that would sell-off in a femtosecond if it detects a market crash. Honestly I have no idea why computerized trading is not illegal. Oh wait I do know that one.

    Now that I think about it. Did anyone notice that both times when WallStreetBets went berserk it was within a few days of the full moon? I wonder what would happen if they start timing their financial wacky decisions using some basic astrological magic.

  427. Thanks, JMG—I’ try it.

    What’s the difference between a working and a spell? (“After I finish this working, I’m gonna chill out for a spell.” 😄)

  428. Hello Greer! I’m a fan of your work on peak oil and decline. Although I disagree on many of the points you make, I always find engaging with your thinking to be profitable, from an intellectual perspective.

    I was recently was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome and you mentioned in a previous open post that you have Aspergers syndrome as well. Do you think Aspergers syndrom has influenced your writings and if so, how?

    And, as someone who is older and who has had more time to reflect on the impact Aspergers syndrome has had on your life, what would you recommend for a younger person like me, to mitigate the downsides or take advantage of any upsides this condition might offer?

    If you don’t have any advice, I understand, but hey, you’re wise so I though I would ask.

  429. @JMG

    “Info23, because spiritual beings aren’t passive appliances that wait around for us to invoke them, and will take action all by themselves, of course. ”

    True

    Speaking of which do you encounter this mentality of treating spiritual beings as passive appliances often in others?

    I think that many people treat the God of Christianity as a vending machine. But get disappointed that he doesn’t play ball according to their preconceived notions.

    So they become Atheist and this often becomes apparent when they go on a crusade against that religion and what they called religion in general.

    Some objections by ex-Christians often take on that form.

  430. Earlier this week I mentioned being stunned by how obvious the wave of catabolic collapse in the 1980s was. Now that I’m reading on daily life in the 1970s, I’m also being struck by another change of the 1980s: there was a massive increase in propaganda. It’s occurred to me that this is not accidental, nor is the fact that it has increased in the years since. It’s all an effort on the part of millions to convince themselves that the reality they experience is not real.

    The massive increase in propaganda, and all the corresponding ills, is a simple and effective, if destructive, response to the situation: faced with the choice of either acknowledging that the thing which gave their lives meaning, Progress, has ended; or embracing a little more propaganda, it’s easy to see which option most people would choose. The drawback is that as time passes, ever more extreme efforts are needed, but given the nature of the situation, I’m fairly sure that a lot of people will happily seek out the propaganda: the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

  431. Mark L. and everyone else who is interested in woodstoves: I second the recommendation for Pacific Energy stoves made in BC. I bought two of them – one in 2011 and one in 2018. I thoroughly researched (I am a mechanical engineer and have heated with wood since 1990) available woodstoves and chose the Pacific Energy stove in 2011 and then went through the whole process again for a new house in 2018 and chose the exact same stove. It has a great secondary air system that burns the smoke so it is very efficient and very clean. Robust and well built too. Make sure you use an outside air kit so you don’t draw combustion air from inside the home. And insulate your house as much as you are able.

  432. El and others wishing to avoid vaccine–I would suggest a reply along the lines of “my medical practitioner advises against it at this time–his/her explanation was complicated and I don’t entirely understand it myself, so I won’t bore you.” then change to subject to something related, such as vaccination rates in Africa, or something of the sort so as to avoid giving the impression that you are anti-vax. I am pretty sure, although if it comes down to it consulting a labor lawyer would be wise, that HIPA regulations prevent an employer from demanding to know what condition keeps you from taking the vaccine.

