Open Post

July 2020 Open Post

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

Two additional comments before we begin. First, on the off chance that any of my readers have missed out on this, the publisher of The Weird of Hali — my epic fantasy with tentacles — is offering several discount deals on volumes of that series. You can find the details here.

Second, there are five Wednesdays this month, and I have nothing in particular scheduled for next week’s post. Early on in the history of this blog, I asked readers to suggest a topic, and that seems worth reviving just now. What would you like me to write about? Enquiring Druids want to know.

With that said, have at it!

666 Comments

  1. Hi JMG,
    I’ve lurked on here for a while, since 2013!
    I finally worked up the courage to ask a question. I have a degree in Psychology just for a little bit of background. I can personally attest that Psychology is a bit of a mess. Good for getting past some job barriers though. I also practice Shinto.
    But anyway to my question.
    How do you think the long descent will affect people with Anti Social personality disorder? Also I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on why Psychopaths/Sociopaths exist?

  2. What the modernisers did to classical Chinese medicine: https://nunm.edu/2019/07/ccm-book/. It seems like simple and new always has the advantage in undercutting the old and complex. The notion is epitomised in the title of Marshall Berman’s book All That Is Solid Melts Into Air. More complete systems will always appeal to those who yearn for something richer and fuller, but do they ever triumph overall?

  3. Hi John,

    Here is a question for everyone, partly rhetorical but also partly in a genuine search of some different perspectives: When did the citizens of the U.S. become so concerned with security that we stop being concerned with liberty?

    I’ve watched the pandemic response go from “needing to flatten the curve to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed” to “needing to do anything, no matter the cost or consequence, to keep anyone from catching the virus until a vaccine has been developed,” and have also noticed that no one in the media points out these moving goalposts.

    Another one: when did the lefties inspired by Noam Chomsky and his theory of the “manufacture of consent” (of which I am one) suddenly believe everything that the consent manufacturing media spewed out?

    I’m frankly depressed as stuffing by all the people who, when the U.S. was under W., saw “the newspaper of record” lie openly about needing to invade Iraq over the newly-coined WMD, and yet now turn to this rag as if it were not only still credible at all, but also as if it had never been caught lying in the first place.

    The impacts of this are insidious and sickening. I was talking to some dear friends a few nights ago, keeping quiet as they talked one Russian conspiracy theory after another. I finally spoke up, noting that no matter what we thought about Putin and Trump, the Russian people themselves, like any other group of folks, were mostly decent, good, hard-working people who just wanted the best life for themselves and their friends and loved ones. I thought I’d get a no-brainer, basic humanity agreement to that one, but both looked at me like I had grown a third head and asked me if I was serious. I in turn asked them if they were joking. They both said, “No way, man, Russians are seriously bad people, sneaky. They’ll stab their loved ones in the back. It’s the Siberian winters that make them inherently cruel and deceitful.” Words to that effect. Their attitude toward an entire nation and all of its people was chilling (no pun intended).

  4. What is your opinion on the Buddhist practice of Tonglen? From a Western perspective it seems like the opposite of what you want to be doing (I picture it as breathing in negative energy & exhaling positive vs. a practice I’ve been taught of envisioning exhaling negative energy & inhaling positive). Appreciate your insight here, thanks!

  5. JMG, I noticed last year that the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing was rather muted given the significance of the event. I couldn’t believe it. There should have been oodles of champagne flowing in the streets, plauditudes of magnificence from higher ups and their sycophants, and orgies of self-congratulatory glad-handing conferences and happenings. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall aroused much greater celebration but wasn’t the moon landing at least the equal (but much more) in terms of “beating the commies”?

    Do you have a theory as to why the 50th anniversary moon landing celebrations were so muted?

    One theory is that the moon landing, in the U.S. in particular, is actually seen as a failure! That because the moon currently isn’t being stocked with moon bases or moonports with round trips to Mars like some intergalactic Disney world, that the whole moon adventure is seen as a disappointment.

    But I am not sure I 100% believe that. Every time I look at the Apollo missions, I am amazed that they actually pulled it off, using a fraction of the computing power sitting right there in front of you, among many other low-odds achievements.

    Maybe it is also a belated recognition of the sheer waste of resources and a case of “whitey on the moon”? Well, whitey is also driving around aimlessly in his stupid Porsche, so may as well, if we are going to have ourselves some industrialism, put whitey to use and send him to the moon.

    And what practical use was the Apollo program actually? Is the moon landing the high point of hundreds of years of industrial and technological development, the pinnacle of science, engineering, management and the rationalist’s enlightenment project of man overcoming limits and nature to deliver the ultimate consciousness-altering work of art (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthrise) whose very significance belittles the preceding 500 years of hubristic development?

  6. Dear john Michael,
    As of lately, I’ve been enthralled by the reading of Jean-François Lyotard’s “A Postmodern Fable” and his depiction of the negentropic nature of life. I find negentropy to be an interesting concept within the dynamics of the universe and, especially, when applied to the living as example, manifestation and emboldened expression of complexity. What strikes me as even more powerful is its capacity to be articulated as destiny, something with purpose in the economy of the incommensurable. Have you had a chance to read this text? Have you run any kind of analysis on the subject of negentropy? Just wondering. I like to know… ;)))

  7. Hi JMG and fellow readers,

    Long time reader, first comment

    I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on homeschooling, Waldorf education, and, more generally, the spiritual component that is missing from schooling and conventional modern “education.”

    (If you have covered this elsewhere, I have not yet encountered it)

    Thanks!

  8. A few observations and suppositions:

    I was reading the post about news sources on the other blog, about how the Three Gorges Dam might break soon and unleash 40 cubic kilometers of water down the Yangtze. That number was meaningless to me until I actually did the calculations – that amount of water would, if evenly distributed across the entire downstream length of the Yangtze (a thousand miles!), inundate everything within a mile radius of the riverbank to a depth of 26 feet. But in reality, it would actually be worse, because the water isn’t going to immediately stretch out over the entire length of the river; it would cascade down in a higher and probably broader tsunami racing down the valley probably at highway speeds.

    Point 1: The devastation would be too enormous for even China to cover up – a six- or seven-figure, possibly eight-figure death toll. At the same time, they probably wouldn’t want to admit to faulty construction, meaning it wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to claim that it was either (1) sabotage, justifying further internal repression, or (2) an attack and thus a massive casus belli (we have seen this with their earlier attempts to put the blame for COVID-19 on the US, and today’s closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston (this is all over even the mainstream news) would seem to be a further escalation of this dangerous brinkmanship game). Not to mention that they and India still are on the brink of war with each other, a war that would immediately impact the lives of literally a third of the world’s population.

    Point 2: Beijing had all those malefics in the 7th house in its Aries ingress. It also had Cancer rising, so that ingress is no longer active, but the Cancer ingress had Mars on the midheaven and Mars is in Aries for the long haul (a place it last was in 1941).

    Point 3: COVID-19 appears to be starting to slow down again in the U.S. It doesn’t immediately look like that way, and the trends may reverse yet again, but in the meantime the news will need some other distraction.

    In semi-related news: I have observed that the totality tracks of the 2017 and 2024 total eclipses that go over the U.S. cross over each other right around the New Madrid fault line, one of the places JMG mentions as a possible hot spot. It occurs to me that if the fault line went, not only would you have a huge earthquake in places that don’t build with earthquakes in mind, but you’d probably also see the failure of many bridges across the Mississippi – which would in many respects cut the U.S. in half, at least from a logistics standpoint – crossing by land would be impossible, or at least require significant detours, until (and assuming!) the bridges are repaired or rebuilt. The calendrical midpoint of the two eclipses, incidentally, is roughly December 15, 2020… not terribly far away from the Great Conjunction itself.

  9. An updated version of your views on the next decades, such as scarcity industrialism, population decline and the end of the American empire. You seem to consider a breakup of the USA or civil war much less likely than before, and on the other hand you have mentioned quite a bit of geopolitics lately. I would like to read an updated overview!

  10. Greetings!

    Do you have any suggestions for altars for the Welsh Druid gods and goddesses? Statues and incense like classical deities? Statues are not easy to come by.

    Thank you!

  11. I was wondering about Hagia Sophia getting changed from a museum back into a mosque. Is it a big deal or not?

    I also was wondering what everyone things of the situation with Ghislaine Maxwell. Will she make it to trail? Will we learn anything

  12. JMG, or the commentariat, I’ve been reading a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder a lot recently, (NPD for short), and it has occurred to me that the whole country currently called the USA seems to be afflicted with NPD. Whatever happened to MYOB?

  13. Well, since you ask for a topic, I would be interested in anything you could tell us on the subject of synchronicity. You mentioned on the other blog that there’s a lot of it about at the moment. I’m assuming that’s more than the day to day ‘I just learned about X and I’ve seen it three more times today’ kind of deal. I’ve seen some oddities in the last few years that I would have dismissed as coincidence in the past. I’m far less certain now.

    Also, this month old article from the Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/28/german-far-right-infiltrates-green-groups-with-call-to-protect-the-land

    Just popped up on my feed. Interesting, and if I recall correctly, predicted here too.

  14. How about writing about Cancel Culture, esp. as addressed by Matt Taibbi, esp. at https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-left-is-now-the-right/comments .
    One among many valuable Taibbi insights goes:

    “Republicans were once despised, because they were anti-intellectuals and hopeless neurotics. Trained to disbelieve in peaceful coexistence with the liberal enemy, the average Rush Limbaugh fan couldn’t make it through a dinner, without interrogating you about your political inclinations.
    If you tried to laugh it off, that didn’t work; if you tried to engage, what came back was a list of talking points. When all else failed, and you offered what you thought would be an olive branch of blunt truth, i.e. “Honestly, I just don’t give that much of a s***,” that was the worst insult of all, because they thought you were being condescending. (You were, but that’s beside the point). The defining quality of this personality was, the inability to let things go. Families broke apart over these situations. It was a serious and tragic thing.
    Now that same inconsolable paranoiac comes at you with left politics, and isn’t content with ruining the odd holiday dinner, blind date, or shared cab. He or she does this infuriating interrogating at the office, in school, and in government agencies, in places where you can’t fake a headache, and quietly leave the table.”

  15. Salutations JMG!
    Over the previous months I’ve had the opportunity to observe and participate in the construction process process of new homes. I picked up the job hoping to learn house building techniques for the day I build my own house in the far future, and what I’ve learned is I hate how modern homes are built. There’s dozens of poly-this and vinyl-that materials that have to be ordered weeks in advance and go on everywhere. Just in a single job of tiling we’ve had to put down what looks like heavy plastic bubble wrap and use a “grout” that is actually more of a glue. And don’t get me started on the dozens of companies that make specialized things like trusses, when previously all you needed for subtrades were a plumber, electrician and stonemason.
    Can you recommend books and learning resources for the Long Descent on how to build a home without a million different types of plastic and vinyl? I’ve heard a lot about cob houses, but I’m not sure how well that would hold up near the mountains of BC where the rain pours and the weather changes dramatically during the spring and autumn (one moment there’s a freezing downpour of rain, the next a blistering hot outpouring of sunshine, then suddenly a damp chill, then back to boiling sunshine).

    For an extra blog post I’d really like to hear the post about how pornography, masturbation and sexual health interact on the astral plane. Somebody asked on Magic Monday, if visualising somebody you have met during the act sends unwanted energy their way, what about those who may want to accept that energy (significant others, “adult entertainers” etc), and you said you’d get to it as a sort of “Sex Ed class for mages.” I’m interested in how this works with drawn pornography of characters that don’t exist (i.e. video game characters), I assume some sort of egregore might form? How the nwyfre/chi/etheric interacts with physical matter in general is one of my main interests, despite the very astrally based course I’m working now through your CGD.

    Sincerely,
    BoulderChum

  16. Hi JMG, You ended your essay from the archdruid report a few years back titled the the next ten billion years on a positive note with an alien contemplating life and the universe.

    Do you believe the universe ends in a heat death and that after this (or some time before in fact) nothing ever exists again and no one or thing ever contemplates anything again for eternity?

  17. I’ve been thinking for a while about the role of experts. I’m sure most readers here are familiar with why there is such (understandable) public distrust of experts, especially from any sort of large institutions. I’m wondering if we’ve just gone from an unhealthy trust in experts to an unhealthy distrust of experts and what a sensible middle ground might be. No answers from me, I’m just prodding the issue. What, to people’s minds constitutes a healthy role of expertise to play in society? Along a similar vein, do you or any readers have any knowledge of historical periods where experts were largely distrusted along class/political lines as they seem to be today, and if there have been any societies in the past that felt that they were in a ‘post-truth society’? How did it get resolved (if it did), what were the long-term consequences?…

    Perhaps unrelated, this is a lot of fun….https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200720112214.htm

    Many thanks again for this lively and courteous Symposium Miscellanea

  18. @JMG

    You have often written about the rise of an American High Culture some five to six centuries from now. Assuming that your prediction comes true, have you considered what would be the epics of such a culture? For instance, the Mahabharata is an epic which consists of the civil war of Kurukshetra as the historical core acting as the nucleus around which the rest of the epic revolves (a similar thing can be said about the Ramayana). Similarly, don’t you think it’s possible that the future American High Culture might turn the 1860’s American Civil War into an epic, shaped by the cultural views of this future culture? Just a thought.

  19. Maybe something about sacred architecture? I was recently viewing online the different
    proposals for how Notre Dame should be restored, some ranging from intriguing to
    utterly absurd (a swimming pool?). I think the pool one was just thrown out there for
    laughs but it does show how divorced modern architects are from any idea of what a sacred
    or even just plain attractive building should be. I know you have commented about this
    before but it might be worth a revisit.

  20. Is there a suggested reading/practice after Learning Ritual Magic? Any book really but interested primarily in yours.Thoroughly enjoying working through it at the moment.

  21. @JMG,

    Question for you: What do you think of the doomsday argument?

    For anyone who doesn’t already know, that’s the line of thought that starts from the assumption that the present generation doesn’t occupy a special position within the human race, and then concludes that the number of human beings who are going to live in our future can’t be that mich different from the number who lived in our past.

    By this argument there is, for example, a 95% chance that we aren’t among the first 5% of people to live, which consequently puts an upper bound to the number of future human lives and suggests that our extinction is coming pretty soon, on a geological timescale.

  22. First I wanted to thank you for your news source suggestions on your other blog. I already checked the BBC daily, but RT has some very interesting stories on topics studiously ignored by US media, Australian ABC has some really good reporting, and Al-Masdar is a sobering reminder of just how much violence and military activity is going on all over the Middle East and North Africa on a daily basis that we never hear anything about.

    Second, as I’ve been emerging from the spell of social justice ideology, I’ve been writing my thoughts in a way that I hope could be helpful to others. Certainly it has sparked some interesting conversations with family and friends, and has seemed helpful in beginning to bridge divides. If it’s ok with you I’d like to share it with this community.

    The Trouble with Social Justice:
    http://www.luterra.com/blog/?p=1111

    Invisible Axes of Oppression: How Neoliberal Social Justice is Gaslighting America:
    http://www.luterra.com/blog/?p=1072

    I Hope We Choose Love
    http://www.luterra.com/blog/?p=1103

  23. July was quite a month. I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments, but while I still think I’d have benefited from spreading them out, I think it went fairly well. My apartment lacks air conditioning, and adjusting to that in mid summer was not fun: within two weeks though I was used to it. I’ve had to start getting strict with my budget, which isn’t the most fun thing to do. Still though, I’m happy with it, despite the challenges. I didn’t make any deliberate changes, but just went with what was necessary. I’ll start making deliberate changes in August, but I correctly figured I’d be overwhelmed with making the needed changes. This is especially because I hadn’t counted on my mother losing her mind, but that’s what happened.

    I spent the first half of the month without home internet. I figured I could get it if I needed it, but for the fairly limited uses I have, it wasn’t too hard to walk to the university, grab a park bench, hook up my laptop to WiFi, and use that. My mother went looking for a good deal for me, which would’ve been fine had she not lost her mind upon discovering I didn’t have nor want home internet. She then set up an appointment for me to get it, and informed me of this fact after she’d scheduled it.

    I’m fairly sure I’ll need home internet in September, and so I eventually decided I’d let her set it up, because she’d pay for it, and instead take the money I was planning to spend on internet to save to be able to move somewhere where she won’t be able to decide to show up. I’ve started redoing my budget with that in mind: as soon as the lease here ends I want to be able to go somewhere else, and I won’t tell her where. This will mean tightening my belt a fair bit more than planned, but she’s shown up unannounced too many times, and every time it’s a disaster since she throws a fit if I don’t agree to take whatever thing she thinks I need.

    These include things like internet and an Alexa. My mother’s reaction when I said I didn’t want a smart home device, even before I got to the point where I explained why I didn’t want it was to shriek about how I shouldn’t judge her. I wasn’t: I see nothing wrong with people who want them using them, I just don’t want one myself.

    I’ve also discovered that getting rid of my cell phone is not a possibility for the time being. There’s only one company which offers home phone service to my neighbourhood, and it’s the one that my mother has set up my internet with. They have a policy of not allowing two people to get different services at the same location, and so any attempt on my part to set up a home phone here will have to go through my mother, who gets very, very freaky about people making their own choices with technology. (As will efforts to cancel the internet service: the company has policies which make it effectively impossible for anyone else to cancel once something is set up, even if the person who set it up doesn’t live there).

    The other issue is my cell phone is part of a family plan, which means my mom has to be the one to cancel it. When I mentioned thinking of getting rid of it, she lost her mind. She asked a string of bizarre questions, including, three times, to know how I was planning to call people. It’s pretty clear to me that I’m not dealing with something which can be reasoned with, so I’m not going to bother with trying. Once I’m ready to stop using it, I’ll drop the cell phone off, say I’m not using it, and let her figure out what to do with it.

    I need to be able to make and take calls for the time being, and so this means having a cellphone. I plan to minimize how much I use it, and get everything in place such that when I’m able to move, I’ll be able to get rid of it right away, but for now I think I’m stuck with it.

  24. Dear JMG and community,

    What are the methods practiced in your profession, faith community or just your personal practices that you use for discernment? Things like the Quaker clearness committee seem to help us understand our motives, discover blind spots. Personal epistemological practices if you will. Might be interesting to see examples from occult communities as a future topic.

  25. Last week, I caught a scene from an old TV show, @ 1960. It was the poor benighted country village people protesting to the Men Of Business, about the planned “renovation” of the village core with a new, improved, modern shopping arcade. The head Man Of Business intoned “I’m sorry, but you can’t fight Progress! Yes I could hear the capital P. The locals all filed out with doleful looks. Then last night, a PBS show on ROCKETS!! Along with the typical PBS overblown music, there was a scene of a launch of an Orion heavy lifter. Which is supposed to be able to lift a manned capsule. All kinds of “Gee Whiz” Computer graphics, showing how the concept vehicles will flawlessly operate, and the announcer at the launch saying “This is the dawn of a new era in humanity’s quest to escape the planet, one woman watching the launch live, all dewy eyed saying “Yes WE are going back to the stars!” I though “Going BACK to the stars, We have never been to “the Stars”. Then I realized it was the concept of going to “The Stars” she was banging on about, not anything that has happened in reality. That’s when I turned it off…BTW, the Orion Program, which to date is still in the “developmental” stages has since it’s inception, in 2006 cost over 21 billion dollars. *sighs* hums “Whitey’s On The Moon”

  26. The protests in Portland have taken such a strange turn that I am grasping for some kind of historical precedent to apply to understand them. In recent days they have become a kind of protest theatre where everything happens the same way every night at the same time. Every night at 8:30 a couple of thousand people meet up at the Salmon Street fountain and march around downtown. These protest have grown to include, mom groups, dad groups, etc. For about 2 hours there are speeches, chanting, and sign waving. Then about 11:00 each each night the faint of heart or elderly head home and the crowd converges on the Federal courthouse. They start banging on the big plywood wall that surrounds it, then at about 11:30 each night the Federal Cops emerge from a little hatch and start shooting off rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. About the same time each night the crowd disperses and the feds head back to the basement of the courthouse where I assume they are living. These protests have become the must-do social event of inner Portland and people from across the spectrum are going ( to the extent there is a spectrum in inner Portland), like people would go to a sports event or a concert in pre-covid times. Most people don’t seem to have much of a coherent political agenda other than orange man bad, and his thugs must leave or we will lose our democracy. I think the Portland cops have run out of overtime money so they just hunker down and try and protect their union hall in North Portland from being burned down. I think these protests will continue until the weather gets bad in the fall.

  27. Hi JMG and all,

    I came across a short story last week in the online magazine Resilience and thought it might be of interest to the readership for this blog. It’s a short story in epistolary format—titled “The Basilisk”—by the British poet and novelist Paul Kingsnorth, and it can be found at the following address:

    https://emergencemagazine.org/story/the-basilisk/.

    Without giving too much away, it presents an occult explanation (or, rather, an occult explanation and a competing “supernatural” explanation) for contemporary internet addiction, especially among the young. I have no idea what Kingsnorth’s relationship to occult subject matter is, much less whether or not he is a practicing occultist, but to a novice in this area like myself, he seems to know his stuff. I’d certainly love to hear what others think. At the very least, like the other fiction I’ve read by Kingsnorth, I appreciate it for its willingness to present and really engage with a worldview profoundly at odds with contemporary techno-industrial materialism.

    Best,

    James

  28. Ive been curious as to how karma works in the western magical tradition? I have recently been reading Damien Echols newest book and he speaks about our energetic bodies being recycled into pure energy to be used to create new life…. My question is if that is believed to be true do we then not carry karma with us after death?? Or am I completely missing something?
    If you could speak to any of this in a western magical viewpoint I would really appreciate your thoughts

    Thank you
    Stefan

  29. Archdruid,

    I’ve asked this several times but, could you do an article of the leftward end of the working class? I feel like that’s a gaping hole in your analysis of the national political environment and would love to read your thoughts about them.

    Regards,

    Varun

  30. @Just another green rage monster

    1. 9/11, Patriot Act, etc is the beginning of that transition IMO

    2. Partially through FB/twitter group mind and casting all anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and then anybody who doesn’t believe the groupmind as anti-science right wing radicals… this was a process that took years that I watched to many of my friends on the left. The trap is that if you question vaccinating everybody, you’re a crazy antivaxxer, if you believe any conspiracies than you think the earth is flat, etc.

  31. Hi JMG,
    I’ve seen several articles saying there’s a new zodiac sign. What’s your take on this?

  32. One of the worst symphony orchestras ever to have existed in the world now gets the respect it is due in a retrospective book published by Soberscove Press, collecting the memories, memorabilia and photographs of its talented members. The Worlds Worst: A Guide to the Portsmouth Sinfonia, edited by Christopher M. Reeves and Aaron Walker, though long overdue, has arrived just in time.

    For those unfamiliar with the Portsmouth Sinfonia, here is the cliff notes version: founded by a group of students at the Portsmouth School of Art in England 1970 this “scratch” orchestra was generally open to anyone who wanted to play and ended up drawing art students who liked music but had no musical training or, if they were actual musicians, they had to choose and play an instrument that was entirely new to them. One of the other limits or rules they set up was to only play compositions that would be recognizable even to those who weren’t classical music buffs. The William Tell Overture being one example, Bheetoven’s Fifth Symphony and Also Sprach Zarathustra being others. Their job was to play the popular classics, and to do it as amateurs. English composer Gavin Bryars was one of their founding members. The Sinfonia started off as a tongue-in-cheek performance art ensemble but quickly took on a life of its own, becoming a cultural touchstone over the decade of its existence, with concerts, albums, and a hit single on the charts.

    The book has arrived just in time because one of the lenses the work of the Portsmouth Sinfonia can be viewed through is that of populism; and now, when the people and politics on this planet have seen a resurgence of populist movements, the music of the Portsmouth Sinfonia can be recalled, reviewed, reassessed and their accomplishments given a wider renown.

    One way to think of populism is as the opposite and antithesis of elitism. I have to say I agree with noted essayist John Michael Greer and his frequent tagline that “the opposite of one bad idea is usually another bad idea”. Populism may not be the answer to the worlds struggle against elitism, yet it is a reaction, knee jerk as it may be. Anyone who hasn’t been blind-sighted by the bourgeois will know the soi-distant have long looked down on those they deem lesser than with an upturned nose and sneer. Many of those sneering people have season tickets to their local symphony orchestra. They may not go because they are music lovers, but because it is a signifier of their class and social status. As much as the harmonious chords played under the guidance of the conductors swiftly moving baton induce in the listener a state of beatific rapture, there is on the other hand, the very idea that attending an orchestral concert puts one at the height of snobbery. After all, orchestral music is not for everyone, as ticket prices ensure.

    …you can read the rest of my just published book review of “The Worlds Worst: A Guide to the Porstmouth Sinfonia” here:

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/a-classical-muddly-the-worlds-worst

    I think there example could be quite useful to musicians who want to keep orchestral traditions alive as the funding for arts gets moved to other essentialiaties.

  33. Do you have any good sources of info on how the medical industry got hijacked by corporate/materialist interests? It seems to come up at least once every Magic Monday that you have to point out that you can’t legally give any medical advice on your journal and that got me wanting to know more about how we got into this state of affairs. For that matter, any chance of a blog post about that subject?

  34. @Will Oberton, since you asked about Hagia Sophia, I saw two entirely different narratives about it: one for the English-speaking busybodies who read news headlines and saw it as part of a dualism of Islam versus Christianity/Western Civilization, and a completely different narrative for the people of Turkey.

    The busybodies came from all walks of life. Since I follow a lot of Muslims on Facebook and Twitter, I saw a lot of Muslims, Shia and Sunni alike, proclaiming that the Hagia Sophia should rightfully be returned to being a church, or become a shared religious space. They cited Islamic precedent from a thousand years ago or more, that churches should not be forcibly converted, and so on.

    The Turks, for their part, were wildly in favor of the move for reasons that had nothing to do with Christianity or the West. In the 1920s Ataturk imposed a lot of anti-religious restrictions on Turkey, for example, outlawing the hijab and the fez. The conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a secular museum was another such restriction and was felt to be an insult to Turkish culture and religion. So, turning it back into a mosque is a clever political move, a sort of “rebirth of Turkey”.

    I did see some thoughtful articles from people who understood this and offered a more measured criticism of the current political regime, but I think it is important to recognize that a lot of recent news articles seem to have this quality where social media commentators jump in to inveigh on how a local event is part of some horrible global trend or another without really paying attention to local circumstances. Matt Taibbi and Yascha Mounk did this with one of their “cancel culture” stories, falsely claiming that a local deli in Minneapolis was forced to close over old tweets, when in fact it became subject to a boycott due to general tension between the owners, employees, and customers–the result of years of compounded incidents, not one single incident. This was accurately covered by a local reporter, but the high priests of national “anti-wokeness” did not go looking into the full context to give us an accurate story, because it fit so well into their predetermined narrative.

    All of which serves to remind us of the importance of going outside and braving the virus in our hometowns.

  35. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I have two questions I was hoping you might address (they could double up as post topics as well if you feel a longer answer is warranted!).

    The first is if there has been any change in your view that the effects of climate change will be moderated by natural feedback cycles? I know that was discussed on the ADR blog but I was curious if there has been any recent research or findings that might have changed your view.

    The second is if you have any advice on how to live well when the high level expectation is that tomorrow will be worse than today? The two things I try to focus on is that my personal experience can improve, even if the world around me is going down hill and the other is my practice of Stoicism. Do you perhaps have any additional advice to share?

  36. I’d like to see is what you’d write if your goal was to get as much tea splattered on keyboards as possible. 😉

  37. JMG,
    For next week’s post can I suggest a general update? Lots of people are following the daily news cycle and forget from one day to the next what happens. Here, I like that you present a perspective that encompasses centuries. Yet, I think it’s worth an update.

    For example, CDC excess deaths graph for US seems to confirm what we talked about (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm) – there was a spike for a couple of months and now the number of deaths is below average for this time of year. So it looks like Covid just brought forward by weeks the death of extremely sick or old people.

    Another development to follow is the neoliberal counterrevolution. I know you mentioned that you think is the last outburst of a collapsing political movement. Others seem to see it as an actual religious awakening and political coup d’etat.

    Thanks!

  38. @ Mark L – that piece on the invisible axes of oppression is spot on!

  39. Hi JMG,

    I’ve recently finished reading The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe, and I believe you briefly mentioned that work in a post a few years back. Do you have an opinion on the efficacy, in general, of the generational theory of historical change outlined in that work?

    Written in the mid-90s, the book predicted a “Crisis” period that would begin somewhere around 2005 (one of the authors has since identified the 2008 market collapse as the commencing event) and conclude (after institutional upheavals on par with the American Revolution, Civil War, and WWII) sometime in the years 2025-2030, followed by a relatively stable and peaceful “High” period in the 2030s-2050s. Broadly, do you agree with that timeline, or would you arrange the likely date ranges of our critical and stable periods on the stair-step process of decline differently?

  40. Just Another Green Rage Monster – I have been through your experience. I can only offer you my sympathies and my story.
    A couple of years ago, I started to feel like I don’t belong with my friends. I would talk about the environment, they would talk about Russian interference and suffer from TDS (Trump derangement syndrome). I would worry about the collapse of the middle class in US, they were talking about the best place to invest their money (companies buying water rights and Mongolian rare earths mines were debated). Yes, they are upper class to rich.
    On one occasion, a sad misunderstanding happened when I heard 2 of them talking of bikes so I happily jumped in only to realize they just bought motorcycles (I was hoping to go for a bike ride on some trails around here).
    In the end, I basically cut all ties with them. We rarely talk over email but when I receive an invitation to some event, I realize I would be frustrated and bored in their company.

    What helps a lot is that I follow my own plan for my family – we live in a small town and focus on kids education, gardening and my growing interest in Latin (so I can read in original what other people felt living in a collapsing empire).

    Good luck!

  41. Ryou50, how people with antisocial personality disorder will fare during the long descent will vary depending on local conditions. Where public order breaks down, they’ll be likely to commit atrocities; where a reaction sets in and warlords emerge, people with that disorder are more likely to be executed out of hand. As for psychopaths/sociopaths, that condition is one of the traps that some souls fall into as they go from life to life. It’s a major spiritual malfunction, and those who don’t find a way out of it can expect to learn the hard way, through many lives of pain, why that’s not a useful way to be!

    Aidan, thanks for this. It amuses me to see how frantically he tries to insist that the people who voted for Trump really were motivated by racism and nothing else — no, no, they can’t have realized that neoliberal economics was a disaster for 80% of Americans! The fact that he’s making that argument shows me that the ugly realities of our situation really are starting to trickle in. As for Sam Francis, I’m not familiar with his work at all.

    Irena, okay, we have one vote for Hesse!

    Yorkshire, in the long run, yes. Cheap popularizations always get a big market share in the short term, but later on their inadequacies become impossible to ignore, and you always have some people who just keep doing things the old-fashioned way and are still there when the fad dies down. The history of pop Neopaganism is a good example of the process; the older, richer, more interesting occult traditions are still around, and will still be around when pop Neopaganism has gone the way of Spiritualism.

    Monster, I’ve watched the same things and it baffles me. The very people who ten years ago were first to insist that the corporate media couldn’t be trusted are now believing even the most absurd tripe if some media spokesflack says it, and if this day’s unfact spins 180° from yesterday’s, that doesn’t even get a moment of disorientation. It’s truly bizarre.

    Jeff, done by advanced practitioners who have years of mystical practice under their belts and know exactly what they’re doing, it can be an effective if difficult way of helping the world. Done by anyone else, it’s a disastrously bad idea — if you don’t have the necessary connections with the Higher to transmute the negativity, it settles in to stay, and your life comes apart.

    Thecrowandsheep, I think it’s because if you realize that we landed on the Moon fifty years ago and haven’t gone any further, blind faith in the inevitability of technological progress becomes basically impossible to maintain any longer. I was seven years old when Neil Armstrong took that famous step; for most Americans, life has gotten substantially worse over the fifty-one years that follow, and I think everyone knows that (though a great many people won’t let themselves admit it).

    Ruben, no, I haven’t. Is it available online?

    KidVrain, I’ve talked about it here and there. Generally speaking, public education in the US is a smoking crater — the only things it teaches now are dysfunctional ideologies, bad social habits, and rote memorization of multiple-choice test answers. Literally anything is better. Homeschooling is one very viable route; private schools such as the Waldorf and Montessori systems are also viable. If my child had lived I would have put him in a Waldorf school if there was any way to afford it — I know a fair amount about Steiner’s spiritual teachings (The Philosophy of Freedom is the book of his I return to over and over again) and would be comfortable having a child raised in that context. More broadly, as the public school system finishes imploding, there’s a lot of room for schools with a spiritual element to pick up the slack, and I’d like to see that happen.

    Brendhelm, the sudden closure of the Houston consulate strikes me as a major shift, and it’s probably not accidental that the State Department has just accused China of meddling in US domestic politics. If Chinese money has been helping to fuel the last two months of riots — not unlikely, since the US and Britain have almost certainly been helping to fund equivalent activities in Hong Kong — it’s possible that documentation of that fact has surfaced…in which case it’s understandable that all those documents got burned in a hurry! We’ll see what follows. As for the Three Gorges Dam and New Madrid, yes and yes — it may not be the latter, but it could be.

    Matthias, okay, one vote for an update on the future!

    Matt, the ancient Druids didn’t use statues — in fact they poked fun at the Greeks for thinking that gods look like human beings. Candles, incense or potpourri, and a non-anthropomorphic bit of symbolism — for Hesus, say, the image of an oak tree; for Ceridwen, the image of a cauldron, or what have you — would be my go-to option.

    Will, it’s one more strain on the fraying relationship between Turkey and NATO, for sure.

    Danaone, not the whole country, just a privileged and vocal class.

    Kimberly, thanks for this!

    Andy, okay, one vote for an essay on synchronicity!

    Ross, I have no idea. My only connection to Mr. Meima is that we have the same publisher.

    Mouse, I don’t know that I have anything to say that Taibbi hasn’t said already!

    BoulderChum, that’s not a subject I know much of anything about. Anyone else? Also, one vote for an essay on the magical view of pornography, masturbation, and sexual health.

    Devnlad, no, I don’t believe that. A cyclic universe seems far more likely to me — in a curved cosmos, after all, the natural movement of all things after the Big Bang will eventually bring them right back around again to a Big Crunch, and away we go again.

  42. Wesley,
    the argument you mention is overused and abused. It’s a combination of the anthropic principle and the principle of mediocrity.

    It is used for example to “predict” that people will go extinct in a generation. The logic is: humans are increasing exponentially so statistically we will find ourselves living in the largest group so we must be the last generation (otherwise the next generation will double again so we should be there).
    This kind of “logic” is what put me off most of philosophy.

    The scary part is that supposedly serious physicists are trying to use this argument to explore the multiverse. Starting with a sample of one (our universe) they are trying to find how the physical constants would vary in the multiverse by assuming that the constants we see (speed of light, Planck constant etc) MUST be in the middle of their range. Talk about fallacies!

  43. JMG and Avery thanks for the responses. A fella can really learn things here

    I second Andy’s vote for a synchronicity essay.

  44. When this whole lock down began, I made it point to read more actual books. I had many to choose from but the first one in particular to draw me in was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It was a fantastic read. My biggest takeaway was how could someone so smart be so stupid. If a fiend is going to call you out on your wedding night, sending your newly wed wife to bed seems the height of stupidity. Well, needless to say, we know how that ended up.

    I bring this up here for one thing that I wasn’t excepting to find, a connection to things I’ve read here. And I quote… ‘My father looked carelessly at the title page of my book and said, ‘Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.’

    Cornelius Agrippa seemed to be held in higher esteem here but this passage did get me to thinking, isn’t this Cornelius Agrippa now in association with the horrible crime against nature that Frankenstein would perpetrate. Not sure where in the cannon of western literature you would place Shelley’s work but I’m definitely interested in your take on this guilt by association for Mr. Agrippa.

  45. What I found intriguing in the nymag article is their discussion on how higher education correlates with cosmopolitan values and how this divide had little significance when highly educated people were a fringe of the developed world populations in the post-WWII era, but has tremendous significance today…and how this divide is also seen in countries like South Africa and even racial minorities in Western countries (I.e Florida Blacks and Hispanics shifted toward the GOP in 2016 and 2018 as it became more restrictionist and economic nationalist).

  46. Jmg,
    Thank you so much for answering my question! Its definitely something I need to meditate on. Though, why would they be executed if a warlord took power? I would think that they would be more likely to be goons for said warlord?
    Also do you know how that spiritual malfunction happens?

  47. For the fifth Wednesday post, I’d be most interested in a) an update on the future (as Matthias suggested), b) a post on synchronicity, or c) a post about Hesse’s novels.

    If I had to pick just one of the above, though, I’d be most interested in the post on synchronicity.

  48. @Jared – not JMG, but I’ve often pondered the distinction between a scientist and an expert. The two are so often conflated that people never seem to notice what is glaringly obvious to me.

    But a scientist, the real by-the-book scientist, with real by-the-book scientist chops, as I understand it, is a person who cannot rest comfortably upon what is known, but is impelled to ask questions, to hunt down the reasons for niggling anomalies, and generally to go haring off to explore places where the known intersects with the unknown, and find out why the known can’t explain things sufficiently.

    Whereas, an expert, as I understand it, is someone who has become profoundly acquainted with the known, to the extent that their stock-in-trade is based upon what they already know sufficiently. This may indeed be a considerable amount. But if you are paid to share what you know, venturing into the unknown (ie – venturing to where a scientist cannot stop themselves from going) will be contrary to your interests, and very uncomfortable.

    My 2c.

  49. Hey jmg

    Do you think that if China goes to war with Australia or America, it can be thought of as a manifestation of karma for the way Australia and America have used and abused China these past decades?

    Also, for next Wednesday it would be a tough choice between mad scientists who investigated the occult and Australian occultists.

  50. John, I have met you at a California Gorsedd a few years back and I was really impressed by you and it was wonderful to hear you and Isaac Bonowitz speak and disucuss several topics. I feel forever blessed to have been there and been able to hear you speak. I want to add for others that have not met you -that you are possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met.

    Here is my question: I’m going to try and be clear although it’s a bit muddied.
    I have for years been attracted to the rise and fall of the god in agricultural magic and the idea of the god rising and falling with the seasons. For me this metaphor has always been strong. I worked with a Male Pagan group who celebrated this as a year long ritual.

    What is your take on the rise and fall of man as a cyclic seasonal practice as it’s been seen of in some modern pagan writings. Are we as a pagan/Druid culture getting it right (sort ot) or are we missing the mark.

    I mention this because I’ve felt the strong pull toward this type of cyclical myth the more I get into gardening and have been growing my own grain.

    Thank you for any reply.

  51. The paradoxes of our time: just as the Confederates were all in favor of federal power as long as they could use it to enforce slavery, and preached States Rights to defend segregation, serfdom*, and violence to keep the serfs down; just so Portland, Oregon, bastion of the belief in federal intervention in the states is now preaching States Rights.

    And Trump, by sending Homeland Security agents in unmarked cars to pick up random people off the streets for no probably cause, has certainly alienated the old-line States Rights conservatives, unless he had already changed his mind. Has he shot himself in the foot by that move? (Note: what I really wanted to say about that move was an old air force saying about applynig screwdriver to the pooch.)

    *As a part-time medievalist, I say “serfdom” is an accurate technical description of the lot of the free slaves who remained in the South.

    And – the madness continues – Kanye West was quoted as saying “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves. she just had them work for other white people.” But then, having read some of his other recent gems, I’ve been wondering for some time what he’s been smoking.

    P.S. Having finished The Illuminatus Trilogy and totally run down my battery in the process – from the Appendix, “…in 1914, when the first and final stage of Western Civilization was dawning….” I find myself in agreement here, mildly surprised at not being surprised.

    And Chaos-Discord-Confusion-Bureaucracy-Aftermath makes enormous sense out of the historical cycle, with no doubt whatsoever which stage our country (or Empire) is in now! And has been at least as long as the time between the publication of that trilogy and this very moment. For a marvelous description of the Chaos period historically, I highly recommend Diana Paxson’s Wodan’s Children trilogy, as myth becomes legend, legend becomes history… Siegfried, Gudrun, Brunhilda, Attila the Hun, and assorted post-Fall Romans…. and history becomes myth again.

  52. I would also like to read an update of your views about…everything, really. 🙂

    I get the impression that you changed your views on occultism under the influence of Rosicrucian orders.

    Also an update on the long descent perspective, so you can count this as an extra vote for that!

  53. Thank you, JMG, I have enjoyed writing them!

    JMG said to Matt: Matt, the ancient Druids didn’t use statues — in fact they poked fun at the Greeks for thinking that gods look like human beings. Candles, incense or potpourri, and a non-anthropomorphic bit of symbolism — for Hesus, say, the image of an oak tree; for Ceridwen, the image of a cauldron, or what have you — would be my go-to option.

    Weird! I have been doing the Druid Sphere of Protection every day for 2.5 years now and though I don’t have trouble visualizing people (and I have the novels to prove it!) I always had issues with Hu, Ceridwen, Ced, and Celi as human forms. Esus and Elen for some odd reason aren’t difficult to picture as human beings. To me, Hu is the distant horizon on a clear morning, Ceridwen is a wall of flames or a huge lit fireplace, Ced is sprouting plants, and Celi is golden rays of sunlight.

    Here is my video of me doing the Sphere of Protection for those of you wondering what that is. I link to JMG’s article series on it in the description. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsD3LkfgFVs

  54. @ryou50 – Not JMG here, but I think the main reason to keep psychopaths/sociopaths around is that in very chaotic times, they’re the one who can knock heads together and kick butt without a qualm. And end up as the warlords such times throw up to the top. Many a dynasty was founded by successful pirates, bandits, and all-round bad guys.

  55. RE: Columbia

    I just found last weeks discussion of Columbia and wanted to thank all those involved in the discussion. It reminded me a year ago this month I’d received the support of a secondary financial sponsor to help get my wife and child here to the USA, and it was only 4 months later they were able to come join me and our other child here. I’d been meaning to thank Columbia for that help, as I had been calling on her assistance, but with getting everyone settled here and the other events that have followed, which will be going down in history as a major turning point, definitely distracted me. Ordering a couple statues to setup made me realize I know very little about altars, and very little about showing my respects. Does anyone have suggestions on things to read/search the web to help me develop my own practices? Thanks!

  56. Hi JMG –

    I know the subject of masks has been discussed quite a bit, so I’ll understand if you don’t put this comment through. Our state has mandated that masks will be worn in all public places until a vaccine for C-19 is available. It seems to me that the aim here is to replace the masks with the vaccine, so that proof of immunity (by way of vaccine) will be a condition of employment, eligibility for health insurance, access to stores, restaurants and entertainment, etc. etc. I feel like I’m past the point where I can think clearly about this, and I would value your, and the community’s, opinions, even if it’s to tell me I’ve gone off into tinfoil hat territory.

    Thank you.

  57. I have a question about mundane astrology. You’ve already said that if Biden were to win the election, the Sun would represent him once he’s in office. My question is, who would the Moon then represent? Would Trump supporters, or more broadly, anyone opposed to Biden, be represented by the Moon?

  58. RE: Grand Mutation

    With all the things going on in 2020, something that has been common across the globe has been protesting. I’ve noticed in particular, the protests happening in the Russian Far East around the city of Khabarovsk, since my wife is from a relatively nearby city of Vladivostok. It caught my attention because I’ve had a suspicion that the Far East region has felt very disconnected from Moscow and might be nearing a time when it may feel the need to depart from that leadership.

