Open Post

January 2023 Open Post

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

With that said, have at it!

285 Comments

  1. 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 you hold power of consent) to the list, please feel free to leave a comment below and/or at the prayer list page. 

    If you are an anonymous commenter who has previously attempted to post to the prayer list page, I just discovered a few days ago that I’d had my blog settings set such that anonymous comments weren’t able to post. My apologies to anyone who had problems. If you try again now, you should be able to get through.

    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.

  2. Since poetry has come up as topic here quite often the past few months, I was happy to see this article on “Whatever happened to light verse?” by Kevin Mims, and its just as good as his other popular literary criticism he’s written in his column for Quillette.

    https://quillette.com/2023/01/21/whatever-happened-to-light-verse/

    & speaking of verse, a synchronicity happened the day the post on poetry was posted here. I got an email from a friend of mine in a different library system asking if I wanted to read at a poetry program he was putting together for April. I’d done this for him on and off over the years, but declined the last several times he asked. Since poetry was the discourse of that day, I said yes on this occassion, and so will be doing a reading in April.

    The other synchronistic aspect is that the other poet is my old creative writing teacher from highschool, Richard Hague, a well-regarded regional poet, and part of a kind of Appalachian school of poetry. I’ve run into him here and there over the years, but haven’t shared a reading with him since in highschool, the two he organized every year for the HS literary magazine which he ran, the only club I was a part of. So, it seemed to be a case of the universe rhyming.

    Another well liked local poet in the same Appalachian school reading for the event is Pauletta Hansel.

    Additionally I have given myself the task of only reading rhyming verse for my time on the mic. So I’ve been getting some new verse versified. It should be fun.

  3. I have a bit of advance hype for New Maps:

    The winter issue is still in progress, but I can now announce that if there’s any one issue that people reading this blog might particularly like, this is probably the one. This is the magic issue.

    New Maps‘ normal fare, if you don’t already know, is stories about what life is like during the ongoing collapse of industrial civilization, and afterward. In other words, stories set in the real world of the near and distant future.

    Since it’s the real world, when it comes to magic my guide has always been that in stories it should be no more powerful than the author believes it actually is. But I’ve gotten several excellent stories that portray collapse beautifully while layering on some stronger, more pyrotechnic magical working, and this February, I’m publishing them. The magic won’t sustain an inherently unsustainable civilization, but in these stories it does plenty else that’s interesting.

    There isn’t a link to order this issue on its own yet, since it’s not done, but you can get it as soon as it comes out if you subscribe to New Maps now. And I’ll be back here with a link to buy the magic issue singly, as soon as one exists!

  4. This goes back to December, but the ask was late in the discussion, so apologies for the repeat:

    Heather #172 (and thanks to Four Sided Circle#88 for starting this) – please point me to resources for Catholic baking traditions. My wife is Catholic and is increasing her baking.

    Thanks,
    Drew C

  5. I have been waiting to play this game since 1995: https://play.half.earth/.

    It’s unbelivably janky (first try I rage quit because it wouldn’t let me build geothermal power plants), but also spectacular. Even if you aren’t going to play it, the faction descriptions and some of the projects and policies are funny. If you are going to play it, the key is to start as many projects as you can on the first turn with one point each. It looks impossible at first but a perfect win is possible. Ironically it’s a lot more optimistic about the scope of the possible than the book it’s based on (though amusingly research into fast breeder reactors and nuclear fusion have never succeeded all the times I’ve played it.) 🙂

  6. In my continuing journey along different paths of enlightenment I have connected with some Maoris to begin proper training in Ho’oponopono….

    And here comes my wife with Tracy Chapman singing Ho’oponopono in a song:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DqoLMGSBGYc

    Here is my take on the song…

    This song captures truth and reconciliation at it’s core. Or the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono which is a reconciliation practice consisting of 4 simple parts that bring balance back to any kind of relationship when a wrong has been committed. The 4 parts of Ho’oponopono are: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
    It just takes saying these things to make it work, ideally with both parties present, but the Hawaiians believe it works even if only one party is present or even if an outside party performs this practice without the parties to the conflict being present.

    She is saying that someone has harmed her and wants to reconcile the relationship with her, but they are unable to say “I’m sorry. Forgive me. I love you.” And they are not being sincere and are using calculation and manipulation in order to get her in bed. The “Baby can I hold you tonight; you’d be mine” is not true reconciliation but fake reconciliation designed to satisfy “base” urges or ego and comes from a selfish place. And it says that the other party is trying to possess her rather than love her.

    Chapman is saying that if the other party wants reconciliation in the relationship that they must, no matter how many years have gone by, start by saying Sorry. Then Forgive me. Followed by I love you.

    And, it works. You should try it yourself!

    Peace

    Orion

  7. Hello Bei, responding to your comment to me from the previous post.

    One man’s paradox may equate to another man’s need for more doctrinal purity. Most of my experience in Tibetan Buddhism has been with Tibet-trained teachers, both those visiting the US and in Nepal. I did study at Naropa U. between 1987 and 1989 for an MA in Buddhist Studies (Tibetan Language Track). As to assertions of non-contradiction: it’s a standard debate ploy. I have yet to see it convincingly shown, at least to me. Perhaps I lack the intellectual “chops” to follow their logic. I’d be willing to own that possibility.

    I’ve interacted with lots and lots of people who adore their own lineage’s philosophical traditions. They aver, with lots of close reasoning, that there are no paradoxes and no contradictions in their teachings if you look closely enough. I’ve had the intellectual over-achievers of all four major Tibetan Buddhist lineages say things like this and attempt to back them up, at the same time denigrating as inadequate or even purely wrong the teachings of the others. Often at the same time denigrating Yogacara teachings which mostly don’t even pretend to be complete Madhyamika systems. However, my own encounters with those texts and that reasoning is that this kind of justification amounts to hand-waving. Loyalty to one’s lineage and gurus is a big deal, and it explains a lot of behavior along these lines that I otherwise find impossible to understand. Plug, socket, current. I’m glad the trio make for a functioning circuit for them.

    The actual in-the-flesh teachers I encountered dealt with multiple avenues for experiencing and understanding teachings (like paths and stages lam-rim, madhyamika and so on), from practices, to meditations within or without them, to directly “meeting the nature of mind” and these were necessary because, as I understand it, relative reasoning is not the same as deep encounters with the real nature of things sometimes called “emptiness.” Despite assertions from some lineages that if you go deeply enough into whatever Madhyamika stuff they sell you can get doggoned close, I don’t see much in the flesh evidence of that.

    As for the rdzogs-pa-chen-pas, and their assurances that you are already in enlightened mind so just relax please: at no point do the ones I have personal experience with aver that you should therefore stop practicing ethics, logic, or appropriate meditation. Sure, you can find a lot of texts that say otherwise. I’ve got a few on my shelves even now. In the ’80s (I think it was) a guy named Thaddeus Golas wrote “A Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment” which destroyed (superficially) any efforts a person might make in that direction. Just relax, man, go with the flow. If I remember his thesis accurately. It’s been a while.

    As an aside and in a note to our host, I’ve encountered people who were so psychologically off-kilter that the usual peacefulness/insight meditation practices were either frightening to them in the extreme or were actually dangerous. Traditional teachers emphasize ethics and study alongside meditation, and meditation under guidance, not purely freelance, unlike so many Western Buddhists, who come at many things from the wrong end, now don’t they?

    So, no paradoxes? If that works for you, go for it. As for me, I’ll take my paradoxes as I encounter them, and that not because I’m overly influenced by western romantic traditions (or whatever).

  8. @JMG,

    I’ve commented on this before but I am very interested in learning about the Will as a concept (rather than the will-building exercises that I am already doing). I experienced recently something I remember another commenter talking about with you, a sort of “spiritual indigestion” when the Will is not flowing smoothly.

    This makes the Will sound as if it flows, like the One Life or nwyfre in Dolmen Arch terminology. Needless to say, I am meditating on all of this! Is there anything in occult or philosophical literature about the Will being a part of the life force?

    I am also interested in the Will being the most personal thing about me, something that seems to define my Individuality, which you hinted at in a recent Magic Monday. If I am my Will, it feels like I’m staring a gigantic answer right in the face. But leaning into my Will doesn’t necessarily help me figure out which way to go in my life and how to answer complex problems that arise. It seems more of a blunt tool. This must be “the right use of will” mentioned in the DA, that Will must coincide with Wisdom. Thank you!

  9. Hello All,

    A few weeks back someone (Bofur?) was asking about kids and enchantment.

    For the 1st time, this year, with our 6 year old son, we toasted our 2 apples trees on 12th night with hot cider, wished them good health for the new year and poured the cider on the roots. We read about this old English custom in a Waldorf festival book and it sounded appropriate and up our son’s alley.

    Later, in another book (on English folkways I think), we read that farmers also used to leave a treat for the birds, or the spirits, in the tree. So, next year we’ll leave a cookie in the tree for the apple tree’s spirit, along with the gift of cider for the roots.

    He is currently obsessed with things electric, button-pushing, etc, but we hope that customs like this will work their way into his being and memory. He is very mechanical and we are about to get an old treadle sewing machine with all the parts and I think he’ll enjoy eventually messing around with that.

    Children, enchantment, low-tech skills, self-directed learning, they are all swirling about in my mind these days. It’s a task, preparing the next generation for the world to come but it’s exciting and fun too.

    Ellen

  10. Hi everyone

    I have many questions but currently I need information about Hindu doctrines (vedas, upanishad, purana, tantra). i remember it has some readers who know about it, my only good reference i have, is a trio of books written in my native language, not available in other languages, the writer is a saivite initiate. The classic books on the subject do not satisfy what I am looking for, which is basically information about the kali-yuga, and more than all the knowledge about the doctrine of the ages of Hinduism (doctrine of the ages is not the correct name, but to understand each other ) and what we could call supra-history (if that makes sense)

  11. I’ve received a microfiche communique that may be of interest to all of you shortwave radio fans from the lads at the Imaginary Stations collective.

    Our next broadcast is of undercovert station Kilo Sierra Pappa Yankee. I have no idea why, but I have a definite feeling, this episode will take listeners to somewhere wonderful and strange.

    “In the heat of the investigative pursuit, the shortest distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line.”–Dale Cooper

    So it is with our propagations. In this magical mystery radio journey, there are many different stops along the route, and sometimes detours into the realm of covert operations. So hop along in our surveillance bus as we scan the airwaves for strange signals.

    This episode is brought to you in part by the generous donations of the Celestial Intelligence Agency, the Freakout Communications Commission, and the Federated Brotherhood of the Intergalactic.

    Sunday 29th January, 2300 UTC, 9395 kHz

    You can watch the trailer for the show forged at the Imaginary Stations media laboratories on top of a mountain in a secret location somewhere near the 45th Parallel:

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

    Check out the flyers painstakingly put together in a safe house somewhere in London-town, the Big Smoke:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/shortwave/comments/10l3q86/kspy_kryptic_secretive_private_ys/

    And you are reading the copy written in a city in what some call Greater Appalachia, just below the Midlands.

    Dr. Jacques Cocteau, Professor of Energy, Musicology and Harmonic Science at the ‘Pataphysique InterMedia Cooperative

  12. Hello JMG. I like to watch Kunstler web sometimes, although I think he has turned too far right wing for my taste, too partisan and centered in COVIDian and Ukrainian topics. However, I think he and part of his kommentariat are a reliable source yet.
    I’ve found this strange link (or not so strange) in the first comment to the last JHK post:

    https://americanyellowvest.wordpress.com/2023/01/22/trump-and-klaus-schwab-wef/

    Ok, I know you don’t like watching videos, but there comes Trump and Schwab together in WEF 3 years ago, which is a little disturbing.
    What do you think about this? I’m a bit surprised.

  13. Hey John, thanks as always for your very insightful posts.

    I have a question. I was reading Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” recently, and one of the things I noticed is the mention of mysteries within Christianity. For instance, William of Baskerville mentions the “sweet and terrible” mysteries of the Christian faith in his speech in front of Michael of Cessena and Bernard Gui, and in an earlier chapter William has a discussion with the Abbot in which they have a secret exchange, and Adso mentions that he could not comprehend it because he was not yet initiated into the mysteries of the church.

    I was wondering if you know anything about the mysteries enshrined in the Catholic church. Of course, this might not be the first time someone asked something like this, so I will be glad if you simply point me to a previous instance of this question or something similar.

    Also, a lot of the magical mysteries from the time of Levy onward happen to be steeped in Christian or Abrahamic jargon and lore. I was wondering if any of them have a lineage that leads back to the medieval church mysteries.

  14. Am I alone in seeing the phenomenon that if somebody tries to explain a point of view, people automatically assume that they are advocating the point of view? I see this frequently. I will say that so-and-so says this and people will react as if that’s my point of view, even if I preface my explanation with something like “I don’t agree with him but this is what he said”.

    Are we so foolish that we can’t discuss ideas without personalizing the discussion? Does every discussion have to revolve around ad hominem arguments?

    Sorry for the rant, but I see a pretty dark pattern where people have lost the capacity for entertaining ideas in a rational manner.

  15. John–

    I’m watching the West (that is, the US and it’s vassals) continue to pour resources into the Ukraine conflict and I have to wonder what its leadership is thinking. Are they aware of the morass but feel they cannot exit? Do they actually believe they are winning? What feasible endgame are they working toward? Or are they simply caught up in response mode, mindlessly continuing to do what doesn’t work b/c it’s all they know how to do?

    I can’t but help think that this is the beginning of the end of NATO and that the loss to Russia (no matter how it gets prettied up) is going to be a death-blow to the US empire.

  16. Does anyone know any good sources that discuss the effects television has on a societal level? I’ve recently started looking into the society and culture of the 1950s, and there was a massive cultural shift on so many things that happened around the time TV went mainstream, lagging slightly; meanwhile, many of these trends continued to build until the early 1980s, by which time most adults had grown up watching TV.

    I’m curious if anyone has looked into this, since although the adoption of TV was fast enough, and complete enough, that no serious sociological studies could have been done on individuals in the US, different nations adopted it at different rates, and I’m curious if anyone knows if anyone has looked at what kind of effects widespread TV adoption has on a society.

  17. I was reading a short history of the recent American Empire by a Russian blogger the other day and they made an interesting point about the ” event that shall not be named,” 2 decades ago. Which was that in addition to giving the empire an excuse to put on the chain mail gloves, it created kind of Iron Curtain of political discourse. You accepted the official narrative or became unemployed and cast in to the wilderness. Before this event more crossing of the line was officially discouraged but not career ending. Woodward and Bernstein kept their careers and did not have to emigrate or rot in a UK prison. As a result the already meager diversity in the US media and commentary establishment was all but eliminated. Young journalists aspiring to careers in the mainstream media learned they had not more leeway to report than the Pravda reporters of soviet times. But instead of the Gulag they had to fear the capitalist equivalent Siberia, a live of small time blogging till you were banned on Twitter. This Iron curtain now applies across the spectrum and not just to foreign policy.

  18. Hey John,
    I’m curious about what you think the future of cities is in the long descent. For example, who’s going to be more screwed, Urban dwellers, Suburbanites, or Rural folk? I watched a video for my Environmental Management class that stated that cities are more sustainable because they consume less resources per capita. Are major cities going to collapse during the Long Descent? What will happen to big cities, and how will they compare with suburban areas and rural areas? Where will people go? Will more people move into cities, or will more people move into the country? I think that the suburbs are the most screwed, but I’m not sure about how urban and rural areas will be affected.

    My wife and I currently live in my Grandma’s basement apartment in a suburb while we get on our feet (We’re in our early 20s and are just married.) In the meantime, we’re biking everywhere, decreasing our consumption, and learning to preserve food and garden. Our long term plans are to have a smallholding on the outskirts of town in West Virginia where we can try to grow all our own food. Is this a good plan? Am I doing it right? Sorry for all the questions but thanks for reading!

  19. Hi everybody,

    I’d like to hone my divination skills with the Sacred Geometry Oracle and would thus appreciate reading requests from people here.

    If you have any question you’d like to get a reading for, please send it to me either via email at sacredgeometry@gmx.net, or via my dreamwidth account (milkyway1). Feel free to include a few sentences with background info, so I can ask follow-up questions during the reading where appropriate.

    In a comment to an earlier Open Post, I wrote a few sentences about what the Oracle is well suited for, and what not, so you can decide whether it will fit your question (especially if somebody else should offer practice readings with another oracle this month):

    https://www.ecosophia.net/october-2022-open-post/#comment-90140

    Thanks! 🙂

    Milkyway

  20. I have more details on the December 23 dunkelflaute in Eastern Washington. (The meteorological term is an anticyclonic gloom, when the wind stops and it’s overcast.) Dunkelflautes are one reason the Germans are burning lignite again.

    Averaged over 24 hours solar panels operated at 1.9% of rated capacity, during the daylight hours (all 8 of them) they managed 5.8% of capacity. Wind went to less than 1% of rated capacity (2827 MW installed capacity) for over 17 hrs that day.

    When the wind was blowing, the turbines averaged 69.7 MW, or 2.5% of rated capacity. Averaged out over the whole day they managed of 0.7% of nameplate rating.

    During this day the high temperature was 14 F, and low was 6 F at the Moses Lake airport. Average power demand for the day was 9390 MW.

    To meet that demand with just wind and solar power we would be looking at some combination of 475 times more wind turbines or 3,580 times more solar panels, plus batteries to get through the 6 degree F night. And this is without electric cars or forcibly converting the housing in town to electric heat.

    Even on a good day for renewable energy, July 16, we have problems. The long (15 hour) summer day gave an output of 77% of nameplate, or 49% spread over the full 24 hours. Wind power was also helpful, it blew all day averaging 46.6 % of nameplate power. Average power demand over the day was 6,100 MW.

    So on a good day we would need some combination of 4.6 times more windmills than we have, or 90 times more solar panels, plus the batteries to get through the night. The good news is that if the power does go out at least no one will freeze to death.

    And if you were wondering why nuclear is being talked up again, during Dec 23 the nuclear plant was running at 96% capacity. On July 16 it was at 92% capacity.

    The spreadsheet is up to17 MB. 🙂

    And about those batteries, the usual suspects want the lithium to appear magically. Converting tarot cards to lithium should tax even the greatest alchemists. 🙂

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/24/us-electric-vehicles-lithium-consequences-research

  21. You have remarked in the past that PMCs in the United States – viz., the more privileged 20 percent or so of Americans – on the whole support the war in Ukraine because it props up their economic and social status. I believe this, because around town I see so many blue and yellow flags displayed on and about the mansions of newly minted Ukrainian patriots.

    But I don’t really understand how this works. In what way or ways, exactly, does this war support the economic interests of the well-to-do in the United States? What financial and other mechanisms are involved?

  22. Anonymous (#20), not exactly an answer to your question but in the late 70s, any number of Europeans told me “Go to Ireland now. The people are wonderful to hang out with. But they are getting TV there soon, so you have to go now.”

  23. A drummer with a minor rock group dives into a swimming pool and hits his head on the bottom. He is injured. After recovering, on a whim he walks over to his band’s piano and starts playing fluently. The pianist is astonished, because the drummer could never play other instruments. The drummer notices that he is not using his little fingers but wants to learn how. This suggests that he has somehow automatically picked up somebody else’s piano-playing habits.

    A woman is given a heart transplant. She starts having night dreams about riding a motorcycle. Eventually she learns that her heart was taken from a keen motorcyclist who died in a crash.

    Two twins are separated at birth. They meet in their forties and discover all sorts of coincidences in their lives – they both married twice, and their wives had the same forename. They gave their son and their dog the same names. And so on.

    What is your take on the causes of these things, JMG? I’m wondering about what is harboured in your genes and what is determined by the character of your soul. How can genetics cause such coincidences? Where is the name preference gene stored anyway, if such a thing exists? Could twins share a single soul? Weird questions. I hope you’re not overtaxed.

  24. I don’t really know how to ask this but it occurred to me that you may have an explanation for the phenomena I have encountered. Here goes.

    When I was 18 or 19 (almost 20 years ago) I was with my first love, we were breaking up and we had coitus for the last time. I experienced a subtle feeling, like a thread was being cut between us. I remembered the feeling but thought nothing of it until years later when it happened again, the same subtle cord severing feeling for the last time with a lover. I have experienced it 3 or 4 times in my lifetime and I had been too much of a rationalist to do anything but dismiss it as psychological. A couple of years now reading your forums and I’m questioning what it could be.

    What may I be experiencing?

    Many thanks

  25. “cities are more sustainable because they consume less resources per capita.”

    That’s been a theme for some time from the more gung-ho environmentalists. They favor the ant-hill model, a high-density city surrounded by farmland that supply the basic grain crops. while fresh vegetables are grown in skyscraper greenhouses (also called vertical farms.) The vegetables are to be grown hydroponically or even aeroponically. They seem to have abandoned the traditional “organic” definition, and some are calling for GMO everything to get the land use for food production down to a minimum.

    The rest of the land will be re-wilded. Of course the proletariat will not be allowed outside the cities. 🙂

    Cities are needed for civilization, you need enough people together to allow specialization of labor so they can make things. In the end, the cities survive by asset stripping the countryside. They don’t make concrete in Manhattan. Manhattan also imports it’s drinking water from quite far away. The lumber supply in Manhattan is very limited, as is the number of steel mills, much less iron mines. And they certainly are not going to power the city with solar panels on their roofs. See the dunkelflaute article earlier.

    What should happen is that the countryside and the cities develop a symbiotic relationship. It’s tough to make this work in practice. The cities have the numbers. If push comes to shove they can send raiding parties out to take what they want. Or they could in the past. The people in the country have little use for cobalt, there is none to steal. A cobalt mine will be way outside of town and subject to hit and run attacks. (Think Kabul vs the Taliban.) The dynamic in a high-tech world may be different than it was in the past.

    As to the original question, many of the suburbs were once little towns that grew together. I suspect that that process will reverse. the question is can they reclaim farmland from the suburbs? I’m sure they can recover pastureland and orchards, I’m not so sure about actual plowable land. there is an awful lot of buried stuff in the ground.

  26. #20, I can recommend “Propaganda” by Jacques Ellul and “Four Arguements for the Elimination of Television” by Jerry Mander.
    With regards to #18, I think people are scared and want to cling to certainty. Any conversation that brings more uncertainty into view will be fought with thought-stoppers. I think it is worthwhile seeking out views on subjects from those from differing positions because if you disagree with something or someone, your bias will be to dig deeper into claims and references to try and debunk the arguement, so engaging with them forces me out of my own thought-stoppers. But then I just realise that nobody knows anything, me least of all, and I go and hide. Hello Petra, by the way.

  27. Hello Mr. Greer,

    When you write any given piece of material, do you leave it alone for a period of time before the editing process? To try to be more precise, is there a certain amount of time that elapses before you begin revisions/throw something out? Your point on having skepticism towards spontaneous inspiration was an excellent piece of advice. Being an amateur, I find that much of what I write appears quite ridiculous a week (sometimes hours) after it is written.

    I appreciate your advice and inspiration regarding writing. I recall the sonnet that I posted to this blog, and estimate that you may believe you have created a monster, but I will gladly inform you that I think it is horrible too! Failures aside, I am having a tremendous time writing prose and verse. I regularly read and re-read the blog posts that you have written upon this subject to remember the prudent advice. Obviously, posting the poem I did, I contradicted you on the point of not trusting spontaneous results, though I learned that lesson after the slight embarrassment of seeing it the next morning. From this point I pose my question.

  28. Traveling into the belly of the beast (Washington D.C.) in 3 weeks for the first time since 2019. What kinds of things do you think would be worth making note of while visiting? I feel like a traveler to a foreign land. I hear everyone wears masks everywhere all the time and crime is up. Hopefully both are not true, but I shall see!

  29. Hello JMG
    I am trying to learn a way of becoming more aware of the beings on different planes of existence around me. I am thinking that one way of doing this is to listen to my dreams. I have always enjoyed going to sleep and dreaming. I am beginning to understand that dreams tell me something about myself, often times things I don’t want to hear. I am meditating on the dream images not converting the images into words. The images seem to have more power than words.
    Dreams can have the power to disrupt my personal life if I have the wisdom and courage to act on them. I hope to experience deeper feelings and more vivid understanding of the images around me in my waking life and the discretion to keep quite about it when the need arises.
    The “Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic” doesn’t seem to comment much on this topic.

  30. Quin, thanks for this as always.

    Gerard, that’s priceless. Well, in an expensive sort of way. 😉

    Justin, thanks for this! Ogden Nash, one of the great American masters of light verse, has been a fave of mine since my age was in single digits; it’s good to see the tradition being picked up again. I hope your reading goes very well.

    Nathanael, fun! Thanks for the heads up.

    Yorkshire, duly noted.

    Mark and Orion, many thanks for both of these.

    Cs2, why, yes. You need to pick up a copy of The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer — there’s a good English translation by E.F.J. Payne readily available. The will is Schopenhauer’s core subject, and he covers everything you want to know. (He also had a massive influence on magical traditions, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.)

    David BTL, I’m not sure whether that article is sad or just stupid. The one bright spot about the collapse of the academy is that it’ll leave the field open for new ventures that actually, you know, teach.

    Ellen, delighted to hear this.

    Mister N, maybe it was actually Jimmy Hoffa. Or Elvis!

    Zarbarzun, I’ll have to leave this for others to answer, as that’s not a subject I know a great deal about.

    Justin, thanks for this as well.

    Chuaquin, doesn’t surprise me at all. Remember that all the rich folks know each other, run in the same social circles, attend the same events. Schwab isn’t filthy rich himself but he’s made a career out of throwing a big annual party for the rich and powerful, well stocked with prostitutes and other forms of entertainment; he’s one of the upper circle of flacks and enablers, and so of course Trump knows him and chats with him socially. In case you’ve forgotten, Trump and the Clintons were good buddies until he decided to run for president…

    Tech, historically speaking the mystery dimensions of the Catholic church — the disciplina arcani, as that was called back in the day — didn’t long survive the political takeover of the church by the Roman government in the fourth century; over the couple of centuries that followed, everything was reworked for mass consumption (pardon the pun), and those who clung too obviously to the mystery teachings were labeled “gnostics” and slaughtered. (You might have a look at Stephan Davies’ very scholarly book The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom sometime, for some of this.) So Eco was playing games, as usual.

    Raymond, oh good gods, yes. I see that all the time. I also see, just as often, the equally bizarre conviction that if you make a prediction about the future, you want the future you’re predicting. Last week one of my readers (tip of the hat to Patricia M) mentioned that she’d sent a copy of my essay “The Next Ten Billion Years” to a friend, who responded, “Why does he hate space travel?” I don’t hate space travel — I simply pointed out that the dream of space migration is not a realistic option — but this person couldn’t grasp that. Both the personalization you’re talking about and the example just given are products of the same weird phenomenon — a complete collapse in the ability to handle abstractions among the intelligentsia of the present day. They can’t think about an abstract idea as an abstract idea — it’s always got to come down to some person advocating something that they either love or hate.

    David BTL, several online writers have made the point that this is an existential crisis for the US. Russia has called our bluff; we unleashed all our economic sanctions against Russia, and they went off like a damp squib. It never occurred to the overlords of high finance that if you have an economy based on ample raw materials and a huge industrial plant, you can produce actual goods and services, and other countries will line up to buy those, no matter what the overpaid flacks in Wall Street and London say. The hegemony of the dollar is coming unglued; countries around the world are making arrangements to buy and sell oil and other goods in renminbi, rupees, UAE dirhams, and other currencies, rather than the US dollar — and this means that the capacity of the US to keep on running up limitless debt and selling the bonds to foreign bagholders is running dry. If NATO is defeated in Ukraine, that’s going to put the icing on the cake, and the US will be facing the kind of crisis I described in fictional form in Twilight’s Last Gleaming — a crisis it may well not survive. The Biden administration and the governments of its European client states have backed themselves into a corner; they have very little room to maneuver left; what they can do is try to keep from losing the war for at least a little longer, in the hope that something will turn up. So that’s what they’re doing.

    Anonymous, I don’t know of anything along those lines. You’re right that it’s worth researching!

    Clay, that’s an excellent point.

    Ecosophy, it really varies from city to city, from suburb to suburb, and from rural area to rural area. Sone small cities and large towns close to decent farmland will do well; some suburbs that used to be independent towns may well become independent towns again; rural areas that are out of the way of future war zones may be fine — but it’s hard to say. A smallholding on the edge of a town may well be a good plan, but don’t try to grow all your own food — you’ll do better if you learn a skilled trade and use the income to buy bulk crops like grains and potatoes, while growing vegetables and raising small livestock yourself. (That was the way to a comfortable life in preindustrial times.)

    Milkyway, thanks for this.

    Siliconguy, ouch! Thanks for this, and for a new word for my vocabulary.

    Kevin, if the Russians win in Ukraine, the global financial architecture that props up US standards of living, by enabling us to import vast amounts of consumer goods from overseas and pay for them with unpayable IOUs, is history. So is the standing of the US as a power able to enforce its will on the rest of the world. Once those go away, so does the capacity of the US to support all those managers. At some level, I think many people know that.

    Batstrel, those things happen, but they have three separate reasons. In the first case, head injury can sometimes jolt loose memories from previous lives — there are less traumatic ways to do this! — and that includes the kinesthetic memories needed to play music. In the second case, the heart is not just a pump, it’s a center of life force and emotional experience, and it retains those functions even when it’s moved to a different body. In the third, those twins were born within moments of one another, and so had nearly identical horoscopes; I’d expect such consistencies.

    Chris, it’s the astral link established between your subtle body and that of your lover. Sex is far more than merely a physical action; it connects your subtle body with your lover’s on multiple planes of being. The astral plane is the plane of emotion and imagination, and so when the end of a relationship coincides with a last lovemaking, yes, you’ll feel the separation taking place on that level.

    JonathanD79, it varies from project to project. I always let a manuscript wait for a couple of days at least, but sometimes it’s much longer; I’ve got a finished SF novel on the shelf right now which has been cooling for a month and a half, and will probably sit for a good deal longer, until I’ve got the distance I need to do the revisions that will make it what it needs to be.

    Denis, I found the official “important things” in DC rather dull, but your mileage may vary. I found walking the streets in the government quarter, and taking in the ambience, to be more interesting; it felt like walking through ancient Rome a few decades before it fell.

    Daniel, dreamwork is a richly developed system but it’s not one I’ve gotten into, and no, Lévi didn’t have much to say about it either. Some of the other readers here may be able to point you to resources. Anyone?

  31. Hi John,

    I note growing panic in official circles about the collapsing birth rate. The Japanese PM has warned society might stop functioning unless the Japanese have more babies.

