Open Post

June 2019 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.

I have a couple of book-related announcements to make before we proceed. First, one of my backlist titles has been released in a new, updated edition. Twilight’s Last Gleaming is a high-concept military-political thriller that pits a declining United States against a rising China in a cascading series of crises that brings the world to the brink of nuclear war and plunges the US into a crisis it may not survive. It can be ordered from the publisher here; given recent headlines, your favorite (or least favorite) politician probably needs a copy…

Second, for fans of my para-Lovecraftian fiction, I’m pleased to announce another novel available for preorder. The Shoggoth Concerto isn’t part of the story arc of The Weird of Hali, but it’s set in the same fictive universe — the Haliverse, as some of my readers have taken to calling it.  The editor for the huge corporate publisher who turned it down (and did me the uncommon courtesy of a personal note scrawled on the generic rejection slip) called it “too quiet” and “too oddball,” and with that assessment I have no complaint; it is indeed a quiet and very odd fantasy novel about classical music, the roots of creativity, memory, love, death…and, of course, shoggoths. You can preorder your copy here, or if you’re looking for the ebook edition, here.

Finally, Shaun Kilgore — whom many of you know as the publisher of all but one of my novels, of the After Oil anthologies, and of the collected Archdruid Report posts — and his son Matthew have just published a children’s fantasy, Simon Greenpants and the Wild Chase.  It’s a good lively story, the sort of thing I adored when I was ten or so, and if there’s a child in your life who’s into imaginative fiction, this will be right up their alley. You can order a copy here.

With that said, have at it!


  1. John, everyone–

    As mentioned previously, the (30th!) Midwest Renewable Energy Fair was this past weekend and I attended for the third consecutive year, taking advantage of the associated camping facilities about a mile from the MREA (Midwest Renewable Energy Association) grounds. I have discovered, interestingly enough, that Dione Fortune somehow comes across much more clearly when one sitting in a quiet 40-acre stand of pine. I met a number of interesting people and had some really good conversations, even mentioning our host’s work and this blog-community on a few occasions.

    I’d like to report on several aspects of the weekend, but would like, too, to respect the nature of this blog and generate a comment-post of absurd length. Therefore, I am going to chop this into three parts which will be posted separately: the first on Dr. Oreskes’ keynote address, secondly on the workshop I presented and a couple of others I attended, and finally just random thoughts from the weekend. As it is, each of these sections is going to be a substantive comment in and of itself, so my apologies to the group beforehand.

    With all that said…

    2019 Midwest Renewable Energy Fair report, Part I: Naomi Oreskes

    I want to be fair to the professor here, as her talk was *not* about renewable feasibility studies or limits or the challenges thereof. Her talk was about the fossil fuel industry’s (and specifically, Exxon Mobil) tactics with respect to climate science. She discussed the detailed examination of the trove of documents made available by Exxon, the timeline she was able to construct from the earliest internal reports on potential climate impacts from the 1950s through the present day. Her point was, in essence, that in the internal reports and peer-reviewed research, Exxon generally concurred with the scientific consensus, but in more public documents (op-eds, advertorials, etc) it intentionally sought to raise doubt regarding the validity of climate research.

    All of that is well and good. There were, however, some implied and unstated elements of her talk of which I took note. It was certainly implied, and almost-but-not-quite stated, that the fossil fuel industry is the primary obstacle to the clean, renewable energy future being sought. One quote I did jot down was “the clean, green, renewable future we need and we deserve.” Another made reference to the economics of this vision, as “not every state has oil or coal, but every state has wind and sun, and every state can have batteries.”

    Nowhere were the biophysical limits of the planetary system discussed. Nowhere was the question asked as to whether or not it was even *possible* to maintain this modern industrial system on renewable energy alone. Granted, this was not the point of her talk, but as I said, it certainly was an underlying assumption embedded in her commentary. To be fair, again, she did not address the issue directly, one way or another, so I am admittedly working from inferences here.

    It was quite clear, on the other hand, what the audience thought!

  2. 2019 Midwest Renewable Energy Fair report, Part II: Workshops, both mine and others’

    The workshops are the reason I attend the Fair. I heartily recommend the event to anyone in the Midwest who’d be able to get there. (It’s held roughly the same time each year, on the weekend near the solstice.) There are workshops on topics ranging from solar and wind power to alternative home construction to food preservation and everything in between. I go to the sustainable-living workshops, tending to eschew the more activist-oriented presentations (and there are certainly plenty of those!). This year I was looking at things on down-sizing, mushroom-growing, passive winter greenhouse design, and things of that nature.

    I want to give a quick shout-out at this point to Amber Westerman, who I’d met last year and bumped into again this year. Amber is an architectural designer who gave a presentation on her experience in extreme-downsizing. Roughly half the year, she house-sits for a snowbird friend, but from April to October, she lives in a converted hunting-shack (8×12, if I recall correctly) with a front-porch kitchen, no running water or plumbing, and no electricity, on the top of a hill on forty acres out in her county. It is an impressive presentation, where she talks about the compromises she makes (and doesn’t make), as well as her experience with the various regulators with whom she had to work. (Short version: read the code for yourself; don’t rely on others’ interpretations; and the old saw about better to ask forgiveness than permission certainly applies. It also doesn’t hurt, she pointed out, to be a “quirky, middle-aged woman.”) Her blogs/websites are here:

    My workshop (hey, being a presenter gets you free admission for the weekend) was on local resilience efforts, specifically about my experiences on the zoning/plan commission and city council of my city (nine years so far on the first and two years now on the second). I wanted make people aware of how they might be able to influence local decisions by serving on these bodies, but also what the relevant limits are.

    In particular, my presentation focused on three things. I talked about how I sought to provide more opportunities for local entrepreneurship by reducing regulatory burdens on businesses: specifically, by making some reasonable adjustments to home-occupation business regulations and allowing business owners to leverage low-overhead start-up from their home as a natural business incubator. I also talked about our goals and challenges in developing non-motor connectivity via bike/ped trails. (Such as having the state strip local governments of eminent-domain authority for bike and ped trail projects when you’re in the middle of the property-acquisition phase of a bike and ped trail project.) Finally, I talked about land-use codes, in particular front-yard gardening (still illegal in the city) and urban chickens (which I did manage to expand to include ducks). The process of adopting our chicken ordinance (which I refer to as the Great Chicken Debate of 2016) was held up as an excellent example of the process working as designed. Most in the audience were dismayed that it took ten months to accomplish. I said it all worked exactly as it was supposed to. A group of citizens came to the city council and said, we’d like to have chickens, can you please look at an ordinance. Council discussed the idea and referred it to the plan commission, which is the zoning body, and asked for a recommendation. The plan commission discussed the idea, looked at other cities’ ordinances, put together a draft, and sent that draft to council. Council had some comments and kicked it back to the plan commission. The plan commission took those comments, made a few tweaks, sent the draft ordinance back to council. Council thought it looked acceptable and scheduled the public hearing. The public hearing was held, council had a final discussion, and then voted to adopt the ordinance. Yes, all of that would take ten months.

    I did have one gentleman in the audience who kept trying to take the discussion off on a social-justice angle, but I kept bringing it back to local resilience. When he asked about politically-marginalized populations in the community, I responded quite frankly. We have a 9-member council, I said, all elected at-large, with 3 seats up for election every single year. Anyone who collects 100 valid signatures of resident electors qualifies for the ballot. We have to beg people to run for office. I have a hard time seeing how anyone is politically marginalized in those circumstances. (I don’t think he was entirely satisfied with that response.)

    I did get a nice applause at the end of my workshop, however, so it seemed to be something of a success.

  3. 2019 Midwest Renewable Energy Fair report, Part III: Random Thoughts

    Finally, I just wanted to share a couple of random things that came to me during the course of the weekend.

    The first involves renewable energy, and in particular, the regulatory aspects of increased penetration of distributed solar. There was one workshop, of which I caught part, where the presenter was talking at length about the “broken” utility regulatory system and how solar energy and energy efficiency was being “penalized” by the trend of increasing fixed charges and other shifts in rate structures. As I’ve been in the utility business for nearly two decades and know a thing or two about the issues of cost allocation and rate design, I had strong opinions on the matter, but chose to keep my comments to myself, as it was not my workshop nor was it the appropriate time/place to point out the underlying complexities which the speaker was glossing over.

    Ultimately, the problem is one of fairly and equitably allocating the burden of *fixed* costs (costs which do not vary with consumption) to users of the system. Of the nominal 10 cents per kWh a household typically pays for electricity, only about 4 cents of that reflects the cost of the actual power. The rest is an allocation of the fixed costs of the system (the transmission and distribution grid, for example, or the fixed capital costs of the power plants) which *do not go away* when less electricity is used. In the spirit of our community here, I tried to come up with a story that might help connect with the attendees of the Fair that would describe the situation. This is what I came up with:

    We’re all living on this island. As a community, we come together and decide that it would be beneficial to have a well-maintained road network connecting everyone. We don’t have a large island and there’s only one fueling station in the main village, so we decide that we’re going to implement a fuel tax to pay for the road maintenance, which everyone will contribute towards by virtue of refueling their vehicles. This seems a reasonable allocation of maintenance costs and it works well for many years.

    Then Bobby Joe Bob over in yonder holler builds himself a wood-gasifier and makes his own fuel. Now he’s tooling around on the roads in his pickup truck, causing the same wear-and-tear he always was, using the roads like everybody else, but now he’s not paying for any of the upkeep. And, because there’s less fuel being sold but the cost of maintenance remains the same, the fuel tax rate has to go up and everyone else has to pay more to keep the roads in good condition. So the community decides to redesign the system so that a portion of the road maintenance is collected in a flat monthly fee and the other part is collected through the fuel-tax like before. And Bobby Joe Bob gets all huffy and upset and starts protesting at the community council meetings about how he’s being unfairly penalized.

    A second random thought that occurred to me was to do a workshop on the eco-spiritual aspects of this whole journey, specifically talking about my own path as I’ve negotiated the stages of grief (from “how can we save the system?” to “the system cannot be saved” to “the system doesn’t need to be saved”) and have gradually incorporated the natural life-cycle of being into the view of history and of civilizations. I think there would be a place for a workshop like that, though it is admittedly not exactly in-line with the shiny renewable middle-class future of perpetual progress. I’ll have to think on it. Workshop proposals aren’t submitted until February anyway 🙂

  4. Following your posts arguing against the all-too-common idea that there is one perfect diet for all humans, you may be interested in some new scientific research finally recognising that. In the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of reports on results from the first stage of this ‘Predict’ project, but this paragraph seems particularly emphatic:

    ‘Speaking with [Kings College London Professor Tim] Spector seven months later, before the release of his first results, it seems to have been worth the effort. “The variability between people is even greater than I thought,” he says. “The range of responses to the same foods is huge. To my mind that knocks on the head any idea of an average response or average nutrition. That’s the really big message there.” Analysis of the Predict data has found that the macronutrient breakdown – such as you find on food labels – can account for only 40% of how an individual might respond to meals.’

  5. It seems we came uncomfortably close to a “Twilights Last Gleaming” moment last Friday when Iran shot down the U.S. surveillance drone ( accompanied by a nearby manned spy plane) when it strayed in to its territory. My fear is that the U.S. has backed Iran in to a corner where it’s only option is to escalate the danger to Oil production and transportation in the Persian Gulf while the U.S. thinks it can’t back down and retain its “big stick”. It seems that the huge logical problem with complete economic sanctions on a large country like Iran is that you remove any incentives for that country to keep the wobbly world industrial /economic system intact. Given their current situation taking action that kicks oil prices up to $250 -$500 per barrel, setting off a global derivatives melt-down is not really a step down for them, but certainly is for nearly everyone else. Do you think the U.S. is capable of stepping back from this situation, or do we have a big stair step in catabolic collapse coming up in the near term horizon?

  6. Does anyone have any good ideas on which alternative medical treatment/practices are good for asthma and allergies? Hypothetically speaking of course.

  7. Congrats on your reprint, Esteemed Archdruid, and the new stuff! 👏. May you sell 50 bajillion copies!

    I finished writing my book, (it still has to be typed) and had such fun I’m gonna do it again!

    I also discovered a literary cure for insomnia. Readers of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” may recall the guy who, for reasons I forget, was going around insulting everybody who existed, in alphabetical order. So one night I sorted out the characters of a book with a relatively small cast, “A Wrinkle In Time,” and imagined him insulting them all, and nodded off by the time I got to Man With Red Eyes, The. (I imagine George R. R. Martin would be good when you can’t sleep several nights in a row.)

    A caveat: one night I tried it with my own cast. All was well till I got to the clergyman hero, whom I’d been picking on (I’m the writer, it’s my job) and who was evidently pretty cranky because of same, since when the Alphabetical Insulter started in on him he promptly decked the guy and exited stage right. (Probably late to anger-management class). Based on my experience with the Reverend Fastleft, this insomnia cure may not work with your own characters, as you know them too well. 😄

    Speaking of literature and insomnia, does anyone recall (the sadly late) Patrick McManus’s bout with insomnia? It was one of his funniest pieces. A friend recommended imagining owning a farm and putting all the zillion things farmers need in the mental farm. So McManus tries it and ends up staying awake all night worrying about the broken combine and the drought… 😄😄

  8. JMG,

    I finished both Providence & Dreamlands in less than 48 hours, so when’s the rest?

    ; D – really enjoyed them!

    Also, with everything that’s going on with Iran & such, do you or someone else ( I seem to recall 2 or 3 competent astrologers that comment here sometimes) have any insights/comments/predictions on future developments ?


  9. Hi David by the Lake,

    I didn’t think your 3 comments were too long at all. Please continue to keep us informed!

  10. I’ve been waiting for your Open Thread Day for this: Your ongoing discussions on magic have jolted me back to a good friend from 30 years ago. I was in my late 20s and he was in his 60s. He was an urgent, evangelical reader of Ernest Holmes’ book, The Science of Mind. At the time I was far more interested in science & technology and, to a lesser degree, the Episcopal Church. Because we were friends I read it twice and it was, in the immortal words of Lou Reed, like reading Sanskrit to a pony. With me as the pony. At the time I had written Holmes off as the last wave of late 19th Century Spiritualists (usually) emanating from London to separate the gullible rich from their money. Your discussions of magic pinged a long-darkened brain cell, causing me to remember this book with a bit more charity. This week I found a copy a nearly free download. Before I re-begin it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Holmes and his book, if you have any.

  11. I enjoyed DBTL’s posts. So, does the audience consider limited growth absurd, and linear progress the norm? I can see why you’d like to hold a workshop to inform otherwise.
    I’ve been working lately on raising awareness of Drawdown’s #1 contributor of green house gas emissions: The release of refrigerants into the environment. I’ve held several meetings at our local library, took part in a fair, had numerous conversations with individuals, refrigeration technology workmen, and HVAC owners and their right hand people, and attended many meetings of stakeholders over the past two years. It surprises me as to the ignorance and shortsightedness of businesses who would rather “top up” not find the leaks, and have the tech come back on a routine basis. And sprprised at how many anecdotal stories I have heard from observant technically competent people about seeing a cloud of oil droplets surrounding a technician who is blowing the charge instead of using proper reclaiming equipment to capture refrigerant that actually needs to be cleaned up or rendered harmless and “denatured” Checking with the litigation that the EPA has carried out shows very little oversight and enforcement over the past 10 years. I guess in the scheme of declining culture and the religion of progress being what it is, people are too numb to take this seriously. Some of them even take action and their actions are thwarted by unscrupulous recyclers who claim they have a “license” to release the refrigerant from recycled appliances into the atmosphere. When no one is looking everyone has license especially when the release is almost invisible. Why keep records when no one is going to look at them? As time goes on there will be hotter times in the old towns unless we begin to become aware and speak up. There are alternative gases now that have low global warming potentials [r600 has 3 vs. 1800] so when in the market, ask the salesman to provide you with the appliance having the lowest GWP gas. Guaranteed the salesperson will be surprised, and you’ll add to the conversation in a meaningful way. I’ll leave you all with this, the average supermarket has systems that have up to 2000 pounds of gas in them. These systems leak an average of 25-40 percent of their refrigerants per year. Each pound of that leaked gas nearly has the same GWP as burning 107 gallons of gasoline and driving 5000 miles in a Prius at 50 MPG or a trip from Rhode Island to Las Vegas, Nevada and back.

  12. Following on from the discussion about cholesterol and statins a few weeks ago, I found an answer to the question of how you can have good diet and exercise, and still have rising cholesterol.

    If you are overfat and go on something like a 35% protein, 25% carbohydrate, 40% fat diet, and start exercising, everything will be good until you hit a healthy body composition, and possibly for some years after that. But if you are sensitive to insulin and stay on low carb beyond a certain point, the lack of carbohydrate limits insulin production. That affects the thyroid, and further knock-on effects then raise cholesterol. In that case you need to reduce fat and increase carbohydrate intake. This isn’t the case for everyone (such as diabetics), but it explains some cases of rising cholesterol despite diet and exercise.

    This is the simple explanation, a much more comprehensive one is here –

  13. John, everyone–

    And now for the regular energy news report from your friendly, neighborhood energy news reporter:

    Even BP says this ain’t workin’

    Return of the Son of the Bride of State Nuclear Subsidies

    Hey, just make ’em smaller…what could possibly go wrong?

    Nukes are patriotic, after all

    No one wants the stuff

    Summer reliability challenges for Texas, the West, and *cough* California *cough*

    EPA replaces CPP (Clean Power Plan) with ACE (Affordable Clean Energy) rule

    Jersey’s on the bandwagon

    Renewable deployment behind projections

  14. Hi John. Congrats on the Shoggoth Concerto prepub. I wonder, do you think Sun Ra hung out with shoggoths? I’m sure he was friends with Tsathoggua and Hziulquoigmnzhah. Thanks for your shout out to the Arkestra band leader this past Magic Monday. My favorite album by him still might be “Other Planes of There”… though the Solar Myth Approach is close. He was so prolific though, fans & listeners have a lot to choose from.

    Recently I digged God Is More than Love Can Ever Be: It’s unusual because it’s just him on piano with a bass player & drummer doing the classic jazz trio thing.

    I also really liked this Sun Ra exotica album:

    Stay on the sunny side of life y’all!

  15. So, I managed to get all the way caught up on last week’s comments, and came across mention that *only* Pogonip (now Lady Cutekitten) has kitten-link posting privileges for the open post? Can I at least get permission to post links to critters under my care … granted, that does include one retarded dog, two dozen cats now (no, seriously), half a dozen dairy goats (although I am still two over that number, which is the max my pasture will support over a dry winter), chickens, rabbits, and still three little pigs. I intended to post up pics of the two kittens I’ve brought into the house, with as bonus of a video clip of me bottle feeding the two keeper girls. Hehehe – who needs television when you have this much entertainment on-premises?

  16. JMG, you introduced me years ago to the fact that our civilization was in decline, and I’ve been able to make my peace with that–mostly wondering how to preserve some of JS Bach’s work for the next go-around. But now I’m reading Jem Bendell, who is talking about “social collapse” within a decade as a result of non-linear climate change. This is much more rapid than what you’ve described. Curious to know your take on this (by the way, some of your readers seem to be among his fans.)

  17. @ David, by the Lake, thanks for the updates. I think an “eco-spiritual” workshop might be useful. Best of luck, should you decide to offer it.

    You might be interested in an image I’ve found which perfectly illustrates JMG’s term “fossil fuel subsidy”, meaning the (normally) unseen requirement for “renewables”…

    I’ve posted it here…

  18. Bobby Jo does what he does.
    Oh, not anything but a tut tut, not our class kind of understanding.
    The reality of his magic does not translate into the higher courts of opinion.
    I just inherited an old property in Point Pleasant, WV.
    They say there are mineral rights back to before the Whiskey Rebellion.
    Grandpa used to run shine up to the Yankees with Harlan Sanders.
    They made their roads and hid them when over.
    You know that this place is haunted? You should be more careful with judgement when those with skin in the game crossed that bridge a long time ago.
    Hillbilly burial mounds go back and wrap around and a little respect would not hurt.
    What has happened is not abstract, just survivors haunted and seeing no point in being angry.

  19. Hi Everyone,
    Just to let you know the state of play here in prosperous coastal British Columbia, Canada. I live on Denman Island and in my neighbourhood, every house has a returned adult child living with the parents. On the neighbouring island of Hornby, it is also all the rage. A lot of young people and even young families are returning home to build a house on their parents farm.

    They would not be doing this unless they had to. For the most part, the parents are thrilled to have the company and extra help. These are not layabout kids, but sensible, hard working people who are being forced out of the cities by the high costs.

    Our minimum wage is $13.85 an hour and a one-bedroom apartment in the nearby town of Courtenay starts at about $1,200.00 a month.

    I have my excellent daughter helping out on the farm and am very glad of it.

  20. Hey hey JMG,

    First, congratulations on the publications. I have Twilight’s Last Gleaming already, but I’ve reread it a couple of times and loaned it out and bought a replacement copy a couple of times. Any significant changes in the new edition? I liked it a lot, by the way.

    Second, in LRM one opens and closes one’s inner faculties with a gesture. I’ve forgotten to open them before doing the exercises before and when I close them at the end it doesn’t have the same snap as it does when did remember to open them before the exercises. What happens if one forgets to close them at the end?

    Third, You’ve said that banishing rituals like the SoP and the LBRP shouldn’t be done around very young children and that one should get permission before doing it on someone else’s behalf. So I’m guessing that it probably isn’t appropriate to do one for the entire country or continent. Are there any good options for making America sane and well balanced, other then by trying to set a good example?


  21. Will Oberton,
    Someone I know recently mentioned that their allergies have dramatically improved after doing some kind of salt therapy. Nearby there are some places called “The Salt Room” where you sit comfortably in a room basically made of salt and just breathe deeply. There may be something like that near you. Haven’t needed it myself, but I hear good things.

  22. Back on the old blog someone posted a translation of Catullus.
    I roughly remember it as:

    Lesbia does it in doorways
    Lesbia does it for free
    Lesbia does it with tradesmen’s boys
    I hope that she’ll do it with me!

    I would like to use your translation (with Lesbia’s name changed to Daxia) in a novel I’m writing in my ‘Steppes of Mars’ series.
    I need a dirty song about my heroine and this is perfect.
    It will be a few years before I get around to writing this particular novel so I’m asking now, before my brain turns permanently to riced cauliflower and I forget where I got this from.

    I’ll mention your name in my acknowledgements of course.

    May I?

    Teresa from Hershey

  23. JMG,

    I recently came across some really excellent essays by an author named Paul Kingsnorth. He writes for a free online magazine called Emergence (in addition to having a few books out). Are you familiar with him? He hits on several themes that remind me quite a bit of your work.

    Ryan M.

  24. David BTL (part 1), many thanks for this. “The clean, green, renewable future we need and deserve…” Oh, do not get me started. And what, Ms. Oreskes, have you and your ilk done to deserve anything of the kind?

    David BTP (part 2), delighted to hear that your presentation (a) went well and (b) dealt with the nuts and bolts of local politics, which more people need to know about.

    Your Kittenship, so noted!

    David BTL (part 3), my guess is that if you do the ecospiritual workshop you will get a very negative reaction and may not be invited back. If you feel you should, by all means, but be prepared for major pushback.

    Antonomasia, good heavens. A scientist actually admitting that different people have different dietary needs? Where are my smelling salts? 😉

    Clay, my guess is that Trump and Iranian head of state Khamenei are playing a complex game of bluff to satisfy the war parties in their respective governments without actually getting into a war that both sides can only lose. Both sides threaten, both sides pound the bejesus out of proxies, both sides crank out the bellicose rhetoric, and then Trump tips his hand by letting the rest of the world know that the US isn’t going to do tanker escort for free indefinitely. India responds by sending a naval force, including a top-of-the-line ship armed with supersonic cruise missiles, to escort Indian-flagged vessels; that’s the wave of the future as the US postures loudly while quietly backing out of its overextended position. We’ll see how it plays out, but I don’t expect a shooting war.

    Will, I know people with those conditions who’ve had excellent results from acupuncture and trad Chinese medicine generally, and others who’ve had equally good results from homeopathy. A third group found the dietary triggers involved — wheat’s a very common one — got rid of those, and they’re fine. Your mileage may vary!

    Your Kittenship, thank you. My literary response to insomnia is to get up quietly and write until I get sleepy, but I don’t have a fixed schedule; for those who do, the Way of Wowbagger the Indefinitely Prolonged may be wiser…

    Mister N, the vast majority of Americans are tired of Middle Eastern wars, and for good reason. As I noted above to Clay, I don’t expect Trump to get us into one — he’s got to know that one of the main reasons he won the 2016 election was that a lot of people were seriously worried that Clinton would wade right into yet another quagmire in Iraq.

    JMac, delighted to hear it. I gather I need to do a post on the Middle East situation sometime soon!

    KevPilot, Holmes was coming out of one end of the New Thought movement; some of his claims are over the top, at least to my way of thinking, but I know people who’ve got a lot out of his work. The best advice I’ve yet heard as far as dealing with that end of New Thought is to take it as a pep talk rather than any kind of objective analysis, and give the techniques a good solid try.

    Bridge, oh, they’ll cling to that long after it becomes utterly obvious that it’s not going to happen. The alternative is to admit that the great god Progress has been dead for decades.

    David BTL, you know, Terry Pratchett used a claim like that to make a joke in the very first Discworld novel. If everyone’s a trillionaire, er, what happens to the prices of goods and services?

  25. I don’t typically have a problem with my emails being undelivered, but three that I recently sent landed with no peep from the other side. If you are one of these three people, can you please check your spam boxes for a message from Wendy? If you didn’t receive anything, please let me know how I can reach you more directly. You can also email me through the address here, but let me know if you do so as this is an infrequently used email account.

    JMG – I wrote to you regarding corrected Chinese romanizations for TLG character names.

    Shaun Kilgore – I wrote you offering my assistance as a professional copy editor for the proposed green wizards publications.

    David Trammel – the new green wizards forum does not send password reset links, and I emailed you about that.

  26. JMG, I’d be willing to rotate w/ dfr and Will. Although even if you grant us all the Pogonip Privilege, that’s still only 3 Cutes/month out of hundreds of comments,

    I’m typing on a phone so it’s hard to go back & forth but I want to thank the person who noted that ginning up a war w/Iran isn’t going over well. I remember the Iraq war. I watched that grainy video over and over because I thought “The rest of them would lie but not General Powell.” (Feel free to laugh, I deserve it.). Finally I concluded the general must need new glasses because what he said was there just wasn’t there. Everybody told me I was a liberal or crazy. I felt like that guy in 1984 who stumbled upon proof the Party was lying and tossed it in the incinerator for fear he’d be caught with it—but my proof was still out there, where anyone could see it, and it still didn’t do any good. And almost everybody except the real Fox junkies seemed to know deep down it was all lies. Doublethink is real.

    I remember I first read 1984 at the age of 16 or thereabouts and I thought, “Oh, come on, a whole country couldn’t be that gullible.” Oh yes they could.

  27. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I have wanted to run a line of inquiry by you for some time connected to economics and the value of precious metals (both with relation to their use as an economic standard and their relationship to symbolism). Its been a while since I read it, but I remember both in your book “The Wealth of Nature” and in podcasts you have criticized the gold standard and shown approval for debt laden economies such as Japan’s. I must admit, this puzzles me. As I understand your theory of economics one could divide wealth into 3 broad categories. First, there was the primary wealth of nature which included all the wonderful stuff that nature gives us for free, which includes a working ecosystem. Then there was the secondary wealth which included the goods and services which humans refashioned from nature, such as a house made out of wood and nails. And finally there were the abstract representations found in stocks, bonds, and other similar things. The reason why your criticism of a commodity back economic system (such as a gold standard) and your support for a debt drenched system (such as Japan’s confuses) me is because I would have thought that an economy based on something natural would be more stable and resistant to the wild fluctuations of value that come from tertiary economies. The economy can only grow so fast if you need to provide real, physical wealth before you can buy something, which seems like this should keep the economy from growing too fast, or at least as fast as our consumer based economy does. Yes, your average economist wants the economy to keep growing forever, but you have noted numerous times that this is impossible, so what’s so bad about slowing the economy down with a pair of golden handcuffs. Stated otherwise, isn’t a gold standard based on secondary wealth, and debt based on tertiary wealth? And shouldn’t we want our way of representing wealth to come as close to primary wealth as possible, making the gold better than the debt?

    I know you often quote that the gold standard let to many panics from the 1870’s until the creation of the Federal Reserve. This is true, but to be fair America is a bad example. America began under a silver standard. Most people depended on silver for everyday exchanges while only the banks and other rich people hoarded gold. We went off the silver standard during the Civil War and 20 years later returned to a metallic standard under gold, which inflated the value of the rich bank’s savings while suppressing the value of the average person’s work. Thus, the gilded age in America was bound to create deflationary crashes because so few Americans had gold. Nevertheless, while this was happening in America the Germans were running a balanced budget and becoming the leading economy in Europe. They were also creating substantial social works programs for their population. All this suggests the problem was not with gold itself, but rather the dishonest way that American banks pulled one over the average, silver using American.

    But there is a deeper, almost spiritual aspect to this question. I know you also like to point out that rich Romans in Britannia use to hoard gold and they usually were robbed and killed before they ever got to use it. I readily agree that doomsday prepping with a cave full of spam and gold is misguided… to put it mildly. But by the exact same measure, several centuries later after all the markets where one could exchange goods for precious metals were long gone the Vikings still killed and were killed in order to steal precious metals and stones. They had no where to spend the gold, but something drew them to it.
    Something deep down in their consciousness told them this seemingly useless metal was so valuable it was worth dying for. Doesn’t this suggest that part of the value for the precious metals comes from something more than their monetary value? What if the reason why humans century after century return to the precious metals is because they are malleable and do not tarnish nor rust. Thus, they are the perfect mediums by which we can create symbolic representations of what we value, whether that be for religious, ceremonial, and/or civil use. Stated otherwise, what if the reason why the precious metals have value is because of who we are as symbolic beings? If that is so, than it seems that the mediums will retain their value for as long as people are people.

    I know that this line of questioning took longer than I wanted it to, but I wanted to see what you thought of the argument.

  28. Somewhat as a follow-on to Davids post. About 6 weeks ago I went thru a crisis of despair.
    I had lost all hope that ‘we’ will ever do anything effective to stop climate change, leading to our own extinction. I got rather emotional about ‘the last robin’ singing to attract a non-existent mate. [set off by hearing a ‘dawn chorus’ of one bird!]
    This outbreak of despair was probably partly triggered by Chris Martenson’s informative & heartfelt rant @

    Since then, I’ve regained some equanimity by believing we’ll avoid the worst of climate change because a societal collapse would stop our use of fossil fuels B4 we would otherwise. Wishful thinking or not, it allows me to keep moving….

    Searching for insight into this loss of hope, I came across a very thought-provoking, & insightful series written by Dahr Jamail & Barbara Cecil, being archived @ Highly recommended for all!


  29. Yeah, that was the character, Wowbagger! And he insulted poor old Arthur, who wanted to respond appropriately but didn’t think of it till too late. 😄

    It occurs to me that in a Hankian society (“why don’t you mind your own business”) a guy like that would probably have a sizable bounty on his head.

    My favorite part of those books is Marvin’s conversation with the mattresses. I have it bookmarked for when I have a bad day.

  30. President Trump is already signalling that the US Navy won’t be providing tanker escort patrols indefinitely and has called upon the Chinese and Japanese navies to send ships for that purpose. Be a great opportunity for the Chinese to show off their new state-of-the-art Nanchang class guided missile cruisers and the Japanese to show off their new Izumo class helicopter carriers (expected to be upgraded to aircraft carriers in the near future). It would also be a great opportunity for the Indian Navy to showcase its latest warships, as you suggested.

  31. I think a good first step in recognizing reality should be to eschew, when possible, the use of the term “deserve”. Rarely does anything good come of believing one “deserves” something. (Either that, or to consider ironically that the word originally meant “to be subject to”.)

  32. Following the Magic Monday thread of what we may as well call “initiatic fiction”, my personal recommendations would be Alan Moore’s Promethea, if you’re into comics, and Alejandro Jodorowski’s The Holy Mountain, if you’d rather have a cinematic experience. As for books, I do not know where to start. Could you recommend a few?

    Thanks as always!

  33. David by the Lake, I also found those comments interesting. Thanks for posting them.

    Re. Oreskes & limits
    There is a lot of intellectual ferment going on at the moment around various ideas in environmentalism, especially as some political wings, especially on the left, which didn’t previously prioritise the environment are now realising they need to, thanks to campaigns such as Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg’s school strikes. (This is principally visible via Twitter and articles.)
    One of those is the concept of limits. This is now getting pushback at least as much from some types of anti-capitalist as by BAU greenwashers.

    Only two or three years ago, population had been pushed up the agenda again by research studies showing how having fewer/no children was one of the best ways for westerners to decrease their environmental footprint. Now even once-beloved figures such as David Attenborough are getting more criticism for discussing population, as there is a determination to equate it with racism, or playing into the hands of racists, even when those who raised it are very clear that rich Westerners have by far the worst environmental impact per capita.

    On what is, I guess, the far left, because it’s beyond Sanders/Corbyn, there seems to be more and more said about open borders, and wanting to be open to sharing with climate refugees. (There’s also an obvious reaction against Trump/Brexit.)
    There are some subgroups (such as transhumanist anarchists and the Fully Automated Luxury Communism with space-mining crowd) who promulgate the idea that all limits are fash.
    But more or less down the middle are some interesting people who I think would be okay with being described as ecosocialists, who say some limits are necessary but are reframing some of them, and are also examining the history of the concepts of limits used in environmental research, where they came from and what foundations they do and don’t have. For those also into intellectual history, this looks very interesting:

    A lot of this will sound fringe to plenty of readers here, but these things feed through into more mainstream media and discourse, due to networks like Twitter. Watered-down versions of ideas from these academics and essayists tend to appear in the likes of the Guardian and New Statesman a few weeks or months later.

    Another thing that looks like it might be brewing is a pushback against doomers, which, undoubtedly because of the nuance-free nature of Twitter, has been portrayed by at least one very big name climate scientist as a [false] dichotomy between people who believe it’s still worth acting, and doomers who believe there are some very nasty big changes on the way so everyone may as well give trying to help. The idea being that now doomers are getting to be a bigger problem than deniers. The doomers are characterised as bad for morale and damaging to the collective effort, in a way very reminiscent of Second World War public information campaigns. Obviously there are *some* doomers who believe in doing precisely nothing to help and consuming as much as they can till they can’t any more, but I think there are actually a lot more people who want to make things less bad, alongside knowing tougher times are on the way and understanding that it’s a good idea to be psychologically prepared for that. (Like many folk here.)

  34. From time to time, the question has come up regarding “how do we preserve information, in a coming world of scarce and/or unreliable electricity?” One answer is “print it on paper”, which invites the question “how do we preserve paper?” There are two main threats to paper: fire, and water. (Earth and air being relatively benign!) Let’s assume that we’re all aware of the fast danger of fire. Water, in the form of high humidity, promotes the slow growth of mold (and bugs), so I’ve been thinking about how to keep my library dry. Maybe a cloth bag of dessicant chemical, which could be re-used after baking out absorbed water in a solar-powered oven, would help?

    The first step is to quantify the problem: how much water do I need to extract from the air? It’s not too hard to find a psychrometric chart which relates relative humidity (in percent of saturation) to absolute water content (grams per liter, or pounds per cu. ft, if you prefer). According to these calculations, my 1000 cu. ft. office, at 80F, 80% humidity, should contain about 1.5 lbs. of water vapor. So, a bag of dessicant chemical is probably not going to have much impact!

    However, I also put a portable dehumidifier unit into the office, closed the door, and let it run all day. I the measured almost 8 lbs. of water collected! So, now this looks like a much bigger challenge. I don’t yet know whether I’m extracting absorbed water out of my books and wall coverings, or dry air is being replaced by humid air as fast as I dry it, or both. The idea of building an air-tight bookcase, to minimize the amount of dessicant needed, is looking more attractive all the time.

    I’m continuing to run the dehumidifier, hoping that the stored moisture will be depleted eventually, and less energy will be needed to maintain dry conditions.

  35. Good news on the home gardening front: the governor of Florida has signed a right-to-garden bill which mandates that residents of Florida have the right to grow fruit and vegetables in any part of their residential property, including the front yard. (Some Florida cities and towns have forbidden residents to grow fruit or veggies in the front yard because it “looks bad”.)

  36. Jumping in here as a engineer working to integrate renewables here in Ireland, I have to say I have a lot of scepticism about the effectiveness of all the “green” energy panics. We have a fair mount of wind energy and other than raising our rates and amassing debt. Most of the analysis seems to be pushed by political agendas and switching to electric vehicles has so many issues when you run the numbers.

    The other interesting note is that the latest generation of Euro 6 diesel vehicles produce no more emissions than electric vehicle. (see report, “A comparison of real driving emissions from Euro 6 diesel passenger cars with zero emission vehicles and their impact on urban air quality complianceUrban air quality study: extensionIReport no.8/18 -

    So IMHO there is a lot of insanity around scaring people with climate change then proposing expensive solutions that will cause turmoil and hardship while having little if any impact on climate change. (Pat Swords at the does a very interesting engineering analysis at worth reading)

    My own inclination is to start workshops to pull out some of the great small scale tech developed in the 1970’s and see if we can get it working (for example we have a *lot* of small farms with cows here and methane digesters might be a handy addition).

    On other news, planting new flower beds has resulted in many visits by local honey bees . Keeping significant parts as wild meadow seems to be working to support the local ecology though we back up in the Coilte Ireland forest which is farmed Sitka Spruce and reminds me a lot of Mirkwood Forest. I am hoping the new initiatives to diversify the farmed forests will help being back some of the missing wildlife.

    Lastly, a hello to @Maxine Rogers on Denman. You probably know my aunt, Penny Burd, a long time resident!. My last scifi short story on Zendexor’s Old Solar System site,”Europa Dive”, features Denman Island, which I have lovely memories of.

  37. I’ve noticed that David by the Lake, Varun, perhaps Lady Cutekitten and some other regular commenters live in the Madison/Milwaukee area. I’m near the Isthmus of the Four Lakes. Would any readers who live in reasonable travel distance in this area be interested in meeting up for the purposes of exploring themes of Ecosophia, green wizardry, and other relevant topics?

    @ David:

    I’ve attended MREA the last couple of years and even led one of the activist workshops. I am recovering from a decade-plus career in environmental activism, and I have a feeling that I may even know the identity of the fellow you mentioned who spoke about social justice.

  38. Are there any real-life magical artifacts that might have inspired all those fictional magic rings and swords? I know there was a certain Japanese swordsmith whose swords were reputed to be meaner than fooftawoo.

  39. John, in this week’s Magic Monday post, you said there are a total of seven planes, including three spiritual planes, only one of which humans can perceive, with the others being beyond human comprehension. You also stated there are also the physical, astral and mental planes. By my count, that is a total of six planes mentioned. So what is the other plane and where does it fit into the scheme of things?

  40. Will Oberton:
    I was diagnosed with nummular eczema a couple of years back – also had my share of allergies too. Not wanting to be dependent on steroids, I tried a number of alternative therapies that provided moderate management. However, hands down this was the solution for me:
    Regularly take a cold (realllllllly cold) shower. Since doing so (at least six months now) I’ve only needed to use a skin moisturizer (Aquaphor) once a week at most – absolutely no medication necessary. It also feels good – maybe not for the first few seconds, but it’s certainly invigorating and probably healthier than coffee!

  41. In the past few days I’ve had some thunderingly powerful experiences with my patron deity, that were both life-changing and quite literally indescribable. Since having them, my mundane life seems much less than it was, my mundane desires seem more depressing, and a lot of my fears, strivings, hopes, aspirations, etc all seem rather base and lackluster now.

    Again, I should emphasize the dazzling nature of the spiritual experiences, how clean and lovely, and ecstatic. How bright and full. I guess, I’m having difficulty integrating this experience of Union and Love into the rest of my life.

    My patron goddess told me, to the best of my understanding, that everything that I saw and now see is actually quite true, both regarding the nature of the spiritual states I experienced and the light cast upon my life, and that part of the issue that I’m experiencing is that a certain “door of perception” has been opened and this light now shines into my waking consciousness, revealing what is dirty and broken in my mundane life which before was occluded by the dimness of my own understanding. Now some bad habits and some oversights are brought to consciousness and I can no longer derive enjoyment from things that I know are bad for me.

    Basically, I’m curious if what I’m experiencing is a “thing”? I think I’ve had a classical mystical experience, but since my patron deity is not Abrahamic, the tone has been quite different than what Evelyn Underhill describes, but there are some definite similarities. Also, these realms described in books as indescribable are, it seems, quite real! I’m curious folk’s thoughts on this sort of ego-shaking experience.

  42. JMG (and maybe Sara) and all,
    Since I know quite a few folks knit or crochet and also comment here, I was wondering about your reaction to the recent Ravelry ban of all things (and people who support) Trump. I am very sad and a little shaken. I never felt the need to discuss my political beliefs on Ravelry, but have bought quite a few knitting patterns there and downloaded even more free patterns. My lack of commenting on Ravelry means I would not be one of the banned, but only because I stuck to my knitting (in every sense of the word).

    And then today, in a separate, but maybe related incident, I saw news about an employee of a high end bar in Chicago spit in the President’s son’s face..

    So is the breakdown of everything gathering speed, or is it just me?