    With that in mind, and all the protests going on, I’ve noticed a common thread has been a protest against elitism, against people who think they can get away with anything. It’s happening on local levels, regional levels, national levels, and global levels. This intolerance for elitism I can’t help but think is connected with the Grand Mutation and the ushering in of a new era.

  59. @aNanyMouse and JMG

    Matt Taibbi is based.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.urbandictionary.com/define.php%3fterm=Based&amp=true

    There have been over-priced crackpots in “diversity training” for a long time.

    Back in March, I pointed out how most “woke” concepts actually have their roots in the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s.

    https://www.ecosophia.net/an-astrological-interlude-aries-ingress-2020/

    The same is true for the underlying dogmas in diversity training. I was thankful to the African-American linguist John McWhorter for referring to one Price T. Cobbs, a black psychiatrist who was tremendously influential in the development of such “training”:

    “Cobbs, a black psychiatrist, meant well, but he created a monster. In 1968, his book Black Rage, written with William Grier, was a hit, teaching that blacks were simmering with fury and paranoia and were, just as James Baldwin had couched it more literarily in The Fire Next Time, about to boil over. In the wake of that paradigm, Cobb pioneered “encounter groups” designed to teach white people about their inner racism. How? By having blacks vent at them, the idea being that this was “therapeutic.”

    From a rare transcription of an actual session around 1970:

    Woman: I don’t relate towards you, towards color or anything else, I relate towards every single person here as an individual.

    Cobbs: You’re lying, you’re lying, you’re lying!

    Woman: Why?

    Cobbs: If I would say “you look like a little boy to me, I just don’t see anything” you’d say I was crazy because you’re a woman. … If I could neutralize you in some way this is exactly what white folks do to black folks.

    The constructiveness of things like this is decidedly unclear, and yet Cobbs did over 100 of these sessions, ideally culminating in screaming matches out of Norman Lear sitcoms of the period. Buoyed by the success of the book—I recall it as a common coffee table sight when I was a tot—they set a mood. People elsewhere started doing similar “ethnotherapy.” The idea got “into the air” that whites are always racist in ways they are not aware of, must be informed of this, and that it’s okay if the black people bearing the news are less than civil because it’s just desserts (and “therapeutic” for all concerned). The paradigm lives on today in diversity seminars, psychology and ed-school curricula, and the whole idea that there is a uniquely complex Race Thing that whites can never completely “get.””

    And the pathologies haven’t changed much ever since. Hence, diversity training has become infested with sadists and quacks over the decades whose Orwellian pathologies are quite rigid (Reason Magazine – Thought Reform 101 – 2000)

    But no matter, such tactics are justifiable if they achieve results, except for one thing; THEY DON’T! In fact, many of the most popular programs since the 1960s have done the opposite, caused diversity to go DOWN in organizations by increasingly resentment and compelling people to seek independence from grievance procedures (https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail).

  60. From an occult perspective, do burial and cremation have different effects on the after death transition?

  61. Esteemed Archdruid, I noticed today that the Sierra Club has decided to figuratively topple their founder, John Muir. For those who haven’t seen it, the Sierra Club President’s statement is here: https://www.sierraclub.org/michael-brune/2020/07/john-muir-early-history-sierra-club

    The reasoning is, in my opinion, weak, since all that’s offered is that Muir, being an astute observer of Nature (human and otherwise) occasionally said unflattering things about Those Other Groups (TOGs.) Muir’s occasional acid observations and criticisms were almost universally directed at moneyed opportunists and despoilers, who turned out to be (gasp!) White, so him having infrequently commented negatively about TOGs doesn’t really seem to put him firmly in the camp of White Supremacists.

    The article goes on to accuse Muir of the guilt of association, since some of his associates later became advocates for the Eugenics movement of the early 20th century.

    There are several jaw droppers in the article. One is an assertion that the Sierra Club has played a “…substantial role in perpetuating white supremacy.” Another even more over-the-top statement: “For all the harms the Sierra Club has caused, and continues to cause, to Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, I am deeply sorry.” Wow.

    I’m interested in your take on this. Best regards!

  62. Seconding the nomination by BoulderChum for an essay on the magical view of pornography, masturbation, and sexual health.

  63. You probably don’t find the time to listen to the dulcet tones of Damh the Bard each month as he presents the Druidcast podcast from OBOD. This month’s edition features a lecture from someone by the name of Jonathan Argento. In it he talks about magical activism and how he and others have created a sigil to build a spirit called the Leveller and which they have put on the side of bridges all over the south of England. If I understand it correctly, the idea is that this spirit picks up energy from the movement of water under the bridge and possibly the people crossing it, too. The Leveller’s purpose is to bring about the end of capitalism as Argento believes that that is what is destroying the environment. In the lecture he also talks about the karmic aspects of doing negative magic and uses some slightly strange arguments to justify what he is doing. Personally, I’m not sure if he has thought this all the way through. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that his work is responsible for the corona virus, nevertheless, the virus is doing a fantastic job of destroying our capitalist societies at the moment, so is this the kind of thing he wants?

    You can find the podcast here: https://druidry.org/resources/druidcast-the-obod-podcast

    On his website ( https://jonathanargento.com/2019/04/29/bel-fire-to-bale-fire-beltane-and-environmental-collapse/ ) you can find this:

    “Our Bel fire rapidly became a bale fire burning with anger, as we bound, pierced and lobotomized an effigy of Trump, before smashing it, grinding the remains and burning them in the fire – it was a thorough job!”

    and this:

    “This has given birth to an extraordinary response from Extinction Rebellion, who in turn have presented a highly effective non violent protest. At the end of last year, the groups I work with launched a sigil – placed on bridges along the south coast to summon an egregore – the Leveller, to highlight corporate greed and usher in the demise of capitalism.”

    He says this is a non-violent protest and if the only purpose of this egregore were to highlight corporate greed it probably wouldn’t bother me to much. It’s the “ushering in the demise of capitalism” that has me worried. I wonder what you think?

  64. Hi Kidvrain,

    The unschooling process interests me. Based on an assumption that people won’t learn something unless they want to. Home schooling like any alternative works best in a community where there are committed likeminded families who can support each other. Having an underlying shared spiritual or even religious framework might be even better. The experience and outcomes of even “good” public schools seem heartbreaking. We need lots of alternatives in style, philosophy, etc.

  65. I would love a post on understanding the flow of the will, if not here, then on dreamwidth.

    If the magic & sexual health post wins, I’d be interested in your view of what people should do who are in sexless marriages, for the partner who still wishes to have sex, but their partner’s drive is gone.

    Also, was there ever an update regarding anal sex on MM some months ago? The commenter reported an adverse etheric reaction, but I’m wondering whether that might be because the couple wasn’t accustomed to it, so their normal flow of energy was different. I’d been hoping some gay mages would chime in with their experience, but admittedly I’m not caught up on posts.

  66. JMG – Have you read “How the Irish Saved Civilization”? I’m most of the way through it, and it’s a fun read. Before we can find out how they saved “civilization”, we get a quick review of late Roman civilization, and why it needed to be saved (because, otherwise, we may have forgotten how to read Greek and Latin, as well as Sanskrit and cuneiform). These lessons seem relevant to our own time. THEN we can get on with St. Patrick and the founding of small, isolated communities that busied themselves making copies of classical literature.

  67. Hello John Michael,

    I read your book ‘ The Ecotechnic Future ‘ . I have found it give useful solutions to navigate the long descent. Thank you.

    Now, I have been doing research on global warming for a while. My conclusion is that we are in for an additional 3 degrees by 2050 (and 1 more degree by 2035) because 1*one degree is already baked in with the carbon we have released , 2*the Arctic will be ice free in the summer by then 3* – 1 and 2 above will accelerate the release of co2 and methane from permafrost .

    Of course, there is uncertainty with that premise, it could be more or less degrees . depending on feedback loops and all kind of factors.
    However, if that occurs, I don’t want to live like the poor in Africa or those who live in unsafe zones in Lybia .

    What do you see as solutions to live well and safely on a plus +5 degrees planet with a very very different climate ? Have you written about this ?

  68. @Patricia Mathews
    No worries, other people’s thoughts are always welcome. That’s what I would assume as well. From what I’ve seen, Psychopath’s usually either end up in bandit situations (thieves, Gangsters, raiders, pirates, ect,) or as enforcers for criminal groups or tyrants. I find it fascinating.

  69. @Justin Patrick Moore: as an amateur violinist in a community orchestra, the Portsmouth Symphonia sounds absolutely dreadful for muscians and audiences alike. Though I’m not a highly skilled player, I really dislike crappy music, especially Dimitri Kabelevsky. What I like above all else is the “Three B’s.” I feel a certain amount of actual remorse for not being able to play Brahms and Beethoven better. Those Germans!

    And I second the suggestion for a post on Hesse. I recently re-read “The Glass Bead Game” and found myself wondering what the method behind its long-winded, wordy madness might be. I think this was my third reading; once in the 70s in which I barely remained awake. Then twice more recently. I think it improves with re-reading and re-re-reading. Those Germans!

  70. I hope that commenter “kylec,” whose Magic Monday question was accidentally overlooked, shows up here and reposts it. I’d like to know what JMG’s reply on the topic would be!

  71. JMG, sorry for this very long post I meant this to be short but I ended up using it as a way to organise my thoughts and vent, so it is understandable if this is deleted

    What is your opinion on Dmitry Orlov’s theory of the ‘technosphere’, a hyper-complex ’emergent’ intelligence that exists as the electric techno-industrial system that spans the globe, similar to how people refer to ‘Gaia’ as a being that exists across all the inter-connected life on earth, yet remains invisible as its intelligence cannot be pin-pointed or traced back to a central mind. The obviously totalitarian ‘lockdown’ imposed on populations across the world has been strong evidence for me that the technosphere really exists. The world has many national governments and concentrations of power, yet the uniform and coordinated enforcement of lockdown of billions of people (with more or less success) across the world suggests to me that there is clearly a supranational global force at work. The fact that such an extraordinary and unheard of event in human history is happening at precisely the same time when industrial society, capitalism and fiat currencies are rigged to blow and ready to collapse just simply cannot be a coincidence. It is providing the absolutely perfect cover and excuse for collapse.

    The technosphere is what I believe the ‘conspiracy theorists’ are tapping into when they believe the ‘illuminati’ or ‘global elites’ are controlling the world in secret. Their intuition tells them there is invisible forces at work, they just come to the wrong conclusion. I don’t believe that a few globalist bankers are running the world in secret and telling world governments what to do for a few simply reasons. Firstly, human beings are just way too damn stupid to be able to control the unimaginable interconnected complexity of the whole world. Even the brightest brains coming together in organisations can’t handle it all. And secondly, with similar reasoning from the first point, the world simply consists of too many groups of people, with competing interests, and all with a desire for power themselves, for all governments to be under the thumb of a secret elite few. Organisations such as central banks, Davos, the IMF etc clearly hold enormous influence and have ulterior motives, but I don’t believe any or all of them is enough to control everything

    Yet it is seems obvious to me that there is a ‘system’ is at work that goes beyond any collection of human beings, with real intentions and goals, not blindly following a random path, the ultimate goal being complete domination and control of all aspects of life. I believe that if human beings really were the ones in charge, the system would have collapsed already from sheer stupidity, and yet it hangs on. Perhaps it just now about to collapse, yet I sense that the system will remain, with ever-increasing destruction of freedom. The coronavirus ‘lockdown’ has so far been as act of genius by the technosphere in furthering its goal of complete domination: give an excuse to the brainwashed masses as to why collapse of society has occurred (it was a virus we had to save lives!!), lock human beings up in their houses, limit the distance they can travel, tell children when they can hug their grandparents, tell human beings when they can leave their house and who they can socialise with, dehumanise them by enforcing insane measures keeping people physically apart such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘cocooning’ and requiring face masks which covers up a large part of a person’s identity, digitalise everything by banning sporting events and live events so no one can have real direct life experience thereby making everything fake, use the police to watch those who don’t comply, demonise those who question the lockdown in the media etc etc the list goes on. Having said all that however, I am personally still afraid of contracting the virus, simply for fear of spreading it onto loved ones who may be more vulnerable even to a weak virus. It is the response to it and forced lockdown that I disagree with and don’t believe.

    I think the next logical step of the technosphere is clear. Over the next year or few years, there will be a complete demolition of fiat currencies in a catastrophic economic crisis. The central bankers and politicians won’t find their heads rolling in the streets because the technosphere’s propaganda mouth piece i.e. the mainstream media, will do everything to force the narrative that the coronavirus caused it all and ‘whatever it takes’ was needed to save lives. Whether it was due to hyperinflation or otherwise, cashless cryptocurrencies will be launched from central banks thereby ensuring they remain in power, and nicely furthering the technosphere’s goal of tracking and surveiling every aspect of people’s lives and ensuring complete submission. National governments will no doubt hail it a great thing, a road to recovery and renewed economic strength. If it is global, it will be described like the euro in its launch, as a great way to unify and ensure economic mutual strength and solve all our economic problems. Since the lockdown has the effect of minimising the virus but never truly getting rid of it, the lockdown may last years and years in a semi-lockdown state where most things are open but the ‘crisis’ persists, because why roll back dystopian measures when you have normalised it? Or maybe the virus will magically vanish once hyperinflation happens after which it will have served its purpose and promptly forgotten. It has already magically vanished briefly during the BLM protests. But is hard to predict the future. However I think I can clearly see the trend. Just imagine less and less freedom, that is future. So I ended up veering off into the dreaded COVID topic, but I think it is completely linked with the idea of the technosphere so I had to discuss it.

    Any thoughts?

  72. JMG, I am currently listening to a Great Course by Richard Spece. Here is a blurb from his bio page that says what he has published.
    Professor Spence’s research interests include espionage; occultism; anti-Semitism; and, of course, secret societies. His major published works include Boris Savinkov: Renegade on the Left (1991), Trust No One: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly (2002), Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult (2008), and Wall Street and the Russian Revolution, 1905-1925 (2017). He is the author of numerous articles in Revolutionary Russia, Intelligence and National Security, Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, American Communist History, The Historian, and other journals.

    Have you heard of him and do you have any thoughts? I am finding him interesting.

    Tomxyza

  73. @Tony C about global warming.
    I agree with you that the future trajectory of climate is going to bring us close to the climate of PETM.
    But that has nothing to do with your questions.
    First, the focus on climate change is a political distraction – it is a big abstract thing that can be used to support inaction, either through direct denial or through soft denial (blaming the corporations or China while denying any personal responsibility).

    Even if we ignore AGW, the ecosystem destruction has set us up for a greatly impoverished future. We destroyed 90% of habitats without any help from AGW.

    Second, you say you don’t want to live like the poor in Africa. Have you tried living like them? If not, how do you know you wouldn’t enjoy it?
    There is no standard life for the poor in Africa or anywhere else. Some poor live horrible lives in the garbage dumps of megalopolises and some don’t even know they are poor, living like their ancestors in a place that gives them fresh food and clean water.

    Idk JMG’s opinion but I don’t think there is a “solution” to living well in the ravaged world we have created for ourselves. My goal is to live today with LESS (less energy, stuff and stimulation) so at least I don’t have the fear of “living like poor people”. I am also producing something for myself (vegetables, furniture, and even toys).

    I hope that’s helpful,

  74. @clay dennis, it doesn’t sound like anyone on any side in Portland is thinking pragmatically or tactically. For instance, every Home Depot sells numerous items and materials that could quickly render any little hatch impossible to emerge from without power tools.

    It sounds instead as if the people involved have got themselves caught up in some mythic archetype of siege. Have the protestors tried trumpets? Is anyone building a horse?

  75. Wow, I actually have a question this time that I thought of a few days ago. Thinking about patterns and cycles in history and types of human behaviors, I am wondering if this relatively new phenomenon of destructive, brainwashed revolutionaries as was seen in the French revolution, the Russian revolution, possibly Nazi Germany, and considering them as I do to have some kind of mental issue – be it brainwashing, addiction (unlikely in history but likely now) and being stuck in their reactive minds, and finally, possibly a demonic egregor, is this a modern phenomenon? Or does it go back further? If so, I don’t see it.

  76. Jared, this is a normal phenomenon at the end of a civilization’s Age of Reason; Giambattista Vico wrote about it in his New Science back in the early 18th century. The basic dynamic is that every literate civilization reaches the point of discovering the possibilities of intellectual activity outside of a mythic/religious context, and starts out by doing a lot of interesting things — that’s when things like philosophy and logic and mathematics and sciences get invented. The problem, of course, is that every Age of Reason turns into an Age of Experts, and the experts promptly get corrupt, arrogant, and stunningly dishonest — read discussions of the Sophists in late classical Greece sometime, to cite only one example, and you’ll find yourself in very familiar territory. What happens next? Religion makes a comeback, because that’s the only thing that can give a society an agreed moral framework; popular distrust of experts remains widespread; and intellectual activity gradually winds down as the civilization settles into its mature form and innovation stops being valued. It’s a very familiar process in history, and we’re well into it.

    Viduraawakened, it really depends on what the great epic poets to come happen to write about. The Trojan War, the subject of Homer’s epics, was one of many such ventures, but it happened to be the one that a genius decided to write about; doubtless there were many other epic poems in India during its great age of epic poetry, but the Mahabharata and the Ramayana happened to be so much better than the others that they’re the ones that survived. So if Sam sunna Beti, the great epic poet of 26th-century Meriga, happens to decide to write an epic about the First Civil War, then that’s what we’ll get — and if he decides to write instead about events that haven’t happened yet, that’s what we’ll get.

    Jeanne, okay, one vote for sacred architecture!

    D. Mekel, yes — from there you go on to Paths of Wisdom and Circles of Power, which should be studied together — the first gives you the theory, the second the practice. Then you go on to Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn, which counts as one of my books because I edited the current edition. 😉

    Wesley, it’s entirely dependent on the mythology of progress. Suppose that the peak of human population arrives on schedule around 2050, and declines afterwards at roughly the same rate that it increased, so that it goes back below 1 billion around 2296 and stays there for millions of years to come, just as in all the millions of years of hominin history before then it stayed below that figure. In that case it would be very likely that we should be alive right now, near the all-tlme peak of human population!

    Mark, many thanks for these!

    Kevin, thanks for the update! One step at a time is always the way to do it.

    Daniel, in the traditions I practice and teach, discursive meditation is the go-to resource for that. You can find a set of instructions on my Dreamwidth journal here — start at the bottom.

    Marlena13, yep. Faith in progress is a religion, pure and simple.

    Clay, the single oddest thing about the behavior of the Left since Trump began his campaign in 2015 is the way that they just keep doing the same thing repeatedly, no matter how little it accomplishes or how completely it fails. It’s reminiscent of one of those psychotic fugue states where the patient just keeps repeating the same set of jerky motions over and over again. The Portland protests are a great example. What on earth can they possibly accomplish?

    James, thanks for this. Yes, I’d heard that Paul was working on something like this, but I haven’t read it yet — thanks for the heads up.

    Stefan, sure thing. From a Western magical perspective, karma isn’t rooted in the individual — it’s rooted in the cosmos as a whole. Each of your thoughts and words and actions set up resonances that propagate through the cosmos and remain there, and so when your soul descends into incarnation again, there’s your karma, waiting for you when you pop out of your mother’s womb. Of course it also shapes the after-death experience, because we don’t shed all our bodies at once; the physical body goes first, then the etheric body a few days later, and after that it takes quite a while for the soul to process its experiences and shed the astral body; the soul is conscious of the astral plane during this process, and what sub-plane it’s on depends partly on karma and partly on the state of consciousness at death. Since the sub-planes of the astral run the gamut from heaven to hell, this matters!

    Varun, okay, one vote for the leftward end of the working class.

    Bird, that whole notion was invented by a rationalist named John Sladek, who wrote a book called Arachne Rising under a pseudonym in order to poke fun at astrologers. Most astrologers recognized it as a put-on and rolled their eyes, but some people didn’t get the joke.

    Justin, thanks for this. I’m glad I never heard any of their performances!

    James, I haven’t really looked into it. Anyone else?

    Justin, a second vote for Hesse!

    Crayon, (1) no, the evidence I’ve seen has confirmed my analysis so far. (2) The thing to keep in mind is that “tomorrow will be worse than today” is a statement about averages, not a statement about individuals. Your tomorrow can be better than today, in important values of the word “better;” you may have fewer technological trinkets and gimmicks, and be making do with less financial wealth, but you can still be happier, wiser, stronger, more successful, more loved and loving. The one essential requirement is that you have to stop being just another cog in the machine and become the individual human being you are capable of being. \

    Kevin, okay, one vote for tea-splattering!

    NomadicBeer, and a second vote for an update on the broader situation.

    Balowulf, I was somewhat skeptical of Strauss and Howe, but I have to admit they’ve been spot on so far — the only miss is that we don’t have a Gray Eminence, we have an Orange one. Certainly I expect the aftermath of the current convulsions to be major institutional changes followed by a period of relative stability, before the next round of crises arrives.

  77. Greetings ArchDruid Greer,
    II’m having a lot of ideas buzzing through my head and oddly they seem to connect with each other

    First: i remember that in the 90’s a group of Chaos Mages launched a spell on the internet to exorcise it https://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/chaos/texts/demonet.html.
    Nowadays in Japan Shinto Priests bless or exorcise computers and gadgets.https://www.wired.com/2009/06/st-gadgetshrine/.
    Perhaps it would be a good idea to do the same,

    Second : In 1989 in Leeds, UK there was an huge increase in ,agressions against homosexuals and also against wemen, specially single mothers. The pinnacle of this situation was when a man broke a beer bottle and threw the shards of glass against the face of the baby that a single mother was carrying. The Chaos Mage Phil Hine and a friend decided to do something about it, but instead of targetting the offender, they summoned the Furies and unleashed them against the memes, against the way of thinking that considered normal and correct this behaviour. The situation improved rapidly. Seems like a good idea and i can’t imagine why this method isn’t used more often.

    Third : it is obvious that the current chinese rulers have lost the Mandate of Heaven. And i’m thinking if Putin, making sure that the spetznaz are always deployed with a priest and a mobile church, and fanning the flames of the Russian Soul is not trying to claim The Mandate of Heaven (or at least a mandate of heaven) for thimself. And perhaps other people could do it, petitioning the Gods/Godddesses so that their countries would receive a ruler mandated by the Gods, to bring success and harmony to the country.
    Whispers

  78. Kidvrain,

    The more I find out about how bad common core is and education in general, and that our kids are now indoctrinated and even sexualized by the curriculum, the more I am in favor of any alternative.
    I also think about the missing spiritual component as I spent some time thinking and reading what I could find about how a strong spiritual experience may actually alter and activate a certain area in the brain. I brought my kids to church in their childhoods and they now rarely attend, but while in Copenhagen my daughter and I visited a fine old Russian church there. No service, we were the only ones there. But the smell brought it all so strongly back for her that she was nearly in tears.
    I have come to the conclusion that if you give no spiritual input to a growing child that you are in fact neglecting an aspect of their brain development and it may be difficult to make up for it. Most people who know a little about neuroplasticity might get what I’m saying. What you spend time on influences the pathways your brain builds, and what you don’t spend time on gets dropped.

  79. I will give another vote for a post on sexual health/ masturbation/pornography from a mages perspective.

    Also in response to the comments about the Hagia Sophia being turned back into a mosque, I would recommend Nassim Taleb’s comments on the subject. He basically says much of the former ‘classical’ world and been Disenylandified. Athens today for example is basically a Disneyland imitation of Ancient Greece rather than an authentic Mediterranean expression.

    In future though I would love more posts on the spiritual significance of non human physical places. I know you’ve done posts on the subject and I think you’ve written some books too. Just a general request.

    Cheers!

  80. Question from Jean in Oregon, concerning the Three Gorges Dam: “To what degree does Beijing have cancer rising?” And ” With all that Jupiter/Pluto fun in Capricorn, November 12th could be *ugly*.”

  81. Hi JMG

    “Naked Athena” was in the news recently – the story is here:

    https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2020/07/the-story-behind-the-surreal-photos-of-portland-protester-naked-athena.html

    Do you think she was practising a form of apotropaic magic as apparently the riot cops backed off at the sight of her? She has also been compared to sheela-na-gigs. Speaking of which what is your theory of the purpose of sheelas? Apotropaic magic again, warding off the devil? fertility symbols? the goddess as crone?

    I vote for a synchronicity essay please.

  82. I have two related questions about evolution and consciousness.

    First, do you think that evolution naturally moves towards consciousness? I have heard some argue for an anthropomorphic principle. Although I am sure you would not embrace a man centered view of reality, do you think that the universe is fine tuned to produce thinking beings?

    On a related note, what do you think are the odds that humans are not the first intelligent life forms on this planet? Could the reptiles before we mammals got our turn have achieved intelligence? It seems like many species are capable of a lot more than we gave them credit for (think of apes learning sign language) so do you have any thoughts on whether past beings could have built civilizations, developed religions, and so on?

    Finally, you might have already heard of him, but I thought you might want to check out Michael Denton. He is an evolutionary biologist who defends structuralism, which is sort of like a neo platonic view of evolution. The idea is that certain metaphysical entities such as a platonic form guide life’s development.

  83. @Kuja – the technosphere you describe reminds me a lot of Gordon DIckson’s s/f novel Necromancer, in which self-aware Supercomputer plays that role – and is controlling human activity to make things nice and tidy. Dickson outlines the various trends, forces, and cults rising in reaction to that, and – presciently! – culminates has a night of mass madness, marches, riots, when all these movements erupt at once.

    Remind you of any year on our current calendar?

  84. Dear JMG
    How is Aleister Crowleys fabled Aeon of Horus manifesting through declining western civilisations. Did Hesse also foreshadow this Aeon Of Horus through his novels. There does seem to be a Dark Goddess Kali Yuga type energy associated with this . Is that correct ?

  85. JMG,

    I wish you made a full post on the topic of Karma from a Western occult perspective. I feel like people (me included) may have a lot of misconceptions about it. Perhaps you could add some practical advice on how to deal with it and get good karma?

    P.S. Yes I saw this topic has been brought up in this comment section already.

  86. @Scotlyn @Jared

    Scotlyn: your definition of expert coincides almost exactly with the German word fachidiot. I have been trying to translate this into English for years now and the best I have come up with is:

    Subject Matter Idiot (SMI): an SME that is incapable of reasoning outside their domain of knowledge.

    There’s no particular reason why an expert should become a SMI but it seems to happen with almost every expert these days. My guess is it’s something to do with the organisational structures of bureaucracy/academia plus too many college graduates. A mechanic is an expert and might also be a SMI but at least they can fix your car. What good is an expert in the theory of public health or long range reflexives in nordic languages etc?

    @Dave in WA

    My two cents: masks and vaccines are the optimal solution politically. They give the illusion of a scientific solution to what’s really a political problem because the hysteria has shaken up people’s faith in the system and politicians need visible measure to reassure the public that everything’s going to be just fine. It’s much like a patient who visits the doctor and demands to be given medicine. It would be better to give them nothing and let them deal with the problem themselves but most doctors will take the easy route and give them a pill. Of course, every pill has side effects and in this case the rest of us get the side effects as well.

    @JMG

    For next week’s post, can I suggest the topic of death. In particular, why so many people now appear to be so terrified of death that they are willing to sacrifice everything else to avoid it. Is this just a normal part of the decline of civilisation or something specific to our age?

  87. My recommendation for your 5th post this month:

    You included two definitions of consciousness by Dion Fortune in your May 8th post “The Cosmic Doctrine: The Evolution of Consciousness”: 1) “consciousness is reaction plus memory; and 2) “consciousness is an integration of reactions, so that any change in any part is responded to by the corresponding adjustments of the whole”.

    Worthwhile definitions of consciousness are very hard to come by. But i was surprised at how good these two definitions truly are, especially taken together.

    Despite the fact that you covered so much ground in your post on this topic, an unbelievable number of questions seem to linger around these definitions that did not get addressed in your post – . I’d be interested for you to address any others that call you, and/or address the following specific suggestion:

    Forgetfulness. Consciousness implies memory as Fortune states. But since we cannot remember everything all of the time, memory by its nature implies forgetfulness at least to some degree. So then consciousness implies forgetfulness.

    We humans sure seem to be holy amnesiacs.

    But another consequence of these definitions of consciousness is that they throw a very wide net as to what is conscious.

    Do you have any insight as to the reality of human’s forgetful nature versus other conscious being’s forgetful nature?

    Or anything else regarding forgetfulness?

    Thanks for your efforts.

  88. Forecasting, I’m scrambling to get up to speed on the mundane astrology of comets so I can answer that.

    KayeOh, a second vote for synchronicity.

    Violet, a third vote for Hesse.

    Will, a third vote for synchronicity.

    Aidan, thanks for this.

    JeffBLYN, in Shelley’s time Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy had exactly the same role in popular culture that the Necronomicon has in Lovecraft’s stories — you show someone reading it if you want the reader to know that said character is dabbling in Things Man Was Not Meant To Know and will be buttered all over the landscape in due time.

    Aidan, the article uses “education” as a surrogate for the thing it doesn’t dare mention, which is of course class privilege.

    Ryou50, the difficulty faced by someone with antisocial personality disorder, if I understand that correctly (and please correct me if I’m wrong), is that they’re going to rebel against the local authority figure — and the local authority figure in an age of decline has the option of responding with sudden lethal force. As for the spiritual malfunction, it’s complex and I’m not sure anyone human knows for sure.

    Golden, and I think that’s a third vote for an update.

    Jbucks, okay, a fourth vote for synchronicity.

    J.L.Mc12, since two of the three countries involved have large nuclear arsenals, war isn’t an option. One vote for mad scientists — I know next to nothing about Australian occultists and all the books I’d need are on the other side of the planet, you know.

    aNanyMouse, good heavens. He’s actually going there.

    Dean, it’s certainly a time-honored option. I haven’t read much modern Neopagan literature on that or any other subject — I mostly read books by dead people — so I can’t really respond to your specific question, though.

    Patricia, it’s a paradoxical time. That’s typical of an era of Aftermath, after all! Thesis, antithesis, synthesis, parenthesis, paralysis…

    Tidlosa, okay, we’re at four votes for the update. As for Japanese esotericism, I frankly don’t know enough about the subject to avoid making a fool of myself; fluency in Japanese, which I don’t have, would be a basic requirement.

    Kimberly, highly traditional.

    Prizm, the method Jenny uses to commune with Tsathoggua in the second volume of The Weird of Hali is highly traditional.

    LunarApprentice, four votes for Hesse.

    Dave in WA, I’m pretty sure that the epidemic and everything associated with it will be over promptly on November 4 of this year, but we’ll see. No, I don’t think you’ve gone overboard.

    Kashtan, the Moon always represents the people of the country, and more specifically those who are able to take a role in the political process; the first house ruler represents the unorganized masses.

    Prizm, you may well be right. Still, we’ll have to see.

    Aidan, fascinating. Thanks for this.

    Kwo, it depends on how soon the cremation happens. If you wait three days, so the soul has had time to separate itself from the body entirely, there’s no difference; if the cremation takes place sooner, it can be a little bit of a shock to the soul.

    Bryan, of course the reasoning is weak. What’s going on has nothing to do with the real world. It’s the postmodern Ghost Dance, with professions of guilt and erasures of white founders filling the roles of medicine shirts and sacred dances, all deployed in a frantic attempt to get the universe to do something other than what it’s doing.

    Dylan, okay, two votes for the magical dimensions of sweaty palms. 😉

    Reloaded15, here we go again. I wonder if Argento has realized that the first part of capitalist society he’ll affect is the one that pays his bills and keeps him off the street.

    CS2, I’m planning a Dreamwidth discussion of the will and will training, so we’ll mark this down as a third vote for the magical dimensions of sex. No, I don’t think anyone else took the discussion of anal sex any further.

    Markie, fascinating. I’ve bookmarked the article to read later, but yes, it sounds as though my efforts to get certain ideas into circulation are bearing fruit.

    Lathechuck, I have indeed, and yes, it’s a worthwhile set of lessons.

    Tony C, everything plausible I’ve seen on the subject suggests that the temperature difference will not be evenly distributed across the planet. The equatorial region will warm only slightly, while the poles will warm drastically — that’s what’s happened in earlier thermal maximums, you know. The most important consequence is that sea level’s going up quite a bit. As for not wanting to live like the poor in Africa, most people throughout human history have lived that way, you know; why should you be special?

    Patricia, five votes for the update.

    Phutatorius, five votes for Hesse!

    Kuja, I think that Dmitry is smoking his shorts. The global influence that’s causing the lockdown is the international professional/managerial class, which for decades now has been primarily loyal to its own class interests and not to the countries where its members live. There isn’t One Big Conspiracy — there’s a set of common values, attitudes, bigotries, and obsessive notions shared by members of that class, which lead them to do the same things in the same circumstances. The “technosphere” is simply the set of technologies that have been deployed by the professional/managerial caste in the pursuit of its own interests, and which therefore reflect those interests to a fare-thee-well. (See John Ellis’ The Social History of the Machine Gun for a good challenge to the delusion that any technology can ever be value-free.)

    Tomxyza, I’ve read his book on Sidney Reilly, and he seems to know his stuff.

    Bonnie, Yeats, Eliot, and Robinson Jeffers head the list.

    Onething, it goes back much further. I can think off hand of examples from late medieval Europe and Han-dynasty China.

  89. @Ryou50 and @JMG regarding antisocial personality disorders in an age of decline:

    I suspect the way it goes is that the lucky ones get a throne, the unlucky ones get the headsman’s axe.

  90. I thought it was DHS and that they were arresting people. Are they not? How much actual destruction is going on?

  91. @Kuja:

    I think what’s going on may be simpler than your speculations about a sentient technosphere. There’s a very old saying, “Whom the Gods would destroy They first drive mad.”

    Why not simply assume that the Gods–whoever They may happen to be–have quite seriously set out to destroy us now? Their benevolence is not limited to our species.

    Of course, it remains an open question just who “we” are whom the Gods now seem to have slated for destruction: Is their target the Urban neoliberal elites? The United States? All of Western Civilization? All humanity? You could make a real case for any of those possibilities, and others as well.

  92. NomadicBeer,

    So it looks like Covid just brought forward by weeks the death of extremely sick or old people.
    I just read yesterday a rather good article that came to the chilling conclusion that the brief spike in deaths was actually the lockdown itself. He showed that around the world the spike began at precisely the time that the pandemic was announced and the shutdown began. The timing told him that it wasn’t the covid itself causing all of it. Consider that, again around the world but the stats might vary slightly, heart attacks went down 40%. That is, not people coming to the ER with chest pain, but actual infarctions. That is just one example but hospitals around the world were empty and that is a combination of people being turned away but also being afraid to come in. At my small local hospital there is a sign outside that says “Feel Sick? Stay Home!”

    I saw a speech today that said about 2/3 of the deaths were people who would have died in 2020, so in the last months of life. The average life expectancy in the US is 78 years of age and the median age of death from covid is 81.

  93. I think Hesse’s novel would be an interesting topic. I’m thinking particularly of a story “The Rain Maker” in ‘The Glass Bead Game / Magister Ludi’, particularly this year because of that-which-must-not-be-named. (Thank you to Irena for this suggestion)

  94. Quick question on different Middle Pillar exercises:

    In the Polytheist Middle Pillar Exercise: https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/25161.html you instruct that when circulating the light one starts on the right side of the body, going down and to the left.

    In the Heathen Middle Pillar Exercise you instruct that when circulating the light one starts on the left side of the body going down and to the right.

    My question is if one of these is a typos or is the light circulated in the different systems differently be design. Certainly I have no desire to mess my subtle body up! Many thanks for answering questions in this space.

  95. Jmg,
    You are both correct and not. Low functioning ASPDs are more likely to be overt in their lack of conformity. It depends on if they see a benefit to conformity. Its more accurate to say that they’re more likely to commit crimes.
    High functioning ASPDs though are more likely to know to mask their behavior. In fact, they’re more likely to end up as cops or surgeons. So it depends on how functional they are. Does this make sense? I’m not the best at explaining via writing.

  96. Whispers, thanks for this. The reason that effective magic isn’t used more often is that too many people use magic as make-believe and dress-up games, or as a kind of street theater for acting out various emotional states. As for the Mandate, in the old theory, every nation exists in relationship with its gods and the spirits of its land, and neglecting either side of the interaction is a good way to lose power.

    BB, I think that’s four votes for the metaphysics of pornography and masturbation. As for the magic of place, that’s a very deep and complex subject; I’ll consider it.

    Bridge, five for synchronicity. As for the naked woman, the genitals are energy centers, and images of them were much once used to dispel certain kinds of hostile magic.

    Stephenderose, consciousness comes first, and gradually evolves bodies that are capable of expressing more and more of its potential. As for prehuman intelligent species, keep in mind that (a) a species can be fully intelligent without having hands or the equivalent, and (b) all our ideas about intelligent are hominin ideas and almost certainly can’t be applied to living things of other types. That is to say, I’m quite sure there have been many intelligent species on Earth before us, most of them nontechnological (as indeed porpoises are now), but some creating technologies that are so different from anything we can imagine that we probably can’t recognize their remains as technological. Thanks for the heads up about Denton; I’ll have a look as time permits.

    Jean, six votes for the update.

    Doodily, seven votes for the update.

    Feichang Shiqi, my take is that Crowley completely misunderstood this issue of aeons. The aeons aren’t periods of time, they’re eternal spiritual possibilities — the Gnostics knew that. When a magus proclaims the word of an aeon, that simply means that he or she has figured out which of those eternal spiritual possibilities resonates with his or her soul, and aligns with it. Every mage does that, and one of the reasons that mages disagree about so many things is that they align with different aeons.

    Ecosophian, a vote for a post on karma!

    SimonS, and a vote for a post on death.

    Chris, and a vote for a post on consciousness and forgetfulness.

  97. My vote for nexgt week’s topic goes with Simon S, who wrote:

    “For next week’s post, can I suggest the topic of death. In particular, why so many people now appear to be so terrified of death that they are willing to sacrifice everything else to avoid it”

  98. Brendhelm, a reasonable summary!

    Aidan, thanks for both of these.

    PatriciaT, and that’s six votes for Hesse.

    Anonymous, it’s a typo — one of the oddities of my nervous system is that I flip left and right rather easily. (It’s one of many reasons why I don’t drive.) The energy should go down the left side and up the right in all cases.

    Ryou50, fair enough. In that case, yes, those who can control their rebellious reactions could very well find a place for themselves as members of a warband.

    Aidan, and thanks for these also.

    Robert, and two votes for a post on the fear of death.

  99. Well, I was in a very sour mood today,
    and thought, well at least I can see what less delusional people over at the druid’s place are up to. But now Patricia has gone and given me the heebie jeebies.

    Two nights ago I went to sleep after a divination mulling over what this ‘new thing’ that keep showing up in divinations was. I was feeling okay about it, I thought the comet was headed to Arcturus, under the Great Bear, maybe that had an Arthurian mythical structure to an awakening archetype… I had weird dreams, watching a play on an old fashioned stage, with those moving painted wooden backgrounds. The stage was too crowded, it didn’t seem to be an actually play, but then this yellow orb went sailing through it. I asked it what it’s name was, and it said, flatly “Discord”. I was upset, that didn’t sound like something I wanted to tuned in with, I thought it was supposed to be a positive change (constant recurring caput draconis’ in my shield charts… I thought that was a benefic, dagnabbit) .. I said “oh, I’m sorry, no thanks, I have to go now, I think I’m in the wrong place” all awkwardly and left. It just kept serenely travelling across the stage.

    Nothing I saw, and the word discord, meant anything to me, so I ignored it. I had weirder and much worse dreams last night…

    Now, I worry the first dream actually meant something, and I don’t like that much… Good lord what is wrong with me…

  100. I’m not altogether certain MAD will be sufficient deterrent to prevent war in the negative-sum era, when victory comes by making your opponent lose more.

  101. @Brendhelm and Jmg,
    That sounds about right!
    Also I also vote for the post about death. I wish society handled their impending death better. I always found the fear of death to be a thing of privilege.

  102. @Phutatorius: I am glad some other folks are re-reading Hesse and I look forward to discussions around a possible future post.

    As far as the Portsmouth Sinfonia goes, I think most of their efforts were aimed at eliciting humorous reactions from the audience. What may not have been conveyed in the above excerpt is that they really did try to play as best as they could. And in doing so they arrived at some arrangements that would never have been done before. At the same time they got to poke fun at the elitism that can often be found in classical music circles. It’s the kind of enjoyable and joyful noise you might hear on an episode of Dr. Demento.

    And for those who actually do want to listen to the Portsmouth Sinfonia there is an archive here: http://www.ubu.com/sound/portsmouth.html

    I’ll also be featuring them on a Radiophonic Laboratory segment when Free Radio Skybird returns to the shortwaves in September.

  103. Dave in WA

    A doctor I respect said some time back that he absolutely does not think a vaccine will be possible. My understanding is they have tried unsuccessfully to make one against corona viruses. That then leaves the question of what the real purpose of the vaccine will be? Recall they had talked of an HIV vaccine but one has never arrived.

    The question will be if it will vary state to state or not. It might be necessary to leave. Or it might be hopeless.

  104. I’ve a question: Lilith. I see her more and more these days. Is this just a personal synchronicity or could she be waxing on the local stage the way Pluto seems to be waning?

  105. @Just Another Green Rage Monster

    Hey, I here ya. Especially about Noam Chomsky. I dove into his writings in my early 20s which was twenty years ago. It all made sense then. But now I see those same people who would have been super skeptical about the media just melting under its influence, as if they were the wicked witches of the west (which they might be).

    In any case, it has been strange to see all the people who were against war and wars, get upset and TDS and can’t see the good that Orange Julius might do in de-escalating our overseas involvements and pulling troops and people back home etc.

    Identity politics have replaced other politics, and its a shame because identity is such a flimsy thing in some respects. And I guess with the influx of other media, and its ability to glamour people, they might have been blinded by the (television and computer screen) light and they have lost the ability to reflect for themselves.

    Possibly also the pace of things, which does seem to have picked up in peoples lives due to general crazy making, has made having meltdowns much easier and preferable than the rigors of introspection and reflection and deeper reading than the endless scroll of comments and emotional agitprop being thrown at people on the social medias all the time.

    Anyway, that’s my take on it. I’m sure there is much more to break down.

  106. I am making a wild prediction: There is a small chance the current disease will suddenly start vanishing as mysteriously as it appeared, confusing the bulk of the scientific community, not to mention shaking up the smugness of progressmongers.

  107. @JMG: have you read Robinson Jeffers’ long poem “The Double Axe”? Any interest in William Everson aka Brother Antoninus (if memory serves)? I do like Everson’s poem on the death of Jeffers.

  108. Add another vote to an update on the future please.

    Mean while, why are folks all getting so hyper reactive? I think masks are tedious and suspect, but my buddies are acting like its gulag conditions. Covid is a rough bug, but other buddies are acting like its super ebola.

    On another note I see folks, and feel in my own heart, a grasping for meaning, and then very strong reactions to omens. Like I am watching many omen. My Odinist friend recently had a one eyed magpie fledgling hop up to him and make a pet of it self. The 538 Trump thing. I could go on. Omens are interesting, but I am getting a feeling like I am sensing folks latch to them with strange verve, noticed in in the Magic Monday comments, something about it seems a bit off.

    Do our bones say something is gonna give way and everybody is jumpy not knowing which way to dodge?

  109. @JMG

    Re the Portland Protests, I wonder if Portland’s geography has anything to do with attracting a certain type of person and/or energy. As far as American cities go, it’s often lauded for its “European” vibe, and the pleasant tree lined walkable streets are certainly likeable. But something about the city always bothered me (beside the obvious things like homelessness) and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

    On my last trip a year ago, something struck me: the inner core is on a narrow strip of land, backed my dark forested mountains, sloping towards the Williamette River, where there’s a steep drop into the water. It’s scenic but… is it possible for a city to have bad Feng Shui?