    How do you think societies will react to a collapsing fertility rate (accelerated by potentially the Thing That Must Not Be Mentioned).

    I’ve wondered whether religious and nationalist political forces might try to rollback secularism and female rights on the premise that if you curtail feminism you can restore the birth rate. That’s the sort of thing I could see the Chinese trying, now that they seem to have woken up to the dire implications of a huge baby bust.

  32. Re: John Michael Greer
    “A smallholding on the edge of a town may well be a good plan, but don’t try to grow all your own food — you’ll do better if you learn a skilled trade and use the income to buy bulk crops like grains and potatoes, while growing vegetables and raising small livestock yourself.”
    Note taken. My wife is going to be working in the medical field, but I’m not sure how secure that kind of work will be in the long term. Already she says there’s tons of shortages and problems at the hospital she works. I’m going to learn to be an Arborist, but I should probably learn another trade like carpentry, welding, or mechanical work.

  33. Wow, thank you for those answers, JMG. Straight off the bat. You weren’t overtaxed at all.

  34. Has anyone here any insight to what is happening in the Republican Party, or the (American) conservative movement in general? We all know that large parts of the Democratic Party have taken leave of their senses, but now it seems that both are infected with madness.

    Some time back comments from one Richard Hanania popped up in my email from I know not where. Guy seemed like a reasonable conservative voice and, I thought, won’t hurt to get some insight into what that faction, or group of factions, is thinking. Then this arrived on Jan. 10. The title is Men Need Sex and Violence, Not Top Down “Meaning”. Huh?, I thought. Would the Sermon on the Mount qualify as “top down meaning”?

    The text got worse. Just one sample,

    “…the excitement one finds on the highest planes of human existence, which for a man is a life full of the realistic possibility of violence and sex (with new people, not marriage)…”

    What the freak? I thought it was the Left which stood accused of enabling crime and coddling criminals.

    Now the violence part of that is merely a plea to let boys fight out their differences, with which I have some sympathy, but sex with new people, not marriage???? I have seen the same sentiment expressed in interviews with ISIS young men.

    How, exactly does this sentiment contribute to “family formation”? How does it support “traditional values”. What is to become of any children so engendered? Which group of women–plain women, women of color, poor women–are to be the designated pigs, to use an earlier word for tramp.

    I suppose that, if challenged, Hanania would fall back on the just funning, you don’t have a sense of humor ploy. So, maybe I don’t understand irony, but I do understand a*******ery.

  35. Since you look fondly on Aristotle’s virtue ethics, what are your thoughts on the four types of causality as taken up by the Thomists? I think it goes well with magical visions of the universe.

    Material causality refers the raw substance of which something is made; efficient causality refers to the shaping and making of a thing according to its formal cause—its idea in the Platonic sense as reinterpreted by Aristotle—and the teleology of the thing is considered yet another of its causes.

    It is interesting though not on its face synchronous to superimpose this scheme on the four levels of the self described by the Hermetic Cabala, considering the guph as the material cause; the nephesch, the efficient cause; the ruach, the formal cause, and the neshemah the final cause. Although the neshemah might best go with the idea of formal causality; the ruach with efficient causality, as it contains the agentive faculties of the self; and the nephesh and guph could be considered higher and lower octaves, respectively, of material causality, as ideally they are both subject to constant impositions of pattern by the ruach and ultimately the neshemah. This leaves final causality out of the picture, which might be for the best, as insistence that one does know what personhood is “for” never seems to be found apart, in practice, from attempts to control others.

  36. Replying to Siliconguy #24: if you go to gridwatch.co.uk you can see charts of the sources of UK electricity supply for various time scales from the current day through to the whole of last year. We had a notable dunkelflaute from about 9-13 December when wind was mostly at about 3% of total demand and hardly any solar.
    Here is a very rough estimate of where I think we are in the UK in terms of a zero-carbon energy supply, excluding current fossil-fueled heavy vehicles and machinery for which there don’t seem to be solutions at present. Looking at the charts generally, it looks like the UK would need 8-10 times the current wind generation capacity to provide sufficient electrical power for about 90%+ of the time with current demand and often produce a surplus which could top up an energy storage system. I could not guess what multiple would be needed for an all-electric transport system plus getting rid of gas heating and cooking in homes and elsewhere, but maybe double that. There would need to be fossil-fuel or energy storage backup of maybe 100 hours worth of average winter’s day demand – about 35GW – to cope with the sort of dunkelflaute likely to occur annually. To cover almost all eventualities would again need about double that. On the other hand, energy efficiency savings might reduce total demand by 20-25%. So maybe we’d need about 15 times the current wind capacity. The cost quoted on renewablesfirst.co.uk works out to be about £3 billion per GW of average output – based on a mean of one-third rated capacity – or £1 billion per GW of capacity. Current capacity is 28GW so 15 times that would be 420GW, roughly £400-500 billion.
    So for energy storage for our little country of just under 70 million people with scant heavy industry left, we would need to store 200 hours worth of energy at double the current demand, but we’ll knock 25% off that. That comes to 200 x 35 x 0.75 = 5250 GWh. The Vistra Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in California – just did a search for the world’s largest battery storage – is 1600MWh, which is 1.6GWh. So assuming 100% efficiency we’d just need 3300 of them. That installation reportedly cost $400 million, about £320 million. So the number needed would cost almost exactly £1 trillion. So with the extra wind capacity we are looking at about £1.5 trillion. If you allow partial shutdowns of non-essential use for a day or two once every couple of years or so, you might trim that to £1 trillion.
    An alternative of course, is the vapourware of hydrogen generation and storage. Given the inefficiencies, storage might need to be in the order of 10 000GWh. If anyone sees that these numbers are grossly in error, please correct me. I have seen a few published estimates – e.g. by the Global Warming Policy Foundation – that are even more pessimistic. Still, just doing this now surprised me. If it is anywhere near correct, I can only conclude the only reason any person cannot see all this is unfeasible, is that they do not want to.

  37. Hello JMG! Given your recent post about disenchantment I was hoping perhaps you would be willing to discuss the differences as you see it between enchantment on the one hand and what these days people refer to as magical thinking. Thanks in advance!

  38. I’m reading a book by Richard Gallagher MD about his experiences in exorcism. Do you believe in this stuff, including “evil spirits, demons, etc”? I’m not sure that I do but he recounts stories including possessed people speaking in languages they couldn’t know, levitation, hidden knowledge, temperature changes, etc…he says he witnessed this stuff but I’m not sure what to make of it. Thanks JMG.

  39. JMG, Thanks again for sharing your top 10-11 reading list for kids. And thanks to the commentariat for sharing your thoughts and book recommendations as well. As promised, I would now like to request a top 10 reading list for adults. ~Clark

  40. What is it about Faustian culture that it often wants to “transcend”? As an example: In the movie “Shape of Things to Come”, at the end somehow the people who leave Earth are touted as a new higher form. On a practical basis, what were they going to eat or breath? Or, is that just a detail that doesn’t matter?

  41. @ Siliconguy re # 29

    The latest and greatest notion of the elites now seems to be the idea of the 15-minute city, where everything you need or want is within 15 minutes of your home. I’m guessing that’s what you’re referring to? The link below (for those of us who don’t mind video) gives a chilling view of what lies behind this idea.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VH11YOwPY4

    The narrator is an enthusiatic bit-coin booster but takes a very dim view of this concept and the
    underlying motives behind this idea. If even half of what he talks about is true, I take a dim view as well. I’m wondering how they’re going to manage convincing those of us who live way out in the boonies that we should move to this more ‘convenient’ and ‘sustainable’ living-arrangement. Or maybe we won’t be given a choice……

    To the “You will own nothing and be happy”, I will add ” you will live where we tell you and be content.”

  42. @Denis – I travel to DC for work every few months or so and I notice that not everyone is wearing masks, but there are more masks than in the city where I live. I also feel that the generally vibe is very icky in a way that I don’t remember from before. I am completely drained when I return home. I’d be interested to hear if you experience it similarly.

  43. Hi John,

    While I certainly don’t want to see us burning fossil fuels at current rates indefinitely, it is also my hope that fusion power is never realized. It seems if humanity had access to unlimited power that it would precipitate an endless dive into frivolity and waste. Though many would disagree it seems that the constraint of having limits upon us is in the long run beneficial for all of us. What do you think? Thank you.

  44. Hi JMG, I’ve been thinking quite a bit on the topic of decline lately. I came up with some things where I see decline; e.g. 1. We backed away from manned space missions quite some time ago and despite frantic signals suggesting otherwise, we are not putting serious resources to this. 2. Industrial society seems to be suffering from resource depletion (but not really acknowledging such), leading to various strategies to create demand destruction by calling it by other names 3. The increasing failure of higher education to provide any real value 4. Decline of health and medical systems in providing value 5. Abstraction of thought resulting in a truly Orwellian world where logic is thrown away in favour of feelings and loyalty to the regime is more important than almost anything else. 6. Resource warfare. I wondered if you have thoughts on other aspects of decline that are obvious to you?

  45. Daniel,
    Resources related to dreamwork I find helpful are Robert Waggoner’s Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, Robert Johnson’s book on Jungian Dream interpretation (the method is easy), Ed Kellog (search “Ed Kellog lucid dreaming”), and the The Astral Plane by AE Powell. For your specific question I’d recommend Waggoner and Powell’s books. I also like using alchemical symbolism to interpret dreams.

    The realization your having now can evolve a lot with a regular discursive practice too. Dreams are an immersive experience of our souls that follow us throughout the day. They can point to karmic knots we need to resolve.

    Recently my dreams have pointed to desires from 10-15 years ago that I thought weren’t with me anymore, related to achievement in athletics. I had a few dreams in a row of past situations where I made decisions that led to failure in some of my athletic goals from that time period and I had to consciously accept those desires while awake. There’s not a way to instantly understand the symbols in our dreams in daily life it just evolves with persistent effort. One tip is to see everything in your dreams and waking life as an aspect of yourself. It’s a fun rabbit hole.

  46. @Anon comment #20
    It seems to me one of the biggest shifts in the 1950s was when the vets came home from the war, there was a tremendous surge of spending. Once the vets had got a house, a car, a suite, a fridge etc., the post war boom died out. The practical reasons to spend money were exhausted. Advertisers had to shift from logical/utility reasons to fantasy. Vance Packard’s books like “The Waste Makers” etc. chronicles some of the process.

  47. In an earlier post, someone in the comments mentioned the composting of human bodies.

    IIRC, my mother’s village on the edge of Bavaria essentially did just that.
    They’ve been staunchly Catholic since the priests showed up 800 years ago and began keeping records.

    The village and churchyard are landlocked. There’s little room to expand.
    But people die and their bodies must be buried correctly.

    Thus, the reuse of grave sites.
    A body is washed and wrapped in a winding sheet and buried with proper respect.

    About three generations later, no one alive remembers that person.

    The grave is then ready to reuse. It’s redug, any bits of bones pushed to the side, and the new body is buried. Apparently, after 100 or so years in the ground, there’s not much left.

    I don’t remember how they marked the graves.
    Wooden crosses, I expect, because those rotted too.

    According to my mother (she’s 84), no one had a problem or thought it was disrespectful. It’s just how things were done.

    I don’t know if this is done elsewhere nor do I know if they do this elsewhere in Germany.

    The village is Eussenhausen, near the old East German border.

  48. Anonymous #20,

    Marshall McCluhan’s Understandinng Media he has other books too but I haven’t got to them yet. He has other books too but I haven’t got to them yet.

  49. Meeting Wayland:

    In the absence of anything else to publish here at the moment because reasons, I’d like to offer the first paragraph of a Twitter thread that I happened across this evening. It’s by Electra Rhodes and well worth a read. There’s no doubt that the recent takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk has certainly shaken things up for both good – like this, and ill – I’ve had a decade old tweet endlessly repeated and commented on.

    Anyway, here’s the first paragraph:

    “It was six years ago, and my mate, Pink, had just been told he was going to die. He accepted the news with a grace I can only marvel at, but he said he’d a list of things he’d still like to do.

    We sat in a pub one night and read it over. Eight things? Four months? Ok. Deal.”

    Here’s a link to the thread. It really is quite magical.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/electra_rhodes/status/1618246238742224904

  50. After the discussion on writing some weeks ago, I picked up “The Buried Giant” and “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro on Thijs’ recommendation. Thank you very much! I can recommend both of them, even though they are written by a Nobel Prize laureate. The language is clear and not self-conscious, the plots are gripping and easy enough to follow, yet both have subtle implications and bear a lot of thinking.

    It did grate on me that Ishiguro does not respect historical fidelity in “The Buried Giant” – for example, he uses the completely anachronistic concept and word “pastor” in his version of post-Arthurian Britain. But he does make it clear that this is not historical fiction.

    Likewise, I don’t think that the technological change envisioned in “Klara and the Sun” is at all probable, but the implications are very interesting and run counter to what most modern writers might have come up with. In the background, though never spelled out, is a kind of Long Decline, where many Europeans have fled their homes and insecurity is rampant in the US.

    Again, thanks, and I recognize I over-generalized about what kind of writers are selected to the top tier of “serious literature”.

  51. In a post from 2015 titled “What Magic Can’t Do” you wrote “one of the things that magic can quite reliably do, in many people, is awaken an aptitude or talent for some particular field of study.” Can you recommend a magical ritual or suggest a practice that might offer a way to awaken an aptitude for mathematics? It’s a field that’s always fascinated me (Golden Ratio, etc), but developing a talent for it has always bedeviled me.

  52. Ellen #12,

    Could you please share the name of that Waldorf book about festivals?

    Thanks,
    Jacques

  53. “The greater kinds” identified by Iamblichus include heroes, together with gods, demons, and angels. In your The Ceremony of the Grail (Llewellyn Publications, 2022) we read, “In ancient Greece … the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus and the spirits of mountains, forests, and rivers received worship, but so did a class of being who were known as heroes …” (p. 81) Is it safe to assume that these are the heroes to which Iamblichus was referring? If so, then we can continue with the following: “… the grave of a hero became a sacred place where offerings were made to his spirit … The body of the hero was the essential focus of his power. When group of people moved long distances and wanted to bring their heroes with them, the physical remains of the honored dead had to be dug up and taken along. Where the corpses were, the heroes were.” (Greer, loc. cit.). Iamblichus would then seem to include two kinds of beings in the greater kinds: those confined to a very particular place and those not so confined. I was a bit thrown off when I saw the inclusion of heroes in the greater kinds, hence the question.

  54. Milkyway, thanks! I am actually in need of a reading. I will contact you through your DW.

    All, I have a first row seat to the current tech mess and have been compiling notes about it to try to hone my writing skills into an essay tentatively titled The Tech Dream is Dead. So I thought I would ask, what would you like to see covered or consider worthwhile to be included in it?

  55. Hi John Michael,

    Thank you for providing this forum and your time.

    I’m curious about an experience I had the other morning. The realisation hit me hard that it is a widely held belief (probably originating from ‘progress’ TM) that the future is viewed as an abstract concept.

    Far out! The understanding was something of a smack to the head. The benefit of indulging in the belief is that people can believe any old rubbish about the future. Like seriously, any rubbish at all, and that may go some distance towards explaining some of the crazier ideas in popular circulation. If the form of the future is not tacitly acknowledged, then goals become worse than useless, and can just as easily be destructive. Wow.

    Dunno why, but I just haven’t looked at the future that way. Instead the past forges links to the future, and there are also consequences, limits and obligations. How could it not? Maybe it is my day job which trains me to look backwards, then imagine forwards based on grounded in the past guesses? Dunno. A mystery! 🙂 Probably your writing also plays a part in the story.

    I’ve been considering the cultural treatment history since having read the book 1984 – which incidentally I did not enjoy reading. The fictional treatment of history was heavy handed in the extreme. It seemed to me like a pointless exercise, which was one of the goals of ‘the party’ absorbing excess productivity to ensure a low standard of living for all, except the inner party members.

    What do you reckon? Is this belief a cultural blind-side? And it makes the curious mind wonder just how many body blows does the belief take, before it gets chucked aside?

    Cheers

    Chris

  56. Hi John,
    The Randian phrases “Atlas shrugged” and “Galt’s Gulch” set me to thinking. Rand saw the “shrugging” as starting from the most (at least ostensibly) brilliant and talented individuals and then working its way down the merit chain until those that remain cannot sustain their society. But such a view underestimates the degree to which ostensible workplace drones can be very Galt-like outside of it. Hence the Great Resignation, as more and more people conclude that enduring daily insults to their dignity has become too obviously bad a bargain.

    In Rand’s AS novel, all the geniuses have gathered together out-of-sight from the hoi polloi, to reveal themselves sometime after everyone, including the politicos, have acknowledged that they can’t live without them. To me, it’s more likely that people will simply look for regions where sanity seems to prevail and there’s still a working sewage system. The SkunkWorks does strike me as a real-world example of a Galt’s Gulch: the most talented people brought together to work on a cutting-edge project free of the usual corporate red tape. Ecosophia.net is in many ways a digital version of Galt’s Gulch: sanity generally prevails and the free flow of ideas proceeds with minimal blockage from the BS.

    Whatever the merits of shrugging and Galting, I wonder what percentage of people in what occupations would have to disappear before society (or a region) falls into serious trouble. Perhaps a deeper question is to what extent and how quickly looming resource scarcities make various occupations moot.

  57. Hi Michael,

    Just curious to know what your reaction is to essay-writing apps like ChatGDP, or simlar apps that can create very detailed artwork. (e.g. – What are the potential implications of this technology for the arts community, especially those individuals (like yourself) in the book-writing business? Might it lead to the eventual redundancy of human creativity? If you were an English teacher, how would you structure the learning so that a student couldn’t produce a piece of work with a few clicks of a mouse?)

  58. Hello JMG!

    As someone very interested in worldbuilding, particularly creating a fantasy world that’s informed by occult ideas, I’ve become fascinated with building on a D&D Alignment analogy you talked about not too long ago.

    Would you say that specific religions, philosophies, and occult systems have alignments? I do realize the crudeness of the alignment system and that it doesn’t really map onto actual human behavior and group dynamics very well, but it does seem not too wrong to generalize that spiritual subculture like Neo-Druidry might approximate to “Chaotic Good” and that a dogmatic religion has a “Lawful” alignment of some sort. Also, are you interpreting “Chaotic” to not mean disordered behavior/conduct but rather a person’s worldview that is not dependent on rigid rules, precepts, and ways of explaining reality? And by that Lawful means a conformist and rule-dependent way of viewing the world? If I might joke around a bit, might “Chaotic Stupid” be a fitting alignment for many Neopagan groups? 😉

    Finally, have you come across alternative alignment systems from other RPGs that better reflect an occult understanding of the human souls and personality? To me the whole Good/Evil dimension seems problematic in that so many people just interpret those terms very subjectively; typically equating their own worldview or ideology with “good” and non-adherence to it as “evil.” I get the feeling the creator(s) of D&D simply took their own personal morality and imported it into the game setting.

  59. @ Kevin #25 & JMG
    I think a lot of the PMC don’t consciously connect support of the Ukraine with preserving US global hegemony and therefore the continuation of their own status. It is a form of virtue signaling to them, like driving a Tesla. These are the same people who believe the propaganda they read in the NY Times or Washington Post and believe Biden is a good president and Putin is evil. Some forms of self and group identity die hard.
    Stephen

  60. JMG,

    A few questions for use of the Gypsy Witch cards; the tiny instruction booklet included with the cards does not really provide much guidance. Apologies if this all seems a bit scattered.

    How does one use and interpret the cards? The booklet only has a couple of examples of rather large spreads.

    For WOH: Chorazin, you used a large 15-card spread. Is that the method to use with this deck?

    How does one interpret reversals with this deck?

    What guide books for this deck would you recommend that might have a little more substance?

    Thank you,

    Will1000

  61. Hello Mr. Greer (and fellow readers)
    I have long thought that there is something Demonic about smartphones and i believe that some though not all of the current insanity can be blamed on this demonic device.
    The rare earths used in these devices is mined in Africa in neo colonial conditions, the use of child labor and of slave labor is common in mining these minerals. the devices themselves are manufactured in a totalitarian nation and the workers at the plants that make them are prevented from committing suicide in these plants by netting outside the windows.
    the devices as used by most people are addictive: they are dopamine releasing devices, a slot machine in a pocket. the content is mostly gossip, porn and propaganda. they separate people from the reality of the world around them and separate people from the other human beings in their midst. they are alienation machines. – have we not all seen couples or families sitting at a table in a public place- silent and not interacting with each other but are bathed in the sickening light of smartphone. together in isolation with a parasitic machine in hand.
    I recall reading the Jerry Mander book and all the arguments hold for this technology- even more so.
    As an orthodox Christan i believe in the presence of demons in our world. and i think that the most powerful medium for demonic influence in people’s lives are the smartphones that they have in their pockets. I refuse to own one. the laptop I am typing this is on is not a neutral technology either: but I will put this away after typing- so many of the people I interact with seem chained to their smartphones- I feel like I am chewing coca leaves while others are smoking crack. (a rationalization I am sure).
    Does anyone else feel this way? is this post too obvious?
    (As an aside: not sure i agree with your assessment of mystery traditions in Christianity, are you speaking about magic or occult elements in Christianity or mysticism more generally?: in Orthodoxy there has always been and still is a deep strand of mysticism: and in Catholicism Meister Eckhart and Julian of Norwich spring to mind- perhaps you meant something more esoteric, as for the Gnostics- i feel that in their elitism and distain for the “mud people” of the church they were the wanna-be PMCs early Christianity).
    keep up the good work.
    “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. .”..

  62. I’m offering a gift – a copy of the “Celtic Golden Dawn” book by JMG.
    If interested, send me an email to ecosophian at protonmail dot com with your mailing address and I’ll mail the book to you for free, within the United States.

  63. #9 Clarke: “Plug, socket, current. I’m glad the trio make for a functioning circuit for them.”

    Thanks for that phrase, I could almost imagine JMG using the idea “plug, socket, current makes for a functioning circuit” as an admonishment not to swap out things in one system of magic for things from another.

  64. JMG has cautioned us in the past not to own gold or other valuables as a hedge. We’ve had a set of incidents recently in Japan that illustrate why it’s a bad idea, and why it would be a better idea to invest in skills and necessary items that would not have a lot of value to anyone without those skills.
    The news reported the death of a 90-year-old woman who had been left alone by her family one evening, when burglars invaded, bound her and beat her to death. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14822437
    Other people in various parts of Japan have been assaulted recently by young men posing as uniformed couriers or using other tactics to gain entry, who had learned somehow that there was a large amount of money in the home or office. They would arrive in a rented car, gain entry, bind the victim and beat him/her with a hammer until he revealed where the money was. They were using SNS messages to choose their victims and staking out the neighborhood to determine vulnerabilities. The police also think they were purchasing leaked personal information, such as bank account numbers.
    The shocking death of the old lady spurred a more serious attempt to catch the culprits. What is known so far is that the guys committing the assaults are part-time hirees of quite a well-developed ring, the leadership of which is located abroad (possibly the Philippines). They have quite well-developed tactics specialized to Japan, where it is common for people to keep large amounts of money at home. They come around as recyclers, they point at the roof and say you’ve got a broken shingle. They yell at you.
    If I were conspiracy-minded, I might wonder if in fact it is a tactic to try to get the Japanese to accept digitalization (from the fire into the frying pan). DX is the big exciting glossy word in Japan now, but they are hitting an undertow with people not trusting digital money, especially after the Mt Gox theft. On the other hand, this will leave many people more wary than ever about sharing their information on the Net, even “securely.”
    Either way, you’re fleeced in the scramble to be the biggest rat standing at the end of a golden age. It’s best not to need the fleece.

  65. Clark @ 43, could you break down that 10 for adults request? Fiction, non-fiction, novels, epics, poetry? If you want history, there I could help you, science probably not.

  66. Clarke aka Gwydion (no. 9),

    Tibetan debate presumes that “contradictory” means “false”–if one demonstrates that the opponent’s view results in contradiction, then one has won the debate, and there are no appeals to paradox! Of course, the debate structure presumes Dharmakirtian categories which are thought to represent a lower tenet system than (usually Prasangika) Madhyamaka. Exactly what the latter consists of varies considerably and is kind of murky–it might be better to say that whatever the debater thinks is true, gets assigned the label of “(Prasangika) Madhyamaka”! But most are ultimately guided by the commentarial tradition of their monastery or college.

    Unfortunately, the Tibetan tradition is not very good at questioning itself–the debates are highly circumscribed, competitive to the point of being a sport, and are more of an oral than a written tradition. Oral commentaries on written texts can resemble sermons, university classes (few people just pick up Kant and read him–most need some kind of explanation), or jumping-off points for whatever the lama wants to talk about! Of course there is also genuine scholarship going on, but it does not really define the system.

    Western scholars (or non-Westerners trained in this tradition) have brought very powerful tools to the understanding of Buddhism. I mentioned Jayarava Attwood, who studies the Heart Sutra. He complains that it has been systematically misunderstood by traditional teachers of all stripes, who consider it to be critiquing conceptuality itself (he calls Madhyamaka “the dogma”); as well as by Westerners in the tradition of Conze, who imposed Romantic ideas on it; and by Japanese academics, who do something similar, and are reluctant to entertain the suggestion that the text was composed in China rather than India. In general, the idea that the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha are rather distant from those of later Buddhist texts and teachers–or that Nagarjuna is either fundamentally misunderstood, or overrated–is as difficult for Tibetan tradition to absorb, as source criticism has been for Christianity.

    “Enlightenment” is really more of a rhetorical tradition than a realistic goal. It is always one’s teacher who is enlightened–and of course great people from the past and present–never oneself. Dzogchen and Mahamudra are, at bottom, textual and practice traditions not so different from all the others. Claims to the effect that this or that practice represents the essence of the Buddha’s teachings are not rare, and who knows? Maybe they are all true (84,000 teachings and all that).Certainly plenty of lamas continue to practice ngondro (the “preliminary” practices) even after receiving high tantric transmissions.

    Now I am rambling, and have probably contradicted myself already!

  67. @Anonymous #20,
    I don’t have any good resources, but a while back I read that prior to adopting TVs, people in Nepal considered themselves rich, but after adopting them, they “learned” they were poor and had to send their children away to the cities so they could escape poverty.
    Sustainable, happy lifestyles become a source of shame, and more people get drawn into the rat race, supporting the wealth of the people who broadcast their ideas via TV

  68. @Ellen #12

    Thanks for that.

    Since we’re on kids, here’s something that just happened: one of my kids came down and said, “Dad, my (five-year-old) brother just asked me a question that I don’t really know how to answer, which was, ‘when I’m asleep, where are my dreams?'”

    Deep question for a five-year-old! Maybe he’s tapping into something and realizes that in fact, dreams are “somewhere else”.

    @Clay Dennis #21

    “Before this event more crossing of the line was officially discouraged but not career ending.”

    That’s very interesting to me because I’ve always thought of it as the other way around. I’ve never really been a “9/11 guy” – I don’t know why, I was just never fascinated with it, maybe I was too young at the time, but I know from long experience on the interwebs that plenty of people got their “redpill” start by questioning 9/11.

    So, I always thought of 9/11 as an event that launched the modern “question everything” movement. But maybe I’ve been wrong all this time and it was easier to be a weirdo before?

    @Chris #28:

    Besides what our host responded (which I agree with), I would say that these spiritual bonds are a reason, *pace* the manosphere/PUA crowd, of how not only women but men as well, should think carefully about their sexual choices. Controversial topic to be sure, but most people don’t even begin to be equipped to even have the discussion if they aren’t aware of these bonds.

  69. @ teresa #51 Here in Guatemala there is a similar tradition, but they don’t wait three generations. They also plant certain shrubs that can survive the dry season to mark the site, along side wood or concrete headstones. And there is a new tradition of building high rise concrete crypts, about 5-7 layers tall (for now). Even still they don’t wait more than 10 years to add a body to the crypt.

  70. Why do today’s bars/nightclubs play so much music from the 1970s and ’80s?
    It feels weird… like being in a time warp.
    I was in my late teens to early thirties during those decades, and bars back then never played music that was 40-50 years old (Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Billie Holiday, Bing
    Crosby, Guy Lombardo, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.). That’s what my PARENTS listened to… at HOME.

  71. For those interested in peak oil. Recently we discussed in the comments whether we are really seeing more or plateaued oil production worldwide. However, while we look at the total production, what really matters is net production. It takes energy to make energy.

    We can understand this easily with money. If you’re earning $100 in a job across the street, and are offered $110 in another job, you might want to change jobs – until you realise it’ll cost you $15 to get to work, so you’ll actually be worse off. It’s the same with energy. The first use for a coal-fired steam engine was in pumping water out of the lower levels of coal mines – they burned coal to get more coal. Thus the concept of energy returned on energy invested, EROEI.

    Historically oil production was wonderful because it had an EROEI of 20:1. That is, you burned 5 barrels of oil so you could get 100 barrels, for a net 95 barrels gain. But as time’s gone on, we’ve chosen more and more marginal places to get oil from.

    Shale oil is where the US has boosted its production in recent years. This comes from rocks with kerogens in them, basically carbon sludge. They crush 20 tonnes of rocks and dry them, then heat them to at least 300C and 1 tonne of oozes out. Guess what, it costs energy to dig up rocks, crush them, dry them and heat them.

    It turns out that shale oil in the US has an EROEI of about 1.5:1.

    https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/3/11/2307

    That means they have to burn 40 barrels of oil worth of energy to get 100, for a net gain of 60. So let’s look at the US. It jumps up and down quite a bit year-to-year for economic reasons, but basically:

    – 12 million barrels of oil produced daily
    – 4.5 million of which from conventional oil fields
    – 7.5 million of which from shale oil

    But now let’s look at NET production
    – conventional oil, 5% of oil burned to get other 95%, so 0.225Mbbl burned to get 4.275Mbbl for other purposes
    – shale oil, 40% burned to get other 60%, so 3Mbbl burned to get other 4.5Mbbl.
    – net oil, 8.8Mbbl available for other purposes

    Of course, some of the energy used in producing oil comes from coal, natural gas, nuclear and so on. But significant amounts of energy are used in transporting oil, fractional distillation and so on. And so as a rough approximation we can ay that while the US claims to produce 12 million barrels of oil a day, in fact their net production is 8.8 million.

    As a comparison, in 1970 the US produced 9.64Mbbl/day, but it was all conventional, so the net production was 9.2Mbbl/day – with 205 million people vs today’s 332 million.