    Break break

    JMG, I finished Book 5, Providence, a week and a half ago and was waiting for the open post to tell you that the series just keeps getting better. You know the best part? Your characters do all sorts of exciting things, but they also spend a lot of time in the library. All 5 books are wonderful and I can’t wait for the 6th.

  43. John,

    You called it right on the nose with the Indian Navy. They have already deployed both armed guards and naval escorts for Indian merchant ships in the Persian Gulf. Among the Indian contingent: the destroyer INS Chennai, India’s latest and most advanced destroyer, armed with Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles capable of both anti-ship and land attack missions and able to be equipped with nuclear or conventional warheads.

  44. LAU, thanks for this! I wasn’t aware of that — not surprising, as there are so many things being done to mess up the environment these days, it’s got to be hard for anybody to keep track.

    Yorkshire, fascinating. That is to say, the body is a complex system that can’t be expected to respond to changes in a linear fashion. Who’d have thought? 😉

    Dwig, yep — Pasha Glubb isn’t much cited these days, but he was coming out of the same very sensible line of thought as Spengler, Toynbee, et al., seeing the familiar signs of decline and fall going on all around and reasoning from classical examples.

    David BTL, many thanks for this. Here we go ’round the mulberry bush…

    Cynic, that’s a simple question with a very complex answer. To begin with, leys (not “ley lines”) were originally identified by Alfred Watkins in the 1920s as the remnants of an ancient system of trackways and markers for land navigation. Back in Neolithic times, when the only way around Britain was on foot, merchants and pilgrims needed to be able to find their way across vast tracts of unfamiliar ground, and a network of footpaths lined up on markers visible from far off emerged over the centuries. As ages and peoples passed, Britain ended up with a mess of ancient tracks that ran more or less straight across the landscape, lining up on a gallimaufry of sites from different eras, since here a standing stone had been replaced by a church steeple, there an ancient mound had become the motte of a Norman castle, and so on. That’s what Watkins meant by leys.

    Then in 1968. John Michell published The View Over Atlantis, which claimed that the leys were actually built six thousand years ago all over the world as channels for a subtle energy linked with the earth. The book’s one of the most remarkable products of Britain’s long tradition of landscape mysticism, and Michell (who knew a lot about occultism) caught onto some very deep lore about the subtle earth currents, but bollixed that up with leys and a great deal more. Later writers were even less cautious, lost track of the idea that leys were built, and ended up using pendulum dowsing to trace various competing schemes of leys (now renamed “ley lines”) all over the world.

    As far as I can tell, Watkins was right, Michell was right about some things but not about leys, and the later crop of ley fanciers got caught up in one of the self-feeding delusions you get when you don’t get in the habit of testing your inner perceptions to avoid fooling yourself. Of course your mileage may vary…

    (It’s a source of some amusement to me, btw, that the street where I live is exactly lined up on midsummer sunset. For a few days right around the summer solstice, if you sit in my bay window and look up the street, the sunset is perfectly framed between an old and splendid oak tree and a distant house. Talk about a suitable apartment for a couple of Druids…)

    Justin, glad to hear it. I think of Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk as two peas from the same golden extraterrestrial pod — the difference between them was that Sun Ra was a well-read occultist and Monk was not, and so Sun Ra knew how to deal with really strange psychological states and still keep his balance, while Monk wasn’t so fortunate.

    Dfr1973, you and Her Kittenship will have to work that out. My goal is to make sure that this comment section doesn’t get overwhelmed by cute kitten pictures and the like, and handing out a monopoly seemed like a very traditional way to do it.

    Susalson, every year or so somebody comes up with another set of arguments insisting that we really, truly are going to get a fast crash for real this time. They’re always wrong, and for exactly the same reason: they all, without exception, take some current trend, extrapolate it in a straight line out to infinity, and ignore the existence of countervailing factors that are generated by linear changes and cancel them out. In the real world, natural systems balance themselves around an equilibrium condition that shifts slowly over time; in the real world, human systems do exactly the same thing. Do you remember when the global economy was going to crash irrevocably into ruin as soon as oil prices topped $100 a barrel? Or when there would be no cars left on the roads by 2008 because of petroluem shortages? I certainly do — and ten years from now, we’lll be looking back on Bendell’s predictions in exactly the same spirit.

    Scotlyn, thank you. That deserves to get a little more circulation:
    fossil fuel subsidy

  45. I apologies for bringing this back the conversation to things more ‘Arch Druid’ in nature but a few months back I posted here about physical limits in regards to future computers. With computers being one of the most complex technologies we have produced in terms of the energy required relative physical to output, it should come as no surprise that the industry will start to feel the impacts of resource availability depletion and the limits of physics.

    The once darling industry that would ‘innovate’ at break neck speeds is now struggling to barely hold on to what they have today. That said nowadays most people are more afraid of what the next innovation will be forced onto them rather than something desirable.

    As expected, it doesn’t look like a resource issue on the outside but more like a “pivot of business goals”, to use their speak. Turns out the industry is already moving in this direction trying to countering these issues. See the link to the news from August 2018. I will warn, the article is more for reference than for most people here to read. Loads of technical details that do not interest most folk (and for good reason) but it was the best I could find. I will summarize below.

    Essentially, one of the biggest companies that manufactures computer chips has given up on trying to develop ever more expensive and energy intense chip production facilities. The end of progress for computers at a lower level is nigh! Personally the end of progress in terms of functionality was in the late 90’s.

    It is now conceivable that we may start to see computing in terms of performance start to go backwards just to keep these things affordable to the average westerner. Decades of slow decline back into the days of the Commodore 64 and beyond!

    Interesting times ahead to say the least.

  46. @ JMG

    Re the workshops

    I tried very hard to focus on the gritty, practical aspects of the whole business of local, incremental improvement. The first thing I said the the group was “ Nothing I’m going to talk about here is sexy.”

    As for the ecospiritual workshop idea, you’re probably right about pushback. There are things that need to be said in these places, though, and to a degree, I don’t mind being one to say them. Politely, of course. I’ll be giving the idea some thought over this coming winter.


    Thank you for that image!

    @ Antonomasia

    Re limits

    We seriously need to be discussing limits. I find it mind-boggling that few even acknowledge the underlying assumptions of infinite growth and boundless resources that lay beneath most discourse today.

    @ Morfa

    Huzzah for front-yard gardens! I’ll be mentioning that story to my fellow council-members.


    I’m 2.5 hours from Madison and 1.5 hours from Milwaukee. I’d be willing to meet up with a local group somewhere in the area for a confab. I think there are others in our blog community here around Green Bay, as well.

    Re the activist workshops

    I certainly have nothing against them. It’s just not my cup o’ tea. I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to watch the kind of psycho-spiritual energy I’m around. I’d rather learn about deep winter greenhouse design anyway, since it’ll do more for the cause in the long run 😉

  47. @ Will Oberton

    One of the oddball things that comes up repeatedly if you read paleo diet forums long enough is the large number of people reporting that, while they went on the diet to (lose weight, control diabetes, other reasons), they noticed after (six months, a year, etc) that “hey, I didn’t get hayfever this year” or “my seasonal allergies didn’t happen this season”.

    Since that diet eliminates grains, legumes, and dairy, I’d imagine a lot of people who try it have found, quite accidentally, that their allergies were the result of food sensitivities– since those categories cover most of the more common ones.

  48. On last week’s Magic Monday, you answered a question from someone who received an unpleasant visit from ‘Jesus’ after being the target of evangelical prayers. Your answer was to the effect that the entity these people were praying to was not the real Christ but rather something far more evil. How does one tell the difference when sending one’s prayers? Do the devotee’s intentions or state of mind determine where the request ends up? Surely the evangelicals in the story truly believed they were praying to the real Jesus. How does a person of good will avoid falling into this trap?

  49. KevPilot, not really. It’s part of the western world’s immense body of rejected knowledge, as is magic, and it may work via some related mechanism, but it’s a tradition of its own, and many of the people who practice it would be horrified if someone told them they were engaged in occultism.

    Neal, er, perhaps you could tell me what this is in reference to.

    Maxine, I hear the same thing from a lot of places, especially but not only on the west coast.

    Tim, (1) I took the time to add a few scenes and factor in a few changes — for example, we didn’t get into a war in Syria. (2) You remain a little more open to the inner planes, which can get in the way of dealing with everyday life. (3) Please go to The Magic Monday FAQ and read what it has to say about banishing rituals around children, because you’ve gotten it all bollixed up. Help me, everybody: why is it that so many perfectly intelligent people, faced with a simple set of rules about doing magic around children, so consistently garble them into tghpoasjgleistyuhnasjmgjwei?

    (Yes, that’s a word. In a language I just made up. Point taken, I hope…)

    Teresa, I remember that dimly, but not whose translation it was!

    Ryan, yep — in fact I’ve written a number of essays for the Dark Mountain project, which Paul helped found.

    Temporaryreality, please put in a comment here marked “not for posting” with an email address where I can reach you, and we’ll see if we can get it to work starting from this side.

    Your Kittenship, the thing is, you can only lie to people so many times before they stop believing anything you say. The medical industry and the scientific community are finding that out these days, and the political establishment in DC are joining them.

    Stephen, I’m not sure where you got the idea that I’m particularly impressed by economies run on endlessly inflating debt; one of the central points of The Wealth of Nature is that when you let the tertiary economy of abstract tokens of value get out of step with the primary and secondary economies, disaster follows. As usual, though, the opposite of one bad idea is another bad idea; the opposite of an economy based on the mass production of unpayable debt is an economy based on a rigidly fixed system of tokens such as gold. Both have severe problems. With regard to gold, Britain had just as many disastrous booms and busts as the US while both were on the gold standard, so it wasn’t just America; nor is it true that the Vikings had nowhere to spend the gold they looted — au contraire, look into the evidence for long-distance maritime trade links connecting the Viking areas (where they came from, and also where they settled) with the Middle East, where there were plenty of merchants who would take Viking gold in exchange for goods and services. The Vikings were among other things capable businessmen, and always made sure they had a market for the plunder they took.

    Wynnsol, by all means keep moving. It won’t take a sudden crash to keep the natural world going. First, the natural world is already evolving around us, adapting to our stupidities and in many areas recovering rather well — Rhode Island, for example, has its first breeding population of wild bears in something like a century, and they’re doing fine, thank you. Second, you don’t have to wait for a crash — go into various corners of flyover country, or the equivalents elsewhere in the world, and it’s already here, following the usual timetable of decline and fall. We are already well past peak and accelerating down the slope on the far side. You don’t have to worry about the last robin; robins are smart, adaptable generalists who are good at surviving. They’ll be hopping around when the last crumbling ruins of the industrial age vanish beneath the undergrowth.

    Your Kittenship, I only read the book in question once, but Wowbagger’s name stuck. 😉

    Baboonery, bingo. And so the US carries out another stage of its withdrawal from empire, with just enough blustering and saber-rattling to make sure nobody tries to accelerate the tempo…

    Barrigan, thank you. In my imaginary utopia anyone who says “I deserve x” would be deprived of it by force of law until they get a clue.

    Juan Pablo, Hermann Hesse’s Demian, Steppenwolf, and The Glass Bead Game are among my favorites; Dion Fortune’s novel The Goat Foot God is good — and of course, there’s always The Weird of Hali

    Antonomasia, thank you for this. The pushback against “doomers” is something I’ve expected for a while now. Since the goal of mainstream environmentalism is to save the planet while guaranteeing that today’s well-to-do classes maintain their absurdly extravagant lifestyles; the “doomers” — i.e., those who point out that this is impossible — are a far graver threat to them than “denialists,” who share the same goal of keeping the comfortable classes comfortable and just disagree about the means.

    Lathechuck, good. I suspect that’s one of the reasons why closed bookcases were so common back in the day. You might also investigate writing materials other than paper…

    Morfa, huzzah! Keep an eye on Ron de Santis, the current governor of Florida, who’s been heavily involved in this; I expect to see his name in national politics sooner rather than later.

    Jamie, many thanks for this. The use of climate change as a sales tactic for overpriced and underperforming technofixes is a major issue just now, of course. Glad to hear the bees are happy with your garden!

  50. I’d be curious your thoughts on secession in the broadest sense: Brexit, Calexit, Cascadia, Jefferson, Quebec, etc. And related, what is the ideal size for government?

    Personally, I think it’d be healthier if we had more local autonomy even it meant we were poorer in raw GDP terms. The city state (or league of cities) seems like a more manageable arrangement that would instill a sense of pride and identity in a populace, rooted in the local landscape…

    Problem is, empires or nation states don’t break apart peacefully. And history tells us bad hombres will take advantage of a power vacuum…

  51. I wonder if you have any career advice for a 19 year old man. My son is studying engineering at URI, he’s a bright boy but he hates the uninspired teaching and he sees the education he is getting as useless so his grades have been suffering. He is switching majors to environmental economics which he says has more meaning for him. Perhaps he will begin to understand what is happening in our progress seeking world, but I’m not even sure he will get exposed to anything but conventional ideas. He’s not going to school on borrowed money, so at least he will not become an indentured servant. Any thoughts?

  52. I have been waiting for this open post!!!

    In the Hali series you occasionally use the Aklo language. Did you base that on anything?


  53. (Hope this doesn’t count as a sales pitch, or that it will be quietly cyberspace’d if so. That said…)

    A while back, someone posted a query about whether there was an esoteric side to programming. Along with some other things I had encountered around the same time, it inspired me to write a series of meditations on the subject, which are now collected in a manuscript the length of a slim book. I just finished the second draft, and would be in the market for beta readers if anyone’s interested.

    Happy Belated Solstice everyone!

  54. “In my imaginary utopia anyone who says “I deserve x” would be deprived of it by force of law until they get a clue.”

    As with all utopias, there’s a flaw: people. Specifically, in this case, people like me: I deserve to live in a society where saying I deserve something means I lose it! 😉

    Also, if I may continue my thoughts from last week regarding cacomagic, it seems like a very strange, and very problematic thing to take cacomagic to form an identity, but that’s what a great many people have done. This helps explain many of the oddities of our culture, but there’s a different point I’d like to focus on for now: this is the ultimate example of other-power.

    If you’re not even able to form your own ego, then what kind of person are you? The answer is that you become whatever kind of person whoever produces the cacomagic wants you to be. What I find breathtakingly strange about it is that as far as I can tell, very few of the people who make it to the ranks where they are producing the widespread cacomagic practice banishing rituals, and even if they do, there’s so much of it that some of it will get on them; and it’s harder to protect against workings when also engaged in similar such workings oneself. This is particularly true as, almost by definition, they need to be engaging with the world in some way to be influential.

    Now, if they people who make the cacomagic are themselves falling victim to our societies love of it, there’s a weird implication here: many of the people forming the cacomagic which shapes our society are caught in it themselves; so, who’s making the decisions?

    The answer is that nobody is, which means we’ve effectively set our society on autopilot, based on the ideas which were common back when cacomagic wasn’t severe enough to completely smother the independence, autonomy, and peculiarities of the people making it. What this means is that our society is going to head to the extremes, since there is no one with the ability to reign it in, until the system of cacomagic we have set up starts to come undone.

    There are two other points which have occurred to me as well: the first is that it does seem very, very likely that one of the prime messages of the widespread form of cacomagic we see would be “Tune in next week!” This on its own would likely explain why so many people have issues with TV, internet, and porn, while very few serious occultists do, at least the ones doing banishing rituals.

    I wonder if the effect isn’t more subtle though: it may be more along the lines of “Take in as much cacomagic as possible, and avoid anything which disrupts it!” This phrasing would neatly explain why so many occultists who still have a TV/extensively use the internet resist banish rituals so strongly: it’s not that they fear disrupting the cacomagic, or find it disruptive, but instead the cacomagic itself makes it hard to start.

    This would also explain why I find it much harder to practice rituals when I’m living with my parents than when I had my own place: I didn’t have TV, or home internet, which severely restricted my exposure to cacomagic; while my parents have TV, and home internet; the TV is hard to avoid sometimes; and I find it hard to use internet responsibly.

  55. Hi JMG!

    I will be putting this quote of yours in my already bulging folder of wisdom gleaned from Ecosophia and the old ADR:

    “Since the goal of mainstream environmentalism is to save the planet while guaranteeing that today’s well-to-do classes maintain their absurdly extravagant lifestyles; the “doomers” — i.e., those who point out that this is impossible — are a far graver threat to them than “denialists,” who share the same goal of keeping the comfortable classes comfortable and just disagree about the means.”

    I am a regular on a parenting forum – it skews heavily left-wing, educated and upper middle-class, with a scattering of outliers (including myself). Whenever a conversation is started about ‘saving’ the planet, I get a HUGE amount of pushback when I point out that industrial civilisation (ie – their high living standard) is totally dependent on fossil fuels, and that renewables are not capable of sustaining anything like the material comfort many of us have enjoyed until now. Quite a few have got very angry at me. The first half of your quote nails why this is – I’m telling them that their life is going to get poorer and harder, and almost nobody wants to hear that.

  56. @ Will Oberton

    Homeopathy for sure, but you’ll likely want a professional or you can get into more problems by suppressing the disorder to deeper layers (it’s complicated). It’s like plumbing or whatever, you can diy but sometimes an expert is worth the $300. Or you could try the Schuessler cell salt method (much less complicated since the remedy decision is limited to 12 vs. 2500+). There’s a wheel of the cell salt correspondences on JMG’s Dreamwidth blog:
    Both of these approaches are well-tested and work when used per their respective guiding principles.

    Acupuncture is also very effective in proper hands (preferably a TCM practitioner vs. a generic hcp with a six-week course probably aimed mostly at treating pain).

    Herbalism is another well worked out approach though I don’t use this as much as I’d like. Eating locally produced honey or bee pollen daily is often helpful for pollen related allergies and asthma.

  57. Hey there JMG,

    I moved away from atheism several years ago after being hit over the head by eminent writers like yourself (and a personal crisis thrown in for extra fun), but still struggle with spirituality in practice. At first I followed the advice of guys like Guenon to go be a part of the traditional religions (Catholicism, orthodoxy, Islam or buddhism) and fake it till you make it but nothing clicked even though I went to the services. Then i tried out protestant christianity in my area and that just leaves me more bored and disenchanted with group religion.

    I meditate daily, which helps feel centered, but my prayer sessions to God and the gods always end up feeling like they float up into nothingness. I just gotta wonder, did all those years of atheism damage my ability to connect to the greater spiritual reality? Would you have any recommendation on what practice I could incorporate to actually feel a connection?

    Thanks, Andrew

  58. Re: water- witching
    A local plumber (definitely unlikely occultist) out here in flyover land accurately located our leaking well line very efficiently that way, saying “it just works”, much to my rationalist spouse’s bemusement. He’d learned it from another rural plumber. Best of all, a lower bill and a less torn up lawn.

  59. So, JMG, I’d like to ask: what do you make of the recent drama regarding Silicon Valley’s attempts to fix the 2020 elections? Project Veritas did an article on it recently (, and since then, it’s seemed like the vacuous corporations controlling most forms of social media have kicked their censorship into high gear. Even /r/the_Donald, which you mentioned just last week as an example of the new political mainstream, has been quarantined, meaning new users are dissuaded from joining and its visibility is reduced. Do you foresee any major blowback from their tightened grip on what content can be shown on their platforms?

  60. Violet, I don’t have a direct response to your question, but if you don’t mind sharing, I’m curious what kind/kinds of magic do you practice? I believe I’ve seen you recommend typical Golden Dawn rituals like the LBRP in past Magic Mondays, but your mention of a patron deity is fascinating as I’m not familiar with the term in GD practice.

  61. Good Evening,

    Thank you for another open post, I had something closer to magic to ask about but can’t remember at the moment but right now I have two questions.

    First, a more lighthearted one, I’m sure you’ve heard of people making machines that look like radios to talk to spirits, is there anything to that? Apparently my dad came into possesion of one years ago and it scares the bejeebus out of him.

    Second, I’ve read multiple places that all it would take is a shock to the system to really set things off, how big of a role do you think the F-35 will play in that? I see it brought up all the time and something in me keeps screaming that it will be a big vector for that shock.

  62. JMG,
    Received the new TLG in today’s mail. Ordered the same day Providence was supposed to ship or the day after. Still no Providence except the E-book version. May have to break down and read that one.


  63. @will oberton said, “Does anyone have any good ideas on which alternative medical treatment/practices are good for asthma and allergies? Hypothetically speaking of course.”

    We find a hot tea made with young leaves, buds and flowers of stinging nettle to provide relief from most symptoms.

  64. A question to everyone: what do you think could and should be done to salvage America’s dysfunctional “health care” system? What would make the biggest difference and help the most people? My reason for asking this relates back to last week’s discussion.

  65. Why, yes, all these loooong, delicately balanced service and supply chains are quite dependable…

  66. Dear jmg

    For my first comment I have to interrelated things to say concerning nuclear power.

    First, it’s been announced that some members of the Australian liberal national party are apparently looking into seeing if nuclear power could be economical enough that they could reverse the nuclear power ban that has protected Australia for many years. I don’t think it will pass since it isn’t the first time this has happened but I’m not totally sure.

    Second, while my ex-stepdad “P” was taking me to my half-sisters birthday I mentioned the above information to him and he told me that a friend of his who worked in the Lucas heights research reactor ,one of 2 nuclear reactors in Australia, told him that the Lucas heights reactor was also secretly used for power, not just research.

  67. I am currently reading “Lawrence of Arabia”, which is the official biography of T.E. Lawrence. Lawrence, along with Glubb Pasha, is one of my heroes.

    In the book, the author discusses how the British Indian government always saw the Middle East,particularly Persia and Mesopotamia, as a key area in its sphere of influence. The colonial government in Delhi had its own foreign policy, which often conflicted with not only those of the French and the Russians, but London as well. So I very much expect the independent successor state based in New Delhi to resume the imperial policies of the old British Indian government more and more as time goes on. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

  68. For JMG (and readers of the series),

    I keep hearing good things about the Weird of Hali books and I’m beginning to get intrigued. Do you need to have read Lovecraft’s works or know the mythos to enjoy JMG’s novels?

  69. Antonomasia , European and American fertility rates have been below replacement for nearly half a century, the US hitting this number in 1972 .

    What’s pushing population up in that part of the world is immigration and yet I never hear people saying “close your borders” only don’t have babies, Since this exhortation disproportionately affects European descended people in our native lands (Europe especially) you can see why this sounds rather racist no?

    In fact had the Europe and the US sealed its borders back in the 60’s , our population would be in a pleasant decline now.

    Also the USA uses a lot less energy per capita than several Middle Eastern nations , it’s only 9th in the world . I don’t see people telling Qatar to stop using energy or to tell China which is now the world’s largest energy user overall to stop using or to have less babies either, Probably because it wouldn’t be allowed but again you can see why impoverishing the West without touching anyone else might not be taken very well.

  70. Hi JMG,

    I have to say I am impressed with your publication frequency. I know a few writers personally and I know even one book can be a colossal effort. Apparently, TSW, my friend.

    You made a comment recently about some ideas you had for your own interpretation of the Arthurian legends. Yes, please! I would love to read that.

    For my question, I am curious about house spirits and how to interact with them. Thanks to Marie Kondo, introducing oneself to the house is now out there in the mainstream American media. I’m not Shinto, though, I am a Druid working with the AODA. I have been listening, but so far no one is tapping me on the shoulder. Any suggestions for how to get a little further along with this?

  71. Dear Rolf,

    The GD type magic I practice is based on JMG’s Poltheist LBRP:

    I also do the Polytheist Middle Pillar :

    So the language of a Patron Deity is part of these variants. I consider the magic I do as in large part simply subtle hygiene. The same way that nasty infections can take hold of filthy skin, likewise I think one can all too easily get clogged pores and nasty infections of the subtle bodies. And so for health I find these magical practices very helpful.

  72. Ethan,

    I think the worst part is the claim that even if something is true they should still have the right to restrict it….


    I’d like to make a request: as part of the papers published after your death, would you mind including your natal chart? I’d love to see it, but looking at AOC’s chart with the idea of mucking about and royally messing her up, I see why you don’t want to share it, however the hints you’ve provided are tantalizing. (I’d also like to note I’m nowhere near the level of some others: if an amateur can see ways to cause AOC problems, then I don’t want to know what people who really know what they’re doing can do).

  73. JMG,

    What do you think the etheric effects of eating something like the “Impossible Burger” are? It looks nasty to me, but I’m unsure what effects it could have. It’s highly processed, and the GMOs are dangerous on a physical level, but I’d imagine the etheric effects of eating plants that have been processed to be meat would be fairly ugly too, but I don’t know what they would look like.

    Regardless, it’s not something I’ll ever eat…

  74. Dear Will J,

    If I may;

    I’ve done banishing rituals for going on two years now and I use the internet more than I’d like. I don’t have a facebook or engage in any other social media than this site, but I’m on here a lot. Something I find helpful is to think “why do I do this?” If I’m honest about it, I use the internet as much as I do out of raw loneliness. There is no one I know who lives in a 25 miles radius who cares deeply about the things I devote my life to. And so here I am!

    Understanding that I use the internet to meet real, human needs allows myself to be a little more gentle with myself. In my misspent youth I had quite a few addictions; I was a cigarette smoker, a big pothead, and did quite a bit of speed until I thought my heart would give out. While I engaged in these addictive behaviors part of what made them so compelling was the *guilt* the fighting with myself, the giving into temptation. This sort of game kept me from asking the deeper questions of “why do I smoke cigarettes even when I don’t enjoy them?” the answer being, of course, “they help me fit in and break up my time and give me a nice hobby of self-hatred.”

    And so I think part of the cacomagia of addiction involves a complex dance of guilt, promises to do better, failing to live up to those promises, more guilt, rinse and repeat. This is clearly self-defeating and not great. So rather than focus on my internet use, which I concede is far from ideal, instead I see it as a somewhat inevitable aspect of where I’m at in my spiritual development, the time and place I live in, and the realities of unmet needs. And with that in mind, I focus on filling more of my time with activities I value rather than shaming myself for my starvation. And the thing is, personally I would rather eat Oscar Meyer Bologna on Wonderbread with Heinz Mayo then to nobly starve. And so the ways I meet my needs through the internet are certainly at least a little toxic, lack nutrition, and are not nearly tasty as the organic, farm to table option. But I find it much, much better than nothing.

    When I’ve taken this gentler approach to my addictions, when I lose the aspect of the dance of guilt, I find that they more easily melt away once I find ways of better meeting whatever need the addiction served to replace.

  75. @Maxine: Thank you for the heads up on grown children moving back in and helping their parents build houses. It’s good to know I’m not the only one doing this.

    Also, IIRC, you mentioned some time back that you pray regularly to Hekate. If so, what has your experience of her been?

    @Rolf: I don’t think you need to read Lovecraft to grasp the Weird of Hali, but his stories definitely add some depth to JMG’s setting, and provide a lot of context for what JMG is pushing back against.

  76. Any thoughts on Facebook’s proposed pseudo-cryptocurrency, Libra?

    I feel like it will probably fizzle away with no further comment, but I can’t completely dismiss the possibility of our society embracing ever new and greater forms of stupidity.

  77. John B., huzzah again! The revival of the victory garden (in those places where it’s been neglected) would be a major step toward economic sanity. The more of your needs you can meet through your own labor, without having to rely on the intermediation of money, the better.

    Your Kittenship, of course. Swords in particular seem to have a real tendency to pick up metaphysical characteristics — not sure why, but that seems to be reliable cross-culturally.

    Baboonery, that’s the divine plane, which is part of the seventh Cosmic plane (the one we’re on) but not accessible to human beings. So the full set of planes are Physical, Astral, Mental, three Spiritual planes (the plane of the life spirit, the plane of the human spirit, and the plane of the virgin spirit), and the plane of God or the gods.

    Violet, have you read accounts of mystical experiences from Hindu sources? That might be a good source for comparisons.

    Jean, the mainstream media has lost control of the narrative and is frantically trying to shut down alternative views as a form of damage control. The purge of dissidents from Ravelry is part of that; I understand, from a bit of trollery I fielded today, that r/the_donald over on Reddit has been “quarantined,” which is usually the step prior to deleting a sub, and that’s another part of the same coordinated push. It’s a fool’s errand, as there are plenty of other places for the same conversations to go on. Somebody could make an immense amount of money, in fact, by launching alternatives to the sites that are shutting out dissidents — they could get big ad buys from Chick-Fil-A and Yuengling Beer, just to start with, and in short order have a huge and passionately loyal base that would go out of its way to buy products from the advertisers.

    Thank you for your comments on The Weird of Hali — and thank you for noticing one of the things I wove into the series! Every one of the seven volumes has at least one important scene that takes place in a library. Yes, you can tell what some of my favorite places in the world have been since earliest childhood…

    Baboonery, one of the news websites I follow regularly is Asian Times, precisely because it carries news stories about the half of the world most Americans ignore. India’s naval buildup is a massive story, not least because India’s position gives it natural dominance of all the sea lanes between the great southeast Asian archipelagoes and the east coast of Africa. Watch for India to lease a naval base somewhere on the African coast; when that happens, the maritime Great Game is on.

    MichaelV, thank you for passing this on! That’s a sign I have been expecting for a while now, and now it’s here. The computer age ain’t over yet, but those of my readers who are in IT and still fairly young might consider making plans for a second career — and yes, learning how to downshift to simpler technologies will be a growth industry.

    David BTL, if you think it’s worth doing, by all means. Just be prepared.

    Kfish, it’s a function of attitude. If your prayers are motivated by self-righteousness, you’re going to be heard by beings who exist on that level, and let’s just say they’re not the kind of beings you want to hang out with. What I was told by the old Christian lady who taught me her method of Bible study is that before you pray to ask God to do anything not specifically mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer, you should read the Sermon on the Mount and see if your prayer is in harmony with its precepts. If not, then set your intention aside and ask God instead to have mercy on you and amend your sinful heart. She was literally one of the saintliest people I’ve ever encountered, so I think it was good advice.

    Brian, it’s gonna happen. I’m not happy about that — I’m sufficiently patriotic to have a strong emotional attachment to the USA as a national community — but no nation this large will be viable once fossil fuel energy prices itself out of the bulk-transport business. It does sometimes happen that a large country divides into smaller countries without dissolving into war — think of the division of the Roman Empire into eastern and western halves — and the US has managed changes nearly as traumatic with only one civil war, so there’s a chance. Still, we’ll see…

    Faraday, my advice to any young person who has spirit and a brain is to flee college at all costs, and get an apprenticeship in some hands-on field. The skilled trades are begging for apprentices while hundreds of thousands of poor saps every year are being chewed up and spat out by the academic industry. Your son can develop his intellectual life outside of work hours, while getting the kind of steady income his college-educated peers can only dream of, and avoiding the crushing conformism of the chattering classes. As the US empire winds down, managerial jobs are going to be far fewer, while jobs providing actual goods and services to actual human beings are going to have a steep growth curve. Your son can get in on the ground floor.

    Anthony, the Aklo language was invented by Arthur Machen in his novella “The White People,” which very strongly influenced Lovecraft. Lovecraft accordingly borrowed it for his own stories, and other Cthulhu mythos authors picked it up from Lovecraft. A huge number of the incidental details in The Weird of Hali are borrowed from Lovecraft, his fellow Weird Tales authors, and their sources in earlier weird fiction in exactly the same way; I left tentacled Easter eggs all over the place… 😉

    Christopher, sounds interesting. You might want to post some way for people to get in touch with you, though.

    Will J, ah, but in my Utopia anyone who tries to play recursive games with any of the rules — including this one — is flogged with wet cats until they repent. As for cacomagic — excellent! Yes, and in fact the great downside of cacomagic is that since it works by making people more reactive and less reflective, the raspberry jam principle guarantees that people who practice cacomagic themselves become more reactive and less reflective, until they basically can’t think at all.

    Ozquoll, yep. The hidden first commandment of the religion of progress is that the comfortable must never be expected to give up any of their comforts.

    Kris (if I may), thanks for this. I use cell salts as my primary home health care precisely because you can’t mess up much with low-potency remedies that have very broad effects. If I decided to try classical homeopathy you can bet your bottom dollar I’d hightail it to a good professional homeopath.

    Andrew, remember that the gods are not vending machines. They manifest when they want to, not when you want to, and there’s nothing you can do about that. If you have a daily meditation practice, great — but what kind of meditation do you do, do you have any other spiritual practices, and is there a religious tradition that attracts you more than others? That’s the data I would need to make any more cogent suggestion.

    Ethan, as I mentioned to Jean further up, I see this as a desperation move on the part of a media elite that’s lost control of the narrative. There are already online spaces out of their control — why do you think I moved off Blogger to a server I pay for? — and the tighter they try to grip, the more of the collective conversation of our time will slip through their fingers. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that the next move will be major antitrust actions against Google et al. with the aim of breaking up the big internet combines, paired with the emergence of new online social forums that cater to the rising populist counterculture.

    M.R., interesting. Is the radio-type device picking up electronic voice phenomena (EVP) or something else? As for the F-35, word is that the pilots who have to fly it call it the Penguin, because it flies like one. Of course it’s hopelessly outclassed in range, performance, and armament by the fighter planes of our rivals. (Not surprising, since it was optimized for one and only one mission — carrying out devastating raids on the US military budget.) If that object ever has to go head to head with real 5th-generation fighters, the US is going to be in a world of hurt very quickly.

    Janitor, you should contact the publisher soonest — I know there have been occasional problems with order fulfillment from the print-on-demand press that handles that. Shaun can get it fixed, though.

    Patricia O, I have a three-part program to solve America’s health care crisis. The first is to remove the exemptions from antitrust and other legislation that permit the medical industry to rig prices and duck the consequences of bad practice. The second is to pass laws authorizing registered nurses and physicians’ assistants to hang out their shingles on their own, without a MD’s supervision, to diagnose, treat, and prescribe for the 99% of health conditions that you don’t need an MD to deal with. The third is to abolish the laws that make it impossible for alternative health care practitioners to practice openly in most US jurisdictions — it’s past time that we treat Americans as adults and let them make their own health care choices, even when those conflict with the vested interest of the medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries. Do those three things, and competition will crash the price of health care and force physicians to offer good patient care if they want to stay in business at all.

    Phutatorius, ding! Exactly.

    Your Kittenship, but of course… 😉

    J.L.Mc12, I get the impression that Australia has the habit of jumping on board trends right about the time that everyone else is bailing out. Nuclear power is fading out worldwide because it’s uneconomical — no nation anywhere has ever been able to maintain a nuclear power industry without gargantuan government subsidies. So they can try it, but it’s just going to be a colossal money sink.

    Baboonery, bingo. It’s not impossible that in 200 years or so Britain will be an Indian colony…

    Robert, thanks for this! It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

    Rolf, you don’t need to know Lovecraft at all. It helps you get some of the in-jokes, but my main beta reader hadn’t read a word of Lovecraft since high school and didn’t remember a thing, and still loved them.

    Varun, thanks for this! I’ll give it a look.

  78. Violet, your account was very moving. I’m not sure what response would be appropriate (congratulations doesn’t seem quite right), so perhaps just thanks for showing a way to those of us bumbling about but still hoping for connection.

    JMG, will do, probably tomorrow.

    David BTL, I also appreciate your observations.

    Patriciaormsby, how about “take away the profit motive”? Livelihood for those called to healing arts is one thing, profit-making another.

  79. Samurai, thank you. I credit my productivity to the lack of a TV, on the one hand, and a typical Aspergers syndrome social life (i.e., very little) on the other! As for house spirits, you may simply need to be patient. In this society, given the way people treat their houses, I suspect a lot of house spirits are pretty thoroughly traumatized and may take a lot of gentle treatment before they show themselves.

    Will J, sure. In fact, unless something awkward happens to my papers, whoever ends up with them will have not only my natal chart but some years of annual progressed charts, monthly personal lunation charts, and relocation charts to work with. Once I’m comfortably dead, none of that will be an issue for me!

    As for the Inedible Burger, well, yeah, a synthetic pseudomeat riddled with bizarre chemicals extracted from mutated yeast doesn’t exactly make my mouth water either. I suspect that like most overprocessed food, it’s etherically dead, and thus fills the stomach without satisfying anything but the most physical levels of hunger. If you want a vegan burger, why not bread a slice of organic tofu with cornstarch, sizzle it up in the skillet along with a big juicy Portobello mushroom, put it on a lightly toasted bun with lettuce, onion, and a tomato slice, and don’t pretend that it’s meat? (I’m a carnivore, and I’d eat that burger and enjoy every mouthful.)

  80. Dear JMG,

    That’s an excellent tip — thank you! I’ve learned a tremendous lot from reading Evelyn Underhill, and diving into some accounts of Hindu mysticism would almost certainly prove to be very helpful.

    May I ask, do you or the wonderful commentariat know of good sources of literature on Hindu mystic experience, especially for devotees of different deities? It’s such a vast field I’m not sure where to begin, and some useful pointers from those who have researched these things would be much appreciated.

  81. @ Will Oberton,
    For asthma, homeopathy can help, as can making sure you get enough vitamin D, through sunshine if possible. Get more Omega 3 and less Omega 6 oils. As a herbal remedy, coralberry is said to be effective at getting the bronchial muscles to relax, and so is ginger. For kids, drinking raw milk seems useful in preventing asthma and allergies. Avoid acetominophen. Avoid steroids as a treatment. Get regular exercize, and allow a little dirt in your life. I got this through a quick search on
    What he doesn’t mention but has been my experience, is one benefit of reducing exposure to harmful electromagnetic fields is reduced allergy and asthma symptoms. I was frightfully allergic to cats all my life, but now we have a cat that I just love (if I can get a nice photo, I’ll send it to Her Kittenship). However, if I go visit someone with a cat in a modern home with all its wireless gadgetry, I get my allergy, and if I speak too much in a high-EMF environment, I get asthma too. That’s just my experience. It may turn out that the “whisper of the shut-off valve” will make my experience more common.

  82. Ron DeSantis is definitely someone to watch. He is a naval officer who served in Iraq (as a JAG officer, he was the Legal Officer for SEAL Team One when they deployed there) and is still a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve. He was a three time Congressman, a former federal prosecutor, and at the age of 40 he is currently the youngest governor in the USA.

    Not only did he sign into law the bill barring local governments from banning vegetable gardens, but he is a major backer of a huge class action lawsuit against Big Pharma for the role they played in creating the opioid epidemic. He is an extremely impressive character.

    Someone mentioned that in the wake of Trump’s victory, we have a new generation of populist conservatives taking over the Republican Party. DeSantis is one of the rising stars of that movement. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t become president at some point.

  83. To Jamie Ross,
    Yes, I went to church with your Aunt Penny last Sunday. Her friend, Gaynor took her as Penny can’t see very well. It is as the Spanish say, the world is a village!

  84. @ JMG

    From a thread on Magic Monday, I’m glad to hear you have plans for a newsletter if the internet is ever no longer available. However, I would miss this format which allows you and commenters to interact and discuss ideas so easily. I hope the internet remains viable for many years to come.

    @ David BTL

    I liked your response to the gentleman who asked about political marginalization. Perhaps he hadn’t considered the possibility of political self-marginalization.

  85. Hello JMG and others!

    I’ve been greatly enjoying the posts here on EcoSophia and, of course, the fine comments. A few observations, thoughts and updates:

    The recent thread on Flight to the Fringes got me all sour-faced, for reasons that probably are familiar to those who have been involved in the occult scene for awhile. I’ve come to the conclusion that occult groups and practice ought to be just that: Occult. Hidden. Stop trying to show off and you won’t have to deal with (as many) nuisances.

    As for my own work in coping with ongoing civilizational collapse, I’ve been working hard on the radio revival project: I continue my job as a theater correspondent for a broadcast radio show and have developed a real appreciation for acting and stagecraft: As the collapse continues, I figure that the dramatic arts will become very important as a source of culture and entertainment. In fact, I think that any sort of skill/craft that can be performed primarily with the body will be much valued.

    I’ve also rejoined a local independent media company that I helped found back in 2017. We started out as a radio show, but now primarily broadcast on YouTube. I’m taking this in stride, however, as I figure we might as well make use of the technology while we have it, so that people can put a faces to our voices. I suspect that this is important in building trust.

    In any case, I hope everyone is well and I look forward to finding the time to participate in this forum more often. Take care.

  86. @Will Oberton, my advice is to ask around locally for a practitionER with a good reputation for helping people with asthma and allergies. There are many potentially good practices, but results happen at an interface between patient and practitioner, and results (therefore reputation) matter, especially for people with too little time or money to mess around.

  87. Dear jmg

    It is not so much that Australia is behind the rest of the world, it’s more that the liberal national party who are now in charge have always had both a lack of any serious interest in climate change and environmental issues ( much like republicans) and an interest in nuclear technology.

    Like I said, this is not the first time this has happened. The government looked into nuclear before decades ago and decided it wasn’t economically sensible and from what I have heard the reasons for that assessment have not changed.

    However I fear that the government might still at some point in the future get desperate as the fossil fuels run out and try nuclear anyway, it does not help that we are one of the worlds major sources of uranium.

  88. Violet, I have had similar experiences about internet use and other people. I’m spending quite a bit of time reading Ecosophia, Ecosophia Dreamwidth, and a few other websites. But I’m not sure that would count as internet addiction because of the content which is quite untypical of internet and TV. The profound ideas on mentioned websites are currently on the internet, because that medium is widespread now; in the past and in the future it would be books and magazines. The same goes for social contacts; I have few connections, and although the people whom I know are intelligent, tere are quite a few things which they would probably not get. The whole subject is relevant to the discussion of monasticism and hermitism towards the end of a civilization.

