Open Post

February 2023 Open Post

Yes, I’m back from last week’s brief hiatus. What happened, to summarize a very busy week too briefly, is that I took the train to New Jersey to receive six initiations in two different esoteric traditions, with somewhat limited internet access during that trip. Now I have a lot of new material to study , but that’s nothing new and won’t get in the way of the usual conversations here. So…

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.)

Before we proceed, I’m delighted to announce that the first volume of a new fiction project of mine will be out in April and is now available for preorder. It’s an occult detective series in which all the magic is real — as in, the kind that people actually practice and experience here and now. The title is The Witch of Criswell.  Here’s the blurb:

“Eighteen-year-old Ariel Moravec doesn’t expect much from a summer with the grandfather she hasn’t met in years: a respite from her dysfunctional family, perhaps, and a brief delay before she has to face an uncertain future.

“A few days after her arrival, however, she learns that her grandfather is an occult investigator tasked with hunting down the perils of the Unseen — and he offers Ariel the chance to assist him on a case.

“Strange forces are stirring in the little farm town of Criswell, where a famous witch lived in colonial times. Has old Hepzibah Rewell’s curse awakened, or is the evil magic the work of someone living?

“Caught in a tightening net of bitter local rivalries and strange happenings, Ariel has to find out…or her own life may be at risk.”

Interested?  Readers in the US can preorder copies here; elsewhere, here‘s the place to go.

With that said, have at it!


  1. JMG, if memory serves you had mentioned something to the effect that around before around WW I, church prayer manuals were somewhat different and because of the changes, the church scandals of recent decades shouldn’t be that surprising. If such things can be mentioned in polite company what difference did you observe?

  2. This extends back at least 2000 years so well before there was any astronomical knowledge of Pluto.

    In a post sometime in 2017, @PeterMuller mentioned the implausibly named John Glubb, later Pasha Glubb who wrote a short book on the lifespan of empires which he calculated at around 250 years. I’d very much like to read Spengler’s views on the subject and Toynbee – but I can only find bowdlerised version of their works available. So I’m having to make to with Glubb for the moment although I have high hopes of the work of Peter Turchin too. In any case the magic figure for empires 250 years, 10 generations of 25 years apiece. Remarkably similar to Pluto’s orbital period of 248.

    One of the points that Glubb makes is that empires don’t happen all at once, nor do they generally die suddenly (although there are exceptions) and to a certain extent you can pick and choose your dates and key events to fit your theory. I accept that point but the research I’ve done to date suggests that associating the lifespan of an empire with the orbit of Pluto allows a certain level of insight that has my inner materialist cowering in the corner. Again.

    I’ve got around eight examples so far and only the Marmeluke empire departs significantly from the pattern.

    To briefly cover one of the empires that I’m all too familiar with, Glubb suggests the British Empire started in 1700 and ended in 1950, although he doesn’t give any reasons for those dates. I believe I can go a bit further. There’s a good case that the British Empire started on March the19th 17 1707 (Pluto was at 21 Leo 2). It ended on June the 2nd 1953 (Pluto was at 21 Leo 0).

    The first date marks the ratification of the Act of Union by the English parliament of the time. In effect, it’s when Britain came into existence as a legal entity, and although there had been signs of Empire building both militarially and technologically in the decade before by the inhabitants of the island of Britain, it seems hard to argue that the British Empire could formally have started before Britain or it’s flag did. A key figure is John Churchill – first Earl of Marlborough.

    The second date is the coronation of Elizabeth the 2nd. She was styled Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Crucially, she was not Empress of India in the way that her father had been styled Emperor of India. India had won independence in 1947. I believe this moment marks the point that a significant proportion of Britain’s establishment were prepared to admit in public that Britain no longer had an empire. Of those that were not, the Suez crisis of 1956 underlined Britain’s newly diminished status. Once again, there’s a key figure active before and after the date, Winston Churchill, a direct descendant of John.

    I’ve written rather a lot so I’m going to stop with a few final notes. First of all there’s a near term prediction that falls out of this rather neatly. Secondly I’m as familiar as anyone with the precession of the equinoxes – it’s about 4 degrees over the length of time I’m looking at. It doesn’t seem to make any difference.

    Finally, I believe I’ve got enough material already for either a long magazine article or a very short book. Is there a suitable outlet anyone could suggest?

  3. Dear JMG,

    In the January 25th post, in response to a question about mystery traditions in the Christian church, you mentioned Stevan Davies’ “The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom”. In a later comment you added: “mystery traditions [are] initiatory traditions that bring about certain inner transformations by way of ceremonies that work with what Jung called archetypal imagery. There’s still scraps of that in Christianity, mostly in the baptism ceremony and in Holy Week observances, but there was once much, much more.” And in another comment “the graded series of interpretive tools, the teachings that augment the basic message (rather than replacing it), and the spiritual exercises, those were thrown out and survived only in secretive circles under threat of death.”

    This piqued my interest enough that I got a copy of Davies’ book. I found it in fact very interesting, not least because it explains some of the sayings of the gospel of Thomas by referring to a baptism ritual where the persons to be baptized had to take off their old clothes. Being completely naked, they were encouraged to not feel shame, and only then underwent baptism and were admitted to the eucharist. The first story my father ever published was a parable of a restaurant where you had to undress together with the other customers, warts, bellies and all, take a shower and put on new white clothes, before sitting down at the table with bread and wine.

    Davies’ book ends with the discussion of the use of the gospel of Thomas in conjunction with just such a baptism ritual in order to induce a change in consciousness. Is this, in comparison to a normal present-day baptism rite, what you mean with “much, much more”? or do you mean there were other initiatory ceremonies? Robert Mathiessen, in an old comment thread touching on the same book, mentioned the angelic schema of Orthodox monks. If you had still other initiatory traditions in mind, I would be very grateful for further references.

  4. Hey John! I’ve been reading Lao Tsu and Plato’s Republic since the last time we talked. Good stuff. I’ll make sure to check out your new book, it looks intriguing.

    I’m wondering about what you think of Post-liberalism, if you’ve heard about it. I recently read this book called Why Liberalism is a Failure. It talks about liberalism in the classical sense (Both parties in the United States are liberal, the Democrats are socially liberal and the Republicans are economically liberal) and how it’s causing the market and the state to both grow exponentially and also causing local communities to be degraded. Humans are becoming more atomized and individualized, which is causing social capital to deplete and mental health crises. It also talks about how liberalism’s attitude toward nature and technology is causing environmental destruction. A lot of the book reminded me of what you’ve been talking about. He even talks about appropriate technology.

    For a solution, the author proposes a kind of post-liberalism that is economically left-wing and socially right-wing and encourages community, virtue and local governance. In the future, the author predicts more populists to win and less boring liberal candidates to win. What do you think about post-liberalism, and is it the future for America?

  5. Hi John! I got your book preordered! I’ve been excited about this series since you first mentioned it… I’ll be looking forward to reading it circa Beltaine this year!

    I do have a question for you, if you don’t mind. I’m seeking some input from a few people whose work ethic and talent I respect, and you are one of them.

    Last year I finished the draft of my first nonfiction book and put it in a drawer for a few months. Since I took it back out this past fall I have extensively revised some sections and added new material where I needed to. In that process the length of the work has increased. I am close to being finished. The work is now around 170,000 words. This makes it a tome.

    From the googling I’ve done writers websites suggest 50,000 to 80,000 words is about what most publishers and readers expect in a nonfiction book. (But from your series on writing, we know these sites, especially from authors we’ve never heard of, aren’t necessarily to be trusted!) 70,000 to 85,000 is considered ideal for history, which I suppose this is. Well known writers and historians can get away with more. This led me to thinking maybe I should split my book into two, which wouldn’t be that hard actually, and might give me a better shot at publication. This would make the finished drafts about 85,000 words each. Still on the longer side, but not a tome from someone who has only published essays and short stories at the pro level (so far).

    Originally the book is: The Radiophonic Laboratory: Telecommunications, Electronic Music, and the Voice of the Aether. If I spit that in half it might look like this.

    Volume 1 would be: The Radio Phonic Laboratory: Telecommunications, Speech Synthesis, and the Birth of Electronic Music.

    If I go this route, this volume would deal with early telecommunications and electronic instruments, and how both relate to the study of speech and the quest for a universal language, that spun off into a goal for some into synthesizing speech. There is also a section on information theory and cybernetics, and how these relate to Herman Hesses’ novel Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game. The book would end on to the development of electronic music studios, with threads in there about how that relates to the alchemical quest. I’m not sure of my subtitle as I’m not sure what part of the text I should emphasize. Anyway…

    Volume 2 would be: The Voice of the Aether: Transmission Arts, DIY Electronics, and the Music of the Spheres.

    This volume would focus on the use of radio itself as a sound source in music, transmission arts (works created specifically for radio transmission), the DIY ethos in electronic music and radio, and ending with a section on radio astronomy and music.

    Between the two there would be a lot of overlap of ideas, because I wrote it as one. Do you think I should try to find a mid-sized publisher interested in a tome, or a mid-sized publisher interested in potentially a book and its sequel?

    The good news in all of this is now I know I can write and finish books. Going forward I’ll be aiming to write slightly shorter lengths with the next nonfiction projects I have in mind (50-70,000 words I’m thinking). I’m already half-way to the low end of those points on two different projects.

    Thanks as ever for your insights and practical experience.

  6. New Jersey?! Are you willing/able to share which orders and/or where in my state, or is it confidential?

    The book sounds great – I will be pre-ordering.

  7. You mentioned before that you put a lot of thought into moving out to the east coast. Personal preferences aside, I’m wondering what conditions you foresee developing out west besides of course the water and resource battles currently brewing that makes the east coast a positive option.

  8. Hi JMG,

    I’ve been reading a lot recently about Jerusalem Syndrome. Do you have any knowledge of or opinions about it?

    It is a set of symptoms where people (mostly Christians but also some Jews and Muslims) visiting Jerusalem suffer from psychotic religious episodes and believe themselves to be biblical figures or the Messiah. Sometimes this can induce them to fashion togas from white bedsheets and deliver incoherent rambling sermons in public. In one case an Australian tourist believed God was telling him to clear the Temple Mount to prepare for the building of a third Temple and thus set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque there, almost starting a war between Israel and its neighbours. This phenomenon has been compared to similar phenomena such as Florence Syndrome (triggered in tourists overwhelmed by the beauty of Florence) and Paris Syndrome (triggered in the eponymous city for precisely the opposite reason).

    Do you think these sets of symptoms are merely a result of a mania or psychosis, or do you think there is some spiritual dimension at play there, given the extreme spiritual significance of Jerusalem?

  9. Dear JMG,

    I came across your Dreamwidth query about PDF reading devices. I had been researching for the same thing but found e-ink devices to be too expensive, though the note taking capabilities are impressive. I also wanted to avoid regular tablet screens. Did you find a solution? If so, what? Thank you.

  10. Anyone who’s curious about the current state of Protestant worship might want to tune in to my Lutheran (ELCA) Zoom broadcast of our Ash Wednesday evening service tonight. There will be liturgical singing, Bible readings, a sermon, ritual “imposition of ashes”, Holy Communion, some instrumental music (piano), and hymn singing (not necessarily in that order). You can decide for yourself whether magic is afoot. 7:30 EST,

    The Zoom broadcast is intended for our housebound members, but all are welcome to participate. Bear in mind that this is a collective work of the people in attendance, not a performance.

  11. The following invitation to help compile an anthology may be of interest to readers of this blog. The dangers of meditation have often been discussed here.

    The post says:

    “I am launching a project on the potential adverse effects of Buddhist-style meditation — the kinds of phenomena that are sometimes known as “meditation sickness” (禪病) or “wind illness” (rlung) or attack by demons, among other terminology. I have received a grant that enables me to offer $1000 honoraria to contributors to this project, and I’d like to invite you to participate if you are interested.

    “The idea is to create an anthology of primary sources related to this topic, similar to the previous anthologies I’ve done in recent years (here and here). I will then also be able to pay the subvention for an open-access academic publication in late 2024 or early 2025. (I have already approached Columbia University Press, since they produced my previous anthologies).

    “This project is looking for translations of texts (length negotiable) from any historical period or cultural context, written by any author. If you are an ethnographer who works with contemporary practitioners, the text may be a transcript of an interview. Each contribution is accompanied by a 500 to 1000 word introduction that talks about the social, cultural, doctrinal context of the author and the text, which draws out the important features of the passage translated.

    “If you are interested in making a contribution to this project during the 2023 year, please send me a brief abstract (150-200 words) specifying the textual passage you’ll be translating and the main ideas that you will be talking about in your introduction.”

    There’s more at the link, if this is of interest.

  12. Welcome back, and I hope the initiations bring you all the good they might on your path.

    Two very different things I encountered lately that folks here might find helpful and/or fun:

    – First, slightly more seriously, is the blog . While seemingly written by a capital-R “Rationalist” of the Lesswrong type (or at least someone adjacent to that group), after a recommendation from Dekete Moi Sant over on Dreamwidth, I plowed through the whole archive in a few days. Unlike a lot of Rationalists, this writer takes seriously many of the shortcomings of rational thinking and its inadequacy in fully answering questions of value. I found the posts “The Stanford Marshmallow Prison Experiment” and “The Tower” especially helpful, which mostly focus on the ways that competition within groups for social currency often lead them to become insane and crappy places to be

    – Secondly, more for fun, I found a wargame called “Pub Battles”:
    It gets its name from the fact that it is designed to a) fit on a small table such as you might find in a bar, and b) play through an entire battle in about an hour so you can play in public without being a nuisance. The maps are artful reproductions of period-accurate maps, available on canvas for extra durability, and the pieces are wooden blocks, giving it a nice aesthetic feel somewhere between a board-and-chit game and a miniature game. The rules are designed to put the emphasis on uncertainty, decision-making, and the challenges of coordination, rather than on fiddly differences between artillery sizes or musket models or the like. I haven’t had a chance to play yet, but I’m very excited to get a battle and rope some friends in to it (Waterloo and Gettysburg are tempting, but the Revolutionary War battle of Brandywine is suggested as a good starting place if you don’t have a particular historical interest to investigate)

    Hope some folks get some good out of these, and to everyone here, I put forth my blessings if you’ll have them,

  13. Greetings JMG,

    I have a question about the remote future of the long descent in hundreds of years.

    Even if humanity learns to live with sustainable energy systems,
    and we scavenge & mine whatever is left of metals and minerals
    depletion of those will continue, and eventually how can some degree
    of civilization be sustained without iron and other ores and minerals?
    The romans were using some of them also.

    How could a new civilization restart after the long descent?

  14. Greetings JMG,

    Congratulations on your initiations and the new book! Sounds like a good read; is it YA or for any age to enjoy?

    Here’s one of my new interests: the sacredness of springs, what do people think about that? Down the street from us, behind the nursing home where my mom peacefully passed on a month ago, is a spring, neglected and covered up by a concrete block. In the 19th century, people went there to “take the waters”, now it’s a trash-strewn corner behind the nursing home parking lot. My 6 year old and I are trying to clean it up.

    Also, at our dump swap shop, I found a 1919 book, “Nursing in the Home”, by Lee H. Smith, MD. Anyone know of it?

    Ellen in ME

  15. Hi JMG, What are your views on the rewriting of the late Roald Dahl’s books by his publisher, Puffin, making hundreds of changes in line with suggestions from ‘woke sensitivity readers.’

  16. @JMG

    Nice to see you back. I wanted to ask you some questions:

    1) Given that Spengler’s theory stressed upon evaluating the success of a High Culture in terms of how successfully it had/has achieved the goals it set out for itself, as defined by its worldview; could we say that this is somewhat similar in substance to a famous quote attributed to Einstein, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”? If yes, could we say that the explosive growth of Tantric ritual worship in India from the 5th century CE – 11th century CE is to religion what modern industrial technology is to machine technics?

    2) Are societies too governed by attractors? Spengler’s morphological theory of civilizations posited that civilizations passed through a broadly predictable series of stages, akin to a life cycle. Given the striking similarities between different civilizations in this regard, could we say that this is because the life cycles of civilizations are governed by attractors?

    3) If the answer to the second question in 2) is yes, then could we say that at every stage of a civilization’s life cycle, there are multiple paths it can choose from, each governed by a different attractor? For instance, the Greco-Roman world lasted for one mega boom-and-bust cycle, while India and China went through multiple boom-and-bust cycles, with both seeing the collapse of empires (Gupta, Han) but not a total civilizational collapse. Maybe this is because at a common stage in their respective life cycles, India and China went with one attractor, and Rome with another? Maybe this is just foolish speculation on my part, but I would be interested to know your views on this.

  17. Has anyone else been seen the contoversy over One D&D and the Open Game License? The very short version is Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast tried to intoduce into Dungeons and Dragons the very aggressive monetisation developed in video games, and a new intellectual property framework that would deprive creators of a lot of their rights. It’s created so much rage, players aren’t just boycotting new products, but refusing to contine using what they already own on principle. It’s driven so much of the market to D&D’s rivals, companies like Chaosium who do Call of Cthulhu, the Old School Renaissance publishers, and loads of independent creators have sold out a year’s worth of stock in a month. 🙂

  18. A friendly reminder that the Ecosophia book club holds regular meetings in Calgary, reading both JMG’s books and other interesting books mentioned on this and the other blog. Right now, we’re reading The Intellectual History of the British Working Classes. Those interested should contact user ashrountree on the yahoo mail service (dot com).

  19. For the record, this is not a medical advice question!

    I am curious about the history of eczema treatments. I know you have a working knowledge of the history of science and various natural approaches to medicine. Do you know of any treatments which were used to address this issue? It seems like the kind of thing that people pre industrial civilization must have dealt with, but could have easily been lost to history.

  20. Any astrological significance with the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the sky as we approach March?

  21. Just ran into the “Great God Of Progress Will Save Us All” from a friend. He posted this article about some new NASA space ship, that can “get to Mars in 45 days rather than 7 months” My question was “But why build this?” It wont even clean the space junk we have in orbit, which , to me, would be a good use of time, materials and money. The thing would have to be built on earth, and then assembled in space. Plus, it will use a new type of propulsion system, that is nuclear powered. This was his answer ” The space program has done much to improve our lives, and it will do more. Why waste time, energy, and money to travel west by wagon?” I didn’t bother pointing out that his answer didn’t address any of my points. Or that covered wagons didn’t have to bring their own atmosphere, or could be assembled by easily available parts. In all the years I’ve known him, he has become a strident atheist, and insisting that “science” will save us, so its no surprise to me that any challenge to his unacknowledged “god” will be met with resistance. So “we” need to build this expensive, experimental thing cause cover wagons!! Then I remembered that Gene Roddenberry conceived Star Trek as a “Wagon Train to the stars” Yes, he was referring to the Western “Wagon Train” which ran from 1957 -1965. No, I’m not going to bother talking about progress being dead with him.

  22. Happy Wednesday Mr. Greer,

    On the topic of religion, during the Christmas and New Years holidays, my partner and I conducted a small social experiment by reaching out to 508 churches (there were easily over 1000 we looked at, but many did not have contact information) across Appalachia (GA, TN, NC, VA, KY, OH, WV). We wrote up a letter asking if, given the state of the nation with energy shortages, food shortages, and socioeconomic/geo-political instability, would they be interested in starting up gardens using their lawns and landscaping for food production instead of vanity projects.

    Since churches do not have to report any financials to the IRS or pay taxes, they amass great fortunes from wealth pumping their local communities. We also listed various ideas on how to build community and congregational resilience in these challenging times, such as only buying from local businesses, implementing permaculture design, energy conservation, educational programs, tiny house construction, and more. We also designed two example church properties where we turned their useless lawns into highly productive food systems. Additionally, we emphasized that our work would be free if they wanted more assistance.

    Not one church has ever reached out. Not even to tell us that we were crazy loons. However, during this process, we observed mind blowing opulence, stunning gluttony, and so much systemic mental illness that our copy of the DSM-5 caught fire from flipping through the pages so quickly! I joke, but what the Christian church has devolved into these days is no laughing matter, especially when there is so much childhood poverty, malnutrition, drug addiction, and community suffering in this region. Meanwhile, these entitled brats party like the church is their private country club.

    As you point out time and again, such is the way civilizations decline and fall and the Christian church is no different. So frustrating when I think of all the good they could have accomplished instead of wasting it on their hedonistic lusts. Makes me think of them as Gaki. Having said that, it does put things into perspective for my partner and I and encourages us to keep building our skills, farm, and mental health as our nation swirls around the drain.

  23. Hi JMG,

    I’ve been working my way through David Graeber, and I came across an essay in The Utopia of Rules that I thought would interest you. The essay is “Of Flying Cars and Declining Rates of Profit”, and it has to do with the failed assumptions of technological progress.

    He makes a number of interesting points. The first is that he believes technological research was consciously directed away from innovations that would enable alternative futures and toward innovations that impose greater control on labor and society. The second, a counterpoint to the first, is that even areas that did receive massive funding seemed to fail to deliver on their promises. Finally, and to me this is the most interesting, he asks why we all seem so reluctant to discuss why the techno-future hasn’t arrived.

    What we have received instead is increasing layers of bureaucracy in virtually every corner of society. University researchers, supposedly the ones delivering the shiny future, now spend more time on administration than teaching or research. He suggests that we accept this state of affairs because of a failure of imagination.

    He points the finger mostly at industrial capitalism. It was a fun read because he is discusses all this without referring to peak oil or any of the collapse literature I am used to. He is way too gracious to communist socialism but I did enjoy his criticisms of the ways that corporate capitalists have become exactly like the bureaucratic socialists they say they hate.

  24. Matt Taibbi in the latest Twitter Files reporting showed that a senator had a staffer make a spreadsheet 300+ social media accounts who questioned him publicly on social media. The staffer sent the spreadsheet to Twitter to suspend or close the accounts. Taibbi and others showed that many government email addresses had direct contact with Twitter asking to suspend or close user accounts. I’m assuming Meta provided the same service to US government officials since they have the same kind of monitoring and intelligence embedded in their staff.

    With Google and Apple I’m guessing that they are monitoring everything we are emailing and have saved on their cloud services. Again, they also have former or current intelligence personnel in their ranks. The TOS of both companies are so vague that it’s impossible to know what they are doing or how they could delete info saved in their services.

    Twitter is charging $8 a month for a checkmark, and now Meta is charging $12 or $15 for one on Instagram. So if someone is an independent business or creator, they’ll need to pay to have their content seen. Social media will soon been a sea of strivers paying for views and their lackeys. Oh wait, that might be what it is now.

    For years I’ve thought of low-teching myself and I feel like now is the time. What is the must have and must avoid list for this?

    Must have: land phone line, computer without wifi, email outside of Google or Apple or Microsoft
    Must avoid: smart phone, cloud services, e-books

    What am I missing?

    If a company decides to delete my stuff or suspend my accounts for their “reasons” due to some faked up emergency like we experienced with covid, I’d be pretty devastated to lose my family photos, writing, work products, etc. I’m in preservation mode now.

  25. Not a question, per se—just wanted to share how tremendously grateful I am to have found your work, on the recommendation of a wizard friend. I’ve been binge reading the blog and comments, much of the dreamwidth journal, and many of your books over the past few months, and, well, I’m sure many of the commenters here can relate to the wonderful feeling of realizing you’re not alone or crazy for thinking modern society isn’t living up to its hype, and that the world is much more strange and magical than said society would allow us to think.

    I’m planning to go into counseling as a profession, and “Not The Future We Ordered” has been immensely helpful and inspiring in that regard, as have many of the insightful comments on the posts here. Much thanks to all of you.

  26. I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time the past week or so watching the S&^%show going on over in the Pontic-Caspian Steppes. As much as I hate to say it, it appears that things look to be coming up to a denouement that will be very unfortunate for those of us in the “West”.

    That being said, I took the time to lay out a simple three card tarot spread (past, present, future) and had a remarkably positive read (past=3 of swords, reversed/present=7 of cups/future=The star).

    Normally I would wait until Monday and post this on the Dreamwidth site, but has anyone else done a divination (of any flavor) and if so, would you consider sharing?

  27. Hi JMG,

    If you don’t mind me asking, whereabouts in NJ? Since you took the train you likely saw some of the dreary bits but there are nice places too.

  28. Seems to me some serious operative magic and new technological techniques are going to be required in order to deal with the events (plural) in Ohio, and elsewhere, to enable people to continue living.

    At a minimum something to do with inner and outer etheric energies and transformation of poison into help or at least harmlessness. Rather like what’s claimed to be possible by masters of chi gung. If it’s even possible, which I have no idea if it is, and likely, if it is, possibly this sort of thing may not have been done since perhaps Babylonian times. Or earlier. Maybe we are in a Chthulhu-type “stars aligned” period when things like that become possible again.

    In the meantime prayers and physical assistance (like offering shelter, etc.) are, in my view, called for. Just sayin’. I’ll be fascinated to see what people may (or may not) say about this.

  29. I listened to your Hermitix episode about swordmanship and sacred geometry, and I think you two have great intellectual chemistry.

    I was wondering of you are aware of any similar systems, with either sacred geometry or the occult, for archery?

  30. JMG and commentariat
    I am a well read science nerd who has always paid attention to what I eat and thought I was doing well with my diet and not consuming things that might be harmful to me. That proved not to be true. What follows is my experience and a book report of what I learned.

    In the fall of 2022, I got to feeling bad, I was sleeping more and waking up groggy with no ambition. I had cut my meat consumption and was eating lots of nuts, seeds and green salads but I did not feel good. Then I heard and interview with Sally K Norton who was in the process of publishing a book “Toxic Superfoods.” I dug into her website got the basic information and ordered the book. It was clear that I had a food choice problem and needed to change my diet. The issue she is highlighting is the occurrence of oxalate in certain plant foods.

    Sally Norton, the author of the book, got into trouble when she became a vegetarian and stared preparing spinach smoothies on a regular basis. I got into trouble when my love of dark chocolate pushed me to eat 100% cocoa chocolate bars with dried figs, both of which are high in oxalate. Admittedly I was consuming 4 squares, about a half bar, of dark chocolate with 4 figs a day. This works out to about 225 mg of oxalate consumption a day plus other things I was eating like a lot of nuts. My primary symptoms were that I did not feel well, I was sleeping too much and waking up groggy. When I first got the information, I went cold turkey on the chocolate fig combination and within a week my symptoms disappeared.

    Oxalate science

    Oxalates occur naturally and are used by plants for various purposes but especially for defense against predation. It is also used by plants to make thorns and hardened structures.

    There are three sources of Oxalate in the human body.
    1. Internal metabolism produces something like 25 mg per day.
    2. Drugs and some things cause the body to produce oxalate to manage their impact. Vitamin C for instance.
    3. The food we eat, from which we absorb some percentage of the plants oxalate. The rest being excreted depending on the condition of your gut.

    The body has a limited capacity to remove and excrete Oxalate after it has been absorbed.

    Since oxalates are very reactive, they are mineral scavengers especially calcium and magnesium. If you ingest oxalates and calcium at the same time the calcium will tie up some of the oxalate and assist in its being defecated, depending on the condition of your gut. This will also reduce your absorption of the calcium.
    If your intake exceeds your kidney’s ability to excrete the oxalate your body hides it some place. One location is your bones, but this is a very individual issue depending on your physiology and metabolism.

    Testing is somewhat unreliable because everyone processes oxalates differently. One person might excrete the ingested oxalate on hour after eating and the next not until the next morning.

    Oxalates play havoc with your calcium chemistry since they have a strong affinity for the mineral. This is also one of the problems since calcium oxalate forms crystals which often become kidney stones or can locate in joints and cause a form of gout.

    A hundred and fifty years ago the issues with oxalate were more recognized by the medical profession because natural plant derived oxalates were used in dying and tanning and problems in those industries kept the issues with oxalate in front of the medical profession. With the advent of better industrial safety protocols and more use of synthetic chemicals industrial oxalate problems diminished. With less industrial issues and the advent modern scientific test-based medicine in the 1920s the issues with oxalate got pushed aside.
    The only area in medicine where oxalates are still considered is in advanced kidney disease. Kidney patients are often put on a low oxalate diet but since testing is problematic it is often a last resort.

    Another issue for modern humans is that historically when people ate a seasonal diet and high oxalate foods like spinach were only available for a short period of time in the spring and summer the body could cycle between higher oxalate intake and then unload the excess in the winter when those foods were not available. Now we have high oxalate foods available all year round.

    It is estimated that a normal person can consume around 200 mg of oxalate a day in their food and not overload their kidneys ability to excrete it. This depends on gut health and kidney function. Depending on gut health a person may only absorb 10-20% of the consumed oxalate which then adds to their natural production and needs to be excreted.

    The problem stems from the fact that a number of plant derived foods are quite high in oxalate content. The following partial list of problem foods is set at a fixed quantity of 100 grams of product this may not be a normal consumption of the item.

    This table is a partial list of items with major issues and is based on 100g of product.
    Raw spinach 1,000mg This is about two cups
    Boiled 12 min 500mg Water not used
    Raw beet greens 1,000mg
    Boiled 6 min 450mg Water not used
    Raw Chard (white) 900mg
    Boiled 6 min 300mg Water not used
    99% dark chocolate 480mg Milk chocolate is only 110mg
    Dried figs 80mg
    Almonds 428mg
    Cashews 268mg
    Pecans 64mg
    Peanuts 160MG

    If your goal is to only consume 200mg of oxalate per day, it is easy to see how certain food items could push you over that quantity. The above list is based on 100 grams of product which is 3.5 ounces, not quite a quarter of a pound. A handful of almonds is probably a quarter of that so would only be 107mg but who stops at one handful? Eggs meat and dairy are all low in oxalate. So, a person’s eating habits, gut health, kidney health and portion size all influences how much oxalate they consume per day. Individual physiology determines how their bodies handle any excess and what their symptoms are from that excess. Due to individual differences oxalate toxicity is difficult to diagnosis or test for. But with the modern push of “health” foods that are high in oxalate it is likely that a lot of people are in some level of overload.

  31. I recently slogged through the Tibetan Book of The Dead & have also listened to some podcasts with Mark Stavish.

    JMG, I know you’ve said before there is nothing special we need to do to prepare for the liminal naught state after death…can you say why that is so? Intuitively I prefer your view but the content above makes me concerned I need to start doing something…thanks for your input.

  32. [The first part of my post on Pluto and Empires seems to have been eaten by gremlins, Sorry about that. I’m giving it another go.]

    In late December last year I wrote a short piece here on why I suspect mundane astrology works and how it got started around the fertile crescent area of the Middle East several thousand years ago. The precis of that idea is that there are a lot of cycles in history, economics, and social development. The position of the planets and stars in the sky also has many repeating cycles. If you can find a cycle in the sky that matches a cycle on the ground you have a handy correlation that can be used to make predictions.

    A correlation doesn’t really imply any kind of cause and effect relationship (google “pirates prevent global warming” for a good example of this), but JMG asked if there was any kind of test available to see if it was more than mere correlation. As I noted at the time my initial reaction was a hard “No”, I certainly can’t change the course of the stars in the sky as an experiment but then I began to wonder if a conclusion could be drawn from our changing relationship with the sky. I’ve had “The Twilight of Pluto”, by one John Michael Greer on my reading pile for a while but took the time to go through it. Recommended and there’s far more there than I could cover in a few paragraphs but if were I to have the temerity to brutally abstract the book I would have to say that the central thrust is that a lot of plutonic ideas appeared shortly preceding the discovery of Pluto. They peaked a small number of decades ago and they are now rapidly receding. Pluto was demoted from planetary status in 2006.

    There’s no disputing the facts, and it suggests that there might be a cause and effect relationship but it is in a direction I hadn’t expected – that it is the situation on the ground that changes our relationship with the sky. Presumably Pluto has been there for as long as the Oort could has been out there but of course Pluto was only catalogued in 1930 and it was noticed by people who were part of general culture on Earth. It couldn’t possibly be otherwise.

    The reader invited to consider other examples, and I thought I could probably make an argument that our discovery and use of fossil fuels is a good candidate (I believe fossil fuels are only mentioned in the book in the context of atomic energy). It certainly fits the imagery of Hades. Orpheus may not have entered the underworld through an oil well, but he certainly went down a hole in the ground. I think we are past the Hubbard peak? Also, in the way that Pluto is probably never going to be regarded as a planet again I conjecture that we are not going to be discovering new sources of fossil energy at such a rate during the remaining tenure of humanity on the planet.

    In any case I think this adds some weight to the thought that there really is a cause and effect relationship between Earth and the heavens.

    What’s odd about this is that I was then able to find a rather good and correlation as well. This extends back at least 2000 years so well before there was any astronomical knowledge of Pluto.

    In a post sometime in 2017, @PeterMuller mentioned the implausibly named John Glubb, later Pasha Glubb who wrote a short book on the lifespan of empires which he calculated at around 250 years. I’d very much like to read Spengler’s views on the subject and Toynbee – but I can only find bowdlerised version of their works available. So I’m having to make to with Glubb for the moment although I have high hopes of the work of Peter Turchin too. In any case the magic figure for empires 250 years, 10 generations of 25 years apiece. Remarkably similar to Pluto’s orbital period of 248.

    One of the points that Glubb makes is that empires don’t happen all at once, nor do they generally die suddenly (although there are exceptions) and to a certain extent you can pick and choose your dates and key events to fit your theory. I accept that point but the research I’ve done to date suggests that associating the lifespan of an empire with the orbit of Pluto allows a certain level of insight that has my inner materialist cowering in the corner. Again.

    I’ve got around eight examples so far and only the Marmeluke empire departs significantly from the pattern.

    To briefly cover one of the empires that I’m all too familiar with, Glubb suggests the British Empire started in 1700 and ended in 1950, although he doesn’t give any reasons for those dates. I believe I can go a bit further. There’s a good case that the British Empire started on March the19th 17 1707 (Pluto was at 21 Leo 2). It ended on June the 2nd 1953 (Pluto was at 21 Leo 0).

    The first date marks the ratification of the Act of Union by the English parliament of the time. In effect, it’s when Britain came into existence as a legal entity, and although there had been signs of Empire building both militarially and technologically in the decade before by the inhabitants of the island of Britain, it seems hard to argue that the British Empire could formally have started before Britain or it’s flag did. A key figure is John Churchill – first Earl of Marlborough.

    The second date is the coronation of Elizabeth the 2nd. She was styled Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Crucially, she was not Empress of India in the way that her father had been styled Emperor of India. India had won independence in 1947. I believe this moment marks the point that a significant proportion of Britain’s establishment were prepared to admit in public that Britain no longer had an empire. Of those that were not, the Suez crisis of 1956 underlined Britain’s newly diminished status. Once again, there’s a key figure active before and after the date, Winston Churchill, a direct descendant of John.

    I’ve written rather a lot so I’m going to stop with a few final notes. First of all there’s a near term prediction that falls out of this rather neatly. Secondly I’m as familiar as anyone with the precession of the equinoxes – it’s about 4 degrees over the length of time I’m looking at. It doesn’t seem to make any difference.

    Finally, I believe I’ve got enough material already for either a long magazine article or a very short book. Is there a suitable outlet anyone could suggest?

  33. Anon299, before then it was standard practice for most mainstream Christian churches to teach the basics of meditation, using Bible verses or other religious writings as themes, and to focus on the accurate performance of ritual. Afterwards meditation dropped out of use, and in place of effective ritual the most successful model of church service was one in which the whole point was to whip up as much emotional energy as possible without having functional ritual forms to contain it — which guaranteed that a lot of that energy would go straight to the energy center between the legs. There are more details, and sometime I should do a post on the subject, but that’s the very short form.

    Andy, that’s fascinating. I’d encourage you to develop it further. As for venues, I’m not really familiar with the astrological publishing scene these days; anyone else?

    Aldarion, within many Gnostic churches there were (and indeed still are) a whole sequence of initiatory ceremonies, in which baptism is the first step. How familiar are you with the literature on Gnosticism? If that’s mostly a closed book to you, you might try finding a copy of the Gospel of Philip and using that as a starting point.

    Enjoyer, I haven’t looked into it, but that sounds interesting. Who’s the author of the book you cite?

    Justin, 170,000 words is way too much for most publishers; it’s an expensive gamble, especially if it’s by an author who has no track record. Your idea of breaking it into two books will be much more likely to succeed — especially if you make them fully independent volumes, not “a book and its sequel” but two books on related subjects. That’ll make life much easier for the marketing people at your publisher, and make bookstores more likely to stock both volumes.

    El, without being too explicit, I was in the New York City suburbs, and the initiations were into a French occult tradition and an offshoot of the Golden Dawn, respectively. There’s a lot of that sort of thing in the greater NYC area.

    Joshua, the water and resource battles are not a small factor! Crucially, though, the west coast is shaping up to be the Rust Belt of the 21st century. Extreme political dysfunction and the collapse of US global hegemony and the imports from Asia that it makes possible are already causing the west coast to crater economically and socially, and it’s going to get much, much worse over the next half century or so. Can you imagine Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco as case studies in urban decay with half their present population and next to no jobs? That’s what I foresee.

  34. From an occult perspective, what do you make of the obsessive focus so many people who push vaccines have on smallpox? It strikes me as very weird and creepy, and I’m starting to worry that the sheer amount of thought and emotional energy poured into hoping that “anti-vaxxers” get smallpox in 2021 and 2022 might have some very unfortunate consequences as a sort of unintentional mass magical working to bring it back….

  35. A small forum I frequent is having quite a bit of discussion at the moment on alternatives to fossil fuels *that actually account for reality*. tl;dr — ditch the solar panels and lithium ion batteries, use (solar) heat when you need heat instead of turning expensive electricity into low grade heat, store energy in tanks of compressed air and sand, connect homes with district heat networks to distribute seasonally stored heat.

    The world that’s being sketched out… basically, it’s solarpunk if it was built by dieselpunk mechanics. An alternate world perhaps where we never struck oil, and so had to make the energy transition directly from coal with what we had available. Which is collectors for solar heat and steel tanks of air and hot water to store the energy so produced. Machines designed as simply as they could be so the local mechanic can fix it for the next century. It’s a compelling vision, an antidote to the need of “solarpunks” for the future to be the monofuture, and especially intriguing since the infrastructural complexity would be *less* than what we operate today. District heating isn’t more complex than a national grid composed of thousands of miles of wires and a multitude of transformers to shift the energy to and from smaller grids.

    There is some talk about synthetic fuel, but tbh if we can have compressed air vehicles and electrified railways the need for fuel would be greatly reduced and could possibly be met by biofuels.

    It’s certainly a different vision to the ones usually presented. Ships running on liquified air perhaps? Stratospheric airships driven by solar thermal systems? I don’t know. That’s for the engineers of that world to figure out what’s possible.

  36. @Andy (#2 or #35):

    The first volume of Spengler’s The Decline of the West in English translation is widely available on the web, but only one site includes Spengler’s very useful summary charts which appeared at the end of the volume:

    (In the original these were fold-out charts, which most book-scanning operations routinely omit wherever they are found.)

    The second volume is harder to find, but there is a copy on

  37. Hi John Michael,

    Congratulations on the new series, and I like the direction and look forward to reading it. Take it from me, rural intrigues and quirky personalities are a genuine thing. Both Ariel and the reader are probably in for quite the journey. 🙂

    Here’s my question for the open post: Electric Vehicles, fake news or what? 🙂 Sorry for the poor humour. Far out man, I read a statistic recently from an official source that down here we use more energy in the form of diesel fuel each day, than the entire electric grid supplies over the same period of time. And that’s just diesel fuel. Hmm… Frankly, the numbers don’t stack up, but you know, if people want to believe then I’m fine with that.

    For your interest, over the past few months I’ve been busily upgrading the solar power system here. Truly, this technology would beggar the kingdom. There are times my mind recoils at the cost, and even then our friend entropy hungrily nips away at the edges. Munch! Munch! Crunch!

    Hope you enjoyed your initiations and made good connections.



  38. Drat, I bet the wife that an uber wealthy patron had contacted you wanting astrology and/or magic for a new start-up and you were off taking care of that endeavor.

    I’m predicting that happening sometime in the not too distant future.


  39. Hi John,

    What’s your take on the talk that

    1) China will arm Russia
    2) talk that the Chinese might move on Taiwan by 2025
    3) prospects for eastern Europe given NATO seems to be running out of military equipment.
    4) talk of an Israeli strike on Iran


    Thus we have two top military officers, both named Mike, whose dads both headed NSA, issuing pungent warnings about our coming war with China, which Americans aren’t paying enough attention to. That seems noteworthy to me. What if Ukraine’s agony is merely a distraction from the far bigger conflict that’s inbound? The major war which we may not be able to deter. Contrary to all the preaching about democracy versus authoritarianism, even if Russia subdues Ukraine, that’s not a global game-changer (though it surely is for Eastern Europe). However, if China successfully retakes Taiwan by force, against Western resistance, that will shatter American hegemony in an instant. Washington’s Suez moment will have arrived, and nothing will ever be the same again.

  40. Apparently some people are already listening to your suggestions or coming to similar conclusions, about the Great Lakes area being a region that will weather the storms of climate destabilization better than most. In an AP piece this morning a review of “The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration,” by Jake Bittle had this to say:

    “While the prognosis for beachside communities is grim, the book notes that some climate-change winners already may be emerging.
    — Buffalo, New York, for example, is calling itself a “climate refuge city.”
    — Duluth, Minnesota already is billing itself as “climate-proof Duluth.”
    — Cincinnati wants to be a “welcoming place for people fleeing disasters and extreme heat.”

    Given that the upper midwest is getting a couple feet of snow and sub zero temperatures at the moment, it might take some convincing to get recent sun-belt migrants to return. Although come August, Michigan might be starting to look pretty good to them, mosquitos and all!

    One question this brings to mind is the easily observable “immigrant work ethic”, which I see playing out even in my small island community; recent international immigrants (mostly Hispanic) are doing jobs and starting businesses that have gone unfilled for years. Housekeepers and gardeners (semi-skilled labor) are getting $25 – 45 per hour. (But on-island housing starts at $700k, so housing is problematic.)