    So while we hear a lot about how high technology will keep production of this or that resource going up forever, the truth is that over time there’s less of it – and less for each person. This is something people are reluctant to face.

  72. David, by the lake (no. 19), I suppose the Pentagon was thinking that if Russia took Ukraine, the Baltics could be next, so better to fight them in Ukraine. At this point they seem to be hoping that Russia will exhaust its resources before Ukraine and NATO do (and not nuke anybody).

    Politicians have their own calculus. Biden had just pulled out of Afghanistan, and didn’t want to appear weak, by doing nothing while the USSR re-formed.

  73. Dear JMG,
    I know a few months ago you thought nuclear war with Russia was not on the table. Now that the USA and NATO are backed into a corner with no exist strategy besides WW3, do you thinking we’re closer to the precipice of nuclear Armageddon ?
    Karl

  74. JMG, friends of mine have become very enthusiastic about an ayahuasca ritual group they’ve joined, and they’re encouraging me to come along and experience it for myself. I don’t want to even try it, and I’m not sure I understand why. Something about taking a fast ticket to the spiritual world is somehow disappointing or off-putting to me. Kind of like taking steroids instead of putting in the time lifting weights, though I’m not sure if that’s a fair analogy.

    I have been lifting weights for over a year now, metaphorically speaking, following the SOP/meditation/divination daily regimen you recommend. I don’t feel quite right telling my friends that I think my way is better, but can you really develop wings to soar into the higher planes if you’re using plant medicine rocket boosters all the time to get there? I don’t know if my metaphors are accurate, but I do worry that taking a mind-altering substance like ayahuasca even once could set me back in the spiritual work I’ve done so far. Is my hunch credible or am I overthinking it?

  75. During this end of Empire period, all sorts of people have made a mad number of wild predictions about endings, ranging from the end of Empire to flat-out the end of civilization as we know it theories, to the world flipping over, etc. At one time I sort of made a collection of these tales, followed them. A few of them even enlist fairly good interdisciplinary science for their efforts. These days, I don’t follow them so much.

    Then there are the various kinds of preppers, some of whom quite sensibly have made an effort to “collapse now and avoid the rush.” Getting out of debt, making sure you have some extra food stashed around, reviewing your skill sets.

    Almost no one, not even the most moderate preppers, is quite happy with the slow-motion train wreck we appear to be experiencing. It’s painful. As for me, I quite like what once passed for civilization: Music, actual art, English villages, French chateaux, old New England towns and a great deal more. I’m not at all eager for TEOCAWKI. I’m not designed for wilderness survival living, thank you very much.

    The tendency of “all compounded things” to fall apart seems even more pointed as I grow older and wobblier in every respect, and it occasions more than a little mourning. I mean, Mozart, Bach, Chopin and even the great rock bands. Even with a slow decline (mine and the empire’s) I expect to have fewer occasions to enjoy those.

    So thanks to having no choice but to follow the progress (so to speak) of the train wreck, I’ve had to draw on every human and spiritual resource I have not to simply curl up in a ball in plain old despair. I miss so many things that are no more: old friends, family, being the youngest and strangest member thereof, and wide open time and space. Victorian popular novels.

    Me, I cope by talking with the remaining friends I have, I meditate occasionally, study as often as I can, listen to music periodically, even engage in the odd prayer, and read fairly silly novels while perhaps foolishly accumulating more books than I can possibly read in the time I have remaining to me. And of course, I follow Ecosophia (and before it ADR and the Oil Drum). And I carry on as I suppose we all must. That’s for starters.

    So I’d like to ask the commentariat: how, today, do you ACTUALLY cope with the emotional realization of all this stuff that’s coming down (it seems) around our ears? Please confine yourself to things you actually do, and avoid expounding on things you think you (or I) ought to do. Thanks! I’d like to know, and I think your answers might benefit at least a few of us.

  76. @here

    I’d love to hear what people are actually *doing* about “The Long Descent”, whether it’s practical or spiritual. Some things I’ve done over years, if ya’ll will allow me to brag:

    – deep pantry, veggie garden, chickens (coming in handy lately!) + emergency supplies: first aid, flashlights, batteries, candles, propane stove, portable solar panel, water filter, bottled water, physical cash, go bags
    – upped my emergency savings for long term no income scenario
    – bought a small rental property for extra income
    – got a bike, went car-lite
    – favor “fix it myself” over calling “the guy”.
    – kept our US passports up to date, EU dual citizenship via ancestry in process.
    – decided to stay in SF Bay Area for the time being because I’m blessed to have a paid off home in a uber benign climate (i.e. zero heating/cooling requirements), although I think about moving all the time given the “social climate” the last few years.
    – exploring Greco-Roman polytheism and ethics. Tried going back to Catholicism but it felt forced and fake.
    – stop drinking so much, start exercising/eating right (daily struggle)
    – stop doom-scrolling, turn off the news, instead find like minded people, prioritize family and personal projects over optimizing for the rat race.
    – plotting how to get my kids out of public school somehow but darn the amount of time and/or money that would require is a big barrier

    Anyhow, if anyone @here lives in the area and wants to meet IRL and talk about the end of empire, I’m all ears.

  77. @causticus #62 re: D&D Alignment

    I’m somewhat surprised D&D hasn’t come up in any of our talks here or elsewhere, but it (specifically in it’s “Old School Renaissance” incarnation) is one of my too many hobbies, so if I might weigh in a bit here:

    First, the tl;dr: your assumptions that the 9-Alignment system is both crude and largely based on its creator’s implicit Christian beliefs (Jehovah’s Witness, at that) is pretty much right, but you’re also not wrong that it strikes a certain resonance that folks have found helpful for understanding different flavors of good and evil.

    A very brief history: alignment began as only “Lawful, Chaotic, or Neutral”, which was a stance largely inspired by Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock’s pulp stories – “Three Hearts and Three Lions” by Anderson especially, and the collection “Elric of Melnibone” works for a sample of Moorcock. D&D started out as a miniature wargame, so this was mostly a way to have “teams”, but from the jump, “Lawful” was basically good (elves, nymphs, ents, and so forth), while “Chaotic” was basically evil (orcs, trolls, dragons, etc). Original D&D was a collaboration with Greg Arneson (Arneson had a lot of the big picture ideas, and Gygax elaborated and systematized them), and it had a much “pulpier” feel than later editions. In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which was Gygax’s show, he spelled out the nine alignment system he had first proposed in an earlier Dragon article, with a Lawful – Chaotic axis one way and a Good – Evil axis the other way. So, likely the best “official” explication is the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, but the whole system was also used as the basis for D&D’s cosmology, which includes a different plane of existence for each alignment, where the Gods, angels, demons, and other supernatural beings appropriate to each alignment live, along with the souls of the dead who followed that alignment. This being D&D, though, you can also, of course, physically travel to these places and put pointy pieces of metal through their denizens. The first book to spell out this cosmology was the AD&D 1st edition Manual of the Planes, and the 2nd edition of AD&D had a whole campaign setting called Planescape, which goes into probably too much depth on all of this, but as a plus, much of it has stunning art by Tony Diterlizzi. If you want to read far, far, far more on the history of D&D, Jon Peterson’s Playing at the World can only fairly be described as “magisterial” – it’s an impeccably researched bear of a book, but fairly readable if you’re interested in the material. Oh, and for now at least, all of the books published for older editions of D&D are available as pdfs from rpgdrivethru.com.

    As for “alignment” systems in other RPGs, most have consciously distanced themselves from that as a way to be different from D&D, but various approaches to categorize and/or mechanize character motivation and character have been come up with.

    In Pendragon, Arthurian knights have vices and virtues they have to roll against to do/avoid certain behaviors, meant to emulate chivalric romance (so, if your knight has a taste for wine, he might get drunk and embarrass himself at court, rather than doing what’s optimal from your point of view).

    The White Wolf World of Darkness games like Vampire and Mage tended to have a single trait that represented how much you had left behind normal humanity for whatever temptations the kind of thing you were offered – so Vampires risked losing humanity, becoming more monstrous, while mages risked accumulating paradox, getting more out of sync with reality, and Werewolves risked getting more and more easily enraged.

    The Call of Cthulhu RPG is famous for having “sanity points”, where encountering mythos beings and lore slowly makes you more and more likely to go crazy, with some non-player characters embracing such madness for the power it brings.

    Some games, notably the RPGs based on Warhammer and Warhammer 40k have a “Corruption” mechanic, which makes you weirder and more mutated the more exposed to Chaos you are, but it relies mostly on the original D&D-style Law vs Chaos dynamic.

    Not for tabletop, but a computer RPG that at least tried to do something a bit more interesting was a game developed by Bioware called Jade Empire, which in many ways served as a precursor to their better known Knights of the Old Republic games. In Jade Empire (fantasy China, basically), characters followed either the philosophy of the Open Hand or the Closed Fist. The Open Hand stressed going with the flow, helping others, redirection, and responsiveness, whereas the Closed Fist taught concentrating your strength, applying your will, going after what you want, and acting decisively. As you might guess, in practice these often boiled down to “Good” and “Evil”, and they served as the model for how Bioware handled the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force in KoTOR.

    I’m sure there’s lots more, but this is already getting rather long, so hopefully this gives you some stuff to get going on.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  78. I recently became aware of Jordan B Peterson, a public figure from Canada. Wondering if you’ve heard of him, his ideas and what you think of him if you have.

  79. JMG,
    1.On your reply to Chuaquin and Trump and Klaus Schwab: Even Julius Caesar was an influential member of the patrician class. That didn’t stop him from seizing the opportunity to overthrow the Republic and become a populist emperor.

    Likewise, Trump is so deeply embedded within the elite that he would know all their secrets and weaknesses better than any outsider, and he has decided to take advantage of that. For the elites Trump is a class traitor (and an outrageously uncouth one), so he is a greater threat than any outsider.

    2.You must have noticed the recent stream of news about layoffs in silicon valley companies. I work close to that sector, and it is easy to see what’s really going on. It’s pretty much like you predicted about what happens during the decline of an empire. In a mad scramble for the last remaining scraps of wealth, the more powerful upper layer of the elite is kicking out the lower layer without so much as a “Thank you for your service”.

    Thousands of tech workers who were earning in low to mid six figures are sudden finding that all the corporate mantras like “We are a family”, “Bring your whole selves to work” etc are nothing but fairytales. Most of them are quite smart, well-educated and know about the insides of the internet systems. They are also very, very upset. That’s a fertile ground for outside powers who want to recruit some of them for all sorts of mischief.

  80. Anonymous collapsenik (#84)

    I’ve also wondered lately if we should expect some serious disruptions to internet services as the people leaving those tech jobs are in a very good position to enact revenge, by doing things that their bosses might not catch in time. It wouldn’t take very many of those to disrupt things in a major way…

  81. @Stephen alexander #65

    You’re right. I’m addicted to mine and can almost feel it sucking my energy. For a time switched to a dumb phone and felt better without the constant distraction, but social events are always coordinated with the expectation of texts, gps, and so on and so I caved ;( gotta get back on the wagon.

  82. I’ve noticed something quite strange has happened as I’ve started slowly working through magical training, that is bothering me a great deal. I’ve started to notice that my family is remarkably dysfunctional, and that it always has been, even though we’ve convinced ourselves everything is fine, and any efforts on my part to address any of the problems is getting remarkable push back from the entire family: but also that the source of most of the dysfunction is from my mother; who has also been pushing back against my efforts to engage in systematic spiritual practices.

    I’ve also noticed a fairly strange resistance to spiritual work, that’s starting to seem like it’s coming from outside of me, and that seems strongest when my mother is around, and weaker when she’s traveling; or weaker still when I’m somewhere else.

    I’ve noticed as well that there seem to be remarkable similarities between what you’ve said in prior Magic Mondays about recognizing noxious spaces and our home; and that in addition to all of this, as I’ve been paying more attention to these things, I’ve seen a few incidents that make it look like she vents her frustrations on the rest of us, something you said is fairly common.

    a) Does this sound like a case of (unconscious) magic on her part?

    b) If this assessment is accurate, do you have advice for handling this? I currently live with my family, and will be unable to move for a few months; however I am working towards this goal, and am trying to figure out how to move this date forward.

  83. @Clarke aka Gwydion #80 just wrote a comment #81 describing what I’m doing. The emotional part is tough. Especially my work (software) feels pointless in the context of the myth of progress. I tell myself I’m enabling people to communicate and play along with the techno-optimism.

  84. Hey JMG,

    My wife made a comment this week after conversation with one of her friends, who sort of buys into the idea that alien serpents are the cause of all the problems here on Earth. Immediately I started thinking of Scientology and Steiner, who both have similar ideas, but then made the connection that the main point of those religion, and the developed spirituality, were to put blame outside of the self. I then thought that the other forms of religion, and developed spirituality were placing the self at the center of all control, especially a lot of the new age stuff. The more I’ve thought about it though, a lot of modern religion also places blame elsewhere, such as Christianity and Satan. What I have noticed though are branches of Christianity that work more on developing the self, and others that tend to use Satan as a crutch for all evil.. and it’s the latter that I think has seen more an uptick in people being drawn to.

    It makes sense to me that people would want to blame external sources for their failings in a society that is collapsing. That’s definitely a reason conspiracy theories are becoming so much more common and more consider them. Will the prevailing coming religions and developing spiritualities focus more on external sources of failings? Eventually the pendulum will swing the other way of course… Is this how many religions begin, by finding common external patterns and later seeing similar patterns internally?

  85. Clarke (&Brian)-

    I embraced the “collapse now and avoid the rush” path about 15 years ago, I started to say I chose that path, but I mostly just embraced what was already happening in my life at the time. Specifically, I:

    – stopped working in the tech sector
    – got rid of 95% of my physical belongings
    – got out of debt

    I mostly just practice being a good person to have around. Fixing and making things, growing food, yes, but washing the dishes and listening to someone recount their bad day will each get you a long way, too.

    I have a nomadic tendencies, so I’ve been leaning into that lately, practicing landing in strange new places and finding ways for my skills to provide me a living.

    Because Tom Petty was wrong, sometimes you *do* have to live like a refugee.

    Also, sometimes curling up in a ball and despairing is a necessary and useful activity, in the sense that “the only way out is through”.

  86. Forecasting, that’s certainly something that some governments will try. I doubt it’ll get far, however — any more than the equivalent policies did in Europe between the two world wars. The world is as overcrowded now as Europe was then, and a slow but steady contraction back to, say, the population levels we had in 1900 or so would benefit everyone but retirees who depend on pensions.

    Ecosophy, if your wife can pick up a good general background in hands-on health care she’ll be immensely employable as the current medical system comes unglued — people will still need wounds treated, minor illnesses tended, babies delivered, and the like. As for your training as an arborist, make sure that includes the skills needed to grow, plant, and tend fruit trees and other economically useful perennials, and you’ll have a very useful skill. Orchards are important economic resources in a subsistence economy!

    Batstrel, it’s not the first time people have asked such questions!

    Mary, um, I take it you’ve been hiding under the couch for a very long time. There’s always been this kind of fringe Republican, just as there have always been fringe Democrats equally caught up in their own special kind of bizarrerie.

    Ataulfo, I’m familiar with it, but don’t use it in practice; I find Schopenhauer’s discussions of causality, especially in the chapters on magic in On the Will in Nature, more useful. But of course your mileage may vary!

    Joshua, the phrase “magical thinking” has always amused the stuffing out of me, because it’s exactly the kind of thing that actual practicing mages don’t do. It’s like the snappy comeback some mages I know use when someone else says that something happened “like magic” — “Oh, you mean it took years of self-discipline and systematic training, followed by weeks of preparation, and then an exhausting, high-intensity ritual working at a carefully chosen time, and then the wait to see if the energies you evoked were potent enough to get the result you wanted? Gotcha.” In the sense that I’m using it, “enchantment” means an awareness of life, consciousness, and meaning in the world, not just inside human heads. That doesn’t mean that people can get whatever they want — that life, consciousness, and meaining is just as likely to roll its eyes and tell us to run along and play.

    Dusan, if spirits exist, and plenty of evidence suggests that they do, it’s only logical that some of those spirits would be nasty customers. There’s ample evidence down through the centuries for demonic entities that can obsess or possess people, and have to driven away by magical or religious means.

    Clark, that’s a tough one, because there are so many more options. I also have a persistent habit of trying to encourage people to read the things that most people don’t read, and many don’t like! I’m going to offer a more narrowly defined list: ten books that have been very important to me, and that readers of mine might want to consider reading if they want to know where my notions come from. These are in the order that I encountered them, for whatever that’s worth.

    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    The View Over Atlantis by John Michell
    The Well at the World’s End by William Morris
    The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel
    The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
    Overshoot by William Catton
    Where the Wasteland Ends by Theodore Roszak
    A Vision by W.B. Yeats
    The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler
    The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer

    Bradley, endless linear motion extended to infinity is the core concept of Faustian society — not surprising, after all, for the only culture in history to have come up with linear perspective. Nobody thinks about where it’s going to end up because “ending up” is not in the Faustian vocabulary. “To infinity and beyond!” Stupid? Sure, but it’s hardwired into our culture.

    Peter, of course limits are beneficial. Anyone who thinks limits are bad should contemplate their sphincter for a while. The thing I’d point out is that fusion power, even if it could be made to work, isn’t limitless; the fuel may be cheap but the reactors are insanely expensive, and demand colossal resource inputs and other costs. You may be too young to remember when fission power was supposed to be cheap and limitless, too, but I can still recall that — and you know how that turned out!

    Shadow Rider, that’s a good collection. I’d add at least two more. First, compare the kind of lifestyle a family of four could afford on one working class income half a century ago to the kind of lifestyle a family can afford on one working class income now. Second, compare the quality and durability of consumer goods half a century ago to the quality and durability of consumer goods now. In both cases, you can see a tremendous decline that nobody wants to talk about.

    Andy, thanks for this.

    Joshua, invoke Saturn using any magical method you know how to do effectively. If you don’t know how to do that yet, you’re not skilled enough to do that kind of magic; choose a system and work with it daily for a couple of years, until you don’t have to be told how to do a planetary invocation.

    Asdf, if I understand correctly, there was some dispute among the Neoplatonists as to whether heroes belonged to the greater or lesser kinds. To some extent it depended on the hero; a great hero such as Heracles could be anywhere and everywhere, while lesser heroes might be more localized and potentially better understood as a member of the lesser kind.

    Chris, hmm! I’d use the word “mythic” in place of “abstract,” but certainly very few people actually stop to think about the practical realities of living in the kind of future they imagine. Flying cars are a great example — how many people ever think about what a multiple-car pileup would be like if all the cars were two thousand feet in the air?

    Greg, if all the self-described geniuses were to retreat to a Galt’s Gulch somewhere, the world would get on just fine without them. It’s only in the imaginations of the arrogant end of the intelligentsia that intellectuals are much more than a luxury good, sometimes amusing, sometimes expensive — rather like court jesters or the more overpriced kind of bimbo. The people who actually grow the food, drive the delivery trucks, shovel the snow, collect the trash, etc., are the ones who really can’t be dispensed with.

    Terry, I haven’t looked into it.

    Causticus, I only use D&D alignment for the occasional joke, and sometimes to describe the emotional tone of a movement or a person. Good and evil, as I see it, aren’t that hard to define — a good person is one who takes the needs of others into account, while an evil person ignores the needs of others if those conflict with his wishes and cravings — but of course that’s my view, and doubtless there are those who would disagree.

    Stephen, fair enough; I could see that.

    Will1000, there is no fixed system in place for using the Gypsy Witch deck. Your best bet is to read some books on the Lenormand deck, because the Gypsy Witch deck is an expanded Lenormand. The 15-card reading I used in my tentacle novels was invented by me for literary purposes; you can use it if you want but you don’t have to.

    Stephen, I certainly won’t argue about your characterization of smartphones; I won’t own or use one, for example. As for the mystery traditions, those aren’t mysticism and they aren’t occultism in the narrow sense of the word; they’re 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.

    Patricia O, thanks for this! Yes, that’s exactly the sort of thing I have in mind.

    My Dog, that’s a good question. I wonder if it’s because the boomers are frantically trying to maintain their control over popular culture.

    Hackenschmidt, ouch! 1.5 to 1 isn’t enough to keep a technological civilization going.

    Karl, I still don’t think it’s likely, but yeah, we’re closer to the possibility than we were.

    Unknown, your hunch is not only credible, it’s backed up by plenty of hard experience by occult teachers over the last two centuries. The delusion that there’s a fast track to enlightenment has been in place that long — in the early 19th century people insisted that you could become spiritually awakened by taking opium or huffing ether! Every generation tries some other drug, and it never works, but it inevitably leaves a fair number of burnt-out wrecks behind. (I knew quite a few of them in the backwash of the 1960s.) Don’t go there.

    Clarke, remember that this process of decline is exactly what I’ve been expecting and predicting for most of my adult life. The realization that it’s actually happening is not all that stressful for me. After all, I’ve been told over and over again down through the years that I’m an idiot because either we’re going to the stars or we’re all going to die next Thursday, so there’s a certain wry amusement in watching the officially approved futures fail to arrive, while the future I’ve been planning for all along shows up in its own patient way…

    Brian, I don’t talk in detail about my plans and preparations, but I’ve never owned a car, a television, or a cell phone, use the oldest and easiest to repair technology I can get away with, and live comfortably on a fraction of my present income. Oh, and I’ve chosen the place I’m currently living with a great deal of care.

    Nando, people ask me about him quite a bit. I haven’t read his books and I don’t do visual media, so I really haven’t followed him, but I know people who think quite highly of him.

    Collapsenik, (1) I’m not arguing; I simply pointed out that it’s no surprise that Trump and Schwab know each other. (2) Thanks for the data points! I suspected that something like that was going on.

    Anonymous, that’s absolutely normal. Put up with it until you can move out, and then move out, no matter what pushback you get. The more dysfunctional people are, the more they’ll push back if someone begins to become less dysfunctional.

    Prizm, good! Yes, that’s a common pattern in new religious movements, though it also goes the other way — you may have encountered New Agers who started out convinced that they create their own reality and then ended up believing in evil space lizards. The fact of the matter is, of course, that we create some of our own problems, while others are created by other people and other, shall we say, nonpeople.

  87. Hi Jacques (#56),

    The book is Festivals, Family and Food, by Diana Carey and Judy Large. We also recited the “Here’s to thee, old apple tree…” verse, which is in the book and that we have read to him since he was a baby.

    Bofur (#72), what an excellent question about dreams, where are they? What was your reply?

    Brian (#81), I wish you luck in getting your kids out of the schools. We are going with homeschool/self-directed learning, even though it’s a financial hardship. We’ve only just started and I can’t imagine sending my son into that environment. Where are you in the Bay Area? We sometimes get out to see my family in Marin, though not since 2019.

    Ellen

  88. Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to get some blank stares with a simple declaration. In these cases someone would be talking about how soon a big housing development over on that edge of town would be built, or how that stubbed off road extensions would soon be built to serve the new houses to be built over there. My reply has been,” There won’t be any more new housing developments in our lifetime, that period of American history is over.” I add in,” We will see individual houses built on infill lots, or farms or random small rural plots, especially when the costs of materials and labor go down, and the rules disappear but the era of building out the suburbs is over.” This gets me a blank stare like I told them the earth revolves around the moon.
    But since the last 20 years of mass homebuilding has mostly been a financial trick enabled by the financial systems ability to print money it will come to the end as the empires ability to print money ends. There are plenty of houses for the people we have ( or can expect) once they cease to be financial tokens. The hangover of high costs will make new houses uneconomic ,except in special circumstances. Eventually codes and rules will disappear, and using salvaged materials will become acceptable so people will be able to build dwellings for themselves. But homebuilding as an economic engine and financial racket is over. If you are in that business prepare yourself. Learn how skilled tradesmen made due during the 1930’s or early 1980’s when almost no houses were built. If you are on the financial racket end of this business, learn to grow potatoes, train mules or something useful that can keep food on the table.

  89. JMG,

    the Russian government has ordered construction of 20 new prison camps in Eastern Ukraine territories that are now under Russian control. No doubt, for prisoners of war. I think they are expecting a victory soon.

    What would be the political implications of a decisive Russian victory in Ukraine?

  90. John, your reply to Chris#28 really struck a chord as I found a lady I fell deeply in love with. Got engaged and we moved to a new city to start life together. Sadly, it didn’t work and she left. For over four and a half decades I puzzled over how intense my feelings towards her. According to Science (Tm) it’s all just bio chemistry but I never was comfortable with that trite explanation. Recently in art school we started classical portraiture so I pulled her pictures out as a subject. And was overwhelmed as I painted with waves of strong emotion. Chemistry? After all these years? So, is there more on this astral linkage you could point me to in your books for me to meditate on?

  91. Just to repeat my comment from last week:

    What malign spiritual forces is responsible for the cult of ugliness especially manifested in the 20th Century? And the other horrific events on this time. And accompanying great scientific progress?

    Have you read this book on the history of the rise, survival and dominance of modern ugly architecture?
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38819296-making-dystopia

    Wonder how this enchantment can be countered?

  92. Clark#43 or JMG (or for that matter anyone else who can answer) I must have missed 10-11 book reading list for kids, can someone point to it please

  93. “There’s ample evidence down through the centuries for demonic entities that can obsess or possess people, and have to driven away by magical or religious means.”

    I think alien abductions fit into that description. They wanted the abductions to stop and no matter the being whether “Greys” or “Reptiles” or “Men in Black”. Calling on Jesus Christ is able to force them to stop permanently:

    The effect was immediate and the interferences stopped.

  94. “By the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine, Georgia and Finland; gave up Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Germany and Austria-Hungary; and ceded Kars, Ardahan and Batum to Turkey. The total losses constituted some 1 million square miles of Russia’s former territory; a third of its population or around 55 million people; a majority of its coal, oil and iron stores; and much of its industry. Lenin bitterly called the settlement ‘that abyss of defeat, dismemberment, enslavement and humiliation.'” — https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/treaties-of-brest-litovsk

    The treaty was signed on March 3, 1918. At the time, Britain and France were allies of Russia against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria). Now Britain and France are united with the Central Powers in the form of NATO, and Russia has no allies to speak of.

    One of the reasons Russia was forced to sign the treaty was the Russian soldiers refused to obey their officers. Russia was not doing well militarily, and the troops were infected with the new democratic ideas sweeping through the nation as propagated by the Bolsheviks. So in a sense the humiliating treaty was a Bolshevik own goal.

    You have to wonder what little Ivan Ivanov is thinking now, freezing his butt off in a trench somewhere near Bakhmut, huddling in a cardigan his granny knitted for him because the issued cold weather gear is inadequate (by some reports).

    In WWII the Russian soldier had a clear objective — get to Berlin, hang Hitler from a lamp post, and we can all go home.

    I don’t see that Russians have a clear objective now. Whatever Ukie weapons they destroy the West will replace, possibly with bigger and better ones. Whatever territory they occupy, they will have to fight to keep. Whatever treaties they sign, the West will ignore, going by past experience.

    It looks like an endless grind that could culminate either in nuclear war, or one or both armies deciding they’ve had enough, ignoring their officers, and going home.

  95. @ Robert Morgan #40 re (alleged un-feasibility of renewables)

    For the basis of thinking about this – your numbers seem reasonable enough.

    But how did you get to your conclusion?
    A _TRILLION POUNDS_ !!!! – OMG – “that could never happen”.

    Apologies for mixing pounds and dollars – right now it’s just 1.24:1 so roughly equivalent, and most stats I’ve found are in dollars.

    But I would draw your attention to the fact that the investment would happen over 25 – 30 years.
    $1 trillion / 27 years = $37 billion/year (27 is the number of years to 2050).

    So, how much does the UK spend on electricity per year?
    The official stats don’t including spending, but this market data site:
    https://www.ibisworld.com/united-kingdom/market-size/electricity-supply/
    says $43.2 billion estimated for 2023.

    You (reasonably) doubled electricity to account for transport/heating/cooking/etc.,
    so now assume electricity spend of $86 billion a year. What fraction is the trillion dollars spread over 27 years, i.e. cost of power itself as opposed to transmission/administration/taxes/… ?
    $37 billion/$86 billion = .43

    Ofgem gives the wholesale cost of power fraction here
    (though it still says “dual fuel” so it isn’t clear if this includes gas for domestic use or not, even when fuel = electricity is selected).
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-data-and-research/data-portal/all-available-charts?fuel_type=1606&sort=created
    as 34%

    So we’re talking same order of magnitude as existing wholesale power cost.

    N.b. the UK has a $3 trillion GDP, so $37 billion is just over 1%.
    And that money will be spend on replacing conventional power sources if it wasn’t spent on renewables.

    I don’t see money as a big issue, not when the world is engaged in crazy subsidies for fossil fuels.
    https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2021/09/23/Still-Not-Getting-Energy-Prices-Right-A-Global-and-Country-Update-of-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies-466004

    The issues are policy and politics – will we decide to do enough renewables fast enough to have some semblance of civilization in the future?

    Are you familiar with this review?
    On the History and Future of 100% Renewable Energy Systems Research
    https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9837910

  96. Thank you for your answers on Trump’s “dangerous friendships”, Mr. Greer and Mr. Collapsenik. I’ll take them in account…
    Now, another doubt for JMG and the kommentariat. Today I’ve been arguing with a friend about the Ukraine war situation. I think Russia has some capabilities to win the war, between them hign oil and gas prices to finance its huge war industries. I have to emphasize that I don’t see an hypothetical Ukie defeat as unavoidable…Russians have had some mistakes and could do them in the near future.
    When I’ve told my friend about high oil and gas prices, he has counter-argued that this situation won’t last forever. So crude and gas prices will probably go down soon, in his own words. Demand after high proces will go down and prices would fall behind. So Russia, without its huge income, would be ruined and would lose the war. He thinks this is the last “silver bullet” of NATO in the lost Ukie battle.
    I didn’t know an answer against this statement, except the good relations between Putin and the Gulf Petromonarchies…Kremlin could press (with a rod or with a carrot) the Arabs for cutting their oil and gas production to keep the prices high. Maybe even with economic blackmailing, I don’t know exactly how.
    My friend told me Russia was incapable to do that, but he couldn’t explain it sucessfully.
    What do you think of it, John and kommentariat?

  97. @MyDog & JMG

    Re the prevalence of older music in today’s venues. I have noticed this for some time.

    My teenage kids all listen to a range of music, from Sinatra through Elvis, Beatles, Elton, 70s – 90s rock, disco, 80s – 90s hip hop, and some recent artists. But even the recent stuff is reminiscent of the older tunes

    Australia had a very vibrant live music scene in the 70s & 80s. Hundreds of bands plied their trade and some made it big. Most of the venues are gone now, but those still operating have cover bands of those same old artists that played on the same stages 40 years ago.