    JMG, I have a question a bit similar to Andrews: Am I right in my assumption that personal contact and prayer to one or several gods is not as central in Druidry as in some other religious traditions, for example, as in Christianity? Secondly I’m not sure whether to seek personal contacts with gods or not, and what I would want from them.

  89. @Violet, thank you for sharing your spiritual experience! Occasionally I am able to see divine spirits. Not with my eyes. Some say with the heart. They are always very powerful experiences and I want to tell the whole world. People are generally speaking pretty open to it. I think lots of people have these experiences but very few chances to talk about them because they are so personal. Also there are people who will misunderstand what you are talking about.
    I had my own experience this week, not seeing the deity (Dragon King) directly but interacting and receiving information.
    Which brings me to a question for our host, actually. If there are spiritual realms we cannot perceive, then conversely are there aspects to our physical world that the spirit world cannot perceive clearly? The Dragon King said he needed my help to understand what is going on here more clearly and assigned me to compile a report and publish it.

  90. Will Oberton,

    I had bad allergies as a kid, but they almost completely disappeared in my late teens, with no explanation as to why. A chiropractor had done patch testing to determine all the things I was allergic to. Maybe that newfound awareness caused me to change my exposure? Who knows.

    When I had a fall with a concussion in my early thirties followed by chronic sinus infection, a cranial sacral therapist identified the misalignment and adjusted my skull bones. My sinuses started draining right there on the adjustment table.

    Now if my sinuses get irritated I use applied kinesiology to determine if there is a misalignment or muscle imbalance pulling on the base of my skull. Usually there is and I can massage the sinus irritation away. Sometimes, I’m just getting sick and have to live with the sinus symptoms.

    The most interesting new studies I have read about allergies and asthma link their proliferation to our battle against intestinal worms. Apparently, being exposed to parasitical worms strengthens the immune system in ways no one understands. Worm exposure might help to explain the incredibly low occurrence of asthma in the Amish who do not try to sterilize their children’s environments. A very good article on the health benefits of worm exposure is at:

  91. @Brian You might be interested in the experience David Graeber describes, of finding out that “bad hombres” may not get a look in so easily, if government goes away quietly, but invisibly, with everyone pretending that it still exists, as a sort of hedge, while carrying on with getting things organised locally in a pretty civil and bloodless fashion.

    This may be another reason not to broadcast the things one is actually doing to cope with decline too, well, broadly.

  92. @Andrew, are you able to get out into nature? There are so many things in our modern environment that distract us or cloud our perception. Start with short walks in familiar territory and then try gradually longer ones. When you get to the mountain tops you might find your connection there again.

  93. To my question I must amend that I have occupied myself with Druidry during the last half year and practiced some of the things in “The Druidry Handbook”.

  94. @Samura 47, most houses in Japan have a shelf, usually up high, where they put some symbolic objects and offerings. The more serious practitioners of Shinto will have a more elaborate “kamidana.” By praying before that, they interact with the deities they have offered space to and also to ancestors and the house spirit. A shaman I visited in Siberia had his own very similar version of a kamidana. Here is a link that might provide you useful information:

  95. Microsoft have said they will no longer support Windows 7. Which is what I use. I’m not going to Windows 10. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Apart from Watkins are there any good books on leys, JMG?

  96. The concept that ‘every automation is an amputation’ was revealed in a particularly vivid way recently. Last Breath is a brilliant documentary about a deep sea diving accident. It all started to go wrong when the dive boat’s computer failed and lost control of the azipods in a storm. The ship drifted out of position and the crew tried to take manual control, but it was four separate controls and took at least two people to operate them. It was only supposed to be used in port, so was impossible to control and the ship went all over the place. And the reality came crashing home to me – a sea captain can’t even control their own ship in a storm anymore. That’s huge when you think how important it was through maritime history for captains to have that responsibility and saying things like “Tie me to the wheel!” before heading into a storm. – the last panel could be captioned ‘Facing Peak Oil – the Moment of Realisation’. 🙂

  97. JMG
    There has been discussion recently on the future of the Catholic (RC) Church in USA. The Church has taken a hit because of its inability to limit abuse of authority.
    Just three years ago I was at a talk by friends who had visited rural Mexico. By chance they had visited a large old church in a rural area necessarily kept alive with only occasional help from the Diocesan structures. The everyday liturgy had become local, modified, powerful and popular; one might say in the widest sense it had become ‘American’ distinct from the original ‘Roman’.
    I wonder if the future of the US RC Church will actually be found in the future of the large Hispanic speaking population? The Church could thrive?
    As a footnote anecdote, I was once stopping off in Vienna on my way home from work in another country and lucky to be in St Stephen’s on a Sunday morning. I have only been in services in any church a relatively few times in my life and more generally have associated participation in rituals and symbols with ‘command structures’ that I avoid wherever possible. I actually found the atmosphere that Sunday sympathetic. A beauty alive in the congregation carried the liturgy forward, and I could feel for the people. They seemed to bring meaning to the priests, not the other way about.
    Phil H

  98. You are so right about Australia. As soon as something has been shown to be unsuccessful overseas we grab it with gusto. Rather our government will. This has been the case for years.

  99. Right, a way to get in touch with me – wasn’t sure if that was handled by the site when I enter an email address to post. My gmail address is chrisjayhenningsen – thanks in advance to anyone who’s interested!

  100. Dear JMG, you wrote a response to another commenter and said that any younger people in IT might want to consider a second career. What about slightly older people in IT? I’m in that industry (as a web developer) but I am 41. I’ve thought about changing career often because I also see what will eventually happen to the tech industry, but I worry I’m too old to successfully retrain (also for potential employers to take me seriously). I’m grateful for any advice!

    Also – you’ve mentioned several times a book about cell salts, I can’t recall which one. Could I bother you for the title?

  101. I really have no idea about radio’s so I couldn’t say, my apologies, it’s an older model of this for what it’s worth

    I can take picture of my dads if it’s of any interest, personally I just think it’s a novelty thing but I thought it’d be a fun thing to ask about for the open post.

  102. Hi John Michael,

    I’m curious about your opinion of the recent oil tankers incident. I’m currently reading a series of many books (from the author Jack Whyte), which are a fictional account of characters responding to the Romans pull out from Britain, and then of course the Arthur story. Anyway, one of the side story-lines was that the random acts of piracy against merchant vessels crippled the Roman empires maritime trade.

    I’d only just read that part in the story, when I also read about the oil tankers. Is that serendipitous? Probably not! 🙂 Anyway, I was wondering if naval escorts would be diverted to escort future tankers, and it wasn’t lost on me that the possibility would be very extraordinarily expensive.

    The very act of having to escort an oil tanker reduces the EROEI of oil, and also diverts attention from other areas.

    Do you have any thoughts about how this may play out in the short and long term? Do you reckon it will impact upon oil prices?

    Incidentally, I’m not necessarily convinced that there are oil tankers hanging around spare and with nothing to do, to replace the ones taken out of action, but I could be wrong about that.



  103. JMG, you wrote some time ago on TADR about Gustav Erikson and his iron-hulled windjammers. I was reminded of that when I saw a link to a start-up seeking investment to launch a fleet of sail-powered clippers recently. Note: I have no link to this company, and don’t endorse them (I know nothing about them other than what’s on their web site). It seems interesting, though, that people are anticipating the end of cheap energy, and planning a replacement infrastructure.

    Their web site is:

  104. JMG

    I love to be able to listen to your fictional books. I’ve enjoyed listening to JHK’s World Made by Hand series. What is the chance of audiobook versions of your futuristic fiction? Is there someone I should contact expressing my interest?



  105. Hi JMG

    It occurs to me that in the New Testament writings, Jesus of Nazareth is never actually quoted as mentioning the Jewish God by name – always referring to “My Father (in Heaven)” instead.

    This strikes me as a bit odd…He was, after all, born a Jew – and if the premise in the book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” is correct, a descendant of the royal bloodline of king David, no less.

    I have read some of the ‘alternative’ gospels from the Nag Hamadi writings also, and the same holds true, as far as I recall.

    A quick internet search came up with some shrill Jehovah Witness articles, claiming this fact to be the result of a conspiracy, perpetrated through the deliberate mis-translation of biblical writings.

    I was raised a devout Roman Catholic, and even though I turned away from the church as a 12 year old child, I have always had a deep and abiding respect for the teachings of this extraordinary person.

    Any thoughts as to what might be going on there? Who do you think He was referring to?

    As always, many thanks.

    PS. Yes, Australian civil society has a curious propensity to belatedly take up popular American systems of thought…. but only after they have reliably proven themselves to be thoroughly dysfunctional. *sigh*

    PPS. I know there are a few fellow readers of our esteemed Archdruid down here in Oz – just wondering if any of y’all are situated on the West coast? Cheers.

  106. Hey John, your comments regarding ley lines, and the way your apartment is lined up with the sun around the solstice got me thinking of Manhattanhenge, a phenomenon I hadn’t heard of unti a few weeks ago, when a book by Lisa Grunwald, with the rehashed title Time after Time came out. The book actually sounds pretty good as it’s a bit of a time travel romance ala Somewhere in Time, but with the spin that the two would-be lovers are only able to meet at a specific time dictated by the occurences of Manhattanhenge. There is a little appendix about this in the back. Could be a fun read.

  107. Re: Water witching

    It can’t be totally fringey, because it has its own official organization, the American Society of Dowsers, located in Danville, Vermont since 1961 and an annual convention happening right now in Plymouth New Hampshire.

    Simon Peacecraft:

    One of the things that drove me away from the Left is the way white people are now viewed as the root of every single global evil. According to the woke, Europeans and their descendants have committed unspeakable sins for which we cannot possibly hope to repent. Unsurprisingly, darker-hued people guilty of some of the same (slavery, for example) seem to get a pass. Another blog somewhere described the contemporary Church of Woke as Christianity without any of the forgiveness and no hope of salvation. Spot on.

    Woke, anti-white whites seem to be getting more attention these days: from an article entitled, “America’s White Saviors” there’s this really interesting point, “In one especially telling example of the broader trend, white liberals recently became the only demographic group in America to display a pro-outgroup bias—meaning that among all the different groups surveyed white liberals were the only one that expressed a preference for other racial and ethnic communities above their own.” I suspect that I, along with my white, male offspring, are neither the first nor the last to conclude that the Left, represented by the Democratic party, has no interest in us any more.


    I have allergies to something (probably cats, I’m surrounded by them) that causes lots of stuffy nose and watery eyes. I’ve tried a few things and butterbur capsules seem to help. The raw herb contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, not good for the liver, so be sure that whatever product you buy is PA-free.

    Totally off topic, but this morning I checked on a couple of beehives and, after a devastating winter, I can report extraordinarily healthy hives stuffed with brood, honey, pollen and fat queen bees. Several hives sported quantities of swarm cells (queens in the making), so I’ve been able to pull those out and start more hives. I am SO pleased! And to top it off, two hours with the bees and no stings today! I’m hoping that the aggressive anti-varroa mite protocol I’ve instituted this year will help these hives survive next winter. To this end I have also been trying to cultivate a relationship with Saint Gobnait, patron of bees, to look kindly on my hives.

  108. @ Devin, Varun, and any other WI-region community members

    Re a possible ecosophian confab

    Poking about on Google maps suggests that Fond du Lac is roughly equidistant from Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Manitowoc/Sheboygan (an hour, give or take). That would be a possible meet-up city that would be reasonably equitable for everyone. I’m not overly familiar with the area, however, so I don’t have a suggestion offhand for a specific venue. Just a thought.

    Among other topics, perhaps we could chat about the notion of launching the Ecosophical Society of Wisconsin 😉

  109. A discussion here recently moved me to purchase Rod Dreher’s book, “The Benedict Option” and to begin reading it. I’ve made it to p.82 and that is where I have stopped for now. Dreher, like me, began as a Methodist. Unlike me, he moved on to Roman Catholicism and then to Orthodox Catholicism. (So I wonder where he may head next.) His tone is the warm, intimate tone you often get from Christian writers and I don’t entirely appreciate it; for Christian writing I prefer “Meditations on the Tarot.” There are things in Dreher’s book with which I agree and things I find abhorent. I agree with his dislike of “liquid modernity.” I like his take on D. Trump, which is a far cry from the “on a mission from God” article I linked a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what Dreher wrote about The Donald: “Though Donald Trump won the presidency in part with the strong support of Catholics and Evangelicals, the idea that someone as robustly vulgar, fiercely combative and morally compromised as Trump will be an avatar for the restoration of Christian morality and social unity is beyond delusional. He is not the solution to the problem of America’s decline, but a symptom of it.” Nicely put, Mr. Dreher.

    On the other hand, what I disagreed most with was the statement on p.62, which Dreher doesn’t reject, about “the God-commanded [human] dominance over the earth.” Since Dreher also doesn’t reject the Christian doctrine of original sin, giving such inherently sinful beings dominance over the planet appears to me to be a recipe for disaster much like that which we are seeing.

  110. @Bridge, regarding Windows 7. I still use it in virtualbox as well as Windows XP so I wouldn’t worry too much. Keep using Windows 7 if you like it (I don’t really like Windows 10). That said, I am a Mac user (several releases behind) but I also run ElementaryOS which I replaced Windows on several family laptops. It’s well supported, has a interface which is Max like (ie Dock and System Preferences etc as well as AppStore). Its Linux, based on Ubuntu, and well its free and lots of free good apps. Best of luck!

    @jbucks, you’re not that old (I’m 61 and working in software development for 40 years). Yes, there is rampant age discrimination but find an area you like that has a better age spread where they won’t hold your age against you. If you move into areas which are practical (SCADA and factory automation etc), you will have better luck than some useless social media company full of 20 somethings who want get rich and retire by 35. You can also learn to use simpler tech to develop small scale tech with microcontrollers which may be more sustainable and useful.

    Hi @Maxine, I suspected it was a small community. Penny impressed us all with her resiliance! As a side note, we decided have adult children at home was merely a return to old school family homes. We have 4 of 6 with us(21-31) and it’s really useful and nice to have family. I suspect some of them will come and go and set up elsewhere but we have allowed room for those that want to stay.

    Regarding nuclear power, I think the Russians are the ones to watch as Rosatom has fast breeder reactors coming online which deal both with waste and availability of fuel. They are building reactors across the Eurasian Economic Community area while the US and Europe still haven’t figured how to master the tech. I don’t know how it will go but it may be Eurasia will have lots of power while the west will be forced back to low level economies based on renewables and all the limitations and issues. Should be interesting to see how that plays out.

  111. @Kfish

    I’d expect that contacting the real Christ involves praying as He instructed us: “Thy will be done.”

    I was taught to be extremely cautious about asking for specific things– that you can, but that you should always be clear that you don’t know everything, and that ultimately, you’re leaving it in God’s hands, to do, or not do, as He sees fit (Because sometimes what you’re asking for is stupid). I can see where the line might connect to someone else, if you ask God to smite your enemies or buy you a Mercedes Benz. Better to ask God, in his infinite mercy and wisdom, to bless them.

    @JMG and Her Kittenship

    re: swords: FWIW, in Vietnamese, most dishes use the classifier “cái” (basically, “thing”). Except knives. Knives use “con” (the classifier for animals and small children, more like “creature”). Wish I could say swords did, too, but no. Swords use “thanh” (bar). Maybe in VN, knives have more character than swords 😉


    If I had college to do over again (I still shudder at the waste of time and opportunity it was!), I’d have tried for The American College of the Building Arts. which teaches traditional (and beautiful!) building techniques. If that’s at all the sort of thing your 19yo is interested in…

  112. JMG,

    Give me the full list of rules to your utopia and I will break it within the day! Otherwise, how do I know you aren’t just adding new rules to counteract my attempts to break it? 😉

    As for the burger, the really weird part is its currently being marketed for cheeseburgers, breakfast sandwiches, etc, which include egg and cheese and are thus not vegan either. The thing that has me intrigued is the possibility that what’ll happen is the physical body registers meat, while the etheric body registers only plants, which may wreak havoc on digestion.

    I really don’t get why people want this instead of either an actual burger or going vegetarian/vegan. My guess is that this is an attempt to let vegans still be vegan, but also let themselves eat meat.

    Your tofu burger sounds good, and we have all the ingredients. I might know what we’re having for dinner tonight here! 😉

    The best burger I ever had was a veggie burger: it was curried potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, corn, and carrots, breaded, and then put on a toasted bun, with a thick slice of mushroom, some lettuce, both grilled and raw onions, and plenty of garlic sauce with a little spicy mayo.

    The thing about it is that it was unapologetically a veggie burger: there was a language barrier that kept me from finding out what was in it (the vendor and I had no words in common), but I could taste what it was, and it made no effort to pretend to be anything else.

    Violet (and Booklover),

    I agree, being here is not a problem! This is one of the few places where it’s possible to find like-minded people, and considering how most people I know view spirituality, decline, etc, it’s quite lonely sometimes.

    My internet use is roughly one third productive things (email, looking up routes to camps for my scout group, etc), one third sanity keeping (such as being here), and one third complete waste. This is quite good, since a few years ago it was more like ten percent useful and 90% waste!

    This space is somehow unaffected by much of the issues with the internet, and my guess is a large part of this is our host’s efforts to keep it clean, also likely combined with his relentless practice of banishing rituals.

    I just know personally, if I cut out that wasted third of my time online, I feel way better. I’m not making much of an effort to cut it out right now, since I have other priorities for things to work on, but not having home internet is a very effective way to cut much of it.

  113. @Tony_A, in the New Testament Jesus does indeed refer to “God” and “the Lord your God” many times. For example, Mark 1:15: “[Jesus preached] saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (λέγων ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ). The Hebrew tetragrammaton is not used because the New Testament was written in Greek, but the Greek phrasing is the same as is found in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Jewish Bible).

    Also, Jesus is explicitly stated to be a descendant of David in the (different) genealogies in both GMatthew and GLuke. No need to drag HBHG into it.

  114. Dear Temporaryreality,

    Thank you for the kind words!

    Dear Booklover,

    Thank you for your insights! I definitely do not want to define your experiences for you. My use of the internet though I think of as having a toxic element, even with such wonderful sites as the ones that JMG curates. They may be better than almost all others, but I see that what brings me here are unmet needs. That said, part of the reason I wrote to Will J was I don’t think there is anything wrong or shameful about having needs, unmet or otherwise. The problem is that the internet proves to be a poor substitute for what is missing in my life.

    That said, in recent months I’ve found I’ve used it less, and that has been welcome. As for hermitism and monasticism, I think that you bring up an interesting thread of thought, which I hope you will permit me to riff on.

    Every single institution in the United States is corrupt; education, medicine, organized religion, transportation, employment, rent, you name it. That is a pretty depressing picture. And indeed, I see almost all people as carrying that corruption with them to a certain extent, myself very much included. And what to do in these dark times?

    One way to live that I’ve found helpful is to move towards a more hermit-like life. I’ve taken no vows regarding this, but something I’ve seen is that I have somewhat “instinctively” began spending more and more time in prayer, meditation, contemplation etc with my patron deity. A certain threshold was crossed sometime this year in which I realized I spend more time with Her than any other being. This helps make my life feel less corrupted by the prevailing darkness and more like I am actively engaging in meaning and beauty.

    Of course, this has entailed huge sacrifices. I left my friends, any prospect for dating, and the sense of getting ahead with a career. I had to examine a lot of dreams I had carried and found them to be nothing but cobwebs and discard them. Still, this choice was made a lot easier since every institution I can name is so corrupt that tending towards being a hermit seems to make more sense to me personally than trying to do anything else. Evelyn Underhill discusses in one of her books how mysticism is the most pragmatic of practices, and in this sense I have to agree with her

    Dear Patrica Ormsby,

    You’re very welcome! Really, I shared the experience mostly just to have some sort of reality check, since it was so intense and so disruptive to my identity. So thank you, too, for sharing your experiences since it helps me sense that I’m not alone and allows for more context for my experience. It’s a funny thing with a certain type of spiritual work, where the different parts of my self come into conflict. Higher selves adore these sorts of thing, but the lower parts can’t understand it at all and can freak out, if that makes sense. And so my lower selves found the experience of my patron’s grace to be acutely disturbing, whereas my mid and upper levels of self found it to be glorious and good!

    I literally cannot talk about the experience directly as it was so radically different from my normal mode of experience, and also as you mention, so personal.

    If I may, regarding your question to JMG, my patron told me, to the best of my understanding, that She needs devoted humans to do certain types of work, and is thus grateful to humans who devote themselves to Her. That was about as much as my meagre understanding would allow. If I may generalize, then, from this, I imagine that this probably holds true with other deities.

  115. Hello JMG

    I would also very much like a post on the situation in the Middle East.

    In a similar vein, do you have any views on the protests in Hong Kong?


  116. Re: Bees

    Totally unrelated to mite infections, but I had to put in here one of the oldest texts in German, a charm for bringing bees back:

    Kirst, imbi ist hucze! Nu fluic du vihu minaz hera,
    Fridu frono in Godes munt, heim zi commone gisunt.
    Sizi, sizi, bina, inbot dir Sancte Maria.
    Hurulopes ni hab du, zi holze ni fluic du.
    Noh du mir nindrinnnes, noh du mir nintuuinnes,
    Sizi vilu stillon, uuirki Gotes willon.

    Christ, the bee is gone! Now fly here, my animal,
    be peaceful under God’s rule to come home in health.
    Sit, sit, bee, Saint Mary commands you.
    Don’t go on leave, don’t fly to the woods.
    Don’t escape me, don’t slip away from me,
    Sit very quiet, do God’s will.

    I don’t know enough about bees to understand why they shouldn’t fly to the woods. The text is in the singular, so maybe is addressed only to the queen bee (and her company).

    The charm is a prime example of the “Christian magic” of the post-Roman period JMG has often mentioned. My reason to like it is the glorious vowels that haven’t yet disappeared or been eroded to the ubiquitous weak “e” of Modern German.

  117. @patriciaormsby, thanks very much for the link. The idea of a kamidana is really interesting. The problem I am wrestling with is that as a Druid in North America I don’t feel comfortable taking just one part of another religion without the whole context and background that comes along with it.

    What is intriguing to me is that so many people are looking into Feng shui and other ways of relating to physical spaces in a spiritual sense. Apparently there is no Western equivalent for these traditions, so it is evolving and mutating on its own to fill the need.

    The Marie Kondo phenomenon is part of this in my opinion. When I hear people who go through her process start talking about it, to me it sounds like they are describing a ritual of self-transformation. They may not see it that way, but I think it is.

  118. Cliff, it may well attract its quota of suckers. My guess, though, is that a lot of the more idiotic projects of the current huge corporate internet combines will be crashing and burning in the next few years, now that the Supreme Court is in conservative hands and antitrust suits have a good shot at winning…

    Violet, I don’t offhand. I wonder, though — have you read R.M. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness? Despite what now sounds like a woo-woo title, it’s a serious 19th century psychological study of mystical experience.

    Baboonery, he strikes me as a very plausible candidate for 2024.

    Ryan, so will I. Still, one does what one can with the technologies one has.

    Lainie, delighted to hear it! Getting radio back on its feet strikes me as a very useful step down the long staircase. As for secrecy, well, yes — “make occultism occult again” might not be a bad slogan, all things considered.

    J.L.Mc12, I wonder if they’re covertly thinking about getting Australia a nuclear deterrent with an eye toward the ongoing decline of the US. That’s about the only thing nuclear power does well — that is, it serves as good cover for a nuclear weapons program.

    Booklover, one of the things about Druidry that causes people from more dogmatic religions to wander away with a dazed look is that we don’t have a party line about such things. Some Druids are deeply into working with gods, others are just as deeply into not doing so, still others fall into every conceivable (and inconceivable!) point between and around those stances. In the old Druid Revival traditions, at least — matters are different in more recently minted Neopagan Druid groups such as ADF — it’s entirely up to you whether you want to interact with nature in terms of deities, or impersonal forces, or whatever else sprouts your acorn. So you’re right if you want to be right…

    Patricia O, depends on the spiritual being, but yes, in some cases, they need our help as we need theirs. To quote Tsathoggua, “Some things can be done by a wren that a human cannot do as easily, or at all.”

    Bridge, Paul Devereux has a bunch of good books on the subject. I also recommend John Michell’s work, so long as you remember that it’s visionary poetry and not history.

    Yorkshire, dear gods. How stunningly stupid.

    Phil H, that’s certainly one of the ways things could go, though a lot of Hispanics in the US are leaving Catholicism and joining various Evangelical sects — all the Jehovah’s Witnesses halls these days have signs in Spanish as well as English.

    JillN, I got that impression from watching the news at a distance…

    Jbucks, you should be fine. The IT industry should wind down around the time you do. The book on cell salts is Boericke and Dewey’s The Twelve Tissue Remedies of Schussler.

    M.R., a Hieronymus machine! It’s basically a magic wand dolled up in technological drag. You can do some very neat things with it, though it’s helpful to have some of the old radionics manuals to guide you. I’ve worked with radionics to some extent, and got good results.

    Chris, excellent. Yes, it’ll be yet another burden driving down the EROEI; the thing to keep in mind, though, is that for decades now the US has been doing that duty and covering the costs, and now other countries are having to step up to the plate.

    Bogatyr, thank you — I’m delighted to see that.

    Investingwithnature, I made a few inquiries about getting audio books made but they went nowhere. If you have a favorite audio book provider, you might consider contacting them — I have the rights to audiobook editions free and clear, and can make them available on very reasonable terms to any firm who’s willing to pay a fair royalty.

    Tony_A, heck of a good question. Have you by any chance read Morton Smith’s Jesus the Magician? It raises some fascinating questions about Jesus’ spiritual and magical background, which you might find interesting.

    Justin, I hadn’t heard of that; thank you. By the same logic, since the folks here in East Providence call themselves “Townies,” I think we live on the main alignment of Towniehenge…

    Phutatorius, I admit that the implied conflict between “human beings are fallen and inherently sinful” and “human beings have had the natural world handed over to them to maltreat as they please” always made me raise an eyebrow, too.

    Jamie, let’s see how those reactors actually work in practice. Every new generation of nuclear power plants is the one that is going to be cheap, clean, and successful, until it’s been on line for a little while and it turns out to be just as unaffordable, dirty, and failure-prone as its predecessors.

    Methylethyl, fascinating — I didn’t know that Vietnamese used classifier-labels.

    Will J, one of the rules is precisely that I get to make up new rules as I go, to annoy people who try to play games with the rules. That’s the thing about utopias — the more utopian they are for the people in charge, the more dystopian they are for everyone else… The honestly veggie veggie burger, on the other hand, sounds really good.

  119. SMJ, a resurgent China is tightening its grip. Any relaxation will be temporary at best.

    Matthias, thank you for this! That’s a fine incantation — and it looks as though Old German is as much earthier and richer than modern German as Old English vs. modern English.

  120. Dear JMG, thanks for the answer! I didn’t really know about the sheer diversity in beliefs among Druids. I personally have no special relationships with gods, but I don’t dismiss them, either.

  121. > I’m sufficiently patriotic to have a strong emotional attachment to the USA as a national community

    That’s interesting. I never felt it that strongly. In fact, the most profound culture shock I felt was when I left my California cul-de-sac as a teenager to visit relatives in upstate NY. Something about the humid climate, their old fashioned speech and odd mannerisms… I felt like I’d been dropped into a 1940s black and white movie.

    In contrast, I once had the good fortune to spend a semester abroad in Italy. Nice weather, good food, bad drivers, totally dysfunctional government. Right at home!

  122. “Help me, everybody: why is it that so many perfectly intelligent people, faced with a simple set of rules about doing magic around children, so consistently garble them into tghpoasjgleistyuhnasjmgjwei?”

    With respect, that section of the FAQ is not ‘simple’ in that it assumes the reader understands occult jargon. It would baffle an inexperienced person who isn’t even sure whether ‘ritual’ and ‘working’ are synonyms. The other issue is that it draws the line between safety and danger at ‘basic’ vs ‘serious/complex’ ceremonial magic. However it doesn’t explain that distinction except to say that examples of the former include the LRP, SOP and Middle Pillar, and examples of the latter are found in some of your books. It’s as if you told people “teal endangers your children, but turquoise is safe” when their native language doesn’t even differentiate blue from green. That conversation would require colour swatches! Adding a glossary with examples might cut down on the repetitive questions.

  123. @JMG

    Vietnamese classifiers function a little bit like pronouns. But where English has only “He, she, it”, Viet has possibly as many as 200 classifiers.

  124. @JMG:
    I often struggle with the decision of posting about some subjects here or on Magic Monday, that is now what I am focusing on, instead of the ugly guts of The Long Descent. I stopped watching news of any kind, because to track the slow unraveling of Progress was doing no good to me–the first After Oil anthology was the very first book I wanted to throw out of the window. I never managed to finish reading it.

    There is also the problem that because of the inheritance from the late The Archdruid Report, Ecosophia has its share of orphans from the old ADR and its more secular approach, and as such, spiritual stuff is frowned here by some[who?].

    But I think this post may be excused for being here. I will leave some details on the subject for the next Magic Monday, which I am writing in italics here because it acquired a life of its own.

    People may go gaga with the instructions for children because some want to have the cake and eat it too; that is, they want the practice and the children, so reason gets shut down, like when you get lifeless stares as you point the contradictions in the myth of Progress to its acolytes.

    Magic is a magnet for people with imbalances and desperation in their lives. I know this very well, coming from that very situation–a lifelong struggle with suicidal thoughts, anxiety and seeing industrial civilization self-destruction was a heavy burden to carry.

    My personal experience shows that the imbalances that get in the way of the work, if you insist doing it, will get out of the way, because when you eat the cake it goes away. Knowing that the seek for magic may come from unbalanced people, extrapolating from what happened to me I will say that going full force into magic can implode a troubled marriage–as in the other spouse will get the kids, and the lawyers will take all the money.

    This is one of the points of doing The Work, facing your demons. It isn’t pretty, nor comfortable. One is free to check it personally.

    What I am writing here has a lot of personal research. I will get more speculative and comment on an aspect of The Work that is related to what I wrote. I will excuse myself doing so because today there is no topic.

    People hate death in our culture, and anything related to it. One of the unavoidable features of afterlife is what we could call forced self-reflection. Your experiences will be sorted out and become character. This often is not pleasant; another name often used for this process is Hell. Self-reflection is a thing some people do only after they die. I will link here and amusing article: People would rather be electrically shocked than left alone with their thoughts, [ ].

  125. Violet, I would be most interested to know if you intentionally sought a relationship with your deity, or if you essentially made yourself available to whomever was a good fit and she was pleased and took you in as one of her own.

    (my best-at-the-time efforts at prayer left me thinking I was just engaged in more of the same mental chatter, so I’ve retreated, embraced my baby steps approach and am learning meditation for now)

    If you don’t feel you want to or can explain, that’s fully understandable!

  126. Hi John

    Do you have any further thoughts on Brexit?

    Boris is still looking overwhelmingly likely to win given that he is the Hard Brexit candidate.

    Eurointelligence today wrote that they think its going to be very difficult to stop a no-deal Brexit under PM Johnson assuming he keeps to his promises.

    What do you think?

    I’m also curious to know what you think the growing popularity of so-called ERG among finance and industry. Do you think that it is overall a good thing and will it make a meaningful difference given what we know is coming down the line.



  127. I have a random question about astrology.

    I remember you saying a while back that the only way to get good at it is to look at a whole lot of charts. So I made a post in an occult group I’m part of offering to do full charts for anyone who would send me their birth data. The feedback I got was universally positive, very positive even. So it turns out I’m a pretty good astrologer.

    But then something very odd happened. It quickly became very easy to glance at a chart and to both get an immediate sense of the native’s personality and also a feeling for their energy. That is, I would at once get the mental awareness of what it means to, say, have Saturn in the 7th house in a chart ruled by Venus, but also I’d have the astral (aetheric?) awareness of the person’s energy and how it felt.

    And for some reason, after about a dozen of these, I started to hate astrology! “Hate” isn’t even necessarily the right word– It was like, all the luster and the romance went out of it, and instead I felt oppressed by the stars, which now felt cold and deterministic. And I keep thinking about my own chart, which is riddled with challenging placements (Saturn square Mars, Venus in Cancer square Uranus– actually every planet in my chart except the Sun and Neptune are involved in squares with the other planets), and feeling afraid. I’ve tried to keep in mind the aphorisms, “The stars incline, they do not compel” and “A wise man is stronger than the stars,” and to remind myself that I’ve done years of spiritual practice meant to strengthen my will and my connection to my higher self. But still I find myself troubled, and I haven’t wanted to look at anything astrological-related in a month. It feels like the sort of automatic aversion you get to something after a traumatic experience.

    Have you ever experienced anything like this? Do you have any thoughts? Or is it maybe the Watcher at the Threshold keeping me from moving forward, since I was making good progress learning to do work as an astrologer?

  128. @JMG:
    I believe a magical working seeks the goals it is intended to do with the attachment of a consciousness to it. I have something that happens to me often: finding answers for questions I made decades ago, but I didn’t look into further: it was there in some corner of my mind, working to find the answer. When it comes to my awareness, it dies, I suppose. It is tempting to think that as an amulet, or another kind of working, it had a life of its own, being able to look for the answer while dwelling in some part of my mind.

    Characters an author make are possibly a more elaborate form of this process. As every human is a sort of deva, with an own, separate mental structure, I believe it is able to sprout other consciousnesses, like a deva does with an animal that achieves humanhood by splitting from the consciousness of the last species where it stayed before becoming human.

    There is an interesting story by Stephen King–I sadly forgot its name–of a writer that created a character that was a private eye, in the beginning of the 20th century, and transferred his consciousness to the character, so that he could live his glamorous life, and the character had his consciousness transferred to the body of the writer, who then found himself living in our modern and rotten world.

    I might have posted this on Magic Monday, but since this is a reply to why characters from novels give unexpected answers, I decided to leave it here.

  129. Hi JMG, I’ve been noticing a trend of secular self-flagellation among my peers lately.

    I’ve heard the term “negative narcissism” used to describe how people are so overwhelmed by all the different identities and lifestyles in the U.S. that they resort to defining themselves by what they don’t do. Some examples include abstaining from animal product consumption, disconnecting from the internet, voluntary celibacy, being sober(this I understand for recovering addicts) etc..

    I see the appeal of trying to get a handle on these things, but do you think this focus, on what one doesn’t do or represent, detract from allowing one to figure what they DO or represent?

    I have trouble with commitment but I don’t want to cherry pick personal restrictions to convince myself I don’t and I feel like my friends that do this end up pretty preoccupied with themselves so I don’t necessarily see a benefit anyway

  130. I have made a couple of comments in the past on an open post about the arctic sea ice.
    This is the solstice update for this year.

    It is bad really, really bad.
    The weather conditions in the arctic this year are almost perfect for massive melt. If July is anything like June we will set a new record low for the year in September.

    I will give the next update around the fall equinox when the melting season should be finished.

    (I consider the loss of the arctic sea ice as the first major consequence of global warming. Its disappearance is changing the way the jet stream works in the northern hemisphere. It is now frequently meandering north and south of it “normal” path and getting stuck in those patterns. This year meanderings have brought an enormous amount of rain to the middle of the USA and clear sunny skies in the much of the arctic.)

  131. Dear jmg

    Speaking of nuclear technology, do you think that ecotechnic civilisations would have any use for nuclear technology?

    The only things that I can think that they may use are radioisotopes for medical purposes, using neutrons to investigate materials and maybe the occasional radioactive thermoelectric generator for special purposes.

  132. Dear JMG

    I would like to know your opinion about the development of the “micro-nukes” the Pentagon is developing to “free the hands of the Commander in Chief” for the use of nuclear weapons, decreasing the “collateral damages” compare to the “normal” tactical nuclear weapons, for example to wipe out the many iranian army positions around the north of the Strait of Hormuz or in general in any situation where the conventional weapons requiere too many resources and time to achieve the desired results without resorting to “boots on the ground” ; they are dreaming to end the wars in a similar way to the surrender of Japan in 1945….Do you think the US will use them in the future due to the resources constraints in its imperial decline?

    There is a poll where around 1/3 of the us citizens interviewed say that they support an US pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea, regardless if this will kill 15.000 or 1 million of korean civilians if NK is on the brink of acquire a missile system that could deliver a nuclear weapon on US. For me is an stunning result, and it demonstrate how far the US citizens have been from any real war in his soil, and how the war propaganda and fear is swallowed by many people. It is really scary and I understand why is so easy for the MIC to obliterate countries at will with the condition that there will not to be too much american blood in the process

    One of the results of the poll is the following:

    “preference for the strike does not significantly decrease when the story says that the United States would use nuclear weapons in its attack; 33 percent preferred a preventive nuclear first-strike. Even more disturbing: There is no significant change in the percentage who would prefer or approve of a US nuclear strike when the number of estimated North Korean fatalities increases from 15,000 to 1.1 million, including 1 million civilians. As we have previously found, the US public exhibits only limited aversion to nuclear weapons use and a shocking willingness to support the killing of enemy civilians (Sagan and Valentino 2017 Sagan, S. D., and B. A. Valentino. 2017.”

    It seems to me that a good part of that american people in fact like wars, they do not like the dead of american soldiers, but with the end of the draft this is less problematic

    We live in dangerous times (imperial decline + nuclear weapons)


  133. Greetings all
    JMG wrote: “Watch for India to lease a naval base somewhere on the African coast.”

    You might be interested to know that India is actually building naval facilities on a small group of islands called agalega which are right in the middle of the Indian Ocean.éga

    The agalega islands are part of the Republic of Mauritius and home to about 300 residents. Since 2004 there have been persistent rumours in the Indian and Mauritian press that the Mauritian Government had leased the islands to India for naval purposes.

    This year indian workers and heavy equipment have landed on the islands and they are busy building runways and port facilities the extent of which is shrouded in secrecy.

    Our Government is still denying that there will be an Indian naval base there, but nobody believes them now!!!!!

    So congratulations to you, John, for your foresight!

    Mauritius is fast becoming an economic satellite of India and I would not be surprised to see Indian troops permanently stationed here in the near future.

    With islamophobia and nationalism ranking up in India and with the spectacular victory of Modi at the last elections, this process of colonisation can only accelerate.

    Half jokingly I said to one of my (muslim) friends that we’ll meet up soon enough in a muslim only concentration camp! He was not amused!!!! Although I am quite safe in my country, this could change for the worse in the next decade or two due to foreign interference.

    With nowhere to go and nowhere to run, let us be merry till nightfall for the morning light shall see few of us!!!!!

    A few hyperlinks for the interested:

  134. Re the reversal of computing power, etc.

    I must admit, I recall the family’s Apple II+ and Atari 2600 from my youth with a certain fondness…

  135. Dear Violet, your insights about the life of hermits are similar to mine. In Germany, the society has not the same degree of corruptness as in the United States, but the institutions, the culture and public life are quite bland, so that there isn’t much to which I’m attracted to. People do more or less their own thing, maybe with friends, and so, community feelings are not very strong. And politics and culture are more or less in a rut in Germany. As to my own internet usage, it tended to become less during the last decade.

  136. The reason Jesus does not mention the Jewish God by name is precisely because he was Jewish: To pronounce the name of God is taboo in Judaism. It is commanded in the Torah not to take God’s name in vain. If one never pronounces the name of God, then, ipso facto, one cannot take it vain. This is an example of building a fence around Torah. In other words, one follows a custom that makes it impossible to break the commandment one is actually concerned not to break.

  137. John—

    An interesting, if random, reminder of the artificial yet very real impact of class on human interaction. I’m at the local Y, having completed my post-workday obligatory efforts to counteract middle-age, and I’m sitting in the sauna for a spell (as in, period of time). Not infrequently, one strikes up a naked conversation with a total stranger, and for me a blind and naked conversation, as I don’t have my glasses on. I’ve noticed on more than one occasion that I’d be talking with someone in the sauna and we end up with lockers near each other afterwards, so we’d being talking some more. And then, subtle changes in tone and behavior creep in as we dress and he’s pulling on his jeans and work boots while I’m pulling on my slacks and business casual.

  138. HI Packshaud,

    That story was called “Umney’s Last Case” and was in King’s Nightmares And Dreamscapes book. I liked that one.

  139. Dear Temporaryreality,

    That’s a good question. To answer your questions brings us into pretty complex territory extremely quickly. Basically, though, to answer, I think I have belonged to my patron deity since before time began. My understanding is that I am eternally in Her company, and that the awareness that I’ve been graced with is simply the awareness of some of the . And so throughout all of my past lives I have had this relationship, whether conscious of it or not.

    I think many mortals — maybe most or all — are in such sorts of relationships with divine beings. These thoughts are what my meditations have yielded on these matters. I’m in no way convinced that they are correct.

  140. Dear Booklover,

    That makes sense. Part of me wonders though that if when an Individuality becomes ready for the experiences or being a hermit if part of that is that nothing else makes sense. It strikes me that the sort of world weariness we are describing may have ample opportunities in any human social context. That said, it may indeed be much easier to be weary of the human world right now!

  141. Hi Andrew,

    After Mother Teresa died it was discovered in her personal writings that she had endured 50 years of silence from God. 50 YEARS!!! Also St. Catherine of Aragon has been quoted as saying “If this is how you treat your friends, Lord, it’s no wonder you have so few of them.” Not to discourage you, rather to encourage you—if even the holiest sometimes don’t hear from God, we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t either. Keep on plugging!