  110. @Bridge re:sheelas

    I’m not sure anyone knows for sure what they are, but I’m partial to Ina May Gaskin’s take on them– She’s the grande dame of midwifery in the US, and naturally, she feels they are an important part of childbirth education. If you’re not bashful, she talks about them in this video (which includes frank discussion of childbirth, and may be NSFW):

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/177258935308027169/

  111. I’ll chime in and vote for Hesse.

    My province has released their “back to school” plans for Coronavirus, and they’re pretty bizarre – masks everywhere except classrooms, students are not permitted to bring food from home (they will be fed in classrooms), and many more extreme restrictions. I tend to be conspiracy-minded, and generally don’t express the conspiracy theories I constantly think about, but to me these bizarre rules, coupled with the dehumanizing nature of masks, are like something the military would do to new recruits to break down their old identity.

  112. I started the Dolmen Arch exactly a week ago, after much deliberation and a fair amount of divination. (Ultimately, I think the geomantic oracle just gave in and said, “if you want to study the Dolmen Arch so bad why don’t you just get on with it?!”) 🙂

    But I wanted to report that I love it. I’m flying through the first grade, enjoying new heights in meditation. The astral plane is more alive than it’s ever been to me. It’s hitting me in the chest, resonating loud and clear. And I like the Welsh Druid pantheon better than I would have ever imagined.

    So a sincere and heartfelt gratitude is currently flowing your way from North Georgia.
    Grover

  113. JL Mc12 or whatever.
    Did you know Crowley muse and uber Violinist Leila Waddell was an Aussie. There are Theosophical societies in various parts of the country with streets around them named after people like Bulwer Lytton. Perth W.A for example.

    The OTO is present but seem to be a dodgy mob. There are numerous Wiccan and pagan movements and a very robust history and continuation of Druid Society. Druids have existed as fraternal societies in Victoria and have even morphed into an insurance company !

    https://www.nobleoak.com.au/

    Also the venerable order of Bards Ovates and Druids still here

    Order of Bards Ovates & Druids Australia
    https://www.druidryaustralia.org

    The usual array of masons and scientologists are present, most country towns still have a lodge. AMORC is also about.

    The doyen for this stuff is the now deceased Neville Druery from Sydney, who was widely published in his lifetime, even in local academia.

    http://www.nevilldrury.com/

    He was mindful of the inevitability of anyone who dabbles in occult matters here running smack first into the powerful magic of the Indigenous peoples, whose magic is very old, powerful and still lingers palpably in the landscape. They are also not very happy with the state of affairs so be warned.

    Now go off and do some googling and tread very carefully.

  114. Oh, and add a tick mark in the “fear of death” column for me, please and thank you. I find it utterly baffling how so many Christians, with their fire insurance “guaranteed,” can be so mortified of…mortality.

  115. I second Matthias’ request for an update on your current thinking on the collapse trajectory over the next couple decades, how we transition into scarcity industrialism, fossil fuel depletion, and what new religious forms may arise as the cult of progress sputters out.

  116. JMG,

    Someone upthread posted a few of his essays and I couldn’t resist this little snip, (a quote from a black professor) which so well expresses exactly what you have been saying about the real divide being class:

    “As I and my colleague Walter Benn Michaels have insisted repeatedly over the last decade, the burden of that ideal of social justice is that the society would be fair if 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources so long as the dominant 1% were 13% black, 17% Latino, 50% female… etc.”

  117. BoulderChum,

    I have a fair amount of experience in the building trades, and your observations about the dependency on fossil fuel supported supply chains and high-tech materials are right on. In wanting to build in a sensible way with locally sourced, natural materials you are going against the grain of how the construction industry is set up now.

    One challenge you will find is meeting building codes with low-tech, appropriate-tech approaches, which makes new construction very challenging. My suggestion: focus on retrofitting, particularly pre-WWII structures. The cob-house folks may have found ways to get around the regulations, but I don’t have experience with that.

    The old-timey knowledge you might be seeking has been stored, at least partially, with historic preservationists. How Buildings Learn by Stuart Brand is a good place to start conceptually, although it has no practical value as a manual.

  118. I’d love to hear some updates on self-reliance measures this crowd is working on in these “interesting times.”

    We finally got a little rain today, after 4 weeks of drought…within about half an hour of turning off the sprinkler I finally broke down and bought this afternoon! Sheesh…

    But I also added 8 quarts of green beans to the freezer today, I’m still digging up what should end up being about 120 lbs of potatoes, corn ears are swelling, tomatoes are going crazy, can’t keep up with the cukes, new red raspberry patch is jamming, new fig finally figured it’d join the fray, Spring chicks should be laying soon, sunflowers are nodding, and somehow we’re still eating Spring cole crops pretty regularly, too.

    Got a gallon of ‘kraut fermenting, pickles, beans, garlic cloves, our first effort at kimchi (which is amazing), and 5 gallons of mead bubbled-out and mellowing. Cracked a liter of last year’s batch on the Summer Solstice and it was so good. Best I’ve made for sure.

    Oh, and we just bought half a beef yesterday. For $3.29/lb! I can’t even get ground beef in the grocery store for less than $5/lb these days. Stoked about that!

    What’s everybody else up to?

  119. Archdruid,

    Is your prediction that the virus shenanigans will end Nov 4th only for the US, or for the whole world? I’m in Western Canada and wondering if that timeline applies for us too.

    Thanks,

    Allie

  120. Pixelated, I recommend a bacon cheeseburger to help ground yourself, and then a good novel to give your mind something else to work on for a while. Visionary experience isn’t helpful if it stresses you out.

    Brendhelm, every serious attempt to wargame a nuclear war has resulted in the same answer: both sides lose, and those countries that stay out of it win. That’s why the bombs are used purely for deterrence.

    Ryou50, three votes for a post on death.

    Greencoat, do you mean the astrological “dark moon” or “black moon”? She becomes active whenever the energies of the feminine are expressed in too one-sided a way by human cultures.

    Darrell, five and a half for synchronicity and six and a half for Hesse.

    Aidan, I’ll put it in the stack of things to get to when I have time to read. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of other people posting comments and questions.

    Christopher, thanks for this.

    Ramaraj, I could see that.

    Phutatorius, of course! As for Everson, I read some of his work a long while back but barely remember it.

    Ray, that’s eight for the update — and yes, I think that’s a lot of what’s going on.

    Brian, of course it can. Some cities have dreadful feng-shui. I don’t know enough about the subject to be able to judge Portland’s, but it would be interesting to see an analysis.

    Justin, seven and a half for Hesse.

    Grover, delighted to hear it.

    Methylethyl, that’s six and a half for synchronicity.

    Grover, four votes for a post on the fear of death.

    Samurai47, nine for the update.

    Onething, exactly!

    Pixelated, that’s just bizarre. The Trumpista phrase “clown world” comes forcefully to mind.

    Prizm, funny.

    Allie, specifically the United States. I’m not sure how much splashover there will be north of the border. (Duly corrected, btw.)

  121. Hello JMG , about your answer on global warming and poverty, I feel that if there are possibilities, it is compassionate to try and maintain decent living for myself, and for others in whatever modest way can be done. There is also usually more freedom to practice spirituality and to read when one is not too poor . It seems there are too many uncertainties about the future that global warming will bring, so it may be early to devise ways to live decently then. One step at a time I guess.

  122. Hi JMG,

    1. I seem to recall a podcast appearance of yours, long ago (maybe with KMO?) in which you discussed the probability of psychological dysfunction as people grapple with the realities of the Long Descent. IIRC, you brought up the depression suffered by housewives in the 1950s, and cited this as a cause for the development of antidepressants. Do I have this right? If so, or even if not, do you have any books you’d recommend on the history of antidepressants?

    2. One of the things that’s really come to light for me during the pandemic is the fragility of knowledge based on hearsay (doxa, I believe is the Greek term). What I mean is, not long ago you linked to scientific studies showing that masks are useless in preventing the spread of Covid. The next day, my parents were talking about news stories that showed how useful and necessary masks are.

    Similarly, the NYT and CBS News can report that hospitals in NYC are overflowing with patients, but there are apparently YouTube videos showing empty hospitals in NYC.

    All of this arrives at my mental doorstep as third hand knowledge. I don’t have the expertise or inclination to wade into these discrepancies, and if I did, I couldn’t have much confidence that my eventual answer would be “right.”

    I can be more or less comfortable with the ambiguity of these reports, but I’m in a civilization that prioritizes absolute, objective, authoritative knowledge. I wonder if some of the recent mania is due to the realization that there are myriad sources of information, each with conflicting reports, each with a more or less equal claim to authority.

    3. I’m reading Steppenwolf, due to glowing recommendations by several other readers, so a post on Herman Hesse would be timely for me.

  123. @JMG,

    Agreed. The Doomsday Argument only works as a prediction of imminent extinction if you assume that the human population will either hold steady or keep growing until it suddenly crashes. Things work out very differently if you believe in a deindustrial future that will likely be at least as long and interesting as the preindustrial past.

    And then the whole question of when the human race began is its own can of worms. It’s common to hear people say that “modern humans” appeared X amount of years ago. One problem is how to define “modern humans” in a less chronocentric way than just saying “a modern human is one that resembles the critters running around in 2020.” And then you have to answer the question of how “modern humans” are going to end – will they go extinct, or will they just evolve into “post-modern humans.” If so, when?

    As for next week’s topic, I’m kind of curious to hear more about your thoughts on the rising Tamanous High Culture – its shape of time, religious sensibilities, architecture, etc. Needless to say, it’s a hard topic, and if you think said culture is still too far away for fruitful speculation, then add my vote to Varun’s for an article on the leftward end of the working class.

  124. I’ll love to hear about what you would have to say about mexican-american relations during the long descent. I asked about your opinion of it last month and was intrigued.

    From one point of view I see president Obrador very similar to trump, without the business savvyness so I think their socio political situations are similar.

    You said in reply last month that you expect Mexico to do well in the coming, was it decades? Could you share a little about that here?

  125. Well, I gotta vote for the update – but only if, when you do your yearly prognostication review it isn’t included….LOL

    Oilfield update is hugely important for the future. Nobody is doing exploratory drilling, and most are doing none at all. Azerbaijan is war dancing with Armenia, and most of the Caspian countries remain shut down – as in nobody can fly in or out. Southeast Asia is nearly the same in terms of drilling activity. Russia doesn’t release numbers, but friends in Kazakhstan say it is the same there.

    Both Canada and the USA have hit historical lows in drilling activity – new numbers are the lowest ever seen in tracking history for rigs working. Anadarko going bankrupt is a once-a-decade thing, but many others are getting into that boat. Small private companies are closing offices and letting all staff go. The major service companies have laid off 50-75% of their staff – many, many smaller companies have simply shut their doors.

    Long term, this will spell one helluva price spike globally – because depletion never sleeps and we are living on what we drilled the last couple of years. This isn’t going to play out until some major economies try and return to normal business levels pre-Covid. It is one of those things that happens when we least wish it to, but such is the bumpy backside of peak oil. I hate using that term, because so many bought the myth, but it will likely come back into use when the price heads past $80/bbl.

    It’s bad enough that I will be buying more bees next year – gotta have something to sell and eke out a living. And I did start that second short story. Will have to see if it grows large enough to be more than that – things sometimes take on their own life when I start typing…

  126. @JMG

    Hi! I’m a beginner in Magick and English is not my first language.

    My question is: Some people say that if you are in the southern hemisphere, you should do the Lbrp going east then north and so on, instead of east to south. What’s your opinion?

    I first knew about you from your chapter on Llewellyn’s Ritual Magick book about polytheistic ritual Magick, and that’s the kind of Magick I’m most interested in.

    I’m eager for the book you’re writing about how to use the golden dawn structure for polytheistic ritual. I think it will be a best seller because is such a good idea and I always thought that someone should have done that before.

  127. Hi John Michael,

    Please consider my vote as another vote for a discussion on the future. 🙂

    A month or so back I would have been interested in a discussion on the current health subject that dare not be named. Nowadays, I’m of the opinion that it would be a waste of your time and energy. The emotional load is really being piled up behind this one. And there really is little point at allowing oneself to be used as a pressure release valve.

    I recall your original observations on the subject and concur, as like you I too have intimately known tragedy.

    From a purely narrative perspective, I was considering writing one of my usual essays on the subject of tragedy. As someone seeking your professional opinion, do you believe the time is right for such a story? Or are things running a bit too hot right now? I really don’t know.

    If you are up for a chunk of cognitive dissonance: More than three times the health subject that dare not be named. It is a very difficult circumstance to compartmentalise narrative, and then present it as such. I’m really curious as to that compartmentalisation story as there is more to it than meets the eye.

    Cheers

    Chris

  128. Longtime lurker and rare poster here. I cast my vote for the update as the bonus Wednesday post.

    Thanks!

  129. Dear Mr. Greer – I vote for …. (drum roll please) … synchronicity. I certainly notice a lot of it, small in large, in my life. Tis a mystery. Lew

  130. Grover,

    Sounds like you have a very productive garden!

    I have been planning to move out into the country for a while now, the bug that must not be named and the unrest in Portland has accelerated my plans by a year.

    Currently, I have a home garden of beans, tomatoes, various herbs, and such. I grow garlic on the small farm scale so have a quarter ton of that, more or less. Got myself my first rifle and hope to learn a bit about hunting from some family in the next couple of years.

    Where I am moving to, I am planning to setup a woodland/pasture pig operation, pasture chickens, as well as expanded vegetable production, and began a fruit and possibly nut and olive orchard.

    Infrastructure-wise, I will harvest rainwater for use on the farm. I estimate we can get 46,000 gallons per year. We will be composting our humanure, recycling grey water, stuff like that.

  131. Dear Archdruid, I’m about to suggest a heresy among commenters, but I wonder if you’d like the week of the fifth Wednesday off from blogging and commenting duty.

    Of course I’ll willingly read anything you post, but thought I’d put a mini vacation out there as an option for you.

  132. As the longstanding, brittle gridlock that once passed for normalcy continues imploding all around us, synchronicity is a particularly intriguing and timely topic. That gets my vote. In particular, do you have any tips about distinguishing synchronicity from coincidence. I think we could all benefit from being more finely attuned to when the universe/fates are willing to guide us in the direction that life is already flowing.

    So many of the status-quo-maintaining skills we were so methodically trained to rely on have become quite worthless surprisingly quickly. I would love to learn a very different set of skills for more closely listening to the unruly manifestations of will. If what we are practicing is “the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will,” becoming more aware of what is being willed ain’t a bad place to start. If we pay enough attention, we might even get to meet the ones doing the willing!

    There are unfortunately a large number of incredibly wealthy and influential people working overtime to convince us that their self-serving will is the only one we should ever pay attention to. Talking heads keep aping pearl-clutching surprise that their pre-scripted news bytes point to a magically synchronous unfolding of their bosses’ fixed playbook. All protests lead naturally to riots that lead naturally to secessionist uprisings that then naturally win power for their underwriters — isn’t that what color revolutioning is all about? So far I have seen very little that reminds me of real synchronicity in the elaborately staged lockdowns and “peaceful” protests and eleventh-hour, deus-ex-machina, unbelievable statistics that fall exactly when and where they are needed into the hands of an awaiting newscaster.

    What surprises me is that so many people are willing to bow down to and cower in fear of astro-turfed synchronicity, when I keep seeing more real synchronicity around me than I’m used to. Are people that afraid of noticing that there might just be a will not of human origin? That idea leaves me feeling freed up, and, if that will actually wants to send us signs, how cool is that? Alas, if we can’t read the signs, we probably should not be driving! Any help you could offer in deciphering will’s weird and wondrous ways would be greatly appreciated.

  133. Your Ladyship,

    That was quite the tactical assault. I am afraid I was taken all unawares and thoroughly defenseless by Zoey’s ninja-like instincts. Her full-length gray coat conceals such weapons as to make Matahari jealous. I concede the field — you have won this day.

  134. @Wesley, @NomadicBeer

    If I understand correctly, the so called “Doomsday” argument is a case of False advertising. Basically, what it says is that we are very unlikely to be born in the first 5% of all homo sapiens to ever exist. From Wikipedia, the figure given is 60 billion humans as of today (7B alive, 53B dead). Multiply by 20 (because 20×5% = 100%) and you get an upper bound of how many humans will ever be born: at most 1.2 trillion. Basically, it’s a nerdy way of saying that we are not going to colonize The Stars.
    Now, the only way you can possibly call that a “Doomsday” is if you believe that people will reproduce like yeast, in which case the point is irrelevant because we would run out of planet way before getting near to that first trillion. Some scientist do their figuring under the assumptions of the Cult of Progress: that population will stabilize itself around 10 billion people. Under those conditions, we still have a few thousand years before we “consume” our allotted trillion; knowing what we know about the Long Descent, I assume the time-span is closer to a few million years.

    @JMG. Please count me as in for Herman Hesse.

  135. Hello everyone,

    I have one question for all of you people and one to Mr. Greer.

    1. I work on a Polish translation of the LOW-TECH Magazine. It’s an online journal of low-tech and appropriate technologies, bringing back from past many now obsolete technologies. Very helpful in the coming years of the Long Descent.
    (https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com).
    I don’t know how to translate the word “a Spittle man”, I suppose it was a profession, but I have no idea, what a spittle man does. Please help with that. Here’s a context:
    “They which make a trade of buying it go up and down the streets with certain Clappers, like our Spittle men, whereby they give to understand what they desire without publishing of it otherwise to people[…].

    2. Mr. Greer, have you ever been an environmental activist? You know, marching in protests, chaining yourself to some objects, painting banners, and doing other stuff like that?

  136. John,
    My suggestion for a topic is: the balance between destiny and freewill in your spirit/sole’s incarnate journey and spotting the difference between the two.
    Regards
    Averagejoe

  137. Hi JMG. My question regards homeopathy which I seem to remember you have some experience with. I took Accutane, a synthetic form of Retonoic Acid, a type of Vitamin A, in my youth to treat acne. This substance has caused a number of long term side effects which I am currently trying to resolve through a vitamin A detox. The problem is that the substance might have damaged my body’s ability to detox it. The person I am working with believes that a course of homeopathy could relatively quickly repair this damage which otherwise might take years. I have no experience re this technique and was wondering if you consider whether homeopathy might be of benefit here?

  138. Three things this month, a book recommendation, an observation and a question.

    Firstly, for those interested in the post industrial world, I would recommend a great book series (actually one giant book split into two parts) Carbon Ideologies by William T Vollmann. It has been written for a future audience, one that is lives in a much hotter and resource restricted world. It is a great angle to put on the whole issue of climate change and resources in that it argues that we are not any different from them as people, just different in circumstances. It was done this way since he figured any other fashion and it would merely preach to the chior or be meet with nothing but dismissal. It details in detail his trips to Fukushima and the ghost towns left behind in the wake of the nuclear disaster, through the mid-west of the US in relation to how Coal, gas and oil have impacted the lives of the people that work with it and around it. It doesn’t come with any real apparent bias which is great too see and the first 220+ pages are merely just stats and graphs about how we are using energy and resources. You can skip that if you wish as it is not too important to the rest of the work.

    Secondly, JMG, of the Hermetix podcast you were discussing Giordano Bruno and how rationalists continue to exclude his other works because it goes against their narrative of “free thinking” and oppression. To counter those folks, something I have done for a while now when I come across these hyper rationalist people I tend to mention these folks with a small biography attached. For example, Issac Newton – That alchemists who occasionally dabbled in Mathematics. Galileo Galilei – An Astrologer who through careful observation furthered his field. Watching folks do back flips over these descriptions is great fun to watch.

    Thirdly, a question not just for JMG, I would love to hear other peoples point of views especially in this community of genuine free thinkers. With the next US election less than a hundred days away, I would love to hear from other folks about what they think of Donald Trumps first term. What did you agree with? What did you dislike? Anything stand out as a whole? Would love to see some varied points of view on this and hopefully it doesn’t spiral out of control like it does in most online forums!

    Thanks

    Michael

  139. Hello John,

    In Fortune’s Cos.Doc. what is the equivalent or “metaphor” for dimensions as we know them in physics today? Are they related to the seven planes?

    Devnland, the first chapter of Liber AL vel Legis is a good piece for contemplation on nothingness from a metaphysical perspective, I highly recommend it.

  140. Back when you ran the first After Oil competition, I thought I would write something to send in. I decided I might as well write about where I live which is in the west of Holland close to Amsterdam airport, Schiphol (pronounced SKIP-hol). The airport is a good 15 feet below sea-level and I assumed that my story would be about the site becoming submerged as climate change melted Greenland or whatever. However, every time I thought about it, I had visions of Schiphol fenced off, weeds growing through the tarmac and hulks of planes scattered around slowly decaying. At the time, I couldn’t place it, I didn’t see how that could happen, if the site was to be abandoned in the future, surely it would revert to being a lake or even a part of the North Sea?

    Now my “vision” doesn’t seem to be so strange; Australian carrier Qantas, for instance, has already said that they don’t see long-haul flights getting back to “normal” until 2023. Many other airlines are in dire financial straits and some have already filed for bankruptcy. The financial disaster tsunami hasn’t even really hit yet – the water is still receding and that will surely impact air travel even further. Maybe some airports will get ‘mothballed’ until things improve all the time waiting for the arrival of a delivery of lemon-soaked paper napkins (for THHGTTG fans 😉

  141. A data point:

    https://unherd.com/2020/07/our-universities-are-dangerously-reliant-on-china/

    The article focuses on politics, but the way I see it, China is currently experiencing a higher-education-in-English-speaking-countries bubble. I don’t believe for a second that your average Chinese student studying in the UK (or the US, or Australia) ever sees a reasonable return on that investment. The “product” is simply far too expensive. When the bubble bursts (as it will, with or without political intervention), the negative consequences will be felt, not in China (which stands to profit from keeping all that cash at home), but by the exporters of higher education in the said English speaking countries.

  142. Hi JMG,

    As your opinion is highly valued and in the interest of fact finding and intelligent, informed commentary, l eagerly would like to know what are your go-to sources for current event information (news)?

    Also, an additional vote for an update on the future!

  143. Veterans of the Covid war.
    We got the thousand yard stare.
    We’re essential.
    And poor.
    We’ve been out here the whole time.
    Dodging bullets.
    Making sure the UPS trucks run on time.
    Packing chickens.
    The lucky ones.
    We can still make mortgage.
    You folk at home in bubble-world got your own problems.
    What to do with the kids.
    The media-shock.
    The uncertainty.
    Let me tell you what we feel.

    The terrible strain.
    The machine is shaking apart.
    Logistics fail.
    Men and women stumble.
    Things are late, lost, and broken.
    We are exhausted.
    Few see the light at the end of this.
    Our mad prophets warn.
    Wolves of tyranny, madness and war.
    Always at the edge of the trees.
    Are now upon the threshold.

    So help us.
    Be kind.
    Understanding and wise.
    Tiny sparks of compassion and dignity.
    Shine bright out here in the trenches.

  144. @JMG: I was hoping to get you to talk a bit about “The Double Axe.” My reaction when I read it years ago was, “OMG! That is taking pacifism to an entirely new level!” I can’t seem to find my copy now. Perhaps I let someone borrow it. So I change my vote from Hesse to Jeffers.

  145. JMG, a few things:

    1) Add my vote for a status update on the Long Decent

    2) On the 538 omens. Though I am ready to eat my words, I cannot for the life of me imagine anyway, anyway at all, that the Electoral College ends up 538-0. Not in our partisan, polarized environment where hate (–make that !HATE!) runs so white hot. I’m several years younger than you, but can still remember the vibe of 1984 Reagan – now perhaps its because I lived in a conservative military town at the time – but my recollection of the Reagan-era political vibe made 49-states-to-1 not much of a surprise. But Trump, or Biden, or an 11th hour Biden-replacement going 50 – 0!?!?!? I just don’t see it.

    My take on the omen is simpler. I think “538” is the symbolic meaning for “Electoral College.” So it means that the Electoral College will be on everyone’s mind, having a larger impact than even 2000. But this time with more, and better prepared, lawyers and with a media/professional class/social media eruption that will make Krakatoa seem like a mouse sneeze.

    3) Do you, or the commentariat at large, have any advice on panhandlers. Your occasional comments on noblesse oblige struck a chord and seem to have relevance here. Yet I’m still stuck between the ethics of helping those in need on one hand vs the sense of feeding unhealthy habits and behavior on the other. Any thoughts on drawing one’s personal boundaries on where, when, and how much/how often in dealing with panhandlers?

    4) I’m a very long time reader, and very rare commenter, so I just want to take this opportunity to thank you so, so much for devoting your time and energy into your online writings. They continue to be a wealth of value, and deeply meaningful – rarities online these days.

    ~DavidinCminor

  146. JMG, if this is not too personal, how old were you when you were diagnosed as Asperger? What made you get evaluated?

  147. Enjoying the thread and some of the linked articles – and chiming in with a vote for synchronicity! (And I would also love a post on sacred architecture someday.)

  148. JMG,

    I noticed your answer to Anonymous regarding the various versions of the middle pillar being done correctly down the left side of the body. Is this a typo in the Celtic Golden Dawn as well (central ray) as it states to go down the right side? If so I’ve been doing it that way for quite some time! Is there a difference to the effects that you know of to the subtle body going the other direction?

    Thanks!
    Dean Smith

  149. Hi! I’m just here to chime in that I would also like to vote for the “Update” post! Happy Thor’s Day 🙂

  150. More of a Magic Monday thing here, but I dug out an old notebook from a hoodoo class I took way back in my Seeker days and have started looking into it. One of the first things it said was to feed whatever spirits you’re working with, whether the loa, the saints, or gods, and start out by asking them what they want from you. Both Wicca and ceremonial magic say, candles and incense, which I’ve been doing, so I sat down and asked the pair on my altar. She answered, “bread” and He answered, “wine.”

    Now that I’m without the support of a community or group, I think this book may offer me quite a bit of guidance on solitary practice.

  151. John—

    Speaking of fivethirtyeight, the latest aggregated presidential polling:

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the conventions and then in the final months of the actual “general election” campaign season.

    Also, I vote for a future update next week.

    Finally, I ran across something fascinating recently, a website of esoteric literature. It’s a Spanish site, but has a translation page listing links to works in English. Guess who’s name I saw partway down the list?

    https://www.filosofiaesoterica.com/give-your-higher-self-chance/

    Admittedly, this was coauthored, but still. Not what I expected to find.

  152. Ray Wharton:

    Thank you for your stimulating post.

    “…hyper reactive…grasping for meaning…not knowing…”

    More than death, I think our deepest fears have to do with not knowing, not being in control.

    Sometimes none of our strategies for coping with uncertainty work. The omens fail us. The prophecies don’t come true. Our prayers are unanswered. Science gets it wrong. We don’t know what to believe. We don’t know “which way to dodge.”

    We’re feeling powerless.

    A lifelong meditation: How do I connect with and cultivate authentic power? How do I balance the desire to be in control with the wisdom of letting go?

  153. Grover – regarding your interest in what some of us are doing, I’d like to put this out there. The price of wool has now dropped to less than nothing for us sheep farmers (despite wool being a fibre with very many almost magical properties that no man-made fibre has been able to duplicate, but that is another story). The sheep have to be shorn, because they cannot shed, and not shearing them would be a cruelty. But sheering is now a cost and many farmers are resorting to burning or dumping the unwanted wool.

    So, we have started using our too-cheap-to-sell wool in the garden – as a mulch which, reputedly, deters slugs, helps warm cold soils, and helps to balance watery extremes (too much drought followed by too much torrential rain was how our own spring and summer have panned out this year). I can’t yet confirm or deny any of these properties, but these are some of the things other experimental gardeners are saying, and I will say preliminary results (based on six weeks or so of use) is promising.

    I see there is an innovative sheep farmer somewhere in the US who is trying to patent sheep wool pellets to sell in garden centres at a price that would certainly pay to shear the sheep again.

    In the meantime, I think that the wool could certainly prove to be a useful material in the garden, where its uses were likely little explored during all the times when wool was a saleable commodity. Anyone who gardens near a sheep farm and is interested in experimenting might just find that this year is an excellent year for begging for a bit off the farmer. Or offering a mead for wool trade, if you like to keep things balanced and friendly. 😉

  154. PS – in reference to my wool post, it should go without saying, but I better say it anyway, if you receive wool directly from a farmer, it will be unwashed, uncarded, unspun, and come complete with a complement of manure-y bits. All of these can go straight into the garden as is… but if you are minded to look for wool to use as fibres/textiles, you WILL have your work cut out for you. Be prepared.

  155. JMG – add another vote for Carl Jung and synchronicity. Interesting things synchronic happen to me all the time. Jung said something like that if you were aware of what was going on around you, that you would notice synchronicity.

  156. Hello Mr. Archdruid.

    I am wondering if you or any of your readers have gained any insights from the Corona crisis?

    Mine are the following:

    -The response of people is dependent on their personality. I have been surprised at the people who I thought would be panicking who are calm and those who I thought would be calm who are hiding under their beds.
    -As there is no central authority counting cases and deaths the numbers can not be compared without analysis.
    -People who are panicking are in an emotional state and cannot be reasoned with. If I engage I only offer platitudes like “It will be okay, we will survive some how.” Same with BLM.
    -I do not miss sports or the news.
    -I do miss websites I used to follow – Naked Capitalism, Automatic Earth, Ian Welsh, and Moon of Alabama have become unreadable due to insistence that we should all be dead in about 2 weeks since about March 7. It is unfortunate they have not been able to react to reality.
    -I miss the idea of traveling
    -I am very pleased that the apocalypse has not arrived and life continues. The supply chains are still functioning, there is food in the stores and the electric grid is still running.

  157. Re: Portland

    I’ve only been to the city once, and I was 13 and utterly ignorant of magic as anything other than stage shows and the things Harry Potter did, but I felt like being there was the bleakest point of the whole vacation. Oregon, as a whole, was pretty. Portland… not so much.

    It also occurs to me that in S. M. Stirling’s “The Change” series (essentially: the entire world is forced to collapse now, and in a very great rush), the main antagonist of the first trilogy sets up in Portland and attempts to re-enact Mordor there. I’m half wondering if Stirling hadn’t perhaps gone to Portland, tapped into its egregor, and found something unpleasant there.

  158. OneThing: Absolutely is this true:
    “So it looks like Covid just brought forward by weeks the death of extremely sick or old people.
    I just read yesterday a rather good article that came to the chilling conclusion that the brief spike in deaths was actually the lockdown itself. He showed that around the world the spike began at precisely the time that the pandemic was announced and the shutdown began. The timing told him that it wasn’t the covid itself causing all of it. Consider that, again around the world but the stats might vary slightly, heart attacks went down 40%. That is, not people coming to the ER with chest pain, but actual infarctions. That is just one example but hospitals around the world were empty and that is a combination of people being turned away but also being afraid to come in. At my small local hospital there is a sign outside that says “Feel Sick? Stay Home!”

    The graphs don’t lie, and it’s consistent across countries, & its just too big of a coincidence. The rate goes vertical the moment that lockdown commences.

    Our elite geniuses failed to consider that fear and isolation might affect the immune system, just as they failed to consider whether exposure to a mother strain at an early stage might beat exposure to subsequent mutations that may or may not confer general immunity. These are the people making all the decisions. I’m not a full time genius like they are, but you don’t have to be too smart to notice this stuff. Just pay attention. Thanks for posting this.

  159. “The protests in Portland have taken such a strange turn” This is very simple: it’s a religious revival of radical religious fervor. When cycles said it was time for a new religion, I don’t think anybody expected it to be from the atheists with a woke religion of radical witch-burning arsonists, but history has a sense of humor like that, I guess. Thus the happiness of activity, of ritual and liturgy and the attacking of heretics by any means necessary. Because they’re right! Spiritual revivals are necessarily based on emotions, and rightfully so perhaps. However, emotions are just energy and can be channeled both to good and evil. Especially when I expect there are men in high castles directing the energy and (media) narrative for their personal designs. Perhaps later they will look back and wonder. Depends if they turn their emotion into a rigified church. Their rebellion is against any and all existing authority, in search of the far higher ideals of heaven, ungrounded and unmoored from our dirty reality.

    If the world is getting worse depends on what you want or expect from it. Also your unique situation, as we live in one house on one street, with one friend, not in the whole world’s house, everywhere, with every man your neighbor. And part of re-localizing, re-inventing culture, which is itself local. Shouldn’t your area celebrate and specialize in its strengths and uniqueness? Like France and Japan with regional foods, industries, and histories?

    I suppose with sociopaths and their ilk, it depends on whether good people are active or passive. Do they stand together, and therefore, does the “society”, which is us, cohere and therefore provide the most support to them to be normal, and if not, contain their bad behavior from harming others? If they are completely passive, standing for and fighting nothing, with no rules, then sociopaths naturally rise to the top and imprint what they consider “normal” – that is, lying and violent, unfeeling self-interest — on us instead of vice-versa. So are you willing to be active and stand for the good as much as this small minority is driven by their mental illness to work for the bad? If not, then yes, you and your culture will be destroyed. As they’re always wildly outnumbered, it’s very hard to lose, and you have to have near-universal selfishness and cowardice for them to prosper.

    The fear of death leads this safety, but it’s a result of lack of religion, so that death (and life, its equal) is most feared. This is related to how both magic and religion are considered street theater, not real provables by “serious” people, even priests and wiccans agree. When that’s true, just an intellectual hobby, why use practical magic for practical help? Christian and Magical experts agree it’s no better than the lottery, or so their daily actions admit: they don’t believe a thing.

    With the Technosphere, minds think alike: raised in schools, then sent to colleges, think-tanks, and corporations. If they thought differently, they wouldn’t fit there, they’d drop or be driven out. So although not identical, and differ in ways, they all point the same direction. Isn’t a group of interlocking power nexes which generally have the same goals and outlook exactly what conspiracy theorists are proposing? Because that’s also exactly what is written in actual textbooks of political history. Thought some few may have more influence than others, it clearly doesn’t mean humans are “in charge”, whatever that might mean. They’re also riding the tiger as much as anyone and cannot get off without also being discredited and discarded as much as any Assange or Epstein. Imagine the head of Lockheed-Halliburton became an archdruid and started saying all he knew. So if the “Technosphere” has a next step, that step lives in the minds of PEOPLE. They all see the world similarly, and have similar goals. “They” is not amorphous, “they” is specific…people. They write books, papers, and executive orders and sign their names to them. If the people who read these documents are professionals and experts they are “Historians”, if they are interested amateurs like when you and I who ask questions, read same papers, and look, they are “conspiracy theorists.” That is, the name merely defines an authorized gatekeeper of power. If you write what the power wants and likes are you a “historian” and “expert.” If not: Belmarsh, investigated, discredited as a loon. Appeal to Authority is a Logical Fallacy: focus on whether things are true or false instead.

  160. As an Archdruid, I was wondering what your opinions were regarding Julian Jaynes theory of the bicameral mind and how the human species lacked self-consciousness before the Bronze Age Collapse.

  161. I would like to cast my vote for a post on death and death phobia. Thanks much and please keep up all the good work.

  162. @Feichang Shiqi et al(eister): I second what JMG said about Aeons. For instance, the late Nema, author of Maat Magick, and The Way of Mystery, among other things, was a Cincinnati magician who was involved in the Typhonian OTO and some various Tantric initiatory lineages, among other things. She had received writings about the Aeon of Maat. She later started her own order with some other folks: Horus Maat Lodge that practiced “Double Current” magic of both Maat and Horus. I am a member of HML though ostensibly not involved anymore, though was very active in it for quite awhile.

    One of your fellow Aussies, Oryelle Defenestrate-Bascule, had another order that I was also involved in: The Hermaphroditic ChaOrder of the Silver Dusk. It approaches magic through a “lunar intuitive artistic” approach rather than the Golden Dawn’s “solar scientific” approach. A lot of Horus Maat Lodge people were also involved in the Silver Dusk, and Oryelle himself a member of the HML.

    I always found Kenneth Grant’s wrtings on Thelema, and members of the TOTO, or former members, to be much more interesting that those of the Caliphate OTO. As JMG noted in his last article here, occultists are magpies, and lineages split and bend and go all different ways. This was the strain of Crowleyana I found myself stewing in.

    As well as the first order I joined, HOOR, the Holy Order of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, itself coming from another strange Crowleyean offshoot.

    He also felt the presence of the Great Old Ones as spiritual realities, a frequent subject in his mind bending books.

    I don’t really call myself a Thelemite anymore, but it was one of my passions of youth. I wonder how it might return some day given the discussion on JMGs other blog about the recurrence of youthful passions in later age.

  163. @Brian, I would not attribute Portland’s new status as the center of new protests to bad feng-shui but to host of other geographic and cultural things. First of all is the downtown is made up of unusually small blocks ( half the size of most other cities) which makes protest groups seem bigger and more exciting and things like a federal courthouse smaller and less intimidating. The next is that for the last 30 years it has imported people who were attracted to the message, “Keep Portland Weird.” All the close-in neighborhoods turned over in the last 20 years from their previously blue collar inhabitants to people attracted to an artistic, hipster lifestyle, this puts a lot of housing units within walking and cycling distance of the downtown ,defeating a normal crowd control tactic of blocking travel to protest zones. The people in these inner portland neighborhoods were used to a lifestyle of riding their bikes to brewpubs, indie music venues, etc on warm summer nights. Now with nothing else to do, the protests have become a kind of entertainment and political theatre. In addition there are almost no republicans left in the inner neighborhoods of Portland to object or get in the way. So Portland has an influx of workers from the outer neighborhoods and suburbs during the day making it a more conventional place during work hours, but at night those folks go home and the “Weird” crowd gets rolling.

  164. Anybody know of a good online course to intro Welsh? It’s a pretty difficult language to pronounce for a native English speaker, and Rosetta Stone came up blank on Welsh.

    Thanks in advance!

  165. Jasper,

    For some reason the last paragraph of your last post put the song “Little Boxes” in my head…

    “…and the children,
    go to summer camp,
    and then to the University!
    And they’re all made of ticky-tacky,
    and they all look just the same.”

    I think that’s what I love most about this community. No two of us are alike! And we’re proud of that fact. It’s something to be celebrated.

  166. Anonymous and JMG, thank you for the correction on the Middle Pillar exercise; I’ve been circulating the light down-right, up-left for a while now! 😮 …It seems to be working fine for me, with no perceivable negative effects, but I will certainly reverse the direction if that is the correct way. Are there any real negative consequences that I may have incurred from circulating light in the opposite direction?

    Also, for the record, I will cast another vote for synchronicity.

  167. To piggyback off of Anonymous, I have been circulating the light in the Exercise of the Central Ray down the right and up the left. Am I doing it backwards?

  168. Scotlyn,

    Thanks for the update! I’ve actually used sheep’s wool as a mulch in my garden before! Got two huge commodity bags – the kind you lift with forklift, or roll off a flatbed on a slope with a quick brake if you’re low-tech – of raw wool from a lamb meat farmer friend west of Atlanta. I couldn’t use it all so a good bit ended up mulching the forest in the end, but where I did use it I had very good results. Biggest spinach leaves I’ve ever grown.

    Though I’m sorry about wool prices. That stinks. FWIW, I love wool. Have a few English wool sweaters actually.

    Best wishes of practical innovation to you.

  169. John,

    With regard to the current Age of Experts, and specifically what we have seen during this pandemic from expert opinion cloaked as science, it occurs to me that very few people understand what science is, and why science is such a trustworthy tool.

    One of the greatest physicists of our times, the late Dr. Richard Feynman, gave a legenday commencement address to the graduating class from Caltech during the 70’s on the dangers of “Cargo Cult Science”. Anyone who hasn’t heard this term should do a quick search. His entire commencement address is preserved for history, and the philosophy he imparted to students is one of the lasting traditions of Caltech and why it became one of America’s best insitutions.

    Almost none of the recommendations we have seen recently from the WHO, CDC or any of our trusted institutions is actually science. Most is “Cargo Cult Science”, and it is sad that we are in an era where this has been used to further split the country and ultimately tarnish what science should be. My favorite quote also comes from Feynman. He defines science thus:

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

    Science must always be subject to falsifiable tests or it’s not science. Expert opinion is not science. And the authority and respect given to scientists should not come because they are learned experts, but solely because of this methodology. Throughout this entire pandemic, we have had precious little actual science, and no government in the world has based their policies for the most part on anything of genuine scientific credibility.

    It is fine that governments have made the political and value choices they have. I only object to the disingenuous implication that their decisions were based on science.

    I remember from years ago when you wrote about being cultural conservers. Today you mention that the Age of Religion is our future because that is the only thing that will give a moral framework. If so, and if there is one thing that absolutely must be preserved through the coming ages, it is the scientific method and traditions that surround it. It seems they have already been lost by mainstream establishments.

    Scientifically, I don’t know what the optimum course of action would have been through this pandemic. But I also know that none of the so called “experts” do either. It is all opinion. Understanding this, we should all try and be a little less judgemental about those who do not agree with our preferred policies and actions.

    As a final thought, do you know of any cultures in history where those committed to Reason have successfully pushed back against the Experts without resulting in a new Age of Religion?

    And one though for @Jared: There is no such thing as an unhealthy distrust of experts. Trust only what they can prove and what they can do. That was true even during the Age of Reason.

  170. Brendhelm:

    “…the New Madrid fault line, one of the places JMG mentions as a possible hot spot. It occurs to me that if the fault line went, not only would you have a huge earthquake in places that don’t build with earthquakes in mind, but you’d probably also see the failure of many bridges across the Mississippi…”

    The Nuclear One power plant in Arkansas, not terribly far from New Madrid, is also in the path of the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse.

    At the same time, Pluto (associated with earthquakes and nuclear power, among other things) will be in the early degrees of Aquarius, where Jupiter and Saturn were in the 2020 Great Conjunction chart.

    The chart for New Madrid, MO on April 8, 2024, is full of portents and omens, if anyone is so inclined.

    Looking on the bright side, maybe some good will come of it.

  171. Re: the odds of Trump getting reelected…

    FWIW, I did a geomantic divination on the topic this morning (in a rare bid for solidarity;) and got 4 perfections in the chart, between Fortuna Minor in the 1st and Albus in the 10th. F. Minor passed to the 5th and 6th, and Albus passed to the 4th:

    1) a mutation to houses 4 and 5
    2) a trine between the 6th and 10th
    3) a sextile between the 4th and 6th
    4) a square between the 1st and 4th

    Trump wins 75% of the popular vote and it still comes down to a brow-beaten Electoral College decision? Old guard hastily declares Biden the winner and then the deafening uproar of the masses overturns the decision? Or Trump wins 3/4 of the Electoral College votes?

    Not that I’m any kind of expert on Geomancy…and though I don’t like Trump I like Biden less, so I’m not exactly impartial.

  172. @JMG: harrumph. “Visionary experience isn’t helpful if it stresses you out.”

    That’s the trick, isn’t it? I’m struggling on why it is even helpful. It never has been for me. I’m cranky, because I got sucked into the Cassandra pattern again. My colleagues or allies in politics get sucked into some great ideological idea or position. I ask for evidence it will work, or that they can legally take this position, because here is my stack of reports that detail why it won’t/they can’t. The stack always contains their own highest cited source, literally explaining why the idea can’t work in our circumstance. It is clear, none of them have read it. They provide no counter evidence. They fall back on “because it’s the right thing to do”. I am later proved right. Like… To the letter. The region or city loses scads of money and political capital.