    My question to you and the commentariat is: Do you think internal climate immigrants will have or develop the same work ethic/drive that is frequently found among international immigrants? If yes, then I would hope to see vibrant economies develop in the region we have disparagingly called the “rust belt”. On the other hand, if internal immigrants (climate refugees) continue to think they are entitled to all the perquisites of a 20th century middle-class lifestyle while working a 4 day/week desk job from home, then they might merely be drain on the already existing communities. Thoughts?

  41. @JMG, assuming your travels in the New Jerusalem didn’t take you to this place… :}

    @Aldarion, I found Besant’s “Esoteric Christianity” pretty intriguing in terms of its treatment of Christianity as a mystery religion (I know, she is not everybody’s favorite cup of tea). There’s a translation of the Gospel of Thomas by Samuel Zinner with an extensive commentary about how it may interface with the other Abrahamic faiths.


  42. Hi John. Thanks for your insight. I surmised as much. I will definitely go the route of turning this work into two stand alone books, that would have some thematic overlap. If I may ask a follow up: would you mention in a pitch/submission of the first book, that you also have a second related book finished?

    Thanks as ever. In this, as in elsewhere in life, I’m learning about the Law of Limits.

    And congratulations on your six initiations!!!!!!

  43. @Aldarion (#3):

    If I have not overlooked something, every detailed ancient source we have for the details of the ritual of Christian baptism specified that the candidate enters the water entirely naked. There were also pre-baptismal annointings of the candidate’s naked body, and when the candidate was a woman, these were done by consecrated women (called “deaconesses”).

    My long-ago reference to the Eastern Orthodox monastic ritual of the “angelic schema” was made in the context of the so-called “Secret Gospel” of Mark, excerpts from which were discovered by Morton Smith. The ritual very briefly described there was thought by other scholars to be a secret baptismal ritual, but it does not fit well into the known history of baptismal rituals. My own observation was simply that very faint echoes of that ritual are still to be found in the present-day ritual for conferring the angelic schema on a monk in the Orthodox Church (for which we seem to have only relatively late texts, like those printed in Goar’s Euchologion). Like ordinary baptism, the Orthodox angelic schema remits all the candidate’s previous sins, and it also gives him “knowledge of the kingdom of heavens” — which knowledge is precisely what the ritual in the “Secret Gospel” also gave the young man.

    (Once I was briefly in the presence of an elderly monk who had received the angelic schema, at the St. Sergius Holy Trinity Monastery outside Moscow. He was a most remarkable human being, effortlessly shedding a sort of “loving glory” — wholly inadequate words! — on everything around him. The Russians with me were absolutely agog at the great good fortune of being in his presence. Ancient rituals do indeed have a power that the materialistic world-view can barely acknowledge, let alone understand.)

  44. Congratulations on your new publication, JMG!

    To #23, Christopher David:

    You said: “what the Christian church has devolved into these days is no laughing matter, especially when there is so much childhood poverty, malnutrition, drug addiction, and community suffering in this region. Meanwhile, these entitled brats party like the church is their private country club.”

    The same sort of devolution is present and accounted for where I am in the Upper Midwest. I am in the rich suburbs of Chicago. The only people making a sustainable, reliable salary these days are medical professionals and people who work for the McChurches that proliferate on every corner. Not one McChurch has a vegetable garden or orchard on the premises. The most recent one I had the misfortune to visit had a Starbucks style café though. As for all that stuff that Jesus went on about sheltering the homeless and caring for the poor, 95% of the churches around here close their doors to the homeless and poor like Joel Osteen’s ministry after the Texas floods of 2017. Wouldn’t want stinky poor people scaring the Starbucks set or anything.

    I think Christianity is ushering itself out for any number of reasons. Reason Numero Uno was the general willingness of Christians to lock down churches in the early 2020s and go along with MRNA therapy mandates that seemed about as close to the Mark of the Beast as anything was ever going to get. The current Truther movement that desperately tries to scapegoat Freemasons, Hollywood celebs, and anybody resembling an occultist is to my mind a rather transparent and flimsy way of manufacturing opposition. This convenient adversary serves to buttress a rapidly-failing religion that is nearly dead of its own hypocrisy.

    Recently there has been a furore over a “revival” co-staged by an openly gay leader named Elijah Drake. The revival has been going on at a private Christian university called Asbury in Kentucky since Valentine’s Day. The school is known for attracting crowds to its various revivals. My thoughts are that a thriving, healthy religion does not need constant revivals and fabricated Satanic enemies to keep it afloat, but then what do I know? I could be wrong.

  45. samurai-47 @ 24 as for “He suggests that we accept this state of affairs because of a failure of imagination.” I suggest that the culprit here is advertising, which, I maintain, has had a most pernicious effect on our public mental health. Ever since about the 1920s. Our host has said in many venues that advertising is a crude form of sorcery, I do wish he or someone would elaborate on that insight. Advertising has far more influence than merely inducing the subject to buy a certain product. It also, I believe, delimits the (very narrow) boundaries of respectable behavior. This is why Civil Rights leaders spent years and political capital on insisting that Hollywood and Madison Avenue become more inclusive–don’t forget that back in the 1970s and 80s, this was no bad thing.

    Has anyone else noticed that google seems to have stepped up their censorship? I am finding more and more we can’t find the page/article notices, most recently on articles about the flood control effectiveness of a large beaver dam in north England (the beavers, to be fair, were only part of the mitigating efforts), a subject which one would have thought would be non controversial and even boring to many.

  46. January 2023 wind and solar power within the Bonneville Power Administration;

    Wind: Minimum capacity factor for the month, 1.92% of nameplate on Jan 2. Average for the month, 20%, Best day, 80.8 % of nameplate on Jan 27.

    Solar: Minimum capacity factor for the month, 1.29% of nameplate on Jan 4. Average for the month, 10.6%, Best day, 25.3 % of nameplate on Jan 29. Note these numbers are over 24 hours; That might not seem entirely fair to solar power, but in the end when you flip the switch the lights come on or they do not.

    There is no real official definition of a dunkelflaute, but a well regarded paper put the cutoff at 10% of nameplate. [Li, Bowen; Basu, Sukanta; Watson, Simon J.; Russchenberg, Herman W. J. (2020). “Mesoscale modeling of a “Dunkelflaute” event”. Wind Energy. 24 (1): 5–23. doi:10.1002/we.2554. ISSN 1095-4244]

    Using that criteria 31% of the month had a dunkelflaute in effect. The good news was the longest was only a bit over 19 hours. At an average system load of 7656 MW that is 146,750 MW-hr of battery storage to get through it 😉

    If you were wondering why nuclear power keeps coming up, the local nuke generated 1150 to 1160 MW steadily through the whole event.

    The other bad news was the next longest dunkelflaute started 3.6 hours after the previous one ended, and the new one lasted 18.75 hours. During the interval between the events you would have had 96 MW-hr available to recharge your battery bank.

    On a completely different subject, toxic superfoods, I once managed to give myself selenium poisoning from too many brazil nuts. It is possible.

  47. What’s your reaction to the situation in East Palestine?

    It looks to me like the government is responding to the worst environmental catastrophe in recent memory with a degree of staggering, unnecessary incompetence. It almost seems as if officials are trying to undermine trust in the government. Combined with the NYT’s warmongering and Biden’s surprise trip to Ukraine, I found myself getting pretty aggravated yesterday.

    The situation so precisely fits your description of an insane, incompetent ruling class that it makes me a little suspicious.

  48. Commentariat

    I have a question regarding viruses, vesicles, exosomes, virions and noninfectious viruses. Reading the linked article (below) which raised the following questions. Did the research of virons/vesicles/exomsomes lead to the current mRNA technology? Or more relevant to this open post, “are they possibly responsible for effects that some call possession by spirits?

    Excerpt from the link following:

    Extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cells are small phospholipid membrane-enclosed entities that can carry miRNA. They are now central to research in many fields of biology because they seem to constitute a new system of cell-cell communication. Physical and chemical characteristics of many EVs, as well as their biogenesis …
    I am not sure everyone is as dumb about this as I am. It would help me a good deal if we could learn more about virons, vesicles etc. Those seeming virus like particles that cells and cells within bodies use to communicate with each other and the larger environment Gaia. By learning about these we can appreciate an aspect of our immune system.

  49. I can guess on eczema. Often this is a zinc deficiency, which is easy to get. (Stress, alcohol, and caffeine — all modern situations — deplete it). Early peoples were big on the very few supplies of zinc, shellfish, red meat/beef, and organ meats. Today you’d have to seek it out but as easy as taking a supplement. However, like all supplements, it’s not free: zinc is a (heavy) metal and changing zinc balance, over or under affects a range of processes especially copper. Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean you should drink a vat. The post on oxalate is an example.

    Early peoples then were unlikely to get it in the first place and not know why. As no one gets it, who would have a cure? You can see this in Dr. Price’s book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”. He was a dentist wanting to do charity overseas except for one problem: everyone in the “primitive” world had better teeth than anyone in the modern West. His conclusion: nutrition. Modern site here: Eczema is very likely one of those things.

  50. Do you have recommendations for reading about spiritual dryness? I believe this may be what I’m experiencing as the whole world feels empty, life feels pointless, people around me are so unrelatably materialistic, and so on and I’d like to find a way ‘out’ of this feeling.

  51. This month’s Dendroica Project post has a reconciliation theme:

    @Tony #13

    We don’t “use up” metals and minerals the way we use up the energy in fossil fuels. I would wager that, on balance, useful metals are *more* concentrated (in infrastructure and cities) and more refined/accessible than was the case prior to industrialization. Once the population declines by 50% or more there ought to be plenty to go around for centuries or millennia with basic salvaging and smithing and recycling.

    @Joshua @JMG re: Rust Belt future of the west coast

    We shall see…I’m choosing to stay in the Willamette Valley for the foreseeable future. As I see it, the “cheap stuff from Asia” phenomenon really only drives the economy of the LA basin and to a lesser extent Seattle/Tacoma. A lot of the port business is export (grain, timber, coal, ag products) which is probably not at risk as long as China has a billion people and needs to eat. Much of the Pacific Northwest has already been through one Rust Belt cycle after cutting through all of the old-growth forest in less than a century.

    The tech empires of Seattle and the Bay Area are going to collapse soon, and California will run out of water, and we’re due for a big earthquake at some point. But it also feels like we may be on our way to building more resilient communities, and on the plus side we’re upwind from most of the potential radioactive or chemical plumes that are becoming increasingly common.

  52. I wonder if I might abuse the hospitality of your site to invite people to look at my just-published article about Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” on the fiftieth anniversary of its appearance. Pynchon’s masterpiece (the greatest English-language novel since “Ulysses” in many peoples’ opinion, including mine) was first published in 1973. It may be of interest to readers of this site, because, whilst ostensibly about the German V-2 rocket programme at the end of WW2, it’s absolutely full of magic and esotericism of one kind or another: nordic runes, German witches, the Tarot, astrology, spiritualism, even Madam Blavatsky makes an appearance. It’s one of those encyclopaedic books that seems to cover absolutely everything, while still managing to be very funny. If you haven’t read it you should. Here’s the link:

  53. I remember we had a great thread about libraries and private libraries a couple of years ago on this blog.

    I was reminded of that thread this month and just wanted to share that I have recently joined The London Library. As the name suggests – in London.

    The first and largest private library in the country (founded 1841, well over a million books, buying 5000 more every month and have never thrown anything away).

    I absolutely love it.

    It’s run by a nonprofit trust, with about 60 full time library employees. It’s entirely funded by membership fees – about £50 per month from 7000 members, which is difficult in one way, but has the *significant* advantage that they actually care about making the *members* happy and not whatever woke trend is currently fashionable in local government funding circles (my wife is on the Board of Trustees of a small local charity mostly funded by the local council and it’s entirely about how to keep the council happy and funding going – nobody cares about the users. To be fair, they *want* to care about the users, but they have no choice but to focus on the government to keep the doors open).

    They have the significant advantage of owning their building (several buildings actually), outright in the ultra-expensive St James enclave of central London because they have been there so long – otherwise there is no way they could do this. They also have a huge advantage because the Library has been a literary institution for a long time and a string of famous literary figures were members and wrote there (Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh, many many others), and historically have been very well connected.

    They even managed to raise money and get planning permission to build an entirely new building in an alleyway beside the main building 10 years ago to house the books.

    It’s an amazing atmosphere. No computer labs or DVD lending, no “community spaces” – just books (and a few book related events after hours).

    Lots and lots of books from very old to very new. 6 floors of it spread across multiple buildings (everyone gets lost). Except for a very small number of rare books you have to request from librarians, almost everything is in public shelving. The librarian showing me around picked up a random book on a shelf and it turned out to have been in the library from the 1890s when it was first published – still in great condition and very readable (and I could borrow it if I wanted). I picked up a book from another shelf randomly and it turned out to be some kind of Irish literary review magazine from the 1920s (last borrowed in the 1980s from the stamp inside I think – I got quite a kick out of thinking I was the first person in decades to be reading it).

    There are some amazing reading/writing rooms which just make you *want* to focus and work hard. It’s like everything you imagine a library should be. No food or drink allowed (except water). No talking allowed (except very quietly in the stacks, but not the work rooms). The staff are not around that much – it’s all self-regulated. Lots of private little nooks in the stacks and among the books. You can find your own secret space in a corner of the 6 floors.

    And one entire lounge/reading/writing area where they are trialling “no laptops allowed”, which I think is an amazing idea. It’s invariably the quietest of the working rooms and almost empty but it’s great to get in with a book or to write something by hand – apparently lots of people find laptop keys tapping to be annoying.

    There is a small lounge on one floor where you are allowed to eat, and talk on the phone and there’s a member bulletin board (someone was looking for a space to store his library while he moved house “3 square meters of books”). You can even bring your own coffee mug and leave it in the kitchen there.

    I’d have expected it to be very fusty and old, but it’s not. There was an old chap sitting next to me today who was actually dozing off in front of his laptop while working in the peace and quiet and I’d have expected a lot more like him, but there’s actually a very wide range – lots of people who look like research students etc, as well as people like me looking to get away from kids and a home office for a while, and retired scholar types – you can imagine JRR Tolkien walking around there.

    It’s also very busy – quiet in volume, but always lots of people about – I’m glad to see it’s so popular. You can always get a workspace – it’s never *completely* full, but it’s at 70-80% occupancy most days I think. And I was told the vast majority I saw are fellow members (with a very few visiting researchers who have come to do research etc).

    They make it quite hard for anyone other than members to come in though. Kids are not allowed at all. Guests need special permission and if you want to use the talking lounge area for a meeting etc, they make you pay an outrageous fee per guest etc.

    The flip side of that is that once you swipe your card and come in, you’re treated like an adult and trusted to do the right thing. Hundreds of people in there every day, and it’s perfectly fine to leave your laptop on a table and vanish for 30 mins to find a book or whatever and it will still be there. There are a couple of phone booths for private conversations in the talk lounge and you just book it by writing by hand on the noticeboard beside it and everyone is trusted to not mess with the board or convert the room into a private office for the day. No whizzy online booking system that requires a signup.

    As for the books themselves, they have an amazing collection, both fiction and non-fiction. It’s mostly humanities, not science (except history of science) . Particularly strong in war, art, history, religion, politics, literature, and all manner of periodicals and random things. Going back centuries (they started in 1841 but had several private libraries donated to them at that time). Also a fantastic set of online resources – academic research databases, newspaper archives (both print and digital – the London Times hard copy archive going back to the 1820s is this set of truly enormous volumes at full newspaper size that you really have to be quite strong to lift even one) and many more – basically easily matches or exceeds the online resources of any university library in this country with far less hassle and more ease of use.

    Members can recommend books for the library to buy. I think I’m going suggest JMG’s books. Should I start with Monsters? Or one of the others? 🙂

    Anyway, I’ll stop writing now. I am a big fan and wish I’d joined earlier (surprisingly , I only heard about it a couple years despite living in London for many years).

  54. I ran into something interesting (likely Naked Capitalism’s Water Cooler) that I thought people here might like to read. Key bit:

    It seems like an unfair battle. How can music ever be more powerful than logic? But Plato—and the other leading ancients who laid the groundwork for our rational and algorithmic society—feared music for a good reason. They saw the hypnotic effect of the epic and lyric singers on the masses. For centuries, people learned life skills from songs. They preserved history, culture, and the entire mythos with songs. They tapped into their own deepest emotions with songs. They celebrated every life milestone and ritual with songs. They reached out to the gods themselves with songs. Above all, they used this music to secure personal autonomy and what today we would call human rights. So we should not be surprised that Plato, Aristotle and the other originators of Western rationalism had to displace this dominant worldview of their ancestors—mythic, magical, musical—in order for them to create a more rigorous, disciplined, and analytical society.

    First chapter of the book, Music to Raise the Dead is here. The rest of the book is paywalled unfortunately.

  55. Sam Salzman (no. 8), I’ve witnessed the equivalent among Western followers of Tibetan Buddhism. My impression is that meditation practice, Buddhist ideas (esp. those that challenge ordinary reality), and/or just being unmoored from their normal culture and its strictures, exacerbated their preexisting psychological issues.

    Stephen DeRose (no. 19), the Cayce people have published books on this, focusing on St. John’s Wort, but also including (going by memory here) prayer, osteopathic adjustments, electrotherapy, the “Cayce diet,” poutices, and other typical Caycean treatment modalities.

    Christopher David (no. 23) Possibly relevant:

  56. Since in fact I have no idea about Gnosticism, I will take a look at the gospel of Philip. Thanks!

  57. I am reading, “After Progress” by JMG. Simultaneously, I am re-visiting…

    “The Glass Bead Game” by Hermann Hesse.

    I read The Glass Bead Game at age 20 in 1972, at the start of my life. I remember it inwardly influenced me greatly. I sorely needed to hear the words of that book back then. In the busy-ness that characterizes people in their 20s, I promptly forgot all about it — like I have had amnesia for fifty years. The contents of this book are part of my spiritual roots.

    Fast-forward those fifty years — to now. I am re-reading The Glass Bead Game at age 70, near the end of my life.

    I wonder how I will perceive the book a lifetime later.

    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  58. For whatever reason, the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks crossed my mind. In it, a woman trying to learn to be a witch ends up saddled with three kids fleeing the Blitz in London and ends up repelling Nazi invaders. Lots of adventures.

    It’s based on the novel The Magic Bedknob by Mary Norton published in 1944.

    Could there be any connection between this odd kids book and British occultists who actually tried to repel Nazis or influence the war’s outcome?

    I don’t know why I thought of this possible connection.

  59. The Witch of Criswell sounds interesting. Count me in. Does the story contain a murder mystery, by any chance? I DO LOVE reading “olden-times murder mysteries,” like 1400s northern Europe. One idea that comes to mind is intrigue inside the Hanseatic League in the 1400s — I just read that pirates on the Baltic Sea had just as much pirate-derring-do as more familiar 1700s Atlantic Ocean swashbucklings of pirates between England, Holland, France, Spain, and Portugal.

    I am not all that familiar with the lands of the Hanseatic League, but would like to learn. What better way than through fiction?

    I gather the Hanseatic League includes Germany, Prussia, and northeast to Estonia. The league appears to have been quite extensive and powerful, also trading along rivers of the region.

    As an aside, it feels like Prussia gets a bad rap time and again. It appears people felt it okay to slander Prussia starting in the late 1800s because of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s jealousy of the British Empire. Then Prussia got blamed for Naziism (scapegoat). With my limited knowledge, it doesn’t seem Prussia was very different from any other European country or region, or for that matter, much different from Russia.

    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  60. @#23 Christopher- In the area I live in the local food shelf works cooperatively with churches to provide garden plots. It’s certainly true that many churches are wealthy- but I know the barrier for getting some churches to participate has been costs. Tilling soil, water. Some of the smaller churches pay their clergy $5k to 10k a year They may be land rich and funds poor. Other less obvious concerns are liability. If some one gets injured while gardening who pays the medical bill? This actually happened at the gardening program here…

    Just another perspective.

    New book has been ordered. Looking forward to it.

  61. Hello All,

    Uplifting news items from Wales.

    The Welsh Government has updated it’s criteria for new road projects and will now approve only smaller-capacity roads that are designed to increase non-car transportation and decrease both speed limits and damage to ecologically valuable sites.

    ” The Welsh Government announced on Wednesday: “For years we’ve tried to beat traffic by building more roads. It hasn’t worked. Around the world, building more roads and lanes has resulted in more traffic. That’s why we are going to do things differently in Wales.” ”

    Also, if you have £825,000 to invest in a small holding, you can have your own ancient oak woodland and period farmhouse on 40 acres in the Neath Valley.

    Live from Tidal Reach,
    Azure Amorous Cockle

  62. To those who are interested, here are all of the requests for prayer that have recently appeared across the Ecosophia community. Please feel free to add any or all of them to your prayers.

    If I missed anybody on the full list, or if you would like to add a prayer request for yourself or anyone who has given you consent (or for whom a relevant person holds power of consent) to the list, please feel free to leave a comment below and/or at the prayer list page.

    This week I would like to bring special attention to three prayer requests.

    The first is Lp9’s request on behalf of their hometown, East Palestine Ohio, for the safety and welfare of their people and all living beings in the area. The details coming out are still caught in the fog of war, and various claims of catastrophe and non-catastrophe are flying about, but the reasonable possibility seems to exist that this is an environmental disaster on par with the worst America has ever seen. At any rate, it is clearly having a devastating impact on the local area, and prayers are certainly warranted.

    The second is for Praesepe, for help overcoming her Stage 2 metastastic breast cancer, and for the most beneficial outcome to her upcoming surgery and radiation treatment.

    The third is for Jung Lee, for help with their complex health issues, and for bolstering inner strength, as lately they’ve felt close to their breaking point.

    Finally, if there are any among you who might wish to join me in a bit of astrological timing, I pray each week for the health of all those with health problems on the list on the astrological Hour of the Sun on Sundays, bearing in mind the Sun’s rulerships of heart, brain, and vital energies. If this appeals to you, I invite you to join me.

  63. Readers of JMG might be interested in the book ‘A Year in an Off-Grid Kitchen’ by Kate Downham. While there are plenty of sources out there—you can watch endless sourdough-making videos on YouTube, take fermentation classes, and Google ‘elderberry recipes’ ‘til the cows come home—it’s the rare source that cuts through all the noise and delivers practical, time-tested techniques based on a real, honest-to-goodness life of homesteading. What I love about Downham’s approach is that it mimics the survival tactics your great-great-great-great grandparents might have employed. My full review here:

    We’re also giving away a paperback copy to one lucky paid subscriber, if you’re so inclined.

  64. @Andy re: Pluto and empires

    Using the conventional Sibley chart, of course, the US has already hit Pluto return. Using the Treaty of Paris chart for the empire, however, under the same logic as you are using for the British Empire (you can’t exactly be considered an empire when your inchoate existence is still in question, after all!), this puts the Pluto return in 2028. Which incidentally is also an election year…

    @joeljones re: #66

    1971 is probably right around when conventional US oil peaked. Also in that year, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto all switched signs (well, Neptune technically did so a couple months before).

  65. Straws in the wind – collected during your hiatus. Clippings on request.

    While other popular music genres have come and gone, Hip-Hop has been gong strong for the past 50 years. That’s a major track record these days.

    Two comic strips take on President’s Day. In vino, veritas: from Hi and Lois: Hi’s beer-guzzlng neighbor wishes him “Happy Washington and Lincoln’s Birthday,” adding “President’s Day was starting too many arguments.” Out of the mouths of babes: from Frazz. The little boy asks his teacher “Does the waitstaff at Neato Burrito sing “Hail to the Chief if you’ve been president?” Then he goes to tell Frazz, the janitor all kids confide in, “She said “Only if you’re Washington or Lincoln, and they’re dead.” Another one I didn’t clip, “Do only the honorable presidents get to be on Mount Rushmore?”

    Anyway, for your amusement, such as it is.

    Gainesville Sun’s sports commentator David Whitley on Super Bowl 57’s dual national anthems – will send clipping..

    The owner of a new hardcore and punk music store comments on the growing demand for vinyl record, will send clipping.

    The “is water wet?” headline of the day, “Is Florida going backward on gun safety?”

    From the “Latest in grammar innovations ” department “The Alachua County Sheriff’s office arrested two men and trespassed three other homeless people….”

    Hot new Apple TV+ series “Hello, Tomorrow, “the alternative retro-cool of the ’50s that’s so popular right now…” (guess which generation is growing old and wants its childhood back)..has reinvented “Death of a Salesman” without the AP commentator even knowing it. When someone has to describe a character in detail like that….


  66. Sam, the word “mania” originally meant possession by the manes, the spirits of the dead! Jerusalem — specifically the Temple Mount — is a natural center of intense spiritual energy, and that’s been amplified by the worship of so many millions of people through so many thousands of years. Any sensitive person risks being swept away by that kind of current of force.

    Daniel, unfortunately, not really. I’ve made do with a cheap tablet.

    Scotlyn and Jeff, thanks for these.

    Tony, first of all, metals and minerals aren’t consumed, just relocated. For the next few centuries, the best source of iron ore in the world will be the ruins of old cities, where rusting I-beams can be sawn into chunks and hauled away to blacksmiths. It’ll be easier still when those are reduced entirely to rust, because rust — iron oxide — is one of the most easily smelted iron ores, and there’ll be vast amounts of it; in effect, our civilization dug up vast amounts of metal from underground and put it into convenient places on the surface. Later, after a few centuries, blacksmiths will have to make do with bog iron — that’s literally iron from bog sediments, where chemosynthetic bacteria concentrate iron as part of their life processes. It’s not as abundant as we’re used to, but there’s plenty of it.

    Ellen, The Witch of Criswell is for all ages; it’s not a young adult book as such, though its main character is eighteen. Springs are powerful places, and cleaning one of trash will get you and your child the favor of its guardian spirit, which may be of considerable benefit to you. As for the book, it looks pretty good — I found a copy of the 1925 edition free for the downloading here.

    Phil, I have very mixed feelings about that. I dislike the current woke frenzy, but Dahl’s fiction was to my mind pretty nasty — not for woke reasons, purely because he seems to have been an unpleasant person who liked to write about inflicting humiliation and pain. By all accounts the editors did a lot of rewriting already to tone them down.

    Viduraawakened, (1) I would agree with that, and suggest that the Indian development of meditation and other spiritual exercises is as important, in terms of human history as a whole, as the Greek development of logic and formal mathematics, or the European development of natural science. (2-3) I don’t see this as a matter of attractors, but rather as a function of specific modes of information transfer. India and China made ample use of woodblock printing from an early date, allowing much more information to be passed through their respective dark ages; the Roman world didn’t have that, and so the amount of classical culture that made it through the European dark ages was much, much smaller.

    Yorkshire, I hadn’t heard about that, but I’m delighted. Can you point me to some information sources about the whole brouhaha?

    Stephen, I’ll have to turn this over to the commentariat as it’s a subject about which I know precisely nothing.

    Scotty, depends on your birth chart. The mere fact that a couple of planets are doing something in the sky means nothing until it’s put in its astrological context, and that’s different for every single person.

    Marlena13, yep. It’s blind faith all the way down.

    Christopher David, this doesn’t surprise me for a moment. I recall an old story about a homeless guy, down and out, who suddenly got religion and tried to go into a church one Sunday morning to listen to the service and pray. He wasn’t trying to make a fuss, just wanted a seat in the last pew all the way in back, but a couple of ushers zoomed in on him and tossed him out. There he sat on the steps, feeling utterly miserable, when a guy with a beard comes and sits down next to him and says, “What’s the matter?” “I wanted to go in here and pray,” said the homeless guy, “and the people in the church chucked me out.” “I know how you feel,” said the newcomer, who had nail holes in his hands and feet and a crown of thorns on his head. “They won’t let Me in there, either.”

    Samurai_47, interesting. I’ll check it out — but I’m not at all surprised that Graeber, who’s pretty far to the left, blamed capitalism instead of recognizing that limitless progress was never an option in the first place.

    Denis, I don’t think there’s one list for everybody. I need to use certain aspects of the internet to make a living these days; some other people can do without those, but need things I don’t use at all. To my mind the important thing is to assess every technology you use — including the simple ones — to make sure that what it does for you really is worth more than what it costs you.

    Andytorenvalk, thank you for this! You’re literally the only person I’ve heard from in the helping professions who had anything positive to say about Not The Future We Ordered — I get the impression that the myth of progress is very deeply rooted there.

    Whispers, I don’t think I’d ever heard of a Paul Moravec. I came up with the last name by the process of looking over a long list of eastern European family names, and Ariel is a bit of a joke, since her grandfather is more than a little like Prospero!

    Degringolade, thanks for this.

    Anonymous, I’ve been through New Jersey by train quite a bit, but this time I didn’t get far — just into the Jersey suburbs of New York City.

    Clarke, I don’t recommend trying magic — the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will — for that purpose. Bioremediation using plants and fungi is a much better bet. So is leaving the area, especially if you have children.

    FourSidedCircle, not in the Western esoteric traditions. I’m sure you’re aware of Eugen Herrigel’s famous book Zen in the Art of Archery, though.

    Tom, any time something gets slapped with a label like “superfood,” back away from it slowly and carefully. A moderate mixed diet of ordinary, not overly processed foods is better for you.

    Dusan, the two Books of the Dead were written for people who weren’t just planning on going through the ordinary after-death process, but planned on achieving unusual spiritual states after dying. If you have that goal, why, you know where to look for the information. Otherwise, ordinary spiritual practice and a good relationship with the deity of your choice will do what you need.

    Andy, thanks for the belated Part 1 of this!

  67. @joeljones #66 – What comes to my mind is that that’s the year Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard. Major inflation kicked in a couple of years after that.

    Personally, it was a good year for me. I remember that time fondly.

  68. Denis: re email outside of google etc, it doesn’t matter where your email is stored or even if you set up your own email server, your emails will still be accessible to security firms unless you encrypt them and convince everyone you receive emails from to do the same. As anyone in internet security will tell you, emails are equivalent to postcards through the postal system.

    Another saying in the security business is “obscurity is not security”. ie trying to hide is not as good a solution as having nothing to hide.

  69. For Ellen #14, that was a great find! I discovered that vintage Girl Scout manuals from the 30s and 40s have a section on setting up a sick room.

    Christopher David #23, my (New England Congregational) church has talked about planting a food garden but so many members are elderly that there hasn’t been confidence about having enough hands to maintain it. That said, we do take-out dinners at least quarterly, and the proceeds are divided three ways, 1/3 to the church for building maintenance etc, 1/3 to the local Survival Shelter (food, clothing, counseling), and 1/3 to the local homeless shelters. Judging by the reports of the Trustees annually, we do not have “vast wealth” but I know that many more modern-type congregations do amass huge amounts.

  70. To JMG, if I may: how far did you go into the Adalruna Rediviva translation back when your free time was copious?

    To Robert Mathiesen: I’ve been thinking about collecting quotes in JMG’s blogs from you about your understanding of magic – do you have any objection to my publishing those together?

    To any Welsh speaker around: regarding Version Three (by Wikipedia’s count) of the Gorsedd Prayer ( – linked by Bogatyr at his formerly-visible blog – and subsequent videos being why I want to pray (a variant of) it in Welsh), should I want to replace “God” with “(the) Gods”, is it just a matter of replacing “Dduw” with “(y) Dduwiau”, and does the “-iau” sound just like it would in Latin?

    If a Welsh speaker around happens to be Bogatyr: can you please make visible again?

    Complementing Jeff Russell’s recommendation of : “post-rationalism” is a well-recognized label among the Less Wrong diaspora (also called “rationalist community”); I’ll also recommend (again, but the last time anyone did was long ago AFAIR) as similar, and David Chapman’s work as the best in Less-Wrong-related post-rationalism (his blogging is mostly non-fiction, but I think you could decide whether his writing would interest you with basis on a chapter of his novel in progress: ). I also remember the names “Sarah Constantin” and “Ribbonfarm” for anyone wanting to check that post-rationalism, but don’t recommend them as much as the previous.

  71. Hi John Michael,

    If my Venus, Jupiter, and Moon are conjunct in the 4th House of Cancer in my birth chart, then does the 2 March conjunction of the same Planets bode anything in particular for me when they come together in an 11th House of Aries?

    Live from Tidal Reach,
    Lilac Fetid Tasmanian Devil

  72. Anonymous, the eradication of smallpox is the mythic image behind the present cult of vaccines, so it’s not at all surprising that vaccine cultists are obsessive about it. Nearly all manifestations of the religion of progress have some variant of The Bad Thing From The Bad Old Days From Which Science And Reason Alone Have Saved Us, and whenever anyone opposes Science and Reason, aka the privileged status of scientists and their corporate masters, the Bad Thing is inevitably trotted out and waved around as a convenient bogeyman.

    Chuaquin, of course. Just as drug prohibition very quickly becomes a price support scheme for drugs, censorship is a way of boosting prices for the forbidden. Somebody will doubtless make a whale of a lot of money printing bootleg copies of unedited Roald Dahl novels in the years ahead.

    Alice, I’m delighted to hear this!

    Ken, I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Thank you.

    Enjoyer, thank you!

    Chris, all I can say about EVs is that I’ve yet to see anybody praising them who’s taken the time to crunch the numbers and try to figure out where all that extra electricity is coming from.

    AV, um, don’t hold your breath; I’d almost certainly turn down any such offer. I’m financially quite comfortable these days, so I don’t need the money, and my interactions with the rich have left me with an abiding distaste for the idea of being numbered among their lackeys, even temporarily.

    James, first, China doesn’t need to arm Russia; Russia has one of the world’s largest and most efficient arms industries and exports weapons systems around the world, which is why NATO is running out of munitions while Russia just keeps on blasting the bejesus out of Ukrainian targets, going through a month’s worth of NATO production every day or so. (They’re getting drones from Iran, but that’s because Iran has one of the world’s best drone fleets and has every reason to cultivate good relations with its powerful northern neighbor, not to mention much to learn from having their drones put through their paces in actual combat conditions.) Second, it’s quite possible that China is gearing up to take Taiwan, not least because events in Afghanistan and Ukraine have already shown that the US is a hegemon in steep decline. Third, one possibility that I think no one is taking into account is that Russia may be perfectly happy keeping the Ukraine war going at its present slow boil for the next five to ten years or so — their economy is handling the strain tolerably well, while Europe is lurching into economic crisis and dragging the US down with it. Fourth, there’s been talk of Israeli strikes on Iran every few months for the last three decades; it may still happen, but Iran these days is a major power a hair’s breadth from being able to test a nuclear weapon, and it’s by no means certain that Israel will come out ahead in the event that it goes ahead with a strike. (The drones mentioned above may have something to say about that, for example.) One way or another, we’re heading into a period of extreme instability in the world, but that’s normal when an aging and increasingly toothless imperial overlord falls from power and other nations jockey to replace it.

    Ken, heh heh heh. One of the great amusements of my career has been watching my ideas, one after another, trickle their way in from the fringes to be repeated by people who’ve never heard of me. As for work ethics, my guess is that it’ll be a mix, as it usually is; we don’t often remember how many of the immigrants who came to this country in the 19th century turned out to be grifters…

    Fra’ Lupo, ha! I like that. If I’m ever in Burlington I’ll see if I can make it there for a meal.

    Justin, you’re welcome and thank you. Yes, I’d mention it, but just in passing.

    Siliconguy, thanks for this. Oof.

    Cliff, when an insane, incompetent ruling class acts like an insane, incompetent ruling class, why, I tend to suspect that it is indeed an insane, incompetent ruling class! Every dominant class behaves this way right before power slips from its fingers.

    Wilnav, I’ll leave this one to the commentariat as it’s not something I’ve studied at all.

    Anin, it’s discussed at some length in many books on Western mysticism. Evelyn Underhill’s classic Mysticism is one good source.

    Mark, by all means make your own choice. I don’t claim infallibility — I just calls ’em as I sees ’em. 😉

    Aurelien, thanks for this. Pynchon’s on my get-to list.

    RPC, thanks for this. I’m envious, of course.

    Ric, interesting. Very interesting.

    Northwind, a lot of people seem to have forgotten about Hesse. I’m delighted that you remembered.

    Teresa, interesting. It would be interesting to see if Norton had any connection to the various magical projects to counter the Nazis.

    Joel, the US reached the peak of its domestic conventional petroleum production that year. Before then we had all the energy and all the money we wanted. Afterwards? The walls started closing in.

    Northwind, not a murder mystery, no, but a mystery. One of my pet peeves is that every mystery these days has to contain a corpse. I’ll risk the pun: murder has been done to death. There are many other crimes that are at least as interesting to the writer and reader, and are much less hackneyed, but mystery writers seem to think that their readers have to be pelted with corpses at regular intervals to keep their interest up. So these mysteries are going to center on crimes other than murder. Malicious mischief? Grand larceny? Blackmail? Kidnapping? Embezzlement? Bring ’em on. 😉

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

    Collapsenik, apparently a lot of people are treating it as one!

    Quin, thanks again for this.

    Brunette, thanks for this.

    Patricia M, I’m just shaking my head at this point.

    Dékete, about halfway through. I hope to get back to it in the near future.

    Chris, that depends on the rest of your chart, of course. I suggest consulting a natal astrologer, which I’m not.

  73. JMG, what’s your favorite tea? I think you mentioned you drink green. Jasmine? Genmaicha? Do you brew it from leaves or use bags? No judgement here: I drink every form of tea from powdered matcha (mornings) to cheap off brand orange pekoe in teabags.

  74. Ken 46

    I can speak only for myself, a person who did internally-migrate-due-to-climate-change during summer 2020, from Northern California to Wisconsin, during the worst of COVID.

    In California, I lived twenty years in one house in a small city in the San Jose region. My husband and I are internal climate-change migrants: we became exhausted because of (1) daily temperatures averaging 85º F. year-round; (2) wildfires and (3) bad air therefrom, (4) threat of floods, and (5) huge and growing population that continues to mindlessly degrade what land there is (tragedy of the commons).

    But worst of all, all told, we could not find people who were willing to take small jobs refurbishing our then house: from landscaper to electrician to plasterer to plumber for reasonable prices. The “construction trades” would only work if we dangled $20K in front of them, which we refused to do. I will go as far as saying that people didn’t/don’t want to work, period, for any price. Our then house went to pot; we sold it before it fell down.

    That said, how do people without means, in California, feed their kids? Food stamps. Where do they live? Low-cost housing. How do they afford fresh drinking water? They don’t; water is free. How do they afford healthcare? They don’t; healthcare is free; they don’t pay out-of-pocket for visiting nurses, home health aides, hospital stays, doctors, medical tests; everything is free. How do they afford to learn English? They don’t. English-as-a-Second-Language programs are free. How do they afford kids’ schooling? They don’t; schools are free. Who entertains them? Extended family they invited to the USA from (unmentionable specific foreign countries). Who pays their TV satelitte and cars? Actually, they do, with the hunk of cash leftover after all the free stuff they receive. They drive expensive, late-model, swanky cars (while we drove 1986 and 1996 cars). I have to include here that Anglo-Saxon types are not eligible for these programs — because they make a hair too much money. In California, I witnessed absolutely NO work ethic (NONE), immigrant or not; the work ethic is non-existent. They are Negro and Hispanic types. (if I am even allowed to say such things.)

    Lyndon Baines Johnson’s (LBJ) “Great Society,” War on Poverty is a dismal failure: there are now more poor people proportionately than during LBJ’s heyday, 1964.

    Flip side. My husband and I moved to Wisconsin. I will go as far as saying that (even during the COVID crisis) people wanted/want to work. We have found dedicated construction workers, talented ones, incredible ones, fantastic ones, who love their work and feel they get a sufficient living wage (partly because they know how to stretch a penny/quarter), and wouldn’t dream of “going on welfare.” I cannot speak more highly of them. They have helped refurbish this disaster of a fixer-upper house we bought. In Wisconsin, the work ethic is strong. They are Germanic types.

    Granted, my husband and I are age 65 ± 5 year old (WASP, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage). We are retirement age but 100% refuse to (so-called) retire. I plan to drop-dead while sewing at my sewing machine, and he plans to drop-dead while woodworking. We work our butts off doing the things we love. If we end the workday at 7pm, it is a early day. We have a long way to go “to truly prepare for old-age” — we must hustle but hustle we do. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    One difference is that my husband and I are old enough that if we want something big built, we are too decrepit to do it ourselves: we generally have to hire it out. I would love to start a garden from scratch, but I can’t go through several hours of unaccustomed labor without being in agony for a week. I need to build up endurance over time.

    As a genealogist, I have read thousands of census images from 1850 to 1950. I know the history. In the 1800s, if people, mostly male heads of households, didn’t work, their kids ~really and truly~ starved — there was no free food. Same with housing; if the father didn’t work, the family got evicted, the kids went homeless, and the lot of them became beggars. Hustling was a way of life. They received immediate negative feedback if they didn’t work. Considering only food and housing (without beating a dead horse), people worked back then because they had to. Work was what kept the wheels of society moving. However, stuff happened during the the last hundred years where things are arse-backwards: people now feel entitled to live off the magnanimity of others, with no thought or care who their benefactors are. Heck, they don’t even know they HAVE benefactors. I often feel like I earn ten bucks, the poor say “Gimme five {of the ten} because ‘look at poor me’; ‘I can’t help myself’; ‘I have urges‘; ‘I come first’; ‘look at this bunch of {illegitimate} babies I birthed and can’t provide for.’” “‘Not my fault.’” Well, actually, it *IS* their fault. Growl🦝.

    Back to your query. Regarding the work ethic, your experience and mine diverge. I can’t explain it.

    Thanks for listening‼️

    💨👵🏼😢🦝Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  75. @Tom Anderson,
    You totally beat me to the punch! A nice summation of what Sally K. Norton has uncovered. One thing I want to add is, as our host notes, “back slowly away from the superfood.” Going too fast on withdrawal can lead to severe symptoms. I note, however, that getting rid of the foods with the highest oxalate content can provide some degree of immediate relief. Beyond that, though, it is important to take detoxification slowly.

    *And now a disclaimer* What I am writing here is purely for people’s amusement. See your doctor.