  142. David and Devin,

    I would be in favor of a Wisconsin, or midwestern get together in Fon du Lac. I’ve been attending the Wisconsin Permaculture Guild convergence the last few years and it’s been mainly disappointing. If a Green Wizard’s toward in Wisconsin is a bit more hard-nosed about getting practical issues like the difficulties of being working class, then count me in.



  143. @Violet (or anyone interested in the various Dharma religions)

    If I may I would like to add some comments which I hope you will find helpful in your spiritual question to JMG. The following is a teaching of one of my Hindu Dharma masters (Nithyananda):

    There are 4 Principles of the Cosmos for Life that when followed lead to great joy, wisdom and power (when rightly used).

    Those 4 principles are:

    1. Integrity: Integrity is fulfilling the word and thought you give to yourself and others and experiencing that as a state of completion with yourself and others. Completion is whenever an action whether by thought or deed (karma in sanskrit) has fulfilled *all* its effects in you (ie. causality for that specific action has come to an end).

    2. Authenticity: Authenticity is being established in the peak or your capability and responding to life from who you perceive yourself to be for yourself (mamkara – the inner you), who you project yourself to others (ahamkara – the ‘you’ presented to others), and what others expect you to be for them. [Enlightened beings have realized that both mamkara and ahamkara to be false so both have disappeared for them.]

    3. Responsibility: Responsibility means living and responding to life from the truth that you are the source of, and therefore responsible for, all happenings in and around you. [note: he later clarified this giving the example of someone in a car crash. The person in the hospital and undergoing physical therapy may not have been the *reason* for the car crash but they are still responsible for how they respond with their life energies to it.]

    4. Enriching: Enriching is taking responsibility, with integrity and authenticity, to continuously enrich and expand life in and around you in both yourself and others.
    When one follows all 4 principles in everyday life one is aligned with the cosmos and accumulates no karma – ie actions that have yet to have completed all their effects in you. You’re on the Friction-Free Path the to the Ultimate/Moksha/Nirvana. This is effectively what the Golden Rule of the Bible (and Confucius) was trying to state more succinctly.

    Whenever someone does not follow the above cosmic principles the energy systems of the body, emotions, thoughts and energies get entangled and progressively harder to break. The effects have not yet come due and when they do, typically the person suffers.

    As for the energy and enhanced perception you experienced. One thing that has to do with is the chakras. Each chakra is also a Thought-Energy-Current in the body. As one starts living out the above 4 principles the bound energy begins to free up. One of the results can be mystical experiences and enhanced perception and enhanced life.

    One extra fun note. People whom consciously make a point to live all 4 principles to the fullest decade after decade (lifetime after lifetime) develop an extraordinary superpower. When they speak of the future – whatever they speak of will come true. It’s called Vak Siddhi (I guess Vak is cognate with Vox). The West knew them as Oracles – ex: the Oracle of Delphi. Now you know how to consciously work toward being an Oracle. Technically speaking – anyone who governs their own life dilligently by those 4 principles will automatically develop that superpower anyway – either in this lifetime or a future one – because it’s a result of aligning yourself with cosmic truth, not the average person’s ever-variable truth.

    2nd Fun note (the following is from one of my *other* teachers, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev): Enlightened beings don’t need or have DNA memory – they have Superconsciousness instead – nothing sticks to them (DNA is a type of memory) so to stay in a material world like ours an enlightened being has to know the ‘tricks of Mother Nature Herself’ to keep a body and mind together – otherwise they ascend automatically to higher, beyond the physical, realms of bliss, wisdom and power.

    Most Blessed Beings have white auras symbolized in paintings by the halo but India has blue deities because they had/have Blessed Beings (sanskrit: Bhagavan) who have learned and mastered willing retention of physical embodiment even though the energy held wants to ascend (this is also why The Buddha is always depicted with a top-knot. It’s like putting a stopper in a bottle with the bottle in this instance being the 1000 petaled crown chakra). It’s as if one is holding inside one’s body energies with the nuclear force of the sun or beyond – the deadliest of the deadly when unchecked and untamed. For those who can see it (which itself is a growing outcome of living by those 4 principles) – that Bhagavan’s aura always registers blue – a dead giveaway to that supreme sub-atomic mastery – so India symbolizes this by having their Blessed Being Avatars and Deities painted in blue.

  144. JMG,

    Well if you can change the rules, then where’s the fun in trying to break them? 😉

    Are you using your blog as a way of initiating people? It looks to me like you take people in, show them the door to a different way of viewing the world, and a number of us follow and join you; the weekly posts are intended to form meditations, and keep us thinking in the new pattern, while those who don’t keep following drift back into the old ways; and the way you keep pushing the envelope is one way of getting promising candidates who wouldn’t be willing to join if presented with the full picture to gradually shift into this new way of being.

    I also have a question about a modified version of the SoP. I work extensively with the classical Greek gods, so I came up with a modified SoP to work with the Twelve Olympains: it starts out based on the form in the Druid Magic Handbook, invoking two gods and two goddesses, then when I cross my arms I invoke my patron; then one deity is assigned to each of the seven elements.

    I’m a little wary of messing with my banishing ritual like this, since I still don’t know enough to be sure I’m not making obvious mistakes, but from what I see so far it seems like it should work. I’m going to take some time to meditate on it and cast divinations on the precise layout, but does this sound like it would work?

  145. It seems that our Faustian culture is reflecting an excess of Jovian influence. If this is a correct interpretation, is it helpful to invite Saturnine influence into our regular practices to help us individually (and therefore the collective unconscious) embrace the age of limits?

  146. You’ve noted a number of times before that Americans have a particularly strong tendency towards dichotomous thinking when they think about anything politically charged. We tend to boil down a complex set of issues to a single binary choice, and then insist that one or the other of these is the right one and the other is evilly evil with a side of evil sauce. No mention of how those are usually only two of a large number of possible responses, or how it’s possible that both of them are bad ideas, or so on.

    To what extent do you think our party system plays into this? We have by far the most rigid two-party system among large democracies; even places like the UK that have a similar first past the post electoral system and two parties which are larger than the others still see other parties win a sizable number of seats – witness the Lib Dems, SNP, all the little N. Irish parties, etc. Canada has three national parties plus a fourth in Quebec, and has seen some major-party turnover in relatively recent times. In the US, by contrast, the same two parties have dominated national politics since 1856 and, especially lately, third parties have rarely risen above the level of little political clubs. That seems to shoehorn issues into a binary choice, to be fought over in a zero-sum battle between two opposing camps.

    Does our party system make us think in dichotomous terms, does our tendency to dichotomous thinking lead to an unusually rigid party system, or both, or neither?

    Also, are there any electoral reforms that you would support if you were, say, made a delegate at an Article V convention or something along those lines? Suppose that dissolving the US a la Twilight’s Last Gleaming is not considered an option by any other delegates, but any other reforms of our system, major or minor, are fair game.

  147. Coming a little late the Weird of Hali party, but hey, better late than never! I finished reading The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth recently and am re-reading it while waiting for Kingsport to arrive via the local indie bookstore. I love what I’ve read so far. I especially got a kick out of the C.S. Lewis shoutout. After all, Belbury Hall and the Radiance have a rather N.I.C.E. ring to them, hehehe…

  148. Okay, so my grandparents were watching the news and one of the segments is a discussion of why the internet will be with us forever. Er, who were they trying to convince? Alarm bells are now going off like crazy….


    Interesting that what you have concluded about the nature of divine relationships matches what my patron has told me: she has been with me for my entire time as a human: some lifetimes I’m more open to her and aware of her than others, but she’s always been there.

  149. @Varun: I read your blog post, and I liked it quite a bit. I like how you link our internal and external ecosystems, and the idea of making ourselves more machine-like to gain more power, and ironically make ourselves more susceptible to manipulation by doing so.

    I had similar thoughts a little bit back, which I grouped under the term “industrial privilege.” (The term came from a daydream in which I tried to explain my views to a SJW acquaintance of mine.) The first trait of industrial privilege that came to me is hugely expanded external power, and utterly depleted internal power.

    In other words, we can fly across the Atlantic in a matter of hours and blow people up halfway around the globe with the push of a button, but dang if we can remember more than two weeks ago, or uncover the roots of our addictions.

    Communications technology sits at the nexus of this, just as you said. If I chose, I could spend all day watching movies and TV shows and videos, and never see more than a tiny fraction of them. There’s simply an endless ocean of audio-visual stimulation available. But by doing so, I strip-mine, clear-cut and pave my own imaginative and emotive faculties, so that I eventually wind up psychically hollowed out.

  150. After two nights of Democratic Presidential Candidate debates, I have to complete agree you’ve called it. The only unifying issue amongst them has been to get Trump out of office. That’s only encouraging those who don’t want to see business as usual continue to vote Trump. Otherwise, most candidates were taking poorly informed potshots about the latest media outrage, the illegal immigration/border issue. As if they really care. Trump has already offered some suggestions for immigration reform. None of the candidates who are in Congress or Senators has offered up any suggestions but simply say what’s happening is horrible and Trump should feel ashamed. The reality is nothing will change except the media wouldn’t make as much noise about what happens on the border, just as they did during the Obama years. I enjoyed a lot of popcorn, and beer. Quite entertaining!

  151. John Michael, last week’s potluck and this week’s comments on the quality of the discussions here have led me to ponder what kind of a community this forum is building. The casual, social conversations at the potluck were different in nature from the written comments posted to the blog, but both come out of a background expectation to listen and learn from others and, hopefully, contribute in return.

    That appears to be a fairly rare expectation in today’s culture. Although academics and diplomats are supposed to be interacting based on those standards, most of what I experience from those disciplines is regurgitating approved answers while jockeying for status under a false veneer of thoughtfulness. Businessmen and gang members get to dispense with the false veneer and just greedily seek their personal advantage.

    By creating and moderating a written forum for confessed outsiders to collectively try out new ideas, you have modeled some decidedly old-fashioned notions of tolerance, compassion, and reflection for the rest of us to practice. Perhaps this blog is acting as a modern-day equivalent of the letters of Petrarch, inspiring unapproved new thoughts and getting them passed on to other sympathetic readers despite the authorities’ disapproval. Why, your early missives have already been collected into folios to help spread this rebirth of thinking through these profoundly dark times!

    Ok, so that comparison is actually pretty spot on. You are searching out forgotten classics of the Mystical age to translate and share. You encourage your readers to practice the philosophies and trainings of bygone ages. You challenge fellow travelers to write down their heretical thoughts. How delightful to think that your blogs are the quill and vellum of a much needed modern renaissance. How sad to think that they are leading into a feudal dark age and not out of one.

  152. Booklover, a lot of people don’t. It startles plenty of newcomers to the Druid scene.

    Brian, I’m not surprised to hear that it varies from person to person.

    Aquari, fair enough. Thanks for this.

    Methylethyl, interesting. Japanese (which I know very slighly) has classifiers, which mostly get added as suffixes to number words; I hadn’t encountered them in other languages.

    Packshaud, thanks for this. Yes, it can be a rough road to walk! That article is, well, stunning, at least to me — being alone with my thoughts is my comfort zone…

    Forecastingintelligence, the Tories at this point realize that if they don’t make Brexit happen on October 31 their party will be destroyed in the next election, and Nigel Farage will be heading for No. 10 with a coalition consisting of the Brexit Party and a few dozen surviving Tories. I stand by my prediction that there’ll be a hard Brexit, there will be maximum screaming and handwaving beforehand, then it will happen with minimal fuss and Britain’s working classes will get to experience the same kind of boom a lot of Americans in flyover states are enjoying right now. As for ERM, er, I looked that up and found 52 different meanings for that acronym; any hints?

    Steve T, sounds like the Watcher to me.

    Packshaud, that’s certainly a workable way to look at it. I know that the characters in my stories routinely surprise me, not only by the choices they make and the stories they tell but by the way they grow and change as people over time.

    Scott, au contraire, I see this as a good thing. In a society where “Just Do It” is the name of the game, saying “I don’t do that” is a valuable first step toward creating autonomy — first you establish the limits, then you decide what you’re going to do within those limits.

    Skyrider, thanks for this. Can you give us some links with numbers?

    J.L.Mc12, none at all, because the whole system cost for everything needed to do those things will be so high as to put them out of reach.

    DFC, of course most Americans like wars. Wars are what prop up our empire and enable the lifestyles of absurd extravagance that go with them. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that the age of nuclear weapons is sunsetting out and that the micro-nukes will go the way of nuclear artillery shells — which were actually deployed in the 1950s, and then deep-sixed — but we’ll see.

    Karim, thanks for this! I didn’t know that, but it makes perfect sense. Alfred Thayer Mahan’s theories of sea power stress the importance of having naval bases well out from your coastline, to make it easier to intercept hostile fleets and project power; I’d expect India to put a base in the Andamans on the same principle, to extend its naval reach eastward. As for the concentration camps, I hope it doesn’t come to that, but as the Pax Americana comes apart, various powers are going to fill the resulting vacuum, and it’s unlikely to be a wholly peaceful process.

    David BTL, I wrote my first two books on a Sanyo MBC-555 microcomputer with two 5.25 floppy drives and no hard drive. It was a lovely little machine that, among other things, was impossible to crash, and the programming was simple enough that I was able to write code for it. I still have fond memories of it. As for clothing as class marker, that’s a great story; thank you.

    Will J, why, that’s the point of changing the rules! As for the SoP, that’s entirely within the tradition, and rather less bizarre than some of the others I’ve seen, so it ought to work fine.

    K, that depends very much on your personal natal chart. If Saturn’s well dignified and in good aspect to other parts of your chart, sure; otherwise, it may have unwelcome results in your life, however useful it might be to society in general.

    Grebulocities, I’m not sure if the two-party system feeds the habit of rigid dichotomies, or the habit of rigid dichotomies feeds the two party system! As for reforms, hmm. I’d take my merry sweet time brooding over that.

    Baboonery, yep. There are lots of little references like that in the books. Glad you liked Innsmouth!

  153. Will J, they said that? Alarm bells my Aunt Fanny — that sets off a big 100 decibel klaxon. All nonessential personnel to deep shelters!

    Prizm, about what I expected. Now watch them descend into internecine bloodshed, dig up scandals on each other, scramble around trying to do absolutely anything at all to get the nomination but offer a single original idea about how to deal with the cascading crises the status quo has made inevitable, so that whoever staggers to the finish line is badly wounded and has alienated huge swathes of the Democratic base — and gets to face Trump, who’s amassing hundreds of millions of dollars in his war chest, has a passionately devoted following, and can come down on the Democratic nominee like a 500-lb. bright orange gorilla. It’s not even going to be close.

    Christophe, I do what I can with the time that I have. The long game aims at the far side of the dark age, where what gets saved in the years ahead will determine how readily the new Renaissance will emerge and what raw materials it will have to work with.

  154. TO jbucks – I got my last job when I was 62, much to my surprise so you never know. This was not in an area I was used to but I was pretty unfussy. It worked out well. Since then I have become a lady who lunches which has always been my real ambition.
    Next topic: I thought dowsing was a pretty normal practice which some people could do when searching for water.

  155. JMac: A cursory lookover of the Iran situation from an astrology perspective:

    Unless Neptune in the seventh house turns out to be a war predictor (and we’ve got a couple of centuries of mundane charts to go on at this point), there’s no evidence of a hot war in either the definitely-live US Aries chart or the possibly-live (not by traditional methods) US Cancer chart.

    Iran, on the other hand, is another matter; I’d consider Iran getting into a hot war at least possible given Tehran’s Cancer ingress (definitely live even by traditional methods, Tehran’s Aries chart had a Capricorn ascendant). To my eyes the signature feature of that Cancer ingress globally is a Mars-Mercury-North Node conjunction in Cancer loosely opposite the ongoing conjunction of Saturn and the remains of Pluto’s influence in Capricorn (now joined by the North Node); Iran has that M-M-NN conjunction in the seventh house and S-P-SN in the first (also both square Midheaven, for whatever that’s worth). Why yes, that does imply that Tehran has Mars in his fall of Cancer in the seventh house! I’d consider that as indicating the possibility of war on its own, and there’s a couple of other features that might point that way. Sun conjunct descendant in the sixth house (labor, soldiers, and public health) ruling the eighth house (death and taxes) suggests that Iran’s leadership will be focusing on the military, though that’s not guaranteed (focus on labor issues due to sanctions is another obvious possibility); Venus also being in the sixth house points towards that for me, since “more resources for Iran’s military” is the most consistent explanation for that. Uranus in the fourth house is hard to tell on its own – that may just be the effects of renewed sanctions, especially if petroleum extraction counts as a fourth house matter – but the combination of Uranus in Taurus (fairly likely to be Uranus’s fall) ruling the second house and Moon in Aquarius in the second ruling the seventh feels like it might be pointing towards popular pro-war sentiment driven by sanction effects. There’s also just not a lot of essential dignity in the chart in general: Jupiter, Saturn (Tehran’s ascendant ruler), and Neptune are all in their rulerships but also all retrograde (Pluto’s also retrograde, FWIW, and probably also peregrine), Mars is in his fall and as mentioned before Uranus probably is also, while Venus and the Moon are both peregrine; only Mercury has any essential dignity, and only via term and face at that.

    Mitigating against that, there’s a decent number of trines and sextiles (notably two sextile-trine-opposition configurations: Neptune sextile S-P-SN and trine M-M-NN, Moon sextile Jupiter and trine Venus), and that Mercury-Mars conjunction may mean that events will point towards cyberwarfare – which has already started up, by the accounts I’ve read.

    (This year’s Cancer ingress also has Neptune t-squaring Jupiter and Venus; Tehran has Neptune in the third ruling the third, Jupiter in the twelfth ruling the twelfth, and Venus in the sixth as previously discussed. Not entirely sure what’s up with that, but with Neptune in the t-square position I’d wonder if it results in a fuzzy resolution where both sides go home thinking they got the better of the situation.)

    (if Tehran makes it through the next three months in one piece, they get a somewhat more favorable chart (Jupiter in Sagittarius in the first ruling the ascendant) when Libra rolls around.)

  156. Hi John,
    Could technologies of virtual reality accelerate the decline of Faustian culture? In the virtual world you can travel to the stars, defy gravity and conjure up any hoped-for technology you like. You could have a world of free energy, intelligent robots that somehow don’t rebel, etc. etc. In effect the game players could explore virtually the question of, “What if all the Faustian dreams were realized? Would life be satisfying ot not?” It may be then that virtual reality could speed the process of disillusionment. The next step beyond digital tech-based virtual reality might be shared lucid dreaming –but that may require a shift in belief toward the possibilities consciousness that itself would be the marker of a new, emerging culture.

  157. JMG, and @Christophe, there are many moderated forums all over the blogosphere. Few are barely as good as this one, and I wonder if our host’s insistence on banishing all profanities has something to do with that…

  158. I’ve heard from multiple sources now that current society can’t be powered by renewables. But the question that I haven’t seen answered is what could they power? If renewables were developed properly and extensively, what could we have? For example could the high speed electric trains advocated by environmentalists since at least the 70s actually be powered only by renewables?

  159. Juan Pablo et al,

    Re: initiatic literature

    In our host’s book “The Wealth of Nature,” he talks about a difference of paradigms being the thing that matters when confronted with ecological limits: either you believe in ecological limits or you don’t.

    My paradigm-shifting moment in that regard came while watching an interview with David Holmgren in early 2009 about his then-new book “Permaculture – Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.”

    The tamale grande was exactly that sudden realization that ecological limits do in fact exist, and that culture was a subset of Nature, and subject to Her whims, not the other way around. That what we had on our hands was a predicament requiring adaptation from us, rather than a problem that needed solving. (Although that insightful terminology didn’t exist until our beloved Mr. Greer coined it some time later.)

    I wanted to tell everyone what had happened to me, how mind-blowing it was, how to achieve it for themselves. And of course you probably have some idea of how that worked out in practice…

    So, while not a book per se (just an interview about a book), with an intentional initiatory aim built in, that was my first initiation nonetheless. Ive come so far mentally and spiritually since that experience that it seems impossible to not have had another initiatory experience in the interim, but if I have, it wasn’t anything like as radically mind-shifting.

    It does however give me a clue as to just how different each initiatory experience has the potential to be! And how initiation is much more like a threshold to a new hallway than a comfortable new room in which to dwell.

    Tripp out

  160. I know I am asking you to speculate but say you live another 40 years (please gods) do you think in your lifetime, you will see the internet collapse for the general user and become the tool of the military like it used to be?

    I grew up without the internet and it horrifies me to think that I will live to see it disappear too. I edit Wikipedia and I am aware that when I do this it’s very much a temporary encyclopedia although I imagine others think it’s forever.

  161. @ Prizm, et al.

    Re the Dem debates

    I didn’t watch, as I try to keep my emotional/energetic distance from such things. Even in the general, I prefer to read about the debates afterward. My tolerance for show-piece rhetoric void of substance is pretty low and the debates are hardly reasoned discussions of practical policy proposals. I understand that I lose first-hand knowledge of the subtleties of the battle; perhaps I’m to a point where I could stomach watching more of them.

    From the assessments in the aftermath of the two nights, from what I’ve read so far, Biden is still the favorite, though well-bruised. Harris supposedly gave him a good thrashing (by one account anyway), the general positioning of the contenders relative to one another hasn’t shifted much yet.

    It will be interesting to see my brother’s reaction a few weeks from now when we have the annual family gathering in FL when I mention to him that he and I will very likely be voting for the same presidential candidate. (He is a strong, working-class Trump supporter.) My dad, who is more a traditional Republican, responded with a rather surprised silence when I told him in our last phone conversation that if Biden ends up as the nominee, I would be voting for Trump.

    @ Varun

    Re the permaculture convergence

    I haven’t attended but had considered it. If you don’t mind, what was it that you found disappointing?

    @ Grebulocities, JMG

    Re the two-party system

    On proposed amendment I’ve come up with is proportional elections within state delegations to the House (which also nicely solves the problem of gerrymandering):

    Proposed Amendment #4 (Proportional Election of Representatives)

    Article 1. Seats of a State’s delegation to the House of Representatives shall be allocated proportionally among the political parties registering in that State for the election, according to the proportion of the total vote within that State for that party.

    Article 2. Each political party shall be awarded a number of seats equal to the whole number of its proportion of the total vote. Any remaining seats shall be awarded singly, beginning with the party with the highest proportion of the total vote and proceeding to the next-highest, until all remaining seats have been awarded.

    Article 3. Each political party shall publicly register a slate of candidates with the State, with the awarded seats being allocated according to the ranking of the candidates within that slate.

    I would also repeal the 17th amendment and allow each state to decide the manner by which its ambassadors–I mean, Senators–would be selected.

    But then, I’m a wild-eyed fascist, don’t ya know 😉

  162. John–

    Re the US withdrawal from empire

    I am encouraged that you see those signs. Having been in politics for a few years now (with the associated slamming-of-head against brick walls), I have a better understanding of the pace and nature of these things, even if the engineer in me still rolls his eyes at the ridiculousness of the glacial rate when the solution is obvious and why can we just get on with it?

    As I am still calibrating my sense of pace to the realities of the actual world, as opposed to my idealistic construct where things that need doing simply get done by people who know how to do them, I was wondering when you thought the dead-and-buried moment for the US empire would come. I’d been thinking that it would be obvious that we were no longer a first-rate power by the middle of this century, but perhaps that is too quick. Do you have a sense of this?

  163. First I would like to thank everyone on all the ideas to help with my asthma/allergies. I am going to try several if not all of them. It may take awhile. The people on this forum are just great. Thanks

    Second i was wondering how the internet could crash. How would/will this play out and any ideas on how long we have. I personally would like to have ecosophia for several more years. Thnaks

  164. On the subject of what we deserve … “Use every man according to his desert and who should ‘scape whipping?” … (Hamlet)

  165. Something that I’ve found extremely striking when searching for novena candles is how many sold on Etsy are either rather crude parodies of Catholic devotional candles with celebrities faces pasted on or explicitly worshipping evil.

    What is so interesting to me about this is the aesthetic value of the candles. They are clearly aiming for the fussy, boutique, and retro aesthetic so favored by Hipsters. Indeed, when I’ve had the displeasure of visiting an evil magic shop a few months ago, the aesthetic was identical.

    I find it striking that this mason jar, old-timey, down-home look that I used to associate with buying foods in bulk and community gardens now is, as JMG pointed out, heading towards the fringes. This makes me wonder, then, as per last week’s post, how much the radical left encompasses. Does it encompass hipsterdom? Are we seeing that entire loose confederation of people who make kombucha and listen to 1980’s punk music on vinyl heading towards the fringes with the Neopagans and Antifa crowd?

    This is such a befuddling time to be alive! Everything seems to be changing over so quickly! It makes me wonder how long the current crop of Nationalist Populists will last before they turn into the old guard, and then head for the fringes; 10 years? 20? A few years ago, I’d have thought that the new power structures would be able to abide for something longer, but with the prevailing chaos and high-turnover of new cultural forms I really wonder now how enduring anything will be until the coming dark ages.

  166. @Jamie Ross: Thanks for the words of encouragement! I am a front end developer, I was a graphic designer before I switched to web development. I suppose good user interface design and development is a pretty universal need, so heading into the sectors you recommended is a solid piece of advice.

    @JMG: Thanks for your feedback, and for the book title. I’ve ordered it.

  167. @Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat:
    Thank you for the name of the story. It may be time to read it again… but not today. Copper thieves stole my electrical wires and I will be without power for a couple of days; maybe 15, until I can pay for it to be fixed.

    I have plenty of candles, propane for cooking and books to read, but when the 27% charge of my cell phone depletes (very soon), I will be temporarily collapsed out of internet–which I also use to work. Too bad.

  168. @Justin Patrick Moore: Thanks for the links to the Sun Ra albums! I am listening to God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be and enjoying it so far.

  169. I have been going to the Arctic Sea Ice Forum sense 2012. That year is the current record holder for lowest arctic sea ice. It is a pretty good site with a mix of professionals and amateurs, mostly good discussions and lots of data and links to the sources.

    Here is the link for the 2019 melting season, (the full site has tons of background data and discussions.),2591.2700.html

  170. @ Violet

    “Are we seeing that entire loose confederation of people who make kombucha and listen to 1980’s punk music on vinyl heading towards the fringes with the Neopagans and Antifa crowd?”

    Eh, I wouldn’t give it all up for lost. I have a rather conservative family, live in a conservative area, and I think you’d be surprised at how politically agnostic things like kombucha and 80s punk are 😉 My mom brews kombucha. My sister listens to 80s punk. Neither would dream of joining the neopagan or antifa scene. Happily, there are health nuts and music fans all over the political spectrum. 🙂

  171. Dear Methylethyl,

    Many thanks for your perspective! I confess I was amazed with how much that particular aesthetic has been used in such pernicious ways, and it is heartening to hear that these cultural markers are not limited to the hipster scene.

  172. Hi JMG. Just curious. Do you see a glimmer of ecosophic wisdom in Biden, Warren, or any of the other debaters from the past two nights, or is that political suicide in either party? Your appraisal will not be misconstrued as an endorsement.

    As always, thanks for your good work,


  173. Pretentious, thank you for this. Mars in the seventh is of course very often a sign of potential war, but in his fall and opposite Saturn, my guess is that it represents hostilities short of war. Other than that one quibble, your analysis seems spot on to me.

    Greg, I see virtual reality as an accelerant of decline, but in a different sense. I’d expect to see, as things get uglier and uglier in the real world, more and more people from the privileged classes (that is, middle class and up) withdrawing in the usual manner into a dreamworld of their own manufacture; empower that withdrawal with virtual reality tech (or, if you will, vicial reality — that’s to virtual as vice is to virtue), and you end up with a very large fraction of the potential leadership of society wallowing in pretty hallucinations while the world cracks and crumbles around them.

    Bruno, I think that’s an important part of it. Another part is that I post long essays about complicated subjects, and so those who can’t abide such things go elsewhere.

    Yorkshire, if you’ve got some spare time, my books The Ecotechnic Future and The Retro Future are all about that. So, in another sense, is Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game! It’s an important point — a society powered by renewables will be very different from the one we’ve got now, and a lot of currently fashionable extravagances won’t be an option, but that doesn’t amount to squalor by any means.

    Marco, thanks for this! I’ll give it a look as time permits.

    Bridge, was it really that horrible, growing up without the internet? I also grew up without it; what’s more, I had email from 1991-1993 while finishing my degree, and then walked away from it and didn’t get back online until my writing career required that in 1998 — and you know, I wasn’t particularly upset to be rid of it, or delighted to have to deal with it again. To answer your question, my guess is that forty years from now something like an expanded and more graphics-heavy ARPANET will be available to government, military, big corporations, and the well-to-do; BBS systems over ham radio frequencies will be a thing again, and have a passionate following among hobbyists; but a lot of people will simply make the transition back to print media, and get pictures of people without clothes on from seedy stores in the ratty end of town, the way they did until the internet took that market over. It’s too early to suggest this yet — I doubt anybody in Wikipedia will be willing to hear this until the contraction goes a good deal further than it has so far — but down the road, it might be worth using the Wikipedia system to lay the groundwork for a print encyclopedia which could preserve at least some of that knowledge for the long term.

    David BTL, I could see that. Proportional representation seems to work quite well in the nations that adopt it, and having a House that’s elected by p.r. and a Senate directly appointed by state legislatures would provide a very healthy set of checks and balances.

    As far as the timing for the end of US global hegemony, that’s all but impossible to predict. The problem is that the waning of power is one thing, but the realization by all parties that power has waned is quite something else; the latter is the thing that matters, and it tends to happen suddenly, without warning, when someone does something daring, or someone else does something stupid. The Austro-Hungarian empire was a walking corpse in 1914, but nobody was sure of that until it tried to invade Serbia and got its rump handed to it on a plate, then tried to help its ally Germany in the wider war and had the same thing happen. In the same way, the British empire looked very powerful in 1939, but in reality was so weak that within two years it had to choose between becoming an occupied province of the German empire and becoming an occupied province of the American empire. In exactly the same way, at some point down the road, the US will try something stupid or a rising power will try something bold, and the US military — severely overextended, equipped with a vast collection of hopelessly dysfunctional and overpriced boondoggles instead of functional weaponry, and burdened with massive incompetence at the top, flagging morale at the bottom, and serious problems with corruption at all levels — will crumple. On that day the US empire will be over, though it may take a while for the chunks of rubble to stop bouncing.

    Will O, my guess is that the first step will be covert rationing by price and geographical area. As the big internet combines run into a mix of financial and legal troubles, costs will go up, and ways will be found to pass those costs onto consumers, so your internet access will cost more with each passing year; meanwhile areas out in the boonies will start having to deal with intermittent access problems that become less and less intermittent over time. Within a decade or two, the internet will become a middle and upper middle class status symbol, and the poor and working classes will increasingly find themselves squeezed out of it by an assortment of subtle and not so subtle variables. Print media and other forms of communication will take up the slack, and become the places where the really interesting new cultural forms emerge. Forty years or so from now, as I suggested to Bridge further up, what’s left of the internet will be used by government, military, really big business, and the well-to-do; BBS systems over ham radio frequencies, which require vastly less infrastructure, will be the geeky equivalent; and zine culture, or something descended from it, will be far more influential among the masses. Depending on details, it may be as much as a century before the last scraps of the internet flicker out of existence because the resources are needed for something else.

    Morgan, true enough! I doubt Naomi Oreskes is thinking in those terms, though.

    Violet, well, we’ll see!

    Skyrider, thanks for the link!

  174. Dear Violet (and by extension, WillJ),

    thank you for your reply. If it wasn’t apparent, the intent of my question was so that I might get a sense of the practical aspects of prayer/devotion/personal connection with a deity… and at first consideration I was a bit stumped by how I might apply your answer to my own life.

    And then a sense of … ease … encircled the whole thing: If I get to a point in this life where I can engage in whatever practices allow for it or awaken me to it, then that’s good; if I don’t, that doesn’t mean such a connection doesn’t exist, just that I’m not currently aware of it. Meanwhile, I’ll just do what I can and what I’m called to do in the framework that supports this current life.

    I am greatly consoled by the likelihood that there IS an abiding connection with divinity.

  175. I have read both those books of yours and I’ll give them another look. But they’re written after the point of no return was passed and decline was inevitable. If the energy conservation that started in the 70s had kept going, what sort of technoogy do you think we’d be able to run now and into the future? Essentially what could have been achieved with a close to ideal scenario, and how many of the dreams of eco-tech would have remained dreams even then?

  176. Hi JMG

    May be the iranian war, if it finally happens, could be a mixture of your TLG and Retrotopia, because the “retrotopic” use of sea mines in the Strait of Hormuz could have devastating effect of the high tech US Navy if they try to remove them sorrounded in the north shore (in three angles) by thounsand iranians weapons (missiles and artillery)

    This is a comment from an article of defense page where the commenter seems to be very aware of the US Navy capabilities in the field of mine clearing operations:


    “And you said: “the US Navy is strong in mine clearing capabilities”.

    Uhm, no, they aren’t. The last time the US Navy held mine-clearing exercises in the Gulf, they only found fifty percent of the dummy mines used. I’m sure Iran took note of that failure. I’m also sure that no where near the number of mines Iran could release into the Gulf were used in that exercise. Iran has at least several thousand mines, with some estimates of up to 20,000 mines.

    Article: “U.S. Navy, Allies Find Less Than Half the Sea Mines Planted in Key Exercise”

    Then there’s this article: “A hidden danger The U.S. Navy’s next generation mine-clearing vessel still isn’t up to the task”
    So the service must rely on ships and helicopters that were supposed to be retired years ago.

    Or this: “Worries Surface On New Navy Mine Warfare Plan”

    So the US Navy is relying on some drones, some helicopters and *wooden* ships for its mine-clearing. With Iran sitting on its coast with antiaircraft and antiship missiles, how long will these mine-clearing gear be functional in an Iran war?”


    And another commenter said:


    “MCM/MW was my specialty. The US has eleven MCM (Mine Counter Measure) vessels with four stationed in Bahrain and four stationed in Japan. The vessels are between 25 and 30 years old and not that capable and from what I’ve seen, the operators are not that impressive.

    The equipment is reasonably capable of detecting moored mines but seems to have problems detecting ground mines (though that could be due to the training of the operators).

    Using helicopters to search for, and clear mines, is great in theory, but not in practice. They also make great targets in a narrow channel like the Strait of Hormuz. In fact every MCM vessel makes for a great target. Clearance is done at slow speed and along a very predictable path.

    All Iran has to do is declare that they’ve laid a minefield and all shipping is halted until that field is cleared. And that can take months to get the theoretical maximum clearance rate of 99%. If they actually lay a minefield, clearance will depend on what type of mines were laid.
    There are some pretty sneaky types out there. In one exercise three dummy ground mines were laid in a channel, we swept the exercise area and found five mine-like objects with the towed array. We found the three dummy mines plus two WWII Japanese mines that were in a Q-route that had been swept probably 50 or more times. Clearance is never 100%.

    The Brits used to be the world’s best in MCM, but they like most other navies, treat MCM/MW as the bastard child that no-one wants to acknowledge until the SHTF.

    If Iran does lay a minefield in the Strait of Hormuz, I predict a clusterf@ck of monumental proportions”


    It seem that, if attacked or when the economic blockade be unsustainable, the iranians only have to use “low tech” and lay some thounsands mines in the Strait of Hormuz and then to wait with the cannons locked to the high tech US Navy trying to clear them (as sitting ducks); meanwhile after one month the oil price will jump to 300$ and the global (and US) economy will collapse


  177. John–

    Re imperial ends and bouncing rubble

    Thank you for that. I understand it is a complex situation to assess.

    As I recall (from historical sources, not personal experience), in the years following WWII–say the latter 40s and early 50s–the British were still telling themselves that they were “sharing power” with the Americans. It took a bit yet for it to fully sink in that they were very much the junior partner in that relationship.

    Given the likely candidates for the next hegemon (I think China has a decent shot) or short-list of major regional powers, I don’t see the US having the same opportunity to become chief vassal of a close culturally-related power like the British had.

    Certainly, the psychological impact of the realization that we’ve become a second-tier power, when that does happen, is going to be interesting to observe and, I suspect, difficult for most people here to process.

  178. Do you think the purity of this space has anything to do with the fact many of us practice banishing rituals?

    I’m also now a little curious, what is the most bizarre SoP you’ve ever seen? Did it work? One of the things I love about it is that it’s highly flexible: and I have also gotten a response back from Olympians that this should work. I still plan to do my mundane checks before diving into it, but it’s a good sign.

    As for the local news talking about internet, they did indeed say it. It also recently came out that one of the large ISPs here is hiking rates, and so my guess is a few people are losing access. I’ve also seen some talk of a revival of print newspapers starting up as paywalls pop up online, and I suspect this is connected to the start of the collapse of the internet.

    “and you end up with a very large fraction of the potential leadership of society wallowing in pretty hallucinations while the world cracks and crumbles around them.”

    This seems like a difference of degree, not of kind from where we are now….

  179. Okay, I had another thought: does karmic culmination occur in old texts? I’m wondering if it may be related to what happens when someone disrupts the flood of cacomagic which makes their existing life tolerable…

  180. @Bruno:
    I don’t know all that many strongly moderated, strongly commented forums. There are many places where personal attacks and outright slander will be deleted, but that alone doesn’t prevent the discussion from sliding into unproductive territory. For example, I used to read quite a bit on, but whatever the original post, one of the usual suspects just had to mention either a rightwing or a radical leftwing opinion, and the majority of the commenters would just jump on that, rehash the same arguments over and over again, and abandon the original subject. It got tedious, after a while.
    Actually, the two well-moderated fora I truly followed were Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog on the Atlantic, before it closed down, and JMG’s blogs. There can’t be much of a political ovelap between Ta-Nehisi Coates and JMG, but on both sites the discussion was/is rigorously pulled back to the subject under discussion, and trolling is mostly stopped well before it reaches slander and attacks (this policy has been IMHO rather less rigorously enforced since 2016 than before, but at least trolling has not escalated).
    Ta-Nehisi gave up on his blog because he and his full-time administrators got tired of this emotionally exhaustive work, and I can only imagine what a drain it must be on JMG, at least some weeks.

  181. Late to the game again, sorry! I liked Varun’s essay and found it enlightening. For women and some unfortunate men of this era, the hungry Wendigo takes of the form of Instagram perfection. Though they don’t realize it, Instagram dollies construct images of themselves from the astral plane. I think we’ve all dreamed of being the perfect, most beautiful lover ever and then risen to face the hard reality of our own drool on the pillow, pudgy midsections, and stinky feet. You can’t make the image in the mirror match the sweet ideal placed in your head by constant TV/Youtube/media watching, and the older you get, the worse the contrast becomes. The Instagram dollie reacts with heavy combinations of mutilating plastic surgery and Photoshop. The result is no less than ghastly. The standard of beauty these days is not something I can even pretend to understand: 6 pounds of department store plaster on a young face, a cinched starvation waist, balloon hips and breasts, and the eternal pucker of a cartoon duck. Macabre and it does not age well.

    As for mystical experiences and patron deities, I’ve had a sense of the gods I’m working with for sure. There seemed an expression of a relieved “Finally!” when I had been doing the SoP long enough to start feeling some of its force. The gods I work with laugh with me and occasionally at me (I don’t mind this, the human condition is miserable and needs to be laughed at every now and then) I recently prayed to Jesus and found him to be congenial in the way Violet and others have described. My house has many kami aside from the gods I invoke. My thoughts are if you want to invite kami into your house, make a small shrine with or without a statue of a god and light incense at it every day, whether you “believe” in it or not. Maybe say “good morning” and “good night” to your kami every day at the appropriate times and see if you sense anything. My routine has become this, give or take: 1. Say good morning to Lady Bast, Demeter, and miscellaneous house spirits. 2. Sphere of Protection. 3. Meditation, 5 minutes to half hour. 4. Ogham divination & writing in the journal. 5. Eat. 6. Chores 7. Go to work (I work 6 days a week) 8. Come home, eat. 9. Exercise on the stationary bike, study, read, practice music, arrange music, etc. 10. Bathe. 11. Say Druid prayer. 12. Say goodnight to Bast, Demeter, and everyone. 13. Go to bed.

    Will & asthma: EVERYONE has difficulty breathing in the Midwest right now. Thick humidity and high temperatures makes it hard to breathe — it’s like trying to breathe soup. One of my voice students thought it was just her having the breathing problems. Nope. Everyone’s got issues at the moment. Allergens and mold have been off the charts because we’ve had so much rain. I have only watered my gardens once this year! The zucchinis and tomatoes have reached a size that can be described as “Feed Me, Seymour”.

  182. Since the topic of initiatory fiction has come up, I’m going to mention mine. It’s likely an unusual one: the short SF story (in its original form) “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes.

    Quite a few readers react to that title with something like “OMG, that story,” because it’s so emotionally wrenching. For me, though, that was the tip of the iceberg. That’s because I have an intellectually/developmentally disabled twin brother.

    Through most of our childhood I was taught, and fully believed, that my brother and I were opposites in practically every respect. He was “special” (though that was not the word used at the time) and I was “gifted.” He struggled for years to learn a few words and I was reading SF novels at age six. Also, though, he was (in everyone’s eyes) innocent and angelic and I was naughty and troublesome. These polarities were simple and clear, leaving only one open question, which was why. Not in the sense of what caused his disabilities, but more basically: why was he him and I me? When we woke up the next day might it be the other way around?