    My take is that the popular music that came out of 20th century America has run its course. After the innovations of hip hop and EDM, the culture has exhausted every possible permutation. There is nothing new, so may as well enjoy the old stuff

  98. Hello JMG and commentariat.
    I’d like to ask a question for everyone who has study the Cosmic Doctrine.

    I’ve finally arrived to the chapters of the ‘Laws’. It is so different that I aggree with JMG post about it been written by another person. After a long while reading behind the shades of shapes, I had a feeling of sensuality, like reading an erotic novel where everything is suggested, never explicited. And suddenly I get the equivalent of a body dissection. It doen not only show it, but it does so in a crude way.

    So, I am now wondering how should I meditate on this part. The previous chapters were about finding the other meanings, then elaborate on the implications. But I am finding it difficult to see other meanings in the laws. Are they still there or shoul I just meditate on the implications?

  99. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, the use of the word ‘mythic’ works. It is absurd isn’t it? And I enjoyed the example, yes truly awful consequences. And they said the old Pinto was dangerous… 🙂

    On a serious note, with such absurd mythic notions being mooted about the future, it is little wonder that we as a society are not adequately preparing for the more likely future of decline which we will face. The shape of the future is formed upon the past.

    It fascinates me to consider the very real possibility that the dark mages pedalling this nonsense are falling for their own spells? It’s kind of funny in a way.

    Incidentally, and I’m curious, that spell all those years ago, you this knew already back then, didn’t you?

    Cheers

    Chris

  100. Ecosophy Enjoyer – Re: growing your own food. I’m not too far from West Virginia, in Maryland, and even in this urban area, inside the Capitol Beltway, the deer will eat most food crops I try to grow. With the automobile being their main predator, they’re everywhere. It took them a few years to discover my garden of eatin’. I used to grow all the green beans we could eat, up on a trellis, but now the vines get eaten before they can bear. Deer can be kept out with a tall fence (8′ is recommended), but enclosing a self-sufficiency garden with 8′ of fence is going to be an expensive proposition, no matter what it’s made of. (Maybe an electric fence would be cheapest, since you can get by with less wire in an “active” barrier.) What the deer don’t get, the groundhogs go after, since they can dig under any fence that doesn’t extend into the soil.

    Maybe you could engage in an active defense, in W. Va., but that’s between you and the game warden. You’d need to be on-site much of the time to be effective.

    And then, there’s the potential for hungry humanoids raiding your farm, too. They can be clever, and you can’t shoot them.

  101. Given your comments about heart transplants, JMG, do you think that transplants are a good or bad idea? I decided long ago that I did not want my organs donated after death and told my family so. It seems too Frankenstein-ish to me.

  102. I recently revisited your essay about Neoplatonism in Ascendant, as the subject has been on my mind lately. You mention Manly P. Hall at the end, and it got me wondering, what were Hall’s religious views? Obviously he was a close follower and promoter of Neoplatonism as a philosophy, but are his views on gods, spirits, etc known?

  103. Hi JMG, I just saw an article on oilprice that India plans to double its coal output by 2030. I have seen no signs that the US, China and even Europe have really started to reduce their carbon emissions, or even will implement plans that work. Same thing for carbon capture. Or am I missing something (@ all readers interested) ?

    Could you share your research about what is likely to happen in different parts of the world with climate impacts, starting ten years from now? I think you said you would write a post about it some time ago.

  104. @Brian,

    I think your preparations look good. I would focus even more on community, family, useful relations, and also avoid relying on big cities but rather on mid-size ones and towns.

  105. @Ecosophy #36 and JMG #91

    It’s funny, I’ve read a LOT of SHTF material, and I find that everybody in that sphere always has reasons that their particular vision/preference for the future will “work out”, no matter how they vary from each other. But I’m not being condescending here – I suppose that folks who have the drive and determination to pursue what they want, will make anything “work”.

    That being said, plying the medical trade whilst living on a small farm at the edge of a town is literally my strategy, not so much because I think it’s “the best” strategy, but more because it’s just… what I want do with my life.

    Agree with what JMG says about the time/benefit reward ratio of growing your own food vs. purchasing some of it. Notwithstanding all the silliness of the past few years, I don’t think the demand for medical services is going away, as long as we understand what is and is not going to be wanted or possible.

  106. @Augusto #58:

    “So I thought I would ask, what would you like to see covered or consider worthwhile to be included in it?”

    Well here’s another interesting thing, I’ve also noticed over the years that the – what one might call the “dissident internet space” for lack of a better term – contains a lot of techbros, who employ a lot of tech-world jargon and appear to assume that everyone is familiar with these terms and this world.

    Well, I’m not familiar with that world, and so my suggestion for your essay is that you start at the start and explain what the tech dream is. I think the essay might have broad appeal if you describe some beliefs or assumptions that are common in the tech world that aren’t obvious to non-techies.

  107. @ Mary #69 I intentionally left it open to influence JMG’s response a little as possible. If you want to share history books, that would be great. So far I have Durant, Spengler, Toynbee, Gibbon, Strauss & Howe, and off course JMG on my list. I have other more contemporary books to read, and I am especially interested in balanced history as much as possible, not just propaganda for whichever agenda the author may be promoting. With this said, anyone know if there is any truth to Freddy Silva’s books or is he creating his own fantasy history ala Blavatsky?

    @ JMG Thanks for your reading list. I am happy to say that I have never heard of some of these books and look forward to reading them.

    @ Nando I have watched not read much of what Jordan Peterson has put out since 2016 when he came into the spotlight. Go back and watch his Maps of Meaning lectures and Personality lectures from before he became famous. That hand his Biblical Series are some of his best content. The one weakness I see of his is that he appears, to me, to be in the Cult of Progress camp. While I agree that the climate is not the big boogaboo that many make it out to be, decline is coming our way due to economic and historical cycles that JMG has been predicting for decades. Read his Long Descent and/or Decline and Fall for more details there.

  108. Unknown (if I may):

    Not only is the idea of ayahuasca as a short-cut to spiritual enlightenment refuted by Western occult teachers, as JMG points out, it’s also alien to the traditional cultures in which such sacraments were first used.

    The whole notion of “entheogens” – drugs that awaken the ‘god within’ – is a strange notion endemic to gringo psychonauts. I guess the closest antecedent might be the use of cannabis as a sacrament by certain Shiva-bhaktas in India, but that still doesn’t bring us anywhere nearer to ayahuasca.

    For instance, Mazatec healer Maria Sabina was puzzled by the gringos who searched for God in psilocybin mushrooms. For her, the mushrooms were a sacred medicine, but with ‘medicine’ being the operative word – the purpose of using them was healing, not some kind of ‘spiritual enlightenment’.

    Of course, among some contemporary psychonauts the term “healing” has become sufficiently elastic to include “spiritual enlightenment”, as well as “getting absolutely off my face on psychedelics for no other reason than the luxuriant idleness facilitated by living at the tail-end of industrial civilization”, so, you know – just a word to the wise!

  109. One of the reasons ( besides costs and EROI) we will not have more nuclear fission or fusion plants generating electricity has to do with how civilizations decline. Empires/Peak Civilizations are only capable of carrying out projects that have the following characteristics 1) Scale, Complexity, and Need for Perfection ( fault intolerance) for a very short period in their historic life. For the U.S. this was the 25 year period from 1955-1980. We built many working Nuke Plants, and the Apollo Space Program during this time. To do this you need the technology, industrial capacity and an entire spectrum of skilled ( and diligent) workers from pipe fitters to engineers. As empires/civilizations go in to decline they lose the ability to achieve one or all of these things.
    Many people assume that since we still have the technology of the Apollo program, or nifty mini-nuke tech we can accomplish using it in a large scale way without significant failures. But we don’t really have two legs of the stool anymore. We have lost our ability to enrich uranium, and make many exotic metals from scratch ( we get it from Russia or China now), which is industrial capacity .
    And our workforce has been dumbed down and de-diligented for 40 years now. My wife and I went to engineering school at the end of this era and were taught by men who had built the Lunar Lander or had taught the men who built the Lunar Lander and they were uncompromising in demanding perfection. They cared not a whit for our feelings or insecurities or if you were a woman of color from the sugar cane fields of Hawaii ( my wife). Mistakes or excuses were not tolerated. We then both went on to work in industry (different fields) and found ourselves supervised by old-timers who were even more demanding of perfection. This era is long gone, and replaced with an era of gold stars for effort. The Simpson’s portrayal of Homer working at the Nuke Plant is much more prophetic than I sure it was intended. Luckily the era of being able to even try is running out so we hopefully will not have to face a future with Homer Simpson running a mini-nuke down on the outskirts of the shopping mall.

  110. While we have the Open Post, I am wondering if anyone here can help me with an issue I have been trying to come to grips with my entire adult life (50 years old), and now that I am a father has become even more important to me. Personally, I have always been more of a non-conformist and been more attracted to esoteric teachings, eastern thought, New Age spirituality, myth and fairy tails, even though I was raised non-denominational Christian. So now that I am a father, I am trying to figure out how much I want to try and go back to the church. In fact, I am trying to figure out whether I/we even need a church in our lives. I do agree that community would be nice and is perhaps the most important reason for seeking a church.

    Another aspect to the conundrum that has been raise here is the issue of monotheism vs polytheism. Of course I was raised with monotheism, and Christianity states via John that there is no other way to God but through Christ, but how do we know for sure?

    How do folks here deal with these issues? I don’t want to go back to church just because I was guilt tripped by a community that I have no real ties to. What I want is to find a way to know if there is one God, many gods or no gods at all, and to find a community that will encourage me to continue my Daoist cultivation practices. Is this too much to ask for in this day and age?

  111. Hello Bei, #70 1/25/2023

    Thank you for responding to my paradoxes post. What you say accords with the scholarship I have encountered regarding Tibetan monastic traditions of debate, Tibetan intellectual self-policing and so forth. Conze was a scandal in the Western Buddhist academic circles I frequented back in the day (late 1980’s) for his shocking published deficiencies in understanding the Heart Sutra texts and their context. Just goes to show that translating something more or less adequately as a pioneer scholar doesn’t necessarily equate to understanding it. The Heart Sutra texts are as you say, quite probably not originally Indian in most if not all iterations. I’m aware that there’s a (to my mind) healthy critical framework emerging around the works of Nagarjuna vis-a-vis earlier available Buddhist teachings. I appreciate being brought up to date more about the current state of scholarship. “Sonam di yi, tham che zigs pa ne…etc.” “By this merit may all obtain omniscience…”

  112. Re: smartphones – I keep mine on and in my pocket for communication purposes, but it has no or very limited data capacity. No SIM card. I stuffed that requirement down the Verizon salesman’s throat, to his dismay. It’s a telephone and a text message receiver, a camera and a time-and-date app. Period. But I do get sucked into scrolling on my computer, which results in a very sore wrist and a lot of lost time. And I don’t do social media at all.

    Re: kids listening to oldies. I’m not one bit surprised. Being nearly deaf, I can’t comment on today’s popular music, but I think the kids’ taste in music is commentary enough.

  113. Hello JMG,
    Thank you for the open post. How do you reconcile “… it took year of self-discipline and systematic training…” with your other statement that people practice magic unconsciously, intuitively, without thinking about it? I see how both of them are true, just struggle to define how these two relate to each other.

  114. Stephen alexander #65: You can get phones that are not made in China. The Xperia line from Sony’s mobile division is made in Japan, and Samsung makes some phones in Korea. LG used to also make phones outside China, but they exited the market. When you don’t have economies of scale from it being China, prices are going to be higher.

    I heard a rumor that the domestic production is partly for national security reasons, at least in the case of Japan. The rumor is that the government wants to have phones they can use that are safer from having security backdoors scribed into their phone’s silicon chips at a hardware level by the country controlling the chip manufacturing plant. It’s a lot of work to reverse engineer a chip to check for backdoors, and there are a lot of chips that would have to be reverse engineered. It would make sense for Korea to be concerned about this too, and for Samsung to be the company they would have made arrangements with.

    There is also the new US company named Purism that is targeting the market of people who are concerned about security backdoors and privacy, with their Librem line of phones using mostly non-Chinese parts. (They have an argument about why certain chips are safe to source from Chinese fabrication plants that I didn’t look into, something about knowing the full design of the chip in advance.)

    There are also phone operating systems and software-application distributions you can get that are further from the mainstream of the current attention-capturing and semiprivate-information-wholesaling smartphone economy. Purism manages an open-source phone software distribution named Pure, and a Finnish company named Jolla has a largely-open-source distribution named Sailfish. Being open-source means they’re easier to inspect for security and privacy vulnerabilities, but since they’re a smaller part of the market there may be fewer people doing the inspecting. Being open-source also changes the overall power relations around a developer’s design decisions to advantage themselves or their customers, since needless privacy invasions or attention-grabbing features become easier to call out.

  115. Hi JMG,
    You’ve mentioned before some of the media outlets and websites where you get news. Are there any news aggregators that you use?

  116. Darren #103:
    The musical situation is similar in my country. We had a “golden decade” in the ’80s, and maybe in a less sense in the ’90s, but nowadays there isn’t really novelty in Spain music. Even the “ultramodern” “Reguetón” has its origins in the final ’80s…

  117. In regards to where to live in the future. JMG suggests edge of town. But not all towns are created equal. Maybe those towns that have embraced the Main Street America project might be better towns? Obviously lots of caveats, but these towns are really trying at least.

    https://www.mainstreet.org/home

    You can find the map of the towns there as well.

    Also, Mary Means, who started the Main Street Project 40 years ago has a book out about it!
    I am looking forward to reading it!

    https://www.amazon.com/Main-Streets-Comeback-Come-Again/dp/1098341651

    Full disclosure. I know Mary Means, but not in relation to this project. I just recently learned about all this from her.

    Orion

  118. Tech, JMG, & Stephen, I think part of the distinction here is between a “mystery tradition” and a “mystery.” A “mystery tradition” is an initiation into some sort of inner circle or higher grade where you gain higher or more advanced knowledge that’s kept hidden from the masses. As JMG said, this sort of thing was explicitly written out of Christianity as part of the elimination of the Gnostics – the Church Fathers were clear in their belief that salvation was available to everyone with the publicly available doctrine and that, for instance, the higher-ups weren’t supposed to be operating on some sort of system where what was presented literally to the public was instead viewed symbolically to them.

    But the “sacred mysteries” and their contemplation still remain a core part of traditional Christianity. As the Catholic Mass says in English, “Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” When praying the Rosary, the faithful are instructed to contemplate a series of sacred mysteries – Jesus’s conception, his teachings, his miracles, etc. The idea that there is spiritual benefit to contemplating the inexplicable and miraculous has a long tradition in Christianity

  119. I’d like to ask a question on a problem I’ve had for a year now. I plan on doing woodworking and I want to pay respect somehow to all of the different species of trees and their spirits for their wood that I’ll be using. For some reason, giving money to a society dedicated to trees doesn’t seem to be right. And I’m not a Druid so there isn’t anything I could do there.

    I do plan on growing some of the new, hybrid American Chestnuts if the American Chestnut Foundation allows me to do it. I really want to see that species thrive like it used to. Would that be a good start?

  120. Clark @ 117, You might keep in mind that any historian has his or her point of view and is embedded in a particular culture. having said that, there are indeed historians trying to push a particular agenda–Richard Miles comes to mind–on an unsuspecting public. History books I like very much, in no particular order, and keep in mind that I am a detail person, include:

    by David Hackett-Fischer Albion’s Seed and The Great Wave
    by Michael Grant The Twelve Ceasars and The Rise of the Greeks
    by Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II
    by Gerhard Herm The Phoenicians
    by Freidrich Heer a brilliant book about the Middle Ages, I think the title might simply be the Middle Ages.
    by Norman F Cantor Europe, A History.

    I am also a fan of the late Eric Hobsbawm, even if he was an unrepentant communist. I think the first two volumes of his great tetralogy, Age of Revolution and Age of Capital are essential for understanding the birth of our modern world.

    I would be grateful for recommendations for good general histories available in English of the Asian countries, China, India et al.

  121. re: ayuhuasca – i may have contributed to this in a previous post. if what i said earlier was not clear, i concur with the responses have added. don’t remember if I started the mention or picked up from another thread. in either case regrettable choice on my part. if your gut says why bother, go that way. i had a similar experience and response as you and have lived with my meh not for me response without a thought since. in a similar vein as you in my experience with vipassana meditation is people have reported experiencing all kinds of wild things in sober meditation. Out of body experiences, visual affects, visions, strange body sensations, sudden insight into something their mind has been observing – etc. fwiw the response that I have heard from the learned teachers when asked about stuff like this that people sometimes experience in meditation is to observe whatever manifests with detachment and stick with the practice.

  122. @lathechuck 107

    I seem to recall Kim Stanley Robinson recommending using the urine of meat eaters to mark areas you wanted to keep free of deer in an early novel. The protagonist donated his to a local group of vegetarians. It says “A large carnivore lives here” in a way deer can understand.

    I’ve no idea if it works, but it might be worth a try.

    Now I’m going to have to dig out the book.

  123. Since we have been talking about writing, I found this a minute ago: an interesting interview. I should add, I have her new book (Super-Infinite) on Jonne Donne, but have not read it. Previously she was known as an author of children’s books. I think her point (next to last paragraph) is killer.

    [TYLER] COWEN: Now, let’s say you’re meeting younger writers, and you’re looking for someone who, in very broad terms, is like you, and I’m not even sure what that means because you have quite an atypical career. But what would you look for in that person as a sign of their talent? Obviously, smarts, work ethic, and so on, but beyond the usual, what do you look for in young writing talent?

    [KATHERINE] RUNDELL: The difficulty with that is you are asking an English person that, which requires me to accept that I would look for someone like myself. I wouldn’t. I would look for someone different and better. I can’t deal with a question that presupposes assuming myself to have excellence, but if I were looking for excellence —

    COWEN: Looking for someone better than you, yes.

    RUNDELL: It would be really important to me that somebody had understood that it matters as much or far more the way you say the thing as what you say, because the thing you want to say is probably a very similar thing that everyone else wants to say: love, love, my season, patience, courage, valiance, attention.

    But there are only some people who have found a way to say those things with such flair and originality that they cut through your interlocutors, complacent inattention, and cut through time, cut through space, cut through cultural difference, and grab you by the wrist. So, it would be a sense that somebody understood — you are going to have to find a new and better way to say this.

    https://conversationswithtyler.com/episodes/katherine-rundell/

  124. Clark #120 – Why not be a henotheist? BTW, this is how I read St. Paul in I Cor. 8:5-6:
    “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” He doesn’t even disrespect or sideswipe them, simply says, they are not “God”.

  125. Clay, hmm! That makes sense. I wonder if there will be some attempts at large-scale housing developments during the period before current financial arrangements come completely unglued — but once that latter happens, granted.

    Ecosophian, if the current Ukraine military and government collapse in the months ahead and Russia can impose a peace on its own terms, NATO will have been shown up as a paper tiger and the US as a global power is finished. I would expect to see several heads of state in the West driven from office, and enormous political and economic turmoil as what’s left of the Pax Americana comes unglued. If you’re at all familiar with my novel Twilight’s Last Gleaming, that’s a rough estimate of the kind of thing to expect.

    Longsword, I haven’t written about it in detail yet, but I’m currently considering a book on polarity in theory and practice, which will cover that among other things.

    Info, I’ve written at length about the cult of ugliness. You might find these three posts useful:

    https://www.ecosophia.net/what-is-art-for/
    https://www.ecosophia.net/toward-the-next-america/
    https://www.ecosophia.net/an-empire-of-dreams/

    No doubt there are various spiritual forces involved at least peripherally in the cult of ugliness, but the dominant factor is class consciousness: the desire of the self-proclaimed elite to show off their supposed superiority by pretending to like something that ordinary people can’t stand. It’s a very common form of snobbery. If you want to attribute that to the demon of pride, of course, a case could be made.

    Mr. Kemble, it was on a comment thread a little while ago, but I’m sorry to say I don’t recall which one.

    Info, of course! That particular name has been used to command spirits for two thousand years now; that’s one reason why there have been so many Christian occultists over that time.

    Martin, the Russians aren’t behaving as though they expect it to be a long grind. Their early actions, which didn’t have the results they expected, demonstrated to everyone who was watching that the age of blitzkrieg is over; the Russians did the sensible thing and moved to First World War tactics, which (since they have the world’s largest artillery collection) they were well prepared to do. They’ve exploited their superiority in missiles and drones to cripple Ukraine’s capacity to move troops fast from place to place, and are now launching spoiling infantry attacks along the whole frontier, using their substantial advantage of numbers to pin down the Ukrainian army and the NATO “volunteers” that are propping it up. I don’t claim to know what the Russians have in mind, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some very dramatic news came from Ukraine fairly soon.

    Chuaquin, the price of oil can only fall so far before OPEC will reduce production, since their economies depend on high prices and their governments depend on being able to buy off internal threats with oil money. Since most of the OPEC countries are busy cutting deals with China to sell oil in yuan instead of dollars, it’s quite clear which side they’re on! I think your friend is grasping at straws.

    Darren, that makes perfect sense. Every artistic movement eventually runs out of steam and settles into performance instead of creation.

    Denis, the resurgence of traditional arts, crafts, and culture seems to have benefited hugely from the shutdowns and is picking up speed. That has me very optimistic.

    Abraham, I’d recommend meditating on the implications. The sudden turn to explicit detail makes that the more useful course.

    Chris, yep. I’ve been surprised by some of the details, but not by the overall pattern.

    Batstrel, I’m not prepared to make a blanket judgment, but I won’t accept a transplant or have my organs made available for one. It just doesn’t strike me as a good idea.

    Kwo, Hall was a passionate Neoplatonist of the Plotinian sort; he wasn’t greatly interested in gods and spirits, and preferred to relate to the One and the Ideas as Plotinus did, as abstract impersonal entities.

    Tony, that’s going to take an entire post. The very, very short form is that we can expect a slow, disruptive drift into new climate patterns, with instability — “global weirding” — as the principal feature; sea level rise is still a minor factor, but probably not for long. More important will be the northward shift and serious intensification of drought zones, which will devastate southern Europe and the western half of the United States, and the coming of blue water summers in the Arctic Ocean, which will transform the climate of Siberia and northern Canada.

    Investingwithnature, that would be The Integral Urban House. It can be read for free on archive.org here:

    https://archive.org/details/integralurbanhou00fara

    Clay, that’s a good point. I’ve seen some interesting claims about the rate at which wind turbines are falling over…

    Clark, I’m going to hand this one over to the commentariat, if you don’t mind.

    Kirsten, people who practice magic unconsciously and intuitively generally do it very, very badly, and create lives they don’t like. All that practice isn’t about being able to do magic, it’s about being able to do magic competently!

    Blue Sun, I read Zero Hedge and Naked Capitalism from time to time, mostly since they disagree about almost everything and therefore provide different sides of the issues.

    DaveOTN, and yet Paul himself, in Hebrews 5:11-14, talks about the difference between the milk that’s suitable for (spiritual) babes and the strong meat suitable for (spiritual) adults. From the point of view of the Gnostics, the mainstream church forced everyone onto a milk diet. Of course there are still plenty of mysteries in Christianity, as in every faith — but 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.

    Jon, only you and the trees themselves can decide how to handle that.

    Siliconguy, of course it has. There are many things that can be done!

  126. @JMG thank you for your reply on climate change.

    I wanted to add that I think investors and entrepreneurs can have a positive impact, as well as individuals if there are many who act. I started compensating for my carbon emissions last year, which costed just $200 USD for the whole year, I also think it is good karma to face the coming climate crisis.

    On another note I listened to a demograph called Emmanuel Pont who said that two things people can do are 1*Riding a bike instead of driving a car where possible (it is done more and more in European cities), and it keeps one in better health. 2* Eating less meat. This has a very positive impact on the ecosystem, and frees up lots of food for the poor because it frees up arable land. Eating meat twice a day instead of three is fairly easy.

    Just some suggestions for those interested

  127. -Is the zeitgeist of our time, neofeudalism, that of corporations and their governing familes against everyone else. And in this backdrop was covid hijacked as a backdoor strategy to remove charter freedoms from indivuduals and transfer their freedoms and small businesses to corporations- while corporations seem to now hold the rights of ‘personhood’ as individuals’ rights are greatly diminished?
    -Is the Ukrainian war just a proxy for US/Euro fiat vs newer harder currencies in a multipolar world. Isn’t this the same reason why Kennedy was shot and the last american silver dollars bare his effigy?

  128. Speaking of decline – My friend sent me a belated birthday card postmarked January 7th. It arrived in today’s mail. It had also been routed through Medford, OR, for the same reason all Ganinesville, FL mail bears a Jacksonville postmark, even though it’s in-town mail. “Be grateful you’re getting any service at all”?

  129. @Terry… with regards to ChatGDP or ChatGPT it produced this dunce of a poem, that was in the article I linked to on Light Verse further up in the comments.

    “There once was a man named Joe Biden
    Whose hair was a shade of golden
    He ran for the White House
    With grace and poise
    And now he’s our president and he’s not beholden
    To the whims of the rich or the power of the elite.
    He stands for the people and he can’t be beat.
    With a heart full of compassion and a mind full of wisdom
    He’s leading our nation with courage and freedom.

    Joe Biden, our leader, our guide
    He’s working hard every day with pride
    To bring about a change and make a difference
    He’s the president we needed in this instance.

    So let’s give a round of applause for the man we call Joe Biden,
    Because he’s a man of integrity and a man of his word
    And we’re lucky to have him,
    Oh, it’s simply absurd.”

    If this is the best AI can do to make a poem about Biden, I think it is simply absurd. It makes me wonder if the people who program Chat have algorithmed out any dissenting views about certain subjects?

    Anyway, you might be interested to read this article by Dana O’Driscol on “Artificial Intelligence AI Image Generation and Human Creative Expression” for a great dissenting view on the use of AI for art.

    https://thedruidsgarden.com/2022/10/16/ai-generated-arts-and-creative-expression/

    Also apropos to this, I think, is this quote I jotted down today:

    “While art is not always truth, it is always disposable; and while it may have relevance, it also just takes up space. People seem to get attached to things destined to pass -flowers, orgasm, friendship, life. The monuments that mark our grave will one day disappear. As much as we want to think so, art is not immortal. Only the fearless spirit it takes to invent an act of creation from nothing is ageless and knows no death.” – M. Segal of Paper Bag

    That last line from the quote is something no AI can ever do.

    Kevin Mims also had a fine last bit in his essay, speaking of how Sylvia Plath savaged Phyllis McGinley in her journal…

    “Alas, today, it’s Plath’s spiritual descendants who hold sway in elite university creative-writing departments while Nash’s and McGinley’s work is largely forgotten. Today’s elites are all totally in touch with their feelings and can’t wait to lecture you about them. Someday they will all be replaced by AI and no-one will notice. But who can replace Ogden Nash and Phyllis McGinley?”

    Now that’s a funny turn of events -when the droning lectures of the lecture hall can be reproduced ad nauseam by an AI hack -and it’s kind of wack.

    & here is an idea for the elites: replace the managers with AIs. Give them a riddle or problem that can be solved, and while they are distracted, we can get on with the business of living.

  130. @Wil1000 Re: the Gypsy Witch deck – yes, the cheat sheet is worthless. What I’ve done is taken one of those small card-big spiral notebooks the drugstore sells, designed for flash cards,I think, and alphabetized the cards, numbered them, put down the name and what the cheat sheet says on each card, then gone over the entire 11 Haliverse novels and noted what Sallie Eagle, Justin Martense, and Robin said, with attributions. And also what my own intuition said when reading them.

    Sample of that: My son-in-law’s family name is Vulpe, so there’s Fox images all over their house, as there is Cat all over mine. So drawing Fox could mean someone trying to put one over on me, or it could mean family matters. Cat, for me, has nothing to do with flattery, which I rarely receive (having neither money nor power), but with “There is only so much you can ask of a cat,” and “Everyone and every thing has their own agenda.”

  131. Oh dear, the book Europe, A History was writen by Norman Davies. I am somewhat less a fan of Cantor. Cantor’s A world Lit by Fire, I think that is the title, is all about how horrible life was in Europe before the modern age with all our wonderful technology. I wonder what part of the old world he thinks was not “lit by fire”.

  132. Denis, my favorite site in DC is the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress. Worth a tour, especially to see the reading room in person. I’m also a fan of the Freer museum, which is next to the Smithsonian Castle. Depending on time available the Franciscian Monastery of the Holy Land in America is a unique site, if you have time and transportation. The U.S. Capitol is also worth a look, if you have the time. It’s an impressive structure, and you can appreciate the idealism of its purpose. Also, the National Archives are worth a visit.

  133. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for sating my curiosity. Hope that the spell is not diminished in any way by doing so.

    Mate, I’ve been blind-sided by some of the unexpected err, developments, over the years too. Fracking is a classic example of a system attempting to return to a former state, but at a considerable cost, with the costs in multiple areas of our civilisation too. Oil appears to be on the up again. Oh well.

    I appreciate you over looking my grammatical blunder in the last sentence of the previous comment. My brain has been worked pretty hard over the past few weeks trying to sort out the various issues with the power system here so as to make the thing more resilient. You’d be amazed at the esoteric knowledge (and I use that word in its literal sense) I’ve had to absorb on every minor detail of the system. I won’t bore you with the details, but an overall observation would conclude that there are a lot of failure points with off grid solar power systems. The joke is though, that the utility sized scaled up versions have the exact same issues, just bigger. Hope you dudes in that industry know what you’re doing… 🙂

    The thing is, I have serious doubts that there are many people who have a good working knowledge of all aspects of this technology as it is arranged together based on real world experience. You can tell that’s the case too, because there is a tendency to talk about the technology as if it were a ‘set and forget’ arrangement. That ain’t so, although if money were no object, you might get close to that goal. Every year, there’s always something new which trips you up with this technology. And entropy is always nipping away at the edges – staying one step ahead is a challenge.

    This hippy technology stuff doesn’t scale. It never could scale. I’ve never minded the economic cost as that has never been my primary concern when using this technology, although for many it is. I don’t know much, but I do know that most folks won’t stomach the bills. Are you hearing anything about the economic dimensions of the use of this technology? Most of that talk sounds bonkers to me, but I could be biased in that respect.

    Cheers

    Chris

  134. @Ellen #92

    “What was your reply?”

    I uhhhh don’t think I said anything. But now that you bring it up, I will!