    @The entire commentariat,
    If you or anyone you know suffers from electrohypersensitivity (EHS), I urge you to have a look at what Tom has written above and what Norton has presented . If you feel it might pertain to you, her book is very informative.
    She does not mention EHS–I don’t know if she is even aware of it. But among the symptoms of oxalate toxicity she describes in her book, she notes quite a range of neurological effects, and says “neurasthenia” is a highly typical presentation. “Neurasthenia” is an old term for a constellation of symptoms that are noted to typify EHS. Western medicine is hopeless against either condition, so dismisses them both as “psychological” issues.
    We know from Dr. Martin Pall’s work that at least some of the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) are initiated by the voltage-gated calcium channels in cell walls. They open up, allowing calcium to flow into the cells. Oxalate interacts with calcium, and excessive oxalate in the diet is known to get stored up in cell walls and other places. We don’t know why some people are absolutely devastated by the effects of EMR, while others hardly notice a thing, but this could be one reason. EHS has been characterized (falsely, but easy to get that impression) as a problem of hysterical menopausal women. At traditional levels of consumption of high-oxalate foods, it would build up in the body fairly slowly and manifest as frailty and other conditions typical of old age. I note that Arthur Firstenberg, who has been extremely EHS since his early 20s, follows a vegan diet. I don’t know how long he has practiced that. (It would not be impossible, but very hard to follow a low-oxalate vegan diet.)
    Anyone with a severe degree of electrosensitivity turns to alternative modalities out of necessity. When you start eating the recommended amount of vegetables, your health is likely to improve initially. And if you start having other problems later on, you are likely to turn to what worked before. In my own case, recently, I had been trying to increase my intake of beets, because they are known to help lower blood pressure, which has become a problem for me since 4G was introduced. However, each time I ate them, I felt notably worse in the following days. I’d heard of spinach having high oxalates, but not beets. Outside of urology, oxalates have been completely overlooked all these years.
    Another problem that obfuscates oxalate toxicity is that if you go cold turkey on them, such as when visiting relatives who don’t do health food, your body starts releasing oxalates all at once, and you can wind up feeling very sick, and reintroducing oxalates in the diet can bring relief by stopping that release. Norton’s book can tell you what to expect when you reduce oxalate consumption, and how to navigate detoxification safely.
    Since becoming aware of oxalates and striving to reduce them, my EHS symptoms have diminished greatly. I still feel poorly in a high-EMR environment, but not overwhelmed. I can use this computer (all hard-wired) now with no brain fog. I was gradually feeling worse at the computer before that, and unable to participate here, for example, as freely as I would have liked.
    I can still benefit from superfoods, just not gobs of them. For example, a half teaspoon of turmeric can fit easily into a day’s budget, and it stops knee pain just as well as the heaping tablespoon I was taking before.
    This is still very new, so we will see how it all turns out, but I think a lot of people might benefit from awareness of oxalates and their potential dangers.

  76. Greetings all!
    (1) Congratulations on your new book! It’s on my purchase list.
    (2) With your permission, John, I would like to inform the most excellent company lurking here that I have opened by own blog at:
    Its about sustainability issues in general with a focus on Mauritius. But I plan to talk about other things too!
    Regards and thank you!

  77. Mary Bennett 51

    > Has anyone else noticed that google seems to have stepped up their censorship?

    Maybe, now that you mention it.

    I search for something in a search engine, not only Google, and the responses get less and less useful. It is hard to place what is wrong, only that the Internet feels like it is “getting smaller.” The Internet is becoming less engaging and interesting, perhaps because of canned or robotic responses.

    Perhaps there are proportionately more websites obviously out to make a buck while offering yet more useless garbage-y products.

    Or, websites’ “owners” are, one by one, UNpublishing their websites because of aggravation or cost (websites are both aggravating and costly).

    Or, website owners have abandoned their websites, leaving them on the Internet UNmaintained, to rot, so to speak. For years, websites have turned from substance (text) to flash (pretty colors), and it feels like that aspect has accelerated. One can be exposed to just so many pretty colors without saying “ho-hum — I don’t care anymore.”

    (Which reminds me, I totally forgot that I have a website I need to UNpublish. Argh!)

    I have this nearly imperceptible feeling that something is going on with the Internet, but I can’t pin down what is different. I have a nagging feeling that, as JMG has implied over the years, the Internet is collapsing, ever so slightly, but there.

    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  78. joeljones 66

    > Any thoughts on what happened in 1971?

    I was 19 in 1971. In the USA, nothing important happened in 1971 — hippie culture still in full force.

    However, 1971 is a rough approximation of 1973, and in 1973, something momentous DID happen: at the time, it was known as the 1973 OPEC Oil Crisis:

    For people not around in the early 1970s to witness the whole thing, it would be easy to be off by a couple years (1971; 1973).

    The OPEC oil crisis of 1973 was profoundly traumatizing to Americans. It was the first shock/intimation (at least to me) that Americans were in deep sh_t. Petroleum all of a sudden was in short supply. Most people had gas-guzzling vehicles, and they had to wait hours (lines the length of street blocks) just to get a tank of gasoline. It was this one event that put an end to “The Sixties” (1960s). Hippie culture was caput. People like me, a hippie, had to grow up fast.

    1973 was the year “the music died,” so to speak. Party-time was a thing of the past.

    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  79. Chris 70

    > The Welsh Government has updated it’s criteria for new road projects and will now approve only smaller-capacity roads that are designed to increase non-car transportation and decrease both speed limits and damage to ecologically valuable sites.

    Wow. Awesome. I would love to see gravel roads make a comeback, even dirt roads. For me, gravel/dirt roads would mean we no longer take transportation for granted or, at least, less so. People would literally be forced to stay closer to home, and focus on things 30 miles (or less) in any direction, like olden days of “before 1945’s World War II.” The horse + buggy may return too:

    song “Take Me Home, Country Roads”:,_Country_Roads

    or song “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” show tune from Broadway musical “Oklahoma!”

    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  80. Dékete (#80) –

    I’d suggest replacing the first line with ‘Rhodded y Duwiau Eu nawdd’ (‘May the Gods grant Their protection’). Then, at the end, ‘… caru’r Duwiau. Y Duwiau a phob Daioni’.

    The ‘-iau’ would be pronounced something like ‘yigh’ (rhyming with ‘high’) in standard Welsh. In spoken Welsh, it would, roughly speaking, be more like ‘-ya’ (as in ‘hat’) in north-west Welsh and ‘-ye’ (as in ‘met’) everywhere else.

  81. JMG, congrats to your new book! 🙂

    Some news from Germany today, and requests for reading suggestions/book references:

    1. Somebody close to me would like to study and compare different systems of financial and economic policy of states, out of personal interest. Can anybody recommend any good books (in German or English) about this topic? Books which just focus on one kind of system are equally welcome as comparative books, and also books about closely related areas and/or with historical context.

    2. I recently read Alexander Dugin’s “The Great Awakening vs the Great Reset”. It’s quite a small volume, mostly a collection of keywords and some phrases around them. Thus I’m having a hard time building an opinion about it, since I’m at times not even sure if Dugin is using some words in the same way I understood them. Alas, he seems to be quite a prolific writer, too (maybe something about the beard?? 😉 ), so not sure which of his books might help clear things up.

    Can anybody recommend a book by him as a good overview/introduction into his theories?

    I also seem to remember that you, JMG, somewhere said that he must have an occult background (or am I making this up?). In which case: can you or anybody else recommend a book by him where this would shine through most obviously?

    3. Finally (whew!), I’m making some progress with my great RLOSP (Re-learning Latin for Occult Studies Project), but I’ve had to realize that learning Latin grammar and vocabulary by rote is still as boring nowadays as it was back in school. 😉

    Since I had already learned the basics way back when, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just pick a medieval/renaissance occult book in Latin, preferably one with a decent English or German translation for comparison, and re-learn by doing. Even if it shouldn’t be more fun, it would be more useful right away…

    Can anybody recommend such a text which would be particularly easy/well suited for beginners?

    4. And finally, a piece of news from Germany which might be of interest to people: Two German women (Sahra Wagenknecht, politician of the traditional left, and Alice Schwarzer, prominent female rights advocate) have started an online petition which is calling on the German government to stop escalating arms deliveries to Ukraine, and instead engage in peace talks and diplomatic avenues to end this war:

    By now, it has gained more than 600,000 signatures. Now, I know this is just an online petition – but the people who signed it first really got a lot of heat and hate (everything the msm and the crazies had to throw at them), so signing it took some guts at least at the beginning. And 600,000 within a few days is HUGE – for comparison, Germany has about 82 million citizens.

    There has also been a recent poll which found that a bit more than half of Germans are against further arms deliveries. I didn’t check it out myself, so it might well have been framed in a way to show more support to the government’s policy as there really is – in which case the actual number would be even higher.

    And all of this is despite the relentless media and governmental propaganda (for years now against Putin), and against a background where people who simply advocate for peace talks (even if they blame Putin!) are publicly being called the same names again that we can read in history books from about 110 years ago.

    My personal takeaway is: The propaganda stops working. And the mass/social media, with all their faults, make it possible for people to see that they are not alone – that they can risk speaking up. While for some time it felt like we’d be marching right into the next war, now I’m not so sure anymore. What you see/read in the media, even in alternative media, is quite different from the reality and the sentiments on the ground.

    Interesting times ahead.

    Thanks to everybody for making this such a special place, and especially to JMG for hosting and protecting it!


  82. @Andy #2,
    Would you post a link to your text/book once it is available somewhere?

    @Degringolade #28,
    Would you mind writing a couple of sentences about how you interpret this spread, in particular for the folks who aren’t using Tarot? Also, if you don’t mind me asking, where you drawing these cards for “the West”? For the US? The world as a whole? The outcome of the war itself? Just trying to get a grip on any implications.

    @Alice Cassandra #39,
    That sounds like fun! Could you post a link to this forum or the discussion?

    @Jeff Russell #12, Brunette Gardens #73, and Darkest Yorkshire #17,
    Many thanks for the pointers to the game, the book and the D&D controversy! Much appreciated. 🙂


  83. Stephen DeRose @19. I’m a physician in physical medicine and rehab. I don’t know about the history of eczema treatments, but I know that its thought to reflect an autoimmune disorder. My understanding is that autoimmune diseases, at least at the prevalence we are seeing them, are a very modern phenomenon, so much so that traditional remedies were likely not developed because of their rarity.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  84. It’s so warm here in N. Georgia this week that I’m actually up early to do my after-work walk before work! Been 70+ all week. It’s actually 68 right now, at 4:40 AM…

    Congrats on your new initiations!!

  85. Alice Cassandra #39, the way I understand it, compressed air is very limited for transport energy, but ideal for some restricted circumstances. If you had windmills and watermills pumping up air banks (which look like a row of twelve-foot-high scuba cylinders), it’d be perfect for filling forklifts, industrial tugs, and possibly agricultural equipment. Also maybe a small train hauling passengers and freight around town. Compressed air locomotives are kin to fireless steam locos, which are the fattest and friendliest-looking locomotives ever made:

  86. JMG, that’s fascinating about managing energy with ritual. The “Power of full engagement” folks got their spark by observing that champion athletes would repeatedly do a tiny rituals that would drop their heart rate, conserving their energy, allowing them to be less tired and make fewer mistakes, allowing them to win more often.

  87. All the commentary I’ve seen on One D&D and OGL was on Youtube, but if you search those terms there’ll be a huge number of blogs raging about them.

  88. ‘Robots to do 39% of domestic chores by 2033, say experts’

    I’m guessing 100% of hosts of this blog see this kind of quantification headline as complete tosh. I have found myself metaphorically slapping my own forehead too many times a day for my own good recently. Just had to share the silliness exactitude. :-/

  89. @ JMG

    re this reply to a commenter above:

    “I’m not at all surprised that Graeber, who’s pretty far to the left, blamed capitalism instead of recognizing that limitless progress was never an option in the first place.”

    In the spirit of curiosity, and not tendentiousness, this makes me wonder if it is actually possible to distinguish so clearly between capitalism – which is married, after all, to the “limitless growth” of capital – and “limitless progress” which it the overall animating ideal of our faustian civilisation.

    It seems to me that what they accomplish, and the contradictions they instill that are bringing our faustian culture to its inevitable decline, they accomplish together, and not separately.

    Perhaps there is another way of looking at these two things that escapes me, but I am unable to imagine a capitalism that lacks a limitless growth of capital imperative.

    From my point of view, I find that both yourself, and Graeber, while using quite different framings, both constantly resonate with my own perceptions of “where we are”. What I find, between [my readings of] you both, is an enormous amount of “common ground”.

  90. Hi JMG,

    Are you aware of any listing or directory, out there on the inter-webs, of all the American occult and esoteric groups that are currently active? Such a list would include Hermetic, Druid, Rosicrucian, Theosophical, etc. groups.

    Thank you!

  91. You’ve mentioned studying both rootwork and beer brewing – have you any plans to integrate the disciplines? I’d be very interested in the kind of recipes that sort of study would produce.

  92. JMG – In the category of “how dumb do they think we are?”… I heard this on the local (Washington DC) radio news yesterday: “Pentagon officials are warning soldiers to avoid poppyseed rolls, because it may cause them to fail a random drug test. Poppyseeds can be contaminated with morphine and codeine.”

    Uh, what? Do they think that poppy seeds are made in the same factory as make drugs? I can’t tell whether this is simply ignorant copy writing, or they actually don’t want people to know that opioids occur naturally in poppies and their seeds. It’s not clear whether the misinformation was provided in the original Pentagon press release, or just contributed “for context” by the news writer.

  93. Thanks for your feedback, John, and the chance to talk with someone who knows about the business. It’s greatly appreciated.

    On my walk this morning I thought also, I could spin off the section on Information Theory, Cybernetics, and the Glass Bead Game into its own shorter book, because I’ve found some more material to use. This would in turn make the entire project (which I didn’t know would turn out this way when I started) into something of a thematic trilogy, similar but completely different, from the four books by Joscelyn Godwin on speculative music. Those are all related, but can each be read alone. As I break these off into chunks I will do my best to turn them into their own stand alone works. This would also be a solution to making each a smaller word count, and setting some limits and frames around different ideas contained in all the material I generated.

    For those who are interested in listening to shortwave radio, the next program from the Imaginary Stations crew is scheduled for Sunday, February 26th on 9395 kHz via WRMI at 2300 UTC. That is 6:00 PM on the east coast, and 3:00 PM west coast of the USA. The Imaginary Station this week is the Japanese Jukebox: JNHK.

    Our net control and his wife made the following trailer for the program:


  94. JMG,

    Curious what you make of the April 2024 solar eclipse and the Ohio River that runs not far south of its path?

  95. Hi JMG, Glad you’re back. I’ve tried twice now to order your book via the link you provided for US citizens. It didn’t work either time. It seems that I must sign up as a member, which I don’t want to do. What can I do?

  96. @wilnav #54
    For further reading and insight I recommend: Matthew Wood: Holistic Medicine and the Extracellular Matrix, which might help furthering your understanding of this complex and not yet well researched matter.

  97. Chris #43 (and JMG): I actually own an electric vehicle (Chevrolet Bolt EV). It’s been pointed out that the battery, fully charged, holds about as much energy as that contained in two gallons (8 liters) of gasoline. The car can travel 200 miles (320km) on that. So it’s effectively getting 100mpg (40km/l). That said, I didn’t buy it for its economy or eco-signaling; I bought it because I’m getting old and am tiring of performing oil changes and all the other service items that accompany an internal combustion engine. I think a SMALL electric vehicle is a good choice as the second car for a family that can charge it at home at 3kW or so.
    Many people don’t realize that gasoline began as a waste product of making diesel; until the automobile came along refiners were getting desperate to find a use for the stuff. It may be that in the (near) future electric vehicles will run off gasoline burned in stationary engines driving alternators!

  98. @Dékete (#80):

    Probably not, but I’d like to see what you put together before finally saying yea or nay to your project. My gmail address is rmath13.

  99. Hi JMG, and @all interested,

    Physical violence is forbidden in modern societies, yet I have seen many times that economic and social / psychological violence is not forbidden. Examples I have seen are: underpaying vendors and employees regardless of the pain it causes them, psychological manipulation and control in social gathering for selfish purposes, abuse of authority etc etc.
    In my mind it was economic or social ‘ warfare ‘ in some instances I have seen.

    It seems human aggression is here to stay and is still very much legal in many areas of life.
    Aggression can be fine when there is a good intention behind it, but most of the time it is just instinctual behavior or insecurity for resources or ego.

    Anyone has an insightful comment about this?

  100. @JMG

    Thank you for your reply. That’s an interesting perspective, and it makes sense. I remember reading somewhere that the Harappans had apparently mastered the technology of woodblock printing, although, I’m not too sure about the veracity of said claim.

  101. Re: Churches and vegetable gardens

    Not sure what’s going on with that, seems like it would be a no-brainer for the churches. Perhaps no one thought of it (not everyone is a gardener) and your letter gave at least some people an idea. It would be good to know if any of the churches run with it. You’d need at least a handful of volunteers available. plus at least a couple of people with some gardening knowledge and basic equipment to get it going. Depending on a congregation’s demographics, that might sometimes be an issue.

    On the other hand, even here in very non-religious Vermont most of the local food banks are run by churches. It’s not the same as empowering people to do for themselves, of course, but it isn’t as if they’re doing nothing. I’ve also noticed that a good number of the charities providing clothing and for other needs are also church-based around here, which is a very good thing. Not having vegetable gardens on church property doesn’t mean the congregations are doing nothing for neighbors in need.

  102. Greetings my good sir,

    Perhaps this is a difficult question to pose to anyone. Especially considering how spontaneous, and how easily guided people in mass appear to be.

    I was wondering about your reasons for leaving Oregon (assuming you weren’t just jaded by the Nike sweat suit Shakespearean festival, sanctimonious, +$400k a year crowd)
    How do you see oregon over the next 50 years. Environmentally, culturally, and economically?

    Like I said, possibly a tough question.
    Do you have any post you can recall that you could nudge me to?

    I have 5 or 6 of your books. None give more than a little lip service on the subject.

    Would be a very interesting set of post to go into the future of Americas different regions specifically.

    Thanks again!

  103. @JMG and Ric —

    While I don’t have access to the entire “Music to Wake the Dead” book, want to push back strongly against the claim in the section quotes here, that there is a western rationalism opposed to music and rooted in ancient Greek philosophy. And I especially want to push back against the idea that there is something somehow fearful of music in Plato’s work. That makes no sense at all, given the importance of music and musical training in Republic, Laws and elsewhere. But also, to JMG, I think that this idea, which is very widespread, is actually a development of the very concept of disenchantment that you have been discussing in your posts here. This notion takes Weber’s Disenchantment and back-reads it into all of Western history, usually opposing to it a more natural, spiritual or “indigenous” way of knowing.

    I found this whole idea sufficiently annoying that I wrote a post about it on my blog here–

  104. @Mary Bennett #51. Not JMG, obviously, but you should check out Couliano’s “Eros & Magic in the Renaissance.” His intro includes this: “The magician of the Renaissance is both psychoanalyst and prophet as well as the precursor of modern professions such as … censor, director of mass communication media, and publicity agent.” This book comes up here from time to time. Another good one to pick up is “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays.

  105. @Aurelian #58: Having read GR about 3 times back in the day, I took the time to look over your article. I like the line about Proust very much: “Proust wrote a book about a man who takes forty pages to go to sleep.” (Yeah, I “read Proust” about 25 years ago and even re-read the novels at both ends.)

    Now I don’t want to discourage people from reading GR, but, looking back from today’s perspective, I think GR is pure intellectual onanism. The last Pynchon novel I actually enjoyed was “Mason & Dixon.” “Against the day” I truly hated — enough to read it 1.9 times, which is to say I gave up on it on at around about page 1,000 on my first attempt, less than 100 pages from the end. And then I went back a couple years later and managed to read the whole thing: I still hated it.

    When it comes to difficult 70s novels that I prefer to GR, I nominate “JR” by Wm Gaddis, and “Dhalgren.” I read “JR” three times and “Dhalgren” seven or eight times, which makes me a certified lunatic!

    I’ll add that JMG’s novels are fun, not at all pretentious like the above-mentioned “difficult” novels, yet they are interesting enough to re-read, as I’ve done with a number of them. I think my favorite is still “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.”

  106. @ JMG and commentariat – I’ve started up blogging again, focusing on my experiences in the garden and in the world of self-publishing. If either of those topics interest you, check out the blog:

    While I’m still in search of a small to medium size press to publish through, I’ve decided to try self-publishing my first book, which is an anthology of three supernatural novellas. The stories satirize the dark absurdities of the modern American economy and the choices it forces on the characters. Don’t worry though, each story is served with a healthy side of dark humor, to keep the stories from getting too heavy.

    Researching small presses is difficult while A – promoting the current book, B – writing the next round of stories, C – being a dad, and D – taking care of the plants and animals. If a small press that might go for the types of stories I’m writing springs to anyone’s mind, please do let me know, either in the comment section here or on the blog!

  107. @Tony C

    On physical violence:

    It is monopolized by state in industrial societies, but usually also elsewhere. Otherwise violence usually is outside law and rules anyways.

    Here in the West socities are aging and formerly wealthy, the upper 20% still are and violence, I think, would disturb business.
    I know that until the 1970s, hitting children and brawls were pretty much the norm here in Austria.

    Brawls have always been common among working class and peasantry, among physical workers. Here in Austria, an increasing part of society has become very frail, the old certainly but alos the younger workforce in sales and especially the office sector.

    With 20% of the population minimum doing some type of office work and many of them not easily replaced for their specialized work or because they have some leading position.

    the kind of pressure and sabotage in our every day environment certainly isn’t physical.
    Even in the old days the very small class of scribes, monks, tradesmen etc were probably too precious to be wasted as casualties.

    I would say Nassim Talebs concept of risk distribution puts it well, and his typical humurous and derisive comparison of a political class today vs ancient geek city states where leaders and nobles were warriors also shows something there.

    Pressure, power games, mental cornering – these types of what I wouldn’t call putright violence but perhaps smothering attacks, they remind more of the relation of parents with children or prison situation.
    When I went into an upper middle class high school, a little wrestling happened among undergraduates but the law of the fist was pretty much not present, however I take it that strategizing against each other and backstabbing were much more common.

    The middle class to migrant high school some apartment blocks further had definitiely more of common wrestling and skid mark violence, but from the people I know went there, excluding people, looking down on others, strategizing against each other were far less common.

    The city of Vienna is not a model for most cities of the world in this respect, and probably also one of the least violent on average across all western cities.

    Also I would think that among workers, there is less inequality and less to be won often, as to attempt to strategize constantly against others or compete.

    Among the comfortable classes, there is more competition, but a law of the fist would not make sense there for obvious reasons.


  108. Mary Bennett 51

    > Has anyone else noticed that google seems to have stepped up their censorship?

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment, it feels like the Internet is lessening.

    In JMG’s book “After Progress,” he wrote “One way or another, the flow of new products will eventually sputter to a halt…”

    Hmm. The “lessening” I discern could be a subtle edge of this sputtering that JMG writes about,— only a hint of a reduction — a speck — something I certainly am unable to measure,— although I suppose the decline of the Internet may be measurable, and indeed does get measured regularly by some persons or organizations, but those parties are keeping that information mum. As far as I can see, the general public is totally unaware of any decline of the Internet. I monitor👁mainstream TV news (I fast-forward through most of it) and there has been nothing remotely close to this subject.

    Americans have a huge burden trying to sift through zillions of garbage-y🗑products produced in China, then those products are put on the Internet for sale. In the next couple years, if even ten percent of those trashy products never make it to market (lessening the bloat of the Internet), in my opinion, that can only be a good thing.

    The march of time⏳.

    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  109. I was just reading about “invasive” plants: creeping charlie, plantain, violets, bindweed, crab grass, etc. and the horror with which they were treated was ludicrous. I wonder if the so-called invasives would be any good at ameliorating the damage done down in Palestine, OH? Meaning, take the area around the spill and riverbanks that are being poisoned and deliberately sow some invasive plants such as Jerusalem artichoke, spearmint, and other hardy weeds that cause suburban lawn owners to clutch their pearls and reach for the fainting salts.

  110. joeljones@66 Many folks think that the big changes in our country and society began with the Reagan election in 1980. Me, I think now that 1967 & 8 were watershed years. The war in SE Asia was going badly and it had become impossible for that to be concealed any longer. Remember, that was the time of anti-communist hysteria–Russian army was going to come marching across the North Pole, magically immune to sub sub zero temps, anyday now and subversives were lurking in everyone’s basement. Those years, any one in any sort of position of authority thought it their duty to clamp down hard on any and all kinds of “subversion”, ie not behaving like a good All-American consumer.

  111. @All

    The 21st century feels like an echo of the 20th. We’ve already had a pandemic, and we’re expecting a great depression, or maybe we’re in it already. So what are the chances, you reckon, that we’ll see a world war or two in the coming decades?


    Re: “Malicious mischief? Grand larceny? Blackmail? Kidnapping? Embezzlement? Bring ’em on.”
    Don’t forget Arson and Jaywalking! These crimes need to get more attention in the literature.

  112. Re: Travis #115

    I am always surprised by folks view of the NW. For some reason folks seem to see Oregon as a unitary entity. Portland is undergoing some pains right now as a “hard-blue” city. But having lived up here since the 80’s (Moved from Utah), my memories of Portland when we arrived was one of a kinda mean blue collar town. Nike and the internet brought in the liberals from California which in the hip downtown began to change the perception of rest of the country to view Portland as a hipster paradise.

    Ashland would not even be a decent truck stop if it hadn’t been for the Shakespeare Festival. But in the old days, say prior to 1995, the town really wasn’t all that hip. The shows were better (at least in my mind) as they actually showcased Shakespeare rather than paying homage to the latest fashion in political thought.

    The rest of the state outside of these two towns and the college towns was astonishingly rural and conservative. Since Portland carries the vast majority of voters, the trend toward liberalism guides the state politics. But the divide is pretty profound once you got outside of these areas (though Bend has been heading the liberal way for a while).

    No, I think that the “Oregon effect” that Travis is speaking of is a recent and transitory effect. It depends on continued access to big tech and consumer money overflowing from Seattle and San Francisco. Once that revenue stream starts drying up, then you will see a swing back to the old, mean, racist Portland.

    I do understand JMG bolting. Actually, I have thought of bolting myself, but never bothered to pull the trigger. But it is my opinion that the “liberal Portland” is a flash in the pan history-wise. Once the hard times hit, the easy money will dry up and folks will pull up stakes to go to where the money goes.

    Still, living here is pretty easy, except in the winter, where the sun isn’t seen 90% of the time.

  113. @Ric Frost: Thanks so much for this link! I’ve been reading the available chapters and it is very enticing.

    @Steve T: I don’t know how much of the available chapters of Music To Raise The Dead you’ve read, but a bit of context in case you haven’t.

    In your Dreamwidth essay, you refer to how you’ve noticed that many people in the past have framed the “fully enchanted, spiritual, mystical, and natural” worldview as something that is usually non-Western, to do with ancient Celts, aboriginal peoples, etc, as a contrast to the Western disenchanted view. I can’t speak to any of that from other writers, but at least in Music to Raise the Dead, the author is contrasting the rational worldview with the mythic view embodied by Orpheus, who obviously comes from the same culture that produced Plato. Indeed, the title of his book, Music To Raise The Dead, refers to the myth of Orpheus descending into the underworld to bring back his lost wife.

    He discusses one of the oldest discovered books, which is a work of music criticism, touches on music’s role in the myth of the hero’s journey, refers to an esoteric musicology used by warrior/priest/healers who used songs for many aspects of life including the guidance of heroes. The author writes primarily (so far) about Orpheus, but he also mentions the Irish bards who used coded meanings in their alphabet (he’s apparently referring to the Ogham).

    As you can probably tell, I’m quite fascinated by this book, and I’ll be reading along as the author releases new chapters on his Substack.

    The author mentions Plato as being fearful of music at several points, but doesn’t so far discuss why. Someone else asked about this as a comment on one of his posts, and the author responded that he discussed it in earlier books and will discuss it later in this series.

    I haven’t read nearly as much Plato as you apparently have, but judging from what I’ve read so far, likely his criticism will involve Plato’s alleged attempts to restrain music as a tool of education, of bringing about the virtues in one’s behavior, of not being something that should itself be pleasurable for its own sake.

    This is a guess based on how Ted Gioia, the author, claims that this mythic musicology was very subversive, and not in the service of the rich and powerful.

    Now that you’ve outlined in your post those other examples from Plato to show how Plato well understood the limits of rationalism, I’ll be watching out in later chapters of Music to Raise the Dead to see if Gioia’s aware of this or not.

    It seems that the Ted Gioia is fairly well-known, and his previous books have received favorable reviews in the mainstream media. If he is writing about a subversive form of musicology dangerous to the powerful, and it is receiving favorable reviews in the mainstream media, then maybe it isn’t as subversive as it appears.

  114. In response to Milkyway (#93)

    First, there was a typo in my comment, the 3 of swords reversed was a 2 of swords reversed.

    Past card in spread (2 of swords, reversed): My take on the meaning of this is that there is deception and being blind to that deception.

    Present card (7 of cups): Lots of opportunities here, but the choices available seem insubstantial. Lots of uncertainty about what is feasible and what is fantasy.

    Future card (the Star): Hope and guidance. Might be our luck is going to change.

    I kinda set this spread after pondering(meditating?) about what will be the outcome of the war from my point of view. You have to remember, even if I disagree with what the clown car is doing in DC, my loyalties are to folks here in America. I suppose that I am hopelessly parochial, but what happens to folks not of my people are their problem, not mine.

  115. Hello JMG et al.,

    Just here (with her permission) with a positive energy/prayer request for my sister, whose housing plans have abruptly fallen through and now finds herself in need of a new apartment in something of a hurry. Any and all efforts are much appreciated!

  116. @Darkest Yorkshire #17 re: D&D and the Open Gaming License

    I’ve been into Old School Renaissance stuff since getting back into D&D about a decade ago (before that was a fling with the post-Forge indie scene), so I’ve heard a few of the rumblings about it. I thought that Justin Alexander’s blog posts/videos at The Alexandrian were pretty good at spelling out the background and what seems to be happening.

    My non-expert, certainly not-legal-advice-in-any-way take is that the copyrighting of game mechanics is on shaky ground to begin with, and that most of the terms used in D&D (like the six attribute names, or “To Hit”) are so generic as to be un-copyrightable. All of this suggests to me that the OGL wasn’t really necessary for things like the Old School Renaissance to happen, legally speaking anyway, but that it provided a nice way to soothe worries about big, bad Hasbro coming after your hobby project.

    I think WotC/Hasbro has already burned a lot of bridges unnecessarily and can do little but damage control, but I think the vast majority of folks interested in Old D&D are just going to look at subscription-based official D&D, shrug, and go about making and buying quirky adventures and supplements that might have to be slightly more vague than they once were about how to use them with old versions of the rules and/or modern rules inspired by them (this will likely be annoying: it’s way easier to read “6 Orcs, 1HD, AC 6, Swords” than “6 Pig-faced Humanoids of Ill Intent with the First Level of Damage Absorption, the Sixth Level of Striking Protection, and Long Metal Slashing/Stabbing Weapons”).


  117. #108, I read Wood’s book. While there is much of interest within, he must not have had the right editor for it. General-chemistry level errors are found throughout, including the composition of Earth’s atmosphere being 70% oxygen instead of 70% nitrogen. Granted, it irks me more than the average reader because I have two degrees in the field, but it does not inspire as much confidence in the rest of the book as I would prefer. If I had time, I would compile a list of all the errors I can find and submit it to the publisher with a request to print an updated edition minus the errors.

    Anyone: I published a post on Living Lou in the Lou about last year’s garden results and this year’s plans, for those of you who are interested. You’ll find it at

  118. That was quick. In another article about longhouses, Rod says that contemporary occultism is dominated by the “dark feminine.” What say you, occultists, pagans, and so forth?

    I myself think society’s problems are connected not so much to the dark feminine or the toxic masculine, but to the perverse insistence on allowing educated fools to run everything.

  119. Andy,

    These ideas about Pluto’s correlation with empire life spans is fascinating and I strongly encourage you to develop it into a full length article. Here are some possibilities for publishing:

    OPA Astrology Magazine, published quarterly by The Organization of Professional Astrology, based in the UK

    The Mountain Astrologer, published 6 times annually, based in the US

    The Astrological Association Journal, published 6 times annually, based in the UK

    Pluto’s influence historically is pretty significant…it’s a lingering quibble for me with respect to the ideas put forward in JMG’s book. It’s pretty clear that certain aspects of its influence came to the fore in its “discovery” era, as delineated by JMG, and that some of those qualities will recede following the demotion from planet status. But I’m skeptical that astrologers 200 years from now will regard it as a minor player. Are you familiar with the book Cosmos & Psyche by Richard Tarnas? It’s a brilliant study of the cycles of the outer planets corresponding to historical developments and turnings…lots of material about Pluto. Highly recommended. Good luck with getting your article published…I look forward to reading it!

    Jim W

  120. @Tony C #111

    “Physical violence is forbidden in modern societies” if not state-sponsored and/or approved.

    Fixed that for you. 😉

  121. @ jbucks– Thank you! That’s very helpful. (I don’t know if I’d call my post an “essay” so much as “an irritable mental gesture.”)

    I spent several years working my way through all of Plato’s works in meditation, a process I finished up last year. I did not go on without any sort of guidance, but I mostly avoided reading contemporary academic literature and all “introductions” to the dialogues, unless they were written by Thomas Taylor. Indeed, Taylor, Marsilio Ficino and Pierre Grimes ( were my primary sources of guidance outside of the texts themselves. I found the experience life changing and even life saving, but I think that the result is that I have a rather different understanding of Plato from many of our contemporaries, especially in academia.

    I tend to agree with your observation that if the media are praising a work as “subversive,” it probably isn’t. I also don’t think it makes any sense to draw a line between Plato and Orpheus. Proclus would not have thought so either, though the current party line with regard to Proclus apparently also sees him as representing a radical break from Plato. Go figure. But I wonder if the author will also make mention of Plato’s banning of the poets from the Republic. People love to bring this up, and in doing ignore the prominent role that Homer plays in the rest of Plato’s dialogues, or the fact that the city described in the Republic is declared at the outset as a description of the individual soul, not an actual city; or the fact that the poets are not banned for “the power of music,” but for portraying the gods as evil or the authors of evils; or the fact that Plato also says that if the more difficult myths (e.g., Zeus binding Cronus) must be read, let their reading be accompanied by a sacrifice and done only in the presence of those wise enough to understand them analogically– which is to say, as the central feature of a mystery cult…..

  122. @Darkest Yorkshire

    re: The Open Gaming License for D&D.

    I used to be in charge of that license back in D&D 3.0 and 3.5. DY has the driving motivators correct. Wizards has become Hasbro’s principle profit center thanks to Magic the Gathering online. A huge profit drivers as, unlike the physical cards, there is no print, shipping, warehousing, or retail cost. It’s all digital. WotC really wanted to do the same thing with D&D. But in 2000 Ryan Dancey created the OGL (Open Gaming License) which made the basic rules set of D&D copyleft as long as people who used it agreed that any rules derived from the core rules were also copyleft (you get to play in the sandbox as long as you don’t try to wall off part of the sandbox).
    Hasbro has never liked the OGL and tried to get of rid it when they released D&D 4.0. This led to the birth of Pathfinder which used the OGL and 3.5 D&D rules. In many place Pathfinder surpassed the D&D sales. Hasbro/WotC relented and released D&D 5.0 under the OGL.
    But Hasbro has seen a decline in sales of other products and a decline in stock price, so they took another swing at eliminating the OGL. This time they tried to issue a revision to it. That went over like a led balloon and within a few days they rescended their revision and made all of the D&D 3.0, 3.5 and 5.0 open source!
    Now, here is my personal take. First, yes they screwed up in the attempt to revise the OGL. But I doubt they have given up. I think that they will release D&D Beyoond (the online version of D&D) under a new rule set that will not be OGL. Essentially they will try to do a D&D 4.0 manuever and hope it works this time. The biggest reason is relative profit. Paper based D&D makes around $20M per year. That’s peanuts to Hasbro. They want that sweet online income that they are getting from Magic and they imagine they can create that with D&D.


    Some hot takes from other gamers.

  123. Kimberly, I prefer loose tea, and I don’t have one favorite type — I like plain bancha, I like genmaicha, I like bai mudan, I like tianmu qingding, I like baiju hua, you name it. Anything in the white-to-green range is welcome; I’ll drink pekoe from tea bags, though, if that’s what I can get.

    Karim, delighted to hear it!

    Milkyway, no, it wasn’t me who said that about Dugin; I haven’t had the spare time to read his work yet and so I have no clue whether he’s connected to occultism or not. As for Latin occult materials, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy might be a great place to start. Here’s the Latin:

    Here’s the English:

    Grover, it’s nearly the end of February and here in Rhode Island we haven’t yet had a snowfall that left anything on the ground. A New England winter consisting entirely of rain… Anyone who insists that climate change isn’t happening is smoking their shorts.

    Anon299, hmm! Doesn’t surprise me at all, but I hadn’t heard of that. I’ll look into it, as it’s relevant to some of my current work.

    Yorkshire, duly noted and thank you. I’ll go hunting.

    Jay, too funny. When I was a child in the 1960s, that was supposed to happen by 1980.

    Scotlyn, I won’t argue. The major difference between my view and Graeber’s is that he thinks that socialism is immune from such follies, and I recognize that socialism in practice is simply state capitalism, with all the flaws inherent in that.

    Balowulf, no, and there won’t ever be one. Many groups choose to keep a very low profile, for reasons that are partly historical and partly pragmatic.

    Chris, nope. It’s a fascinating field — you might, if you haven’t yet, read Stephen Harrod Buhner’s Sacred and Healing Herbal Beers as an intro — but it’s not one I plan on pursuing. Not enough hours in the day!

    Lathechuck, funny.

    Justin, hmm! That strikes me as a very good idea; the more focused a book project, by and large, the more interested a publisher will be.

    Jonathan, I haven’t cast the eclipse chart yet. I’ll be posting it to my SubscribeStar and Patreon accounts when I do.

    Lydia, in that case go to the other address and order there. The publisher ships to the US — it’s just that if people order from Bookshop I get a bigger cut. 😉

    Roldy, fair enough; thank you for the data points.

    Tony C, er, did you think that aggression was somehow going to go away for some reason? It’s an effective strategy in many aspects of life. Why should people stop doing it?

    Siliconguy, well, even a blind mouse finds cheese occasionally… 😉

    Virudaawakened, that wouldn’t surprise me, since Harappan seals do the same thing to clay that woodblocks do to paper!

    Travis, I left Oregon for astrological reasons: a relocation chart showed that I would prosper much more on the east coast — as indeed I have. I could also see, without benefit of astrology, an impending future of severe drought, economic contraction, and political dysfunction, but that’s shared with the whole west coast. I’ll consider a series of posts, but it’s going to have to wait until I’ve finished some other projects and have time for research.

    Steve T, oh, granted, and Plato’s been a common punching bag for such exercises for quite a while now.

    Ben, congratulations! I hope it goes well.

    Kimberly, I’d say ask the locals. They know the ecosystem.

    Ecosophian, I’ll be my usual painfully literal self and assume you’re not making a joke. Arson is an interesting crime for a writer. Jaywalking? Not so much, not least because if you know it’s happened, you know who did it.

    IVN 66, positive energy en route!

    Your Kittenship, “the austere Pagan leader John Michael Greer”! I like that. But he’s right about Emily Kohrs, I’m sorry to say. Not that I’m surprised, you understand; American pop-culture Wicca has an embarrassing surplus of such people. As for “the dark feminine,” he really, truly needs to meet some people who aren’t part of the pop-Wicca scene!

    AV, many thanks for this. Clearly I need to keep an eye on this.

  124. Another example of how not to do magic. Emily Kohrs, a self-identified witch, went all over national media as the spokesperson for the Georgia grand jury tasked with bringing indictments against President Trump in order to disqualify him from the next election. She obviously expected to be received as a hero but ended up coming off like a lunatic, and now the Trump’s lawyers are over the moon with the opportunity to quickly wrap up this sad chapter highlighting our embarrassingly politicized justice system. Sometimes the witches hunt themselves, apparently.

  125. Can a person who regularly consumes bacon cheeseburgers be accurately described as “austere”? Discuss.

  126. @Kimberly #122,
    You want unkillable weeds? I have some blackberry bramble to spare. Although I kinda doubt the residents of East Palestine would appreciate having to deal with that on top of everything else… 😉

    @Degringolade #127,
    Thanks, and that focus makes total sense! I just wanted to know what the underlying question was.

    Thanks. I guess Agrippa it is, then. Can‘t be worse than blindly repeating grammatical forms just for grammar‘s sake… 😉


  127. Well because I can’t let things go, I went ahead and poked through some of Mr. Gioia’s earlier books on Amazon. My read so far is that he’s exactly what he seems– an Establishment academic posing as a subversive. You know the plot by heart at this point. The story he’s telling is exactly the familiar tale of the nonrational spiritual indigenous blah blah blahs and their resistance against the rational technical et ceteras. The difference is that in his version of the tale, the wise indigenous… whatever, can we just call them Ewoks? His Ewoks are the Greeks before the coming of philosophy, when they still “revered Orpheus.” Later on Darth Pythagoras turned up with his math-teaching Stormtroopers, and it’s all been downhill from there. When he has to deal with the awkward fact that Plato doesn’t have the attitude toward music he things he does, he uses the standard “lampshading” technique to get around it, saying things like “Even Plato, normally suspicious of music, allows that playing the lyre can lead to the virtue of sophrosyne…”

    Now if my recent experience is anything to go by, he’s liable turn up on this blog and see that I’m criticizing him, so to head that off, yes, I’m aware that I’m simplifying things, and I’m sure he’s very sincere and fun to talk to at dinner parties, etc. But I’m honestly just dead sick of this particular narrative. Maybe that’s just for personal reasons, since I wasted most of my 20s believing in and attempting to live out the Daniel Quinn/Derrick Jensen/John Zerzan version (where the Ewoks are primitive tribes and Native Americans), but I really do think that this is a story that needs to be killed, buried, and the coffin nailed shut.

  128. JMG,

    Since this is an open post I am curious what brings out the trolls? What topics field the most posts that you don’t put through?