    Around age ten I acquired the then-newly-published Science Fiction Hall of Fame (vol. 1) anthology of short SF stories, which includes “Flowers for Algernon.” But I didn’t read that story until a few years later. I started it, saw where it was going, and basically muttered, “oh, hell no,” and skipped to the next one. But for some reason, when I was thirteen, I decided to stick it out and read it through.

    It took me three days to sort out my thoughts afterward enough to return to basic interaction with the world. My excuse for staying in my room nearly motionless, that I was feeling sick, was accepted without question because it was so out of character. When it was all sorted, in my new mental model of the world my brother and I weren’t opposites at all any more, we were and are as alike as any brothers ever have been. And so was everyone else. And everything else. The question “why is he him…” that had puzzled me turns out to be based on a false premise. It’s all one. It really really is, even though we’re all geared to pretend otherwise most of the time. That all didn’t come directly from the story, but from the reexamination of my own experiences set off by the questions the story raised.

    For decades I thought that event and any effects it might have had, had been entirely internal, unnoticed by anyone else. My mother doesn’t recall a suspicious three-day “illness.” But several years ago, she told me that she does recall just around the age when she was afraid I’d become even more obnoxious in my impending teen years than I already had been, instead I suddenly and for no apparent reason turned into “the nicest kid.” I would never take anyone’s mother’s word for that, but clearly something changed in any case.

    JMG has talked about initiatory experiences from time to time in his blogs, and mine always seems to fit every single criterion to be regarded as such. (“He’d never believe mine, coming from a cheesy emotionally manipulative classic SF story,” has been why I haven’t written about it.) Except… it didn’t, either at the time or retrospectively, seem to start me on any particular path. It seems more like it dropped me (with a rather hard tailbone landing at that) at a destination. But that’s a question I’m always revisiting.

  183. Violet,
    You may want to look into Thomas Aquinas. He had a similar experience toward the end of his life, leading him to tell one of his friends “all my writings are as dust.”

    JMG and Phutatorius,
    Regarding the conflict between “humans are lords of creation” and “humans are fallen”, it might be worth noting that the former title was bestowed before the Fall and is (IMHO) at least implicitly retracted in the “by the sweat of your brow shall you eat” speech thereafter.

  184. John–

    Re the timing of the end

    Something, too, that I have to keep in mind is that we’re effectively talking about an event–this realization/acknowledgment–which is a discrete thing: it happens or it doesn’t within a given period. We can talk about the likelihood of it happening in the next X years–rather like saying I have a certain probability of rolling a 6 on a (d6) die within X rolls. But each roll is a discrete event, either a 6 or not-a-6.

    Of course, that example includes other qualities (like independence) whereas the actual situation is far, far more complex. But the overall concept is similar.

    Where is Hari Seldon when you need him? 😉

  185. JMG, if you didn’t listen to the debates, I recommend you check out Marianne Williamson. I started the debate last night as a rejected, resentful and exhausted Bernie supporter, and now I am getting on board with Williamson’s campaign.

  186. I love the way you didn’t answer Will J’s question about initiation – it reminded me very much of your post on encoded messages!

  187. I have a question for the lovely commentariat:

    For the past few months I’ve been hankering to volunteer at an organic farm in exchange for the vegetables not fit for sale. I’m curious if there are small farmers who read this blog, who farm in Massachusetts any where between roughly Arlington, Attleboro, Worcester, and Lowell, and, would like a seasoned farmhand to volunteer regularly one or two days a weeks in exchange for veggies. If so, let’s chat!

  188. Hi John,
    I’ve also been thinking about the possible evolution of “Great Lakes” culture, per your earlier essays on what might succeed Faustian culture. In the spirit of “tamanous” (if I remember the spelling correctly)I imagine a future scenario where one person regards a sacred grove of trees as a kind of spiritual teacher, another person sees the same grove as a friend that brings on a peaceful feeling, and yet a third experiences the grove as a place where they have visions. During by 2.5 years in rural southeast Michigan, I noticed a revival of woodworking and other handicrafts. I can see the beginnings of a reaction against pushbuttoning your way through life, where the technologies disappear into a black box, and we know only a world of inputs and outputs. Crafts (including my preferred one of wrestling with math) reintroduce the idea of personal mastery, with everyone’s experience unique. Perhaps the model of the future will be the climax ecosystem of maximum diversity and for that reason, enduring unity.

  189. @Will O, JMG

    re: death of the internet

    We are getting a preview of it, here. We live out in the boonies. We were hit by a major hurricane back in October, which took out a couple of counties’ worth of utility poles, with all their electric wires, phone lines, and cable lines. The poles got re-installed and power lines re-strung with surprising efficiency. Probably within two months or so, every house that could still be hooked up to the grid, had an electric hookup again. But that happened only at an astonishing expense to the local governing bodies. Every town and county in the affected area is underwater in debt, and our electric bills have gone up to help pay for it. Federal aid will alleviate, but not completely cover, this.

    The cable and phone lines have been a whole different story. Eight months out, phone lines have not yet made it back to our neighborhood. Forget cable lines. We are stuck with satellite internet– which is kind of like going back to dialup. But more expensive. When we talked to the local service providers, they thought *maybe* they’d have DSL access out here in two years? But there may not be enough potential customers in our neighborhood to justify stringing the lines at all. This puts us in an awkward bind, as my husband is slated to go back to school in the fall, and some of the classes will inevitably be online. He may have to drive into town and use an internet cafe for that.

    Normally, utility access grows up organically, as population expands, new neighborhoods are built, etc. When it’s all built and maintained in little bit-by-bit units it’s hard to see how expensive all that infrastructure is: how much labor and materials went into it. All that becomes blindingly obvious when suddenly, you have to replace ALL of it at once. And… things like internet access become very low priorities. We still have it, but it’s not what we used to have. We used to have a land line phone, but now we just have cel phones, because the cel towers turned out to be easier to repair than the land lines.

    This is how it goes: a neighborhood at a time. A county at a time. A little natural disaster here and there, and maybe it’s just not cost-effective to run the lines out that far anymore. Looked like a good idea in an age of perpetual expansion. Not so much now.

  190. Darkest Yorkshire – As for what we can sustain with renewable energy sources, a crucial question is “sustained for what population?” The amount of energy we need to direct toward, say, fertilizer production depends on how many mouths (human and livestock) we need to feed. If farmers didn’t need to maximize annual production, they could let cover crops rebuild the fertility of their soil between cash crop years. (It’ll be interesting to see, by the way, what affect this year’s floods have on the fertility of the flooded cropland.) A smaller population would require less energy for travel, obviously because there would be fewer people, but also because they could live closer to their work and commute shorter distances.

    However, since we currently rely on hydrocarbons for support of our current population, declines in population (one way or another) are baked into the cake, and whether our trains run at 20 mph or 100 mph will be the least of our worries.

    Even if we scale back the population in the most humane way (reduced birth rates only), we’ll be wondering who will do the work we deem ourselves too old to do for ourselves.

  191. Tripp – Regarding “initiatory experiences” … of course they’re gateways into a new way of looking at the world; to “initiate” is to “begin”. An initial letter of your name is the one your name begins with. An initial public offering is the beginning of public trading in the stock. “Initiation” is finding yourself at the beginning… of something.

  192. Will Oberton – How could the Internet crash? JMG wrote a full essay on this, some years ago, and it was one of the things that cemented my interest in his writing. (I’m a communications engineer by trade.) Here’s how it goes: step 1) the supply of speculative “free money” dries up, so the cost of operating the Internet (including hosted services, such as YouTube and Wikipedia) has to be charged back to consumers rather than “investors”. Step 2) Consumers fail to come forth with the required cash. Step 3) Skilled technicians stop getting paid, and capital equipment stops getting upgraded (or replaced when failed). Step 4) The Internet stops.

    By that, I mean “The Internet stops providing services that consumers have grown accustomed to: streaming video, audio, images, (including those that we never ask for but receive in advertising).” Much of our conversation here could be distributed by an informal network of dial-up modems or ham radio links, as well as snail mail, but text-only Internet traffic could probably be maintained for a long time after the rest becomes economically infeasible. I’d be just as likely to pay $1 for a blog post (in fact, I do) as for an hour-long video, but the technology required for the former is a tiny fraction of that required for the latter.

  193. Kunstler and SNAFU both have good blog posts out today about the unfolding fiasco that is the Democratic presidential race. It’s becoming increasingly obvious Trump is going to win reelection and win big. I agree with SNAFU that Biden is probably the only Democrat candidate this year who has a serious chance of winning the general election and he is clearly the candidate of the establishment since Hillary decided not to run again.

    But Biden is vulnerable on any number of issues and he keeps scoring own goals that are hurting him badly while giving Trump and his team lots of ammo if he does get the nomination. In the meantime, the Democratic presidential contest reminds me of nothing so much as a circular firing squad. I think the Dems are setting themselves up for a train wreck comparable to 1972. If the Republicans are smart, they’ll run someone like Ron DeSantis in 2024 and if they do so they have a very good chance of holding the White House for the next decade.

  194. I’ll take this chance to explore some ideas I touched on before in some previous comments and tie together some threads about social activism, effective magic vs. ineffective prayer, and childish behaviour.
    I’ve been wondering about this cult of victim-hood that seems to have expanded through western culture since the discovery of the full extent of the Nazi death-camps in 1945.
    I pick that time frame because it seems to be the point after which the wealthy classes have become increasingly susceptible to emotional manipulation. Even after the Civil War petered out, the wealthy classes maintained the attitude that they’d done enough and did not need to alter the social structure any further beyond the abolition of explicit slavery. It seems to me that, in the immediate aftermath of WWII and the widespread personal experiences and sacrifices of fighting explicitly against racism and religious prejudice, it became increasingly difficult for the power structure to continue to rationalize or excuse the exclusion of Jews and other religious minorities, and Jews and other minorities became less accepting of that exclusion. All that exploded (literally) in the 1960s with demands to be included in mainstream society. Even bullies like McCarthy who, in earlier times would have picked on racial or religious themes focused instead on political philosophy.
    However, in the 1970s, it seems to me, the focus shifted away from becoming part of the mainstream to proclaiming and glorifying and magnifying differences in spite of mainstream culture. And at some time, the goal became to present a more compelling story of victimization and exclusion and marginalization for increasingly narrowly-defined and fractionally-smaller — i.e. more marginal — social groups: the “Victim Olympics” as it has become disparagingly called. The focus has fallen away from being part of a larger society and to getting goodies and special treatment.
    What occurs to me is that, prior to WWII, North American culture officially lauded the independent, can-do spirit of self-sufficiency, personal integrity, and honesty. Nowadays, that attitude is being denied and redefined, and the previous success being explained as privileges derived from exploitation. Basically from chest-thumping pride to sour grapes. Even the neo-Nazis and neo-fascists have re-worked their presentation from being the heroic, powerful, and therefore deserving to be above other, lesser beings, to being a persecuted minority.
    Taking what you’ve written about how successful magical workings require consistent focus on a desired outcome, and applying that to the tendency to focus entirely on marginalization and ‘telling their story’ of being excluded, I wonder what all that psychic focus is producing? In the same way that we joke about Republican anti-gay politicians who are constantly talking about little else being caught having gay sex in public washrooms or fulminating Religious leaders turning out to be pedophiles. Or the denizens of 4-Chan, who harp constantly on their miserable, unemployed, single lives and yet never get a decent job or a significant other. If the focus is entirely on the victim story, or talking about the poverty and exclusion being part of “marginalized group X” does that not reinforce or even create, in an inadvertent magical way, the said marginalization? Like the cautionary tale of the man who focused on counting money, rather than having wealth? Which connects to the comments in and subject of your last week’s essay. I noted years ago that Aleister Crowley spent his years delightedly tweaking the noses of ordinary society, and proclaimed his power as a magician yet died alone and in poverty, bitterly complaining about having no friends. Personally, when I read about the call for prayers for Isaac Bonewits I remember thinking that, if he were so good at magic, how come he’s in dire poverty? And why would I want to help someone who boasts of magical ability that is clearly not manifesting? It never occurred to me that he was, in fact, manifesting his magical ability. Now I reflect that one ‘magical’ working I’ve been inadvertently doing all these years runs along the lines of “I’d like to live in a world where people treat each other with grace and respect, so I’ll treat the rest of the world that way so that at least *my* little corner will be the way I’d like it.” And thus it has come to manifest. But that also required the co-operation of my subconscious, so I had to make sure there were no unwanted negative thoughts poisoning the well against my conscious desires. That there is where I quickly parted company with the neo-Pagan crowd almost as soon as I came into contact with them and why I’ve never actually attended any grand neo-Pagan gatherings: because my first assessment, and one which I’ve never had cause to revise, is that the bulk of those attracted to magic really need psychotherapy more than magical training.
    Which comes to my last point, which I touched on in last weeks post, what seems to me the essential childishness of a lot of the current behaviour. A friend recently pointed out that the people he knows who spend their time being highly critical of others are the most thin-skinned people around. It seems to me that the people who are most demanding of consideration for the uniqueness are also the least likely to accept that others might not be comfortable with that difference, e.g. the current “transgender” hysteria by men who want to dress like women and change in women’s change-rooms and use women’s bathrooms and who then toss a fit when born-women protest they don’t want to have males of any sort in their change-rooms. Far-right activists behave in the same way over Muslims. There is a certain immaturity in demanding concessions from others without allowing for any from oneself. Moreover, much of the antics are disingenuously offensive, that push against boundaries in such a way that any defensive response will be plausibly characterized, at least to supporters, as being offensive. This type of behaviour currently seems to pervade the political realm. Although I can also point to similar antics by Otto von Bismark which goaded the French into declaring war in 1870, it seems to me that that was never quite as prevalent or at least far more subtle in the past than it is today (and it’s no my memory or anything, I read history).

    (AKA Renaissance Man)

  195. Patricia Ormsby,

    “A question to everyone: what do you think could and should be done to salvage America’s dysfunctional “health care” system? What would make the biggest difference and help the most people?”

    The argument has been made that a truly capitalistic medicine market is even cheaper than universal health care.

    Back when that was true, through the 70’s say, things were mostly affordable for most people. I do hear stories of people being turned away at emergency rooms or having kids die in Appalachia, so some of our reforms are all to the good.

    One of the problems with universal health care is it invites governmental or corporate oversight, and therefore less freedom for lay people and doctors to practice anything but the algorithm. This has become a greater and greater problem. I think in Europe things are slightly less free than here.

    The cost of health care in Europe and Canada is beginning to bite also. So even if a lower class family had a medical emergency, it was possible to make payments over time and recover financially. But what you have to realize is that universal health care comes at a pretty high cost also, in the form of high or special taxes. And I think it is subject to some of the same invisibilities that has caused the crazy price rises of the past couple of decades. There’s nothing like facing a customer and telling them your price…

    My biggest attraction to universal health care is that you pay for it during those times in life when you can but it is there fore you no matter what your financial or health situation is.

    I sent a link a couple of weeks ago to a Trump speech in which he said he was going to bring forth two reforms, one being price transparency. No surprise billing about things you didn’t know you agreed to or had utterly no idea the insane price they decide to charge.

    And the other day I saw another video of him following up on that. Now, he made a show of signing it into law, I guess an executive order, but I don’t know enough about the lawmaking process to know if that is a done deal or just a show and it has to go before congress.

    Price transparency is a no brainer. There is absolutely no other area of commerce in which hidden prices and various shenanigans are tolerated. That alone should bring prices down, although not equally but more where charges are excessive and above average.

    Another blog I used to read on claimed that there are violations of laws that are already in place, laws against taking advantage of people ‘in extremis’, like charging 30,000 dollars to an unconscious person for a helicopter ride to the hospital.

    Getting rid of insurance would certainly eliminate a middle man, but if we don’t have universal health care, I’m sure some people would still want insurance. Oh, that’s another thing, they’ve got these protectionist regulations so that people only have one or two insurance companies to choose from because they mostly don’t let you shop across state lines, so this lack of competition keeps the prices up.

    Just get rid of the scams.

  196. Kfish,

    ” Your answer was to the effect that the entity these people were praying to was not the real Christ but rather something far more evil. How does one tell the difference when sending one’s prayers? Do the devotee’s intentions or state of mind determine where the request ends up? Surely the evangelicals in the story truly believed they were praying to the real Jesus. How does a person of good will avoid falling into this trap?”

    Good questions. For example, I think that quite a few people in church are using the word God but are actually worshiping the other guy. Not to pick on Christians but it is such an easy example. I for the above reasons am hesitant to delve into occultism – even though, in my understanding it would definitely be the devotee’s state of mind or soul that is the biggest determinant of this.

    This is one reason I don’t fuss much about a person’s belief in soul or God. Plenty of people who are very interested in religion seem only to focus on – how God will condemn this and that, gory details of the pain of hell, how God required a blood sacrifice of an innocent in order to forgive humanity, and so on. If the being you’re worshiping is the author of hell and terror, why do you find that deity attractive? Of course, there is strong cultural pull, I know that, but you see how some people change churches if the message is too positive or too negative for their tastes.
    I think that goodness is an acquired taste, and understanding good and evil is something people are way behind on.
    And of course you’ve got similar problems with other religions, like black magic.

  197. Dear jmg

    Another thing I have been thinking of is whether ecotechnic civilisations could or would build underground cities.

    I was doing some research on the idea and I found out about a kind of underground house popular in China called a yaodong. Apparently 30 million people live in these houses.

    There is ,of course, Australia’s Coober pedy mining town which pretty much everyone knows of. There is apparently a similar place in England .

    Anyway my theory is that since underground houses don’t need air conditioning, and the earth is going to be hot for a while, where conditions permit people will increasingly use underground houses and over time will improve on the technology until rather modest underground cities could be possible.

    Do you have any thoughts on this?

  198. Violet,

    Is it a thing? I think it is. As to whether it is classic, you don’t give much detail but I think there are different kinds of mystical experience.
    When people say God or Jesus or some other deity speaks to them, I tend to not believe it. Maybe because it is so far from anything I experience.
    What is the reason for the pagan reluctance to mention which deity one is communing with?

    As for me, I had a transformative mystical life changing experience many years ago.

    I personally am interested in the idea of changes to brain pathways or chemistry following mystical experiences. One guy thinks near death experiences activates the right temporal lobe after which you are never the same because you’ve got different perception.

    Yes, experiences that are rare tend not to have language adequate. Also language is a limited medium. A picture is actually worth way more than a thousand words

  199. @ David BTL

    Re: Decline of the United States

    If I may, I think a lot depends on how you define “first rate power.” If it is defined as the top 10 or so military powers in a world where no one country can dominate single-handedly, I think the US will remain a first rate power for a long time after it has retreated from empire.

    I suspect something along the lines JMG proposes will eventually happen to the US and the world will need to adjust rapidly to a multi-polar reality at that time. However, declining from its position as the sole superpower does not mean the US will not remain a first rate power. The US still has many advantages over competing powers. First and foremost, the US is a large (by both area and population) and relatively isolated country in comparison to other likely first rate powers. A lot depends on how the US manages its decline, but done skillfully there is no reason the US will not remain an important global power even if it can no longer impose its will unilaterally (Russia has managed this transition even after the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union). The one caveat, of course, is that I’m assuming the US can hold together. If it doesn’t hold together, its pieces will be second rate powers.

    The two most likely candidates to join or surpass the US as future first rate powers (and I think it’s reasonable to say they’re already first rate powers), China and India, have significant issues with each other and their rivalry may intensify as they grow stronger. That rivalry is likely to occupy them and a significant portion of their resources as their respective power expands. Both countries will also need to figure out how to manage large and relatively poor populations in an era of declining resources. In particular, China is likely to face ongoing demographic issues as a result of the one-child policy. They will both be first rate powers, but various issues are likely to make it difficult for them to grow significantly more powerful than other nations or groups of nations, or keep them from clashing with each other.

    Other potential first rate powers, such as Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Russia, also have significant issues that make it unlikely they will eclipse the US in power any time in the next fifty years. Even after it’s clear the US is no longer a superpower, I think it will remain a first rate power in a multi-polar world for many decades to come.

  200. Regarding ‘plant-based’ meat alternatives (um, I’m pretty sure cows are made out of plants), I’ve had a few of the new high-tech ones. My first observation is that they cost 2-3 times as much as beef. They taste OK, but when eating them, I feel as though I’m consuming a sacrament which has been transubstantiated from the body of Al Gore.

    The message embedded in the pea protein and coconut oil that a Beyond Meat burger is made from is quite clear: By consuming this product, you gain entry to a moral community of Good People, who do not need to change the lifestyles that they have become accustomed to. Technology will provide a range of environmentally friendly products which are acceptably close enough to their dated counterparts just as this synthetic burger is. Therefore, there is no reason to actually change, one nearly needs to wait for the market to provide them the goodies.

    By consuming the Body of Al Gore, the eater’s other environmentally disastrous habits are themselves transformed. Their car is now a temporarily embarrassed electric vehicle, the big house is powered by temporarily embarrassed renewables (which suffer from no actual technical or economic obstacles, only people who eat the wrong kind of burger) and so on and so forth.

  201. The Democratic Party circular firing squad we’ve been talking about promises to provide some great if unedifying entertainment. As an example, Kamala Harris scored some damaging hits on Joe Biden in the first round of presidential debates, particularly when it comes to racial issues. So wouldn’t you know it, but the day after embarrassing leaks started surfacing in the press about Harris’ “relationship” (hehehe) with the infamous California power-broker and fixer Willie Brown.

    This demolition derby is going to be fun to watch. Time to stock up on the popcorn, brats and beer!

  202. JMG, I almost forgot to thank you for your writerly advice to “interview” your characters. Not only did it improve my story, after “interviewing” people in a [literally] Christless world, now I know how it feels to subscribe to a minority religion. 🤪😄

  203. Cliff, And it’s the people who are most privileged who end up the most hollow simply because they’ve imitated to near perfection. Think of all the multi-millionaires and billionaires in the world who finance think tanks to look at the world for them. Everything they say are thoughts that were externally generated and simply recited for the public. Listening to them speak all one hears is disjointed statistics and buzzword jargon.

    David, It’s a convergence of the middle-class, by the middle-class, for the middle-class with constant talk about social justice. Mind you, I’ve been the darkest and poorest person there several years running, except that one year where they flew in a black activist from CA. The whole event has no idea how to turn the practice of permaculture into a viable business or development model, which is what the working class really need. Mind you, I’ve met plenty of good people there, but the whole vibe is the white bearded woke dude with a topknot.

    Archdruid and Baboonary, Back when I was still working for the MoD Alfred Thayer Mahan was required reading in every military affiliated institution. He was brought up and quoted constantly.



  204. Most people seem to equate the internet with the forums, streaming, shopping, social media, etc…, but it’s more than that. It has become the foundation for nearly all of business. 25 years ago we built business software on mostly private networks supplied by the big telcos, using a variety of protocols, not just internet protocols. 20 years ago everything started moving to internet protocols, but the networks were rented from a gazillion local ISPS, who in turn rented from the telcos. 10 years ago, larger business started moving to the cloud, dominated by larger and larger ISP and/or telcos. Today, even the tiniest companies are moving/have moved to the cloud hosted by either Amazon or Google.

    I currently work for a very small software company. We process medicare claims for a niche industry. This is a tiny niche, I should stress, but if the internet goes down we are out of business, none of our customers get paid, medicare stops processing claims, and the healthcare our customers provide becomes out of pocket expense I guess. Mutliply that by just about every business under the sun (except small local businesses that can still bank and acquire supplies and such), and you can see the impact would be drastic.

    My guess is the government would make AWS and GCE (amazon and google cloud services, respectively) a priority right up there with military, finance, energy, and food distribution.

    There is no way my company would survive a switch to paper – software is fundamentally our business model.

    My advice to someone who wants to stick around in IT until the bitter end is to become an indispensable engineer to one company or government agency – know the at least one critical system inside and out and be able to fix anything related to it. As costs are cut it will save your job. Stick to business systems (that includes government) and stay away from consumer tech.

  205. Hello again Archdruid Greer!

    You’ve spoken several times about how Wicca began as an underground sex clube with mystical dressings. With the recent conviction of the NXVIM sex cult for human trafficking (as well as several other high profile pedophilia related controversies on the internet) how possible is it that any secret societies could have used/are using taboo sexual practices t(such as sex with the underage) to ensure confidentiality of new initiates. When I was in highschool, you had to commit a felony in order to obtain inner circle membership in most street gangs and wondered if a similar dynamic might have ever been at play in occult circles. “In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is King” comes to mind.

    I understand accusations of some sexual taboo or other have been a thing since the time of the Templars, but was wondering if there was ever anything to support it but run of the mill slander

    Always a pleasure

  206. A big blow to US global hegemony seems to have arrived a little while ago today, with the EU choosing Iran over Trump’s America by committing to use the Instex system that bypasses SWIFT and will allow Iran to receive payment in non-dollar denominations for its oil. Next we will see how impressively the US manages to sanction Europe over that, which is what they have threatened in this case.

    Thank you to JMG for getting me a good start on my assignment to write about what might be done about America’s awful health care system. A lot of other people on this forum also have pertinent information, which I am copying over to my notes.

    @Violet, my goodness, you’re welcome! It’s fascinating that we’ve had such similar messages from such different deities, and that Will J has also received a message similar to one you have described. I’ve been aware of a goddess who has been looking out for me since before my birth, like a Heavenly Mother. The Dragon King is much more of a wise teacher, and I appear to have had a long-standing connection to him as well. He (very yang but not necessarily male) is a Buddhist deity (at least within Japan), strongly oriented toward the physical realm and not shy at all about speaking up or instigating changes.

  207. Temporaryreality,

    My experience is that it takes quite a bit of effort to quiet your mind so you can listen, and even then it’s hard to tell what is a god and what is your own mental chatter. Meditation is a good one: I can often tell my patron is telling me something when a thought comes fully formed, and it’s distinctly different from my usual pattern: what’s interesting is that looking back on it she has been talking to me for ages, and its only now that I’m able to sometimes hear her!


    Every so often, JMG doesn’t answer one of my questions, and I find quite often the non-answer says more than any answer ever could.

  208. ” You can’t make the image in the mirror match the sweet ideal placed in your head by constant TV/Youtube/media watching, and the older you get, the worse the contrast becomes. ”

    One of the problems of American culture as I see it but not so far discussed is the myth of eternal youth. “Age is only a number.” No, it isn’t. There is more to it than that.

  209. JMG and All,

    1-Any tips for relieving pain from osteoarthritis in the metacarpal joint of the left little finger?

    2- This topic comes up from time to time among commenters of Ecosophia. Going to a family reunion with “successful” relatives according to the standards of contemporary industrial/consumer civilization (smart cars, first and second homes in upmarket locations, bank portfolios, leisure travel to the four corners of the world). I have a (relatively) downshifted lifestyle, modest disposable income (I don’t own a car; no air conditioning in a place where temperatures are easily in the upper 30 degrees centigrade half the year and sometimes more, buy minimum consumer goods etc). My motivation is the conservation of nature (the non-human, wildlife, habitats etc). Any ideas on how I can communicate without sounding either polemical/sanctimonious or seeming to approve of their lifestyles and later feeling I didn’t have the courage of my opinions ?

  210. A question for the general commentariat as well as JMG: I tend to find that coffee has beneficial effects on my respiratory tract (not unprecedented, IIRC Theodore Roosevelt was known for drinking large amounts of coffee for basically this reason). Unfortunately, these days I also find that caffeine has unwanted effects on my circulatory system, and have been trying to cut it out. Does anybody have recommendations for a drink/herb or the like with a reputation for similar respiratory effects to coffee but without the caffeine? (Decaf is a no-go.)

  211. Lathechuck, you’ve reminded me of the joke that biogas from the anaerobic digestion of sewage is so great because it’s the only source of energy that keeps pace with population growth. 🙂

  212. The other day my husband and I were reminiscing about our lives in the 50s and 70s. Yes, I know that as the world was when we were 10 is the best way for things to be. People would think that life in the 50s was abject poverty and yet we had good food, quality clothing, education and health care and the transport was OK. Not everybody had a car in the 50s but we coped. I used to eye my cousin’s clothes and think, “I will be wearing that next year.” I still like used stuff.
    When we married in the very early 70s we each owned a foot-long single bar heater and that was it for winter. We used to put one each end of the lounge room and didn’t even think of doing better and we were both earning fair wages. How our expectations are changed for us! So yes we can be comfortable with a lot less than we now enjoy.

  213. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks, and yes your point about other countries having to foot the bill was also not lost on me.

    Interestingly too, today I enjoyed reading the Jack Whyte book (regarding the fictional account of the Romans pull out from Britain) on the country train. The experience was all very civilised except that I had to stand on the way into the big smoke. However, I noted that the Romans in the fictional account were busy reconfiguring their troops from infantry to heavy cavalry. The thing is, such a move would have reduced the EROEI for the Romans, and in turn sped up the demise of their Empire. Arable land would have had to be turned over to the heavy horses that they were breeding up (about 2.5 to 3 acres per horse), and that would have taken those lands out of grain production for the populace. I guess that is the thing with technology, in that it has ongoing costs and it is supplied at the opportunity cost of other technologies.



  214. @BGHearns / Renaissance Man / Bruce: That was a very interesting and thought-provoking set of ruminations, thank you! I’m wondering if you could elaborate a bit more on this statement you wrote: “the bulk of those attracted to magic really need psychotherapy more than magical training.” I’m curious why.

    @JMG: Isn’t there a fair bit of overlap in terms of the goals of psychotherapy and magic?

    @Justin: The Body of Al Gore Burger line of thought got a good laugh from me, thank you! Very true.

  215. J.L.Mc12 – Depending on where you live, you might have ground-water problems that make underground living infeasible. As I posted above, it’s not easy to manage humidity in any temperate climate, and extra hard to manage it below ground level. Many homes in my Maryland neighborhood have drains around or under their cellars which flow into a sump, which needs to be pumped out automatically, several times a day. Some of these homes have mats of algae growing in the outflow area on pavement; that wouldn’t happen if the water had time to evaporate between pumping cycles.

    I gather that the climate around Coober Peedy is naturally very dry, but when you think about the vast number of people projected to be displaced by rising sea levels… even today, if they tried to live below ground level, they’d be living below sea level!

  216. I didn’t watch the debates. I just couldn’t. Nonetheless, I have a pretty good idea of the candidates’ positions, because I have NPR on all day for the chickens and NPR is in the bag for anyone non-Trump. (It is my theory that the sound of human voices discourages visits from chicken-loving predators, especially our local fox and mink, so the radio is on in the coop during the day when the girls are out and about; NPR is the only talk station that comes in clearly here. Hard to prove a negative, but so far, so good.) The consensus seems to be that all of the Democrats are, in the words of Rod Dreher, “fighting hard for the illegal immigrant vote” and trying to out-pander each other to see who can open the border the widest. Since Rod has become a person of some interest around here, below are the links to his very good articles about both debate nights:

    Night 1:
    Night 2:

    It is my gut feeling – and I’ve been wrong plenty – that extending government-paid health care to illegal aliens, something on which all of the democratic candidates agree, will be a very hard sell to the public at large. It’s one thing to want people to be treated decently, quite a different thing to want your taxes jacked up to provide comprehensive medical care for illegals, especially when there are still citizens without. Republicans would be foolish not to capitalize on this.

    Also on my reading roster this week was an excellent article about Sweden since that charming Scandinavian country has become the poster child for everything the Left finds good. Having been there several times, I heartily agree that Sweden and Swedes are indeed charming as well as obsessively neat in a way that I, a fellow neat person, deeply appreciate. But as in most things, the reality does not match the fantasy; some of what the leftmost Dems are claiming about a Scandinavian heaven-on-earth is not entirely as described and far more nuanced.

    BGHearns: Really interesting comment! A lot of food for thought there.

  217. Hi John

    Agree with your analysis on Brexit. You can read my latest thoughts here on my FI blog:

    In regard to ESG, it is a new trend within finance to focus on the environmental impact of financial decisions. The idea is that capitalism will go “green”, using criteria to not invest, loan or provide insurance to those companies that ethical, sustainable or for environmental reasons damage the biosphere.,_social_and_corporate_governance

    I suppose that my real question is this too little too late or can industrial finance capitalism save itself through ESG type initiatives?

  218. RE: Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate

    David BTL,

    The process of grieving is tough! If I had had a similar life experience as yourself, I probably would be more emotionally connected with the implosion of our country as well. Despite probably only about a decade of years between our ages (I’m 38) I noticed a lot of the signs that our country was dying probably in my mid-teens. I remember writing a poem once about the concern I had every time I heard a siren that perhaps it might be my sister in trouble. Those were the economic and social conditions I grew up familiar with. Already in the 80s and 90s there was a substantial gap in the distribution of wealth. I never grew up believing that education would set me free from poverty or that I could rise to the top. No one ever gave me a chance at working a part-time job bagging groceries. My mom was constantly managing funds by robbing Peter to pay Paul. I joined the Young Communist League, partly because of my interest in all things related to Russia, but also I thought “to each according to their need” was only fair at the time. Half a year of receiving their newsletters and a few interactions changed my mind about becoming more involved. Seven years in China cemented the idea that that system wasn’t for me. I did try community college, because everyone said that was the way to better yourself. I drove 55 miles a day because I couldn’t afford an apartment in the city which had the program which interested me most, forestry. My car broke down and there was nothing I could do. While there one guy asked me why I didn’t live the American dream and go into debt. So after a couple of years doing Customer Service jobs and some construction I gave community college another try, this time having enough to get an apartment in town but not having enough to pay for daily expenses. I ended up going $15,000 in debt on credit cards and also that much in student loans. I got my foot in the doors at one of the local mines with an internship in the computer department. Then I was assaulted by some guy with connections to local dealers and lots of other debt incurred from surgeries and recovery. During that time I noticed all the issues with our infrastructure deteriorating and came across the Archdruid Report Blog sometime in 2007. Suffice to say, I was already quite aware of the death of our country and ready to welcome change. Watching the debates to me felt like watching a movie purely for entertainment but seeing it also provided some opportunity to see stuff not caught in the reports, like the way I believe it was Michael Bennett really got under Joe Biden’s skin. The whole night, even when Kamela Harris went after his race records, he wasn’t flapped, confident that no one else knew the game the way he did except when Bennett brought up a point. So there were a few intangibles to watching it, but the main reason I watched it, I live in a household where the TV is on literally 24/7, a giant big screen in the living room, and occasionally, I’m going to persuade the powers that be (I’m living with my parents by the way, hah!) that we could watch something a little more informative.

    Hopefully through all of that story, you’ll have some insights as to why and sort of when I realized the empire was dying and how long it has been to let go. It’s not something that happens overnight. There are stages and that is why JMG has encouraged long, long ago to begin the collapse now. If you’re already 3 or 4 steps ahead of others are when the actual death happens, when the last gasps are breathed and the last of the convulsions have convulsed, when the spirit of what was our once great empire has slipped into the other dimensions, you’ll have a leg up in the next game, of integrating within the offspring child who steps into Lady Liberty’s void.

  219. Pretentious_username, I got an inversion table to help with a back problem and discovered the side effect that hanging upside down does seem to make lungs and sinuses feel a bit better. But as I’m not bothered by that area I don’t know how it would affect more significant problems. Maybe worth a try though. They used to hang people with cystic fibrosis upside down to help them cough the gunk up.

    Chris, I was just reading about the economics of using draught animals here – The main thing I noticed was that, like human heavy manual workers, working animals also need more food and a special diet (which is probably even more true for war animals). So animal feed already takes agricultural land away from growing human food, but that gets even more pronounced the harder you want them to work, and have to start feeding them a weightlifter’s diet. 🙂 A better solution may be to develop human powered equipment as far as it will go – and While humans aren’t exactly efficient at converting food into labour, they need to eat anyway and they need exercise to be healthy, so you might as well get the most use out of both.

  220. The internet really comes into its own when you have the maturity to handle it. I am very glad as a schoolgirl that we didn’t have the net but it would have been really useful in college. My 11 year old niece was given a cell phone which I think is a very bad move. Girls in particular are negatively affected by social media but it seems to be the norm now. See J Haidt for more details.

    I notice people can’t even walk down the street without looking at their phone. They are like crackheads. If their internet access gets cut expect major meltdowns. TDS will be nothing in comparison.

    I will genuinely be horrified if the net gets too expensive to use even though I’m not quite at the crackhead level.

    I remember the days of MSM gatekeepers who would decide what ideas the great unwashed should be exposed too. Now I can bypass all that and embrace dissensus just like our host. That I will miss and zines just won’t have the same reach.

    Maybe a microfiche copy of Wikipedia in every library? It will be old information but still somewhat useful.

  221. The discussion of the death of the internet has made me realize two things: first, the process is already well underway: the vast number of paywalls which are springing up, and the disappearance of the free services which made the internet so cheap seems to be the first sign of it. I suspect it’ll start to pick up speed in the near future, but it’s well underway now. The vast flood of advertising, and the way that they are engaged in a wild race to defeat adblockers seems to be another sign of financial desperation. I’d noted the vanishing services before, and the death of the free and open internet, but hadn’t thought through the fact the internet draws a great deal of its viability from the free and open part, and as that goes away so does the internet’s viability as a whole.

    The second is that network effects in reverse will kick in at a certain point, as the fewer people who use the internet the less valuable it is to use, and the more incentive people have to create businesses catering to those who don’t use it. In other words, as people get kicked offline, the various services which existed in the 1990s (phones and phone books, newspapers, radio, cable TV, bookstores, retail, magazines, city maps, postal service, etc) which have been displaced by the internet partially or almost in whole will start making a comeback. What this means is that it’ll get easier to quit the internet as time passes, since the services needed to do so will be there, where as now they’re hard to find/expensive. What this means is that as more people are kicked off it’ll get easier to bail on the internet, and so a growing fraction of people who could have access will bail. This will accelerate the process above a great deal, unless actions are taken to force even those who don’t use the internet to subsidize it.

  222. JBucks: I observed that most of the neo-pagans with whom I came into contact, including myself 40 years ago, seemed to have a great deal of emotional issues, and trouble coping with life in general. Barely surviving on low-end jobs, unable to maintain social relations, frustrated by things never working out, &c.
    My solution hinged on psychotherapy, and my life is very good, now.
    I’ve run into people who, all these decades later, have not improved their lives one whit despite all their magical workings.

    Beekeeper: Thank you.

    Maxine Rogers: My brother and his partner live on Denman Island. They host the Outdoor School for children. I spent last Winter Solstice season there. Wonderful place.

  223. Crow Hill, re: #2 – how about simply stating in the course of regular conversation the ways your life makes you happy, not least because it costs less on so many levels?

  224. @ Ryan S

    Re the US trajectory

    I was admittedly somewhat sloppy with my language. I ought to have said first-tier, rather than first-rate. I’d argue that ten is far too many to consider in that taxonomy and blends several tiers (at least two, if not three) together. If we take the 19th century as an example, there was the Concert of Europe that more or less ran the world: Britain, France, Russia, Austria/Austria-Hungary, and Prussia/Germany. This I would call first-tier. There were a number of second-tier powers, some on an upward trajectory, some on a downward trajectory, some just kind of muddling about. I’d give the US, Spain, and Italy as examples of each of these, respectively. Spain had been a first-tier power previously, but spent most of the 19th century losing control of its colonies. The US was clearly a rising power, particularly after the defeat of the southern confederate revolution. Japan was another good example of a late-19th century rising power, as the Russo-Japanese War demonstrated.

    The years of 1914-1945 fundamentally shifted this arrangement, although to some degree it was merely an acceleration of on-going trends. After WWII, there were two first-tier powers: the US and the USSR. Britain, to continue our example, was now a second-tier power and more or less our chief vassal. It took some time for this understanding to sink into the British consciousness. I think by the mid-fifties, it was pretty obvious what the lay of the land was.

    Fast-forward to today. We are well-past our peak power and have been declining for some decades now. We are on that downward trajectory. There are other powers which are on an upward trajectory. China, yes, and quite possibly India, and I’m sure others I’m not cognizant of. My point is this, really: there will come a day when the American people realize that there is a new first-tier of world powers and the US is not a member of that group. I’m thinking that day will come by mid-century, but I’m not positive on that.

    Re the union itself, I have my doubts as to its continuance in the present form. I’d argue, from our history, that our current centralized union is a direct product of our empire and is not tenable in the absence of that empire. I fully expect that before century’s end, and possibly before the tricentennial, that one or more states will have functionally seceded. If we were to adopt a looser, more federated structure, as has been discussed on this blog and its predecessor, I feel we could keep more of the union intact longer, but I don’t hold out much hope at this point that we’d be wise enough to make those needed changes.

  225. This morning, I was thinking about what you are trying to accomplish with this blog, which, as I understand it, is to plant the seeds of an ecological spirituality, how best to go about it, and what works exist that have already made progress toward reaching your goal.

    To me, I think the way I think is mostly formed by stories and parables, especially ones that I was exposed to in my childhood, and perhaps the main reason your blog resonates with me so much is an 80s TV show called “Fraggle Rock.” It centers around 3 intelligent species (4 if you include people) that don’t particularly get along well and look down on each other, but together, make up a rather unique ecology that centers around radishes.

    According to the producer, “Fraggle Rock‘s simple ambition was to open kids’ eyes to the interconnectedness of all things and the unassailable fact that their own actions would have consequences.” A lot of the episodes focused explicitly around the ecology of the rock and the radish garden, like The Great Radish Famine and The Preachification of Convincing John, and I think making collections of children’s stories around the themes in your blog could help advance your goals a lot.

