Open Post

March 2019 Open Post

As announced earlier, this blog will host an open space once a month (well, more or less!) to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers, and this is the week. 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.

Before we go on, I’m delighted to make a couple of announcements that may be of interest to readers of this blog. First, the fourth book of The Weird of Hali, my seven-volume epic fantasy with tentacles, is now available for preorder in print and Kindle editions (the other ebook formats will be following shortly). This fourth adventure in the world of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos turned topsy-turvy sends Miskatonic University professor Miriam Akeley on an adventure of her own, in which strange dreams, the long-vanished Boston author Randolph Carter, and a weapon of tremendous power from long-drowned Poseidonis all have roles to play. The release date is April 17 — and not too long after that I expect to be able to announce the appearance of the next volume.

Second, my first book on peak oil, The Long Descent, has just been released by Founders House in a 10th anniversary edition with a new foreword. The Long Descent was highly controversial when it first saw print, because it rejected both sides of the conventional wisdom of our time — the blind faith in perpetual progress and the equally blind faith in imminent catastrophe — and showed that modern industrial civilization is following the same path of prolonged decline that brought down every other civilization before ours, and can expect the same fate. So far, that prediction has fared much better than competing views, and many of the other predictions made in The Long Descent — for example, my then-controversial prediction that the imminent spike in petroleum prices would be followed by a slump — have also turned out to be quite correct. As the industrial world stumbles blindly toward the next oil crisis, I think The Long Descent deserves another look, and I plan on revisiting the issues it raises in future posts here.

With that said, have at it!


  1. I follow the situation in the Arctic pretty closely and this years melt season has just begun. The winter was a little bit colder than the last 2 years in the arctic and we ended up at the 7th lowest maximum surface area for Arctic sea ice.

    But the beginning of this melt season is a bit disconcerting. We have lost more than 400,000 square kilometers of ice in the last 4 days (that is more like summer time melting). And the weather forecasts for the arctic are stable and show that this melting should continue for many more days.

    The early part of the melting season in the arctic is critical in determining the total melt for the year. A cold spring in the arctic means that getting a new record low is almost impossible. But a warm spring creates the albedo feedback loop with lots of melt ponds all over the ice and tundra.

    It is too early to tell if this spring in the arctic will give us a new low in arctic sea ice (by the middle of May we should have a good idea) but this doesn’t look good.

  2. John–

    Oh, boy. An open post in the wake of a mundane chart, the gearing up of the 2020 races, *and* the Mueller report…

    I’m sure we’ll get into other topics, but first to my job as community reporter on the energy beat:

    Nuclear: The Subsidies Continue

    But also, a fly in the ointment for solar

    An additional side-note re solar. Here in WI, there are several utility-scale solar projects being proposed and actively seeking approval from state regulators. One of these is a 300 MW facility in the southern part of the state. And one of the questions that is starting to get raised about these projects, particularly in more rural states like mine, is the intensity of land-use. Current designs appear to require on the order of 5-10 acres per MW (megawatt) of capacity, which means a 300 MW facility requires 1500 to 3000 acres of land, land that will no longer be in agricultural production. (No to mention impacts on surrounding land, or as the article I linked to mentions, the *cutting down of trees* to make way for the solar arrays. Sigh.)

    On a more political note, I did send Mr. Howard Schultz (or rather, his nominal campaign website a brief note expressing my interest in following his effort and my desire that he also address the issues of 1) the immanent death of the US empire (namely, extracting ourselves from the various wars and right-sizing our defense budget/forces for, I don’t know, actual defense) and 2) the pursuit of a policy of economic nationalism (namely, my mantra of producing our our goods and services for our own consumption from our own resources in a sustainable manner using our own labor paid a livable wage). We’ll see what happens, I guess. If he is open to such things, he might be an option for me come next November.

  3. Keeping in mind the general theme of this blog, that what is bad now will tend to get worse, I would like to bring two patterns to the attention of readers.

    The first is the growing pattern of ideological control in mainland China. Check out the Bitter Winter blog. You may have seen China’s indefinite detention camps for Uyghur Muslims in the news, but Christianity, Buddhism and even Judaism are all increasingly incurring surveillance, detention and involuntary reeducation over the past year.

    The second is the situation at America’s southern border. Individual stories can be blown out of proportion (for example, a recent Supreme Court ruling was incorrectly interpreted in the press as endorsing indefinite detention without trial), but the overall pattern is not good. I have to wonder what the long term consequences of this will be.

    I’m hoping to help others connect the dots regarding the future of geopolitics and would like to hear about future possibilities. Can you picture tamanous or the wendigo acting on the future of America’s border? Can forces within China shape its education policies away from the punishing forms already familiar to Australian Aborigines, Canadian First Nations, or the victims of Communist reeducation programs?

  4. I asked a question recently of one of the healthier-appearing third parties in my state-did they have a local branch-got a negative answer, but it appears they are very interested in getting me on board with them. Having been active briefly in the Libertarian party here well before their descent in desperation to the point of running the town fool for office, I’m leery of what egregore this party might have.

    They broke with the national branch recently over the national branch declining to follow state laws about primaries. How much would the national party’s egregore have stayed with the state with that sort of break? They have not changed their name, which I feel would be a very good idea, but I’m not sure why I feel that.