  129. Dear JMG,

    hope I am not abusing my asking a second question. In the old debate on genetics vs. environment, I still consider a pair of essays by statistics professor Cosma Shalizi (here and here) the best summary of the evidence on heritability of intelligence. Shalizi considers the “natural experiments” on heritability in humans (e.g. twin studies) so imperfect that it is very hard to arrive at a reliable estimate – he guesses it isn’t zero, but quite a bit lower than many people assume.*

    The reason I am bringing this up here on your blog is that while the heritability due to transmission by DNA (or other molecules) may be low, I find it hard to conceptualize intelligence as arising only from genes vs. environment (and their interactions). One’s upbringing of course strongly influences what we call intelligence (and Shalizi explains that well), but it seems to me there is more to it – there may be something innate, but not inherited. It is easy to imagine a random innate contribution, basically from throwing the dices during meiosis and during ontogenesis of neurons, but I wonder if there is also a non-random, non-genetic innate contribution.

    If one takes into account non-material aspects of a human being (what you have conceptualized as different planes), how would that influence the debate? Do you think non-material innate influences on one’s abilities are, in general, as strong as or stronger than those due to transmission of DNA?

    * Actually, my own background is in neuroscience, and I simply find it very hard to imagine additive effects on intelligence. It is easy to imagine many genes, each contributing independently and additively to height – one promotor change here on a growth hormone gene, one enhancer change here on a collagen gene etc. But for neuronal processing, I assume having more of the same is not optimal (“thicker axons”, “denser synapses” or other parameters). Instead, optimal processing would probably depend on a lot of very delicate equilibria: this presynaptic gene with that postsynaptic gene and so on. That is why Shalizi’s low guess seems plausible to me: combining the genes of a highly intelligent father (however one chooses to measure intelligence!) with those of a highly intelligent mother would probably not greatly increase the chances of having a highly intelligent child, compared to other couples. By extension, any population effects of positive selection on intelligence would be very weak, if they exist at all in modern human (I am also reading Dobzhansky’s Genetic Diversity and Human Equality about this).

  130. @JMG ” Aggression is an effective strategy in many aspects of life. Why should people stop doing it? ” hmmm . Can you explain what you are referring to ? Do you aggression against other people / hurting them for personal benefit is an effective strategy in many aspects of life?

  131. Replying to Northwind Gramma, #67 on the German Question.

    Prussia was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in the mid 19th century. Germany than proceeded to commit the only unforgivable sin a state can commit – losing a great power war.

    The Germany was certainly not alone in causing WW1 in 1914, but they lost. Then to make matters worse they came back for round 2 in 1939*. Winners write history after all….

    Lothar von Hakelheber

    *War guilt for WW2 is a much more clear-cut issue, particularly if I follow the current custom of memory-holing the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact and the Soviet invasion of Poland in October of 1939.

  132. Hi Roldy,

    Thanks for sharing your story about the Bolt EV. Intriguing, and mate, that’s a lot of battery. 66kWh is bonkers big. And 3kW charging, yes, amusing. I note that the DC fast chargers for those things are rated at 11kW. Whoo Whee! The average house down here can pull something like 60 amps at 240 volts max (if your neighbours, and their neighbours, and their neighbours neighbours, aren’t going feral with usage) and that works out to 14.4kW (but only 3.6kW per the larger 15A house circuit and most here are rated to 10A per outlet). It’s been my experience that it is not wise to run this stuff at its maximum output for extended periods of time. Hot cables can lead to the magic blue smoke – nobody wants to see that.

    You’re right too, it is also my belief that EV’s are best used around town, short distances then recharged. You see, batteries aren’t fuel tanks, although people tend to believe that they are (they’re more like balloons). If you want batteries to last, you can’t use them to any great extent. If a person deeply empties out the charge all the time, there ain’t many cycles in that equation. Good luck! But use only 10% or 20% of the battery capacity, rarely more, and you might get a maximum of 20,000 cycles – the rest of the car will break down before the batteries do.

    I dunno man, my day job deals with money, and people tell themselves all sorts of stories. From an economic perspective, a smaller cheaper car where someone else does the servicing, makes more economic sense to me, but there’s no judgement here for what will be, will be on that front. But mate, does it really need a 200hp motor? I’m coming around to the point of view that the best EV is probably an EV assisted push bike.



  133. Welcome back! I am very interested to read the future post about the historical transition to church services that “whip up as much emotional energy as possible without having functional ritual forms to contain it — which guaranteed that a lot of that energy would go straight to the energy center between the legs” (comment #36).

    I have spent my whole life attending church services in various denominations and observing with fascination the wild variety of affective response that different kinds of Christian worship can cause. I have been especially struck and puzzled by the very real connection between some forms of worship and ‘the energy center between the legs.’

    The phenomenon of lacking functional ritual forms to contain group energy seems to extend well beyond Christian churches, but that seems like the logical place to begin the investigation, because it’s the likeliest origin of the mass movement toward magical illiteracy.

    This whole topic is so fascinating to me that I could read a whole shelf of books on the topic, if you have any recommendations to start with.

    The two-week-long 24/7 revival in the chapel at Asbury College, Kentucky that just ended has drawn attention as far away as Canada, where a Lutheran minister I know talked about it in his Ash Wednesday sermon yesterday evening. Different branches of Christianity today have either a magnetic fascination with or a reflexive suspicion of charismatic, emotional movements like this, and often both at the same time. JMG, I wonder if you have noticed this Asbury revival event unfold and whether you have any comment re Kimberly’s analysis of a dying religion.

  134. @JMG , to explain what I mean , I don’t think aggression is going to stop as it is part of being human. I am saying that lots of people think we are so civilized because violence is forbidden (expect by the army and police), yet there is lots of economic and social violence.

    I just wish we use it for more than just territory, mating and resources which is a very animal way of living, and there must be more to us than this, mustn’t there?
    I understand there is the socially moral aspect (and perhaps spiritual), and also what is successful from an evolutionary point of view.

    As an example, I don’t think many people would support the economic, social (&Physical) aggression of a drug dealer who is seeking to expand his territory, because it does not benefit society much at all. I am not if sure drug dealer types are very successful from an evolutionary point of view, it does seems to be a miserable and dangerous way to live .

    There would be more people who support (though it is debatable) someone like mother Theresa if she decides to be very economically and socially aggressive to get funding for her work for the poor.

    Just a couple of contrasted examples for clarity, I am sure there lots of real-life examples on what is smart and good aggression versus stupid one.

  135. Hi John Michael,

    Mate, one day someone is going to say about this solar power stuff: ‘I did it for the future of the environment’, and then just like my experience they’ll discover that story makes no sense whatsoever. What can I say, I was originally naive, but well intentioned. I suspect that this is the core reason as to why the vast majority of people fixate on the economic side of the story. And that doesn’t make any sense either. However, having a little bit electricity is a very handy thing which is historically unprecedented, and that story is not lost on me – my expectations are now very low in this matter. Moving on…

    Hey, I noticed the comment about springs, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the same applied to the wider land and local spirits. What’s your take on that?



  136. Hi JMG,

    David Graeber was a self-proclaimed anarchist, so I don’t think it is fair to portray him as sympathetic to socialism, interpreted as state capitalism. In North America (which ironically has never known communism, nor social-democracy or anything in between) there is this widespread conviction that socialism can only lead to state capitalism, but elsewhere, like in Europe or South America, it is very much possible to imagine forms of socialism other than Leninism. I am myself fond of anarcho-syndicalism and would consider it to be a form of socialism. Pigeonholing Graeber as simply ‘far-left’ and ‘socialist’ does a profound disservice to his intellectual legacy, especially for your North American readers. I imagine, for example, that Ezra Pound would have found a lot to agree with in Graeber’s seminal “Debt: The First 5,000 Years”.

  137. @Kimberly Steele #50:

    I’ve seen a lot of churches like the ones you describe. I suppose different Starbucks patrons prefer different kinds of muzak, and if someone likes rock and roll praise band with their double-double flavour shot, who am I to judge?

    On the other hand, it’s only a bit of an exaggeration to note that the Church is constantly on the verge of death by corruption- that’s the nature of institutional religion of any kind. Reformers from St. Francis to John Wesley are constantly appearing to revive it and move it on to its next chapter. You might be anthropologically interested and/or encouraged by the New Monastic movement in the US, a contemporary and still fairly loosely organized stream that focuses on good old Biblical principles like simple living, befriending the poor, and sharing the love of Jesus with all kinds of people.

    I think Spengler had basically the right idea, and that the mingling of a Faustian Second Religiousness with a nascent Tamanous spirituality means that Christianity in America is alive and well and here to stay. Not to mention that the religion is growing vigorously in Africa and Southeast Asia, and developing mature indigenous cultural forms in Latin America. If you only look at Europe, Canada, Australia, and the blue parts of America, Christianity might look like a dying religion, but that’s not where the action is any more. Or the community gardens, for that matter!

  138. Scotlyn #101, it’s not that capitalism can exist without growth, it’s that there’s been an extreme degree of disagreement on what the end goal of socialism is supposed to look like.

    On one hand there’s William Morris’ News From Nowhere – a laid back, rural, ‘epoch of rest’. There used to be a great painting on The Idler website I was going to use to illustrate this, of peasants lounging by the side of the road while an airship drifts lazily overhead. But it’s either gone or harder to find now.

    At the other end of the scale are those who think socialism will do progress better than capitalism and finally fulfill the promise of the Enlightenment. The ultimate example of this are Iain M Banks’ Culture novels. I thought this image was lost too but managed to track it down:

    I’ve been playing a game called Half Earth Socialism – where you run a post-revolutionary economy. There are various factions including the Utopians and Accelerationists who typify the above positions and want you to follow those policies. But you can do both. With the strategy I usually play, in the first two turns you start projects including ‘compost’ and ‘space elevator’. 🙂

  139. JMG,

    Do you think there’s a risk that the obsessive focus on smallpox over the last couple years could’ve turned into an accidental magical working to bring it back? Paired with the other actions undertaken, which clearly form a “ritual”, there is a clearly focused intention (Anti-vaxxers die, preferably from smallpox), and it seems to me to fit the forms of accidental magic you’ve discussed before.

    It would also, given magic’s ability to affect prior events, help explain why vials of the virus were kept. That always struck me as a crazy decision, but it could be the easiest way the universe has for fulfilling this working….


    “I am not if sure drug dealer types are very successful from an evolutionary point of view, it does seems to be a miserable and dangerous way to live.”

    From an evolutionary perspective, the drug dealing type tends to be very successful if they can make it. There are plenty of women who are hooked on drugs and will sell themselves for them; any of which could lead to offspring. Add to this that they tend to have plenty of money, and thus access to resources to show off, and typically have contacts in the criminal underworld who can get them prostitutes, and it’s a viable strategy from an evolutionary perspective.

    The drawback? It almost always fails, miserably, quite often costing the life of the would be drug dealer. So it’s a high risk, high reward strategy; and I those tend to be miserable and dangerous for the people pursuing them.

  140. JMG (no. 138): “… I have no clue whether [A. Dugin is] connected to occultism or not.”

    Some weird post-Theosophical (in the same way that Hitler was post-Theosophical) aspects of his belief system, e.g. the conflict between Russia and the Atlantic West recapitulates an ancient one between Hyperborea and Atlantis. Lots of völkish themes.

    Jeff Russell (no. 129) “…the copyrighting of game mechanics…”


  141. Hi Chris (Fernglade),
    Of note is that electric vehicles are about 5x more efficient at point-of-use than internal combustion engines. Hence, if all diesel vehicles were electric, we would need additional electrical capacity equal to about 1/5 current diesel consumption.
    Of course, there are other issues with electric vehicles and electricity in general (eg. going from thermal fuel to electricity is only about 40% efficient, and the peak demand problems of a lot of people plugging their EVs in to charge at 6pm)
    There’s also the issue of the manufacturing cost (energy, carbon emissions) of new vehicles and EVs in particular (Volvo’s quoted number is about 27000kg CO2 per new EV manufactured, vs 16000kg per new internal combustion car) — these numbers are typically ignored by the proponents of the “just switch all cars to EVs and we’ll be good” idea.
    Cheers, Gus

  142. Kimberley Steele @ 122, there are companies whose business is bioremediation. I believe sunflowers and hemp are among the best plants, called bio accumulators, for soil cleansing. I imagine that, if the legal teams which have already filed suit against Northrop-Southern are at all competent, they are already having discussions with some of those companies about the cost of such remediation. I believe I may have read that the dreaded invasive water hyacinth performs a similar service for contaminated water.

    Incidentally, has it been reported, anywhere, by anyone, whom it is that owns N-S?

  143. Steve T @ 143, I don’t know about the Ewok narrative, I will take your word for that, but I would like to say that I am equally fed up with the habit of 20th and 21st century writers of invoking Hellenic deities, wrenched out of their spiritual contexts, and compelling said deities to do duty embodying or signifying present day preoccupations and obsessions. Furthermore, there is not much excuse, IMHO, for the ignoring of chronology and geography displayed by such contemporary fantasists. I refuse to call them thinkers.

    The hero Orpheus was from Thrace (contemporary Bulgaria), which was not part of Hellas, and was where the Hellenes went slave hunting. The Chians even founded a colony on the coast of Thrace from which they sent out such hunting expeditions. Mythology has Orpheus participating in the Voyage of the Argonaut, suggesting that his legend dated back to Greek Dark Age or even Mycenean times. He may have been a real person around whom legends accreted. Plato flourished in Athens in the first half of the 4thC BC, after Athens’ defeat in the Peloponnesian War and before the conquests of Alexander. That would be at least 500 years after worship, or rites paid to heroes, would have been established for Orpheus, and I am not sure that he was ever venerated at Athens, which had its’ own famous Eleusinian mysteries. Proclus, one of the last pagan philosophers of antiquity, was born about 412 AD, or some 700 or so years after Plato. Furthermore, there is not much evidence, or I have not yet seen it, that the Athenians were neglecting the Eleusinian mysteries during Plato’s lifetime, quite the contrary, I believe.

    Why must it always be Greek deities pressed into service by modern intellectuals? Why not mine some other pantheons?

  144. To all:

    Couple of points:
    Using plants to remediate contamination is now (phytoremediation) an accepted technique in the industry . The problem at East Palestine is contaminant mass: according to NPR (yes, they are not the most reliable, but I assume they can count) 10 cars containing chemicals derailed. An earlier story I read had 5 tank cars on fire (apparently containing vinyl chloride (VC) based on the story). Assuming 10,000-gallons per car (could be more), that’s a lot of VC. Only one car had to be blown up (controlled explosion), but the others could have been damaged. If their pressure relief valves worked, they were likely releasing VC. Following this on the news has the problem that they are talking about things they have no knowledge or understanding of.

    First, such high concentrations remaining in soil will likely kill new plantings (while volatile, it hasn’t ALL gone up into the atmosphere). Second, the time needed will be such that none of us readers will likely to be around; the rates of the degradation reactions involved aren’t high and that amount of contaminants added to the environment will possibly change the geochemistry locally. Third: a little VC contaminates a LOT of soil, groundwater, and air. Fourth: remediating something like that will likely hit “Technical Impracticability” (no matter how much you want to and how much money is spent, it can’t be cleaned up in a timeframe under many years). The normal remedial approach is mass recovery (difficult and still slow).

    That is the reason industries now try to avoid releases; a large one is expensive and difficult/very costly to remediate. Maybe the railroad company accountants will remember that next time they think cost cutting (labor, inspections, safety sensors) is the answer. Maybe not (the Administration just sat on the railroad unions).

    Also, I get email feeds of USEPA news releases for work, East Palestine is absent (it does show up on their home page, in fairness).

    I echo others here: prayers for East Palestine and downwind are in order.


  145. Re: Northwind Grandma at #67 and Lothar von Hackelberg #147:

    Prussia has definitely got the bad rap. It is the only country that I know of banned by the UN (yes really). I agree with Lothar, but I also think blind terror is responsible. Germany (with Prussia as the unifying force) was winning World War I (at incredible costs) until the US entered the war.

    I wonder if some is also guilty conscience. Europe and the US didn’t always welcome the expelled German Jews before the war with open arms, and, though not mentioned now, All of western Europe and the USA had no major problem with antisemitism. Western governments had the idea of letting Germany fight the USSR and trying to stay out of it all; if not for the USSR and US, they would have been toast in WW2 (again: blind terror).

    BTW, Frederick II of Prussia (a/k/a Frederick the Great) was homosexual; this is generally accepted by modern historians of most colors. Maybe screaming homophobia at the top of our lungs in the answer to Prussian rehabilitation.

    His great adversary, the Empress/Queen Maria Theresa, was (obviously) a woman.


  146. To Lathechuck (104) re: “Pentagon officials are warning soldiers to avoid poppyseed rolls, because it may cause them to fail a random drug test. Poppyseeds can be contaminated with morphine and codeine.”

    The first part is absolutely true. I was squadron legal officer and had one of my officers pop positive for opioids after hoovering down about a dozen of his wife’s poppyseed muffins.

    The second bit is nonsense, though.

  147. Re exzema, my herbal tradition says the state of your skin reflects the state of your gut, fix the gut to fix skin problems. Gut problems are often diet based for which I like to suggest trying the Weston Price/Nourishing Traditions diet for a few months since it deals with the major issues in typical western diets but is not too different to a mainstream ‘healthy’ diet. If it works then you can try tweaking one thing at a time to try and narrow down the actual problems. If that doesn’t work you can try an elimination diet though they are a pain and ideally you want some support to make sure you do it right and don’t end up chasing your tail. Healthy sleep patterns and resolving chronic stress/anxiety are also important. YMMV

  148. Germany is/was going to send 14 leopard 2 and 88 leopard 1 tanks to ukraine.

    Interesting both 14, 88 and 1488 have special numerological significance to NeoNazis (not certain if numerology is the correct term here.)

    While it seems reasonable that it is just a coincidence that Germany is send a hate symbol of tanks to Ukraine, it also occurred to me that human adjency might be involved (does Putin have somebody in the German military, some sort of passive aggressive method of the german military showing there displeasure at having to send the tanks.) I was wondering whether their could be some more esoteric reason for the seeming coincidence? (Jungian collective unconscious?)

  149. Hi John Michael,

    I had an insight into the constant fixation on bodies in mystery literature.

    Humour me here for a second. Now with that fixation in fiction, if you actually live in a world of power imbalances, like I dunno, what I get to experience, maybe the the message I take away is that things could always be worse – at least you’re not getting killed like those unfortunate shmucks in fiction. Repeat the message often enough.

    If an author wrote about say, blackmail, extortion or good old fashioned stand over tactics – people might begin making unpleasant comparisons to their lived experience.

    The killing line though, might get crossed. Just sayin…

    Sorry to be a bummer, but that’s how it looks to me. The idea popped into my head when I was forced to accept that a gobarment chunk of technology which I’m forced to use, came with no liability, and in fact the liability was pushed downwards onto me – even if they were at fault. Mate, talk about hard to comprehend. Oh well, that’s life in a system in decline for ya.



  150. With regards China/Taiwan. My understanding is that currently a large percentage of China’s export revenues are captured by Foreign investors. It occurred to me that if hostilities did break out, that would give the CPC an excuse to expropriate those foriegn investments. Any idea how desireable that would be to the chinese leadership?

  151. Mr. Greer,

    I am a man who is curious about something that happened to him a few years ago. While I was talking online with a woman who had an…enormous capacity for pleasure, shall we say, I had an interesting experience. Both hands on the keyboard, twitching with orgasmic bliss. I can now do so at will, without the usual results or physical limitations that you would expect. It can last as long as 30 minutes, wave after wave of pleasure, and as easily as touching my nose.

    What does this mean – if anything? I don’t think I’ve changed that much as a result of it, although I am angrier and more emotionally labile. Which is not something that I enjoy about myself.

    It is a lot like this
    with a lot more conscious ability to control it; when this first started there were times, that first month, that it occasionally happened involuntarily. Now it’s solidly under control – at least when I am sober. If I am stoned, it can happen involuntarily; less so if I am drunk.

    Care to offer any information or advice?

  152. About 8 years ago on your previous blog, I said that the whole AI think couldn’t be totally dismissed. As the promises made by the engineers in the near term looked deliverable. Last year, the fastest supercomputer broke the 1000 peta flops line which was supposed to mark the point of human brain equivalence.
    That said the software advancements made in the last year, seem also to be approaching human equivalence on much inferior kit.
    Don’t know if your following the whole bing/Sydney and GPT thing.
    GPT 3 was supposedly trained for 1 GWh, a 2MW wind turbine quite small by modern standards churns out 4.3GWh per year at 25% capacity.
    ChatGPT and bing are open to the general public so they cannot be that resource intensive, in use.
    Do you think the whole thing can be dismissed on energy grounds still?
    Given the speed of the advances, I’ve got the horrible feeling everything is going to get up ended by ai about a decade before energy and resource constraints bite.

  153. Re churches. In the northern suburbs of Sacramento CA, I have noticed that some of the local churches seem to have a rotation of free dinners: Tuesday at one church, Thursday at another. Not being in need of free dinners I have not determined whether they happen somewhere in the area every night. These are different denominations, not the same denomination in different areas.

    As for food gardens, the local food bank has either purchased or leased about an acre of ground. They use it to raise vegetables and also to run short gardening summer camps for local kids. This particular suburb is semi-rural, so more land is available than might be the case in more compact suburbs.


  154. Aloysius, yes, I’ve heard about that. Every religious movement has its morons, and I’m sorry to say that pop Wicca these days is better stocked with them than most.

    Your Kittenship, I eat every one of those bacon cheeseburgers as a penance! 😉

    Milkyway, there are other options but Agrippa’s Latin is nice and clean, and of course translations are easy to come by.

    Team10tim, any time I say anything even mildly critical about socialism I get socialist trolls. Any time I say anything even mildly realistic about nuclear power I get nuclear power trolls. Those are the two most consistent sets of trolls these days, in terms of popping up on cue.

    Aldarion, I have no idea; I haven’t studied the subject. Keep in mind that a soul entering into incarnation is drawn to a body that will meet its karmic needs, and so effectively can pick and choose among fertilized ova to find the one with the characteristic best suited to it.

    Tony, of course it’s an effective strategy in much of life. The aggressive salesman makes the sale; the aggressive executive gets the promotion; the aggressive general wins the battle. In Ukraine right now, what’s determining the outcome of a struggle that could preserve or destroy US global hegemony? Which side’s generals and soldiers are better at killing the other side’s. I’m not claiming that this is a good thing. I’m suggesting that it’s a reality.

    Dylan, I hadn’t, but I’ll look into it.

    Tony, of course there’s more to life than aggression; that doesn’t mean that it can be done without. There’s more to life than having bowel movements, but I don’t recommend you try to give up that habit, either! In magical terms, each of the basic powers of the cosmos has its necessary place in human life, and aggression — Mars in astrology, Geburah in Cabala, 5 in numerology, and so on — is one of those basic powers. Of course it needs to be integrated and used constructively, but it’s always going to be a basic element of human existence.

    Chris, I think that same rule does indeed apply very generally.

    Bucintoro, what a fine job of reading things into my comment that aren’t there! My point, again, is simply that if a writer blames the myth of progress on capitalism, rather than industrialism as such, they’re ignoring or evading the fact that socialism (i.e., state capitalism) has all the same problems. Of course it’s possible to imagine forms of socialism other than Leninist totalitarian state capitalism; it’s equally possible to imagine pigs with wings. That doesn’t justify insisting that you can catch your breakfast bacon with a butterfly net.

    Anonymous, good question. Fortunately, magical workings don’t always succeed — and there are other ways to cause mass dieoff. It’s unfortunately possible that an inadequately tested experimental vaccine that wrecks the immune systems of those who take it might be one of those ways.

    Lydia, delighted to hear it.

    Bei, can you point me to some reasonably evenhanded discussions of the occult aspects of Dugin’s ideology?

    Mister N, my main response is that you’d think a Jewish writer would be a little more careful about flinging around the kind of language that can lead to pogroms. It’s only a very short step from blaming the old gods to blaming their worshippers, and we all know where that tends to end up.

    Chris, hmm! That makes sense. Well, they’ll have to deal with it, because there will be no murders in the Ariel Moravec occult mystery novels — just lots of theft, embezzlement, blackmail, kidnapping, et al.

    Dagnarus, I could see it!

    Twitch, that’s not something I’ve ever encountered, and it’s not referenced in the occult materials I’ve studied. You might see if you can find a Tantric teacher who can advise you.

    JP, well, we’ll see, won’t we? I’m still skeptical.

  155. @Bei Dawei #157 re: “copyrighting” vs “patenting” game mechanics

    My understanding is that this isn’t a particularly settled area of law, as not a lot of challenges have come up, and those that have have mostly been settled outside of court judgments. In the RPG industry, I think most folks have defaulted to copyright rather than patenting, even if patenting might conceptually have more to do with what’s happening (a “novel procedure”), because you don’t have to apply for copyright – you have it by default until someone challenges it. Also, RPGs have been primarily expressed as writing, which has historically been handled more via copyright than patenting.

    So, my understanding (again, not a lawyer), is that most RPG creators have settled for asserting “copyright” for what they have written. This has protected the specific language used to describe mechanics and, maybe to a lesser degree, obviously novel creative concepts (for example, TSR/WoTC/Hasbro has always asserted that the monsters called Beholders were the creation of Gary Gygax and are protected intellectual property). Theoretically, you might be able to patent the procedure of “roll an icosahedron marked with numbers 1-20, add any plus or minus modifiers indicated by the character sheet, and compare to a table holding armor classes to determine if a ‘hit’ has been scored”, as opposed to copyrighting the specific language used to describe that procedure. I haven’t yet heard of anyone successfully patenting table top game mechanical procedures (but to be fair, I haven’t looked much into it). I think this is mostly due to difficulty in arguing for “new” and “useful” – how “new” is rolling 1d20 in D&D from rolling 2d6 for craps? How “useful” is creating attributes to describe a fictional character for the purpose of exploring an imaginary dungeon? Add to all this the fact that most patent clerks, lawyers, and judges are much more focused on physical devices (or more lately, software), and it seems very unlikely to me that even Hasbro will successfully patent particular game mechanics. And even if they did, creators wishing to be compatible with existing rules could just write something like “use the rules from your preferred rule set for monsters that are the third sequential categorization of effectiveness”.

    Perhaps relevant historical example: Gary Gygax penned Advanced Dungeons and Dragons more-or-less solo as a way to avoid continuing paying royalties to Dave Arneson, the co-author of the original Dungeons and Dragons. Arneson sued, as AD&D used a lot of the same game mechanics, monster concepts, and so forth, but had entirely new writing (so, new copyright). I think they settled, but it was basically successful for TSR – Arneson didn’t get a cut of anything further from D&D. Had Arneson successfully patented some game mechanics, he might have had a more favorable position.

    But, once more, I’m not an expert or a lawyer! (But I should probably ask the entertainment IP lawyer in my D&D group what he thinks. . .)


  156. JMG (no. 172)

    (This one has a good literature review, and covers the Hyperborea vs. Atlantis thing.)

    There are also more general (i.e. not occult-focused) monographs from Michael Millerman (“Inside “Putin’s Brain”: The Political Philosophy of Alexander Dugin” and Marlène Laruelle (“Russian Eurasianism: An Ideology of Empire”). Everybody seems to come up with slightly different influences on Dugin that the others miss!

  157. I came across an old news story from the last recession ( 2008) that seems to be a really good analogy of what collapse will be like . Many people imagine collapse like Mad Max or a zombie movie. but I think this true story of a young sandwich shop manager is a good one. A little after 2008 a Quizno’s sandwhich shop in the Seattle area was abandoned by its owner for undisclosed financial reasons. The doors were not locked, the sign was not taken down and the employees were not laid off. Financial and logistical support from the owner and Chain headquarters just stopped. The young woman who managed the store didn’t really understand why supplies weren’t showing up as normal but she did her best to make do. She used cash from the till to buy supplies and pay a the few employees that stuck around using old pay stubs to estimate withholdings. She traded with other stores and modified the menu as needed. Amazingly the store stayed open for many months with no support from its absent owner or chain headquarters, but only because of the adaptability and perseverance of its manager ( some might ask why not just leave and get a regular job). As we face collapse it will not be zombies, marauding gangs, or canabalism that have to contend with but just the disappearance of the economic and government structures we have come to depend on. Surviving will not be about how much gold you have, or how many solar panels, but how adaptable you are to changing circumstances. Except as things move forward we will be stuck in the sandwich shop, quitting for another job won’t be an option.

  158. So far the energy situation hasn’t devolved as bad as expected yet, here in Austria but also the rest of Europe.
    Once again my fears of an energy collapse were premature, as they are since years. Another point to our host!
    However as Lenin said: sometimes for ten years nothing happens, sometimes it takes two days for things to happen that would fill ten years.

    Rising energy costs and generally rising living costs are very visible. However in my office environment, these things only see little debate, and I have the feeling most middle class office workers in IT still don’t expect much of a real crisis.
    It is obvious from their statements about their expectations of science and technology in the future, cult of progress unabated.

    One former colleague came to visit, he now resides and works in Switzerland. He earns 10.000 Euro net in a month, about 3-4 times what he made here in Austria. However he says that everyday costs aren’t that much higher than over there.
    I wonder if Switzerland will be sucked into the vortex if things go bad – after all, energy has to come from somewhere and I take it the country is dependend on the Western economies.

    I don’t think if an Eastern economic block is fully formed, they will have need for Switzerland as a financial centre.

    Apart from that, I hear of blackout warnings and exercises in schools and institutions in Austria, so government institutions are already preparing.

    Meanwhile, the news of Western production problems in the war industry and misfortunate for the stakes in the Ukraine war make it as major headlines in our major news outlets, that after these same things were mentioned in fringe media and blogs since at least September.

    In April, as far as I know, Germany is to shut down three nuclear plants, they cannot be restored due to technical reasons, ever. This is predicted to make a huge dent in energy generation.

    Several costs just like energy and rent, but that just among others, are scheduled to rise during March and April, while states keep adding taxes everywhere.

    May be a threshhold of pain will be reached even for the middle classes, although certainly many in debt or low wage jobs are already struggling.

    Gold and Silver seem to be falling due to small holders selling their assets because they need cash. may be a sign.

    Winter is subsiding, that will technnically appease our energy strain for a while, although a modern consumer economy likes to waste gargantuan amounts of energy for cooling in the hotter months too.

    France is reported to have generated as little electricity from its nuclear plants last year as in 1988 (when I was born, a good joke to me).

    German industries are moving out of Europe as predicted, but the process isn’t that fast, it’s still in the planning phase.

    I know that several car manufacturers in Germany have scaled down their domestic production already.

    Seems the aftermath is yet to come, spanning across this year.


    Bottom line: rising problems are felt, but among the comfortable classes, business as usual mostly persists and no real changes are apparent.

  159. JMG,

    New Hampshire is still on our list of potential places to settle more permanently in response to a clearly warming planet. Hyperborea 2.0 anyone? We moved here from South Georgia for the same reason 11 years ago, but that advantage is quickly evaporating. Something more radical may be in order if we’re going to finish out our lives in one place. Add passenger rail service, favorable real estate flip, pre-industrial social geography, hands-off tax laws…music to my ears.

  160. @JMG – Fair enough. I won’t argue or comment further either, except to say that, in my considered opinion, your familiarity with Graeber’s work or POV is shallow – understandably, not everyone can be familiar with everything, and! I do know that the size of your own “to read” pile is ginormous. 😉

    You have stated the opinion that the difference between your view and Graeber’s “is that he thinks that socialism is immune from such follies” [Graeber does not think this] “and I recognize that socialism in practice is simply state capitalism, with all the flaws inherent in that.” [Graeber would be in strong agreement with you on this point].

    I’m happy to let this rest here. Peace.

  161. @ Darkest Yorkshire – I cannot help noticing that you, too, have filled your answer to a question that I posed *entirely* about “capitalism” and its inseparability from the “limitlessness” theme of faustian progress, with stuff about socialism. I find this to be almost like a nervous “tic” in people. It does not seem possible to have an entire conversation with *anyone* about capitalism without bringing socialism into the conversation.

    You begin, thusly: “Scotlyn #101, it’s not that capitalism can exist without growth, it’s that there’s been an extreme degree of disagreement on what the end goal of socialism is supposed to look like.” And, essentially, you, too, have changed the subject entirely away from the (to me) most interesting question of whether it is possible to conceive of a capitalism that lacks a “limitless growth of capital” imperative.

    My question remains unanswered and my curiosity remains unquenched, because it relates entirely to how people concieve of capitalism, and has nothing at all to do with socialism – which does not strike me as a genuine “alternative” in any of its flavours, although it is quite successful in preventing people from genuinely exploring the nature of capitalism.

  162. Hi Gus,

    How are you goin? I hear you, but man, spare a thought for me a second. I’m simply trying to understand how the power system here could ever charge such a beast. The most electricity I’ve ever used in a single day with the power system is 24.4kWh. And towards the end of the day, the system was running warm. And do I really want to heat the inverter up every single day – and it’s a unit built by a mob up in Queensland who design and manufacture the things to cope with Australian ambient air temperatures. I dunno man, but I’d be really happy to be proven incorrect.



  163. It’s amazing, I didn’t know that hip hop/rap music is older than I am! (and I’m not a teenager…). Next August 11 rap will have its 50th birthday!

    In the article, Dan Runcie writes that there will be even a hip hop museum…Interesting.

    John and kommentariat: Any comment on this topic, even relating it with Spengler maybe? Do you like this music? Would be rap music the next dark age epic poetry?

  164. Another topic for you all. I’ve read in a History book that French King had “healing powers” since the Middle Ages, but Spanish Kings didn’t have any of these supposed healing powers.Do you think these powers were more than suggestion? And… Do you know any serious book (not biased into rationalistic prejudices) on that topic?(thaumatuge kings). It’s a very exciting topic EMO.

  165. Mr. Greer, I have a question for you that’s related to graphic design — but also to a trend I’ve been noticing that’s starting to get more attention. How long do you think the current trend for “flat design”, where most products designed by and for corporations use simple geometric shapes and flat colours, will last? I’m starting to see an increasing amount of backlash against the style in articles and videos, both online and elsewhere. It makes sense — I’ve always seen the style as being ugly and boring, perfect for the corporations that tend to use it most — but I’m interested to hear what you have to say. Considering the histories of other art styles, how much longer do you think it’ll last?

    Ecosopian (#124), we may see a world war in the next few decades, but I’m skeptical that it’ll lead to any major conflict between the US, Russia, and China — at least for now. As long as those big three players have nuclear weapons, they stand to lose a lot more from conflict than they could gain. Instead, we’ll probably see an increased frequency of cyber attacks and other sabotage tactics by all sides — in effect, not World War III, but Cold War II.

  166. @Steve T: I’ve bookmarked your post, and if Ted Giola makes the claims about Plato in an upcoming chapter of his new book on Substack, then I may play the gadfly for a moment and post a couple of those examples you cited from Plato as comments on Giola’s post to see if and how he responds! 🙂 And yes, I should follow your lead and read more Plato myself.

  167. @JMG: In your post on Owen Barfield, you wrote about original participation.

    …they did not differentiate their thoughts about things from the things themselves, and therefore the world they experienced included their thoughts. When some ancient person experienced a tree or a mountain or a star as a conscious being gazing back at them, that was an actual experience, as real as the typical modern experience of tree, mountain, or star as dead matter with no life, consciousness, or meaning of its own.

    I was going to ask a question about how to reconcile both views, and I may have answered my own question: how can I imagine that something like the sun is a conscious being when I know it is composed of matter and chemical reactions? Well, my wife is composed of matter and chemical reactions but she is also a conscious being with her own agency. Or at least I experience her as such. Therefore, I can choose to look at the sun in the same way.

    But does this mean that the difference between original participation and final participation is a matter of choice in this way?

    If in original participation, I don’t differentiate my thoughts from things themselves, then I can’t help experiencing the world in a certain way. Final participation seems to imply that I am aware that my thoughts are separate from things, but I then choose to experience the world as composed of conscious beings anyway? What happens if I become aware that I am aware of my own thought processes, which seems to be something encouraged by some spiritual practices? That implies a further state of separation, of thought from thought along with thought from things.

    I also notice something about being aware that I am aware. I seem to be either fully absorbed in, say, the view outside, or in a daydream, for example. Or, I am aware that I was just admiring the view or absorbed in my daydream. I can’t seem to be both fully engaged in what absorbs my consciousness, and at the same time, aware that my mind is being absorbed. I don’t know if the goal of this type of reflection is to have that simultaneous awareness, or just to notice that something is occupying my awareness?

  168. This one is for the general commentariat.

    Is it possible for capitalism to be discussed without reference to socialism? If not, why not?

    If so, then I’m *really* interested in anything you have to say, because I am so bored of the fact that two sentences in to any conversation about capitalism is generally as far as I can get without fielding a mention of socialism, which immediately stops *that* conversation being interesting, useful or productive.

    Why do people assume that to speak of capitalism entails speaking of socialism? It mystifies me!

  169. @ Mary Bennett– My guess is that this happens because we still believe, rightly or wrongly, that our civilization originates in ancient Greece. But also, because the Graeco-Roman deities are still with us, shaping our minds at very deep levels, and we can’t help but think with them. This is especially true of people who “don’t believe in” them, because they’re helpless against powers that their unbelief renders invisible.

  170. I have no realistic expectation I’ll be able to get caught up on the comments, but I did want to share my annual cute baby goat video for those who enjoy seeing goat kids bottle feeding.
    I still have a nanny who hasn’t kidded yet, so I’ll have another video clip next month of those (I am expecting another set of twins). Bottling my baby goats is my springtime joy!

  171. Re; Emily Kohrs – I didn’t see much to prove she was a witch, not having the eyesight to decipher all those tiny screen shots. But behaving like a giggling 13-year-old teeny-bopper with too much caffeine in her system? A grown woman and a so-called public figure? Who elected this twit?!?!?

  172. #2 Andy and #5 Justin: If I may, major publishers are looking for “product” (books) to sell and they prefer to acquire products that will make The Big Bucks. These are generally formula works, written for the widest audience possible. By reading your posts, it looks like your works would be better aimed toward a small specialty publisher. If you haven’t already, you might check out “The Writer’s Market”, an annual listing of publishers and what they are looking for. Our host may have additional recommendations.

    Small houses generally are much more personable than large ones, make fewer changes to your work (typically just fixing typos and awkward phrasing). They don’t charge you for any services. Promotion is more often through their websites, and reaches only a small potential audience — no appearance on Oprah — and offers little or no advance on your sales. Your best avenue of publicity is your own website, book signings in your area, and a bit of self-promotion. You might not earn big bucks, or even small bucks. But you can utilize the publication to move up to a larger publisher later who’ll only look at agented or previously published authors.

    I’m a contract editor for a small publisher for the past decade, speaking from experience. The publishing house (Auctoritas) recently changed hands and is looking to expand their book list. The website is down at the moment until plans are finalized. I’d be happy to have a look at your manuscripts or proposals, no obligation of course. If they won’t work for us, I’ll let you know ASAP so you’re not dangling. My email is (one word) elk river at (one word) 4 secure mail dot com. Put “BOOK” in the subject header so I don’t miss it.

  173. Congratulations on your latest initiations, JMG!

    Regarding Naomi Wolf’s latest Substack piece:

    I posted a brief comment, to the effect that not all polytheists should be lumped in together, and someone expressed an interest in reading a rebuttal.

    I’ve started to draft something already, but in this case, the more the merrier, so I’d like to extend the invitation out to everyone here. I agree with JMG’s concerns that this sort of finger-pointing could lead to some pretty nasty scapegoating in the future, so if sensible polytheists and occultists can start to raise their voices on this matter, we might stand a chance at mitigating that risk.

  174. @JMG Thanks for the encouragement; I will certainly be pursuing this. I’m in the happy position of being a complete amateur (original meaning) so no real need for a publisher but it would be nice to see the idea at least glanced at by others though.

    I’m ordering the new book btw. Looks fun.

    @Robert Matheisen. Thanks for the link to Spengler. My old printer gave up the ghost just before Christmas but the new one will have a mammoth job waiting for it when it arrives next week.

    @Brendhelm Quite so. Interesting isn’t it?

    @elkriver. Saw your comment just I was posting this. Small bucks to no bucks is not a problem. Always happy to make a proposal, I’ll be in touch.

  175. Hi Chris (#148),
    Agreed, but keep in mind this is the U.S. – the standard service entrance here is 240V 200A and some localities even require 240V 400A for new construction! My EVSE (charger) is on an old 30A 240V circuit I repurposed from a water heater. I keep it throttled to 12A – easier on the battery, the house, the transformer out at the pole, and the utility, and still recharges the car from a long trip in a day or so.
    You’re way off on the DC chargers – the Bolt is considered a slouch because it can “only” charge at 50kW. Most new chargers here are rated at 150-350kW, looking forward to all those Hummers and electric pickup trucks.
    Regarding range, we make a 250km round trip once in a while – had the Bolt been unable to do that on a single charge it would not have passed spousal muster!
    Lithium ion batteries are real prima donnas, as you well know – the Bolt battery has its own heater and air conditioner. Most of the battery life horror stories are from Leafs, which had no battery conditioning!
    (And in this case the Bolt WAS the “smaller, cheaper car” – this one was far less than average. I quickly found out why (defective touchscreen), but it was repaired under warranty and all is now well.)
    (And as a bonus (this is getting too long!) it can power my refrigerator and furnace for days if utility power goes out!)

  176. @Chuaquin #182, I think rap has incredible potential as a poetic form for the future. A while back, I spent a couple of years working for the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, and there was a lot of hand-wringing about “why don’t people care about poetry anymore?”, especially young people. The frequent answer was that people *do* care about it, and deeply, but since the dawn of radio, they mainly engage with it in the form of music, in which rap plays a huge but maligned role. (And the response from the higher-ups—not the editor, but the board—was the face you make when your cat brings you a dead squirrel.) To their credit, they brought on a lot of talented young poets involved in various music scenes, but overall there still seems to be such an allergy to rhyme and form. And this is a real shame, since these things, in my observation, create an almost mandala-like structure into which inspiration can land. My sense is that poetry today lives more under the yoke of the music industry than the whip of elitist academia.