    Obviously, exactly no one ever says “hey, isn’t this exactly what Pixelated said would happen? Let’s listen next time.” As a teen I learned quickly not to say I told you so, so I’ve said nothing at all. But now I’ve completely alienated my allies with my “right wing” claptrap, and for nothing. Why did I bother saying anything in the first place? I either never even had a direct vote, or no chance to change the outcome with my single vote, anyway. If my only hope is to persuade, and they can’t be persuaded… Stupid, stupid. Just like Cassandra, again, and I don’t like how that story ends… I have no idea how to use the ability to see the future for good.

    The first time I had a true dream, I was dreaming I was on an airplane. It actually looked like a ferry inside, but it was in the air. A huge thing. I realised it was slowly losing altitude, and no one could hear me. The pilots were saying they were turning on the seat belt signs because we were hitting “minor turbulence”. They sounded like people sweating nervously.they actually didn’t know what was wrong, it was clear. No one noticed. So being a baby Wiccan in my late teens in dream logic I decided I should cast a circle and call on Apollo. A whole bunch of deities became visible at the front bulkhead, they’d been there all along. I didn’t know who the rest were, but I knew they were gods.Several weren’t paying attention, were sleeping. Some were watching and laughing. One woman in colourful African dress was talking intently with people I couldn’t see to my right. Apollo was dressed in grey UN peace corps desert fatigues. He told me it wouldn’t work “look at them! They can’t see, and they don’t hear you.” I told him I would extend the circle over them all, otherwise they’d all die! He laughed and said I didn’t have that kind of power. I got mad at him for not doing anything. He laughed again. He said,” I’m talking to you! ” it ended with me furiously trying to run around and make the people get on the parachutes and life jackets (we were over an endless sea), while they fought me off or looked stupified with fear, while Apollo laughed at me. It took years and years before I understood what that meant, I only knew the Progress religion at that point.

    Sigh. Just build the ark, I don’t control the floods.

  173. @Grover: on a similar wavelength here, but this is our first season on our new farm, so our output isn’t quite so high, but it is higher than expected, and when combined with the wealth of wild abundance to harvest, we’re already barely getting everything processed. (My partner is an herbalist and we’re drying, tincturing, and otherwise processing quite a bit, but there’s also a lot of infrastructure work to do) I’m also just starting the DA. Finding it quite a good synthesis of my major interests so far, and finding a lot of parallels with my self-inquiry practice. My meditations are going into unexpected territory by letting the thought streams run towards places not at first obvious. For instance, in today’s meditation I entertained the idea that Pwyll, as “sense, perception, intelligence” is the Individuality, that looks both into manifestation and into the Unmanifest(Annwn, the “Unworld”) – the maiden Rhiannon can thus in one way represent experience itself, that object that is persued, what is always in front of you but what you (a la Douglas Harding’s Headless You) can never touch, or Rhiannon and Pwyll are the Seed Atom and Divine Spark… Gwawl, “Radiance son of Burdon”, the false, decieving, Luciferian suitor, can represent the false self, the self image that tries to claim experience for himself by fooling the inner self.

    @JMG, is this the right sort of thing to be doing with these meditations? Also, would you be interested in being on a podcast in the future that my partner and I are starting interviewing plant people, earth mystery initiates, etc?

  174. @Brian

    Like the nun at the beginning of the Sound of Music, I’d like to say something on Portland’s behalf.

    A city that can spawn Powell’s City of Books can’t be all bad.

  175. Brendhelm and others,

    My 3 cents on PDX:

    I’ve lived in Portland for nearly 30 years now, and find it a lively, congenial city with a damp but fertile energy. The spine if the Tualatin mountains in the west and the two big rivers (and many smaller waterways) keep things moving.

    What the citizens do waxes and wanes, and colors the energy for sure. But I find If I reach under that layer, I am always energized, inspired, and renewed by the moving forces there.

    Our very, VERY young tutelary deity (Portlandia, initially made material and seated in 1985, daughter of Lady Commerce from the State seal and Urizen/The Ancient of Days from Blake, the artist’s compositional inspirations) can be vain, self-indulgent, reactionary, indolent, and prideful. But she’s also generous, curious, witty, creative, and has a good sense of humor.

    She’s a Libra (Portlandia, that is. The founding of the city is an Aquarian date- “Keep Portland Weird”!), and is DEFINITELY of a Venusian character. With all the vices and virtues that brings with it.

    Bonnie

  176. A vote for future update, including thoughts on the shape of religion.

    In response to Grover’s question about self-reliance updates: we’ve doubled our garden size this year to four raised beds (two 4×4 and two 4×6). Garlic and cabbage harvested. Snap peas, lettuce, and carrots are finishing up; tomatoes, okra, and cucumbers up next. A pumpkin vine we did NOT plant now extends about 13 feet across our yard! Getting ready to plant fall veggies next month. We’ve increased our water rentention capacity with four water barrels now and–with the new climate here in the mid-Atlantic–we could easily fill many more. Build a flagstone patio and am coming up with some sort of resilient, external cooking source (fire pit? solar oven?). Brewing kombucha and baking sourdough bread for the first time. Taking advantage of recent stimulus and student loan forebearance to work feverishly at being debt free; should be within two years. Steadily increasingly my devotional work!

  177. A pair of things, both, as it happens, from FIMFiction.net, that I thought people here might find amusing or interesting:

    First, the user FanOfMostEverything, in a comment, recently coined/shared the term “extra-Horatian” as a replacement for ones like “supernatural”, since “They aren’t somehow above or outside of nature, they are simply a part of nature we do not yet understand.” I think it was a nice bit of phrasing.
    (I received not just permission to share the term but a statement that “Knowing I coined something like that would be delightful.” (all of this in public comments on the website))

    Second, a link:
    https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/910541/oral-culture-vs-print-culture-and-the-divide-between-poverty-systems-and-leftist-theory
    The print culture/oral culture divide concept I’m not sure I’d encountered before hearing about it from this user, and I think certainly not in this context (as part of the cultural divide between the American poor and more well-off Americans). I thought some people around here might find the idea interesting to turn over.

  178. Grover wrote, “Anybody know of a good online course to intro Welsh?”

    Duolingo has a program for learning Welsh. I cannot review that particular program, though I have found their beginner language programs useful in general.

  179. I’m hoping to get some gardening advice: The squash and cucumbers in my raised garden beds are being treated quite roughly by something small based on the holes. I’ve noticed ants on my pepper plants, but the pepper plants are in pristine condition. Is it the ants that are bothering my squash, and if so, what can I do to deter them from eating at my plants so aggressively.

  180. @Paul Murney

    What you talk about sounds like Dr. Leon Vannier’s therapeutic technique, Homeopathic Drainage. For what it’s worth it is considered a legitimate approach where I studied, though in my opinion frequently misunderstood (disclaimer: I have no hands on experience applying it).

    You can find a primer on what is it about here: http://www.acnucmed.com/?s=drainage

    Also, please keep in mind that the original article where Drainage is introduced was published in 1912. IMHO, when Vannier talks about toxins, it is possible that he was thinking on viruses instead (or at least in part). The concept of “virus” as a non bacterial cause of infectious disease was first discovered in the late 19th century, but it was not until the 1930s that the actual viral structures could be observed by scientists. Before, it was believed to be some sort of liquid essence that exuded from infected tissue.

  181. @Bonnie Henderson-Willie re: Portland

    That could explain it. I have the South Node and nothing else (including the major asteroids) in Libra unless you count the then-undiscovered minor planet Haumea, with Venus in Capricorn squaring the nodes, and Venus happened to be transiting through Aries during that vacation, so that may have had something to do with it.

    @Goldenhawk

    Oh, lovely. Mercury retrograde in Aries (and conjunct Eris, if you use it), Jupiter conjunct Uranus, Venus in detriment, Pluto on the descendant, and Mars and Saturn conjunct in the 8th house with neither dignified…

  182. Tony C, in the deindustrial future there will be much, much less to go around, and what you probably consider a decent living will be available to very few if it’s available to anyone at all. Remember that middle class people in today’s industrial world have luxuries that emperors couldn’t get five hundred years ago! Thus your best best, if you really want to get ready for the future, is to figure out just how little you can live on and still be fairly comfortable, and then do that. The upside is that the resources of time, money, and emotional involvement you free up that way will be available for other uses. As for your comment “there is also usually more freedom to practice spirituality and to read when one is not too poor,” er, tell that to the monks and nuns of early medieval Europe, China, and Japan, who were poor even by the standards of their time and whose poverty gave them the freedom to practice spirituality and to read!

    Cliff, (a) I don’t know of such a book; (b) I think you may very well be right; (c) another vote for Hesse duly recorded.

    Wesley, also a good point! Do we count all of genus Homo, or all H. sapiens, or only H. sapiens sapiens, or what? As for your vote, duly counted.

    Open_space, the single most important priority in US post-imperial foreign policy is to help Mexico become prosperous and stable as quickly as possible, so that we have a strong ally on our southern border as we currently do to the north. I’m pretty sure Trump is aware of that, given the way he’s approached negotiations with President Obrador, and as our retreat from global hegemony proceeds, I expect to see that become even more central to our foreign policy. That being the case, I would expect Mexico to benefit from the shift in policies, and also from the approaching shifts in US drug policy, which will cut off much of the money that currently drives the cartels.

  183. @Aiden On the Subject of the Bicameral Mind
    Did you ever notice, how once you learned about things like resource peaks, and catabolic collapse, and technical debt, that you suddenly had a language for talking and thinking clearly about a bunch of experiences you’d been having for years? And that other people who had the same experiences but not the same education didn’t think of those experiences as connected at all, or thought of them as idiosyncratic to themselves? And you might have looked back over the history of the movement and seen how for example no one in the English-speaking societies really seemed to discuss the Malthusian trap before Malthus put a name to it, even though it was obviously happening to lots of people in those places before Malthus was even alive?
    I subscribe mostly to the theory that something similar happened with minds, and that how people communicated about them is what we have in the historical record, even though communication lags experience sometimes by centuries.
    I think that in the same way that Imaginative Divination has the hard problem of distinguishing genuine mystical experience from fantasy, people with a less complex theory of mind will have a harder time distinguishing between their own completely mundane thoughts and divine experiences. Getting a song stuck in your head is probably a very different experience when 90% of your music listening experience is hymns. Having a moment of powerful intuitive thinking becomes much harder to distinguish from divine revelation if you don’t have any mental tools for what intuitions and flashes of insight are.

  184. @Grover We’ve actually run the numbers, and by winning a mere 20% of the popular vote it is possible to win a majority in enough states to earn 270 electoral college votes.

  185. Abelian Memes quoted, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

    Good Lord, that is brilliant! So, real, functional science is in fact a religious belief system positing the fundamental credibility of the natural world compared to any human claim to infalliblity. No wonder science tips so easily into the dysfunctional religiosity of Scientism — we’re still true believers, we’ve just changed denomination (inverted the objects in the premise.) And there goes the baby with the bathwater!

    As for science needing to be subject to falsifiable tests, that is precisely why the Western world has been in such histrionics about Sweden not imposing punishable restrictions on its populace. The West has not been practicing science, so they cannot allow Sweden to run a potentially falsifying test. They expect they will fail it spectacularly — not an unreasonable expectation. At least our experts are still connected enough to reality to recognize their policies’ vulnerabilities. Alas, that would indicate they are knowingly lying about them — no big surprise there either.

  186. Hi James,

    thank you very much for Paul Kingsnorth’s “Basilisk” story!

    It prompted me to find the Lewis quote from “Abolition of Man”, and to re-read that essay’s conclusion. It seems singularly appropriate to this blog:

    “Is it, then, possible to imagine a new natural Philosophy, continually conscious that the ‘natural object’ produced by analysis and abstraction is not reality but only a view, and always correcting the abstraction? I hardly know what i am asking for. I hear rumours that Goethe’s approach to nature deserves fuller consideration — that even Dr. Steiner may have seen something that orthodox researchers have missed. The regenerate science which I have in mind would not do even to minerals and vegetables what modern science threatens to do to man himself. When it explained, it would not explain away… Its followers would not be free with the words “only” and “merely”. In a word, it would conquer nature without being at the same time conquered by her, and buy knowledge at a lower cost than that of life.
    Perhaps I am asking impossibilities. Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by killing… But you cannot go on ‘explaining away’ for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? it is no use trying to ‘see through’ first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. but a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”

  187. @A1 I want to draw attention to an article from JMG about five years ago, paraphrased from memory “The Apocalypse is going to come in the form of a 3% increase in the death rate for your age group. One day 20 or 30 years later you’ll look back and notice that half your friends are dead, but until then you’ll never notice how bad things really are.” The grocery store closing is going to be your last sign that something is going wrong.

  188. Cliff, the discrepancies between stories in mass media and so on is why right wing populist demonstrations in Germany a few years ago talked about the “Lügenpresse”, lying press.

    A1, my assessment of the coronavirus situation is, that there were much fewer people sick as in the average annual influenza epidemics, because I know only of a few acquaintances of acquaintances who got the virus.

    By the way, since the coronavirus is said to have something demonic to it, I wonder if spiritual practice and a daily banishing ritual make it less probable for the people concerned to get the coronavirus.

  189. @Nicholas Carter

    Any number of bugs will chew holes in squash leaves; around here (Oregon) it’s usually cucumber beetles. If you don’t want to use poisons the best solution is usually to give the plants enough fertility that they can keep ahead of the chewers.

    Ants almost never harm plants; when present they are often tending aphids. Aphids are common on peppers, but if they are not causing visible damage they may not be a problem. If aphids do start to cause twisted leaves or stunted growth they can be killed with insecticidal soap or just blasted off with a strong spray of water. Some plants actually feed ants directly so that the ants will defend them against insect pests.

  190. Mr Greer, again a heartfelt thank you for this forum and your generous participation. Here’s a question and a few thoughts that came up as I was reading comments today:

    First, after a year of SOP I continue to be drawn back to the significance of the words spoken and find more depth there each time I meditate on them. I recall you have discussed ‘will’ in past posts and wonder if you can point me to any that might expand my definition or understanding of ‘will’. Thanks.

    @Devnlad….once a big question for me though now I tend to chortle at it. My inspiration came from Alan Watts who when asked if the universe would end replied: “Well sure, even the universe needs a bit of a rest now and then”.

    @ Robert M, Yes to the idea: “Whom the gods would destroy They first drive mad.” This simple but by no means simplistic thought keeps me focused on my own responsibility to maintain some semblance of sane behavior.

    @ about the fear of death…. a wonderful source of deep observation and thought on the subject is available from Stephen Jenkinson at his site OrphanWisdom.com and his books are worth the time spent.

    @ Mr Greer, as to future post topics; It’s your blog and while I have been often surprised by topics you choose I am rarely disappointed. Writing about whatever fires up your creative pen is just fine with me.

    Always look on the bright side of life! (A rather dark theme song when I need to laugh.) Aged Spirit

  191. Hello JMG , you make two good points in your answer. I have been a monk in the past and with some organization and patience one can live with the discomforts of poverty with not much at all. I think global warming will bring a new element of instability which was not there before , for instance with weather events. I do prefer a spirit of abundance even if there is not much materially to a spirit of lacking. I feel the way forward , at least in my tradition , is to be involved and active in the world to benefit people with teachings and actions, and not to be secluded in a monastery or nunnery – as productive spiritually as that may be.

  192. Nicholas Carter,

    It’s not the ants. Most likely it’s squash bugs or spotted cucumber beetles. Have you seen either of these guys loitering about? Google them and see what you think. The cucumber beetles like to turn cucurbit leaves into lovely lace.

  193. @Grover

    Re: Welsh.

    Do you just want to learn a few phrases, or would you actually like to speak the language? If the latter, and you’re willing to invest some money into the project, then you might want to consider hiring an online tutor from a platform such as Italki. (Italki is the biggest and most famous of these platforms, but there are plenty of others. You can google it.) I have no experience with Welsh, but I’ve studied several other languages this way, and it’s worked quite well for me.

    (But if you just want to learn some phrases – nothing wrong with that! – then the above is a waste of money, and it makes more sense to work with something free such as Duolingo. But, Duolingo has never made anyone fluent…)

  194. About Portland, I lived there for several long, long years. Of all the places I’ve lived, I hate that one the most. I have very little nice to say about it (it was clean, and Powells) and nothing nice to say about the culture I encountered there, or the people I met who were mostly unfriendly, passive aggressive and judgemental. I was never more depressed in my life than when I stuck there, and while there was plenty going on with me that caused it I know the city had a role to play, amplifying everything and making it feel impossible to get out of.

    Toward the end of my time there, we had some extra money and could afford bus trips to Seaside for a few days. What a difference that made, I felt like I could breathe again, like I was human again and could think past the soul sucking misery. Though that would all come rushing back as soon as the bus entered the city limits, I could literally feel that darkness creeping back over my mood as we got closer and closer to downtown. Like driving through a miasmaic cloud. Returning to the city was almost psychologically painful after spending a little time free from that burden, and it kept getting worse with each trip. It was one of the things that really let me know I needed to get out of there (which did thankfully happen, and just in time to avoid all the political unrest I could see coming from a mile away).

    I’d just attributed it all to how much I’d grown to hate the place over the years, but who knows. Glad I’m not the only one who found the city hostile.

    Add my vote to synchronicities.

  195. Another vote for an update and thanks to the replies to my musings.

  196. @Devnlad and JMG, regarding cyclic versus linear/dying universes… you don’t need a big crunch for the state of the universe to be broadly cyclical! I spend a lot of time around professional physics types (I may be the biologist at the university but a lot of my friends are over in another department) and there is another potential option besides a straight-up expand/collapse cycle and a one-way heat death.

    The math is complicated and not terribly interesting, but it is actually always thermodynamically favorable to make lots of space from a small amount of space, even if the universe is in a state near heat-death. This could be true if there’s just an obscene amount of ‘activation energy’ required to reliably cause a region of space to start expanding. The details are experimentally inaccessible and probably always will be because these events would occur either at huge energies or be so unlikely to occur at any given place and time that you will never observe it to happen in the lifetime of the universe so far, but the SORTS of physics that are being explored by some these days are compatible with ideas in which it is possible for any point in space to effectively become a new big bang, for a universe of arbitrary size. You wouldn’t expect such an event to happen in only 15 billion years in the volume we can see… but give it 10^100+ years (the same ratio as our universe’s age is to one 100 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillionth of a second), eventually the confluence of events would be expected to happen in some tiny volume to trigger a new big bang.

    The other fun thing is that conservation of energy is only actually valid when the geometry of space is not changing rapidly, so that circumstances that rapidly create lots of new space can also create lots of new energy/matter to go with it… you are going from a maximum-entropy dead universe to that universe plus a low-entropy baby universe, so it is actually still favored by the second law of thermodynamics because entropy is still increasing in total.

    In this model, you would have a potentially infinite series of universes, being born, living, running down, dying, and then creating new universes as they die. Potentially many, or even infinitely many new universes each such that it’s a constantly branching network rather than just a single chain.

  197. the past two days I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of The War for Eternity by Benjamin R. Teitelbaum while at work. It’s very well written and is quite eye opening. I know you said you were going to read this book JMG. I imagine it might have a lot to offer to your “King in Orange” book.

    Do you have any more thoughts on the relationship between President Eigenblick in the pages of John Crowley’s Little, Big and our current president? Or do we have to wait for publication? Either way, I’ll be eager to read it.

  198. Late to the conversation. I vote for Karma, and second choice death.

    In the other blog, I wrote about the book, “The Meaning of Trump”. The author presented the idea that Trump was sent by the Gods. The world needed to be broken and then remade. Hmmmm.

    I was also reading several books about Genghis Khan. The world after his death in Asia and Europe were completely remade. Of course, he burned cities and decimated the countryside and committed genocide. But the new world had changed the old order for the better it seemed. Well, depending on who you read.

    Pondering Khan and Trump, I wonder if the Gods meant to destroy this world for a new one. In that vein of thought, I wonder if the man-made Gods of progress are warring with the ancient Powers. If so, it would explain some of TDS. Since those Progress Gods are losing.

  199. Tom Trotter, Grover and Scotlyn:

    Thanks for your updates. I would be curious if there is a separate place to talk about Green Wizardry and my (slow) progress?

    For me, despite the extra time spent at home, it looks like a bad year in the garden.
    I started a lot of plants early with mixed success but everything grew very slowly. The plants that did well (peas and beans) were almost completely eaten by rats (a vegetarian rat imported from Asia that is completely not interested in peanut butter in the traps).
    We got 2 kittens a month ago and finally this week they started hunting – 2 rats in 2 days!

    Everything else in the garden is slow due to rainy and cold weather here in PNW.

    The fruit trees that I planted last year are suffering from slugs, worms and deer so I have had the opportunity to test multiple deterrents (mint oil, ashes, iron slug pellets etc). The conclusion is that ash works partially, everything else doesn’t seem to make a dent.

    Thanks and I hope to find a good green wizard forum!

  200. In the magic Monday blog, you mentioned that Michael Hughes was summoning demons. I must be dense, I did read his writings and didn’t pick that up. Is it an accidental summoning because of the spells are poorly constructed?

  201. Onething about lockdown and spike of deaths:
    That is a possibility. I still think it’s worth tracking the slump (opposite of spike) that is happening now. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of year the annual mortality will be exactly as expected (meaning the impact of Covid is exactly nil). Yes, some people died early and I know there is a strong push for emotional arguments (“won’t somebody think of grandma!”) but given the 50% of uninsured Americans that nobody seem to care about I know those arguments are just propaganda.

    CR Patiño: yes it’s an argument from statistical expectation, which is very weak – unless we are talking about Avogadro size numbers, which we don’t here. Things that have 5% chance of occurring happen all the time. Throwing the dice and getting snake eyes from the first try has less than 3% chance but I wouldn’t bet my future on it not happening.
    Add to that the ridiculous implicit assumptions about the future (which you mentioned) and the argument reveals more about the people that make it than predict anything useful.

  202. Hello John Michael Greer

    I would like to know what your thoughts are on Initiation Into Hermetic’s by Franz Bardon. As a system of self-initiation and final reunion with Unity through a major focus on magic, do you consider that concept ‘realistic’ for a person to embark themselves on? Or is a ‘mentor’ and a true ‘spiritual transmission’ from someone incarnate necessary?

    Thank you for your time

  203. @pixelated

    One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from a play, “The Castle,” by Howard Barker:

    “It is the pain of witches to see to the very end of things.”

    I have always found that to be one of the greatest truths of magical/visionary life.

  204. JMG: of possible use for the King in Orange book:

    I was trying to look up the online magazine Heathen Harvest, which has gone down. It was a “metapolitical” magazine of industrial music, black metal, and dark ambient, etc. but with alt-right, Nationalist, Traditionalist and separatist overtones (or undertones). It seems it is no longer active.

    Then I looked up its counterpart on the far left side of the aisle, Datacide: Magazine of Politics and Noise. I was reminded of this article by Christoph Fringelli, on the “Transversal Strategies of the New Right in Neofolk and Martial Industrial” music genres. Knowing about this metapolitical playbook, you could see it in action, if you then went and read articles on Heathen Harvest.

    https://datacide-magazine.com/from-subculture-to-hegemony-transversal-strategies-of-the-new-right-in-neofolk-and-martial-industrial/

    In any case some of these musical subgenres and subcultures are definite metapolitical breeding grounds for various ideologies.

  205. @DavidinCminor With respect to panhandlers, my response is situational, not based on applying a pre-conceived principle.

    @Michał The Oxford English Dictionary defines a spittle-man as an inmate of a spital, which is a “house or place for the reception of the indigent or diseased; a charitable foundation for this purpose, esp. one chiefly occupied by persons of a low class or afflicted with foul diseases; a lazar-house.” William Wordsworth in 1794 used “spital” to mean simply a shelter for travellers.

    With respect to fear and virus, Rudolf Steiner has some interesting things to say, probably worth citing at some length. (He doesn’t distinguish bacteria from viruses, in common with others at the time of writing.)

    “The fear to which people succumb nowadays closely resembles the medieval fear of ghosts: this is our present fear of bacteria. These two states of fear are objectively the same. …

    “Whatever the age in which one lives, one must be especially skeptical in respect of the authority prevalent in that age. … This is especially the case in one particular field of human culture, namely in the field of materialistic medicine. Here we can see clearly how there is increasing dependence upon whatever those in authority consider to be standard, so that far more dreadful things can result nowadays than were brought about by the much maligned authorities of the Middle Ages. We are in the midst of this already, and it will become ever more pronounced. When people mock the medieval belief in ghosts one can but ask: ‘Are things any different today? Is there any less fear of ghosts nowadays? Are not people afraid of many more ghosts now than they were then?’

    “Things are far worse now than anyone can imagine. … Those medieval ghosts were at least respectable ghosts; but today’s bacterial ghosts are altogether too diminutive, too unsuitable to be regarded with such fear, especially as this fear is now only in its early stages, for it will lead to a dependence on authority in the field of health which will be truly dire.” (5 January 1911)

  206. Three days for the soul to leave the body? Is that a sort of ‘standard’ occult belief? I’m hoping to be cremated without being embalmed. The fun home I’ve been in touch with offers 36 hours for un-embalmed bodies before cremating. I was thinking that would be enough.

  207. I was not aware of the situation re the price of wool. Wow! That is tragic. And all the while we’re recycling old plastic crap into new plastic crap — like synthetic clothing — that carries along with it all sorts of nasty effects. Is this due to the whims of “the market”? What might be done to improve this situation?

  208. I’d also like to vote for the leftward end of the working class. You keep talking about the Moon people when I believe most of us wish they would shut their fracking boreholes. By all means talk more about the Ascendant people!

    But I’m also concerned that this Tamanous culture you’re predicting might just end up a new bottle for the old whine of Mammon-o-us neoliberalism and market idolatry, which at least one prophet has predicted will reign for 1260 years. Given that neoliberalism and Aquarius are very sympathetic, and at least one random guy on a random Internet sex forum has observed/humblebragged a correlation between support of neoliberal “thought” and asteroid Pallas in Aquarius, is there a reconciliation (and a rectification) to be had, or is this really the Age of Aquarius we ordered?

  209. Oilman2, many thanks for this. I’ve been watching the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict closely, as well as the Libyan war — not much drilling going on there either! — and yeah, we’re definitely moving toward a big price spike if there’s any sustained attempt to return to business as usual. It’ll be colorful!

    Renato, I know some people who do it the same in the Southern Hemisphere as in the Northern, and others who change it around; I’d probably keep it the same way as here, because the directions are symbolic in nature, but your mileage may vary. As for the polytheist Golden Dawn project, it may be a little while because of other projects; in the meantime, you might be interested in my book The Celtic Golden Dawn, which combines Golden Dawn technique with Welsh Druid symbolism.

    Chris, I’d say go ahead and write it!

    Tom, Lew, and עומר — is that Omer, btw? — your votes have been entered.

    Temporaryreality, nah, when I need a vacation I’ll surely take one.

    Christophe, duly noted. The difference between synchronicity and coincidence was defined neatly by Jung, who described synchronicity as meaningful coincidence — and I think you’re dead right that what keeps people fixated on the faux-synchronicity of the corporate media et al. is the terror that not all the minds shaping our experience are human.

    Galen, yep.

    CR, so noted.

    Michał, nope. That kind of protesting accomplishes nothing.

    Averagejoe, so noted.

    Paul, it is illegal for me to offer medical advice. That’s “practicing medicine without a license,” and in the US people do hard time in jail for it. I would encourage you to consult a licensed health care provider on the subject.

    Michael, interesting — yes, that might work. As for Trump, I’m more pleased than displeased by his first term. His administration’s done as good a job as could be expected, in the face of constant attacks, of cutting the metastatic regulatory state, extracting the US from free trade agreements that encouraged the offshoring of jobs, and decreasing mass illegal immigration; until the coronavirus outbreak messed things over, the joblessness rate among minority communities was at an all-time low and working class jobs were making a major comeback; he didn’t get us into any wars, and got our troops out of northern Syria; and he got rid of the Obamacare mandate, that immense welfare program that enriched the medical industry at the expense of everyone else. All in all, not too bad.

    Aziz, Fortune doesn’t use dimensions in her metaphor at all, except in the very narrow spatial sense that they structure the movement of the three primal rings.

    Hereward, have you noticed that nobody on the Left is talking about climate change any more? The coronavirus outbreak has proved that it’s quite possible to cut carbon use dramatically via lifestyle change — shutting down airports is a good example of that — and my guess is that a lot of people on that end of things are desperately hoping that nobody notices so they can go back to their extravagant lifestyles once things wind down.

    Darren, Ian, and JayT, duly noted.

    Thecrowandsheep, funny. My inner ten-year-old still finds the German word for space travel, Raumfahrt, endlessly amusing.

    Irena, and that bubble is likely to be popped, at least in the US. One of the things behind the recent consulate closure in Houston is that the Trump administration is cracking down on Chinese intellectual-property theft and commercial espionage.

    Eric, synchronistically enough, I posted something about that here. Your vote is in.

    Phutatorius, I’ve got a big hardback collection of Jeffers, but it’s been a while since I read “The Double Axe;” my favorites among his verses are the shorter pieces such as “The Purse-Seiners” and “Shine, Perishing Republic.” But I’ll have a look again as time permits.

    DavidinCminor, well, we’ll see! As for panhandlers, I don’t give them money. I donate a lot to charities, but I choose very carefully who gets funded on the basis of plenty of data, and I don’t usually donate to groups that seek me out, since I don’t like being hassled.

    Ray, so noted.

    Patricia M, hmm! (Or perhaps hummmmmm…)

    Bruno, I was forty. That was right around the time that Aspergers syndrome was finally getting some public attention, and I happened to read a magazine article on the subject. I remember exactly where I was — it was that kind of experience — because for the first time in my life, the tangled mess of challenges I’d been dealing with all my life had a single name and an explanation…and it wasn’t that I hadn’t been trying hard enough. So I got myself evaluated, and discovered that I have a nice classic case of Adult Residual Aspergers.

    El, so noted!

    Dean, good heavens. Okay, the left-right thing has been more pervasive than I thought! Do what the book says; it’s worked well enough for enough people that it’s clearly not an issue.

    Matthew and Scotlyn, so noted.

    Patricia M, so I gather.

    David BTL, your vote has been tabulated. As for the Donald Trump quote, good heavens. He’s right, of course, but it’s fascinating to see him being quoted there! Finally, well, of course — gotta sell clicks somehow…

    Danaone, so noted.

    A1, that seems like a fair assessment. I’ve been watching the people here in East Providence responding to the whole thing with a shrug. The one local person I know who showed any sign of worry was a guy who works at the branch where I bank, and what worried him was the thought that I might go to the hospital — a bad plan, he said, you get much sicker if you do that. Stay home, sleep a lot, and take over-the-counter meds and you’ll be fine: that’s the standard wisdom here, and it seems to work.

    Aidan, I read Jaynes’ book when it first came out and found it unconvincing.

    Kay, so noted!

    Samuel and Kyle, I gather from what people are saying that it doesn’t really matter which direction you do it, so choose one and stick with it. Samuel, your vote has been counted!

    Abelian, thanks for this. Yes, exactly — the scientific method is one of the half dozen or so greatest intellectual creations in human history, right up there with logic, mathematics, and written language, and its preservation is essential. It will only be preserved, however, if it can be yanked out of the hands of the current scientific community and put back into wider circulation. As for history, what happens in the best-case scenario is that the revitalized religions make room for the creations of the Age of Reason. That’s what happened in Roman times; enough Christian monasteries took up the Pythagorean idea of education, which included logic and mathematics, and enough Christian theologians embraced Neoplatonist philosophy, that very large chunks of these subjects made it through the dark age that followed.

    Grover, that’s a hard one. What was your specific question?

    Pixelated, I know. It took me a very long time to find a way to reach people who were actually prepared to hear what I have to say and act on it.

    Isaac, there are no wrong meditations. As for the podcast, by all means — put through a comment marked NOT FOR POSTING with your email on it, and I’ll put you in touch with my scheduler.

    Ip, so noted.

    Reese, thanks for both of these.

    Tim, so noted.

  210. Though all the topics proposed for Wild Card Wednesday are intriguing, I too must cast my vote for the updated commentary on our near future. It seems the 20s will roar quite differently this century…so many great challenges await us! Thanks JMG and all commenters for the fine discussions unfolding this week.

  211. As someone who comes from the rural Pacific Northwest, I will say that Powell’s is about the only thing still worthwhile about Portlandia. Seattle is even worse, with truly horrific traffic, overdevelopment, an obscenely high cost of living and skyrocketing crime, homelessness and other social problems thanks to decades of liberal Democrat misgovernance coming home to roost. Portland and Seattle might not be quite as bad as San Francisco or Los Angeles, but they are headed down the same road to ruin at an accelerating rate and for the same reasons. These days, I avoid both Portland and Seattle as if they were plague ships.

  212. @JMG,

    “My inner ten-year-old still finds the German word for space travel, Raumfahrt, endlessly amusing. ”

    My sister and I (both in our 60’s, going on 10) are highly amused by the German word for a sleigh-ride – Schlittenfahrt. 🙂 The German translation of “Jingle Bells” is fairly hilarious.

    Incidentally, and apropos of nothing, all of my sibs and I had the same German teacher in high school, over a 15 year period, so we all learned the same ‘dialect’.

    OMG, I remember the first time I encountered ‘The Purse-Seiners’ – a mind-blower.

    My vote is for Hesse.

  213. JMG,

    My question was, “Will President Trump win reelection in November?”

    Thanks for your input!

  214. JMG thank you for your well reasoned response in regards to Trump. I am pretty much in the same boat as you. Once you strip away the daily noise of the shouting class – his track record is looking fairly strong.

  215. Aged Spirit, I’ve talked a little about the will here and there, but I’m preparing a post for my Dreamwidth journal that will go into it in detail. Stay tuned!

    Tony C, fair enough — as long as you remember that you can have a spirit of abundance without having material abundance. Your vote has been added.

    Joy Marie and Monster, so have yours.

    Tony B, fascinating. I still find the Big Crunch highly plausible — again, if we live in a universe of Riemannian geometry, every “straight” line extended far enough returns to its starting place, so a Big Crunch is the inevitable result of the Big Bang.

    Justin, interesting. Thanks for this. No, I don’t have anything more to say at the moment about our President Eigenblick.

    Neptunesdolphins, your vote has been tabulated — and your point makes a lot of sense. As for Hughes and demons, several of his spells call by name on demons from Western magical traditions.

    German, it’s perfectly realistic to set out to walk the Path as a solitary practitioner, and in many cases it’s the better option. Ultimately the only initiator that matters is your own Higher Self — all another human being can do is help you achieve that inner contact. As for Bardon’s book, I know people who have used it with very good results.

    Justin, thanks for this!

    MikeL, that’s a fairly standard occult teaching. If 36 hours is what your local funeral home will do, that’s what they’ll do — you may have a bit of a shock, but you’ll recover from it quickly enough and then can get on with the rest of your afterlife.

    Jonathan, I see neoliberalism as a transitional ideology, stuck awkwardly between Piscean and Aquarian influences; it’s deeply Piscean in its save-the-world fixations, its obsession with doctrinal conformity, and the immense gap between what it promises and what it delivers. Remember that Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planet of disruptions, disasters, eccentrics, and deviants; you’ll know that the Aquarian vibration is in full flow when the idea of making everyone believe the same thing gets the same sort of visceral reaction that differences of opinion get from true believers today.

    Jim, so noted.

    Galen, my wife and I — up to then, lifelong Washington State residents — fled Seattle in 2004 for precisely those reasons, and by all accounts it’s gotten much, much worse since then. Ironically, Providence in Rhode Island is very much like what Seattle was in my youth — a pleasant, moderately sized, attractive city with a maritime climate, a lively cultural scene, and a lot of green countryside surrounding it.

    Sgage, you’re right — “schlittenfahrt” is even sillier. Your vote has been counted.

    Grover, then the answer is yes, no further questions. A mutation is a mode of perfection, so the chart perfects, and two positive aspects outweigh one negative one.

    Michael, exactly.

  216. @ Irena

    I’ve had a front row seat on the university bubble here in Melbourne, Australia. I graduated shortly after China was let into the WTO having done some postgraduate work and considered a career in academia (boy am I glad I didn’t pursue that!)

    In the meantime I remained a member of a sports club at my alma mater and so have seen the changes first hand. It was the strangest thing to watch because the local students seemed to just disappear and the university became seemingly entirely for international students. (Actually, it’s just that the local students spent more time away from campus).

    It’s the not just the universities here that are going to take a beating. The entire inner city economy was transformed to cater to them in the last fifteen years. Massive boom in apartment buildings, retail, restaurants, visa services, english teaching services etc. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Australian economy in the last two decades has been a higher education-immigration-real estate bubble. And that’s all about to end. Good riddance, I say. But it’s going to be very painful in the short term.

    I don’t think the average person here has even considered what it means economically.

  217. I’ve noticed the dwindling of interest in climate change as well as environmentalism in general and wondered if it was temporary because of COVID or the left dropping environmentalism in a real way as was discussed last year on this blog. The BLM protests have made me think it’s the latter, social justice is considered important enough to override COVID concerns but not the environment (plastic waste was a major topic of conversation last year, now nobody cares about disposable plastic everything being part of the “new normal”).

    If the left has really dropped environmentalism for real it may be a good thing, as people who do care about the environment may be more and more likely to disentangle themselves from leftist ideologies and a new environmentalism may be born, but I also wonder if environmentalism will still be used again by the elites when it suited them. Some of the only articles about the environment I’ve been seeing since COVID began were mostly back in March and April, and were about typically polluted places having cleaner air and water due to the lockdown. These articles gave me mixed feelings, as I do genuinely like hearing about the environment being healthier, even if only temporarily, but the tone of the articles made me wonder if those examples will be trotted out later as a reason for more authoritarianism and centralized power.

  218. @Robert Mathiesen ah, thanks. I’ve been pondering today whether it is always the bad ends I see, or if I see the good ones just as frequently, but think nothing of it, because it is not jarring to see something good. I think that may be true, because I also always say I’m just quite lucky, even when bad things happen, they always turn around to have the best possible outcome given the circumstance, because I happened to ask an off the wall question of the surgeon, or something… Perhaps that is not as blind luck as I thought… I’m sure that means I’m missing the signs of the obvious good end, I’m already working toward here, too.

  219. Archdruid and Ray Wharton,

    I tried to do a scrying on the upcoming elections, all I got was static. Like a literal whirring of images and sentences. I couldn’t focus on anything.

    I’ve noticed that I’ve been very sensitive lately, trying to see just beyond the horizon to figure out what’s coming. Weirdly every divination I’ve done on the subject has come out positive, so at this point I’m just confused.

    Regards,

    Varun

  220. JMG, one more question for this month. It is my experience that people with a high intellectual ability are more sensitive , for example to critics and to emotional violence. You seem to have a thick skin, and for example to be able to engage in debates in politics with people who are very emotionally aggressive without being too affected by that. What do you attribute that thick skin to ?

  221. JMG,

    Thank you for the clarification! I usually weight a mutation heavier than any aspect, favorable or not, but it’s always good to have the seasoned veteran verify! But boy, don’t the polling numbers tell a different story.

    (Just like they did in 2016!)

  222. At the risk of being repetitive, would someone who has spoken of “neoliberalism” care to define it for me? Here’s Wikipedia’s attempt: “Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism[1] is the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism.[2]:7[3] It is generally associated with policies of economic liberalization including privatization, deregulation, globalization, free trade, austerity, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society”

    Is that what people here are referring to?

  223. Thank you for the Open Post!

    1) In the first grade of the DA, there is a memory exercise where you recall the day’s events from most recent to your first waking action. I’ve been doing it the next day in the morning to check the previous day’s Ogham reading. Is the goal of that exercise to remember clearly the actual impressions that you experienced over the course of the day? Or just to recall what you did, without the sensory impression? As I do it, I find I can recall most of the memories of the day, but with gaps – it’s not a continuous flow.

    2) Do you think there’s the possibility still of a sudden rise in sea levels due to climate change?

  224. Nicholas Carter:
    There are beetles that attack squash and cucumber plants specifically so you’ll have to keep an eye on your garden to see if you can positively identify them (lots of photos online). Look on the underside of the leaves and you’ll find egg masses which you can remove. There are low-tech methods of control, but if that doesn’t work you can try an insecticide with spinosad, which is listed for organic use. We once bought a bottle of the concentrate for a massive infestation, used it a year or two and haven’t needed it since; maybe we got enough of them before they could lay eggs and managed to reduce the local population. At any rate, if you mix up a batch of the spinosad, be sure to spray at dusk so that you don’t kill foraging honeybees.

    I wouldn’t worry about ants.

    Re: wool
    I’ve read that wool is being turned into insulation for homes as it is naturally fire resistant. Perhaps someone would be interested in experimenting with your surplus wool for that purpose. Cleaned, of course!

  225. Here’s my brief take on Mr.Trump’s neoliberalism, if John lets it through. The one area where Mr. Trump opposes neoliberalim is in his opposition to trade deals and globalization (and it’s to his credit, to the extent he really holds these views). But he does this without addressing the underlying issues driving outsourcing of jobs, etc.. These underlying issues include the size, power and the mere existence of multi-national corporations along with the easy mobility of capital across national boundaries. I am far from convinced we need multinational corporations or that we need the corporate form at all. It is surely possible to have capitalism without corporations; there are other ways to organize a business enterprise than the corporate form. Corporations do not “occur in nature.” They are a creation of legal fictions, which is to say, they are the creation of governments. The main attraction of the corporate form seems to be its limited liablilty, the notion of corporate personhood and the ability for one corporation to own other corporations. Thus there seems to be no limit to how large and powerful a corporation can become. But I’ve drifted.

    Mr. Trump seems to be fully “on board” with the remainder of “neoliberalism,” at least according to the wikipedia definition included in my earlier post. Again, to Trump’s credit, he has started no new wars. We can only hope that continues.

  226. Thank you, as ever, for holding this blessed space.

    I vote for an update on the future.

    Also I thought Trump’s work on criminal justice reform was pretty good.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/10/26/president_trump_takes_victory_lap_on_criminal_justice_reform_141594.html#!

    I worked for awhile at a law firm that handled some federal criminal defense cases involving nonviolent drug dealing, and the oversentencing and prosecutorial misconduct are horrific.

  227. I hope it’s ok to ask another question: given the earliest stages of the long descent, how should one approach personal health care as one ages, especially without health insurance? I can only think that beyond preventative medicine and exercise, keeping some money in a savings account for sudden health issues might work if you’re able to do so.

  228. Kashtan, it’ll be interesting to see whether environmentalism gets picked up again once the current set of convulsions is over. I’ve been considering the possibility of starting to talk about conservation as an alternative to environmentalism, one that might get some serious traction among the new populist right. Still, we’ll see.

    Varun, interesting. Thanks for the data point.

    Tony C, I attribute it to having Aspergers syndrome. One of the upsides of that is that I literally couldn’t care less what random strangers think of me.

    Grover, I’ve come to think of the classic modes of perfection — occupation, conjunction, mutation, and translation — as much more definitive than aspect; fairly often, in fact, if the only connection between significators is an aspect, the answer works out to “maybe” or even “probably not” (if the significators themselves are unfavorable). As for the polls, it’s the same story as 2016, made even worse by four years of meltdowns from the left. What the smarter analysts are calling “shy Trump voters” — those who won’t state their preference to a telephone pollster, who after all knows their phone number — is a significant demographic at this point.

    Rohan, one vote for sex!

    Phutatorius, that’s not bad. The core elements of neoliberalism as I see it are economic globalization, open borders, and a policy of using government spending to benefit big corporations instead of human beings (“austerity”).