    The skewedness of my state’s votes means a third party has much less far to go than in other states to defeat one of the big two, though the other is a much higher hill to climb as a result. My time is, as is all of ours, limited, and I don’t want to waste it in a project that is already doomed to be merely smart people telling each other how logical and clever they are. BTDT threw out the t-shirt.

    I have some sense about such things, but not well developed. To what extent can egregores be judged over a conference call?

  5. So i will kick this off by asking about those mundane ingress charts. Given the current events, i don’t think im the only one watching the streets of Paris with a keen eye, seeing there the seed of another possible future.

    But what does the chart say when you cast it for Paris?

  6. Good evening Mr Greer

    Two things I’d like your thoughts on: It’s been in the news here that in New York, unvaxxinated children have been barred from public spaces in the wake of 153 cases of measles. Do you think the general distrust of science and ‘experts’ have led to the anti-vaxxer phenomenon, i.e. is this symptomatic of such general distrust?

    Second, given that I’m English, I was wondering whether you were aware of the two ring circus our Parliament has now descended into in the ongoing Brexit debacle. What do you make of the current state of obfuscation in the light of the ingress chart you drew last year? (Sorry, I know you always repeat that your focus remains local to the US, but I had to ask.)

    Thank you, and I look forward to this week’s discussions.


  7. Hello All,
    This is a sales pitch for the Second Annual Ecosophia Potluck. The Potluck will be June 22, 2019 from 2 PM on at 148 Congdon Street, Providence, RI (AKA: the house behind the Charles Dexter Ward Mansion), hosted by Peter Van Erp & Chiara Romano Van Erp. To minimize the chance of 17 people all bringing potato salad, please sign up here.

    It is to be hoped we will not be discussing RussiaRussiaRussia or the Mueller Report. I do look forward to many rousing choruses of The Sleeper in the Hill, however.

  8. I’ve been meaning to give The Long Descent a closer read, so I’ll have to push it to the top of the list! Actually, it was a footnote reference to The Long Descent in The Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane that brought me into the JMG universe just about this time last year. So I feel like I owe a lot to this book! I ended up diving head first into Druidry, and have been reading this blog every week since. I feel like I should take this opportunity to say a hearty thank you for all of the intellectual, spiritual, and magical inspiration that your writings have introduced into my life.

    On the subject of descent, it is something I have been brooding over consistently for the past year. I am growing as much food as I can for my family and trying to live more frugally, I have a day job but am a bread baker on the side and plan to develop that into a side business, and I am attempting to prepare myself spiritually for the long road ahead. One thing I am still unsure about how to approach sensibly is money and savings. I feel like the conventional wisdom of putting most savings in investments is so ingrained that when I try to talk about other options, all I get is blank stares. I know that another financial crash, permanent price spikes and inflation are guaranteed in the near to medium term, and I don’t want all of my savings to disappear overnight. I am only 31, so I feel like now is the time to start planning for the inevitable. So the question is, how do I plan now for a financially unstable future? What are your recommendations for saving and investing?

  9. Having been reminded of the premises of The Long Descent (as though we’re aren’t living with the results of them everyday!), I continue to wonder whether all the political instability of the day, shorthanded to Brexit and Trump and Venezuela, is merely a pimple on the skin of civilisation, a minor blemish, or whether it is the actual organ of the skin wrinkling and drying out and otherwise becoming generally inelastic. From the ecological point of view, I think we’re well and truly sunk unless we have an unprecedented change in human attitude. Well, our species is in numerical terms. Indications are that given enough time and few, if any, humans gumming the process up with industrialism, there will be some sort of revival of non-human nature, although one wonders about how the micro plastics and general chemical load will be evolved around. Is that all a good thing? Or are we essentially driving ourselves crazy as a species aware of a coming drastic decline? Are these pimples the symptom or the cause?

  10. Dear JMG,

    I am really enjoying the “After Oil” series as well as “Into the Ruins”. Along those lines, have you read “Heiro’s Journey-A Romance of the Future” by Sterling E. Lanier (1973)? Lots of fun. The sequel “The Unforsaken Heiro” (1983), seemed a bit rushed in bringing the story to somewhat of a conclusion, but the ideas about what the future (5000 years after ‘The Death’) might be like, were well laid out in both. I bought mine used at thriftbooks, but it is also available at other online sources.


  11. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I recently visited the MOTAT attraction in Auckland, MOTAT is an acronym for the Museum of Transport and Technology. In essence it felt like a Myth of Progress theme park, complete with innovation hub and Boeing sponsored space exhibition.

    Weird of Hali Spoilers ahead.

    The Weird of Hali has been on my mind lately. I kept imagining MOTAT as a Radiance indoctrination facility. I keep thinking about Nyarlathotep’s warning that the Radiance can still destroy the living earth before the Weird brings them down.

    I’m growing more and more concerned with snippets of news regarding environmental degradation and collapse. This has made me wonder, is there any guarantee, that for us inhabiting the real world, that the stars will come right while there is something left to save? I know we, as humanity, cannot destroy the earth in a total sense but it feels like so much of value is currently being lost.

    Or are we unfortunately stuck in the real world without a prophetic backstop to limit our collective stupidities?

    P.S. I’m really excited for Dreamlands!

