Open Post

February 2022 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no paid propagandizing, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic. (Well, with one exception: there’s a dedicated (more or less) open post on my Dreamwidth journal on the current virus panic and related issues, so anything Covid-themed should go there instead.)

With that said, have at it!

492 Comments

  1. This winter’s issue of New Maps is out now! You can order it here.

    If you don’t know New Maps yet, it’s a quarterly magazine full of short stories about life during and after the long decline of the fossil fuel age. Not techno-utopias and not apocalypses, but the kinds of futures we’ll actually get — that is, exactly the kind of stories that JMG talked about in his latest post. A real, physical, print magazine, over a hundred pages, with lots of stories, plus essays and book reviews and letters from readers. Not only that, but it’s a growing community too — come be a part of it.

    If you’re a subscriber, your copy should get to you within the week. If you aren’t subscribed, or if you haven’t renewed for 2022 yet, you can get a subscription here. (The smart money says to subscribe or renew now, by the way — shipping is going up, so I’m finding I’ll need to raise prices soon.)

    Hope you enjoy!

    Nathanael Bonnell, editor

    [edit: Nathanael, for some reason your image won’t post here even if I put it on the blog’s server. Sorry! — JMG]

  2. Hi JMG

    What is your view of the recent events in Ottawa and elsewhere in Canada. Do you think the Canadian government’s actions represent a political establishment which is actually more desperate than they let on?

  3. Howdy JMG. This question is probably more for the community, though I’d certainly welcome a response from you.

    I don’t do that well with reading books on electronic devices, and I’ve decided I’d like to give a try to printing out-of-copyright books on a home printer. I could be wrong but I’m guessing that there are several members of the community that are doing this already. I was wondering if anyone out there has any particular recommendations for a relatively economical setup for printing out books for home use.

    I haven’t owned a home printer for many years, as it where I live, given my relatively light personal printing needs, it has been more economical to visit my local convenience store once in a while to print things out via USB. (And the racket of “ridiculously-cheap-printers-and-horrendously-expensive-ink” really annoyed me. Recently poking around on the net for a new printer, it appears that the same racket basically hasn’t changed, but now there are loads of slightly questionable companies selling cheap ink that supposedly fits various printers… not sure how reliable that route is yet.)

    But now that I’m thinking about printing out books, this changes the calculus. Anyone have any particular suggestions?

  4. Do you understand Putin’s numerology? Invasion in parts of Georgia: August 8, 2008. Invasion in parts of Ukraine: Feb 22, 2022 (exactly 8 years after Yanukovich’s escape to Russia.

  5. Good day JMG,

    The research I have done shows that at the end of the century, there will be between 5 and 10 times less energy per person than there was in the early 20th century. This is in line with the chart of resources available that is in the book ‘ limits to growth ‘

    It sounds awful, yet looking at the historical gdp per capita, this will take us back to the ‘ lifestyle ‘ of about a hundred years ago. For Western and Asian countries, I think the energy per person available will be similar to the period 1920 – 1940 , and for developing countries, it will be the same as the period of 1870 – 1910 Europe.
    My grandparents and parents when they were kids lived between the two world wars. It was not easy, they were cold in the winter, they lived on a small farm and they did not have much, yet it was not dire poverty. I am thinking the end of the century and the next one may not be as bad as it seemed initially.

    There are two caveats to this more ‘ positive ‘ outlook: 1*global warming will create lots of instability, in particular for farming, 2* the road between now and the year 2080 looks extremely difficult since we need to downsize our lifestyle by a factor of at least five – and wars, social conflict , criminiality, mental illness for many, food and disease problems are on the menu .

    Do you have comments on my outlook?

  6. John–

    Something I’ve realized as I’ve continued in my stuttering, two-steps-forward-one-and-a-half-steps-back path of inner work (with a healthy dose of typical Taurian stubbornness and heel-dragging) is that my relationship with the world around me has altered significantly. I suppose this can be chalked up to ‘a change in consciousness in accordance with will,’ but whatever it is, it has become noticeable. In particular, it has become clear to me that les crises du jour are less important than previously understood.

    This is nothing new, of course. I was told this repeatedly and by sources both human and divine. (“That which you think is important is not,” my patron deity told me many years ago now. “And that which is truly important you miss completely.”) My wife offered similar counsel. I understood what was being said intellectually, but I didn’t accept it and couldn’t comprehend it in that deeper, psychological (?) way…I couldn’t “integrate it,” might be one way of putting it. Well, something has shifted and that integration has (finally) begun to process.

    It’s not that what’s going on in the world isn’t important on some level–obviously, events and decisions will impact our lives and those of our children–and we need to try to make the best decisions possible given the circumstances. However, the world will continue on its trajectory one way or another: the cycles will continue, empires will rise and fall, nations and cultures will form and dissipate. As a rather erudite druid once reminded me, “the world can’t be saved because it was never lost.” I think I’ve begun to come to a more comprehensive understanding of what you meant by that, which allows me to look on the apparent chaos and crisis surrounding us with a certain emotional distance, to let the weight of “saving the world” to drop from my shoulders, and to return to the task of using the window of this particular incarnation to further develop my soul.

    There is a great sense of freedom in this.

  7. Hello, I’d like to again invite anyone with an interest in traditional horary astrology to send me an email at FlexOnMaterialists@protonmail.com and I’ll examine your query using what I know of the tradition. I hope this doesn’t come too close to shilling; from the last open post, I learned more about practical horary in one week than in over a month of solitary study.

    Best,
    Andrew

  8. Can you speak a little about the Martinist current? Impressions, viability, worthiness, …

    Thank you so much for all of your work.

  9. It’s times like this when we get a clear glimpse of just how dependent the international order is on everybody repeating the same convenient lies. Donetsk and Luhansk haven’t been under the control of the Ukrainian government since 2014 and have been “de facto” independent since that time, yet the simple recognition of them as such by Russia has sparked condemnations from governments across the globe, even ones who have no horse in this race.
    Why? Because in this context, to recognize a country means giving it your permission to exist as a country, as if they weren’t perfectly capable of existing as countries without our say-so. And if you give one region within a country to break away from that country, then you’re tacitly giving permission for regions within your own country to break away from you.
    No country wants to give up its territorial integrity—no country wants to give up the lands it claims, even if those lands it doesn’t actually control—and so everyone refuses to acknowledge the reality on the ground, in hopes that this willprevent any potential loss of territory from manifesting.

  10. One of thing’s that has been on my mind from last week is how much the word ‘socialism’ has come to define modern politics, with very few people really knowing what it means. For the right, it’s an all purpose word to smear at anybody to the left of whoever is using it. Biden? Socialist. Trudeau? Socialist. Actual CCCP? Just as socialist! The so called left (really more of a center right to center left big tent in the US) seems to be just as confused. What is socialism? It’s Norway! It’s Canada! It’s the CCCP!

    Really, the right seems to understand the word to mean anything they don’t like, while the “left” seems to interpret it as ‘when the government does stuff.’

    Ah well, just more evidence of sclerotic nature of our politics in general and our political parties in general.

  11. Canada is under martial law and on my little island, the weirdest thing is that no one seems in the lest upset. It is not the talk in the village and our population of entitled Socialists feels Trudeau was justified in his measures. Not all of us by a long chalk but it is like living with the Stepford Wives.

    Last night, an old and treasured friend who we have not seen for months (he and his wife and vaxxed and she is terrified of us and will not even walk on the same beach) came over and said he approved of Trudeau’s measures. After that, we didn’t talk politics but just comfortably chatted and reminisced. As he left, he gave us hugs and said he had wanted to see us because he wanted to reassure us of his love despite the strange political happenings.

    I feel that Canada will be under Martial Law for years to come as the emergency Trudeau is responding to is not so much protesters armed with bouncy castles and a hot tub, but the series of emergencies that are to come from resource depletion. Never did a country fall to fascism so quietly.

    Maxine

  12. There’s been discussion about using magic to affect the past, and following on from last week’s post, the popular culture view of time travel is also relevant. I had a dream that may put a differnt spin on the concept, at least one I’ve never seen anywhere else before.

    In the dream time travel was used to prevent a massive rail disaster. A high speed train ran into a station going full speed and killed over a thousand. The people who went back in time to stop it were some of those who survived the disaster, or lost people to it. There were also time travellers from the government quietly on the scene who didn’t want the train to crash, but were more concerned about exactly how time travel was being used, and not wanting it to cause any bigger picture knock-on problems.

    Where it got interesting was the disaster was prevented remarkably easily and the train pulled safely into the station. But the timeline remained extremely precarious and one wrong action, one wrong word, even one wrong thought near the train could snap the timeline back. If that happened, the train would appear to accelerate from dead stop to its maximum speed instantly, and fly across the station platforms just as if it had crashed. The next few hours were spent very carefully trying to stabilise the situation until the new reality had bedded in. When I woke up the train was still intact and safe.

    Just something to think about for anyone considering time manipulation, either in fiction or for real.

  13. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I have a question about the cycles of history. You have stated before that U.S. history tends to run in 4 generation cycles. We started with the plantation class in control, then the capitalist’s took over during the civil war, then the intellectuals took over during the new deal, and now the intellectuals are loosing ground to a patriotic labor class. If this pattern continued I would expect the blue collar crowd to throw the professors out of power by the end of the decade and the U.S. to lumber along for another four generations; finally coming apart around 2100.

    However, that assumes that the periods of crisis do not become more common during the decline of a civilization, which presumably they do. So lets say for the sake of argument that America does stabilize during this decade. There is no civil war, no war crimes, and a decent amount of the rage which the public feels is defused one way or another. Should we then expect another crisis period comparable to the previous 80 year ones to come sooner?

  14. Here are a few recent articles from my Radiophonic Laboratory proeject that may be of interest to the aspiring mad scientists among the commentariat:

    Q. Reed Ghazala Gets Bent: Reed Ghazala, a true renaissance man, inventor of the technique of circuit bending, experimental instrument builder, benign madman & friendly genius:

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/q-reed-ghazala-gets-bent

    [Brief definition of circuit bending: “Circuit bending is the creative, chance-based customization of the circuits within electronic devices such as low-voltage, battery-powered guitar effects, children’s toys and digital synthesizers to create new musical or visual instruments and sound generators.”]. Yet, Reed’s interest goes beyond just tinkering… he shows how the human can become part of the circuit… with low voltage electronic toys, leaving a place on some of his instruments for body contacts, so the human becomes part of the instrument and modulates the circuit themselves… (may be an interesting avenue for radionics researchers to combine).

    Heil Sound System: … This one is on the work of Bob Heil, amateur radio operator, sound system designer (For the likes of the Grateful Dead, and many more), microphone builder, moonbounce & satellite experimenter & more… he is also a great organist and was terrible at school. Ham radio was his college, he is fond of saying:

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/heil-sound-systems

    Also of possible interest to any stray hackers who might be hanging around is the League of Automatic Music Composers. Part of why I like some of this work is that it applied Systems Theory to electronic musical systems, and back in the day, most of it was hombrewed. Before Stewart Brand sold out, groups like these were part of that west coast, whole earth catalog mentality. The League of Automatic Music Composers was the first computer band and the first network music band.

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/the-league-of-automatic-music-composers

    As the 8o’s got going some members of the League morphed into another group called The Hub:

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/the-hub

    Will computer music survive the coming decades? Maybe for awhile, but perhaps not in the long term. What I’ve found interesting in these investigations from what you might as well call a “green wizard” standpoint, is in the history of ideas, and how so often, ancient ideas, such as the music of the spheres, never go away but get repackaged in the cloth of the day. & of course the other thing of interest here, is the sheer mad science these people got into, combining technology and art, and letting their imagination steer them towards applications that were outside the mainstream.

  15. An interesting note from Kim Cascone that came out on the Silent Records mailing list today (where he has been writing about “growing new organs of perception” and his technique of “subtle listening” as well as manifesting creativity via this process:


    =====================================
    [I-I-W-M] = Imagination=x=>Idea->Will->Manifestation
    =====================================

    This is from today’s missive:

    “Striated space is psychic real-estate. Media sets up camp in our consc by normalizing behaviors and events in the world. Those who conform to that fitness function see anything outside that space as dangerous or errant thinking.

    We’re being coerced via media into behaving in a way that benefits the elite. This job has been made easier for them by using informational contagions spread on social media. Instead of a one-to-many manufacture of consent they merely plant a potent info-seed and let us distribute it. It’s similar to how plant-life uses animals to spread its seeds far & wide.

    But the end goal is to create striated spaces the populace can psychically inhabit. We see them today as “culture wars” but that’s the simulacra set up for us. Like a dystopian Disneyland each ride offers a particular sort of thrill. Each social media platform offers a theme park ride. I sometimes liken it to a submarine ride in a sewer pipe.

    That striated space seems real, it has real consequences, people suffer, get hurt, lose jobs, &c. But the stimulus is simulacra. Like how someone under hypnosis can be led to believe they are being stalked by a tiger—the cortisol, the heart-rate, the adrenaline, the fight-or-flight response is all very real, whereas the tiger is only imagined.

    There is no culture war, there is a conflict raging but it has little to do with culture. I try to stay positive and avoid direct comments on current events but once you develop “new organs of perception” all of this becomes plain to see.

    The tricks of light, the sleight-of-hand, the assistant being sawed in half are all part of the Grand Guignol playing at Plato’s Cave and beamed into our consc via laptop & smartphone.”

    I think a lot of the creative people here might like the daily writings sent out by Kim. You can find them here, but you have to subscribe, which is free:

    https://silentrecords.bandcamp.com/community

    … here is a recap he did on subtle listening:

    “Subtle Listening recap:
    =====================================
    [I-I-W-M] = Imagination=x=>Idea->Will->Manifestation
    =====================================
    – the unconscious mind is called imagination
    – the conscious mind is called idea
    – the uncons mind is like a antennae constantly receiving subtle info from our environment
    – there is a conduit w/ valve (=x= in the diagram above) btwn the uncons & consc mind
    – the valve allows the unconsc/imagination to bubble up into the conscious/idea mind
    – the valve is wide open in childhood & shut down in many people by education
    – the domination of the consc mind is required by materialist society
    – the valve btwn the unconsc & consc minds can be adjusted via techniques such as meditation
    – the flow from the unconsc into the consc mind feeds art
    – will is need to physically manifest artifacts into the material world
    – the uncons mind is also source of inner nourishment
    – caveat: one must not to open the valve too much/too long, there be dragons & madness
    – context dictates the amount of flow via the valve”

    Peace, and keep the imagination open!

  16. I’ve decided to start a new field of study called Critical Progress Theory. Here’s my first draft of the course catalogue description:

    “Critical Progress Theory examines the role of the idea of progress in legitimizing social, economic, and political structures that have exarcerbated inequality; displaced exisiting cultures, beliefs, practices, and ways of knowing; and marginalizing dissenting voices, including voices of color. It argues that the narrative, or myth, of progress underpins nearly every institution and ideology current in Western late capitalist societies, effecting a hegemony of the notions of economic, social, and technological progress against competing values and ideals. It proposes a liberatory politics of dissensus, including a return to and recentering and reappropriation of traditional wisdoms as a means of resisting progressive systems and ideologies and their effects on the lives of those living under Western progressive neoliberal late-capitalist imperialist hegemonic technosupremacy.”

    I’m planning to roll out CPT seminars for preschool teachers across the country, in which they’ll learn how to, uh… think about its ideas real hard. Yeah, that’s it. Just to think about them.

  17. How did Crowley come about to his posthumous reputation as one of the emblematic faces of 20th century occultism? It seems strange that for someone who died as a drug addict with 17 shillings to his name, and a handful of followers and a ruined reputation on several continents to rebound as a namecheck figure, his picture with the pillow hat being a standard of what an occultist looks like.

    I’m not quite sure if it has been mentioned, but the brouhaha of the recognition of the two Donbas republics has yielded a mundane chart of the specific moment this occurred. It is worth noting that in the Grand Conjunction chart for Moscow, we have Sun-Mercury at the very beginning of the 5th, with the Sun ruling the 1st house, while the Grand Conjunction itself is at the end of the same 5th house.
    https://astromundanediary.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-recognition-miracle-in-making.html?m=1

  18. @ JMG – I’ve noticed in a few passing comments, that you don’t seem too enthusiastic about the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Did you not like time? Did you think they strayed too far from the books?

  19. Hello Mr.Greer
    I hope you are well. I am long time lurker and once in a blue moon commenter on the old ADR.
    I would like to invite you and the Ecosophians to a global campaign for soil regeneration that I am a part of, called ConsciousPlanet. With various agencies like the USDA making dire predictions about future soil fertility, it is imperative that this issue is dealt with policies on national and global scale.
    The goal is to raise global awareness about soil degradation in 2022 and thereby push for agricultural policies that increase soil organic matter to at least 6%.
    A campaign on similar lines has already been tried in India (led by the Isha Foundation)In 2017 roughly 160 million people gave a missed call to support agroforestry practices and promptly resulted in policy proposals. Politicians want to be elected after all 🙂

    The site ConsciousPlanet.org contains relevant reports and information.

    I hope this post is within the monthly open post guidelines.
    Sincerely
    Mohsin

  20. Continuing some discussions from the Imagination post last week.
    Mog and JMG, that the PRC recognizes the lack of something more than material goodies in its culture is fascinating. Mog, thank you for bringing this up. A major data point. I agree that the CPC’s effort will be farcically unsuccessful.

    I only spent 3 weeks in China and all of that in Beijing and Shanghai. (Ex-pats with years of China experience consistently told me that the rest of China is more human, less dominated by striving and sharpened elbows.) Still there was something about the place that felt barren. Fascinating but barren. Shanghai had a definite sci-fi feel. People seemed to be very rough with each other in ways visible even to a tourist. I left earlier than planned because of that. (I went to Taiwan for a month because I did not want to come away with a negative take on an entire culture.)
    What is going to happen when a generation grows up in China that takes material comfort for granted and wants more meaning? I have no idea of the answer, but the question is a significant one for the future of humanity.
    Japan, where I spent years and whose language I am fluent in, not barely functional as I was in Mandarin, also had that same type of barrenness due to fast modernization, but much more of its historical culture had been passed down to enrichen even such an ultra-materialist age. Some have claimed that Japan is what China would have been without the Mongols and Jurchen (Manchus).
    Having been in Japan for the peak of Japan As No. 1 and the start of the collapse, I can’t help but see strong parallels in China, although China has more capable leadership and more freedom of movement to put off the crisis. (2008 for China was 1985 for Japan; the collapse in Japan started in 1990.)

    Viduraawakened, I don’t know how things would have turned out if India had moved for independence in the early 1920s. Most likely, things would have been very, very violent. The Russian Revolution and Civil War and China come to mind as the most obvious clues. (And both would have been significantly affected by an Indian Revolution.) Most likely, the existing social order within India would have been shattered. Such a desperate fight would not have been led by those who did well even under the Raj, but by those with far less to lose. Looking at British conduct in Ireland and much more so in Mesopotamia in those days, the British were still capable of wielding massive violence for possessions they cared about and The Raj was still the linchpin of their empire in their minds (in reality too). So widespread use of poison gas, aerial bombardment of civilians, widespread torture (as used against Kenya) by the British would have been likely. It also would have been very much like British imperial rule to have fomented inter-communal violence and inter-caste violence. So most likely, a true horror show.
    On the other hand, a no holds barred independence movement in India in the 1920s might have deflected the march from Versailles to September 1, 1939. And if a war of independence in India triggered decolonization in the 1920s rather than in the 1950s and 1960s, then perhaps the transition from colonialism to neo-colonialism would not have been so smooth and the ex-colonies would have achieved greater genuine independence.
    Also, as bad as those days would have been (and certainly were in Russia and China), there are hundreds of millions of descendants of the Russian and Chinese rough equivalent of Dalits who live lives nowadays that most Dalits still cannot even dream of.
    I do apologize for playing fast and loose with the lives of millions even in imagination.

  21. Random question for folks… have you noticed a major uptick in the amount of litter in the last year or so? I’m wondering whether it’s just me / this specific area or more widespread.

  22. My best friend IRL since high school probably committed suicide, he has been talking about it for a while and tried twice before. Haven’t heard from him in weeks, and too afraid to look up the local news. I think the lockdowns have been hard on a lot of people, it is highly unnatural to live this way. Modernity was very isolating to begin with. If anyone here is struggling please hang in there, and don’t lose hope.

  23. What is your take on the recent events in Ottawa? Is Trudeau’s enabling act a sign of a political establishment losing control, do you think?

  24. One more followup on Imagination. I highly recommend The Dawn of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow. The book is a series of supplies of ammunition for the imagination, breaking down so many rigid conceptualizations of what humans have been like. One of my favorites was the realization that people thousands and tens of thousands of years ago were just as creative and imaginative and bright as we are. In some ways, perhaps even more so. That bodes well for a future that will have more similarities with the days before the fossil fuel binge. Second, the sheer variety of human societies over time, different sizes, societies that operated in completely different modes in different seasons. Societies like the Stonehenge builders who deliberated marched backwards against theories of progress by abandoning farming for foraging.
    Graeber and Wengrow are both of the left. Graeber in particular is the foremost genuine intellectual of this generation (though he unfortunately passed away last year.) However, in no way is this book some Theory of Everything attempting to prove that the Woke are the endpoint and intended destination of human development. Quite the contrary. No notion that virtue resides in certain groups and not others will survive a careful reading of this book. One small example. Indian tribes of the US Pacific Northwest and coastal British Columbia are renowned for their potlatches (potlucks) and gift culture. It turns out that they also had slaves. Lots of them.
    This book is so rich in detail that it allows the reader to decide what to do with the contents.
    And as I write this, what comes to me as perhaps my favorite part of this book is that it is about humanity as a whole.

  25. In today’s WSJ an article stated that the price of natural gas in Europe yesterday increased 10% (following news concerning Ukraine) to $91.65 per megawatt hour (MWh), which compares to the recent wholesale price in the U.S. of $4.4498 per million British thermal units (BTU). As the conversion between the two measures of energy is 3.41 (1MWh-= 3.41 MMBtu) the European price (calculated using the inverse of 3.41 or 0.293) is equivalent to around $26.85 per million BTU, roughly six times the present market rate in the United States.

    Here people are grumbling about higher heating or gasoline costs which are up maybe 50% from year ago. Imagine, though, if (as in the European case) heating or electricity costs went up three to five times from already elevated levels. If that happened here, I think a lot of people would complain and might even wonder how they were going to survive.

    It will be interesting to see how European politics responds to the very high energy prices, partly related to sanctions on Russia and failure to open the tap on the Nord Stream II pipeline. The sanctions on Russia relative to energy and natural gas might have the opposite effect of those intended by the administration and their backers. Rather than isolating Russia it could show how important the country, and its energy, is. If so, this could be an example of the “Failure of Imagination,” you posted about last week.

  26. Hi JMG,

    Have you been at all surprised by the apparent success of the Trudeau regime in squashing the trucker protest? For my part, I expected a heavy-handed police crackdown to be a critical mistake, because I expected that too many among the so-called “rank and file” would refuse such orders. To my surprise, not only did they comply with the orders, but they carried them out with apparent zealotry–beating defenseless and isolated protesters, tearing Canadian flags off of trucks, and (if leaked photos and text messages are to be believed) celebrating afterward. Perhaps the assumption that most police officers, coming from the working class themselves, will side with working class protests is mistaken?

  27. I’ve got another game theory-type question for everyone.

    In the game To the Moon they have technology that can give someone on their deathbed complete memories of another life of their own design. So they can die happy. It only works on the dying because the brain can only hold two complete lifetimes of memories for a short time. No original memories are lost – they can just concentate on the new ones for their last few hours.

    Imagine that machine really existed and you could either script a considerable part of the new life, or just change one or two things and let the rest develop emergently and realistically (with just a few things like early death or serious injury off the table). Would you use it? If so, what would your alternative life look like?

    (Due to a graphics feature that gives me eye strain I can’t watch a playthrough of the whole thing, so my description of the technology might not exactly match the game. But that doesn’t matter for purposes of the question.)

  28. I haven’t been commenting much lately.
    I’ve barely been reading our host’s posts, let alone the comments.

    My father is dying by inches in another state (he’s 87 now) and I don’t have the time. He’s medically fragile, revealing the dark side of modern medical care. No one ever talks about what we’re going through.

    If anyone would like to offer a prayer for an end to my father’s pain, it would be greatly appreciated.

    That’s what I pray for, every day.

  29. I think it is a fascinating political development that Tulsi is speaking at this years conservative republican convention. I can’t say it is unexpected with the way the dems have treated her, but it definitely a sea change in American Politics.

  30. I have read several of your books, but my favorites are “Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth” and one that I just read, “The Druid Path”. I really love both of them, and actually bought several copies of Mystery Teachings for other people. As you mentioned in the books, reading this was like recognizing something that has been rolling around in my mind for a long time, but I couldn’t articulate it. I am an older person, who has lived through some exciting times and is now facing the deterioration of the society and culture that I live in, and I realize that people younger than me will have to figure things out. It is appalling to me that my country is so war-mongering and hypocritical, but I’m done with protests and marches. I really hope that someday in the future, someone will read things like this and begin a new way of living on the earth. Thanks for your work. It really does make a difference.

  31. Hello John M.G.:
    What do you think about “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle? (for my mere curiosity)

  32. I have been considering the world at large from different perspectives. One of which includes the possibility that there has been and is a magical component influencing events. Doing this is like running across a field of high grass with lots of rabbit holes. It’s easy to twist an ankle, but if one proceeds carefully and pulls back when it feels wrong, it’s doable.

    So, here’s one of those rabbit holes (my past comment on the incredible chain of circumstances that ultimately put Princip in place to shoot the Archduke and kickoff WWI is in this vein.), it concerns the moves made by Russia and Putin countering major western backed military acts: the suppression of Georgia on 08/08/08 and the current moves finalized against the west in Ukraine, on 22/02/2022. Is there be an astrological or numerological significance as to why those dates? What is the old phrase, “one time is an accident, two times are a coincidence, and the third time it’s enemy action…”

    Please bear with me as I follow the rabbit:

    Forced globalism is the culture of Technocracy. Antony Sutton clearly detailed how the financial elites in the West supported the rise of both National Socialism in the West and Communism in the East, both Technocratic regimes. Vladimir Putin was proclaimed by Klaus Schwab a participant of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders academy.

    I’ve seen this debunked because the academy began in 2004, and Vladimir Putin was already the leader of his country by then. But Schwab’s claim is not so ‘out of context’ and the YGL program might have been under way before it became formalized, as the long time horizon of the organization, I’ll suggest, would support. You can see for yourself at the link, below.

    The game being played is multi-dimensional. The goal will be to subject the entire world to detailed technocratic control. Everything happening would then seem more like a well-choreographed process to destroy the culture of the West, won by the Greek defeat of the Persians, and assure the end of Western culture.

    Klaus Schwab himself mentioned Putin as one of his YGLs, “even Vladimir Putin.”
    -at 6 seconds:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbVD4tB4cVQ
    cobo

  33. JMG, do you have a recommended reading order of Nietzche? I couldn’t find a great answer to this online.

    I had a thought that getting physically fit could be useful to prepare for a declining civilization. I know some people’s circumstances might not allow that, but could be a useful idea for some. I plan on using that as a fallback plan. I figure if I can do manual labor I can find a niche somewhere.

  34. A lot of people have been singing the praises of The Dawn of Everything, and I agree it’s an amazing book. However a very valuable counterpoint is given in an ongoing series here: https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/videos. It doesn’t dispute the existance of egalitarian human societies, but offers a very different view on how they work.

  35. With all the fuss over the Donbas, I was looking at the maps and admiring the Russian canal systems. The Don and Donets Rivers are navigable. The Don connects to the Volga by a canal, and most impressively the Volga connects to the Baltic by way of another canal.

    So the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and Baltic Sea are all connected by water, at least for three seasons. That is a great asset.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volga–Baltic_Waterway
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volga–Don_Canal

    Even Apple Maps in satellite mode is good enough to track the canals.

  36. Can anyone enlighten me to why tarring and feathering was done as a punishment instead of just tarring? It seems to me that being coated with hot tar would be bad enough on its own.

  37. I’ve been reading both Dark Age America and Monsters. Kind of going back and forth. In Monsters you mention that good relations with the Fay might be restored when human society is brought back into balance with nature. In Dark Age America it looks like we will be brought back into balance with nature by the natural limits we are running into.

    I was wondering what that new relationship might look like and how relations might change between humans and the other beings you wrote about in Monsters in the coming dark age?

  38. @Frank Kaminski #7:

    My favourite generation starship story is ‘Paradises Lost’ by Ursula K. Le Guin. The relationship between the two main characters is one of the most beautiful I have read, and the subtle twist that eventually emerges as the central plot thread takes the story to places science fiction doesn’t usually dare to venture.

    You can find it in her collection ‘The Birthday of the World’ or in ‘The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin’.

  39. Darkest Yorkshire (#38)
    I just last night was listening to a part of The Dawn of Everything in which they dismantle “egalitarian” as a concept. They are most definitely not saying that humanity’s true nature is egalitarian or that we had some glorious egalitarian Eden that we were driven out of. They point out that societies considered “egalitarian” are often egalitarian in some ways but not others. For example, they point out that the Wendat (Huron) had differences in wealth but one could not convert that wealth into power.
    What I hear them claiming is that humans have consciously created various social forms in the past and can do so again. Rather than egalitarianism or equality, they seem to advocate for societies that allow different people to develop and use their various capacities. Holding some back to maintain equality would not be their goal. Though they would distinguish between allowing some to run ahead in specific areas versus allowing some to get ahead by stepping all over others.

  40. On a more serious note, and one related to the main series of posts here, I think one of the crises facing the current age is the collapse of the boundary between fantasy and reality. Furthermore, I think this is because of, not despite, the collapse of traditional religious faiths, and will be repaired once the second religiosity gets underway.

    Years ago there was some study on a phenomenon of people adopting religious identities straight out of fiction: the Jedi religion is the most prominent of these, but not the only one. There was an attitude among adherents of such religions that (a) religion was useful for organizing one’s life but (b) none of them were actually true, so (c) you might as well choose a religion that’s not meant to be true.

    Then came Tumblr culture and the obsessive policing of fanfiction for various sins and transgressions, to the point of harassing people to suicide in at least one instance. Infamously, it was declared that “fiction is reality” on the basis of its supposed effects on people. (There’s a direct line from Tumblr culture to the idea that depicting orcs as inherently evil is racist.)

    All the while, politics has grown increasingly LARP-ey. This is how you get supposed anarchists supporting government-run health care and government lockdowns and mask/vaccine mandates, or white supremacists marching with tiki torches. Even in the professional political arena, assertions not only don’t need to be true — when has that ever been a requirement? — they don’t even need to make sense.

    Freddie DeBoer has an excellent post on this last point, in which he states, “What we are living through is definitional collapse. Our moment is one in which anything is possible because nothing means anything…. [N]ever in my lifetime have political terms meant less.”

  41. I was thinking the other day that the way the Freedom Convoy played out before it was repressed might have been at least in part a manifestation of the same energy which in other times and places gave rise to the European tradition of the Carnival. It certainly took place around the right time of year, and while it lasted there was some bombastic merrymaking alongside all the protesting, or so I’ve heard. Then there’s 4chan’s association of the protests with the “Clown World” meme, clowns being another example of the irreverent humor common to many carnivals.

  42. Further to some of your comments in a previous blog, JMG, I’d like to hear more from you about the meaning of childhood nightmares.

    At the age of maybe five or six I kept having terrible dreams about amoeboid monstrosities which I called “woollies”, a misleadingly cuddly name for what in later decades I might have called shoggoths, except that the things which plagued my nights could float in the air. It was never a question of being scared of what they might do to me – they were pure frightfulness merely by being themselves, whatever that was.

    No little child could have earned all that, surely. And paradoxically, now that I’m much older and have a lot more on my conscience, my nights are quite innocuous.

    if there’s an explanation relating to a pre-birth existence I’d like to hear it, theology notwithstanding (I’m a Christian but to me Christianity is a specific rescue operation rather than an encyclopedia of everything).

  43. JMG,

    In weird of Hali innsmouth, you touched on the delta blues. What made you incorporate that into the story?

    I grew up in Mississippi and am fond of the blues. I find the self taught musicians are always more interesting. I’ve visited Robert Johnsons (supposed) grave.

  44. God, how I have been waiting for February’s Open Post! Not two weeks ago we went through another round or St. Valentine’s Day and, though it is now little but a consumerism fest, Love is one of the forces that moves us humans in this life.

    The title of this month’s song is “Amar y Querer”, literally “To Love and to Love”. Those two Spanish songs map to complementary, inter-weaved, but ultimately distinct aspects of the same English concept. Since the song speaks specifically of romantic love, you may be falsely lead by the lyrics to think that “Querer” refers to the more animal, carnal side of a couple’s relationship. That is not the case; we routinelly say “te quiero” (I love you) to family, -either of the same blood, or chosen. This does not mean the whole Latin culture is overwhelmed by a giant Oedipus Complex.

    If you look at the dictionary, you may find that “Querer” can be translated as “To want”. In this sense, “I want you” can be understood as “I [sexually] desire you”, but also as “I want you in my life”. It is one of those untranslatable expressions that can only be mapped to the target language in a roundabout way. My best try is to make it roughly equivalent to the,- much more timid,- “I care for you” from the Anglosphere.

    So, today I am very glad to gift you with, originally composed by the Spanish singer/songwriter Manuel Alejandro but brought to fame by our very own Prince of Song,- my favorite Mexican singer of all times,- José José: Amar y Querer (1977).

    I am aware that this last is a much more urban, international, ballad style. So if you prefer to have your dose of unadulterated Mexican music, I have good news. The one who is probably the last 20th Century Legend of Mexican Music, Vicente Fernandez, recorded that very song in 1983. The genre is Bolero Ranchero (our reinterpretation of traditional Cuban Bolero), and is probably what most people identify as “mariachi” love songs.

    As for the lyrics…

    AMAR Y QUERER

    Almost everyone can “querer”
    But few can “amar”
    ‘Cause “amar” and “querer” is not the same
    “Amar” is suffering,”querer” is joy

    The one who loves [ama] strives to serve
    The one who loves [ama] his life, he gives it away
    And the lover [quiere] strives to live
    And never to suffer, and never to suffer.

    The one who loves [ama] cannot calculate [lit. cannot think]
    He gives his all, he gives his all
    And the lover [quiere] strives to move on
    And never to cry, and never to cry.

    To “querer” might end soon enough,
    but love [amar] knows no boundaries
    That’s shy everyone can “querer”
    But few can “amar”

    To love [amar] is the Heaven and Light
    To love [amar] is total plentifulness,
    It’s the sea that has no end,
    t is Glory and Peace, it is Glory and Peace.

    To love [querer] is the Flesh and Flower
    To love [querer] is to look for that Shadowy corner
    It’s to bite, to scratch and to kiss,
    it is fleeting Desire, it is fleeting Desire.

    The one who loves [ama] cannot calculate [lit. cannot think]
    He gives his all, he gives his all
    And the lover [quiere] strives to move on
    And never to cry, and never to cry.

    To “querer” might end soon enough,
    but love [amar] knows no boundaries.
    That’s shy everyone can “querer”
    But few can “amar”.

    The one who loves [amar] cannot calculate…

    To “querer” might end soon enough…

  45. JMG,

    I no longer remember how I found it– I wasn’t searching the subject– but a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a website called “Reincarnation Research”, which purports to report on past or current life identities of celebrities, all verified by “the Spirit Guide Ahtun Re reading the Akashic Record/Mind of God, channeled through live medium Kevin Ryerson” (if you consider that a trustworthy source). I don’t intend to ask you whether or not this is a reputable source, and I’m not entirely sure myself, but I must say I find the past life matches on the site fantastically entertaining. And strangely plausible, in most cases.

    I actually wrote an extremely long version of this post summarizing the entertaining contents of that site, but I feel it would be irresponsible spam this page with something of that length. For those who are interested in the full version, you can visit here..

    For now, here are ten examples out of literally hundreds of celebrity incarnations listed on that site. Most of them are listed with a small writeup and an image comparison, as part of the site’s belief is that the higher soul expresses through DNA in similar forms each time. The list below slants toward celebrities that I think JMG might be interested in.

    –William Shakespeare / Mary Shelley / August Wilson
    –Mark Twain / Kurt Vonnegut
    –Johann Wolfgang Goethe / Carl Jung
    –Richard Wagner / Bob Dylan
    –Leonardo Da Vinci / Buckminster Fuller
    –William Blake / Alex Grey
    –Walt Whitman / Ram Dass
    –JRR Tolkein / Christopher Paolini
    –Isaac Newton / Queen guitarist Brian May (who got an astrophysics PhD late in life)
    –Thelonious Monk / Johann Sebastian Bach

    Oh, and for the sake of current events I also need to share:

    –Vladimir Putin / Julius Caesar
    –Donald Trump / Nero
    –Joe Biden / Theodosius I

    As Theodosius I presided over two civil wars and was the last Roman Emperor to preside over its entirety before its permanent split into east and west, I find that last one particularly worrisome…

    JMG, in general the reincarnation lore that the site shares is more or less in line with the esoteric occultism/druidic cosmology you have shared here before. The biggest issue may be the one of spiritual ascension. If I understand your cosmology correctly (and please correct me if I’m wrong), one can ascend not only by becoming a “saint”, but also by becoming a “hero”, which is to say, able to effect great change in the world through the virtue of becoming completely oneself. Now there are some names listed on that website which are awfully old and famous. For instance, there’s Cleopatra (New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand); there’s Archimedes (space technology bigshot Steve Isakowitz); there’s Akhenaten (Vaclav Havel).

    1. Does your view of incarnation have space for people this grand to still be hanging around in human incarnation? Could they have just amassed huge amounts of karma in their most famous lives, and it’s taken them thousands of years to work off?


    2. Also, if I understood something you wrote at some point a while back, you seemed to indicate that when somebody becomes sufficiently revered after their death, then even if they would otherwise normally be jumping back into incarnation soon, they don’t do so for a while because they become so busy with the duties that come with being an object of mass adoration. Do I have that right? For instance, if Mozart has been revered as a god among composers more or less continuously since his death, does that mean that he couldn’t possibly have reincarnated into Herbie Hancock, as the site suggests?

  46. I’m impressed with the commenters who have interesting things to say about general topics. Here I am with another personal request for prayers or positive energies.

    My pancreatic cancer treatment seems to have been reasonably successful, with four months of chemo and five days of radiation, showing progress with only mild side effects. I go in for surgery on Friday 2/25, and thereby hangs a tale.

    The standard of care for cancer surgery on a pancreas is the Whipple procedure, which does appear to raise my five-year survival rate by at least half. Accepting this treatment was a challenge for me, because the Dr. Whipple it is named after is a poster child for the sort of Alpha Male Bull Scientist whose advice I find hard to take. I have what they used to call Political Schizophrenia back in the USSR (“What do you mean, the West recognizes no such condition? We have hospitals full of them!”) In the US today, this is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder, now that such a diagnosis is much more needed.

    My mind-broadening challenge is to follow the instructions of a person who is the south end of a northbound horse, just because he seems to be largely right. I guess we all get presented with karmic challenges our own size!

  47. @Sam in #3
    The latest a next Canadian Federal election can happen is 2025-10-25
    But it is a minority government, so it will likely be much sooner. There are lots of maneuverings going on at many levels.