    El re. horses. While most horses in the US are used recreationally there are working draft animals and competitions for the same. Not much transport on the open road for obvious reasons, the the skills of driving a team and the skills of making and maintaining wagons and harness are being preserved. There are also some small scale loggers, especially doing salvage work, who use horses because they don’t require a road to be driven through the territory and they do less damage to undergrowth than tractors, etc. Since oil powered vehicles won’t disappear overnight there will be time for both the skills to be spread and for the necessary horses and mules to be bred and trained. I don’t know where you are located, but there is an annual ( up to last year) draft horse fair held in
    Nevada City CA every September. http://nevadacountyfair.com/draft-horse-classic/

  433. I have four occultism questions:

    1) In last week’s Magic Monday you said you didn’t trace the pentagrams with incense when doing the LBRP and Rose Cross together. I have been, and find it works wonderfully this way, while trying it where I do it the way you say you do it felt somewhat clumsy and awkward. Is there a reason you don’t use incense for the LBRP portion aside from personal preference? Am I making it less effective?

    2) I’ve picked up the LBRP, Middle Pillar, and Rose Cross over the past few months, and have found that they are working wonders, but one thing I wasn’t expecting was to discover that as I see my life clearly, it sucks. I have a lot I need to change, and have gotten started on it, but I’m wondering is this normal? Do you have advice for handling it, beyond change things so my life sucks less?

    3) For someone who’s picked up Cabalistic rituals, would it be worth my time to work through LRM? Ideally I’d like to stick with the ritual level I’m at, but are there concerns with that?

    4) I’m planning to do some planetary charity, and am wondering about something: one of the first things which came to mind for Mercury is someone who offers free divination services to, among other people, myself. For the purposes of planetary charity, is there a problem with making a donation to someone who’s services you yourself are using?

  434. JMG–a follow-up on your reply to Uweelo on humans and the earth. You said that the planetary spirit of the earth will complete its development long after the human race is gone. Since conditions of earthly existence–such as availability of energy, need for physical bodies to produce (plants) or consume (animals) food, limits on water, land, other resources–will presumably be the same, until the energy from the sun starts to give out, will the other intelligent species be constrained to a similar spiritual level? or may evolution produce species that will differ in some way that will allow them to work out their species fate at a higher level than ours? I mean needing material resources obviously contributes to spiritual problems such as greed. One assumes that angels and gods don’t have that particular problem and have other spiritual tasks to work on. Similarly, sexual reproduction leads to problems of jealousy, presumably an intelligent amoeba would not struggle with that. And so on.

    Rita

  435. Jmg

    Cognitive behavioural therapy is essential a modern remake of stoicism that focuses on the treatment of mental and emotional illness.

    The core teaching of C.B.T. Is the “ABC model”
    Which shows that the activating event (A) doesn’t cause the emotional consequences (C), it is the belief(s) we attach to A (B) which causes C.
    In other words, it’s our beliefs about what happens to us that cause emotional and mental disturbance rather than the things themselves.
    By “disputing “ irrational beliefs with more rational ones eventually the negative emotional and mental effects of the things we experience will weaken or disappear.

  436. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the next round in the Oppression Olympics circular firing squad competition will be to declare trans men as “privileged” — why, because “men” (and they have dangling bits) ! The next targets could be bisexual men (because dangling bits again), and then transwomen who still have their original anatomy intact (yes, dangling bits again) , and then those who transitioned post puberty (you still have height and muscle mass). Down and down the rabbit hole we go.

    They can also mix it up with race. Until we are like that Humphrey Appleby quote from Yes Minister, “The ideal quango appointee is a Black Welsh disabled woman trades unionist. We’re all looking for one of them. You don’t happen to know any one, do you?”

    I recently found that The Babylon Bee had to start a site called “Not the Bee”, just to curate all the real news stories and events that could easily be mistaken for satire. Even they have realized that their satire cannot keep up with the real madness.

  437. Earth’s magnetic field and climate change:
    There’s another way that Earth’s magnetic field could affect climate change, apart from weakening and allowing more charged particles to penetrate. Recall from high school science that a conductor moving in a magnetic field generates a force at right angles (it’s why electric motors work). Salt water conducts electricity, so ocean currents moving in Earth’s magnetic field experience a sideways force. When the magnetic field flip-flops, north to south and south to north, which it does from time to time, the force on the currents flips 180 degrees. It’s an extremely weak force, but imposed for thousands of years it can reroute the current and affect Earth’s heat distribution.