  12. What I’m trying to ask here is, “How do you all feel about this long descent?”

  13. Dear JMG,

    It seems to me that the Chinese government like other governments are aware of the coming Limits to growth. However, why do they keep pressing on with this gigantic One Belt One Road project? Is there any strategy behind or it’s just another Business-as-usual attempt to ignore the energy predicament? Thank you

  14. Hi JMG
    From a long time admirer and lurker –
    I’d be very interested in your take on Andrew Yang and his bid for the presidency.

    It sounds like you’re no fan of UBI but this guy has some pretty progressive proposals.
    One in particular is to ban all corporate donations and instead give $100 to each eligible voter to support the candidate/s of their choice on a use it or lose it basis.

    He’s one of the very few democrats who’ve actually identified the Trump constituency and, imo, would beat Trump hands down in a straight fight. Unlikely I’m sure, but we can dream.

    Thank you again.

  15. Seems you were right ADJMG, about a truce between Trump and the Bureaucracy. As you know the Mueller probe ended with a whimper. So score one for your forecast.

  16. I would like to add to what I reported last week about the second against Monsanto trial, that in both trials the jury decision was unanimous. This in spite of open hostility from both judges.

  17. Hi, JMG. I am submitting this comment somewhat anonymously (not using my usual full identification as I did on The Archdruid Report or here, as I’d like to give some details that I’d rather not have connected directly to me).

    To my knowledge, you have not directly talked about retirement or how each of us is to live, and most significantly pay for ourselves, when that time comes in life when we can’t necessarily financially work so much.

    In just over a month, I will turn that age that comes 10 and 1/2 years before when one must start taking retirement payouts, and five years before one files before Medicare. For most working Americans, you can probably figure out the milestone birthday I’m soon to have. In other words, I hope to still working be working for up to eleven years if my health holds out, jobs are available, and I don’t need to provide 24-hour care to my wife.

    I am also in the undesirable situation of currently living three hours away from my wife, primarily for employment reasons. I am living in what is our house and still working the same job as I have since 2002. My wife, a pastor, is serving churches in another state, living for essentially free in a parsonage provided by the churches (which is still a perk that clergy can benefit from). I drive to see her each weekend. But the house where I live is not the house or community that my wife cares to retire to. Nor is where she is my ideal choice either for the same, although potentially more affordable.

    I would like to leave my job and move to where my wife is, consolidating back to one household. My wife has a bad back and can so far manage to continue her call as a pastor, but the day could come within a few years will need more care from me to manage to keep working. But my currently much higher paying work both pays more bills and puts more into retirement than the minimum wage jobs that would await me in the town where my wife lives. So I hesitate to be too quick to pull the trigger on quitting if I can manage that much more in the bank and in retirement before I do. And I want to do all that I can for my wife to continue fulfilling her call, as she deserves it.

    Your useful phrase, “Collapse now and avoid the rush,” keeps coming to mind. As does other useful advice you’ve given – if moving to a new place, bring your own employment, and learn to live on one income in a household economy. Our combined retirement funds (assuming any bit of the market holds) is likely better than that for a huge number of people who’ve been forced to manage their own retirements by changes since the 1980s in how employers deal with pensions and retirement funds. But I know it will be higher if we continue apart and I can keep up my employment now than it will be if I go to just the minimum wages. And while I thought a few years ago that my employment in the educational sector might be limited, the institution I am at is actually doing quite well, so I don’t believe I will be forced out anytime soon.

    But living apart from my wife sucks. And I feel like a climate hypocrite by driving every weekend like I do. Yet I am privileged to be even able to ask these questions and tempt making decisions.

    I don’t have any advice yet, just questions. Any thoughts?

  18. Hi JMG,

    Congrats on the pending release of your book and new edition! Strange dreams always seem to make enjoyable reads. 🙂

    A few questions, if I may…

    Do you think the metaphor of the machine is one of the most dangerous of our age? Are there any others you would consider as detrimental? Any metaphors that you see as the most beneficial?

    I’m noticing that you can’t really convince people of the importance of metaphors by telling them about them. You have to offer something that makes people feel the importance, maybe even without notice of the metaphor at all. Do you see that at all and how do you approach it?

    Also, would you say that druidry magic has a moral code?

    What do you think happens after the universe dies?

    Also, a note from last month’s Open Post: I checked out Stevenson – pretty interesting stuff – and most people seem unable to refute his studies. Any others you would suggest looking into?

    What do you think is the most important question we need to ask about our relationship with the planet?

    Thank you, as always, for your guidance.

    – RMK

  19. John–

    One quick question, in case twenty folks haven’t already asked this: does the 10th anniversary edition of The Long Descent contain any additional material?

  20. John Michael,

    Caryn Baker gave me a long and thoughtful reply at the end of last week and I would like to respond in kind. I don’t know if I should do that here – probably not – so can I do so in last week’s post? Will you see it and post it?

  21. Hi JMG,
    Do you think a suicide pill delivering an easy, peaceful death could ever become widely available?There’s a chilling glimpse of such a product in the dystopian film Children of Men…dubbed Quietus, packaged in a box printed with cumulus clouds in a brilliant blue sky. I’ve seen a gallows humor cartoon offering up a different version called Enditol. As collapse and decline progresses, could such a thing become socially acceptable and accessible? Pluto’s parting gift? A line from Day Tripper keeps floating through my head: “Got a good reason, for taking the easy way out”. What are the good reasons? I know I’d gladly squirrel away a wee box of Quietus if I could, and most folks I know feel the same way. I’m eager to see how you and other community members weigh in. It’s an awfully sticky subject.