    Trudeau is still trying to CONvince the masses that the protest was fringe, but there is just too much evidence that majority of the protesters were a good hearted bunch with some who made honest mistakes that were corrected very quickly, and just a few malcontents trying to get away with stupid that were largely put down by the majority. It was interesting but not surprising that the Hill Cam was ‘temporarily unavailable’ when enforcers of the ‘Emergencies Act’ were in action. Its back up now but the Emergencies Act is still in force.
    https://twitter.com/glehardi/status/1496493180115726343
    I suspect the Enforcers were carefully selected, especially the ones we have seen the worst behaviour of.

    Conversations with my fellow Canadians has been interesting, that dance of where on the scale is the other; is the other stuck on the official narrative, the extreme opposite of that narrative, or trying to find what is really happening. The venue and record keeping of the conversation is factored in for at least some of us.

    The Hill Cam https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/citeparlementaire-parliamentaryprecinct/camera-eng.html

    @Quin in #4
    Look into a laser printer.
    While laser printers up front cost a bit more, the toner goes for so many more pages, yielding to a much lower cost per page. This is why most businesses use laser printers, ink just can’t compete total cost. There are even colour laser printers, but you need a higher rate of printing to make them economical, so most offices might have one.
    Save any colour needs for the local print shop.

    I’ve found that Brother makes some good and economical laser printers that have a good lifespan. Its all we use at home/office now for over a dozen years.

    If you would like those printed out books to last more than a few decades, make sure your paper is of the ‘no acid’ archival or it will yellow in a couple decades and be fragile by the end of the century. Look at binding options if aiming for long retention, your standard 3/4 ring binders wear out the pages. even just getting some basic post type goes a long way.

  48. The implementation of the Emergencies Act and it apparently working and feeling totally isolated in my agreement with the truckers resulted in the worst mental health in the past year or so. Stupid depression. You may not see me around much this week; I’m avoiding news consumption/the covid open posts for the sake of my sanity.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been so enraged with a Canadian Prime Minister or disgusted by my MP. If the NDP is trying to convince me to never vote for them again the past year and a half, they’re certainly going about it the right way.

  49. Kmgunnart, I’m delighted to hear this — goats are among my favorite animals. May Shub-Ne’hurrath bless you and your household. 😉

    Nathanael, thanks for this.

    Sam, I’m quite sure that Trudeau’s government went into blind panic, convinced that they were facing a color revolution with foreign funding. Of course it doesn’t help that Trudeau himself is a typically brittle child of privilege with no idea how to deal with real opposition — or real danger. If a genuine crisis comes up while he’s still prime minister, may the gods help Canada!

    Quin, I’ll have to leave this to the commentariat, as it’s not something I have personal experience with.

    Njura, since I know nothing about Russian traditions of numerology, nope.

    Tony, thank you for getting this. As I’ve been saying for years now, we’re facing a long decline punctuated by crisis, not total catastrophic collapse. Unfortunately too many people out there seem to be a couple of horsemen short of an apocalypse on this subject, and you can try all day and all night and not get them to notice that there are any alternatives to (a) business as usual and (b) everyone dies next Thursday. That is to say, your outlook is quite reasonable, and in fact is the one I’ve been talking about since 2006…

    David BTL, to quote something from my first published novel, “Nothing new was ever done, except awkwardly.” I’m delighted to hear that you’ve reached this stage of insight — it does make things so much less rigid and burdensome!

    Glen, it’s one of the great traditions of modern Western occultism, and is distinct from some others because it’s specifically Christian. Martinism has been through some rough patches over the last century but it seems to be thriving just now, and I know people who are deeply involved in it and get a great deal out of it.

    Valenzuela, remember that once people start paying attention to realities on the ground, a lot of notional borders may evaporate in due time, and some others are likely to come into being in new places. The current territory of the United States is not exempt from this — and I think that’s one of the things that’s causing all the hoopla.

    Andrew, oh, granted. For that matter, it’s routinely used on the left in equally vague ways. That’s why I tend to be quite careful to stick to the classic definition: a system of political economy in which the means of production are owned by the state, rather than by private individuals.

    Maxine, I know. That’s likely to happen in many other places, precisely because so many people would rather give up their freedoms than their lifestyles. Of course they’ll end by losing both, but that’s the way such things normally happen.

    Yorkshire, fascinating! I’ll take it as a good omen.

    Jerry, indeed it is. Over the long term, not good at all.

    Stephen, er, what? The four-generation thing isn’t mine; you’re mistaking me for William Strauss and Neil Howe, who invented the theory you’re citing here. I don’t see the cycles as being anything like so rigidly defined by time and generations. Thus the current transition could take more or less time, and involve more or less crisis. Meanwhile, the rather looser cycle I sketched out doesn’t insist that the crises in which ruling classes replace one another are the only crises there are — there were plenty of crises and disasters all through US history, you know, and only a certain number of them coincided with shifts in ruling class. So we can expect plenty of crises over the next eighty years or so, but it’s quite possible that none of them will unseat the entrepreneurial Caesars who, with the support of the working classes, will be taking power in the years ahead.

    Justin, many thanks for all this.

    Slithy, funny! Please do this, and publish something full of the appropriate critical-theory gobbledygook. (Citing Derrida is always a good move.) I want to see the academics squirm.

    Ighy, Crowley’s posthumous fame is due largely to the fact that several of his followers, notably Grady McMurtry, were very good at marketing, and won him a reputation that he himself never had. Thanks for the astrological data!

    Frank, it’s been so long since I’ve read any novel of that kind that I’m sorry to say I barely remember them.

    Mohsin, thanks for this. Yes, it’s well within guidelines.

    Jessica, I tend to think that China in the 2020s is in much the same place as the US in the 1920s, gearing up for its time as global hegemon, and cashing in most of what’s left of its spiritual and cultural heritage in the process. It’s sad to watch.

    Stellarwind, ah, fun with statistics! By and large, the Democratic vote comes from the middle classes and the poor; the Republican vote comes from the working classes and the rich. Flatten both of those bimodal distributions out into a single number and, yes, you can make it look as though Republicans are richer than Democrats. The middle class, of course, is very concerned to make that claim; the war of the middle class against the working class is the defining class conflict of our time, but the middle class does not want to talk or even think about the way that its current prosperity depends on driving the working classes into poverty and misery. Numbers of the sort you’re brandishing here are part of the way that act of erasure is managed.

    Florida Druid, I haven’t; anyone else?

    Trustycanteen, ouch. My condolences.

    Alan, I have indeed seen it, and am delighted to see that kind of common sense breaking through the haze.

    Sam S, see my response to Sam above.

    Jessica, thanks for this. I’ve read it and am still processing the experience.

    Dawnrider, I’ve been watching that as well. I’m not sure anyone in Europe is really thinking about this — nor, for that matter, is it on the US radar screen, even though we can expect a lot of our natural gas to be sold to Europe (and prices here to rise accordingly).

    Balowulf, I wasn’t sure which way that frog would hop. I note, however, that it’s early days yet; the convoy was only the first round of what will probably be a long and troubled process.

    Yorkshire, I’m going to pass. Questions like this have never appealed to me.

    Teresa, positive energy en route to him — and also to you. Condolences; that’s a very hard road to walk.

    Clay, I think it’s quite possible that she’s exploring the possibility of switching parties. It would be a smart move for her.

    Katherine, you’re welcome and thank you!

    Chuaquin, I’ve never read it. There are only so many hours in a day, and I focus my spiritual reading on books relevant to the specific traditions I work in.

    Cobo, no doubt you could make that argument. No doubt you could make plenty of conflicting arguments using the same logic, too.

    Youngelephant, I recommend starting with one of his book of aphorisms — Human, All Too Human, or Daybreak, or The Gay Science — and then the others, leaving Thus Spake Zarathustra and then Ecce Homo for last. As for physical fitness, for anyone who can, it’s essential — and those who have serious health challenges might consider taking up some gentle exercise routine, as even very modest amounts of exercise have big payoffs in terms of health.

    Yorkshire, thanks for this. Do you know if there’s a transcript anywhere?

    Siliconguy, yep. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s quite plausible that a coming great civilization will be born in the Volga basin.

    Kimberly, hmm! A good question to which I don’t know the answer. Anyone else?

    Trystan, that’s a subject for a book, not a simple answer! The very short form is that it’ll have a lot more in common with traditional relationships with the Unseen than it will with our current habits.

    Matt, these days, they mostly go through the motions of an earlier time. Back in the day, they had their own distinct niche; I’ve discussed that in some detail here. As an organization and a tradition, the Odd Fellows have immense potential if they can get through the current era intact.

    Slithy Toves, thanks for this. Freddie de Boer is correct, but definitional collapse is only one side of a broader phenomenon, the “barbarism of reflection” Vico discussed, the endgame of the age of reason in which reason divorced from reality turns into babbling nonsense. You’re also quite correct that this is one of the things that drives the rise of the second religiosity — for which stay tuned.

    Valenzuela, I think you’re quite correct.

    Robert, that’s a fascinating take on Christianity, and to my mind a very sensible one. Okay, in terms of pre-birth existence, each soul descends into incarnation after a longer or shorter time spent on the inner planes, and those planes are anything but empty — as C.S. Lewis points out somewhere, it’s the material plane that’s vague and rather empty, compared to the spiritual worlds, which are far more structured and active. Where on those planes you spend the time between lives is determined by how you spend each life — in occult teaching this is the reality behind the ideas of heaven and hell, and differs from those mostly in that neither one is a permanent state.

    So children are not innocent. They come into existence bearing the karma of their previous lives, and each life is a chance to clear away the negative karma accrued in previous lives, build positive karma, and grow spiritually to the point that material incarnation has served its purpose. It’s far from uncommon for children to have fragmentary memories of previous incarnations — there have been extensive research projects on that subject, notably by Dr. Ian Stevenson — but tolerably often they also have equally fragmentary memories of their time between lives.

    My guess, on the basis of occult philosophy, is that that’s what your dreams were: dim memories of where you were between lives. Obviously it was not a pleasant place, but that simply gives you a clue about what your last life was like and what your starting point in this life was. The amoeboid critters will have been inhabitants of that plane — because of course the inner planes are inhabited, very thickly inhabited, and in what occultists call the lower astral, quite a few of the inhabitants are not at all pleasant to look on or encounter in any way.

  50. I was wondering if John or the Commentariat could help me with a few recommendations. I have been thinking about energy and wondering a lot about how it works in the cosmos, how it affects earth and its inhabitants in different ways, and how cosmic energy and its expressions can be worked with for the benefit of mankind and the planet. I am a newbie to the subjects of cosmic design/energy flows, astronomy and astrology. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of the best books on those topics which would shed light on such inquiries. Thank you JMG and everyone here for hosting/participating in all for these incredible forums!

  51. Three completely different questions for our host…

    Do Uranus, Neptune and Pluto have planetary spirits? Has anyone tried to conjure them? What were the results?

    If Pre-Columbian contacts (except very brief ones) did happen, how could the Native Americans (“Indians”) avoid being infected by Old World viruses? When the Americas were finally conquered by the Europeans, the Native population collapse was dramatic.

    Are there any examples of scientific knowledge being saved (except to a limited extent) when a civilization declines and collapses? This seems to have a bearing on whether it would be possible to accomplish such a thing today. (I suspect that it might not be, since people will lose interest in science due to the fact that scientists are part of the elite that is crumbling during the decline.)

  52. JMG, well, I have to say that your own contribution to the generation starship literature is a fine one–and your lack of familiarity with what others had done before probably worked to your advantage by ensuring that you weren’t unduly influenced by them.

  53. Hi JMG,

    I am curious what kind of views you think are helpful for politics during the long descent for the next century? what kind of political system? I am thinking at the local and regional/state level where some kind of influence could be exerted.

  54. @ Quin #4. Look into self-publishing via the evil empire (Amazon).

    If your book is guaranteed out of copyright, i.e., published in the United States prior to 1924 or so (the date has been moving forward a year at a time as the Sonny Bono act expires) you can do your own layout of a trade paperback, upload it to Amazon for printing, and then buy yourself an author’s copy for a few bucks. The price of an author’s trade paperback copy varies with the number of pages and the trim size but unless you’re doing something really unusual, expect to pay less than $8 a copy.

    You do not have to put the book up for sale.

    You do not have to purchase an ISBN.

    You do not have to copyright the book.

    Since you are not putting the book up for sale, you can use a cover consisting solely of text; that is, the title and author. Amazon does not care.

    You only order the number of copies you need.

    You do not have to have an author’s website or Amazon Author’s page.

    As long as you’re doing the layout anyway, you might as well get a nice, bound trade paperback. We’ve self-published for years and the books have held up well. In fact, the newest editions look better than when we started back in 2014.

    Our book, Career Indie Author (https://peschelpress.com/career-indie-author/) doesn’t go into a lot of detail about publishing a trade paperback for one or the layout there of, but some of your questions are probably answered. You can take a closer look at the link.

    Or, you can email Bill via our website and ask him questions! Make sure you mention my name, Ecosophia, and that I said to email him.

    The hard part, the part you’ll see listed online at jaw-dropping prices, is the trade paperback layout. If you’re detail-oriented and can follow directions, you can teach yourself basic layout. Start by using a book on your shelf that’s similar and use their layout.

    Do not pay someone $1,000 to do layout as that defeats your purposes.

    Many people do this to get a family history, family cookbooks, vacation diary, and so forth. They don’t want to sell the book, they just want a bound copy for their shelf.

  55. @Florida Druid I haven’t noticed litter, but one little datapoint I think is related is the amount of unsafe driving I’ve come across in the past few months. I seem to regularly notice cars just blow past red lights if there’s no one around, and it’s something I only saw extremely rarely in the past. It’s similarly a little thing that speaks to changes in how people are viewing their society.

  56. @ Quinn (#4): re: printer. GOOD LUCK! I’m having problems there as well. It seems like any of the half-way decent ones are way over my budget or on backorder (stuck on a cargo ship waiting to be unloaded). The less expensive flimsy ones (that use lots of expensive ink) are ‘smart’ devices, e-printers that beyond merely a wireless connection to a personal computer (I don’t have the technological know-how to understand the newer printers, but I’m suspicious of ‘smart’ devices, Just more that can go wrong, for starters. I bought a used printer, and that would have been a decent printer, except that updated drivers are not available, so it’s useless (unless I just want to use it as a copier). Planned obsolescence. If I knew enough and had enough space and an older functional laptop with an older operating system (& not connected to the internet), I would simply transfer the files (saved in a compatible format) and use the older printer. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

    @ Florida Druid (#25): I’ve noticed a big increase in litter here (Albuquerque) as well. IMO this is partly tied to an increase in homelessness (which is exacerbated by ridiculous increases in rents that makes housing unaffordable to ever more people). Increased litter also seems to result from increased apathy.

  57. “Jessica, I tend to think that China in the 2020s is in much the same place as the US in the 1920s, gearing up for its time as global hegemon, and cashing in most of what’s left of its spiritual and cultural heritage in the process. It’s sad to watch.”

    Yes, that analogy makes a lot of sense. The rising power that has become the manufacturing power house of the world but that has not yet converted that into military power.

    I think that China didn’t so much cash in during industrialization as much as it simply lost much of it in the desperate struggle to survive, particularly the Japanese invasion. Then lost much of what was left in the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, so that the Communist Party by the late 1970s had burnt through the legitimacy it won by making China whole and getting things moving forward finally. So a delegitimized leadership facing a tired, cynical population went for maximum economic growth. Turned itself into a development state: You leave politics to us and we’ll improve your living standards greatly. Taiwan is an interesting place because they missed out on almost all of the catastrophic history and before the military dictatorship democratized, it pushed traditional Chinese culture quite hard.
    Either way, you correct that China has paid a severe price culturally and spiritually for its material enrichment.

    One of many things that will be interesting going forward will be whether much of the traditional Buddhist-Taoist culture is still present in hiding. After the silly ‘Civilisation Practice Centres’ that Mog mentioned last week, they could do worse than to turn to the Tibetans. There is a long history of Tibetan lamas as the exotic other bringing cool religion to Beijing. A bit like hippies with Native Americans.

  58. Justin & Christia clasping on a tree – OMG! They’re commin after WE!!!

    First goes the POUND, Then the truckers hitch

    Trudeau/Freeland found mired in the pitch!

  59. Good afternoon, I have been lurking for some time here. When I meditate I do so seated cross legged in the Oriental style prior to doing ritual work like lbrp, rose cross etc. Is it more beneficial to switch to sitting in a chair with both feet on the ground?

  60. Hi John Michael,

    Another week, and another large fossil fuel generator has been slated to close early. As you know, I have some actual experience with electricity generation and systems, albeit on a small scale. And I’m astounded by the utterly clueless behaviour and the ideological concerns being thrown at something which is possibly a rather practical and useful system – which I’m sure all of them will miss in due course in its increasingly unstable output. It’s become something of a spectator sport for me to sit back and watch both sides of that argument go at it hard in the media. And it is a binary discussion, when such a method of argument is not well suited to the realities on the ground.

    And in this corner, we have the well heeled deep greens, ready to claim the virtue prize this bout. They’ve got a strong left hook and are ready to use that against any and all coal fired powered stations. Their known weakness is facing off against gas fired power stations, but that’s not who they’re facing this round.

    And over in this corner, we have the well heeled establishment. Like Rocky III, they might still be able to smash with their right fist when the conditions are optimal, but years of under investment has meant that the brewers gut could use a bit of a workout before the next round commences.

    Exit of coal-fired power station Eraring ‘unlikely’ to hit prices, but grid stability’s a concern

    It’s mad, like seriously bonkers crazy. There’s middle ground on this discussion of future, and I’m rather concerned that all these ideologues are so loud that they are dictating policy and strategy. And I’ll bet they’ll all be yelling loudly when they can’t run their dishwashers, electric heating and/or air conditioners. I don’t run any of those energy hungry devices, but mate the push-back I faced when suggesting that it’s perhaps not a good idea to rely on those things when the grid that powers them is being destabilised, was quite startling to behold. I don’t see the drama myself, our ancestors managed just fine in the same conditions, and perhaps I have a benefit of having grown up in a poor household so it isn’t that big a deal to me. No disrespect to the people who did so, just adaption to local conditions seems like the easier and perhaps inevitable path.

    It is possible that the arguments in this debate are being funded by foreign powers. What better way to step in and ‘lend a hand’, than if we need a hand. Dunno, it’s weird. And that would be playing the long game for sure.

    Hey, check out them oil prices huh? Crazy days.

    Cheers

    Chris

  61. Dmekel, I worked in Delta blues because it occurred to me that Nyarlathotep, at least my version of him, had a lot in common with the crossroads devil of blues legend, and I decided to equate the two; I also wanted to give Owen Merrill a slightly esoteric taste in music, as part of showing how he didn’t really fit into the academic culture at Miskatonic. Those two fit well together, so I went with it.

    CR, thanks for this.

    Quin, entertaining indeed. I don’t tend to take this kind of clairvoyant evidence very similarly, because no two clairvoyants get the same thing reliably. I also tend to doubt that anyone who became truly great two thousand years ago is still hauling around a meat body now.

    John, glad to hear it. Positive energy en route!

    Dev, well, it depends on what you mean by energy. That’s a very flexible word and it gets given many different meanings!

    DFC, on the bright side, the next time you need a really good example of the Jungian concept of projecting the shadow… 😉

    Tidlösa, (1) Uranus and Neptune do, and they can be contacted, though it’s a very strange experience because human consciousness is still in the process of attuning to their influence. Pluto, as a minor body, has a spirit of the same kind that inhabits comets and other minor bodies; you could probably evoke it, but why? (2) The evidence I know of suggests that the most significant contacts took place in quite ancient times, before the viruses in question spread into Europe and Africa. Smallpox didn’t reach the Roman world until the 2nd century AD, you know, and caused quite a sharp population decline when it did. (3) Good heavens, yes. The obvious example is the survival of Greek astronomy in medieval Europe, but there are many, many others.

    Frank, thank you. One of the things I tried to do in Journey Star was precisely to avoid being influenced by SF clichés — I was bored to tears forty years ago by combats between spacecraft that didn’t take orbital dynamics into account, for example, and since I’d already written myself into a corner in The Fires of Shalsha by setting the story on a colony planet, I wanted to portray interstellar flight in terms that were as realistic as possible — not zoom, a few days later you’re in another star system, but leave one world as a teenager and plan on having gray hair before you get to another.

    Tony C, that depends entirely on complicated variables like the local culture, the available resource base, the size of the local population, et cetera. One size emphatically does not fit all.

    Yorkshire, thanks for this.

    Jessica, if China follows the usual track, in 2080 or so they’ll be importing gurus and spiritual teachers from some more exotic corner of the world. But we’ll see.

    Patricia M, hmm! Well, if it works…

    Polecat, funny,

    MikeS, opinions vary. I prefer keeping the earth contacts open, but if you’ve got a practice that works well for you, keep doing it.

    Nachtgurke, thanks for this.

    Iuval, stranger things have happened.

    Chris, I wonder how far they can push it before serious grid problems start whacking them hard across the face.

  62. I see the potential for a perfect storm brewing for the Democratic Party. Imagine if the Durham investigation in to the Clinton Campaign shenanigans, The Hunter Biden Laptop revelations and the negative side effects of the vaccines all became so obvious they could no longer be covered up by the B.A.M. ( Biden Apologist Media) before the midterm elections. It seems the possible confluence of these three things could shuffle the current crew in Washington off to Whig-ville.

  63. Dear JMG,

    The international events of the last couple of days brings forcefully to mind your interpretation of the Ingress Chart for the Biden presidency. Russia’s actions in defense of it’s perceived interests are demolishing what was left of the world order the USA built in the previous century. That alone is enough “buzz saw to the face” to justify your take, when you factor in the domestic situation… ouch! We better all buckle up!

  64. @ Kimberly #41

    Tar and feathering was done to publicly humiliate as well as punish perceived misdoers and has a long history. The tar used was derived from pine pitch rather than petroleum. The pine tar would firmly glue the feathers in place, not to be removed except by time or a considerable amount of scrubbing. Wikipedia has a fairly decent rundown of the practice along with a photo of one hapless victim.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarring_and_feathering

  65. Hello JMG, I posted this question in your Covid blog. I wasn’t surprised not to get a reply as there were a ton of replies to your speculation about possible demon’s and god’s influence on vaccinations and how that might play out. So I hope it’s OK to re-post it here:

    What I wonder is what happened to so many people to cause them to be vulnerable to these demonic or god-like forces? I know many, many people who fit your description of following trance-like into compliance with the vaccines. They are “nice” people, often very intelligent and well-educated (for what that’s worth these days). Many of them believed that it was necessary for everyone to get vaccinated to “protect the vulnerable”, and that that was the only way to do it. Probably most of them are not knowledgeable about or even interested in the occult. And they indeed have seemed “brainwashed ever since-a litte eerie. And I also know a few people who also are “nice” people, well-educated, probably not conversant with the occult, who have not been vaccinated, and are quite opposed to the whole Covid/vaccine “narrative”. How would people in the first group somehow get targeted by the influence of demons or gods? In any case, what happens to cause them to follow trance-like into compliance? I guess I’m a little confused.

  66. Hi John – I was thinking foremost in terms of working to help raise the energetic vibrations of humanity and the earth . . . and of course, the universe itself. It seems to me that should be one of the primary endeavors we should all be involved in at the moment.

  67. @Quin: I second the recommendation for a Brother laser printer. I got one some years ago, when I had to print out large quantities of sheet music every week– the cost of inkjet cartridges was prohibitive! The laser printer was more expensive upfront, but vastly cheaper per-page-printed and also faster and less trouble with ink smearing.

    FWIW, I have no idea if/how laser compares with other types of printer, in terms of long-term archival quality, in case you’re interested in that aspect.

  68. @Quin,

    My six-year-old printer is a laser printer, which means it uses toner instead of ink. (Toner is a powder, so it cannot dry out and become useless, like an ink cartridge can.) You can get a laser printer that prints color. Mine only does black (which means it can do grayscale, too). I use off-brand cartridges which are significantly cheaper and seem to do just as well as the name-brand cartridge it came with originally.

  69. Hello JMG and everyone… apart from New Maps things, I’m looking for some recommendations!

    I’ve been seized by the idea of writing a novel set partly in the early 20th century; haven’t yet decided between the oughts, teens, or ’20s, but leaning toward the oughts. The beginning stages of considering this project have made it very clear to me how little I know about the zeitgeist of that time.

    Does anyone have suggestions for novels and/or history books that are particularly illuminating for understanding the mores, thoughts, aspirations, and material circumstances of the US during that time? The story will probably range widely geographically, with a character who’s lowish-middle-class and in some ways downwardly mobile. Stuff that’s fringe — from the perspective of people back then or people now — is especially interesting to me.

    One specific thing I’m curious about is the Chautauqua movement. I’ve mostly found books about the New York hub of it, but I’m interested in its nationwide incarnations.

    Thanks in advance!
    Nathanael

  70. Prayers for all who requested them and all who want them but haven’t said so. There’s always enough prayer to go around.

    Those baby goats are real cuties !

  71. Data point: In a milestone of sorts, India’s National Family Health Survey 2019-21 (NFHS-5) has recorded a decline in the total fertility rate (the average children a woman has) from 2.2 in the previous survey ( 2015-16) to 2.0 in the latest one. And here too, it was 1.6 in an urban population and 2.1 in a rural setting.

    Reported in

    https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blexplainer/what-the-fertility-rate-decline-means-for-india/article37996061.ece
    _._,_._,_

  72. A couple of things: first, the solar storm that prevented most of the 40 Musk Starlink satellites in a recent launch from achieving earth orbit; the reason, according to what I read, was that solar storms actually increase the viscosity of the upper atmosphere enough to alter the ballistics of a satellite launch. I had never heard of that effect before. If it’s true then it follows that a solar storm could also alter the ballistics of an ICBM launch. This might shed some light on the original purpose of the HAARP project. I apologize for not having saved a link to that article.

    Second, there was an NY Times article, https://www.yahoo.com/news/cdc-isnt-publishing-large-portions-124915536.html that contained a couple of interesting or revealing admissions; first that release of COVID data is as much political as it is scientific (big surprise), and, second, that the release of the “more granular” data that the agency has been sitting on (or suppressing) could bolster the arguments of anti-vaxers, or in the words of the article might “be misinterpreted” by anti-vaxers..

    So, that was the week that was (TW3), or, the month that was since the last open post. .

  73. Jack–I have also observed an increase in traffic offenses. Not just this past two years–when I was in Denver in 2003 a fellow pedestrian warned me that Denver drivers ran red lights, which I found to be true. In the Sacramento, California area I noticed since around 2005 that running the yellow, or even the red, in left turn lanes seemed to increase during the Christmas shopping season. More people feeling rushed? In the last few years, the season doesn’t seem to make a difference. I also see cars cutting across several lanes to make an off-ramp and numerous incidents of passing on a double yellow. Disrespect for law or a death wish?

    Starship novels—Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson is good.

    Rita

  74. JMG, In your reply to stellar wind you mention how the working class and middle class are divided between parties. In The King in Orange I think you referred to these classes as wage and salary respectively. I get that these are generalizations. Do you see this division as a symptom of declining resources or is it more politically motivated? Maybe it’s both. Has it always been this way?

  75. Hi John,

    What do you see as the final outcome in Ukraine? Some say Putin settles for now on occupying the eastern regions of the country. Some think he will march troops into Kiev but the worst scenario I’ve heard is a flood of refugees into Poland from where resistance fighter will launch attacks on Russian forces thus bringing possible conflict into a NATO country.

  76. Do you see the masons as a tool of the jews and the new world order? I know you’re a high degree, Regular working people are seeing their masonic politicians desrroy their rights and freedoms. Something is gonna give and its gonna get ugly, just curious how you see it.

  77. JMG,

    Robert’s post (#48) got me thinking about some of my own early childhood dreams. I’m not sure if you’re interested in any further dream interpretation, but here are 2 dreams that always stuck with me –

    #1 – 1983

    I was around 7 when I had this dream. In it, I’m an adult scientist working in an undersea lab beneath the Arctic Ocean. There’s a bewildering array of screens displaying all sorts of data, and I know that my primary reason for being here is to study the atmosphere. On my screens I also see lists of countries with their associated population statistics. United States: 300 million. Tanzania: 20 million, etc.

    I have a partner and he yells in shock, drawing my attention to some of the monitors showing atmospheric data. Looking at the screen, I know that the atmosphere just… disappeared. Instantly. Above the Arctic Ocean there’s now nothing but outer space. I then turn to the screen showing population statistics and watch the numbers rapidly cycle down. United States: 87. USSR: 53, etc. The sky is gone and all life on earth is disappearing.

    #2 – 1982-86

    This one was a recurring dream with slight variations, from the ages of 6 to 10. In each dream, I’m in an enclosed space, usually a vehicle, when the outside world is just instantly on the bottom of a new ocean. For example, in one dream I’m sitting in a minivan in a grocery store parking lot while my mom is shopping. In an eyeblink, everything outside the van’s windows is black – I see shopping carts float by and I know that the entire earth is now like this.

    These are two of three dreams that stuck with me the most, and they both have a lot of similarities – especially with the instant blackness covering the world and ending all life. I’m wondering if these dreams have any particular meaning for you, whether they have any correspondence with pre-birth existence or anything other than my personal psychology. I can tell you what they mean to me though – a lot of hopelessness and powerlessness to change forces that are on a massive and inhuman scale.

  78. Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Ukraine
    https://www.npr.org/2022/02/22/1082334172/kenya-security-council-russia

    “This situation echoes our history. Kenya and almost every African country was birthed by the ending of empire. Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropoles of London, Paris and Lisbon, with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart.

    Today, across the border of every single African country, live our countrymen with whom we share deep historical, cultural and linguistic bonds.

    We believe that all states formed from empires that have collapsed or retreated have many peoples in them yearning for integration with peoples in neighboring states. This is normal and understandable. After all, who does not want to be joined to their brethren and to make common purpose with them?

    However, Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force. We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.

    Let me conclude, Mr. President, by reaffirming Kenya’s respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”

  79. Ian Stevenson is a very interesting lead. Thanks jmg! On the subject of past lives – here are two vivid memories that came to me. I remember a time living on a desolate ranch with a mother and sister and wanting to be a writer. The end came from a self inflicted gunshot. Seems the man became sexually attracted to his mother from the isolation. He expired at his desk, blood staining the sheafs of unpublished manuscripts stuffing its drawers. Ithink this was 1950s or 1940s. A 2nd was earlier. A freed black man courted a white woman, and was shot by her enraged brother inside a parlir or dining room of her family home. Thoughts?

  80. I really want to talk about Corona-chan. (Please bear with me; this isn’t about shots or masks.) Early in 2020 someone in the chans came up with a character design of a kawaii girl in a red dress and hair buns and called her Corona-chan. She wasn’t the first moe-anthropomorphic (look that up) virus character, as she was preceded by Ebola-chan and possibly others.

    A ritual associated with her was rapidly being promoted. Basically it involved, um, self abuse while gazing at Corona-chan’s image, the climax at which one was to shout out loud, “I love you, Corona-chan!” This would supposedly protect one from her ravages.

    Anyway, did anyone on this forum know about this whole business? And what do you think about it? I remembering thinking at the time that it’s possibly a bad idea propping up a virus as a deity and offering her one’s adoration. But hey, what do I know?

  81. Njura (no 5), the timing of the invasion was constrained by the weather (the Russians prefer frozen–not muddy–ground), as well as by the Beijing Olympics, which China asked them not to interrupt.

    Valenzuela (no. 10), over the 20th century, international law (the League of Nations and UN charters, the Nuremberg Principles and Helsinki Accords) de-recognized annexation by conquest in favor of the principle of territorial integrity. On the other hand, the countervailing principle of self-determination (think Woodrow Wilson) is also affirmed in the same sources, and has been invoked on behalf of a variety of secessionist movements (some successful and some not), with Realpolitik being the guiding principle. As an old Tibet fan and Taiwan resident I find this frustrating (why Kosovo, but not Karabakh?), but have to admit the difficulty of defining a “people” (or territory) possessing the right of self-determination.

    Slithy Toves (no. 18), get a dozen professor types on board, and produce a journal! The name sounds great, and would blend in with various others already out there. I recommend making it not just about technological progress, but also social progress, so anti-Wokeists can join in.

    Kimberly Steele (no. 41), the feathers were the point of it, being dirty and humiliating and making you look like a chicken. The pine tar was just to make the feathers stick, and did not usually cause injuries. The practice goes back to the Middle Ages.

  82. Hi JMG and all,

    I’m very interested in learning about different, holistic, and more sustainable, healing modalities – from a purely educational standpoint of course.
    I was wondering if the audience here could comment on different healing modalities that might be worth exploring.
    I’m trained in psychology and hope to learn more about herbalism in the future. I’m also extremely interested in energetic work and the occult. I’m in the early phases of my magical training.

    Also what are people’s thoughts on ‘intuitive healing’ – is it just a ‘new age’ thing or worth the hype?

    Sammy

  83. I recently read the freely available essay “Status Syndrome” by the distinguished epidemiologist Michael Marmot. It is very meaty, a short version of his book with the same name, and might be of interest to some here. A few excerpts:

    “Travel from the south east of downtown Washington to Montgomery County, Maryland. For each mile travelled, life expectancy rises about a year and a half… The headline figure of a gap of 20 years between the top and bottom of the hierarchy could be read as implying that the poor have poor health and the non-poor have reasonable health. They do, but this is to miss the challenging point, which is that health follows a gradient: the higher the social position, the better the health… There is something else going on related to relative position in the hierarchy.

    What is it about relative position? The answer, I argue, is that your status is related to two fundamental human needs: to have control over your own life and to be a full social participant with all that implies about being a recognised member of society.

    A combination of smoking, plasma cholesterol, blood pressure level, over- weight and lack of physical activity accounted, statistically, for less than a third of the social gradient in coronary heart disease incidence and mortality… In seeking explanations we do well to look at hierarchies not just in human communities but in non-human ones as well. Rhesus macaques who are low in status have more disease of the coronary arteries than those who are high. None of the monkeys belongs to a fitness club, reads the health pages or has health insurance, but they too show the social gradient in health.

    No, the key to the status syndrome lies in the brain. It is stress arising from the inability to control our lives, to turn to others when we lose control or to participate fully in all that society has to offer. The myth that it is more stressful to be at the top of the pile than at the bottom should long ago have given way to facts. A way to stress an animal, of the human or non-human variety, is to remove control. This is true whether the animal or person is high status or low status, but low control is more common the lower down the pile you find yourself.

    These effects can be counteracted by the benefits of social support and participating fully in society. People who are supported and participate in social networks have better health than those who do not. Being part of a socially fractured community adds the insult of low social participation to the injury of low control over life circumstances.

    Is there evidence from randomised controlled trials that these would work? Of course not. How could there be? I have tried suggesting to employers that we organise a trial of randomising workers to having control or no control over their work, large enough to have coronary heart disease as an endpoint. I was rapidly shown the door.”

  84. Re: Tumblir and the comment about orcs – someone deeper into s/f fandom than I am reminds me that LOTR fans are doing what s/f fans have been doing through the ages, and are filling in blanks. To wit: what are orcs like when they’re at home? What is their culture, what are their values – okay,they’re vicious thugs (see also your average Heroic Age epic), and so on. Also part of the ongoing trend in novels of looking at the villains afresh, as in “Wicked.” As JMG himself has said, the villains are motivated by something other than being evilly evil with evil sauce; what motivated Tolkien’s villains?”

    Sauron, of course, is remarkably easy to place. Every small-town developer, everyone who sees an old-growth forest and thinks “Fuel for my polluting power plant,” is a miniature Sauron. Tolkien, like Blake, looked upon the “Dark, Satanic mills,” with disgust. But his minions?

    Gollum is your everyday addict, a total ring-junkie by the end of the tale.

  85. Hello. In last week’s post, JMG wrote about the need to imagine new possibilities.

    I would like to do an imagination/thought experiment and am open to feedback/suggestions from JMG and the commentators.

    I am politically homeless, like many of the folks here. I am appalled at the coercive, authoritarian tendencies of today’s left, but do not fit into the right either.

    I want to imagine the creation of some sort of American left-libertarian or green-libertarian party, a party that honors individual liberty but also honors public good (on modest scales).

    I would like to create a platform. I will list a few of my of my initial, rough ideas below. I am open to people’s thoughts about this platform, even if your political perspectives differ from mine.

    Thanks,
    Pierre

    *defend free speech and open, vigorous, civil debate
    *stop government spying on citizens
    *medical freedom/liberty (no medical mandates of any sort)
    *defend public lands and wildlife habitat and clean water/air (make decisions considering several future generations)
    *drug legalization or at least have a harm reduction model rather than punitive approach
    *bias toward small and local rather than top-down global or federal dictates and solutions
    *bias toward working class and small business interests (not elite fantasies of these interests)
    *stop the fed manipulating stock market and subsidizing more wealth for 1% and facilitate interest rate that rewards savers
    *corporations are not people (overturn citizens united)
    *non-interventionist, pro-diplomacy foreign policy, limit defense spending
    *enforce borders. provide pathways to regulated immigration. don’t demonize immigrants.
    *challenge regulatory capture of fda/cdc by big pharma and power of big tech, big media, big pharma, and big government
    *stop subsidizing industrial medicine and agriculture

  86. regular commenter going by a different name this time around –

    JMG et al, does anybody have any information, thoughts, or opinions on cryptocurrency – bitcoin, NFTs, and the like? I ask because a friend recently reached out about some kind of multi-level-marketing thing, offering to show me a “presentation”, something to do with using blockchain and crypto, I think. This set all my mental alarms singing at fortississisimo, as when I was young my parents got sucked into an MLM thing (quixtar/amway, if anyone is familiar) and I have terrible and weird memories from that time. Normally I would have dismissed my friend immediately, except I’ve been doing some money workings lately and I have to say his timing seems… well, magical. I’d just consecrated a talisman before he reached out, and divination on the matter yielded The Sun. Plus, considerations on the seeming fate of the USA’s tertiary economy and the dollar are kind of making me wonder. That said I’m extremely new to thinking at all about economics (btw, on that note, JMG, I have enormous thanks to give to you and your writings for helping me remember what it is to be a thinking person and getting me out of the young millenial city-dweller-from-an-upper-middle-class-family “liberal-by-default” haze), and have read various opinions about crypto. Excuse me if this is somewhat incoherent, but anyway, I just wonder what anybody thinks about this.

  87. Clay, well, thirty Democratic members of the House have already announced that they won’t be running for reelection this year, so I think somebody sees the writing on the wall.

    Heliconia, yes, I was remembering that chart too. The Aries ingress chart for the US isn’t promising, either!

    Lydia, if I had an clear answer to that, I’d be much less unsettled by the whole business. I know a lot of people who were loudly insisting that you can’t trust Big Pharma and you can’t trust the corporate media — and then all of a sudden they were loudly insisting that you have to trust everything Big Pharma and the corporate media were saying about the Covid vaccines. It was frankly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen, watching people’s brains switch off like that, and watching them turn their back on their own beliefs and do what they were told to do. What differentiates those who did that from those who didn’t? In some cases I can answer that, but in others, I have no idea.

    Dev, I’d suggest that it’s long past time that each of us realizes that the words “we should all be involved” are a waste of breath at best and a power trip at worst. No, there is nothing in the whole universe in which we should all be involved. If you feel that your path calls you to raise the energetic vibrations of humanity and the earth, great — go ye forth and do that thing, and accept that it’s your personal calling and not something you can expect anyone else to share. That’s the lesson of the Aquarian age, ruled as it is by Uranus, the planet of unique individuality: your path is your path, and nobody else’s.

    Frank, thank you very much for this!

    Siliconguy, funny! It may be sinking in that they’re going to run out of Boomers who chug wine to deal with the mess they’ve made of their lives. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of that generation, and the only reason I don’t chug wine is that I managed to avoid said mess-making activity.)