    @Ethan #184 Just chipping in as a former graphic designer here…I am also sick of this style, but I have to admit I find it helpful for identifying corporate glorp that I’d like to tune out! The small businesses where I live seem full-in on twee, retro-inspired branding, presumably to convey nostalgia and a kind of innocent distance from corporate giants. I’ll be curious to see if any big companies shift their branding in a similar way to be seen as one of the “good ones.”

  177. Dagnarus #166,
    Re Germany sending tanks to Ukraine: this made me laugh:

    Chuaquin #183,
    Re kings with healing powers: I’m reminded of the prophecy about Aragorn in The Return of the King: “the hands of a king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.” I assume Tolkien was tapping into some ancient legends and energy, as he so often did – I’d like to know more about the origin of that idea.

  178. @Jim W. I’ve not had a chance to go through the comments carefully this week until this evening (thank gods it’s Friday etc.). Thank you for your suggestions as well. I’m inclined to just write it and then decide whether I have a tweet, an article, or a book. Its fate would be clearer at that point.

  179. Hi JMG,

    Thanks for your previous reply.

    Is it reasonable to expect that a significant portion of the population in Western Countries will go back to farming – or at least rely more on gardening – in the next 20-30 years? As it makes sense for farmers to have lots of kids to help them and for their retirement, does that mean that this part of the population will grow again?

  180. Scotlyn #179, your post referred not only to capitalism but David Graeber’s anarchism and JMG’s opinion of communism. So socialism was already on the table.

    I didn’t go into whether capitalism can exist without growth because I agree with your initial impulse that it can’t. I recently tried to dig into that and find more details on why it can’t, but don’t remember finding anything particularly impressive. In light of what JMG said about whether it’s capitalism, or other limits, that render progress impossible, the interesting question seemed to be whether socialism thinks it can pick up the mantle of growth from capitalism or not.

    But to be honest the reason I didn’t talk about capitalism is I’m tired of it. I’ve been a revolutionary socialist since I was fourteen. I’m 42 years old and I’m so tired of talking about capitalism. If I have the chance to divert to hopeful novels, art, and a freaking utopian computer game, I’m going to take it.

  181. @Curt , with inflation at 10% how many years before the comfortable class sees its income divided by two and they are join the lower middle class? How much healthcare can they expect in their old age with a degrading care system?

  182. Scotlyn @ 187 I don’t know enough about socialism to discuss it. Are Scandinavian so-called social democracies to be considered socialist or not? Not, apparently according to our host’s definitions. About capitalism, first I doubt anyone in the ownership class any longer believes in a limitless future, and maybe never did. I think those folks are grabbing what they can while they can, knowing that fairly soon now, the jig will be up. Those estates in places like Paraguay are not refuges from the ravening hordes but hide outs to escape prosecution. Smart successors of Trump, whose fundamental loyalties do remain with his own social class, will realize that a. the Big Rich is where the money is, and b. quite a lot of that money can be seized by a combination of taxation and righteous prosecution.

    It is my own view that capitalism is, contrary to popular opinion and capitalists’ own propaganda, highly inefficient. It is highly inefficient because capitalists believe that human beings are interchangeable. It is because of this belief that capitalist offices and workplaces are rife with nepotism, favoritism, pampered incompetence, and every other form of what is called “office politics”. I see this sort of thing as a feature, not a bug. By contrast, feudalism is devastatingly efficient. If you are a fletcher and the baron needs arrows, you will be making arrows. You might be hanged for making bad arrows, but you won’t lose your position– lodging in the castle, fed at the baron’s table, workshop provided, employment for your wife, and so on–to nepotism or because someone doesn’
    t like your personality.

  183. Bei, thanks for these.

    Clay, hmm! Do you have a link? That would be well worth using in a future post.

    Curt, many thanks for the data points! Yes, that’s about what I expected.

    Grover, New England has its advantages, no question.

    Chris, why, yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. It does indeed make for much more interesting fiction, oddly enough.

    Chuaquin, it will indeed; I discussed that in the latter part of this post. I’m not especially a fan, but I certainly recognize its power and potential as an art form. As for thaumaturge kings, kingship was originally a sacred thing, surrounded by a lot of magic; I don’t happen to know any books on the subject off hand, but I’d be interested to know what other people have found.

    Ethan, the great advantage (to the corporations) of “flat design” is that it’s cheap. It can be churned out readily by the untalented and requires no skill to design or construct. I suspect they’ll cling to it as long as they can for that reason, and it won’t go away until products that use more creative designs start outselling “flat design” products.

    Jbucks, excellent. You’re moving in the direction that series of posts will go. Without giving too many spoilers, I’ll note that “final participation” is a mirage — the historical process moves from original participation to disenchantment and then back to original participation, rinse and repeat. Barfield is trying to impose a linear teleology on a cycle. The nature of that cycle — why, we’ll be exploring that in much more detail as we proceed.

    Scotlyn, in my experience, it’s because so many people who want to talk about capitalism these days want to blame it for all the world’s problems, and so the logical response for those who disagree is to point out that the same problems are common under socialism — thus demonstrating that the critique is misdirected. Have you noticed this immediate reference to socialism happening in any conversation where the original speaker was talking about the positive features of capitalism?

    Kmgunnart, thank you for this! Weirdly, because that’s what the shop had when I went to buy one, our calendar here at home has twelve pictures of goats in trees…

    Luke, thank you for this. I’m sorry to say I don’t expect to have time to contribute any time soon, but you certainly have my blessing.

    Andy, you’re most welcome.

    Tony, that’s one of the big questions just now. The current population in most Western countries is far too large to support themselves by farming, however, so there are hard limits to how many people can return to farming — and there’s also the fact that most Western countries are admitting very large numbers of immigrants from countries where peasant farming is still the standard way of life, so it’s rather more likely that the immigrants will become the farm population and leave a lot of the current residents to cling to a waning supply of urban jobs, or starve.

  184. @Chuaquin (#183):

    The English kings claimed the same healing power as the French kings. There’s a fairly good — for Wikipedia — elementary article on it under the heading “Royal Touch.”

  185. @ Darkest Yorkshire – I beg to differ. If you re-read my #101 post, you will not find the words “socialism” “communism” or even “anarchism” therein. I was most specifically querying an apparent distinction being made between “capitalism” and “limitless progress”.

    OTOH, I tend to agree entirely with our host to the degree that it is extremely difficult for me to imagine how being “tired of capitalism” is consistent with being a “socialist”. From where I stand, socialism seems set to continue cementing capitalism firmly in place – mostly by preventing people from usefully “seeing” the actual shape of it, and by seriously stunting the imagination needed to stride away from it in a million and one different directions.

    Socialism, from where I stand, does not admit of the type of “creative dissensus” our host has often envisioned, and which I also favour, since socialists generally envision the (supposedly) right people (depending on which flavour of socialism is favoured) seizing the existing “one ring to rule them all” and continuing to wield it themselves (supposedly) for good.

    Personally, I do not think there is any good thing to be hoped for from any wielder of “the one ring” whatever their flavour or inclination.

    Creative dissensus, so say I. (Which has the advantage that each of us can begin forging our path already… we do not have to wait to see who is wielding the “one ring”). 😉

  186. @ Chris #43
    RE: The future of EVs

    I was thinking about this very question the other day because I’ve noticed a mindless push for EV and EV-related incentives where I live. Some want to put EV requirements in zoning codes and everything.

    I was wondering where this would all end when it suddenly occurred to me—wait a second, biodiesel has quietly disappeared! That gave me pause, because I remember Neil Young riding across the country in a biodiesel bus and can clearly recall reading magazine articles about how we could recycle used fast-food fryer oil into diesel fuel. The only downside would be the smell of french fries as trucks drove by, they said!

    Now, here we are ( maybe 20 years later? ), and it has all quietly gone away.

    I talked to the guy who manages the road maintenance department of my town. He’s responsible for purchasing, using and maintaining a bunch of diesel vehicles, so I figured he’d know. I asked him: “Whatever happened to biodiesel?” His explanation basically boiled down to cost. It seems refining vegetable oils into fuel requires some complicated and probably expensive steps, so regular diesel fuel is still cheaper than the used fryer oil or vegetable oil. The other reason he gave—and the irony was not lost on me—is he believes the stringent emissions regulations also make biodiesel untenable. That wouldn’t surprise me!

    I predict EVs will travel along much the same lines (pun intended). For one thing, it’s fairly common knowledge that Teslas aren’t profitable without government subsidies. When the PMCs eventually realize they can’t pay for themselves, there will be no fanfare or admission that the EV push was misguided. It will just be that one day a few years from now, we’ll scratch our heads and say, “Hey, whatever happened to EVs? I thought everyone was supposed to be driving EVs by now?”

  187. @ Mary Bennett – thank you so much for bringing something different to the table by introducing feudalism as a contrast to capitalism. 🙂

    One of Graeber’s insights is that we are all already conversant with, and use in our daily lives, several non-market ways to exchange goods. His point is that we tend to seamlessly switch from one to another, depending on the circumstances and the company. As far as I recall, off the top of his head, he mentions three.
    1) Gift exchange. The gift economy depends on a basic belief in reciprocity – that what is received should be returned, at some point, but that “at some point” is the crucial element that makes it work. The deeper and more trusting a relationship, the longer that “at some point” can be left.
    2) The “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” heuristic penned by Marx, but which is actually an accurate reflection of a lot of exchanges commonplace to us all. Both within families, but also with strangers if the matter is either very small (a stranger bumming a cigarette, or a light, or asking directions – we will give them without thought of reciprocity or return), or very large – a stranger is in some kind of danger.
    3) Hierarchical exchange by custom. This last explains why, for example, if I bring my boss a cup of coffee, I will be expected to do the same every day thereafter, but on the other hand, if my boss takes the staff out to dinner for Christmas, none of the staff members feel obliged to buy a dinner for the boss at a later date.

    So, we tend to speak of economic systems as though they only consist of one type of exchange, but, in fact, humans are using lots of systems, but cultures tend to prioritise one over others. The feudal situation you mention tends to prioritise type 3), just for example.

    Graeber’s insight is that we already have many, many ways to have dealings with one another, and we already understand how they all work. This turns human exchange into a palette from which we can each paint with different colours, instead of a single institution outside of which nothing can be exchanged. Participation, rather than control.

  188. JMG, I’ve had that “Goats in Trees” calendar a couple of years. This year is goat kids (sort of a theme) though I’ve also done roosters and even chicken artwork. I probably still have an old version of the goats in trees around here, with the intention of sketching at least one of those photos.

  189. Re: I’ll be my usual painfully literal self and assume you’re not making a joke. Arson is an interesting crime for a writer. Jaywalking? Not so much, not least because if you know it’s happened, you know who did it.

    Ah, but what if the individual accused of jaywalking is not who they appear to be? The situation quickly turns into one of mistaken identity, adding an element of mystery to an otherwise mundane offense. Of course, I jest – the idea of a crime novel centered around jaywalking is far-fetched. Nonetheless, it’s fascinating to contemplate the potential twists and turns that could arise from such an improbable premise.

  190. Hi Roldy,

    I can’t speak for the US systems in this matter. And I limit my writing on this subject matter to what I’ve learned over the years, and how that relates to the lived experience down under. Of course things might be different elsewhere, fair enough, but I don’t, and haven’t lived there. Down here is where my roots are – and that’s where I speak from.



  191. @Scotlyn re: capitalism etc.

    I love the way you ask deep questions and refuse to accept standard definitions – I’d enjoy having a weekly pub discussion with you if you weren’t so danged far away 🙂

    As I see it, we use words to discuss too broad of concepts, too many overlapping meanings, such that we end up in these strange sorts of arguments where opposing sides understand the same supposed concepts in very different ways.

    On the one hand, we have a question of business ownership: private (“capitalism”), cooperatives (“syndicalism”), or public/state (“socialism”). In reality it works quite well for the hardware store to be privately owned, the dairy to be a cooperative, and the municipal water supply to be publicly-owned – and attempts to force all businesses into one of these models lead to big problems over time. We often fight over whether particular sectors of the economy – like healthcare or electricity distribution – would be better served by one or another of these models, which is not really a fight between “capitalism” and “socialism” per se.

    I put “capitalism” in quotes here because “private ownership of business” is only half of the functional definition of that term. The other half implies the essential role of capital, i.e. investment money, i.e. debt, in structuring the economy, and it is *this* – not private ownership per se – which is entirely dependent on perpetual growth.

    In reality, “socialist” enterprises and countries can be equally reliant on debt – think government bonds and federal borrowing – and therefore equally dependent on a growth model in which the future economy will be sufficiently larger than the present to pay off principal and interest. It would also be possible to have an economy based on private enterprise that did not prominently feature debt and loans and shareholders.

    So…we really need better words for these things. Private ownership and a free market are perfectly compatible with a steady-state or declining economy. Debt financing and investor/shareholder profits are *not* compatible with a steady-state or declining economy because such economies cannot produce surplus value which is siphoned off by the investment class.

    Whether or not “capitalism” is dependent on a growing economy depends on exactly which aspect of the definition one is focusing on.

  192. @ JMG – “Have you noticed this immediate reference to socialism happening in any conversation where the original speaker was talking about the positive features of capitalism?”

    Actually yes. It is, precisely because of a long history of discussing capitalism with proponents of capitalism, of trying to open up conversations with them about what capitalism is, what features it shares with other systems, what features it has that are distinctive to itself, that I can say how common it is for such conversations to veer into “well, its not socialism!” That it is *not socialism* is what capitalism’s “positive features” generally boil down to, is what I keep hearing.

    I would love to be able to have a conversation with a capitalist proponent that does *not* make reference to socialism, but… well, still hoping.

    Which, if you think about it, this is really quite strange. Clearly, socialism is a historical reaction to capitalism, and without capitalism, it stops being a thing. You can understand people being unable to describe socialism without making reference to capitalism.

    But capitalism is not a historical reaction to socialism, and it came to be in specific circumstances of its own long before socialism was a flavour of pink lemonade upon the sea. 😉 It *should* be possible to discuss capitalism on its own merits without making reference to socialism. And yet, “not socialism” seems to be the only universally agreed content that I can find the term capitalism to have – especially among its most ardent supporters and apologists.

    PS I find myself unable to think of you as any kind of capitalist proponent, in the strong sense, since you are more often to be found advocating for the many, many different kinds of institutions free people might “bottom-up” organise for themselves – lodges, coops, churches, small businesses, etc. – and because in WOH you have written so engagingly of the way people can create their own moneyless systems of credit as a way of disengaging from the bigger political economy both when it is all-encroaching, and also when it is in freefall. Your social and cultural imagination is clearly capable of encompassing a great deal of human experience lying entirely outside of the reach of capitalism (and all of its lesser sects). Still, I find that you, too, occasionally fall into the common, reflexive view that any critic of capitalism must be some flavour of a socialist.

  193. Hello all and JMG,

    In regards to experts talking about the additional need for electricity for electric vehicles…

    No less than Elon Musk himself said that we will need to double the grid and the amount of electricity in order to change over to electric vehicles. Also, that the grid will be at or beyond capacity by 2028 (Does that date have something to do with Pluto?). And finally, expanding the grid and electricity for EVs will be “the greatest challenge of the next two decades.”

    When the biggest proponent of EVs is saying this then……

    Peace. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. (This goes with the above references to Hindu religion.)


  194. Several people mentioned capitalism. If you haven’t already, read The Wealth Of Nations. It’s an eye-opener. Two things that will jump right out at Americans: Adam Smith clearly did not intend his philosophy to be used as a religion, and he specifically cites medical care as not suited to capitalism.

  195. Milkyway:

    Any study of economics/finance of countries/states (and empires), especially at the current time, should start with Michael Hudson’s book Super Imperialism.

    It will help you to understand what is happening right now and why. And, in addition, will give you a real working model of economics that the “regular” field of economics actually hides from students. I even have a degree in economics! Lol and I learned none of what he teaches in university.


  196. Jeff Russell (no. 173): I stand corrected. Thanks!

    Of course, patent protection only lasts 20 years…

  197. “[…] As for thaumaturge kings, kingship was originally a sacred thing, surrounded by a lot of magic; I don’t happen to know any books on the subject off hand, but I’d be interested to know what other people have found.”

    Indeed, the French monarchs (and the English ones too) were supposed to possess the magic power to heal a specific illness called “les écrouelles”, by touching the affected people (“les scrofuleux”) and saying “Le roi te touche, Dieu te guérit”. It is not completely clear which disease the “écrouelles” was, but it is generally believed to be what is now called “scrofula”, or “mycobacterial cervical lymphadenitis”, an infection of the cervical lymph nodes related to tuberculosis. The power was supposed to come to each new French king during the crowning ceremonial (le “sacre” in Reims’ cathedral), during which the king was anointed with a special oil (“saint-chrême”) coming from a holy vial refilling itself magically (la “Sainte Ampoule”); the vial was one of the magical regalia, supposed to have been brought by angels from the heavens at the time of Clovis for its baptism. Some kings were practicing their healing power regularly, like St-Louis (Louis IX) or Louis XIV, but others were not doing it that often, sometimes only once a year. It was believed that the magic power to heal “écrouelles” could be lost by a king if he behave “badly”. In 1739, Louis XV suddenly stopped practicing the healing ceremony (and also stopped doing most of the catholic rituals), which was a political disaster as most of the population was still believing. All this magic rituals around the king persona were essentials for the legitimacy of the king power. When the king and/or most of the aristocracy stopped believing themselves in these rituals, the fall would soon come and this loss of faith in the holiness of the king persona was probably one cause (amongst many others) of the French Revolution.
    On the healing power of the French kings, the reference book is “Les Rois Thaumaturges” (1924), by the great historian Marc Bloch.

  198. JMG,
    Can’t remember if you know of this or not, but there is an article quoting you quite extensively on Tim Watkins’ blog, The article is called” the slaves revolt the elites can’t defeat” from 10 Nov. 2022. It is an excellent blog in general and I am fond of it.
    Thanks again for all your excellent work.

  199. JMG,
    The most extensive exploration of the Quiznos manager event was on the radio show ” this American life.” Here is a link to the transcript. The first page or so seems to be from a previous episode so go down a bit and you will see it start with ” backed in to a corner, working class hero sandwich” or something like that.

  200. @JMG, I happened upon “The Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception” by Max Heindel (but am only partway through). Some of the ideas overlap with the Octagon Society material very well and some of the ideas overlap with Cosmic Doctrine very well, but some things very much do NOT. There is one idea (regarding ‘stragglers’) which I expect is not widely accepted anymore (but considering the time period in which he wrote and his heritage, not unsurprising that he felt that way). I don’t know if that means that the other ideas that don’t seem congruous with CosDoc have been dropped by more recent Rosicrucians, too, or if perhaps Fortune was simplifying the cosmology to focus on topics that Heindel did not focus on or if there are ‘denominations’ of Rosicrucians who have slightly different cosmologies from one another. Any guidance or recommended readings you could provide would be most appreciative.

    There are two particular items I am most curious about.

    1. Fortune was specific about the first three swarms being the Lords of Flame, Lords of Form, and Lords of Mind. Heindel Has the Lords of Flame, the Lords of Wisdom, the Lords of Individuality, and then the Lords of Form and the Lords of Mind.

    2. Heindel describes the formation of the Soul as a separation of the Desire Body. This is quite intriguing, but some of his later comments about the Soul seem to equate it more to the Personality whereas Fortune seems to equate the Soul with the Individuality. Whether the Soul is Individuality or Personality might just be a vocabulary issue, but I do not recall CosDoc describing the Soul as separating out of the Desire Body.

    @Clay Dennis, your comment about adaptability was quite synchronous for me. From what I read today: “In that one word “Adaptability,” we have the great secret of advancement or retardation [in terms of the spirit’s evolution]. All progress depends upon whether an evolving being is flexible, adaptable and pliable, so as to be able to accommodate itself to new conditions, or whether it is crystallized, set, and incapable of alteration… This applies to the past, present and future, the division of the qualified and the unqualified, thus, being made with the exact and impersonal justice of the law of Consequence.”

  201. @ Scotlyn #179
    “whether it is possible to conceive of a capitalism that lacks a “limitless growth of capital” imperative.”

    So, I think what you are trying to get at here, is whether there can be a ‘steady-state’ capitalism. I’m no economist, but I’ll take a whack at it. I think the answer has to be bound up with questions about a couple of concepts.

    One is the graven-in-stone custom of charging interest on loans. Interest *requires* growth, else the terms of the loan cannot be met. Must there be interest charged on loans? Must there be loans at all to run a capitalist system? Perhaps all investment could be created from prior savings rather than loans (which means the elimination of stocks- stocks are loans). This would slow the velocity of money to a crawl- which might not be a bad thing in a peak-everything world. It also means no more running current operations on debt, for governments, businesses or individuals. Things have been done that way for for so long though.

    The other problem is the notion of profits. Must there be profits to have capitalism? As long as all the outlay costs are met (everybody got paid, from the vendors to the employees to the owner, and all other bills), why does there have to be anything left over? The way business is set up today, not only must there be something left over, but that leftover must be larger, every… single… quarter. Forever. If it isn’t, the stock price crashes. So this problem with the concept of profit is central to the obstacle of having a steady-state form of capitalism.

    These are just some thoughts I’m tossing out there, thoughts I’ve had before. I don’t know what the answers are. I think the changes will happen only when they are forced by severe constraints, because people want to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Change is scary.

    [Not one mention of the s-word. 😉 ]

  202. “That it is *not socialism* is what capitalism’s “positive features” generally boil down to, is what I keep hearing.”

    That is quite understandable given the slaughter-fest that twentieth century socialism generated. Then you you can add in the national socialists and get even more slaughter.

    Capitalism and the two flavors of socialism were the predominant systems of the previous century. If you want to talk about economic systems you need to compare them to something. Feudalism is obsolete, communism is a variant of socialism that is theoretical.

    What’s left? A religious monarchy? Isn’t that basically feudalism again?

    As a PS, I got curious about the actual differences between socialism and fascism and discovered there wasn’t much difference in method; both involve tight interlocking between the State and industry either because the State owns and controls the industry, or because the State and industry cooperate more or less voluntarily. Socialists claim to be more interested in economic equality, (except for the ruling class, keep those dachas coming) and the fascists care more about nationalism.

    Given how far Germany went off the rails I should look more into Italy under Mussolini and Spain under Franco.

    And yes it has dawned on me the US has drifted disturbingly close to fascism, the revolving door between industry and government is very consistent with that.

  203. @ Tom Anderson (#33) – I appreciated the information you posted about the dangers of a high oxalate diet. I’ve been on a low oxalate diet (LOD) for about 16 years. In my case it’s partly a genetic predisposition to be sensitive to oxalates, partly digestive problems, and partly from taking high doses of vitamin C (which converts to oxalate in the body – who knew?). But you’re right that oxalates are very toxic when ingested in larger quantities, especially if you have any digestive issues already.

    I wanted to give you some other resources for information on oxalates, in case you’re unaware of them. Susan Costen Owens is one of the world’s leading researchers into oxalates, and she started a discussion/resource group almost 20 years ago called “Trying Low Oxalates.” It was originally a Yahoo group, but now it’s a very active Facebook group and a smaller .io group. You’ll find a wealth of information there about oxalates, the diet, supplements that help with detoxing from oxalates, and a spreadsheet with the most comprehensive, up-to-date food and supplement oxalate testing. There are also a lot of very knowledgeable moderators who can help, and Susan posts on the forums, too.

    Here are a few links:

    This is an interview with Susan:
    This is the original website from the group that still has good info on it:
    Here’s the .io group in case you don’t do Facebook:

    Good luck and thanks for sharing this important topic with everyone!


  204. @Milkyway

    Here’s the bilingual english/latin text I am currently using to learn latin:

    @Jay pine: that headline is hilarious. Thanks to covid, I am now to the point where any article containing the words “experts say…” I don’t bother to read, knowing that it will amount to a huge pile of bovine excrement.

    @Deringolade. Hmmm. My gut feeling on that spread is rather negative. Reading the list of cards gave me goosbumps and the first impression that popped into my brain when on the star was a nuclear explosion.

  205. “The most electricity I’ve ever used in a single day with the power system is 24.4kWh.”

    There is a gentle climate. A typical winter month here averages 60 kWh per day. A bad one is 80. The house is 1400 sq feet, all electric, with a heat pump and a high efficiency fireplace. And yes the windows and attic insulation have been upgraded.

    Given the oven element is 5 kW you must not do much baking. 😉 The maximum power draw for the stove (oven and four surface burners) is 11.2 kW.

  206. Blue sun #205: diesel was sold as being less polluting by VW, who were then caught cheating on the emissions data – which may have something to do with the disappearance of biodiesel as well

  207. On the subject of electric vehicles, here in Quebec where the vast majority of our electricity is generated from hydro power, the push is to prepare to replace all gasoline cars with electric cars. Of course that would take X times more power than we currently produce.

    There are multiple points that are absent from the conversation: where is the lithium and cobalt coming from? What about the fact that diesel equipment has to dig up hundreds of tons of ore to get a pound of lithium? What about the slave/child labour used in cobalt mines? Of course, any mines in Quebec will take decades to get through environmental assessments and local opposition, so we have to keep importing.

    No one at all seem to get the main consequence of peak oil and peak lithium etc.: There is simply no way that nearly as many people will have electric cars as currently have gasoline cars. They’re already so expensive, that they’re for a more privileged section of the population anyway.

    I am planning a move to a smaller town next year, with local industry and much more walkable and cyclable access to most services, and public transit to much employment if required.

  208. Kmgunnart, glad to hear it. It’s a fun calendar, and if it shows up again next year I may just get it.

    Ecosophian, so noted! It would be an interesting challenge, I grant. What comes to my mind first is that the main character finds out she has supposedly been arrested for jaywalking, at a date and place where she knows she wasn’t present! Who was impersonating her — and why did that person do that, and then make such an obvious decision to come to the attention of the police?

    Scotlyn, hmm! I’m intrigued. The pro-capitalism intellectuals I’ve encountered in the past have been much more voluble about capitalism’s good points, such as they are. For what it’s worth, I recognize industrialism in all its forms (“capitalist” and “socialist” alike — i.e., the ruling elite controls the means of production through corporate bureaucracies vs. the ruling elite controls the means of production through state bureaucracies) as the natural and self-terminating product of an age of unsustainable growth. I don’t advocate for or against it, any more than I advocate for or against the month of August. I simply recognize that it’s the kind of system you get when absurd amounts of temporary resource wealth slosh through a society, and that as that condition ends, so will every form of industrialism. As for assuming that every critic of capitalism must be a socialist, maybe so, but as I noted above, I deal with a lot of socialist trolls, so the assumption isn’t entirely without a basis in personal experience.

    Orion, thanks for this!

    Your Kittenship, excellent! I wish that I could make anyone who claims to talk about capitalism sit down and read Adam Smith, just as I wish that I could make anyone who claims to talk about evolution sit down and read The Origin of Species.

    Laurent, hmm! I didn’t know there was any question about the nature of the King’s Evil, as it was called in England; the history books I read about that all assumed it was scrofula. Thanks for the Marc Bloch reference.

    Stephen, thanks for this! No surprises there; Tim has quoted me before, and yeah, it’s a very good blog.

    Clay, many thanks for this.

    Random, there’s no fixed, mutually agreed-upon Rosicrucian dogma. Heindel’s book presents his personal views on cosmology and cosmic history; the only Rosicrucians I know of who accept it as truth belong to the organization Heindel founded. Everyone else takes it as one guy’s opinion, worth reading but not to be accepted blindly. As for the Soul, Heindel took from Steiner the idea that the Soul is the template that the spirit gradually creates over the course of many lives. It’s neither the personality nor the Individuality; it’s a third thing, a template of character that’s slowly created by experience. Not all Rosicrucians share that view!

  209. Regarding the healing King. When Frazier was writing the Golden Bough he was perplexed by the King of the Wood at Nemi, where the hands of a killer are the hands of a healer-to become king you had to kill the current king,after plucking the golden bough.

  210. @Tony C
    @Tony C

    “Is it reasonable to expect that a significant portion of the population in Western Countries will go back to farming – or at least rely more on gardening – in the next 20-30 years?”

    I want to second our host and add: in the industrialized landscape country side, young population is already thinning and thinning. I know farmer’s families, and I can attest that most farms have already given up and are serviced by the huge machines owned by only a few of them. One family I know are the machine owners of the county and they are all more mechanics than anything else.

    The still existing farms are burdened and stomped into the ground by a higher and higher threshhold of EU and state regulation, which in turn leads to an abandonement of a diversified farming business model with a variety of crops and animals, and on to monocultural industrial enterprises that will simply fail once the juice and replacement parts of their machines are not available.

    In Bulgaria, one and a half decades ago, I was told that gypsies have claimes abandoned hillside land and started subsistence farming there. I have seen gypsies riding horse carts in the city of Sofia, a big modern city, despite this being illegal.

    This may be an indicator of a future to come. SOMEONE will farm these lands, or live on them nomadically perhaps, but I won’t be the descendants of the current populace, not by and large.

    May so be that a lot of land will become fallow for decades as well.

    “with inflation at 10% how many years before the comfortable class sees its income divided by two and they are join the lower middle class? How much healthcare can they expect in their old age with a degrading care system?”

    Good question – right now, my office peers are still going on skiing vacations, boarding planes to far away destinations and so on.

    Certainly inflation must get to them, but as of yet, the process isn’t as fast as I anticipated, and they do not usually worry that this will grow out to be a substantial problem. Guess they think it’ll be techno-fixed sometime.

    The year 2023 however should see changes, especially towards next winter. This I think will be a period of time where previous arrangements of wealth and consumption visibily cease to exist.

    “As an example, I don’t think many people would support the economic, social (&Physical) aggression of a drug dealer who is seeking to expand his territory, because it does not benefit society much at all. I am not if sure drug dealer types are very successful from an evolutionary point of view, it does seems to be a miserable and dangerous way to live .”

    I’d refer also to Dimtry Orlov here in his historic writings and to others who have captured the phenomenon of “war bands” – in a crumbling state society, gangs and bandits start forming informal governments of their own – as we can see in South America.

    We have seen in many instances that a population in a corrupted state may actually support cartels and gangs, IF they are capable of creating some form of order where state police can’t and won’t do it anymore.
    These gang leaders often style themselves as a form of leaders for the broader community.

    Aggression in an evolutionary sense isn’t good or bad, it simply wins or it doesn’t. A spiritual path would be to avoid aggression for a non-worldy reward.

    The aggression of drug dealers isn’t stupid, even if the boss of the cartel or gang dies, his family and kin live on and the community lives on. No doubt many will die if there is much aggression, but some will live or produce living offspring and a also a living legacy, setting the steps for the future.

    For the Afghan warriors violence also never was stupid – it has successfully protected their tribal area and ways of life against outside forces, which is a very successful model for evolution, and more successful than the big urban civilizations pumped up by an unsustainable use of resources.

  211. @JMG

    Amidst the general trend of negative news in the world today, here’s a positive news worth sharing:

    Of course, like all schemes, this one has attracted some criticism too. But if we go beyond the obvious agribusiness-sponsored criticism by ‘experts’, we can find that the genuine or constructive criticism can be taken positively, and be fixed by making policy changes.

    What’s more, everytime someone brings up the failed attempt at going organic in the Sri Lankan case, the Sikkim story can function as a very effective counter-argument. As regards implementation, I think the Sikkim model can be replicated all across India, with its huge size and the problems said size entail – all we have to do is ensure that the implementation level is decentralised and district-level authorities are the ones who call the shots as regards implementation, as opposed to some bureaucrat sitting in Delhi. The reason for this is that many of the bigger states in India have districts that are bigger in both size and population than Sikkim; so, it would make sense to keep things human scaled, so as to ensure successful implementation.

    One more interesting thing is that Sikkim has a pretty high HDI, much higher than many states which are much more industrialized than Sikkim. Small really is beautiful!🙂

  212. Hey jmg

    Good to have you back!

    Anyhow, have you by any chance heard about the reports of seals and now some children in Cambodia dying of H5N1 bird flu? Do you think that it’s an immediate worry or something that will be relevant later in the future?

  213. JMG,

    What is your opinion on the billionaire CEO who runs a space company, an electric vehicle company, and recently bought a social media site (and exposed it’s innards to the world)?

    If I remember correctly, the last time you commented on him several years ago, you said that he’s a world class conman who’s milking the government subsidy cow (not in so many words). Recently, his words and actions are more and more looking like the other rich businessmen-turned-populist Trump.

    Has your opinion changed? Do you think he’s still the same trickster who cleverly siphons off public money, or he’s trying to leverage his wealth become a populist politician (or buy a few)?

  214. Luke Dodson #192, so you’re starting a #NotAllGods campaign? 🙂

    Scotlyn #204, you may not have used the word anarchism in that particular post but you were replying to JMG’s comment about Graeber being on the far left, and you clearly know about it, to the point of saying JMG doesn’t understand Graeber’s position. But do you really think socialists don’t usually want to talk about capitalism? I have the opposite experience. I’m sick of buying books with titles like The Future Anarchist Utopia and +85% of it is just complaining about capitalism. You want some socialists talking about the shape of capitalism? Here you go:

    Ecosophian #208, I’m not sure which comment you’re referring to, but my first thought was jaywalking would be a reference to this trope: 🙂

  215. @Scotlyn et al

    I agree with ‘Anonymous (for this one)’ that the/a main reason our version of capitalism requires limitless growth is due to the system effects of interest charged on debt. However, interest is not allowed under Sharia law. I would argue that much business happens in Muslim countries under Sharia law (including investing) and that this type of business is still capitalistic as it involves accumulation and deployment of capital in private ownership. I’m not sure it is stable long term because wealth is still likely to accumulate in the hands of the powerful over time but I think the lack of interest would help if this system of investment was used more widely.

    Feudalism, I’m not sure if it’s more of a political system than a pure economic system in practice. In Japan and Europe there was plenty of capitalism happening in amongst all the land/for services transactions. Obviously many of the merchants and artisans were capitalist. Even land based peasants set up microbusinesses like home breweries and egg selling. The large landholders (at least during their lifetimes) accumulated and deployed lots of capital like draught animals, mills, cloth, gold, markets etc. It’s just that it was hard to accumulate across generations when most land associated capital reverted regularly to the King. Also, at least in Europe, no interest lending so that probably also helped stability.

    As to why socialism always comes up? I think that the major English language narratives of our time depict them as the only (false) binary options. With each redefined as necessary so that ‘capitalism’ is whatever the current western political-economic system looks like and ‘socialism’ is defined as the opposite. So, fine distinctions like ‘democratic socialism’ and ‘syndicalism’ and the fact that different economic systems always operate in and around each other kind of get lost and it seems impossible to talk about one without the other.

  216. Like the French kings, the Beatles were also supposed to have healing powers. I remember mention of it all those years ago.

    From Wikipedia under “Beatlemania”:

    “Starr later said that scenes of alleged miracle working by the Beatles were commonplace around the world, including in the UK”

    Ref. 7: ‘Lennon said it was especially common in the US, where nurses or mothers would bring blind children and “cripples” backstage in the belief that a Beatle’s touch could cure them. The band took to signalling roadie Mal Evans with the words “Cripples, Mal!”, which became a code for him to remove any visitors the Beatles did not wish to see.’

  217. Hi blue sun,

    Thanks for that astute observation. You’re right, where the heck is all that biodiesel? 🙂

    Dunno about your part of the world, but I believe commercial cooking oil is now collected and filtered down this way. It has a whole bunch of uses too, only one of which is biodiesel. Go Neil Young! But candidly his bus fuel tanks desire for biodiesel might be facing some stiff competition there, and as that person pointed out to you, the other options are probably cheaper.

    Economics is a killer, huh? And yes, I agree with you, as that probably is how things will roll. A lot of hype, then nothing. It happens…



  218. Hi John Michael,

    Far out! You can only imagine that all the socialist and socialism talk of this and that this week may in part be due to the awful economic headwinds bringing the stink of carrion into polite society? Fortunately, last I checked, neither you or I fit that description of polite society. 😉 Or maybe there might be something in the water? Both equally possible. Hey, what’s a good ternary option?

    I must add that I’m amused that people in your country are banging on about a system which might not be entirely a good cultural fit. In my little corner of the interweb, we were discussing Huey Long who appeared quite successful implementing those sorts of policies, until he err, was made quite dead.

    The other day I was in the big smoke, and I kid you not there was a poster for some Markism (!) 2023 conference. I dunno what they do at such places, but the poster seems to indicate that it involves an agitated young lady with a megaphone. Sounds a bit loud for my tastes. Funny how the poster looks the same each year, which might suggest something about how many new ideas that lot may have had. 😉

    Anyway, I’ll grab a copy of your book when it’s published. I’m intrigued.



  219. @JMG, thank you! Some of Heindel’s imagery has helped me understand topics from CosDoc a little better (though, to be fair, I knew nothing of the Tree of Life and the Spheres when reading CosDoc, so that could have something to do with it, too 🙂 ) I especially like his description of Form as crystallized Spirit and if it is too crystallized, Spirit cannot flow through it. Seems like a pretty way of saying ‘don’t do dogma’.

  220. Mysteries without murders – poison pen letters are always a good one. Agatha Christie had one of those, IIRC.

  221. @Scotlyn, Mark #210: I think the distinction between private ownership and interest on capital is the important one. Societies in the future will have different mixes of forms of ownership of land and of productive equipment, just as they have in the past: individual, family-based, belonging to a village or town, belonging to a religious institution and maybe (though I think that will be rarer) belonging to a large-scale state.

    What they will have less and less (during a world-wide economic decline) is interest on capital. That does not necessarily exclude large-scale economic ventures and even profit: the construction of Gothic cathedrals and the expedition of Muslim ocean-going trade ships are both examples of large-scale ventures making do without interest. Trade expeditions were expected to yield large profits (if the ships came back at all).

    See – no s-word!

  222. @siliconguy #221: Societies of the future will have their own distinctions and fights, not those of the 20th century. My last comment avoided the s-word, as Scotlyn asked us to, but I want to challenge your argument.

    In what sense was Germany socialist between 1933 and 1945? Whatever the NSDAP’s original programme, it had shed the Strasser wing before coming to power. There was no hint of expropriation or state-owned enterprises. The central bank was managed by Hjalmar Schacht, a non-Nazi technocrat. The party did control the political alignment of private enterprises and made sure they went along with its overarching goals, which required fulfilling the workers’s basic needs so they wouldn’t revolt. On a purely economical level (and that is what we are discussing here), how is that different from Japan’s famous MITI and from the Singaporean model? Do you consider Japan and Singapore socialist?

    I do think it is more interesting to discuss in what ways the economies of the future will differ from the 20th century ones, and there are possibilities distinct from the stark dichotomy you insist on. Theocracy is not an economic model, but guilds, cooperatives, enterprising religious orders, interest-free banking and many others have existed in the past, still exist in reduced form and might resurge in the future. I am not saying any of this is a good thing, but our current system will certainly be modified by the peaking of all resources.

  223. Interest *requires* growth, else the terms of the loan cannot be met.

    Not so. If the loan reduces costs i.e. enables efficiency, there is a surplus to pay the interest.

    Alternatively, you can always rob Peter to pay Paul, provided you have power over Peter.

  224. JMG, thank you for your reply to my post some days ago. I have ordered your book from your preferred location. Based on past experience with your fiction, I feel sure I’m in for a very good and likely a quite educational time.

    I guess what I was thinking of is not magic, technically, but some kind of process for etheric healing of the land. Of course magic as you defined it is not the right route to take, unless one’s order’s Inner Chiefs have some guidance on the subject. Don’t know who does that (or how) but it has to be in the extensive toolkit of these things somewhere.

    Bioremediation is a great idea, but will, some say, take decades to begin taking effect. Duckweed, I seem to remember reading recently, is something to reckon with for waterway cleanup. Same site named some land-based plants that clean up the environment, but memory doesn’t serve. Perhaps Jerusalem Artichokes. Surely there are others.

    And microbes are ingenious little bunnies, and they may find uses for many of the toxins that we can’t imagine. Insects, too.

    As for the fungi, since some (here’s looking at you, Mr. McKenna of, um, blessed memory) say they are running the show behind the scenes, perhaps they too have a plan. They will certainly have a part to play regardless. As they have done at Chernobyl.

    And prayer and hands-on help and other activities cannot hurt either. I guess I’m more bothered by the Ohio events (there were more than just that train derailment) than many are. Hope RI remains basically unaffected.

  225. Here is another small example of collapse and how it is very much about failed expectations.

    A school bus full of wealthy kids from a private school was stuck on a main highway, a half mile from downtown Portland during a snowstorm for 6 hours. In American culture we are spoon-feed by the media, tv, and school that if you get in trouble a whole cadre of noble first responders will be there instantly to help you. But as this article shows, this expectation is often the first thing to go unfilled as we slip down the slope. I am glad that a parent finally showed up on foot to walk these kids to safety and they did not freeze to death. But I am afraid that left to their own devices the driver would have stayed there till they all got hypothermia because official protocol is to stay in places with seat belts on ( I guess private school kids get seat belts?) till help arrives.

    I saw this bus stranded on Friday, it was only about 300 yards from the light rail station underneath the Portland Zoo that was running and had power for the elevators. I guess that rich kids don’t ride public transit so they don’t know about that.

  226. I have been mulling over karma in the last weeks and its relationship to the model of consciousness evolution outlined in The Cosmic Doctrine, and felt the urge to share. I do not really have a question related to this, please forgive my ramblings if that does not resonate with other readers.

    One aspect is that “tracks in space” may represent patterns of human interactions. These patterns might be specific to a specific personality. But others might be shared by many. And I guess if they become shared by sufficiently many they become archetypal.

    Anyhow, once we adopt these patterns, we have to deal with the reactions of others, that is karma. But we also have to deal with the reactions of others to actions that have happened in the past as well. Depending on the nature of actions, the reactions might last potentially centuries and millennia. Positive examples are religious prophets who by their actions and teachings can entice multiple generations after to congregate around their visions and ideals, hopefully trying to manifest similar qualities of being. Negative examples are low-key or large-scale exploitation of others, which might also be taught and emulated, and repeated over centuries to eventually blow back in the face of descendants.