    A lot must already exist, and there’s a lot more to be written.

  226. Dear Temporaryreality,

    here is how I would go about working to initiate communication between myself and a patron deity:

    I would make it into a daily practice. The first thing I would do is “demon-proof” the space. To do so I’d draw or print out a lot of hexafoils — a very traditional ward against demons. A regular hexafoil image can be found here:

    These images I’d post on all the walls. Then I’d do an energetic cleaning of the space, maybe with a nice floor wash, with some good purifying herbs — ideally 9 — such as : 1) St John’s Wort; 2) Angelica; 3) Hyssop; 4) Chamomile; 5) Wormwood; 6) Rosemary; 7) Five Finger Grass; 8) Lemongrass; 9) Lady’s Mantle, or what have you.

    Once that is done if you have a banishing ritual I’d suggest doing that. Next I’d make some holy water taking a bayleaf, lighting it on fire and then dropping it into a bowl of water and saying with my hand over the water “may this water purify all pollution,” then I’d liberally sprinkle the water around the space and myself.

    Next I would light a white candle and throw some frankincense on a charcoal and say something to the effect of, “I offer this to my patron deity, whoever you may be. Please my patron, make yourself known to me so I may devote myself to you, make you offerings, venerate you, reverence you, worship you and offer up my heart to you in prayer.”

    Then I’d sit in a chair while the candle burns and the incense creates smoke, listening as intensively as I can with my heart. I’d set myself some amount of time to devote to this practice everyday, maybe 15 or 20 minutes and continue this practice until I got a definite response. Once I got a response, I’d change my devotions as per the traditions and specific desires of my patron deity.

  227. To Pretentious UserName (and Will who asked about alternative options) :
    Yes, instead of coffee there’s an even better way to dilate the bronchials: yerba maté (Ilex paraguariésis). Drunk as a tea in much of Latin America. The active ingredient, as in coffee, is theobromine (toxic to dogs).
    Fair warning: theobromine, like magnesium (another relaxer of smooth muscle tissue) really relaxes the GI tract, too….

    BTW, I got this info years ago from the newsletters of Drs David G. Williams and Julian Whittacker. JW spoke of using intravenous magnesium to alleviate acute asthma in his clinic.
    Williams also suggested prevention by using a nasal spray (Xclear).

  228. Dear RPC,

    That’s a very good point, thank you. While not quite the language I used when I returned from my experience I found myself thinking along the same lines.

    Dear Onething,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I have the opposite tendency; when someone tells me that a deity is communicating with them and what they say isn’t utterly absurd and they are not utterly “fluffy bunny” I tend to believe what they say. My experience talking with folks who know more about this than I do is that most of the time if there is some blazing light of insight there is fire, so to speak.

    As for the reluctance, good question. I think I have the reluctance I do since I have a background in Judaism which of course is big on names that are too holy to be spoken out loud.

    Dear Patricia O.,

    It really is interesting how closely these things line up. My thought is simply that these beings are real and wish to have relationships with humans and so the humans engaged in these relationships often will report back similar things since it is real.

    Dear Will J,

    Fascinating! I confess I wonder how broadly this experience extends.

  229. @pretentious_username

    Thanks so much for this! It’ does take away some of my worries…right now I think we are at some sort of crossroads, and anything could escalate way out of proportions…

    About your question regarding coffee, may I ask if the problem is due to you drinking too much of it? Maybe many cups of coffee until early/late afternoon?

    I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob, after I seriously tried to quit it and just had to accept that I didn’t want to, I love coffee! (it’s been documented it can be addictive, I know).

    My solution was to replace quantity with quality – buying freshly roasted coffee, only grind it a few seconds before making the coffee, I also changed the method to a manual and more traditional one, etc. Now I drink much less, maybe 3 small cups and 1 or 2 cappuccino size, well before 1 or 2pm. Overall, I enjoy each coffee cup so much more, and it’s more satisfying and somehow I think it might be healthier coffee. Because of that I drink much less, so I think that’s a better balance and overall it’s healthier for me. The only drawback is, I can’t go out for coffee anymore, everything tastes like cardboard!

    I’d be happy to elaborate more and suggest ideas if you want me to and want to try another way before giving it up completely!

  230. I spent a couple hours catching up on Ecosophia today — I’d gone a few weeks without a home computer after a new puppy chewed up our old laptop. If anyone is wondering, I think my quality of life was higher, athough I missed lurking here. And I got some not-so-subtle pushback from my employer about being available for e-mails… alas.

    For those of you who hate Windows 10, as I do– well, there’s a million flavors of Linux. I recommend Xubuntu as having a large community and, crucially, a windows-like interface. If you’ve used macs and like them, standard Ubuntu’s GNOME3 is closer, and Elementary is even better, from what I hear (though I have never used it). I really would stick with an Ubuntu-based system while you wet your toes in the water. And, hey, you can take the tape off your webcam! Nobody’s spying through it via linux (probably).

    For those of you struggling with internet addiction (as I do) — try a text-only web browser like Lynx. Ecosophia shows up fine, though I have not tried commenting with it. Most of the truly addicting stuff simply doesn’t work without multimedia. You’ll also get a taste for what your last decade online might be like. Collapse now!

    Just curious, but did you start with WordStar or Easywriter on the old Sanyo? If you miss it, a program called Joe (Joe’s Own Editor) has a WordStar emulation mode; it’s standard with most Linux. Not sure if you can get it on Windows or OSX if those are your poison. I don’t know about easywriter.

    I’ve mused about putting together a dedicated word processor device. I never get anything written anymore because I just cannot focus on a desktop… and when I’m writing at a typewriter, I get so far along and the realization hits me “you’re going to have to type all that in” and I give up in despair.

    I’m late to the party, but I can sympathize with your mystic experience. Try it when you’re just agnostic, going through the motions… to a goddess ripped from a cartoon, not any “real” pantheon. That sure as heck threw me for a loop. I wasn’t doing any magical practice at the time, so those doors you mention started to close and the awareness effect faded… but it did kick me in the ass to make some life-altering changes before they did. I wonder if it will be more lasting for you because of your rituals?

  231. One more reference on the astma topic, especially if one has to deal with allopathic people:
    Dr Andrew Weil has done much to bring alternative modalities into wider acceptance. His newsletter has lots of short pieces on various herbs. (He trained as a botanist before med school.)

    This piece seems a comprehensive:

    And a note on yerba maté tea:
    Eco Teas unsmoked loose one pound packages list the theobromine amount (and ORAC value) on the packaging.

  232. Jean–I did not know about Ravelry until your comment–I had been thinking of leaving, but that was the last straw that tipped me over into leaving. I kept getting “friended” by people who were really trolls for sex sites and the founders of Ravelry have done nothing to stop the blatant stealing and pirating of content from designers on the site. To ban one side of a political debate was one stupid thing too far for me. And clearly a marker of the class to which the founders belong.

    JMG–I have been thinking alot about the markers of class in society, and the recent banning of Trump support from Ravelry (the knitting/crochet online community Jean mentioned) has made me reflect on how this plays out in crafting circles. The rift was plain to see on Ravelry as people sneered at affordable yarn and went into raptures about high end, custom crafted yarn. And I would look at patterns, and realize that if I made a shirt with the same yarn as the designer, I would be spending over $200 on a hand knit for myself. I have to admit that when I was working I often played into that, and I have a lot of expensive yarn waiting to be knit or crocheted.

    But now that I have taken some time to drop out of the rat race for awhile, I have been reflecting on how crafts of all kinds–embroidery, sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc.–were very affordable pursuits when I was growing up, and now I am looking at how they can be sane and affordable pursuits for me again as I slide down the class ladder. I have a nascent knitting/crocheting design company that I just founded and I realize I need to rethink my whole process for this as I left behind Ravelry behind, which would have been an easier place to get a start in this business. And now I am thinking, what can I do that can ease the way of people who want to craft affordably rather than continuing the process that is trying to turn it into a high end pursuit for the upper classes? So I am wrestling with that right now. But it has also really brought home to me how the whole conversation around Trump so clearly brings the issue of class to the surface.

  233. @ Ave,

    Just dropped in specifically to see if anyone here was mentioning Williamson. I don’t think the audience is quite ready for her, but you have to start somewhere. So thanks for highlighting this.

    She is exactly right in saying Trump has “reached into the psyche of the American people and harnessed fear for political purposes,” and that he knows what he is doing, and she is correct in saying a candidate who hopes to turn that around is going to have to talk vision rather than detailed plans. And at some level I think this has to resonate with at least some.

    In the end, she may not be exactly who we need in this role, but for moment everyone else is caught up in trench warfare and technocracy.

  234. A Reader,

    “To pronounce the name of God is taboo in Judaism.”

    But it wasn’t always so. It was relatively new in Jesus’ time. But in the Old Testament you will find that there are actually commands and recommendations to use God’s name and one of the psalms gives the name – Jah. It was considered auspicious to use God’s name and while I am not sure of all the translations or what the Jewish Bibles have, The word Yahweh or the teragrammaton was in the Bible some few thousand times, all of them later replaced with LORD. At least in the King James Bible they use that all caps designation, and each time it appears, JHVH was in the original.

  235. Off topic from the other conversations (but hey, that’s why we have open posts, right?)

    Perhaps because of an ongoing heat wave, I’ve been thinking about refrigeration in the Long Descent. I’d really rather hold onto some variant of “keep things cold so they won’t rot”. Right now, that’s doable here by storing natural coolth — icehouses, if you like neolithicly low tech, heat pipes if you want something high medieval* — but not everybody has that luxury.

    I imagine a solar-powered absorption chiller (perhaps driven by the Einstein-Szilard cycle) would be pretty ideal, since the hottest days do tend to be sunny… but it hit me that in the short term, we have millions of highly robust refrigeration units ready for salvage to be put to use off grid. I’m thinking of the A/C compressor in just about every modern automobile. They can take a greenhouse (your glazed automobile) and get it down darn near to ‘fridge temps… for about 2hp. Easy for even an undershot waterwheel. With insulation you could set up a decent walk-in fridge for the community. Maybe even make ice to sell for in-home iceboxes. No creek? A dutch-style wooden windmill could run perhaps a dozen car A/Cs. You’d want to keep lots of ice on hand for calm days.

    I think it would take rather apocalyptic warming to turn the local climate into something that would need this (the heat-pipe icehouse is still easier, even if needs new-built hardware) but maybe someone here could make use of this idea. Even now a scrap compressor is cheaper than any electric refrigerator. Might be worth trying?

    (If anyone is worried about sourcing refrigerant in the early salvage economy, automobile A/C compressors run happily on methane; in fact, if you need to “recharge” your A/C, that’s what the mechanic will use.)

    *N.B. I am not aware of any alchemists making use of a heat pipe, but sealed copper pipe with water or ammonia in it? They could have!

  236. Re the use of the name of God in Hebrew texts

    I’m by no means an expert, but I believe one must distinguish between the religious traditions of the ancient Israelites on the one hand and the traditions of Judaism on the other. The latter developed in the wake of the Babylonian Captivity and took on characteristics not necessarily present in the earlier faith(s). The use of Yah, YHWH, El, Elohim, and various other names is part of the textual history woven together as the Torah was put into writing from earlier oral traditions.

  237. It is not just Wikipedia which merits preservation. I believe there are many useful databases online, enriched by ongoing user’s comments. Rose growers have the invaluable The American Daffodil Society maintains the delightfully named Daffseek. If you want to ID the plant in you yard, an expert on an online forum/database can help.

    To answer a question above, Marianne Williamson is the Martha Stewart of the New Age world, a privileged brat who found herself a gimmick. What on earth the DNC was thinking, (if they ever do think), who knows. Likely, a donor who might be a distant relative insisted she have a spot. The run down by a you tuber who calls himself Thersites the Historian is as good as any I have seen. Drinking games were suggested in various venues, but then you might die of alcohol poisoning if you imbibe, for example, one shot for every obvious lie.

  238. Dusk Shine – I, too, am concerned with being comfortable in a warm climate (about 90F/33C here during the day, day after day, 70s (F, upper 20s(C)) at night), without refrigeration. We sleep under a ceiling fan, rather than set the thermostat lower, and even at its lowest setting, it’s more breeze than I think I need. Last week, a random squeak and scraping sound joined the fan’s regular clicking. I took it down far enough from the ceiling to put oil above the shaft bearings (so it could flow down where it could do some good), and put thin cardboard spacers between the fan blade brackets and the motor housing. All of the noises went away!

    I wonder whether a clock-work mechanism could provide gentle agitation of the air as the weights descend? Or, maybe a smaller fan could whisper gently through the night on batteries charged by the sun?

    I don’t quite grasp, though, what you would do with a heat pipe. As far as I know, they just facilitate the natural flow of heat from warmer to cooler areas. Maybe embed them into the cool earth to absorb heat from our living space? That earth might not stay cool for very long… it’s only cool because it’s insulated by the earth above it.

  239. Yorkshire, that’s a fascinating question to which I don’t know the answer. Might be interesting to explore, though!

    DFC, if there ends up being a shooting war around the Straits of Hormuz, the US is screwed in far too many ways. There are the mines — that’s an excellent point. There are supersonic and hypersonic antiship missiles, of which the Iranians have a nice supply, and which will almost certainly make the aircraft carrier permanently obsolete the first time they’re used in combat — and that means the linchpin of the entire US way of making war has gone whistling down the wind forever. There’s the obvious first move on the part of the Iranians, which is to bombard the oil facilities that line the other side of the Persian Gulf with missiles, send the price of oil zooming into lunar orbit, and cause the global economy to go up in one big fireball — and the US is far more dependent on cheap petroleum than any other major power. I could go on. The Iranians know they have nothing to lose, and they have far too many ways to make life hard for the US. I hope this sinks in through the yard thick skulls of John Bolton et al…

    David, no argument there!

    Will J, (a) that might be part of it. (b) Well, how about the Discordian SoP, which I taught a couple of times? You invoke the five Discordian elements (sweet, prickle, boom, pungent, and orange) in five randomly chosen directions, and instead of spinning the sphere around you (as in the older version of the ritual) you tumble and roll around it. Weirdly, it worked. (c) Oh, granted — we’re most of the way there already.

    As for karmic culmination, I’ve seen references to it in old Christian works on meditation — the explanation is that God tests you, when you first begin, to see if you’re serious.

    Walt, thanks for this. I don’t think of “Flowers for Algernon” as a cheesy story — I believe it won an award when it was published, and for good reason. Not all initiations start you on a path; some finish something up, others make a change and then leave it at that.

    RPC, fair enough; it’s just that I’ve encountered a lot of Protestant Christians here in the US who seem to think that they’re still lords of Creation and can trash it to their heart’s content.

    David, exactly — and it’s not even a strictly random process, since so much depends on the vagaries of whoever’s in the White House, and so on.

    Ave, history suggests that spiritual leaders and teachers make very, very bad political leaders. (For example, I’d be a lousy president.) I’m familiar with Williamson’s work — not my cup of tea, but I know people who’ve benefited greatly from it — and I don’t think she’d be any kind of exception to the rule.

    RPC, sshhhh! 😉

    Greg, I hope so! That seems both very sane to me and, based on my experiences of the Midwest, very well suited to the spirit of the land.

    Methylethyl, that’s exactly how it goes. Many thanks for a report from the front lines!

    Baboonery, thanks for this. I appreciated Ted Cruz’ comment on the debates: “The clown car is broken.”

    Bruce, excellent — you get this evening’s gold star for perspicacity. Yes, exactly: what you contemplate, that you imitate — and if you spend all your time contemplating your own victimhood, well, the result follows. As for Bismarck, sure, but notice that he did it with a precise purpose in mind, and got the French to do exactly what he wanted them to do, i.e., start a war they could only lose. He understood magic, though he didn’t call it that.

    J.L.Mc12, the best way to get a sense for what works in a deindustrial setting is to look at what worked in preindustrial settings, since the energy and resource basis will be similar.Underground dwellings are a niche market product for very specialized conditions; if there’s a reason why the conditions might become less specialized, then the market may be a little less restricted.

    Justin, hah! Thank you for this. I confess the thought of consuming any part of Al Gore is enough to curdle my stomach, but perhaps that’s just me. 😉

    Baboonery, no argument there. My guess is that by the time the primary’s over, whoever wins will be hated by a majority of Democrats — and of course all the opposition research Trump needs will already have been done by the other Democratic candidates. Fun times!

    Your Kittenship, you’re most welcome.

    Varun, I hope so. His work was solidly based on history rather than theory, and so it’s unlikely to be outmoded while naval warfare is still practiced.

    Loon, notice that you’re assuming a sudden shutdown. Imagine instead that things unravel very slowly, the way they built up; the internet’s still there, but it becomes more costly, less functional, and more risky with every passing year; niche markets begin retooling for less net-intensive methods, and those get cheaper by comparison as time goes on; servers start becoming less reliable, so you have to have paper backup — and one thing leads to another, and eventually everyone outside the Fortune 500 corporations is hiring file clerks and doing things on paper again because it’s cheaper and less failure-prone. That’s what I’m talking about, not the notion of a sudden shutdown.

    Lucas, that’s possible, though I’m glad to say I don’t know of one.

    Patricia O, yes, I’m watching that. The era of dollar hegemony is ending by the death of a thousand cuts; which of those cuts causes foreign holders of dollar-denominated investments to start dumping those for whatever they’ll bring is an interesting question…

    A Reader, that’s a good point. I’ll consider a post down the road.

  240. Is there a god or “god” connected to secular modernity, or are humans solely responsible for it? I know you believe in egregores, so presumably humans can create an Egregore of Secular Modernity, but could there also be an actual god involved? Perhaps a strange question…

  241. If as Justin suggested, the “Beyond Meat Burger” is the body of Al Gore, then given the parallels between Progress and Christianity, my mind immediately went to the question of what is his blood? My current guess is free trade coffee, but if anyone has a better idea I’m all ears….

    The Discordian SoP works???

    As for karmic culmination, well, I think disrupting cacomagic probably makes it harder, but it’s good to know it’s not just that. It would seem very, very concerning if the cacomagic was that intense. I suppose it’s also a fairly drawn out process too, not all at once getting free from it, so then again….


    I admit I’m curious as to how far this extends myself! We’ll just have to see if we find anything else about it.

  242. Cliff, regarding the Libra token, I expect the coming dark age to be much more William Gibson than Mel Gibson, and I see this as another step along that path. It occurred to me as I was thinking about this that just as the church took over many functions of the state when Rome fell, large corporations might do the same in the coming decades. I’ve heard of Indian conglomerates making their own roads and American corporations making their own hospitals, so a megacorporation creating its own currency seems like a logical next step.

  243. Dusk Shine:

    There’s a natural rise along the north-facing side of the driveway down to our barn so last year we had a small (6′ x 6′ inside dimension) root cellar put in. We’re awaiting my husband’s buddy having some free time to come back with his digger and pile a couple of feet of dirt on top of the roof to finish the job. It won’t be a substitute for a refrigerator since root cellars are intended to keep vegetables just above freezing all winter, but it might be good enough to keep some things cool-ish in the summer.

    Some years ago in an old copy of The Mother Earth News I found a little article from a reader in Canada who said he had dug out a hole in the ground, 4 x 4 x 4 feet, and set a small shed on top. Over the winter he’d gradually filled the hole with water which froze and the next summer it provided sufficient cold to keep most of his necessities cool. We haven’t tried this at our place, but if we did we’d heavily insulate that shed and probably dig an even bigger hole. Obviously this idea only works in places that get cold enough over the winter to freeze the water.

  244. JMG (answering Jamie): “The use of climate change as a sales tactic for overpriced and underperforming technofixes is a major issue just now.”

    I’ve always thought that if you must have solar panels, they would work best in the southwest U.S., not in northern Indiana.

    I&M Granger solar farm could increase electric bills

    As a possible future neighbor to the solar farm says, ““I think they do it for PR reasons,” Olson said. “It’s just like the wind power. It’s been proven that it’s a physical impossibility for it to come out on the positive side (economically). The initial cost, the maintenance and repairs over time, don’t pan out. So the price goes up to cover the boondoggle. That, to me, is irresponsible.”

    Also note several paragraphs in, how this will assist a major university to reduce its carbon emissions. Yet the people will pay for it, not the university.

    Joy Marie

  245. At 71, not surprisingly, I am so far from “cutting edge” that it’s absurd. I have trouble with “woke,” first of all. Second of all, “cacomagic” escapes even the urban dictionary. Anybody care to define?

  246. Ted Cruz is a smart man. Along with Trump and DeSantis, he is one of my favorite Republican politicians. His comment on the Democrat debate was right on target. The clown car has been broken for some time now, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to pretend otherwise.

  247. Dear Will J,

    Have you read Gabriel García Márquez’s excellent novella _No One Writes the Colonel_? Now there’s a true horror story that really, truly has the power to terrify. Zombies ain’t got nothing on Gabito looking with unflinching eye into the lives of people who did everything right and still find themselves descending into hard poverty. Point being, I imagine that what the folks detained will sleep on if they have no mattresses is precisely identical to what the colonel tells his wife they’ll eat after they lose their rooster.

  248. Dear Dusk Shine,

    Okay, this gets into tricky terrain. I’m of the mind that mystical experiences happen in eternally, outside of time. Therefore, I think that talking about how lasting these things are is somewhat incoherent. How can you speak of the lastingness of eternal consciousness while submerged in the flow of time?

    I in nowise mean this in a contrarian or facetious sort of way; to mind there is a real split in the human psyche between the time bound aspects of experience and those that exist outside the flows of time. I think this leads to what Sartre labelled “bad faith” viz. the attempt to define the temporal as eternal.

    This is a great philosophical problem. Here I am a person named “Violet” who experiences things and changes. And then there is another part of my awareness that sometimes enters a certain state in which time is not operative and “Violet” isn’t operative either, but rather a principle that encompasses “Violet”. But the time bound aspect of myself *cannot even understand the eternal aspect fully,* and this awareness by itself can freak out this part of me. And why should that be? Because the experience of the eternal jars with the living reality of the flow of time. My meatsome self that grows older daily cannot understand all this nonsense regarding the eternal. It’s awareness is focused on its own meatsome processes.

    And so ritual or no, the issue that I see is that there is a great chasm between these aspects of self. My meatsome, timebound self is like a nervous horse that may learn to trust my eternal self, and, likewise, my eternal self may grow considerate of the particular needs my meatsome self, but their perspectives, needs, and experiences are inevitably different.

    Given the differences I’ve noted I’m not sure in the least that this is an effective way of communicating this or is even true in any sort of sense that matters. Still, I submit it in the spirit of dialog and discussion!

  249. Dusk Shine,

    You mentioned an interest in creating a dedicated word processor. If you’ve not heard of it already, I can recommend that exact thing from a company called AlphaSmart. No longer in business, their word processors are plentiful and not too expensive (mine was about $25) because they were used by school districts all across the country to teach typing and basic word processing from elementary school on up. School districts often made the move to “upgrade” to laptops and now the different models are sold in lots at auctions and individually on a certain auction site.

    What’s interesting about them is that they run on the ubiquitous (for now at least) AA battery which lasts a VERY long time due to the machine using only an LCD screen that’s 3 lines high (that helps combat distraction and over critical rereading). You type what you want (minimal but some formatting options), it saves automatically and instantly, then you either plug directly into a printer to print, or connect to any text program on a computer and character by character the entirety is transferred. They’re light, portable, have a comfortable keyboard, no annoyingly bright screen if you’re somewhere dimly lit…

    Their loyal fans can be found here:

    I don’t use mine all the time, but sometimes it really works for what I want – a way to type without being distracted by my own words and portable note taking at typing speed – on something sturdy, not internet dependent, and with low power needs.

  250. Dear Violet,

    my word, what a generous offering your suggestions are. In writing them down (to save for a later time ) I am brought face to face with my …intentions/uncertainty/?…. I say I want that, but do I? Not knowing how much of my life is required to change, give up, etc, once devotion is offered –whew, that’s big.

    No wonder nobody’s taken me seriously as of yet…

    Obviously that’s a question for me to answer and hence the first response being to save your suggestion for a later time.

    I will contemplate my hesitation as well as your method.

    Thank you so, so much.

  251. Good evening, JMG, and all the good folk here!

    A few thoughts from my little farm:

    I was telling a friend about a fairly expensive and utterly unnecessary thing that I wanted, and she told me that I ‘deserved’ it. I gave her the Spock eyebrow and told her that was very kind of her, but what I really deserve is to sleep well at night, knowing that I haven’t overspent and that I can meet all of my obligations. She agreed with the wisdom of that, by the way.

    Re: “human beings have had the natural world handed over to them to maltreat as they please” – I have always understood that humans were given stewardship in addition to/rather than (?) dominion… he who can be trusted with a small thing can be trusted with a great thing, or Scripture to that effect. I certainly consider myself a steward, of the land and of the creatures. Then again, I suspect I’m not your bog-average Christian.

    Violet, David from Arlington is a farmer and was at the potluck… perhaps he’ll see your inquiry?

  252. Crow Hill, (a) I don’t know anyone who’s dealt with that, and I can’t reference anything else without risking legal trouble for “practicing medicine without a licence.” (The medical industry can’t help you but they’ll sure stop anyone else from trying to do so!) (b) I really don’t know; as someone with Aspergers syndrome, I’m not the best source of advice about dealing with people!

    JillN, good. Have you considered putting that into practice, and then doing something with all the money you save?

    Chris, ding! We have a winner. The difficulty the Romans faced, of course, is that they had to make that shift or get stomped, the way they did at the battle of Adrianople — so they could go under fast or go under slow, but either way, they were going to go under. That will seem very familiar in the years ahead.

    Will J, you’re not the only one who’s asking that.

    Jbucks, psychotherapy covers a fairly small subset of the territory covered by magic. You can do a lot more with magic than help heal psychological dysfunctions!

    Beekeeper, I suppose it won’t do to ask your chickens how they’d vote… 😉

    Forecasting, thanks for this — and also for the definition! ESG emphatically won’t cut it — remember that capitalism as such depends on economic growth, since that’s the only thing that justifies money making more money. A lot of what’s messing with the global economy these days is that real wealth is flat or contracting while the money supply keeps expanding; the result over the long run — as in every other civilization in decline — is that economic activity will move out of market systems into customary, gift, or feudal economies that can’t be gamed and won’t lose value over time.

    Bridge, a microfiche copy would be a good start, but it still takes fiche readers. A print volume of the best and most useful material on acid-free paper in a durable binding will last much longer and be useful so long as literacy is available.

    Will J, got it in one. Paywalls and saturation advertising are early stages of the unraveling; the effort to throw political dissidents off Reddit, Ravelry, etc. is another form of the same thing. Fire up those alternatives…

    Dennis, is that something you’d like to do?

    Dusk Shine, it ran a proprietary variant of WordStar 3.3. I managed to get that to talk to an inkjet printer using a very basic IBM emulation setting — the inkjet thought it was a daisy wheel printer, and did boldface by going back over the same characters twice. I liked WordStar, but I’m just as happy with Word or OpenOffice, and it’s nice to be able to choose different fonts. I know sooner or later that’s going to go away, though.

    Cat, delighted to hear that you’re putting together something for fiber crafts! Please pass on contact info on an open post when it’s up and running — my wife is far from the only person who’ll want to know about it. As for the roll of class bigotry in Ravelry, yep. It’s a thing I’ve seen in a lot of other contexts; Sara plays the harp but avoided harp groups in Seattle, because they were full of well-to-do women who had big expensive harps and would sneer at anyone with a smaller harp. The term she used for them was “harpies.”

    Dusk Shine, makes sense to me. It might be worth looking into older refrigerator technologies that didn’t use complex petrochemicals — they might be less efficient, but much easier to manufacture.

    Nastarana, sure — but how much labor and how many resources will be available to save those databases? As for Williamson, interesting.

    Tidlosa, a reasonable question. As I understand it, secular modernity is a normal stage in the life cycle of every civilization, and it happens when enough people have closed their minds to the gods that the civilization can go its length. It’s necessary and appropriate, but it always ends in disaster, which is why it’s followed by the Second Religiosity and the return to the gods. Thus there are no gods of secular modernity; those who embrace secular modernity are passing through the Place of No Gods.

    Will J, weirdly, yes, the Discordian SoP works. I think it banishes evil forces by being too bizarre even for them to tolerate.

    Joy Marie, well, yes!

    Phutatorius, I define “woke” as “unthinkingly obedient to social justice ideology.” As for cacomagic, sorry about that — it’s a word I borrowed from the Latin cacomagia, which comes from Greek kakos “bad, wrong” (literally, filthy with excrement — kakos is, and I’m not making this up, cognate to the English slang term “ca-ca”) and mageia “magic.” Cacomagic is magic that focuses purely on the desires of the caster and ignores the effect of the magic on the rest of the cosmos.

    Baboonery, I found Cruz somewhat distasteful early on, but getting trounced by Trump and then getting a lesson or two on pragmatic politics from the Orange Julius seems to have been good for him.

  253. JMG,
    We have used only wood in a good wood heater for the last 10 years. This is free and fairly carbon friendly. We only use air-con for cooling for a couple of hours on the hottest days and they get pretty hot around here. With the money we save we tend to help people we know in small ways.

  254. JMG,
    may I add one more possible way of helping a person to breathe, with a bit of humor?
    We know the air is aweful in much of China, but not just there (try cigarrette smoking Europe). I honestly don’t know that I have enough ways to withstand twenty minutes around a baggage carousel in Frankfurt, or Rome. (Haven’t been to see my sister in Germany since mid’95.)

    I’ve watched facemask tech, and am happy to report (2009, yeah right) a low-tech facemask solution that seems to have gotten a patent. And an Ig-Nobel award. You might enjoy the ceremony because one of the brilliant bystanders to be included in Dr Elena Bodnar’s demonstration is the Nobel Laureate Paul Krugmann.
    This dates back to 2009.

    Annals of Improbable Research.

  255. I have seen the idea before, and I am inclined to agree, that the growth of certain types of magical practice was part of the degeneration of the traditional Roman and Greek cults. A big draw of the “new religions” of that day was the promise given to members of powers to heal, command spirits, perform exorcisms, and to do magic tricks. Christian sects were not alone in offering this. I have seen some of the magical texts from later antiquity. In them even gods are disrespected, threatened, given commands, and bound with spells or kept back with phylacteries, like demons in later Christian/Jewish/Muslim magical texts. Sometimes the term “daimon” is even used for great gods. Often great Greek gods like Zeus, Apollo, and Hekate are conflated with all sorts of other deities from Egypt or the Near East. There is quite a bit of Jewish and Christian content mixed into these magical texts too, invoking IAO, Raphael the archangel, and Zeus in a spell or something like that. A lot of the content would have been blasphemous in traditional Greek or Roman society, but that society was long gone in the cosmopolitan cities of the Roman East. One of the spells threatens Demeter with not being able to see her daughter unless she does the spellcaster’s will. Centuries back, Anaxagoras had to leave Athens over a lot less than anything claimed in those texts. I can’t see any of this as good, and certainly don’t want to see it imitated now. What is your take on this?

  256. Speaking of Kamala Harris and Willie Brown: In a recent op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown just threw his former girlfriend and the rest of the Democratic candidates for president under the bus, while admitting none of them has a chance of defeating Trump.

    Talk about brutal! Ted Cruz was right: the clown car is broken. The circular firing squad that the Democratic Party has turned itself into is getting to be more and more entertaining by the day. Wow, just wow.

  257. @Bridge, I just have to share this with you. I was in a labyrinthine market in a town called Gianyar, Indonesia in January, and trying to find my way back to the street I took a short cut leading into a dark alley with some garbage cans, and there, sprawled out on their backs on the filthy ground there were three guys totally absorbed in their smartphones.

  258. @Onething, thank you for your reply! This is really valuable information to me.
    I think we have a pretty good medical/insurance system in Japan. It is the most expensive of the three tax bills I pay (national, local and national health insurance), and as a foreigner I am subsidized at a lower rate than the Japanese and must cover more of the costs, but the costs are reasonable, and the coverage includes dental and certain traditional and alternative forms of medicine. No one is excluded from coverage and the cost of premiums depends on one’s income. Those have never overwhelmed me, and I was able to fly hang gliders for years without having to purchase expensive accident insurance.
    There are problems. Doctors tend to recommend treatments for which they receive a lot of compensation from the government, even if it harms the patient (e.g., dialysis when the patient’s kidneys are fine–if a clinic has a dialysis unit, diabetes patients should avoid it). Going outside the insurance system used to be a way to get better care, but my most recent experiences suggest a lot of expensive fraud in that area these days, so I try to find decent doctors within the system. It’s reasonably good. My husband and I wanted to immigrate back to the States, but the health insurance system would have charged sky-high for my diabetic husband,
    What started me off on this quest was what happened to a friend’s wife late last year in Texas, who because she refused chemo, was denied any other form of medical help.

  259. @Violet, I love your advice to Temporary Reality. Those are lovely and representative of the kinds of steps one can take to build a mind frame that facilitates realization of one’s connection to the divine. When I serve as a priestess, my goal is to facilitate the connection for other people. I may be too busy attending to details to see it myself, but when others tell me that they had a mystical experience at that time, I feel very happy.

  260. Of course my real point was that we can live with a great deal less and still live happy and rich lives.

  261. A few words about the death of the internet and the military reliance on gadgets instead of old fashioned skill strategy and tactics:

    I got out of the 82nd airborne in 2016 (small heads up to JMG, my copy of twilight’s last gleaming repeatedly refers to the 82nd as the 81st. Most likely a typo. might be worth correcting in the next edition)

    You were required to have a smartphone on your person at all times, and would face non judicial punishment if you didn’t return a call within five minutes. Would face unofficial reprimand if you didn’t sense by the third or fourth ring.

    Under military regulation, they technically couldn’t force you to have a phone, but all sorts of “the punishment is the process” stuff could be cooked up if you refused to purchase one.

    For example, one guy had to check in at staff duty every 2 hours 24 hours a day 7 days a week. even on days off, and was repeatedly denied leave until he decided to cave and buy a plan. This of course, was in no way coercive, but so the unit could maintain accountability of their soldier.

    The reliance on tech goes so much deeper then fighter jets and shiny gizmos pitched by defense contractors. Most Luitenents and staff officers wouldn’t know what to do with themselves without Microsoft PowerPoint.

    Day to day communication is built around Android and apple. If it ever goes down, there’s going to be a major adjustment period.

  262. Joy Marie – Whether or not the people near Granger are getting a fair deal on the proposed solar power plant, I hardly think that the technical assessment of “a neighbor” should be accepted uncritically. But even if we do take them at face value, notice his phrase “come out on the positive side (economically)”. I assume that what he meant by that is “solar power will cost more than coal / nuclear”, setting aside the long-term costs of air pollution, coal-ash disposal, and nuclear waste disposal for a later accounting. Regardless of how they arrange the financing, I think solar plants are a step in the right direction. Solar panels, unlike mirror systems that focus the sun’s energy, actually work pretty well under most sky conditions (unless it’s actually raining or snowing). I have a PV system, and the performance data logs to prove that (in central Maryland, not known for its sunshine). I see the peak output when I get both direct sun, and reflected sun from bright white clouds.

  263. John—

    Re the FL Dem Path To Power report

    I’d meant to comment, too, that when I gave the report a once-through, I found it ironic that one of the elements mentioned was trying to get people to trust the voting system again, since so many were convinced that the Russians had hacked the 2016 election…

  264. @Lathechuck,

    I think I remember reading weight-driven fans were used in the British Raj, so you might be on to something! I’m more concerned about listeria in the leftovers, to be honest. I had a trash-rescued window AC for 3 weeks of summer in grad school, but was glad to be rid of it when it died. Perhaps because I am not yet elderly, I’d rather acclimate myself indoors so I can work in the heat outdoors.

    As to the heat pipe:
    In cold climates with decently long winters, a heat pipe can be used to charge a thermal battery with ‘coolth’. I’ve seen them used to try and stabilize permafrost by getting it extra-frosty over the winters. (I assume they must have removed or disabled them come the thaw, else that would be counterproductive). Imagine that rather than piping heat out of the ground, you use it to freeze an insulated tank of brine. The labour savings vs cutting ice from the pond are immense, and using brine gets you lower temperatures as well. (If your winters can freeze it; ours can).


    Root cellars are, in my mind, more important than above-ground refrigeration. You can’t keep carrots in the fridge ’till next season. My grandparents had the forsite to build one into the (hand-dug) basement of their homestead, and if I’m ever in a position to do the same (unlikely, at this point in my life), I intend to, too. Don’t even need a climate that gives a hard freeze!

    I do like that Canadian ice house. Don’t want to haul ice from the nearest pond? Make a pond in your shed! Similar to my heat-pipe idea, but minus the pipe. I agree you’d toss in as much insulation as you could afford. Note that you need an easy source of running water in winter (to provide the water for the slow freeze). Not everyone is going to have that going forward. Not everyone has that now!


    No doubt lower tech will take over. Still, I think in the upcoming stages of descent– when most of us have no idea how to live without ready access to a refrigerator– having access to something close to what we know is going to be literally lifesaving. There are lots of car bits to salvage, after all. (We’ll be making use of the alternators, too, I imagine.) You’re right that that’s too complicated to keep up long-term. Absorption-type refrigerators that rely on evaporating ammonia need nothing more than cleverly-shaped copper pipe and a chemical readily extracted from urine, plus any source of heat to work, so that’d be the way to go. I’m not 100% sure it will happen, though. That might still be too much effort. Outside the high elite, I think most of our descendants will spend the dark age preserving with fermentation, not refrigeration– just like most humans have for all of history.

  265. Dear Violet,

    I think my experience can fit into your framework. Perhaps my temporal self lost touch with that altered higher aspect of being, or maybe my temporal self made the changes it was meant to, so the experience driving the change ended. (Change is a temporal phenomenon, at least in my experience… so only the temporal self can experience it.) I must admit I have not received the sort of neoplatonistic insight into being that you seem to have. Whatever entities answered my prayers to pastel pony princesses tend to be very coy about that sort of thing. Eternal beings wearing a face I need to see? New gods, ascended to the plane? Who knows? Who cares? It’s not my place to know, and that’s okay. I think you’re further along the wheel than I. My temporal self, this life, isn’t at a point of development for such knowledge, is the impression I get.

  266. JMG –

    If any of the candidates offered unlimited mealworms for life, s/he’d get the full chicken vote.

  267. @JMG: I forgot to ask: Last week late in the comment cycle another commenter thanked you for advice on writing music for the next civilization. I think you wrote to use acid-free paper, and suggested Western polyphony: could I trouble you elaborate? By polyphony are you referring to the style of contrapuntal music from the Renaissance up to the Classical period? If so, why do you recommend this style specifically?

    @JillN: Thanks for the words of encouragement! I am quite unsure of the viability of my profession going forward. On one hand, as a user interface designer and developer, that facet of software development is pretty important to that field, yet it is a facet which is frankly not as hard to do as the software engineering aspect. So I’m trying to figure out whether to stick it out or jump ship.

  268. Fair enough, regarding “Flowers for Algernon.” The story did indeed win the 1960 Hugo award for short stories (the one voted on by Worldcon members). The Nebula awards (voted on by members of the Science Fiction Writers of America) didn’t exist until 1966, but when Silverberg polled the SFWA around 1968 for the all-time best “pre-Nebula” SF short stories, “Flowers for Algernon” came in third, after Asimov’s “Nightfall” and Weinbaum’s “A Martian Odyssey.” (There were about 300 SFWA members at the time, and according to Silverberg 132 stories were nominated in the poll.)

    “Cheesy” wasn’t really the description I had in mind, but that’s hard to express accurately. It’s more about the story being from an era that’s now passed. There was, in Science Fiction in the middle 20th century, a consensus of ideas about cognition that one might call an “Old Solar System of the human mind.” And it wasn’t just genre SF. Remember when a captured spy (or ordinary tourist) could be hypnotically programmed to assassinate the Prime Minister upon hearing a code phrase, without even being aware of it? Remember when any minor bump on the head could cause, or cure, total retrograde amnesia (but no other cognitive impairments at all)? Remember when psychology, “the new science of mind,” was going to bring about improvements in education, relationships, employment satisfaction, and criminal rehabilitation to the point where unhappiness itself might be eliminated? (Dystopian versions of this would retain a misfit protagonist here and there.) Such high expectations for “the new science of mind” didn’t survive Officer Krupke’s nightstick, but somehow we ended up with psychologists in charge of making all kinds of social decisions anyhow. And many of those tropes still crop up in fiction, just as we still see a fair number of space princesses, just not from Venus any more.

    I didn’t mean to ramble about that, and usually I delete such, but it occurs to me that the “OSS of the Human Mind” might make a good theme for a writing contest, if you can think of a better term for it.

  269. Hello all,

    I regret I was unable to attend the Potluck in Providence due to a general ill feeling after my harvest and farmers market Saturday morn, I hope an excellent time was had by all and that future gatherings or perhaps talks by JMG, will be posted! Or heck, here’s a novel idea, anyone from around MA, RI, CT, etc. want to get to together some time and chat about the state of the world and our place in it 😉 thats kind of the whole point for me really of logging onto these boards in the first place, to find humans I can connect with face to face.