    Nathanael, fascinating! I wish I could help you; most of my early 20th century reading focuses on the 1920s, with F. Scott Fitzgerald a special favorite.

    Patricia M, thank you. Below replacement rate, in other words.

    Phutatorius, thank you for both of these.

    Peter, thanks for this.

    Piper, it’s always been this way. The one thing that makes the current situation unusual is that lots of cheap energy have made it possible for the middle/managerial/salary class to balloon to unprecedented size and influence. As that goes away, a lot of office fauna are facing a really rough descent.

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

    Dennis, er, say what? You’re repeating a crock of crap that was invented by the Tsarist Russian secret police more than a century ago and has been passed on by the uninformed ever since. I’d encourage you to read Norman Cohn’s Warrant for Genocide to get some sense of the reality behind the ravings, and then consider visiting a public event at a Masonic lodge someday, to get past the nonsense and find out something about who and what Masons actually are. For your information, most Masons in the US these days are working class Protestant Christians, every meeting begins with the Pledge of Allegiance, and there hasn’t been a Mason in the White House since Gerald Ford. (And you might want to ask yourself who is distracting working class people from the real issues they’re facing by pushing this same old line of horse manure…)

    Stellarwind, thanks for this.

    Jastin, write down everything that comes up, and see what else you remember. It’s a slow process.

    Materia, yes, I heard about that. My guess is that most of what it produced was sticky fingers, but you never know.

    Sam, I’m going to encourage you to do your own research. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the medical industry in the US busts people all the time for “practicing medicine without a license,” which basically means whatever they say it means. I’m not willing to see that happen here — since, you know, I have no way of knowing if you’re legit, or if you’re doing what some MDs are known to do and fishing for suckers who can be slapped with charges.

    Aldarion, thanks for this. That makes a great deal of sense.

    Patricia M, one of the reasons I find Tolkien increasingly hard to read these days is that the only thing that motivates his main villains is the fact that his plot requires them.

    Pierre, interesting. I wish you luck!

    Memoria, everything I’ve heard about cryptocurrency to date screams “Ponzi scheme!” to me, but I admit I haven’t really looked into it.

  88. The Russian invasion of Ukraine just kicked off.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10545389/BREAKING-NEWS-Explosions-heard-Ukraine-port-city-Mariupol.html

    https://www.snafu-solomon.com/2022/02/getting-reports-that-putin-says-hes.html

    https://twitter.com/Caucasuswar/status/1496683512920956928

    This going to get really ugly. We’ve had nearly three decades of predatory and warmongering behavior directed at Russia since the fall of the USSR by our elites in Washington D.C. Now the Russian military is showing us why bear baiting is the world’s most dangerous and idiotic sport. Blowback doesn’t begin to describe what is happening.

  89. JMG and Slithy Toves:

    I have a data point of this thing where many PMC people think that what they say makes reality, not reality. Maybe as you say definitional collapse or the end game of reason

    It is all over. I have been seeing it in dealing with my insurance company, and other fire survivors report this also. So many insurance adjusters seem to have this, and the supervisors, the industry likely. This is more than just trying to not pay out or trying to frame it their way. That has gone on in the past, and you could correct them and point out reality/facts.

    What I am seeing is.. well it makes you crazy. As an analogy, used to be they would say “it’s night” and you would point out, no, you are mistaken, the sun is out, there for it is day, and they would have to concede the point. Now, they will just keep repeating the fantasy. For a year, emails every two weeks, various ways of trying to reframe so they will understand. It is becoming so clear, they obviously think that they are making the reality. If they say it, it is so.

    I feel like all the major bureaucracies/institutions are going this way, many talked about here, but add insurance to your list.

    I dont think I explained it well, I can see the connections but cant express it

  90. Sam-Dr. Andrew Weil wrote a survey of several alternative healing methods, _Health and Healing_. I think it had a list of sources for more research. I kind of lost respect for Weil when he started peddling cosmetics and supplements, but his earlier work was an interesting blend of conventional medical training and a willingness to explore other methods.

    re wine–there are so many new products competing in the alcohol market: alcoholic soft drinks such as ginger beer and root beer, alcohol seltzers, ciders and related products, premixed cocktails. And, of course, traditional drinks like beer and ale. I think that some consumers are also overwhelmed by the sheer number of brands and varieties of wine. And I think wine is being overproduced. I live in California and wine grapes are being planted outside the traditional areas. Australia, South Africa and other nations have entered the market. I have wondered for some years when the market would be saturated, given that almost 1/4 of the world population is Muslim, forbidden wine, and 1/3 of Americans don’t drink at all.

    Has anyone followed the San Francisco school board recall? Three ‘progressives’ kicked off in +70% votes. A number of issues. Main one was working on a plan to rename 40+ schools instead of working on a plan to reopen schools. Another issue was a plan for lottery admission to prestigious Loyola High School to replace grades and test scores. This offended alumni and parents of students hoping for admission, especially Asian parents. Apparently accusing Asians of ‘white privilege’ tees them off. There were also violations of sunshine laws that require public meetings. Much of this similar to the Loudoun Count, Virginia elections documented by Matt Taibbi. Much media gasping at the thought that true blue SF would toss out these Woke board members.

    Rita

  91. Dear goat lady (first post)
    We got two male goats several months ago, both rather large. They tore down our fences in search of leaves etc. Had to rehome them to the WA Goat rescue place. Never again, although they were quite sweet and affectionate. Now our four legged babies are just dogs.
    We went through several years of llamas and mammoth donkeys but we are older and wiser now.

  92. Dear JMG,

    After much brooding over and hard questioning I came to a conclusion. I’ve been pondering about this ever since I got my first “what is happening” reaction about when I was grown up enough to reflect upon things but I didn’t know there was a term. Much confusion has surrounded some areas of life that leave me with a big question mark in my head as if there was a sound I couldn’t hear. It seems to me though, after my girlfriend said: my therapist thinks you’ve got Asperger’s syndrome that that is what it is. To me that was the final clue. If somebody else can say that, without me suggesting it and I’ve suspected it for a while then it must be it.

    I’ve met this with some anger to be honest. Looking back at my journal I can see it written all over. But with a curious approach since I’ve been trying to teach myself to do the things I clearly can’t know how to do and my attempts at it are weirdly procedural. If someone does this then try this if that doesn’t work then do this if that fails then smile and laugh that removes the tension from the air. If someone bursts crying and you “hear nothing” don’t engage with them to figure out what is happening, that makes them cry more. Don’t take peoples words for what they say, they rarely mean the words but rather they are trying to fit a feeling into language so dont point out the mistakes in their logic, that gets them really angry. And so. It is obvious that I can’t naturally do it and somehow it just occurred to me that it is because I just can’t tune into that and that is why people seem to do it so naturally. “Who taught you that?” “Why is everyone looking at me? “Oh they must find it odd that I suddenly decided to pull out my crocheting kit in the middle of it” I’ve asked several times.

    I think most of my life I’ve dealt with this just by retreating into solitude. But is there anything that helped you put into perspective and words Asperger’s syndrome and how to handle social situations? Some books perhaps? It seems though, that for occult study there are some advantages.

  93. Hi,

    I’m hoping to contact someone visiting this forum who goes by the name ‘gnat’.

    gnat posted in the comments of the Introduction to the Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic a link to an online version of the original French version of the text (https://www.ecosophia.net/the-doctrine-of-high-magic-introduction/ comment # 43)

    I would be very grateful if I could get the electronic version of the French text that you uploaded to readlang.com. I would like to print it and study the DRHM from the printed French version. I don’t mind doing the formatting myself.

    I managed to convert the French version at archive.org to Word, but the OCR is full of flaws and it’s taking me ages to proofread it.

    f you could post it somewhere online or contact me on hpretorius at protonmail dot com, I would be very grateful.

    Thanks
    Beginner French

  94. Hi JMG, I just finished reading your book on polytheism. I found it to be a riveting read, but was left wondering how your arguments fit into the large discussion of religious studies. I read through your bibliography but wondered if you had any suggestions regarding where to turn to for a rigorous discussion regarding your book. Do you have any suggestions on books or articles to tackle? I am considering going for a masters in religious studies and felt your book would lead the way into a more meaningful and detailed discussion. Thanks 🙂

  95. @teresa from hershey, thanks so much, this is a brilliant idea at least for the short term. (Not sure what Amazon’s long term future is.) I checked out your book as well— looks interesting, I do believe I’ll give it a whirl. By the way, do you happen to know if there is there any problem with simply printing the pdf, or is re-formatting important for some reason?

    @Andy and @methylethyl, thanks for the heads up on Brother brand. It turns out that their international headquarters is more or less in my neck of the woods! And Andy, thanks for the tips on how to make books last.

    @PatriciaT and @RandomActsOfKarma, it looks like everyone is agreed that laser is the way to go. Thanks, so much unanimity in responses makes the choice easy.

  96. @Pierre #100

    Any party with that platform would get my vote in every election.

    There seem to be a lot of us disenfranchised left-libertarian folks. I wonder how long it will be before a party or candidate tries to reach out to us…

  97. Materia Indigo (no. 94), the Episcopalians must have changed their prayerbook again.

    Ha ha! But seriously, no, I hadn’t heard of it, but “Know Your Meme” has:

    https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/corona-chan

    I’d heard of Pepe being venerated through self-abuse as a form of “meme magic,” and suspect that 4chan got the idea from Alan Moore. (It seems that 4chan is also the origin of this Corona-chan character.)

  98. JMG and Bai Dawei, I doubt I’d actually attract much interest, but it does seem like it could be a fun exercise to expand the concept. Need something catchier than “systemic chronocentrism,” though.

    atmospheric river (#104), I suspect that idea ultimately crept in from New Thought, but there’s also at least some evidence that pomo word-magic is a predictable reaction to the recognition that meaning isn’t absolute or pre-given; the sort of realization that Humpty Dumpty had in Through the Looking-Glass. It’s kind of a phase you hopefully grow out of, but we never really developed a way to help people do that, and enough people have reached that phase that it’s now a society-wide crisis. (I don’t agree with Ken Wilber on much, but by golly was he right about the “mean green meme.”)

  99. Expanding on my thought last week of collapse now and enjoy the rush, what are some things you do to make collapse prettier?

    For example, I need to go harvest some withies for baskets, it’s the season I was taught to do that in, though it’s been at least three decades since I last did basket weaving, and I’ll surely be rusty. But willow and dogwood baskets are much prettier for laundry than plastic are, and can hardly break faster no matter how badly I make them.

    I think some folks think of harder times and remember the rather horrid and worn seventies aesthetics that lingered into our childhoods, while for other folks those lovely, earthy seventies asthetics are comforting and bring back the best if memories. There are many options available to the early collapsers in salvaging through estate and garage sales, as well as making things ourselves.

    What are you doing to make your collapses more beautiful?

  100. @Frank Kaminski For me it’s “Aurora” by Kim Stanley Robinson. Haven’t read that many though!

  101. Morning John,
    With Putin’s full invasion of Ukraine this morning, what’s your take on this latest development? Would you consider doing an astrology chart for Moscow, perhaps based on the invasion time, to get a feel for how this may go?
    Regards Averagejoe

  102. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is another sign of the decline of U.S. dominance in the world. In recent days, I’ve seen many comments coming from the U.S. portraying the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as a battle between Biden and Putin.The first comment in this post, by Sardaukar, mentioning the Russian invasion, blames 30 years of U.S. policy and gives the impression that it was not Ukraine that was attacked, but e.g. Alaska. I believe that this conflict started not because of US policy towards Russia, but in spite of it, and today Putin shows how little he cares about the policy of the weakening US. Russia wants to subjugate its neighbor and strengthen its sphere of influence in Europe. I recommend to the American commentariat to step out of the Americocentric bubble for a moment and notice that this war is taking place…. in Europe not North America.

  103. @CR Patiño
    Thank you for sharing your song! The lyrics are lovely, even in translation 🙂

  104. Atmospheric river re: definitional collapse. When dealing with unemployment for the self-employed, as a partial wage earner I had to first prove that I was ineligible for regular unemployment. I had to first apply for regular unemployment, was rejected and appealed (said appeal delayed the process but helped me make may point in the end, but I digress….). Then the guy from self-employed unemployment insisted that the previous two findings that I was “ineligible” (for regular unemployment) actually meant I was “eligible” and mumbled four words like an incantation when ever I challenged him. Eventually I prevailed and he found that it is indeed daylight at noon…… Berserker

  105. @Andrew001 #11
    “Really, the right seems to understand the word to mean anything they don’t like”

    The same applies to the “left” who consider everything they don´t like fascist or Nazi. This does not seem to be a new phenomenon, as George Orwell already complained in the 1940s that fascist is now a smear word devoid of any meaning.

    I was also sometimes the target of this smear word in the context of grammar and music. When I insisted on using the correct grammar, I was often called a grammar Nazi. When I told somebody that the music they presented to me sucked, I was called a music Nazi. So basically, if you insist on clear communication and don´t like everything regardless of quality, you are a Nazi.

    According to leftist opinion, whole parts of Germany are now inhabited by Nazis due to the high percentage of AfD voters. I visited the beautiful town Dresden once. When I told it to my friends, I heard comments that I have visited Nazi country, which is forbidden.

    So it seems that this is a problem going in both directions, but since the so called “left” is currently in power, it is much more dangerous for yourself to be called a Nazi than a Socialist.

  106. @Jessica

    I think you’re mistakenly addressing me, as I did not comment about India’s independence movement, rather, it was another person who did so.

    @JMG and commentariat

    To all those with expertise in neural networks and deep learning – is it possible to build neural networks as a standalone hardware without the use of computers? I’m asking this because I read a short book called ‘Neural Networks for Electronics Hobbyists: A Non-Technical Project-Based Introduction’, in which the author guides the reader towards building a neural network on a breadboard using resistors, op-amps and other common electronic components, and also training the network to solve a 3rd degree equation (disclaimer: I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know how it works out in practice). If this can be done without laptops, then can this be done in a low-tech setting in the deindustrial future? I think it can, if only we manage to find a low-tech way to circumvent around the use of ICs like op-amps, but I may be wrong, so I’d like to read any different perspectives.

    What interests me is that if this can be done for a 3rd degree equation, then maybe it can be done for the Lorenz system, or other chaotic systems too? To my mind, neural networks, if salvageable and feasible to make in an ecotechnic society, are worth passing down to future civilizations, hence this question.

  107. Hi John Michael,

    My gut feeling suggests that in order to move in a different direction, failure has to occur and be impossible to ignore or blithely explain away. And the way things are going with that giant mains system, that’s what will happen. Blind Freddy could see that one coming.

    Speaking of which, a little whisper suggests to me that one of the reasons behind today’s events is a further dismantling of the SWIFT system of international settlements. I dunno man, but the media feeds us horse poop, and in between the manure you get to sometimes glimpse the inner workings. You know what this means don’t you? And it is not as if global trade hadn’t been heading in that direction recently. This could be another nail in the coffin. Dunno.

    On the other hand, related to the last paragraph: Old and long dead Sun Tzu always advised to provide an out for an enemy. And an honourable out in defeat is not a bad outcome, and also a mark of respect.

    What interesting times that we live in. You may have missed this one: China’s new ambassador says Beijing willing to go ‘halfway’ to repair diplomatic relations with Australia.

    Events are moving faster than my limited brain can take them in. 🙂

    Cheers

    Chris

  108. Hello JMG and fellow commenters,

    @Memoria #101

    I happen to have put some time and effort in researching blockchain matters in my previous job so I may give a try answering to you with information, thoughts and opinions.

    First, facts. blockchain is a technology to share transactional data in a decentralized way i.e. there’s no “authority figure” who acknowledge if a transaction is valid or not. It’s pretty tricky to operate and fun to study from a computer science point of view but it lacks direct usages either industrial or mundane other technologies can have like let’s say internal combustion engine. The only interesting perk of blockchain is that data it contains are really unforgeable once they’ve been validated.

    Because money heavily uses transactions, some people tried to set up a monetary system based on the blockchain, a cryptocurrency. It’s called cryptographic blockchain sometimes needs actors to perform some kind of reversing some cryptographic function to be able to acknowledge transactions, that’s how it works i.e. prove you’ve done your homework (proof of work) and you get entitled to have “skin in the game”. Machines who do this calculation are called “miners” because each time they succeed in validating a transaction, they got rewarded by some cryptocurrency.

    Several schemes have been devised (ethereum and so on) but the very basic principles are the same.

    Second, thoughts. Some people have noticed how much energy it takes to run hundreds of specialized computers to reverse cryptographic function making a crypto currency no more than a derived asset backed by the ability of an electrical grid to produce enough current. I got farther and said the bitcoin was indeed backed by China’s coal plants. It was back in 2012. Since then, China has forbidden bitcoins mining on a large scale and miners went elsewhere where cheap electricity could still be found and local authorities would let them do. As I left this field of research I don’t know where and I honestly don’t care that much. But this made some people to devise another kind of proof for acknowledging transactions: the proof of stake. Prove me you’ve got “skin in the game” i.e. something to lose if you mess up and you’re entitled to get some work in the currency network (that’s the proof of work reversed). Took less energy but such networks require participants to buy a stack of coins before sitting at the table. It was mostly aimed at financial institutions like banks or funds. It has its hour of glory until banks and the like figured out they had no need for that being ok with their own IT systems to acknowledge transactions on a centralized fashion.
    There come the NFT, the Non-Fongible-Token which is a contract backed by a blockchain but without any characteristics of a currency. By giving real money to an NFT operator, you get one NFT that grants you a proof of stake but nothing else. Some “artists” are trying to make these NFT accepted as proof of ownership of some virtual “art”.

    Last, opinions. Blockchain is a lab attraction, no more. It’s convenient to model some game theory concepts but as an effective tools, it’s bulky and doesn’t not come cheap. As an engineer, I would never advice anybody to build a system based on it. Alternatives are just cheaper, more simple and effective.

    I don’t agree with John Michael that cryptocurrencies are Ponzi schemes, they’re no more Ponzi schemes than actual credit-backed currencies (which are real Ponzi schemes by the way) because newly arrived shareholders do not repay the ROI promised to oldest shareholders. For instance, bitcoins miners get the same share of bitcoins left to be created out of thin air (there’s a fixed amount that cannot be changed because its value is in the blockchain itself).

    The problem with crypto-currencies, NFT and all blockchain backed virtual assets is that they lack common recognition and trust. To me, there will always be better investment opportunities.

    Now is my question for John Michael’s open post.

    You were saying some time ago about new souls being in dire need for that lot of newly born humans and you were wondering with others where do these souls come. Could it be the large scale slaugther of domestic animals (from poultry to cattle)? In that case, the mass extinction of birds, reptils and mammals couldn’t also provide souls? I sure I don’t put it correctly but if by chance you understand what I’m talking about I’d be delighted with the answer.

  109. As Sardaukar #103 mentioned, the Ukraine situation is worsening by the hour. It looks to me like the West in general and NATO in particular, have turned a tough but reasonable man – there is a picture of a boyish-looking Putin alongside Clinton in 1998 at a time when he enquired about Russia joining NATO – into an infuriated dictator who is quite willing to be agressive and brutal. I can only assume that when he first came to power Western capitalists thought he would be another soft touch who could be pushed around while they continued asset-stripping the country, having run short of targets elsewhere. Now, all leaders of the sort that backed that strategy are screaming at the result of their bad judgement. Do you think the result of this in terms of rocketing oil and gas prices will bring forward the West’s next big financial crisis – forecast by the Elliot Wave fans for the end of this decade – and step down in living standards?

  110. Bei Dawei, the date just seems too perfect to ignore. Could have been one day later or earlier (they were poking fun at Biden just the week before, saying “Wars in Europe don’t start on Wednesdays). On the other hand, today, the start of actual war, is a date that sums up to 5. Esoteric as many Russians are, I doubt there is nothing in it.

  111. Dear John Michael and Everyone,

    Thank you for this forum!! A question for JMG and the group, please.

    What is the word or phrase that describes the moment when a person or character crosses onto a side path and their life goes off in an unexpected direction?

    This happens in both fiction and personal realities.

    The opera Tales of Hoffman begins with a half-dead, drunken Hoffman who is saved by a Muse that travels with him as he burns through his karma and then joins her so that she may inspire his poetry. So, that moment when the Muse snatches him away from his sad fate and changes his destiny…

    Anyone who’s seen the Tilda Swinton movie “Julia” may recall the moment when she falls sleep standing up in the nightclub – from that early screen her life changes and changes and then the plot leaves us lost in Mexico without a clue as to where Julia and the boy are actually going. So, that moment when she loses consciousness and destiny seems to intervene…

    I have these moments as well, and I’m guessing that other people do, too. One example – I had a minor adventure that began with a road sign and a snap decision, took me deep into the forest, found me well accommodated, and brought me full circle as I sighted an out of place advertisement on my way back home. The sense of going off the main path, traveling, and then returning was clear in my perception. So the moment that side path began is called…

    Is there a word or phrase for this moment, the moment that ones steps off the path (aware or not) and then either travels ever onwards or returns?

    Stay Wonderful,
    Citrine Fragrant Squid

  112. As far as printers, many years ago, 10 or more, I got tired of inkjets, and got a single color laser printer. It’s still chugging along. Then I needed a copy, scan, print unit because I was executor of Mom’s estate, so I bought a color laser multifunction unit. Still has plenty of toner left almost 4 years later. An ink jet would have dried up, and of course needed a lot of new cartridges. I did find out, with ink jets, that no mater what is claimed, only the factory ink really works. Then there is the head cleaning that happens every time you start an inkjet.

  113. Nathanael Bonnell #83, on US labour history:
    Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs
    Strike! by Jeremy Brecher
    From Blackjacks to Briefcases by Robert Michael Smith
    Strikebreaking and Intimidation by Stephen H Norwood
    Fighting Back by John Newsinger (haven’t read this yet but his other books are excellent)

    As you’re interested in adult education, or if you want your character to go to Britain at any point:
    The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes by Jonathan Rose (one of the best books I’ve ever read)

    Also a book from an Open University course I did:
    American Cities and Technology by Gerrylynn K Roberts and Philip Steadman

  114. @JimOfOlym, #107 – we started up the learning curve with goats back in the spring of ’16, and the reason I am keeping a second billy is because my original stinky boy turns ten years old later this spring. While there are probably more lessons to be had, I like to think I am at a stage where I have half a clue, especially on fencing these escape artists. 😉

  115. @ Mark L #112, Pierre #100

    Re the disenfranchised (civil-)libertarian left

    I’m in the same boat.

  116. Hey JMG,

    I’ve got -31F here this morning on the Iron Range of Minnesota. The weather, as expected with climate changing, has been very unusual. We had the latest first frost I remember, coming on October 18th, and this was only the second time in twenty years I have seen the ground free of snow a week before Christmas (that changed a few hours later as the incredibly heavy rain which had melted the snow turned into snow). January and February have been routinely below average. It really is hard to know what to expect, although the Old Farmers Almanac has once again been pretty accurate with its forecasts.

    The imagination essays and my possible upcoming move have had me thinking a lot about the housing situation. With rents and mortgages quickly getting out of reach for the average person something has to change. There has been the tiny house trend, and I am seeing people reusing salvageable building materials to build their own places, which is a great idea but just the salvaging alone could become a full-time job to get what a person needed to make a house. Do you have in mind any historical parallels to how people dealt with similar housing situations?

  117. I picked up Illes “Encyclopedia of Spirits” with thoughts toward choosing which ones I might set up on my home altar. I tend to start with personalities and practices instead of inquiring which people, if any, still venerate a deity. I subscribe to the idea that egregores are created whenever people work together in a tribal fashion, but I don’t subscribe to the idea that the egregores ever go away because people have stopped believing in them.

    And so I very quietly believe there is a sort of demon of Facebook, and of Disney, and other big corporate entities. Why not? Spirituality gets very boring without being interactive.

    I’ve never joined a coven and I’ve never been initiated. I’ve simply read too much and I’m a bit of a jerk about it. As a Muslim or a Buddhist I think I’d find people who had read comparable amounts, but among occultists? Nah.

    I was expecting more gods of the North wind, you know? More big, angry Kolschei, Loki, sort of winter gods! But there were more snow queen types than gods of blizzards.

    My big internal theosophical debate is whether I can give energy to egregores/gods by accident? Could it be that “intent” is really everything, as some people so vehemently insist? But I’ve always believed in the Drunkard’s Walk when it comes to religion. Things are very random. Or else how could I mean one goddess but be calling on another so much? Maybe as mages get more adept we get more ability to specify where our energies go, too. What do you think, JMG? Or anyone, still reading?

  118. I’ve been out on the Navajo res sheep herding, far enough out that I haven’t had news or media for about three weeks. Coming back it seems like a lot of the same blah blah blah, and everything feels distant. Where I live the mountains are high and the emperor is far away. Canada or Russia or somebody could kick off something with big ripples, but after a three week break from the news it just feels like so much hype.

    That being said the pinon and juniper trees of the area I visit are starting to drought out, turn orange. Very wack. The coal mine where I visited is closed, and its big machinery is getting cut up for the scrap yards, a guy I knew which was a mine electrition is making fat stacks of money plugging together solar panels outside of Vegas now. No plans to store it, the logic is that all the power goes to AC which is daytime clutch. More than none logic. But the desert south west is a rarely solar power packed area, I do be wondering about them dust storms though.

    The one way I really feel the crazy world local on this high and distant mountain is the way that folk of the management level are being fools. There’s a gas station closed in my area, this is weird story, an acquaintance worked there and was complaining to the boss that a new employee was seriously vandalizing the bathrooms and the food counter. So the boss comes up with a logical solution I’ve only heard of from parents trying to force their eldest to do the job for them, since my acquaintance was the person who had a problem with newbie, it was her job to clean the bathroom. She instead decided to quit, and so did her husband, and obviously newbie wasn’t going to keep the whole thing going and ‘boss’ ain’t worth the light his shadow blocks, so the whole station closed and was sold to become a second hand store.

    Other manager issues, my good buddy has a shop near a canal, built with permission of the regions irrigation boss of X years ago. Current irritation guy wants to doze the shop so they can re work the canal. Thing is, my buddy is the only guy on that canal, and gets water just fine already, to the very limited degree he uses any for irrigation, he ain’t a farmer anyway. The shop is his everything, he basically lives there smiting and crafting things. But the irritation guy might or might not have the easement rights to do it, because the details of the original permission to build the shop are not clear to me.

    In the three days I’ve come back those are two of nearly a dozen such stories of little dictators goose stepping way out of line. I wonder if some stress factor is causing the dumb to rise to these surface tantrums like a pimple nearing the climax of its life cycle.

  119. Litter:
    Yes, there is a lot more of it here where I live in D.C. We were told that people were quitting in droves, who handled garbage, etc. Then, I realized how widespread the problem is.

    I believe that people are simply passed caring. They are worn out. It seems that whatever you go, people are just not doing their jobs.

    I have been in a circle with Best Buy over getting a dishwasher installed. I have talked to 8 people over nine days, on the phone. I have a brain injury and phones upset the brain, but I had to deal with these people, over and over and over and over and over…. I believe that everyone is simply going through the motions of doing.

    Litter is the first sign of people falling apart.

    Then there is the odd ritual of mothers standing in football fields screaming their heads off in frustration over the situations they find themselves in – i.e. Covid, etc, etc, etc.

  120. Outer space aliens and imagination.

    I have an old copy of “Men, Martians, and Machines” written in the 1950s. The Martians are a hoot. They are tentacled beings who love chess and modern art. (The more lurid the colors, the more they love it). They dislike humans even though they will work with them. Humans stink the place up and breathe thick air. The Martians are not above letting the humans know that.

    I think that the Martians are not any safe middle-class anything like the later Star Trek, etc aliens.

  121. Archetypes are popping up everywhere at the moment, so I’m diving deeper into the subject.

    1. Any suggestions for books about archetypes?
    Jung’s “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious” seems like a good one but I haven’t read it yet. The work of James Hillman also seems interesting. I recently read “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” by Moore & Gillette. It was a nice read but too much putting archetypes in boxes for my taste.

    2. Simon Sheridan wrote an interesting series of blog posts on corona and one of his ideas is that the archetype of the Devouring Mother might play a part. Any thought on this?
    http://simonsheridan.me/covid-19/the-coronapocalypse-part-26-the-devouring-mother/

    3. Active imagination is something that resonates with me, especially in the form of Inner Council Work.
    (see for example the last paragraph here: https://www.brianjames.ca/journal/inner-council-work ) Have you got any experience with active imagination or inner council work? Any tips or insights you want to share?

    4. On the other blog you recently said something like that Jung’s view on archetypes were colored by the time and place he lived in. And I saw a clip recently where Jordan Peterson said that Jung’s perspective on archetypes was a bit skewed because he had a lot of artistic clients and that more business type people, for example, have other archetypes. In how far do you think archetypes are different in people?

    5. Many questions here so I understand if you cannot answer them all. It seems more like a subject for a book. Have you ever thought about writing a book about archetypes?

  122. Si Memoria Ministrat (101):

    I’ve read up a bit on Crypto. Also have about a thousand bucks invested in Crypto (presently worth $440. That thousand was what I was willing to experiment with, so no laughter at me please.).

    Anyway, from what I can tell, Corporate America (with Silicon Valley) is trying to create a set of currencies independent of any sort of Government. They’re working to monetize every internet action (their term is “token,” you know what THAT means), the carrot is the idea of “Owning the transactions” and the stick is FOMO (with Google, Tesla and Apple in mid-2001 as the examples). Don’t think they have enough time to get away with it (all the shortages), but lots of victims will find themselves out much more than the 1,000 I threw at it.

    As for your Money Working, it sounds like you’re at the temptation phase of the working. Between what I’ve observed and what I’ve done (I’ve done a few workings over the years – I may have been turned off by some of the practitioners, but I also gained a deep respect for the crafts back in the Early’90s), the first reaction seems to be the “easy fulfillment” option which looks good and FEELS “good” but ends up being the trap. Resist that, and the real work starts – it’s slow and takes its sweet time, but the payoff comes. I’ve seen too many people talk about their spells cast for money only for them to become Amway, Herbalife and kM distributors, and people go for 30 years after a spell cast before it came through for them.

    So I say : Resist the MLM, the real working is ahead (My experience, JMG probably has more experience and can correct me if needed).

  123. This is potentially one of the weirdest articles I have ever read, and I feel that is saying something after the past two years.

    The local Stephenville council, the Provincial Transport Authority, several airlines, Amazon (name-dropped by a former Councillor) all deny interviews, but confirm they’re onboard. FOIA requests turn up no emails between anyone in the company and any government body. But the dude, who was once living on Kraft Dinner and is now wealthy beyond measure – by doing what is not clear- says he’s going to buy a disused airport, then use drones that don’t exist, to deliver food to the North, and bring in airlines again – most of which have never flown there before.

    Mystery man, mystery plan: Questions abound on Stephenville Airport acquisition.

    “The dozens of people assembled inside the small airport terminal in Stephenville, N.L., rose to mark the good news. Applause echoed off unused airline customer-service counters and unstaffed rental car kiosks.

    A $200-million investment into airport infrastructure and the community. A plan to manufacture cargo drones, “some of the biggest in the world.” The return of major airlines, and scheduled passenger service. The creation of thousands of jobs.

    All this, using the Dymond Group of Companies’ own cash.

    A key component of the Dymond Group’s pitch for Stephenville is the creation of a drone manufacturing facility.

    “Our drones are some of the biggest in the world,” Carl Dymond said at September’s announcement — about 117 feet wide, 80 feet long, carrying 52,000 pounds of cargo.

    At this point, those drones don’t actually exist. But in an interview with CBC News last month, Dymond said he “will be flying these in 2025.””

    I welcome any and all theories up to this is the most blatant comic book supervillain “secret” base plan I’ve ever seen.

  124. Hello All,

    I thought I would share with you the results of a divination. It was a 3-card tarot reading regarding the future of Faustian civilization in America. Spengler’s theses are a recurring topic here so I felt it would be of interest to you all.

    I set it up like so, the three cards would represent past – present – future. The reading was: Page of Cups – Fool – Star. All upright.

    This is very interesting because you will note that Faustian civilization came to America — that is, it was wholly settled, the frontier closed, and the society urbanized — around the time that the Occult Revival says that the Piscean Age began its transition to the Aquarian Age. Note the alignment of the reading: Past position is a water card, and the present and future are air cards (the elements of Pisces and Aquarius respectively).

    Page of Cups would suggest a youth, with much potential and creativity. This would, in my opinion, signify the early US, the time from first settlement of colonies to the inception of civilization. To an extent we have examined this period on Ecosophia.

    Fool in the present position suggests to me an extended period of instability and change. It suggests that whatever America was in the past, this is a time when it will become something else again. You might think of it as a new incarnation or realignment.

    Star in the future position, however, does not imply a bad outcome in the end. This is an indication of hopeful outlook. I note that the astrological correspondence of Star is Aquarius itself. It could be saying that America will be a key player in the dawning Aquarian Age, or it will be integrated with it at least. After, that is, the current situation stabilizes a bit. Also, Aquarius being a fixed/solid energy, it suggests America developing its own durable identity at some point in the future.

    Note that air signs are often associated with cultural output as well, in a mundane sense. Perhaps America will experience a cultural renaissance of sorts in the coming years, partly inspired by current troubles.

    Overall, not such a bad reading. Perhaps it will help to keep things in perspective at least.

    Until next time,
    -DA777

  125. @SiliconGuy #81 – ROFL…. not a Millennial, buy glad to oblige them! Red, white, or rose?

  126. @Nathanael Bonnell – for starters

    Anne of Green Gables
    Betsy, Tacy, and Tib
    The Moffats (series)

  127. @Pierre #100: I would add two things to that party’s platform. The first would be no compelled speech, whether it be forcing kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school to forcing people to use “preferred pronouns” and ignore what their eyes are telling them. The second would be reproductive freedom for all adults (with women being able to abort prior to the fetus becoming viable outside the womb). I am politically homeless right now because the Left is big on compelling speech and the Right is big on controlling women’s reproduction. But until there’s a decent alternative to either party, I have to stick to the Democrats because at least they wouldn’t make me carry an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy. If the Republicans would keep their noses out of the bedroom and the gynecologist’s office I would gladly vote for them.

  128. Re: Russia

    Oh boy, it happened! It proves that if you continuously poke the sleeping bear, it will eventually wake up and eat you. It is tragic but predictable. I don’t think a complete occupation of Ukraine will happen. It’s going to be a repeat of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war when Russia decimated Georgian military forces and then retreated to its territory. My opinion, of course. Biden promised powerful sanctions against Russia but no word of military involvement.

    Now let’s discuss the real winner of the Biden presidency – it’s Jimmy Carter, whom nobody will call the worst president ever again. 😉

  129. My big question about the War on Trucks is – who is going to be willing to haul anything into or out of Canada ever again and at what rate? Show of hands – does any Canadian feel like paying for all the training and certs to drive a big rig right now? Why? Repressive regimes get really good at telling their people “no” but getting those same people to do anything of their own free will?

    And should we talk about how the rumored reason for Castreau to have dropped his tinpot dictator role suddenly has to do with the banksters getting antsy about bank runs and spooked depositors?

  130. Thanks John for your comments on the child-nightmare issue; they make good sense to me. One problem remains for me: rather than why I had the nightmares, it’s now “Why did they stop?” Still, maybe the obvious and humdrum answer to that is that as one grows older one is likely to get more out of touch with one’s pre-life record in those “inner planes”, and if that’s the case I can see there’s a lot to be said for the “fade into the light of common day” as Wordsworth puts it. Trailing clouds of glory is fine, but trailing shoggoth-shapes is not.

  131. What utopian novels have you read? Obviously Ecotopia as Retrotopia is so closely based on it. Any others? Did you think any did a better job than others, or any were egregiously bad?

    I’ve got a load of them (in the order they’re in on my bookshelf):
    All the Culture novels by Iain M Banks (The Player of Games and Look to Windward are particular favourites)
    The Iron Heel by Jack London (a dystopia but with footnotes from a utopia)
    News From Nowhere by William Morris
    Island by Aldous Huxley
    The Disposessed by Ursula K LeGuin
    The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
    Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach
    Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy
    Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson
    The Last Capitalist by Steve Cullen
    Red Star by Alexander Bogdanov

  132. Starting to feel like Twilights Last Gleaming may be a manual for the future/current events. The players and names were just changed to protect the incompetent/innocent. Thanks for helping us all see with eyes open to more than just what is taught to us in school.

  133. An observation, a question, and a poem (edited for this blog):

    Saw news this morning of conversations former President Trump had going into the election re his desire to pull out of NATO.

    Why is it that the only person who seems to be willing to do the things this country needs to step back from our crumbling empire is a man who exhibits a grade school understanding of the Constitution?

    ***

    COMMENTARY ON THE PRESENT SITUTATION FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A CERTAIN CHINESE PHILOSOPHER

    Clutching and grasping, empires rise.
    Grasping and clutching, empires fall.
    As Lin Chi would say,
    Sh– rolls downhill.

  134. John – Thank you for the response. You said: “That’s the lesson of the Aquarian age, ruled as it is by Uranus, the planet of unique individuality: your path is your path, and nobody else’s.” It is observations such as this that make me want to look into astrology etc. further for more understanding of these larger forces and their effects. Did you have any book recommendations to get me started in that area? It is often difficult to discern the nonsensical sources from the legitimate sources these days, and I am too long in the tooth to flounder around for years trying to find reliable sources. I know you have probably recommended books in this area in your previous blogs – however, I have been following your Archdruid blog for over a decade, but I only discovered your Dreamwidth site in the past year or so (where this topic probably would have appeared discussed more in depth).

  135. @Vala #149: I second those additions to the platform. We might have to be delicate as to how we define reproductive freedom so that some of those who feel any abortion is morally wrong might still be willing to vote for our candidates. Something along the lines of “safe, legal, and rare” rather than “shout your abortion.” And maybe it wouldn’t actually be that rare but sufficiently private and out of sight that folks who wanted to could pretend it wasn’t happening.

    Re: War in Ukraine
    Yikes! I’ll add to the voices asking for JMG’s perspective on what might come next here. It will certainly accomplish the objective of knocking covid and potential vaccine issues out of the news cycle at a time when the narrative managers are in an awkward position.

    @Prizm #136 re: housing
    The current situation *has to be* temporary. Housing prices ought to be defined by the ratio of available houses to people requiring housing, and given the high rate of housing construction, minimal rate of demolition, and the elevated death rates of the past two years this ratio is clearly increasing. This means that rents and prices are increasing despite a significant proportion of properties sitting empty. The only reason it makes sense to keep a property empty (rather than making it available for rent at whatever price tenants will pay) is if the owner stands to make a tidy profit selling the property in the near future. Which basically means that the housing price craze is being driven by speculation rather than supply/demand economics. Given that perpetuation of the bubble requires a perpetuation of price inflation relative to real value which will inevitably reach a breaking point, I have to assume that the bubble will pop, and that at some point in the next decade or so housing prices will be much lower than anyone imagined.

  136. @Ecosophian #150
    I actually think Jimmy Carter was one of our best presidents. He was the first president to fully grasp the predicament industrial civilization is facing and talk about it openly. In 1980 his wisdom was replaced with short-termism and greed.

  137. @Quin,

    The homeschool curriculum we use has is printing a lot of public domain books. The Epsom ET-3750 is the printer everyone using this program prefers. The ink and printer last a good long time.

    Other Dave

  138. @viduraawakened #125

    Early versions of the Perceptron used potentiometers driven by electric motors to represent weights in a network, 1957 onwards. At some point in the 60s Marvin Minsky pointed out that the setup could not do some fairly important basic functions on the project ended. Work in the field picked up again when it became practical to represent larger networks on the computer hardware that was commonly available in the last 80s early 90s.