    What was surprising to me in pondering all of this is the amount of collective karma we have to swim through. We do not live in a world that acts as a neutral background for us to face our own personal karma. We actually go through life having to deal mostly with the karma of others, both past and present, as a background for what we generate for ourselves and others on top. Our own consciousness might most of the time be focused on our own struggles, but the fact that our consciousness is such focused bears no relation to the relative importance of our struggles compared to the karma generated collectively.

    Growing older and tentatively trying to find a better inner balance in the process, the more I find inner stability, the larger space the collective karma occupies in my thoughts. And the more conscious of that collective karma I become, the freer I am to intentionally enter patterns of interaction to generate different karmas. This mere possibility makes my head spin in imagining the scale of the spiritual task others might have tackled in the past in dealing with karma related to collective patterns and archetypes.

    Anyone else had similar experiences or insights?

  227. Coming in late to the party, trying to comment in order.

    Sam Salzman #8: I’ve been in Jerusalem, and visited the big holy spots (the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Wailing Wall, and the Dome of the Rock ). There is an incredibly intense psychic energy around that city so it doesn’t surprise me at all that some people wind up getting their heads broken open when they visit.

    Tony C. #13: If the usual pattern applies, there will be at least a couple centuries of scavenging after the collapse of petroleum-fueled industrialism. And without readily available fossil fuels we’re going to have a much harder time getting ores and minerals in quantities that will deplete the available lines.

    JMG #36: Catholics still have the Rosary. I’ve found five decades a day do wonders for my mental and emotional well-being. There are many good reasons why different traditions across time and space have used repeated prayers or mantras counted on beads or knots.

    Also, thanks for pointing out my misunderstanding a few weeks earlier re the origins of ‘gnostikoi.’ You saved me the public humiliation of writing yet another error-ridden text on Gnosticism — and we have quite enough of those already, thank you very much.

    Robert Mathiesen #42: Thanks for the lead on the Spengler charts. BTW, you weren’t lying when you said the history of early Christianity is several warrens worth of rabbit holes. This is by far the most difficult project I have ever worked on: there are so many moving parts, and most literature on the subject aims either to prove or disprove Christianity, not to study it as an impartial scholar. If/when I get this finished, it will be one of the few books on the topic that neither aims to produce converts nor encourage apostates.

    Also re: #49: One interesting thing I discovered is a text that claimed that Simon Magus and his teacher Dositheus were both initiates of John the Baptist. And while the Mandaean connection to JTB has been disputed by scholars, I suspect present-day Mandaean rituals and cosmology preserve a fair bit of John the Baptist’s teachings.

    Here’s my latest work on John the Baptist: he’s generally considered in light of Christianity, but it’s clear that he was working within a very powerful and important religious tradition of his own.

    Anin #56: St. John of the Cross’s “Dark Night of the Soul” is not an easy read, but it should provide some insights into your current mood. The basic Catholic and Orthodox recommendations re spiritual dryness are to keep on keeping on with your spiritual pursuits. (I recommend 20 minutes of meditation, even if you don’t feel like you can concentrate or are getting anywhere). This is where you build good spiritual habits and master the discipline to stay on your trail even when it stops being fun.

  228. @Martin Back #246

    Sure, it is possible to pay off any given loan without growth using any number of strategies.

    It’s also possible to drive inflation such that loans can be paid off with interest in the absence of real growth. (This is a subtle way of robbing lots of Peters to pay lots of Pauls.) Or it is possible to drive bubbles such that net returns are positive over some limited duration, benefiting some and harming others.

    Averaged across space and time and all aggregate debt, though, an economy that is not growing cannot produce *surplus* value to be siphoned off by an investor class, and the various economic games cannot obscure this reality indefinitely.

    The key word here is *surplus*. Parasitic extractive classes can still siphon off wealth while contributing no real work in the absence of growth, but this will be a net negative value proposition for those on the interest-paying side and so will need to be imposed by authoritarian force or coercive mechanisms rather than “trickle down” promises of prosperity for all.

  229. Berserker, nah, I don’t want to become one of those writers who squeezes a single set of ideas until they fall over dead. There are no tentacles, nor pseudopods, nor Great Old Ones in the mystery series I’ve just started. I may do some more tentacle fiction eventually; when I finished the Seal of Yueh Lao I thought I was done with the tentacle franchise, but I’ve been exploring some new ideas in the intervals between other writing projects. But we’ll see.

    Viduraawakened, thanks for this! The problem with Sri Lanka wasn’t that it transitioned to organic agriculture, it’s that it did so in a stupid, top-down, hypercentralized manner, without paying the least attention to the real challenges that have to be faced in phasing out agricultural chemicals and replacing them with natural nutrient sources. (That is to say, it’s exactly the sort of slackjawed, drooling idiocy you’d expect from the overgrown toddlers of the WEF, who like to pretend they’re running the world while sitting in their nice safe playpens.) I’m glad to hear that Sikkim is doing it right. If a couple more Indian states pursue similar projects with equal success, that could make a huge difference.

    J.L.Mc12, back in my original 2021 Dreamwidth post discussing the Covid pandemic, I made the following prediction:

    “When ADE [antibody-dependent enhancement, i.e., the vaccine makes you more likely to get sick] becomes too widespread to ignore and people begin to die in significant numbers, expect governments to proclaim the arrival of the predicted new hyper-lethal variant and impose a new round of shutdowns, mask mandates, and the like. The media will insist that the people who are dying are all unvaccinated as long as they can get away with it; pay attention to the vaccination status and health outcomes of people you know for a reality check. Unless some way of stopping ADE-enhanced infections can be found in a hurry, medical systems will buckle under the caseload and triage will become the order of the day.”

    I was certainly wrong about one thing: the problems with the vaccines seem to be more complex than simple ADE. It now looks like I was also wrong about the excuse. Since attempts to whip up panic about new Covid variants haven’t worked, the corporate media and their elite bosses have apparently turned to trying to whip up panic about bird flu, as an attempt to dodge responsibility for the self-inflicted disaster unfolding around us right now.

    Collapsenik, Musk is a very clever man. He sees which way the political winds are blowing, and is setting his sails accordingly.

    Martin, good gods. I hadn’t heard about that.

    Chris, oh, I think it’s definitely the carrion stench. The great virtue of socialism, at least in the minds of socialists, is that it transfers control of the means of production from industrialists to bureaucrats, and thus gives socialists (i.e., aspiring bureaucrats) the chance to dream about getting vast amounts of unearned power. Huey Long? Now there’s a name to conjure with! His style of economic populism might well be due for a revival.

    Random, Heindel is worth reading; he’s got some ideas that didn’t age well, but that’s true of every writer.

    Patricia M, hmm! Yes, that’s a great example. I may just have to hunt down that Christie novel.

    Clarke, I could definitely see a point to etheric and astral work alongside bioremediation, but no matter what, it’s going to take decades to clean up that mess.

    Clay, a fine example of toxic cluelessness in high places! Thanks for this.

    Viking, excellent! This makes a great deal of sense.

    Kenaz, you’re most welcome. The early history of Christianity is indeed a tangled mess, and Gnosticism is one of the most tangled parts of it; since I ended up more or less by accident being consecrated as a Gnostic bishop some years back, I’ve done some research, but there’s still a lot that’s utterly obscure.

  230. Steve T. #143: I am not familiar with Giola, but if he thinks the early Greeks were peaceful nature-lovers he’s smoking his shorts. Hittite and Luwian records talk about marauding pirates they call “Achiyyaawa” (Aegeans). A confederation of Achiyyawans took out a western Luwian city in the Troiad that the Luwians called Wilusa and the Achiyyaans called Ilium.

    There’s also pretty good evidence that the Peleset of the Sea Peoples who harassed Egypt and other civilized places during the Late Bronze Age Collapse were Aegeans who got relocated to the Levant where they became the Philistines.

    One of the defining hallmarks of the American 2010s and 2020s is the subversion of subversion. Today we have people who feel like they are “rebels against the system” because they support the system. I’ve unfriended multiple Facebook friends over posts that began “I don’t know who needs to hear this but black lives matter, vaccinations are real, I stand with Ukraine, and if you disagree you can unfriend me now.”

  231. I just recently discovered Dr. Thomas Murphy, Professor of astrophysics in San Diego and author of the blog “Do The Math”, and some things clicked for me. I’ve been studying this stuff since I became and adult in the mid-80’s, but I feel like I have taken another step down the path toward understanding.

    He does a nice job of examining the harsh realities of alternative energy sources and then gets philosophical when he posits that human technology and energy use is killing off the other species on the planet and generally making a mess of things, so maybe the solution isn’t MORE power (whatever the source), but that our goal should be to use less power.

    He goes so far as to say that for most of the thousands of years that humans have been around, we were a relatively unremarkable species living within the natural world the best we could just like everything else. But then we started agriculture and science and fossil fuels and ever since then it’s been a non-stop effort to transform the world around us instead of adapting to it. Ultimately, if humans are to persist for another 100,000 years, we need to return to our niche in the existing ecosystem and recognize that the health of all things is the health of each thing.

    What do you think, JMG? I know you have postulated about great cultures arising over the next thousand years (notably near the Volga River and later the Ohio River). Looking out another 10,000 or 50,000 years, will humans ever return to being hunter-gatherers, or will we forever be trying to modify the environment to meet human needs and all the other species can like it or lump it?

    And if we were to return to hunting and gathering, would we ever do so by choice, or only because we were forced to?

    (He seems to be a reader here, so Dr. Murphy, if you’re reading this: Hi! I hope I captured your argument correctly.)

  232. Dear JMG and fellow commenters,

    are there some rites you would recommend to honor the dead and, perhaps, to help them out in the afterlife?

  233. @ Mark L (or Markael)…

    “I put “capitalism” in quotes here because “private ownership of business” is only half of the functional definition of that term. The other half implies the essential role of capital, i.e. investment money, i.e. debt, in structuring the economy, and it is *this* – not private ownership per se – which is entirely dependent on perpetual growth.”

    Yes, exactly this!

    Private ownership of business is *not* the essence of capitalism, and, as the private owner of a trade/clinic business, and the private co-owner of a farm business, I do not think of either as capitalist enterprises. Because neither my husband, nor I, am seeking to “grow capital”, nor are we “extracting value”. Instead, we are (jointly and severally) earning livings, and quite happy for our lives to be sustained while we devote ourselves to the service of the health of people, and the health of the land.

    But, what this political economy that we inhabit is actually devoted to is the proposition that the “role of capital, i.e. investment money, i.e. debt, in structuring the economy” is essential, and that, therefore, all policy should be devoted to securing this aim.

  234. @Orion,
    Thanks a lot, I‘ll pass that on!

    Thanks for this, too – that‘s a nice one. I‘ll head straight into Agrippa, though – can as well make the most of my studies right away -, but I‘ll keep that in mind for some other people.

    Also, thanks to everybody for the very interesting discussions and topics this week! I have, as usual, saved a whole host of tabs and links by now for follow-up. 😉


  235. @ Anonymous #220 – You ask excellent questions.

    Is it possible to imagine capitalism without debt/loans? To which I would draw your attention to the fact that debt does not only underwrite capital and stocks, but is actually what all our money is made of. The other way to view debt, of course, is as a set of legally enforceable claims on other people’s labour and property. Debt is legal dispossession.

    Is it possible to imagine capitalism without profit? On that second point I would give you my perspective. When I work up my accounts for tax purposes, the difference between my clinic revenues and my clinic expenses is called “profit”. But, in fact, this “profit” is simply my income, ie my “living”, my sustenance.* I do not think that the making of a living or self-sustenance is a *distinctive* feature of capitalism.

    Instead, perhaps, the better question is, is it possible to imagine capitalism without the continual generation of surplus, from which to grow capital? It is this “surplus” generation that (in my view) both distinguishes capitalism, and also specifically “aligns” it with the limitlessness inherent to progress.

  236. A couple more points on whether capitalism requires growth, then I’m done with the subject.

    Inflation can enable capital to be paid off without surplus value, but inflation is also the great destroyer of capital, e.g. the savings of the middle class.

    Capital can’t always find real returns, e.g. during depressions a certain amount of capital will contract or be destroyed altogether. Businesses can fail. Capital equipment can be destroyed in natural disasters. But the capitalist system will endure.

    If you must allocate capital and there are no good investments, what you gonna do? You have to invest in the least bad investment, or stuff it under your mattress and hope for better days. I recall the Swiss at one stage charged negative interest rates, i.e. you paid them to keep your money, because they were seen as a safe haven.

  237. Hi John,

    Congratulations on the new publication, I haven’t read any of your fiction yet but The Witch of Criswell looks like a great starting point for me to.

    capitalist” and “socialist” alike — i.e., the ruling elite controls the means of production through corporate bureaucracies vs. the ruling elite controls the means of production through state bureaucracies- That’s a deliciously succinct diagnosis of both John.

    I am reading a book about the Romantic period of the 18th century at the moment and I have been struck by the origins Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s philosophy. I had never read any of Rousseau’s works (and I don’t think I ever will) but I knew of him as the figure who most fiercely opposed the then growing intellectual consensus of that would become known as the Age of Reason.

    Rousseau’s transformation from member of the cultural mainstream to dangerous outsider happened one summers day in 1749 while on his way to see his friend Diderot (the godfather of rationalism) in prison at Vincennes. While travelling there, Rousseau read the paper Mercure de France. His was struck by an advertisement for a prize essay competition. The topic was ‘Has the progress of the sciences and arts done more to corrupt morals or improve them?’
    In his autobiography Confessions Rousseau recalled ‘the moment I read this I beheld another universe and became another man… I felt my head seized by a dizziness that resembled intoxication’

    Rousseau recovered from the shock of this moment and marshalled this revelation into the essay A discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences which won the prize. The thrust of the essay was that contrary to what the emerging intellectual class believed-which until recently he had counted himself one of- the civilising process the championed was not leading to liberation but enslavement, as it had flung ‘garlands of flowers over the chains which weigh us down’

    Rousseau would become the guiding light of a counter-culture that would spawn into Romanticism, and figures as diverse as Robespierre and Kant( Rousseau has put me right again and again) drew inspiration from his works. Many of the great political movements of the next two hundred years could claim Rousseau as a founding father-from romanticism, socialism, anarchism to nationalism. Rousseau saw the internal contradictions and dangers in a society directed by rationalism and commerce, and coarsened by materialistic ethic and individuals enviously emulating the rich.

    My question John, is do you see another Rousseau figure emerging from the professional managerial class or from the liberal elite, who might experience a similarly radical transformation which such epoch creating effects?

  238. Mary Bennet, Scotlyn and others. A fascinating book to read regarding different ways of running societies is Thomas Piketty’s “Capital and Ideology” where he explores why different systems of “Inequality Regimes” worked, functioned, endured, from a, I suppose, social democratic perspective, looking at how we could move to something more egalitarian and humane, including feudalism, slave based societies, socialist (state capitalism), capitalist, social democratic etc etc. He differentiates between social democratic capitalism (1945 – 1980 in the west) and capitalism that “sacralises” property rights (original capitalism and the hyper-capitalism of today). Two of my (slightly flippant) takeaways are 1) that France, at the end of the nineteenth century, was more unequal, in terms of revenue and capital ownership, than prior to the revolution, and 2) that growth since the Thatcher/ Reagan “revolution” has never reached the levels that existed prior to 1980, in spite of the rich supposedly being constrained from investing due to 90% marginal rates of taxation (certainly this side of the Atlantic). He doesn’t, of course, deal with “peak everything”, the decline of industrial civilisation, or climate change (you need Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond for that), but it’s still a fascinating read regarding how societies have organised themselves.

  239. @ JMG
    ” I simply recognize that it’s the kind of system you get when absurd amounts of temporary resource wealth slosh through a society, and that as that condition ends, so will every form of industrialism.” Yes, this is pretty much my reading of your work as a whole. 🙂

    “As for assuming that every critic of capitalism must be a socialist, maybe so, but as I noted above, I deal with a lot of socialist trolls, so the assumption isn’t entirely without a basis in personal experience.” I can certainly accept that, too.

    I would just point out that, among the non-socialist critics of capitalism who have taught me much, I would number Wendell Berry. Most people know that, in a “Red Queen” style capitalist system, if you are not winning, you are losing. But Berry was the one who showed me, in the clearest of terms, how a *farmer*, in a capitalist system, starts to lose at the very moment s/he starts to “win”.

    Again, peace. And, respect, always! 🙂

  240. I am afraid this question is political in nature, even though this discussion has been mostly apolitical.

    I am watching the clown parade in DC and the events in Ukraine with increasing horror. My question, is what will it take to get the war mongering neo-cons and allies turfed out of our government? Most, if not all, of these sociopaths–I use the term deliberately, as a descriptor, not a snarl word or provocation–occupy non-elected positions where they seem to have more power and authority than those whom we do elect. They seem to be maintained by various international financial interests, and display no loyalty to the USA. Indeed, it is rather difficult to discern where their loyalties lie at all. I, who have witnessed parents of young children dismissed from low-paid jobs because the person said something mean and someone else was “uncomfortable”, do not understand why the likes of La Nuland has any responsible job, let alone one in the State Dept.

    As for Ukraine, Russia may have been the aggressor, but what does that have to do with me? How did fighting Russia, our ally in the American Revolution, and both world wars, and ally of the Union in our Civil War, get to be my job? If anyone reading this is from the hate Russia brigade, allow me to say that I. Do. Not. Care. what half-starved, brutalized, never been away from home before teenaged peasant Czarist soldier committed what atrocity in whose ancestor’s village a century or more ago. Russia’s aggression, reprehensible though that may be, does not excuse the outrageous meddling of our unelected foreign policy establishment. Granted, we need continuity of employment in government, but those functionaries are supposed to act in the best interests of our country, not be pursuing their own or someone else’s private vendettas.

    So long as this unelected, disloyal cohort is permitted to do whatever it pleases, at our expense and in our name, other actors, whether elected or not, think they also can do as they like. We can all cite examples, from every possible caucus, of congresspersons who have no interest in attending to the public’s business. And why should they, they think and doubtless are told by their donors, when others who don’t even have to face voters can do as they please no matter what the consequences to the country and its’ citizens?

    It is all very well to say that bad actors and their financial backers will be facing lampposts, sometime, maybe, in an increasingly distant future, but they are doing a lot of harm right now.

  241. @ Darkest Yorkshire – I suppose I do not see anarchism as socialism. Nor as fitting anywhere on the “left/right” continuum. An anarchist is simply someone who refuses to be ruled. An anarchist (in practice) may be (or may be called) a gypsy, a bedouin, a barbarian, a savage. All of these represent different ways of refusing to be ruled. There is no left and no right to the matter of refusing to be ruled. Because the left/right continuum relates to arguments about how to rule, not about *whether* to accept being ruled.

    Graeber is also an anthropologist, and an ethnographer. And from this point of view, his major contribution (in my view) is to provide proper fodder as to “what is possible” to imagination. I do not read him for a “how to better rule society”, but for illumination as to the evidence for the million and one ways which people have already discovered for organising themselves. Which allows imagination to have an expanded “possibility” space in which to work.

  242. @ Tamhob – thank you for this.

    I agree that our English language system has cast “capitalism v socialism” as an unbreakable binary, whereas, to me they are more or less the one thing, which are part of “this thing, whatever it is, that defines where we are” – along with Progress, and other linear trajectories.

    Personally, I do not think that businesses, or even markets, are *distinctive* features of capitalism – although capitalism makes use of them. These have existed in different forms in many civilisations. OTOH, civilisations generally are projects of rule, and will always find themselves surrounded by those who will not be ruled – who generally will find themselves defined (in the books of the civilised) as “savage” “barbarian” “uncouth” or some other such term of endearment… 😉

  243. @ Aldarion – Thank you!

    “Societies in the future will have different mixes of forms of ownership of land and of productive equipment, just as they have in the past.”

    Yes! And here you have put your finger on what I have found to be one of Graeber’s strengths as a writer – to highlight the *many* truly disparate ways in which humans have organised themselves in the past, which opens up the imaginative “possibility” space available to us in the present, from which to forge our (various) futures.

    His true gift to his readers is to break the spell of T.I.N.A. (There Is No Alternative).

  244. The NYT recently did a screed titled, ” How Joe Biden Thinks.” It was on the teaser email the “Times” sends me every two days because they think I should be a subscriber ( ha). I opened it thinking it was from “The Onion” and there would be a picture of a squirrel or something. But it was a serious article dissecting the ways Joe Biden could integrate all he had learned in his long career in to his cutting edge and progressive decisions. At this point how many people on the left ( and in the media) actually believe Joe Biden is alert, and making cogent decisions that are being followed? Or are they all just pretending, because that is what allegiance to the narrative requires? Or if you had to guess what is the percentage one way or the other.

  245. @ Silicon Guy – thank you!
    “Capitalism and the two flavors of socialism were the predominant systems of the previous century. If you want to talk about economic systems you need to compare them to something. Feudalism is obsolete, communism is a variant of socialism that is theoretical.”

    Well, yes. But do we have to compare a system to “one” different system? Why not imagine further to a whole scattered landscape dotted with different systems? With free people who do things differently, everywhere you look?

    We seem to be locked in debates over which single “system” is the best one for all of us, but, maybe there isn’t any such “one size fits all” system at all? Maybe we need to get more involved in local creations that work *here* – and that are not expected to have to also work *there*. And, that, therefore, do not have to do the additional job of prosyletising on top of just being worked out in practice.

  246. Welcome back, JMG!

    What’s your take on what appears to be the pilgrimages to Zelensky in Kiev made by Western leaders? He’s a puppet, yet the puppeteers seem to feel the need to pretend that he’s not.

    In a sense, the performance seems to be for themselves, not for the citizens they supposedly represent.

    I think he represents their (dying) hopes and dreams of destroying Russia, and then doing the same to China. It seems a sort of “If I pretend hard enough it will come true…” strategy.

  247. Chuaquin #183: To complete my post about the healing powers of kings: French and English kings were healing “les écrouelles” (scrofula), but Castillan kings claimed to be able to heal demonic possession, Danish kings would heal epilepsy, kings of Hungary were supposed to heal jaundice (icterus), and so on. By claiming magic healing powers, monarchs were reinforcing their link with the divine and their legitimacy to reign. These various royal healing powers were clearly inspired by the French tradition, but the belief was never as strong as in the French kingdom, and fade much earlier in others european kingdoms. In France, the last healing ritual occurred in 1825 at the crowning of Charles X, when royal healing powers had been forgotten since centuries in Spain for instance.
    I believe Marc Bloch’s famous book, “Les Rois Thaumaturges”, is probably in the public domain now, at least in most parts of the world, as Marc Bloch was executed by the nazis in 1944. The book is online on a Quebec university website:

  248. Hi Slink,

    Ah, you present your question as an either / or. My understanding of the subject at hand is that humans have been modifying the environment for their benefit for tens of millennia. That’s what the whole indigenous burns were about down here (and that’s probably been going on for sixty millennia, maybe longer): maintaining the succession of plants and fertility in the environment for the best outcome as they saw it.

    It’s only us Johnny-come-lately types who think that we’re not part of nature. 😉

    And if you think it is just humans who do this trick, think again! The megafauna which went extinct roughly forty millennia ago, likewise did that. Imagine for a moment what a 3 tonne wombat could do to the forests – hint: keep the forest understory open. My guess is that once we ate them all, we then had to do the job which nature had previously done for free. Imagine the poor souls decrying their peers not to hunt and eat the last of the Diprotodon’s lest we bring ruin upon ourselves?

    The other thing is, why would we need to go back to hunting and gathering? We’ve developed some pretty good agricultural skills over the past few centuries, and those are easily passed on and practised.

    There’s a lot for you to think about there. 🙂



  249. Hi JMG, Just to let you know, I tried to get on to your dreamwidth blog, but go this twice instead:
    You are about to log in to the site “” with the username “ecosophia”, but the website does not require authentication. This may be an attempt to trick you.
    I think it may be a way to trick me, all right, but by whom?

  250. JMG,

    Why is it that when a negative outcome is not just “determined” but “over determined” (as in we know 20 verifiable reasons for it to be so) that we reflexively reject what we know and start creating fiction as soon as that outcome becomes reality?

    I suspect it’s that we can’t come to terms with a negative outcome being extensively preventable and foreseeable because that would mean we were either a.) helpless to stop it or b.) unmotivated to take any steps to prevent it.

  251. Hey John,
    I had a disturbing thought about the long descent. Pre-industrial societies didn’t have a lot of energy, so human and animal labor carried out all the tasks necessary for survival. In this kind of situation, slavery made a lot of sense. Many pre-industrial societies had slavery.

    Is it possible that we could see a return of slavery during the long descent as energy depletes and more tasks need to be carried out with human labor instead of machines? I hope not.

  252. @JMG and Aurelien,
    I second the recommendation of Gravity’s Rainbow. I listened to the audio book a few years back and enjoyed it immensely. Probably missed big parts of the deeper stuff, but there was something wholesome about the book.

    I hope you find respite from the dry. I go there now and again. When I do, I’m usually the one sitting at the far end of the bar that serves no drinks whatsoever. Right by the jukebox that doesn’t work.

    My reading of Graeber is not that he is a believer in infinite progress. That would be quite inconsistent with the very non-teleological picture he paints of the last 40,000 years of human history. I don’t progress for or against is a major issue for him. The point he was making was that within human memory of anyone above a certain age, there was an optimism and a sense of adventure in the material realm and that that has largely been replaced
    If we had added up all the numbers and made a decision that jet cars and space colonies just wouldn’t work, I don’t think he would have objected to that. It was that we gave up on all those dreams for no visible reason and replaced them with technology for just talking rather than doing.
    Yes, the natural limits are there, but society as a whole barely takes those into account even now decades later when some of them are hitting in the face, so the decision was made in ignorance of those limits and done in such a way as to squelch meaningful discussion of the matter. That is what he is pointing at.
    He is looking at things with the eyes of someone whose background is strongest in study of human society, past and present, sees that something is quite off about our current arrangements, then sees how different social arrangements could solve the problems immediately facing us. If we did that soon enough (highly unlikely but in quantum all things are (at least infinitesimally) possible, then we would run into natural limits.
    I find both you and Graeber helpful in different ways in wrestling with the question of what the ___ is going on and what to do about it.

  253. Mr. Greer:
    Do you happen to know of any good Tantra teachers in the NYC area? Thanks for the reply.


  254. @Lydia #274

    That will happen if you inadvertently type in:


    with the first “.” replaced by “@”.

    I haven’t been encountering any bugs with the site today.

  255. All – By some odd coincidence (?) the WNYC radio program “On the Media” discussed capitalism and its advocates this morning. According to the program, one reason that we see only two alternatives is because, back in the day when the legality of child labor was being debated, the industrial capitalists conducted a self-described propaganda campaign with the intent of painting any opposition to their practices as “socialism”. And foreign socialism, at that. So unlike the Austrian School of Hayek and von Mises, you see. They actually brought Hayek and von Mises to America, to teach Americans about the dangers of government regulation.

    I don’t see that capitalism and regulation are inherently incompatible. Capitalists should be free to raise and employ capital in creative ways, subject to regulation that protects the Common Good from a race to the bottom. The difficulty arises when capitol is deployed directly to oppose unwanted political action, and to create monopoly power. Maybe there’s no way to raise enough capitol to build a factory, without having more than enough to buy-off local regulators.

    By the way, up-thread a way, someone asserted that “stocks are debt”. I don’t think that’s right. “Bonds are debt”, no doubt. Stock is equity; that is, part ownership in the firm, with a value that rises and falls with the fortunes of the company and its willingness to share profits among the owners (i.e., pay dividends).

  256. Hi Mary,

    The U.S. does not have nearly the experience with war that Russia has. The Russians take war very seriously.

  257. Slink # 254

    Yes, we absolutely will have small populations returning to hunter-gather strategies in the distant future, after industrialism/fossil fuel use has ended. It will happen in areas that become unable to support agriculture due to water or temperature constraints.

    No, it will not be voluntary. People will turn to it as a last-ditch survival strategy when all else fails.

    Ecosophy Enjoyer #276

    Slavery never went away. It just hid out in closets and in far distant locations for a couple of centuries. In some locations and belief systems it was never even outlawed.

    It will absolutely be coming back in a big way once all the ‘fossil fuel slaves’ are gone. Some would say that it already is rampant in the ‘first-world’ West, disguised as wage-slavery. What better way to avoid slave revolts than to prevent the slaves from knowing that slaves is what they are?

  258. @Kimberly #50

    When you say the latest Asbury Revival (as it turns out there was another famous revival on that very same campus in 1970) was “co-staged,” are you saying it was faked? I’d be very interested to learn more about this if you have a source you can share. Personally I have my suspicions about revival phenomena, but it seems to inspire some people. So I can’t claim to know there’s no merit in it.

    I can’t argue with you about the disappointing behavior of many churches during the Covid panic (or, for that matter, with Christopher David about the amount of church wealth wasted on manicured lawns).

    Just last week my family and I decided to visit a new church that we heard about. One of the reasons we were drawn to it is because we heard it did not require masks and it refused to lock down during Covid. That impressed me.

    @JMG #76
    I like that parable of the homeless man, shall we call it. It’s very apt. James himself (believed to be Jesus’s brother) told a similar story in James 2:2. Many church leaders today would do well to reread it.

  259. In case my comment #245 wasn’t clear: expropriation wasn’t used to increase the state’s participation in the economy. Confiscated properties were immediately sold into private ownership again.

  260. Lothar von Hackelheber 147

    I would like to read a history book for laymen on the subject of Prussia — in English — non-biased. Can you lead me to such a book? I know virtually nothing but would like to learn.

    With what little I know, it feels like so-called “Prussians” were/are the most influential group in northern Europe over the last two, three hundred years. One thing I recently got curious about is Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941), grandson of Queen Victoria. With “King Charles III” getting loads of press due to coronation-mania, I have been reading about Charles’ forebears.🤔I really don’t understand why the British people put up with “the royal family” after World War I.

    JMG’s writings helped me put “royalty” into perspective: they started out as bloodthirsty warlords, and push comes to shove, still are. They simply keep their weaponry and mounds of cash stashed out of sight, secret. It is the stark realities of “royalty” and “aristocracy” having attributes of excessive cruelty (and trying to hoodwink everybody by describing themselves as “nobility” when they are anything but) that convinced me that humankind will cause its own extinction.

    Isn’t there a better name for “P/russia” than “Prussia”? I read that the “P” got stuck onto “russia, and the P stands for Poland. “Poland/Russia” doesn’t make any more sense than the word “Prussia.”


    💨👵🏼😢Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  261. @Degringolade #127

    I’ll give a shot at interpreting your spread.

    The following comes from Sri Arya’s The Sacred India Tarot.

    Prarabdha = incarnated. That portion of karma allotted to convert from potential into actual for the current incarnation.

    Purushartha = willed. Karma performed due to one’s will.

    Dridha = fixed. Karma that is either exceedingly difficult to flat-out impossible to change or side-step. This is very hardcore karma.

    Adridha = flexible. Karma that is flexible and can be easily changed or side-stepped. Even “only-21-chakras awake” people can easily change or muck this kind of karma up. Very easy to change. Also very easy to mess up if you’re aiming for a specific outcome.


    Past: 2 of Swords R

    False Truce
    Old rivalries reappear. A time of peace may be the calm before the storm. Arguments arise.

    Sri Arya writes:

    Stalemate. False balance. An impossible situation. Extricating oneself will cause pain. This card is not also known as ‘The Scissors’ for nothing. Strife owing to closed minds and narrow perspectives. Refusal to engage with the new or inevitable change. Illusion of stagnation – it is actually a time of dangerous developments. Lies told for mistaken advantage. Emotionally stuck and angry. Strain on the mind and emotions. Incapability to face problems or wilful blindness towards them. Expert advice is not reliable. The constriction of emotional intelligence. Wool being pulled over eyes. Procrastination. Self-delusion. Passive stances to life.

    Special meaning of the card: n/a

    Insight of the card: What is the one thing nagging you the most that you are refusing to bring into the light of day? Focus on solving just one thing, not everything.

    Suit tattva: Vayu (Air)
    Card tattva: Jala-Vayu (Water-Air)
    Karma type: Prarabdha (incarnated), Purushartha (willed)
    Karma quality: Dridha (fixed)

    – p. 255

    Present: 7 of Cups

    False Success
    Being overly materialistic. Form over substance. Losing touch with what is truly important, and who you really are. A business or lifestyle that cannot be sustained.

    Sri Arya writes:

    Choices. Focus determines reality and outcomes. Wisdom of action. Fateful choices or actions. Spiritual development by determined choice. Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus – no god can stop a hungry man. Magical or mystifying changes. Turning points. Intuitive decisions. Psychic ability. Important messages in dreams. Ability to make significant and correct choices for the long-term. Inspiring and eloquent. Conflict between heart and head. Goodness and selfishness. Visionaries. Artists. Dramatic arts and their performers. Good phase for students. Multiplicity of choices but only one or two are feasible. Focus on what is of value and endures. Persistence pays off hugely. Mental clouds clear. Having to choose between two or more people in relationships.

    Suit tattva: Jala (Water)
    Card tattva: Jala-Jala (Water-Water)
    Karma type: Prarabdha (incarnated), Purushartha (willed)
    Karma quality: Adridha (Flexible)

    – p. 173

    My take:

    Key take away from this card in terms of the NATO vs. Russia Proxy-War is that only one or two choices of all the possibilities for NATO to pick from will actually deliver them final victory. Not sure I have that much confidence in NATO countries’ GovCorp elites at being that astute.


    Future: The Star (17)

    Faith brings unexpected assistance. Dreams should never be put aside and must always remain part of one’s personal life-equation. Hope springs eternal as does the light of the star. Look far into the distance.

    Sri Arya writes:

    Guidance from an intuitive source of wisdom. A time of healing and reorientation, both in life direction as well as in values held. Healing is indicated and necessary. Self-confidence and inner strength to achieve all reasonable goals are available. It is a superlative spiritual energy. Waite called it ‘Gifts of the Spirit’ – but of so high a level that worldly rewards are just moderate at best. Dreams and dreamers have a grand time as they start coming true. The light at the end of the tunnel (it’s not an oncoming train, but a genuine new hope.) New levels of trust and comfort in a relationship. Loving without conditions and expectations. Feeling in touch with something larger than yourself – call it Universe, God or Force. Beneficent and peaceful energy in all situations, but don’t go looking for loads of money. Success is certain but not just yet. A heartening and joyful card.

    Suit tattva: Akasha (Space)
    Card tattva: All
    Karma type: Purushartha (willed)
    Karma quality: Adridha (Flexible)

    – p. 115

    My take: Probably the best card of the three so not all hope is lost for NATO and NATO countries. Having said that I note that Sri Arya insists The Star delivers primarily higher spiritual plane rewards, only modest rewards on Malkuth at best and possibly quite meager given the enormous expense being poured into the war. It could also simply be a comment on the mental state of the U.S. and EU’s GovCorp elites’ interests driving the war. They’re reaching for Hope! since a decisive military victory is at best – “far into the distance.” and I might add according to the Present and Future cards turned over – Adridha (flexible) – read: very easy to miss the boat on that altogether if they don’t get it Goldilocks-style, “Just right.”. That’s how little wiggle room there is for a decisive victory for NATO according to this 3 card spread.

    Having said that Sri Arya does maintain ‘success is certain, but not just yet.” So it may yet be the case NATO will eventually win the war. But the majority of the benefits from winning the war against Russia would be of a higher, spiritual nature.

    Here’s one weird possibility that would still legitimately adhere to The Star’s prediction of success. I could easily see the Biden Admin or any later successor pulling an Afghanistan style surprise where NATO (seeing the war is going to pole-axe their wealth pump status for good) declare ‘victory’ abruptly and go home – leaving the Ukrainians in the lurch and the Russians laughing and breaking out celebratory bottles of vodka toasting NATO’s wonderful, newest definition of what counts for War Victory.

  262. Noteworthy and prolific (congrats on the new book!) Archdruid, and ever-interesting readers, no one seems to have commented much this week on the in-the-news-recently ChatGarbagePetuniaTango. To interact with it, you need to create an account. I did that, and as a retired software engineer am quite honestly bemused and even appalled at all the praise the benighted thing has generated. Many articles shout out said thingie-bopper as being “the next big thing.” From what I have seen, that’s beyond laughable.

    Some articles have come a bit closer in characterizing the actuality of CGPT; here’s a pretty good recent one that fits quite well with my experiences:

    The developers admit that their creation is prone to, err, they call them “hallucinations.” Marvelously, this exposes the programmers as being tyros in the field of human cognition. CGPT does NOT hallucinate, or at least I have not seen it do so nor have careful observers I’ve followed. Instead, what it does is confabulate. There’s a pretty big and basic difference between the two.

    And oh my gosh, what sort of software chatbot can’t do basic math? Ask it something really easy, like the cube root of 216, and it will answer correctly.

    Bear with me as I list out an answer it gave requesting cube roots of whole numbers between 216 and 200:
    Sure, here are the cube roots in order:
    Cube root of 216 = 6
    Cube root of 215 = 6.28037
    Cube root of 214 = 6.324555
    Cube root of 213 = 6.366462
    Cube root of 212 = 6.406391
    Cube root of 211 = 6.444589
    Cube root of 210 = 6.481113
    Cube root of 209 = 6.5161
    Cube root of 208 = 6.54967
    Cube root of 207 = 6.581935
    Cube root of 206 = 6.613
    Cube root of 205 = 6.642954
    Cube root of 204 = 6.671874
    Cube root of 203 = 6.69983
    Cube root of 202 = 6.726891
    Cube root of 201 = 6.753118
    Cube root of 200 = 6.78233
    As you can see, the cube root of 200 is notably larger than the cube root of 216, despite 200 being a smaller number than 216. This is because as the number being cubed decreases, its cube root increases. The cube root of a number represents the side length of a cube whose volume is equal to that number, so as the number gets smaller, the side length of the cube needs to get larger to maintain that volume.

    Um, what?

    The Bot is very polished in its responses, and quite fluffily polite. But if anyone thinks it is good for anything except paltry entertainment, they’re likely smoking lots of wacky tabacky, or just not very knowledgeable.

    Micro$oft has invested, some say, over ten BILLION dollars in the company producing and promoting the flawed little PileOfDumb. M$ has always shown a talent for promoting defective software! And yes, I’ve gotten CGPT to perform quite a good imitation of the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) numerous times. Amusing red-lettered error messages and total freezeups galore. So I doubt we’ll be dancing the Garbage Petunia Tango very much any time soon, if ever.

  263. JMG: “Scotlyn, I won’t argue. The major difference between my view and Graeber’s is that he thinks that socialism is immune from such follies, and I recognize that socialism in practice is simply state capitalism, with all the flaws inherent in that.”

    Sorry if I am belaboring this, but I don’t think that this is Graeber’s position. There are (well, more like have been) many who believed this but not Graeber. He would be suspicious of any top-down hierarchical society that suppressed the wisdom and decision-making capacity of ordinary folks. Even if it were done in the name of ordinary folks. Even if the elites were bright intellectuals such as himself. Perhaps especially such elites.
    To me the appealing thrust of Graeber’s work, especially in The Dawn of Everything, is the notion that humans are very clever primates at coming up with and running an amazing variety of societies, changing societies to what we want and building in mechanisms for preventing what we don’t.
    We don’t talk about it so much here, more about the knowledge and skills we will need for what’s coming. The decline has not yet undercut the current powers-that-be enough to clear out the canopy a bit and create some space for new trees to grow, so considering future society now would probably be mostly idle speculation.
    However, there is at least an implicit orientation to not waiting for any of the folks who have power now to pull our bacon out of the fire for us. Nor any dei ex machinae, be it the Second Coming or our noble Space Brothers.

  264. A question for those debating the merits and demerits of capitalism: What would capitalism look like without corporations? Corporations do not occur in nature. Originally they had to be created by an act of the legislature for a specific charter/purpose and they were limited by their charter. In the 19th century governments streamlined the process of creating corporations. They became essentially immortal, artificial humans; a legal fiction, of course, but a crucial one. The existence of holding companies (corporations that exist to own other corporations) makes the entire setup even more pernicious.

    The bottom line, you can have business enterprises and you can have capitalism without corporations. To return to the question I started with, what would capitalism look like without corporations?

  265. JMG #82
    „Third, one possibility that I think no one is taking into account is that Russia may be perfectly happy keeping the Ukraine war going at its present slow boil for the next five to ten years or so — their economy is handling the strain tolerably well, while Europe is lurching into economic crisis and dragging the US down with it.“

    I wouldn’t say no one, but it’s being spoken about very rarely. IIRC Alex Christoforou (or someone from the Duran‘s circle) has mentioned the complete demilitarization of NATO as one of the Kremlins long term goals for this war.
    It sounds a bit out there, but for the meager European arsenals, it’s already becoming a reality.
    I don’t see any way the Russians could physically destroy much of the US armory, but the way things are going, they may not have to.
    If Biden is forced to drop Ukraine like he did Afghanistan, the world would quickly re-assess the credibility of US hegemony.
    A loss of the dollar as world reserve currency, the ensuing economic distress, finger pointing and quarrels throughout the empire, and an emboldened global south that says „we‘ve had it with you“ may well lead to the US simply not being able to afford its military any longer.

    Commentators keep portraying the looming confrontation with China as the thing that will do the West in, but I‘ve got a feeling that the strategy the Russians are applying right now could already be enough.

    I think years of only allowing what amounts to delusional slander when it comes to reporting about Russia have degraded the collective west‘s ability to judge the situation.

  266. @Mary Bennett (#264) and the commentariat:

    Does anyone else still remember what event triggered the Russian “Special Military Operation” a year ago? What I remember is discussions between the US and Ukraine about basing nuclear weaponry, aimed at Russia, on Ukrainian trerritory.

    Idiots! Double-barreled brass-bound blunderbus idiots!