  135. I’m currently reading and enjoying your book Ceremony of the Grail. I think that it would be pretty easy to write a program to look for the 7686 sentence provided you had a good Greek version of the Elucidation. If you have such a translation and you’re not up to the programming I’d be happy to do it for you – for free, of course.

  136. “it felt like walking through ancient Rome a few decades before it fell”

    AHA!

    (smile)

    X

    E

  137. @Clark #120 re: church and kids

    I’m coming at this from the perspective of a polytheist who worships the Germanic Gods, but who is not at all sure we have any kind of firm idea of what the Gods “really are.” I’m working with Neoplatonist-ish traditions of meditation currently, and something of the sort seems reasonable, but again, I don’t feel like I have any way of knowing for sure.

    With that said, here’s a few thoughts:
    – As for whether going to church makes sense, I suspect it makes a difference which church you’re talking about! I’ve heard from folks going to great churches and from folks bored to tears by theirs. If you’re not particularly denominationally-attached, maybe shop around to see if any of your local options speak to you?
    – For what it’s worth, I was raised going to Methodist churches until I was 9 or so, with a few sporadic attempts after that, but it was clear my parents weren’t getting much out of it and were mostly doing it because it was supposed to be good for the kids. Mostly I found it boring, occasionally enjoyed the arts and crafts, and then was surprised as a teenager to discover Jesus was the main deal instead of the Father, and that they were in fact supposed to be the same person. This may speak more to the level of attention I was paying than to the quality of kids’ Sunday School theology, but I don’t feel like this did much for when I was a Christian, nor for my current spiritual life. Your mileage will no doubt vary.
    – It’s early days with my kids (the elder is four), and I’m still very much feeling this out, but I basically try to explain what I believe as something that I do and believe, but that other people do and believe other things (for example, at daycare, they say Grace and sing Christian songs sometimes). My goal is to not disparage any spiritual tradition or approach that isn’t harmful, while still being open about what I find fulfilling if she wants to learn more.
    – I was recently listening to a now-Germanic-polytheist who used to be a Christian talking about his experience learning about Pelagius (you can find the video here, if you do video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mfo1U7suuE4
    He has a pretty negative view of Christianity these days, but is fairly respectful of folks who find it spiritually fulfilling (at least in this video). Short version: Pelagius ended up exiled for heresy because he argued that non-Christians could come to God the Father through Christ without knowing that’s what they were doing (and some other things that St. Augustine of Hippo sharply disagreed with).
    – As for how to think about polytheism vs monotheism, I found our host’s World Full of Gods very helpful in thinking about religion and how to approach it. Fair warning: I was coming at it as a dissatisfied materialist who had tried treating the Gods as “merely archetypes” and gotten nowhere with it, so I was already pretty far off from monotheistic belief or practice

    Hope some of these prove helpful!
    Jeff

  138. Anyone have practical suggestions or thoughts on whether/how to give my 11 year old son his first phone? Big urban city, and the majority of his classmates already have phones and his social life is starting to move to phones.

    I’m asking here because I know most people feel similarly about screens and phones and their negative impact on kids (and adults!) so I don’t need to rehash why it’s bad.

    I know there are readers etc here who basically never give their kids phones, and/or homeschool and/or live in rural communities etc, but those things aren’t practical for us.

    He does get a limited amount of TV/iPad/video game time (far less than virtually all his friends and classmates) and always wants more. I have consistently told him he will be given a phone between the ages of 12-15 depending on his maturity level etc. Privately I have been thinking 13th birthday but haven’t told him this. I know it’s much harder to control once I actually hand him a phone so I’m thinking it’s quite a big Rubicon to cross (he does have a small flip phone to carry

    Honestly if it was up to me, he wouldn’t get a phone at all till he was 18, but the pressure from him is growing intense. I can ignore the pressure – it’s my job to parent him, not be his friend – but his entire circle and social life are already starting to shift to phone comms (that is, on apps, not phone calls) and while I can hold the line for a while longer I feel it’s not fair for me to prevent a teenager (when he becomes one) from being able to communicate with his friends or a girlfriend or basically participate in his social circles – that’s the world we live in and we’re not hermits living off grid. So I’m kind of conflicted about it.

    (I also have an almost 8 year old girl, but I am less worried about her – I’ll just follow the precedent I set with him and in any case, her personality is such that she can drop the iPad and go do something else after a while, but my son will just play video games or whatever till he’s made to stop)

    (On a related note, he has started asking for one of those debit cards that banks are now pushing for kids and I just flatly refused saying “what does it do that cash can’t do?” and he wasn’t able to come up with anything except to admit he thought it was cool because several of his friends had it)

  139. @Clarke #80

    1. I try to separate the reality on the ground from the news cycle. My family and social circle (and most others, it would appear) have not been unduly decimated by the “deadly pandemic” of the last three years. California wildfires are only devastating if you live in relatively small areas, and mass shootings – while nasty – affect only the tiniest proportion of the population. In my actual direct experience the “collapse” has been quite limited so far – though I don’t expect that to be the case indefinitely.

    2. I try to find the deepest meaning in the timeless, the eternal, the ephemeral, the personal, and the cyclical: planting seeds and harvesting crops, making music with friends, relationships, the scents and signs of the seasons, supporting others in my community. It doesn’t hurt that I naturally find more meaning in these things than in the bigger picture, and calling myself back to them is good for my well-being.

    3. I remind myself that plenty of people have hellish lives at the peak of civilizations, and plenty of others have joyful and fulfilling lives in the depths of dark ages. The overall arc of civilization, and our current place on it, does not “seal my fate” in any meaningful sense.

    4. I remind myself that I did just fine without a computer for the first years of my life, and my ancestors not long ago did fine without electricity. The loss of these technological amenities will be more disruptive than their arrival, certainly, but we will get by and in many ways probably find greater fulfillment in relative simplicity.

    I certainly don’t always succeed – I can feel bummed about our most likely future as well…

  140. @JMG

    I’ve tried finding an earlier post you made where you (I think it was you) said Klaus Schwab’s Stakeholder Capitalism ideas were already re-treads from his youth. If I recall correctly, I think you uploaded an old photo of a brochure or flyer that listed Schwab’s Stakeholder Capitalist ideas point for point to those he’s advocating for at WEF.

    Unfortunately, despite using all manner of search terms, search strings, etc I can not find that post nor that brochure/flyer image. (in desperation I even resorted to ChatGPT in the vain hope it might uncover what I could not – no such luck).

    Would you still have a link to that post? Or if not (maybe better?)…to the image of that brochure or flyer? If anyone has the link or image of that flyer/brochure I’d be grateful if they could post it.

  141. Hi Jon,

    Your concerns do you credit.

    There’s a simpler approach, if I may suggest so. And I use resources from the forest, all the time, although there is a cost to that.

    Find a well established tree near to where you live, so that you can keep an eye upon it over the years. Please ensure that the tree isn’t at risk of being removed due to say, development.

    Every now and then, when nobody is around to pester you, night is probably a good time for this, take the tree a well mixed bucket of the following mixture: coffee grounds 60% + agricultural lime (that’s Calcium Carbonate) 20% + Blood and Bone meal (not pellets, the ground up stuff) 20%. Spread the mixture thinly into the soil around drip line (i.e. under the canopy). Use your foot to mix the stuff in so that nobody notices – that may have unintended consequences. You don’t have to thank the tree, but it wouldn’t hurt to do so quietly. Actions speak louder in this instance.

    The chestnuts are a sad story, but the earth is resilient and change is a constant. As far as I understand the story, the conditions in which they grew, changed – and that includes the former human interactions which may have valued the trees more appropriately. Plant diseases are often a sign of a very unbalanced and changed environment. Spare a thought for the blight, all it is doing is trying to attempt is to seek a new balance.

    You can work out how often to apply the bucket by observing the tree. It might surprise you.

    Cheers

    Chris

  142. Clarke (no. 120) “I am trying to figure out how much I want to try and go back to the church.”

    Visit some, see what you think.

    “What I want is to find a way to know if there is one God, many gods or no gods at all…”

    Yes and no! Okay, okay–rather than attempt to resolve the unresolveable, maybe it would be more practical to think of this as like picking furniture for your mind and life (and now posterity). Which answer do you want to be true? Which influences seem most helpful, to yourself and your family? The folk Daoism that I’m most familiar with has lots of gods, but nobody much cares whether you believe in them (many think of them symbolically), and their cults exist alongside quasi-monistic traditions as well (e.g. my wife sees the gods as emanations of Lao Tian Ye, or Heaven). And there are plenty of Western traditions to the effect that God is ineffable, or capable of being approached from different directions.

    Combining Daoism with other religions (esp. Buddhism) is routine, although not every religion accepts this. Several Christians denominations would be okay with it–the Quakers, the Unitarians, maybe the Community of Christ (liberal Mormons)–while mainline churches mostly wouldn’t care or ask questions. (One Episcopal bishop candidate was rejected for also practicing Zen, which he didn’t consider to be a religion!) The Orthodox are right out (even though some of them have written positively about the Daodejing), which is unfortunate–their liturgy and mystical theology are beautiful, even if the politics stink to high heaven (and I think Orthodox people will back me up on this). Do visit the Armenian or Coptic / Ethiopian churches, if there are any near you, they’re very cool.

    If you’re worried about whether your child may suffer socially for belonging to a minority religion, or no religion, this varies by geography, but is getting less and less true over time. Do be aware that many churches are attended almost entirely by old people, and have little to offer kids.

    ———————————

    Clarke aka Gwydion (no. 121), I’ve often felt that people who really want the Heart Sutra to have an Indian origin, should consider the “Large” PP Sutra (which it quotes) to be that original. And if the text got garbled along the way, well, this sort of thing often happens, and is fruitful in its own way–a bad translation led early Christians to claim that Christ was born of a virgin. My mother once found comfort in a Bible verse that, little known to her, was contradicted by God himself a few verses later!

    Here’s Jayarava’s blog. His latest post is a pretty good summary of his Heart Sutra work:

    http://jayarava.blogspot.com/

    I got into all this by way of the Abhisamayalankara:

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

    (I wrote most of this!)

  143. I’m working my way through Circles of Power, and am particularly interested in astrological magic; I’ve invoked the planets through prayer and planetary charity and gotten very good results with it thus far, and am hoping to build on it. A possibility has occurred to me for some rather intensive work (at least, intensive at my current level of practice!), with what you discuss the Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar. One possible application of it that I see would be to use it to draw on the energies of the planets; so on Saturday I’d perform the ritual using the divine name YHVH ALHIM; on Sunday YHVH ALVHVDAaTh; and so forth; and then pray to the planet asking for its aid in understanding what it has to teach, followed by a meditation on the symbolism of the planet, for perhaps seven weeks.

    a) Does this sound like a viable way to attune myself with the planetary energies?

    b) The Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar has some differences from the standard version, and this leads me to think that if I intend to practice the Vibratory Formula daily for an extended period of time, I should also continue to practice the standard version as well, doing one in the morning and one in the evening. Does this sound reasonable to you?

  144. I work for local government in the UK and the latest PMC stupid idea is that it’s rude and offensive to use the words ‘client’, ‘service user’ or ‘residents’. All words which are commonly and inoffensively used but which are now no-nos. The word ‘people’ must be used instead.

    This is just another way of controlling people’s speech, ‘compelled speech’ as Peterson would say. This is a natural offshoot of having to ignore biological reality and use people’s ‘preferred pronouns’ but of course it never ends there. It was pointed out that the CEO and Leader of the Council use the ‘bad’ words but they won’t be admonished of course. It’s just a way to feel superior to those lower on the food chain. What is your view on compelled speech?

  145. @JMG, Re your response to Denis: can you point to any sources of info about the traditional resurgence of arts and crafts that you’ve mentioned? I need all the encouragement I can get.

    Also, regarding your remark about the infinitely distant Faustian vanishing point: strictly speaking, it’s only infinitely distant if you assume the surface of the earth to be flat. If it isn’t, then it’s just a matter of appearances and something else, probably something wonky, is going on. If we live live in an ideal Euclidean universe, then there are lines that have no thickness, and how many of those are observable in nature?

  146. JMG:

    I finished reading “Secret of the Temple” a few weeks ago, and something has been bothering me. Why are Christians, Muslims, and Buddhist keen on suppressing temples? What was your take if any on the reason for suppression?

    The best I can come up with is that they want to break from the old traditions, and if temples really work to improve agriculture, that blows a hole in their case for suppression of the old ways. Plus if the old temple traditions deliver the agricultural goods, it may bring into question why the new ways should be accepted.

    Regardless, it was an excellent book. Thank you for writing it!

  147. I happened to just discover this, and I thought that some people here might be interested in it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camphine
    It’s a fuel for oil lamps made from turpentine and alcohol, and apparently it quite successfully replaced whale oil for illumination in the United States up until increased taxes on alcohol made petroleum-derived kerosene cheaper.

  148. @Clarke #80:

    It’s incredible how having a child to care for stabilizes my life. A few years ago a colleague asked me about my plans for life (I had recently radically changed career), and I said “staying alive until my daughter doesn’t need me anymore”. Otherwise, my faith, my wife, reading about ending and beginning civilizations, and reading poetry.

  149. JMG – Would you mind re-posting the link to your master conserver handouts – my computer link died before I had finished making a hard copy.

    As for constructive responses, consider ways to transfer super-specialized skills to a more practical level. My past in healthcare included applied science, which can be used in almost every field – including soil building, regenerative gardening and teaching effectively. In light of the stresses of living in decline, for me, learning and sharing skills helps.

    Should you have time or space, scour thrift shops for (mostly older) how-to books and tools for low tech and conservation, then give them a try as practical. Of course, super cheap finds also help keep living expenses down (sometimes with higher quality). Sharing there can also help, one niece has a very fine (gifted) cast iron sewing machine she can use well, and another has taken up composting, herb growing and cooking (hands on teaching).

  150. Tony, I find walking to be a very good way to stay in good health, and I routinely walk 2-5 miles on errands; if you prefer bikes, of course, by all means. Other things you can do, crucially, are to reduce your dependency on electrical and electronic appliances, and also on mainstream health care, which is a fantastic energy and resource hog.

    Evan, (1) I wish that people who use the word “neofeudalism” would take the time to learn something about feudalism! That term is hopelessly misleading. Bureaucratic elitism is a better term, and clarifies the crucial point, which is that the current abuses of power are structural — you can’t stop them by getting rid of individuals or their families, you have to undercut the bureaucratic system itself. (2) That’s a massive oversimplification, though currency issues — specifically, the end of the US dollar’s role as global reserve currenccy — is an important part of it.

    Patricia M, the service you get may be your last…

    Chris, the only discussions I’ve ever seen about the economic dimensions of green energy are from people who are pointing out that it doesn’t pay for itself. Everyone else is brandishing emotionally charged mythic images under the fond delusion that they’re thinking. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that your basic peasant technologies are as pervasive as they are, not because nobody knew any better, but because those are the things that work, and higher-tech systems don’t.

    Hereward, there is no Greek version of The Elucidation, good or otherwise. The sentence won’t be in the text. It might be anywhere in Gnostic or Hermetic literature!

    Erika, yep. Or, for that matter, Babylon, or Cahokia, or Anyang, before their respective falls.

    Panda, my discussion of Schwab’s rehashed ideas is here —

    https://www.ecosophia.net/the-great-rehash-part-one-the-best-and-the-brightest/

    — but there was no such brochure. There’s a book which has the same flavor, but not the exact same arguments as his. So you may be thinking of some other essay.

    Anonymous, that’s a standard use of the Vibratory Formula, and yes, you should also continue to practice the standard MP exercise. You might also consider doing the Vibratory Formula as the centerpiece of a simple ritual — for example, perform the LBRP, invoke the planet using the appropriate Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, do the Vibratory Formula, and then close with the LBRP again.

    Bridge, it’s typical of totalitarian systems, as George Orwell pointed out in 1984. The fact that it’s becoming pervasive in your country’s government is a huge red flashing warning light.

    Kevin, I don’t have links, just comments and discussions I’ve heard in various places. As for the Faustian vanishing point, sure, but that’s the mythic image.

    Christopher, remember that the temple technology was a secret of the priesthoods of many of the older religions. People outside the inner circle didn’t know that there was anything going on, other than the gods being pleased and granting good harvests. That meant that followers of the new prophetic religions — Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam — didn’t know about the technology either, and simply assumed that it was all handwaving meant to prop up false religions. When Christians in the Catholic West figured it out, once again, it was something known to only a small number of people, most of them heretics. So the knowledge never spread.

    Reese, hmm! Thank you for this. I’d literally never heard of it.

    Gardener, here you go:

    https://greenwizards.com/node/1471

  151. I’ve been seeing a lot of news about wind turbine failures as well. The tip speed can be 160 mph or more, even rain at that velocity can cause erosion of the blade’s leading edge.

    Every time the blade passes in front of the tower it causes a small vibration. This can eventually overstress the gearbox or even the blades is the wind hits and holds the wrong speed too long letting the resonance build.

    The electronics in the power converters that turn random frequency related to wind speed into 60 Hz line power don’t like electrical noise and are prone to early failure. Solar power installations share that problem, inverters are their weak link too.

    Conventional generators have large rotating masses that store large amounts of angular momentum that can be used to smooth out transient loads. The transient shows up as a twitch in frequency. Those big copper windings act as inductors and swallow voltage spikes from electrical noise.

    Once again, resilience and efficiency are opposites. The inverter has no windage losses and loses less energy to heat (when it’s not on fire). But the large rotating mass can defeat Guam power and light in single combat when the electricians messed up. It was a good night to be a machinist mate. That fireball on the pier was not my fault 🙂 The generator continued on its way undisturbed.

    I did find this in an abstract,

    “Through the application of Pareto’s rule, a set of components has been identified; although these provide little in terms of fault contribution, they do account for almost all downtime when they occur. Wind turbines fail around twice every year with an average downtime of 150 h per failure. The gearbox is one of the most critical components in terms of downtime that represents generation losses, where the faults in the frequency converter are directly influenced by the thermal cycle of the semiconductor switches in normal operation and accentuated by transient load fluctuations during the generation process. ”

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40313-021-00789-8

    Then there is this one. It’s sort of pretty.

  152. Adding to the discussion about practicing magic unconsciously and intuitively, I was one of those people who did a lot of magical experimentation in my early teenage through college years, and, like a lot of those people, I now use magic unconsciously and it does have unintended, unwanted consequences. It’s the main reason why I have begun to start practicing it more consciously and ritualistically, to get it under control.

    As an example of what can go wrong, I was walking my dog with my then fiance (now wife), and I imagined how nice it would be to be able to walk with her without the dog yanking my arm every ten seconds, and I immediately felt the sense that magic happened. I don’t know the right word for it. Shortly thereafter, and remember how magic works, my father decided that now was the right time to dig out whole plastic pipes from the lake, left them in our backyard in a large pile without cleaning them up, and our dog got her leg stuck in one and fractured her spine trying to escape. She couldn’t walk, and we spent the next half year rehabilitating her.

    It’s not a good thing.

  153. Thank you for confirming I’m on the right path with my thinking on the Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar! I’ll consider doing it as part of a small scale ritual once I’m sure doing it for an extended period of time won’t stress either my schedule or my subtle bodies too much, as I haven’t used it quite yet.

    Having worked out another possible use of the Vibratory Formula (namely, rising on the tree), and noticed a couple of other things hinting at other options, I’m starting to realize just how much you’ve hidden away in Circles of Power for those who are willing to work with it intensively.

  154. I don’t really follow it at all but there is one thing that one must point out to folks in regards to the whole Russia/Ukraine thing.

    Vladimir Putins Thesis/PHD was on Mineral Resources and Energy. He is probably the single most qualified main line politician on the planet to be pulling off what they are doing. They are playing the long game on this.

  155. “As for the rdzogs-pa-chen-pas, and their assurances that you are already in enlightened mind so just relax please: at no point do the ones I have personal experience with aver that you should therefore stop practicing ethics, logic, or appropriate meditation.”

    I agree. The trick here is “relax”. Most people understand this to mean to relax from hard work and in this context, to relax from spiritual effort. What it really means is to relax from the constant, frenetic effort required to maintain the illusion of being only a separate ego.
    My own experience is that this intense effort continues to some degree even in my moments of greatest relaxation (in the usual sense). But because this ego-effort is constant and has been going on since we formed an ego in infancy, it is very difficult to notice it. Particularly since not noticing the ego-effort is itself a significant portion of the ego-effort.
    I was only able to see it when it ceased (alas, very temporarily).
    The dzogchen folks specialize in “pointing out instructions”, which are intended to give you a taste of the goal right at the start of practice. I assume that when the pointing out instruction is done correctly, one would now have experience of what “relax” really means.

  156. @David, by the lake
    I owe you some answers to #317 in November’s open post.

    (1) re: car batteries not the only batteries…

    Yes.
    (a) many alternatives for stationary storage exist or are coming soon, that don’t need the high weight and volumetric energy density of lithium ion batteries in EVs.
    The most promising are sodium ion batteries.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-ion_battery

    (b) the use of EV’s batteries could provide much of grid storage needs:
    Electric vehicle batteries alone could satisfy short-term grid storage demand by as early as 2030
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-35393-0

    (2) re: how economic are reserves?

    By definition:
    reserves refers to that which is economically and technically extractable at current prices/technology.
    resources are known occurrences of minerals.
    USGS definitions:
    https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2022/mcs2022-appendixes.pdf

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2022/mcs2022-lithium.pdf
    reserves as of 2022 are 22 million tons,
    resources are 89 million tons.

    (3) re: control of reserves

    The USGS lithium mineral commodity summary above shows which countries have how much reserves. Australia and Chile are current largest producers, and U.S. has lots of resources, if the NIMBYs and fake environmentalists don’t stop access in order to get a cheap hit of power.

  157. @Hackenschmidt
    @JMG
    re: EROI/EROEI of “shale oil”

    There is confusion here:
    “shale oil” is (most properly) considered as oil produced by mining oil shale rock then retorting it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale

    But “shale oil” is often confused with oil from “shale”, “fracking shale” and similar terms,
    most unambiguously referred to as “Light Tight Oil” (LTO).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tight_oil

    The U.S. does NOT mine and retort oil shale rock anymore.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_oil_shale_industry_in_the_United_States#Black_Sunday_and_the_demise_of_the_American_shale_oil_industry_1982-1991

    Where the production has come from is LTO, which was 64% of US oil production in 2021.
    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=847&t=6

    LTO is produced by drilling into source rock (often a shale), then fracturing the rock (which is “tight”, meaning not very permeable) with hydraulic pressure (water and various chemicals, including sand or ceramic particles to prop the fractures open), and then flowing the oil/gas out.

    Thus the article about the low EROI of “(oil from) oil shale” is correct, but irrelevant.

    And you’re not the only one to make this mistake, I’ve seen it in journal papers.

    Anyway, the EROI of LTO is hard to find, which I find surprising.
    I did find this article about the Bakken which says average EROEI is nearly 30 – see Figure 1.
    Not they use an energy based methodology, and not a financial based methodology, which gives more like 10 (which they ascribe to the boom-town environment of high prices).

    “Net energy analysis of Bakken crude oil production using a well-level engineering-based model”
    (click on “View Open Manuscript” for full viewable document).
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360544215014917?via%3Dihub

  158. Bofur,

    Thanks for your reply!

    That is a great point. ‘tech-bros’ are a real thing, a very annoying real thing because what they are doing is only using buzzwords to try to fit in and it has a lot to do with what I have in mind.

    Let me tell you a little secret, most ‘software engineers’ don’t actually engineer software. I mean this quite seriously. What most ‘software-engineers’ end up doing once they pass their famously hard interviews is the same things that a regular office job demands them to do.

    This is tied to what I’ve seen here mentioned before about class –how a select few of people are allowed to mingle with the upper PMC classes without actually being part of them if they prove themselves to be the best of the best. That way, as JMG has mentioned, you guarantee to have the very smartest and the most obedient of the lot at your command.

    What the ‘tech-dream’ is, is the most recent rehash of the dream of the promise of stability and a ‘good-life’ that corporations have pushed since the invention of factories. People all over have pursued that dream for the past decades with the promise of a better life and pay, just to end up being slaves to a corporate system while they convince themselves that being chained to unreal timeliness and excruciating work is worth it because of the ‘free-food’, high salary and in-campus gyms and laundries or what not that some companies offer. Why people consider that spending all your day at work is good –I do not know. But among the office jobs, it’s been marketed as the best, and it is in many ways but the ones that are actually that are very few.

    The thing is, all that ‘fluff’ about fancy perks and the field being the uber-office-job is going away rather fast and when that does, all the whistles will go away and only a normal desk job will remain. That is what is happening right now, with a few of the big tech companies firing around 40K just last week on top of the previous layoffs.

    The reason why I am convinced this is happening is because all the niceness and the warm faces faded away the moment economic pressure was put on the system on some groups. People were called in the middle of the night to meetings about ‘an incident that needed to be solved’ (those are frequent when on-call) just to find out an HR person was in the call; others were pressured to finish all their work over the weekend just to be fired when they finished. It was gruesome to hear the stories.

    Many people that don’t provide something of actual value or are too old to be affordable are getting the axe leaving it clear that well, it was just a dream fueled by the economic bonanza the field saw in the past decade and in particular the pandemic (for example, google’s workforce doubled just in the pandemic). So basically, what I was thinking on doing is a case study of the ideas JMG has laid out in his books about the decline of the industrial age, but about the industry I am familiar with.

  159. Dear Ecosophians,

    I wonder if any is familiar (or fan) of the whole Vaporwave craze and its subgenres? It’s insane what’s going on there, and I personally believe there’s a subtle narrative related in certain ways to the whole industrial decline we are going through, also not to mention that it’s really awesome and creative music to listen to! It’s truly one of the few things going on in the music scene recently that makes me excited.

    What I like about the genre is that how it has this concept/story form embedded into it, and that it constantly reference and enfold other cultural symbols from past decades, and that most of the artists release their stuff free online. It’s also rich material for deciphering, there’s even a forum inspired by its aesthetic called Agora Road’s Macintosh Cafe, you can check it here: https://forum.agoraroad.com/index.php

    Even if you don’t like the music, I think it’s worthwhile to follow this trend to understand what’s going on the collective unconscious of the current youth, it’s not always a light place and that’s truly saddening but insightful. If you like the music; I recommend the following artists: Desert Sand Feels Warm at Night, t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者, Mindspring Memories, Infinity Frequencies.

    And that’s to name few!

  160. This interview was posted on Our Finite World between all the junk posted there otherwise:
    https://ileon.eldiario.es/tierra-verde/antonio-turiel-falta-materias-primas-escasez-energia-aboca-epoca-fin-imperio-romano_128_9841834.html

    > HIGHLY relevant, a few things I did not realize or had heard from yet despite high interest in the energy topic and Europe’s future therewith:

    Europe is depleting it’s strategic reserve of DIESEL to patch the widening holes in our economy! Leaders seem to assume the shortage is temporary, allthewhile the oil and diesel embargo is scheduled for February the 5th…!

    Reevaluating my own expectations, the situation in Austria is far more harmless and stable at this point of time than I expected in Spring/Summer.

    However, there’s other factors at play: a mild winter the past months, but now it has turned colder in central Europe, and now, the gas use is gallopping again!

    I do not trust this semblance of relative peace and quietude!

  161. Hello again, JMG and kommentariat. I know, of course, that you see a long decadence of the nowadays Faustian civilisation, about 2 or 3 centuries from now. I agree. Modern technology will be obliterated between other signs of our culture. I would be happy for the disappearence of the worst of them (for instance, nuke bombs) but I’m feeling sad for the end of others. Between them, one of my favourite amusements: cinema. How many decades do you think would last cinema and movies, in your opinion?
    OK, I know classical theater is cool and has existed while millenia and probably will be more millenia, but I like very much cinema and I have this doubt and I’m curious.

  162. Thank you for sharing some optimism. I also see a lot of younger people mocking whatever they see in the news and just not discussing it. That gives me hope that these spreads of panic and fear now have a stopping point.

    I’ve been hoping you can help me understand something – nativism. I see that those who claim to be my intellectual betters say nativism is bad and it’s a reason for a block on social media. I’m honestly confused about what counts as nativism anymore. Is it simply saying a country has borders and its people have traditions? Or that the people in a country should have a say in their future as a country?

    I’ve noticed that historians have gone back through the 19th century and renamed protests of “Native Americans” (those American citizens who immigrated from Europe in the 1700’s and were here four or more generations fighting in wars for their country and paying its taxes) against open immigration in the mid-1800’s into “Nativist Riots.” The same intellectual class took the term Native American, gave it to what was then called Indians. (Now they don’t want Native American used, but each tribe identified by name. I agree with this as it’s much clearer in communicating the distinct geography and practices of each indigenous group.)

    So what are people who have been in America for several generations supposed to do? We aren’t allowed to claim to have a right to anything here after having generations of ancestors dying for it through military, factory, mining work etc. But at the same time I’m supposed to do everything I can to support “our democracy”. It’s super confusing.

    I feel like I’m walking on the thinnest of tight ropes constantly. I appreciate your perspective that this country still has hundreds of years to go to define who it is. I’m just trying to figure out how to live here now.

  163. Gwydion #80,

    I’ve been cheering myself up by reading bits of American history in my American Heritage New Illustrated History of the United States,(published 1963). It includes interesting excerpts such as from the diary of a Puritan man in Massachusetts who, after refraining from any “conversation with the world,” struggles with boredom and contempt and meaninglessness, and then has a kind of healing religious experience akin to something from the Song of Songs.

    I also like to work with the Arthurian tales, which I have read all the different versions of; and have been making my slow way through the Mabinogion and a collection of old stories translated by Gareth Knight. I recently re-watched (for the umpteenth time) the film Excalibur. I really like the Arthur in that film, urgently whispering “Merlin, where are you!” It fulfills an emotional need.

    Cheers,
    Dee

  164. My family has been catching up on the cobalt issue in the so-called Democratic Republic of Congo lately, and we’re absolutely horrified. In fact we’ve basically vowed to never buy another lithium ion battery. (Yes we realize that this means the laptop I’m typing on now is our last, so we better take good care of it!) I didn’t like EVs before, but now I really hate ‘em. 10 kg of cobalt per?? And all the human suffering that comes with it.

    Telling I think, that our culture “rose above” slavery, just to come up with an even worse system. At least slaves were usually well-fed and rested. They’d have to be to do the work they did. These poor kids in Congo are getting something like 80 cents a day to dig toxic cobalt out of muddy open pit mines with thousands of other people pressed together, rain or shine. Even the adults get something like one British pound a day. Considering what that would buy, I think that’s worse than slavery.