  139. @ Quin #111

    I don’t actually know. Bill (my husband, editor, layout artist, and publisher) would know.

    It might have to do with readability. If you email him via peschelpress.com, he can answer your question much better.

  140. Sébastien #127, interesting, informative, and edifying; thank you very much.

    Godozo #143, what you mention about a “temptation phase” feels pretty on point. As I noted I feel hugely suspicious of all MLM activity from past experience and it’s good to get confirmation to go with my gut on this. On that last note, it occurs to me that the answer I was looking for was waiting for me in the name I chose for this round of questioning…

    Anyway, my thanks to both of you and take care.

  141. If anyone is interested, Amazon’s LOTR trailer is getting seriously ratioed. 99% of the comments is the JRR Tolkien quote “Evil is not capable of creating anything new, it can only distort and destroy what has been invented or made by the forces of good.” The comments are in several different languages.

  142. Greetings esteemed and industrious Archdruid Emeritus, and much appreciation to all the bright shining ones of this commentariat. I’ll share a puzzlement I’ve been gnawing on for a few weeks, which was triggered by a phrase that suddenly burst forth during a meditative pause: “Declaring War on the Gods.”

    What? Ignoring the Gods, or trivializing them, or denigrating them: those all seem to be in circulation, but are there any folks or groups (visible or occult) that are actually going about promoting WARFARE against the Gods?

    I found myself wondering if an undercurrent (occult) theme of Western Civilization over the last ~200 years has been to wage war on the Gods, as a way of proclaiming and achieving… who knows? (many possibilities are imaginable.)

    What would be some symptoms that a group or groups are actually warring with the Gods (rather than just denying they exist) and if such actions were underway, how might that all express itself?

    Many kudos, BTW, to all who recently have been articulating the topic of our relations with the Gods; the articles by Kimberly and the posting by Naomi Wolf particularly resonated with me, but lately there have been numerous others reflecting on this topic too.

    All the best!

  143. viduraawakened,

    You can have specific hardware for anything you want and there is indeed hardware specific for ML and AI. The thing with ML and AI is that it really is useless outside of an academic context like image processing or for surveillance and I don’t think any of those will be feasible in a future without cheap energy. I’ve never seen any kind of AI that actually is intelligent, in fact, Ml and AI is just marketing, just like the cloud, it is just a mathematical model from the 1930’s applied at a gigantic scale. The maths of it aren’t even that complicated so AI will be salvageable at least in principle in the form of a good statistics book.

  144. @Mohsin Javed, #122

    Glad you liked that! Enjoy.

    @viduraawakened, #125

    Regarding neural networks.

    I assume it is theoretically possible, the math is really simple: addition, multiplication… the hardest is the evaluation of a “step” function (usually the sigmoid/logistic or the hyperbolic tangent) which is even easier with analog electronics.

    The devil is, of course, in the details. Each neuron takes a number (N) of inputs and produces exactly one (1) output. In software, those inputs/outputs are real numbers within a specified range (usually from 0 to 1, or from -1 to 1). Implemented with basic electronics, those would be wires that carry a signal within a voltage range (let’s say 0.3 to 5.5 Volts). Each output signal can be interpreted as a “opinioned binary”: upper range means 100% true, lower range means 100% false, middle of range means 100% uncertain, with any value in between providing qualified answers (like, 4th quartile of range being “reasonably certain true”, 3rd quartile -> “possibly true”, etc)

    Let’s say you train a single neuron to receive two inputs: height and weight of a human adult, and produce its output as the answer to “is the human fat?”. The meaning of the neuron’s knowledge is, within a Cartesian plane that plots height vs weight, a straight line that divides fat people from non-fat people (the further away from the line you plot the point of your height/weight, the more certain the model is that the given answer is correct). This cannot be any more accurate than the fast rules you could read in gossip magazines: “subtract your weight in kilograms from your height in centimeters, if greater than X -> you are fat”. If you want something approximate to Body-Mass Index, you need to add more neurons, each representing a line segment to approximate the curve (plus a single “master” neuron to collect the partial results of all others and devise a single answer).

    This still cannot be any better than BMI, so it cannot distinguish between an offensive tackle and a grossly obese couch potato. You need more inputs for that: shoulder width, waits-to-hip ratio, percentage of lean mass (if you can measure it). And that is only good to tell the couch potato apart, but what about the though-neck blacksmith? How do you measure “footwork”? How do you measure “heavy hands”?

    On the other hand, most people can look and tell you with reasonable accuracy. Their natural brains having millions or years of experience solving those problems.

  145. Ecosophian, and everyone,

    I’ve heard several times that Russia has been provoked to invade Ukraine. What are the reasons for this? All I know about the situation is what has been portrayed in mainstream media for the past weeks.

  146. bryanlallen,

    Well, when Afghanistan returned to Taliban control a bunch of Neopagans set out to curse Allah, so there does seem to be at least some people who are doing that…..

  147. balowulf,
    I don’t know about the reality, but the *perception* among the Canadians I’ve heard from is that the truckers weren’t actually from Canada, but were Americans looking to cause trouble on vacation by pretending to be Canadian.

  148. @Ecosophian
    If Jimmy Carter was able to maintain the title of worst president after the completion of Ronald Regan’s term, there’s no living human being who could dethrone him.

  149. @ Stellarwind #161

    Re Jimmy Carter

    I’d also suggest that Carter is one of the best human beings to have been elected President in recent history–humble, authentic, and genuine–as evidenced by his post-presidency. I understand that we elect presidents to be chief administrators rather than for moral quality, but it is nice to see that the two don’t *have* to be mutually exclusive.

  150. Sardaukar, well, I got that one wrong, didn’t I? I made the mistake of assuming that when the Ukrainian government insisted that no invasion was in the offing, they were more likely to be correct than Biden was. Mistake duly noted…

    Nathanael, I’ve thought of a novelist you might want to consider reading: Marie Corelli. She was the blockbuster author of the period, Queen Victoria’s favorite author, and an interesting person in her own right. Oh, and a lot of the later Sherlock Holmes stories are set in the first decade or so of the 20th century and should give you plenty of local color.

    Atmospheric River, thanks for the data points. That matches what I’ve seen in other contexts.

    Augusto, I know the feeling, obviously! Those procedural approaches are the only thing that’s ever worked for me — that, and a lot of solitude, because most people with ordinary nervous systems have no clue how dependent they are on nonverbal signals, and routinely end up doing the equivalent of yelling at a blind person, “Why don’t you just look?” I’m not very good at social situations myself, and the best option has generally been to make a beeline for those settings where lots of other people are also on the autism spectrum somewhere. (That’s spelled “geek” in plain English, for what it’s worth.)

    Alex S, I’d love it if I could point you to a discussion of the points I raised. I can’t, since as far as I know, there wasn’t one. One of the downsides of scholarship these days is that academics only cite other academics, and quite rigorously exclude input from outside the universities. As a fringe thinker, I’m used to that, but it’s still annoying now and then.

    Bei Dawei, Alan Moore got the idea from Austin Osman Spare, whom you might want to look up sometime.

    BoysMom, I like this. Thank you!

    Chuaquin, that remains to be seen. So long as the US stays out of the fighting, probably not, but we’ll just have to wait and watch what happens.

    Averagejoe, I’m still scrambling to keep up with my existing astrological commitments. Have you considered giving it a shot yourself?

    Mieczysław, that’s a valid point.

    Viduraawakened, I have no idea if that’s an option. Anyone else?

    Chris, once again, Blind Freddy is considerably more perceptive than our politicians. Yes, I could see the dismantling of the SWIFT system and its replacement by several competing blocs as a likely outcome. As for the Chinese ambassador, fascinating. Now to see if he means it…

    Sébastien, yes, in fact it’s been my theory for a long time that a lot of what’s going on in the world right now is a function of too many souls who are not yet ready for human incarnations being fast-tracked into human bodies anyway, because the supply of bodies among the more intelligent animals has dropped off so sharply in the last two centuries.

  151. Re:Russian Invasion

    Apparently the speech on the Monday was even better, but today’s one

    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67843

    Or here instead if Internet is blocking .ru

    http://thesaker.is/address-by-the-president-of-the-russian-federation-february-24-2022/

    I know you don’t have time for astrological predictions for one more country, but this sounds like a New World indeed. He openly said that one of the goals of the operation was to “denazify” the Ukraine. That means getting the Azov battalion and others as well.

    Oh, and that naval base that the US was building in Ochakov, is no more.

    What say you JMG? Twilight Last Gleaming but from afar, throwing sanctions?

  152. atmosphericriver @ 103 Thank you for this. I am continually surprised by how many folks are unwilling or unable, or both, to understand that business is no less infected with PMC privileged idiocy than are govt and the NGOs. I begin to wonder if business is even interested anymore in making a profit.

  153. Quin, I’ll also recommend a Brother laser printer. I haven’t tried their color model, but I’ve been pretty happy with their grayscale one.

  154. BoysMom #115
    I enjoy the rush of husbanding mead and cheese into being. I enjoy the rush of home cooked meals without having to buy specialty (expensive) ingredients. I enjoy the rush of being able to make or repair something without having to depend on jobbing it out.

    Reclaining my autonomy,
    Aeve

  155. Well, no wonder I work surrounded be geeks programming computers and being drawn to occultism!

    It’s funny (ok, definitely not funny) because I’ve spent much of the past 10 years trying to correct something that is imposible for me to do. So much unnecessary guilt and blame. I’ve really felt like I’ve been a horrible person and maybe it looks like that but Im not. I think I have to get back to that lesson of the OSA for a week or so.

    Thanks!

    How do find it is best to tell people about it? I’ve heard you say that it is just much easier to explain that you have Asperger’s but I don’t think many people know what that means.

  156. @Owen #151

    Trudeau is back-paddling because he realizes he has misjudged the Senators, in particular the fact that so many of them take their ‘sober second thought’ role so seriously. A defeat of the act in the Senate would make it many times more difficult to get it pushed through on a future occasion – better to back off and just not have them vote on it at this time. But he’s had a chance now to get them to express their views on it – and to see the motivations of those that oppose it – so don’t be too surprised if he tries again under another pretext in a few months’ time, once he’s had time to assimilate the new data and readjust the plan. We’re not done with this yet.

  157. @Chris, author John Crowley (in the estimable novel Engine Summer) coined the term “snake’s-hands” to describe: (1) Apparent dead-end side branches within a warren-like town-sized communal dwelling interconnected by a (said to be) singular “Path” through every part of the whole. (Imagine, perhaps, a densely inhabited Ikea, or a space-filling curve.) Inhabitants had the instinctive ability to find and follow Path but would sometimes encounter snake’s-hands unexpectedly. (2) Side stories or unexpected turns within a narrative (including, especially, a life story) that seem to lead away from the previously apparent route/destination/destiny.

    The crucial second layer of the metaphor is that snakes don’t actually have hands, and there are no side paths. What seem like snake’s-hands are actually, invariably, the Path/narrative/destiny itself.

    I was fortunate to encounter that novel early on, in a life that’s been replete with snake’s-hands.

    Our host will recognize the term. If I recall correctly, Star’s Reach contains an homage.

  158. Florida Druid

    Not so much the last year, but here in England I’ve seen a noticeable increase in rubbish on the streets and homelessness (the two are connected) since about 2015 or 2016. Nothing massive – it’s not like Rome which didn’t have rubbish collected for months a couple years ago, and it doesn’t look like a third world country or anything – but some decline is noticeable.

    I think it is a combination of stealth cutting of public services (you know, trash collected every three weeks instead of two, street cleaning services quietly reduced by 20% to save money, that sort of thing) plus cutting of benefits leading to more homeless on the streets who are responsible for a big chunk of the street trash.

  159. @JMG and all the commentariat: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

  160. Just another translation update on Etteilla. I’ve finished the first draft and am now starting on some meditation and practice to make some sense of how it works, before I work through editing it (I always find it advisable to leave the edits until a period of time has passed – gives me a chance to switch out of translation mode and into thinking purely in English).
    One of the oddities is that the original French was intended to be 6 lessons, but only 4 were printed in the end (and there is a jump in the page numbering of about 50 pages where those 2 lessons would have been). The German translation (thought to be by his student Hisler) takes Etteilla’s lesson 4 and tacks the operative part (ie less the preamble) onto the end of lesson 3, and then has a completely different lesson 4 (presumably the missing lesson 5 or 6) which is on using the deck to interpret dreams.

    On a side note, I just received a letter from my power company here in New Zealand informing me that electricity and gases prices are increasing (including a doubling of the daily rate for electricity supply!). Given that most of our electricity is from hydro (fossil energy is under 20%), this is quite extreme and came out of the blue. The natural gas price changes do not surprise me, as although NZ produces most of its own gas it is still affected by international prices. Damage to power lines from storms seems to be becoming quite common (used to be quite rare).

    Also, for those who are interested, casio have a biorhythms calculator online at https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1340246447

  161. Well, I just blew my mundane astrology credentials. From the charts for Kyiv and Moscow I couldn’t find enough justification for war as Mars wasn’t prominent enough and the other malefics seemed to be pointing to other things so I convinced myself that there would be saber rattling, but not a war and told a couple of people the same.

    I’m now hoping that this will be a very short war, obviously for the people involved, but also to salvage some of my reputation.

  162. @Boysmom We cleared an area last fall to plant wildflowers this spring. A nice mix of of natives to this area. We get butterflies and hummingbirds and I’m looking forward to plopping myself out there to watch them. Might be a good excuse to invite the neighbors by for a spell too.

  163. Memoria

    I am working full time in the cryptocurrency field and happy to answer any specific questions. I could go on and on about it but it’s hard to focus without a specific question to answer.

    If you tag the post with my username (BXN) here I will try to check back at least once a day and answer in this open thread to anyone’s questions.

    The first though is that I would encourage everyone to stop thinking of the sector as being in any way about “currency”. That is one use case for the technology (and it was the first) but the overwhelming majority of tokens (or “coins”) these days are NOT currencies and they are not meant to be.

    For investment purposes the two biggest are closest to being traded as commodities (like oil etc) and the vast majority of the rest are traded like the stocks of very early stage high tech/Internet companies (the kind of companies that are normally restricted to wealthy people and venture capitalists – but here the general public can get in on them much earlier which increases both rewards and risks massively). They do not really trade as currencies.

    I would suggest that the mental framework people use for crypto is to consider it a new technological innovation creating an entirely new economic sector and asset class. For analogies, think of railways in the 19th century, the automobile industry in the early 20th century (did you know that respectable banks and Wall Street would not deal with automobile companies in the 1920s? They were considered shady upstarts in a fast growing sector that made a lot of money but wasn’t “respectable” or “stable” enough and had a lot of scams – sound familiar?) or the Internet 20-25 years.

    Whenever you have a new sector growing fast and creating wealth like this, you have a genuine technological innovation (in this case, decentralised trust and value transfer without middlemen or centralised control) with huge and so far underestimated potential, but you also have enormous volatility, lots of scams, lots of people getting rich quickly and many more losing their shirts – either due to the volatility or due to outright scams. It was true with railways, automobiles, the dot com boom and bust and now with crypto.

    To put it another way – yes, the sector goes through periodic booms (2017 and 2021 were the latest) and busts (2018-19 and 2022 so far), and there are plenty of individual projects that are scams and Ponzis, but the sector itself and the flagship assets (Bitcoin and Ethereum) are anything but scams.

    FWIW, the growth in adoption of cryptocurrency is very closely tracking the growth in adoption of the Internet itself (although it is faster).

  164. @methylethyl in#80 &@Quin

    The challenge with comparing the self printing options is that they have evolved over the years.
    I have laser print outs from over 30 years ago where on some the amount of toner on a letter had a physical thickness you could see (fancy option?). Those I find tended to stick to the next page, where as the ones with less think toner have lasted better. Leaving either touching the binder cover for many years left them sticking. Mostly still readable afterwards when they stick, and still prefect to read today. Some of the paper has yellowed notably, some where are still nice and white. Not that I could tell for sure which were acid free.
    I have asked about this in discussions with some printer vendors and the general response where they have looked into it is that they aren’t seeing seeing any general long term degradation. Of course many are just plain blank looks not understanding why you would want to keep a printout more than 7 or so years of legal retention they think is long term. Note that laser printers have only been in large scale use for about 40 years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_printing ooohhhh, lots of printing stuff to lose oneself in from the history sidebar.

    The ink of many personal/work group level printers tends to be at least a bit water soluble, and we only have about 25 years of experience with them on any notable scale. I’ve found those to fade noticably within a few years. Of course this is without knowing which ‘ink’ type was used. too many different ink types so a good area of research, even to see if someone hasn’t already done so. I’m stopping reading that series on wikipedia that shows how limited this IT guys experience is on this front. Talking with a traditional print shop person (with at least a few grey hairs) would be en-lighting. My sister used to work with one and I learned lots from my chats with him.

    @Phutatorius in #86
    The solar storm caused the upper atmosphere to expand some with those satellites initially put in a very low orbit so that if they fail their system checks they just deorbit safely, otherwise they boost themselves up to operational orbits. That heating of the upper atmosphere expanded to put more molecules in the way of the satellites slowing them down too much to leave enough boost fuel for normal operations.
    https://www.space.com/solar-geomagnetic-storms-spacex-starlink-threat
    ICBMs don’t spend any time in orbit, but follow a parabolic path up and back in, in such a way that the difference that heating or not is not significant on the path. So may other more significant impacts to the flight path. The HAARP project is much later than the ability to hit a target within a few metres on the other side of the planet. The upper atmosphere is key to long distance communications and has been a point of study in many ways since we started with ‘the wireless’. The HAARP project is to upper atmosphere research as the Large Hadron Collider is to physics research, well beyond casual understanding of the subject matter.

  165. @viduraawakened #125, @CR Patiño #172
    The mathematics of neural networks mostly consists of matrix-vector multiplications and nonlinear step functions. For those who are interested (and watch video) here is a video series about the math involved. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aircAruvnKk&list=PLZHQObOWTQDNU6R1_67000Dx_ZCJB-3pi

    You may also find this interesting.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_computer
    https://blog.degruyter.com/algorithms-suck-analog-computers-future/

  166. @Follower #188

    I’m certainly not going to claim that what I believe is “truth”, but that is an interesting question.

    I’m in a minority (~25%?) in rejecting the narrative and paradigm of thought promoted by the two dominant “tribes”in our society.

    I’m in a smaller minority (~8%?) in also rejecting the idea that perpetual progress is possible.

    I’m in a smaller minority (~3%?) in also rejecting the idea that an apocalyptic crash is likely, though that 3% or so is well represented in this group.

    I’m in a smaller minority in my spiritual beliefs, which largely revolve around the idea that we are all embodied aspects of a universal consciousness which seeks to inhabit and evolve within its own creation. All matter is condensed energy, all energy is focused consciousness…

    JMG sees Earth and humanity as a stage through which souls evolve. I see humanity on Earth as a group of souls and a planetary consciousness largely evolving together in place. This leads us to different predictions regarding the medium to long term future.

    I know of no one who agrees with me on everything 🙂

  167. Hi, JMG

    I had a little epiphany about Hayakawa’s Snarl Words/Purr Words that you have talked about in the past, coupled with your observations about thought-stopper phrases and words.
    I’ve noticed in the past few years, the increasing tendency of the managerial classes to snarl “Fascist” or “Nazi” or “White Supremacist” at any white, straight, males of the working classes who are not behaving in a suitably submissive way. You are quite right, these function as snarl words largely divorced from their original meaning.
    It occurred to me that these words, which used to be just nouns and adjectives have now taken on a third meaning: as verbs; verbs with the basic meaning of ‘stop thinking and just lose it’.
    These days, when a member of the managerial elite class snarls the word “Nazi” at someone or other, they do not actually mean that person is a member of the NSDAP or one of its local clones, (i.e. a noun), or that the person holds beliefs and evil intents of these groups (i.e. an adjective). No they simply want to evoke the proper response from the self-righteous. This has become a command to assume the target is bad, their motives evil, and to vigorously seek out every slight nuance and flimsiest iota of evidence in support of this accusation and then howl in impotent rage like a starving wolverine looking at a goat behind a glass window.
    They most certainly do not want anyone to think rationally or discuss the situation like adults. (To be fair, many of their targets aren’t asking for rational discussion, either.)
    It seems almost everyone these days sounds very much like children who don’t want to have to eat their veggies before they get dessert.

  168. Robert, that’s certainly possible. Too much depends on how the war goes for me to be sure.

    Chris, I don’t know of a single word for that. You’re right that there should be one.

    Prizm, what usually happens is that when conditions get bad enough, landlords start getting lynched — and yes, I mean this quite literally. With any luck, before things get to that point, politicians will realize that driving down housing prices is a good way to win elections, and will slap punitive taxes on real estate profiteering and exaggerated rents.

    Pesci, I think you’re midway through a journey a lot of people are making just now. Just remember that the initiative may not necessarily come from your side.

    Ray, that’s fascinating. I’ve heard other stories of the same kind — people in the managerial class losing all sense of proportion and wielding their petty power in some amazingly stupid way.

    Rutoka, Hillman’ interesting, but I tend to stick with Jung, on the one hand, and old collections of myths and fairy tales, on the other. I wish I had time to read Simon’s book! As for active imagination, it’s a very common practice among occultists, though they call it other things — scrying is one word for it, pathworking is another — and yes, I’ve done a lot of it. We’ll be talking about it in some detail in the series of posts on the Fellowship of the Hermetic Rose I’m doing over on my Dreamwidth journal. Archetypes are always the same but we don’t encounter them directly, only as filtered through our own or others’ psyches. As for a book — hmm. I’ll consider that.

    Pixelated, I wonder if it’s another gimmick on the part of very rich people hoping to go to ground as their world drops out from under them.

    Deneb, thanks for this.

    Ben, “Peter u bagronk sha pushdug Jackson-glob bubhosh they suck” is a good summary.

    Robert, the obvious and humdrum answer is certainly the one that occult philosophy offers. Much of what happens in childhood is the reorientation of the newly reincarnated soul to another life here on the material plane, and the fading out of those trailing clouds — be they of glory or of hideousness — is part of that.

    Yorkshire, I read a lot of utopias back in the day, starting with Ecotopia and going on through the genre, including such oddities as Johann Valentin Andreae’s Christianopolis and Tommaso Campanella’s City of the Sun. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed struck me as very good, because it explored the failures as well as the successes of an anarchosyndicalist Utopia. Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing struck me as among the very worst — even by Utopian standards, her people behaved the way her ideology required them rather than in any way actual human beings would behave — though it was admittedly better than the worst Utopia ever, Thea Alexander’s 2150 AD, which is a New Age rewrite of Huxley’s Brave New World as a utopian society. It’s worth reading just to savor the totalitarian kitsch.

    Jason, you’re welcome. I just hope that Biden isn’t stupid enough to put our carriers in harm’s way.

    David BTL, Lin Chi had a lot of mystical insight!

    Dev, I wish I could recommend a good book on the astrological ages; my forthcoming book on mundane astrology will talk about that, but it’s going to be another year before that’s finished.

    Stellarwind, the devil’s in the details. I’d have to consider the whole package first.

    Jon, too funny! I just went to look, and I was delighted to see how many different languages that same statement was in. (I notice in particular a lot of different Slavic languages!)

    Bryan, that’s a serious question. I would expect those who try to war against the gods to reject everything the gods have made — that is to say, to reject nature in all its forms, including human nature — and to insist that the universe is (a) whatever they say it is and (b) theirs to play with. Since these attitudes are fairly well entrenched in modern industrial society, a case could be made that you’re right, and that’s what’s been going on.

    Forecastingintelligence, I don’t expect the wars to begin in earnest quite yet, but we’ll see. So far, the Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to be very efficient, and the death toll as reported by the Ukraine government is very small compared to (say) the kind of carnage the US normally inflicts when it invades someplace.

    JMac11, thanks for these.

    Augusto, interesting. I don’t interact with a lot of people in person, so I don’t know how widespread knowledge of Aspergers syndrome is among the general public — or, really, how to talk about it, outside of online settings like this one.

    FollowerofTeshu, I have no idea. I don’t claim to know what most people believe.

    Kerry, thanks for the update!

    Reloaded15, that’s a common experience for mundane astrologers. Astrology always deals with probabilities — “the stars incline, they do not compel” — and so the best we can do, like weather forecasters, is to try to gauge the probabilities.

    Pygmycory, thanks for this. I think you’re very likely correct.

    Stellarwind, but notice that they remain confident that something else can pick up the slack…

    Renaissance, hmm! Thank you for this; that makes a great deal of sense.

  169. Nicholas Carter (no, 176), he is still eligible to run, you know!

    JMG, I’m…vaguely aware of Mr. Spare, although the whole magickal scene is a bit foreign to my spiritual orientation. If I ever join, though, I promise to call myself “Frater Masturbatio”!

    The denizens of /b/ would be more familiar with Alan Moore because of the comics. I dimly recall one of these sorcerers (I want to say Mr. Moore, but may be mis-remembering) urging his fans to use this type of magical onanism in order to prevent some comic book from being cancelled!

  170. Augusto (#173)
    Short version: During the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West promised not to advance NATO closer to Russia. Since then, NATO has moved closer and closer to Russia, including putting missiles near Russia.
    In 2014, the US backed a coup in Ukraine that overthrew the elected leader of Ukraine. The coup-makers included groups from western Ukraine who are virulently anti-Russian (and anti-Polish), wear swastikas and a three-armed variant of swastikas, and who see themselves as the descendants of the Banderistas, who during WW2 killed 100,000 Jews, Poles, and Russians. The new Ukrainian government immediately passed legislation against the Russian language and ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Russia responded by annexing Crimea (overwhelmingly ethnic Russians) after a referendum and by supporting separatists in two regions (oblasts) of southeastern Ukraine. Given the presence of literal anti-Russian Nazis in the Ukrainian government, Russia saw these moves as defensive measures to prevent genocide.
    Since then, the Ukrainians have shelled the separatist regions (Donetsk and Luhansk; both are part of the Donbass) and killed 13,000 civilians. Ukraine signed the Minsk Agreement, which committed it to cease these attacks but it never did so. The West never reined in the attacks, but rather egged Ukraine on. NATO built bases in Ukraine and gave Ukraine much weaponry. Russia demanded that NATO pull back to its original borders and stop arming anti-Russian forces along Russia’s border. The US basically blew off Russia’s security demands. In recent days, the Ukrainian leader, Zelensky threatened that Ukraine would obtain nuclear weapons. (Russia claims that Ukraine has all the knowledge and most of the technology needed to do so because it was a major part of the Russian military-industrial complex.)
    Also, worth noting that Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin himself all asked for Russia to be admitted as a member of NATO and Russia was turned down all three times.
    From the Russian perspective, the US took advantage of Russia when it was down in the 1990s, has acted aggressively around the world, has treated Russia as an enemy, has pushed and pushed until forces for attacking Russia are right at Russia’s doorstep, and acts as though it can continue to bully Russia with impunity. From the Russian perspective, the US has given Russia only two choices: submit to becoming a US client (as Russia was in the 1990s with catastrophic results) or fight back.

  171. @Chris (aka Citrine Fragrant Squid),

    I’ve never heard the word ‘tangent’ used specifically for stepping onto a side path, but this image https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangent#/media/File:Tangent_to_a_curve.svg shows it could work as well for path as it does for conversations. (I am sometimes accused of ‘going off on a tangent’ when speaking.) The tangent touches at one point, so if you don’t step off your path right then, the chance is gone. If your path is the curve, every decision (or non-decision) affects the curve. Your path may intersect with the tangent line again (but at a different point on your path and a different point on the tangent’s path), or your path’s curve might veer in another direction, never to give you an opportunity to follow that tangent again.

  172. I wonder if there are any others on this site (besides me) who had pyloric stenosis as infants. I find it intriguing to wonder what the karmic causes might have been.

    In a literary mode, I’ve been reading two 19th century “romances”: I finished “Peter Ibbetson” and have begun “Zanoni.” Zanoni, the character, reminds me of Dumas’ Count of Note Cristo but also of the stranger with the fake nose in Slawkenbergius’s Tale. I hope I can manage to finish it. Bulwer-Lytton can be quite trying to one’s patience!

  173. JMG eat al.
    I know that most people here already know this but I want to say it: remember that most information online is somewhere between ridiculously wrong and an outright lie designed to hurt you.

    I am not talking only about propaganda, political or religious disinformation. Even basic neutral facts are completely twisted.

    Example: I tested a simple bit of knowledge, by asking how much cold can cats take. Most “authoritative” answers said 45F starts to hurt them. Now I knew since I was a kid that cats can survive a lot of cold if dry (-50F by some studies). But the irony was that the same day my cats (including 2 kittens) were happily playing in below freezing temperatures.

    The points is that we really need to research and test ourselves as much as possible. I knew that I have to discard all contentious information out there but it turns out everything is corrupted.

    End of the PSA

  174. FollowerofTeshu_22 #188: Important truths: I live amongst the PMC, and I’m continually surprised by the number of people who accept the Warren Commission’s verdict on the John Kennedy murder.

  175. Can anyone here recommend a good home school curriculum for Jr. High level, which would include straightforward instruction in math, English, with emphasis on grammar, history, civics, geography, and natural science?

  176. @ Sam (# 97) – re: intuitive healing

    I think it is a real ability, under the right circumstances with the right healer (alternative health practitioner or even those few MDs & DOs who are proficient in the healing ARTS). Then there are those new age pretend healers or fraudsters where ‘intuitive healing’ is just a bunch of overly ripe manure packaged in a pretty rainbow box – still stinks.

    Case in point for the real ability: I was told by an alternative health practitioner that it would be best for me to avoid eating foods made from wheat (notably, American wheat). He said that it was an intuitive feeling he had, as there was no objective testing that pointed out wheat sensitivity/intolerance. I took his advice and (so far, knock on wood, etc.) have seen a noticeable general improvement in my health, better digestion, fewer aches and pains, greater flexibility, slight weight loss, somewhat lower blood pressure. The last two are based on objective measurements. So, yes – intuitive healing can be a real thing.

    I’m not sure that ‘intuitive healing’ is a actual healing modality, where an intuitive thought can be directed to cause healing. IMO, healing through laying on of hands, reiki, crystals, and so forth, are different modalities than ‘intuitive healing’; healing through any if these modalities is possible, with a competent healer, even if the modalities of these methods is currently not understood (or have been suppressed).

  177. For Crypto, do your own research, mostly pro, but some con, it’s worth your time to look into, as your magic suggested. Let’s put it this way: if you live in a country worse than Russia which will shut off your bank account for serving coffee, what would you do? If you’re in an Empire at its peak and collapsing and therefore your currency may devalue 90%, what should you do? Max Keiser, a major financial show, and former top trader is into this, more mainstream and entertaining.

    Doesn’t mean it’s safe, but neither is your bank account anymore. There are other solutions, but you asked about this one.

    I’d go with the teens – it’s more gritty and less covered. It covers everything you’d see in the 40s and yet the Wild West was still happening. Cars, horses, gangsters, Tesla, Edison, Twain in the same room, what’s not to like?

    “anything that helped you put into perspective and words Asperger’s syndrome” Yes, the other people are intolerant, misunderstanding tyrants. Why can’t they accept you the way you are instead of the other way around? Wouldn’t that be equally fair and logical? Maybe the problem isn’t you. Maybe you have no problems.

    You may want a larger printer and buy refurb. If double-sized you can fold and bind.

    I thought that platform WAS the non-RINO Right. The Left-Media just has good PR. Was I missing something? I guess ask them and find out?

  178. @Bryan #167, re “Fighting the gods”:

    It may interest you to know that Orthodox spiritual thought has quite a bit to say about this subject. We Orthodox call this attitude “theomachy” (lit. “God-fighting”). St Justin Popovich (whom I have quoted before), says this about it:

    https://pravoslavie.ru/76844.html

    Doubtless, the principles of European culture and civilization are theomachic. Long did the type of European man become what he is, until such a time as he replaced the God-man Christ with his philosophy and science, with his politics and technology, with his religion and ethics. Europe made use of Christ ‘merely as a bridge from uncultured barbarism to cultured barbarism; that is, from a guileless barbarism to a sly barbarism’

    Another Russian author, speaking specifically of the “Theomachy of Leninism,” writes:

    https://orthochristian.com/7169.html

    Leninism is a dialectical combination of the ultimate atheism with a special kind of religious pathos. This is obsession with Satanism as with total theomachy. Leninism is materialistic by its ideology, but not by ontology. Materialism and atheism is an instrument for fighting against something that can exist only beyond the framework of this ideology. The aim and the basic idea of Leninism is construction of extremely anti-Christian society, and the concealed ultimate aim is non-existence. Theomachy is the core and dominant of Leninism. But theomachy demands destruction of the universe as God’s creation and destruction of God’s image and likeness in man. This is the reason for destructions and genocide under the regime of Marxism-Leninism unprecedented in the history of humankind.

    If you are interested, there’s plenty more where that came from …..

  179. Greetings all!

    BoysMom, my 5 year old and I this week made iron gall ink/paint from our acorn stash, rusty metal stash and cider vinegar. For a pen we used a forsythia twig. Next up we’ll make our own paint brushes with our hair and sumac twigs and wood glue. So we’ll have art in our collapse! We had a blast doing it.

    Later on we’ll work on paper making and replacements for the store-bought glue…

    #147 Patricia Matthews: I just unearthed my old Betsy-Tacy books so I’m rereading them… and behind the main story I find Lakeland! That high school class of 1910, I don’t envy what they had on the horizon though. However, it’s fun to read them again as an adult.

    Teresa, been sending your dad my prayers.

    Ellen

  180. This week’s post is of particular importance. A outbreak of highly infectious Avian Influenza has been reported in the East Coast and Midwest of the United States, along with other countries. If you have backyard chickens your animals are at risk. There are already reports of cullings beginning. Protect yourself and your animals.

    Check out the ongoing post “Avian Flu Outbreak – Information”. More links and guidance will be posted as it becomes available.

    In the mean time, the forums have some new posts to read.

    First, stop by and welcome new Green Wizard spiritchi to the community in their first post “Hello, from Minneapolis”. It’s always a treat when new people join. Especially if you can do it with pictures of flowers and butterflies.

    Next, we revisit an older post with a discussion “Backyard Chickens?” on what to do with extra roosters and is it ethical just to kill them because they are not needed? Timely given the influenza outbreak but does speak to the more long term issue of how you treat your animals you raise for food. Give us your opinion or experiences.

    Looks like the people with money are already considering climate change and sea level rise in their buying habits for trendy property in Miami. Check out the continuing discussion on “Disasters Will Affect Affordable Housing More”.

    As always, reading the posts and comments on Green Wizards is open to the public, though to post your own will require a free account. Contact me via email (green wizard dtrammel at gmail dot com) or via Face Book Messenger to set one up.

  181. Are any other Americans concerned about Taiwan? Any time they want, the Chinese can put you and me into cold, unmedicated darkness. I would suggest that we all write our Senators and Congresscritters, demanding restoration of American manufacturing, concentrating first on critical items like chips and medicine, but I honestly think that even millions of such letters would be ignored, at least as long as voting machines exist. Does anyone have any ideas?

  182. Prizm–When housing becomes unaffordable the usual solution is to crowd existing dwellings. This may be delayed by government efforts to enforce housing regulations, but desperate people will circumvent the laws. I just read Jack London’s _People of the Abyss_, an examination of the East Side of London in 1902. He disguised himself as an out of work sailor and explored the world of charity meals, sleeping rough, doss houses and the wretched slums in which entire families were packed into one room. He describes how the slums expand as landlords push for more profit from each building. Horrendous.

    Anonymous 174–what is your source on Neopagans cursing Allah? I would like to know more.

  183. RE: Ukraine

    Perhaps because I am reminded of it by the descendants of Finnish immigrants often, but this situation in Ukraine, and the arrogance displayed makes me think of the Finnish Winter War. The Ukrainians sure have a fighting spirit, and a lot of old rifles. It would not surprise me if the outcome turns out to not be as clear as predicted.

    It also reminded me of the blurb JMG made about the split between the Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox churches Between the comments made by Putin concerning Ukraine’s history and this war, the nail is being driven into the coffin of their respective connections.

  184. FollowerofTeshu_22: Very few people agree with me on this: somewhat tongue in cheek, I claim that the term “OK” is and has always been a subtle sign of discrimination. The full version is “NOKD: Not Our Kind, Dear”, whispered to the daughter who’s brought the wrong sort of boyfriend home to meet the parents. “Our Kind”, not just some acquaintance or co-worker to treat with polite respect, but someone who shares our prejudices. “He’s OK” one might use as an introduction. The hand signal, “O” formed with the thumb and index finger, the other three fingers splayed out into something like a “K”. A quick gesture, perhaps behind the back of the subject, lets the rest of the gang know that the new guy is going to fit right in.

    When some far-right pranksters took up the gesture to troll the hyper-vigilant left, they probably thought that they were playfully claiming something simple and innocent, but no. Of course, no one will admit to being aware of the “OK club”, so all sorts of alternative explanations have found their way into print. “Old Kinderhook”, “Owl Korrect”, and so on. Mere distractions.

  185. @Ellen #210 – Oh, yes. And I remember a BBC production of The Secret Garden which ended with a “10-years-later” tag end in which the kids are grown up, and Dickon has been killed in WWI. Sad, but brought it to mind. Also, that in Wind in the Willows, I could just see Toad, a few years down the road, enlisting as a WWI Flying Ace. One hopes he found a compatible lady toad to marry first. And in Understood Betsy, also, that war was just around the corner.

  186. RE: Mark L

    Hopefully it won’t take a decade for that bubble to burst. I’m really curious for ideas on some alternatives to get out of the housing situation and not into a McMansion… but something suitable for my three kids, my wife and myself.

    RE: JMG
    I’ll be sharpening my axe and saws. Perhaps I can convince the wife into living in tiny houses on his farm. Either way, the axe and saws will be ready. And I’ll have a skill that’ll be useful in the long descent 😉

  187. Ukraine: All I’m hearing from my usual sources are “Remember Hitler and the Sudetenland annexation?” They are quite convinced this is the first step in a major Putin land grab, which NATO is required to stop. Except for those who think Putin has gone stark, raving loco.

    Meanwhile, two Scandinavian nations have rushed to join NATO. Courtesy of Scots Author Charlie Stross, no link provided – but Scotland keeps a close eye on Scandinavia.

    “Finland and Sweden appear to be hastily applying for membership in NATO. The Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania) are all NATO and EU members (and part of the Eurozone): based on a visit to Estonia a few years ago they do not remember the USSR fondly. (Nor the Third Reich, which did a similar amount of damage … but the Soviets only departed within living memory.)”

  188. A Brit doctor, an American doctor and a Canadian doctor were overheard on the street. The Brit doc said ‘they found a severed human leg in an English lake, we built a body around it and now he’s out looking for a job.’

    The American doctor said ‘big deal, a man’s finger was found on the street, we built a body around it and now he’s out looking for a job.’

    The Canadian doctor said ‘we have you both beat, we found an a**hole in Ottawa, we built a government around him and now half the country’s out looking for a job.’

    All right, bad joke. But I have worse.

  189. On landlords:

    Especially in the present era, where rental properties are usually advertised on the internet, an interim step might happen in between the current unsustainable state and lynchings. Obviously, like lynching, this course of action is illegal and anyone suggesting it is a fed or a moron. Given that most rentals are advertised on the internet these days, it would be relatively simple to make a list of empty rentals and and AirBNBs. These properties, being unoccupied, might have their windows smashed, or even be razed, with little risk of the police showing up on time to catch the culprits even if there is an alarm system. Given the high volume of internet traffic to sites where housing rentals and airBNBs are advertised, it is unlikely a criminal engaged in such acts would even need to cover their tracks on the internet that carefully.