  267. @Robert Mathiesen,

    Yes, that, and Ukraine having made the Russian language illegal, and all Russian culture, and declaring that ‘all Russian-ness must be removed from Ukraine’. And the last straw was the massing of over 100,000 troops at the line of contact in the Donbass to genocide it once and for all. Instead of the slow 8 years genocide since the Maidan, with the casual and deliberate targeting of civilian areas with artillery. In which 14,000 civilians were killed – men, women, and children. But who cares? Where was the pearl-clutching western media then? No, the victims were only subhuman Moskals – ethnic Russians.

    No, the Ukrainians are not innocent fluffy bunnies. They elected to become proxies of the US. They are reaping the whirlwind. The Ukraine is going to be a very different place when the dust settles. There may or may not be a rump country called ‘Ukraine’. It will not have access to the Black Sea.

  268. @Phutatorius #289

    “What would capitalism look like without corporations?”

    My guess would be…not all that different.

    If we take the basic premises of a mostly-free market, and private ownership of businesses, and structures in place (i.e. investors, loans) to facilitate rapid accumulation of capital, and cheap fossil fuels to allow goods to be shipped worldwide, then:

    Someone has a business idea. They start small and hire a few friends, start a company, pitch their idea to investors, get capital, build a factory. The company starts to have a structure: some folks at the top making decisions, managers, HR people, employees. It grows, employs hundreds or thousands of people, offers goods and services over a larger area.

    Regardless of the specific legal structures or the words that we choose to use, the basic institutional unit that arises is probably going to be functionally quite similar and will tend to behave similarly, whether we call it a company or a business or a corporation. It will also tend to scale with the overall economy. A global economy enabled by instant communication and cheap transport and free trade agreements will tend to have global businesses as major players.

    But since you asked: What do *you* think would be different about capitalism in the absence of corporations?

  269. Slink, Tom’s a first-rate writer and an equally capable number cruncher — as you’d expect from an astrophysicist! I’d caution you, though, against a linear notion of history of the kind you present here. There’s some reason to think that agriculture has appeared and then disappeared in some parts of the world; there are other areas where it’s been maintained continuously and successfully for eight or nine millennia. Civilizations rise and fall, communities cycle through different subsistence economies, and no one metanarrative fits them all. The metanarrative you’ve suggested is quite popular now, because it’s the Christian metanarrative with the serial numbers filed off — replace “hunter-gatherer economy” with “Eden,” “trying to control nature” with “original sin,” and so on, and the parallels aren’t hard to see.

    As for returning to a hunter-gatherer economy, that will certainly happen in those areas that can’t sustain either agriculture or nomadic herding. Of course it’ll also involve something in excess of a 95% population decline in the areas in question, because the hunter-gatherer lifestyle can’t support anything like as many people as agriculture or herding can. Keep in mind also that hunting and gathering requires a great many skills most people nowadays don’t have, and the learning curve is extremely steep — if you can’t find adequate food every week, you starve to death. So it won’t often happen by choice…

    Engineer, well, what kinds of magic or spiritual practice do you know how to do?

    Dermotok, yes, I’m familiar with Rousseau: an extraordinarily interesting figure, and the starting point for a great many movements since his time. One of them you didn’t mention was fascism — Rousseau’s concept of the “general will” and his rejection of reason were core elements of most fascist ideologies. As for whether we’ll see anyone of the same caliber, I don’t expect that, since our civilization has gone past its era of ideology and is now passing into what Vico called the barbarism of reflection, in which ideological labels are simply markers under which charismatic leaders gather passionate mobs of followers. But we’ll see.

    Scotlyn, if I got more people who could think as clearly as Wendell Berry posting here, I’d be a happy blogger!

    Mary, well, let me ask a question that may help you find your answer — what can you do, here and now, to get those people out of power? How much influence do you have over the unelected coteries you’ve criticized?

    Clay, I have no idea. I really don’t.

    OtterGirl, Zelensky may be less of a puppet than he seems. If half the claims about Biden family activities in Ukraine are true, Zelensky may well have a convenient stash of information that could bring down the US president and wreck scores or hundreds of political and governmental careers throughout the NATO states. That would certainly explain why so many governments are shoveling money at Zelensky and his cronies, even though there’s good reason to think much of it is being diverted from the war…

    Lydia, that’s very odd. Did you by any chance put an @ between “ecosophia” and “”? There should just be a period.

    GlassHammer, who is this “we” you’re describing here?

    Enjoyer, according to current estimates, somewhere between 38 and 46 million people are slaves today. So slavery can’t return — it never went away.

    Twitch, no, I don’t offhand. Anyone else?

    Lathechuck, that’s certainly part of it, but there’s another issue: so far, capitalism and socialism are the only two systems under which a large-scale industrial economy has been created. It might be possible to do so under some other system, but those are the only two that have actually done it.

    Blue Sun, it’s a fine old story, and not one I invented — I must have read it decades ago.

    Bryan, thanks for this. I’m not at all surprised, to be frank — there’s been plenty of moonbeams shoveled on that subject for years now.

    Jessica, so noted.

    Eike, I’m glad to hear that someone is discussing it. If the Russians keep up the slow patient grind, that could very easily be more than the US and European economies can handle.

    Robert, the blog Moon of Alabama had a very good summary of the events in question here. The very short form is that it was much more complex than the US media has ever been willing to admit.

  270. Adding to Robert Mathiesen’s recollection, in early 2022, there were well documented reports of a major escalation of shelling by Ukrainian forces in the Donbas, targeting Ukrainian citizens of Russian ethnicity. Dmitri Orlov at that time was suggesting for Russia to relocate the entire population under attack to Russian soil and then make the whole area a no-man’s zone. Everyone except Scott Ritter was expecting Russia to find yet another way of retaliating indirectly without going to war, but I think the proposed nuclear arming of Ukraine was the last straw. It was clear to anyone watching that the US desperately needed a war, and a big one, to distract people from other stuff falling to pieces. I was among the surprised and disappointed when Russia gave into that. But you can only push things so far.
    The latest from Gonzalo Lira is that China has de facto declared war against the US. You can see the document he is referring to here:

  271. JMG,

    “We” refers to the people who I have seen encounter an over determined negative outcome. It includes both others and myself on more than one prior occasion.

    In my case, I couldn’t believe a certain negative outcome for a project at my work really had more than a dozen or so identifiable/verifiable root causes that no one addressed (it truly was an over determined negative outcome). It was so absurd to me that when the project started going badly I reflexively began searching for (more like border line inventing) yet another root cause to explain it all. To this day I can’t fully explain why I chased (and nearly invented) some other less plausible root cause instead of accepting that large initial stack of root causes.

    I noticed I wasn’t the only one doing this at work or outside of it but I am not sure how to totally avoid this error. That’s why I asked my initial question.

  272. ecosophy enjoyer 276, mother balance 284, JMG
    I think one thing that will come back as well an increase in slavery is penal servitude, chain gangs, gulags or whatever one wishes to call them. I suspect societies will decide keeping criminals locked up is an expense they can’t afford, and , depending on the level of risk they present to society,they will either execute them or work them.

  273. @Bryan L Allen,
    Thank you for this assessment of Chat Golf Papa Tango. From the hype, I was beginning to think I ought to make myself scarce in cyber realms, and that here was the end of my translation career. I note that every translation software I’ve used could not translate large numbers right. Still, I think it is likely I will be seeing a lot of rewriting work in which I have to contact the client and have them send me the original Japanese so I can figure out what on Earth is intended to be said. The software I’ve seen drops entire clauses and occasionally throws up its geeky little hands claiming remarkably simple sentences to be “untranslatable.”

  274. Occasionally we have night dreams about events that later actually happen in our lives. How is it that our dreams can access the future? Is it true that time is just an illusion?

    In addition, you are an adherent of astrology, JMG. Putting those two things together, does that mean that the future is pre-ordained and that free will is an illusion?

    Finally, what is your view of the many worlds theory, JMG? The double-slit experiment is cited as proof of this. That experiment does seem to prove however that our consciousness affects reality. And I do know from personal experience that mind over matter (within limits) is a real phenomenon. That’s when I started to believe that magic is real, though it wasn’t until after my third experience that I was convinced.

  275. Re: JMG
    Yes, it’s true. Slavery was only nominally abolished. I should have thought of that before I asked. I wonder if the energy descent will make it more common and out in the open, however.

  276. @sgage (#292):

    Yes, all that, too, and more …

    @JMG (#295):

    I think you’re quite likely correct about the hold Zelenskyy and his intellignce staff has over the Bidens and their ilk in the US and Europe. Well spotted! (As you know, folk like us will never get to see the entire picture, which is almost certainly still being painted in blood and money even as we type on your blog.)

    I do follow the Moon of Alabama; Berhard seems to have a good grasp of the situation. (IIRC, he studied military science in Germany.) And I am really going to miss Andrei Raevsky’s blog once he closes it down in two more days. — A kinswoman of his was one of my Russian teachers at UC Berkeley back in the early 1960s. The Raevskys are an old family, with their definite place in Russian history. (I also studied Ukrainian there, but had to do it on my own, as there were no courses being offered. But the University library had ample resources.)

    My sympathies are painfully divided. I have had both Russian and Ukrainian teachers, and there are colleagues I respect highly on each side. (And I can read both languages comfortably.) No matter how this war plays out in the end, people and places I care about will suffer unspeakably.

    @patriciaormsby (#296):

    Yes, I saw that. I’m still digesting it. I think the days of a unipolar “rules-based” world order are definitely over — forever! China has always played a long game, also in war. (Americans seem to view war as a sort of football game, with a well-defined beginning and end, and a clear winner at the end. Not so, China. And not so, Russia.)

    Alas, I never learned to read Chinese.

    What worries me most of all is the distinct possibility that the US, rather than accepting the unavoidable end of its hegemony (driven by shrinking resources), will throw a gigantic nuclear tantrum and wreck the planet we all have to live on. I think that some of our most powerful leaders in each party really are that stupid and self-deluded. The famous “Doomsday Clock” on the cover of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is currently set at 90 seconds to midnight. I think 5-10 seconds to midnight is far more realistic. Never in all my 80 years have I seen it so close to midnight …

  277. @ Michael – thank you for your recommended read. Picketty does put thought into the subject of equality. For myself, I put more thought into the subject of freedom.

    In exchange, if you are interested in long reads, I’d recommend James C Scott’s “The Art of not Being Governed”, which is not an instruction manual, nor a theoretical treatise, but a history of with a specific focus, that focus being all those actual people who have chosen not to be governed by any given civilising project, and how they went about it. The specific period he covers is the last 2000 years or so, and the geographical area is what he calls “Zomia” – representing the higher hill areas that lie between China, India, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam… the area is characterised by civilised centres which grew and shrank, and by those who would not let themselves be absorbed or ruled, variously known by the civilisers as “raw” “barbarian” “”uncouth” and etc.

    Scott gives a good accounting of those people, not on the more common assumption that they are “primitive” and haven’t caught up yet, but on the assumption that they are quite familiar with civilisation and deliberately choosing something else. The thing is that the “ungovernable” are marked by their inventiveness, by the variety of their cultural forms and norms, and several other features he studies in depth. Whereas people living within a given civilising project are marked by uniformity – of culture, of dress, of habit, of belief.

    It strikes me that a civilised person’s imagination is mostly limited by this civilised assumption – that I cannot make anything work unless everyone else is doing it with me. Whereas barbarians, or the ungovernable, never assume that. They just get on with doing.

  278. Another interpretation of what’s happening in Europe is that it’s actually USA versus Germany, i.e. WWI chapter 3, not NATO versus Russia.

    Consider this: the only offensive action the US has taken directly is blowing up the Nordstream pipelines, which is an attack on Germany’s vital interests. And the USA’s encouragement of EU nations to donate armaments to Ukraine has the effect of draining Germany of military capability.

    Motivation: As the US sinks in productive capacity, Germany becomes more of a peer competitor, something the US doesn’t need. Denying it cheap natural gas is one way short of actual combat to forestall that eventuality.

    NATO versus Russia is a sideshow from the USA point of view. A transactional analyst would categorize it as the “Let’s you and him fight” maneuver.

    Not that I actually believe the above, but I’m toying with the notion.

  279. There they go, making stuff up again… The headlines (e.g., from Axios, a week ago): “EU expected to sanction IRGC entities over drones sent to Russia” was unhelpfully explained as pertaining to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Council, rather than “Corps,” in at least two radio news reports that I heard yesterday. And, just to be sure that there is actually no such council, I asked Google to find any references to it, and the search results all came back with “Corps”.

    According to Wikipedia, the IRGC includes 390,000 soldiers and reservists, as contrasted to how many people would you expect a “council” to include? A dozen? A hundred?

    I can only assume that all of the original discussion used the initialism “IRGC”, and some junior reported took a wild guess at what the “C” stands for. I desire better than wild guesses in my news feed. If they can’t get THIS right, who knows what else is garbled?

  280. Northwind Grandma:

    The similarity of the names Prussia and Russia in English does not extend to their names in German, which are “Preußen” and “Rußland” respectively.

    I can trace my father’s family back many generations in East Prussia; fortunately my direct ancestors had the sense? foresight? to move to western Germany after WWI and thereby avoided the brutal expulsion of ethnic Germans that occurred after WWII, an event which sadly affected other members of my distant family.

  281. @Mark #293: Okay, I think much would be different. Here’s the quick list “off the top of my head”:
    1. I thing we’d do things on a smaller scale.
    2. Without “limited liability” raising investment cash would be much more difficult; would you invest in a railroad knowing that if there were a big accident you could be held personally, financially responsible?
    3. In the USA the 1st Amendment freedom of speech rulings giving corporations free reign to fund political candidates (Citizens United, especially) would be rendered null and void.
    4. Mobility of capital across national borders would be more limited.
    5. Corporate CEOs would have no “corporate veil” to protect them from going to prison.
    6. I think we would have millionaires but no billionaires.

    That’s my “off the top of my head” list. I’ll toss out a book recommendation: it’s “Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy” by Ted Nace. It’s a good primer on the history of corporations.

  282. Our brilliant lawmakers are doubling down on stupid. Since the beginning of the proxy war in Ukraine, the US and EU have banned air carriers registered in those countries from overflying Russia. Given Russia’s size and strategic position this has forced carriers going from the eastern US or Northern Europe to take much longer routes that cost more and are more inconvenient for passengers. This is not a problem for carriers from China and some other SE asian nations. Senator Robert Menendez is proposing to ban any airline that overflies Russia from landing at a US airport. Can anyone see how this might backfire. We can go from financial hurting a few us air carriers to economic isolation of the US from SE Asia.

  283. Slink,

    I’m going to disagree with Chris from Down Under and put my name on the waiting list to return to hunting/gathering ASAP! Too many of society’s problems arise from agriculture, civilization, and monotheism – the trifecta of early “Progress.” Foragers don’t experience famine, pandemic disease, degenerative afflictions, hierarchical social structures…the list is long. It took civilization to teach us how to bow, curtsey, and grovel. That was never, and still isn’t, part of the hunting and gathering experience.

    As Christopher Ryan put it in “Civilized to Death,” if you set my house on fire don’t expect me to be thankful when you arrive with a bucket of water! Civilization’s laundry list of problems are almost entirely self-inflicted, and almost equally absent in foraging societies.

    Of course, we became farmers accidentally, in regions so flush with resources that the population got too large to support when the climate shifted to a less generous pattern. The sedentary lifestyle that developed along with the abundance left our ancestors between a rock and a hard place, with the sudden need to either boost food production locally, or leave their homes to hunt and gather again. And we know which way that went.

    I believe that’s the inspiration for the story of the Garden of Eden actually – a deep cultural memory of an easier life in the past, and the transition to the endless toil and pain of farming our unavoidable “punishment.”

    Looking at colonial America as an example, none of the indigenous ever chose to join civilization willingly, but thousands of us adopted the Indian way of life, joyfully, and never looked back. Not that mainstream history books ever talk about that. I doubt I could transition from civilization to foraging (where did put that loincloth?), but that doesn’t mean I don’t pine for it sometimes…

    Why should we learn to farm when there are so many mongongo nuts?


  284. JMG and fans, there’s a fascinating roundup of lost cities you might find interesting:

    Also, just JMG, congratulations on the new book. As someone who’s dabbled in the mystery genre myself—with a series (the Dreamslippers) attempting to treat psychic powers in a more realistic vein—I applaud your contribution to a genre that often goes mushy and inconsistent when it comes to the occult.

  285. @ Northwind Grandma #285:

    The awkward fact that the British royal family were all basically German was the reason they swiftly changed their family name from Saxe-Coburg Gotha to Windsor.

    Their ancestors certainly were violent barbarian warlords, but none of the contemporary royals strike me as having that in them. Where’s Conan when you need him, eh? 😉

    I do suspect a certain social ruthlessness has been handed down, as part of their education – after all, it’s not too many generations back to the time when it was a fairly common practice for a newly-crowned monarch to kill off any and all relatives who might attempt to usurp them, even if they were children.

  286. Robert Mathiesen: I do remember that, I gather it was a bit of a last straw for Russia. Let us remember that the USA does not tolerate the presence of nuclear weapons anywhere in the Western Hemisphere outside our own country–whether those are even still usable
    is another question–, let alone next our borders.

    Other countries adjacent to Russia, Belarus for one, have managed to work out modi Vivendi with their giant neighbor. I still am not understanding why “defending Ukraine” and its’ clown president is the responsibility of my country. As far as I am concerned, members of the Mitteleuropean diaspora who still cherish their hatred of Russia can go back to Europe and fight the Bear themselves.

    Your Highness @ 281 I am sure the Russians take war seriously. The reason they allied with us in the past is because successive governments saw that alliance as being in the best interests of Russia itself.

  287. JMG, I hope this can be posted as it is time sensitive. For the people participating in the prayer circle, I’d like to add my friend and spiritual teacher A to the prayerlist. Yesterday he fell unconscious due to possibly heart arrhytmia, had to be reanimated and is now in a artificial sleep in the hospital. The coming night the sleepmedication will be ended and tomorrow we will know more how he is. The prayer is for him to wake up well and for his wellbeing and restoration of his health. I have permission of his wife who told me all prayers are welcome. Thank you!

  288. @Northwind Grandma, #64

    Hope you are enjoying Hesse. I know it might hurt a little, but it’s kind of bittersweet, isn’t it?

    I first read Demian in my late teens, as a talented young man who lacked most answers but at least was able to see through the holes in adult doctrines, I did not think much of it beyond being “a self discovery tall tale”.

    Much later, a reread Demian as a depressed, (voluntarily) unemployed, borderline suicide, father of two. Boy, was I wrong the first time around. It could be argued that I have to thank Hesse for the insight of putting a bullet through my career’s head instead of my own. So much fell into place and, while no less bitter, some pills were easier to swallow in the knowledge that it was not all pointless, but part of a journey.

    I am very much looking forward to a second reread, but I will wait until I am somewhere around your age. I wonder what kind of boat I will be rowing forwards-then, shall I complete the pattern?

  289. G’Day Chris!

    Yes, I’m still turning this over in my mind.

    I’m well aware that humans have been modifying the environment to favor them for a very, very long time. I am current involved in an effort with local tribes to restore fire to the landscape (I live in Northern California). I guess what strikes me most is their attitude. Their culture tells them that what abilities humans may have are to be used for the benefit of all species (humans included).

    They are a salmon people and figured out thousands of years ago that the fate of the salmon is the fate of the people. But this analogy applies to some degree to all species. Every year they hold a World Renewal ceremony, and burning the sacred mountain is (or used to be) a big part of it. Sure, burning (particularly the ridges) aids in travel and hunting and propagation of certain plants they use for basket weaving, but it also helps the elk and the owl and the turtle and the bees. And of course frequent burning helps keep the entire landscape from burning to a crisp when the lightning comes just before the dry, easterly winds.

    It’s so refreshing to be in contact with this culture. They seem to have figured out over thousands of years that the special skills humans are endowed with are a call to use those skills carefully and thoughtfully to preserved the balance of nature, on which all life depends.

    It’s going to be a while before we can burn the mountain again. The fuel that has built up over the last 100 years of fire suppression makes that very risky at the moment. Traditionally, they burn it the first week of September, when fire danger is the highest of the year. You should have seen the collective heads of the Forest Service explode when the Indians came to them and said, “Hey, we want to set that mountain on fire the first week of September.” But we’re past that now, and I hope to see the mountain burn again in my lifetime (I’ll be 55 soon).

  290. Ethan L. 184

    Hi Ethan,

    I started getting interested in graphic design shortly after the first Macintosh came out, hmm, 1983ish. I have been a watcher ever since. Shortly thereafter, “PCs” (personal computers) came on the market manufactured by IBM using Microsoft DOS. In 1984, graphics on these devices were primitive, black and white (b&w) — 0s and 1s. Then around 1987, Apple came out with the first b&w laser printer using Adobe’s Postscript firmware, which sparked “desktop publishing.”

    Roughly from 2010 to 2015, I noticed the following: graphics and 3D were at its gaudiest. Gradients were all the rage. Gradients are a pain in the butt to accomplish — gradients are time-consuming, take a lot of computing power, have high artistic and technical know-how with a long and painful learning curve, and usually there had to be several such artists working on a project to pull off finished pieces on tight schedules time after time. I noticed print publications ditching gradients in illustrations and fonts. Apple went completely flat in fonts and icons. A year or two later, websites had ditched gradients. Flat art was “in.” Flat art became permanent. I can’t remember the last time I saw a gradient — gradients feel “dated.” At the same time, I saw a marked increase of companies relying on still photos and videos. This was also the time that smart phones started using seriously sophisticated cameras for everyday use.

    What likely happened is that companies could no longer afford expensive graphic artists and superior equipment that specialized in 3D and gradients. Flat art became a bare-bones necessity.

    Take Apple News on iOS devices, for example. There are no fancy anything. Fonts are in solid colors.

    The “flat” trend has been in full force for at least ten years. With industries tightening their belts over the long-term, the flat trend is all they can to cough up. Maybe isolated instances or companies that are flush with cash can afford fancy graphics but, even then, complicated graphics feel out of sync. “Flat” may mean ugly and boring, but it is quick and 50% off.

    In my opinion, flat graphics are here to stay because they are compatible with decline. Complicated graphics will never come back. No-one has energy to deal with “difficult” things anymore. I don’t see that there could ever be a sustained revolt against “flat.” The next phase of decline would be advertisements replacing CMY (3 colors: cyan, magenta, yellow) or CMYK (4-colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) with three or four spot colors, as was popular in the 1950s (along with a reduction in color photos). After that, companies will only be able to afford grayscale (1930s) with black and white photos. After that, they will only be able to manage black and white (pre-1920) block printing with block illustrations. What has been happening with graphic design since 2010 is what happened from 1920 onwards, except in reverse. Little by little, company-by-company see the need to shrink their marketing budgets a bit more every quarter. They will have to do more with less, or shut down.

    In other words, “fancy” graphic design was a flash-in-the-pan based on petroleum, a fad. Style has been falling by the wayside for years. “Dazzling” and “busy” have lost their appeal. By 2030, we may see companies doing advertisements only in spot colors. By 2035, it could be primarily grayscale. By 2040, there may be a return to typewriters using black-ink-ribbons (with the occasional red), if we are lucky, and no photos at all.

    > I’m starting to see an increasing amount of backlash against the style in articles and videos

    I suspect this is a form of denial. Or propaganda implying “everything is fine” when it isn’t.

    Sidebar, I foresee a similar thing happening to women’s (so-called) “fashions,” but on a different timetable. Women will opt for comfort and utility over looks — they will go for spot colors (solids). Patterns printed on fabric will gradually disappear. Eventually, we will see people dyeing yarn in pots on their stoves, and making fabric using small looms at home with fabric content comfortable to wear and durable. Families, simply, won’t be able to afford anything except the basics.

    Men’s clothing, I don’t know. Will there still be a suit jacket? Or vests? (I absolutely LOVE vests, for both men and women. Vests are way cool. Everyone looks good in some kind of vest‼️) I never understood neckties. Neckties strangle men — what’s up with that? The trend is already seeing men ditching god-awful neckties and going around wearing button-down shirts. Maybe neckties will be for the very rich who need to “brag how big their ‘neckties’ (private parts) are.”

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  291. The West seems to be sleepwalking into a nuclear exchange with Russia. I wonder if it’s an age thing? When I was a youngster, say 1950s, early ’60s, we didn’t have TV in my country, but we did have newsreels. So every Saturday morning, along with the serials, you’d get the news of Who’s Got The Biggest Bomb.

    America, five megatons… Russia, ten megatons… America, fifteen megatons… etc. plus of course dramatic footage of the mushroom clouds. My very first published piece of writing in the junior school magazine went something along the lines of “The world is like a flashbulb. Push the button, there’s a bright flash, and then you lie crumpled in the gutter.”

    (Remember the old flashbulbs that would go off with a pop and a flash and end up burnt and crumpled and discarded after one use.)

    Do the leaders of today, who are younger than I, get these images burned into their brains? Or are they spared such sights? They don’t seem to have any conception of the dangerous paths they are walking.

  292. JMG #76

    Thank you for the response to my comment at Tom #33. I could not agree more with you. The profit motivated peddling of things as “super food” is a real problem and should be backed away from. I think you missed the point of my posting. The unfortunate title “Toxic Superfoods” does not do Norton’s book justice but is clearly a marketing effort. What is most sad to me is that information about oxalate toxicity was, apparently, once more common knowledge in the medical profession but like a lot of nutritional information is not propagated by the medical profession because it is not profitable. Pills to be sold is more profitable than good nutritional information. It would also appear that some of the problem maybe our overuse of antibiotics has altered the microbiome of the population in ways that make the situation worse because it has eliminated some useful microbes that were helpful with oxalate elimination.

    The other troubling aspect is that foods like spinach, swiss chard and almonds which most of us would expect to be healthy maybe not good for many of us and consumption of which can lead to oxalate toxicity with a host of unwanted effects. I put this out there as a caution to everyone.

    Siliconguy #52 Thanks for the supportive comment. I would love to hear more about you run in with selenium toxicity. How did you figure out what the issue was? You can reach me at my gmail Tomxyza.

    Patriciaornsby #86 Thanks for the positive support. I had noticed that Norton had identified one of the problems as being trouble with electronics. As part of my work experience I attended conference in the mid 90s where a researcher from Pacific NW Labs was speaking the Washington Public Utility Districts association managers group discussing the EMF issues of power lines. He assured everyone that at power line frequencies and field strengths that there as not issue but noted that mammalian cells exposed to various electric and magnetic fields could thrive die or do nothing. It was a very sobering comment. I have wondered what happened to the research report. The issue at the time, opposition to power lines calmed down enough that utilities got back to work.

    I am being very careful with the concern of going too low and getting problems with my body dumping oxalate.

    Ravenwillow #223 Thank you for the added resources. I greatly appreciate the assistance in my search for good information. It sounds like your effort has helped you. Good luck with your path.


  293. JMG > What comes to my mind first is that the main character finds out she has supposedly been arrested for jaywalking

    I like it.

    Woman-A, who has in her possession her lookalike’s (Woman-B) driver’s license, walks across the street and gets nabbed for jaywalking. Had Woman-A wanted to get caught for jaywalking in the name of her lookalike Woman-B? Why the identity theft?

    I am already looking forward to finding out what happens.

    No murder(s) in the story? Woe is me‼️Dang nabbit.

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  294. @Phutatorius #312 re: corporations and capitalism

    Thanks for explaining your reasoning. You may be right, but my sense is that each of those six points could easily have been managed by some alternative structure (e.g. risk-pooling insurance to manage liability) in the absence of legally-structured corporations.

    Overall, I would argue – to use GlassHammer’s term – that our current late-stage capitalist/extractionist overshoot predicament was “overdetermined”, and that no specific change like eliminating corporations as a legal structure would have made much difference. In effect, state socialism a la the USSR even leads to the same place.

    From my perspective, in order for events to have turned out differently, society as a whole would have needed to prioritize different values which would then have been reflected in laws and the structure of economies. Valuing long-term stability and equilibrium rather than expansion/growth/progress would have made a major difference. Widespread acknowledgement of sacredness/gods/divine intelligence within the Earth’s biosphere would have made a major difference as well.

  295. “Motivation: As the US sinks in productive capacity, Germany becomes more of a peer competitor, something the US doesn’t need. Denying it cheap natural gas is one way short of actual combat to forestall that eventuality.”

    An updated version of the Morgenthau plan.

    And in the run up to WWI the British weren’t too keen on letting the Germans becoming a competitor with British industry, they wanted a quiet agricultural colony.

  296. Mary Bennett 264

    Touché. What you wrote here are “my sentiments exactly” but there is no way I could have arranged the words to express it.

    Thank you‼️

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  297. @ Batstrel:
    RE: Consciousness and QM. You might enjoy “Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness” by Bruce Rosenbaum and Fred Kuttner. Oxford University Press. It does not presuppose the reader has an advanced degree in physics. It is well written and scientifically accurate.

  298. Ecosophy Enjoyer 276

    > Is it possible that we could see a return of slavery during the long descent as energy depletes and more tasks need to be carried out with human labor instead of machines?

    It doesn’t matter how much people like Black Lives Matter (BLM) bitch and moan: slavery is a fact of life. There is no way slavery will be abolished over the long-term. Nor can it, given that humans are not humanitarian except in isolated cases. Humans have very little care to not bring slavery back. Slaves exist, today, around the world, and we can’t stop it: stamp out one set and another two sets pop up.

    ⛏Cruelty by humans wins out. Hoping that slavery never returns is wishful thinking. Not gonna happen.

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  299. > sgage 292

    I have to admit. Every time I see the word “Donbass,” I see “dumb-ass.” I can’t help myself. Consider it a “senior moment.”

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  300. @ Robert #305

    RE: The US throwing a tantrum and blowing things up with nukes…

    We said the same thing about the Soviet Union back in the 80’s. When it looked like they were going to lose “the game”, we were afraid they might just upset the whole “table”.

    But it didn’t happen then, and I’m really hopeful it doesn’t happen this time.

  301. @Mark L #325

    society as a whole would have needed to prioritize different values

    “Society as a whole” reeks of centralized planning. Ultimately everything comes down to self-interest and thus people will prioritize different values only when it’s in their best interests to do so. Resource constraints will definitely force that reprioritization. And no, government incentives and subsidies rarely do anything more than misallocate resources, privatize gains to politically-favored groups and socialize the losses (e.g. Solyndra).

    Socialism at it’s core can never thrive as a system simply because it goes against basic human nature.

  302. Patricia O, if China does decide to take a more active role in the current mess, the US will be in deep trouble. They have the industrial plant and the huge infantry forces needed to fight a prolonged First World War-style conflict; we don’t.

    GlassHammer, interesting. That’s not a habit I’ve ever had, so I’m not at all sure what motivates it.

    Stephen, that’s very likely, of course. I would also expect the death penalty to stage a comeback, for similar reasons.

    Batstrel, I’ll begin with astrology, because that’s something I work with quite a bit. Astrology doesn’t predict the future. What it does is forecast trends and possibilities. If you know that tomorrow’s a day when you have a high risk of accidents, say, because Mercury’s square your natal Mars, you can be extra careful and avoid risky activities, and get through the day just fine. In the same way, plenty of seemingly precognitive dreams turn out to be wrong — what you glimpse in the dream state is a form on the astral plane which may or may not manifest on the material plane. The Many Worlds theory, finally, always struck me as begging the question; do we have any evidence for these other worlds, other than the fact that they would be convenient for physicists? Since the future is not fixed and consciousness not only shapes but actually constitutes the collection of phenomena we call “matter,” it seems to me that the reality of magic is a much more parsimonious hypothesis.

    Patricia O, thank you!

    Engineer, that’s like saying that you want to know how to design an airfoil, and where should you start? My suggestion, since I gather this is something you want to do in the reasonably near term, is to try prayer.

    Enjoyer, good question. I hope not.

    Robert, I figure it’s always safe to assume that US politicians are gaudily corrupt, and when one political family has as many connections to Ukraine as the Biden family does, it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on. As for sympathies, I get that. I don’t have personal connections to either side, but it’s always miserable to see two proud and ancient nations drawn into this kind of zero-sum struggle.

    Martin, a case could be made. Certainly Europe seems likely to end up the big loser in the current mess.

    Lathechuck, it’s getting hard to tell what’s the product of malice and what’s the product of sheer hopeless incompetence!

    Clay, the unraveling of global trade and travel was going to happen anyway. This may well speed it up.

    Brunette, thanks for the link — and thanks also for the congratulations. I’ll have a look at the Dreamslippers books; a more realistic look at psychic phenomena sounds very much worth reading.

    Boccaccio, positive energy incoming!

    Martin, or simply the senility of an increasingly geriatric ruling caste.

    Tom, oh, I got the point. Since I stay away from the mainstream media and popular culture generally, I never got into the “healthy food” thing, so my oxalate consumption has always been modest. My broader point, however, is that every “healthy food” fad — whether it’s focused on eating much more of something or avoiding something — has turned out to be problematic in the middle to long run. Thus I recommend a diet of plain ordinary foods prepared in the usual ways, and much less obsessiveness about eating!

    Northwind, that’s certainly one way the story could be played. As for murder, get used to it — no murders in the entire series!

  303. @ Grover #314

    I hear you. I’ve heard that many “primitive” societies actually had a lot more free time and more socialization than we have today.

    RE: Farming. I hope you saw my post above. I don’t think the Tribe I’m working with has any history of what we could call Agriculture. Obviously, they didn’t need it. But I’m sure that something akin to a home garden will persist for a very long time now that it is here. Also, early settlers planted a lot of fruit trees. Apple, Peach, and Cherries seem to do well. I can see a lot effort going in to keeping them healthy. A fresh, juicy, sweet peach in the summer?

    As for colonial America, I’d be really surprised if there weren’t some natives who didn’t embrace the new lifestyle/culture. But I know a lot of people went the other way and were glad they did. Sam Houston comes to mind.

  304. JMG 295

    > Keep in mind also that hunting and gathering requires a great many skills most people nowadays don’t have, and the learning curve is extremely steep

    If I am not mistaken, druid writer Emma Restall Orr (“Bobcat”) wrote in one of her books something to the effect that she used to hide in the forest, sitting amongst brush, and for hours, remaining perfectly still and quiet, in a neutral way, not with any sort of malicious intent. She used to see all sorts of interesting goings-on with any number of animals, like raccoons. Raccoons didn’t even know she was there which, if one knows raccoons, is nearly impossible to do. Humans’ lurking like this is a valuable skill. I thought, “Wow, why don’t humans go out into a forest, hide, see what happens, do it again and learn from it?” I suppose some people do do that (hunters?), but the subject is never written about in any sort of mainstream way.

    I would venture that hiding in the forest is very hard. Being a seamstress, my mind goes to clothing — just the idea of keeping insects out of one’s underpants would be a challenge. The picture of insects-in-underpants is amusing to everyone who is not at this moment experiencing it. I have never seen a clothing company advertise “We have a leg up on the competition: bugs will never reach your private parts‼️”

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  305. Northwind Grandma @ 328. Thank you. Do you have any ideas how to rid ourselves of this old man on our backs–that is a reference to a story from Sinbad’s voyages–? Voting doesn’t work. Demonstrations are simply ignored. Do you remember the huuge antiwar demonstration outside the Republican convention in 2004? No? Neither does anyone else, because MSM didn’t cover it. That was when I knew for sure the LSM was bought and paid for. Petitions? Don’t make me laugh. Consumer boycotts have no effect because the foundations and individuals who finance this faction don’t make consumer products.

  306. Mark L

    “Valuing long-term stability and equilibrium rather than expansion/growth/progress would have made a major difference. Widespread acknowledgement of sacredness/gods/divine intelligence within the Earth’s biosphere would have made a major difference as well.”


    … is what I feel working with tribal members

    … is probably our best way forward. If we can pull it off. There’s hope. It’s been done before.

  307. JMG wrote: “Ecosophian, so noted! It would be an interesting challenge, I grant. What comes to my mind first is that the main character finds out she has supposedly been arrested for jaywalking, at a date and place where she knows she wasn’t present! Who was impersonating her — and why did that person do that, and then make such an obvious decision to come to the attention of the police?”

    This scenario reminds me of when Lee Harvey Oswald (or somebody impersonating him) made a big scene at an embassy in Mexico City sometime prior to November 1963. (Any Warren Report critics will probably be familiar with this.) What was the motive behind this apparent impersonation? Was Oswald being set up in advance as a patsy?

    This could turn a simple jaywalking story into something much bigger. We’re talking FICTION here, of course.

  308. Slink,

    Or maybe I should just spend more time with foragers, in my normal clothes, and see where it goes!


  309. In America the biggest sign of success is the ability to achieve a “financial retirement” at a modest age. By “financial retirement” I mean one in which the income you need for your lifestyle comes from the ” earnings” from financial assets acquired during ones life. With the collapse of private pensions this is only a reality for members of the PMC as well as select public employees. But it seems that the acceleration of the ongoing financial collapse will put an end to the printed money that has been feeding this operation since real economic growth ceased years ago. Most people I know who have achieved this goal of “financial independence” have no plan B. It seems that once this reality hits ( I expect in a very few years) the comfortable classes will truly be driven crazy in a way that even Trump couldn’t achieve. People often look at me with amusement when I explain how I have organized my machine shop so I can operate it well in to my 70’s. But don’t you want to retire? is the question on their lips. An entire part of the economy will be washed away ( in addition to its beneficiaries) once this arrangement ends. Most people don’t realize how unusual it is from a historical perspective.

  310. Hey JMG

    Have you by any chance heard about the anti-corruption campaign that the Vietnamese government has been carrying out which has caused not only a few ministers but the Vietnamese president himself to resign on account of some violation that a few of his underlies committed?

    I thought you would be interested since it may offer some hints to how a similar situation in chine would play out.

  311. JMG
    I don’t know enough about the chemical in the spill in Ohio, either the toxicity, extent of coverage or duration, but do you feel it would be enough to affect that area as the site of a future American culture?

  312. JMG,

    Thanks for the response either way.

    It’s not a very good habit to have.

    Upon further reflection I think a contributing factor is that I often can only tell my leadership (and team) one very concise (often heavily redacted) root cause for a given problem because anything lengthy frustrates them. I think repeating that over the years has made me hostile to extensive lists of root causes for over determined problems.

  313. To Happy Panda (#286)

    Thank you a lot for that….I’ll ponder it.

    I suppose that from my point of view, pulling out a la Afghanistan would constitute a win. Just getting out and backing away from a bigger war is a win.

    I think the first two cards are clear warning that how we got here thus far has been a big mistake. Any way we can get out is good by me

  314. JMG, I miss having your most recent books in ebook format. They’re much easier to acquire for us non-European and non-American readers. For example, this last book of yours, to be released in April, costs $20 to buy…and $30 to ship to my country. Would it be possible to publish ebook editions of your next books? Thanks!

  315. Northwind, the ability to sit completely still in a natural environment and just watch and listen is far and away the most useful woodland skill there is. It can be learned; Tom Brown Jr. talks about it at length in his books on tracking, but it takes quite a bit of practice. In my experience, bugs aren’t generally that interested in climbing into human clothing — I’ve never had a problem with that, certainly. It’s the ones who like the taste of human blood who are annoying.

    Phutatorius, good. Yes, it’s something that competent criminals and spies know how to do.

    Clay, excellent — you’re paying attention. Yes, exactly, and this is why I don’t plan on retiring at all, either.

    J.L.Mc12, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Stephen, it’s unlikely to still be a significant issue 500 years from now, which is about when the new American culture is expected to start up.

    GlassHammer, in that case your leadership is riding for a very hard fall. In the real world there is never just one cause for anything.

    Bruno BL, Aeon releases ebook editions when it publishes the hard copy. If you go to the website —

    — you’ll find that the books that are already out have an ebook option. So will The Witch of Criswell once it’s available in print.

  316. John,
    Thank-you for hosting these conversations and your thoughtful insights through these strange times. I have two thoughts to add.

    The modern practice of a nuclear family unit will largely disappear simply because it is energy inefficient and more emotionally taxing than what living with extended family or sharing space with more people will become.


    I find it difficult to constantly practice the soft skill of adaptability because it’s easy to assume how energy constraints will affect oneself and be completely wrong.

    I suspect one of the primary reasons why large capital investments will become increasingly volatile is because of this very reason: They lack adaptability. The on and off ramps are becoming congested. The barrier to access is becoming higher.

    This includes almost all forms of capital: Financial capital, social capital, cultural capital, experiential capital, natural/living capital, human capital, spiritual capital. In the future, total capital may or may not be less than now, but the energy cost to acquire it will be.

    The kneejerk reaction is to panic accumulate in preparation for the future, only to ignore the energy maintenance costs to maintain it over time and the energy costs of covering your asset when it becomes a liability. The strategy here turns from kneejerk panic accumulation to a life where you take stock of your capital, enjoy and maintain what you deem essential and worthwhile, but slowly and carefully shed the fragile and energy intensive capital. There is no broker that can do this job better than yourself.

  317. Mary Bennett 337

    > Do you have any ideas how to rid ourselves of the old man on our backs…?

    I don’t have insight as to how to get rid of them, but I can help with identifying who they are.

    I am an amateur genealogist. I have been an Ancestry dot com aficionado since Ancestry only published books (< 1985). But when they Ancestry dot com made census images online en masse, I got busy.

    I had a few months bare time, so figured I would put together the skeletons of U.S. presidents’ family trees. I transcribed hundreds of census images from 1850 to 1940.

    {{{ When I say “all” here, I mean “the vast majority” or, say, 95%. “All” is shorter to write. }}}

    I will make a long story short:

    All the U.S. presidents and vice-presidents and congress-critters and heads of corporations and governors are…

    wait for it…


    If one starts at year 1625 (approximate start date of Colonial America), and each generation is 25 years, there are maximum of something like 15 generations.

    They all are f—ing 15th cousins or less. Not putting them into chronological order, the Bushes were related to Truman who is related to Taft who is related to Hoover who is related to Clinton who is related to Andrew Jackson who is related to Cleveland who is related to the Adamses who is related to Lincoln who is related to the Roosevelts, etc. Add in there pretty much any and all congress-critters who ever were. Add in governors of states. Add in chairmans of the board. Many are ONLY 5th cousins. Bush is related to Biden. Biden is related to Obama.

    I assume said families have kept track and know all about this. But does the general American public have a clue? Not a chance.