    The crazy part is, we thought we were “doing the right thing,” buying rechargeable batteries. Years ago. Less shale piling up in the junkyard and all that. But it seems like that was just another empty (if only) promise of Progress.

    Then of course you come to conflict minerals in general – especially the 3TG group – and suddenly your solar panels don’t look quite as green as they once did. And that’s what I was banking on for the waning decades (hopefully) of my life. We have so much sun here. My garden sure loves it.

    Any thoughts about cobalt, and conflict minerals more generally? Anyone?
    Thanks.

  165. @STPI on cell phones and kids – You aren’t going to like what I have to say. If your child is out of your care for large parts of the day, you need to get them a cell phone immediately and instill in them the trust to use it. The adults who are responsible for your children – teachers, scout leaders, coaches – can not be trusted to “do the right thing”. My kids just completed college and were homeschooled all the way through. Both were inundated by stories from their peers with stories of sexual assault they and their friends endured from adults and peers all through school. I can’t post the exact acts committed due to blog rules, but what is happening is pervasive. Kids won’t talk about it because they don’t want to be “that person” and get shunned. So there is massive silence about it everywhere. Schools, sport teams, and troops will silently move the adults or kids and police are rarely involved. Even adults don’t want to be “that person.”

    If you want to verify what I am saying, ask someone who is a therapist on the number of patients who report being sexually assaulted before age 18. I believe the known number was something like 40% a decade ago. It’s higher now now that there is much more visual media encouraging it.

    You can go to news.google dot com and put in the words “teacher charged” or “student charged” to see what surfaced in local news stories around the US.

    Get them a phone. Encourage them to record what is happening – words, photo, video – in their world. Even if they don’t share it with you, they will still have it to prove to themselves it occurred. People gaslight people all the time that things aren’t happening, or if they are happening, it’s good that they are. Then a decade later or more later the truth comes out.

  166. @Bei Dawei: That Ayahuasca video is hilarious. Thank you:

    On becoming a shaman in Souther California: “He taught me how to clean up my own vomit while believing I’m a lizard who thinks he’s a human and yet is not…. he also taught me how to throw a really good party, and how to call a party a ceremony.”

    I needed these chuckles!

  167. What does an ageing population mean for the pagan community? Culturally I think we like the image of the old witch, the cunning man, that sort of thing. I wonder if there will be some late converts. People who were agnostic…until their doctor prescribed them something and they started to see some stuff. I can foresee some Time Magazine (or similar) articles about how witchcraft was a trend and now it’s more serious, “threatening” traditional religious venues. People want something they can change, something more participatory, more “experiential.”

    And with that my budget for quotation marks has run out and I’m going to stop before I sound like I write for Time Magazine! Heaven forbid, though I wouldn’t say no to the paycheck.

    What does the commentariat (who I believe to be a little bit older than the average Reddit commenter) think of all that?

  168. @ Mary Bennett re # 143

    It was William Manchester who wrote ‘A World Lit by Fire’. Yes, he definitely looked down on the peasants of the Medieval Era. He seemed to have a lot of difficulty getting past the brutality of the times to look at the human beings who lived and even prospered in this environment. One quote from his book goes like this: “…Shackled in ignorance, disciplined by fear, and sheathed in superstition, they trudged into the 16th century in the clumsy, hunched, pigeon-toed gait of rickets victims, their vacant faces, pocked by smallpox, turned blindly toward the future they thought they knew….”
    He tries his best to give a good overview of the Middle Ages, but his slanted perceptions of its inhabitants keep spilling out every so often. It’s a pity he didn’t look beyond the borders of Europe. An excellent book I just finished reading is ‘Lost Enlightenment’ by S. Frederick Starr which details the flowering of civilization in Central Asia between 800 AD and 1200 AD. It details the rich, sophisticated cultures which flourished there and the knowledge they produced that eventually flowed into Europe, triggering the Renaissance.
    And Europe wasn’t exactly a black hole either in terms of civilization. Another good book is ‘Ornament of The World’ by Maria Rose Menocal, detailing the thriving culture of Medieval Spain where for quite a while Muslims, Jews and Christians lived tolerantly with each other, with arts and literature benefiting from the cultural mix.

  169. Since writing my comment yesterday I’ve done a bit of digging into Greek numerals and see that, even if you had a Greek version of The Elucidation, the problem would be far from trivial. It seems that you would have to have a pristine copy of it, too, since the numbers represented by the letters are changed depending on whether marks like apostrophes or commas appear next to them. Then there’s the issue of the sentence not appearing in The Elucidation at all, but in other texts as you say.

    I also wondered whether, although it’s written as 7686, that might not stand instead for the beginning letters in the important sentence, like AGLA in the Cabala. In which case, maybe it’s actually pointing to 7-6-8-6. Looking at the Wikipedia entry for Greek numerals those numbers give: zeta-stigma-eta-stigma

    It was interesting for me to note that the ancient symbol for zeta looks like our capital ‘I’ with serifs top and bottom; stigma looks like the rune for aesc = ash tree and the vowel ae, or three sides of a rectangle with the open edge to the right – like a cup on its side; and eta looks like our ‘H’.

    All this reminded me of YHVH i.e. same structure. That doesn’t fit with Hebrew numerals, though, which would be zayin-vau-chet-vau (sword-nail-fence-nail).

    Anyway, apologies for wasting your time with my musings, but I’m sure if there were any mileage in all this it would have been thought of already!

  170. @ Siliconguy (#166)

    That burning turbine is pretty impressive – I wonder how environmental it was? The unmistakeable aroma of burning fibreglass would have been noticeable two counties away.

  171. Re: mining and batteries

    I’m generally not swayed by the argument that because X is produced using unjust practices, we all need to stop using X. How about instead working toward “fair trade cobalt” along the lines of fair trade coffee?

    Beyond that, though, the ecological damage and pollution is real, and it can’t be reduced to “fake environmentalists and NIMBYs” wanting a “cheap hit of power” (@sunnnv #171).

    Speaking as an engineer myself, I am in favor of “design for recycling”. Presumably this will be eventually implemented once scarcity tips the balance toward salvage vs. mining, but in my view all products – from cars to solar panels to houses – should be designed for straightforward disassembly and recovery of all valuable/reusable/recyclable components.

  172. Did the extinction of the passenger pigeon cause the soil of North America to have a lot less nitrogen until there was a large enough population of starlings?

    This is what I tell people when they whine about the starlings. I like starlings. I’d like to see the passenger pigeons brought back, and the oaks and chestnuts that they ate from, too. Trees first.

    Bird doo doo has a lot of nitrogen in it. Farmers would probably still have to or want to pay for high-nitrogen fertilizer even if the passenger pigeon was de-extincted. It’s phosphorus we’re having a shortage of, not nitrogen, right? All doo doo has nitrogen. I suppose the passenger pigeon would be another vector for bird flu, so have to figure out better treatments for bird flu before bringing back the passenger pigeon anyway.

    Or we could all starve to death. But while we’re starving to death people had best not whine to me about the starlings: I am sick of it.

  173. Patricia Mathews #142,
    Thank you for the feedback. I had thought of doing something a little like that. However, per JMG’s recommendation, I found a couple of books at Bookshop.com on the similar Lenormand deck that I ordered along with a Lenormand card deck. So, in 4-10 days will see where the path takes me.
    Thank you, Will1000

  174. JMG, I wanted to offer a quick thanks for your response in last week’s post. It pried the door open a crack for an idea that has burst through and I’ve been pondering all week. You said:

    “Murmuration, one of the things that interests me most in the Cosmic Doctrine and more generally in occult thought is the idea that the Divine also evolves, unfolding new aspects and manifestations of its own self-knowledge over time. As I see it, it’s not that the Divine needs to evolve — it’s that it chooses freely to evolve as part of the dance between creator and creation.”

    Mixed with the AI sub-discussion on the Covid open post, it occurred to me that I have some very deep Christian programming from early life. Along the lines of infinite progress. A notion underlying AI and the singularity is a sort of manifest destiny towards omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent universal consciousness. To become god by way of zeros and ones. I realized I have assumed that ‘god’ or ‘the gods’ are in this state already. They are all knowing, ever present, infinite. I am somewhat of a panpsychist, so I am prone to assume this. But your response made me wonder: what if the universe somehow is bigger, and stranger, and weirder, and more chaotic than the consciousness behind it? Even just by a little bit. A bit of a paradox. Perhaps ‘god’ or ‘consciousness’ is enormous, but not infinite? In this way it has ‘space’ to evolve.

    Anyway, your comment made me aware of a base assumption I was previously unaware I held. A whole avenue of meditation has opened up, much like that balloon under the door. Thank you!

    Murmuration

  175. JMG,
    I’ve noticed that the terms religious and spiritual have been somewhat bandied about recently here and at the Dreamwidth site. Further, you have identified Progress as a religion. When I use the term spiritual, I know the meaning I have in mind is one of a personal, close, non-prescriptive connection and experience with non-corporeal beings (deities and lesser being) and non-ordinary states of being. Maybe others have this same perspective. For the term religious, I know that I mean the more organized, impersonal, collective, and prescriptive mundane experience with other humans. As a child, my experience of religion was the empty hypocrisy found in churches of the mid- to late 20th century. Attempts were made to establish some sort of connection with the divine, but these were rather futile efforts, flailing about in the dark. Rituals and traditions were considered outdated and avoided completely or just more pointless going through the motions without any real understanding. There were a few people (my mother for instance) who lived a life of actual devotion and had actual authentic connections with divinity. But, they were few and far between. In the 80s, churches basically completed their evolution into political organizations.

    So today, religious organizations (churches) seem to be the focus of a community of people with common political and social views within a loose ritualized framework with the ends of social connection and political support and action. Connection and experience with divinity seems to be an afterthought, if it is thought of at all.

    You have used the term spiritual and religion here and elsewhere many times. In fact, one of the Sacred Geometry Oracle cards (which I drew today) advises the use of a more spiritual approach. So, I guess that I am wondering if you could provide some insights on the meanings you have when using these terms. I.e., what does it mean to use a more spiritual approach?

    Thank you.

  176. @ Bei Dawei #154 and Jeff Russell #149 Yes, the Orthodox Christianity is one that I am looking at. I like their mystical approach and theosis. And cac.org is a group spearheaded by a Franciscan that has tolerant views on Eastern traditions.

    @ Jeff Russell #149 Yes, we have a strong affinity for Neo-Platonism, but I don’t know how to build that into a community.

    The more I think about it, the more I like how my mother raised me. She took us to various churches all over to let us get a feel for different groups. We were military so we moved every so often anyway, making even our regular church a short-term endeavor.

    One thing I plan to do with my family is make pilgrimages to various temples, ancient megalithic sites, national parks and pilgrim routes (as long as international flights are still affordable).

  177. Dusan and JMG – coincidentally I am also reading the demons book by Richard Gallagher right now (called Demonic Foes).

    I am familiar with what JMG wrote about this in Monsters and also the occasional discussion over on Dreamwidth and this is quite interesting. It’s basically the memoirs of a doctor – a respected academic psychiatrist in New York – who got drawn into being a consultant to the Catholic Church on exorcisms (to rule out medical causes before they concluded it was a spiritual issue) and how he got drawn more and more into that world and came to believe demons are real. Although 99% of the cases he saw were medical he says there were plenty in the 1% that make him believe beyond all doubt.

    There were several points that stood out to me and would appreciate JMG’s thoughts (apologies if this is more suitable for Magic Monday but the subject of the book came up) –

    1. He repeatedly talks about physical effects of possession (particularly levitation but also supernatural strength etc) in addition to psychic phenomena (speaking foreign languages etc). But I thought magic could not have direct physical effects – levitation is very much Harry Potter stuff. Are demons some kind of exception to that? But the book also talks about how sages and mystics of various religions have also been reported to be able to levitate – how do they do that?

    2. He repeatedly emphasis that in real possessions there is always a reason for the demon to enter and if you take a case history well you can usually figure it out. I was astonished by how nearly all of the cases he thought worth mentioning involved people with a history of what he calls “occult practices”, even if it was decades ago in their youth. Of course he doesn’t mean real magical practices – he basically means virtually all of these people had a history of devil worshipping/Satanic practices/bargains with demons – even if it was a brief thing decades ago, it seems like a door opened and the demon(s) didn’t want to let go.

    It reminded me of something in JMG’s Monsters book where he says something like (I paraphrase), “the door between demons and human minds is locked and can only be opened from the human end – they can only enter if they are invited”. I wonder if the myths of vampires being unable to cross thresholds and enter without permission arose from this concept..?

    3. Some of the details of Satanic rituals the possessed people did in their devil worshipping phase are truly nauseating. I won’t repeat them here, but I was disturbed enough to stop reading it at night and pray extra hard, and pick it up again in the daylight (it’s not that he goes into graphic details or anything – just the mention of what it involved is enough to set the imagination going).

    4. There was one particular story which I found hard to believe – he says he treated a Hindu woman who (years ago) engaged in practices to raise her Kundalini energy and this may have led to her giving demons access to her?? Is that even possible?

  178. @Raymond R
    “Am I alone in seeing the phenomenon that if somebody tries to explain a point of view, people automatically assume that they are advocating the point of view?”

    I’ve been as surprised as you when I experienced the same, one woman in 2021 actually explained this directly to me: if I state something to be so and so and it’s uncomfortable, then I must surely support it being so.

    I know how distorted and really unfathomable it seems, but there is one phenomenon I have seen all the time within the PMC that explains it:

    When you state that something is going not our way and nothing is to be done (a predicament), then it is your fault because you “do nothing about it”.

    While “doing something” always means supporting some political cause and ideology that states its goal to be whatever.

    Such is the overblown ego of the imperial manager class – the world is as our will is. Such a putrid sense of self entitlement is of course unknown to, for an example I personally know, the academics of Bulgaria, because there, reality is and has been to obvious.

    It goes with other phenomena that I have seen often. Suprising to us, but actually what the learned Westerners like to believe: “There will be internet in the future because people WANT it”

    There will not be consequences because it is undesirable.

    This is actually a subconscious matter: in the mythology of the imperial class, the formerly rotten and useless world is shaped only by the forces of our superior will. Man, the conqueror of nature! Crowley’s adepts: be your own god!

    In a virtual reality combined with the wealth to consume and order many things, this is logical. After all, the resource use and serf labor behind it is invisible.

    All analogous to the “positive thinking” of the new age movement, analogous to the view that “technology” is a sole product of the mental prowess of single people. Analogous to the mythical narratives of our popular cultures: that the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of single characters, rather than a human collective that isn’t as swarmly intelligent as we like to believe.

    They’ll think of something!

  179. Clark 120

    Since age 20 and now 70, and at all times in between, it has taken that long for me to distill the difference between Christianity (and for that matter, Islam) and Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism (and more). I studied different branches of Christianity, as well as different branches of Buddhism, and a smattering of Hinduism. Keep in mind there are exceptions. By 2010, I was well-versed in Eastern religions, but having not been brought up as any kind of Christian, I studied Christianity for five years from 2012 to 2017 — I got the hang of it. I joined a local church for two years, going to worship services nearly every Sunday — I got to know individuals in the congregation.

    The main thing about Christianity is that one depends entirely on “Jesus Christ” for one’s well-being; one is not allowed to endeavor on one’s own behalf. This is why meditation/meditating (from the East) (merely closing the eyes) still has not made lasting inroads in Christianity — it is because anyone bettering oneself WITHOUT the entity Jesus Christ is being a major heretic. In fact, I think “bettering oneself without Jesus Christ” is THE HERESY. To close the eyes without Jesus Christ is totally verboten because, “people in the know” say, the act of closing one’s eyes invites in the Devil, or Satan, or whatever diabolical term one can come up with. Christians feel beset by the Devil all the time — the Devil is always very near, and always very apt to take over the souls of Christians at every turn. One cannot EVER, in any way, shape, or form, become saved without Jesus Christ. With all the demons Christians feel are out to get them, I don’t know how they sleep at night. Christians feel besieged.

    As an aside, Jesus Christ is NEVER the historical man Jesus. To think thusly is heresy. Thinking of Jesus without the Christ part is grounds for getting kicked out, excommunicated, whatever. Christians have had 2,000 years to spot such beliefs, and believe me, this issue is important to them. They dig around until “they feel the heretic among them,” even today.

    On the other hand, the main thing about Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Native American religions (and many more) is that one endeavors on one’s behalf — one saves oneself (of course, with help). To rely totally on a god, or gods, is ludicrous. For example, Buddhism has a thing called, “Right Speech” — a person gets directions from wise ones on things to say, or not say, and how we say it, etc. No-one relies on a god, or gods, to have Right Speech automatically come out of one’s mouth. One COULD pray to a being to get better at Right Speech, but that would be secondary and there is nothing wrong with it.

    With me, when I got the congregation’s message that Eastern meditation was something strange and odd (at best), I was out of there. I think the congregation collectively dared me: Choose between them or meditation. I called their bluff — I chose meditation, and I got outa there like Roadrunner in roadrunner cartoons. It was, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

    Eastern meditation “saved me” when I was in my 20s — had I not been a regular meditator, I would have killed myself by age 30. Meditation gave me daily insight into my own particular condition, and also the human condition. Meditation made sure I got perspective, if not inspiration, twice a day. I would not be here to say these things if it weren’t for Eastern meditation (it hardly matters what kind; choose one that feels right). In 2018 (then-abouts) I dumped Christianity like a lead balloon. I am glad ‘I KNOW Christianity,’ but have no intention to practice it. Nobody can pull the wool over my eyes as to what Christianity is — no Christian guilt trip can trip me up. Christianity boxed me in where I couldn’t breathe. For fifty years, every day as I wake (to this day), I ask myself something akin to, “Do I have it in me to not kill myself today?” I have that power. Thus far, the daily answer is No. Along with this is, “I might die today” — what will be, will be. I don’t invoke “Jesus Christ” to get me through the day.

    One thing I took away from Christianity was I studied saints. I felt kinship with Julian of Norwich (County Norfolk, England). I often invoke her famous words, “All will be well.”

    💨Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  180. @Clarke aka Gwydion
    “So I’d like to ask the commentariat: how, today, do you ACTUALLY cope with the emotional realization of all this stuff that’s coming down”

    For me personally and a friend, it has been an emotional rollercoaster for sure. Sometimes despair, sometimes fleeing into diversions of any kind, sometimes wanting to fight for one’s fate.

    Deep pondering about the place of a single life in this universe in general. Looking at all the human fates of the past, ruminating on the meaning of life and death.

    Sometimes trying to live up to the mindset of martyrs, to the example of the religious people in the Gulag who were said to have accepted death gleefully, allthewhile being supportive to the people around them.
    Wondering, how it really feels when sticks go down, as opposed to now, an eerie semblance of normalcy pearced by the occasional clear signs of decay and the foreboding.

    Another coping mechanism, trying to be supportive and giving.

    Sometimes a feeling of relief, thinking how many atrocious things will simply cease to exist, sometimes an unholy derision looking at all the overblown egoes, “just you’ll wait!”

    Certainly deep introspection, walks in nature, talking to friends who understand (if at hand…).

    Sometimes immersion in drugs and alcohol.

    Yes most of all pondering the meaning of life and death. I have an old history book from the fifties, has many colored maps. Early mesopotamian period: kingdoms arise and cease to exist. Cities arise and face annihilation. A dry and short explanation of a historic event, no doubt however many human fates involved, many lives extinguished. And what did it mean to them?

    Ultimately, in my case, I guess, a spiritual path – training one’s mind to rule over one’s flesh and earthly desires. All the whil trying to score karma points. I know that isn’t the point of Karma, but still: every good and benevolent action is a win.

    A befitting song, in a way, is Crowbar’s “the foreboding” also.
    I think that song befits Europe now and the ecosophians in it.

    You can see it on Our Finite World: some resort to outright hard cynicism. Others start pondering about the meaning of life.

    Song, dance, spiritual practice, anything that allows introspection, generates life force, I think, is an apt means to cope.

  181. @Stephen alexander

    On smartphones:

    Dr. Manfred Spitzer of Germany lost quite a sum of funding for criticising “digitalization” especially in the context of children and early education.

    Certainly still a believer in progress, the mean is all the same a “criminal” of deep conviction: he could live easier and wealthy if he stayed silent.

    He has tons of presentations (unfortunately only in German) whwere he makes the effort to summarize just about every scientific study available to the topic.

    The studies are cited in official reports, but they are left uncommented while the main message is “digital good!”

    His verdict on the influence of especially smartphones is outright catastrophic. It is.

    My personal take on this: look how QUICKLY demographics like to shift at certain times, and HARD.

    I’ve said it to others more than once: such a generation is just easily replaced, faster than you’d think. By sturdy stock of people from, you know, ANYWHERE.

    And people understand that…it is uncomfortable!

    I don’t use a smartphone either. Tried a few years back for a few weeks – I rage quit that very quickly.

    I think materialism and material fetishism is outright demonic, and I think it no coincidence that so many new monuments (New YOrk Court Statue…) arer MEANT to be demonic.

  182. Siliconguy, it’s one of the many ways in which our culture’s obsession with gigantism is its fatal weakness. Wind turbines can work very well for a very long time if they’re relatively small. Scale them up to the current size and you’re dealing with forces few materials can withstand for that long.

    Dennis, that’s one of the reasons I don’t encourage people to dabble in magic. If you’re going to do it, take it seriously, and recognize the responsibility that comes with it!

    Anonymous, excellent! Yes, there’s a lot in that book, and the more you work with it, the more you’ll find.

    Michael, it’s a telling point, isn’t it?

    Njura, yes, it could.

    Aziz, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Curt, fascinating! Thanks for the update.

    J.L.Mc12, I haven’t read any of her books.

    Chuaquin, it depends utterly on whether anybody gets to work trying to find a way to preserve and sustain cinema through the deindustrial dark ages ahead. If that happens, it might endure for a while, or even scrape through to become one of the enduring art forms of our species. If not, I give it fifty years at most.

    Denis, the label “nativism,” like most such abstractions, has no fixed content, and so it can be used freely by people with influence to suppress discourses they don’t like. Ignore it, choose your beliefs and values on the basis of their own validity, and if someone waves around the word “nativism,” accuse them of racism for using the word “native.” Get in their face about it and don’t let them “derail” the conversation by bringing it back to their accusations against you. Turning the rhetoric of the woke against them is always good fun…

    Grover, fair enough. Now do equal diligence on the other raw materials that you use in your daily life. I’m sorry to say that cobalt is anything but unique.

    Pesci, as I see it, the Neopagan movement has run its course and is dying out. Once Pagan festivals stopped being crowds of young people with a few middle-aged “elders,” and turned into sedate groups of old people with a few youngsters, the writing was on the wall. Fifty years from now the Pagan scene will look like Spiritualism or Theosophy does today, a tiny little subculture with no impact on society.

    Degringolade, that’s gotten a huge amount of discussion in the Covid-skeptic scene. The general consensus is that it’s a very, very edgy parody — but nobody’s absolutely certain.

    Hereward, yep. That’s why I didn’t hazard a guess in the book!

    Murmuration, there are some very rich and complex philosophical questions about whether it’s even possible for a consciousness to be infinite, or to possess the other attributes the Abrahamic faiths assign to their god. You might be interested to now that Alfred North Whitehead argued in his philosophical writings for a god that can learn and grow over time — there’s a whole movement of process theology, as it’s called, which unfolds from that.

    Will1000, I use “spiritual” as a general term — anything oriented toward transcendent entities and states of being — and “religion” as a subset within that general term — an organized, formal social structure oriented toward such beings and states. I then differentiate “civil religion” as a term for organized, formal social structures that borrow the framework of religion but apply it to some secular, nontranscendent reality, such as progress or Marxist thought.

    Levitator, (1) magic is what human beings can do. Demons are not human, and neither are gods; they can do things we can’t. (4) Yes — kundalini work can be extremely dangerous if it’s not done carefully, under the direction of an experienced guru. Possession is one of the things that can happen; you can also simply fry your nervous system and drop dead.

  183. Augusto, I think your case study would be most interesting. I hope you can find a publisher.

  184. Just when we’ve reached peak insanity, behold! Yet another peak is surmounted! Today, I learn that the English word ‘the’ (as in the article ‘the’) can be hate speech:

    “And Then They Came For “The”: Associated Press Warns Use Of The Article Can Be “Dehumanizing””

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/and-then-they-came-associated-press-warns-use-article-can-be-dehumanizing

    It’s now trite to remark how one has to check the calendar to make sure it’s not April Fool’s Day, and how stories that wouldn’t have made plausible satire are news. Oh I can hardly wait for the wokesters to run with this and cancel the unwary. If I ever have grandkids and try to regale them with this history, they’ll just roll their eyes, think I’m a pathetic BS-er, and look into options for compassionate euthanasia.

    I’ll gratefully accept any tokens of sanity or humor (including gallows humor) from JMG and the commentariat.

    Can a sanity-vacuum become so dense as to implode?

    –Lunar Apprentice

  185. Jeanne, thank you for the correction. It seems I need to get back to the habit of keeping a reading log. Thanks also for the recommendations, the Starr sounds particularly interesting. Does he claim that the culture of Central Asia was destroyed by the Mongol invasions? I don’t know if it was or wasn’t; I only ask. I have read that the Mongols resettled many artisans and craftspersons into Mongolia. I have sometimes wondered if it might have been those transplanted who were the first Buddhist converts in Mongolia.

  186. Degringolade @187, JMG; I’ve come across that essay in other forums. Judging from the responses I’ve seen from both skeptics and kool-aide-swallowers, it appears to have been taken at face value.

    The best retort I’ve come across is: “We weren’t silent, we were silenced”. And ignored I might add.

    –Lunar Apprentice

  187. @Chauquin #178 – in the transition period, a good many movies may end up as plays done in community theaters. I enjoyed the Southwest Light Opera’s productions of Evita, Cabaret, and Peter Pan, among others, back when I could still hear and understand the actors without a hearing loop. But, yes, cinema will probably be a casualty of the Long Descent.

    There was a charming story in one of the After Oil anthologies about a family who was able to show movies and made their living with that, until a bandit attack cost them their screen. The children had amused themselves on the road by doing the dialog from some of the shows, and one of them found a way to save the day by doing so and setting up as a puppet theater. Three cheers for human – and teenaged – ingenuity!

  188. @Denis re: Native Americans – the various tribes prefer the term “Indian.” Or so they were saying the last time I listened to Native America Calling. The Hispanic population of Northern New Mexico, who trace their lineage back to the Conquistadores, draw a hard and fast distinction between themselves and ordinary Mexican immigrants, complete with derogatory names for the latter. As for other groups who’ve been here for a long, long time, they generally claim an identity along the lines of “Back to the Mayflower,” “Back to Columbus,” etc, or just, “clear back to 17xx, clear back to 18xx…..” And every last one of them seem to have wanted to close the door after them and lock it, except perhaps for their persecuted co-nationals in certain cases.

    Okay – as one whose maternal line goes way, way back in New England, and whose paternal line probably goes back to the major Scots-Irish immigration – whom the good settlers of Pennsylvania urged to continue going west until they reached the frontier, thank you very much – what can I say? Yes, of course those with a long history of working to build our country, and fighting for it, certainly have a right to make the claim and be proud of it. As for special rights above and beyond those of shorter lineages – or other long lineages (Back to the slave ships of the 1700s…; back to the French settlers in Louisiana..back to the Jews who fled persecution and made good lives for themselves.) I’m tempted to say what you get is bragging rights. The right to write and publish a book about your proud ancestors. The right to hang their pictures and medals on your walls and to live up to their deeds and records.

    Rights against recent immigrants? Depends on how they behave. Against letting any more in? The same as everybody else, and whether it makes sense in the context of today’s economy and/or political situation. Against them moving into places where other people couldn’t make a go of it? Sorry.

  189. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, the economics of the power system was never a consideration. Naively, I’d originally wanted to ‘go-deep-green’, nowadays my goals are less lofty, and I just hope it works and continues to do so. Ah, the come-down was real my friend. 🙂 Anyways, the economics of the stuff is horrendous and after fourteen years I reckon it’s about ten times per kWh compared to what people down here pay for a grid connection delivered kWh ($0.30/kWh). And to fix the latest issues with the system and plug up some resiliency gaps, the thing just consumed more mad cash. I have a dark suspicion that the power system is hungry for resources and that is what it is best at doing: “Feed me Chris!”

    However, due to the widely agreed upon industrial nations (!) policies of the continuing ‘green’ investment in their mains grid, the economic gap is rapidly closing. Who’d have thunk it? And seriously, the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the rising costs is palpable. They could have simply just asked my opinion and saved a lot of hassles. 😉

    I agree, robust and well tested technologies do tend to look different. I’d also point out that they are easily reproducible at a local level. And hey, some of the best technologies are biological in nature, such as locally adapted seeds. Plant breeding as a technology produces astounding results. And a pitchfork is a simple and robust technology too.

    Cheers

    Chris

  190. @Grover #181 cobalt from the Congo

    1) what JMG said about supplies of most anything really.
    You like food? How many birds and bunnies got mowed down by the combine gathering your oats and wheat? What’s the price/availability of seafood given the dead zones in the oceans (including Gulf of Mexico) caused by fertilizer runoff/minimal sewage treatment? Yet without that fertilizer, billions would starve. Without sewage systems, millions would die of cholera, etc. But hey, it costs money/time/care (you could be on social media or Netflix or watching sports) to closely plan/monitor/control fertilizer use, and right now it’s so cheap (cheap natural gas…) the attitude is “who cares?”
    (It’s depressing when one thinks about it, I know).

    2) the “concern” about child labor/unsafe working conditions is a first-world luxury of symbiotic guilt.
    The artisanal miners make great money vis-a-vis their country conditions, and routinely flout the law in various ways. It’s not just the rich folks jetting to Davos who can be cheap/greedy/reckless.
    https://www.africanews.com/2022/11/03/drcs-artisanal-cobalt-mines-tainted-by-lack-of-compliance//

    But then again, who are we to judge, given the history of Congo (kleptocracy, civil war, ethnic violence, …). People got to eat. If the outer world boycotted Congo cobalt, millions would starve/die in violence very soon. N.b. only 30% of the cobalt from Congo is mined “artisanally”. (numbers from 2018 here:)
    https://www.mining-technology.com/features/artisanal-mining-drc/

    3) there is already an initiative to (try to) fix things somewhat (though see above re artisanal miners flouting the law…)
    https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/cobalt-congo-mass-artisanal-mining-experiment-andy-home-2021-05-13/

    4) you could try to get/use lithium iron phosphate batteries (LFP) – not as good of energy density as lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) batteries, but safer.
    https://www.protoolreviews.com/lfp-vs-nmc-lithium-ion-batteries/

    n.b. LFP have improved enough in recent years to start to take market share in lower-end EVs, e.g. made in China Tesla base model Model 3 and Model Y now have LFP.
    https://insideevs.com/news/628303/ev-battery-lfp-share-september2022/
    https://zecar.com/resources/what-are-lfp-nmc-nca-batteries-in-electric-cars

    The reality is your personal boycott means nothing in the context of the 15 million EV buyers expected in 2023, though fortunately because it means nothing, no Congolese will starve because of your boycott.
    Though seriously, it is good not to buy a new computer/car/doodad unless one really needs to.