    I appreciate your flower of life (avatar?) for many reasons, but especially so I can easily find your posts as I ‘bomb’ through the thread here, wish I had time to read all of it!
    First I would respond to your inquiry on possible farm work. As you may or may not remember a post of mine a month or so ago, I am dealing with some, lets say, ‘difficult personalities’ at my current farm situation. Things have escalated to the point where I will need to move along after the season is finished here in late October. Upon my return from a construction job in LA next year I will be ‘setting up shop’ again in Woodstock CT. If you have any interest in putting in a bit of time on this project with me, I’m certainly looking for a couple ‘seasoned’ folks. Let me know and I’ll send my contact info…….. btw I appreciated your candid remarks on you ‘intentional community’ experiences and I’ve since decided, at least in my ‘home life’ situation, it may be best to have some alone time for self reflection, etc………

    Secondly Violet,

    I would liken your description of ‘transcendence’? (as much as one individual can try to liken/relate that type of deeply personal and often indescribable thing) to my own experiences with ‘plant medicines’ in the past. thanks for sharing, it’s inspired me to perhaps take up that ‘path’ once again and I look forward to perhaps integrating some info from the links you have provided.

    David by the lake,

    Thank you so much for the update from the midwest. It reminded me of something slightly off topic, but I felt yourself or others may have info/links to offer on the subject.
    I’ve been seeing much debate/conflicting info regarding the roll out of 5G in the US and around the globe and it’s safety or lack there of. Anyone care to comment or point to links on this subject?

  270. Reading the instructions for the Discordian SoP made me wonder:

    Am I correct in thinking that Discordian’s worship the goddess Eris? Perhaps then, that version of the SoP pleases her and so She gives Her aegis of protection over those who invoke Her in an appropriate manner?

    Part of the reason I mention this is after I’ve changed the wording of the LBRP I practice to be more pleasing to my patron the entire thing became much easier to visualize and the entire operation became about 40% more suffuse with astral light. That is, it become much, much more effective.

    This leads me to think that the deities invoked respond better when their needs and desires are considered. I think that there is no reason that a banishing ritual cannot also be an offering given to the deity that is filling the space with their divine light.

    Point being, reading the Discordian SoP I heard a certain delighted, rollicking laughter, which I took to be Eris, and I saw some dark spheres of malign energy leaving tearfully, saying in a confused, befuddled tone “And I thought I was the baddy!” That is to say, perhaps then this SoP is an exceptionally appropriate offering to the goddess Eris.

    This is interesting since doing research there are according to Hesiod two goddesses named Eris:

    “It was never true that there was only one Eris (Strife). There have always been two on earth. There is one you could like when you understand her. The other is hateful. The two Erites have separate natures. There is one Eris who builds up evil war, and slaughter. She is harsh; no man loves her, but under compulsion and by will of the immortals, men promote this rough Eris (Strife). But the other one was born the elder daughter of black Nyx (Night). The son [Zeus] of Kronos (Cronus), who sits on high and dwells in the bright air set her in the roots of the earth and among men; she is far kinder. She pushes the shiftless man to work, for all his laziness. A man looks at his neighbour, who is rich: then he too wants work; for the rich man presses on with his ploughing and planting and ordering of his estate. So the neighbour envies the neighbour who presses on toward wealth. Such Eris (Strife) is a good friend to mortals.”

    There is then the Eris of the Kakodaimones:

    “But abhorred Eris (Strife) bare painful Ponos (Toil), and Lethe (Forgetfulness), and Limos (Starvation), and the Algea (Pains), full of weeping, the Hysminai (Hysminae, Fightings) and the Makhai (Machae, Battles), the Phonoi (Murders) and the Androktasiai (Androctasiae, Man-slaughters), the Neikea (Neicea, Quarrels), the Pseudo-Logoi (Lies), the Amphilogiai (Disputes), and Dysnomia (Lawlessness) and Ate (Ruin), who share one another’s natures, and Horkos (Horcus, Oath) who does more damage than any other to earthly men, when anyone, of his knowledge, swears to a false oath.” [both quotes from

    Given Eris’ dual nature, I think She could be supremely powerful in dispelling evil and spurring folks into higher levels of consciousness! She is not a goddess I have ever worked with, but, of course, I respect Her and honor Her importance and worth.

  271. @ Bridge, Lathechuck, and others discussing text preservation,

    Microfiche is simply very tiny photographic transparency prints of pages of text. It’s hard to create, but reading it can be accomplished with circa 17th century optics. My concern about it would be its durability.

    The Long Now Foundation has some interest in durable dense text preservation, but so far seem to be using it more for artistic statements than practical knowledge transmission.

    If I suddenly acquired a large fortune, I’d put some of it into updating mask ROM technology using the storage densities possible with current semiconductor manufacturing methods. Digital data on mask ROM lasts indefinitely, and is really simple to read. You need a battery, a set of on-off switches for specifying which memory address (byte) you want to read, and (this is the hardest part) a way to make the states of the output bits (a high or low voltage on each output contact) visible or audible. That only requires a single transistor per bit, and there are lower-technology alternatives. Reading would be aided by a purely mechanical counter that opens and closes the address switches in binary sequence to reveal successive bytes (e.g. characters in text) as fast as one cared to turn the crank. (In one of my deindustrial stories I speculated that the output could be in the form of a different bell or other percussion sound for each bit, and that “readers” would become very skilled at rapidly translating the combinations of sounds into characters and words.)

    The problem is, the last major use of high-capacity mask ROM was for video game cartridges a few decades ago, so the capacity of mask ROM chips never progressed (heh) past the range of a few megabytes. A “library” on mask ROM would have to use a circuit board of multiple chips (that’s a lot less durable, obviously), and could then hold about 100 books in a package the size of, well, a video game cartridge. By contrast, a modern multi-gigabyte flash RAM, a single chip smaller than a finger nail, could hold 100,000 books. But interacting with flash RAM is very complex, for all practical purposes requiring a processor, and the data degrades after a decade or two. That’s why I’d want to cross the two technologies.

    All these concepts seem best suited for bequeathing information beyond a dark age. Which may be a useful or at least satisfying pursuit, for those of us who never got over the Library of Alexandria. It’s not the same thing, though, as preserving information for use during said dark age. The obvious choice for that is durable books.

  272. Dear Michelle,

    Many thanks for the tip! If I don’t find a farm to volunteer on by next Open Post I’ll repeat my query earlier in the comment cycle.

  273. Lucas, there’s a military technology story I like. Towards the end of the Falklands War, the British started shelling Seven Sisters. The barrage rolled from one end of the Argentine positions to the other, then started back the other way, and continued day and night with almost unreal accuracy. It did a serious amount of damage and badly compromised morale. A rumour went round the Argentinian forces that they were being shot at by computerised artillery, which was just becoming a possibility in 1982. It was true that Royal Navy ships had guns controlled by room-sized computers. But the irony is this barrage was done by Royal Artillery and Royal Marine gun crews, who didn’t have anything they hadn’t had in the First World War. They were just that good with the guns.

  274. @MichaelV and others regarding computer decline,

    The strange thing about computer and digital communications technology for private home use is that over the years it’s accelerated by many orders of magnitude, at the same time that its efficiency, in terms of “mean user experience per megabyte per second,” has decreased by nearly those same orders of magnitude.

    I just did a connection speed test, which tells me, “Your Internet speed is very fast. Your Internet connection should be able to handle multiple devices streaming HD videos, video conferencing, and gaming at the same time.” Wonderful… if I wanted to do any of that! But I can’t buy any slower service at any lower price. Which means I’m actually subsidizing the capability for a lot of other people to do those things.

    If I (and most likely you too) could decrease the processing power of my computer, and the speed of my Internet connection, by a factor of ten thousand each, I’d still be able to read and post to this blog just fine.

    The first hundredfold decrease wouldn’t even be noticeable, except for perhaps a brief delay whenever a photograph in JMG’s post scrolled onto your screen. Just like Netscape Navigator in the 90s.

    For other uses at 1% “current standard” performance, streaming video would only run smoothly in a smaller window (and only one at a time, per computer and per whole household). 3D games would have to be stripped down to lower resolutions and fewer graphic features (aw, no realistic flame effects or fancy lighting) and, again, be the only program running. Multi-player online games might have to be sprite based instead of 3D to run well. You could still edit and view photos but some of the mathematically complex filters would take time. Editing low-res video would take a few seconds to a few minutes to process each change. Editing high-res video would still be possible, but changes take a few minutes to a few hours. Streaming audio and podcasts would work fine, but initially downloading a whole podcast might take a few minutes.

    The second hundredfold decrease would be noticeable, and would require stripped-down simplified page design, web browser software, and operating system software to work well. Text would appear on the screen at a limited rate, faster than I could read it but slow enough to see it fill the screen. Typing and editing my posts would not be slowed at all. Uploading them might take half a minute (but still much less time than it took to write them). If there’s a photo linked to a post I could download it in the background while I’m reading the text, and look at it later, but I wouldn’t expect it to appear in the scrolling text. None of this makes any great difference in usability.

    For other uses at .01% performance, video only runs in postage stamp sized windows when nothing else is running, and so isn’t worth it. Video editing is impractical without additional specialized hardware (the way it used to be done). There are still 3D games you can play, but they look like the 3D games in video arcades from the 80s, so I wouldn’t be joining any 25-player WoW raids. But there are massively multiplayer games (MUDs and their ilk) that are playable on such systems, using text.

    The main point is, with 0.01% of the performance, you could get 99% of the user experience quality of participating at this site and ones like it. Right now everything’s distorted by the high-performance applications. It’s the same distortion that makes a text message cost five cents in a pay-as-you-go cell plan, while a minute of voice calling costs ten cents and a minute of streaming video, at least a thousand times more data than the text message, costs a quarter. It’s as though an entire new car cost $1000 but one lug nut cost $200. That’s the way the market is right now. But when those high-performance systems can’t be maintained, I have some hope much lower performance systems will become available. (Of course they won’t cost .01% as much, but just maybe they’ll cost less than 100% as much.) Rather than high-end service being the only available option until it disappears all at once.

    (The ten-thousand-fold excess applies to disk space too. When I was working full time writing documents using a Mac Plus, it would take me a month to fill up a one-megabyte floppy disk with my work. That’s about a thousand pages of text, but it included keeping extra draft versions of everything, and copies of other documents I was working from. Bottom line is, I won’t live long enough to write a gigabyte. So a terabyte seems about as necessary as buying a roll of a million first class postage stamps for all the letters I might want to send someday. The only aspect of computer performance where a ten-thousandfold reduction would be completely unworkable is for the screen resolution. That cut would leave me with about 72 x 45 monochrome pixels. Which would take me all the way back to the kit computers of the mid 70s, when that kind of resolution for a display screen in “graphics mode” wasn’t unheard of.)

    And I’m sure I’ve now used up my kilobytes, for this blog, for the week. If you got through this, thanks for reading!

  275. Temporaryreality : thanks for your advice. It will also be useful for me to articulate these points to myself.
    JMG: I too am wary of the medical industry. I don’t live in the US but one doctor proposed an operation after I did an expensive and unpleasant test which didn’t reveal anything. An official source of information I do trust though is the British online NHS website that gives clear and no nonsense information as it is in their interest to keep their public in good health and avoid expensive treatments which will have to be paid by the system.

  276. Walt F – Funny you should mention microfiche. I had for several years subscribed to a few technical journals on microfiche, and built my own pocket-size microfiche reader. It consisted of two stiff, clear plastic sheets, and two lenses mounted in a plastic 35mm film canister (with a hole in the bottom) such that when the lens-holder was flat against the plastic sheet, the fiche sandwiched between the sheets was in focus. It worked quite nicely, with natural or artificial light. However, I eventually came to the conclusion that the technology described in these journals was not sustainable, and so tossed most of them out.

    I suppose almost anyone with a decent 35mm film camera could take B&W photos of pages of documents and preserve the silver-halide images on negatives for centuries (if kept comfortably cool and dry).

    Someone recently told me (perhaps here?), that Lord Kenneth Clark, who produced a book and television series title “Civilization”, had an extensive library which he kept in the Great Hall of an English castle where he lived. Unfortunately, English castles tend to be damp, and the books were quietly destroyed by moisture. Here’s a quotation from Lord Clark:

    Lord Clark has always preferred to associate with artists; what he considers the philistine upper classes bore him, he said. “Top people,” he has observed, “had charming manners, but they were as ignorant as swans.”

    He scorns fancy talk: “Fine sensibilities, good conversation and all that can be among the results of civilization, but what makes a civilization is vigor, energy, vitality. Now that we only believe in material products, we are in danger of losing the sense of humility that comes from imagining something beyond and larger than oneself. There are disturbing signs that our civilization may be disintegrating. Civilizations are fragile things and a feeling of hopelessness can overtake people even with a high degree of material comfort.”

    That was 1978, in the New York Times. He died about five years later.

  277. Dusk Shine:

    Hmmm. Maybe there would be a way to line the hole so that the water wouldn’t all leak out through the ground each summer and could be reused? We once had a swimming pool (more of a pain than it was worth but it made the husband happy) which we never drained over the winter. The water just froze and then thawed in spring and we’d top it up a little every year. Any standing water, even inside a shed, would have to be covered with window screening so it wouldn’t become a mosquito hatchery of course, and I suppose it would take a season or two to work out the kinks, but I think it could be made to function rather well. I suppose the best placement would be on the north side of a building (in the northern hemisphere) to protect it from direct sunshine in the summer.


    Awesome kitten picture.

  278. @ Nastarana,

    The criteria for taking the stage for the opening debates were that you have one pct. support in at least three separate polls and contributions from at least 65k separate supporters. Williamson hit these targets, she gets to stand at one edge of the stage. You don’t need to know anyone with a deep pocket — quite the contrary.

    I know next to nothing about her history, but it appears she has been doing some pretty good work here and there since the 80s. HIV, hunger, etc. Her ostensible pitch is that we need to see a shift in the basic structure of our value systems from the marketplace to something she is calling “humanitarian.” On the surface it is hard to disagree with that.

  279. Re the preservation of books during the dark age:

    Though it has its issues (e.g. selection bias, error), preserving written material in the coming dark age will likely involve similar methods as the previous one. Namely, copying materials from older manuscripts as those manuscripts age. And repeating that process as the new copies become the old copies. I don’t know that the answer is technological (finding the perfect medium) so much as devotional and communal.

  280. Dear Temporaryreality,

    You are so welcome! I think it’s very wise to be cautious embarking down this sort of path. When I embarked I had a lot of fumbling, a lot of horrific existential terror for many months, and I think that if I had seriously tried to turn back I would have gone mad or died. Those who start the path and then get scared and try to step off it tend to meet with bad ends. Serious drug addiction seems to be the “best” outcome of trying to get off once seriously on the path.

    I think the rewards are well worth it, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t very real dangers. Also, I think that everyone must walk the path alone. I may have shared a particular way towards the gate of the mysteries, but once in the mysteries proper you will have to face everything there almost entirely alone, at least as far as human guidance. On occasion, you may find a person with knowledge who can help you, but mostly it will be yourself in a strange land with only the strength of your will, the strength of your love, and the grace of your Patron to help you navigate not only new vistas, white also using entirely different sense-perceptions.

    Of course, this depends on how far you want to go, but once in a devotional relationship there is also the will of a mightier, better, and wiser being in the picture.

    Dear Patricia O.,

    Thank you for the kind words!


    Delighted to hear it!

  281. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, ‘stomped’ is the correct word for the Battle of Adrianople.

    Just for your interest, it was obvious to me about the horses because people always ask me about why I don’t run animals on the farm (other than chickens, dogs and bees). The simple answer is that they require a lot of feeding, but not many people understand what that means. I don’t grow grains for the chickens as I purchase feed for them at the local stock feed store. However, the chickens require someone else, somewhere else to have half an acre of grains under cultivation. It is no small thing. At least the fertility from that one way process builds into the systems here.

    The requirements to feed the heavy horses for the Romans would have beggarded them, but as you quite correctly suggest, they’d be fracked without them. Which path to choose when many lead to failure?

    I try to make the systems here human scaled.

    Hi Darkest Yorkshire,

    Thanks for the shout out.

    Hey, the bicycle technology would require even more energy inputs than the horse technology, and all the while entropy would nip away at the wonderful machines that are produced. At least the horses would be able to reproduce themselves! 😉 I chose to avoid both paths.



  282. Violet,

    I’ve not read it, but it’s now firmly on my list of things to read. I found a summary and it looks promising! As for the illegal immigrants in detention centres, I find it humourous in a very mordant sort of way that all the same arguments being present for mattress companies to boycott the centres applies equally to prisons….

  283. It is clear that the ancient Israelites uttered the name of God; it is implied, for instance, in the prohibition not to take the name of God in vain. However, as early as the third century BC(E), in the Greek translation of the Hebrew text of Exodus 20.7, where the prohibition is stated, YHWH is rendered as “kuriou”, the genitive of “kurios” (in accord with the grammar of the sentence). The original question asked why Jesus never uttered the name of God. The answer is that in the Judaism of his day it wasn’t done, and hadn’t been done for some centuries, it seems.

    Perhaps it isn’t always clear that there is a distinction to be made between ancient Israelite religion and Judaism, which is a post-exilic development (the exile in question being the Babylonian exile). So to say that it is taboo to utter the name of God in Judaism means just that and no more. When in the history of Judaism this taboo emerged I don’t know, but it seems to have been firmly in existence at least a few centuries before the time of Jesus.

  284. I suppose “cacomagic” is what Dostoevsky described in his novel “Demons,” based on his first hand experiences in an anarchist cell, and what the anonymous author was referring to, commenting on Dostoevsky and his novels in “Meditations on the Tarot.” Or is that expanding the definition too far?

  285. @D Nodal, regarding 5G, Firstenberg summed up the concerns regarding health and environmental damage quite well in his international appeal here:
    He has studied the issue passionately for decades having been injured in medical school by ionizing radiation which rendered him sensitive to non-ionizing radiation as well.

    I think concerns regarding surveillance and manipulation are more in terms of quantity than quality with 5G, as AI is already in use as the link Just Me has posted above explains. I might be wrong, however, as it’s not my area of expertise.

  286. I have a question. I’ve seen several references to the Watcher, and maybe I missed where this was discussed (though I’m a fairly regular reader), but could someone please tell me what the Watcher is? I am familiar with Rudolf Steiner and the Guardian of the threshold. Is this the same thing? Even if it is, seeing a definition restated here would be helpful to me, since Steiner might have taken a traditional occult (esoteric) term and put his own spin on it; for him there are two such guardians. Thanks in advance.

  287. @David BTL

    The most recent gubernatorial election here in FL was very close, and very contentious. But part of the reason Gillum lost is because he was a politician coming out of Tallahassee, who’d been investigated for corruption. You don’t get to be any kind of bigwig in Tallahassee (or Miami, or…) without being up to your eyeballs in the kind of wheeling and dealing that’s supposed to be illegal under our sunshine laws. Nobody trusted the guy. It was still close because a lot of people vote Democrat reflexively. It’s kind of like if the mayor of Washington DC ran for president…

    We are pretty happy with DeSantis so far.

  288. Michelle, that’s reasonable enough; I’d just like to see more Christians talking that way.

    JillN, a good start. I like to encourage people to choose some point in the cycle of the year — say, the summer solstice, or what have you — and whenever that day comes around, see if there’s one additional way they can decrease their use of energy and other nonrenewable resources. That seems to be a pace of change that almost anyone can manage with good results.

    Petra, hah! Thank you for this.

    K, there’s a long and murky prehistory behind that way of dealing with gods. On the one hand, ancient Egyptian mages had been doing that sort of thing for a very long time — no, I’m not sure why they thought that was a good idea, or why they believed that human beings could boss around gods. On the other, religious changes in the Hellenistic world led a lot of Greek-speaking people to a proto-monotheism in which the old gods were seen in terms not unlike what you see in Buddhist accounts of Hindu deities — yeah, they exist, but they’re irrelevant to those of us who are, or hope to be, enlightened. That gradually morphed into the Gnostic conviction that the powers who rule this world are demonic beings who have to be fought so that we can return to our true home in the world of light.

    From the point of view of the modern occultist, what’s going on here is the same thing that’s going on with the name of Jesus — what you get when you call on any divine name depends on your spiritual state. There are plenty of low-grade entities who are happy to play at being a god, just as they were happy in an earlier era to play at being your deceased Aunt Mildred, and yes, you can probably boss them around if you know what you’re doing. The results will not necessarily be helpful to you, though!

    Baboonery, say what you like about Brown, the guy understands politics. I think he’s quite correct.

    Lucas, thanks for the correction — I’ll see if that can get made. As for smartphones et al., I recall the Russian generals in 1914 who insisted on having radio gear with every regiment, and sent orders to their troops over the airwaves. Of course the Germans were listening, with predictable results. I find myself wondering just how much work certain other powers with plenty of electronic expertise have put into exploiting the vulnerability implied by all those smartphones…

    David BTL, thanks for both of these.

    Dusk Shine, that’s likely, sure, but it’s just possible that attention to preserving that technology might get it through the deindustrial dark ages and out the other side.

    Beekeeper, I see possibilities for chicken voter fraud!

    Jbucks, I meant it more broadly. We have a Western tradition in music that reaches from the high middle ages, when it first began to take shape in the form of modal music, to the beginning of the twentieth century, when it degenerated into cacophony. The recovery of that tradition and its transformation into an enduring set of forms is one of the great tasks of the arts in the postprogress West — once people get over the delusion that it’s necessary always to be breaking new ground, there are a vast number of fugues and concertos and sonatas still waiting to be written, in the same spirit that ancient Egyptian or classic Chinese artists produced brilliant artworks using traditional forms and themes for millennia after the age of innovation had passed. Folk music is eternal — people will find ways to make music no matter what — but maintaining an art tradition in music, and basing it on the great eras of Western music rather than the decaying, self-referential mess we’ve got now, is something that could use some serious work in the decades and centuries ahead.

  289. It amuses it me to note that if a radio operator were to use anything even approaching what cell phones use now they would be shut down as a safety hazard. It becomes profoundly disturbing when I look at 5g and how strong those emissions are going to be. Dear gods, this will end so badly….

  290. Violet–I read “No one writes to the Colonel” a few decades ago in a class on the short novel. The majority of our grade was based on a paper on whichever novel we were assigned. The professor had a habit of finding Christ imagery in just about everything–he went to town with the saintly, doomed protagonist of Melville’s “Billy Budd.” I always thought it was a good thing I didn’t have to write my paper on “Colonel” because it would have been very hard to resist explaining that the rooster was a Christ figure, and that probably would not have gone well.”

    As for Eris, I have always interpreted the myths about her (and the similar ones about the bad fairy who doesn’t get invited) to mean that you should be open to the inevitable chaos and that if you aren’t it will really bite you hard. I also suspect that she is the goddess of failed birth control. Accordingly, I got a tattoo of a golden apple with the K, for Kallisti (to the fairest) and the caption “kaire eris” (in Greek letters) when I discovered I was pregnant the third time. Maybe my tattoo has been a portable SoP all this time 🙂

  291. dnodal – Re: 5G. I’m sort of in that industry, and 5G just doesn’t add up for me. They’re talking about tremendous capital investment to blanket urban areas with super-high-speed access points, but there’s not much discussion about making the underlying network “backhaul” connections as fast and as responsive as will be needed for the applications they’re touting. Also, I don’t see consumers coming up with more money to cover the costs. (That said, I watched with skepticism as the Internet grew from dial-up service to fiber, and it’s been a constant source of amazement… just like the growing amount of debt (consumer, corporate, and government). Maybe there’s a connection there.)

    Incidentally, I just read an article in the Guardian about fragmentation of the streaming video environment. Netflix has several new competitors, each of which expects fans of their programs to pay Netflix-like rates every month for access to their special content.

  292. Walt F – I’m sure that a lot more bandwidth to my home is consumed with advertising images and video that are pushed without being requested, than anything I ask for. I assume that the advertisers are paying for the bandwidth (indirectly, their investors and customers), and an Internet that doesn’t convey compelling ad content may be technically feasible without being economically feasible. When the sales don’t bring in the revenue to support the ads that support the Internet, The End of The Internet As We Know It (TEOTIAWKI) is at hand.

  293. What will convince you it’s time to leave the internet? Or more important from my point of view, that it’s time to shift this blog to a print edition?

  294. Friday my 17 year old grandson asked my opinion of the Harry Potter series. I replied that they were fine for kids books, that the later volumes could have used some editing and that Rowling made interesting use of some standard tropes of children’s literature. The discussion moved on. Yesterday at a major suburban mall i saw two automobiles with license plate holders that referred to Harry Potter. The Potter generation isn’t really old enough to be driving expensive new model sedans yet, so this means that some portion of the Potter themed merchandise is actually directed at and being purchased by an adult audience. Now I can understand that the generations raised on Disney products would maintain a nostalgic attachment to Mickey and Minnie and the Disney versions of Cinderella and Snow White even though that is my generation and I have absolutely no desire for a Minnie Mouse jacket. (okay, I did ask for a Bugs Bunny watch for graduation, but that is because Bugs notoriously asks ‘What’s up Doc?”). But this reaching down into the fantasies aimed at one’s children seems odd to me. I know that James Howard Kunstler, over on his blog, has criticized the wearing of low riding, baggy trousers and overly long t-shirts as creating a generation of adult males who look like toddlers. What is up with this–is it just in the US or are 30 somethings in the UK and other English speaking nations likewise declaring themselves as alumnae of Hogswart ?

  295. Zach Bender,

    Re Williamson,

    Well it’s kinda funny but I was pretty much turned off by what you wrote about her. “..Trump has “reached into the psyche of the American people and harnessed fear for political purposes,”

    Oh, puuuleeze. If he has done that, it is dwarfed by the amount of fear mongering the left-liberals have done. And much of the endless Trump bashing is actually a way to keep that fear stoked. Trump, Trump, Trump. Ain’t he awful.

    “…a candidate who hopes to turn that around is going to have to talk vision rather than detailed plans.”

    Oh, isn’t that what Obama did? Hope and change? Yes we can? Vision and rhetoric is all we get from our politicians, year after year. We don’t need more of that emotionalism.

  296. Where can I find the instructions for the Discordian SoP? Google isn’t being very helpful.

  297. re microfiche

    I read about a low tech version of this used in the European middle ages. That is, documents were sometimes written in tiny, tiny text and then people used solid glass rods as magnifiers to read them. There were various sorts of primitive lenses as well, but I believe the rods are easier to make. While in Uni, I used to be able to read the larger sizes of microfiche without a machine so this makes sense to me – get the younger apprentice monks to do the copying with super sharp quills and the older monks just check the accuracy using the glass rods. I guess the parchment also needed to be really fine grained to allow this.

  298. @ JMG:

    Agreed on Brown. Whether you like or dislike him, he is a smart guy who knows how the system works like few other people do and he’s no one’s fool. As someone who is one of the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party, he’s got a lot of inside info, including which skeletons are inside whose closets. If he’s calling the election in favor of Trump this early, that’s speaks volumes and confirms what you have been saying all along.

  299. @ Rita Rippetoe

    If I may, it’s hard to believe how fast time goes, but the first Harry Potter was published 22 years ago. Thirtysomethings were children when the series started. I never read the books, but I do know many older adults who enjoyed the series and also read them with their younger children. I’m sure merchandise is also targeted at them.

  300. Walt, that’s a fascinating point. You’re right that SF from back in the day tended to have attitudes toward the mind and brain just as unrealistic as its attitudes toward space travel; I wonder if there was a connection…

    Dnodal, well, I’m in Rhode Island and can make time now and again for something of that sort; if there’s interest in something a little more frequent than the annual summer solstice potluck, and someone’s willing to organize it — I don’t have the spare time these days to take on that task — that might be an option.

    Violet, that may be it. All I know is that I’ve performed it with good effect on occasion. Mind you, I’m a properly initiated Chaplin of the Legion of Dynamic Discord — and yes, that’s the proper spelling of “Chaplin” — and that may also have something to do with it.

    Crow HIll, thanks for this! The health care sites in the US are all aimed at getting you to go to the physician as often as possible at your own expense.

    David, the one great technological phenomenon that helps is printing. East Asian societies had woodblock printing in place before their most recent dark ages, and it made the preservation and transmission of manuscripts much easier and more effective; instead of a scribe having to copy each document a letter at a time, a scribe writes each page on a board, a good craftsman carves everything but the letters down a bit, apply ink and paper and you’ve got a hundred copies of the document instead of just one. If you use good rot-resistant hardwood, the same woodblock can be used for the same purpose for a century or more. This is one of the reasons I hope that letterpress printing can make it through the coming dark ages.

    Chris, I’ve noticed that a lot of people have no clue about what it takes to keep an animal well fed. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard clueless would-be survivalists insist that they could keep a milk goat in the back yard and graze her on the lawn… 🙁

    Phutatorius, no, not at all — it’s just that cacomagic extends in many other fetid directions as well.

    A Reader, Steiner was indeed riffing off a standard bit of occult lore, and interpreting it according to his own very extensive experience of the inner worlds. The Watcher aka Guardian is a common experience, which has been interpreted in many different ways by different occult authors. If you find Steiner’s explanation works for you, by all means!

    Will J, I don’t have a specific set of red lines. I’ll decide that when and if I think it’s appropriate on the basis of the whole picture, amplified by divination.

    Rita, I knew a lot of adults who were deeply into the boy wizard and his pals, and I also know an astonishing number of adults who are still obsessive about pop-culture phenomena from their youth — middle-aged women who write fanfic about 1960s TV show characters, for example. There’s definitely something going on there.

  301. Flamenco, I don’t think it’s been posted anywhere. Here’s how you do it.

    1) The Opening is done as described here. Face in a random direction.
    The words you use are HAIL ERIS with the first gesture, ALL HAIL DISCORDIA on the second, KALLISTI on the third, and as you cross your arms: HAIL, SHE WHAT DONE IT ALL.

    2) The locations of the five Discordian elements — Sweet, Prickle, Boom, Pungent, and Orange — are not fixed, the way Air is assigned to the East and so on. They migrate at random, and so you have to figure out where each of them is; you may find that Boom likes to hide under the sofa or that Prickle is fond of corners with cobwebs in them. Make-believe is as powerful a tool as anything else here. Find or, if necessary, decide where each of them is, point to it, and repeat its name five times: “Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet” and so on. You can invoke something specific by any or all of them, but since this is a Discordian ritual, they’ll probably give you something else instead.

    3. The Closing is done in the place where you did the Opening. The Opening produced, right around the level of your belly button, a Vortex of Highly Eristic Eristicness. You now have to revolve around that point in three different ways. Yes, you can circle it horizontally; you can jump over it from one side and duck under it from the other; you can be as acrobatic or as sedate as you like, but your movements need to circle the point in three different planes. Once you’ve finished orbiting the point, say HAIL HAIL HAIL HAIL HAIL ERIS ERIS ERIS ERIS ERIS. This completes the ritual fnord.

    One caution — you may find that this ritual doesn’t have its full power unless you have become a properly initiated Chaplin of the Legion of Dynamic Discord. You will find complete instructions in this volume of sacred scripture; no, I won’t tell you where. Read it and find out.

  302. @ Rita

    Well that’s just two out of probably hundreds of cars you’ve seen during that outing alone, so it’s statistically unjustified to generalize to the rest of the population.

    From my own experience, I would like to testify that I am a member of the generation that grew up while the Potter series was being published and that now I’m in a position to afford the kind of car you’re referring to. I grew up poor with a single mom and no dad, got myself an education and started a career in something that was very far from my childhood dream job which was to become an archaeologist. When I got my first engineering job, the first thing I did was to put a big plastic dinosaur figurine on my desk. So what ? Okay yes, dinosaurs are more siencey than Harry Potter, so maybe it’s not as bad, but I don’t see a lot of adults with dinosaur figurines on their desks. Does that make me a harbinger of societal collapse ?

    Maybe the person you saw had kids who got into Harry Potter recently or they went to Universal Studios or wherever they sell these things, maybe he or she was now a doctor or a well-off tradesperson who also happened to be my age and have their finances in order and just happened to really like Harry Potter. Who cares ? For the record, I don’t have a nice car or a Harry Potter license plate, but what I would infer from knowing that a person does is that he or she is more likely to be a good person than not.

    I spent a year in Japan for work and they had train cars covered with Harry Potter images all over the country. I’m pretty sure this is not an omen of the Final Crash if the Japanese are doing it you know ?

    I say all of this respectfully of course, I understand that people are grasping on to anything they can find or think of to use as a measure of social decay, but this one is mostly empty in my opinion.

  303. Dear Onething, Williamson is a sheepdog whose assignment is to corral all us Greenies, anti-GMO protestors and other assorted weirdoes . How do I know that? Stands to reason, because if she had the courage of her alleged convictions, she would be using her name recognition and celebrity status on behalf of the Green Party. Bow wow wow.

    The DCC is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA today. Whatever, whatever the DCC says, assume it is a lie. The 2% to get in the debates rule was intended to screen out Gabbard, and when that didn’t work, then they came up with must have $65,000 in small donations, which didn’t work either. I know that because there has been some discussion about the Gabbard campaign and DCC shenanigans over on caucus99%.

  304. @ Onething,

    The immediate reversion to “that is what the left also does” is itself part of the problem Williamson is describing. I do not see how anyone can deny that Trump’s ongoing campaign has been an appeal to fear. And I do not think Williamson is saying we can’t talk specifics about programs, her point is that policy must be framed in a context of understanding who we are and what we are about. The species now numbers well over seven billion, and it is long past time to start talking about how we can cooperate rather than always seeking advantage.

  305. I’m pretty sure that one way texts were copied “back in the old days” wasn’t only by means of a solitary scribe’s transcribing a work. Another way was by dictation: I’d read a work aloud, and however many scribes were “sitting at my feet” would transcribe what I was dictating. So it’s not only “copyists’s errors” that we have to deal with in old texts, but also errors in how things were heard (and spelled; I’m thinking of the “itacism” in some Greek “transcriptions” here.) However, the method itself is interesting: instead of making one copy at a time, one could make multiple copies (as today), the only problem being the ears and spelling skills of the individual scribes.

  306. Dear jmg

    I know you have read Nassim Nicholas taleb, but have you by any chance read his latest book, skin in the game? I just bought it today.

    I have never said this but if it wasn’t for him I would not have been interested in your written works.
    I used to be a transhumanist but when I started reading talebs books his arguments really destroyed a lot of the faith that I had in the core ideas of the cult of progress, and made reading your stuff easier and more palatable.

    It was an initiation I suppose.

  307. @ David BTL

    I think the day will come when the American people realize the US is a second tier power, but that day is still a ways off. With mid-century only 30 years away, I mainly question your timeline. These things tend to ebb and flow. Vietnam was a low point, but the collapse of the Soviet Union was a rebound. I think that while the trajectory is down, it is unlikely to go in a straight line and will likely play out over a much longer timeline. No doubt the US will face many setbacks during the fall.

    Even as the US declines in power relative to other rising powers, it’s important to remember the US, as a continental power, is in a unique position shared only by China, India, Russia, and perhaps Brazil (Canada and Australia’s relatively small populations keep them off the list). That fact distinguishes the US from former western European first tier powers and Japan. I think comparing the US to the decline of previous empires, such as Spain and the UK, is difficult because of the relative sizes and resources of the home country that operated the empire. In the world as it exists now, the size, population, and resources of the US alone suggests it will remain a first tier power even if disengages from most of its foreign engagements.

    All I can say is we’ll see. I may live to 2050 to see how some of this plays out, but that will be near the end of the line for me.

  308. Phutatorius, I’ve felt for years that (and note my user name) this directive from the Father was very much more along the lines of “Well, kids, you broke your world. Figure out how to put it back together well enough to get on with, because I’m not making you a new one anytime soon.”

    Will Oberton, have you tried local raw honey? It may or may not have helped my son with pollen allergies, but he’s experiencing many fewer this year than last. If nothing else, it’s tasty: apply usual caveats about not feeding unpasteurized honey to infants and those whose immune systems can’t handle it.

  309. re printing for preserving texts

    I think hectograph/gelli/gel/jelly printing has promise for small runs (30-100 copies) of hand copied texts, using gelatin trays in place of a woodblock and slow-drying inks. I feel the real limiting factor for print runs is 1) paper making, 2) undercover space to dry and organise all of the pages produced when printing hundreds of copies of a large text, 3) a sufficiently large number of readers to support the book maker at an efficient scale for their technology.

    Having watched it, letterpress printing is only fast compared to hand copying if the initial time taken to set up each page is amortised over hundreds or thousands of copies. Similarly for woodblock or clayblock printing. However, I understand a Japanese paper maker takes 23 days to make 1,150 sheets of ledger paper by hand. Of course, the paper is amazing and will last 1000 years if cared for. You can also hand make wood pulp paper that lasts 25-100 years in about 1/3 the time but that still isn’t fast. This implies a significant number of paper makers would be required to support one book maker churning out hundreds of copies of lengthy books. That makes sense in a densely populated society or for high demand books like the Bible. However, for economically reproducing lengthy texts for a thin scattering of readers, I think something with a smaller efficient scale is needed. Thus, I’m experimenting with gel trays and different inks.

  310. John (et al.)–

    Re the role of printing in preservation

    An excellent point. By technological, I was thinking of this search for the perfect medium, but yes, I can see your point that there would be a technological element in the process of copying. Certainly, the ability to compose a block of printing in reverse would be a worthwhile skill to keep alive!

    It just so happens that I have a working museum of letterpress printing mere blocks from my house:

    If any of the community would like to become a member, they are a worthy organization and one I support. Among other things, I had my campaign materials printed there the two years I ran for city council. They have an annual conference/gathering toward the beginning of November that is a pretty big deal, with folks coming from Europe even.

  311. @ Onething, rawillis3 (if I may)

    Re “that is what the left also does” and cooperation

    I have to agree and disagree a bit. One characteristic (and, I would argue, failing) shared by progressives and conservatives alike is their intense interest in telling other people how to live their lives. I would argue that what we need is not cooperation, but rather to (re)learn the fine art of minding our own business.

    As a nation, we should be decoupling ourselves from this globalized economy and putting our efforts into constructing that self-reliant economy I’ve mentioned previously, where we produce our our goods and services for our own consumption from our own resources using our own labor. The reason we keep getting pulled into foreign quagmires is that we are reliant on resources outside our borders, both in terms of raw materials and labor. Likewise, we should mirror this internally, where each region, state, and community is largely self-producing, with some limited trade across those lines, but decreasing in degree as one moves further away.

    Similarly, this concept should apply to our personal interactions. My neighbor may wish to hang a confederate battle ensign from the front of his house. I may not want to look at at it, but it is his house, his property. Likewise, I may want to turn my front yard into a garden bed, but so long as I’m not impinging on the sight-triangle by my driveway or a street corner, then the fact that my neighbors might not wish to look out at my beds of kale, beans, and potatoes is irrelevant.

    Again, I would invoke the Amish. They don’t go about trying to convince the English to change their ways. They quietly live their lives and wish only to be left alone so that they may do so. Washington’s famous caution to “avoid foreign entanglements” applies on many, many levels.

  312. @ Ryan S

    Re your point about self-marginalization and the gentleman in the audience at my workshop

    I don’t wonder if he had that in mind. I’d suspect that he’d have argued that is society’s responsibility to fix–I’ve certainly run across others, such on PolticalWire, who have argued that line–but I would strongly disagree, of course. My rather strong civil libertarian streak would file the issue of self-marginalization most definitively under the heading of “your own d— fault,” rather like not maintaining one’s voter registration by getting off one’s hind end to vote at least once every four to six years.

  313. @Rita Rippletoe (et. al talking about Harry Potter),

    Toynbee’s failure of mimesis doesn’t leave an automatic target. It just means you aren’t going to ape your elders any more. So where do you look? Well, wherever you’ve been cultured instead.

    If you don’t trust your elders or their system, where can your values will come, from other than the culture you identify with, ‘popular’ or otherwise?* (Ignore for the moment that it was probably made by someone older than you.) If your parents and public education failed you badly enough that you cannot make sense of the world– but boxing other humans into Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, Gryffendors and Slytherins does help you make sense of it, well, why not put that affiliation on your license plate?

    Remember that the first novel came out in 1997 — when this year’s crop of thirty-year-olds was eight, the low end of the target audience for the first book. (The book’s target aged with that audience, accounting in part for the astounding impact they had on the psyche of many. People grew up with those books. Were shaped by those books. Learned from those books — and I repeat myself, because this is important — things parents have abandoned to the schools and the the public system simply can’t teach. Things like ethics, and virtue.) So, again, why not reference that on a license plate? Or a discrete pin on your business suit? Or your tie?

    I also don’t think many (here, or elsewhere) get quite how much rage there is caught up in mimetic failure. The sense of helpless, hopeless, “I did everything right” failure. It leads to lashing out.**

    I think a lot of the hate at “Old White Men” is coming from that direction. They were the elite we were meant to ape. While they’re the most popular target of ire (because other power centers want to focus millennial ire on them) it’s not just old white men, but boomers in general, because they are the “elders”. (As much as most boomers hate to admit it!). Shane W, wherever he is now, used to get some flack on this board for his anti-boomer stance. I tell you that he adored that generation, compared to some of my peers. “Boomer” is an insult. A strong one.

    (Yes, so is “millennial” amongst the older set: but I think that’s mostly smugness. It doesn’t have the bile behind it.)

    Take a look at this:
    This sort of digital blackface isn’t done out of love.

    *By no means always HP. I’m around the right age, but never read the books. I got cultured by old sci-fi pulps from a generation earlier. It didn’t do me any better.