    Jbucks, (1) it will work either way. Try both and see which you prefer. (2) Yes, though at this point it’s hard to tell how soon.

    KKA, one vote for death!

    Bruno BL, yes, it was. You’re welcome and thank you.

    KW, duly noted. You’re right that the Trump administration has also scored in that area.

    Jbucks, that’s basically my approach — that and heavy reliance on alternative health care.

  229. I’ll put in a vote for a post on synchronicity – with relation to coincidence, as Christophe also mentioned. FWIW, I was musing on this last night and ended up deciding they are different words for they are the same thing. A quick google search this morning says the interweb concurs :
    “Coincidence and synchronicity are both defined as “striking occurrences of two or more events at one time”. The difference is that coincidence is perceived as chance or luck while synchronicity implies the presence of a deeper intelligence at work.”

    So seems like coincidence is for materialists, and synchronicity is for occultists 😉

  230. I had an amusing experience to share. As a kid, I enjoyed imagining myself as a specific cartoon character to get through tasks when it felt impossible. In this cartoon, the protagonist transforms into a stronger form like here (https://imgur.com/gallery/O6QKG). This would let me do school work or other chores my parents wanted complete. After recollecting this, I used it a couple of times last week when I felt low and it still worked as it had when I was a kid and lifted my mood.

    Also, one vote for an update on the future.

  231. JMG: I would love to see a series on conservation instead of environmentalism.

    I was raised on a farm during the 50’s. We were Republican and conservative back when those rhymed with some kind of integrity.

    My over simplified gut level reaction for a while has been that the conservatives sold out to money and power and liberals moved into the vacuum, becoming ecologists.

    Back on the farm we “tended the foundations” without even thinking, it was like breathing. It is natural for conservatives to, well, conserve. Liberals do not have the instincts for this. It is foreign territory. I am glad they are, it is a dangerous vacuum. But the sooner conservatives reclaim their banner and territory, the better.

  232. No suggestions from me about a topic as I’m always happy to read what you’ve found interesting. I do have a question, though, and it’s one that’s occurred to me frequently over the years:

    It’s about the comment format you use here on Ecosophia being essentially the same as the now ancient blogspot version of ADR. Way back then comments could only be made in order but after a few years it became possible to have threads of comments – a method that most websites and blogs adopted. Whereas your Dreamwidth site uses threaded comments Ecosophia doesn’t. You get so many comments here many of which I’d love to see your responses to but I often get lost on the way and never see your answers – or the comments others have left. Although I can think of a few reasons, time available being among them, I can’t understand quite why you chose this way since you answer everyone anyway (a wonderful and generous accomplishment).

    Ah well, now I’ll have to return in a day or two to see what your answer might be. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to read and enjoy your posts as I always have done.

  233. @Phutatorius

    I find this to be a useful explanation of neoliberalism, albeit from a leftward perspective:
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

    @ Michael Gray

    I would mostly agree with JMG regarding the positive points of Trump’s first term, but I must say that his constant barrage of outrage-baiting, ad hominem attacks, and distraction games makes it really hard for someone on the leftward end of the political spectrum like me to appreciate his accomplishments. I’m waiting for a viable populist or at least anti-neoliberalist to arise on the left, and I’d vote for Tulsi Gabbard in a heartbeat.

    @tod chabucos
    I love the poem, thanks for sharing!

  234. Tom Trotter,

    Sounds like you’ve got some great plans! Especially the moving out of Portland bit.

    One of my uncles just sold his dream property in South Georgia to move cross-country with his extremely liberal wife to her home city of Portland. Personally, I can’t think of a bonnier hell. Particularly right now. (No offense to you other Portlanders if you happen to be reading this…) You probably don’t know this but my family of four moved into a 16 x 20 wall tent on 2.3 acres of solid forest we spent the last of our savings on in 2012. We lived in that thing for two years. And then 5 more after it became a cabin, the whole time without indoor plumbing, and only 400W of solar power…added in 2017 (once we had cleared a big enough hole in the woods to actually matter). Sawdust toilets were all my kids knew when we moved into our new house in town last March. Wouldn’t trade that experience for the world…wish you the best!

    Isaac,

    I get the infrastructure layout! Believe me…7 year in the trenches with almost no electricity or running water to assist us. But I do understand, it’s tiring either way.

    My wife and I are also herbalists. Our business has been hit hard by the “Coronapause,” as I call it. Though I’m thankful that I live in a country that has done its best to cover our deficits! According to the Chinese, the year of the rat is especially hard on businesses like ours. We’ll make it through though; we’re too SMALL to fail! And I admire anyone who works with medicinal plants.

    But I also worry that I’m not getting meditation “right.” It’s our cultural programming I’m sure. This morning I came out of meditation relating Pwyll to Puer (do you do geomancy?) – a young soul with a fully-formed material body, but little more awareness than that, just starting to realize that Malkuth isn’t the only world there is; the beginning of the astrological cycle, Spring Equinox, Aries ingress, facing East, paying off his karmic debt (say, for stealing someone else’s deer), attempting to secure the Air that is the first limiting factor of life before pursuing the deeper elements. Is ANY of that “right?” No idea…but it’s instructive. I’m slowly starting to understand that that’s what matters.

  235. JMG, I think you’ll do very well if you talk about conservation rather than environmentalism. As you know, the meaning of that word is “to conserve”. As such, it’s ideally suited to the future, because it embraces a large range of perspectives, and it values the past, and “what works”.

    I also think an international perspective is valuable too – my experience is that where countries base law and policy on a “conservation” framework, using that language, there is likely to be more longevity and power in the culture that follows. Conservation Acts work, whereas “Environment” Acts seem to position humans as separate from the environment.

    That is my professional experience anyway.

  236. Thanks for that #JustinPatrickMoore

    Forgot to mention Frank Bennett, a Brit who started the shady OTO in Australia, another one whose life ended in drug addiction and ignominy. Starting to see a pattern there ! Ha ha.
    Never heard of the other strangely named chap you mention but it makes sense that they would try to harness the powerful lunar current here. Most of the original inhabitants and creatures in Australia are nocturnal, only coming out at night when the searing temperatures have finally abated.

    With the plethora of Thelema here it seems as though the Will to Power is strong here, i guess thats to be expected in a brutally genocidal settler state with a very visible propensity for war and ecocide. We seem to have enthusiastically embraced the Thelemic identity politics and cult of the self as well. The result has been a foreign controlled mass surveillance state with wall to wall 24-7 propaganda in the hands of Arch Wizard Rupert Murdoch. Theres no place like home.

    Wither to from here ?

  237. Hi JMG,

    Many thanks for hosting this discussion space. Although I don’t comment often, I have learned so much from your writing and the many insightful commenters here. I’d like to add a vote for an update on the future.

  238. JMG, agreed on all counts! I think there are a LOT of people out there who just want to vote and not get yelled at for it. You know, like in a democracy? I certainly can’t tell about half my friends that I’m going to vote for Trump.

    And FWIW, in my whole 9 months and ~425 house charts cast, the classical perfections you listed are the only ones that really seem to say “Yes.” Agreed. Aspects mostly seem to be attempting to fill in peripheral information. If that’s all there is, I don’t count it as a yes. Though, if the only aspect is a square or opposition, I do count that as a no…and the square was the first thing I saw in that chart as I filled in the figures…

    As an aside, this morning I also cast for the question “Is the U.S. Congress going to extend unemployment benefits beyond the July 31st cutoff?” Got an occupation-level YES (with the 10th as the house of the querent and the 8th – now the 11th – as the house of the quesited), but with Tristitia as the occupying figure. I took that to mean “oh yeah, but at a reduced rate.”

    Again, thankful for whatever they offer. This has very nearly destroyed my business.

  239. Ok – wow…JMG

    My son just sent me a clip off of Fox news and this is a quote from the piece they did on UFOs; “Apparently just recovered, are off world vehicles not made on this Earth” – Tucker Carlson

    So JMG, what is YOUR take on this – synchronicity or manufactured coincidence? Because talk about a long term distraction for the masses as we slide faster. Yes – you can parse and overthink it to include vehicles some nation made in orbit. But the average Joe is not going to think of anything but the movie “Paul” or similar gray aliens….

    Had not intended to add more, but this is quite a thing for any network to say after so many years of complete denial. What’s your thinking on this?

  240. Kashtan and JMG about environmentalism.

    At this point global warming, environmentalism and even ecology have become dirty words because they have been so abused and politicized – mostly by the left.
    It’s incredible to me how quickly any discusion on them devolve into a “push the blame” (favorites are China and corporations) or soft denial (hopium about technology). See for example the relevant reddit groups.

    I think the best way to go forward is to drop all abstractions and talk to people about their local environment and the things they cared about – water for drinking, air quality etc. For example ask people what do they think about the fact that most towns in US abuse pesticides in parks. Even rural places in US have burning bans due to bad air quality – that is a great place to start suggesting better insulation for homes.

    All in all, I vote for “conservation” as a great new moniker.

  241. Ip,

    Like you, I figure spiritual work is where it’s at these days! I’m planning on spending a few years working through the Dolmen Arch very carefully. That following a year of classical Golden Dawn work that was a great intro to the magical world.

    Your little garden sounds great. Water catchment too. We had a productive Spring garden, now a productive Summer garden, and also hoping to get some Fall stuff in soon. A summer kitchen is also on our fairly short list – a stone fireplace with boom and bread oven built in, a grill, and maybe a forge too. Our 10 y.o. son has recently taken to smithing.

    Love sourdough – love bread-making in general really – but sourdough is the best. Also working to kill off debt as fast as we can with stimulus and UE money. Probably selling our cabin to pay off the new house ASAP. Minimal obligations…flexibility…adaptability…and when sold, no real need for a car…

    Cheers!

    Christophe,

    So noted! Thanks for the lead. I’ll check them out.

    Nicholas Carter,

    That would quite the coup! Though I’m personally hoping for a more natural style of democracy to prevail.

    Irena,

    Many thanks for the insight! I know you have a strong command of several languages. My Russian is pretty dismal these days…and my German not that much better. Ultimately I think I’d like to really learn Welsh, but for now I just want to be able to pronounce the Welsh words in the Dolmen Arch, and maybe be able to track down what they mean. I’ll keep your leads in mind for sure though.

    Nomadic Beer,

    Love your username. My time in the PNW was in Spokane (does that even count?), where the soil is shallow but rich, it’s dry and sunny, and the days are REALLY long. Gardening there was a dream. The only place I’ve ever gardened where lettuce and tomatoes were actually coming in at the same time. I feel for your issues in the damp western coastal reaches though. That must be frustrating. Slugs here are something I pick out of the cabbage and flick back out the back door, not an actual pest. If you can manage dilute urine as a fertilizer that should run the deer off though.

    But hooray for the new cats! Rats are legit prey. And I think there is a green wizard forum that sprang out of this readership, or used to be. Anybody?

  242. JMG,

    The investor class is not amused by The President’s actions against China, particularly his efforts to restrict American capital being poured into the Chinese economy. They made a lot of money not just by offshoring manufacturing, but also by investing in Chinese companies.

    So here’s another of my wild predictions, partly inspired by Twilight’s Last Gleaming: On election eve, believing the opinion polls that their guy is going to win, they take massive bets in the stock market; and get a big sucker punch when the results are out — Something that would be for the history books.

  243. Helen, so noted! It’s pretty clear that over the next couple of months I’m going to have to do an update, a Hesse post, a post on the metaphysics of sex, and a synchronicity post at bare minimum.

    Ethan, so noted.

    Nomad, in Golden Dawn magic it’s called “assuming a godform” — in my Golden Dawn days I used to take on Egyptian godforms pretty regularly, with good effect. People do not hassle you on the street if you perceive yourself as a 10-foot-tall golden Horus, with rippling muscles and a hawk’s head, striding down the sidewalk as though each step brought a sandal down on one of the minions of Set and crushed it out of existence. (Your vote has been noted.)

    Michael, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Do you remember the Conservation Pledge?

    Susan, this particular comments format is iirc hardwired into the WordPress software, just as the threading of comments on Dreamwidth is hardwired into their software. I’m not a tech geek so I use the software that’s provided.

    Aidan, good. About time.

    Peter, exactly. The central flaw in environmentalism is that it assumes that humans are not and can never be part of the environment. Conservation, by contrast, recognizes that humans are inextricably part of the natural world and need to learn how to manage their relations with other natural systems in a less stupid manner.

    Lauren, you’re welcome and thank you, and your vote has been tallied.

    J.L.Mc12, thanks for this.

    עומר, okay, good — I haven’t done much with the Hebrew alphabet for a good long time, and it’s good to know I haven’t lost my touch completely.

    Grover, sorry to hear about the business! It might be worth looking around and finding what lines of self-employment prosper in such times. I know for a fact that political astrology seems to do well. 😉

    Oilman2, I’ll have to see what I can find about it. The military has been faking UFO sightings since 1947, and they’ve piled back into it in a big way recently; I wonder what they’re up to.

    NomadicBeer, yes, that’s pretty much what I was thinking.

    Ramaraj, I could see that.

  244. @ JMG –

    “Grover, sorry to hear about the business! It might be worth looking around and finding what lines of self-employment prosper in such times.”

    Do you know any good sources for this? A quick web search shows that most online articles on the topic follow conventional wisdom, which strikes me as very hit-and-miss. I would trust much more some review of the topic that is solidly historically based. But is there such a text, or texts?

    I’d like still better to learn this by observation. But you can’t always tell just by looking who’s making out all right and who’s not.

    Like Grover, I need to take some pretty swift action. As you’ve affirmed, this is clearly a turning point and a watershed year, and woe betide those who fail to act accordingly. But it’s hard to know what to focus on when you don’t know what will work.

  245. @James A. Williams – a 2nd vote of thanks for Paul Kingsnorth’s “Basilisk”

    @James Swanson – re: medicine being hijacked by corporate/materialist interests.

    One thing I’m familiar with is a book “Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900
    by James C. Mohr.

    A synopsis:
    In the mid 1800s, medicine was not “organized” or regulated. There were nurse-midwives, granny doctors, herbalists, mesmerists, a few allopaths (who styled themselves as “regular”), various other groups and some large number of quacks.
    If any of the above had any training, it was by an apprenticeship.
    Furthermore, starting in this time, there were medical schools opening up in the U.S., styled after European university schools, training (relatively) large numbers of earnest young men who would get their degree, go off some place, hang out their shingle, and starve. Then as now, most medical services were consumed by women and their children, said women somewhat adverse (this being Victorian times) to having strange men look at their private parts. And the technical state of medicine was still primitive, so nothing an allopath could do was any better than what an herbalist could do. (Pasteur’s research was in the 1860s, Lister’s work in the 1870’s, and sulfa drugs wouldn’t come into being until the 1930s.)

    So what were the poor starving (excess) products of the universities to do?.

    In the 1800s, there were no women in all but one state legislatures (and Wyoming Territory didn’t hardly count) in the U.S. to represent women’s interests. As the century wore on, abortion became more common – then as now, best available technology, it is safer to have an abortion than to bring a fetus to term.

    So (among other reasons), the (especially the modern university educated) “regular” doctors went to the statehouse, told alarmist tales of quacks and mere women doing abortions (horrors!) and the imminent destruction of your patrimony and our very society, and the shocked male legislators then: (1) made abortion a crime (hey, more kids, more customers, right? Damn the women’s feelings/health). (2) since many of the nurse-midwives, granny doctors, herbalists, etc. did abortions, in many cases these practitioners were specifically outlawed from practicing medicine. (3) the regular doctors got legislation to institute state medical boards to license “proper” practice of medicine.

    Nothing like a government enabled monopoly to boost profits by keeping out any competition, eh?

    And once one has a monopoly on “rationalist”, “scientific”, “modern”, mechanistic/materialistic thought (industrial revolution in full swing here) – then holistic medicine, medical intuitives, etc. become beyond the pale. Then it’s a race to develop drugs/procedures to fix patients like fixing automobiles or other machines.

    So I bet in the book and the references therein, you would find a lot of food for thought.
    Especially if one reads between the lines informed by much of what JMG has talked about.

  246. My problem with mail in voting is that my family says they will disown me if I vote for Trump…. Voting at home you don’t have the privacy of the voting booth. I was given the riot act of if I go to the voting booth, I’m doing it because “You want to secretly vote for Trump.” Currently trying to think of how I’ll explain the Trump flag I just ordered in the mail….

  247. @Grover

    You know, Gareth Popkins (https://howtogetfluent.com/) is quite passionate about Welsh. He grew up in a monolingual English environment in Yorkshire, England, but he has Welsh ancestry, and he learned Welsh as an adult well enough to teach Russian history in Welsh at the university level. (He now works as a lawyer, I believe, but he used to work at one of those universities in Wales where they actually teach in Welsh.)

    So… If you post your question in the comments section of one of his articles on Welsh (https://howtogetfluent.com/archive/#Welsh), he might have some useful tips for you.

  248. JMG,

    In the words of the old man (not) suffering from the Black Plague in Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail,” we’re not quite dead yet! Of course if Eric Idle came along and smacked us on the back of our collective head with a big hard wooden spoon that might just do it.

    In a way we’ve been fortunate, because we’ve had just enough business to not quite run out of raw materials. Our bug spray bottles have been very hard to get since the shutdown, and carrier solutions like isopropyl alcohol and witchhazel are 4x the cost they were, when we can get them. We stopped making our big pint-size bug spray for the time being simply as a bid to have something available for more of our customers. Wholesale to local retailers and online sales have remained fairly steady.

    Still, if I could make a living doing political astrology I would! I really enjoy your efforts in that arena. Looking up at Great Jupiter, slowly tracking down Old Saturn, before dawn every morning, has a much deeper meaning for me these days!

  249. I absolutely never tell anyone how I vote. It is a secret ballot remember. I don’t tell my husband and I don’t even tell myself till I rock up to the polling booth. I have usually mulled over it for a while. i also never listen to the pre-election campaign bumff. I watch what is discussed over the years before the election. I don’t go in completely blind. Nobody else’s business.

  250. @JMG

    Oswald Spengler put the time limit for the ending process of the cultural development of the Faustian culture at 1800 (I’m somewhat doubtful about this, given the great cultural achievements of Western Europe in the 19th century). However, if you look at the way science and technology evolved in the 20th century, especially the discovery of physical phenomena like superconductivity, the insights of quantum physics, chaos theory, catastrophe theory, genetic engineering (I’m against it because of its ecological consequences, but it is truly a remarkable example of technical skill), the growth and developments of statistical science, the insights of ecological sciences, polymer chemistry, etc., it seems to me that Spengler got his time frame somewhat wrong. Maybe I’m wrong about this (I say this keeping in mind that access to fossil fuels played a not unimportant part in this explosion of scientific knowledge), but how do you reconcile these developments in STEM with Spengler’s prediction? Could you help provide an explanation for this? Thanks in advance.

  251. To @Wesley and anyone else worrying about that doomsday argument, keep in mind the same argument tells us that before humanity goes extinct there will probably be another Homeric epic and there’s a fair chance there will be another Punic War. To be rigorous, you might have to shift the sampling to something like “a random interval between the creation of Homeric epics/etc” — where the interval before any of them and the interval after all of them are included too.

    (Also, as a extra credit brainteaser, think about what happens to that argument if time is actually cyclic!)

  252. Do to the events of the year I’ve decided it’s time to relocate. (My hometown is Hagerstown MD) What’s your opinion of the sustainablity of Southeast Alaska. The town I’m looking at moving to is Haines — I have visited there briefly before and it seemed like an ideal bug-out location.

  253. @Re NomadicBeer on excess deaths:

    I hadn’t meant to weigh in on this particular issue, but we are talking all-cause deaths, not a specific cause, so I suppose it’s OK 🙂 Following the link you posted, I couldn’t find a graphic showing cumulated deaths in 2020. Please tell me if there is one hidden somewhere. The one with blue bars, a yellow average line and red crosses shows weekly, not cumulated deaths. The conclusion from that graph is that, for the current week, deaths are hardly above the average. It does not say that they are now below average, much less that they have cancelled out the earlier excess deaths!

    Cumulated deaths for the USA are shown here, but without comparison to earlier years. For a group of European states, you can compare cumulated deaths for 2017-2020 with a baseline (basically 2016)at EuroMomo. Scroll down to “Excess mortality” and check that the slide is set to “cumulated” – in fact, moving the slide show you clearly how weekly and cumulated numbers relate to each other. The conclusion for Europe is that no excess deaths have been added since April, but what happened in March and April meant about 100 000 excess deaths in comparison to 2017-2019.

  254. @cliff

    To help your alleviate confusion, it’s best to remember that any corporate MSM source of “information” – isn’t really information but disinformation. And that ignorance is better than being disinformed. So, stop paying attention to any large corporate news outlet. Besides, they hate you. Why listen to someone who hates you?

    And I mean all corporate MSM. Whether they’re saying what you want to hear or not. To a large degree, they want to keep you divided and fighting each other. Sometimes that means telling you stuff you want to hear. So you keep listening to them.

    B-b-b-b-but what if something important happens and I’m the last one to know? So what? Generally if you need to act on something newsworthy, some person you know in real life will tell you.

  255. For what it;s worth – Today’s Gainesville Sun had a (secondary) headline “Portland mayor tear-gassed by federal officers at protest.” My immediate gut reaction was “OMG, this crisis has gone into civil war, and it’s starting in Ecotopia.” And immediately after that, “Urban wars, just as that sf/murder mystery writer predicted.” Meditation, centered around the Litany Against Fear, dealt with the fate of liberal (but peaceful and moderate) Gainesville in conservative (but heavily influenced by the Social Darwinist Right) FLorida. And then, because my other daughter is in Albuquerque, a left-dominated state government in a cowboy region – Albuquerque is Southwestern, all right, but it’s also a Rocky Mountain state that looks to Denver and not to L.A. (Or Mexico City) as its regional capitol.

    Then, of course, that there’s nothing I can do about it. But I can see the positions of my Gainesville daughter, her friends, and my old friends back home, hardening. And they’re the ones I look to for support and counsel and in general, having my back.

    This cannot end well.

    P.S. the body of the story made it clear the mayor had been trying to calm the mob down for hours. Never mind; the feds sprayed everybody impersonally. And the people closest to me are taking this as proof …. “PROOF!, I tell you!…” that a federal police state is in the making.

    P.P.S. When I talk to anybody about “the crisis” they speak of the virus as if that *is The Crisis.* Period, End of story. Which explains their relentless focus on it. A disease is a crisis and Science Will Find A Way. The rest is the evil actions of an evil man heading an evil party running an evil government etc, ad lib, ad nauseum…..

    and the Founders are gritting their teeth.

  256. Hello JMG,

    My vote is for synchronicity. From my own subjective experiences, I believe in the existence of synchronicities, but I wonder if there is any objective method to filter out apophenia from the events that are said to be synchronistic.

  257. @Phutatorius
    The TLDR version is that neoliberalism is the doctrine that the market is always right and no social force whatsoever could ever do better than the market at anything. This means as much privatization as possible and a global push to dismantle any barriers to the global market.
    Critics contend that neoliberalism is in actual practice combined with thorough state intervention on behalf of the largest market participants, that large concentrations of wealth invariably subvert democracy, that contemporary markets are full of monopolies and monopsonies, and that most every nation that has become prosperous, including the US, started out with massive barriers to protect it against the larger fish.
    Confusingly, the term is sometimes used referring to neoliberalism’s own self-image and sometimes used referring to the criticisms.
    Trump’s effect on neoliberalism will rise or fall on whether the jobs leaving China (and he has created enough uncertainly to make this irreversible) come back to the West or move on to Vietnam or Bangladesh or some new source of extremely cheap labor and minimal environmental regulation.
    @Grover
    Welsh is the living language of a proud people who are under much linguistic osmotic pressure. The Welsh government and Welsh-language groups must make all sorts of resources available online. The Irish do this and with much less to work with demographically.
    PDX: Portland is not geographically nearly as pretty as San Francisco or Seattle. It feels like a city that was long the port city for an extractive economy (logging) and was a second-tier blue collar city. I suspect that a lot of energy that was gentrified/crowded out of the Bay Area and Seattle found Portland more amenable precisely because it had not been a big player. Analogous to the infamous Lower East Side slums being turned into East Village in NYC in the 60s by spillover from Greenwich Village. In recent years, PDX has been intensely gentrified too. I could be wrong, but there is something about the homeless in Portland that I suspect taps back into working class hobo roots – especially camps I remember 10 years ago farther out along the Springwater Corridor. There is a bit of an almost indigenous attitude that I haven’t run into elsewhere.
    There is a phase during gentrification spill-over onto a formerly working class neighborhood or city in which there is a good balance between the working class and the new bohemian elements – Norrebro in Copenhagen, Boulder Colorado in the 1980s [though Boulder was more university “company town” than blue collar] – then the balance tips over, the place is completely gentrified and becomes self-conscious of itself in a way that encourages superficiality. Plenty of money, decreasing creativity, and tourists come for the lingering vapors of what was once full of life. Sigh

    Covid-19 and environmentalism: The moral panic energy around climate crisis seems to have shifted to Covid-19, with the same shaming and the same not necessarily fully rational, through understandable “well, __ck you then” resistance.

  258. @Jeff
    I have done Tonglen as a Tibetan Buddhist. That provides considerable protective context for the practice. My own lama did not recommend the practice. He felt it tended to make people pious and he preferred his students to be robust.
    Also, Tonglen is intended more as a social practice. There was an implicit deal between Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan people. The Buddhists provided various psychic/magical services that are handled by science/technology in the modern world, such as protection against avalanches and dealing with epidemics. In exchange, the people supported Buddhism materially (not just monasteries but wandering individuals too) and overlooked the profoundly subversive nature of the highest Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

  259. I apologize for posting so freely this week, but here’s a sign of the times; One of our local gunshops just auctioned off a Donald J. Trump commemorative “tommy gun.” A 1927 Thompson 45 ACP with 20 round magazine and 50 round drum. I think it went for around $1,800.

  260. My vote is for the “update on the future” option, although all of the topics sound interesting and worthy of a post.
    Conservation–yes!!!

  261. @Grover

    Bore da! Duolingo is free, online, and does Welsh. I can’t vouch for the quality of the program, as I haven’t the time to keep up a regular practice. But it’s easy to use, and we’ve had good results with their Spanish.

    I’ve always dabbled at gardening, and this year was a new place, in a swamp: expectations were low… but this year’s garden dwarfs anything I’ve had before! Nowhere near “sufficiency” as I had to go for the limited couple of spots in the yard that don’t flood when it rains. But boy is it hopping! We are eating a lot of green beans off the fence, and I have harvested six pumpkins so far (Seminole is a small native cultivar, but it reportedly stores well for over a year!), and several more coming ripe in the garden. I am getting probably a pint of cherry tomatoes a day, and that may be half of what the garden is producing– I was not strategic about the garden layout, and it’s hard to get at some of them! Peppers are just starting to ripen, and breakfast eggs have been spicy and delicious! I am not canning (not enough to make it worthwhile), but instead using the excess tomatoes and okra to cultivate the neighbors– which seems like the top priority in hard times. Neighbors are coming right along 😉 I feel like I’ve learned a lot this year about which varieties grow well where I live (which is HUGE in this region: you will absolutely go broke trying to follow any standard gardening book here), so this year’s experiments will be next year’s well-informed plan!

    What surprised us was how much wild bounty the place provides. Early summer gave us an abundance of smilax tips, which taste like asparagus, and the kids went out and stuffed themselves with blackberries and wild blueberries every day for weeks. We haven’t eaten any yet, but our little pond turned out to be full of crawdads… so maybe they’re in our culinary future. Mulberry and fig trees are thriving, but it doesn’t look like we’ll get any fruit this first year.

    Rabbits and chickens are still very much in the “scheming” stage.

  262. To change the subject – I downloaded The Deal of Yueh Lao the other day and am overjoyed to see at least one loose end tied up. No spoilers here, but in Weird of Hali: Chorazin, you planted a “gun on the mantel in the first act” fairly early on and by Arkham, it was still sitting there. In Seal, it played a major role, and I am very gratified. And it was a good story in its own right, a very good coming-of-age story for Asenath and a look at what witches actually did.

  263. @Reese – I just started The Cunning Man’s Handbook, and there was a term in Medieval metaphysics for what you described: “Preternatural.”

  264. I would like to vote for the update post. Re masks – I am considering writing ‘Your Life Matters’ on mine!

  265. I was pondering Hughes calling up demons. When I was a teenager, three of my friends were deep into the occult. Between them, they called up a demon. One went insane. One got the heck out of Dodge within the week and kept on running. The third became very Russian Orthodox.

    I am wondering if Hughes and company (resistance group) realize what they are doing. Or do they realize and don’t care since they are master magicians (or so they think) or are they totally consumed by the demons?

    This got me to ponder about what the Washington Examiner wrote in one of its articles. (Examiner is a conservative magazine.) They said that people in the universities are taught that only luck and genes matter and they have no agency. These people are the most (ahem) privileged among us all. Since they lack existential agency, they rage and riot.

    Coming back to the magic resistance people, I do believe that somehow, they think they lack existential agency and have turned to this magic acting out. Somehow, if they do the right incantation or whatever, they can make the mad, bad, and dangerous to know Orange Man go away. For some strange reason, they feel powerless against him

    Which brings me to the “federal stormtrooper” hysteria, I wonder where they and the Democrats got the idea that they have no agency against Trump. How they are convinced that he will declare martial law and establish a dictatorship or whatever. It is fullblown hysteria that just incongruent to what is actually happening.

    My view of Trump is that he is human and can be defeated. I just figured that he ran a better campaign than H. Clinton. But I think I am in the minority in regarding Trump as another human being.

  266. >So many of the status-quo-maintaining skills we were so methodically trained to rely on have become quite worthless surprisingly quickly

    Depends on how you value them. They are now great for burning the whole world down and causing general chaos and mayhem. Not so good anymore for maintaining the status quo.

    Which is why when I see anyone adamantly defending the status quo and wanting nothing to change, I go, m’OK, we’ll burn the world down your way instead of mine. Sure, you first. Charge on.

  267. For a post next week, I would really like to know what the frack you think is going on with all this Covid-19 stuff!

    I know you have been reluctant to make claims without clear evidence, which is quite admirable, but the longer this goes on, the clearer it becomes – at least to me – that there is much more going on than simple health measures meant to protect the public from a serious disease. Whatever the actual virulence of it – and again, the longer it goes on, the clearer it seems that it’s nowhere near as deadly to most people as it was initially touted – I’m pretty convinced at this point that it’s being used to advance agendas of surveillance and control under the guise of health. There are of course so many different angles to this, so I’ll leave it there.

    I know at one point this was a “banned” topic on this blog, but as a longtime reader who really respects your perspectives and your ability to synthesize multiple strands of information into cogent and meaningful insights, I would really appreciate hearing your take on it at this point!!

  268. {plans to move out of the big city}

    Too late. You should’ve moved out 2 years ago, just like you should’ve sold off your small biz two years ago too. Winding these kind of things down requires lead time to do right and you are all out of time. You can go ahead and do them fast and wrong, but you will likely make a bad situation even worse. Maybe not though. I suppose doing something is better than doing nothing, even if it is ill-planned and tardy.

    If all you are at right now is just talking about somewhere over the rainbow, don’t even bother, stay where you are. Do it now or don’t do it at all. The rainbow’s gone and the skies are all black.

    Some things, the way they work, better to be years too early than a week too late. This is one of those things.

  269. @JMG & Simon S

    Re: Chinese students studying in English-speaking countries

    You’re thinking about this from the point of view of the “exporter” (i.e. provider of higher education), which is fine, but I’m thinking about it from the point of view of the “consumer” (i.e. student). Chinese salaries are lower, not higher, than American/British/Australian salaries. Factor in the fact that very few international students (other than PhD students, that is) get any sort of financial aid, and see just how “great” of an investment it is for Chinese parents to mortgage the house in order to send Junior to Arizona State or what have you. (Oh, sure, some students come to the US/UK/Australia with the intention of staying. And that may have been reasonable back in the 1990s, but it was already quite a gamble in the early 2000s, and by now, with the number of foreign students exploding and immigration quotas staying more or less fixed, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t bet my life’s savings on it.)

    Mr. Trump may indeed do something to limit the number of Chinese students on American campuses, but even if he were doing everything in his power to attract the said students, and even if the official Beijing were doing nothing to interfere, the bubble would burst. Spectacularly.

    An anecdote. Once, on a forum I lurk on, a young Chinese person lamented that, once upon a time, if you had a foreign degree, you were sure to get a good job (in China, that is). And now, supposedly, employers no longer care about that sort of thing, and they pay far more attention to the actual skills that you have. Haha!

  270. Is there anything more than ignorance in the belief of some modern people that the Earth is flat? It’s hard to imagine anyone in this day and age could actually believe in such things. And yet there they are. There’s got to be something more to it.

  271. First let me thank you, JMG, for the time you devote to maintaining this virtual space. Your wisdom is much appreciated, as is your effort.

    Please let me ask something that may be a better fit for Magic Mondays. Not too long ago, you wrote a post about magical timing, as in choosing appropriate times for beginning new things, for cutting ties, for reflection and inner work, etc. In its most basic form, you’ll work of things that you want to grow when the moMoon on is waxing, and on things you want to get rid off while the Moon is waning, am I Ok so far?

    My question is. Do the same logic applies to the cycles of the Sun? Would the winter solstice make it a good time to start developing new virtues and projects? And would the summer solstice make for a good time to break unhelpful habits and clean up clutter in your life?

    I was thinking about that yesterday and I figured that maybe the reason why so many people fail in their New Year resolutions is because they more often than not focus too much on aspects of themselves they want to vanquish, instead of on things they want to accomplish. The one person I know who breaks this pattern does some sort of ritual on New Year’s Eve that involves a piece of luggage and a few dimes, and she’s quite the tourist.

  272. They had a rare moment of clarity at the protests in Portland last night. Several “official” BLM leaders set up a little stage and a megaphone and scolded the assembled protestors that they had strayed from the true message of Black Lives Matter and needed to refocus on this core mission. To paraphrase a 1970’s cereal commercial, “Silly Wabbit, protests are for Trump.” If it was truly about BLM and not TDS or the desire to mask the failure of the religion of progress with a magical social awakening then the biggest and most consistent protests in the country would not be happening in the ,”whitest” city in America.

  273. I saw a photo last night of the night sky completely blanketed in the bright, reflective paths of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites. Apparently there will soon be 30,000 of these in orbit and they will distort the naked-eye night sky and make ground astronomy difficult. Could these exercise astrological influence as well? Or just useless trash polluting the sky of future generations? I’ll have to tell my kids what the sky looked like before they were born.

  274. Hi Grover,

    No offence taken whatsoever. My experience of Portland certainly doesn’t apply to everyone who has come through here, probably not even the majority at present. To each their own!

    JMG – curious about that conservation code. I did a search on it and google spit up a whole bunch of links for the code of ethic for various conservation organizations, all different. I suspect you mean something more broadly-reaching than a specific org’s code? Where might I find the one you refer to?

    As always, many thanks!
    Bonnie

  275. Oilman2 re: Fox reporting on the discovery of off-world vehicles, “quite a thing for any network to say after so many years of complete denial.”

    Perhaps, but then again, The X-Files was originally carried on Fox. The truth is out there!

  276. Id like an update very much please.

    I have been very disconcerted with regard to the unrest and some of the stuff that has happened over the last few months. I have been thinking about re-emigrating back to the UK, specifically Ireland, where my father hails from – and also possibly, Romania, because it seems to me that in some of the eastern European countries because they are more conservative and religious and rural, they are sufficiently anti change, and anti communism to perhaps be a safe place for at least a little while.

    I would really like to know if you think the USA will be a place a white conservative christian with a taste for the rural rather than the city ‘american dream’ will want to live in the future.

    The lack of long term sustainability of a lot of rural areas worries me as much as the violence in the cities does at the moment.

    I am also very unsettled by the fact that there seems to be as much dissatisfaction about the current leadership and trends in some of our current churches, as there is in the real world at the moment, based on some of the comments I hear from other christians too – another reason for my thoughts that a more conservative society with a more conservative religious attitude would be a better place to live. I know that is a personal thing, but I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

  277. Apologies for the short notice but I just found out about this myself. Michigan Magic & Machine is having their conference online and there are some interesting talks for both the writers and magickers amongst us, but what might interest this group most is a talk tomorrow night: “A Polytheist Response to Peak Oil and Climate Change.” Happening at 8pm eastern, and they ask for a $20 donation to cover all three days.

  278. Re the Doomsday Argument – first, thank you for all the discussion, and second, it doesn’t surprise me at all that most folks here have good reasons for disagreeing with the way that argument is employed in the mainstream, cult-of-Progress end of our culture. I too have long had doubts about it.

    @JMG, you’ve mentioned in this comment section and a few others that you believe certain mental health problems to be traps that some souls fall into over multiple lifetimes. This makes me curious as to what happens to the accumulated psychological baggage when a formerly-human individuality spends multiple lifetimes as an animal. Will the simpler mental life force the individuality to shed these harmful traits so that it can eventually return to the human race basically clean?

    I have also wondered about the possibility of a human being deliberately reincarnating as an animal to rest from excessive psychic/emotional stress, even when the stress was unearned and there would be no need to view what was happening through a “punishment” lens. Does this seem plausible to you?

  279. Over the past month I’ve come to realize something fascinating, given the rhetoric on the topic: transgender people can only exist if gender roles exist. The reason is quite simple, really: in order for someone to be trans, they need to identify with a gender role which differs from their biological sex. This then got me thinking through a question I’ve been mulling over for a while, which is the question of why the transgender movement is so much more popular on the left than the right. I’d initially thought it was part of the general rejection of limits they’ve adopted, but it just hit me: the left, rhetoric aside, has stricter gender norms than the right!

    I like children, and spent years volunteering with children in Scouts; my favourite colour is pink; my dating life is limited because I don’t like asking people out, but I will happily go on a date with someone I find attractive if asked out; I like to cook; and I can be quite flamboyant at times. On the other hand, I’m into martial arts, I consider meat and potatoes to be a good meal; and I have about six inches worth of beard.

    Most people accept me as an eccentric, and my “feminine” hobbies/preferences as just part of my eccentricity, while a large number of people active on the left can’t figure out what to make of me: I’ve been outright asked if I was trans before, and when I said no, the reaction was fascinating: the people asking could not make sense of it! Rhetoric aside, for most of the mainstream right (IE, not the religious right), gender isn’t too important, while the political left makes a very big deal out of it. Thus, the transgender movement plays a large role there because there are a lot of people who don’t fit these gender norms, and they cope with it by claiming to be trans.

  280. @viduraawakened:

    I am not JMG, but Spengler (in 1919) very clearly recommended young people to go into sciences and engineering, because that was where he expected the excitement and development to be, not in “culture”. So, while mathematics seemed to be part of culture in his opinion, science, engineering and technology were not.

    I took the liberty to answer you because Spengler’s argument was part of what convinced me to study biochemistry and not comparative linguistics at age 17. I thought I would be part of the great wave, and I estimated the chance of deciphering a “new” language like Old Egyptian, Hittite or Linear B was pretty low :-). Correct on the second account, but the life sciences also aren’t anymore what they used to be in the 1980s and early 1990s – just look at the quagmire that is Alzheimer’s research.

  281. I have a new favorite painting. The sack of Rome by barbarians by Joseph-Noël Sylvestre. at first glance I mistook it for a link to a news publication. All that is old is new again I suppose.

    JMG,

    I read in the last open post that you stopped writing about peak oil and social decline in part due to the thick headed insistence of techno-utopians to come on the blog and proclaim that this or that “next big idea” would fix everything etc.

    Would you consider a subscription only publication for those of us that miss hearing your thoughts on the topic? If the price is right I (and I believe myself to not be alone here) would be happy to pay for it.

    Best wishes,

    Luke

  282. Hello Bad Ideas,

    Can you fill out your ballot in a restaurant, library, or in your car? Wherever you go, leave your phone home in case they use it to track you.

  283. @Grover

    I would be surprised if many of the people who publicly claim that the earth is flat actually believe that. It seems to me that the movement is designed to anger those with a dogmatic belief in modern science (or Progress) in the same way that pastafarianism is designed to anger those with dogmatic religious beliefs. It can be satisfying to mess with those who take their beliefs too seriously, or who cover up their own insecurities by lashing out at others.

    @clay dennis

    I was glad to see the BLM leaders in Portland start to reclaim their movement from the bit of political distraction theater that Trump created by sending in a small and fairly powerless squad of federal officers that were summarily regarded as the advance guard of a fascist police state. I have some empathy for the federal officers who were not trained for this duty and must feel like ill-used pawns right about now.

  284. @Abelian, and JMG’s response on science and the pandemic:

    If I may interject, I think you are making a category error with respect to the pandemic and science.

    The problem of how to respond to the pandemic is not a science problem. It is a risk management problem. By definition, you are dealing with unknowns, with the necessity of decision-making under uncertainty.

    The question as to whether our system is doing a good job of risk management is another matter…

  285. Hi Everybody,

    Last month we began discussing the idea of a new Druid religious organization, both here and at JMG’s Dreamwidth.

    I wanted to take the time to update everybody on where that project stands.

    1. First, thank you to everyone who participated in the Dreamwidth discussions! I found reading the responses to both questions very helpful indeed.

    2. The vision that I have for this project is of a sacramental church, similar in certain respect to the Catholic or Anglican churches. Properly trained and ordained priests will perform liturgical rituals, which will include offerings to the gods, local nature spirits, and ancestors; a communion sacrament, probably using mead rather than wine; readings from sacred texts; and time for meditation. Public services will be held every week, plus 8 holidays corresponding to the Wheel of the Year.

    3. Unlike in some pagan churches, in which basically everyone is clergy, I want there to be room for lay participation. The current idea right now is that lay members will go through a probationary period, after which they will be eligible for full membership, which will include a Nominational sacrament which is akin to Baptism and Confirmation in Christian churches.

    4. The structure that I’m thinking of is sort of “libertarian monarchism.” That is– the central governing board of the church will choose its own members, and probably be led by a governing triad after the fashion of OBOD. There is room for both local churches– which require a priest; study groups, which might include either members of minor orders or priests in training; and members at large, who are solitary, lay members of one sort or another who don’t have a local group in which to participate. Local groups would enjoy general autonomy in their own affairs, but would agree to abide by a certain set of principles governing the church as a whole and to participate in any ongoing development plans put together by the governing board.

    5. The liturgical structure I’m currently working with seems to work well, and includes elements that will be familiar to people who have a knowledge of contemporary pagan rituals and sacramental Christian rituals. While I primarily work with the deities of the Druid Revival, the liturgy is designed to be flexible, so that it can accomodate other pantheons. I have personally tested a variation of it with Hellenic and Christian deities, and found that it works quite well.

    6. I suggested that the structure would be similar to the sacramental Christian churches. The difference– other than the obvious– is that there will be far less emphasis on doctrinal orthodoxy, and far more freedom in personal devotional practice. Regarding the latter, the only restrictions I envision are injunctions against demonolatry, cursing, or attempts at conversion. Regarding the former… Honestly, I don’t think that doctrinal orthodoxies are of any use whatsoever.

    7. The question came up on the Dreamwidth– How or to what extent would this be a Druid church? The answer is that it is proudly rooted in the Druid Revival, a 3-century-old Western tradition of nature spirituality. The Druid Revival itself is a glorious blending of Neoplatonism and Hermeticism, medieval Welsh legends and Celtic Christianity, the last remaining scraps of ancient Druid lore and the earliest gleamings of the Conservation movement. It is not and does not attempt to be the religion of the ancient Celts. It is a religion for the modern world, born in Britain in the 18th century and imported to America at the beginning of the Republic.