  191. Hello JMG and fellow commenters,

    I want to know if you can shed some light on a experience I had recently. My mother died this year and 14 days after that the lights went out in the house’s floor where she was living at. Did anybody else have a similar experience and is there a good explanation?

    Thanks in advance!

  192. @ Northwind Grandma, Thanks. Nice to hear other’s stories. Any tips on where/how to find community (in the real world)?

  193. @Chris at Fernglade Farm,

    Thank you! That’s a great idea. I’ve written that down and will apply it when I’m up and running. Good points on the blight, too.

  194. Thank you, seriously, thank you for this response. No more tight rope walking from me on this! My ancestors were the plainest, most regular people and I’m not looking for special treatment. I’m tired of feeling pushed out of my own country.

  195. #157 Bridge, #207 Patricia Mathews
    Sometimes, it becomes very clear that the latest change in language that the PMC adopts and tries to make you adopt, isn’t really something that people from the relevant group want, but actually a faction within the PMC for reasons of their own. Sometimes this is nothing more than joining a bandwagon and if you asked them why they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you or just resort to a thought-stopper.

  196. @ Mary Bennett re # 204

    The Mongol invasion varied in its effects. If you resisted the Mongol invaders you pretty much got wiped out in a brutal manner, largely as an example to others. Those who just submitted and didn’t fight back were treated more leniently. You don’t want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg after all. But the unlaying factors leading to the decline of the Central Asian powers was more complex and very difficult to sum up here. Economic decline, repeated conflicts, advent of the plague and even climatic shifts all had their effect. The book is well worth a read.

  197. Re 206: “@Chauquin #178 – in the transition period, a good many movies may end up as plays done in community theaters.”

    Perhaps after the transition period, nobody will have a clue about what “Glengary Glen Ross” was about. Now THAT would be a better world.

  198. JMG, Luke, Owain, Bei Dawei, thank you for your words of encouragement! So good to know that my gut was right on this one. I will file away the term ‘psychonaut’ for future reference. (I had mentally begun using the term ‘astral tourist’ when the topic came up in conversation). The JP Sears video on ayahuasca is golden, like so much of his stuff.

    So much for the quick trip to enlightenment. Now I’m curious, for my friends’ sake, to learn more about the downsides of psychedelics. Thanks again for the affirmations and links.

  199. Hey jmg

    Awhile ago you talked about the possibility of the internet being taxed in the future, and occasionally I have wondered how it would be done.

    I think the easiest way would it could be done is that internet providers would put a good and service tax on all their internet plans so that the tax is already paid for and accounted for with out any tricky calculations or monitoring of the customer. For an example, a $40 prepaid mobile plan that gives you 20GB would have a tax of 5c per GB added to it so you would have to pay $41.

  200. Mary Bennett (no. 204), yes, the Mongol Empire did resettle craftsmen to various locations within its territory (i.e. most of Asia, not just what we think of as “Mongolia”). It also protected traders (the “pax Mongolica”), and in general, avoided destroying cities if they could get them to surrender instead. As with earlier Inner Asian empires, its leaders received missionaries of all types–not just Buddhist–and ruled over multireligious populations. The Ilkhanids in Persia ultimately converted to Islam. In Tibet the Mongols supported the Sakya hierarchs, one of whom, Phagpa, created a new alphabet for them (not the one that’s used now), and spread Tibetan Buddhism among the Mongol court. Tibetan (Gelugpa) Buddhism became more associated with Mongol culture after the 16th century, when Altan Khan became a patron–and his great-grandson the recognized reincarnation–of the third Dalai Lama, and spread the religion among the general population. But even now Buddhism co-exists with shamanism there.

  201. @Tony C #111 not reducing carbon output yet

    Uh, the U.S., Germany, France and UK have all reduced their emissions per this:
    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/annual-co2-emissions-per-country

    Germany peak CO2 in 1979 at 1.12 billion tons, 2021 is down to 675 million.

    Now admittedly China and India have gone berserk, but many countries are headed in the right way.

    More data on US here:
    https://rhg.com/research/us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-2022/

    Need more aggressive policies to meet the Paris agreement by 2030 for sure.
    It is interesting that progress in both the US and Germany is held up by NIMBYs opposing transmission lines, etc.

    The US got a big break by swapping natural gas for coal in electricity generation.
    Germany got a lot of emissions reductions due to renewables.
    Neither country is anywhere near addressing demand reduction and efficiency, though Germany has a lot more going there, with stricter energy use building codes and more passive houses.

    The German Energiewende has been deemed a “massive failure” by some, but that seems like calling a glass that’s 90% full “empty”. And it runs to (at least) 2050, so rather premature to say it’s a failure.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energiewende

    Unfortunately the data on the wiki only goes to 2019, an update is at:
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-climate-targets

    An interesting chart down just past the middle of the above, it has the European countries listed, with info as to overachieving 2020 target, meeting or missing the target.
    Only nuclear heavy France missed their target.

    Further down, one can see a longer history of total GHG emissions from Germany back to 1850, they’ve reduced total emissions greatly, back to 1953/1942 levels, in spite of GDP and population growth.

    During the 1st half of 2022, renewables growth exceeded electricity demand growth for the first time.
    https://ember-climate.org/insights/research/global-electricity-mid-year-insights-2022/

    So there’s hope and examples, but will China and India follow? It’s policy and politics will tell.

  202. continuing the discussion of Hindu contexts from previous thread – thanks again JMG for response. Interesting subject. I’ve wiki-read a bit about Madhvacharya. It’s interesting to see the fine-grained splits that exist from Vedanta schools of thought. On the other hand I have a from the Vedanta Krishna conciousness school translation of the Bhagavad Gita with commentary. To my read the thinking in the text seems oddly atomic-molecular in the way it describes the soul presence in the body by way of explaining the verses about the manifestation and un-manifestation of the embodied soul, and I wonder if that materialism is part of Madhva’s ontological split or a sidenote. For me it’s a pin in it to return if/after I get capable enough in SanSkrit to read Madhva texts direct. I am on a mailing list and get all kinds of academic publications on Hindu studies. These range from the comically banal to interesting context. One discusses how the Yuga theories have been ported into New Age thinking. ‘Time in the Mahabharata and the Time of the Mahabharata’ by Luis Gonzalez-Reimann gives some good context on the Yugas. (Someone asked.) Pandavas and Draupadi in Gupta Deogarh DasavataraTemple by Indrajit Bandyopadhyay is my favorite. The paper is simply about this relief of 6 figures in a temple and arguments for why and which Pandavas from Draupadi through the five brothers is which based on body language and artifact.

  203. Many thanks for the links JMG.

    As for the “Christian Occultists”. True. Although I don’t like the use of Jesus name in any form of Occultism.

    As the Lord Jesus said in the Gospels. There are those who claim to be Christian but are wolves in sheep’s clothing. And Saint Paul anathematizes anyone who changes the Gospel in any way from how it is originally. Even if an Angel does it.

    Hence as a result us Christians have to be quite “narrow-minded” as you observed about myself and other Christians so as to prevent alien ideas and doctrines from corrupting orthodoxy. And to put at risk our own salvation in the process.

    Hence anything that smells like syncretism is automatically suspicious.

  204. “Degringolade, that [the IQFI post on “Unvaccinated Silence]’s gotten a huge amount of discussion in the Covid-skeptic scene. The general consensus is that it’s a very, very edgy parody — but nobody’s absolutely certain.”

    It has just the right 2+2=petunia quality to it that I can’t quite dismiss the possibility that this is the next step of the madness….

  205. All – Big headline on the front page of the Washington Post today: “GDP Climbed by 2.1% in 2022: but fears persist as growth tapers” (by Abha Bhattarai). I looked carefully through this story, which occupies almost a full page of print (mostly inside the A section) and could find no clarification as to whether the growth is nominal or inflation-corrected. The overall tone of the article is hopeful, bordering on triumphant, that “growth” is returned after the pandemic; we’re back on trend. But what about the inflation? 2% growth with 6% inflation sounds like 4% shrinkage to me. And, if growth is “tapering” faster than inflation is, I find the news not at all reassuring.

    So, what keeps me cheerful in these times? Modern medical science saved the life of my wife, about six years ago, from cancer. I have cold-tolerant greens coming up in the garden (under glass), and the fall kale seedlings seem to have survived the sub-freezing cold snap of a few weeks ago. There’s still a stack of butternut squashes in the basement, waiting to be cooked. And fresh salad greens, sprouted squash seeds that would otherwise go into the compost bin, are showing up in my salads. The garden produces, really, no more than a token amount of food, but every year gets better, and it could be scaled up if we decided to do so. A local store sells “grind it yourself” peanut butter, so I know that it’s fresh and pure (and I eat it almost every day).

    And, I’m wearing some down-filled booties that keep my feet reasonably warm! The thermostat in the hall says 70F, but the thermometer on the wall next to me says 63F. It’s cooler than optimally comfortable, but optimal comfort is a luxury that I’m not willing to purchase at the cost to the environment, or the home budget, that it demands.

  206. @jmg and all — they release that video of the Memphis arrest — I am shocked at the brutality.

    It seemed almost demonic.

  207. Lunar, indeed it does. When a sanity vacuum becomes too intense, yes, it implodes, and takes a lot of overinflated reputations with it. I expect a very loud popping sound sometime in this decade. As for the essay, that’s a nice comeback. There’s also a meme:

    Chris, I used to be very excited about alternative sources of electricity, too — and then I started paying attention to the people who were actually trying to do it. These days? My guess is that the future is going to have very, very little electricity in it.

    Engineer, did anything else unusual happen? That kind of thing can be an indication that someone’s trying to send a message, but in that case you’d expect other events, such as seeing or hearing a ghost.

    Denis, you’re most welcome. Remember, if they argue, to demand that they check their privilege. They have no idea what that means either.

    J.L.Mc12, that’s certainly one way to do it. It’s also been suggested repeatedly that putting a fee of 1 cent per email sent would do wonders to eliminate spam!

    Nitsuj, I’ll be leaving this for my Hinduism-literate readers, as most of it’s right over my head.

    Info, it’s always interested me to note that people like you insist that the Christian occultists are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, while the Christian occultists — noting the persistent tendency of the mainstream to turn to whatever level of persecution it can get away with — tend to think that people like you are the ones who cry “Lord, Lord” but don’t follow through on it. Still, not my religion, not my quarrel.

    Lathechuck, of course they didn’t mention whether it’s corrected or not — nor how accurate that figure for inflation is. (To judge by the price of food, it’s massively understated.)

    Jerry, well, that’s what you get from watching mainstream media, I suppose.

  208. Clark 211

    @ Northwind Grandma, Thanks. Nice to hear other’s stories. Any tips on where/how to find community (in the real world)?

    Cr_p. That is a hard question. It depends. I found remote resources, like books and magazines, are a start. The thing is, people local to you are the people local to you, and chances are they don’t read the same stuff.

    One universal is need is all around us. “People need,” “animals need,” “plants need,” “beings need,” for that matter, “stones need.” Find a being to help. Then another. And so on. There is a high probability that people will see and want to be friends. Then want to be friends with each other. Then another. Friends meet. See what comes from friends meeting.

    This is pretty open-ended. I have no idea where in the world you are.

    If you are in California, forget it. There, people move around so much that chances are good that a friend you make today will be gone tomorrow. This is part of the reason why I left. I mourned friendships’ ending because they moved away more than actually enjoying the person when they were around — I experienced grieving upon grieving due to caprice.

    I made a vow to myself in the early 2000s that when I move, I would go to a place where there is a choice of Buddhist and mediation groups. That is why I ended up in Dane County, Wisconsin. Madison is a small city with a comparatively high concentration of Buddhists. Many other religions have groups here: Sikh, Cambodian Buddhism, three or four Tibetan groups. There is choid. Madison has a vibe.

    To boot, at age 65, I realized I had never lived in a community of people of my own ethnicity, and that I wanted, no, needed, no, craved, no, yearned, to be around people who in my case are German (and Dutch). My Germans came to the USA around 1705 during the Palatine German migration to New York State and Pennsylvania. And ethnically Dutch. Germany and Holland, that is who I want to die near to. I have suffered because I haven’t been around “my people.” It was compounded that I didn’t know who my people were, but after thirty-five years of researching my genealogy, I knew exactly who my people are. German and/or Dutch represent my all-female line. I grew up with Italians, and later lived among Mexicans — I always felt awkward. I want to be around people to do the polka and know the role of foot-stomping in their cultures. (Foot stomping is a thing where snow is, because stomping in the snow increases the depth of a footfall, which leads to less slipping and falling.)

    JMG knows that I touch on this subject now and then: it is a race thing. It is a psychically and physically mitochondrial DNA thing.

    Anyway, sorry to get sidetracked. How did I get on this?

    Oh, it depends on where you live. If you want to explore, find a Unitarian-Universalist (UU) group. There are safe to be around while you fumble trying to figure out which way is up. But don’t expect a UU person to know doodly-twat about Christianity — they are dumb and dumber. The problem is, most every UU person is flailing too.

    I am rambling now so it is time to sign off.

    💨😢*Northwind Grandma
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

    *The sad yellow face is the perpetual sadness I feel of the oncoming sorrow of the long descent. It certainly is sad that there are thrice as many humans on earth than the earth can support, where the population will need to be cut by two-thirds within a hundred years. That automatically means wars. People don’t know how to “live while sad.” I went through the rage part around 1990. “Living while raging” was really hard — and another story.

    For me, living while sad is like living while sitting, or living while gazing out a window, or living while walking in rain. It is all the same.

  209. Anonymous (#156), I remember at some point doing the standard Middle Pillar ritual, it’s powerful stuff as all the Golden Dawn current is, but eventually couldn’t handle the higher grades and kept on learning in theory and went into a solitary path, also because I’m still living with family. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you born Jewish? I’m of the belief that you should not invoke the Tetragram unless you’re connected to the diety on a personal level, meaning you’re Jewish. It’s basically the name of the demiurge, no wonder the four letters express the process of “creation” and thus affecting the material, you should be REALLY careful when dealing with that name, it’s better left alone, the Levi priesthood understood this.

    If you were born Christian or Muslim, you’re actually worshipping a different diety, the latter don’t worship the demiurge and thus should invoke their own sacred names accordingly. I know this is against the mainstream but that’s just how I see it. I could go on all day about WHY I think so but I wouldn’t want to “offend” anyone, especially John.

    I’d suggest meditation and prayer to connect with your Higher Self and eventually develop your own way to evoke your Holy Guardian Angel, plain and simple.

  210. JMG, Rod Dreher said nice things about your disenchantment essay. It was in an email he sent out so I can’t give you a link, sorry.

    Collapse Aware Engineer, my dad liked coffee. We don’t. We occasionally smell it around Sonkitten’s computer during closed-window season. Since our religion emphatically warns against trying to contact the deceased, we’ve never responded in any way, suggest you don’t either. It could be your deceased loved one has found a way to say Hi, it could be a demon deceiving you—the problem is we mere people have no way to tell which.

  211. JMG,

    Do you really think my family and I haven’t gone to some pretty extreme measures to reduce our impact across the board? Maybe the cobalt mess isn’t unique, but it sure seems like something that’s worth closer attention!

    Sunnnv,

    Thank you for your detailed response, and the links, but I don’t buy the idea that civilization “saves” poor people from their “wretchedness” with our “jobs.” They were arguably enjoying much better lives before. (Although I’m sure that the DRC is a particularly convoluted story.) If you haven’t read it, I can heartily recommend Christopher Ryan’s book “Civilized to Death.” Cheers, and thanks again!

  212. @sunnnv

    C’mon really?

    ‘China and India going berserk’ is the critical part of the whole equation. The reason the per country emissions of Western Europe (and other western nations) have gone down while maintaining living standards is because they have outsourced the majority of dirty industries to… China and India and other Asian countries.

    The global economy is (but maybe not for long) an interconnected system, so individual country emissions are meaningless. It’s just fancy accounting. If you could include the emissions of every product used in Western Europe, what would the picture look like?

  213. A lot of thanks for your opinions on cinema future, JMG, Patricia Mathews and Phutatorius. I can say that in my country there’s a vault in the capital city that saves a lot of movies in old film, they it could last a century. but I think if there’s not a machine to project them and a screen, who ciuld see them in a distant future?

  214. @Patricia M I’m not sure if you are arguing with me, agreeing with me, or sharing your opinion or a mix. I have asperger’s and I don’t understand all the side conversations in the comments here. I find it hard to follow so I just ask JMG a few questions each open post that I have on a list, and just read his responses. I also answer anything about homeschool or raising kids today since I just did that and I believe I’m younger than most of the other commenters here.

  215. JMG, can I ask a possibly daft question of you, please? Regarding Dennis’ tale of wishing he could walk with his girlfriend without the dog pulling all the time, which then resulted in an injured dog, magically (though unconsciously on his part ) achieving his desired goal.

    Is the key part of this, that he had previously experimented in magic – or does anyone simply wishing/thinking about a particular preferred or desired outcome run some risk too? If so, I’m going to have to do a lot of thought editing from “I’d love to own that field” to my nightly wish that all the people in the world having a miserable time will have a better one in the morning.

    I’m sure this simply exhibits my ignorance of such things (which is the case) but if you don’t ask, I suppose you never learn.

  216. Dear JMG, you replied to Peter “The thing I’d point out is that fusion power, even if it could be made to work, isn’t limitless; the fuel may be cheap but the reactors are insanely expensive, and demand colossal resource inputs and other costs.”
    It is even worse. It happens that the fusion process we try to exploit on earth in the so-called “fusion reactors” is the fusion of the nuclei of deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen with one proton and one extra neutron in its nuclei) and tritium (another isotope of hydrogen, this time with one proton and two extra neutrons). Deuterium is stable, but only around 0.01% of hydrogen atoms on earth are deuterium atoms, and we know how to extract it from water, separating the “heavy water” (where hydrogen atoms are replaced by deuterium ones) from ordinary one. On the other hand, tritium is unstable, and its half-life is around 12 years : this means that after 12 years, half of the existing tritium atoms would have spontaneously disappeared by radioactive decay, after 24 years a quarter remains, and so on. So tritium does not exist naturally on earth in any significant amount: it has to be man-produced. It is mainly extracted from radioactively contaminated water from the CANDU nuclear reactors, and the worldwide stock is currently around 20 kg. Typical production rate is a few grams per fission reactor and per year. Fusion aficionados are talking about producing the tritium by using the escaping neutrons from the fusion reactor to hit lithium-6 atoms from a lithium layer set up around the fusion reactor tokamak, but the industrial process associated exists mainly on engineers chalk boards.
    So, the situation of nuclear fusion is even worse: the supposed future future reactors are huge and very expensive industrial plants, that a collapsing industrial society cannot really afford, and *the fuel they would run on does not even exist on earth* and the envisioned process to produce it (tritium) has never been tested on any significant industrial scale. In ITER for instance, there would be no production of tritium from lithium at the maint plant at Cadarache (France) (there would be no process to capture the produced energy either, this is planned for the next “DEMO” reactor, around 2050). At this stage, nuclear fusion is a very costly wet dream and will probably remain so forever.

  217. I understand the ambivalence that some feel about organ transplants; I am in that camp myself.

    That said, I know two living people that donated organs. My friend received a kidney from her husband (we have two kidneys, of course) and my god-daughter gave part of her liver (the liver will quickly regenerate, our only organ that can do that).

    Both donors said the experience was overwhelmingly positive, extraordinary and meaningful. Naturally the recipients were very grateful.

  218. @JMG (and anyone else)

    I have a few Crowley books that my late brother collected – he never dabbled in Thelemic “magick”, thankfully, but just bought them out of curiosity.

    Now I don’t like Crowley at all, and I’m not keen on having any of his books in my collection, but I’m open to the possibility that there might be some nuggets hidden amongst the dross in there. Are there any books that you would recommend as having some worthwhile material?

  219. @sunnnv Thanks for sharing the data. I think a lot of the US and European recent reductions in CO2 are due to outsourcing their industry to other countries like China.

    It would be interesting to see emissions by countries according to what they consume each year, and what that produces in CO2 on a global level, including what China emits for them to produce and transport the goods.

  220. @ those interested: The third chart on this page shows that the only regions that have reduced their CO2 emissions in recent years are the USA and the European Union, in part by outsourcing their industry to other parts of the world, so it does not count what they emit with their consumption.
    On the chart, they now represent just 20% of the word’s carbon emissions.

    All other regions of the world have increased their emissions massively since the year 2000.

    ‘Annual Co2 emissions by world region’ :
    https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions

    World emissions have gone from 25 billion tons in 2000 to 37 billions in 2021 .

  221. JMG, as an engineer I agree with your prediction that the future will have very little electricity. The technologies to create it on any kind of scale are too fragile, maintenance intensive and short lived to last any time in the future. Also none of these technologies has a high enough energy payback to replicate themselves. Even the most modern high tech wind turbines do not put out enough energy to be economically useful while putting out enough surplus energy to build their replacements.
    I do think that for a bit longer (maybe a 100 years or so) we will have a few concentrations of semi-sophisticated urban and manufacturing areas clustered around the few large scale hydro sites in the world. Long grids and high voltage inter-ties are too fragile and easily disrupted to continue carrying electricity to far flung areas from the few centers of hydro-power. So if the changing climate doesn’t get us we may see centers of population and technology in the PNW, Tennessee and upstate NY. Without the whole suite of energy intensive materials, and equipment from the ” Hydro Poor” parts of the world these ” Hydro Havens” will not be what we recognize today. But they may have enough energy to turn out bike tubing, mass agricultural parts and arms, maybe even support a University or Symphony. But nothing lasts forever and the power from these dams will eventually fail due to the silting of the reservoirs that drive them. People don’t talk about this bugaboo with hydro but it is well documented and also clear in historical accounts that any time you trap moving water to use it for energy, your trap eventually fills up with silt and becomes useless. Even the mighty dams on the Columbia will eventually fill up and become useless, just as the power to maybe fix things disappears.

  222. sunnv – When comparing countries against their progress in meeting climate goals, how do we account for emissions displacement from one country to another? For example, steel-making burns lots of carbon. The US (and other countries) import lots of steel from China and India. It doesn’t make any sense to crow about the carbon we didn’t burn domestically, because it was burned in China and India, to make the goods that we had shipped here. And it doesn’t make sense to blame them for the carbon that they burned making the goods that we purchased.

  223. Re: unintentional/innate magical abilities

    The way I see it is that many of us come into the world “wired” for a certain type of interaction with the subtle planes – just like some people are tall and some are naturally talented pianists and some have a predilection for learning languages.

    My mother has a natural gift of being able to directly perceive and interact with nonphysical beings and forces. This has formed a central pillar of her life in a very positive way, but has come at a cost of making it difficult for her to feel physically present in the material world in the usual way.

    I inherited none of that, but instead I seem to have an ability to influence the weaving of the pattern by setting an intention (i.e. what I want or need tends to show up unexpectedly) and also an intuitive sense of what is the correct answer or best course of action in a given moment. This served me well in school, and I can often end up where I need to be by turning where it feels right to turn. On the flip side, obsessive focus on any outcome is directly disruptive. Arriving packages that I obsessively track are nearly guaranteed to be delayed.

    I guess I would disagree with the perspective that these abilities are necessarily disruptive in the absence of formal occult training. I see it more as analogous to physical wellness; it’s helpful to have a healthy diet and regular exercise, but only necessary to consult a doctor or physiologist if something is amiss.

  224. I’ve been thinking about the optimal amount of information technology this week. At some point, we passed diminishing returns and into outright rebound– out tech harms us as much or more than it helps. Most of us here would put an internet-connected smartphone in that category, I think. (Take it offline and the camera and calculator do come in handy, at least for me.)

    I’d say broadcast TV is in the ‘greater negatives’ category, but radio gets a pass.
    The home computer is more ‘high tech’ than TV, but I give it a pass… up to a point. I mean the 90s clunker that stayed on a desk in the family room or the den and enhanced life with word processing, spreadsheets and Microsoft Encarta. It didn’t cause too many problems. It was worth having around. Even the early internet was handy– you know, when we called it Cyberspace or the World Wide Web, when it was all reference websites written by obsessives and autistics, and e-mail lists were the closest thing to social media. I’d keep e-mail itself, since doesn’t have too many downsides vs paper makes up for it by being so much faster. Once we started making the computers portable with wireless connection, and the internet expanded, though? That’s when the downsides started to grow, and grow, and grow. I’m typing this on a laptop at the kitchen table over wi-fi and … none of that makes my life better. It enables behaviors that make my life worse. My neck hurts. My wrists hurt. I should wrap this up and do something else.

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately, though, and not just because of the pain. Especially as it regards the next generation. Kids are being raised with way too much tech, but is it best to keep it out of their lives entirely? I want to be conscious about my family’s use of technology, but I can’t afford to go Amish because of my job, and I can’t in good conscience ask my kids to do something I cannot.

    Still, going back to the equivalent of 1995 on the computer front, without TV, and keep the phone but ditch the data plan– I think that’s the balance I’d like to try and strike. I’m sure others have other ideas of what would work for their families, and I would love to hear them.
    JMG and everyone,
    What do you think the optimal amount of information technology is for you and yours?

  225. @Lathechuck,

    As you probably know, government spending is part of the GDP. I find it funny when they spend over a trillion dollars and then say that GDP grew! It’s smoke and mirrors.

  226. “Erika, yep. Or, for that matter, Babylon, or Cahokia, or Anyang, before their respective falls.”

    nah, Papa– you can’t cover this like a cat making the covering litter move on shiny linoleum; you’re CAREFUL as a writer! i think that you were THERE at the fall of rome…it wasn’t a SIMILE or metaphor!

    (devious smile)

    it’s like you’ve come BACK for this.
    at least that’s MY story and i’m sticking to it

    x

    erika

  227. @Ecosophia Readers

    Readers, I need a few brave guinea pigs to help me dip my toes in providing tarot spreads for reader questions. I am testing an astrological house spread to see if it helps provide clarity. Also offered are 1 card, 3 card and 6 card spreads. Other spreads can be used if said brave guinea pig has a particular one in mind they’d like me to use. I offer 6 different kinds of Tarot decks though my primary one these days is Sri Arya’s deck. His unique additions and additional clarifications to the traditional Marseille deck are just amazing. It’s become my favorite deck. However, I have other decks available for use as well.

    There’s also JMG’s Sacred Geometry oracle which I’ll be offering at a later date.

    Anyway…like I said. I’d be grateful for a few people volunteering to be guinea pigs for me. I will post the response to my Dreamwidth blog.

    You can send a test question to my inbox here:

    https://happypanda.dreamwidth.org/

  228. The grandson of President Chester Arthur was apparently into the occult:

    “Chester Alan Arthur III, chiefly 1900-1972, relate to the Irish republican movement and to his founding of the magazine Dune Forum, activities with the Utopian Society of America, and interest in poetry, free-lance writing, astrology, the occult, and sexology. Includes a manuscript of his book, The Circle of Sex (1962), and of an unfinished biographical study of the Arthur family.”

    That’s from the finding aid for family papers collected at the Library of Congress.

  229. Your Kittenship, interesting. I wonder what he’ll think when he sees where I’m going with it.

    Grover, hmm — I think you missed the point I was trying to make. Cobalt mining is no worse than dozens of other arrangements that support the modern industrial system. That being the case, why do you think the corporate-backed NGO sector is trying to whip up outrage about that particular subject right now? You can be very sure that the media campaign that caught your attention wasn’t produced for altruistic reasons…

    Chuaquin, exactly. As with so many other things, if cinema’s not preserved as a living tradition, it’s not going to be preserved in any sense that matters.

    Marsh, good heavens, no. If you don’t have magical training, your chances of making something like that happen is pretty minimal.

    Laurent, thank you for this! I knew that there were problems with the fuel chain, but I didn’t know that they were that extreme.

    Phil, so noted! Thank you for the data point.

    Luke, Crowley’s a very, very mixed bag. I don’t find any of his work useful; I used to own a number of his books, and got rid of them prior to a move quite a few years ago, since I’d had zero reason to use them for years before then. At this point, it’s also fair to note, his copyrights have lapsed into the public domain so everything he wrote can be downloaded for free. But others may have their own suggestions.

    Tony C, thanks for this.

    Clay, oh, granted! I expect electricity to survive on a middle-to-small scale over the long term wherever there’s a good sustainable source, such as a hydropower plant that doesn’t run off a lake penned up behind a dam — the Niagara plant is one example. I also expect metal-acid batteries to remain in use as a source of modest amounts of direct current for specialized applications, such as radio. More generally? It’s a fascinating question, whether future societies will figure out more resilient and sustainable electricity sources.

    Mark, to some extent you’re comparing apples and oranges. The OP asked about disruptive results of dabbling in magic, not about inborn abilities. I agree with you, for what it’s worth — those with innate abilities along these lines seem to be able to get along pretty gracefully; it’s those who artificially boost their abilities but don’t take up any systematic means of controlling them that tend to land in trouble.

    Epileptic, that’s a worthwhile question. For me, a computer that can handle basic word processing is very helpful, as my writing is improved no end by multiple edits, but the most advanced phone I’d want is a land line with a rotary dial — please get me a live operator, not a pushbutton phone tree that leads nowhere! I value internet archives of old occult documents — I’ve obtained a fantastic amount of material that was all but unavailable thirty years ago — but most of the rest of the internet would be a distraction at best if I used it at all. This blog? I’d be just as happy if it was a regular article in a weekly magazine, with a large letters to the editor section.

    Erika, sshhhh! 😉

    Panda, thanks for this.

    Denis, no surprises there. The mid-20th century was full of people like him. That said, thank you — I’ll look him up.

  230. @Lathechuck my research on this topic is that all growth numbers in the media do not account for inflation (on top of that shadowstats and some other economists have shown that the government has a big incentive to downplay the real rate of inflation), so the economy has actually been shrinking for many years.