  22. There’s an hour long report on the komo news website called “Seattle is Dying”, about the drug and homeless crisis here. It really has gotten unbelievably bad. The report shows some of the behavior of the homeless on the street, screaming their heads off, passed out nude, harassing tourists, and damaging property. It really brings to light how prevalent sights like that have become in Seattle.

    In discussions surrounding the report, people disagree about whether the northwest culture is partly to blame for the drug crisis. Some people argue that a lot of the homeless are from out of town.

    Having grown up here, reading blogs like this, I can’t help but blame the corporate technology culture for the apathy among the youth. Kids are taught that manual labor is a path to poverty, and are encouraged to spend lots of free time on the computer. Now thousands of men are in their 20’s, living at home doing drugs. A portion of them are having mental breakdowns and turning to hard drugs, and living on the street.

    The solution is actually simple, these young men need to get started doing construction and skilled labor. It’s just that most of them weren’t taught manual labor skills growing up, and they don’t have anyone to learn from, because a lot of their parents work in offices. Unfortunately the culture here makes it easy for them to say its impossible and that the system is unfair to them.

  23. Hello: I have been trying to read and understand the Cosmic Doctrine, but it’s hard going. But I took your encouraging comment about continuing to try to understand Oswald Spengler’s work. I’ve taken it out of the local library several times,and feel like I’m starting to understand his concept of pseudomorphosis. I was especially interested in his very different interpretation of the background of Jesus’ life and actions,and the role of the Pharisees vis a vis the RomanEmpire, and his argument that he was not social reformer, but really lived on a totally different plane.

    I also have been rereading the Mystery Teachings book,and lately have been thinking a lot about the law of flow. That’s one of those books that have really stimulated me to think of things in a different way. thanks so much or your work. The world we live in now is so full of lies and propaganda, and just general b******t, that it’s such a relief to really ponder, and talk to other people about, something that matters and is positive. I sometimes wonder where this is all going.

  24. For those willing to allow themselves the intellectual latitude to even consider a techno-optimist perspective I would recommend Andrew Yang’s “The War on Normal People”. Of course he misses, or does not address, the thermodynamic impossibility of his perceived AI future but clearly sees our present failure. Noah Harari’s ( “Sapiens” author) most recent knocked out book (for cash?) “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” has similar correct but basic/root misunderstanding of nature of our hazardous future.

  25. @ JackRavenCorvus

    Re this long descent

    For my own part, I truly began grappling with it about five years ago, as my understanding of the full implications of our predicament grew to the point where I comprehended what was in store for us over the next decades and centuries. I will tell you that the ride from then until now has been something of an emotional roller coaster, complete with the various stages of grief. I have gone from “there just has to be a way of preventing collapse” to “death is a part of life and this civilization is just another living thing.”

    One of my regular themes of meditation in these last few years has been the immensity of time and the cycles-within-cycles-within-cycles ad infinitum. This has helped me gain a much better perspective of things–namely, seeing the insignificance of our flailing about here–particularly when reading comments on PoliticalWire 😉

  26. Jim, I expect to see a blue-water Arctic well within my lifetime. Every indication I’ve seen suggests that we’re well past the threshold at which that could have been forestalled; now we live with the consequences — which will be challenging, but far from apocalyptic. (It hasn’t been that many million years, all things considered, since the Arctic Ocean was ice-free every summer.)

    David, thanks for these! I’m glad to hear you wrote to Schultz; it’ll be interesting to see what if anything you get back.

    Avery, with regard to China, this is nothing new; for quite a few centuries, China has cycled back and forth between relative tolerance for religion and relative repression of it, depending on how seriously the Chinese leadership takes the threat of religiously based political movements — an enduring theme in Chinese history. Right now, that’s juxtaposed with another enduring theme in Chinese history, the struggle to maintain Chinese hegemony over China’s “near abroad” in Central Asia; I expect there to be a lot of atrocities on both sides over the centuries to come. With regard to the US southern border, I suspect that a lot of what’s happening is that people are trying to get in before Trump’s wall goes up; the emergence of a fortified frontier zone there is pretty much baked in the cake at this point, with all the consequences implied by that.

    BoysMom, a formal organizational break can sometimes break deeper connections as well. You’re right that they should consider a different name, and you might suggest that to them. I’d encourage you to get involved with the party if you feel on reflection that it’s the right choice for you; US politics are in flux, and sudden realignments are a real possibility.

    Quift, it would take me three or four hours to study the Paris chart and come up with a detailed interpretation. What I’m going to recommend is that you do that yourself — pick up a copy of a good basic book of mundane astrology, such as H.S. Green’s Mundane Astrology, generate the chart on, and give it a try. You’ll learn much more that way, and begin developing a skill set that may stand you in very good stead.

    Mariette, banning the unvaccinated from public places during an epidemic used to be standard practice back in the day, and will doubtless become standard again as antibiotics and other common medical treatments become less effective. As for Brexit, yes, I’ve been watching; remember the ingress chart is good for an entire year, and so won’t give you details on a week-by-week basis; remember also that the media sells ads by whipping people up into a state of blind emotion — in this case, terror — and consider backing away from more of it while the current shalestorm winds down.