    8. As a personal spiritual practice, Druidry emphasizes personal creativity, the encounter with the natural world in addition to working with the Gods in meditation and prayer. These three form a Triad– “Three things which uplift the Soul of Man– the Gods, the Earth, and the Awen” and all three will be emphasized.

    9. My current work involves research, meditation, and writing, in collaboration with a friend and fellow Druid who has also been working with this stuff for a long time. By the end of the Summer we will have the basic liturgy fully ironed out; a training curriculum for priests; a handbook for members; and a prayerbook entitled A Druid’s Devotional, which will include prayers, meditations, and devotional practices dedicated to the Celtic deities, for use by clergy or laity.

    To everyone: If you want to become involved in something like this, please let me know! If you’re not sure or have questions, let me know that too. Or, if this is the opposite of what you were hoping to hear, that’s good news too– You can start your own organization, and the world will be that much better for it.

    -Steve

  286. JMG
    If only the elections had so many good choices to vote for!
    synchronicity for president gets my vote

  287. JMG,
    I have both of your sword manuals. With COVID keeping fencing schools closed do you have any suggestions for getting training to be able to better to the books to action?

  288. @Curtis, re COVID and “agendas of surveilance and control; When 9/11 went down I was a 2L at the local behemoth university. Our reading of 4th Amendment cases (involving unreasonable searches and seizures) convinced me that while the drug war began the dismantlement of the 4th Amendment, Bush’s global war on terror completed the job. Surveillance and control “maxed out” with the Patriot Act and any further agendas of surveillance and control are mere “surplusage.” However, technology marches on, and implementation of 5G will be a very big advance in surveillance and control. COVID-19? I’m pretty sure it will still be around after the next election — but only time will tell.

  289. @sunnnv: Thank you! I will be sure to check out that book.

    @JMG: I just started The Seal of Yueh Lao and was quite pleased to see Molly show up again – of course the metalhead’s favorite character in The Shoggoth Concerto was the metal musician, haha. Did you have any specific bands in mind for what Molly’s band Orichalc might sound like?

  290. Kevin, I wish I did. My way of finding self-employment options has always consisted of building up a strong intention and then stumbling over them by sheer dumb — synchronicity. 😉

    Bad Ideas, I know it’s a hard choice, but you may want to consider whether you care enough about your country to step up to the plaet, tell your family to get stuffed, and vote the way your conscience tells you to vote.

    Yorkshire, how on earth could there be a conflict? That’s like asking whether there’s a conflict between Buddhism and antibiotics.

    Grover, glad to hear it. You might consider getting up to speed in some branch of astrology, though — that’s been a very common way for occultists to support themselves since the Middle Ages.

    JillN, excellent! Exactly.

    Viduraawakened, you’ve fallen into the common trap of mistaking technological innovation for cultural vitality. Roman technology continued to improve for several centuries after the ancient world stopped innovating in any other way. We’re in the early stages of the same situation right now; our technology is still becoming more intricate (though measured by the production of new patents, the peak of innovation in the western world was in the 1880s) and our scientific theories are becoming more elaborate, but the rest of our culture has long since settled into a set of fixed patterns.

    Trail Magic, do you have friends, family, a social network there? If not, you’re better off where you are, or nearby.

    Patricia M, yes, I read about that. Things are hardening as they always do in a Crisis period.

    Minervaphilos and Lydia, duly noted.

    Patricia M, delighted to hear it! That particular plot element was originally going to be resolved in the sixth volume of the Weird, but I found it impossible to tell the Greenland story I wanted to write within the word count limit I’d set myself, so sent Justin and Belinda to Red Hook instead, and found a new protagonist and love interests for Hyperborea. Once I’d done that, though, there was no way to get the relevant document into Toby Gilman’s hands that wouldn’t be forced, and it couldn’t have the same resonances for him that it would have for a member of the Merrill or Martense families — and so Asenath ended up with a story of her own.

    Robert, many thanks for this! “Toxic positivity” — a fine moniker, which I will begin to deploy at once.

    Falling, so noted!

    Neptunesdolphins, Hughes is heavily influenced by chaos magic, which includes the notion that gods, spirits, demons et al. don’t actually exist — they’re simply images created by human minds and charged with human energy. A lot of people on the privileged end of the left like to believe such things, as it caters to their sense of entitlement. Of course it’s also catastrophically wrong — and one of the ways it blows up in people’s faces most lethally is that it leaves them wide open to manipulation by the beings they summon. The erasure of agency, though — that’s also important, and hugely so. In its own way, that’s blowback — and something I’ll want to discuss in detail in a future post.

    Curtis, so noted!

    Irena, fair enough. That’s an interesting point — and one that will add to the downward pressure on the academic industry.

    Grover, I see it as one of the more extreme results of the collapse of public trust in institutional science. Most people these days are well aware that when someone in a white lab coat makes a public statement, the question to ask is not “Is he lying?” but “Who’s paying him to lie?” That being the case, since it’s easier to go from one extreme to the other than to take a nuanced view, a lot of people are rejecting the entire scientific worldview, and yes, some of them include the round earth in that, since the flat earth-round earth dichotomy has been turned into such a theme for scientific mythmaking.

    CR, excellent! Yes, but there’s a difference: the cycle of the Sun begins not at the winter solstice but at the spring equinox. So the period in which New Year’s Day falls is in fact well suited to clearing away the deadwood in your life.

  291. @ Irena & Simon S.

    Here in Providence, Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design are very dependent on foreign students, with nearly a third of RISD students from abroad, mostly from China and Korea. Based on the panic we are reading about in the local news, especially at RISD, a lot of those students won’t be coming back, and neither will their full contribution to the budget. If I were the parent of a Chinese girl who just graduated high school, I wouldn’t be sending her to RISD, and spend the money on a Maybach instead. I expect the quality of the local Korean restaurant to deteriorate in consequence, and the price of apartment rentals to drop.

    @ JMG For the future post, I would suggest synchronicity. It may prod me to pick up Man and His Symbols off the to read pile.

    @ Steve T: regarding the proposed church: I am interested.

  292. Hi John

    Thanks, looking forward to the comet update.

    My vote is for the “update on the future” option.

    A few data points:

    Greece versus Turkey

    Greece and Turkey nearly went to war this decade (and allegedly Angela Merkel prevented war on Tuesday) – see https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/24/aege-j24.html.

    Turkey is also expanding in Libya, and risking a war with Egypt, what are your thoughts about Mr Erdogen’s game plan here. Is he planning to take control of Libya and therefore blackmail Europe via the threat of a mass refugee invasion in the future.

    We know that Turkey is behind the covert takeover of Continental mosques and is positioning himself as the champion of European Islam (and going beyond his existing support base among Turkish Europeans) – see https://gefira.org/en/2018/05/10/turkey-builds-a-parallel-state-in-europe-through-its-religious-organisations/.

    Clearly he is aim to develop a 21st century version of the Ottoman Empire but is making many enemies in the process.

    Should war actually erupt between Greece and Turkey, will the great powers like America and Russia align with Greece. Russia is an Orthodox country and has been traditionally aligned with Greece.

    Environmentalism

    I’ve noticed within the corporate firm I work in that senior management appears to have lost interest in green causes post-Covid. Pointing out that a lockdown and no flying has ensured that no carbon emissions from the various offices seems to have gone down a bid weirdly!

    Interestingly, the new fashionable cause is diversity issues which is also causing tensions within the firm. I agree with you that environmental causes are losing their attraction among the upper-middle classes and virtue signalling on diversity issues will be the new thing, at least for a while.

    Ultimately, they will drop this too if it becomes too difficult or it risks the positions of the overwhelmingly white upper class management teams that run most companies in the West.

    Trump vs Biden

    Growing confidence among the liberal media that Trump is toast. I have bet on a Trump win in November and agree with you that Trump will recover in the Fall and beat Biden.

  293. It just seemed some forms of therapy might make people too squishy for Stoicism. 🙂

  294. >how do you reconcile these developments in STEM with Spengler’s prediction

    Sort of how the astrological peak of summer (summer solstice) happens before the meteorological peak does (dogs days of August). They’re somewhat out of phase but once one peaks, you can be pretty sure the other one will follow at some point down the line.

  295. @Grover re: what we’ve got going on:
    We spent a lot of time investigating ways to lower our electricity use (all heating, cooking etc. is electric) and maybe make more resilient with solar panels. Heat pumps of any style turn out to be a complete no go retrofit in our house, and we can install solar panels, but both installers quoted assured me I should not look too hard at reducing our use first because “once you have your own electricity for free, use always goes up!”. Womp womp. Stick with hydro and fireplace backup. Did replace the old timebomb water heater though, and that is 30% more efficient.

    We’re starting our roof-water collection installation, 1000L to start, with a mini-wetland filterbed on top instead of a first-flush diverter.

    Installed solar-thermal automatic opening levers on the lean-to greenhouse louvres. Now I don’t have to scream home to stop the plants from boiling if I forgot to open them before I left the house! Highly recommend. No power required, it’s a thermal expansion of an oil inside that makes them open.

    The veg garden is wiiiild, so I’ll be canning for the rest of the summer. Lost all but about 2 cups of the currants to aphids though – last year it was shield bugs. Birds got the shield bugs this year, and wasps and ladybugs finally got rid of the aphids, so hopefully next year…This’ll be the first year we’ll get Russian kiwis.

    When life hands you several hundred tshirts no one wanted from a fundraiser run – I am learning to make rag rugs in various styles, and have made cloths to ahem, reduce our toilet paper needs.

    The composters were set up to allow humanure composting, but we’re just collecting urine right (woodstove pizzeria ashes are great for the collection bucket) now since we’re already a bit of a bylaw heat score as it is…though we did learn that the town will give us woodchips from their tree maintenance yard whenever, so now we don’t have to pay for the small amounts we need, or order like 5 yards at a time from the tree pruning services trying to offload their waste.

    Found a beautiful 100 year old hand crank sewing machine that was pampered and works like a dream, with years of spare parts included.

    We have plans to built a rocket stove cooker for outside… and then we will have completed all our collapse goals for the year, and will need to start at the top evaluating what to do next again this winter!

  296. @ Mr. Burgess re: the left’s gender roles

    This is true, and I suspect part of the reason is feminism, the original kind.

    In order for feminism to be meaningful, women have to be able to rebel against their traditional gender roles while still remaining women, which means there must be gender roles.

    In the 90s we had “tomboys” on the playground – girls who were into more masculine activities. Some of these very likely would identify today as trans men. But, again, in order for that to be the case, there have to BE “masculine” activities.

    Tl;dr: for any value of X, the existence of a rebellion against X suggests an underlying, probably subconscious belief in X. You believe in X, but you don’t like it, so you’re rebelling against it.

    Which, now that I think about it, might rather explain our societal attitudes towards death.

  297. Dear Americans I’m writing to you from Europe, Denmark, here the lockdown is easing and people seem quite happy with things going back to “normal” and there is no face mask requirement anywhere. The questions are these two. Do you have to wear a mask in this case where? (the street)(in shops etc) How do you feel about them (is it a sensible requirement or an affront to civil society) ? Hope to hear from everyone JMG in particularly.

  298. “…the Age of Religion is our future because that is the only thing that will give a moral framework”.

    Which is why science is being reframed as a religion. I saw a sign recently in a front yard that started out “We believe in…” and among the list of activist causes was “Science”. That sounds like a religious creed to me. First Church of Science, Cargo Cult. Has quite a ring to it, yes?

    Joy Marie

  299. >I would really like to know if you think the USA will be a place a white conservative christian with a taste for the rural rather than the city ‘american dream’ will want to live in the future.

    You asked not about the present but the future. Murica (rural or urban) has no future, at least no future that’s comfortable to contemplate and that goes quadruple for a conservative white man. The answer to your question is NO. It’s obvious that the cities are doomed but I would say they’re just further along the pipeline.

    The present isn’t too bad, if you pick the right rural areas, but you can see the rot and decay spreading and eventually it will get to your doorstep, it’s a question of when not if.

  300. Just a thought with regard to the hype surrounding the covid outbreak: a retired history professor I once met enlightened me greatly one day not long ago. He explained to me that the best way to understand seemingly illogical behaviours of the past was to think of the event in terms of money. I believe this could shed some interesting light on the hysteria. Remember SARS? There’s a vaccine for it now; it became available in just under two years after the bug was identified. Trouble with it was that it was a big loser financially: the outbreak only lasted seven months, so by the time the vaccine was ready the market for it was long since gone – and the investors who gambled on it lost out. What’s probably happening now is the effort to “flatten the curve” with covid is really an effort to keep the crisis in enough of a crisis state in the minds of enough people long enough that there will still be a market for the vaccine once it is ready for sale.

    Any thoughts?

  301. Simon S says: It’s the not just the universities here that are going to take a beating. The entire inner city economy was transformed to cater to them in the last fifteen years. Massive boom in apartment buildings, retail, restaurants, visa services, English teaching services etc.

    Goodness, that’s what my small city has become! New apartment buildings for the up and coming (we are connected by rail line to the nearby mega city, so we are becoming their bedroom community), catering to the local universities, gentrifying neighborhoods (much to the ire of working class people of all races who live there), driving up the cost of living…yup, it’s all there. How scary to think that one day the city center will be a crumbling pit.

    Joy Marie

  302. A data point (and perhaps a bit of a venting session) related to the ongoing insanity surrounding coronavirus. I’ve mostly steered clear of people who are not reacting well, but today I encountered two instances of, in my opinion, extreme behavior that have really hit me hard for some reason. First off, I asked if a friend of my kid’s could come over to celebrate my kid’s birthday. They are teenagers and we proposed they hang out in the backyard – safely distanced, in the outdoors. The friend’s parent declined and explained they have been keeping their children “indoors.” I confirmed with my kid – her friend has been inside an apartment since March! No trips to the park, no walking around seldom traveled neighorhood streets, no hiking in the woods, nothing.

    Second, I saw some strange, pandemic virtual signaling from an acquaintance on social media. It was a picture of a bag of Depends, for the parents, and overnight pull-ups, for the elementary and middle school-aged kids, and the caption indicated the family is going on vacation about eight hours away (somehow they feel safe enough to do that), but yet won’t stop anywhere to use the bathroom because they don’t want to get COVID. They are essentially planning to go in their pants on the drive! I’m not sure why they didn’t consider just going in the woods or on the side of the road?!?

    Many of you, either here or on Dreamwidth, have mentioned the insane behavior. I’d been lucky enough to avoid it so far, or at least ignore it, but wow – just wow! Anyone else seeing new levels of craziness developing?

  303. @boulderchum, and others interested in traditional construction techniques,

    I am a professional carpenter and builder with 35 years in the trades. I share your skepticism of new materials and techniques, both by nature and more importantly, because I have watched many such fail to meet their promised performance.

    If you are entering the trades yourself, I suggest that you’ll be more satisfied doing remodel/restoration work than doing new construction, since you’ll necessarily come in to contact with the old techniques as you work on old buildings.

    Pay attention to what was there and you’ll learn a lot. The classic example I like to cite is the fact that prior to the second world war, almost any board that was painted was painted on all sides, even those never seen. The industry is finally re-learning this, but you can’t miss it if your eyes are open.

    Generally, if you make a habit of asking ‘Why is it done like this?’ about everything you touch or see, you can learn much of what you need on your own, even if you’re stuck using new materials. You can figure out a lot of the ‘How was it done traditionally?’ this way even without formal instruction.

    For example, if you examine the tile underlayment that I think you referred to, you’ll see that it’s clearly intended to do two things. First, it is waterproof and constructed to facilitate water movement, which tells you that typical tile settings are are not expected to be water proof, and that you need to do something under tile to manage the water. This is something you can manage with several traditional materials. Second, if you look closely at the surfaces, you’ll see it’s constructed the give strong adhesion to the tile, but much less adhesion to the underlying substrate. The reason being that tile is very rigid and immobile, buildings typically less so, and if you set tile firmly to the building structure the tiles will crack due to routine building movements. Again this is something that can and was accomplished with several traditional materials and methods.

    The point I’m trying to make is that you may have an easier time learning what you want by concentrating on the ‘Why’ of what you experience yourself, rather than seeking someone else to tell you the ‘How’ of traditional methods. Those people are few and far between, and not all that I’ve met really understand the traditional techniques they employ. Sad perhaps, but that’s been my experience.

    Finally, beware of fads, including fads in traditional construction. Many traditional techniques were great for their intended purpose, but may not meet you requirements. The world is full of centuries-old wood framed buildings. When was the last time you saw a centuries old hay bale house?

    Buildings remember the past and always speak the truth.

    Good luck!

  304. Dear JMG,

    If I may, riffing on the theme of stepping up to the plate and doing what you think is best for your country:

    One story I find particularly inspirational is the story of General George Thomas. Once upon a time, there was an unpopular presidential election that caused some people with entrenched class interests to lose their minds. The literally lost their ability to think, declared themselves a resistance and decided that it would be better if they made their own country so they could keep on living high on the hog. This election was in 1860, the country was America, the President was Abraham Lincoln, and the people freaking out was the planter aristocracy of the South.

    Well, in the South lived one George Thomas, a boy who has seen the Nat Turner slave rebellion and who taught something like 15 of the slaves on his father’s plantation to read and write in spite of the express wishes of his father. He went to West Point where he became fast friends with William T. Sherman, and served in the Mexican American war under Braxton Bragg. He would later return to West Point to teach and was a close personal friend of Robert E. Lee.

    So along comes the election of Abraham Lincoln and the planter aristocracy that George Thomas was born into freaks out, loses its mind, and begins seceding in mass. George Thomas struggled with the decision, but decided to keep true to his military vow and serve the Union cause. According to wikipedia: “In response, his family turned his picture against the wall, destroyed his letters, and never spoke to him again. (During the economic hard times in the South after the war, Thomas sent some money to his sisters, who angrily refused to accept it, declaring they had no brother.)

    Furthermore, for some time the Unionists were suspicious of Thomas. Nonetheless, the general won an early victory for the Union cause, the Battle of Logan’s Crossing. He later served under General Rosencrans and twice saved the Union Army from his former commander, Braxton Bragg. The first time was during the Battle of Stone River in Murfreesboro Tennessee. I’ve written a synopsis of the battle here: https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/#entry-57947

    He also saved the Union Army in the Battle of Chickamauga in Northern Georgia, where after a gap opened up in the Union line and the Confederates utterly routed a third of the Union Army including the emotionally shattered General Rosencrans. General Thomas organized a final stand off against total disaster on Snodgrass Hill. The fighting here was incredibly fierce, from wikipedia: “Units continued to arrive on Horseshoe Ridge and extended the line, most importantly a regiment that Brannan had requested from Negley’s division, the 21st Ohio. This unit was armed with five-shot Colt revolving rifles, without which the right flank of the position might have been turned by Kershaw’s 2nd South Carolina at 1 p.m. Historian Steven E. Woodworth called the actions of the 21st Ohio “one of the epic defensive stands of the entire war.” The 535 men of the regiment expended 43,550 rounds in the engagement. ”

    In large part because of General Thomas’ intense determination and skill, the lines held until night fall, after which the army managed to retreat, ragged but alive into Chattanooga. Braxton Bragg won the battle but he lost the campaign: he had been trying to drive the federals out of Chattanooga and he never was able to force them to leave.

    General Thomas served the Union cause extremely ably until the end of the war, also defeating General Hood in the Battle of Nashville near the end of the war. According to wikipedia: “During the Reconstruction period, Thomas acted to protect freedmen from white abuses. He set up military commissions to enforce labor contracts since the local courts had either ceased to operate or were biased against blacks. Thomas also used troops to protect places threatened by violence from the Ku Klux Klan.”

    As much as anyone else he preserved the Union, and did so not only on the field of battle but against the animosity of his peers and family. I learned recently that this general is buried not too far from where I live and now have plans to visit his grave and leave flowers. As much as anyone else, General George Thomas saved the Union, and did so magnificently in the face of immense opposition. I think he serves as a worthy contemplation during this time and so share this tale!

  305. @Steve T: I’d love to be involved in your project, likely as a lay member. Please add me to the list or let me know how to sign up.

  306. Clay, well, yes. Antifa these days is in effect the paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party, and it says what its masters tell it to say.

    Avery, it won’t affect astrological influences any, but it’s profoundly annoying, and I hope somebody figures out a convenient way to monkeywrench Musk’s little project.

    Bonnie, that’s what you get for using Google — it does a lot of censorship. On DuckDuckGo it’s the first hit. Here’s the text: “I give my pledge as an American to save and faithfully to defend from waste the natural resources of my country—its soil and minerals, its forests, waters, and wildlife.” If you remember the classic Seventies science-fiction movie Silent Running, that’s what Bruce Dern’s character had taped up on the wall in his cabin aboard the Valley Forge:

    (Cue Joan Baez singing “Rejoice in the Sun”…)

    Naomi, that’s still up in the air, like so much else. One vote for the update, duly noted.

    Nessiephotography, thanks for this.

    Wesley, that’s one of the reasons why it’s sometimes necessary for a soul to fall back to the animal level. If the more complex modes of mental functioning have become a total mess, the one way out is to erase them completely and begin again at whatever level is still functional. As for getting a break from stress, that doesn’t require an animal incarnation — just being born into a comfortable life with a loving family and the right opportunities at the right times.

    Renaissance, thanks for this!

    Kevin, good heavens. You’re quite correct, of course. So in the best Discordian style, the left is turning into a bunch of social conservatives just as the right is turning into a bunch of raging populists!

    Aidan, thanks for this.

    Luke, thank you, but at this point I simply don’t have time for another project. (I didn’t stop writing about peak oil because of technofetishists, btw — I’d said pretty much everything I had to say on the subject and didn’t want to get monotonous.)

    Steve T, this all sounds very solid.

    JeffinWA, so noted!

    Ryan, you can do all the solo training in either book by yourself. Just as in Asian martial arts, solo practice comes first! If you’re doing the 19th century broadsword training in The Spirit and the Sword, put in an hour a day working the basics — the preparatory exercises, the footwork exercises, and the manual. If you’re doing Thibault, set up the Mysterious Circle to your own measurements, and put a similar amount of time into the footwork, the posture, drawing the sword and entering into measure, and the basic techniques. Drill relentlessly, so that when you can train with a partner again, you’ll be ready to make the most of the opportunity. See if you can find some prospective partners who are willing to do the same kind of solo training!

    Masterinferno, delighted to hear it. I actually don’t know that much about metal — that’s why I was kind of vague about what Molly played! Use your own imagination; just remember that, as Owen says, it’s metal, but weird metal. 😉

    Peter, so noted!

    Forecasting, I’ve been watching Turkish adventurism in Libya, Azerbaijan, and the Mediterranean very closely of late. Turkey’s been making far too many enemies of late, and it could quite easily end up expelled from NATO and facing a hostile alliance which would include Greece, Iran, Syria, and Egypt, with a high probability of Russian backing. We’ll see if Erdogan has the wits to back away from that possibility. As for environmentalism, yep — that got dropped like a hot rock as soon as people started pointing to the environmental destruction caused by the lifestyles of the privileged! And the media — well, of course the media’s insisting that Trump is toast. They’re stuck in an infinite loop in which 2016 repeats itself over and over and over…

    Yorkshire, huh? Stoicism has nothing to do with not having emotions. It’s simply about recognizing what you can control and what you can’t.

    Martin, it literally depends on what state, or even what city, you live in. Where I am, you’re supposed to wear a mask when you go into any building accessible to the public, but you can go maskless outdoors so long as you maintain distance from other people. In some states there are no mask requirements at all. As to how I feel about it — well, if you live in the United States you’re wearily familiar with idiotic requirements inflicted on the general public by busybodies who claim to be concerned with the public good; this is just one more of the same type.

    Joy Marie, of course — that was why I had Atheist Assemblies in Retrotopia, meeting on Sundays and having what amount to church services. In the longer run, such projects don’t last long, because a religion with gods can provide benefits that a religion without them can’t.

    Steve, that seems quite reasonable.

    Ip, that’s just bizarre. I have no trouble believing it, but it’s just bizarre.

    Violet, thanks for this! One of the reasons history is so important is that it provides examples like that — human beings rather than two-legged sheep.

    Ip (if I may), I’ve added you to the list.

  307. @ Irena

    I meet many international students through the uni sports club where I am a member. In fact, last year the club was about 80% international students.

    The deal on the table for them was this: you come to study, you get a work visa, you get a job. Most would hang around long enough to get a permanent residence visa and possibly stay here to live.

    The students knew perfectly well what they (their parents) were buying and it wasn’t education. They were getting a holiday in another country with nice weather, they were learning English to a high level, they were getting a visa, they were getting their degree which is a big status symbol and counts for a lot in Asian culture.

    If they can’t get a visa and they can’t get a job after they graduate, the value of this package declines substantially so, yes, the amount they are willing to pay should drop quite a lot.

    If the status symbol element of the package disappears then the game is over altogether and all you’re left with is a very expensive holiday.

  308. @Ip
    Perhaps the nappies are a symptom of the infantilising culture. I guess they can’t cope with the idea of taking adult responsibility for themselves? It puts me in mind of the rush to buy toilet paper a few months back. People said they couldn’t understand it – I wondered at the time if it was because people were cr***ing themselves…

  309. @forecastingintelligence: Yes – I’ve noticed the media aren’t talking as much about Environmentalism as they used to lately.

    But here in Florida – conservative Republican Florida – *conservation* of the “save our springs”…. save the oyster industry….save the fishing industry….” are hot issues and big news.

  310. Thank you JMG i travel into Copenhagen(the capital of Denmark) on public transport every morning and none of the morning comunters where face masks. However after work in the evening/afternoon I see plenty of people wearing masks and they are mostly either young people or someone where you think hey there is something wrong with here…

  311. JMG wrote: Joy Marie, of course — that was why I had Atheist Assemblies in Retrotopia, meeting on Sundays and having what amount to church services. In the longer run, such projects don’t last long, because a religion with gods can provide benefits that a religion without them can’t.

    I admit I’m very far from an expert on the subject, but isn’t that what Therevada Buddhism is? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    On a related note, can anyone in the comment thread recommend a good book on Buddhism? I’ve always found it interesting, but the one book by a Buddhist I read all the way through* made it sound like some sort of spiritual suicide-the last sentence was something like, “Remember, while the Christian seeks eternal life, the Buddhist realizes that life is suffering and seeks an end to it.” Is that perspective common in Buddhism?

    *I tried a Thich Nhat Hahn book as well, but couldn’t get into it, and apparently his main fanbase consists of upper middle class PMC types, which makes me suspicious of him.

  312. DavidinC

    Yet I’m still stuck between the ethics of helping those in need on one hand vs the sense of feeding unhealthy habits and behavior on the other. Any thoughts on drawing one’s personal boundaries on where, when, and how much/how often in dealing with panhandlers?

    Always give what you can to anyone who asks you. It is utterly, totally and completely not your job to judge. It is your job to be kind. Maybe they will buy beer and maybe a hamburger. Maybe they smoke. This is not yours to judge nor worry about. It is a weight off your shoulders when you realize it is not your job to judge. You don’t run the universe and you are not that person’s life coach. They wouldn’t be where they are if they were high functioning. And when you realize it is not your job to judge, not your responsibility at all, you will then see that the good feeling is all on the side of giving since you have neither guilt nor worry.

  313. “Forecasting, I’ve been watching Turkish adventurism in Libya, Azerbaijan, and the Mediterranean very closely of late. Turkey’s been making far too many enemies of late, and it could quite easily end up expelled from NATO and facing a hostile alliance which would include Greece, Iran, Syria, and Egypt, with a high probability of Russian backing. We’ll see if Erdogan has the wits to back away from that possibility.”

    What we’re likely seeing here is the return of more ‘indigenous’ eastern Mediterranean politics. There have apparently been talks between the governments of Greece Cyrpus and Lebanon, countries links by thousands of years of trade, prosperity and culture. Turkey is of course the heir to the Ottaman and Byzantine empires. I have even seen talk of a ‘Mediterranean union, combining the ‘olive oil eating’ peoples of the Mediterranean (as opposed to the ‘butter eaters’ of Northern Europe). The Near east, it is important to remember is not the same thing as the middle east. I’m mostly quoting thing I’ve heard Nassim Taleb say (who of course is Lebanese).

  314. Scotlyn,

    How is it possible for wool to be worth nothing???
    Why is it a cruelty not to shear them? Summers are not hot in Europe? Aren’t there wild sheep?
    From what I know of wool, I think it may very well live up to the expectations as asuperior mulch.

  315. A1,,

    What I have noticed is something sad that I was not expecting and that is that when totalitarianism rolls in, plenty of people don’t mind at all. It seems to suit them.

  316. I went by that sign I referred to earlier on the way to the store tonight. I got it slightly wrong. It said “We believe Science is real”. I think it still fits as a proclamation of faith.

    Lp says: I saw some strange, pandemic virtual signaling from an acquaintance on social media. It was a picture of a bag of Depends, for the parents, and overnight pull-ups, for the elementary and middle school-aged kids, and the caption indicated the family is going on vacation about eight hours away (somehow they feel safe enough to do that), but yet won’t stop anywhere to use the bathroom because they don’t want to get COVID. They are essentially planning to go in their pants on the drive!

    It seems to me that not allowing your kids to use the restroom and forcing them to go in their pants is a form of abuse. I’m not big on reporting people to social services, as I think it’s overused for piddly stuff, but I might make an exception for this.

    Joy Marie

  317. For those asking about a forum for Green Wizards, you may be thinking of greenwizards.com, which has a link to an archive of the old .org website. It’s really good, you should check it out! Green Wizardry is actually my favourite book by our host. Even though he’s written or translated far more impressive works, Green Wizardry occupies a special place on my bookshelf and in my heart (I don’t know why).

    @yves vetter Thanks for the advice, I constantly pester my boss with “why” questions on the job. Sadly the “why” is usually “that won’t matter” or “we don’t care.” It strikes me as funny that a log cabin of similar size to the rancher we’re finishing up now would have actually used less wood and fewer expensive materials.

  318. JMG, that was a cool imagery of a horus walking down the street! A cosplaying convention for Egyptian gods would be a hit.

    A significant part of my online consumption is humor; be it videos, memes or comics. Got me thinking about the magical side of humor and laughter. The biological view is well understood; the release of endorphins to induce “feel-good” et al. But I was curious if you had thoughts on this? I have come across “laughter is the best medicine” quite a few times.

  319. Brendhelm,

    I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking of tomboys right now! I have a couple of friends who I’m pretty sure would be trans right now had they been born a decade later.

    JMG,

    I was rereading some of your old posts and the comments to them, and noticed a common pattern (these are from 2010-2016 or so): someone on the right would make a claim, and you’d respond with something like the following:

    “For frack sake: no one is seriously calling for sex reassignment surgery to be given to teenagers! Give it a rest already: it doesn’t make you look good by beating a strawman.”*

    I thought about it, and yeah, before 2016, a lot of the insanity which has played a large role in the insanity of the left existed solely as strawmen that people on the right liked to attack, including Donald Trump.

    The problem here is very simple: by focusing on opposing Donald Trump, and in particular by allowing themselves to become obsessed with him** they’ve allowed him to define their identities, and since he loves to attack strawmen, they’ve allowed that to take over. Thus, they look like what a 2015 right winger would come up with as a straw man for the left because that’s what they are now! By becoming whatever Trump opposes, they’ve allowed him to transform them into a caricature of themselves.

    *Not an actual quote, but an attempt to provide something like what was being written. The example of sexreassignment surgery for teenagers is one which came up though.

    **I almost wrote “by him”. We know Trump is involved in the occult in some capacity, and frankly the idea that he’s taken advantage of a void people on the left opened to take control of them is more plausible than I’d like…..

  320. Hi John,

    I wholeheartedly agree that it’s time to put the environment movement to bed and revive the conservationist movement in its stead, for the reasons you cite. Indeed, I strongly suspect that not only the reputation but the egregore of the environmental movement has become hopelessly tainted by its takeover and association with “privileged progressivism”, as exemplified by wealthy hypocrites like Al Gore and Gunhild Stordalen and spoiled brats with oversized entitlement mentalities like Greta Thunberg.

  321. JMG, at this point I am satisfied to call the heavy-handed and frankly hysterical response to Covid-19 an epic final tantrum by a ruling class realising they are irretrievably sliding out of power and influence. With history decidedly not going in the direction they want, they have decided that they are going to trash their societies to prevent anyone else from moving in a more constructive direction or aligning more harmoniously with the forces at play in the world right now.

    I have noted with great interest that those harping loudest about the threat posed by Covid-19 and loudly proclaiming their support for useless distancing and mask-wearing practices correlate suspiciously well with the woke element. It is exactly the same mode of tiresome virtue-signalling that we’ve come to hate, just without the social justice content. The shrill defensive rhetoric about the need to listen to experts and the retargeting of conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer memes against anyone who questions the biomedical response suggests that the scientific community has also thrown in their lot with the neoliberal elites in what might very well be their last roll of the dice.

    As far as I can tell, the response to Covid-19 is most incredible example of a failure to adequately assess the risk posed by a hazard in living memory, and perhaps all-time. As of today, if we assume that the testing is 100% accurate (which it certainly is not), 139 people have died from Covid-19 in Australia. I would stake my left kidney on it that many more than this number have committed suicide, or been beaten to death by their partners or simply died deaths of despair in circumstances directly linked to the economic shutdowns. But perhaps I should also consider the whopping 400 deaths from influenza that have been prevented this year? How can I be so heartless as to weigh the futures of millions against prolonging the lives of a few hundreds of the old and chronically ill?

    I do what I’m expected to do in public to avoid drawing attention, but I am frankly furious about this incredible own goal. We were already headed for a long-awaited and well-deserved recession in Australia, but the voluntary constriction of economic activity, coinciding with the dead halt to immigration, world-beating levels of personal debt and ridiculous housing bubble have all but guaranteed us a phenomenally grinding depression in the years ahead.

    I have completely fallen out of step with the mainstream in this country, where governments now deploy Orwellian slogans like ‘Staying apart keeps us together’ with a straight face. Who comes up with this shale? My gods, it is grim down here. I can only hope that enough people see through this nonsense and we find our voice in time to avert the worst of what is probably coming.

    What do you think?

    Apprehensive

  322. @Just Another Green Rage Monster & JMG:
    re: manufacture of consent.

    I’ve been pondering this exact question for some time now, and I think I can sum up this bizarre situation thusly:
    People have been lied to, not just the mainstream media, but by every blogger with an opinion and an axe to grind, every biased news outlet from Alternet to Red State and have reached the point where no one has any real credibility left. There is such a thing as a group mind, but it is not an evolved, rational mind, and the individual who does not know who, if anyone, to trust for real information about the world, especially when the official version of the world doesn’t match their experienced reality (e.g neoliberal economic theory), will choose the comfortable certainly of belonging to a group that tells them a world-story they wish to hear. Human beings will fall back on our basic need for a herd (or troop, or tribe, or whatever one calls a small group of hominids surviving together in a harsh environment) and loyalty to that group becomes the overriding consideration and therefore logical consistency, rationality, and fixed values can easily go by the wayside. I think that is what we are seeing and why those of us not beholden to, and subsumed by, any particular group or ideology feel a peculiar sense of cognitive dissonance at the reversal of opinions.

    Ms. Conway was derided and ridiculed, but I believe she inadvertently spoke a truth when she coined the term ‘alternative facts’ because as I have observed in the media sources over the past 30 years, they have become increasingly polemic and thus have presented their readers with what can only be described as ‘alternative facts’ either because biased news sources increasingly omit crucial facts and distort through the facts they do present with colourful descriptive adjectives that have no place in responsible reporting.
    When Mr. Chomsky wrote Manufacturing Consent, he was exploring a general bias in media that tended to focus on and promote certain events, mostly disregard others, and tended to give more space to certain viewpoints and thus create a certain impression about the world and a positive view of America’s place and role in it. That created a general impression that most people would go along with, because, in my experience, most people will go along to get along, even overriding their own claimed personal values. But even then, papers did cover the negative stories and were more honest in their reporting than they are today.

    It comes down to a question of trust in media. That is, if one is not present at an event, one must rely on the report by someone who was. Even if one was present, one might still only get a partial and distorted impression of what happened, so one must rely for a more complete description by someone who has the time and resources to speak to more people and get a more complete perspective. Generally, newspapers did a pretty good job of presenting the mostly complete set of facts and opinions about a given issue, certainly more complete and more comprehensive than a lot of reporting these days. Much the way the papers in the fictional Lakeland Republic function.
    I believe the rot began in the 1970s, when, as I understand it, the FCC no longer required radio and TV to present news. Prior to that, it was a condition of licenses that they provide news as a public service and maintaining a responsible newsroom was an inherent cost of running a TV station. Once that requirement was removed, news began to have to compete for viewers against entertainment sources. The effect was news began to increasingly include stories that would grab attention and titillate as much as inform, thus ‘infotainment’ was born. Over the past 40 years or so, news has degenerated, particularly online with ‘clickbait’ stories, into telling people what they want to hear and see, not what they need to know. Thus, we have come to a world where people can choose news services that tell them only stories they want to hear and which reinforce their beliefs and allegiance to a particular tribal ideology and so, if the tribe changes its opinion on an issue, everyone follows suit.

    As Orwell wrote, within a moment everything switched from “Oceania and Eastasia are allies fighting Eurasia” to “Oceania and Eurasia are allies fighting Eastasia.”

  323. Greetings JMG and all,

    Another of the avid readers who seldom comment. My ranked choice for next week is: 1) The update, 2) Death 3) leftward end of the working class 4) Sacred architecture. Whatever you choose will be excellent food for thought. And conservation, bring it on!

    Also, I second Curtis on a JMG covid essay. Like him, the longer this situation goes on, the more I’m questioning how we are behaving. And As the mom of a 4 year old, I am concerned about all the children who are learning how to be functioning human in an environment of fear and mistrust of others. The idea that either they or everyone is potentially sick, how does that affect them if this situation drags on?

    We have only one little friend we regularly see who thankfully we’ve been planning to home school with since pre-covid. Now, with the way schooling will probably be handled, we are definitely going to home school. How are other parents of young ones handling the lack of friends and the potential stunting of their kids’ social and emotional development? I’m sure many will come through this just fine but I still wonder, how will it affect them long-term?

    Another covid observation: around here in Southern Maine, most people out and about dutifully mask. However, there is one population that rarely masks and distances: that is the worker, whether construction, utility or road workers. Is anyone studying that group to see what their levels of disease are? I’m curious.

    Though not a Druid, I’d like to be added to Steve T’s list. Steve, how do you see children being included in a Druid church? This may be the church we’ve been looking for!

    Violet, thanks for the story of General Thomas!

    And as always JMG, thank you so much for this space and the effort you put into it

    Ellen

  324. @Patricia Mathews re “preternatural”:
    Interesting. Do you know if the difference of the term has particular significance, or if there’s some extra or different complexity to the meaning?

  325. I ran across a couple of essays by Paul Graham, co-founder of Y-Combinator, that I thought would be appreciated here. Graham famously wrote the essay “What You Can’t Say,” all the way back in 2003.

    He has recently written two new essays, “Orthodox Privilege” and “The Four Quadrants of Conformism.”

    The first is about the blindness that comes from having only Good(tm) opinions. As he puts it: “The more conventional-minded someone is, the more it seems to them that it’s safe for everyone to express their opinions.”

    The second follows up by delineating four personality types based on conventionality and aggressiveness: the aggressively conventional-minded (“tattletales”), passively conventional-minded (“sheep”), aggressively independent-minded (“naughty ones”), and passively independent-minded (“dreamy ones”).

    (Side note: It seems like these should map onto the four classical temperaments, but I haven’t worked out a satisfactory correspondence yet.)

    One important nuance is that conventionality is relative. As he says: “For younger kids it’s the rules set by adults. But as kids get older, the source of rules becomes their peers. So a pack of teenagers who all flout school rules in the same way are not independent-minded; rather the opposite.”

    He goes on to talk about how universities, once the haven of the independent-minded, have been overrun by the conventional-minded, and between that and the rise of social media — which he calls “an own goal by Silicon Valley” —have left the aggressively conventional-minded in a powerful position and the independent-minded scattered.

  326. @Owen:

    I’m more or less with you about the corporate media. I don’t watch TV anymore, and the only reason I’m exposed to it is that my parents (who I live with) are MSNBC junkies. So there’s no help for getting a little exposure to the nightly melodramas of Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes.

    I used the examples I did as a way to say, my parents have their preferred sources of information, and I have mine, and I don’t know that I can declare that mine are better. More, I can’t figure out a way to show that their sources of information are flawed, when not outright deceptive.

    But… I can’t quite write them completely off. I feel like MSNBC’s and CNN’s forte is reporting on a specific set of facts, arranged in such a way as to communicate a definite story. The facts may be more or less true, but they’re very highly screened, and the underlying context that gives them meaning is never explained or discussed; there is never any breathing room provided to allow the viewer to wonder if this context exists, or what it might be.

    It seems to me to be far more insidious than a Fox News host blaring that Iraq’s WMDs were moved to Syria, or what have you, and I have to be careful in my discussions with my parents.

    And of course, there’s always the possibility that I’m wrong.

  327. Hi John Michael and everyone else!

    Haven’t spoken up in a while, having a one and a three year old leave little spare time.

    Looks like update will win the vote. My vote is for synchronicity. It could make a late rally. 🙂

    I’m particularly interested in the more practical side of the phenomenon. What one can do to develop awareness of synchronicity and identify potential associated opportunity? Can individuals and groups harness the power of synchronicity?Is it something that humans can seed or cultivate?

    Best wishes to all, particularly those in the US, it certainly appears to be more bonkers there than usual.

    Jez

  328. Here’s a semi-tongue-in-cheek question: Given the corporate media’s disconnection from reality, if Trump wins the election in November, will they report it? Or will they spin off into a separate reality in which Biden is Virtual President of Virtual America?

  329. Temporaryreality, you’re on the list.

    Martin, hmm! Interesting.

    Bonnie, you’re most welcome. Google is pretty much worthless these days, unless you want to know what the corporate media want you to think.

    Tolkienguy, Theravada Buddhism in theory isn’t about gods. In practice, in its own cultural contexts, it’s generally done the usual thing and found ways to insert reverence for the local numina into its practices.

    BB, that’s also an important factor. I’ll be discussing that in an upcoming post, as it happens.

    Joy Marie, it does indeed.

    Nomad, laughter banishes; it’s a fairly effective way to dispel magical energies, and since most of the energies we have to deal with these days are pretty noxious, that’s a good thing.

    Kevin, I think another large part of it is that a great many people on the left are no longer for anything; they’re simply against Trump, or the wider pattern of social change for which Trump is the bright orange head on the battering ram. That leads them to define themselves in the terms offered by their enemies on the right, who are more than bright enough to realize how to monkeywrench that.

    Galen, that’s just it — environmentalism as such has choked to death on its own hypocrisy. Attitudes of respect for nature have to find a completely different framework if they’re to have any hope of finding support in the next few decades.

    Apprehensive, that’s an analysis that makes a great deal of sense to me.

    Renaissance, yes, exactly. One of the reasons I blog is to give people an alternative to some of the more toxic tribal groupminds out there.

    Ellen, your votes have been counted. I’ll consider saying something about the outbreak.

    Chicken, thanks for these.

    Jez, your vote has been counted! Yes, it’s going to be the update next week, but a post on synchronicity clearly needs to happen sometime soon.

    Cliff, I could just about see it.

  330. I would love to see a revival of conservationism.

    One reason I think it might be possible is because historically, it appealed to both the populist right and the sort of blue collar working class folk who used to form the core of the Democratic Party base until the Democrats threw the working class over the transom in favor of the PMC, the Loony Left and racialist identity politics. Now that the populist right is in the ascendent, the working class identifies more and more with the populist right and the environmental movement is imploding in on itself, it might be a good time to start reviving the conservationist movement.