    The only way I know to fight this is to have a business that allows to increase prices regularly, or a career that gives sufficient revenue for the long-term.

  231. All –
    This post is partly about energy, but also about misleading rhetoric. “How to Lie with Statistics”, if you will. Maybe it would be a useful exercise to get out the “logical fallacies” bingo card and see how many squares I can cover.

    The latest issue of Science News (Jan 28, 2023) has a cover story: “The Climate Fix: Here’s how we can solve our planet’s greatest challenge”. Unsurprisingly, I find that the numbers don’t add up. First of all, the article lacked numeric information on many aspects of the argument. E.g., “Challenges include figuring out ways to store and transmit all that extra electricity…” Wait. What “extra” electricity? Second, it used numbers as isolated fact-oids, without context. E.g., “China [has] 306 gW [solar power capacity], nearly 13% of the nation’s installed capacity to generate electricity”. Sounds good? The trick here is the term “installed capacity to generate”… that’s “the rating guaranteed not to be exceeded under ideal conditions”. As has been documented in this blog elsewhere, actual utilization of that capacity is much less, and can be minuscule for days at a time.

    Using my own system (mid-Maryland) as an example, over the last 8 years, we’ve generated 43.6 MWh of energy, on a system rated for 5.25 kWpk. That works out to 11.9% utilization. Applying this ratio to China, their PV systems cover less than 2% of demand. (Yet, due to intermittency and location, they can’t actually use all that they generate this way.)

    There’s no mention of the resources that will be needed to implement the grand green growth, nor the extra energy needed to pump CO2 through pipelines into sequestration facilities.

    What are we to make of this? “wind and solar power production roughly quadrupling by 2030 to the the US to net-zero by 2050.” What do they imagine happening between 2030 and 2050? Continued exponential growth?

    One of the goals expressed in a full-page chart is “100 of lighting sales are LED”, by 2030. EIA says that lighting accounts for just 5% of total electricity consumption now, so there’s just not that much more juice to squeeze from that orange. Why bother to include it, if not to distract us from the heavy lifting?

    In the end, it confirms the idea that Robert Morgan (?) made up the thread: the only people who put numbers into the alternative energy discussion are the ones showing that it can’t work.

  232. I’m seeing some references to “Gnosticism” here, and I would like to note that the term “Gnosticisme” was first used by Henry More in the 17th Century. (More is most famous today as the editor of [i]Saducismus triumphatus, or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions in two parts[/i]).

    This has caused a lot of confusion among scholars who apply the definition to post-Christian sects, then say that there are no “pre-Christian Gnostic sects” because you don’t see any pre-Christian Gnostic religion that includes a Suffering Redeemer Rescuing Light out of Darkness etc. As a result, they dismiss “Gnosticism” as a mere Christian heresy.

    The Persian, Indian, Egyptian, and Babylonian ideas that underpinned the “Gnostic” sects certainly existed throughout the region for centuries — the return of the Jewish exiles from the Babylonian captivity and the Greco-Buddhist kingdoms in the post-Alexandrine Empire were two sources, and Alexandria was another place famous for synthesizing Egyptian, Semitic, and Greek ideas. There’s a shortage of written material from these earlier sects because they — like Jesus, who only gets quoted second-hand decades after his crucifixion — relied on oral teachings.

    I did not know this until I stumbled upon the fact while researching John the Baptist, and so far as I can tell, few other people — including most modern writers on “Gnosticism” — know it either. It is a useful term for describing groups of small religious sects that shared some common ideas, but you should keep in mind that no Valentinian, Simonian, Basileaean, Sethian, or other “Gnostic” ever applied that term to their religious practices or to themselves.

    Also had one of those eye-rolling moments when I read an article by an astronomer who said that the 31 AD lunar eclipse which may have taken place around the time of the Crucifixion could not be important, because it would not have been visible from Jerusalem’s latitude.

    If only astrologers in the Roman Empire had access to charts and tables of houses that would let them calculate star positions without climbing up their ziggaruts. And if only lunar eclipses were among the easiest things for an astrologer to calculate. (To put this in perspective, a 4th Century Christian writer noted that the “blood red moon” described in the Gospels would have to be a lunar eclipse, since solar eclipses only happen during a new moon and Passover, like lunar eclipses, always happens on a full moon).

  233. @Denis #235 – sharing my opinions and providing data on southwestern people with deep roots in this country, among other things. I wasn’t quite sure what you wee trying to say, either, except that you felt your family’s heritage was being crowded out – which I can surely understand! Though my father’s was Western Pennsylvania Scots-Irish, and while I don’t belong to that culture, I can admire it – I greatly enjoyed a book by, I think it was Jim Webb? On that heritage. And they’re tough and adaptable. I have friends whose roots were in West Virginia; likewise one whose roots are deep in the Midwest. I belong to the I’ve Been Moved generation, alas, and have often wondered where my own roots are. For what that’s worth.

    One thing you may also be sensing is the affluent younger generations’ refusal of any local identity or loyalties, but their pride in being “citizens of the world.”

  234. Hi John Michael,

    All true. And not to worry, I’m working on lower-tech arrangements as well. 🙂 However, because of the wider economic arrangements in our society, I’m required to work in exchange for mad cash, which then is demanded to be returned to the same (or similar) folks as issued the stuff. It’s an ingenious strategy, but things like a car and/or energy become requirements. There are alternative avenues, but they are not to my liking, and I suspect are made especially unappealing in order to provide an incentive or object lesson to continue with the carousel. Oh well.

    Hey, I’m coming around to the idea that it’s not possible to employ high tech approaches to correct the predicament facing civilisation, after all a strong argument could be made that it was a high tech approach which got us here in the first place. The renewable energy tech issues I’ve been banging on about lately (sorry! 🙂 ) are a good example: the stuff doesn’t scale, but the wider narrative says that it must scale. Bonkers.

    Cheers

    Chris

  235. Levitator and Dusan, a few years back I read ‘Divine Intervention’ (2004) by an English woman named Hazel Courteney.

    ‘On April 7, 1998, Hazel Courteney’s life was transformed beyond recognition. She became telepathic, affected electrical equipment, levitated, and began pulsing a healing energy through her eyes. To her mounting incredulity, she also began receiving messages from the “spirit world.” ‘

    She also describes in lengthy detail her levitation and manifestation of vibhuti (sacred elephant dung, in the Hindu tradition). She believed herself possessed by the late Princess Diana, of all people, and to be getting messages from her. She had once sat next to Diana at a dinner. I would normally groan at such stuff, as I am an Englishman and did not have a high opinion of Diana, nor did I ever want to read anything about her. However, it was the pulsing eyes description that attracted me. I had such an experience in October 2018, when green concentric circles seemed to be emanating from my eyesight, which triggered various paranormal effects, and one of them was to heal the horrible cauliflower ear of a young lad in the supermarket, and just because I felt sorry for him – not because I willed it. My eyesight returned to normal after a few days, and the paranormal effects also ceased. The optician had found nothing wrong with my eyesight, nor was it a migraine aura, because the circles disappeared when I closed my eyes – a migraine aura does not.

    The author goes into detail about the changes in her health as a result of her experience, and photos record her weight loss and haggard looks. I believe she was sincere in what she recorded, but it gave me no insights into my own experience. Some think she was experiencing a kundalini, and indeed the Hindu effects, such as the emanation of vibhuti, reinforce that interpretation. In my own case, I believe my eyes were triggered by the installation outside my flat door of a smoke alarm with a green light. The green colour of my pulsing concentric circles seemed to resonate with the green of that light. For the record, I don’t take drugs or alcohol or smoke, so I had no easy answer to why this occurred. It all seemed a bit Philip K Dick.

  236. JMG, it’s a (rare) freebie from Rod’s Substack—send me your (or someone’s) e-mail and I’ll forward it.

  237. @Clay #242

    “the power from these dams will eventually fail due to the silting of the reservoirs that drive them. People don’t talk about this bugaboo with hydro but it is well documented and also clear in historical accounts that any time you trap moving water to use it for energy, your trap eventually fills up with silt and becomes useless. Even the mighty dams on the Columbia will eventually fill up and become useless, just as the power to maybe fix things disappears.”

    The power available in falling water depends entirely on how much water and how far it falls, and not at all on the amount of water stored behind a dam. The Niagara Falls power plant generates the same amount of electricity as a dammed reservoir with equal height and flow, and silting up of the Columbia River reservoirs will not affect the turbine capacity provided that the intakes are raised above the silt.

    As reservoirs fill with silt, storage capacity is obviously lost, which impacts flood control and the ability for turbine throughput to exceed natural river flow during drier seasons. Siltation should also, however, make the dams safer as they begin to age and fail, with less potential for catastrophic flooding.

  238. Lathechuck, thank you for this! Exactly; the idea that we can sustain our current lifestyles on renewable energy resources is pure handwavium. (That doesn’t mean, of course, that we’re going to sustain those lifestyles on something else. What it means is that those lifestyles cannot be sustained.) The people who believe in the transition to renewable energy are caught up in a civil mythology, which requires them not to pay attention to the bitter reality shown by the numbers.

    Kenaz, I didn’t happen to know that More was the inventor of the English term. It’s only fair to point out, however, that by the time of Plotinus, if not earlier, believers in the traditions now given that name were being called gnostikoi. See Ennead II.9, which Porphyry titled “Against the Gnostics.”

    Chris, nah, I appreciate your talking about the problems with your PV system. Maybe that’ll help keep other people from relying too much on something of the sort.

    Your Kittenship, duly emailed.

    Berserker, yep. At this stage of the game the entire point of such things is to maximize the number of people in the managerial class getting big salaries for doing as little as possible.

  239. Luke Dodson (no. 239), I’m a fan of his love poem, “Leah Sublime.” It’s Crowley at his crowleyest.

    Marsh (no. 236), the Buddhists say this world is like a wish-fulfilling jewel, so we should be careful what we wish for! Mahayanists always begin by cultivating bodhicitta, which at the relative level, means love and compassion for all sentient beings, and the wish for them to become enlightened.

  240. “it’s always interested me to note that people like you insist that the Christian occultists are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, while the Christian occultists — noting the persistent tendency of the mainstream to turn to whatever level of persecution it can get away with — tend to think that people like you are the ones who cry “Lord, Lord” but don’t follow through on it.”

    Of course. I don’t think Christianity and Magick can mix. Given the prohibition against practices of Magick in the Mosaic Law that confirms that view(Deuteronomy 18:9-12). And the cursing of Simon the Magician who tried to buy Miraculous Powers of the Holy Spirit with money(Acts 8:9-25)

    I dunno how they get around that prohibition.

    The only valid form of “Miracles” is either for the validation of Prophecy since Miracles do accompany Prophecy and Prophets. Or the Sacraments. Or exorcism in the name of Jesus.

    As for Christian occultists. Its understandable we disagree. It certainly is a conflict that existed since the Apostles and Church Fathers.

    If one’s very own soul is at stake. Then the acrimony is understandable.

  241. Denis – A few things you might like to know about Washington DC:
    1. you can get calming classical music on WETA 90.9 FM, when you’re stuck in traffic.
    2. You can get reports on where the traffic jams are on WTOP 103.5 FM “traffic and weather every ten minutes, on the 8s”.
    3. You’ll probably get stuck in traffic anyway, so plan for each trip to take longer than you expect, if you’re driving.
    4. If you’re able to use the Metro (subway) system, be aware that some parts of it are shut down for repairs, so it may not have the connections, or the timeliness, you expect.

    Crime may or may not be up, depending on what time period you’re comparing it to, but most of the crime that I hear about happens in the south-east quadrant, near the Anacostia River. If you’ve never been here before, note that street names are mostly in alphabetical order going north, and numeric going west and west, from the US Capitol. (“East and west?” Yes, 3rd Street NE runs parallel to 3rd Street NW, and so on.) Going north, single-letter street names become single-syllable names, then two, then three. Knowing your quadrant is important, especially if you need to call 9-1-1!

    If you have a reason to contact me directly, you can probably guess my g-ma-il account address.

  242. Factotums this, ex-PERTs that… CONjurer$ ALL!

    THAT is the epitome of a $t(h)ink thank .. no??

    Until they are, as such (.. Read RAND et. al.) considered by the majority (whether or not that includes the mid-level pmcs/npcs..) as the malicious tripe that they truly are, then we will continue to be gaslit by the elite’s invisibiliy cloaks .. to our detriment.
    Not necessarily referring to those here .. but I ponder, how long will it take to boot these nefarious ‘mission’-creeps into the dustbin of history so we can, as a culture, move forward to a better place.

  243. What I find striking about the Ukraine conflict is the disappearance of the peace movement in all of the western countries I am acquainted with. In previous decades, you could count on pacifists marching against the current war, op-eds about the absurdity of the industrial human meat grinder, the pointlessness of it all, the bloated military budget, the absurdity of the waving of this flag over that one, the sickness when thinking of the profits by the war industry.

    There were huge protests against Vietnam, again against Irak or Afghanistan, angry opinion pieces in countless progressive media outlets cursing the military-industrial complex, the chickenhawk neo-cons and their stupid imperialist wars. This became a little more subdued as republican wars in Afghanistan or Irak morphed into democrat wars in Libya or Syria.

    Now with the Russia-Ukraine war there is apparently no pacifists left anywhere, no one to chant make love not war, no one to march under peace signs, no protest songs in smoke-filled cafés, no celebrity on award shows denouncing war-escalating politicians. The left, mainstream media, the technocrats, the progressives, politicians of all stripes agree. This is the one just war. There is no legitimate objection to war and more war, no peace process possible, no negociation except unconditional russian capitulation.

    If there is timid opposition, it is coming from… mostly some marginal guys loosely affiliated with the right or the alt-right! The metamorphosis of the left is complete, they are the biggest hawks now. Actually, as on so many topics, they have traded places with the right. War, censorship, accusations of being a Kremlin agent, FBI, CIA, the surveillance state, corporations, the man, everything they used to rail against in the 60s they now embrace; free speech, race-blindness, the working class, the oddball or free-thinker, everything they claimed to champion they now find suspicious.

  244. Regarding those with innate magical abilities, I’d like to throw in a data point that shows it could be a problem. My grandmother was a spiritualist and an episcopalian minister who would often use her abilities at mass to speak to the dead among other things. I only know this second hand because she died when I was an infant. My father seems to have inherited some of her abilities, but refused to acknowledge and develop them in part because he hates God due to his parents giving away most of their money to charity; he blames this as the reason that neither he nor any of his six siblings could attend college.

    My father often knows things that he cannot know; sometimes they come out as jokes, other times they come out as accusations out of nowhere. He also seems to manifest things occasionally, and there’s one story that he told over and over and over again as a warning.

    Around Christmastime in 1982, he was watching some real crime show with his family, similar to America’s Most Wanted, and the thought occurred to him, “What would it be like to have a murderer in your family?” This thought struck him deeply and stuck with him for days. My grandmother also said, “I sense dark clouds coming over this family.” A few months later, my father’s brother, my uncle, moved to Texas and killed his neighbor. My grandmother predicted she would die after the verdict but before the sentencing, and she did. My uncle was sentenced to death, and his entire family, 7 siblings in total, fell apart.

    I’m not sure if he manifested the situation, but he believes he did.

  245. JMG,

    I have a question and this may be more appropriate to Magic Monday, but it’s something I’ve noticed. As I mentioned earlier, I dabbled in magic quite a bit through my teens and early twenties and sometimes manifest things unintentionally with bad consequences. One thing I’ve noticed is that the people who come into contact with me for awhile also seem to manifest things easily and unintentionally too. This is especially noticeable at the workplace and at home. Have you encountered this phenomena before? I’d like to know what to do to stop it.

  246. @Mark L, You are correct the silting of the big dams on the Columbia will not immediately cause power generation to fail until it reaches the level of the turbine intakes. To maximize power generation at both high and low reservoir levels the turbine intakes are positioned significantly below the high water mark. I would guess that by the time we get worried about this ( quite a few years in the future) it will be past the time when we will have the industrial capacity to raise these intakes. The other problem ( as you pointed out) is that as the silt levels go up the dams lose storage capacity, and they also lose the capacity to damper flooding. So as the silt nears the top they will have no ability to absorb any of the spring rain or snowmelt and it will have to go straight through the spillways and create the same flooding conditions as those that were common before the dams were built. But back then most of the low land on the lower Columbia was not built out or if it was it suffered the fate of what was once the second largest city in Oregon ( Vanport City) . My point is not that the dams will fail to generate power in the near future (the will certainly outlast the windmills, the nukes, and the coal plants) but that they too have a finite time horizon.

  247. Traditionally, the Russian military has substituted quantity for quality. It wins by swamping the opposition, taking huge losses in the process. But Putin can’t afford mass casualties.

    If you look at the demographics of Russia, now is absolutely the worst time for them to be waging war. Men of fighting age, say 18 to 34, would be born from 1989 to 2005, i.e. from the fall of the Berlin wall, the dissolution of the USSR, the confusing time under Yeltsin, and the early years under Putin, terrorism, and the Chechen wars. The birth rate collapsed, and there are far fewer men in that age group than there should be.
    Russian population pyramid

    The ethnic makeup of the Russian federation is 78% ethnic Russians, 13% Tatars, and 9% others and unknown. One wonders how many are willing to fight for Russia.

    Even the Russian youth, who I believe are quite Western-oriented, might be thinking to themselves, “Hmmm. If America wins we get McDonalds, Hollywood movies, Coca-Cola and Tesla. If we win we have to permanently stand guard against NATO and listen to Ukies complain how we destroyed their country. Which is better?”

    In other words, Russia might have the weapons and the manpower, but do they have the morale?

  248. Clay Dennis #242 and Mark L #258, the reservoirs in the Pennines sometimes empty all the way down in the summer. When it happens you can see the huge amount of silt that’s built up. And every time it happens everyone asks the same question – why not bring in earth moving equipment and get it all dug out while it’s empty? It’s peat so it should be good for farms and gardens too.

  249. JMG,

    Fair enough. I always wonder why one particular issue is getting all the attention (for a news cycle or three anyway), and perhaps this is just another rope-a-dope meant to distract Americans from an even larger issue. I also wonder if such campaigns don’t end up backfiring with folks like us, as we usually have no problem boycotting entire industries if it seems worthwhile. We haven’t eaten tuna since 2006 for example, and there still seems to be plenty of tuna in the market 17 years later…but it meant something to us at the time, and still does. I know on a larger scale our household boycott doesn’t matter one iota, but taken as a package it sure starts to produce a different arrangement for us as a family. Good practice, perhaps, for the trends that are unfolding around us as we speak.

    This is ultimately why we went to ground in such a wholesale manner in 2012 – virtually every aspect of industrial life is bad for people and the planet. Of course, we’ve been trying to find a happy medium ever since…

    Thanks for your time!

  250. If you put the search term “tarot” into the online LOC catalog you’ll see they’ve archived several famous people’s sets that were in their papers. It doesn’t give specifics, but it sure is intriguing! I also don’t know how complete their online catalog is. Most archives what is searchable online is a subset of what they consider their most popular collections. Hopefully Library of Congress is different.

  251. @ Tony #138

    I am really curious about this statement:
    “compensating for my carbon emissions last year, which costed just $200 USD”

    It has a strange ring to it…

    the shape of this statement is analogous to:

    “compensating for my [sins] last year, which costed just $200 USD”

    One of the corrupt trades in which certain medieval church officials were notoriously charged with was the sale of “indulgences” to people who did not wish to stop sinning, but to “compensate” for their sins so as – ultimately – to be able to avoid paying their real price.

    PS I am not saying that carbon emissions are necessarily a sin, or, IF a sin, the greatest sin, I am simply pointing out what the “shape” of that statement *looks* like from where I stand.

    If one happened to find their own carbon emissions to be excessive, one might be better advised to give thought to the possibility of “reducing emissions” rather than “compensating” for them – especially, by paying money – because I doubt very much that anyone taking money for the “compensation” of a troubled conscience is providing anything of genuine value.

  252. On cinema, again: I remember now that Passolini said once something like “nobody will remember nowadays cinema in 200 years ahead in the future, but greaat literature from 2,000 years ago will last forever”. I hope good movies could survive a time at least as folk culture.

  253. How do the obligations of secrecy in Freemasonry apply in the case of genealogical research? The oldest heirloom in the family is a Masonic sword, and we were wondering if it was worth trying to track down whatever lodge has the relevant records. The ancestor in question was born before the civil war, so the task itself might not be particularly straightforward. Would they be able to tell us anything even if we do manage it?

    (It was probably obvious from my questions, but none of us are Masons.)

  254. Phew – thanks for clearing that one up, JMG. I’m glad no thought editing is going to be necessary, as I’m not very good at it.

  255. @Scotlyn Interesting.
    There is definitely what you describe in a lot of people’s consciousness in the West, including mine. I am aware of it. I don’t think that is a helpful pattern to follow or to suppress.

    My intention is just to compensate for carbon emissions is all. Nothing more. It feels good and wholesome. I live in Latin America so my carbon emissions are already low, and I am doing what I can to reduce them, i.e. I don’t have a car and I eat less meat. Just sharing. Everyone does what they wish.

    Cheers.

  256. Dear Sir
    I am interested in finding information about systems of spiritual practice that integrate service and charity as a form of prayer-devotion.
    The Religious Society of Friends (Non programed Quakers) of which I am a birthright member always has.
    Islam require charity as part of a Muslims life, but it is not seen as part of their prayers.
    Do you know of any others?
    Thank you for your time.
    Peace

  257. Interesting, thank you, Bei Dawei,

    “Bei Dawei says:
    Marsh (no. 236), the Buddhists say this world is like a wish-fulfilling jewel, so we should be careful what we wish for! Mahayanists always begin by cultivating bodhicitta, which at the relative level, means love and compassion for all sentient beings, and the wish for them to become enlightened.”

    I did not know that was a Buddhist view – but strangely, I myself have always said exactly those words – be careful what you wish for. Can’t go to far wrong with wishing love and compassion either, I guess,

  258. I posted this on FB earlier today
    “In all the discussions I see about humans going to other star systems, I never see the economic cost of all the non existent technologies mentioned. And, no, they aren’t going to pop into existence just cause “we” need or want them.”
    I’ve gotten one reply, so far, that is of the “science and technology will allow us to have unlimited energy and go to the stars in 100 years or so, we are on the dawn of mankind’s great leap up!!” type. Even the costs will, somehow,. be magically over come. I haven’t bothered pointing out “minor” things like resource depletion and climate change. I have neither the time nor strength to attempt to educate them .

  259. @Dennis #266

    I would agree that, while I’m not sure formal training is necessary, it is extremely helpful if those with innate magical/metaphysical abilities can at least come to understand them – if their worldview is open enough to allow input from that quadrant, so to speak. In your father’s case, almost any expert in magical phenomena could have assured him that it is virtually impossible to influence the weaving of the pattern by way of an errant thought, particularly when the circumstances did not involve him personally. It is *much* more common for those with magical abilities to pick up what has already woven into the pattern but not yet come to be in the physical world, i.e. to have premonitions. The fact that he anticipated a murder in the family in no way makes him *responsible* for its manifestation.

    @Clay #268

    I’d like to think that a future world with “essential technology” hubs centered around hydropower facilities could cobble together the resources to raise the turbine intakes, but I guess we’ll see…

    @Darkest #270

    Moving the millions of tons of silt that accumulates behind dams is nowhere near economically feasible even in an age of cheap energy. Without the dams, the river would distribute this in a nice thin layer across the entire downstream floodplain. Replicating that process with technology requires more energy input than could possibly be justified by the value of the soil.

  260. @Martin (#269), if I may – though I am not Russian, I have a fair number of friends and contacts who are either Russian expats or Western expats living in Russia. While what you say about the perspective of Russian youth may make sense from a Western perspective, it does not seem to match what I am hearing to be the facts on the ground. For one, Russia already has a good copy of McDonalds which is already up and running (I can’t say the same for Coke, but it’s not all that difficult to replicate: India has being doing so since it kicked Coke out in the ‘70s). For another, the Russian populace as a whole sees the current war as their Third Patriotic War; those who were sitting on the fence got off it once videos of Ukies performing atrocities and snuffing out Russian POWs made the rounds. Though at an essential level people around the world are the same, the role of culture can profoundly impact nations’ views and choices (i.e., not everyone would react the same way an American or Westerner would). From where I sit, I see a Russian patriotic renaissance which is capturing young Russian men quite effectively (if what I am hearing about tens of thousands of young Russians continuing to volunteer for the armed forces is true).

  261. @Darkest Yorkshire, The digging out of the silt behind dams is done if a few specific ( and small scale) locations. The university where I went to engineering school was flanked by two deep gorges holding medium sized creeks. One of them was dammed back in the mid 1800’s and the power was transferred up and out of the gorge to the machine shops in the mechanical engineering school via long belts. In the late 1800’s it was upgraded to produce electricity for the campus, and still does to this day. But the lake behind the dam silts up quickly as it is very shallow. So every decade or so it is dredged out to keep the power flowing and the lake looking nice. But the university has lots of “easy money” to accomplish this and many square miles of it’s own farmland and orchards to put the dredged-up silt on. I would guess that in most circumstances it is uneconomic to move all that silt.

  262. @JMG

    Just wanted to share a data point that I’m sure the US corporate media is not even aware of: https://www.republicworld.com/science/space/isro-missions-planned-for-2023-a-list-of-big-ticket-projects-awaiting-their-launch-articleshow.html

    I wish they wouldn’t waste money on manned space missions, but then, to be fair, they have put much more focus on unmanned missions. Indeed, the philosophy ISRO swears by was best articulated by its great founder, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, who said (I’m paraphrasing), “We do not have any interest in competing with the advanced nations in spaceflight. Our purpose is to use our space program for the country’s development and pressing problems”.

    Thus, the bulk of ISRO’s work has been (and still is) dedicated to telemedicine, spy satellites, weather forecasting, and natural resource mapping, among others. Although, in recent years, they have done quite a few space exploration missions, with the Mars Orbiter Mission aka Mangalyaan, being the most famous one. Other cool missions include Astrosat (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrosat) and Chandrayaan.

    I know space programs will not survive the Long Descent, at least not in their current form. That said, I think it would be cool to explore at least as much of our Solar System as we can; indeed, I think it would be really wonderful if India could do something like the Voyager mission. I can imagine said missions being the stuff of legends in Hindu myths six centuries from now…

  263. Info, like many people who aren’t occultists, you don’t seem to realize that there’s much more to occultism than magic (or “Magick,” if you insist on Crowley’s spelling); most of the Christian occult traditions I know of aren’t especially into magic, though there are some exceptions. As for how they found their practice in Christian scripture and tradition, er, unless I’m much mistaken, we’ve had exactly this conversation before, and I noted that they cite Paul’s discussion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and also point out the significant differences between what they practice and what Deuteronomy forbids.

    Jean-Baptiste, you and me both. It’s been astonishing to watch the mainstream left abandon literally every single thing it used to stand for. Peace? No, we’ve got to support the Pentagon against the Evil Russkies! Free speech? No, we’ve got to silence anyone who disagrees with the corporate consensus! My body, my choice? No, we’ve got to force people to take whatever Pfizer wants to inject into them! Racial equality? No, we’ve got to judge people entirely on their skin color and ethnic background! And the list goes on. They’ve become everything they used to hate; it’s astonishing, and not in a good way.

    Dennis, it sounds to me as though your father had a precognitive flash which he didn’t identify as such. A stray thought like that is much more likely to be precognition than magic. As for your tendency to pass on the capacity to manifest, well, are you willing to commit to sustained magical practice in order to bring your gifts under conscious control? As far as I know, that’s the one way to do it.

    Martin, um, you’ve been taking in too much NATO propaganda. Minimizing their own casualties has been the order of the day for the Russian military in this war — that’s why they’re relying on artillery and drones to do most of the heavy lifting, and basing their combat forces almost exclusively on volunteers and Wagner Group mercenaries. Nor, to judge by everything I’ve read via the media of neutral nations, is Russian youth especially enamored of the West these days. Remember that the generation we’re discussing got to see the seamy side of the West up close and personal during the Yeltsin years; for them, Westernization doesn’t mean McDonalds and Hollywood, it means seeing your country and your family humiliated, plunged into poverty, and stripped of resources to prop up the lifestyles of Western kleptocrats. They know perfectly well that that’s what NATO wants to do to them again, and so they have good reasons to reject it — thus the relatively strong support Putin has, and the very large number of volunteers who joined the military in this last mobilization.

    Grover, in this case there’s a very simple reason. The world’s lithium supplies are far too limited to allow present trends in battery-use expansion to continue, much less permit the kind of drastic expansion that green-energy wonks are calling for. Thus getting as many people as possible to boycott lithium batteries is a way to ensure that the privileged classes can still use as many of those as they want, and it also creates a potential market for other, less effective battery technologies — “yeah, this battery sucks, but at least I’m not using cobalt!” It’s an old and overfamiliar game.

    Denis, hmm! Fascinating.

    Chuaquin, Pasolini was paying attention. One of the bitter lessons of history is that many of the great artistic forms are very transitory; I’ve mentioned in several blog posts already that of all the vast body of music created in the Roman world, all that survives is a fragment of one melody around 25 seconds long. If we’re very, very lucky, someone will figure out how to convert at least a few films into a format that can endure for centuries; if not, historians a thousand years from now will try to figure out what this thing called “cinema” used to be.

    Florida, the only things that a Mason promises to keep secret are the signs of recognition, the details of the rituals, and the private business of his lodge and the brothers of the lodge. Masonic lodges and grand lodges field genealogical requests all the time, and are usually glad to help if they have the time. Can you describe the sword to me? I may be able to point you in the right direction.

    Marsh, you’re most welcome. It’s precisely because you haven’t learned to edit your thoughts that those thoughts aren’t a threat to anybody. Concentration is the key to magic.

    Valiant, no, nothing comes to mind. I wonder if any other readers can suggest some other examples.

    Marlena13, that’s why I say that faith in progress is a religion. It would no sooner occur to a believer in progress to think about the economic difficulties with space travel than it would occur to a Rapture-ready Christian to ask questions about the difficulties involved in instantly transporting umpty-million people from earth to heaven. In both cases, the object of worship is considered to be omnipotent, and unswerving faith is thought to be an important virtue.

    Viduraawakened, thanks for this. No surprises there; ever since Sputnik I went up, having a viable space program is one of the ways a nation announces its arrival at great-power status. You’re right, though, that the US media isn’t mentioning it; the decay of our space program is one the ways you can tell that our great-power status isn’t long for this world.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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