    I recall the theory from a New Scientist article in the 1980s. It doesn’t seem to have gained much traction, but I like it.

    Incidentally, there’s also a theory that climate change affects the magnetic field. As ice builds up at the poles the ocean drops, reducing the angular momentum of Earth. To compensate, the core [does something] which causes the magnetic field to [also do something]. (Forgive me, I got lost in the details.)

    Technology and wood stoves.
    On the old Oildrum website someone posted an article about a camping stove with a battery-operated fan installed that burned hotter, or allowed one to burn wetter wood. I commented that using a battery seemed a step backwards, but several people assured me it was genuine progress. It depends on your point of view I guess.

    UFOs:
    My theory of why we haven’t seen any UFOs is that we are considered too boring to visit. Let’s face it, from orbit even so large an event as WWII would appear as merely a few smoky smudges with the odd twinkles of exploding bombs faintly visible. Not much of a spectacle. If the UFOs ever start gathering, duck and cover, stuff’s about to get real.

    Fantasy novels:
    Haruki Murakami is not everyone’s cup of tea. His prose style is very individualistic. At least, I presume it’s his style and not his translator’s. But I loved his “1Q84″, all 944 pages of it. It’s about a young woman and a writer who from time to time slip into a parallel universe Japan, and how their lives come to intertwine. See a more detailed summary on Amazon.

    Posting images:
    This site runs on WordPress with Jetpack, AFAIK. There are a limited number of html tags allowed in comments; any others are stripped out by the software. One of the disallowed tags seems to be [angle bracket] img src=”…” [angle bracket]. It will get stripped out. You can post a link to an image without a tag. To see the image you have to click on the link. I have tried to find a list of allowable tags, but so far no joy. (Many more tags are allowed in JMG’s original blog post.)

  438. Hi John Michael,

    Just dropping in to say hello and let you know that I have been avidly following along with the comments. Fun stuff. And I’d like to chuck in a vote for John Crowley’s most excellent book: Little, Big.I loved it the first time that I read it, and it’s spell over me has not diminished over the years.

    For once I have little to add or question. Must remedy that!

    And by the way, the thought of you writing romance novels under a pseudonym quite tickles my fancy. 🙂 And in a bizarre coincidence, this evening, I’m writing about unrequited love – but not quite in the format that most people would imagine it to be.

    Sometimes in the wee bleak dark hours, needs must.

    By the way, the economy is far from robust.

    Cheers

    Chris

  439. @JMG: Thanks for the advice, we’re on it.

    @Beekeeper: Thanks for that link to the realtors’ discussion. Much the same is happening here in Canada. I think that, given the right house, we’re going to have to accept that the risks of waiting to buy a house and lose the value of our savings due to inflation may outweigh the risk of overpaying for a house (even if we’re going to be buying at the height, or near to the height, of the market). At least we’ll then have a house where we can be making preparations. Of course we’ll try to find the cheapest house possible.

    The market here is just crazy though, and already people who bought houses a year or two ago are putting them back up for sale for even double the price they paid for it.

    @Everyone: some data points:

    – Michael Lind’s latest book is being published in Canada, and the Globe and Mail, a mainstream newspaper, published an interview with him. Nice to see some of the themes discussed on this blog being spoken about in the mainstream news. There’s also a nice term he coined, which is another way of speaking about yet another theme on this blog:

    “There has been a tradition on the left, and among centrist liberals, of treating anyone who disagrees with liberal or neoliberal policies as suffering from status anxiety or irrational resentment or some other psychological problem, rather than saying they have legitimate interests and legitimate values which you should negotiate about. I call that the medicalization of dissent. It’s treating political disagreement as a sign of irrationality or emotional disturbance.”