  190. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I bought your “Learning Ritual Magic” book recently and it says that I should used tarot decks… It lists several, but none of them are Marseille decks.

    Marseille is what I have, though. Do I need to get one of the recommended decks, or could I make use of the deck I have? (The book was written by you and others almost 20 years ago. I’m kinda hoping you’ve changed your mind about decks over the intervening years.)

    Thank you!

  191. Jessica,
    That’s an interesting counterfactual about India demanding full independence in the 1920’s.
    I’d bet if that occurred with the violent war speculated, Winston Churchill would’ve easily been numbered with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao as 20th Century mass-butchers.

  192. Jessica, that’s been getting splashed all over the covax-skeptic community just now. It seems plausible, but we’ll see if it’s right.

    Bei, the One-Hand Path has become quite an obsession among certain kinds of pop-culture occultists in recent decades. The irony is that it was much more effective in Spare’s time, because masturbation was still shocking then — and it’s the shock value, not the sexual release, that generates the effect. These days? Self-discipline is probably a better way to go it, since that’s the unspeakable habit now.

    European, I do indeed. Thank you.

    Kyivan, glad to hear you’re still okay. Stay safe!

    Phutatorius, Bulwer-Lytton is a very mixed bag!

    NomadicBeer, thanks for the PSA. It’s worth keeping in mind.

    David T, thanks for this.

    Your Kittenship, very much so.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    Prizm, well, we’ll see about Ukraine. As for the ax and saws, very sensible indeed.

    Ray The Second, when it says you need one of a given list of tarot decks, yes, it means that you need one of the decks on that list. It’s not a matter of passing judgment on other decks — it’s simply that decks of one kind (the ones in the list) have the appropriate symbolism and decks of other kinds have a different symbolism.

    dropBear, you may not be alone in that. I followed the link and got a “no such page” error!

  193. @Bryan and JMG:

    but are there any folks or groups (visible or occult) that are actually going about promoting WARFARE against the Gods?

    I do the book ordering for my library, so I wind up scanning through reams and reams of book descriptions, and I notice various trends.

    One of them is in the science fiction and fantasy genres. There are a fair number of books recently that feature worlds in which the gods have all (or almost all) died. I’ve noticed this often enough that I’ve begun to wonder if this is indicative of something.

    Namely, are more authors nowadays feeling disconnected from any possibility of soul, spirit or transcendence? It would certainly explain the bleak, bitter, black-horror tone that I feel reading the descriptions of these books. Instinctively, I link the trend with the onward march of the Internet and the digitization of life, and how it crowds out even the memory of life as it was once lived.

    And certainly there are plenty of SF&F books that take the stance that it’s good and proper to violently overthrow the gods (I’m looking at you, Lev Grossman). But it kind of seems like that’s a slightly earlier trend.

  194. Hi, JMG and commentariat- since the airwaves and internet are soon to be flooded with propaganda from both sides, I’m curious if you have any thoughts/advice how to seek out accurate information regarding news from Russia/Ukraine- trustworthy sources, or ways to triangulate what might actually be going on? (As a person of at least cultural Russophile who consumes a fair amount of anti-imperialist media, I was dismayed to find I’d called the current situation pretty wrong, and feel like a bit of a course-correction might be in order, but I still have a hard time trusting much of anything I hear about this from mainstream western media)

  195. End of history? Maybe not so much. Globalization? How about tribalism, like what we’ve seen for the last 3,000 years or so with ownership of the European peninsula still in dispute. This even after WW1 and WW2.

    The whole impetus of the globalization scheme was to minimize labour costs by using workers in overcrowded and despotic regimes which were more than happy to repress their workforce.

    But what globalization did was to immeasurably strengthen China and to correspondingly weaken the US and the West both economically and militarily. It isn’t as if ambitious foreign potentates were blind as to the change in the balance of power. What we’re seeing now are the logical and entirely predictable results.

    Gloating and triumphalist neo-liberal ‘anywhere people’ that were trumpeting not only their victory but also a borderless world of free movement might find their style a wee bit cramped in the future. Money may talk loudest to them, drowning out all else, but the theoreticians giving academic cover may find a re-think necessary as to how people in foreign climes think and act. Money to these mysterious exotics may be an important thing but it is surely not the only thing. Putin is giving a highly kinetic demonstration of the concept as we sit here.

    When Xi walked into a room, it used to ‘shake’ for the likes of Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg and only in a very good way. These guys may soon be reassessing where things stand and where they fit in the general scheme of things.

    Ironic, don’t you think, that the neo-liberal arrangement that was supposed to take decision-making power out of the town square and government office and put it into corporate boardrooms instead put it into the hands of nasty dictators. It does appear that it’s like Mao said, power comes from the barrel of a gun and not so much from a lawyer’s briefcase. So is the pen really mightier than the sword. I don’t know, I would never discount the sword.

  196. Nathaniel Bonnell at #83:

    Check out the Gutenberg on-line library. These are books, written between the 1890s to the 1930s that are long out of copyright, and can be read on your computer. Go to the Gutenberg search-engine, and type in the following series titles:

    The Motor Boys
    The Radio Boys
    The Great Marvel series
    The Rover Boys
    Dorothy Dale series
    The Grammar School Boys
    The High School Boys

    These are just a few, there are literally scores of such series available.

    Antoinetta III

  197. Rita,

    I remember seeing something about it on Reddit. I didn’t save it, but I’ll see if I can find it again.

  198. Pygmycory #192, JMG

    That battery article is missing another important point I think. The other battery chemistry TESLA is changing to, Lithium Iron Phosphate ( LFP) , is much, much safer ! It does not have the thermal runaway issues ( fires that wont go out)

    I would never have a Tesla powerwall on my house( well, for multiple reasons…) but the most important one being that it is the same battery chemistry as in the cars, the same battery pack and it would be very dangerous in a fire. While a competing home lithium battery chemistry is the LFP (lithium Iron Phosphate), which is readily available. I dont know why the article says using this chemistry is uncommon or only done in China — It is not common in cars, but it is in houses, and is made in America.

    DIdnt we just have a large cargo ship full of electric cars burn up on the way from Europe to America last week due to the car batteries ? And many examples of Teslas batteries either spontaneously catching fire, or in a crash and they are almost impossible to put out.

    So, this one is a 2-fer. Cheaper than Cobalt, Iron and Phosphate is more common and the batteries are much safer and batter yet will improve their image to not be the burning car

  199. @Mary Bennet

    I used waldorf science for middle school, this has some sources, https://www.waldorfpublications.org/collections/science?page=3
    I have used The wonders of Waldorf Chemisty they sell there and a few of the kits. There is a good physics book, Physics is Fun, I used alot, https://www.waldorfcurriculum.com/Class8/middleschoolphysics.html
    Just click on grade on top bar on that last page and then to the left side bar for subjects, and too many other sources to list ideas !

    Mine liked Life of Fred for math at that age.

    I used Sonlight for high school social studies and english as my daughter needed to be more not mom telling her what to do. For Jr high I was more ecclectic and used some Oak meadow just for social studies and maybe english ? ( their math and science is weak I think for that age) and some Beautiful Feet series.

    Beautiful feet is here, https://www.bfbooks.com/Literature-Packs/4-6th-Studies

    Ceasars English and Writing for a 100 days are good for middle school years english

  200. Princess Cutekitten (no. 214) (raises hand)

    Phutatorius (no, 206), “Zanoni” reminds most readers of “A Tale of Two Cities” (but Bulwer-Lytton did it first).

    Michael Martin (no. 211) See Gen. 32:22 ff. (Some interpreters hold that Jacob and this mysterious figure were not so much “wrestling” as having gay sex.)

  201. Kind Sir
    Strange, it works for me.
    Well it’s basically a kangaroo jumping over the letters “Australia”.

  202. I recently had a look at Australia’s oil production and consumption with peak oil in mind. Turns out we are highly dependent on imports, with less than a couple of decades of the current proven conventional reserves left. Its assumed we have much more unproven unconventional stuff hundreds of kilometres from refineries and centres of consumption, but we haven’t done much with it so far. I also speculated briefly about what this might mean for us economically, including in the event of major conflict disrupting deliveries (hastily edited since Wednesday!). If you or any other readers are interested (and if you’ll permit a bit of self-promotion here), I’ve posted my thoughts here: https://patrickmcevoywriter.com/?p=16.

  203. I forgot about City of the Sun as I read it online. In that society operating siege equipment is considered womens’ work, leading to perhaps the greatest line in all of literature: “The women know well how to let fly fiery balls.” 🙂

  204. Yes, tangent is on the right track, so to speak. The tangent is what one may or may not take, but what about the moment? A word or phrase for the moment that the tangential experience begins? Something similar to the moment that one falls in love, or meets the right dog at the pound. A word for the moment when life shifts and the old path gets left behind (whether you know it or not).

    Chris (aka Citrine Fragrant Squid)

  205. Hi John Michael,

    There’s a bizarre and frankly unrealistic expectation that our media speak the truth about subjects, especially when other countries and cultures are perhaps less burdened by that expectation. 😉 So yeah, it does make you wonder whether the Chinese are on a charm offensive, concerned about a near neighbour, hankering for the gas that now goes to Europe, or they are coming to grips with having to man-up and begin purchasing the coal from down under again. Our new Indian friends might have something to say about the coal, just as they had something to say about Russia. Complicated times.

    We all assume that the Russians may be expanding upon territory, but for all we know they might just as easily be hitting the US where it hurts – in the pocket, by that move. I heard somewhere or other a while ago that arrangements had been put in place to bypass the SWIFT system – and that would not be done lightly. Motives are always hard to discern. It was foolish and unnecessary for NATO to get ever closer to their border. The Russians might have read history, and it is not like both France, and of course Germany, have not ventured east when things have gone sour for them. Not that either could do that trick nowadays.

    Anyway, that part of the world has been at each others throats for so long that it is embarrassing. And the western parts have very little in the way of resources and energy now, but they might not see the world that way themselves. Blind Freddy can see reality. The stupid thing is, it’s not like there aren’t other markets for the gas and oil, like the landmass to the east.

    It’s utterly bonkers to have set this situation up. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Oh wow, oil is going up. I do hope that you have something to say about peak oil again soon?

    The interweb went down in a ball of flames here this morning.

    Cheers

    Chris

  206. I’m submitting this under the category of humor because, sometimes at a time like this, I need a good laugh at the expense of our clueless elites.

    From Pepe Escobar’s latest post over at the Saker blog:

    “Putin’s body language, in his last two crucial interventions, spell out nearly maximum exasperation. As in realizing, not auspiciously, but rather in resignation, that the only language those neo-con and “humanitarian” imperialist psychos in the Beltway understand is heavy metal thunder (they are definitely deaf, dumb and blind to History, Geography and Diplomacy, for that matter. No to mention they never accepted their defeat in Syria.)”

    The image of an exasperated Putin with our little elites running around at his feet creating a mess just cracks me up!

  207. re Errata (#92): your dream reminds me of the haunting van Vogt tale “Fulfilment”, which explores the idea that the Earth will one day lose its atmosphere.

  208. @ighy

    Re. Crowley – As a teen in the 1970s, Crowley’s name & writings first came to me through a plethora of rock musicians/groups/artists: Bowie, Morrison/Doors, Led Zep, Jagger, Sabbath, Kenneth Anger, plenty others. The words ‘black’ ‘sex’ & ‘magick’ (never forget the ‘K’) always figured. How exciting.
    Later still, ‘dark’ groups like Throbbing Gristle banged on about him. More recently, it’s through death-trip merchants like Reznor, Marilyn Manson, plus a gazillion death-metal groups. From a ‘popular’ culture perspective anyway, rock musicians seem to be the main reason his name ‘endures’. Although I wonder if anyone actually reads him.

    Have to say, even in my early twenties when I finally tried to read some of his stuff (and knowing jack about any actual occult writing at the time), it all seemed like masturbatory hogwash to me, and he a mere intellectual degenerate. A decade later still, I read Gurdjieff’s dismissal of him and cheered: “You filthy, you dirty inside. Never set foot in my house again!” Rightly so.

  209. @ flanerieoconnor

    If you’re asking re. what’s happening on the ground right now, hour by hour, there’s some good reporting via Twitter, if you’re perusing.

    I’d recommend Rob Lee for the actual military action twitter.com/RALee85

    For decent analysis of this particular Ukrainian ‘excursion’ try twitter.com/michaeldweiss

    I also follow this rolling list, many good ones here: https://twitter.com/i/lists/1486852497104908293

    Usual caveats apply, of course, but you can soon discern who’s full of it or shilling, and who knows whereof they speak.

  210. >if you continuously poke the sleeping bear, it will eventually wake up and eat you

    The bear is behaving quite methodically and deliberately as I see it, maybe somewhat annoyed at it all. I suspect they will do like the Chinese did with Vietnam – at some point they’ll declare victory and then leave before the deep state has a chance to spin up a guerilla army.

    If they stay anywhere it’ll probably be where they are welcome, in the ethnic Russian provinces. And I think Orlov was suggesting that evacuating those provinces and leaving that area as some sort of no-mans-land is highly likely.

  211. Printers. I print paper models which eat a fair amount of ink. The the Epson Eco-tank printer really works. Lots of ink in the machine and you just refill from bottles instead of disposable cartridges.

  212. >Are any other Americans concerned about Taiwan?

    Shrug. They could’ve done something about all those artificial islands the Chinese were building but nah, they couldn’t be bothered. So, China takes its backyard back. It’s a question of when and at what cost.

    >Any time they want, the Chinese can put you and me into cold, unmedicated darkness. I would suggest that we all write our Senators and Congresscritters, demanding restoration of American manufacturing, concentrating first on critical items like chips and medicine

    If you’ve been paying attention, there has been a few tight lipped news stories about new semi plants opening in TX and – OH, of all places. The one in TX is being built by the Koreans, the OH plant is being built by Intel. They seem to have gotten the memo that the asian gravy train of outsourcing is comnig to an end. As far as getting Big Pharma to make medicines that won’t kill you? Excuse me while I go giggle to myself in a corner. You’re on your own when it comes to anything medical in this godforsaken country.

  213. For anyone at all seriously interested in the Putin/Russia long game, a must read is Aleksandr Dugin, starting with Foundations of Geopolitics.

    JMG, you might be particularly interested to hear he’s a huge scholar/admirer of Julius Evola (also Martin Heidegger). Bet you can see where his head is at.

    “Foundations” is literally the Russian playbook (and I do mean literally – it is a primary text for the senior ranks at the Russian Academy of General Staff). Because it was written in the late 1990s, you can actually see much of the strategies now fully implemented, in real time. Those Putin talking points re Ukraine? Word for word. Many may think ‘crackpot’, but dismiss at your peril.

    Three more of his worth reading: The fourth political theory, Political Platonism, and his latest – The Great Awakening vs The Great Reset.

    Great Awakening is, ahem, quite a hoot. It is directed squarely at Americans.

    For use of applied magic in politics (although he may not spell it out that way), Vladislav Surkov is a fascinating character to study. You wouldn’t think it by looking at him but if you read up on his ideas & methods, you will recognise so much of what’s been happening over the past 20 years.

    Dugin is philosophy, Surkov is strategy/tactics.

    Catherine Belton’s Putin’s People book also worth reading for the more ‘mundane’ mechanics of the regime (good overview of the relationship between the chekist/siloviki mentality and the oligarchs).

  214. re Augusto’s two post about Asperger’s and JMG’s responses.

    I am one of the nuro-typical folk that so often plague the lives of Asperger’s folk. However, I have been doing my best to make amends and understand the experiences of the rather large collection of Asperger’s folk that are part of my life. I have been aided in this en-devour by my two best friends who are well on the spectrum.

    The first of these is my garden buddy who is a middle school teacher and has been the most instrumental in pointing out to me that my frustration in dealing with certain people has been because I was clueless to the fact that they are Aspergers folk. I can’t thank her enough for her instruction and I now seem to be better able to spot Aspergers and act in a better way towards them. Practice, practice, practice and my first clue that I might be dealing with an Asperger’s person is my sense if irritation and frustration with their actions.

    My second friend and I have misunderstood each other many times, but we have made constant efforts to work around the differences in understanding between an Asperger’s person and a nuro-typical as we share many interests in common. Our discussions have very often gotten really down in the weeds when it comes to her explaining her experience as an Asperguer’s person and my efforts to respond with what I think I understand about what she is saying. She is really good at interfacing with the nuro-typical world, she was a cop for many years, so she doesn’t seem to need my help, but she calls me an ally. I take that as a positive sign that I am beginning to understand.

    I hope other nuro-typical folk can be as fortunate as I have been in finding an Asperger’s interpreter as I think of my garden buddy and an Asperger’s sparing partner as I think of my second friend. They have been invaluable in helping me to deal with my surrounding community of family and friends that are on the spectrum.

  215. @ Princess Cutekitten re #214

    Remember the old saying ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.’? There’s a certain amount of truth to it, but I’d change it to ‘we have to do it ourselves’. It’s painfully obvious by now that Congressmen and other critters aren’t going to do much if anything for us. We got to this point because we kept holding out hope they would. Grassroots movements creating the types of businesses you’re talking about and getting local governments to toss out hand and foot binding regulations which hamper those businesses from thriving are laboriously underway and need to be supported.

    It won’t be easy because it took years to reach this point and will take years to dig ourselves out. I support the local Food Co-op we have because they offer locally produced food goods from local farmers (vegetables, meat and milk). A good percentage of the food I get is grown or raised here in New Hampshire and nearby Vermont. It’s a small thing but it’s a start.

  216. Re: China in the Long Descent; I recommend checking out the work of Alexander Leong, a Malaysian-Chinese writer who runs a newsletter called Better Barbarians: https://leong.substack.com/

    Leong is a thoughtful writer very influenced by our host JMG’s ideas, as well as Spengler and Lao Tzu. I spoke to him a little bit about how he saw China developing in the future in our podcast together: https://symbioticculture.co.uk/index.php/2021/12/27/dodcast-16-taoism-spengler-and-training-for-the-collapse-with-alexander-leong/

    JMG, you speculate that China may end up importing spiritual gurus and suchlike from abroad. I share most of your reservations about Julius Evola’s work, but one interesting prediction he made IIRC was that the West would become materially impoverished but spiritually vibrant, and the East vice versa, so the pattern of the 19th and 20th centuries, where gurus and teachers would travel to the West from the East, would be reversed.

  217. @stellarwind 194:

    Thank you for the link to Matthieu Auzanneau interview in Jacobin!

    For many years, JMG has told readers how useful it would be to estimate the “net energy rate”, i.e. how much energy leaves the oil rig/refinery/power plant after subtracting the energy input. Auzanneau gives a very simple answer to the question: “Why is there so much silence around the question of oil resources?” He says that is costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to access this data…

    I agree (from my layman’s perspective) with most of the factual statements he gives in the interview, though (as he admits) values come in at the moment of deciding whether to boost nuclear energy.

  218. Mary Bennett about homeschool curricula

    There are many out there. I and my wife both researched this. She went with a christian curriculum that is very hands on and she likes (we are not christians).
    I decided after a lot of research to give up on premade curricula and instead use books (weird, I know). I grew up in a communist country where books were THE way to learn so why not?

    What I do is spent a couple hundred dollars on a hundred books from abebooks (there are other second hand book stores out there). These are all 20 to 60 year old books – so I know they are better than the current ones. Most of them are part of series created by different universities (like math books for K to 12 and so on).

    One more thing I am doing is using college textbooks to teach the kids even though they are in primary school. It sounds ridiculous but it’s not that crazy. It won’t work for math or physics but I am doing this for biology, geography, astronomy etc.

    Just to stress this out – I am not exaggerating, you can buy great books for 2 or 3 dollars second hand. That includes great college textbooks. Just keep this our secret!

  219. @Quin, I’m a tad late to the discussion. Ah well…

    A bit of caution on laser printing for long-term archival. I’ve been using printers, as a regular user, for 35 years, starting with a noisy dot-matrix thing.

    With laser printers, toner is applied on the paper; I’ve noticed that over decades, especially with double-sided printing, toner tends to stick to the facing page, hindering legibility.

    Ink-jet printing is no doubt costlier, but with popular models, there’s a healthy aftermarket for more affordable inks. With this technology, ink seeps into the paper, obviating the surface issue of laser printing. In my library, ink-jet pages printed 25 years ago are still perfectly legible, with no bleeding on facing pages.

    On the other hand, toner and laser paper have no doubt improved since I last used them, but the only way to see if such improvements translate into suitability for long-term archival is… time.

    Ink-jet inks are also prone to run if pages are exposed to water, which would ruin a book.

    There are always trade-offs, aren’t there… Weigh them for yourself, and do your research thoroughly.

  220. Patricia+Mathews @ 221, in former times, c.10th-13thC, Scotland was pretty much a part of Scandinavia, despite speaking forms of Gaelic, and despite the Norman presence in their lowlands. Scottish and Scandinavian royal families intermarried; it was the death of a Norwegian-Scottish princess which sparked the dynastic dispute into which Edward I of England intervened, and that set off the Wars of Independence, to the delight of adventure story readers ever since.

    Despite talk of remaining in the EU from supporters of Scottish independence today–reviving the Auld Alliance with France–I rather think, although I cannot know, that the Scots of today would like to be part of a prosperous Scandinavia as opposed to being tied to the fate of a declining empire.

  221. @Chris re. #243 –

    I’m starting to wonder if Russia actually INTENDS to have the West cut them off from SWIFT.

  222. Hi JMG,

    I think it was on a Magic Monday (or maybe here) where you talked about honoring the dead to bring blessings to both them and to us.

    Coincidentally, something happened to me on that same day.

    The owner of my company died 7 years ago. Two of his children took over the company. They are atheist/PMC types with a very entitled life. His wife lives in assisted living.

    The same day I read your comment about honoring the dead, I found my boss’ ashes stuffed away in a corner of hoarded junk in the back of our warehouse. I was compelled to pray over the ashes, just a basic Our Father/Hail Mary that I learned as a child.

    Is there anything else I can do for his ignored ashes? He was a pretty decent guy. Thanks.

  223. Dear Mr Greer

    I have a question about the fall of communism in 1989.

    I am working on a play with a character who was around at the time the Berlin Wall fell and this became a pivotal event that shaped his future life. He says “We’ve been fighting wars and revolutions for centuries to find the best way to run society and the cold war was the culmination of that, and we won the ultimate victory. We proved that capitalism is the best system there is. This is why we cannot fail”.

    His country is in the middle of a 1930’s style depression due to peak oil, limits to growth etc, and he is running an election campaign against a totalitarian populist party who who want to take his country back to what it was like 50 years ago. I don’t want to give away any more of the plot, but I do think future historians will see the fall of the Berlin Wall as an important moment in the decline of western civilisation. Like you, I think that there was a possibility that our civilisation could have moved in a more sustainable direction in the 1970’s and this got squashed when the Thatcher and Regan revolution came along. It was the fall of that wall that sealed that revolution in concrete and gold plated it. It destroyed any opposition to neoliberalism and the free market, and made sure that our societies could not take any other path. Environmentalism became an opportunity for corporations to make big profits out of greenwashing. And it filled our establishment with a kind of “We make our own reality” hubris that led to the insanity of Iraq, 2008 financial crisis, offshoring our industry to China and turning it into a super power, failure to implement a Marshal aid program for Russia and turn it into an ally and a counterweight to China etc, etc, etc.

    I was around when it fell and it did have a real “bliss is was in that dawn to be alive” feel about it for understandable reasons. Millions of people in Eastern Europe were freed from communism, the cold war which threatened a nuclear holocaust ended virtually without a shot fire. But the Hubris that came out of it destroyed any chance of saving our civilisation from a collision course with the limits to growth.

    Do you think I am right?

    Thank you

    Yours sincerely

    Jasmine

  224. blue sun @ 244, JMG, anyone else, I read the Escobar article. (Remember when one felt proud to be an American?) What is it going to take, what will have to happen to get this faction, the Russia hating neo-cons and their “humanitarian”, I use the word advisedly, buddies turfed out of our government?

    I am not eager to live under rabid, all women must be married whether temperamentally suited for that state or not, business (everyone please genuflect) can do no wrong, independence for me means cultural conformity for thee, conservative governance, a word of which most self styled conservatives, in my experience, do not know the meaning.

  225. flanerieoconnor #231: https://clarissasblog.com/ is a blog by a Ukranian woman who now lives in the US, and offers an interesting take on the situation there. One of her recent comments was “The current invasion of Ukraine by Russia is domestic policy, not foreign…Putin is doing it because every time he invades somebody, his approval ratings soar.”

  226. Luke Dodson (#254),
    “I share most of your reservations about Julius Evola’s work, but one interesting prediction he made IIRC was that the West would become materially impoverished but spiritually vibrant, and the East vice versa”

    I heard a European lama of Tibetan Buddhism say the same thing.

  227. Jessica #23,

    It wasn’t Viduraawakened who commented about India seeking independence in 1920s. It was this Loafer – the yet to awaken.

    Coming to your point, speculative history can be both fascinating and unending but I do agree with the “very, very violent” part. It was exactly that which Gandhi wanted to avoid. I think it is fair to say that with Gandhi, the ends never justified the means. And he was quite uncompromising about the insistence on non-violence. For good or for bad, large numbers of Indians rallied around him. If I were living then, I would have too.

  228. @Chris Jarvis (#242) deflection point? This can be shortened nicely to D-point as it suggests both decision point and D-day… but that could have bad connotations.

    I would also perhaps coin “Frost Point”, for the suggestion of a choice in paths from the Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ (perhaps also his Fire and Ice for the people who memorized too many of his poems in highschool), as well as the point at which moisture condenses out of the air (decisions take form).

  229. Augusto (#173) Jessica gave a good brief explanation in #202 of the history of Ukraine leading to today’s war. For a longer version, listen to the lecture by Professor Mersheimer in 1915. He predicted a great deal of what has come to pass.

  230. Great Archdruid,
    Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it.
    About what is happening here.
    First, I want to address something because, for some unbeknownst to me reason, a lot of conservative falls for it (I mean infamous Candace Owens “He has a point” and people like Steve Turley fawning over Putin) hook, line and sinker. Yes, I mean “denazification” and neo-nazis in Ukraine. For starters, National Socialism (Nazism) is banned in Ukraine. And, it seems very peculiar for Nazis to elect a Jewish president. These Nazis really suck at being Nazis. I’m not denying that there are Nazis in Ukraine, but that’s true for almost any country in the world, and I’ve never seen a Nazi in my life. So Putin produces spurious document, gives a speech and somehow he “has a point.” Now he can kill all those evil Nazis and anti-communists (Communist party is banned in Ukraine as well). In 2014 they took pictures from a movie set in Odessa, they were shooting a movie about WWII, and used it as evidence of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. RuSSians even used pictures from Chechnya and claimed that they showed what Ukrainian Army is doing to Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. I’m a Russian speaking Ukrainian and I’ve never had any problems whatsoever with using Russian language. But for obvious reason I speak Ukrainian now (both are my native languages.) One more thing, Kyiv is almost a thousand years older than Moscow and it can’t sit well with current occupant of Kremlin (pun absolutely intended) and a lot of RuSSians are surprised when they find out.
    My morning started with explosions. There were 15 overall. At the time I didn’t know what was happening and I had no idea if I should stay home or head for a nearest bomb shelter. Later I found out that our army destroyed RuSSian subversive group.
    Kyiv was hit last night, as my Chinese friends warned me, with ballistic missiles, (right now there was another, 16th explosion) but thanks to missile defense they never reached their target (okay, now 17th). I’m going to keep it this way, since I hope to post it (18…19…20). Again, I have no idea what is happening (21st) and for some reason we never (22nd) able to hear air raid warning.
    Putin blitzkrieg is abysmal failure. The plan was that the war would be fast and glorious, somewhere between breakfast and luncheon. That didn’t pan out as they hoped it would. RuSSian army lost more than a thousand soldiers today, more than they have ever lost on the first day in all their military actions. I know that everything may change but right now RuSSia is losing badly. This night would be a very long night indeed. So why the glorious is losing?
    First and foremost, we are defending our land, our country and our families. Second, RuSSian army is not as glorious and mighty as people like to think it is. They also forgot something very important. When they had invaded Ukraine in 2014 we had no army. Now not only we have an army, but an army that has eight years of combat experience, including oversees. Third, our soldiers are not afraid to die and probably you’ve heard a story about Snake island (if not you can watch (23rd) it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM51n-pPuWI&list=WL&index=3&t=3s (here’s 50 second version in Russian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upORiAdUFJw&list=WL&index=4). Yeah, they knew they had no chance of surviving it. This is abandoned RuSSian military convoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RwdaeKlVd0&list=WL&index=5. They are now hiding in a nearby forest. And of course because our allies helped us with armaments. We know perfectly well that we are absolutely alone in this war and no one is going to send troops to help us. I don’t judge, I understand. Sorry, I was just told I need to go to bomb shelter (those explosions were really close to where I live) and I can’t check my spelling and stuff. Anyway, I’m not sure if it is far too long. I’m sorry if it is.

  231. @ Princess Cutekitten

    I discovered with horror that even basic medical items like ibuprofen or acetaminophen were made in China. Can we trust what is in one of those pills? One thing I’ve done for aches and pains is to get White Willow Bark. It’s much less stressful on the body, too. Hat Tip to Kimberley Steele for the recommendation.

  232. Does anyone find it ironic that Russia is calling for the denazification of Ukraine, even though Russia is the one waging a war of aggression against its neighbor and Ukraine has a Jewish president?

  233. What effects do supernova have in mundane astrology? I’m looking into the astrology of the fall of the USSR, and found a naked eye supernova (SN 1987 A), which seems to predict massive political turmoil; and is quite close to the ascendant in the Moscow chart, and in the 12th house for most of Eastern Europe, thus seeming to promise disruptions to institutions. (It helps that most of Eastern Europe has Mercury ruling the 1st or 12th, and Mercury in the chart is in abysmal condition).

    What’s occurred to me is that especially over the past 20 years or so, supernova discovery has gone into overdrive, and if they have a negative influence, this could somehow be connected to the way that the past 20 years has been one long continuous crisis. This also allows for an odd prediction: things will settle down shortly after the rate of supernova discovery starts to decline; which seems to suggest to me that there will be a major downward lurch in technological complexity before the current wave of ongoing crises resolves…..

  234. Viduraawakened #125,

    As it happens I have worked in AI and Machine Learning on and off, so I can at least say a few things in response to your query.

    If I understand correctly, I think you are referring to analog neural networks that make use of physical laws in order to train and function. Those are not well known, nor well studied. All the hype about neural networks these days refers to digital programs that function only via mind bogglingly large amounts of number crunching.

    About these latter digital neural networks, as pointed out, dedicated hardware to build them already exist. Also as already pointed out, in general neural networks are quite useless and have found some use in surveillance and even there only if you ignore their appalling inaccuracies. In other words, if you don’t care who you catch and accuse for a crime as long as you catch someone.

    The interesting thing here is that what we call AI today used to be called Pattern Recognition a few decades ago. It is a set of statistical techniques to partition high dimensional spaces into separate regions that represent different categories that a pattern belongs to – hence pattern recognition where you recognize which category a pattern falls in. This theory can easily survive in a deindustrial world and some smart alec may figure out how to use it with whatever number crunching methods that would be available then.

    Getting all speculative, it seems to me that a good deindustrial use of this pattern recognition theory could be in astrology. It is the kind of medium scale number crunching application where the additional computations might actually improve on the predictions made by an astrologer – thus justifying the resources spent on it. So basically it might be useful for cutting out the astrologer from the astrology.

    About building the former analog neural networks, to me, in a way those are like fusion. Just as we are blessed with a fusion device aka the sun, and can never replicate it in our pathetic metal containers due to insurmountable technical problems, each of us is also blessed with a neural network aka the brain, and it is unlikely that we will replicate it for any useful purpose.

  235. Cliff, fascinating. No wonder the fantasy mainstream won’t touch my tentacle fiction with a ten-foot pole!

    Flanerie, I wish I did. Right now information about the war is going to be wildly slanted by all sides — “the fog of war” is a helpful metaphor, and since propaganda is a military tool, everyone’s taking advantage of the fog to project their own narrative. Mostly it’s going to be a matter of waiting until the guns fall silent and it becomes possible to figure out what happened.

    Roger, I remember a cartoon strip from the 60s underground comic Odds Bodkins. One of the characters — I think it was Fred the Bird — has found a sword, and the other is warning him, saying “Just remember, the pen is mightier than the sword!” The sword speaks then, in fancy type: “Show me your pen.”

    Anonymous, I think it was Einstein who said, “Only two things are infinite — space, and human stupidity — and I’m not sure about space.”

    dropBear, hmm! Maybe they’re embarrassed to let it be seen by foreigners…

    Patrick, delighted to hear that somebody’s paying attention. With the price of oil well over US$90 a barrel, it’s an issue that matters…

    Yorkshire, it’s a great line — and a fine Renaissance utopia.

    Chris, I really doubt the Russians are interested in seizing territory. They want to make sure that Ukraine doesn’t join NATO and that no offensive weapons aimed at Russia are based there, and they quite possibly have economic issues in mind — leaving SWIFT and signing up for the Chinese equivalent might be a very smart move for them just now. But we’ll see.

    Blue Sun, it’s a good image, but I also think it’s a useful analysis. The current leaders of the West cannot imagine a world in which they don’t get everything they want. They’re serenely convinced that the arc of history bends toward them — or bends over for them — and that conviction drives every move they make. Even when they fail, they convince themselves that it’s just a temporary delay on the route to their inevitable triumph. When they fall — as of course they will; that kind of hubris never makes for success, or for that matter survival — expect blank looks on their faces; even then, I doubt it will sink in.

    Revelin (if I may). “masturbatory hogwash” — now that’s as good a summary of the Not-so-great Beast as I’ve heard in months. Thank you for the Dugin/Surkov recommendations — I haven’t ventured down that particular rabbit hole yet, but it’ll probably be necessary in due time.

    Kay, thank you for making the effort! That’s much appreciated — and simply the fact that you’re aware of the differences is exceedingly helpful.

    Luke, many thanks for this; I’ll check out Leong as time permits. As for Evola, he has his problems — as the saying goes, he doesn’t just have issues, he has subscriptions — but he was no fool, and if you can screen out his biases some of what he has to say is very worth attending to. His comments about the East and the West are spot on. The West, let’s remember, had an exceedingly rich body of spiritual and occult traditions before it went whole hog into scientific materialism, the flipside of its plunge into industrialism; it shelved all of its own indigenous wisdom, and projected the concept of wisdom (in a fully Jungian sense) onto the East. The same thing is already happening in Asia; My book Paths of Wisdom has been translated into Chinese, and I understand it’s selling quite well; you might wonder why China has any use for Hermetic Cabalism, given the astoundingly rich body of Taoist and Buddhist esoteric practice they’ve got in their own culture, but the same plunge into the industrial mindset is taking place there. Also in Japan, btw — again, an extraordinarly rich body of traditional esotericism is being neglected, while books on Crowley and the Golden Dawn sell like hotcakes in Japanese translation. As India rises along the same track, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Indians can avoid the same mistake.

  236. Jasmine, I’m curious to hear JMG’s reply, because I’ve had a related thought before – namely, that the drive towards big-farm, GMO-centered agribusiness in American agriculture was cemented in place by the sale of grain to the Soviets in the 70s. The inability to feed themselves internally was a huge blow both to Soviet pride and to the whole theory of communism, but I also think the US government realized that industrialized ag was a powerful geopolitical mechanism for pushing countries away from more local, self-reliant economies and into a global economy (one which we happened to be in charge of).

    Earl Butz, Nixon and Ford’s Secretary of Ag, was famous for telling farmers “get big or get out,” and said, “Food is a tool. It is a weapon in the US negotiating kit.” We would go on to do the same thing to, for instance, Mexico in the 90s, collapsing the foundation of their rural economy with a flood of cheap corn. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened in other fields, cementing the capitalist response as the “right” one based on the communist side falling apart.

  237. “Einstein who said, “Only two things are infinite — space, and human stupidity — and I’m not sure about space.””

    Oh dear gods something just clicked. Faustian Civilization is obsessed with the infinite, and feels the need to take everything to its most extreme form. Well, there’s a limit to human intelligence, so once we reached that, we needed something new, and if Einstein was right, well, if Faustian Society decided around 1950 or so to make human stupidity the thing we sought to extend to infinity, it would explain a lot of the culture shifts which happened in those days…..

  238. What kind of thing do you expect to happen if those idiots trying to “talk some sense into” Svetovid, a Slavic War God, succeed in getting his attention? My guess, though it’s only a guess, is that the likelihood of them getting involved in a war will go up dramatically, but I’m curious what your thoughts are.

  239. @Bei Dawei Dickens has always tried my patience too. The turgid excesses of the mid-19th century are, like JMG said, a mixed bag. Zanoni was contemporaneous with The Count of Monte Cristo…. Another turgid opus from that decade was Melville’s relatively obscure but ambitions novel, “Mardi and A Voyage Thither.” Yes, he said “thither.”

  240. Hello JMG,

    I have heard the saying recently ” The USA is a business that pretends to be a nation ” . I think there is some truth to that .

    What do you think will happen to the federal government , and to the leader of NATO , as the business makes less and less real money in the next twenty years?

    Will the government lose much power to the states, and European nations try to be independent again?

  241. On hearing of the theomachy war against the gods my first thought was that would make an awesome game. It’d need some equivalent to the Grand Theft Auto Wanted level, Blades in the Dark Heat, and Cthulhu City Suspicion. Only at higher levels instead of getting chased by a SWAT team, the divine retribution ratchets up. 🙂

  242. JMG in response to blue sun (#245) –

    Is this behind the much more vigorous response by Western nations to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine compared to, say, Crimea in 2014 or South Ossetia in 2008? It seems like it’s not qualitatively that much different – it’s still a Russian incursion into another country, and I’m pretty sure war crimes were also involved – but the reaction is a lot stronger, and it can’t be attributed entirely to social media, since social media existed in 2014 (and even 2008, although not to the same extent).

    Which suggests to me any or all of the following:

    1. It’s something fundamentally important about Ukraine proper that’s bringing this about.

    2. It’s something fundamentally important about Biden or the current American situation that’s bringing this about. South Ossetia happened in 2008, in an election year just prior to the financial collapse, and may have been overshadowed by both. Crimea happened also in a midterm year, but with Obama as president. Obama isn’t the same generation as Biden and wouldn’t be as much of a Cold Warrior.

    3. It’s a desperately-needed news pivot away from Covid at a time when that narrative is starting to collapse,

    4. It’s associated with the extended Venus/Mars conjunction in Capricorn, sign of structures, governments, and boundaries, that has been in play roughly since Russia started amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. Mars overcoming Venus = “make war, not love” In which case I would not imagine peace to be a possibility until Venus overtakes Mars again on March 6 (and even then the conjunction’s still in orb until late March, when it also happens to conjoin Saturn).

    5. It isn’t just an attack on Ukraine; it’s an attack on the entire world order as it’s existed since 1945 and in particular as it’s existed since 1991. Because “this is 2022, countries don’t do that anymore”. The problem I’m having with this item is that this should have also been the case for South Ossetia/Crimea and we didn’t respond by throwing the book at them.then.

  243. One thing I forgot at my post #234:

    When you are at the Gutenberg site, type “Ralph of the Railroad” into the search engine. When you click on the search button, the four or five books of the series will come up. These are the story of an impoverished youth getting into railroading. But the interesting thing is that in addition to the books of the series, there is also a non-fiction book available, called “Railroad Accidents – Their Causes and Prevention.” This was copyright in 1906.