  27. @ Jim W.
    (Key words have been left out of this post to make it less searchable) About 10 years ago, a friend took his own life because the medical system cut him off from the (natural derived painkillers) he was taking for pain relief. I determined that I would never allow myself to end up the same. I began growing P. somniferum from a plant bought at a local plant sale, saving the seeds, and passing them on to friends. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that it’s OK to grow the plant, but illegal to try harvesting the sap. YMMV When the time comes, a massive dose of the tea should do the trick.

  28. I know you’ve spoken of boomer “suicide parties,” but could you see a scenario where, given how woefully unprepared most boomers are for retirement, an official policy of euthanasia is at least considered?

  29. I wish to report my findings on the anti-glamour experiment. Taping a pin to my computer I found a moderate effect for about two weeks and then no effect at all. It appears that an adaptive intelligence has found some sort of work around. That said, switching out all of my profile pictures with a drawing of a hexafoil has worked immediately, and now I find the internet fairly repulsive. My tentative conclusion is that the internet works on a level closer to demonic obsession than fairy glamour.

  30. As always, thoughtful and interesting comments and questions from the JMG readership! I had to look up BoysMom’s “egregore”; wonderful word! Thank you for expanding my vocabulary; now to work it into conversations…

    To young Kwo: The best first investment for most people is to become as debt free as possible. A somewhat glib but nevertheless useful phrase among those of us who have been watching the slow slide, slither and thump of Industrial Civilization down the back stairs since the Carter era and have been trying to prepare, is: “Mindset. Skill set. Tool set.”

    To your specific question of money and investments I would reply that ‘money’ is both a medium of exchange (though there are MANY others that work better for highly localized usage) and a “store of wealth”. It is critical however to remember that even precious metals are primarily representations of wealth, not actual wealth. And to the extent that you cannot control the ongoing value of your store of wealth (inflation of fiat currency being one problem), I suggest that your best investment is in building you and your family’s skill sets, tool sets and securing access to fertile land. If the rule of law breaks down to the point where ownership or control of land can only be accomplished at the point of a gun (this is not inconceivable, just unlikely in the short run, hopefully!) it would also be nice to have a ‘getaway plan’. For me, that is a cruising sailboat, large enough for my immediate family and heading up the coast to places with fewer people. For others that might be a 4×4 van and a cabin in the boondocks as a place to ride out particularly turbulent periods of the ongoing non-linear collapse.

    There is also a real possibility that you can have an impact on your community to help make you AND your neighbors more secure and resilient. That ‘investment’ of time is also worthy of your consideration, though frankly, the more I try this, the more frustrated I get with people; lots of good intentions but very little action or willingness to change behavior until they are eventually forced to. Still, I do get a better response from young people and I keep telling my view of what’s going on and how I am trying to act before I have to react!

    Good luck to us all! (And hopefully, the EGREGORE of the former United States isn’t so poisoned that we are prevented from building a diversity of cultures out of the remnants.)

  31. You can have your very own Great Old One! If you have an Apple phone, and maybe if you have another type, you can get Virtual Pet Cthulhu. He starts out as a cute baby octopus and grows into a tentacled horror. It costs 99 cents to get rid of the ads, money well spent. Unfortunately, the game comes with no instructions, a common problem these days—I guess instructions are unhip. I’ve played it 3 times, though, so I can probably help you if you can’t figure sonething out. Once Cthulhu is completely grown, all he does is eat, sleep, and poop—it’s rather like having a cat except there are no scratch marks on the furniture—but if you delete the game for a few weeks and then re-install you can bring up baby again from the beginning.

  32. Well, the Mueller report turned out to be a big ol’ five-gallon bucket of nothing, and the Hillary Clinton partisans on social media are predictably doubling down on drinking the Kool-Aid about it. Would you say that, besides basic human nature, the reason for this is because the privileged classes in the big cities want to hold on to their cognitive dissonance over the Democratic Party’s abandonment of the working class?

  33. @Kwo

    If I may share my strategy since we’re a similar age..

    Are there any Community Investment Funds (CIFs) in your area? a really good looking one just opened in mine, and I’m going to see how much of my RRSP (like a 401k, I guess?) can be transferred (probably not all without substantial penalty). The returns are supposed to be comparable to GICs. The idea is that your investment is used as collateral for loans to social or small entrepreneur enterprise in your community. For example, mine funds local small farm startups, energy cooperatives, affordable housing starts, stream restoration – things a bank won’t usually touch due to low or no cash return.

    I figure even if no cash return comes of it (I’m 37, who knows what 30 years will bring) it builds real environmental and social capital that will be potentially more useful to me to have by then.

    Otherwise focusing on converting your cash capital to real capital (cultivatable land, durable tools, reference books, energy retrofits – movable if you’re a renter) or usable/tradeable skill capital (light mechanic courses, home preservation) and financial contributions to organizations you may need yourself in the future (keep your food bank running, farm box co-op, hospice society, etc.) if there are no specific CIFs available.

    Also, if you have a choice between earning more money you don’t immediately need, that you would use to invest for retirement; or volunteering your time in a service setting – serve. The size of network of moderate to weak social connections is a huge predictor of death in natural disasters like heat waves or cold snaps for elderly people. Knowing people who will think to check in on you, who will drive you to the doctor or invite you to thanksgiving will be a better investment than saving for a nursing home that might not exist, I figure.