    **Before you go to place of self-righteousness (because this isn’t a conversation one can have without getting self-righteous, apparently) — I predict the backlash against Millennials from their kids and grand-kids will be no better. Maybe worse. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. If we don’t prepare our kids (yes, we have kids; we’re in our 30s!) for decline, to live with less… they’ll be just as bitter, and they’ll have the example of elder-hate we picked up from the 60s and carried forward with a vengeance.

  314. I am curious about differences in eastern practice like Qi Gong and Tai Qi and western esoteric practices.

    Firstly, I wonder why Europe has not brought traditions of martial arts, body and movement, and healing massages to much sophistication like the Chinese and Japanese did, as it seems. Europe always had a martial aspect, but didn’t really get much into manual medicine practices.

    One theory is that because Europe was at war constantly, fighters did not get old, therefore it was not interesting to develop practices that would keep ones joints and bones healthy.

    Another spin I took myself is that the prolonged periods of warlessness of the East parallel to the European Age of Enlightment lead to warriors like the Samurai becoming somewhat of guardian policemen of society, so higher sophistication for warriors was available.

    Another assumption I have is the monotheistic dogma, pursuit of religious monopoly and most of all hatred for the human body and sexuality, as was mentioned here already.

    Can that be the reason that the church had no interest in Qi Gong like practices and manual medicine, because it saw the body as unvaluable, and physical suffering as a just punishment for being alive?

    The western esoteric practices on the other hand probably did not resonate well to the Church either I’d guess.
    Is there anything much of a western pendant of Qi Gong and Tai Qi, practices where meditation and movement are often mixed?

    Also our host JMG has mentioned that many gifted magicians of the past have also been competent fencers, sword fighters.

    So, how can a differences between European and east asian energetic and what have you practices at large be described?

  315. For what it might be worth: here is a very cynical take on what the Dems are up to this election cycle:

    My view, again, FWIMBW

    1. Trump appealed primarily to resentment, not fear. Resentment is indeed a vice, and a dangerous one, but there is usually something behind it which merits attention.

    2. I do not believe that Williamson, or any of a number of minor presidential candidates woke up one morning and said to the mirror, that guy or gal looks like a president, I’ll give it a shot. O’Rourke, for example, I believe had National Ticket dangled in front of him to keep him from doing what he seems to be good at, which is party building at the grass roots level, something the DNC does NOT want to have happening.

    3. Williamson’s platform looks like Green Party lite to me, which is why I think she was recruited as a sheepdog to bring all of us Demexiters back into the fold. She can also appeal to the nice nice puppies and rainbows crowd.

    4. One of the elephants in the room this cycle, besides neo-con influence on foreign policy, is the ongoing Monsanto trials. All of a sudden, for the first time in decades, (some) candidates have actual farm policy sections on their issues pages. Naturally, incendiary ideas like parity and price supports are not mentioned, much less price ceilings.

    5. The main problem for Trump and the Republicans continues to be women voters. That problem will not be solved by replacing Pence with Nikki Haley; all the Democrats will have to do is run clips of Haley lying at the UN. Most American women below retirement age are adults who deal daily with serious responsibilities; we are not shallow Barbies of the sort with whom Trump likes to surround himself.

    6. About that neo-con influence, if Trump really were the kind of tough, no-nonsense leader his following think he is, he would tell Sheldon Adelson to get himself, his laundered Chinese money and his bloodthirsty chicken hawk following out of his administration.

  316. Thoughts on the Internet on several interrelated things.
    First, when I switched Internet providers a year ago the installer guy mentioned that the whole area/neighborhood had been wired up for Fiber internet access but that ATT had just never bothered to turn it on and try to sell it as a service (which struck me as odd at the time.)
    Second, Verizon is installing 5G cell ‘towers’ in Downtown Little Rock right now. They look like a slightly tall street light lamp post and they are placed every 5 to 9 blocks (not sure about the specific distance). They are going to sell fast cellphone service as well as fast home internet service.
    I’m thinking now that the telecom companies have decided to abandoned the wires that go to individual homes in favor of 5G cell towers which will provide fast internet/cell connections (and more importantly allow for less maintenance work as they will have centralized cell tower/poles rather than decentralized wires to all houses). I’ve heard previously that ATT and others had already stopped providing maintenance on landlines. Rather than a sign of progress that most see 5G service as being, it is likely a way to reduce costs/maintenance.

  317. @ David BTL

    Re your point about self-marginalization and the gentleman in the audience at my workshop

    I agree, and my original comment wasn’t very clear. The way you described how open political participation is in your city made me think that any marginalization of a resident is self-imposed. If the gentleman didn’t like your response, then he was just looking to be indignant.

  318. JMG, you’ve probably seen this or something similar since it’s from December 2015 and you’ve discussed the issue, but it’s a report from OXFAM on wealth-based carbon footprints. It notes the carbon footprint of someone in the richest 1% could be as much as 175 times greater than someone in the bottom 10%. Since the report is based on global wealth, it’s probably safe to assume the richest 10%, and probably much more, of western countries qualifies as the top 1% globally. Imagine the carbon footprint of someone in the top 1% or .1% of western countries. Even if the numbers can be debated to some degree, one person can use as much carbon as a village.

  319. @ Ryan S

    Re the decline of the US and first-tier status

    I don’t disagree that the timing is an open question. Decline, as our host points out repeatedly, is a stutter-step affair and not a smooth curve. On the other hand, things can fall apart quickly once certain critical points are reached, depending on the hidden structures underneath it all. My mid-century guess may indeed be early.

    The thing I still look at, though, is that our coherence as a nation is very much a function of all of us being members of the club which runs the planet. That dominance is the glue which holds our disparate regional cultures together. As it becomes obvious that we no longer run the planet, even just to the point of having serious co-powers with whom we must negotiate, I think that we will see substantive conversations begin to take place as to why we continue to live together when the point of the marriage is gone. Why would Massachusetts continue to put up with Alabama? Why would Georgia put up with Oregon? (And why would any of us put up with California?)

    The confederation that is this nation was held together first by brute military force (1861-1865) and then by a common rise to imperial power (acquisition of overseas colonies via the Spanish-American War, king-maker in WWI tipping the balance to the Allied Powers, savior of Europe in WWII, super-power in the Cold War, sole hyper-power post -Soviet collapse). Once that power is gone or obviously in the wane, what values do we all have in common? What cultural glue do we have to keep us together? I see less and less of it. Fly-over country has little in common with the liberal bastions of the coasts. The South is still very much the South (except for Florida perhaps, but much of that state will be underwater). We have been like a couple staying together because of the kids and now the kids have left. If we were to adopt more of an open marriage (e.g. the looser confederation I’ve suggested), then we could perhaps still co-habitate without getting divorced. But the union as we know it today, with its highly-centralized and powerful federal core, is in my opinion done–it is really only a matter of time until perception catches up with reality.

  320. Did someone say “5G”? I was a radar tech 50 years ago, then I worked in telecom in the engineering dept. and I sometimes read the IEEE articles on “spread spectrum.” I followed the “microwave debate” for decades, then I went back to school and got a JD in environmental law. Back about 30 years ago when the “Integrated Subscriber Digital Network” or “ISDN” was all the rage we used to call it “Innovations Subscribers Don’t Need.” But that was nothing compared to 5G. I try to minimize my use of wireless; I don’t want to encourage its growth. I carry a flip-phone when on the road because there’s not much choice. I let most of my wireless minutes expire unused. I have wifi disabled in my house, and use wired connections only at home. If there was ever a time for a mass consumer revolt against a gratuitous new technology being shoved down our unwilling throats, it’s the roll-out of 5G. Fiber yes. Wireless no.

  321. John–

    File under the heading of “Evilly Evil with Extra Evil, Please”

    I was rather surprised to see allocation of electoral votes by CD–which is as close to proportional allocation of EVs as we’ll get under the current construct of the Constitution–included in the list of “bad things those evil Republicans are doing.”

    We are a federal republic of states. With specific, limited powers delegated to the federal government. The Democrats conveniently forget this fact. (Oh, the tirades about how undemocratic the Senate is!) I find myself more and more annoyed with them. Not that I care for the Republicans as a party, either.

    Democracy seems to have come to mean “I get want I want.”

  322. I am reading Twilight’s Last Gleaming, haven’t finished it yet. On the cover it is described as a novel that paints a stark warning of an uncomfortably likely future.
    A couple of days ago I read a one page essay by Richard Conn Henry titled The mental Universe (you can google it and download for free). Mr. Henry is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. His essay is about the discovery of quantum fysics that waves and particles do not exist as things. The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. If you let go of the scientific paradigm we still collectively believe in, i.e. that things are material. And you replace it with the current paradigm of quantum science that things do not exist, only observations. Would you still be afraid of war, collapse and extinction? Or would you realise that you are shadow boxing with your own demons? Please do read the essay and try to imagine what it could mean for your sense of self. Have Fun!

  323. Lathechuck – That’s true about advertisers taking advantage of available bandwidth, but they can only do that because it’s there. Advertisers no longer being able to afford high-bandwidth ads could very well be among the reasons Internet capabilities decline ten thousandfold in my scenario, but even if that happened, the “.01% Internet” could still have ads commensurate with its usage. In the 80s, a dial-up text BBS (much like a present day blog or forum) was cheap enough to run as a hobby. In less affluent future times, they might need a sponsoring business and/or paid subscriptions to stay up and running, something like the subscription libraries JMG has mentioned from a few generations ago.

    I’ve never gotten a streaming video ad on my radio or newspaper (though I never tried subscribing to the Daily Prophet), nor a graphic ad on my telephone line. Yet radio stations and newspapers are still full of, and funded by, advertisements, and I believe so is the phone network (or else scam phone calls would have been effectively banned years ago). Unless all public commerce comes to a complete halt, advertisers will still want to get the message out, in whatever media are available. Even if that’s just a sign board on their store front. (Which are about .01% of the size of a billboard…)

    I wasn’t really speculating on how realistic a scenario a mid- or post-decline “.01% Internet” actually is. My main point was about how vastly excessive, in terms of the most practical usages, the current per capita “production” of bandwidth is, such that using one ten-thousandth of it would be sufficient to keep the lives of most people who comment here largely unchanged. Of course that won’t mean anything if all personal electronic communication disappears completely.

    The thing is, lack of rapid communication is itself really expensive. Imagine in a post-collapse feudal world, there are two neighboring counties. Both are on branches of the Duke’s network. In one county, the Count decides that only he is worthy of access. In the other, the Count devotes precious resources to making sure each village in his domain is connected. So a local gunsmith can inquire of his guild the best way to work a certain kind of salvage metal that’s turned up. Herdsmen get warning of floods cresting upstream in time to move their livestock to higher ground. Artisans can find out from the caravansary what products are most in demand down the trade routes. Healers can compare case notes on the latest ailment going around, or warn neighboring communities to close their roads against a raging plague. Fifty years later, the two Counts fight a war over territory. Which one will win? And the same consideration applies to the Duke versus his neighbors, and the King versus his neighbors.

  324. @Curt

    I think part of the puzzle is that in the Far East civilizations, war and medicine were sort of “companion” disciplines. According to Tom Bisio (in “A tooth from the tiger’s mouth”) Ancient Chinese had the insight that, all else being equals, the army with the better doctor would win the war, because they would keep more battle-hardened veterans active the longer. According to this work, also, since TCM explicitly uses energy healing, and martial arts use what we call the etheric body as well, all the good doctors would at least know how to throw a punch and all the best warriors would know some crude form of healing or another; and every sucessful warlord would know to keep fully trained doctors in their retenue.

    Compare this with how things played in the upper crust of European society in the middle ages. Eldest children would be the designated heir of the father’s land, and would be trainned to wage war from the age of six on. Children of cadet line, on the other hand, would be expected to be bookworms; mostly aiming to take a position in clergy, but this is the stock from where the students of medicine (at Universities, which also kept ties with clergy) would self select.

    My suspiction is that the various taboos regarding “men of God” taking arms, prevented any common ground between the two spheres from being perceived by practicioners on either side of the fence. There’s also the fact tha Tradicional Western medicine is mostly Natural Magic, which relies on the properties of the species used as remedies instead of the inner capabilities of the human being.

  325. To Rita Rippetoe et al, re: Harry Potter. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but… I’m a 50-something who LOVES HP. It has provided me with an ‘alternate universe’ to contemplate when things are difficult or complicated. In previous decades, I hung out in Narnia, then Middle Earth, then A Galaxy Far Far Away, then in the 24th century with Kirk et al. I know of many many 50-somethings who read, write, and enjoy HP fanfiction, and have traveled to/met/stayed with several of them. I can’t tell you WHY this has happened, but I suspect that the Internet has made it much easier.

    To JMG re: “they could keep a milk goat in the back yard and graze her on the lawn…” – you ain’t joking. I HAVE dairy goats, and folks often ask me if they are good lawn mowers. (for those not up on goat preferences, they are browsers, not grazers, and prefer to eat brush at eye level, not grass at foot level)

    Also for JMG: the funny thing I was trying to remember at the potluck was “Ars artia pedis.” I am heartened every time I read about another commenter here knitting!

  326. All–

    A fascinating (and rather surprising) development at the Public Works committee meeting today before our regular city council meeting. I believe I had mentioned some months ago I had brought up the notion of creating a road utility to replace our regular practice of special assessing property owners when roads are rebuilt. The idea, too, was to provide a more stable and consistent revenue stream.

    At last month’s committee meeting, we decided first two questions: of the city attorney, can we do this? And of the city engineer, has anyone else done anything like this?

    Surprisingly (and pleasantly so) the answer from the city attorney was not “no.” Moreover, some other cities in the country, and even a few in Wisconsin have done *similar* if not *identical* things. So, my crazy idea, while it would be a long slog and uphill battle, was not quashed at the outset and both the city engineer and at least one other member of the Public Works committee are intrigued by the possibilities of the general concept.

    It *almost* makes me think about running for re-election next spring 🙂 But I’ve got stories and novels to write.

  327. TamHob, is there any chance you’re sharing your hectograph experiments anywhere online? I’m interested (as a former amateur letterpress printer with no access to a machine). I recently created a zine – printed off on a laser printer – and would like to explore less techy printing methods… I’m afraid my straight-up illustration and linocut skills are way too rusty, but perhaps some aspect of that is worthy of resuscitation…

    David BTL, because of the above-mentioned experience, if I ever end up out your way, you bet I’ll come visit your town’s museum!

  328. Onething: Re: Christians praying to the other guy: I wonder if what’s actually going on there is a little more complicated than that. If you will indulge my speculation for a minute…

    There’s two specific threads that lead me to wonder. The first is a cluster of beliefs that seem to crop up in certain types of conservative Christianity, especially in America; most if not all of them are completely understandable on their own, but in combination they add up to something, shall we say, less than the sum of its parts. (Not all conservative Christianity has all of these beliefs and features, and even the parts that do have it don’t always have all of it – notably, the Catholic Church at least theoretically avoids #7, despite being a clear example of the phenomenon overall.)

    1) Opposition to abortion. (Completely understandable; I disagree, but that disagreement is of the form “this isn’t good but the alternative is even worse, at least in North America – which is saying something – so let’s go for good old ‘safe, legal, and rare'”. Of course, there’s always the “both sides will hate it!” compromise: abortion only in cases of rape and incest, but we’re going full MeToo when determining whether or not a woman became pregnant as the result of rape…)
    2) Opposition to birth control and sex education. (Again, disagree, but I can at least dimly understand the internal logic here. Side note: I sometimes wonder if the best option would be making a sex ed book, nominally targeted to newlyweds, and then setting it up as forbidden fruit in the hopes of making it irresistably attractive to rulebreaking teenagers – I’d expect the more law-abiding teens would also be less likely to have premarital sex in general.)
    3) Constant emphasizing to unmarried persons that they should be sexually abstinent, in a way that seems unusually likely to trigger a return of the repressed.
    4) Emphasis on marrying young (3 feeds into this, consciously and intentionally AFAICT).
    5) Strong emphasis on a set of gender roles that basically forbids women any role except for “mother”.
    6) Effective opposition to any source of charity *except* for ones directly controlled by the Church, especially ones which gate their charity behind behaving in a manner acceptable to the Church. (This plays off of an understandable and probably necessary concern about freeloading.)
    7) Emphasis on using religious alternatives to secular institutions. (Which, well, the secular institutions *are* often corrupt! The problem is when the religious alternative is corrupt as well.)
    8) Support for economic policies that effectively make it harder for the poor to support themselves and their families, let alone escape poverty, often coupled with “why didn’t you pull yourself up by your bootstraps” rhetorics.
    9) High rates of internal abuse, including most of the Christian denominations that seem to have real trouble with child sexual abuse.

    The problem is, when you look at all of these combined, what you get is an internal logic that looks suspiciously like what the LessWrong rationalists would call a birth maximizer – except even darker than that, because #7 means that you’ll have more poor people even before factoring in the effect of increased labor supply. And because of #6 said poor have the choice of starving or joining the Church and dealing with point #8 instead.

    And I am given to understand, from some of my other readings, that “keep the children dependent on you, financially and otherwise, so that they have to put up with what you’re doing to them, potentially even after they reach adulthood” is a rather common dynamic in abusive households. (At the archetype level, at least, this can probably be phrased as this kind of conservative Christian resonating with a demonic version of the Father,, in more ways than one. But I think there’s a little more to it still.)

    (Another example of this that somebody pointed out just today on another site: the internal push in some of these churches towards infant adoptions from poor countries.)

    Which brings me to thread #2. Christianity, in addition to its Solar characteristics, has strong Piscean elements, and thus Neptunian charateristics, and thus by the usual Kabbalistic correspondences Ketheric characteristics. As our host has noted before, it is at least possible for someone trying to achieve a Sephirot’s level of consciousness before they are ready to instead manifest the demonic form (I’m probably not phrasing this very well; I’m thinking of the tendency of Golden Dawn adepts taking the Adeptus Minor ritual to fail and instead manifest the Qlippothic form of Tiphareth whose name I can’t remember); the demonic/Qlippothic form of Kether is Thaumiel, the Two Contending Forces. Now, AIUI all of the Qlippoth are traditionally associated with a specific demon – except Thaumiel, which as a reflection of its dualistic nature (and the second trap of Thaumiel, thinking that you have to be doing good just because you’re opposing evil) is associated with two demons instead: Satan and Moloch.

    Here I note two things: first, the kind of Christianity that has all the traits I mentioned in the first thread tends to put a *lot* of emphasis on opposing Satan; and second, at least these days Moloch tends to have the connotation of sacrificing your children to a corrupt system.

    And thus, my hypothesis: that a large number of Christians who are resonating on the demonic level aren’t worshipping Satan, but rather Moloch instead. (Hilariously, this implies that in effect the Molochian side of the Culture Wars is the one that tends to be against abortion! But then, “deny children to sacrifice to Moloch” sounds like the other half of a Thaumiel trap.)

    (Side note: I’m pretty sure that there is a first trap of Thaumiel, and that it’s roughly the same thing as what Buddhism points at when it refers to nonduality.)

  329. Violet: Chalk up another person who can sympathize rather strongly with the urge for hermitage; in my case, I basically walked away from society right after finishing college, after spending a week or two reflecting on my experiences with both academia and my friend circle after graduation and going, roughly, “is that it” and “is that really who I want to be”? (Of course, part of the reason I’d been looking at academia before was because I’d been taken to my parents’ work and heard their dinner-table discussions about it and had much the same response to that!) The only problem is the whole “earning a living” part…

    (Also chalk up another person who recognizes something in your description of the interface between the higher and lower self.)

    WRT your experience, you might also nose around the Buddhist literature; IIRC those traditions sometimes tried to make rough classifications of enlightenment experiences (I suspect under the principle that “those who would benefit from this would recognize what I’m talking about”).

    JMac: I’ve been trimming back my coffee consumption for a few months now – I’d already trimmed my coffee back to roughly a half-pot (effectively 1 cup) of coffee a day, drunk within a couple of hours of waking up (back from my old 1-2 pots a day), and cursory tests of further cuts suggested it both wasn’t helping and had logistical issues regarding leftover coffee so the obvious next step was “none”. (My coffee has been homemade and freshly ground from the moment I learned to drink it! Thank a family member whose motive was less “snob” and more “cheap” – a bag of beans and a cheap coffeemaker cost maybe $50 and last months, and as an upshot these days the cheap coffeemakers are the only ones you can find without electronic controls.)

    Yerba, Darkest Yorkshire: Thanken! (Hmm… wrt Yerba specifically, IIRC chocolate also has plenty of theobromine; I wonder if that would work as well?)

    Rita: You know, there’s an Occam’s Razor solution to why you’d see a luxury car with a Harry Potter license plate:
    – The original target audience for the Harry Potter novels would now generally be somewhere between 30 and 40 years old. That’s long enough in the workforce to potentially afford an expensive car, especially for someone who got into a high-paying field in their early-to-late twenties.
    – Nerd culture has had an emphasis on “merch” and physical signs of your fandom for literal decades; I’m not entirely sure how much was there back in the 1970s and 1980s (except that it was able to support the science fiction and fantasy genres!), but I know by the 2000s it was very much there. (For example, anime fans were finding ways to import character figurines well before they started getting officially imported – and the production of said figurines were themselves supported by the homegrown Japanese fans!)
    – Quite a few of the fields that still have high-paying jobs, like programming and engineering, tend to have a distinctly nerdy bent, upping the likelyhood that a Harry Potter fan would have enough money to afford an expensive car. And at that point, why yes there is a certain breed of fan who would definitely spend the money for a Harry Potter vanity license plate. Honestly, that’s rather tame – there’s a certain brand of fan who would spend money to have a picture of a scantily clad girl painted onto their luxury car, though admittedly I’m pretty sure that crowd would tend more towards an anime girl than a Hermione pic.

    Of course, fandom in general has gotten a LOT more culturally acceptable over the last ten years, which is also lowering the barriers to things like Harry Potter license plates. (I suspect the disposable income and susceptibility to cacomagic has a lot to do with that.)

    Dusk Shine: Two points on the failure of mimesis:
    1) As JMG sometimes notes, inversion from one extreme of a thing to the other in “evil, be thou my good” fashion (what I sometimes call polaron burn, because why not repurpose catchy-sounding Treknobabble?) is a thing, and a shift from aping your parents’ culture to hating it and them sounds consistent with that.
    2) Speaking of kids getting messages from pop culture instead of their parents, it’s worth noting one specific message/framing/archetype cluster that was running around a bunch of late 1990s works and of which Harry Potter is definitely an example: “evil is massing and winning, and the leadership is at best incompetent (and may even try to crush you if you try to do something about the evil) and at worst actively collaborating with the evil – it’s up to our young protagonist to do something about it!) Harry Potter wasn’t the only massively popular work with that frame; the Star Wars prequels were another example, albeit from a different version (the prequels aren’t the only version I’ve seen where the protagonist tries to fight back by making a deal with the devil).

    That archetype cluster is still having major effects on American culture (I strongly suspect that’s the specific archetype Trump has tapped into – note the emphasis on “but he fights!” among large parts of the American right), and anger at the incompetent generation in charge is completely consistent with that.

    (Also, wrt pastel pony princesses, a thought occurs to me: Is that another manifestation of whichever pantheon is backing the Madoka Magica Holy Quintet? It strikes me as possible, given what I’ve seen of the MLP color schemes.)

  330. John–

    Not sure even what to say about this:

    This goes, I think, to my comment to Ryan about our nation’s glue coming undone. When our most fundamental symbols lack any common meaning, what is there to hold the society together?

    I’ll admit that nonsense like this does make me want to go out and get a Betsy Ross flag to hang off my house. I support the ideals of the Republic that once was, even if I can’t support the Empire it chose to become.

  331. @Dusk Shine
    Re: Boomers and Millennials

    You said: I predict the backlash against Millennials from their kids and grand-kids will be no better. Maybe worse.

    Probably not. This is where a knowledge of history comes in handy. In particular, Strauss and Howe’s analysis of American history in Generations and Fourth Turning. They point out that the Boomers are a typical Awakening generation, and members of an Awakening generation do tend to end their lives seeing their children reject most of what they stood for.

    The Millennials, on the other hand, are a typical Civic/Hero generation. They’re the ones that step up to handle a major crisis (Depression and WWII, Civil War, etc.) and they finish their lives as respected elders.

  332. @JMG
    Re: Ocean Acidification

    I’ve just seen a press release that suggests things are not going to be as bad as often said.

    The effect they’re seeing is that the large amounts of calcium carbonate on the ocean floor stabilizes climate change induced ocean acidification so that shell-secreting marine organisms (shellfish) are not as seriously affected as they would have been earlier.

    Doesn’t mean there won’t be effects, just that there is a huge sink for absorbing excess acid.

  333. JMG,

    I’d like to express my gratitude for publishing the new version of SoP. I abandoned the practice of the old SoP, mostly because of difficulties with the closing part. I have been beating myself over this ever since, for being a bad student. Yesterday I did the Opening and Closing again for the first time in a while and I must say its going much smoother. So, thank you. May the divine powers bless you and protect you, now and always.

  334. @ David

    Internet service providers jumped on the optical fiber bandwagon largely in response to Google’s announcement of Google Fiber. They offered bridge measures between the time they announced that they would follow Google in developing optical fiber networks of their own and the time it would actually be available. That way they retained a lot of their customers and stole some of Google’s thunder.

    The thing is that optical fiber networks are insanely expensive to build and a logistical nightmare from the point of view of infrastructure. AT&T et al. have more experience with infrastructure than Google does and so it eventually realized it was in a losing battle. Competition was responding quickly and the physical part of the operation turned out to be enough of a pain in the butt for them to call it quits.

    I don’t have domain-specific knowledge to support the claim that optical fiber is more fragile than 5G for example, but I was working in construction back in 2008 to put money aside for university and the people who drill holes in the ground to remove excess water in order to prevent structural damages from ground settling accidentally broke the optical fiber cable. One of the two companies declared bankruptcy soon after because it was just too expensive to repair. That was in British Columbia, Canada, near Calgary.

    Companies like Verizon are still following Google in that they’re not expanding their optical fiber networks and are just keeping it alive where it is already fully functional. That’s why some of the cables remain buried and unused. It’s much easier to build low-footprint and easier-to-replace 5G towers than it is to pass fragile cables through mountains.

  335. I have a question, if it isn’t too late.

    I am a Republican (mostly became one due to increasing socialism & vitriol coming from left), but- being a musician & astrologer, many of the people I interact with are leftists with a core belief- practically a religious belief- that Republicans are hateful, ignorant, bigoted, etc.

    In the past, I have just shrugged this off, because I love having diverse friends, and don’t have a group of like-minded people I could retreat to anyway.

    But recently, it has begun to bother me that I am always on the defensive, constantly having horrible stuff thrown at me and having to let it roll off my back without affecting how I feel about the other person. It really makes me angry to be the target of constant mudslinging.

    But what is the right approach? I have no idea. If I punch back, then it just seems to play into the narrative that I was a bad person to begin with.

    Thanks for any golden wisdom you have to share!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  336. On the environmental front, one Canadian company caught my attention recently.

    A Squamish-based “Carbon Engineering” is developing cost-effective technology to remove carbon from atmosphere. Basically sucking carbon dioxide from the air and turning it into fuel.

    That’s something I would do if I were to establish an environmental company.

    Though my guess is that their effort would be too little too late and they will never find enough investment capital. It has been 5 years and all they got is one small test site running in Canada. I assume the costs to deploy this on a large scale would be colossal.

  337. Iannick Gagnon (and everyone else interested in 5G and the Internet) –

    5G will not replace most of the fiber-optic infrastructure; in fact, it may increase the demand. 5G is a “last mile” (or last 30 meters, even, for the mmWave stuff) technology. We’ve heard about 5G street-lamp/cell-towers being planted, but each of those towers needs some kind of high-capacity connection to the servers and services, and that’s probably optical fiber. One big advantage of wireless service for residential customers is that the service provider never needs to go into the house. No locked doors, no dogs, no mold, no lonely creepy customers. (Search for “cable installer horror stories” if you’re curious.) The other advantage is that the same equipment can serve residential, business, and mobile customers. Customers are using one device wherever they go (or stay), so it doesn’t make much sense to have parallel wired (or fiber) and wireless data distribution.

    I still question whether the consumer has enough money to pay for this big build-out, and make the investors whole. If not, TEOTIAWKI (defined above 😉 ).

  338. Thanks John.

    Agree that without economic growth the fate of industrial capitalism is doomed. I currently work in finance and it seems that ESG type investing (green bonds, impact funds etc) is the next big thing.

    Frankly, it looks a bit bubbly to me although some good will come out of these investments – renewables being one.

    However, the cynic in me wonders, what with government subsidies, its going to be one more bubble which will blow up next decade.

    On a slightly separate subject, what is your view of the theory that climate change is driven by the sun?

    Do you think the theory that we are entering a period of sun cooling is correct and how will that interact with the idea that the planet is heading towards a far hotter climate.

  339. Attention Teresa from Hershey:

    I didn’t have a chance to read the open posts at the beginning of the week, so I’m just seeing your question now.

    I contributed the translation of Catullus 58 to which you refer. My rendering was

    Lesbia does it in doorways;
    Lesbia does it for free.
    Lesbia does it with senators’ sons;
    I wish she would do it with me.

    By changing the woman’s name to Daxia and her sexual partners to “tradesmen’s boys”,
    you have a different poem. Some Classics majors might recognize where it came from and get a chuckle.

    I won’t mind if you include your poem in your novel without attribution. It’s a fine poem for the purpose.

    I only want my name attached to poems of mine that have not been changed in any way.
    If you have a credits page at the beginning of the book where you identify sources, as some fantasy and SF novels do, you could include a statement like “The poem ‘Daxia does it in doorways’ on page N is based on a translation of Catullus 58 by Deborah Frankel.” I’m not insisting you do that.

    The original is probably all over the Internet, but since it is very short and I have it in front of me, here is what Gaius Valerius Catullus wrote:

    Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
    Illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
    Plus quam se atque suos amauit omnes,
    Nunc in quadriuiis et angiportis
    Glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

  340. @Aspirant,

    There have been several schemes put forward for ‘carbon sequestration’, but when you think about it, it’s a fairly hard thing to do on any sort of energetically sane basis.

    Think about it – the carbon dioxide that we want to remove from the atmosphere came from what? Combusting carbon compounds. Why did we do it? To get the energy out of it – make heat, boil water, use the steam to drive turbines and make electriciy. Or burn hydrocarbons to power our vehicles, or what have you.

    This works because the products of said combustion are at a much lower energy state than the original ‘fuel’ – the difference is the energy we get to use. One of these products of combustion is carbon dioxide.

    To take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and turn it back into carbon and oxygen, REQUIRES a lot of energy, no matter the scam. I mean, scheme. In fact, it will require more energy than you got from the burning of it (yes, it’s those pesky laws of thermodynamics again).

    Now presumably these carbon sequestration schemes will work on ‘renewable’ electric sources. But still, it is going to cost you, a lot. Think about all the energy released over the last century or so from burning coal and oil…

  341. @pretentious_username

    If your interpretation is correct, the apparent paradox of pro-life Molochites can be resolved by the fact that the fervency of their pro-life positions requires the opposition to be militantly pro-choice in response – which means they have to be more militantly pro-life, and so forth – to the point of keeping it a political hot-button issue for more than four decades. It would not be out of the question to suggest that some babies might have been aborted because of the abortion debate, in which case those particular terminations could reasonably be seen as sacrifices to Moloch.

  342. A Reader, yes, that was also done, but making 50 copies of one book means that one copy each of 49 other books didn’t get made, since you’re still up against the limit of how long it takes to write the thing vs. how many scribes you have.

    J.L.Mc12, I haven’t read that one yet, but it’s on the list.

    TamHob, there’s certainly a role, an important one, for duplicating technologies such as hectograph; you might also look at cyclostyle, which was one of the earliest duplicating technologies (the lessons for members of the Golden Dawn in the 1880s were run off on cyclostyle). Still, small-batch letterpress was very much a thing back in the day — look up the popularity of the pamphlet press and broadsheets in 17th and 18th century Europe sometime.

    Lucas, and I bet that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

    David BTL, yep — and of course the article seems to assume that economic growth is purely a matter of manipulating abstractions, and has nothing to do with (say) raw materials, energy, environmental costs, or any of the other factors out there in the real world. Delighted to hear about the letterpress museum — that is indeed a worthy project. If I ever have the chance to visit your neck of the woods I want to go there.

    Beekeeper, it really is shooting fish in a barrel at this point!

    Curt, the answer’s actually rather simpler. Europe did have highly sophisticated martial arts traditions, including systems that integrated martial arts with esoteric spirituality. They were among the many things that got discarded when the Scientific Revolution triumphed and all the so-called “superstitious nonsense” was thrown away. I translated one of the few surviving texts — Gerard Thibault’s Academy of the Sword, which is a manual of swordsmanship based squarely on Renaissance sacred geometry and occult philosophy; there was once much more along the same lines, most of it handed down in martial arts schools (which existed all over Europe back in the day), but it’s all gone now, having been sacrificed on the altar of dogmatic rationalism.

    Nastarana, thanks for this.

    David BTL, yep. This is reminding me more and more of the 1936 election, when the chattering classes convinced themselves that FDR’s presidency was a fluke and he’d surely lose…and then the election happened, and he took every state but Maine and Vermont.

    Ryan, thanks for this! I’ll want that handy to use on people who insist their lifestyles don’t make any kind of difference to the environment.

    David BTL, “democracy” to much of the Left these days is simply a verbal noise with warm fuzzy feelings connected to it. It no longer means anything at all. Of course the Right has its own collection of verbal noises linked to vague emotional states!

    Helena, funny. Tell me this — if you were starving to death in a ditch, say, or being burned alive, those would also be “observations.” Would they matter to you? And if I stood by and said “don’t worry, you’re just boxing with your own inner demons,” would those words be of any help to you?

    Michelle, “ars artia pedis” is a keeper; thank you. As for goats, yep — it’s been a few years since I last took care of a small herd, but I remember their preferences.

    David BTL, delighted to hear it. A sudden burst of sanity breaking through the clouds of politics — it really can happen! As for the Nike sneakers thing, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. The blowback may be pretty severe, though — “get woke, go broke” is a known sentence for a reason…

    John R, thanks for this. Yet another example of the problems with linear thinking in a world of cycles…

    Aspirant, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Julien, you’re right that it’s a bad idea to punch back. That’s what they want, after all — some way to convince themselves that you’re as full of rage and hatred as they are. I don’t have any particular words of wisdom to offer; the only ways I know of dealing with that sort of thing is patience when you can’t walk away, and a willingness to walk away when you can.

    Aspirant, the problem that all such projects face is the law of the conservation of energy. You can’t just make carbon dioxide into fuel — you have to put energy into it, so there’s energy that can be extracted from it, and for thermodynamic reasons you have to put more energy into it than you’ll get out of it when you burn the fuel. Fossil fuels got their energy from millions of years of concentrated prehistoric sunlight; these folks seem to have forgotten that they’re going to have to have an equivalent energy source to power their process and produce the fuel. (Alternatively, they may be scammers — there’s a lot of fraud in the energy field these days.)

    Forecasting, yes, it ought to be quite the bubble. As for climate change and the sun, notice the assumption that climate change can only have one cause. In the real world, of course, everything has many causes; the sun varies in output, the atmosphere goes through its own cycles, all kinds of other things also feed into climate variability…but all these changes tend to produce a wobbly balance, and dumping trillions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere is tipping that balance in a direction we’re not going to like.

  343. @Aspirant, I think you’re right that the main issue with Carbon Engineering’s process is the capital cost to implement. That’s assuming it doesn’t have other hidden catches (such as extremely low efficiency, or needing feedstocks or frequent replacement of parts that take a lot of energy to manufacture).

    Of course it doesn’t create energy, and most likely it uses its energy input somewhat inefficiently (producing much less liquid fuel than the amount you’d have to burn in a generator to power it). But in principle it could still be very useful in conjunction with wind or PV solar, as a method of concentrating and storing energy. If I could buy a tiny home version of the CE device(s) to use with a modest PV system, I could run it off the excess power in the summer, and use the collected fuel in a generator to supplement the minimal trickle of power the panels produce in winter. It might even let me balance my day-night loads better with less battery capacity.

    But if I can’t afford that device (which likely means it contains a large stealth input of embodied energy), or it would cost me more than it would to scale up the rest of the system instead, then it won’t help me. That same problem on a vastly larger scale is why it’s not necessarily economically viable even if it works as advertised.

  344. @temporary reality

    I don’t have a blog but if I can get a good ink to work I’ll post my results on the Green Wizards forum and drop a link here on an open post.

  345. This post and comments is one of the best i’ve read. Thanks to you all for the wide ranging contributions. And thanks to John for keeping this space available to get everyone in the same “room” so we actually can communicate our ideas and get the feedback they deserve in a very pleasant environment.

    I’m in agreement with comments about the fringes getting increasingly boastful and about how fringe these movements of “correctness” in partucular can become. I’m invited to a citizens action group meeting and one of the topics will include talks on ‘A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.” I find it increasingly difficult to not be the “dummy” in the room when i comment about anything these days, I can insult so many people easily. Yet, I still persist in my attempts to communicate. My human need for companionship wins out almost every time. I’m damned to be the person who cuts to the chase, comments being ignored, until finally the conversation ends with what I suggested at the beginning! I’m not a l inear thinker, and that upsets a lot of people. Gee Whiz! Oh my, mea culpa.

    I’m going to do a little poking around and find out whether there is any data that describes what earth was like duing a solar super minimum with high CO2 levels, GHG’s like methane, in the prehistoric past. Is that one of the justifications used by climate chaos deniers who have the idea that our little Petri dish [earth] can support linear progress? I might remind them and anyone who will listen, there is more data beyond our wildest dreams that influences climate and the universe has some surprises yet to be manifested. Its happening in our blind spots. Yes, all 7.5 Billion of them. Will some of the human race survive because they’re wrapped up, for example, in Saran Wrap, when the black swan lands?

  346. DBTL’s comment about symbols reminded me that before each men’s club meeting we recite the “pledge of allegiance”. In my youth when I was very cynical but gullible and unaware of any history, I cherished and honored this country and what it stands for. I’ve thought recently how I’d modify it to reflect what society actually does in relation to the pledge, and what effect it would have if I recited the newer version instead. I shudder to think about the consequences. It would go something like this:

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the colonial power of newspeak for which it stands, one amalgam of fringe groups under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for those of us wealthy enough to afford litigation or for those of us the ACLU chooses to assist. Amen.

    It follows that I also consider changing “created equal”. to reflect reality. We live in a bubble of protection, and no disrespect meant, we are actually blest to be here or in places that at present allow enough freedom to live our lives how we want.

  347. Helena, funny. Tell me this — if you were starving to death in a ditch, say, or being burned alive, those would also be “observations.” Would they matter to you? And if I stood by and said “don’t worry, you’re just boxing with your own inner demons,” would those words be of any help to you?

    Dear Mr. Greer, thank you for your question. You are thinking within a dualist-materialist paradigm.
    This essay by Prof. Richard Conn Henry titled the Universe is Mental rang a bell. When it rang I was standing at Seneca’s cliff (Ugo Bardi) and my mind was in despair over the foreseen collapse. Then this thought sailed into my mind, from where? Anyway, it went as follows: despair is sin. It was clear to me that this thought did not rise out of my habitual paradigm. Where did it come from? You are a mage, explain it to me.
    The notion the Universe is Mental (Dion Fortune?) triggered my imagination. Can I inhabit another world by means of another paradigm? Will another paradigm change one’s understanding of the sensations of pain when you are starving to death in a ditch? We both do not know since (very fortunately) we are not in that position. One always lives now within ones experience. Maybe an accomplished yogi could answer that question from his experience? But another paradigm may do the trick when your mind is collapsing from despair and your inner state feels like the devil on wheels. And maybe you can die with a mind at peace under awful conditions. As far as I could understand what was happening during some of the near dead experiences people went through; their inner states changed significantly in the proces of dying. Maybe despair is shadow-boxing with not-wanting the observation that is present in your mind. This is a blog, I must keep it short. We do not write long letters anymore. I combined the notion of the Universe is Mental (interesting) with the notion some climate scientist are communicating, humanity is in the proces of extinction (scaring). The weeping and grieving of despair they are exhibiting and recommending did not appeal too much to me. There is still enough life in me to do something else. And since it is way to hot to work in the garden I sit in the cave of my mind and watch the shadows of entertaining thoughts. Ancient myths, Persian mystics and quantum science suggest we are a Chimera (this notion I discovered at Ugo Bardi’s blog). What does the symbol of the Chimera represent? A no-thing, in no-time, in no-where. If you shift your paradigm from being a material body to being a Chimera why should you be a weeping and grieving Chimera if you may as well be a joyful one? Would appreciate to learn other people’s thoughts on this. I enjoy shadow-boxing together. Maybe we can cause some enjoyable new ripples in the Mental Universe. I am not discussing truth here so there is no reason to express any angry thoughts!

  348. TemporaryReality…

    Your comment…

    …piqued my interest. While I have no desire to derail your efforts with hectography, I’m wondering if your ‘zine might be a suitable candidate for a spirit duplicator.

    I’ve got one in captivity:

    Typed spirit masters seem to do a much better result while printing but thermal-scanned masters are certainly legible. If your ‘zine is available in a PDF format, it might be possible to do a nice laser print and thermal scan for duplication.

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