    In fact, as a number of my conservative friends have recently pointed out, both of the truly great “environmental presidents” were Republicans who were popular with the working class and the populist right, namely Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.

  331. @JMG, regarding animal incarnations: understood. Though perhaps I wasn’t clear enough when I talked about “excessive stress,” as I don’t mean it the way that, for instance, a middle-class American does when he talks about how stressful his life is when too many people are demanding too many things from him at the same time.

    I’m talking more along the lines of severe, depersonalizing psychological stress. People who are badly abused as children, or are broken by prescription drug dependency, or worse-than-usual experiences during a war, or anything else that hits them hard enough that they never really regain an intact personality that fully functions at the higher levels, even though their heart was good to begin with. Is there (within your cosmology) some sort of balancing force that prevents this from happening to you enough times in a row to knock you back to the animal stage unless you’ve really earned it?

    @OneThing,

    I myself got into the habit of giving money to panhandlers largely on the basis of a passage from the Book of Mormon, viz.

    Ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need, and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say, “the man hath brought upon himself his misery, therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance, that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just.” But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this, the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he done, he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same being, even God, for all substance which we have?…

    Though I don’t judge people who only give to organized charities. Basically the main point as I see it is that you’re not supposed to refuse to give to the poor on the grounds that the poor deserve to be poor. If you avoid panhandlers because you think your money would be more effective elsewhere, then more power to you.

    @Mark,

    That’s an interesting perspective on flat-earthers: people who are basically giving a middle finger to the scientific establishment by professing a belief in what serves – to the contemporary world – as the ur-symbol of premodern superstitution and ignorance.

    Which reminds me of the irony of how the flat earth got that ur-symbolic status in the first place. It was in large part the result of Washington Irving’s biography of Christopher Columbus: basically, Irving wanted to recast his subject matter into the new mold of a myth-of-progress based morality play, in which the lone hero with the bright new idea proves all the ignorant naysayers to be wrong.

    The only trouble was that the real Columbus didn’t struggle against ignorant naysayers; rather, his plan kept getting shot down by royal committees of scholars who (correctly) argued that he couldn’t get to the Indies by sailing west because the earth was too big. So Washington Irving rewrote that scene to have the scholars instead argue that Columbus couldn’t reach the Indies because the earth was flat.

  332. @JMG

    Thanks for your reply. Your point makes sense, and I would like to add (using things that you have written elsewhere) that while, as you said, our technology continued to grow more intricate and scientific theories more elaborate, this won’t go on for a very long time, given Peak Oil and the fact that both scientific research and technological progress is subject to the law of diminishing returns.

  333. @BoulderChum
    I built a modest, but very solid timber-frame work shed based on two books I picked up through Lee Valley Hardware on timber-frame construction. Everything from the base up to the roof. The other marvellous revelation on construction from someone here a few months back was “Ten Books on Architecture” by Vitruvius which is freely available at gutenberg.org.
    Finally, I believe there are people who have built creative cob houses in BC, despite the climate, they seem to work quite well with a very overhanging roof.

    @JMG
    From which readings, above, I second Jeanne Labonte and vote for an article on sacred architecture. Probably including concepts of sacred geometry on which such buildings were built.

  334. The only possible explanation for the update winning the vote over synchronicity is Russian interference.

  335. Whoa, nearly 400 comments and it’s not yet Saturday! I’m crossing my fingers that this comment ends up being comment number 538…

    For those of you interested in discussing COVID hysteria and masks, I just posted an essay on my blog that suggests re-creating the spirit of the Speakeasy in order to go around the mask-wearing, bootlicking Big Sisters. By this, I don’t mean we should all open up clandestine basement drinking establishments, though that idea certainly crossed my mind and could potentially be of service. I am putting a brainstorm out there for those of us who don’t accept the New Normal. We have other options, and those options involve mask-free school co-ops, potlucks, secret funerals, and house concerts. If my ideas get your ideas flowing, I’d love to hear them.

    https://kimberlysteele.dreamwidth.org/7308.html

  336. @Tolkienguy regarding an introductory Buddhist text-

    Back in the day when I was a serious Buddhist student, I belonged to a Buddhist congregation in Minneapolis; is was of the Soto Zen sect, led by teacher Steven Hagen. The foundation text at the time, 1995, was ‘What the Buddha Taught’ by Walpola Rahula. I found it useful, and referred to it more than a few times.

    Steve Hagen himself is a noted Buddhist author, and perhaps his best known book is ‘Buddhism Plain and Simple’, which may well be what you’d want. Everything he writes is good stuff, and his style has the same uncanny directness and lucidity that JMG demonstrates.

    As for that quote “Remember, while the Christian seeks eternal life, the Buddhist realizes that life is suffering and seeks an end to it.” Oh man, that’s just off, and it carries at least a whiff of nihilism. Buddhism is not nihilistic. A real Buddhist teacher doesn’t make invidious comparisons, and knows the way you say stuff is an important part of what you say.

    For myself, I had been coping, badly, with a lot of buried emotional issues that I never did make headway with during my Buddhist years. Steve Hagen, and several of my other teachers, conceded that Buddhist teachings are weak in dealing with serious emotional issues. Buddhism offers the enticing prospect of “getting to the bottom of things”, which pans out for some people, but for me dealing with longterm effects of childhood trauma, it just didn’t begin to equip me (of course your milage may vary). My metaphysical outlook had been strict materialism, and Soto Zen (and the Pali canon) is compatible with this. One day, I literally woke up with an insight that a materialistic outlook could not account for my subjective experience, and I became convinced of the reality of the soul, and of gods, spirits, etc…, and I have come around to an overtly religious perspective, which has benefitted me. I still keep some Buddhist teachings in my hip pocket, as they are sane and helpful.

  337. My son just sent me a clip off of Fox news and this is a quote from the piece they did on UFOs; “Apparently just recovered, are off world vehicles not made on this Earth” – Tucker Carlson

    All I know is that seeing the antics of the deep state and wondering what they might get up to with over 3 months to go before the election, I decided to warn my daughters about a rather far out rumor I heard years ago in the conspiracy places I frequent that the government might at some point use holographic images of alien craft to fill the world with fear of an invasion and with the need, of course, for us all to unite as one world to fight off the terrible threat. I just thought that if they had at least heard of it before they would not be as shocked nor as likely to fall for a ruse.

    Mind you, I’m not as convinced as JMG that space travel is impossible, I just find the timing too convenient as the deep state is truly flopping like a beached whale. They are desperate to keep the narrative going. Wonder what will happen to covid if the aliens come…

  338. Dear all Kevin Taylor Burgess writes:

    “Brendhelm,

    I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking of tomboys right now! I have a couple of friends who I’m pretty sure would be trans right now had they been born a decade later.“

    Spot on. I was a Tomboy and am now, as an adult, a lesbian. I’m deeply relieved I grew up before Trans ideology took hold. It was hard enough in the 80’s without being advised I was in the wrong body and needed drugs and surgery. My reaction to all this has been strong – the ongoing attempted erasure of women is concerning and I’m aware of the irony that it is liberal democracy that has enabled me to live without fear; yet it is liberal democracy which seems to be collapsing into authoritarianism. I’m also deeply grateful for the presence on this blog of Violet for her moving and human reminder that there are real people underneath all the madness. Also to JMG for hosting this space where reason and common sense remain valued alongside the esoteric. I’m curious as well – I’m more of a lurker than a commenter and I feel something has shifted – also I notice others posting who often don’t. Something else in the air perhaps?

  339. Hey jmg

    Out of curiosity, what do you think of social welfare?
    I know that that some form of giving free or discounted stuff to the poor has been a common practice for centuries, but giving free money is something new, and I wonder if despite its benefits it has side-effects older forms of help for the poor did not have.

  340. @Apprehensive – Hi, you said:

    “I can only hope that enough people see through this nonsense and we find our voice in time to avert the worst of what is probably coming.”

    I too live in Australia. If enough of us found our voices, what kinds of things do you think we should be saying to avert the worst of what is coming?

    Cheers
    Jez

  341. Dear JMG – I followed up on “toilet magic”, from last week. My, William G. Gray sure did write a lot of books! But, I was surprised that our excellent library system carries none of them. But, having worked in Library Land for many a year, I wonder if they had them, and they went “missing.” As a genre, anything to do with the paranormal, occult or metaphysics is often stolen. Probably, the most looted area. Wonder why? I don’t know how you feel about it, but, several times I have put in requests for one of your titles, to have it come back “not found.”

    But what I’m wondering is, what do you think are the best title or two, to start with, from Mr. Gray? Thanks! Lew

  342. >reporting on a specific set of facts, arranged in such a way as to communicate a definite story

    Sometimes the MSM will outright lie to you but they don’t do it that often because the risks of getting caught out on it. What I’ve seen of them, if they don’t want you to pay attention to it, they’ll report it very tight lipped and only once, and if they want you to pay attention to it, you’ll never hear the end of it.

    And they’re also really good at giving you no explanation for things they don’t want you to think about, context-free news, I often call it, but if the round story fits one of their round holes, they immediately go into four part harmony to “explain” it in 4k resolution.

    Here’s the thing – like a virus, their billions spent on screwing with your mind don’t work – if you aren’t reading their code. That’s what cell immunity to a virus is – it recognizes the code is bad and doesn’t read it. To make them waste money, all you need to do is turn them off.

  343. @cliff

    The best thing you can do for someone who is still locked into watching the MSM is point out they hate them. You may have to wait for the chance to point it out, but periodically the MSM lets the mask slip and you get a peek at the scaly darkness underneath. Your duty is point it out when their mask slips. That goes for Fox as well as MSNBC. They. Hate. You.

  344. JMG,

    I admit the idea of earning some side money via the divinatory arts is intriguing! Boy, I’d have a long row to hoe in astrology though! Too bad geomancy isn’t more widely regarded (though I know you’ve been working on that), since that’s where I’ve put 90%+ of my effort so far. Tarot fascinates me as well, but having only done the Fool’s Journey, and little else, there’s a fair learning curve there, too.

    Still, something to ponder! Thanks for the nudge.

  345. Now that the Death Party has officially lost the vote in the Super Wednesday ballot, may I give my congratulations to the Future Update Party on a well run campaign and I look forward to next week’s post.

    As it happens, I have just finished a blog post on the subject of death and would like to warmly invite interested members of the commentariat to join the discussion. This post forms what is probably going to become quite a long series on the corona event and I would be delighted to get feedback on it as I’m thinking of turning it into a book.

    http://simonsheridan.me/covid-19/the-coronapocalypse-part-4-the-denial-of-death/

  346. Re: Re: Chinese students studying in English-speaking countries

    I wonder when the Chinese will figure out they can just hire the professors away and pay pennies instead of dollars to get the same service? The Chinese may be many things, most of them not repeatable in polite company but one of those things they are not is dumb, especially when it comes to business.

    Maybe the unis have been good at hiding their pricing scams, er, schemes, but I can guarantee you the Chinese can put 2 and 2 together to get 4. And they can figure out putting 1 and 1 together can get them 2 instead fairly soon after that.

  347. Irena,

    Thanks again! I will look up Gareth Popkins and try to make contact.

    Jessica,

    That sounds like even more incentive to learn Welsh to me!

    Methyl,

    Sounds like Duolingo might be a good place to get my feet wet, and then maybe move on to some of Irena’s suggestions for more serious study. On the food production tip, your property sounds somewhat challenging! I’ve grown Seminole pumpkins before and they are extremely vigorous and bomb-proof. Problem for me was, I didn’t care for eating them at all…but maybe you’ll like them better than I did.

    Totally get cultivating the neighbors, though!! I’ve passed along a lot of extra produce this season, to lots of people in my circle. As a result, our social life seems to have taken a dramatic upswing this year (of all years). And the sheer fecundity of wild Nature is definitely one of those resources we should all tap more often. When the chanterelles are bumping I can pick 10 pounds without even having to work at it. (Dry for winter, grind up with herbs and bread crumbs as a pork chop coating…) And I’ve been fishing a lot more lately too. Nothing like wading belly-deep in a cool north Georgia stream in July, except maybe the trout for dinner later that evening…

    Thanks for the update!

  348. Mark L,

    That makes plenty of sense to me…

    Bonnie,

    Thanks for your gentle, neighborly spirit! And Duolingo seems like it will be my jumping off point, for now. Are you actively studying Welsh?

    Pixelated,

    Wow! Y’all got it going on…

    You sound a lot like me actually. Or at least me 8 years ago. My self-reliant homestead to-do list seems to take on an inverse relationship with my age! These days I’m narrowing my focus to wood heat, insulation, solar power and water heating, a small orchard, a productive garden, a handful of laying hens, more wild game/produce, and more walking. I had such big dreams a decade ago…

    (And I disagree with the solar installers you’ve talked to. Having solar power makes one MORE conscientious of one’s power use. Or it did us anyway.)

    I’ve always wanted to build a cob cottage, but so far I’ve only managed a pizza oven and a rocket mass stove. Would like to build a new rocket stove here in town to warm a cob/stone bench in front of a future outdoor fireplace, though, and build it to double as a forge for me and my son. Maybe with a removable flue extension.

    What sort of climate are you dealing with?

  349. >I think another large part of it is that a great many people on the left are no longer for anything; they’re simply against Trump, or the wider pattern of social change for which Trump is the bright orange head on the battering ram

    1. Left and right are not really meaningful terms anymore. I suspect Stalin would be considered a Nazi these days by the screaming blue hairs if they knew nothing about him other than what he said and what he did. He was a – white man – after all…

    2. They do advocate for a set of interests, albeit incoherently. The politicians they tend to support advocate for the interests of the big cities. They want cheap imports, both goods and services, they want unfettered finance, economic fascism etc. Oftentimes they can’t come right out and say it but read between the lines and listen to what they’re really saying. I suppose communists have traditionally been urban people, that’s where the leftist flavor of it all comes from but it’s mostly window dressing if you ask me.

    3. Those interests are diametrically opposed to a growing number of people and most do not live in a big city. So you have a geographic and economic divide going on at the same time.

    4. Trump is part of the scam. He’s controlled oppo. A big mouth that says many things but acts on none of them. To hate Trump is falling for the scam as much as supporting him. I think it’s time for the Punch and Judy show to end, if you ask me. Time to see the Puppetmaster in all his scaly dark glory. Time to take off the skin of the dead Republic to see what’s really underneath.

  350. @forecastingintelligence and @JMG,

    Erdoğan’s moves in Libya, Syria and elsewhere and his decision to convert Hagia Sophia / Ayasofya into mosque are all interconnected and related to his long-term dictatorial agenda. It has both foreign aspects (trying to realise “Neo-Ottoman” imperial fantasies by using radical Islamic terrorists), and internal aspects (trying to consolidate Islamist thugs and ultra-nationalist thugs to suppress internal opposition). I think these policies will collapse sooner or later, because: (i) It is impossible to counter Russia, Egypt, Syria all at once (Turkish-backed proxies couldn’t even have been successful against Syrian army in the civil war since 2011); (ii) More than half of the working class people and youth in Turkey have a secular lifestyle and they are dissident against AKP’s counter-revolution. AKP’s apparent “success” is largely dependent upon the incompetence of the mainstream opposition parties. Despite the pacifying effects of the mainstream opposition parties, working class and youth have been becoming more and more consolidated against AKP’s reactionary policies since the last decade. The famous Gezi Park Protest / June Uprising in 2013 was an early and disorganised expression of progressive sentiments among the people of Turkey. (iii) Turkish economy is facing the most severe crisis in its history, and this is causing an erosion in AKP’s supporter base. For example, AKP lost the most strategic municipalities (in terms of population and economic output) in last year’s municipal elections. (iv) AKP’s internal alliances are fragile. As I had mentioned in another comment, AKP is a de facto coalition of more than a dozen Sufi orders (mainly Naqshbandi groups). Each of these orders’ sheikhs have messianic (mahdi) claims and striving for absolute power in politics and economics. This sometimes causes internal clashes inside AKP. Also, AKP’s ultra-nationalist ally MHP has its own endgames which cause another potential fragility in their alliance.

    To sum up, AKP’s internal and foreign ambitions will collapse under their own weight, sooner or later. I hope it will be sooner, so that it will leave less burden to my country.

  351. Re families and politics

    I’ve always found it sad that folks would destroy familial relationships over political differences. I realize that we all make our own choices in life and are free to do so according to the values and priorities we wish, but some of the choices I see people making are just whack. Ideology over kinship? Seriously?

    My parents generally vote opposite one another and they’ve been happily married for nearly fifty years. (My mom just laughs and waves a hand at my dad, saying “My job is to cancel his vote out.”). My brother and I have, until very recently, voted opposite one another, as he’s the blue-collar, salt-of-the-earth type and I was the cultured one with the graduate degrees who listened to public radio. (When I told him last time I visited that he and I would likely be voting for the same presidential candidate this time, he just kind of looked at me, not sure if he heard me right.)

    But we never allowed something like politics to get in the way of family. A parent who’d disown a child (or vice versa) over political differences has done a very poor job of weighting issues properly, in my humble opinion.

    Of course, the volume knob has been dialed up to eleven with the Trump phenomenon, but still—priorities, people.

  352. @Onething

    It is cruel not to shear wool sheep (as opposed to hair sheep), because they were bred to *not* shed their wool, and if you don’t shear them, they just keep growing more and more and more wool, until they can barely walk. The wool becomes so heavy it drags on their skin and stretches it.

  353. @Reese: I’ll go back to the definition in the book, but it essentially meant things that were within God’s natural order, but were rare and called for special talent or workings to be able to use. It also included spirits like the elves and certain minor demons. Very much like the Islamic belief that Allah also created beings like the djinni (“Aladdin’s ‘genie’), so they, too are part of His world.

    @Scarlet Oracular Chicken – as one of the “passively independent – dreamy” types, whose ex-husband and oldest daughter are of the “aggressively conventional” (she’d say differently because she’s of the Woke Left and thinks “conventional” means old-fashioned) and one who has been seriously interested in Type & Temperament, I’d say they map onto the Myer-Brigg’s types very nicely. And are not the whole story, but good enough for government work.

  354. David Kaiser, again, for what it’s worth. A good analysis of the real issues, but ending in a heartfelt cry of “Orange Man Bad.” The comments are equally revealing, both of them.

  355. Character Is Like A Tree

    Character is like a tree
    Strong roots make for stable trunks
    stable trunks make for broad branches
    broad branches make for plentiful leaves
    broad branches and plentiful leaves
    make great homes for many creatures of the forest.

    Character is like a tree
    old age marked by concentric rings of inner growth

    burls mark the bark
    scars that shape who we are
    obstructions cause us to go one way
    and not another

    galls from the branches drop to the forest floor
    ink in the making
    a trace of where we’ve been
    tracks for those who choose to follow

    character is like a tree
    a place to nest
    when strong winds assail
    when rain and gale and tempest do their best

    next to the ancient stone
    and the flowing creek
    I will not be uprooted

    but will form a subtle network
    fungus lacing between the other trees
    soil nourished by winters fallen leaves.

    A poem after meditation this morning.

  356. @Ellen

    “How are other parents of young ones handling the lack of friends and the potential stunting of their kids’ social and emotional development?”

    We homeschool anyway. We have missed our regular homeschooler park-days and field trips, but otherwise the kids’ routines and social contact haven’t changed. We live in a somewhat rough working-class neighborhood. The kids across the street still come over often, to play with our kids– people in our neighborhood have never missed a day of work, and are not concerned about the virus. We’ve also had their same-age cousin visiting for most of the summer, and we still make the occasional side-trip to a park or playground– and the parks are full of children.

  357. Thank you for the advice for the Welsh Druid altar space. Is a different space needed for each deity or just swap out the picture?

  358. Patricia Matthews,

    It can be quite difficult to get the truth when the media pretty much lies any time they open their mouths or print words. I do not believe they teargassed the mayor. He did refuse to leave federal property when the federal agents told the crowd to leave it. It is a real shame that after more than 50 days of rioting and destruction, the media predictably blame Trump for any attempt to get things under control. Meanwhile, you can imagine how the silent majority are feeling increasingly frustrated as their local government provides them no protection. It’s really not OK and I expect a flood of oncoming lawsuits about it. Other presidents have brought in help and other mayors have issued shoot to kill orders for far less provocation than this. But that the media would report abuses and blame it on Trump was entirely predictable. Think about that.
    My understanding of the mob is that they were incredibly vicious toward the mayor, he appeared to be out there to get brownie points and he continued to refuse to acknowledge the situation as it is.
    The fault lies not with Trump but with local mayors and governors who refuse to handle the situation and the media who lie about it. It’s too bad your daughter and her friends are hardening. There really is nothing you can do when the media lies by about 180 degrees all day every day. Most people don’t believe them but some still do. The whole point of the riots is to oust Trump. It’s the point of the destruction of the economy as well. That is why nearly every city that is out of control is run by democrats.

  359. @ Joy Marie: If the posters believe in “…Science…”, perhaps you could offer to introduce them to Christ, Scientist.
    Based on your posts, I guess that we live in the same small city, with Universities catering to wealthy foreigners and a UU Church full of the PMC. The church I’m referring to has a bell cast by a famous Founding Father.

    @ DavidinC & Onething: I give to every panhandler I come across. I do it to for the same reason Onething said: my job is to be kind, not to judge.

    On the virus that shall remain nameless: the media delights in stating the number of new cases, since it’s climbing rapidly, but not on the number of deaths attributed, since that seems to have dropped quite a bit. Meanwhile, my state Department of Health doesn’t post anything like a comprehensive list of numbers of deaths from all causes, so all we know is that 1,001 have died!!! Any context, like total number of deaths in the same period, and average death rate over the past 5 years, is buried away where we cannot question the orders of our rulers.

  360. “Covid-19 and environmentalism: The moral panic energy around climate crisis seems to have shifted to Covid-19, with the same shaming and the same not necessarily fully rational, through understandable “well, __ck you then” resistance.”

    Interesting, because I have recently come to the conclusion that those who are in thrall to the mainstream media and its agenda were roped in first by climate change, leaving them (somehow) very vulnerable to TDS. Facebook and social media make it worse. Not sure why it works like that but there seems to be a kind of beads on a chain mechanism here.

  361. Hi Ellen,

    “How do you see children being included in a Druid church?”

    I don’t know yet, except to say that I want them to be included– I’m typing this response to you with my 6 month old daughter on my lap, and I’m not looking to build a church that she can’t be a part of in some way!

    I’d like to turn the question back to you, though– Since I’m guessing you have kids, what place would you like to see for them in a Druid church? What could we offer to you as a parent, and to your children?

  362. Steve and JMG,

    Please add me to the list for updates on your project. I am not 100% sure if this is something I’m looking for, but I definitely want to keep an eye on it to see how things shake out. I spent my youth going to church every weekend and taking part in such practices, which is why I love the solitary Druidical practice I have now. But I’ll likely find it quite familiar and hopefully more appealing than the bland Methodist services I attended, and while I’m always slow to dive into new things, generally speaking, I’ll try anything twice.

  363. Mr. Greer,

    I was reading your post on discursive mediation and it struck me that I might already be doing a crude version of this (at least occasionally) while lesson planning for my classes. Lately I have been fixating on the electronic structure of the atom (and related material like chemical bonding) and how I can best present it to a teenage audience. I have to keep it in the context of the course, though, and I cannot neglect the rest of the course either

    It’s not exactly spiritual and focused. Any thoughts?

  364. Dear John Michael Greer,

    Thank you for hosting this open post.

    My vote for a future essay goes 1/2 to synchronicity, 1/2 to death.

    @DavidinC and @onething re: how to handle panhandlers.

    I lived for quite some time in a place where I daily encountered numerous panhandlers– though I would think of them rather as “people who happen to be begging” so I know, it can be both heartbreaking and confusing to decide what to do in each and every case. Of course, many people asking for money are not what they appear to be, and some have substance abuse problems that my spare change would only enable. It took me a while but I arrived at the two questions that work for me.

    First: Do I happen to have any change or bills in my pocket? Because I NEVER stop on the street to take out my wallet.

    Second: If the answer to the first question is yes, then, in this instance, what do my common sense and intuition tell me?

    Hope this helps.

  365. BoulderChum asked for a recommendation of a book on home building techniques.Way back in 1979 I, my brother, and his wife used “Your Engineered House” by Rex Roberts as a guide when we build a family summer home in NH. Although there are things we would do differenbtly if doing it again, the book was interesting and worthwhile, and the house still stands. If not for Covid I’d be there now.

  366. re: pandhandlers / beggars
    I have, on occasion, felt a strong intuitive pull to give some spare change and/or bills which, funny to say, synchronistically appeared in my pocket! But like I said, I don’t take out my wallet on the street, so in practice I rarely give to beggars. There are indeed other ways to help those in need. That said, there are more than a few high-profile charities purportedly helping the poor that, for all their overhead, would do more actual good by just randomly handing out the donations they receive at the nearest crosswalk. Charities are not always what they appear to be, either. It’s wild & wacky world out there!

  367. Mr. Greer, do you believe that the United States will collapse soon? I’m of the mind that it will. Everything I’ve seen within the past couple of months seems to me like a prelude to civil war, our “Twilights Last Gleaming” moment.

  368. Ellen,

    My two are home-schooled so the Coronapause has actually been very good for them socially! (Although they generally engage in plenty of community activities with other kids – 4H, Chess Club, Summer reading, city pool, farmers market, etc.) And I reckon there will be more kids schooling at home this coming year so hopefully that trend will continue.

  369. Boulderchum,

    I’ve read lots of books on alternative architecture and the best one to my mind was Clark Snell’s “The Good House Book.” Very enjoyable, great philosophy.

  370. @Lew: At my library the occult section does get looted too. Dang teenagers (I’m guessing?) Anyway, funny thing though, is bibles, and in the music section, gospel music are next on the list of oft stolen materials. A bible is about one of the easiest books to get your hands on, and you have to go and steal them? Most of our libraries good occult books are in the stacks and reference only with a “Please Hold ID” stamp in the front. It’s a shame, but true. No Gray at our library either. I had to buy my books of his in the second hand market.

    The people who are really into heavy metal, black metal, death metal, all seem to return their CDs. Some of the folks I know in the Death Metal scene are the nicest, most generous, politest and well educated people I ever met.

  371. Dear Falling Tree Woman,

    If I may:

    I’m delighted that you’ve found my presence and participation on this blog to be good! In a real sense I find myself in the same boat as other people who find the trans movement monstrous and evil. Also, the fact is that my “trans” has way more in common with classic shamanic initiation than with the current ideology. I feel that there are a lot of goodhearted trans-folks who simply want to live their lives etc, but in a certain sense I’m not really one of them since my “trans” is incidental, and rooted in harrowing spiritual experiences rather than part of the normative, rationalist narrative. Really, trans is the closest cultural analog to a certain set of initiations that I’ve received, and it’s not a particularly good analog, either. In a different context my identity would simply be the village shaman — very likely with a certain degree of ‘contrasexual’ identity, deportment clothing, and body modifications — but since we live in the times we do that more honest and robust role and identity gets shoehorned into “trans,” which is ultimately a pretty bad fit for my experiences and actualities.

  372. Dear JMG, you’re most welcome regarding the story of General George Thomas! Part of the reason I find Hermann Hesse so inspirational too during these times is the controversy he got with his essay “O Friends, Not These Tones” which he references in _Steppenwolf_. He seems like an example of someone who got “cancelled” with the “Great War Derangement Syndrome” that swept through Germany. And yet…he wrote so many great novels and even won the Noble Prize! Another figure worthy of contemplation in these dark times.

  373. Hi John. thanks for your reply. For the record, I was not after specific medical advice re my homeopathic question. I was after your opinion re the potential effectiveness of homeopathy in this situation. Just general information really as I have no experience with it and it gets a pretty bad wrap in conventional circles. I understand it is probably a very fine line between what would be considered an opinion of a health modality and medical advice in terms of answering my question so I completely understand your stated position. Thanks.

  374. JMG, with all the craziness floating around out there, I’ve felt the need to put precautions in place. Certainly using my mental awareness and feelings of what is near me and what seems to have negative affects on me, and adjusting my thoughts and, if needed, placing physical distance from any harmful people or situations is one way of handling it. I have started following your instructions on the hoodoo bath, plus I’ve also started reading through the steps on the Sphere of Protection, and plan to start learning them step by step, a week at a time, just as you originally posted them on your Dreamwidth blog. I don’t feel a connection personally to any god/goddesses (yet), but as I read your instructions, I see this is not necessary? It’s ok to simply use terms such as “Spirit of the air” “God of Fire” or “Divine Force of the Earth”? If I do use such “generic” terms, how do you vibrate them? I probably need to read your Dreamwidth blog more often, plus the comments, as I’m sure my questions have come up before.

    I think my biggest problem with starting to practice magic ritual is not disbelief—I’ve seen and read enough, here and elsewhere, to know that “this stuff works!” I just don’t feel an urge to put a name to the forces/spirits which are behind it all. Maybe because I’m looking at it from a quantum physics kind of way; or that your intention or thought is connecting into the “All-being”, rather than Hu/Jesus/Isus/ (etc.) being engaged individually. Or is my former agnosticism is coming to the surface, since in a way I still realize that I just don’t know enough about it? Or am I mixing this all up? I’m probably overthinking on the subject (I tend to do that). But I want to do it the right way.

    Also, I just want to mention something I saw that made me think “Uh-oh”. It was about “White Magick Revenge, free from bad karma” (!) and reads:

    What was brought down upon me,
    Be returned but times three,
    Head to toe, skin and nerve,
    May you get exactly what you deserve.

    I read that and thought, “Whoa, I hope they know what they deserve, ‘cause they’re gonna get it!”

    Joy Marie

  375. @Steve T: I’m still interested, and will look forward to reading your liturgy and prayerbook when they’re ready for public consumption. If you find yourself in need of a proofreader or copy editor before then, let me know; I used to be poetry editor and assistant fiction editor for a local semiprozine.

  376. Have any of you played BitLife? I’ve played several rounds. It gives you a randomly generated baby whose life you then live. Sort of an electronic version of the old Life game where you drove the little car full of blue and pink pegs around the board. BitLife has a list of fates—anything from becoming super-rich to having your head ripped off by a gorilla. Once you have checked off all these fates, you’ve won.

    Here’s the funny part. Most of the time, your person gets married and has a ring. After several rounds, I’m getting ads on many sites trying to sell me wedding rings! Skynet cant tell the difference between a computer game and an actual person!

    The last time I played, my person was Japanese. I’ll see how long it takes to get ads for fancy toilets.

    One time Amazon promoted a hood romance on Kindle. I didn’t know what a hood romance was so I ordered the free sample. Amazon promptly decided I was black and for 3-4 years tried to sell me stuff their algorithm thought was of interest to black people. I am not now nor have I ever been black, and it seems it never occurred to Amazon’s programmers that you might just be curious about something you’d never heard of. If you think about it, that mentality running our society isn’t so funny after all.

  377. Falling Tree Woman says: I was a Tomboy and am now, as an adult, a lesbian. I’m deeply relieved I grew up before Trans ideology took hold. It was hard enough in the 80’s without being advised I was in the wrong body and needed drugs and surgery. My reaction to all this has been strong – the ongoing attempted erasure of women is concerning and I’m aware of the irony that it is liberal democracy that has enabled me to live without fear; yet it is liberal democracy which seems to be collapsing into authoritarianism.

    I was also a tomboy, and still tend to dislike overtly feminine wear and ways of being, so people throughout my life have thought I was a lesbian but I never identified with that title. I don’t think it fits me. I just like to wear clothes and act in ways that I am comfortable with, as an individual, although I do identify as a woman; that’s never been a question for me. I, too, am glad I grew up before this gender struggle that’s going on. Oddly enough, I think they are just like the religious fundamentalists who require their men and women to dress, act, and live in rigid codes that are read as masculine or feminine. Instead of men and women simply living like each wants, if one seems to want something perceived as belonging to the opposite sex, then they must be that sex! (Am I allowed to say “opposite sex” anymore?)

    Falling Tree Woman says: I’m also deeply grateful for the presence on this blog of Violet for her moving and human reminder that there are real people underneath all the madness. Also to JMG for hosting this space where reason and common sense remain valued alongside the esoteric.

    So am I! Thanks to you both, and all who participate here!

    Joy Marie

  378. Crow Hilll (offlist), I’m trying to figure out what to do with your trial posts. You say “delete them” and yet you apparently want me to put them through so you can see if they appear with a pseudonym. Yes, they appear with a pseudonym. Now do you want me to put them through, or do you want me to delete them? I can’t do both, you know.

  379. Peter Van Erp says: Based on your posts, I guess that we live in the same small city, with Universities catering to wealthy foreigners and a UU Church full of the PMC. The church I’m referring to has a bell cast by a famous Founding Father.

    Probably not the same city, but they sound similar! My city isn’t old enough to have a Founding Father bell. That may be a good thing, or someone might try to destroy it as a symbol of “white supremacy-patriarchy-heterosexual privilege” or some such rot.

    Joy Marie

  380. @Ellen:

    We got quite concerned with our now six-year old daughter in March, April and beginning of May. Fortunately, schools re-opened on a voluntary base here in Québec on May 11th, and that was just in the nick of time. She had regressed to behavior she had overcome three years ago, and also basically wanted to watch TV all day long. Some of her friends never came back to school, though, and I am really sorry for them.

    Now, she is very happy playing with neighbors’ kids and going to day camp on some days. Case numbers have dropped so low in Québec outside the Montréal region that few people are worried anymore, though masks are still obligatory on public transport and in shops. In fact, I am still responsible for desinfecting doorknobs and elevator buttons in our co-op, though I see this more as a precautionary measure (we have some elderly neighbors).

  381. JMG, you could put his posts through and then delete them.

    I have a synchronicity question. The Bitlife game instructions tell you that winning a lottery is very difficult. 60% of my characters have won. Is this a synchronicity omen telling me I have a better-than-random-chance chance to win if I buy a real-life ticket, or is it just a cigar? I wouldn’t test it on the huge lottery where your chances of winning are one in eleventy-trillion, I’d test it on one of those where you win a few hundred, but if it’s one of those situations where the cigar is just a cigar, I’ll save my dollar. What’s your educated opinion?

    Anyone else’s opinion is also welcome.

  382. The discussion of panhandlers reminds me of the last time I gave money to someone begging on the street. It was, of all things, a traditional Japanese monk, sitting on the ground at the downtown train station…who did not seem to be human, or at least not entirely so. I was afraid at first to give him anything that belonged to me, but then I reasoned that if he was a spirit, giving alms might well be the correct thing to do. That night I looked up Japanese spirits and discovered that yurei are without feet, which was the exact psychic impression I got of him. Very unsettling experience, and one which has made me wary ever since.

  383. I’ve a confession to make: While I once believed online forms of relationship were inherently limiting and deficient, I’ve discovered in this blog with its wonderfully diverse membership, many people whom I now consider my most trusted and dear friends, with not a few of whom I disagree considerably, but whose integrity and honor I will never doubt. Thank you, dear and honorable commentariat! May our lives always be so!

    When circumstances permit us to accept Peter Van Erp’s kind invitation to meet in person at his house in Providence, I’ll be amongst the most eager to do that, and to meet some of the many wonderful friends I have heretofore known and embraced only in spirit.

    And again, my most heartfelt thanks to our most generous host, John Michael Greer, for creating and sustaining a forum for truly human interaction, which continues to flourish and grow in intellectual, humane, and spiritual stature with each passing year!

    Bless you all, dear friends!

  384. @Apprehensive and others

    My feeling about Covid-19 is that the PMC and MSM are certainly not helping things, but that the seemingly absurd responses have more to do with modern global society’s strained relationship with death and desire to minimize “avoidable death” at all costs, which is particularly prevalent among the comfortable classes. The value of a human life – in the context of wrongful death lawsuits and risk assessments in the United States – has been estimated in the vicinity of $10 million. If that’s true then 100,000 deaths are worth $1 trillion, and quite a lot of sacrifice seems justified.

    In reality, of course, the lockdowns cause a decline in life expectancy in their own way – although not necessarily through immediate death – and there are a lot of impacts involved (i.e. loss of socializing with grandparents, loneliness, increased anxiety) that are not easily valued either in terms of dollars or in terms of risk of death.

    Deciding on a response is ultimately an optimization function that will look something like this, although the exact values are open to debate:
    http://www.luterra.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/vg2.jpg

    I would argue that complete suppression really is the best solution if it can be achieved quickly and maintained in a way that allows society to reopen (e.g. New Zealand, Vietnam). But once the virus gains a foothold and eradication becomes impossible, then the optimization function almost inevitably favors minimal intervention with protections for the most vulnerable (e.g. Sweden), and spending too much time in the middle (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) should be avoided if possible.

  385. Thanks to all who answered about wool. I think someone above answered the cruelty question. Because of the way they are bred, sheep do not shed by themselves. At the best of times, a sheep that has fallen onto its back is a goner if not found and turned the right way up within a relatively short time (word to the wise if you ever happen upon an upside down sheep in a rural area. Your prompt intervention, if timely, will be much appreciated by the farmer). With an increasing weight of unshorn wool, a sheep will eventually find both breathing and walking steadily to be unconscionably difficult.

    As to market prices, markets have never been good to farmers (if you wonder about the ins and outs of this statement, I’d recommend reading almost anything by Wendell Berry for a detailed explanation, including why co-operatives that set agreed limits on production of cash crops can help mediate between farms and markets and balance the farmers income). In short, as it stands we don’t have any influence on prices.* We take what we are given, or we stop farming.

    I would like to see people, like myself, and other farmers, begin to develop products that we can sell directly (perhaps through farmer’s markets, or local producer co-ops). I’ve seen people working on garden products, also on insulation (word to Boulder chum – have a look to see if anyone locally is producing woolly wall insulation, if you’re getting building), and there are probably other things. We need to develop more products that will interest local customers, because the price of wool as a raw material is normally set by factors very distant, and very far outside our control.

    *Phutatorius – your point about the mobility of capital across national borders is extremely relevant to this. Globalism places us in direct competition with farms as far away from us as New Zealand and South America, yet, while we cannot link up with these other farmers to organise a concerted influence on prices in our united farming favour, capital can go anywhere and play us all off against one another.

  386. Galen, exactly. Conservation has historically been more a Republican cause than a Democrat one — it was only with the rise of professional-activist environmentalism in the late 1970s that the GOP dropped it like a hot rock. Now that the left has dropped it, too, it could be an effective move for the GOP to reclaim it.

    Wesley, good heavens, yes. That only happens to you if you’ve got a whale of a lot of bad karma to work off, and the suffering involved in such experiences are a very effective way to work off bad karma in a hurry. So you spend some time processing things between lives, and are reborn into a life where you can get the help you need. Have you ever met the kind of very good, kind person who seems to have symptoms of PTSD even though nothing in their life history would explain that? That’s very often somebody who’s cleared away a lot of difficult karma in a hurry.

    Viduraawakened, exactly. I expect that there will still be some innovation happening for a while yet, but the rate of new discoveries has been falling steadily for more than a century, so the S-shaped curve is flattening out.

    Renaissance, so noted!

    Jez, in fact, I turned on a security camera and caught them at it:

    Kimberly, thanks for this.

    Sunnnv and Frank, so noted!

    J.L.Mc12, the social welfare system in the US and most other Western states is simply a subsidized employment program for the professional/managerial class; it provides a miserable existence for the people it’s allegedly supposed to help, but a very comfortable life to the tens of thousands of bureaucrats who are its real beneficiaries. Giving money to the poor actually goes back a very long ways, and I have no problem with that, but I’d like the money to actually go to the poor, not to the bureaucrats!

    Lew, I’d suggest his Qabalistic Concepts as a good place to start.

    Grover, one advantage you have is that geomantic house charts use the same basic structure as astrology, so if you do decide to try astrology, you’ve already got one set of concepts down cold. But, yeah, it’s not something that can be learned quickly.

    Simon, thanks for this!

    Owen, that’s certainly one way to think about it. I’m not sure that it’s particularly useful, but your mileage may vary, of course.

    Minervaphilos, many thanks for this. What strikes me, watching from outside, is how clumsy Erdogan has gotten of late. It’s Strategy 101-level stuff that you don’t antagonize all your potential enemies at once — you take them on one at a time. Now France is conducting joint naval drills with Egypt, and I suspect the Greek navy will be joining those in the not too distant future

    David BTL, I ain’t arguing.

    Matt, you can do either.

    Kyle, duly added to the list.

    Ray, that sort of thinking is the foundation on which discursive meditation is built.

    Millicently, duly noted.

    Mawkernewek, that, too. One of the basic lessons of geopolitics is that the same terrain will evoke the same politics, irrespective of the players.

    Rodger, a lot will depend on what happens between now and November 4, but I think there’s a very good chance we’ve dodged that bullet for the time being. To my eyes, what we’re seeing now is not a prelude to civil war but the aftermath of a failed regime-change operation, prolonged by people who either don’t have the common sense to cut their losses, or who face catastrophic consequences personally if they do so.

    Violet, hmm! That’s a good point; I’ve got a collection of Hesse’s essays that includes “O Friends, Not These Tones,” and will want to review that before starting the Hesse post.

    Paul, thank you. I have found homeopathic preparations very effective in my own home health care; at the moment, at least, it’s still legal in the US to say that much.

    Joy Marie, you can certainly do the ritual without divine names. In that case, you don’t vibrate anything. As for the revenge spell, oof — yes, that would certainly blow up in the faces of the people who use it!

    Monster, many thanks for this!

    Your Kittenship, that’s the kind of question I’d check with divination.

    Aidan, when I have some spare time to read it I’ll see.

    William, thank you. I’ll look forward to seeing you!

  387. About people posting who haven’t been before. Me. What started me was the need to express myself without being told I am evil or selfish or having too much privilege. I got to a point where if I did not apologize for existing or not participating in the destroy Republicans and Trump brigade… Anyway I was ready to go ballistic and kill awfls, magic resisters, and pmc people. Especially after I was told to divorce my husband who they said was immoral since he is a life long Republican and enthusiastic Trump supporter.

    So maybe what is in the air are people refusing to be silenced.

  388. Re panhandlers and beggars – I live in the country, so I don’t meet many in my day to day life. (And the following might well be different if I did). But when I have business in Dublin, I usually change €20 or €30 into €2 coins, so as to have a pocket full of coins to give away, because this last few years you are guaranteed to meet any number as you walk around the main streets.

    Like Onething and Peter van Erp, I figure the benefit of giving is all mine. (Because of the fact that giving and receiving are tightly coupled parts of a single dynamic movement in the world, and everything you give is like a spin of the wheel that brings what you need back to you).

    But, even more, is the feeling I have that a person who has been brought to that pass of having to prostrate themselves before the bounty of others is spending a lot of time not being *seen* to exist. And it seems to me that an actual look, smile, a word or two, that says – “I see you, you are a human being”, will also steady the world around me, while putting the tiniest of spokes into the wheel of the “machine” that keeps trying so hard to dehumanise people, including me. A real raspberry jam sort of approach, I guess.

  389. To everyone: if JMG doesn’t mind me asking this on the open post, I’d like to ask if any of you who have escaped the rat race (a salary class job) could perhaps share quickly how they did so. I already have the Green Wizards book, and my wife and I are already debt free, the hurdle is how to find an alternative source of income. Also – I know there’s not one true way to go about it. Thanks in advance!

  390. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Another question occurred to me over the weekend that I would like to ask. Do you have any advice on making big life decisions? Decisions relating to things like moving, changing jobs, getting married etc? I normally try and sit down and write out the advantages/disadvantages but not all choices are purely rational.