  34. I kind of like Andrew Yang. On the one hand he seems to appeal to certain STEM obsessed people who want to see a technocrat in the oval office, which certainly isn’t my point of view. But I do give him a lot of credit for taking on issues that aren’t dominating the current news cycle. And while his policy ideas aren’t quite as brilliant as they’re cracked up to be (a lot of them boil down to “We’ll convene some experts and bash something out”) he is quite clear and candid in describing them. For instance his proposal on self-driving cars is nothing special (basically pay truckers a generous severance and create a commission to oversee the transition), but I like the fact he’s already chosen someone to head the effort (Andy Stern, a former union head). That implies a level of thought that goes beyond buzzwords.

    That said, I’m somewhat skeptical of UBI. If the problems Yang is looking to address are real then UBI is practically just a band-aid. It’s obviously better then nothing for the millions of people who may be put out of work by technology, but do these people really want to be deprived of the chance to provide for themselves, forced into idleness, and made permanent wards of the state? And I feel it would create a populace who are less capable and less resilient.

    Still, Yang is currently trying to get 200,000 donors before heading into the Democrat primary debate and I’m going to donate a small sum, because while I’m not yet convinced he should be president I do want to see him go the distance and shake up the primary.

    On a somewhat related note I recently read this article in The Week:

    It argues that we’re on the cusp of an economic boom. He says:”Multifactor productivity — again, the part of productivity growth accounted for by technological progress rather than better-trained workers or more buildings and software — rose by 1.0 percent in 2018, the strongest gain since the current expansion began in 2010. To further put that number in perspective, multifactor productivity growth at that pace is about what we’ve done since World War II.” A lot of people are going to dismiss this as techno-optimist waffle. And that might be true but I’m actually more worried about what it would mean if he’s right..

    If you read the whole article what excites the author is the belief that the moment tech-loving economists have been waiting for is finally here. Companies can finally start laying off their human workers and replacing them with machines, and big tech companies will finally assert their dominance over the whole of the economy and our lives. And if he’s right this is only the beginning, as tech companies would capitalize on their success by developing yet more disruptive technologies. This sort of thing gives me agita, especially when its presented in such a sunny way. I hope the author really is just engaging in blind optimism and this prediction turns out to be bunk.

  35. Clarifying my last comment I should say that if people really are going to be laid off as the result of technology I would like to see some kind of safety net like UBI. But my policy preference (which obviously isn’t on the table) would be to keep job-stealing technologies in the box.

  36. I read The Long Descent and Dark Age America back to back and although it’s totally against the spirit of the thing, thought “this would make an awesome computer game”. I haven’t played games in more than ten years, so looked if anyone had made one. While there are plenty of post-apocalyptic games, there aren’t any of the decline and fall. In fact I found an article complaining that even partial attempts to do something similar have failed because the genre is so totally dependent on the ideology of perpetual growth – I’d like to see a game where industrial civilisation does its impression of a Hubert Robert painting. 🙂

  37. @JackRavenCorvus

    I liken it to being born in the Fall. A lot of people don’t like the Fall, because it reminds them Winter is coming. But I find it a beautiful season. The summer has wistful moments too, where one looks around and remembers that good times don’t last forever. But there’s not as much time for that in the Autumn. There’s just too much to do. It’s harvest season, and the nip in the air mostly makes it more pleasant to be out and moving. The weather is no less beautiful than in the summer, but there’s a different kind of activity that, I suppose, just appeals to me more than waiting for the crops to grow or singing songs by the fire.

    Also a general question – does anyone have any insights or theories about the Christchurch terrorist? Something felt weird about that and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.

  38. The sixth book in the Weird of Hali series, The Weird of Hali Red Hook, is coming out in August. All Ecosophia and/or Cthulhu fans in the greater NYC area are invited to get together and celebrate the book’s release on Sunday, August 18th, starting around noon at an as yet undetermined restaurant in Brooklyn, hopefully in the Red Hook area. John Michael Greer might be able to attend if his schedule permits.

    Anyone who has an interest in attending please email me in the next week or so at doctorwestchester42 at google mail. I would be delighted if anyone has suggestions for a restaurant for the event.

  39. Hey jmg
    I’ve noticed on dr brin’s blog that when he is about to release a new blog post he tells everyone in the comments section a short time beforehand so people know to stop commenting on the old blog post. Have you ever considered doing something similar?

  40. I’m a long time reader and I have especially enjoyed your books Dark Age America, and Decline and Fall. While at the same time I do not want to read too much into something you’ve explained in recent interviews as a desire to be better connected in terms of public transportation and a need to have better access to medical care, it is true that all of the people I regularly listen to or read whose views align with mine regarding societal decline, economic discontinuity, and climate disruption have ended up in or, in the case of Jim Kunstler, very close to New England.

    (I turned this comment into a post on my blog at and it has pictures of my neighborhood, and local libraries and schools for reasons which will become apparent. I hope this isn’t overstepping!)

    As a New Englander myself I must admit that I am not here primarily because I view its prospects as superior in terms of coping with catabolic collapse, but rather because I feel an emotional attachment to the region, but is it coincidence that you, JHK, Chris Martenson, and KMO are all so close by?