    It goes through the various types of accidents, and discusses and lists the 50 or so Rules of railroading in force at the time. Also some basic statistics: example, according to the Interstate Commerce Commission, in the year ending June 30, 1904, there were 441 passenger fatalities out on the railroads, and over 5,000 railway employees killed.

    Antoinetta III

  244. Luke Dodson (#254), Jessica (#265) –

    When my parents were in Greece, they picked up some artwork in Mykonos; one was simply a poem that referenced similar historical flips:

    East is East, and West is West
    But in Mykonos,
    East becomes West
    North becomes South
    The Gods walk in the shadows of every street
    Causing you to lose your way
    And forever in Mykonos
    You want to stay.

  245. Michael Martin – We really need a Holy Alliance in Christendom, to address the modern world, and make an apologia to those outside the Christian communion. Here’s my stab at it, and the problems I have with Orthodox triumphalism : you may, or may not, find any of it useful: https://cassiodorusquodlibeta.blogspot.com/2022/02/anglican-view-of-american-apostasy.html
    A united Church, or more united, might be able to make a better witness to those of good will, who, for one reason or the other, some justified, some not, find themselves unable to take the name of Christ upon them. The West has its problems. I’m not convinced that the East does not. Part of what JMG has done here, to the great benefit of all, is to restore a sense of appreciation for the lost, forgotten, and productive elements of various Western threads or strands, covered up in the rush to supreme power over Nature. I would love to re-unite with the East, but when they anathematize everyone in the West, I realize I have more in common (in many ways) with a certain ex-Archdruid (cough cough), than I do with Eastern Christians. Surely, there is a great filtering process going on, which makes strange alliances. I’m still interested in reviving the Celtic Church (although some say it was a “myth”, I regard it as a true myth).

  246. @stellarwind

    Now that even Putin is in on the Nazi name-calling, I’m fully convinced that the term has lost all meaning aside from “person I don’t like who has ideas I don’t agree with.”

    Canadian truckers are Nazis, Trudeau is a Nazi, social justice warriors are Nazis, Trump is a Nazi, Putin is a Nazi, so of course the Ukrainian government must be Nazis too.

    And because there are billions of humans, it’s usually possible to find at least one actual swastika-displaying neo-Nazi who supports any particular cause, and voila, we have photographic proof that they are all Nazis! And if no one shows up as necessary, well it’s easy enough to plant somebody.

    At this point we would do well to delete the term from our collective vocabulary…

  247. Jon, the best thing to do would be to take the ashes and get them placed in a niche in a proper columbarium somewhere. If that’s not an option, prayer for him will be very helpful.

    Jasmine, I think you’re quite correct. See if you can find Francis Fukuyama’s essay “An End to History?” somewhere online — he was the Bush administration’s pet philosopher, and he made exactly the same argument your character is that the collapse of communism proves that neoliberal capitalism is the perfect system of political economy.

    Kyivan, thanks for this. I’m pretty sure the people who are concerned about Nazism in the Ukraine are thinking of Stepan Bandera and the Azov Battalion, for what it’s worth. Please stay safe!

    Stellarwind, here again, you might want to look up Stepan Bandera and the Azov Battalion if you’re interested in understanding the issue, rather than simply dismissing it.

    Anonymous, interesting. The material I’ve studied, which admittedly is some centuries old, focuses on supernovae that are visible to the naked eye, and sees them as markers of dramatic collective change. SN 1978A would certainly count! As for infinite stupidity, you know, that would make sense of so much. And Svetovit? I don’t know the myths and traditions around him well enough to guess. Some war gods would send war; others might just smite the people who were invoking him in so silly a fashion.

    Tony, the US is heading toward serious crisis, and I doubt it’ll be the head of much of anything 20 years from now; it may well not even be a single nation by then. Our political leadership is pretty clearly stuffing its pockets with all the cash it can grab, prior to imitating the former president of Afghanistan and fleeing the country with suitcases full of currency, with New Zealand one likely destination. I mean this quite literally. Current US policy is so hopelessly unsustainable that I think a lot of politicians are planning to do what CEOs of failing corporations do, and quit with as much as they can grab just before the bottom falls out.

    Brendhelm, my guess is on #2 and #3.

    Brazzart, nope. I have so much else to do right now that I haven’t cast that chart. Consider casting and interpreting it yourself!

  248. “Anonymous, interesting. The material I’ve studied, which admittedly is some centuries old, focuses on supernovae that are visible to the naked eye, and sees them as markers of dramatic collective change. SN 1978A would certainly count!”

    I wonder about something else then, if perhaps it’s not so much naked eye supernovae as important ones, there’s a supernova which a ton of people in the astronomical community have been talking about since its discovery April 1, 2020: SN 2020fqv. It was one of the first to be seen as it was happening, and observations of it have offered a huge amount of knowledge on how they occur.

    I’m looking at the approximate chart (I’ve been unable to determine exactly when it happened, but certain details still stand out to me), and the relevant chart has a T square featuring Uranus in Taurus opposite the supernova in Scorpio, both squaring a Mars-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius. I find it quite interesting that this would seem to indicate the radical change would come about out of a desire to do something about a predicament (Saturn/Mars conjunction), and related to innovation or technology (Uranus).

    Well, this is the point where the unprecedented lockdowns went from “2 weeks to flatten the curve!” to “We need to keep this up until vaccines arrive!” This chart also has a truly abysmal Mercury, so it seems to me to indicate the complete collapse of the media and intellectual side of our society as well….

  249. Hi Tony C,

    And a thoroughly corrupt business at that, I’m sorry to say. I’m a U.S. citizen, born here, and have been watching our rulers go from bad to worse over the last 45 years or so. At this point I am not sure a turnaround is even possible, much less desired by anyone with the power to effect it.

  250. What are you recommendations for reading about class in America? I have White Trash and read through it a bit years ago. Are there other similar books? I just publicly countered someone who used a class slur against poor white people and I feel like if I was better prepared for those things it might help.

    There was some conversation upthread about being politically homeless. I agree with that but I’ve felt that way for decades now. There hasn’t been a presidential candidate, senator, or congressman I’ve been eager to vote for from any party as long as I can remember. Maybe Ron Paul came closest but he didn’t last until my state’s primary.

    My issue is I completely feel out of place in any class of people now. With a graduate degree and working a research job, I’m often around people who act like putting down the working class is their part-time job. I love hanging out with people at the gun range or fire hall, but unless they know me, they avoid me because I look like one of those salary snobs at first glance.

    My uncomfortableness will probably go away and things get more and more localized in the near future (more walking anyone?) but for now its lonely.

  251. Archdruid,

    I am so very confused about Putins invasion of Ukraine. His irregulars were like two years away from achieving Russia’s strategic goals.

  252. If you want to keep with the mathematical definition of tangent, the point where you turn (not quite the same as moment) is the point of tangency. But I did some DuckDG searches and ended up with a link to an article titled “the point of turning”. I haven’t read the whole article, but this paragraph grabbed me:

    For some of us, this is a kairos moment—a moment of truth, a moment of turning, a moment of redirection and new commitments, a moment to forge covenants that will lead us from the despair of our past and present to the promise and hope of our future. (https://sojo.net/magazine/october-1991/moment-turning)

    From Wikipedia: Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning ‘the right, critical, or opportune moment’. In modern Greek, kairos also means ‘weather’. It is one of two words that the ancient Greeks had for ‘time’; the other being chronos. Whereas the latter refers to chronological or sequential time, kairos signifies a proper or opportune time for action.

    Does that feel right for what you are trying to describe?

  253. I’m worried about Taiwan.

    When the US contemplates Tiawan they see a valuable technological asset. There is no way the US can stop China from taking it. I’m fairly certain that the US contingency plan involves industrial sabotage on a massive scale. The Chinese reprisal will almost certainly engage the same tool kit both before and after open conflict occurs.

    I’m still confident that the Chinese won’t act before the Russians complete their efforts in the Ukraine. Before the invasion kicked off I thought we would be well into vaccine consequence phase before the Chinese would make a move, likely early fall, but now I fear we may see this happen in early spring.

    Do you have any thoughts on how the Chinese annexation of Tiawan will play out?

  254. Anonymous, fascinating. Do you know how to progress a chart? It would be interesting to see what progressing that chart predicts for the years ahead.

    Denis, I wish I knew of something! I came to my own reflections on class mostly by watching the way that class conflicts have played out in my own life. Have you considered getting a more proletarian wardrobe for visits to the gun range? (Hint: a MAGA hat or a suitable tee shirt might help…)

    Varun, you’ll have to ask Putin!

    Misty Friday, nope. President Xi hasn’t told me. 😉

    ****
    And a note to all:

    Ahem. We are not going to fight the Russo-Ukraine war on this blog’s comment page. I understand that there are a lot of heated passions on that subject, but there are plenty of other places where people can yell about who did what to whom for the last thousand years. I’d like to ask readers to leave the entire question of who’s right and who’s wrong alone for now. Oh, and anyone who posts something inflammatory here to try to pick a fight, and responds to answers with a flurry of canned talking points to feed the flames in typical troll fashion, will be banned. I’ve just done this, and will do it again as needed. ‘Nuf said.

  255. Just FYI, the Ukraine invasion on 22.02.2022 is most likely not about numerology per se, it is more likely that it is 8 years to the day since the 2014 coup. Yanukovych fled the country on 22.02.2014

  256. Archdruid,

    That’s totally assuming he knows!

    All I’m getting from this mess is just how weary the US public is, not just about the war but about all politics.

  257. Princess Cutekitten, (and JMG and anyone else)

    I’ve had the same thoughts, not just about the quality of US leaders, but also ours here in Canada. We have an empty-headed fop for a prime minister that makes me cringe every time he opens his mouth, cabinet ministers that may look good on paper but cease looking good the minute they speak.

    Our prior leader, Harper, a Conservative, came to office loaded with what I thought was some pretty estimable policy baggage that he packed as chief theologian for the late Reform Party, which he immediately jettisoned the day he assumed power. For all intents and purposes he ruled as a Liberal prime minister, no different from his Liberal Party predecessors, and Progressive Conservatives too for that matter, which in substance were not a whit different either.

    Which made me wonder, if both main parties exist to cater to business interests, if in governing they’re inter-changeable, if our allegedly socialist party long ago made its peace with globalization, then what exactly is the point of elections?

    I have only sparse memories of the Eisenhower era, my substantial recollections start with JFK and LBJ and their contemporaries in Ottawa. From what I remember and what I’ve read, it seems that fellas like Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Harry, Ike, JFK and LBJ, for all their faults and mis-steps, stood head and shoulders above the various mutton-heads, goofs, actors, horn-dogs, frat-boys, empty suits, game show hosts and geriatrics in power since, plus the lamentable specimens in our own hallowed halls who showed us that ambition without talent is a terrible thing. My wife insists that the degradation is societal in scope, the general caliber of the citizenry not being what it was. Maybe she’s right.

    Is this symptomatic of civilizational decline? Maybe it is, but I can’t help thinking that the Ottomans and Byzantines and Romans can’t have looked as absurd as us in their own decline and fall.

  258. @Chris Jarvie #243,

    Inflection point; watershed moment; turning point; or perhaps (if it’s some sort of complete reversal) peripeteia. If it hasn’t happened yet but you sense it looming, you may be “coming to a pass.”

  259. “Anonymous, fascinating. Do you know how to progress a chart? It would be interesting to see what progressing that chart predicts for the years ahead.”

    I do indeed, but I’d like to find something that tells me roughly when the supernova was found first, before I take a look at it.

  260. Denis, if you don’t mind my two cents, I had the same issue as to class, my own background very blue collar, my tastes and political outlook reflective of that, which is to say not ‘liberal’.

    But for decades I’ve worked and lived as a university educated professional in a very ‘liberal’ urban setting. And I’ve heard the same slurs, the last allowable bigotry, some of which I took issue with when I was goaded beyond endurance. But almost always I kept my mouth shut, arguing these things a profitless endeavor, and anyway I mostly heard that stuff at work where politics is a topic generally to be avoided. The offender would mostly get a hard, silent stare and that was it.

    I would say that you are what you are, and in any case, the minute you speak your origins come out. But as JMG sez dressing like the locals helps so you don’t stick out. Just don’t overdo it. Forty years ago or so, if you saw someone in downtown Calgary dressed in buckskins, you were for sure looking at recently transplanted easterner, westerners dressing mostly in jeans and baseball caps. Funny thing that, easterners became westerners faster than you could say National Energy Program (we lived there for several years).

  261. “Anonymous, fascinating. Do you know how to progress a chart? It would be interesting to see what progressing that chart predicts for the years ahead.”

    Update: I found the exact time and will be drafting a report in a few days, both of the chart itself and the progressions.

  262. @Roger #301

    Please omit LBJ from your list, he was perhaps the crudest president we’ve ever have, even worse than its current occupant. He also shared Brandon’s pervy tendencies.

  263. Michael Martin @212: Thanks very much for the explanation about Theomachy. Quite interesting to me that the Orthodox faith has not only identified this as a problem but has even come up with a descriptive term for it.

    Indeed, describing the arc of Western European culture as being “…from uncultured barbarism to cultured barbarism…” hits the nail squarely on the head for me. Sigh. All this estranges me even a bit more from my native culture, but certainly encourages me to continue to explore the deep connections of land and spirit here in Central California (which I feel are quite at odds with the dominant paradigm.)

    Also Cliff @231: very interesting observation about SF&F trends. Disconnectedness has definitely been a growth industry in the last 10 or 20 years, egged on by (anti)social media like FarceBark and Twibble.

  264. Re: We are not going to fight the Russo-Ukraine war on this blog’s comment page.

    Thanks for that, John. Your blogs are always islands of civility in a sea of profanity which is the internet.

  265. On the last open post you wrote,

    “Curt, total control over nature is the demonic fantasy at the heart of the myth of progress. It’s the thing that is dragging us down most forcefully.”

    Would you mind elaborating on what you mean by “demonic”? How do you tell what is demonic?

  266. Yes! Kairos! Thank you RandomActsofKindness. I had the feeling that the answer would be Greek, as the Greek tragedies have a kairos moment when the protagonist steps onto their fateful path…

  267. Hey jmg

    A couple of times you have mentioned how language, especially English, is inadequate for expressing various aspects of reality that involve the psychological and the occult.
    Do you think that over time language will develop so that it can better express these things?

    (I don’t mean some kind of artificial philosophical Con-Lang like John wilkins made, but a natural and organic development.)

  268. I just had a thought: thanks to a combination of pop-psychology, New Age platitudes, and calling everyone we don’t like Hitler, Americans have lost the ability to distinguish malice from insanity. The two are firmly so welded in our collective imagination that when someone commits a terrible act, we call them crazy and even look for psychological explanations.

    What inspired this was talking with someone who kept referring Putin as “crazy” and expressing concern that “we don’t know what he’ll do.” I pushed back and said I thought Putin was evil, but not crazy, or even particularly impulsive, so I’m not too concerned that he’ll actually pull out nukes unless he can realistically get away with it without starting a full on nuclear war without other nuclear powers.

    (Though I’ll grant you I thought Putin was more patient than he’s turned out to be. I figured he’d annex the two territories and wait a few more years before pushing for the rest of Ukraine.)

  269. Actually, let me go a step further: the only form of malice the PMC seems to have the ability to process as malice is bigotry. Which is perhaps part of why they see it everywhere these days.

  270. Germany so obviously needs Russian gas that I find it hard to believe that they agreed to close down Nordstream 2 without a great deal of kicking and screaming. Any ideas as to how America pressured Germany into this position?

  271. @Loafer

    Thank you for your reply. Your comparison between analog physics-informed neural networks and the quest for commercial fusion power makes sense. I confess that at first, when I saw in the book that an analog neural network was built to solve a 3rd degree equation, the first thought that came to my mind was, ‘Can this be done for simulating a Lotka-Volterra or Lorenz system?’ Seems I got a bit too excited…

    @Augusto

    Thank you for your reply. I agree that neural networks are largely hype, but, as I said in my reply to Loafer, they could potentially be useful to applied people like engineers as a useful alternative (for simulation) to conventional numerical methods like Finite Difference, Finite Volume, etc. As for the mathematics behind neural networks, I’ve started studying this book called ‘Deep Learning Architectures: A Mathematical Approach’ by Ovidiu Calin, published by Springer; the mathematics therein is quite meaty, IMO (it focuses entirely on the mathematics, no coding involved), and I’m sure it will interest someone with a background in pure mathematics.

    @CR Patiño

    Thank you for your reply. As for neural networks recognizing faces vs. humans doing the same, no arguments there.

    @Andy

    Thank you for your reply. An interesting historical tidbit, indeed!

    @stellarwind72

    Thank you for your reply. I’m quite familiar with 3Blue1Brown, I’ve seen quite a few of his videos, especially on Complex Analysis and Linear Algebra, and I found them very interesting. However, I prefer studying from books to videos. As for the degruyter link, thanks for this, it was very interesting.

  272. I lost track of who here recommended the John Ringo’s The Last Centurion, but thank you! It arrived yesterday and I’m halfway through already. I’m wondering if people at the CDC read it and used it as a playbook? Social distancing is even mentioned. Except in this plague story the vaccines were stockpiled and were effective, just not distributed well.

  273. How did you know I have a MAGA hat 😉 Lost my best friend at the time over that hat too. She was convinced that wearing or even owning one of those hats was the equivalent of being a member of the KKK. And anyone who owned one should be rounded up and put into camps. I just couldn’t be around someone who had a reflexive emotional reaction to a hat and then rationalized why that emotion was good and right.

    I have recommend your book several times to people confused over 2015 through 2020. Not one person read it as far as I know, but it did really sum up the class issue for me.

    I did recall one current author who has written about class issues in America – Chris Arnade and his book Dignity. He did an interview on Russ Roberts EconTalk podcast where he pushes back on Russ’s “why don’t these people just move to where the jobs are” and “why are they voting against their interests by supporting Trump” line of questioning. Chris pushed so hard that Russ fell silent and I could feel the tension and heat between them. Chris completely called out Russ on his elitist thinking. It was awesome. The interview is here https://russroberts.info/podcast/chris-arnade-on-dignity/

  274. @ Chris

    A kink in a smooth curve is an inflection point. Two paths meet at a node, branch, fork, or split. You could deviate off your path or swerve, bifurcate, sheer off, change course, or take a new tack. But none of these suggest stepping into a new realm of possibilities.

  275. ‘We are not going to fight the Russo-Ukraine war on this blog’s comment page.’

    I agree with you.

  276. Dear JMG:

    This is one of the sharp drops western civilization is going to be experiencing as we go on. How sharp and how long this step is I’d say the situation in the Ukraine will determine. I think Putin and Russia has a far better hand than the West, and are playing it much better. But Clausewitz stated that War is an uncertain business, and miscalculations happen. Too bad our Western leaders didn’t remember that after “The End Of History” (Yeah, right!!).

    Also, the US could find its European allies starting to seriously question the purpose of the whole system. Europe having few natural resources that are large in volume and easy and cheap to exploit puts it in a very bad predicament relative to the US and Russia.

    And for a possible kicker, natural gas disruption – higher fertilizer prices – food shortages in lots of places.

    It could be a bumpy ride for the next several years! May cool heads prevail! Remember, Eisenhower didn’t intervene in the Hungarian Uprising in 1956: Too difficult and not worth it due to the risks. On the other hand, not one of the Western leaders is remotely an Eisenhower. Plenty of room for mistakes, misinterpretations, and false hopes.

  277. John Michael wrote, “Unfortunately too many people out there seem to be a couple of horsemen short of an apocalypse on this subject, and you can try all day and all night and not get them to notice that there are any alternatives to (a) business as usual and (b) everyone dies next Thursday.”

    Roll the presses! John Michael Greer writes, “everyone dies next Thursday.” It’s a quote, and that’s a wrap!

    Wait a minute… readers won’t believe it at this point if we don’t drop an “anonymous sources confirm” somewhere into the story. Without that, everyone will droolingly assume it’s “Russian propaganda” like we taught them to. Hmm… how can we fluff this up to blue-check, newspeak credibility standards? Anyone?

    We could try “So our time is finally up. You can try all day and all night, but there are not any alternatives to the coming apocalypse, writes Greer. Did we manage to offend some god? Trust some brainwashing, mainstream news-source?” Hey, who put that one in there? That’s the part we’re never supposed to say out loud. Come on guys! “Donate to the wrong charity at an inauspicious hour? No one knows, but surely in our remaining time Mr. Greer would advise us to meditate on it.” Uh-huh… sooo, are you actually getting to the anonymous sources part or just trying to up your word count now?

    Ok, ok, how about “When asked about the coming apocalypse, the Biden-puppet denied…” How many times do I have to tell you guys to stop calling him the Biden-puppet? Sheesh, he’s supposed to be the Commander in Chief; can’t you at least act like you believe that’s true? “…President Biden, our Commander in Chief, himself, through several protective layers of spokespeople, officially denied any knowledge of any upcoming ‘thingy… umm… that thingabob… uhhh… oh, Christ, what you were asking about, you idiot’ in reference to the predicted apocalypse. However, anonymous sources of high rank in the US government have confirmed for our publication, again anonymously, the truth of Mr. Greer’s prognostication.” Is that good enough? I could sure do with a margarita and some kickboxing at this point.

    Are you forgetting about the tie-in and promotion angle? Pfizer’s not going to keep paying to print our drivel, if we leave out the vaccine-cheerleading part. And, unless you plan to man the bake sale or the car wash yourself, you better come up with a product for our department to peddle in this piece to keep the lights on. Readership’s not exactly going up!

    “The Biden-pup…errr… President went on to remind Americans that Science has definitively proven that getting vaccinated will protect them from ‘that thing…errm… you know… those horsemen…like in… uhhh… the talking pictures’ in reference to the predicted apocalypse. ‘That’s how good these vaccines are. They’ll protect you from… umm… horsemen thingys that aren’t coming anyway, I swear. Just get jabbed, and jab your babies and your pets and your eyeballs.’ With our anonymous sources now confirming Thursday’s apocalypse, you really do need to get vaccinated; it’s the only thing that could possibly save you. Or our publication.” Sorry, strike that last sentence. I was on a roll and got carried away.

    “We’ve printed up some amazing ‘Down with apocalypse’, ‘Horsemen-free safe-zone’, ‘I don’t like Thursdays’, and ‘Vaxxed in time for the apocalypse’ t-shirts and buttons that are absolute must-haves! If you order them for delivery today, you’ll have them in time for the end of the world next Thursday. So order now!” Well, well, that’s exactly the spirit I’ve been looking for from you guys. You’ve certainly earned that margarita, haven’t you? Enjoy it, and start brainstorming what we can post on Friday to make readers forget all about this.

  278. @JMG: thank you for your thoughts on Evola!

    Regarding Crowley: Revelin’s description of his writing as “masturbatory hogwash” made me chuckle. After the usual counter-cultural fanboy-ing in my late teens and early 20s that thankfully just stopped short of any actual dabbling in his “magjycke”, I read Colin Wilson’s biography and realised Crowley was simply a deeply unpleasant, abusive, and narcissistic fool of a man.

    It gets worse; my friend Jasun Horsley’s book “Vice of Kings” has a great deal of very unsavoury information about Crowley’s proclivities. For those unfamiliar, let’s put it this way: Crowley wrote about an awful lot of things in his private diaries that Crowley-apologists have gone out of their way to interpret as simply “jokes”.

  279. Denis (#293)
    “What are you recommendations for reading about class in America? I have White Trash and read through it a bit years ago.”
    Heartland by Sarah Smarsh is only the memoir of one person who grew up in a hard-working poor family in Kansas, but it is very well written and touches on many issues of class from inside the working class, from a sympathetic but honest viewpoint. She is writing about “us” not about “them”. I listened to the audiobook. The author did the narration, which is usually a bad idea, but she is also an excellent narrator and made the listen all the better.

    RandomActsOfKarma (#295)
    Strictly speaking, the tangent is the point at which the curve keeps on turning but you stop turning and go straight, continuing the direction that the curve had for just that instant.

    Misty Friday (#296)
    I lived in Taiwan for a year and liked it and the people a lot. I worry about them too.
    Taiwan is an illustration that the formation of nations can involve a lot of accidents. Without the Japanese seizure in 1895 and the invasion by the Nationalists in 1948 and the democratisation of Taiwan from the 1990s, Taiwan would see itself as part of China. However, because of how things have turned out, Taiwan is definitely a separate nation now. At least like Austria and Germany.
    There is definitely a danger that the US will encourage Taiwan to make too maximalist a case and raise the chances of invasion by the PRC.
    I wonder if there might be a very traditional Chinese solution in which Taiwan acknowledges being part of China, changes all its names to Province of Taiwan, Provincial Governor (instead of President), etc. gives XI a huge tickertape parade with PRC flags all over the place, maybe even a Mao poster or two, lots of video for the folks back home, then Xi goes home, no Chinese soldiers or militia are stationed on Taiwan, and Taiwan goes on with life exactly as it is now (obviously minus any US presence). Once a year, Taiwan sends a tribute mission to Beijing to kowtow to the emperor, which is exhaustively covered on Chinese media.

    Roger (#301)
    “Maybe it is, but I can’t help thinking that the Ottomans and Byzantines and Romans can’t have looked as absurd as us in their own decline and fall.”
    I don’t recall details at the moment, but the Romans at least had no shortage of absurd politics in their last years. The emperor who wanted all the glory for himself so he charged into battle against the Goths without waiting for reinforcements and got a large potion of the Roman Army slaughtered at Adrianople. There were a whole series of puppet emperors in the 400s but everytime one of the real power holders behind the throne got a bit competent, some rival would kill him. Historians of the time period now think that most of the barbarians did not invade but were invited in by one faction or another for use in their internecine wars.
    There seems to have been a point at which nothing actually held the declining ruling class together except the parallel interest in devouring more of the structures that made them the elites than their rivals among the elites. They had no ability to come together as a ruling class and try to keep their system going. This is clearly visible in the waning days of the Soviet Union. I fear that the US is in that phase now. If so, a lot that looks like deliberate but foolish or dire behavior of the elites as a whole is actually a move by one piece of the elites, a move that may even make sense for that one faction but at the expense of the long-term interests of the elites as a whole.
    It is also possible that I over-estimate the cohesion of ruling classes even at their peak. That from a distance, they look coherent, but given enough up close detail, even at the peak, one would see nothing but this one knifing that one in the back and that one sending Duke Atreides to Arrakis for the Harkonens to cut down to size.

    {Note to JMG; I hope that what follows is non-inflammatory and simply helpful but if you disagree, I would be grateful if you could cut out this part but leave the rest. I also understand that in order to avoid a Ukraine-related flame war, it might be necessary to simply stop discussion of that altogether.}

    The analogous solution for Ukraine would have been referenda in 1991 or so in any contested regions to let people decide themselves. Crimea and Donbass would most likely have gone with Russia, but Ukraine would have been a more homogenously Ukrainian country and had a greater chance of success. Ossetia would be independent of Georgia, but Chechnya would be independent of Russia. At that point in time, the US could quite easily have imposed this solution. Many in the Soviet Union wishing to avoid Yugoslavia’s fate would have welcomed it.
    Referenda are how the French-German border was resolved after WW2 (Alsace-Lorraine chose France, the Saar chose Germany), the Austrian-Slovenian border (and I think the Austrian-Hungarian one too) after WW1, and the German-Danish border after WW1. None of those borders has been a problem since.

  280. Anyone else noticed how the word “scientists” is used to give authority to anything? Such as “Scientists say….” As if all “scientists” are the same, with the same knowledge. Without knowing which kind of “scientist” the statement is really meaningless. Kind of like statements with “sustainable” and “affordable” with no numbers given. Goes along with the loss of imagination. Same as the overwhelming use of the word “tons” to mean lots, many, piles, bunches. More sloppy, lazy thinking.

  281. Chuaquin,

    I know you didn’t ask me but Damien Echols recommended Power of Now awhile ago on his Patreon. I always had a new agey preconception of it, but after reading I realized it’s a great book that packs a lot of wisdom in. It’s also meant to facilitate a certain state of consciousness and I believe Tolle even writes as much in the book.

  282. @Roger re # 301

    What’s missing is involvement at the local level. We’ve been glued so much to our televisions, video games, smart phones et al, plus struggling to make ends meet with a two-income household that we’ve basically dropped out of the local elections, plus any volunteer work or joining organizations such as the Odd Fellows, Shriners, or Masons. Nobody realizes anymore how much impact that can have in training newbees on how to organize, get involved with elections, engage in philanthropy and so forth, all those things that give people needed experience and a sense of purpose.

    So, yes, it’s no wonder people wring their hands and have little clue how to turn things around. John has posted before on some of these local efforts (such as lodges) and may need to do so again. Until we dump our virtual reality devices and step back into the real world, things are just going to keep on going downhill.

  283. Youngelephant #328:

    Thank you for your comment, I thought that “Power of Now” was a little crappy. I will consider it.

  284. As we are on novel recommendations: I am currently developing a story about a sinister psychic/occult research institution in late-70s Britain. Any recommendations for good reference pieces, particularly with dark MKULTRA themes, would be much appreciated!

  285. The big question on my mind regarding the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, is whether the Russian plan imagines a place for the current Ukrainian population within its current borders. If the question were simply political (depose the current West-facing President; install an East-facing President), then it would be reasonable for Ukraine to negotiate a peace agreement. However, “Holodomor”. If the Russian plan is to depopulate Ukraine of its current people, and repopulate “Southern Russia with Russians”, then the situation is much more serious. Given that the second option has a precedent… a negotiated occupation seems unwise.

  286. JMG and others who may have insights,

    As far as I remembered, I have always had “ideas”, or thoughts that spring up in imagination, and somewhat an associated urge to manifest them. Sometimes I can voluntarily have those ideas. Other times, it feels more like ideas possess me. I am also craving writings that “blow my mind” or introduce me to viewpoints that make me have ideas I would never had had otherwise.

    But where do ideas come from? For a while I had assumed a mechanistic explanation in which our minds possess a randomness generator that can be trained to bias the idea generation towards certain topics, approaches, etc. But that explanation seems to overly focus on an individual mind and does not account for the coherence of ideas across many individuals.

    For example, I have noticed in writings from Howard T. Odum, the New Alchemists, and Wendell Berry (among others), a drive to manifest viewpoints and practical solutions for lifestyles that would be better integrated in Nature’s cycles and processes. But where does that drive comes from? How come their viewpoints seem both individually original yet coherent between one another? Where does their drive derive its energy from? Would you say, for example, that “Gaia” is, or “Gaias” are, trying to descend in manifestation through each of them?

    And why do people resonate with some ideas but can be completely indifferent to others? What decides what we are going to resonate with? With training, can we consciously and willfully decide to put ourselves in resonance with some and not others?

    There is definitely more to each of these questions than can be answered in a couple sentences, but still, a few pointers to writings, and some early insights, would be greatly appreciated!

    Viking

  287. Esteemed Archdruid,
    Thank you, I really mean it.
    Trying to sleep with explosions is really hard, I don’t recommend it. Thing is, I desperately want to sleep but unable to sleep. As one poet said, “We rest – a dream has power to poison sleep, we rise – one wondering thought pollutes the day.”
    Yesterday, while I was in the underground parking (I couldn’t reach bomb shelter in time) I saw a senior lady and thought to myself she survived Nazi Germany and now there’s Russian invasion. It was surreal. I recommend anyone who says Putin “has a point” with crying children, moms with toddlers and senior citizens with a befuddled look in their eyes.
    There might be really great news. Soldiers from Snake Island might be alive. I really hope so. There is a chance that Russians hoped to use them in their propaganda (my friend from Russian send me a digital “leaflet” telling us to surrender because there’s no hope blah-blah-blah. I didn’t finish it and reminded that about the same rhetoric from Nazis.
    We survived another night. No major cities have been taken. Everybody helps in the way they can. I with money and I’m going to donate blood and if push comes to shove, well, I won’t ever surrender.
    One other thing. I can’t read all comments, but I saw something that Putin is right because he doesn’t want NATO next to his borders. Now, countries bordering Ukraine are already in NATO, so if his plan was successful than his borders would be right next to NATO countries.
    As for Azov, well it’s complicated. There are some Nazis there but, wait for it, they from Russia. Sure there are some Ukrainians too but there are, as Trudolf would put it, “fringe minority” and I really embarrassed about it. And of course they use Black sun as their symbol. Then again, there are Nazis in Western Europe and America. Bandera is another issue I don’t know much about, but my bet would be that he was fighting the Soviets and used every opportunity at his disposal. There was Russian Liberation Army and somehow conveniently they never bring them up.
    There’s a saying in Russian – Kyiv is mother of Russian cities (there might be some religion connotation, I’m referencing to “Jerusalem – The Mother of Us All.”) Odessa would be the father. So the Rus’ was where Kyiv was, and that land was called Russia. A lot of people believe that our name was stolen either by Russian boyars or by Peter the Great. And Orthodox Christianity comes from Kiev – Christianization of Kyivan Rus’. Orthodox Christianity is the main religion here, and I recommend watching this clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8I0FwHuL3g&list=WL&index=21&t=74s – just to get a glimpse of it. Very Christian imagery, but even if anyone is really averse to it, I would still recommend watching it, you will understand Ukraine better also you can hear Ukrainian language, and it sounds really great. I digress, sorry.
    One good thing that came out of this war is that the world sees who the real fascists are. To quote another poet: “Let be be the finale of seem” (my absolutely favorite line of all poetry). And after rocket
    hit a civilian building – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_ER6V2hFo&list=WL&index=4, well, that was the last straw, thank heavens, no-one died. Don’t get me wrong, I was welling up when I saw videos of Russian citizen being arrested for peaceful protest against war, and the charges would be, at least for some of them, treason.
    Some captured Russians soldiers look like teenagers, and you can see that they are frightened and according to them, they didn’t know they were in Ukraine. What they say is that they were woken in the middle of the night and told that they are going somewhere for military exercises. They didn’t expect to be greeted with real artillery and real war. That’s why they are surrendering en masse and hiding in the forest, but that just a conjecture.
    As for explosions, I lost count after 45-ish and there had been about six of them in the last hour, and it seems that I am getting used to them.
    Oh, and by the way, there is a lot of disinformation in Chinese segment of internet. The two best were that Germans changed their mind and now working on North Stream 2, The other one, and it’s a doozy, was that our President has fled the country. I must confess, I have a new respect for him. I didn’t like him very much, but he proved to be the real deal. And he’s a former actor and comedian. Also, Fox News blame everything on Biden, and I don’t believe it’s fair.
    And did you know miracles are possible in our time? I’m talking about COVID-19. It simply vanished (another two explosions). No one cares about jab mandates, covid-passports nor masks anymore. I can’t remember if anyone was wearing a mask in the parking lot, Maybe someone did.
    And I really recommend following the advice of our esteemed Archdruid. Look, on the first day there were no bread, no sugar, no water. There were food, yes, but you had to stand in line for hours on end and a lot of banks were down (now say goodbye to digital money). On the very next day, I could find only one supermarket that was open and only one place that sold fresh water. Everything is closed, including drug stores. You never know what might happen. We definitely didn’t expect a full-blown war with Russia. We have a curfew in Kyiv from 5 PM till 8 AM. Anyone who’s leaving a house would be deemed a diversionist. This is getting too long, so I’m going to stop myself right here.

  288. I apolozige for writing another comment but I made a mistake and forgot to mention some symbolism that might be of interest.
    So curfew is from 5 PM today and till 8 AM of February 28. It seems that the next 24 hours would be the Battle for Kyiv. There are so many connections with Nazi invasion it’s beyond my comprehension. Oh, and did you hear about ex-stasi Mann Mattias, head of Nord Stream and friend of Putin, who is supposedly also ex-stasi agent?
    Now, about symbolism. Military vehicles and tanks that are heading towards Kherson has a slant line painted on them. The ones heading for Kharkiv and Kyiv have a white letter Z (this on is easy it’s our President Zelenskyy), the ones that headed for Kramatorsk and Sloviansk have a triangle and mobile reserve is using a circle. I thought it would be worth mentitioning.
    One other thing I forgot, while American media is pointed fingers at Biden, some people here are convinced that it wasn’t Biden who wanted this war but Klaus Schwab who made promises to Putin he couldn’t deliver.

  289. Well, we got some really bad news. Red Cross is leaving Kyiv and this is a really bad omen.
    Yeah, there was news that Russian military targeted a home for disabled children (it was marked as a target) I didn’t believe it so I didn’t share that (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTJrkrLcwYw it’s in Ukrainian, sorry). Now, I have my doubts.
    You can watch what is happening in Ukraine on the Ukrainian military TV channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkL69AuNjFM – at least half of the clips have English captions and some of them are in English.
    I wish I could something Dion Fortune did for Britain…
    Hope to update everyone tomorrow or on Monday.

  290. @BXN #193 –

    I’ve heard claims that cryptocurrencies can be used to opt out of ‘the rigged central banking system’. Is there any truth to that? Are they as un-trackable as some people claim?

    Can you point me any sources that would help me understand them?

    Thank you.

  291. Torgeir, I know, and that’s rather unsettling. I don’t usually have precognitive dreams.

    Tim, hmm! Interesting.

    Roger, er, I hate to break it to you, but the Ottomans, Byzantines, and Romans were just as good at finding utter dolts to sit on the imperial throne in their latter days. Check out the reign of Emperor Honorius someday. Here’s one story from Procopius:

    “At that time they say that the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna received the message from one of the eunuchs, evidently a keeper of the poultry, that Rome had perished. And he cried out and said, ‘And yet it has just eaten from my hands!’ For he had a very large rooster, Rome by name; and the eunuch comprehending his words said that it was the city of Rome which had perished at the hands of Alaric, and the emperor with a sigh of relief answered quickly: ‘But I thought that my fowl Rome had perished.’ So great, they say, was the folly with which this emperor was possessed.”

    Anonymous, glad to hear it. I’ll look forward to the report.

    Ecosophian, you’re welcome.

    Anonymous, the essence of the demonic is that it refuses any relation to reality. “The world is whatever I want it to be” — the closer someone or something gets to that, the closer they get to the Ring-Pass-Not.

    J.L.Mc12, only if occultism becomes more widely accepted in the English-speaking world.

    Slithy, good! Yes, that’s a crucial point. Calling someone crazy is a way of insisting that nobody has any real reasons to disagree with the person who’s speaking — and in this case, it’s an attempt to gaslight the rest of the world by insisting that nobody anywhere could have any reason to refuse to submit to US hegemony.

    Martin, I understand that it’s a temporary closure only.

    Denis, it was a lucky guess. 😉

    Chuaquin, thank you. I’m also quite willing to enforce that rule.

    Cugel, trust me, I have that very well in mind. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out.

    Christophe, funny.

    Luke, Crowley was a nasty little man. It’s unfortunate that with all the fascinating figures of the late 19th and early 20th century occult renaissance to choose from, pop culture focused on him.

    Marlena13, a good point!

    Lathechuck, and of course that’s also an issue. As with most European conflicts, with who-did-what lists going back to the Middle Ages, it can’t not get ugly.

    Viking, well, in occult teachings minds are not bottled up inside individual brains. The mental plane is a continuum which fills the cosmos, and ideas pass through it as freely as light passes through space; the astral plane, which is the plane of images, dreams, and other expressions of concrete consciousness, is also a continuum, which is why images and formal expressions of ideas can also pop up in different heads. As for why some people attune to ideas and others don’t, the mind attunes to different aspects of the astral and mental planes the way a radio attunes to different frequencies. Much of occult training consists of learning how to tune into better stations!