  391. I would like to add a vote for an update on the future, though I’m especially interested in how you see population decline due to lower birth rates factoring into the long descent. A significant drop in the working age population is beginning right Now.

    I think I posted some of these before:
    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2019/09/is-elon-musk-right-about-global.html
    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2020/01/global-births-population-of-potenial.html
    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-tale-of-two-americasurban-rise.html
    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2019/10/america-2020-through-2040the-era-of-80.html

    More than anything, coming across these statistics has changed my perspective on how the industrial world is going to fall apart. From about 2005 when I first came across Matt Savinar’s ‘lifeaftertheoilcrash’ blog and got into the peak-oil scene, until about a year ago when I stumpled onto that blog above, I had assumed resource depletion was the limiting factor for industrial civilization.

    Taking those numbers into account, demand for resources is going to tank over the next few decades as populations age and workforces shrink. The most valuable scarce thing is likely to be competent tradesmen and technicians rather than fossil fuels.

    The shrinking workforce, and number of consumers will wreck the current system and the longer decline and fall of our civlization will still happen in the stair-step sort of fashion you’ve described before, but it will be driven by different processes than I was expecting.

  392. My mundane astrology site is gone. I didn’t delete it, but that’s what the site is saying I’ve done. I have two theories for what happened: one, I was hacked; or two, WordPress is starting to crack down on things it doesn’t like, and my small blog was one of the first victims.

    I lean towards the second, since I doubt I’m a big enough name to be worth hacking; likewise, if WordPress is starting to kill the alternative scene, it makes sense a small astrologer with less than a dozen followers would be one of the first victims.

    In either case, I have everything backed up on my computer, and will try to find another place to host it. Ugh….

  393. JMG and others, since it was Yes or No I pulled one card. The World, right side up. 😳

    I’ll test it.

    Last night I dreamed about Tom Cruise, and I’m not a big fan of his. ??? I’m actually a bigger fan of Putin, or rather the Internet version of Putin. The funny pictures posted about Putin are more entertaining than any Tom Cruise movie I’ve seen. Not that he’s a bad actor, just overexposed. When I watch him I see Tom Cruise, not the character he’s playing. I’m sure this will bother him all the way to the 🏦 bank. (Sorry, Tom!)

    My favorite actors are the ones about whom I can say “That was HIM?!?! 😳” at the end of the show. All time favorites, Linda Hunt, who played a man once and was totally convincing, and Tilda Swinton, also a convincing man as well as a convincing archangel. Honorable mention, Bob Hoskins. I first encountered him in “Roger Rabbit,” then saw him on a talk show. 😳. No British actor before or since has fooled me so completely with his accent.

  394. After reading the interview with David Shor I found myself asking why a mere two years increase in education would cause people to be more open to immigration. After all, what would you possibly learn between the ages of 16 and 18 that would affect your views of foreign people? I think I have a partial answer. The young people in Europe who were leaving school at 16 knew they were going into low paid jobs–the local factory, unskilled labor, maybe a craft union if they had connections, maybe agricultural labor. For most of these jobs they would face competition if immigration was encouraged. But with more education one’s employment opportunities increase, and more importantly, one begins to dismiss certain occupations as beneath one’s notice. “I don’t have to dig ditches, pick peaches, work the assembly line, bus tables, etc. I have an education. I’m going to be a shop clerk, a bank teller, get into a government job.” Now those immigrants are no longer competition–they are taking the job you don’t want, living in the apartment and the neighborhood that you no longer regard as good enough. This is more complicated applied to America because of the race issue, but I think it holds up in broad outline. Any comment?

    Rita

  395. Grover,
    I’ll second the DuoLingo Welsh. I got through three of the four levels last year. Then they got the Latin course going and I went through all of it. The Latin just didn’t go far enough – So now I’m messing with French. Surprising how much I picked up with out trying with all the trip to Montreal and other places in Quebec. It is a useful place to start.
    If you are interested in Latin, check out ScripioMartianus and PolyMathy – https://youtu.be/_yflqUWKVVc on YouTube. Hard to keep from laughing some times watch the egghead spouting Latin (Sorry Luke!)

    John – NJ0C

  396. I’ve been thinking about a hypothesis that explains the nearly uniform responses of diverse governments worldwide to the pandemic, without positing either shared blind panic among world leaders, nefarious global authoritarian scheming, or (least plausible of all) governments that actually care more about our uncles than the economy. I’d appreciate your thoughts on it.

    The two closest relatives of Covid-19, SARS-Cov and MERS-Cov, have case fatality rates of about 10% and 34% respectively. A virus with the same spreading characteristics as Covid-19 and a lethality in the middle of its cousins’ range would not threaten the species (we’d be looking at around 3 million deaths so far worldwide, give or take a factor of 2), but it would threaten widespread social breakdown, with massive secondary effects from disrupted systems (from food distribution to police and military operations) that most people are much more dependent on than they were in 1918. A lot of sitting administrations, and many entire governments, would not survive.

    Every Covid-19 infection, severe or not, symptomatic or not, is a minuscule chance for a more virulent strain along the lines of SARS or MERS to emerge. I have no way to estimate the chance per “roll of the dice,” but virologists like the ones in the labs in Wuhan might. Suppose for the sake of argument the chance was estimated, sometime around early March, at about one in a billion per case.

    If every country through inaction eventually allowed its case rate to become as high as Chile’s is now (the highest current confirmed cases per capita among non-tiny nations), that would add up to 138 million rolls of those dice worldwide. Or twice that many, if the general pattern of about half of infections going undetected applies here. That cumulative chance of about 1 in 3, given the stakes, is sufficient to motivate very costly countermeasures. At Italy’s case rate, where the initial regional surge was brought under control by the now familiar shutdowns etc, it’s closer to 31 million rolls. At the worldwide confirmed case rate per capita so far, with most nations doing more or less what they can manage, it totals about 16 million rolls. That’s one chance in 64 (or 32 in the doubled case) of global disaster: more likely than one might wish for but unlikely enough for Putin not to lose sleep over.

    Of course my one in a billion per infection figure is arbitrary but the rest of the math follows the same pattern in proportion to whatever estimate you start with.

    Since the risk is shared and the costs of risk reduction are somewhat more local, there’s temptation for any individual government (at any level) to make suppressing their own case numbers a lesser priority, if there’s perceived political or economic advantage to doing so. (Such perception might be false, though; recent experience suggests that supposed trade-offs between economics and “safety” often haven’t paid off well at either extreme, as both the virus and the public mostly do what they want either way.)

    If that’s the real impetus behind “flatten the curve” and we’re not being told so (for various reasons I hope will be obvious), cognitive dissonance between what we are being told (we’re protecting the vulnerable elderly at all costs) and what’s actually happening (e.g. employees at long-term care facilities without adequate PPE) is a predictable result.

  397. @Violet
    Thank you Violet for your message. I was reading some old posts recently – I think on the ADR and came across one where you first explained your personal experience of being trans. I hear it’s not a rational level or materialist experience for you. Living in the borderlands of earth and spirit, male and female. Exactly the realms the shamans inhabit. For my part I acknowledge the male aspects in me and my journey has been to fully embrace my womanhood at the same time. I always enjoy and learn from your posts (and indeed from many others here in this amazing global forum).

  398. Hi JMG,

    What do you think about the UK government’s statement regarding Hong Kong ? They said they want to open a path to citizenship for three millions Hongkongese !
    I wonder what people voting Leave to get back control over immigration would think of this.

    Regards,

  399. Hi John,

    I remember seeing photos from the last big round of joint military exercises in Egypt when the Libyan conflict began to escalate a few months ago. In some of the pictures you could clearly see Greek naval and amphibious forces operating alongside their French and Egyptian counterparts. I would nor be at all surprised id they join the current round of wargames.

  400. JMG,
    I’d like to cast a vote in favour of learning about your views on autism – what defines it, what’s it like to experience, what may cause it and is it something that is on the increase (or just more widely recognised) – and other aspects of this now widely known but little understood condition.

  401. Neptunesdolphins, they told you what? What a bunch of (undruidical words deleted here). Welcome to the Ecosophia commentariat, where we don’t put up with that kind of shale.

    Jbucks, well, I’ve done so. I get part of my income from book royalties, part of it from my internet tip jar, and part of it from my political astrology posts via Patreon and Subscribestar. It’s been a long strange trip getting to that point, and the most important skill I learned on the way is how to live comfortably on very little money.

    Crayon Elite, I tend to rely on divination. I mean that quite seriously: astrology, geomancy, tarot cards, you name it, that’s my go-to resource for input into decisions.

    Jason, it seems to me that to some extent you’re putting the cart in front of the horse. Population isn’t an independent variable; it rose in response to abundant resources, is peaking as the resources begin to run short, and its decline will be driven by resource scarcity. You’re quite correct, though, that a society that requires growth to function is going to have a very rough row to how when it passes into sustained economic and demographic contraction.

    Kevin, do you have the funds to cover a paid-for server? If so I can recommend GeoffStratton.com — it’s inexpensive, the service is first-rate, and you can actually reach a human being if you need to. It’s the firm that hosts this blog, for example.

    Your Kittenship, fair enough. Now to see the results…

    Rita, exactly.

    Walt F, that’s at least possible.

    Levi, duly noted!

    Foxhands, it’ll be interesting to see if Johnson goes through with that. It may be just a way of trying to embarrass the Chinese government.

    Galen, hmm! I missed that somehow. France plus Egypt plus Greece is starting to mount up to serious firepower.

    James, I’ll consider that. One vote counted.

  402. Neptune’s Dolphin, this is the place for you. The Archdruid allows no scurvy bunch-backed toads, no filthy rogues, no swag-bellied losers, and AWFLs, while allowed, must behave themselves. Have some tea and join us.

    JMG, in the interest of science, I nobly forswore cleaning off the kitchen table and played another round.

    The guy won the big lottery. 😳. This is really getting intriguing. I’ll stop at a gas station that isn’t too busy, learn how you select tickets, buy them during the hour of Jupiter, and report back.

  403. Oh, and the first batch of Su-35 fighters arrived in Egypt a couple of days ago. The Egyptian Air Force already has a large and highly advanced fleet of fighter aircraft, including American made F-16s, French made Rafales and Russian made MiG-29’s, but the Su-35’s are top-of-the-line air superiority fighters and are intended for long range combat air patrols and fighter sweeps.

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/35055/here-are-the-first-photos-of-egypts-new-su-35-super-flankers

    There are also reports of a massive arms deal in the works between Italy and Egypt that would include the supply of state-of-the-art Italian frigates and Eurofighter Typhoons to the Egyptian Armed Forces.

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/egypt-is-preparing-for-massive-military-deal-with-european-country/

  404. JMG I have already put in a vote for synchronicity and I stand by my vote. Even with Boris and Natasha meddling around. However I would really like to read a post on the leftward end of the working class and I would also really like to read a post on autism.

    Thanks much

  405. @Mark L

    …”I must say that his constant barrage of outrage-baiting, ad hominem attacks, and distraction games makes it really hard for someone on the leftward end of the political spectrum like me to appreciate his accomplishments.”…

    I do have to agree with you on that point. The left part of me does wish Trump had a bit more restraint and class, if you will, as he does actively feed into the noise for his own benefit.

    Trump treats his opposition in the same way as tricking a dog into chasing its own tail. It is fun to do for the antagonist and the dog should know better, maybe once the dog bites themselves it will become apparent just what is fool they have been – however, it didn’t’ happen last time – I don’t know if it will happen this time.

    One does wonder if we are into the beginning stages of a new political state where a lot of folks just say “enough with this!” and try to bring back some rationality or at least some more subtlety to the space. With the communication via the mass media in a state of manic frenzy all the time it would take some time for this to eventuate in a mass state. Very short in terms of overall history but would feel like a long time to live thought it all.

    I would leave that forecast up to JMG with this political astrology. 😉

  406. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Thank you for your reply, I’d be eager to try divination in some form but I assume that this will be a skill that needs to be practiced an mastered over time? In the short term would it be advisable to try and find somebody who offers divination services, or could I try my hand at divination and trust the answers if they are quite clear cut?

  407. All,

    I’ve just discovered something worth knowing: I’ve got an EM sensitivity. I just reviewed my journal, and noticed my ability to focus and my sleep started getting disrupted about the same time I got home internet, and so unpluged the router, and almost immediately felt better.

    I would like to ask two questions, since this seems to suggest cutting my internet use is crucial. I’m young enough that I’ve had internet my entire life, so I’d like to ask for either experiences or resources people know of which discuss how the internet has changed daily life: I want to start learning how to get by without it, or at least using it as little as possible, right now, and finding out what people did thirty years ago seems like a good resource.

    JMG,

    I probably do have funds to cover a paid for service, but I’m going to hold off that for a bit. I’m lacking a whole bunch of basic skills due to my upbringing at the hands of someone who can’t handle the idea of her children being independent beings: budgeting is one of them, so I’m going to hold off adding expenses until I get the hang of it. I don’t want to run out of money if I can avoid it!

  408. @neptunesdolphins

    Welcome to the forum! Some of the neatest, nicest and interlectual people around congregate here. A den of true free thinkers.

    As for your comment, I am amazed at the strange power of some folks ego’s that have determined themselves to be the judge, jury and executioner to the point that they advocate divorce over political issues!

    I don’t always agree with my wife in a lot of fields of politics but divorce was never on the table. If anything it keeps it fun and engaging. We can bounce opposing ideas off each other and hopefully find some mutual ground in some areas and learn a bit along the way.

    The kind of people that want to eradicate difference of opinion would, to quote Alan Watts “Raise every valley and flatten every mountain and create a hell on earth unlike any other.”.

  409. Unshorn sheep link https://www.cnn.com/2015/09/03/asia/sheep-record-wool-shearer/index.html

    KidVrain–I like a lot of the precepts of Waldorf education but individual schools can differ a lot in how they apply these precepts and how well they manage the interface between theory about children in general and the needs of an individual child. Before choosing a school investigate: ask to sit in on classes, try to talk with other parents, ask around in other groups of parents where you might run into someone who was dissatisfied, etc. Two of my grandkids had less than optimal experiences in one of the two Waldorf schools in my area. Their mother also encountered some dysfunctional behavior dealing with their teacher training institution.

    Paul Murney– I don’t know about the particular homeopathic method you asked about–but I have used homeopathic remedies for almost 40 years. Cured most of my allergies, improved my depression, resolved a weird swallowing problem I had. I would say look for a practitioner who is certified by one of the major certifying organizations–you can find the listings online–someone with extensive training in the system, not someone who has added a little homeopathy to a practice of naturopathy or other alternative medical system. It is IMO a little like JMG’s advice on magical systems: pick one and work through it rather than combining a bit of this and a bit of that.

    Re panhandlers–back when I lived in San Francisco my private rule was to give to any panhandler who was reading while sitting beside their cup. But that’s just me. If fearful that money will go for drugs you could invest in meal coupons from local fast food outlets. Sometimes when I was walking home with a bag of leftovers I would hand them to any panhandler who had a dog with them. Who ended up eating was between them and the dog. Then one day in Sacramento I was leaving a restaurant to put my leftovers in the car before returning to the nearby movie theater and a young woman asked me “Are you going to eat that?” The truth was, probably not. “Do you want it?” “Yes”. So I handed over the container. I felt kind of weird about it since it was obviously leftovers and I would never have offered them to another person–that would feel insulting. But she asked, so I guess she was okay with someone else’s possibly germy food.

    A caution on uprooting yourself — a close friend of mine recently moved with her husband from California to Oregon. They had not completely settled in when he was diagnosed with liver cancer and died within a couple of months. They had two friends in the area, part of the reason for choosing it, but now my friend is essentially alone in a place with no nearby family and no large circle of friends.

    Another Green–I have also noticed what I have called ‘mission creep’ in regards to the Covid. As you say, first it was just “flatten the curve” now it is “don’t let there be any new cases”. People saying that we can’t reopen until there is a vaccine are the scariest. Nature didn’t promise us a vaccine. Another blogger I read occasionally _The Skeptical OB_ blogs mostly about extreme breastfeeding and home birth advocates. She is vehemently opposed to anti vaxxers in general. Yet she posted a couple of entries about the dangers of a vaccine that is rushed to market based on political considerations–I had either forgotten or didn’t know that this very thing had happened with a swine flu during Gerald Ford’s presidency and that the side effects of the vaccine turned out to be worse than the flu. I don’t intend to be a guinea pig myself, and I am in high risk by age and weight. The other thing that bugs me is the “sanitation theater”. Example. Health clinic installs outside wash stations. Wash hands and enter. Then what is the next thing you do? Dive into your purse for ID and medical card, etc. Any idea how filthy a woman’s purse is? If bacteria could talk it would be like carrying a boom box down the street. Now I am not a bacteriologist, but I can see that the logical thing to do would be establish computer stations at the entrance to check ID, medical number and payment method. Enter that into the system. Then put it all away, check the purse. Wash the hands and remind people to try not to touch other areas of their clothing etc. before sending them on to the doctor’s waiting area.

    Another market that may crash after things open up again is the thrift store and used book market. At least here in Sacramento they are not taking donations–so will the stockpiled donations hit the stores all at once and drive prices down?

    Rita

  410. Whew! I’ve finally made it through the comments. Nice that everyone has so much to say.
    Steve T.- please include me in the list of people interested in the Druid Church. I’m excited to see the liturgy.
    JMG- I’m glad to read anything you choose to write, and I would appreciate a post about synchronicity at some point, even if it isn’t next week.
    Garden update: my permaculture-inspired backyard is popping this year. Most of my perennials are dedicated to the bees and birds. Because I had more time at home this spring I planted more annual vegetables than I usually do- potatoes, beans, kale, zucchini and cantaloupe in addition to the cukes and tomatoes I plant every year. Everything is growing amazingly- they say the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow.

  411. Nos da, Grover!

    Yes, I’m actively studying Welsh on DuoLingo. I picked it up for fun in February and have been making my way S L O W L Y through it. I’m nearly through the second tree, though I’ll be slowing down even more as I will be starting a new job this coming Thursday, and the training for that will take up a large swath on my mental bandwidth for a little while. Giving it a five to ten minutes a day is something I can do to hold my place, I figure.

    A supplemental and complementary spoken course that requires only ten to fifteen minutes a day is Say Something in Welsh. Another free course that gets you saying phrases and learning even more through use. You can choose which dialect you want to start with. It is also free.

    It’s helped with my ritual pronunciations and enabled me to incorporate a few simple phrases that were “just the thing” to end my daily spoken gratitudes with. “Roedd hi’n. Mae hi’n. Bydd hi’n.” = It was. It is. It will be.

    I highly recommend it. It’s so much fun and makes my brain wiggle in new ways.

    Iechyd da,
    Bonnie

  412. @ Kevin Taylor Burgess

    Have you run any blind tests? To be scientific, you need to remove your subjectivity from the equation.

    It’d be really easy to do.

    For a week or two, you go to bed and somebody else in the house either does or does not turn off the router. They make a note of the date and whether they turned it off or not and you make a note of whether your sleep was disrupted. For this to work, they would also have to turn on the router before you see it the next day so you don’t know what happened the previous night.

    If your sleep disruptions coincide with the dates the router was turned off you have very strong evidence that it is EM sensitivity. If not, it could just be some other issue you can have that’s more psychological around the internet. I think it would be good to know either way.

    In any case, I hope you get the problem sorted.

    Cheers,
    Simon

  413. Hey, JMG.

    I visited my parents at my hometown for the summer, and once I got here I realized that my school wasn’t gonna open for class next semester, therefore I am gonna be staying here a while.

    Looking around my old bedroom, I found a couple of Mahayana Buddhism prayer books and a Tibetan Khata (a silk scarf that is traditionally gifted as a blessing) that I received back when I studied Buddhism for a couple years with a local group. The first book has some daily mantras that seem useful. One is said to “multiply the day’s merits by 100,000”, another is said and then you blow on your feet or the tires of your car or bycicle and it will give a better life to all the beings you step on without knowing.

    I wanted to use the Khata (being the only real silk I’ve come across in a while) to wrap my Golden Dawn lotus wand, and I felt it would be appropriate to retake a light devotional practice of Buddhism. I was wondering if it would be compatible with the Golden Dawn curriculum, though I’ve yet to ask my geomantic sticks. What do you think?

  414. @foxhands

    I voted Leave.

    The unofficial Leave campaign did emphasise uncontrolled immigration from the EU into the UK as a pain point, and of course that was transformed into ‘all leavers are racists’ by many on the Remain side. From my perspective though, the real issue was the endless stream of poorly designed regulations that poured out of the EU on a ‘one size fits all’ basis, that made both personal and especially professional activities difficult and unnecessarily expensive. This is the ‘Sovereignty’ argument, and the regulatory burden is one of the practical consequences of having very little feedback from the little people like me who have to live with the results, up to the vast institutions that make these ignorant and ideology driven decisions.

    Example: The Rurh river in Germany has sediment that is badly contaminated with heavy metals from industrial developments over the last two hundred years. For this amongst other reasons the EU declared all river sediment was to be treated as toxic waste – expensive to dispose of. In the UK, farmers used to dredge the Somerset Levels for free as it was good for the Levels and good for their fields. They stopped. Consequence, extensive flooding in that area and all the suffering that entails.

    The Hong Kong situation is one of those very rare examples where the UK government has acted with a certain amount of integrity and honour and insisted on keeping its promises to a collection of people it had promised to protect. It seems unlikely, but if every single one of those 3 million individuals turned up in the UK tomorrow, I suspect they would build something here that was as lively and innovative as Hong Kong was 30 years ago.

    Personally, I’d encourage them to settle in a single area and get cracking, the Isle of Wight might suit them nicely.

    Andy

  415. @Grover – I’m in a mediterranean rainfall pattern (we get hardly any usually between end of May and beginning of October) in the pacific northwest. Winter temps average 5 C, summer low 20’s C. So there is not a lot of heating need, and no need for air conditioning at all (yet for some reason everyone here still has that now… the heat pump guy told me that people usually keep their houses around 22 to 24 C all year long, which sounds insane, as we set our thermostat to 18 in the heating season, and it only gets up to 25 C in the summer in a 1:10 year heat wave… you just leave the curtains closed and open windows on the shaded side…)

    The reason people with installed solar here would use more electricity, is that they’re already on the grid, they’re supplanting hydropower with whatever they generate instead of avoiding a hookup. So they never think about the limitations, they just get a lower bill no matter what, since they usually paid the panels up front and then the cost is sunk and out of sight. We’re not allowed to disconnect the house from the grid, or set it up to allow the house to operate without the grid using interrupters – so if the power goes out, if you’ve got solar, even on a sunny day, your power still goes out! The people I know out here who built their own houses and installed solar just avoided getting the grid hookup; they have backup generators for electricity in the winter if necessary.

  416. Mark L

    In the UK the NHS has some kind of metric called QUALY or some such that stands for life years. So when younger people will die from lockdown you have to compare that with the fact that 2/3 who die of covid are in their last year of life. And of course it isn’t just death, although the lockdown will cause a lot of that. It’s also weird to ask young people to give up normal living and earning a living to save people in nursing homes.

  417. @\wesley, I wonder if some people need to go through psychopathy in order to learn just how miserable it is. One thing I’ve noticed during my life in America (through 1984) and Japan, where I could compare the two, is that many Americans tended to admire the psychopath, cool under pressure, ruthless and successful in the materialistic sense. The Japanese liked Madonna’s Material Girl only to the extent that they failed to understand it. This has touched my own family too, particularly on the left side of it, though that may be a coincidence. One example in particular, that my husband considers the most dangerous human he’s ever met for her obsessive need for revenge and no sense of proportion or closure, may have been a cat in her last life. Her traits in a cat would be normal, but completely unsuitable to humanhood. My husband also classifies her as the most miserable person in the world. I would guess that once you learn this sort of misery you won’t get fooled again, but on the other hand, she may go through several lives trying to get revenge for all the unfair things that happened to her in this life.

  418. @Steve T and JMG: I’d be interested in the religious group, most likely as a solitary lay member also.

    JMG,

    Thanks for another open post. You’ve mentioned that early in your writing career you avoided writer’s block by means of bursts of non-stop writing.

    This is something I’ve tried a few times and can confirm the results are helpful, but I’d like to check the specifics of how a professional writer approached it.

    I’m familiar with the “Morning Pages” technique, which others here have mentioned I think, which is where you write non-stop for 3 pages, first thing in the morning, anything that comes to mind. But that is not intended to be “writing writing”, more a clearing out of mundane thoughts to make way for creativity after. Arguably closer to journaling.

    When you did or do non-stop writing was it akin to that, or instead focussing deliberately on a story theme, or a specific scene or chapter of a story?

    The reason I ask is I have tried the latter with initial story scenes as a means to get past hesitation and just see what the heck comes out. Whilst the results were sometimes promising, it also of course results in a mass of unusable stuff needing a lot of heavy editing. No problem perhaps for a dedicated writer but I’ve not got a lot of time to spare for this, and I want to avoid bogging myself down in too much editing.

    Any tips on how best to employ that “don’t stop or you die” approach – inside particular stories, outside, somewhere in between?

    Best wishes,

    Morfran.

  419. Sunnnv, it was partly an idle thought of if the two might clash like hypnotism and Golden Dawn do. Beyond that, therapy has been refered to here as an indulgence of the comfortable. Not sure if it’s particular types of therapy or just bad therapy, but there is the idea it produces emotional incontinence. I’m pretty sure there were some anger therapies that instead of getting anger out of the system, actually made them more prone to anger. A similar term to squishy might be psycologically slack, making it more difficult to do certain things. Like how there are certain stretches that sprinters shouldn’t do because it slows them down. They need the tightness to push off against. Not that I necessarily believe this, it just seemed like a possibility.

    Matter of fact I’m putting in my vote for an occult view of psychotherapy – what it does and what it can’t do.

  420. Regarding the question of Wesley, why do some people discharge a lot of bad karma in a hurry instead of working it off bit by bit?

    Onething, the problem with Facebook is the way it works, with clickbaits, with creating intellectual bubbles, and with other degenrating factors. There were once different kind of forums and social-media-like sites, like the early versions of dating portals, but they are long gone.

    Then, again, I must laud the high niveau of this forum. It and the Dreamwidth account is what I read mostly these days; the rest of the internet is becoming more and more useless, except of online stores.

  421. I forget who asked, but I’ll add my own garden update: we don’t have a whole lot of space, so our garden is more about learning how to grow vegetables rather than feeding ourselves primarily through the garden, although we are going to have a lot of potatoes this season, they’re growing really well.

    I planted a small patch of the Three Sisters (just 4 corn plants, 2 squash and beans) and that is growing really nicely. We’ve sown enough lettuce that we don’t need to buy any from the supermarket, and tomatoes are coming soon. Our radishes were the one disappointment this season, we managed to harvest only a couple before the entire crop was infested with radish maggots.

    But after three seasons, we have managed to learn quite a bit with the help of John Jeavons’ book on organic farming, and our garden looks happier and our harvest each year gets more plentiful. Helps to keep track of things in a journal too to learn from next season.

    @JMG: Thanks very much for the note about your own income streams! Your example has been instructive, and I remember you noting that you do not intend on retiring – which resonates with me. I’d like to keep working at something straight through to the end of my life, but as of now it appears that my own interests aren’t really lucrative financially, and so I never start, especially because my current job is so demanding of time and energy.

    On a separate note, I’ve already voted for synchronicity upthread, but yesterday I suddenly remembered a quote from the DMH: “magic could almost be defined as the art of causing coincidences in accordance with intention.” That I remembered it is itself synchronous, so looks like I have some fodder for meditation in the meantime!

  422. Hi JMG,

    In response to your reply to Susan’s remark on nested comments: WordPress does have the option to show them nested / threaded. The setting for this can be found under ‘Settings’, ‘Discussion’, ‘Other comment settings’. There you can also set how many levels deep you want a thread to be able to go.

    How good this will look depends on the theme you’re using, but it may be worth a try..

    LC.

  423. Rita posted: “Another market that may crash after things open up again is the thrift store and used book market. At least here in Sacramento they are not taking donations–so will the stockpiled donations hit the stores all at once and drive prices down?”

    No, what will happen is that the books will be sent to the landfill. Thrift stores simply send any excess flow to the landfill, as they always have.

    My bookstore has not stopped accepting books, regardless of Covid-19. The local non-profit charity thrift store, with whom I have an agreement to take all their excess flow, is simply sending people my way directly instead of taking the books to pass on to me. Easier for everybody.

    I am also finding my sales are up since we reopened here in Ontario, Canada. People are telling me they are sick and tired of staring at their screens.

  424. katsmama said:

    “…they say the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow.”

    And THEY were right! The health of my garden is directly proportional to the amount of time I spend in it. Excepting squash vine borers perhaps; they don’t seem to be deterred by my presence…

    Congrats on such a nice garden!

  425. Crayon Elite,

    If I may, there are several folks around here who have enough experience in the divinatory arts to lend you a hand. For one, I’d be glad to do geomantic readings with you if you want to contact me off-list.

    My email is trippticket at gmail dot com. I’m pretty old-school, so it’s either email or a landline!

    Cheers,
    Grover

  426. I have bought and started to read JMG’s translation and commentary on “The Shadows of the Ideas”. Since it is hard going, I have followed his advice to first read “The Discarded Image” which, for some reason, was one of the few works of its author I had never read before. Please join me in my delight with the following word coinage: “The Medieval Model is, if we may use the word, anthropoperipheral. We are creatures of the Margin.”

  427. Mr. Greer, you have often spoken out against apocalyptic thinking on your blogs. This includes, naturally, the subject of climate change.

    Regarding current climate change, I was wondering if you might see any benefits to the potential for another “Medieval Warm Period”.

    https://web.stanford.edu/~moore/HistoryEcon.html

  428. @Grover,

    Re: Welsh

    I recommend the Living Language package of books and CDs for around $50. I’m working through their German trilogy and plan to purchase Welsh after. They introduce the grammar with brief English explanations, so it’s not as terrifying as encountering everything in German and seeing all the meiner deiner seiner seines deines meines das der dem den aaah run away.

    A grain of salt on duolingo: I knew how to say “The duck eats the fly” before I could say “Nice to meet you. Where’s the toilet?”

    I plan to email Rosetta Stone and ask whether they’re considering doing Welsh. I’ve enjoyed their German package and would like to try it with Welsh.

    Assimil has a great intro to German book, so I’d check if they have Welsh.

    On italki, there’s a tutor named Ben who is English and became fluent in Welsh in six months when he moved to North Wales to be with his girlfriend. To me it was a comfort that he had already accomplished the goal I wish to: proficiency in Welsh as a monolingual native English speaker. Tutors on italki offer a cheap trial of thirty minutes, so I got to know Ben for like $6. I plan to do regular lessons with him once I’ve passed the proficiency test I need in German. To me, self-study with occasional access to a private tutor is the way to go.

    In conclusion, if you start self-study and want a partner, I can hit you up in a year after I’ve passed these German tests. Good luck.

  429. ‘Next ten years’ post please JMG, but any will more than do. Suspect that would include quite a few differences to ‘world tourism 2019 style’ as a starter. The restart to holidays to Spain mid global pandemic just got a rude reminder, here in Britain, business as usual isn’t quite happening this year (sudden reintroduction of quarantine for those returning from there). Plus Oilman further back here is pointing big style to the next big energy/economic shock forming on the horizon.
    Adding ‘being a producer of something useful’ to just being a consumer (of much that isn’t) is a good piece of general advice I’m picking up here. Will try!

  430. @ Michael Gray, Mark L

    Re Trump and his accomplishments

    I have never voted for a Republican for president in the nearly thirty years I’ve been casting a ballot. (In some sense, even after November I will still be able to say that b/c Trump’s not a Republican—he’s the populist who did a hostile takeover of the Republican Party and hijacked its infrastructure.) I would easily vote for a Democrat who pursued the kinds of things he’s done in the economic and foreign policy spheres: erecting tariffs, dismantling the bureaucratic administrative state, withdrawing from our overextended empire, pushing back against the professional classes and reducing economic barriers for the working classes. The Democrats refuse to provide an alternative worth considering and insist on keeping to their ideology.

    With Trump, what I’ve learned to do is to ignore his methods and focus on the results. Not how he’s doing things, but *what the outcome is.* When I do that, I can better appreciate exactly how revolutionary the man is in the context of modern politics. (I’ve also come to realize that the apparently slipshod, stumbling, chaotic methods of his might be the only way one can get things done, as a methodical, organized plan would be too readily countered. He’s rather like the Drunken Monkey kung fu master from the Saturday morning shows from my youth—seemingly an inebriated slop but still the only one standing after the fight.)

  431. @Jbucks,

    Re: escape from the rat race

    My partner and I have escaped, I’d say. Before we found Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush, we’d called it returning to our “starving student lifestyle” from college. We live in a small apartment, no car, no flying, walking distance to a park, and train travel for hiking or local day vacations.

    I jokingly call this “going socialist” because we’re making use of a lot of the social building programs that happened here before the First World War. Our public library system is not free but has a yearly subscription of around $50, so I pay that and it motivates me to use the library rather than purchase entertainment. We have a public pool system that is about $5 per entry, so I use that for my exercise, in addition to walking at the park and calisthenics at home. The annual pool pass is $250, but I don’t go often enough for that to be worth it.

    Our escape from the rat race involved my going completely freelance, but not the desperate kind of freelance schedule you hear from some people. I tutor online, write books and take translation contracts. I work throughout the week, not on a strict schedule. My husband downgraded his job to something he actually enjoys, and which he only needs to work about 30-35 hours a week. In his case, he would not want to fully quit because he gets fulfillment from the work.

    So that’s an urban example of doing it. We don’t have a garden but live on low cash and cheap groceries, and we still manage to have savings. We’re connected to the city farm nearby should we want to garden, and we’re connected to friends in the community. Good luck.

  432. @Steve T: Please add me to your list. JMG, sorry if this is the third time you’re seeing this: I’ve been having trouble this morning with my pirated wi-fi signal 🙂

    @Ellen: “However, there is one population that rarely masks and distances: that is the worker, whether construction, utility or road workers. Is anyone studying that group to see what their levels of disease are?”
    As a data point for this study: I am a bicycle mechanic working at a shop that has been open for the duration of the pandemic. We meet customers in a tent in the parking lot – no customers in the store – and we put on masks when we meet customers outside, but when it’s just staff interacting with each other in the shop: no masks; no distancing; everyone eats the home-baked cookies that I bring, even though I’ve by necessity touched them all. Also no cases of sickness. Oddly, though, many of my coworkers get really upset if someone OUTSIDE approaches without a mask.

    JMG, thanks as always for all that you do,

    James

  433. Agree with you that Mr Erdogan has got sloppy over the last few years and has made too many strategic enemies. Israel is also a country to watch, they deeply distrust Erdogan and would likely align with any putative anti-Turkish alliance brewing.

    What are your thoughts on Sir Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader?

    We disagreed on Mr Corbyn, who for me was a deeply toxic, incompetent and dangerously far-left figure who was also a borderline anti-Semite.

    Whilst I agreed with you that on certain economic points his populist positioning made sense (and have been taken on by the Tories who have shifted to the Left on economic policy post-2019), in other areas he was deeply toxic, in particular his support for IRA terrorism and Islamist fanatics.

    So far, I’ve been relatively impressed with Mr Starmer, who appears far more professional, serious and sensible than his predecessor.

    A few data points for you:

    The anti-Semitic issues within the Labour party under Corbyn is now blowing up – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/25/antisemitism-labour-warns-of-cash-crisis-as-cases-grow?fbclid=IwAR1wNsEwFyDU7p74ojn_-yk8Vux59OemUn1sXuyiIs3vJQIe7NxrM9WaQgI

    And Starmer needs to do far more to move away from the woke politics that repelled so many of Labour’s traditional working class voters – see https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/article/id-give-him-a-b-new-tory-voter-on-boris-johnsons-first-year-as-pm?fbclid=IwAR3InUyOKi_6nYAyiO9mhYpjhsPLf-zlpdS1Ek21NbicJotFtaJqGJT8I8s.

  434. Hello everyone,

    I was afraid after I wrote my post, I would be sent packing. It has been a long strange experience to getting here.

    Summer 2016, was the first inklings of the insanity. I would ask questions of people making flat statements about Republicans since my husband’s family were active in the party. (Proudly never voted for FDR or any Democrat). I was censored for being a “combative questioner.” I have been friends with these people for over twenty years. I tolerated their blather about the patriarchy, etc. They liked my husband and would compliment me on how well he treated me.

    After the election, the TDS started. I warned people not to have him live rent-free in their heads. (Now, I believe that not only does he live in their heads but he charges them rent.) I was undruidly told undruidly things to do. They did apologize at that time.

    Then it has been building over time. I retreated and retreated until the only person I could talk to was my husband. I have been told that I am an original thinker and I do question a lot. It got so bad that I saw that they are living in a different planet in a different universe. Today, I don’t know them.

    At the same time, they descended into TDS, they decided that all Republicans were the handmaidens of Satan. That they were the evilest, vilest, evil there ever was. It became full-blown Republican Derangement Syndrome (RDS). All Republicans are destroying American by evicting people from their homes, by sending storm troops into unsuspecting cities, by allowing the Disease to kill off people, and by suppressing BIPOC and women so they can continue their white supremacy agenda.

    Until I came to this forum, I didn’t realize how wounded I was. How afraid I was to express myself and to ask questions. I forgot how mature adults handle their affairs. I forgot that people did think and ask original questions and not be stepped on and told to do undruidly acts.

    The odd thing is that my husband doesn’t fit the stereotype. He is PA Dutch and lives plainly. We live in a working class neighborhood, in which we are the minority. He is a money wizard (literally). He uses his money to help the homeless. He goes around giving people money, talks to them, and becomes their friend. He is upset that the mayor spend money painting Black Lives Matter next to the White House but refuses to allow tents for the homeless. He says that what the homeless tell him is they need a safe place to sleep. Sleep is what they desire more than anything else.

    In our small building, we have a two families totaling nine people living in a two bedroom unit. They live on the edge of homelessness. He has an agreement with them where they will help us, and he pays them generously. He also sends them care packages for their children. He treats the adults and children with dignity and sees them as people.

    Funny thing is that my former friends are all white, live in detached houses, and are well off. They also live in the whitest and richest areas around. They complain that they have no money and are poor, while binging on e-bay and wine. They rail on and on about how the patriarchy is destroying us. Personally, I am glad I made the break. As for them, they jumped off the cliff into the abyss and even now they are falling. They will never reach bottom.

  435. JMG says: Giving money to the poor actually goes back a very long ways, and I have no problem with that, but I’d like the money to actually go to the poor, not to the bureaucrats!

    Do you think enacting universal basic income is a good idea? At least the money would go directly to those who need it, and bypass all the governmental middle managers that control much of social services, which is why so many of that class oppose UBI. They’d have to find another source of income!

    neptunesdolphins says: I was told to divorce my husband who they said was immoral since he is a life long Republican and enthusiastic Trump supporter.

    Wow, that’s cultic!

    Joy Marie

  436. @Kevin Taylor Burgess: I don’t know how sensitive to EMFs you are, but we unplug the router every night and turn off our phones, then just turn them back on in the morning when we need to use them. Seems to help with the sleep…

  437. Foxhands and JMG, about the UK trial balloon to let in half the Hong Kong Yan: Sean Gabb, a libertarian writer who is a staunch British patriot, pointed out to his fellow Leavers that Eurocratic legal pettifoggery sometimes worked out to the individual’s advantage. “What we are really choosing is to stop being harassed and bullied by Brussels, and only be harassed and bullied by Whitehall.”

    Thinking of the other precarious nationality, in the light of JMG’s persuasive analogy with the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer, I wonder how many Israelis have it in the back of their minds that they could, in extremis, exercise a US Immigration Refugee Put. The Russian Jews would mostly go back to Russia if Israel were defeated and occupied. (Many already have, at least part time; the typical sentiment I’ve heard is that paying income tax at 18% instead of 60%, and rent at a quarter of Israeli levels, is worth harsh winters.) A few might stay and assimilate, but this is much harder than it would have been decades ago (when a science fiction character living in future Benghazi tried to solve a crime according to his favorite fictional example, Lufty Gad of Tel Aviv, the famous Palestinian detective.) We might still get our own 3 million Sudden Americans, and under current rules, the revolting peasants would not get anything to say about it. Not the worst thing the managerial autocracy could do, but one more brick on the camel’s back.

  438. @Matthias Gralle

    I’m sorry for responding to your observation rather late. Thanks for your reply, yes, life sciences research in general is full of confusing and contradictory things. Not to mention, the corruption involved in GMO research too.

    @JMG

    On your other blog, you wrote about the fact that you read ‘The Hindu’. As an Indian who advocates voting NOTA (stands for ‘None Of The Above’ – yes, we have that option while voting in elections), I can say that ‘India Today’ is a much more unbiased source of news than ‘The Hindu’.

  439. @ Kevin Taylor Burgess,

    Thirty years ago my Internet access was dial-up, and cost three dollars an hour. So, time connected was limited, and not used for surfing or browsing (such as they were at the time). I’d dial in, copy or download new documents and information like emails, revised drafts, project updates, and new messages from message boards. I’d work offline writing my own new drafts, emails, message board messages and so forth, then dial in again to upload them. Participating in pre-arranged live text chats was a special occasional treat, like long-distance phone calls.

    What I needed then, that I don’t need so much during the current era of high bandwidth, was good offline reference books. I had a bookshelf directly behind my home office work station, with the Encyclopaedia Britannica (one of the last print editions) and other standard reference books (dictionaries, thesaurus, atlas, books of quotations, style guides) along with reference manuals for my projects. Dozens of times a day I’d swivel my chair around to grab a volume and look something up.

    It’s still possible to interact that way with old school message boards and with blogs like this one. To this day I spend most of my computer time reading and writing text, which I could do offline, except now while reading and writing I usually use online references instead of swiveling my chair around.

    With today’s bandwidth, one could treat photos and even videos the same as I did back then for text documents, downloading them and then viewing them offline; editing your own photos and videos offline and uploading them when connected. (That wasn’t practical then; downloading and uploading photos took too long. No offense to Her Kittenship, but if you were offered “you can look at this cute kitten photo for two dollars,” would you agree?)

    You can get your own physical reference books used at minimal cost, and/or you can get reference e-books and apps that are stored on your own devices. Search for “offline dictionary,” “offline encyclopedia” etc.

    The one useful hardcopy reference you won’t be able to get is a set of up to date phone books for your area. Those used to be crammed with additional little-known but invaluable reference tools, like guidelines for state and local government services, but today you’ll probably have to turn on your router to get that information from home.

  440. Things are not looking good for the Democrats. Biden’s campaign is accused of having a toxic work environment and suppressing the Hispanic vote in Florida.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/biden-campaign-suppressing-hispanic-vote-180950158.html

    Some highlights:

    “Among the claims: mistreatment of field organizers, relocating trained staff members without explanation, lack of organizing resources and taking on volunteers who are then left in limbo.”

    “The [Coordinated Campaign of Florida] is suppressing the Hispanic vote by removing Spanish-speaking organizers from Central Florida without explanation, which fails to confront a system of white-dominated politics we are supposed to be working against as organizers of a progressive party.”

    “…there is no functional targeted field outreach and organizing of the Hispanic/Spanish-speaking, Brazilian/Portuguese-speaking, and Haitian/Creole-speaking communities in our state…There are no targets, scripts, data infrastructure, community outreach, or phonebanks established for this.”

    “…the Biden campaign risks repeating some of the same mistakes of the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016.”

    It’s looking like deja vu all over again, as a famous Yankee once said.

    Joy Marie