    Springfield, Massachusetts and Providence have differences to be sure, but as major New England metro centers they do have quite a lot in common as well. As I’ve listened to your most recent interviews and read your blog posts since your move to East Providence I’ve been interested in learning about your vision of the place; I would love to hear and read more! Some relatively minor things which are different here from what you’ve described in Rhode Island are the construction and design of the houses as well as the condition of things like libraries and schools. In my neighborhood nearly every house is made of brick, there are few front yards, and the libraries and the schools are mostly in better condition than they have been for decades and decades.

    Also, your take on the state of public education does not resemble in any way my experience. Reaching young people in the age of the “smart phone” is not easy, but the Social Studies teachers in my public high school are not good, they are spectacular. Children receive a very nuanced view of history and are offered an opportunity to really understand the nature of the Constitution, for example, why it was constructed the way it was and in whose interests. They debate empire and its impact on our society from multiple perspectives. As a Spanish teacher I can tell you that we read Allende, Borges, García Márquez, García Lorca, and Cervantes and we, again for example, discuss how similar the current urban/rural divide in the United States is to what Spain was experiencing in the 19th and early 20th centuries in its debates over tradition versus progress, and how we see still more similarities with the Yellow Vest movement and Brexit. We read San Manuel Bueno, mártir by Unamuno and discuss its connection to the aforementioned debate, its roots in Gnosticism, and its similarities the philosophy of Leo Strauss, and to the movie The Matrix.

    My daughters took a course dedicated to epistemology their first year in their (Category 5, “failing” under No Child Left Behind) urban public high school and went on to learn things far surpassing anything I learned in high school a generation earlier. There is much in our society which distracts children and sends the message that education isn’t important, but to claim that schools no longer offer challenging curriculum does not hold true, at least in this part of New England.

    Springfield invests a great deal in vocational training as well. The reconstructed Putnam Vocational High School is the most popular (students here choose high schools based on interest)choice in the city right now. I recommend Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error or, better yet, volunteer at a neighborhood school to gain some insight into what students are and are not taught. I’d be interested to hear what you think about what you experience!

  41. Do you think the philosophy of Geoism has the potential to make for a System That Sucks Less? Or do you think the idea is too simple/utopian/whatever? I came across the idea the other day, and it seems pretty intriguing.

  42. JMG,
    can you clarify what you mean when you say that BOE will be “challenging, but far from apocalyptic.”

    The BOE coupled with the arctic monsoon and other effects might reduce grain production in the northern hemisphere to a fraction of today’s.

    According to the timeline that you present in this and previous blogs, the human population will suffer a ragged decline for the next 2-3 centuries. If something like the above happens soon (a couple of decades) wouldn’t that change the timeline?

    One important point that I found in your book “The ecotechnic future” was that natural ecosystems are quite resilient but the way we produce food today is so fragile it can be massively affected by climate shifts.


  43. Hi JMG

    I’ve mulling over some of your comments on consciousness and the self, and would appreciate some clarification of the ideas or pointers to things to read if producing an answer would be a post in itself.
    Please correct me if I’ve interpreted you wrongly. You said in an earlier post that there are some people with the incorrect view that we are just meat robots that don’t actually have a self (but act like it), and also that our consciousness was an emergent property of a complex system e.g. our mind/body/brain and its interactions with the world.
    Is this a binary and why cannot both of these be true? Why cannot a sufficiently complex meat robot develop what it recognises as conscious self?
    David Hume’s response to the Cartesian mind-body problem was to undertake a critical self-examination to try and find the self. He didn’t find it, just a series of sensations. This has been used in the development of the bundle theory of self, that is very similar to Buddhist metaphor of the self as a chariot – which is the sum of its components interacting together. Doesn’t this address both the meat robot and emergent property cases?
    To round it out, why does it matter if one, both or neither of these cases is true; if our self is concrete, diffuse or absent how does it change what we are?
    Sorry but a lot of questions come out of unpacking that mulling – thoughts from your self and others appreciated.


  44. David, by the lake,

    Thank you for your reply re how you feel about the long descent. I’m curious as to people’s feelings because I have for decades now been aware that this what we apparently have presently before our eyes and under our feet is not the be-all-and-end-all of whatever it is we’re dealing with. It has been obvious to me from about forty years ago that we’d be facing a time that this time is beginning to look like. And we are still just tip-toeing in; this is the storm gathering force. I’ve spent that forty years of time attempting various tactics to at least not make things worse. No children. Recycling and composting as religion. Minimal commuting. Relatively low level of consumption. Meaningful work to keep things going in a better direction than otherwise. What I think of as the usual — yet, in this society, I’m a total freak. Which is kind of OK by me (‘cos apparently it’s true according to many I know), but now we’re getting this new wave of agitation regarding ecological matters, it is getting more urgent after all — and I’m rather bored.

    Well, I shouldn’t be, should I? I should care desperately and “once more unto the breach, dear friends.” But, I’m totally fed up with the destruction rained down upon the Earth every day by those seeking yet another dollar. I’m tired of all the average twits carrying on as always ‘cos it’s someone else’s problem and they really, really do need that SUV or 4,000 square foot house plus they need to fly for work or to see the grandchildren or whatever. Why should I care any more when people can’t even be bothered to try and keep the world just that little bit more habitable for their own children? Don’t get me going about lighting up high school football games or huge shopping mall parking lots! There’s a lot of grist for the mill.