  292. Been at a friend’s and he went to aggravated mode when I did not believe that fusion power will save us all.
    He argued more energy came out than got in. I responded that the net energy of the entire solar testing installation vs the candle flame means that net energy is negligible.
    No, but if we research more, it will run infinitely.
    But if it ran for 50+ years now and produced a candlelight while devouring the equivalents of small towns in energy and inputs,is it rational to try it against whats already happening? Rational as in: a long established system of trial and error produced this. Yes, there *may* be some wildcard out there that we haven’t thought of, but when the house is burning, do you ask for any other options than escaping it?
    I didn’t get that far in the discussion however as my good friend rotated already.
    His framerate of words was a different one from mine.
    The example of the concorde I brought and why passanger aviation has balanced input and output at 800 km/h…useless.
    “You’ve studied yourself stupid!” Says my working class friend. I have studied environmental management…
    but I did not get my sense for ecology from university. That has only helped me to fine grain my analyses and proof-read on many resource related arguments.

    Have talked to another friend of mine about this topic before. He is very “progress” averse, I’d say in a more intuitive way than I am. He is more practical than intellectual.
    We both found that our sense of ecology came from basically wanting to be outside, taking interest in the dynamics of life, valueing the undisturbed over the man-made
    and so on.

    This is a filter; Today a “filter” is something shabby in our western media culture, but like many human behavioural aspects it is good in our evolution but at times bad for navigating complex modern society.
    If there is something I heard of and was shown directly at an early age it is nature and it’s ecology.
    Plus basic knowledge about industry, military, economy…
    Books are like shapes that mirror in our minds, and these shapes may fall on frugal grounds when we are then confronted by them in reality.

    The argument with my friend fortunately did not end our friendship, because mutual instincts trump over our each to our own abstract assessments of the outside world.

    “They’ll think of something!”,”There is always a solution!”, ” You are against progress!”,”You need to climb up a tree!”
    Wasn’t the latter what someone else here wrote as a usual reply on this board recently.
    It’s fascinating because the abstract shapes of after progress are manifestign before me, repeating themselves minutiously after the textbook. While I was at my esteemed friends domicile his great tv crystal blared our national(or german) news about, you will have guessed it, Ukraine. He was concerned why I gave my guesses of the proceedings and aknowledged the brutality of war with little emotion.

    Because I have had my super inner anxiety attacks about the cruelty of the world these past years. I ended up at several conclusions and at stoicism, reading MArc Aurelius a second time. This time I understand more of it than 2 years ago.
    While I don’t meditate on the words formally, they do circle my mind in the day.
    When a minor nuisiance gets my attention, I think of epictetus “this is the price I pay, for living a peaceful life” (when the slave boy breaks the good wine cup).

    Stoic ideas sure are a coping mechanism.

    There is a phenomenon I have seen often, that is people not separating facts and values when considering the cruelty of the world and its proceedings. I call this a “descriptive view” and refer to Machiavelli and Tim Parks commentary on him.
    Machiavelli described things and affairs of politics from a purely factual “as is” point of view, recommending to feign religious piety for example.
    That’S how you play if you want to win and for example not: lose and die.
    Sure, Machiavelli expressed his joy over the topic of politics and its complexities, was his trade, but he never really said something is “good” or “bad”.

    To separate emotion from perception can be difficult: you might look darkness in the eye, what then? Today, you hide behind some current mundane idea of salvation in abstract politicizing and technofantasms. It will solve cruelty!
    No, it won’t. So you can avert your eyes from cruelty, but risks it’ll bite you unexpected in turn.
    Then if you accept it however, where do you stand in an atheist materialist assumption of everything? On cynical grounds.

    If you don’t want to be cynical and also avoid the amnesia of cheap indulgment and a haze around your head, what do you believe and do?
    That’s probably a spiritual entry point.
    A higher order of importance, that goes way beyond our temporary material shape we manifest in.

    From that point of view, you can take on descriptive judgements.
    Without it, the world seems a choice of hopeless, tough, reckless and fretful.

  293. Marlena,

    News gets much funnier if you make some choice substitutions, and one of my favourite is replacing “scientists” with “these dudes I know”. It never really manages to change the meaning of the articles either, so I think you’re onto something….

  294. Dennis @ 319 For my part, I am not even sure I could recognize a MAGA hat, but how did you feel about the pink hat brigade? Mind, I thought the whole pink topped women’s march was a stupid stunt by a pack of overindulged idlers, but hows about a deal?

    We ladies who prefer our loose trousers and (homemade in my case) long skirts along with sturdy, unsexy, flat heeled shoes don’t gripe about your hat and you refrain from sneering at us, or worse, about our clothing choices.

    Thank you to everyone who gave recommendations about home school programs. In New York state, a home schooler is required to register as such in July–so you can’t just yank your child out of a classroom which has a sociopathic teacher–WITH curriculum in place.

    No comment about Ukraine, as requested by our host, but anyone who might want a look at virulent anti-Putin, anti-Russia propaganda in full flower can find same at the Tablet website.

  295. @ Sam – you asked: “I’m very interested in learning about different, holistic, and more sustainable, healing modalities – from a purely educational standpoint of course. I was wondering if the audience here could comment on different healing modalities that might be worth exploring.”

    First my disclaimer. I am a TCM-trained acupuncturist, practicing in an increasingly busy clinic, which I opened in 2005.

    Secondly my answer. There are many, many ways to map the human body (always remembering that the body itself is the “terrain” – and the “terrain” is what will always tell you if your map is useful or needs to be “re-surveyed”). Personally, I tend to think the specifics of the map you use matter a whole lot LESS than your willingness to:
    1) thoroughly learn your map
    2) be prepared to adjust or throw out parts of the map that get you “lost” when dealing with the “terrain” which is the human being who is here, now, consulting you.
    3) keep learning and deepening both your knowledge, and your skills, using both the classic sources, the feedback of patients, and your own experience and observation.

    So, in short, the best “modality” is the one in which a committed clinician has become deeply skilled and experienced, and this translates into real world positive recommendations from the people who have experienced good results from their treatment. (I tend to think that commenter “Lunar Apprentice” who is a trained and certified standard western medicine doctor fits this definition… just for example).

    Do not get derailed by discussions of whether this modality or that one is better. If one simply wishes to carry out historical recreation ;), OR if one wishes to join an established association of trained “alternative health” professionals (as I have done), the important thing is to choose one modality, immerse yourself in its theories, apply yourself in its practice, learn from whatever results, get good at it.

    WhatEVER the modality, if you do this, you will either be figuring out how some form of good was historically done, or you will actually be doing some good for someone somewhere here and now.

  296. @ Mary Bennet

    I homeschooled my kids in the 80s, before it was a thing. We moved from Los Angeles to the Ozarks because in L.A. it was literally illegal to homeschool — parents arrested for “educational neglect” (while truant & gang kids ran the streets), and kids shuttled into foster care. So, there was a certain amount of sacrifice needed to homeschool in that era.

    There were some curricula available, good and poor. Following the standard approach set up by the school systems seemed to make the process of learning a mental battle: kids being forced to read something utterly boring or incomprehensible to them — yes, my own school years were reflected in the decision to homeschool. I simply couldn’t accept that tormenting children with ideas below or above their comprehension was a good way to “teach”.

    We ended up following John Holt’s “unschooling” approach. His belief, which I agree with, is that you can’t stop kids from learning….which is why the schoolyard is such a good source and incubator for ‘unacceptable’ knowledge. Anyway, we did read to the kids throughout their first few years, encouraging them to read to us as well. Both became fluent readers. Once they could read, it was weekly trips to the library — any and all subjects open for their consumption. My then 9-year-old daughter read Plutarch’s Lives, because it was interesting to her. My then 11 year old son discovered the fledgling internet and became immersed in programming and graphic design. After the kids could read, all we did was provide “openings and opportunities”, and listen to them wax poetic about their latest interest.

    Here’s what happened: they’d find something the liked, and burrow in as deep as they could go. They’d find some detail or item that struck a chord or which they didn’t know about — and then they were off on that track. Over the course of the traditional “middle/high school” years, both became proficient in history, arts, sciences, astronomy, geology, and microscopy (we had an old quality microscope). Because we lived on a farm, they also learned a surprising amount of animal husbandry and soil conservation skills. In addition, weekly trips to town and the stores were utilized to show them how money worked, how to be thrifty (comparing product values per ounce), and “socialization” to the wider society.

    Both took GEDs to get “the paper”, daughter at 16, son at 18, and went to college. Daughter ended with a masters (aced it), son dropped out as a sophomore because he could self-teach his interests faster and without the fluff courses. They turned out to be solid human beings who can think for themselves and STILL have a powerful drive to learn new things. They are both in their 40s now, in happy homes.

    Now, I’m not writing this to brag on my kids (well, only a little, lol), but to assure you that the curriculum you choose is much less important than your attitude toward your youngsters’ innate capacity to learn. You don’t have to force feed topics that your kids dislike or aren’t ready for — that will only increase resistance and make them think they can’t learn. Sometimes, individual brain development doesn’t match the formulas; a kid who can’t do arithmetic at 9 might wake up at 14 a math wizard. But if you try to beat math into her at 9, she will learn to hate it and never take it up again.

    Homeschooling, unschooling, is a state of trust in your children’s innate capacities. It’s a constant condition of discovery and assimilation, for both parent and child. It’s also scary for a parent raised within the traditional school system — what if the kids “miss something”? Well, everybody misses something, even the schooled kids.

    There’s nothing to worry about: by the time they’re in their teens, they will spot their own gaps and start filling them in. And they’ll keep doing that the rest of their lives.

  297. @viduraawakened,

    I expect for a system like the Lotka-Volterra equations, you could do much worse than an old-school, late-50s style analog-electronic computer. No neural nets needed. If you can stand video, here’s proof it can be done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J6a_kwBMfM (notice how fast that is. Turn it on and there’s the answer! Digital numeric methods took a long time to match that.)

    I’m not an electrical engineer and can’t tell you the circuit used, but some kind of LCR oscillator should be able to match the behavior of just about any system of differential equations.

    Personally I don’t like neural nets in general because of the training problem– you never know what’s going on inside, and have to hope the training ‘took’ properly. There’s a famous example from a military project that was training a neural net program to ID Russian (vs NATO) tanks. Well, it turned out that it had learned the wrong lesson: the photos with Russian tanks tended to have snow in them more often, and that was what the neural net imprinted on. They trained a snow-detecting network, rather than a tank-detecting network. Oops.

    A true analog computer, on the other hand, you need to understand the physical properties of your computing medium (be it electrical, mechancial or fluidic) and match the physical system to the system of equations you want to solve.

    This seems much more dependable to me, than the unknowable “black box” answer machine that you have when you train a neural net.

    @everyone talking about printers,
    Old laser printers are grand, and are in fact quite archival. Toner is a thermoset plastic that gets melted into the paper; kept out of UV it should last a very, very long time indeed. I’d be leery of buying new, as some companies have gotten into the cartridge game like they did with Inkjets. Older printers you could refill the toner from a jug, and they lasted forever. I had one that was, I’m pretty sure 30 years old when I finally gave up on it. First-generation ‘desktop printer’. (It still worked, but the prints were streaky and computers didn’t have the right port anymore. I should have cleaned it out and got an adapter. Oh well.)

    @JMG,
    Thank you for keeping the war off these pages. We get enough of that everywhere else.

  298. @SlithyToves #314 distinguishing between malice and insanity….yeah Trump was insane too, remember? My local NPR station ran six interview episodes with psychiatrists providing expert evaluations confirming it and why he should be removed with the 25th amendment. In fact I believe Trump already killed us all and we are just living in a simulation now.

  299. @Roger #304 Yes me too on the blue collar background. My dad dropped out of high school at age 15, did factory work, eventually got his GED while I was in elementary school and later an associates degree. Every job he had got shipped overseas. I really really really take this stuff personally sometimes.

    I do wish the “no politics at work” would come back in full force. I just attended a professional development workshop where the lecturer introduced himself as having “very blue politics”. I sat there screaming in my head “I don’t care!!!!!”

  300. @Jerry #325 and @Jessica #326 Thank you for the suggestions! I put them on my “books to find list.”

  301. @ JMG – in answering Sam’s query, you said “I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the medical industry in the US busts people all the time for “practicing medicine without a license,” which basically means whatever they say it means.”

    One of the supreme ironies here is that the rise of “evidence-based medicine” (corporate speak for “making science-y claims to help you optimally place your drug in a competitive market”) has produced a generation of non-doctors and regular nerds who feel absolutely qualified to have lengthy “medicine-practicing-without-a-licence” arguments with one another about which treatments “work” and which do “not work”.

    Just as an example, I have a regular debating partner who disputes my claim that early treatment of Covid patients might have prevented a large number of them from suffering complications which necessitated their hospitalisation, thusly: “please tell us which treatment protocol is proven to prevent hospitalisation.” When I answer (as I have done repeatedly) that the key is the EARLY personal care and attention of a trained physician, this person cannot bring themselves to even “see” this as an answer. They keep telling me I’m ducking out of the question. I assume they are hoping I will mention a product which they can then come and “diss”, but the truth is that I do not think any product is key. I think the care and attention, framed with both knowledge and experience, is key. I also assume that they would not see their own “evidence-based” recommendation or contra-recommendation of any specific product as “practicing medicine without a licence.” Lol!

    Apparently no one ever notices that the need to “blind” both patient and doctor in order to better focus on the specific “evidence” claims you want to bring to the marketplace when selling your drug, or your treatment, is absolutely necessitated by the fact that both doctor and patient happen to be irreducibly critical elements in the matter of healing. (I often jokingly call this the central “discovery” of evidence-based medicine). But, mostly, this blinding practice is taken instead to mean that neither doctor nor patient matters – only the product can be said to “work” or “not work”.

    I often wonder how long regular doctors will remain “blinded” by this “science-y” marketing schtick to the ways in which they themselves are being made redundant. Who needs a doctor, when a bureaucrat can make up a “standard of care”?

  302. JMG#338 and Anonyomus #340 thanks! I also remembered the use of “clinically proven” again without mention of which “clinic” of any protocols, or clinicians. As bad as the meaningless word “natural” appended to any and all kinds of slop, to get us to buybuybuy!!. In other news, I was once again accused of being a “deplorable Trumper” cause I post a link to this blog over on my FB page. And I hunt and fish too! I let them remove themselves.

  303. Hi JMG,

    Would you be able to suggest an ‘essential’ and an ‘extended’ list of Greek & Neoplatonists to read and in which order? Where to start…and what to read in following order?

    I’m absolutely ignorant about any of this, only seen snippets of the latest fashionable book The Stoics, but I’m thinking reading that would be a disservice…

    Many thanks

  304. Jmg, I was not referring to English specifically, but language in general.

    I mean that after many centuries or Millenia as humanity becomes more aware of the non-physical planes would you expect languages to evolve to better express what they would then notice, within certain limits of course?

  305. “Anonymous, the essence of the demonic is that it refuses any relation to reality. “The world is whatever I want it to be” — the closer someone or something gets to that, the closer they get to the Ring-Pass-Not.”

    Huh. Doesn’t this describe how Western society behaves in general? It seems Spengler was quite right in choosing the term “Faustian”…..

  306. JMG and commenteriat – I attempted to check RT news to see what the other side is saying, and the DoD warning came up that said it logged my IP address. Wow. Checking Al Jazeera during the 2000s was fine, but log onto RT and they register your computer address, as a potential domestic target, I mean terrorist. They have really got themselves into a fix, on this one. One more reason to double down on spiritual disciplines and get my own house in order. Here’s a question for everyone: do you think that all those dystopian novels we in the West read, for the last century, without any spiritual hope or discipline or imagination of a better outcome, was actually preparing us the nightmare of stumbling through all that stuff? Newspeak, and so on, and so forth. Are there dystopian novels out there (besides our hosts) that imagine a “good ending” of some sort? Maybe I need to look into that, since we are discussing Imagination.

  307. Hi John Michael,

    Reading through the comments, I arrived at your decisive words regarding the business over in Europe. If I may add, we lost the war in Afghanistan (and Australia was involved in that business too), and I remarked at the time that there would be consequences for that. It didn’t take long, but then that other mob over in Europe could possibly suggest: ‘been there, done that’, and really know what that actually meant.

    As a side note, I’m intrigued that over the past two years it appears that I’m being cajoled into caring about matters that I wouldn’t otherwise care about. The constant outward threat looking hysteria only convinces me that the powers that be in our cultures are holding an incredibly weak hand. I couldn’t be the only person to be thinking about that.

    Western culture is one of escalation. It’s a useful tool when a culture wants to project force and dominate, but it’s also akin to chucking out an ultimatum in order to force a resolution. That can end badly, but if the tendency is known about by other cultures – which it would be, it can also be used against western culture. It’s not a complicated play.

    Cheers

    Chris

  308. @Chris in WA regarding cryptocurrencies.

    The short version is that there are many thousands of cryptos (calling them “currencies” is a bit of a misnomer since the large majority are not meant to be currencies) and they CAN be used to exit the central banking rigged system and they CAN be untrackable, but this (especially the latter point) is not true for all of them or most of them. You have to know what you are doing, you have to know which crypto to use, and you have to appreciate it is a bit of an arms race, but it’s possible.

    The first question you ask is actually relatively easy. Many different cryptos (including the two biggest, Bitcoin and Ethereum) can be used to credibly exit the control of central banks and inflationary fiat currencies. The main thing you need to establish is that the crypto you are going into is credibly neutral and cannot be controlled by a single entity. This is true of the Big Two and quite a few others (if you do this, governments will mainly attack the choke points where you have to exchange your Bitcoin or Ether to national currencies in order to spend them, which is an arms race in itself but for now they have no power to block, censor or stop your transactions if you stay purely within crypto – for example, the Ukraine government is officially soliciting donations in both Bitcoin and Ether right now and bypassing any controls or restrictions in international banking).

    However, note that doing the above does NOT make your transactions anonymous – on the contrary your personal account and all your transactions are on a globally accessible pseudonymous ledger of transactions. It is actually relatively easy for governments (less so for non-governments) to link that to your personally identifying information even though it is pseudonymous under a numerical wallet address (a combination of Big Data transactional analytics and again, targeted subpoenas etc of the exchanges which are used to convert Bitcoin etc into useable fiat currency). Contrary to popular misconception, it is actually HARDER to do money laundering with Bitcoin because everything is public.

    Having said that, you CAN make your transactions effectively untraceable, especially by using some less well known cryptocurrencies designed with anonymity in mind (Monero, Zcash) as well as Bitcoin and Ethereum (with the right knowledge). However, this depends a lot on your knowledge, the level of effort you are willing to put in, and the threat profile (preventing your neighbour’s casual snooping trying to find out whether you donated to Ukraine is easy enough, even if you use the same wallet you previously used to send him Bitcoin – minimal measures will do that. Preventing the NSA finding out what you are doing is a LOT harder, and even fo experts is VERY difficult if the amounts involved are large enough. As usual the weakest point is the one where you try and convert your Bitcoin to USD as that involves the traditional financial infrastructure which the government controls – the more you stay within crypto networks the easier it is.

    It is an arms race – very similar to trying to keep your phone and chat messages private. It’s relatively easy to keep your messages private from your neighbour snooping your home wifi network. It’s very very hard (not impossible) to keep your message private from the NSA..

    Here are some articles I like which set out the promise of cryptocurrencies. They are quite old (2018 to 2020) so actually a lot of the details are out of date now but they set out the core premise very well and are not the typical things that come up from a Google search and I really like how they explain the crypto space. One is written by a very good science writer and the others by investors in the crypto space who understand it intimately.

    Purely coincidentally, all the articles below (except the first) are written by investors from the same Silicon Valley venture capital firm. I didn’t intend it to be that way but they are huge investors in the space and very very good at explaining its promise.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/16/magazine/beyond-the-bitcoin-bubble.html

    https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/why-bitcoin-matters/

    (this second one is VERY old and predates even the creation of Ethereum)

    https://onezero.medium.com/why-decentralization-matters-5e3f79f7638e

    https://a16z.com/2020/04/30/crypto-fund-ii/

    https://a16z.com/2018/11/02/common-myths-crypto/

  309. Hi John Michael,

    You might be right about your prescient dream, however the pathway might be more weird than you can imagine. Please excuse the pun, but my gut (!) feeling is that it will be via a deterioration of the food supply. Things are bleak on that front, and it impacts upon peoples health directly, and quickly: Conflict could add pressure to Australia’s ‘skyrocketing’ farm costs.

    Food can look like food, but it can be mineral and nutrient deficient. And for a long time things have gotten worse on that front. I expect a downwards lurch soon.

    Cheers

    Chris

  310. @jessica 326:

    I agree with you that referenda are a good solution in many places, might have been a good solution for Crimea in 1991 and certainly were on the German-Danish border in 1919, and for the Saarland in the 1950s. However, I have never heard of any referendum on incorporation into Germany vs. France held in Elsass-Lothringen/Alsace-Lorraine. Do you have any source for that? I suspect any referendum would have given pro-French results, given their treatment after 1871, but I think they simply weren’t asked.

  311. With our host’s permission I’m going to shamelessly push a series of 3 novels I wrote (available on Amazon) as a result of the amazing discussions that go on here. These are future-set in a declined world. I was going to add this comment on last week’s post regarding the imagined future but missed the bus. The first is called Ruth and follows a group of carnies on their travels from New Orleans to Nashville in 2118 across the Federation, one of the U.S. successor states. The second in An Archangel for Evangeline, set in 2169, in a town named the Foundation, on the Brazos River, on the boundary between the Federation and Hispania. The third takes place on a trading vessel crossing the ice-free Arctic Ocean in the year 2219, set against the tensions of the German diaspora as they seek allies to recapture their homeland from the Caliphate. Although there’s plenty of hardships to be found in this imagined future there is also plenty of happiness.

  312. Re: cryptocurrency–I Watched this video about crypto currencies and NFTs last night with my 20-year-old grandson, who was curious about the topic because his father was talking about investing in them. Can’t say I understand them completely, but the narrator sets the development of these “assets” within the history of finance since the Crash of 2008, including the lead-up to the crash. https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQxWvX1n9g Line Goes Up: the problem with NFT.

  313. The current situation around Chernobyl highlights a problem that we have so far not solved, if it’s even capable of solution: That is what to do with our nuclear waste sites and nuclear accident sites over the thousands of years that they will remain dangerous. Here we are a mere 45 years after the big Chernobyl disaster, and there’s a war going on around it. It’s something to keep in mind as we continue to create more and more of these unspeakable hazards.

  314. Sorry to bring up the topic that will not be fought on this blog, so delete if inappropriate, please. I think I am confused, like others on the blog. It seems like Russia/Putin had a particular strategy they were using, which was more long term. I feel like the calculus changed. I admit at present I’m actually more worried about what changed it. Like you’re in an argument with someone and they keep you talking because they don’t need to worry about winning the argument, there is someone else coming up behind you with the sledgehammer. Is there a sledgehammer coming up behind Nato, or have the Russians gotten foolish/sloppy/stupid? Other than being depressed about the death and destruction, I keep coming back to that worry.

  315. @355 celedon.

    I just went to RT and the splash page that comes up says something like “we detected suspicious activity coming from your network…” and goes on to force the visitor to complete a captcha.

    This service, I think, is RT’s own defense against Anonymous dedicated denial of service (DDOS) attacks. At the bottom of the page it says DDOS -Guard…perhaps you misread the page?

    Given that Anonymous also claimed to take down .ru.kremlin and said they were waging war against Russia, I’m surmising that the organization may be a CIA front after all and not the anti government wags they’ve been posing as. Pure conjecture on my part but this seems a bit OTT for bit players.

    fwiw, I worked in IT security for many years and the DOD don’t put up warnings on all the pages it crawls and pretty much every packet is logged anyway. My slightly embittered advice is: If you don’t want to be on watch lists, stay off the internet! 🙂

  316. Hi JMG,

    You’ve spoken often enough about the climate change ‘activists’ of a certain class generally offering ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Now it seems here in Europe the same lot have swung their social media ‘might’ around to the Ukranian crisis now – this was one tweet I saw earlier:
    “We turned off our heating when Russia invaded Ukraine. I’d rather be cold than fund Putin’s war! Even 1 day without gas could make a difference if Europe pulls together.”
    I understand there is some kind of online campaign going on encouraging this.

    Not sure it’s all properly thought through of course – to start with cooking could become somewhat problematic for many. I suppose it does highlight the looming energy crunch and might actually reduce consumption, but throwing us all onto the cold fire of no gas to try and stop this conflict appears strangely disconnected to me. Struggling to stay warm and fed can now be frowned on for a whole new reason. :-/

  317. https://www.reddit.com/r/BewitchTheTaliban/comments/sdmwvc/is_this_like_a_joke_subreddit_or/

    For the record, it seems that the bizarre reddit “Bewitch the Taliban” (which calls on the Slavic God of War) is a joke. Apparently, it was serious at first – some guys really wanted to do “magical battle with the Taliban and Allah” (!), but the reddit was soon taken over by trolls, and here we are…

    Probably just as good!

    (Many undruidly words in the link, btw.)

  318. Chris@fernglade
    I’ve been watching the food/fertilizer/poverty/global and local hunger etc situation the past few years and getting increasingly worried too. The situation isn’t good, and it keeps getting worse.

    A lot of people seem completely oblivious, and I’m worried the world could blunder into a really serious situation out of complacency.

    I’m trying to reduce my dependency on agribusiness this year, in my own small way. Thus far, this includes adding another garden bed and trying to increase the amount of food I get from my garden in other ways, and doing more from-scratch cooking, including learning to bake bread. I also plan to make use of the farmer’s market later in the year, too. I know this won’t remotely remove me from dependence on industrial food, but it should make me more resilient if supplies become more sporadic for specific items than they already are, and keep inflation from spiking my food costs too badly – though the farmer’s market doesn’t actually help with that as it is more expensive than the grocery store if you aren’t buying organic.

  319. Chris@Fernglade,
    on reflection, your comment was mostly about the nutritional content of food, whereas my main concern in mine was food availability at a price people can pay, at the time when they need it. Both are valid concerns, and they reinforce each other, don’t they?

    I have a bad feeling about the food situation in the near future, too, viewed through a hunger lens. If there isn’t enough food at prices the poor can pay, and the quality of that food is a mess…

  320. JMG, that account of Honorius and Rome, his rooster, made me laugh. You have to take contemporaneous accounts with a grain of salt because no doubt people back then had their own axes to grind and no doubt they too ‘talked their book’ just like today. But this rooster business has got the ring of truth. Who could make that up?

    I don’t know, would he be a tetch too addled for the modern presidency? He for sure wouldn’t be too much of a space cadet for the US foreign policy elite. I think he’d fit right in. Honorius that is. All right, his rooster too. I mean, I heard today on the news that the US offered to evacuate Zelensky who replied that he needed ammunition not a ride. Man oh man.

    Jessica, I read stuff along the same lines, that the Romans could never figure out a way to peacefully transfer power, and so it was one assassination and civil war after another. I’ve read a few stories about Adrianople but never one of the emperor too impatient and greedy for glory to just wait for a bit. Fascinating isn’t it that history can hang on accident, and that one dumb move can put a whole civilization across an event horizon (I think Adrianople might qualify) from which there’s no turning back.

    Jeanne, I think you’re right. Society has never been so ‘connected’ (electronically) and yet so atomized. We’ve taken the notion of individualism to such preposterous extremes. And we’ve forgotten that none of us has so complete a repertoire of knowledge and skills that we can survive on our own. We need a functioning societal ecosystem like that provided by a network of volunteer organizations.

  321. Kyivan, thank you for the updates! Here in the US we really have very little idea what’s going on in your country, since our corporate media is mostly propaganda and the alternative media isn’t a lot better, so it’s worth knowing what it looks like from someone who’s actually there. Stay safe, and we can all hope for this mess to resolve promptly and peacefully.

    Curt, I’ve been in the same sort of conversation many times, and it’s frustrating! As for the spiritual viewpoint, yes, that’s crucial, especially when cruelty stops being an abstraction…

    Patricia M, fascinating! Thanks for this.

    Scotlyn, oh, dear gods, I know. I’ve seen that especially from the pseudoskeptics, who function these days mostly as unpaid salespeople for Big Pharma.

    Marlena13, good additions to the collection — “clinically proven” and “natural.” It might be worth coming up with a convenient list.

    Jmac11, hmm. I’ll consider it. To get started, you might read certain dialogues of Plato in the order recommended by the great Neoplatonist mage Iamblichus: First Alcibiades, Gorgias, Phaedo, Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman, Phaedrus, Symposium, Philebus, Timaeus, and Parmenides. That was the standard introduction to Platonic thought in ancient times. After that, The Enneads of Plotinus, On the Mysteries by Iamblichus, and the surviving works of Proclus, and you’ll have a solid grasp of Neoplatonism.

    J.L.Mc12, human beings have been practicing magic since long before the beginning of recorded history. If we haven’t gotten a decent vocabulary for magic yet, we’re probably not going to.

    Anonymous, good. I wondered who would catch that.

    Celadon, yep. Remember that nothing you do on the internet is ever private.

    Chris, I’ve been thinking much the same thing. Escalation only works when you can be sure you have the winning hand. As for the food supply, yep — and Russia is iirc the world’s main producer of ammonium nitrate for fertilizer…

    Bjohnstone, huzzah! Delighted to hear this. You can post a link to the sales page, btw.

    Phutatorius, yep. Those wastes will be killing people for the next quarter of a million years — and yet faux-green privileged progressives keep on insisting that we’ve got to go nuclear so they can keep their extravagant lifestyles!

    Candace, good question. Things do seem to have spun out of control much more quickly than most people expected. I’m sorry to say I expect things to get rougher before they smooth out again…

    Jay, interesting. It’s quite possible that this won’t be a matter of choice for long, as the NATO powers seem to be moving to shut Russia out of the SWIFT banking system — in which case their obvious countermove is to let Europe shiver in the dark.

    Tidlösa, the Internet summed up in a single neat paragraph…

    Roger, I think Honorius would fit in just fine with our current ruling “elite.” He could claim that his rooster was an emotional support animal!

  322. “Anonymous, the essence of the demonic is that it refuses any relation to reality. “The world is whatever I want it to be” — the closer someone or something gets to that, the closer they get to the Ring-Pass-Not.”

    So, does this mean the point of modern advertising is to make people more demonic? Yikes…..

  323. JMG et al,
    As the world situation gets worse, I find myself in a more relaxed mood. Contrary to the end!

    Anyway, today I was outside enjoying changing weather with wind and rain and I started thinking about the writers of the next generation.
    Being a helpful person, I decided to come up with a list of useful metaphors that would attract older readers.
    So if you will, imagine sitting around a fire with a bunch of oldsters enjoying some fantasy fiction. Here are some metaphors people might enjoy:
    – “The wind was howling like a distant busy highway”
    – “The darks forest in the storm sounded like a Boeing 747 taking off from Heathrow airport”
    – “The goats were snoring quietly like a well tuned AC system”

    What do you think, will people appreciate the nostalgia of all the long gone high tech?

  324. I was browsing reddit (which has become unbearable to do in the last few days. Every other sub is hellbent on screaming themselves to catatonia), when I came across a stray comment on an r/antiwork post about a micromanaging boss. The commenter described it as “executive dysfunction” (h/t u/Elaan21).

    You can guess how I read that the first time. Seemed like a nice addition to our ecosophian vocabulary :D. The President heads the Executive branch of the government, and Corporations are headed by Chief Executives. No guesses as to how they are (ahem) “performing”.

  325. Candace, it is believed that Zelenskiy’s recently expressed intention to have nuclear weapons (for which Ukraine has both know how and facilities left from soviets) cheered by many was the final drop

  326. ” unpaid salespeople for Big Pharma. ”
    My ex-doctor actually told me exactly this right before he quit his job at a large clinic. He was only about 35-40 years old. I fear all the decent folk are leaving their corporate & government workplaces. We are truly in for some sad times.

  327. Here in an interesting paper I consider worth sharing (Open Access, unrestricted PDF download):

    Boquila trifoliolata mimics leaves of an artificial plastic host plant
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15592324.2021.1977530

    This peculiar plant has the ability of cloning the shape of leaves surrounding it. In the paper, it produced imperfect copies first; later copies were better. The use of a non-living plant discards most explanations, other than that Boquila is able to perceive the shape of leaves (implying some sort of vistion), it has ability to learn (implying memory), and awareness of its cloning attempts (implying some form of self-perception). Controls in the experiment, with separated sections, show that the leaves cloned are the nearest ones, not the whole plant. In nature, the plant was observed to clone up to three different plant leaves surrounding it. This particular experiment was designed to falsify prior theories about gene expression being cloned through chemical markers or whatever.

    Further experiments are being designed to determine how the plant is able to “see”–if the plant perceives light or perhaps “smell” it, perceiving the shape from gradients of gas. In any case, Boquila compensates for the tilted perception of the cloned leaves.

    So, here we have a plant with cognitive abilities formerly recognized only on animals. Notice that this plant, like other ones, shows no traces of a distinct nervous system. This has important implications on the morality of consuming plants being “more moral because they do not suffer.” In this sense, I considered this material was appropriate for posting.

  328. @ Marlena and all who joined in with her discussing “scientists say” “clinically proven” “natural” and etc.

    These are all phrases crafted by mages who practice the dark arts of marketing (which is increasingly informed by the even darker art of behavioural psychology). How to say nothing in the least bit falsifiable while “nudging” and persuading someone to adopt your desired behaviour, while thinking they do so of their own will (or at least while failing to notice the influence of another’s will).

    The irony* is that it has become fashionable to “science up” a sales pitch, in exactly the way that it used to be fashionable to “sex it up”. These days science sells.

    *Ironic in that the scientific method itself teaches that its proper uses are restricted to the investigation of propositions which are “falsifiable” – a word of its own coinage.

  329. Just noticed your ‘deja Vu’ post over on Dreamwidth. Wow – rhyming history again, though being 50 years on I guess living memory was somewhat hazy and the alarm lacking. This in mind and responding to your reply, I absolutely get the lights could be faltering across Europe soon with, as ever, the poor suffering it most and the PMC being the most shocked. Its often their weird disconnect between morality and reality, exacerbated by social media, that has increasingly gotten me. Consequences do exist and they’re not all shiny.

    Some things I won’t miss if the electricity becomes intermittent, and the terrible ease of making the spoken word ‘written’ might just be one of them. Time for more consideration at least.

  330. Luke Dodson #331 a psychic / occult research institution is a great subject. I remember when I watched Scanners the only character I was interested in was the guy whose head explodes. I really wanted to know how he was recruited and what his training was like.

    For reference there’s Albion Dreaming by Andy Roberts, about LSD in Britain. It includes official research in hospitals and ties to the intelligence services. I’d also recommend making at least one of the characters a Soviet defector who did their training and research at a place called something like the Uralsk Chemical-Technical Institute. Soviet psychic research was on another level and had a very different aesthetic. Then you could bring in stuff like this https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00792R000600350001-3.pdf and this https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/NSA-RDP96X00790R000100010041-2.pdf. There’s also a book ESP Wars: East and West by Edwin C May, Victor Rubel, Joseph McMoneagle and Loyd Auerbach.

    What aesthetic are you going with for the research centre? What kind of architecture is the building and what’s the inside like? Is it more magical lodge or mad science, a combination, or something else?

  331. Hi JMG,

    I wonder what you think of straw bale houses? Are they as efficient and sustainable? Especially in the environment of northern KSA (it’s dry cold in winters mostly). If you have any suggestions for certain types of sustainable buildings that you prefer please do share. We have a farm in the north and I’ve been gradually talking to my father about solar power and appropriate-tech that we should use, he seems to be welcoming the idea even though it’s quite new to him. I’m hoping to build a sustainable one flat with living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

    I’ve just started with your Green Wizardry book to prepare in general.
    Have a good day.

  332. Per the am news, Russia has already been shut out of the SWIFT network. Caught it on the run, may be mistaken.

  333. Aldarion (#359)
    You are correct. I was incorrect when I included Alsace-Lorraine in a list of border regions made peaceful by letting them choose which side to go with in a referendum.

  334. @BJohnstone
    Sounds good. I just ordered “A change in the Wind” kindle copy. I will read it as soon possible.

  335. J.L.Mc12
    Different, but I suspect basically the same problem, I have watched multiple teachers who at least seemed to me to be enlightened in the Buddhist tradition trying to explain what that is. I have watched all of them fail. I have spent temporary periods in that state. At first, I thought, “no, this is easy to explain*”. I failed too. Completely.
    I could come up with words that to me sounded clear, concise, clever, and impossible to misunderstand but the people who heard them never understood them correctly.
    Some things you just have to experience for yourself. Even explaining what it is like to eat a good pizza to someone who has never tasted one is not easy.
    Words can be the trigger into Enlightenment but only when the hearer is right on the edge of getting it** and even then which words do the triggering has a lot of randomness to it.
    *One of the curious characteristics of Enlightenment is that when one is in it, it is so blindingly obvious that it is difficult, bordering on impossible, to understand how anyone manages to not be in that state.
    I have seen Enlightened teachers who were good people who sincerely thought that they understood how people manage to be unenlightened, but in my own experience, the Enlightened state is as incapable of understanding the unenlightened state as the reverse. Enlightened folks understand the unenlightened way better than the reverse, but I don’t think Enlightened folks really understand how people manage to be unenlightened. If they did, they would be able to convince at least some of them to stop doing it.
    **As best I can tell. The experience of being triggered in is so intense that it is often hard to remember exactly what came right before. The times that it happened to me, in retrospect, I could not see that I was in any sense particularly ready. It looked more like it just happened accidentally.

  336. Archdruid and Company,

    If this war goes badly for the Russians, do you think China might start eyeing Siberia again? I mean ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought that likely, but the current Chinese government has made several blunders since Xi set himself up as emperor.

  337. Scotlyn #380 Of course, and one of the many ways to counter them is to keep pointing out how their phrase are either meaningless, in themselves, and do seek to change your behavior. Ive always found it interesting that the demonic entity known as B.F. Skinner would now days be jailed for child abuse, yet his ideas still are extant. His book “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” is the only book I have ever burned, because of the evil anti human, indeed anti life, filth it contained.

  338. “Personally I don’t like neural nets in general because of the training problem– you never know what’s going on inside, and have to hope the training ‘took’ properly.”

    That is the problem. My Doctoral dissertation was on the application of neural nets to the control of a complicated process in the mining industry (in processing the ore, not the digging of it.) It proved to be much less reliable than using traditional statistics, and for the above reason.

    If the training set did not include a specific set of conditions, the behavior of the neural net was totally unpredictable if and when that set of conditions showed up. And since ore zones are not uniform or even slowly varying, that was going to happen. (You should of seen the mess the selenium pocket made of things in the leachate recovery circuit.)

    “Negative” PhDs (this won’t or doesn’t work and why) are discouraged, but they do happen, and my committee allowed it.

  339. Someday, we will look back on these days of material plenty,

    And laugh.

    I pray though that it is not a bitter laugh, tinged with hungry need,

    But a knowing laugh.

    A growing laugh.

    One that relaxes the body and spirit.

    Well yes, things were physically easier then…

    But now I know myself.

    Now I know my neighbors.

    Now I love myself,

    Now I love my neighbors.

    And I would trade all that plenty again,

    For this fulfillment,

    For what some would call hardship,

    For everything I face tomorrow.

    With gratitude, and steadiness.

    -A7

  340. Danil @ 376, Now that, nuclear Ukraine, is the best explanation I have yet seen about why now. I would add, I doubt the weapons would have come from us in the USA, though I don’t know. My less astute guess was that Putin got fed up with being told “We can make the Americans do whatever we want.” and decided to call someone’s bluff. Maybe both are true. I wonder who is propping up the Ukrainian president, and what he has been promised?