    (Link here, might be behind a paywall)

    – Further to the discussion about the electrical grid, there has been some discussion about the stability of the grid here in Atlantic Canada after the outages in Texas, because the grid here is also pretty brittle. Interestingly, a Maine lawmaker wants to join the Atlantic Loop, a proposal for a renewal energy grid for the Atlantic provinces (Link here). Perhaps a (small) sign of things to come, if the northeast of the US starts to establish more linkages with Canada’s Atlantic provinces.

  440. @methylethyl

    Oh, yeah… I’d heard that some Asian languages are very context-dependent. (Isn’t Japanese supposed to be like that as well?)

    Sadly, I know no Latin or Spanish, but my French is pretty good. I’ve heard people say that French is more precise than English, but I really don’t see how. I don’t think it’s less precise, either. I just don’t see any relevant difference.

    @Mawkernewek

    You’re learning Czech, too? Fascinating! And just for the fun of it?

    Me, I’m learning it because I live in Prague. Simple enough. I actually had huge problems with motivation initially. I didn’t particularly want to take on another language (I would have preferred to spend that time further improving my French and Russian, both of which are pretty advanced), and I feared interference with Russian (alas, my fears were well-founded; although it’s getting better). But I forced myself to learn (it helped that I had a very nice teacher; still working with her one-on-one), and I’m a very decent B2 by now. Interestingly, being surrounded by Czechs was very little help. Nobody would talk to me in Czech until I was basically “fluent.” Fluency is an ill-defined term, but basically, until I hit B2 – forget about it. But once I got to a good B2 (via private lessons), they became willing to (sometimes) talk to me in Czech, as I discovered over the summer, when we had a bit of a lockdown reprieve. But now we’re in lockdown again, so no Czech speaking practice for me, except with my teacher (online). It’s also easier now because I can manage legitimately interesting content without struggling too much. Right now, I’m reading this book by Ivan Klíma called _Moje šílené století_ (yes, there’s an English translation, in case anyone’s interested; it’s called _My Crazy Century_). It’s quite interesting, which makes my Czech path more enjoyable.

  441. Further to the discussion about the portrayal of extraterrestrials that aren’t humanlike, and also to good sci-if books, I submit Stanislaw Lem’s book Solaris. It’s been years since I last read it, but it has as a theme the inability of humans to communicate with a type of intelligence very unlike their own. It now strikes me that there is an occult dimension – it’s basically about a planetary scale intelligence communicating to humans via illusions in their minds (ie, the astral plane). I may have to re-read it again. (I think I will leave my typo of sci-fi as ‘sci-if’, that’s interesting.)

  442. “Being human, with all the absurdities that status entails, is in this view a necessary stage in spiritual evolution, comparable to fourth grade in an elementary school; fourth grade will always teach the things that fourth grade teaches, because when one batch of kids finishes learning it there’s another batch ready to start.”

    Thank you for such a clear explanation. I will keep this alternative hypothesis in mind going forward.

  443. (Sigh) I’m not talking a conspiracy that China did some great plan with covid. That is why I used the term punked. China let video footage out showing them welding people into apartments, spraying disinfectant everywhere, crematoriums running non-stop, and emergency hospitals being built. So what did we do in the West? We saw that the only way to deal with covid was to lockdown, if you get it you die, and every you see is a disease carrier to be avoided. The mental frame for thinking about covid was made by the Chinese, and we just acted within that frame. Our public health officials are still reacting within that frame. And doubling down on it!

    Covid is a real virus with potentially deadly consequences to a known group of people. We aren’t managing the virus using the data about who it harms, we are punishing everyone and treating everyone as a diseased carrier for a year now. That is the punking. China has obviously looked at the the data and decided wisely to react differently now.

    But not the West, we are stuck in this mental frame and that is a sign of being punked. Maybe it isn’t China who did it to us