    We do, in fact and in deed, have an aristocracy in the U.S.A. But their blood-relatedness is never acknowledged or discussed. They all look out for each others’ interests, secretly, as family does. They are all part of an aristocratic mafia, out to benefit their own extended family, leaving the rest of us to catch fruit as it falls off the truck. They all plunder us American peons. They game the system — heck, they invented the system. The vast majority have two plans in life: the general plan, and the one for when everything collapses. After things collapse, most of them will still be standing — they won’t help in poorer folks’ recoveries — they will steal everything they can, and murder when they can get away with it.

    I just about fell over when I discovered Mitch McConnell is related to Agnes who is related to Obama who is related to Manchin who is related to Graham who is related to Inhofe who is related to Quackenbush, and so forth.

    So, knowing these people are all of the same extended family, and they have looked out for each others’ interests for 400 years, and that they will be left standing after any sort of holocaust, where does that leave the rest of us? The rest of us are sunk. From the looks of it, we NEVER had a chance.

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  318. Mary Bennett 337

    typo. Who is Agnes? Agnew, Spiro.

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  319. Hi JMG,

    Some weeks ago, a commenter asked if we are at the point when blowback from the antics of the past several years begins in earnest. If I remember correctly, you commented that no, not yet. Before that happens, the media will turn completely on women and black people.

    I just saw a article in Zero Hedge which reads, in part:

    Hundreds of newspapers will no longer carry the long-running “Dilbert” office cartoon after creator Scott Adams said white people should “stay the f**k away” from blacks, a demographic he called a “hate group.”

    Those remarks in a recent episode of his “Real Coffee with Scott Adams” podcast came after he shared the unsettling results of a Rasmussen poll. When asked if they agree with the statement “It’s ok to be white,” 26% of blacks disagreed and 21% weren’t sure.

    In addition to the USA Today Network — which includes the Arizona Republic, St. Augustine Record, Courier-Journal (KY), Austin American-Statesman and hundreds more — the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Antonio Express-News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune and Cleveland Plain Dealer were among other individual papers racing to drop Adams like a hot potato.

    “By Monday, I should be mostly canceled,” said Adams on his YouTube channel. “So most of my income will be gone by next week. My reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed. You can’t come back from this.”

    Is this a harbinger of things to come?

    Thanks as always for your insights. I truly appreciate how they often surprise me, and cause me to rethink things.


  320. A note to those posting very long links: you can cut off the question mark and all the gobbledygook that follows it.

    That is information as to how you obtained the link, e.g. from an email or another website, and is used to allocate any financial rewards for promoting the link. We don’t need to see that.

    can be cut to with no ill effect.

  321. @Northwind Grandma #336

    Keep in mind also that hunting and gathering requires a great many skills most people nowadays don’t have, and the learning curve is extremely steep

    Not just hunting and gathering. When the Great Depression hit most of the population still had basic knowledge and skills that are entirely lacking in this day and age. How many people these days can even chop wood or sew? So many nowadays never physically create or repair anything; their world is all about Amazon, Uber, Grubhub and planned obsolescence. How long will “modern” people even survive without their smart phone, let alone the internet?

    IMHO the Fourth Turning / Greater Depression will devastate the PMC and their urban constituency.

  322. @Twitch #169 —
    Janet Hardy’s experience (back arched, body supported only by the crown of her head and her feet) sounds a lot like a tonic seizure — Here’s a link:

    Seizures can manifest in many different forms, not just grand mal or petit mal, so it is possible that these spontaneous orgasmic experiences could be the expression of a seizure focus.
    I wonder if it would be a good idea to get a PET scan to rule out such a seizure focus?
    On the other hand, Mary Roach documents (in her book ‘Bonk; The curious coupling of science and sex’) that it is possible to develop the ability to generate orgasms without sexual stimulation–voluntary control of an autonomic function.

    For tantric instruction referral–
    If you can find a sex therapist in your area, it seems likely that the therapist might know of an instruction group. If you are in Oregon, Janet Hardy may be able to refer you.

  323. I think it was JMG among others, pointing out that Morocco and most of all Algeria may become a target for military aggression in Europe.

    This weekend I saw a short news clip on one of these “Info”screens that trams in Vienna are equipped with since a time.

    The message was “Algerian president racist – he complains about waves of migration from sub-sahara Africa” – then footage of a demonstration where people hold a “black lives matter” transparent into the camera, with a crude drawing of a black woman in head-scarf.

    We’ve seen all that before, so, this time it is Algeria? I am more than curious what comes up next there – Algeria and Morocco have been in the news lately, concerning their relation to Europe, and there even was political debate within the EU about the relationship of Morocco and some EU countries.

    Looks like a new conflict is scheduled to arrive soon, accompanied by the now well known signs to be seen in advance.

  324. @Northwind Grandma

    thanks for your story about graphic design and “gradients” – another moniker of the great simplification (coined by Nate Hagens) – something I would have otherwise had no idea about.


  325. Here is an excellent summary of what is known about Earth’s history of climate:

    the graph subtitles “Preliminary results from a Smithsonian Institution project led by Scott Wing and Paul Huber,[…]” shows an estimate for Earth’s historic temperature – there was an iceage, then much much warmer during the “dinosaur” ages, then cooling again, falling constantly the past 50 Million years to a low point about 1 million years ago.


    I wonder how climate influenced on the past 200.000 years of human development.

    Why did human societies not use fossil fuels before and spark an ephemeral civilization like ours? What kept them?

    Is the global misery today a function of earth’s climate?

    There have been warmer periods in human history before, and we are in a warmer period now. In between there were long stretches of ice ages.

    All in all and since the inception of a time where we find human like skeletons, Earth has been unusually cold, given its long term estimated history.

    Although before the “dinosaur” age, there was a very long and very cold period too.

  326. Slink,

    I highly recommend a read of the book I quoted, “Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress,” by Christopher Ryan. I didn’t agree with everything he said, and his conclusions were a bit shaky to me, but otherwise I found it absolutely enthralling. Eye opening, to say the least.

  327. @ Northwind, on staying still in the forest

    Last year, I had the good fortune to study wilderness survival skills with Thomas Schorr-kon, one of Tom Brown Jr’s students. His company Trackways is based in Lewes, UK, and I can recommend it for any ecosophians residing in this country.

    One of the modules was focused on nature-connection, so we learned about Tom Brown Jr’s camouflage, stalking, and awareness exercises. A really simple and effective way to calm the mind and expand your awareness is to spread your arms wide, and raise them up and down with each breath, focusing on the movement of your hands at the periphery of your vision – the combination of calm breathing and wide-angle vision can bring the brain into an alpha-wave state quite quickly.

  328. The Covid thing had another effect that I just became aware of. Before the pandemic, business’s put much more effort in to keeping the doors open under adverse conditions. But now there seems to be a new set of expectations. We have had a big ( for us) snowstorm the last week. Western Oregon is badly prepared for snow, and most people are bad snow drivers but the disruption seemed unusual this time. I tried to get out a fedex package that had parts to repair a ” down” assembly line in Ohio. But all the Fedex locations were closed, even the customer entrance at the main sorting facility. Near me all but two retail operations were closed down ( over just 6″ of snow) except for the close outlet of a fast food chain that is staffed exclusively by a single family of hispanic women, and the traditional hardware store that is manned by crusty old guys. It seems the extra effort that Americans of my father and grandfathers era would put in to keep the wheels turning has become a thing of the past. I realize there are other causes ,in addition to Covid ,including the well deserved lack of loyalty to big corporations by employees, but it is not a good sign as we go downhill and things get more difficult all the time and not just when it snows.

  329. Hello Clay,

    [Clay Dennis says: #341 February 26, 2023 at 4:29 pm]

    Regarding your decision to handle your business as you do, and the repeated question: “But don’t you want to retire?” I have determined by repeatedly reviewing the numbers that even if I wanted to, I won’t be able to retire. And I am well past the “age of retirement” as most people understand it. So I am well ahead of the curve, I suppose, of “collapse now.” Except that I understand that a lot of boomers like myself have come to the same conclusion.

  330. Query to JMG and other astrologers here: what do you make of the date set for King Charles III of the UK’s coronation? I am an absolute beginner re esoteric arts, but to me a lunar eclipse, AND Mercury retrograde at the same time seems … shall we say, not auspicious?

  331. @Miow re: #362

    The Sun is also applying to a conjunction with Uranus in his fall, which doesn’t look very pleasant to me.

  332. @Ottergirl #351: Re Scott Adams. He’s highly intelligent. He seemed to know all of the attractive and very smart women at Pac Bell. I wondered if there was a Mensa underground there, of which I was not aware. I do wonder about what motivated his little rant at this particular time, but he certainly would have been aware of what happened to Kanye West recently and was probably prepared for it. I’d read within the last year or so that the Dilbert strip was by now just a small portion of his income, and maybe he’s just tired of it. I guess we will see.

  333. Response to Miow (#362)

    Not astrology, but if memory serves me, Great Britain has never had much luck with Kings named Charles. I think that “inauspicious” will be the order of the day for Chuck if he follows the examples of his namesakes.

  334. Greetings!

    Maybe of interest, this was just published (24 Feb ’23):

    “Telluric Currents Generated by Solar Flare Radiation: Physical Model And Numerical Estimation.”

    From the abstract: We … consider a hypothesis of electromagnetic earthquake triggering by a sharp rise of telluric currents in lithosphere including crust faults due to interaction of solar flare X-ray radiation with ionosphere-atmosphere-lithosphere system resulted [sic] in a rise of telluric currents in the crust faults.
    This hypothesis is based on field and laboratory experiments carried out in Russia within the last forty years and clearly demonstrated a possibility of earthquake triggering by electric current injected into the fault.”

    V. Sorokin, et al, in _Atmosphere_2023, 14(3), 458.

    accessed at


  335. @Northwind Grandma (#349):

    Another amateur genealogist here …

    Your discovery doesn’t surprise me at all, though I am grateful to you for the work you put into sorting out the details.

    From the early 1600s down to the present we (the 13 Colonies, then the United States) have always had a upper tier of quite wealthy and powerful families, and these families have always intermarried with one another. (They even intermarried across the Mason-Dixon line, though more before the Civil War than afterwards. For instance, Isaac Allerton, from the Mayflower, was the wealthiest man in old Plymouth Colony. One of his sons went to Virginia, and his further descendants intermarried into some of Virginia’s wealthiest families.) That’s four hundred years of massive intermarriage connected with skillful management of family wealth and political power.

    When I first joined the faculty of Brown University, here in Rhode Island, in 1967, it was still very much a stronghold of these wealthy families from the Northeast USA. I had several instructive experiences in my early years there.

    (Things began to change in the 21st century, and it now caters as much or more to the new international elite as it used to do to the old Yankee elite.)

    Sometime around 1970 I innocently asked a highly placed administrator whether Brown had an endowment. I was told indignantly that Brown had no need of such a crass thing: whenever it needed some money, it simply asked the old wealthy families most closely connected with the University’s history for what it needed.

    On another occasion, I asked another person–this time, a University Trustee, IIRC–how it happened that Brown didn’t have a Business school or a Law school. The answer I got was that Brown didn’t need these things either: its recent graduates simply went into their family firms and started their lucrative careers there.

    On a third occasion a small grant program was announced to fund faculty to go to their home cities and look for promising potential undergraduates. My wife and I are from California (blue-collar backgrounds), and it would have been fun to take a trip back there, so I went and asked about getting such a grant. “Why would Brown even want a student from California?” was the only answer I got (and no grant, obviously).

    When I first came to Brown, there were still–as I soon came to learn–several “dollar-a-year” professors on the faculty. (There had been many more of them in the past.) They taught without a salary, other than a symbolic $1, because they had no need of any income from their faculty positions, and it would have been gauche for them to accept financial compensation. The ones I knew (slightly) were all from old New England families, with roots going back to the early 1600s. The one I knew best had ancestors in a straight male line of descent back to the very early 1600s in Salem, Mass.–and yes, those ancestors of his had been very deeply involved in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, mostly on the side of the accusers.

    Over the years I taught there, I got to know many undergraduates, and came to see just how interconnected the upper-crust students were. There were even special residence areas (secretly!) set aside for some of them in the dormitories during their time at college.

    All that is ancient history now. I’ve been retired for almost 20 years now, and am quite out of touch with the current state of the University. From the little I hear these days, the old American elite has been largely displaced by the new international elite.

  336. Repeats & reruns – political news & comments.
    First, Kaiser, on all our current mishandled crises, wondering why there’s been nothing for the nation – and the young people – to rally around as we did in 1776, 1860, and 1941. Alas, he seems to have found one, and I catch of whiff of 1913 in his thinking.

    Second, the Democrats are putting up a Biden-Harris ticket for 2024, and Donald Trump is aiming to repeat his 2016 victory. We’ll win this race with the same tired nags that barely made it over the finish line last time?Of course, there is always the Florida Dark Horse running a strong second and writing a book about Florida’s Plan For the Nation’s Freedom, the gods help us. If it’s anything like what he’s been doing in Florida since he caught White House Fever.
    Whatever mundane astrology says about 2024, I don’t think it’s that.
    The ‘news’ in the Gainesville Sun is all tired rehashes of ongoing messes.

    While it feels like a soggy swamp, what’s the odds people will get so sick of this, they’ll follow anyone who trades in swamp & gutter water for blood and iron?

    For what that’s worth.

  337. @Northwind grandma

    I always thought that even in recently colonised (in historic terms) places like the USA if you go back far enough almost everyone whose ancestors have been here for over 150 years or so is related. So the presidents etc are related, but so are most Americans who are from the eastern states (especially north east). What makes the upper crust more related is most likely that their families have been in the USA a long time, and have had plenty of time to intermingle.

    Just take Chevy Chase’s family tree for a great look at how many people you can be related to if your family has been here from the first colonisation.

    Even here in Aus, which is about 200 years younger in terms of colonisation than the USA, I am related to an enormous amount of people in my home state, just because my white ancestors got here early (and my black ancestors have been here over 40,000 years).

  338. Errata: The title of DeSantis’ book is “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.”

  339. @ jbucks– I thought I sent this response to you earlier this week, but it appears to have been eaten by the internet goblins. What I said, as I recall, was this-

    1. It’s very easy in this day and age to figure out what Plato, or Aristotle for that matter, thought about music. All you need to do is find an electronic copy of their complete works, which are easy enough to find for free, or for one or two dollars on your standard ebook websites. Then run a word search for the word “music,” and read every single result you come across. You’ll know as much as you need to by the end of a long afternoon.

    2. That said, if you do decide to play the gadfly, I recommend that you consider what you are trying to accomplish first. Remember your Dion Fortune– what you resist you strengthen. The likely result of antagonizing Mr. Gioia on his blog is that he’s going to double down on his erroneous views, and his followers will circle the wagons around him. I’m not sure what good that will do.

  340. TJandTheBear 353

    > How many people these days can even chop wood or sew? So many nowadays never physically create or repair anything

    About repairing, very true.

    Speaking from the point of view of a seamstress, not many know how to sew, and less how to fit. If one makes a garment that doesn’t fit, one might as well not sew at all. But in clothes-making, there are specialties. One person does patches and darning. Another creates bridal veils only. Someone else, specializes in women’s jackets. I, for one, aim for making comfortable garments for the likes of farm women, because the future IS farm women. Every woman will be working the farm, or at least in a garden. Personally, I plan to use muslin, broadcloth, and the like, and see how far I can run with it. No elastic. Pirates didn’t have elastic in their flowing shirts: their shirts had gathers that provided “give” to those workaday garments.

    I have no interest in creating garments for the rich. It is plain-folk I aim to fit and sew for.

    Regarding clothes, I wonder when boatloads upon boatloads of cr_p clothes, from China, Vietnam, and Thailand, will stop. American women buy a garment made in China at Walmart, wear it once, throw it out and, as garbage, it gets shipped back to the Far East where it gets churned into chum and discarded into the ocean, and ends the cycle killing wildlife. When this “intercourse” stops, American women will have to scrounge to learn to “fit and sew.” Fitting comes first — it is the creating a prototype-garment in plain muslin fabric. People go for “sewing” first, but they have it backwards. Never sew first. Fitting comes first. Fitting is to sewing what braking is to driving a car. One must know how to brake before learning to accelerate. One must learn to fit before one sews.

    Fitting is intellectual whereas sewing is how-ya-do-it.

    There is a fantastic website called “Craftsy dot com” which still offers learning videos on many aspects of creating clothes.

    As for skills lost, my mother’s father (born 1890s) skills were mechanical. Preceding him were two generations of canalers on the Champlain Canal (passing from New York City to Montreal). Much the same as farmers, inland-waterway-boatmen had to know how to fix everything mechanical. Grandpa and his brother (my great-uncle) were generalist-mechanics. In their 60s (1950s), Grandpa and great-uncle built two small houses by themselves, for themselves, from scratch, with their own four hands. My grandfather was an electrician, great-uncle a plumber. Besides those skills, they knew how to pour foundations, framing, drywall, roofing, siding, heating/cooling, putting in windows, paint, etc. Grandpa and great-uncle died in the late 1960s. They were really somethin’, and no-one learned from them😩.

    I don’t understand why teens are not falling all over themselves trying to get electrician or plumbing apprenticeships. Once a journeyman, they set their own hours. If the person is personable, has a good bookkeeper, is well organized, and builds a good reputation, a journeyman makes a lot of money. A master makes a hell of a lot of money. Here in Wisconsin, I venture that journeymen are pulling in $200K a year, and masters more than $300K. They have extra cash for expensive hobbies.

    The most sought after skill is drywalling. A sole-proprietor drywaller is busy ALL THE TIME. Everyone wants to hire drywallers. Drywallers name their price. Drywalling takes a lot of skill to get right. Through the grapevine, it sounds like some pull in > $500K.

    This region has one absolutely stupendous plumber “John Sr. ___” nearing 70. Wishful thinking is that someone approach John and ask to become his apprentice. John Jr. *was* John Sr’s apprentice until John Jr. got into a terrible car accident that left him brain-damaged. It was a family tragedy.

    The region around Madison has gotten savvy, because organizations sponsor teens to get apprenticeships of the numerous construction trades.

    My husband is transitioning from computer software to, for his old age, woodworking. He is not the least bit interested in societal decline that JMG writes about.

    Repairing things. There are several professional sole-proprietor “handymen” in our area whose handiness makes them a good living. They are in high demand. They have a home-office, a garage of generalist and specific tools, and a vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle tows some sort of shop-on-wheels. And have a good bookkeeper. Except for those things, they have no overhead.

    Tons of people in Wisconsin chop their own wood. I am 70, and to clear brush for our outdoor wood-stove, I will be learning how to use the cutest, littlest chainsaw I could possibly find. There are Youtube videos on how to chop wood, like “how to get in shape beforehand.” Chopping wood is not for the faint-of-heart. Youtube has experts. One must get tutelage so as to not get injured — chopping wood uses oddball muscle groups. Tons of people in Wisconsin do all sorts of outdoor things on their own behalf, having learned from parents and grandparents.

    The old ways never died here. (When plastic came out, they stuck with walnut-stained woodwork.)

    All will be well. When people get hungry enough, they will learn how to scrounge, hustle, and learn.

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  341. Hi John Michael,

    Unearned power and unearned wealth. It’s on plenty of folks minds these days, sorry to say and it’s leading us to a bad end. Makes me wonder what Robert E Howard would have his fictional character ‘Conan’ say. 🙂

    Hey, you may not have noticed, but the trickster materialised in the form of the actor Woody Harrelson, and may even have remarked that the Emperor ain’t got no clothes on. Go Woody!

    The court jester is able to say things that the lesser nobles are too cowardly to speak.



  342. Hi JMG, I have a question related to your dreamwidth blog, so I apologize if I should not be talking about it here. I tried to leave a response to a very long thread there but I don’t think it went through. My question is this: there seemed to be dozens of posts on the dreamwidth blog about Naomi Wolf’s recent article regarding her thoughts about what has been happening in our world. I read her article, and found it extremely interesting, extremely difficult to read, and, it now seems, extremely controversial. But I was surprised that you allowed dozens of posts that, IMO, villified and insulted Naomi Wolf as both a person and a writer. Not all of the posts were like that, but the vast majority were. After reading many of them I began to feel a bit sick. Perhaps you agreed with all of them, but I did think it was somewhat out of character for you to allow so much negative energy to be thrown at one person who did not, IMO deserve it. Can you please explain, for those of us who found NW’s article interesting and/or helpful why she received this treatment?

  343. Thank you for your answers to my questions, JMG. Certainly, not all night dreams come true, but I have had two that did come true. One came true the next day, one some 30 years later. On each occasion I got a tremendous sense of deja vu, because I had experienced them in my dreams, and they weren’t everyday occasions. And of course, books have been written on the subject of night dreams that came true. Mind you, author Anthony Peake thinks his many deja vu experiences are not the result of dreams but because we relive our lives over and over again.

    So we’ll have to disagree on that one. I’ll have to fall back on the idea of the Akashic records. Presumably my sleeping mind was able to view part of the future course of my own life. But I don’t know what your view is on the concept of the Akashic records, and it’s getting late in your open post week.

    My thanks also to Walter Mandell, for his quantum book recommendation.


    The headline is not entirely accurate, conservation of energy still applies, but energy can be teleported (for lack of a better word) from one entangled particle to another. If you want to visualize that as moving energy from A to B by way of the astral plane feel free.

    As one of the researchers put it, “You can do strange things with quantum mechanics.”

  345. @Curt #335 What would make Morocco an interesting target? I can imagine Algeria and Libya for their oil, but don’t see what benefit there is from starting a war with Morocco.

  346. @ Northwind Grandma #374

    You are quite right to stress the importance of a book-keeper to a small tradesman. But book-keeping is not the most important part of that job. The *most* important part is the timely collection of bills outstanding. The sending out of invoices and statements, and the making of phone calls, and the staying in (determined, if need be) touch with creditors.

    I have worked at the bill-collecting gig for one or two small businessmen in my younger years,, and am aware that the “attention” I gave to the process allowed them to practice *their* skills, AND meant that the business stayed afloat. My ongoing attention (and that is really what is required) prevented them from losing thousands and thousands through delayed or entirely unpaid bills.

    Right now I know a youngish and, reputedly well-skilled, electrician, who is owed hundreds of thousands, and is both too “nice” and also too busy being a good electrician to go around collecting. I have recommended that he get together with a couple of other sole traders to hire themselves a bill collecting book-keeper. If you cannot collect your bills, essentially other people will be “eating” your living! And you will soon find yourself poor, frantic, dispirited, and jaded about human nature.

  347. Hello JMG,
    It’s very late in the cycle, but I just remembered… I’ve lived through the last days of the Soviet Union and see many analogies with today’s situation in the US including a flurry of tragic accidents like in East Palestine. One of the means of cooping was humor. There was a popular rhyme that just came back to me. It’s much funnier in Russian, but here’s my lumbering translation:

    Perestroika – major factor, promptly blown was reactor.
    They sank the watercraft and missed the aircraft.
    And some c…nt who took the reins
    Keep derailing many trains.

    Are all disintegrating societies doing the same things?

  348. OT: in answer to your reply in Magic Monday about wooden objects able to develop an elemental soul that lasts the lifetime of the object – that totally solves the Ship of Theseus question! Replacing its wood, board by board, would leave it made of wood that never got the imprint from those who used the old one; and the replacement, made with the old one, has had its structure destroyed, which may or may not have broken the imprint. So, no, neither one of them is the same ship. Attention: those using a Star Trek transporter…..

  349. @ Info re #373

    There’s considerable amount of info about 15-minute cities as well as opinions about them smeared all the way over from enthusiastic boosters all the way to conspiracy theorists foaming at the mouth over this latest effort by the elite at social control. While not really a bad idea on paper, the devil of course is in the details. What it really amounts to is transforming areas of cities into the equivalent of small towns. Since cities are already zoned so everything is sprawled over a huge area, this means a considerable amount of money is going to have to be coughed up to reshape urban areas. So, who’s going to pay for it? Many people have their suspicions. While I don’t think it’s the stalking horse conspiracy theorists would have us believe, I do think it’s probably unworkable the way planners are envisioning.

    We already have villages and towns which fit this definition anyway. Everything in the town I live in is an easy ten-minute drive or less by car or bike. Slightly longer if you prefer walking. As urban areas begin crumbling, they will probably fragment back into smaller pieces. New York City actually consists of boroughs which used to be independent but were absorbed as the city ballooned into a megalopolis so they will likely reappear as independent entities sometime in the future.

    Who knows? Maybe someday we will see a war fought between Manhattan and Brooklyn over who owns that antique bridge they want to collect tolls from.

  350. Northwind Grandma and Robert Mathiesen, thank you for the most interesting responses about our interrelated upper class. Presidents, and all candidates for that office, are elected, not appointed. All who have served or sought to serve in that office have had to face voters. I am not aware that anyone in the neo-con faction has ever been elected to any public office of any kind. Indeed, contempt for the public seems to be a defining characteristic of this gang of Trotskyist infiltrators. This faction is responsible for the worst and most expensive foreign policy disaster in our history, the illegal (in international law) and unnecessary attack on Iraq.

    Incidentally, the Pope of the time, John Paul II, stated publicly and explicitly that the attack was not, by Catholic doctrine, a just war. All of the recent conservative Catholic appointees to the Supreme Court might have been asked about this. As in, we have just heard a robust statement from you on the subject of abortion, but what about the other parts of pro-life? If you voted for GW Bush–no, you need not say for whom you voted–, but if you as a registered Republican did support Boy George, that means you were in fact voting for an unjust war.

    I remember watching a Senate Committee hearing about Iraq in which some of the leading neo-con war mongers were testifying. I remember wondering how smart people could be so dumb, and what occurred to me was that there is a thinness of life experience among this gang. None of this chicken hawk faction has ever waited tables, driven a taxi or combine or truck, or picked crops–I have, BTW and I am a dyed in the wool WASP–not to mention never served in uniform. The entire crowd seems to have walked a golden pathway from university to foundation to govt. appointment and back again. Candidates for office, Mme. Clinton most famously, have had to pay at the voting booth for their votes in favor of that invasion but the neo-cons never suffer the consequences of their own folly.

    Cardinal Richelieu stated in his Political Testament that a minister of state must above all else guard himself from the vice of presumption. I suggest that it is exactly this vice, a form of the deadly sin of pride, superbia, which defines the neo-con faction and we need them out of our govt. before they get us all killed.

  351. Lydia @ 376, where on the dreamwidth blog is Naomi Wolf discussed? I went to look and couldn’t find it. I don’t know a lot about Ms. Wolf, of what I have seen I am not a fan, but is there a reason why we must have an opinion about her? Also, if you choose the career of public intellectual, and I doubt she fell into the role inadvertently, a certain amount of personal attack is to be expected. I have on other fora been highly critical of certain other public gadflies, one Mr. Dore most recently and I was duly piled on by his fan club, not that they changed my opinion of the fellow.

  352. Jfisher, this is why I stress that learning skills is a far more useful investment for the future than accumulating stuff. Your skills are always with you, and if you choose them well, they make you valuable as a friend and neighbor no matter what the economy does. Of course the cost for that kind of personal capital will also go up sharply as things proceed, which is why now’s the time to get working on it!

    OtterGirl, yes, I saw that. We’ll see what happens to Adams. It’s been common for years for media personalities to get canceled when they said something unacceptable to the media consensus; if he does in fact bounce back from this, that’ll be a sign worth noting.

    Curt, no surprises there. Europe is in deep trouble — it can’t support its current standard of living without preying on other countries, and with Russia slamming the door shut to the east and a series of African countries throwing out the French military and welcoming Russian and Chinese “advisors” instead, any other nation with resources worth plundering should consider itself a target. Thank you for the climate link — it’s an interesting story, isn’t it?

    Clay, hmm! Interesting.

    Miow, I haven’t gone through it in detail yet, but no, it doesn’t look auspicious at all.

    Pg, hmm again! Thank you for this; that’s definitely interesting.

    Michael, that’s a very good sign.

    Patricia M, that’s the thing I’ve been worrying about, and warning about, for quite a few years now. You might recall this post from more than a decade ago…

    Info, yep. There’s been a lot of talk about them, mostly hostile, in certain circles.

    Chris, someday when I have time I’ll want to go back through the Conan stories and see if I can find an appropriately Cimmerian comment!

    Lydia, harsh words about public figures have been acceptable on the Covid open posts since the beginning, and I saw no reason to exempt Wolf from that rule. I’m sorry to hear that you found her article “interesting and/or helpful,” btw. It’s a very short step from blaming the world’s problems on other people’s gods to blaming them on the worshippers of those gods, after all. Given the disgraceful antics of the soi-disant “Magic Resistance” and the current Satanist scene, we’re already not far from a situation in which Pagans, occultists, and members of other minority religions may have to worry about being lynched by terrified mobs in some parts of this country — and Wolf has thrown quite a bit of fuel on that fire. Is that something you approve of?

    Batstrel, er, if you already knew what answer you wanted to hear, why did you ask me?

    Siliconguy, now let’s see them do it on a scale larger than individual particles!

    Kirsten, funny! Thanks for this; my Russian isn’t good enough any more to read the original, but I can imagine it. Yes, societies in collapse have a lot of things in common, and this kind of chaos is among them.

    Patricia M, if you changed the boards one at a time, and gave ample time for each new board to absorb energy from the other boards, that might preserve the spirit of the original ship — but you’re right about transporters. I could see a very good horror story being written about the first experimental transporter, where each person who went through came out…different.

  353. @Steve T: Thank you! When I used ‘gadfly’ I was just being a bit cheeky. I likely will post a couple quotes once to see how / if he responds out of curiosity’s sake.

  354. Robert Mathiesen 367

    Wow. I never imagined such details you have shared about old money. Thanks‼️

    It reminds me of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” except the song would be called, “I Want to Know What ‘Spurn’ Is.”

    💨👵🏼😔Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  355. JMG wrote: “Batstrel, er, if you already knew what answer you wanted to hear, why did you ask me?”

    Not quite right. I’d come to the conclusion that it’s possible to see the future in dreams. I wanted to know the reason why this was possible. So I asked you. On one point, you hedged your bets, saying that was what one sees on the astral plane doesn’t necessarily transpire in reality. This made me think that you doubt that night dreams can be actualised.

    So still I was without an explanation, you see. Overnight, here in London, I turned it over in my mind. Up came the theory of the Akashic record. And it is just a theory. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it, or didn’t think to connect it to this question. But I thought that, for lack of a definitive answer, I’d go with that.

    To conclude, I didn’t already know what I wanted to hear, but reading your words helped clarify the issue for me, so I looked further. However, it’s still not conclusive, since the Akashic record is just a theory. Nor did you indicate whether you believe the theory. But I can’t steal the Akashic record, put it in a jam jar, and show it to you. Still, your answer caused me to do a bit of extra thinking about the matter, so thank you for that. For now, then, I’ve alighted on the best answer I’ve got (for me), until or unless I find something more convincing.

  356. @ JMG re response to Patricia M.

    They did make a horror movie back in 1958 called The Fly which used that idea. How many horror buffs recall that final chilling scene where one of the characters sees the fly with its human head and arm caught in a spider’s web pleading for help while the spider advances on it?

  357. Hi JMG, Apparantly I did not hear Naomi’s article in the same way you did. Certainly I would not approve of it if I thought it was going to invite mobs of angry people. Here is the essence of what I heard, greatly simplified:
    1. Western Civilization has to a great degree abandoned the major religions that it had adhered to for many centuries, including Christian and Jewish religions.
    2. Along with those religions, the moral values that those religions taught are also being ignored and even lost. (I think this is where her Gods come in, which I see as representatives of moral values that in early times were seen as covenants we would promise to follow–the ten commandments for example.)
    3. That leads to the acceptance of many behaviors that people would not have engaged in previously when those religions and its values were prominent.
    4. Thus we see things happening such as pushing sexuality on young children, disregarding older people, thinking we can change our gender without causing problems to individuals, families and society in general.
    5. And most importantly, thinking that human beings can rule the world by our technology, not God.
    6. That all the above are leading our culture to disaster, and without regaining these religious values we will fall prey to our own mistakes.
    As I said, this is very simplified!!
    I do see this as the essence of what she is trying, if not fully succeeding, to say. What I don’t understand is why you think that any of this will attract mobs of angry people.

  358. @Jeanne,

    The Fly! Boy does that bring back some funny memories. One rainy afternoon, many, many decades ago, we saw this on TV (me, a couple of sibs, my parents). We didn’t exactly sit there and watch it – it was on in the background and we were all doing various rainy day things. That last scene with the guy in the spiderweb came on, and we all experienced the intended frisson. My stepfather thought it was great, and from that point on whenever he got into a minor jam, he would say in that high thin voice… “Help me, help me, help me”. It was really funny coming from a him, a big tall powerful guy.

  359. Northwind Grandma, I do agree that fitting comes ahead of sewing. The way I see it is that the sewing of clothing is 90% cut and 10% detail. The rest is extra. You do NOT need to buy the “best quality fabric”, i.e. most expensive fabric, nor do you need to spend $5,000 or more on a sewing machine. There are now websites which will send you a pattern drawn to your or a client’s dimensions and one might as well use them while one can.

    JMG why do you think that

    “the cost for that kind of personal capital will also go up sharply as things proceed”?

    I doubt that govts. will very much longer be able to afford to police backyard gardens or even shed building. What I do fear is that various families, groups, factions will try to gain local monopoly on things like food production or equipment repair and those groups are not likely to confine themselves to legal means of having their own way. I actually fear such efforts far more than I do the chimera of war bands.

  360. “I wonder how climate influenced on the past 200.000 years of human development.”

    It doesn’t go back 200,000 years, but The Long Summer by Brian Fagan covers the last 20,000 pretty well.

  361. @Northwind Grandma (#388):

    I never would have imagined it, either, before I happened to end up in the middle of it at my university.

    @PumpkinScone (#370):

    After 400 years there is indeed massive interrelatedness among the older population of the country. But the things I experienced at my university had a lot more to do with social class — that is, with inherited wealth and power — than with mere genealogy. Descent does count for something within the elite, but it is not decisive in and of itself: the social class one was born and raised in counts for nearly everything.

    I, too, happen to be a descendant of that wealthy man I mentioned in my earlier post, Isaac Allerton of old Plymouth Colony, through one of his great-grandsons, John Cushman. But John, as it happened, lost all that he had inherited, whether through improvidence or through drink drink or through ill-health, and he died poor and landless. His son, Charles, left Plymouth Colony, married a penniless servant girl arrived from England, and ended up starting all over in what werer then the wilds of Vermont (Rutland). From Vermont his descendants moved slowly westward, through Western New York, frontier Michigan, and frontier Illinois, to California, never becoming prosperous enough to pass on any wealth or power. My Allerton ancestry, had I ever cared to mention it, would have counted for zilch with the old Yankee elite who patronized my university–I wasn’t born to their sort of wealth and power, and was not at all a part of their social class.

  362. !@JMG re: “It can’t happen here” scenario – thanks for reminding me of that. I’d really forgotten it, and it is dead on.

  363. Batstrel, I’m quite familiar with the theory of the akashic record, and in fact that’s another way to talk about what I was discussing. Some night dreams are actualized but most are not; some astral visions end up reflecting events on the material plane, but most do not. That’s not a matter of hedging my bets, it’s a simple statement of the facts as I know them.

    Jeanne, that’s a good point, but it’s not what I had in mind. Imagine that anyone who went through a transporter looked the same, sounded the same, acted the same, up to a point — but there was a different person inside, who doesn’t happen to be human…

    Lydia, now go back and read the part where Wolf ranted about evil Pagan gods who were responsible for all these horrible things. She didn’t present those gods as “representatives of moral values”; she presented them as actual evil entities. That’s exactly the kind of talk that’s inspired pogroms against religious minorities over and over again through the last two thousand years or so — that is to say, one of the downsides of the “moral values” you’re praising so one-sidedly.

    Mary, right now it’s very easy to get many kinds of information, and tolerably easy to find classes, workshops, and online tutorials about how to do various crafts. As the economy unravels I expect access to those information sources to become considerably less easy. It won’t be a matter of governments cracking down — it’ll be a matter of the economic basis for the internet and other current information venues disintegrating.

    Patricia M, I’ve been worried about that for several years now.

  364. @ Robert

    Yeah I get you there, I was just pointing out that the interrelatedness of the upper echelons is not evidence of some sort of elite clan, more that it is just evidence of long term family roots in the country. The Northeast is called New England after all.

    The class thing is anathema in my country so I can’t really comment. We go out of our way to pretend it doesn’t exist when it does. The elites will honesty put on a show to be the everyman, blue collar type rather than be thought of as wealthier or better than anyone else. It’s strange, and has drawbacks such as tall poppy syndrome and the insane submissiveness we have seen the last few years, but it does lead to levels of social mingling that I didn’t see when I visited the USA. The elite universities here have trust fund city students next to scholarship students from very rural agricultural areas, and everyone gets along pretty well. Anyone who looks down their nose just gets teased and laughed at.

    I remember in the USA some ‘respectable’ Americans would be shocked when they would see me and my friends conversing with homeless people, and seemed very conscious to never be seen as lower class. For us Australians, this was perfectly normal to talk to everyone, as class is something that exists in material terms, but not in really social terms.

  365. Lydia, if you put yourself in the shoes of a non-Jewish or non-Christian who doesn’t support any of the things you mention, maybe you will see a bit of why Wolf’s article seems so negative to people of different religious backgrounds.

    Hindu nationalists in India might well write a similar article with the opposite view: that the introduction of Islam and Christianity to India destroyed traditional moral values there that have gone on for thousands of years and that the gods of Islam and Christianity are “evil”.

    How would you feel about that?

  366. This is a request for your ongoing disenchantment series.

    Recently on the Youtube channel Esoterica there has been a row over Theodor Adorno’s Theses against Occultism. I’m not fluent in academic Marxism, so I wind up reading this as a marketing pamphlet for a Marxist-based sociology program.

    Marxism as a school may be the perfect example of the kind of disenchantment Weber was calling the Wave of the Future(TM). Could you do one of your “enchantment episodes” on either the essay or the topic?

  367. Re transporters. I forget which SF novel, but one of the social problems in that world were adventurous teenagers who climbed into transporters together and came out the other side as some sort of octopus-like creature that had to be surgically separated to restore them to discrete individuals.

    Not too far-fetched. I’m sure that current popular adventure sports like mountain biking and motocross with a high potential for injury have been enabled by medical advances that make formerly deadly or crippling accidents more survivable.

  368. Re: ’15 minute cities’

    The thing is, it’s not really about making ‘walkable communities’. Here in Britain, two of the cities spearheading the scheme are Oxford and Canterbury. I lived in Canterbury for around eight years, and it is one of the most walker-friendly places I’ve lived. The city centre is mostly pedestrianised, there are footpaths leading all the way out in the deep countryside, and you can walk from one end of the city to the other comfortably within the space of an afternoon.

  369. @ JMG re transporters

    Ah, I hadn’t thought of that since I generally don’t think along demonic lines.

    @ Mary Bennett re # 393

    We’ve already seen rumblings along that line in my neck of the woods. The shootings years ago up in Colebrook NH were the result of property disputes which finally culminated in a shooting spree. State police took him down but as police enforcement begins drying up, we will likely see more of this.

    Tax evaders down in Plainfield NH back in 2007 triggered a standoff and death threats but finally was resolved peacefully. A search of their house showed they were ready to take down as many as they could. The troublemakers are just waiting for the right climate to run things ‘their way’.

  370. JMG,

    In your demon hypothesis, you mentioned that an end to white supremacy could have been one of the (poorly thought out) requests. Since white supremacy sort of translates to global domination by “western” civilization, I wonder if the nearly suicidal behavior exhibited by the countries in Western Europe may be part of the blow back from the invoking of demons by our glorious magical resistance.

  371. Thanks for hosting this open post! Last month I donated to Turkey earthquake relief, and was surprised to find the recipient bank charged a 35% fee. Now I wonder how this works with books or donations.

    What part of a book’s sale price goes to an author? What’s the difference for an author if one buys a book for $20 from Amazon, or for $30 from the publisher? What’s different for an e-book sale?

    The website for Buy Me A Coffee says it charges a 5% fee. This suggests an author earns $19 for every $20 donation. How close to the truth are those numbers?

    Apologies if this question is not appropriate.

  372. Good lord, an open forum. I’ve been so enjoying reading your blog, John. I never thought I’d be so eagerly devouring writings on occultism and Druidry. It’s a surprise, and a delight.

    I wanted to ask your opinion on something. One of my big spiritual itches is the subject of ‘extreme religious experiences’ (as Jeffrey Kripal would put it). The intense stuff – visions, otherworld journeys, encounters with entities. It also freaks me out, if I’m honest, as it’s definitely not all sweets and roses (as some NDE researchers would like to believe).

    So, it’s obviously a big subject, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask you about it, to see if you might be able to help clarify things, or direct me to some helpful resources.

    My main issue is this – the contradictions in otherworld journeys. Some NDEs, for example, will recount a being radiating love, revealing the truth of reincarnation; some will recount a being (also radiating great love), denying the truth of reincarnation; some will be guided by Jesus into the infernal regions and shown the horrors of eternal perdition. There are wild contradictions all over the shop.

    I have come across accounts of astral explorers who testify to an ‘initial’ sub-realm, where thoughts wholly influence the astral material, creating whole worlds and entities, which appear to be autonomous.

    Frankly, I just wonder what the heck is going on here. If people can be told contradictory things by seemingly loving and benevolent entities, surely this means that: either there’s some serious deception going on, in which case how would we ever know what to trust (being so small and relatively powerless); or we’re creating entities as thoughtforms, which for me also creates a huge trust issue. How can we discern between illusions and the real deal?

    The whole thing makes me shy away from any kind of spiritual practice. It seems like deception and illusion rule the day, which is rather disturbing.

    A nice light comment there, for my first. Any good reads out there on this?

    Thanks, and apologies if this was a bit much.

  373. Petros, thanks for this, but I don’t field comments on my open posts once a new post goes up — which happened almost three weeks ago. Can you repost this when the new open post goes up on March 22nd? I do an open post on the fourth Wednesday of every month…

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