    Ksim, many of us here in the USA have been heartened to see the revival of Russian Orthodoxy, even though we worship in different churches. I hope you can continue to show the world that there are peaceful alternatives to atheistic materialism, which don’t involve head chopping. If what you say about Russian military weakness is true, I greatly fear you may lose a large section of your far East. The Chinese really, really want a piece of the melting Arctic.

  341. @Patricia Mathews #343 The study on the mobility of Africans based on DNA research reinforces one of the theses in the book The Dawn of Everything, which I and many of our commenters have been reading. The authors theorize that many cultures were widespread due to individuals moving far from their tribes/clans/villages of origin. For example, many of the Native American tribes had different clans in the tribe (Bear, Eagle, & c.). If you decided to leave your native tribe, you would find refuge with the same clan in a different tribe, and they would be as family, although you might not be related.
    Our image of the past populated by these little tribes all related and at variance with that tribe (while Thus Sprake Zarathustra plays in the background) seem to be false. Rather, the variance and interconnectedness that we find in cities today might be spread across large areas.

  342. Anonymous, well, don’t demons always want to make people more demonic?

    NomadicBeer, there’s a great scene in Clifford Simak’s science fiction novel City where a couple of oldtimers are sitting on a porch reminiscing about the sweet smell of car exhaust, back in the old days of gasoline-powered vehicles, so I think you’re on to something!

    Collapsenik, funny! I like it.

    Bjohnstone, you’re most welcome. I want to encourage more people to imagine the future in less stereotyped ways, and your novels are contributing to that.

    JustMe, ah, but maybe they can get honest jobs now.

    Anonymous, good heavens. That’s fascinating.

    Jay Pine, it’s by no means certain yet that that’s how things will play out, but the possibility strikes me as real.

    Aziz, everyone I know who’s worked with straw bale houses speaks very well of them, and on the Arabian peninsula you don’t have to worry about too much rain, which is their major weakness. I wonder if any of my other readers have experience with straw bale housing in desert climates. Anyone?

    Patricia M, the news I’ve heard is less definite, but we’ll see.

    Clark, it’s on the get-to list, but there are other things above it.

    Varun, it would have to go very badly indeed, since I’m pretty sure we’d be in for a nuclear exchange if that happens.

    Anonymous7, why not do those things now, irrespective of material conditions?

  343. You know, on second thought — and with several more long attempted comments on the Russo-Ukraine war, all pushing some version of the current NATO party line — I’m going to ask people to take such things elsewhere, and I’ve deleted the two already posted. This is not a forum for anybody’s propaganda. When the fog of war clears, we can talk about what it means.

  344. “Anonymous, well, don’t demons always want to make people more demonic?”

    The thought of advertising as demonic had not occurred to me, but now that it has, it would certainly explain a lot about the handful of advertising executives I had the misfortune to know many years ago….

  345. With all due respect for JMG’s decision, I just wanted to read up on that author whom pretentious_username quoted about the nine regions the Russian empire needed for its defense, was it Zeihe? Anyone remember? Sounded like an interesting historical bit.

  346. Hello JMG,

    It looks like we are ready for a parallel ww-3 weekly post in your dreamwidth section 🙂

    I was about to post a recent article from Dmitry Orlov, but I will only do that after seeking your permission.

  347. Well, at least we now all know what the Russians meant by a “military-technical” response if their security concerns weren’t taken seriously.

    Unrelated: I’m going to lay up a supply of potassium iodide tablets. Might come in handy…

    —Lunar Apprentice

  348. Hi JMG

    Do you think the new russian scare could develop in a new whitch hunt inside our countries to prosecute any (russian operative) dissent with any official + MSM narrative in any field, for example in vaccines, Covid, climate change policies, elections, rights, etc…?

    I think Covid + Russia as an excelent excuse to install once and for all the social credit system that will give us the “safety” we need to live in our times with so many “threats” around us.

    Cheers
    David

  349. Dear Mr Greer. I am a long time reader and rare commenter. I read the “pretentious username” and “ksim” NATO propaganda posts and came back to re-read them as I am waiting for the fog of war to clear before I try to figure out what’s going on.

    You recently made a comment on the trance like responses of many commentators to covid – to me it appears this has been transferred to the Ukraine. Alex Berensen, who has fought the good fight against covid has come out calling the war for NATO and the Ukraine and feels Russians will rise up and depose President Putin in the next few days. He makes a big point of the tank running out of gas shows the superiority of the American military. (Berensen’s novels are a fun read – but his heroes are cartoonish in their capabilities – and I have a weakness for the thriller genre)

    Do you feel that social media is responsible for putting people in this trance like condition? Or is there something else going on? Maybe social media has reduced political analysis to the popularity contests from high school (shudder)

    I would be interested to hear more about your thoughts on this phenomena.

    By the way thanks for the blog and the open posts about covid.

  350. Hi John Michael,

    They supply a lot of Potash too. Many countries are in for a world of hurt over this stuff. It interested me that the land of stuff said their export ban on phosphate had nothing at all to do with trade wars, and everything to do with ensuring they themselves didn’t run out of the stuff for their farmers. Even if it was a half truth, it’s still disconcerting, but you know, we’ve spoken about it before – The Limits to Growth models clearly predicted this situation half a century ago. I was rather surprised by the academic and dispassionate tone of the book given the subject matter and unavoidable conclusions. But then I’m not an academic! 😉 A bit of a burden that path.

    All this talk of Demons, tiresome creatures. How could anyone not notice that their desire is also their weakness: Unceasing sameness. A lot of people seem to have that desire right now, and it doesn’t seem to stack up so well against reality. It leads to decay. As you’ve mentioned before that was the power of Tolkien’s fictional rings, but it was also their curse.

    Cheers

    Chris

  351. JMG,
    I cannot find the right nich to ask this and I know you already had problems with people pushing war propaganda, but I hope you can accept the question and maybe answer it.

    Can demonic possession manifest like this?

    I have an old relative (80yo) that until now was not afraid of death. By that I mean she lives alone, she can take of herself and she talked to friends and relatives to make sure that everything is taken care of when it happens. She is foxed but she never showed any sign of fear – no masking, no hiding in the house. Yes she follows MSM so she believes all the scamdemic propaganda but again not to the level of psychosis.

    A week ago when the “police action” in Ukr started she said that she is scared of dying and had a panic attack. The reasons stated were reasonable – seeing on TV the refugees made her feel sad she said. But I think it’s more than that because she started cursing Putin. I asked why is she worried about refugees now, since we have had so many color revolutions, failed states and wars in the last 2 decades – mostly instrumented by US.
    I got no answer, just accusations. I lost my calm and I pointed out that she is manipulated by the TV to feel those emotions now while the dead and refugees created by US in Ukr since 2014 were ignored. Again more cursing of Putin.

    This is eerily similar to a conversation I had with a friend 2 years ago where he stated he wants to kill some Russkies. He is also incredibly scared of dying, having been diagnosed with a bad disease due to his workaholic lifestyle (which he has not changed!).

    Are these 2 behaviors possibly caused by demons?
    Why would the fear of death and wishing death on others be so strongly associated?

    Thank you!

  352. Alternate building/strawbale

    Northern Californian with alternate building experience here.

    Strawbale building are fine where this is ALOT of rain. Just need a good roof, foundation and some roof overhang, the walls are plastered.

    I have seen many hybrid type building, so back wall ( away from sun, North in the northern hemisphere) being thick strawbale walls, the rest of the building being Cob, earthen, walls.

    I have retrofitted at my place with what we call light strawclay compressed clay slip covered straw into an existing 2×4 frame wall. That doesnt even burn very well, from experience after the fire, I can see that is true.

    I have an extension off the house that is Cob earthen building.

    I believe your area traditionally would do earthen building, so there is likely a good reason. If you have to import straw, if it is not a waste product in your area, just do earthen walls. They are great. The room I have that is half thick earthen walls has better temperature year round, cooler when it is over 100’F outside, and warmer when it is in the 30 ‘ F outside compared to the main house. Again, have a good foundation ( rocks mortared with cement in my case) and good roof. I get 60-100 inches of rain a year.

  353. Amon # 378- Scientist recently found cells in sunflowers that function as a nervous system. But you won’t find them if you’re not looking, because your dogma says plants don’t have nerve cells… -Berserker

  354. Hi pygmycory,

    No worries at all, it’s all good. And either outcome is likely, but it is possible for a while to continue producing volume without the mineral and nutrient density. There’s a school of thought which suggests that this has already been happening for many decades now and I’ve read about the decline of protein levels in fruit and vegetables – and that has direct impacts upon health outcomes, not just for us, but for the animals which we eat.

    Early last year I did a deep dive into this particular subject and read many books. Then with the knowledge fresh in my mind I went on a huge fertilising effort. I’ve got a large cement mixer powered by the sun, and used that to mix up about six 7×5 foot trailer loads of all manner of weird organic fertilisers and mineral additives which were given to the vegetables and berries. Here’s the thing though, this is not an economic proposition as each trailer load cost me about $200 from memory. But wow, have the plants grown or what, even in this year of no summer. And interestingly, the plants have required very little additional water, even in the past four weeks which have been somewhat dry. Hmm. I’d have to suggest that the farmers market, whilst appearing to be expensive, is actually quite cheap.

    And since the beginning of that year I’ve applied a similar strategy to the orchards – and the trees have responded by growing at an amazing rate. Prior to this, tree growth had been slow, despite regular additions of compost, mulches and tonnes of coffee grounds each year. I suspect that the metric tonne of Calcium Carbonate was what made the difference.

    Cheers and Good Luck

    Chris

  355. I’ve come to the point where I feel I need to cut back using twitter and fakebook , it definitely makes me feel worse in mood and general mental health if I spend a lot of time on either. I see on social media a lot of good intentioned gestures of solidarity with Ukraine, and deserved condemnation of Putin, but worry it is going to be later co-opted by those pushing for militarism rather than promoting peace. It feels like a shallow mass movement awaiting someone to lead it somewhere which may not be good.
    Something I think JMG said was that the difference between the woke activists, and the white supremacist racist ideology is flipping the sign of the value judgements, both agree that race is a pre-eminently important category. Is a crisis like this an opportunity/vulnerability for certain people who are economically centrist but ‘left’ on ‘woke’ issues to journey politically to the radical right?

  356. I wonder if Putin’s isn’t still playing with the West here. Everyone thought the Russians were after the Donbass, and nothing more– and yet, here they are, with multiple axes of invasion across the country. Why? Does Putin really expect to annex Ukraine, like some Western pundits claim?

    I doubt it. See, the Ukranians have made very clear that the Donbass is part of Ukraine, and that they will not give up one inch of their nation’s hallowed ground. Fair enough! You might feel the same about your country. But that means if Putin wants the Donbass, he has to beat the Ukraine. Not just take the Donbass, but completely defeat the Ukrainian state, or they will never accept the loss. By making it look like he wants the whole enchilada– by taking the whole enchilada, is I think the plan–and then pulling back only to the parts he wants once the West is willing to negotiate, Putin allows us to save face. Especially, perhaps, as the narrative that Russia is out to annex the whole of the Ukraine takes root. It makes the stated war-aim of a demilitarized and neutral (but independent) state much more palatable to NATO, if not the Ukrainians themselves. (I don’t think either the Russians or NATO thinks the Ukrainians get a vote, but… well, we’ll see. It’s still their country, and the last war in those parts showed that it is great partisan country.)

    The fact that the Russians have been indicating they are willing to negotiate from day 2 on suggests I might be on to something. Maybe.

    (I won’t comment on how “slow” their invasion is going, aside from pointing out Polish cavalry held off German tanks for over a month in WWII. What kind of supermen does CNN think the Russian army is made of, to call them failures because it took, what, 3 whole days to reach the gates of Kiev?)

    (Also, does anyone else find the Kiev/Kiyv spelling row a bit daft? Apparently spelling the city’s name Kiev is spelling it ‘in Russian’ (thus bad) and Kiyv is ‘in Ukranian’ and shows you’re one of the good guys. Don’t these midwits know that both those languages use the Cyrillic alphabet, so neither spells it the way they’re arguing over?)

  357. Hey jmg

    1-are you aware of Camille flammarion and his works, and if so what opinion do you have on them?

    2-have you heard about the flooding that is going on in the east coast of Australia? It is a lot bigger than the 2011 floods.

  358. Great Archdruid, thank you!
    I’ll start with some bad news so that I could end on a more cheerful note.
    Tomorrow, Russia and Belarus might become one country and if that happens, we will face another threat coming from Belarus. It will be the hardest night in Lukashenko’s life – I hope he doesn’t want to join the ranks of war criminals.
    Eleven ships carrying troops are heading towards Odessa. That’s a major port city in Ukraine.
    Berdyansk is under control of Russians.
    Red cross has left Kyiv.
    A major attack is planned on Kyiv this morning. (February 28) Here’s Chechen convoy heading to Kiev)
    In the city of Zhytomyr, occupants were using women and children as human shield.
    The hospital for disabled children received fire (I couldn’t understand why would they want to do it, but my guess would be to blame it on our Army).
    Casualties among civilians: 352 and 16 children.
    Now, some good news.
    “Despite being outgunned and outnumbered, Ukraine inflicted more casualties in 24 hours than Russia suffered over eight years of engagements in Syria.” (https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2022/02/25/the-military-gap-between-russia-and-ukraine-is-vast).
    Russia’s losses – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzJ9o3n65mg&list=WL&index=1 (has English captions)
    People have already transferred 1.2 billions hryvnas (about 40 mln dollars) keep in mind that average salary here, save major cities, is about 300-400 bucks. My parent’s pension is 50 bucks each.
    Supermarkets and gas stations (that are open) don’t charge our soldiers, neither for supplies nor for gas. They don’t have to do that, but they do. Women and children are making camouflages for the army. Men are joining territorial defense teams. I want to point out that they are not handing arms to everybody. They can turn you around, and it’s absolutely voluntary. These people are only defending their neighborhoods in their cities and are not send to fight ruSSian troops.
    Now, about the spirit of our people. There was a moment when a Soviet soldier placed the Soviet flag over the Reichstag. The soldier’s name is Alexei Berest, and he was Ukrainian. Now back to our times.
    Look at this old lady who, among other people, is kneeling before a Russian tank, she needs help to get up – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJLldRkW7Gg&list=WL&index=9
    There are other instances of civilians turning ruSSians tanks back.
    Here’s something that even Fox News reported, but they never showed the clip, so of course some people claim it’s fake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvvwV0r1k8s&list=WL&index=3
    She’s asking them: “Who are you? Where are you from? Why did you come here armed? Are you Russian occupants? You are occupants. You’re fascists. Why the f… did you come here? What the f… are you doing here?” And then, it’s almost a punchline – “Put sunflower seeds in your pockets, the raw ones, so that when you die, sunflowers can grow here… put the sunflowers seeds or flower seeds in your pockets.” (Just in case, if someone doubts what she says I’ll transcribe the “punchline” in Russian, it starts at 19th second – Возьмите семечки, положите сырыми, чтоб хоть подсолнухи росли когда вы здесь ляжете).
    There was another military convoy, this one was marked V, with unclear target, it is destroyed now (the Chechen convoy also marked with V).
    Odessa is preparing “warm welcome” for occupants. (those are not beer bottles-:)
    No major cities have been taken. Occupants have not reached a single goal.
    There were three offers from different countries to evacuate our President – he answered, “I need weapons, not evacuation.”
    When ruSSian government started to vehemently denied any casualties in Ukraine the website 200rf.com was created (200 means dead in Russian military slang, and 300 means wounded) so that people in ruSSia could find out if their relatives are dead or captured. It was promptly banned in ruSSia.
    And of course, the amount of support we get this time is mind-blowing. Last time we got blankets instead of weapons, thanks Obama, and the sanctions were something like “we won’t our students to ruSSian colleges, so they won’t be so diversified and won’t teach you CRT.” What surprises me most is that businesses are prepared to lose money, a lot of money, and it’s happening everywhere. It seems like Putler’s actions have united Europeans. Even Zeman and Orban, Putin’s friends, turned against him. Probably there are some plans to use Ukraine in some political game, but something strange has happened. I guess no-one expected fierce resistance from Ukrainians or that we would hold for so long (and yes we are very grateful for all the armaments we get). Everybody was convinced that this war would be a cinch for Putin. But I have to ask myself what would have happened if everything went according to Kremlin’s plans?
    Here’s a funny story – Russia summons Israeli ambassador, asking: ‘Why are you backing Nazis?’ When reality is stranger than the fiction. Nobody buys ruSSian BS about “evil Ukrainian Nazis crucifying little boys” (they did say that). People around the world are supporting us. Celebrities, athletes, writers, Elon Musk-;) Even in Russia, people are turning against Putin. And they are facing some harsh charges for it. It’s happening from Moscow to Novosibirsk. Some cosmic shift is happening, and I would never have thought that we’ll be in the center of it. Right now it’s obvious, no matter what happens, Putin has lost this war either way.

  359. JMG and audience,

    I know you have mentioned before that you like being incarnate, but I despise it. You’re always one second away from abject terror when in a physical body.

    I’m stunned by the images of grandmas fleeing Ukraine right now, the very same women who fled during WW2. How can someone have earnt that much karma, to be forced to live through something like this twice?

  360. And yes, I’m now wary of any American media. In fact, I have some kind of cognitive dissonance. People I’ve been following or listening to said things like:
    “He (Putin) has a point.” Candance Owens.
    “Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.” Tucker Carlson.
    “We don’t want that country in NATO.” Jesse Waters.
    Steve Turley likes to read articles from tsargrad, chief editor of which is Dugin. Dugin is a literal fascist not an imaginary one. And he has great influence on Putin’s politics.
    People on the left, on the other hand, are helping us a great deal. It’s not all black and white. And it’s a great lesson for me.

  361. I am simply aghast at the news stories I’m reading lately, as if the covid vex crisis didn’t already exhaust my capacity to be aghast anymore:

    Get this: “U.S. Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov” per* (see footnote for source)

    This surely is the geopolitical equivalent of a school-yard taunt. Against a superpower no less. Do the officials who come up with this idiocy have any clue? Consider that the Russians have launched a full scale war on a belligerent US client state, in the context of already existing “sanctions”, and then this? And now the Russian military establishment has has gone to a high level of military alert: Consider this from Putin today: “Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly economic actions against our country, but leaders of major Nato countries are making aggressive statements about our country. So I order to move Russia’s deterrence forces to a special regime of duty”.**

    Did anyone in the Biden Administration say “Oops!”?

    Even if SWIFT is not cut off, what’s to stop Russia from sanctioning the US, say, by embargoing oil and oil-products, such as diesel? Do consider-

    “In 2021, the U.S. imported an average of 209,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 500,000 bpd of other petroleum products from Russia. Although Russian crude accounts for only three percent of U.S. crude oil imports and about one percent of total crude oil processed by U.S. refineries—Russian crude oil imports are important to refineries on the West Coast and Gulf Coast.”***

    Now those 3% and 1% figures might not seem like much, but I recall the 1973/4 Arab oil embargo reduced the US market supply by only 5%, and look what mayhem that caused.

    I get the sense that the US political leadership is disconnected from reality, dangerously incompetent, incapable of learning from its mistakes, and incapable of preventing/anticipating/forestalling predictable crises. I feel like we’re in a downward spiral, and am no longer comforted by the thought: “It could be worse”.

    —Lunar Apprentice

    * https://twitter.com/ScottMStedman/status/1497347887914577921?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1497347887914577921%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fmarkets%2Fstocks-surge-russia-ukraine-talks-headlines

    ** https://twitter.com/maxseddon/status/1497923042101575685?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1497923042101575685%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Frussia-orders-nuclear-deterrence-high-alert-nato-warns-unacceptable-escalation

    *** https://www.afpm.org/newsroom/blog/oil-and-petroleum-imports-russia-explained

  362. Anonymous, I’ve never met an advertising executive. If I did, I’d be interested to see if they show the typical signs of demonic obsession.

    Akhtar, I’m sure everyone who wants to read Dmitry knows where his posts can be found.

    Lunar, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    DFC, it’s possible, but I suspect that what’ll happen instead is that once this business is over, something else will become the favored target for the rage and terror of the privileged classes.

    Anon123, I don’t have a good answer for that. People have been sinking deeper and deeper into mindlessness for some years now, and it’s starting to get really spooky.

    Chris, I get the impression that a lot of third-rate rings of power are in circulation these days.

    NomadicBeer, many things can cause that sort of collapse into blind rage and terror. From this distance, I can’t tell you which one is involved in these two cases.

    MawKernewek, it’s been going on here in the US for some time now.

    Dusk Shine, well, we’ll see!

    J.L.Mc12, nope and nope.

    Kyivan, thanks for the update.

    Sam, plenty of people in various militaries chased civilians out of their homes repeatedly. Being chased out of their own homes repeatedly would be one way to pay that back.

    Kyivan, er, remember that not everyone shares your opinion of your country — or of the war.

    Apprentice, I’m waiting to see how all this will play out.

  363. The recent Venus retrograde cycle got me looking into Venus’ entire synodic cycle. I noticed (if my calculations are correct) that there are about 42 weeks between an inferior/superior conjunction and vice versa.

    Has anyone ever looked into the correlation between an average pregnancy time of about 40 weeks and the time between Venus’ conjunctions with the Sun? I don’t think that this is a coincidence. Venus is a feminine planet, and the Moon is also feminine and her cycle corresponds to a menstrual cycle.

    It’s also interesting to think that Venus is “impregnated” by the sun during a cazimi, and it takes 42 weeks for her to return to the Sun.

    Has anyone done research on this? Perhaps one could do a magical ritual at Venus cazimi and wait for its fruition at the next cazimi.

  364. Kyivan said:
    “In fact, I have some kind of cognitive dissonance.”

    Given the horrible stressful situation you are going through, it’s good that you at least kept some ability to self-reflect.
    Most people I know though safe and sound have completely collapsed mentally.

    That being said, beware of friends like the left in US.
    First of all, there is no difference between left and right when it comes to imperial policy (see https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2022/02/27/difficult-to-find-a-way-out-of-the-war-that-is-enveloping-us/).
    Second of all, you do realize that the seeds of this war were planted in 2014 by Obama with the full support of the media machine.
    I should not be surprised but this kind of directed amnesia still shocks me…

  365. Hey hey JMG,

    I have a fun one for you today. This won’t come as any surprise to you, but I think it is worth posting anyways.

    Boquila trifoliolata is a climbing vine that imitates the leaves of the plant it is climbing, mimicking the host’s leaves in a phenomenon called mimetic polymorphism. Unlike other plants B. Trifoliolata mimics more than one plant. In fact, it mimics the size, shape, color, and even spikes of whatever plant it climbs.

    The two working theories (because you can’t have an effect without a mechanism silly) are pheromones and gene transference. Unfortunately for these theories someone had it climb a plastic plant…

    …and mimicry. In fact, it not only ‘sees’ and ‘copies’ it also gets better with practice, er time, in what looks like (but obviously isn’t and can’t be) perception, self awareness, and memory.

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15592324.2021.1977530

    “Boquila trifoliolata mimics leaves of an artificial plastic host plant”

  366. I live in the high desert in California about half the year in a cob house. There are also straw bale houses on the property. Both are perfect in that climate. You just have to be sure to have a good foundation and a good roof with overhang, which also protects against the summer sun as well as rain. Make sure there are no cracks in the plaster to guard against rodents & insects.

  367. Since there are a couple smart engineer types here, can anyone explain to me the math behind how weight is distributed among the rafters of a reciprocal roof frame such as this?
    https://timberframehq.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Durning-reciprocal-roof1.jpg
    I built one, slightly too big unfortunately, which now needs after-the-fact authorization. For that, I need a certified engineer’s demonstration that it‘s strong enough, but all the engineers I‘ve asked so far said their software can‘t handle it and thus they can’t help me.

    I’d be happy about any hint, equation, explanation or reference that might help shed some light on this.

    This frames are super sturdy and elegant, they just seem to be too organic for our modern building industry.

    Thanks in advance!

  368. Dear JMG

    Long time reader here. Could you kindly summarise the typical signs of demonic possession? Yes, I know I can Google it but then I end up not believing what I read. I would rather tap a source I trust, I.e. you. (Even so, I then meditate on it. You have taught me well you see.)

    Many thanks
    Miow.

  369. Hi JMG. I have a quick question; I’ve been reading a bit of early and mid-century American science fiction and the concept of psychics as a plot point were pretty common in the genre. Right up through the late 1970’s/1980’s or so. Even Gibson had a psychic in Neuromancer, sort of. But after the 1980’s they more or less seem to have vanished from the genre. Do you have any idea why that happened? Is that because of the skeptic movement, and its obsession with ‘hard’ science fiction? It was a little weird to notice that a trope that was very common in the just sort of vanished, while other tropes like AI, space travel and other overplayed things stagger on.

    Cheers,
    JZ

  370. Mawkernewek said: “Something I think JMG said was that the difference between the woke activists, and the white supremacist racist ideology is flipping the sign of the value judgements, both agree that race is a pre-eminently important category.”
    Definitely! Just like in this comedy video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev373c7wSRg

  371. @Darkest Yorkshire: thanks for the recommendations. I will follow up on the Soviet connection, it had crossed my mind to have a Russian character since I read Jeffrey Kripal’s (superficial and disappointing) biography of Esalen. Makes it even more topical, too…

    I have Roberts’s Albion Dreaming somewhere about, good to have the reminder. I’ve met him a few times, he’s a lovely chap – he’s very enmeshed in the psychedelics scene, which I’ve pretty much cut ties with these days, but each to their own.

  372. Just from all the reports from all sources, I have to ask “What’s Russian for ‘Twilight’s Last Gleaming’?” And is Putin bluffing about using nukes? and if he does, will the U.S. drop one on Moscow? Or just sit back and dither?

    I do have to say I like the idea that the entire invasion is a prelude to “Oh, well, I’ll settle for the two regions I wanted anyway.” And note, in passing, that Ukrainans are as heavily armed as, say West Virginia (no data on Florida, but any guesses that rural Florida is, too?)

  373. @Mary Bennett (#263)

    I don’t know what it’s going to take to get the Russia-hating neo-cons out of the Federal gov’t. I think they’ll never leave it, but instead, what will happen is the deep state will become less and less relevant over time. We need to build parallel institutions which can remain standing after it loses relevance and authority. This very forum is helping to do that, I believe. And we need to have patience. Many of us can already see the emperor has no clothes. That indicates to me that something is already happening.

  374. Armenians have mixed feelings about the Russia / Ukraine conflict. On one hand, if Russia grows stronger, Armenians are afraid of being coerced into joining the Union State (basically a new but smaller USSR). On the other hand, if Russia is proven to be much weaker than everyone supposes, then Russia loses its (already shaky) credibility as the protector of Armenia against Turkey and Azerbaijan. This protection is likely to collapse anyway over the coming decades, due to Russia’s disastrous demographics. (Armenia’s are just as bad. But Turkey and Azerbaijan are growing.)

  375. @Eike 420

    The reciprocal roof is quite something! It evokes thoughts of a structural engineering version of one of Escher’s infinite loop paintings.

    Do you have a picture of the other side and the opening? The beam that keeps it all from pancaking in a domino effect is the first rafter laid.

    Are the small beams inside the circle a permanent part of the structure? The purpose of rafters is to transfer loads to the walls and balance the outward force so that the walls don’t push out and collapse.

    Did you use a support in the center to build it? Think about what you had to hold up during the construction process and that tells you where the force is directed. That is the can opener to getting a handle on the math.

  376. @Patricia Mathews (#425):

    I don’t think Putin is bluffing, either about nukes or about other, even more horrific (non-explosive) weapons that they have very likely developed since the end of WW2. Alas!

    To judge by the Russians I have known, and also by what I know of Russian history, the prevailing Russian attitude toward any truly serious conflict is “win or die trying” … and if you can manage it, make sure your foe dies with you. If you compromise, it will end up worse for you than dying. There are very many ways of living that are worse than being dead.

    That’s “irrational” by Western standards, of course, but it’s a very human thing.

    The Saker provides a quote from a highly placed Russian strategist (Andrei Bezrukov) that says much the same thing (in fairly awkward English translation):

    “Thing is, western people, and especially Anglo-Saxons – all their thinking is based on the concept of “the rational man”…their entire legal system is based on this concept of “the rational man”…All their strategic solutions are built on the concept of “the rational man”.
    What does this mean? When you are put before a choice: “Look, we will punish you. You don’t want to be punished, right? Then you must behave in a way to avoid this punishment”… and so on… “If you are threatened with sanctions, you won’t like that, will you? You will do something to avoid it… you will come and negotiate on our terms.”
    This principle of “the rational man” is in effect now. They think this way even now: “We will push Russia to the limit and she will surrender”.

    “But, for Russian mentality, Slavic mentality, Orthodox mentality, Eastern mentality … this rational mentality is totally alien! Here, we have: “I’d rather die than surrender!” It’s a completely different mentality.”

    https://thesaker.is/day-4-of-the-russian-offensive-in-the-ukraine/

    I think we are now living through the most dangerous couple of years since the end of WW2. We may yet survive them. But, IMHO, there’s a very good chance that we will not.

  377. @BJohnstone
    Do you have your own landing page that is of your (mostly) own control and not location specific? Are your works available through channels other than BigRivershop?

    @Eike
    I can so see how that would be beyond the basic equations in the software.
    The rafters exist in compression unless there is a failure of part of the torus on top, then part would be in tension. All adding in the factor of shear in angles not normally calculated.
    Normal roof loading were always a two dimensional calculation, not the three dimension needed for this. Found a number of those 2D calculators on-line. I suspect we have to delve into Calculus for this, as lots of that was what those 2D calculators are based on results of. Our design habits, standards/regs and rules of thumb all evolved when we had to do that work on paper where keeping to just the two dimensions. Having forces acting in all three dimensions is reminding me of the headaches I had in my calculus classes learning the 2D parts. Any 3D calculations assumed at least one 90 degree as the last dimensional force.
    If that picture is the roof in question, my gut feel is that the only weak point of concern is the joints as that is where the ‘interesting’ stresses will be. Especially the torus on the top.

    I would try to engage an engineer teaching the calculus for structural engineering. I strongly suspect we have to go back to the basics of those calculations that most practicing engineers just don’t touch once they get around to designing buildings. I’ve worked with a good number of them over the years, and will see if any I still have connections with would even bite at this.

    My Civil engineering training was in the ’80s before the IT industry sucked me in and away from the mostly completed civ-eng path.

  378. @Eike 240

    This guy has a nice bit on the math od reciprocal roofs: https://danielsiepman.nl/en/reciprocal-roof/

    Seems some of my original assumptions turned out to be donkey-doo, but that happens.

    A useful point from digging around on the internet is that the rafters are secured at the top by wire (https://www.appropedia.org/How_to_build_a_reciprocal_roof) or cordage (clearly visible https://theyearofmud.com/2008/11/26/how-to-build-a-reciprocal-roof-frame/.) That’s a modest ah-hah moment from a structural point of view. At a macro level, the roof is a solid ring at the center supported by sloping beams. The beams form the triangles for the truss calculation.

    The starting point (supposing you can find a structural engineer old enough to remember life before computers) is to look at it as a bunch of cantilevered triangles tied together by the solid central ring. The connections of the central ring can be tackled afterwards.

  379. @ Elke

    Tricky. The rafters will be under strong compression. If they are slender and unsupported by purlins they will probably buckle and the structure pancake. If a joint at the bottom gives way the structure will blow out to that side. If the bottom joints are firm and the tops are nailed as seems to be in the picture, the nails will be carrying a shear load and might tear the wood by splitting it along the grain, or possibly be pulled out.

    Have you tried building a small model and loading it to failure to get an idea how it might happen?

  380. At Eike 240 Dunning reciprocal roof.

    Got it. Took a moment to percolate through the pea brain.

    Each truss triangle is tangent to the solid (at first approximation) center at the top. Therefore, the turning force of the center pushes against the tip of the triangle (in the x axis or plan view) and is resisted by the connections between the beams and the sill plate at the edge.

  381. Hi John,

    We have discussed before the possibility of getting out of Europe before it plunges into savage warfare in the coming decades.

    My current operating timeframe is the 2040’s but of course that could be totally wrong.

    I know you have recommended New England for European refugees/emigrants in the future. If, folks like us can’t get to America – the green card visa is quite strict – are there any other places in North America you might recommend.

    I’ve been looking recently at some of the Caribbean islands who offer golden visa programmes and some of them are quite cheap. My thinking is that those islands close to South America are probably to be avoided (piracy etc) but those closer to Florida are probably a safer bet longer term.

  382. JMG,

    Not to hammer away too much on the war topic, but what do you think is the likelihood of nuclear conflict – both in this case and in general? As far as you know, is the post-nuke forecast still “almost everyone dies, civilization ends” like in the 1980s, or have there been any new studies that say otherwise?

  383. @Eike,

    I doubt there are any standardised methods for analytical solutions, and creating one would be a masters-level project. However a structure like that can be modelled easily enough in any modern 3d frame software, your Engineers are just being lazy (or are afraid to tell you the time cost to do so).

    If I were still practicing though I wouldn’t even bother with that. The shape can be approximated as a series of simple rafter pairs pushing outwards against the restraining band at the base. Thus the connections to the band would be my primary concern – the rafters probably need to be notched over the band – along with checking the tensile capacity of the same band. And finally I would check the strength of the notches at the top of the rafters in combined shear (down) and compression (inwards).

  384. I should add that straw bale is much less time consuming than cobb. For the latter you need a lot of time or a lot of people. My 120 sq ft house was done as a workshop with about 20 people for 2 weeks, not including the roof.It should be possible to do it faster using a plywood frame, as one would for a cement pour.

  385. Raphanus428,
    During construction, we use a pole to keep up the first one, but that ultimately gets to rest on the last one, and the support is removed. So the end result is symmetrical all the way around, without beginning or end. Thus, that is sadly not the solution to the math problem.

    The picture is not mine, btw. Feel free to do an image search for more pics, it’s a great structure, and there are many beautiful examples.

  386. JMG, a few posts ago I brought up The Ignorant School Master by Jacques Rancière. Rancière either identifies or is identified as a Structural Marxist. I’ve visited Wikipedia a couple times to try to figure out the basic meaning of that label, but its a bit difficult the way the information is presented. The gist of what I got out of it is that a Structural Marxist might believe in the tenants of Marxism but believes and Marxist who seizes power is inherently hypocritical. I’m curious if you have a distilled explanation for Structural Marxism? Also, when I first posted about Rancière you mentioned you were fascinated that he discussed Joseph Jacotot. Why?

    While reading The Ignorant School Master I realized that if I told a leftist any of the key points without saying they came from the mind of a Marxist they would probably strongly disagree. To paraphrase a few:
    -Stupidity comes authorities inherent belief in their own superiority and their need to teach their lessers (explicatory stultification / abrutir)
    -All stupidity comes from laziness or thinking “I can’t” because of the above point
    -“Can’t” is not a mental operation
    -Rationality is the desire to understand and be understood
    -Silencing/dominating/forcing someone to do thing is irrational
    -The only thing more irrational than the current societal order is overthrowing it
    -Everything is in everything
    -The concept of veracity, or circling the truth, seemed to be his take on Jung’s individuation

    The only Marxy exclusive seeming point was that all intellects are equal (but only on a surface level!). In my read of this, I think he uses intellect similarly to how you might use the word “soul” or “individuality”. He also pretty much acknowledges the spiritual nature of humanity. Thanks for indulging this long comment. I wrote more than I thought I would.

  387. Hi JMG,

    In a response to another commenter, you said this: “Anonymous, the essence of the demonic is that it refuses any relation to reality”.

    I was wondering how you think this idea relates to Heidegger’s concept of the self (I believe he uses the term “the authentic self”, although I may have that confused as his writing confuses me generally) vs the “throwness” of dasein. The gist I was getting from him was that your more authentic self is less thrown (less influenced by social, cultural (etc!) norms) and more personal/interior. There’s something about thrownness that resonates as in communication reality to me too, though – so I was just curious what you made of this.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  388. @elke 420

    if they are centered and distributed equally, equal spacing, then the weight is distributed equally on all of them. The load is mostly on the walls as always

    Your making the circle larger diameter doesnt change much . Just keep the spacing close to the same ( ie. rafters x inches apart where they hit the walls) if your diameter has increased enough for that

    The engineering or design shouldnt need any going over

    As far as needing the scaffolding wood, if it was not required to leave in before, you dont need it now.

    This looks like standard yurt roof type design

  389. John Zybourn (no. 422), consider what was happening in the field of parapsychology at the time:

    1965: Parapsychological Laboratory (f. 1930) leaves / kicked out of Duke University after JB Rhine’s retirement, renames itself the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (now the Rhine Research Center)

    1968: UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute opens parapsychology lab under Thelma Moss. Closed 1978. It studied ESP and haunted houses.

    1969: (US) Parapsychological Association (f. 1957 by Rhine, then led by Margaret Mead) affiliates with the American Association for the Advancement of Science

    1970: Founding of the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine, with yoga connections. Later (1978) merged into or became the American Holistic Medical Association.

    1971: Founding of the International Parascience Institute in the UK

    1971: Founding of Saybrook Institute, devoted to humanistic psychology but offers parapsychology under Stanley Krippner and Dean Radin

    1972: Founding of the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research by new religious movements scholar J. Gordon Melton, with connections to the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship. Still exists, but just barely.

    1973: Founding of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (Edgar Mitchell), with parapsychology among its research interests. Now offers programs similar to Esalen or the Omega Institute.

    1975: Founding of the International Kirlian Research Association Now defunct. Received some negative press in the early 1980s.

    1976: Founding of CSICOP (Paul Kurtz, Martin Gardner, James Randi, et al.) Renamed the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry in 2006.

    1979: Founding of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory (studied psychokenesis; closed 2007)

    1979 Physicist John A. Wheeler declares parapsychology a pseudo-science, unsuccessfully calls for the Parapsychology Association’s expulsion from AAAS

    1985: Establishment of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit (U. of Edinburgh)

    —————–

    Can’t find exact dates for this, but JFK University had a graduate program in parapsychology in the 1970s and 1980s, which offered an MS in parapsychology. (Loyd Auerbach was a graduate, and later served on the faculty.) The program broadened into “Consciousness and Transformative Studies” at some point, and the whole school has recently closed / merged with National University.

  390. @Dusk Shine, #346

    >Personally I don’t like neural nets in general because of the training problem– you never know what’s going on inside, and have to hope the training ‘took’ properly.

    There’s this cautionary tale I head from a colleague (sorry, he gave no citation) regarding a research project back in the 80’s. This is not known to me to be actual truth, but it serves its purpose just as well. The US military was still feeling sore about their defeat in Vietnam, so they were interested in automating jungle warfare. The idea was to reduce the risk for reconnaissance teams, so they could take high resolution pictures of “suspect spots” from far away, and then use a neural net to detect if this was a camouflaged enemy position and order an air strike. The main researcher might have been Marvin Minsky, IIRC.

    In order to provide for a training set (data used to show the NN what a target does and does not look like) and a validation set (data sampled from the same population of the training set, but that the NN has never seen prior to being “tested” with it), the US military got arrangements to use some pieces of jungle from a South-American ally and began to stage camouflaged positions in the following fashion: First they would come and photograph a virgin area, to use as “not a target” data. Then the engineer corps would set a fake fortified position and hide it to the best of their abilities in the surrounding jungle. Finally the spotters would photograph the same area again, to use as “target” data. The project underwent with no major complication and was showing promising results.

    One faithful day, some university employee