    So, one might say that I’m having troubles with my feelings. There’s some conflict there. I happen to like the natural world. Even the people on it sometimes. Human history is not entirely without merit, although I’m sure we pay too much attention to kings and queens and presidents. I’d like some kind of environmental sanity to break out and for everyone to be mellow together. Right, I know! That’s the requirement for an unprecedented change in human attitude that I mentioned aka ridiculous idealism.

    I take some consolation in the long term geological picture, the grand sweep of time. What’s a million years after all? But getting through all the entanglements, avoiding schadenfreude or anger or depression or boredom or whatever other ugly emotion can pop up is not always easy. We live in a positive, optimistic society that believes in this progress thing as a bedrock value. The new generation are taking this coming struggle on with vigor, yet I feel that their thoughts about what needs to change are naive. So, I must try not to sneer. In fact, I go out of my way to be as supportive as I can. I also continue my own little interventions, planting trees and setting up a PV system and gardening in addition to those other habits, but none of it really feels like enough, so eventually this resignation to the Arctic melting and another 45,000,000 climate refugees and bodies stacked like cordwood sinks in and I don’t know what to do in the meantime. And I don’t want to live to see it ‘cos ultimately there isn’t much I can do. But I’m still human and there’s a bit of rubbernecking desire to see just how bad it’s going to get.

    ‘Nuff for now — but the emotional and psychic health of the world and its inhabitants — human and animal and plant and rocks, both now and in the future, is of interest and worth thinking about how it may be improved as we face the challenges enveloping us. The recent experiences in Venezuela are not encouraging. Finding ways to avoid such breakdowns seems to me a matter of urgency.

  45. Peter, do you think the potluck will also occur in 2020, when I might be able to come? I promise no potato salad. I don’t like it, myself.

  46. JMG, do web sites also have egregor? I am referring to the well-known phenomenon where a few crazy people start leaving comments on a blog and before you know it the site’s a (literal) madhouse. I’ve seen it ruin a couple of good blogs.

  47. Hello JMG, and a hearty thank you for the Long Descent and your other material. It’s really helped put a lot of issues in today’s world in proper perspective.

    With spring slowly arriving here in Southern Illinois, my question is about what I would describe as “spring fever”, and how that’s become muted for me over time. I believe I’m a year or so older than yourself, but I recall springtime in my youth with a much more intense “feeling alive” high after a long, cold winter. Now, the change of seasons has the longer days and temperatures warming, but not the corresponding rush of emotions. I’ve read in some circles it’s believed that humans are literally killing the Earth, and Mam Gaia’s response may well be what I’m observing.

    Have you had any similar feelings over your lifetime, or is this just me getting old – or my imagination?

  48. @Mariette, apologizing for jumping in, I’ve recently read that most anti-vaxxers are well educated, socially active people who read a lot. They are aware of adverse effects. I’m not an anti-vaxxer as such, but I believe caution is warranted. Maybe I am unusual, but two close friends suffered complete paralysis from Guillain-Barre after flu vaccinations, and my brother suffered a different autoimmune problem after vaccination. His case was never reported as an adverse reaction. I think doctors are reluctant to report such cases if they can’t be 100% sure it was the vaccine that caused it.
    The problem is “science” has become heavily propagandized, so after repeated bad experiences, people stop trusting it. Recently, the government in collusion with Facebook, Amazon and other large media companies has started censoring information on alternative healing modalities. That will not help build trust. And if you trace it all the way back, what it always comes down to is large company/generous donors’ bottom lines.

  49. First, I’m curious what you think about what is happening in Venezuela. I’ve been expecting such a move by the US for a long time, because of course net energy matters and while Venezuela’s oil may be heavy sour crude, it still has better net energy than shale oil, etc. It seems inevitable that all the leaders of the US empire will cast their eyes in that direction, believing it to be accessible.

    The first moves have been both amazingly and typically inept, but I don’t think that means they’re not serious or will give up soon. What choice is there? The US must have oil, and the cost matters.

    Second, and on a different topic: I have noted people discussing reincarnation and existence beyond this physical world in a couple of distinct ways. There are those who offer that our eternal “souls” or consciousnesses are already fully advanced, but that we have simply forgotten our powers here. Next, some argue that we are not really independent consciousnesses outside of this world ( I think Bill Pulliam suggested this at one time). Then there is the Druid view you’ve expressed that our consciousness is learning and growing through each life here. The last feels right to me, in part because it’s the only one that provides any reason for even coming here, other than perhaps some form of entertainment. Anyway, do these variations come from particular different traditions, or are they recently garbled versions of some common idea?

  50. JMG-is the “love after oil” contest still goin? I can’t find anything about it under the contests tab, and I am having trouble finding the original post where you announced it.

  51. Nastarana,

    Continuing our conversation from last week. You’re right that the minor parties have faced some infiltration, but overall I really feel like that they’re their own worst enemies. From my perspective the barriers to the federal elections are the biggest sign that something is horrible wrong with the administration of the third parties. If there’s a wall between you and the imperial capital, then why not put all your effort into taking to provinces?

    There’s another factor of course. The management aristocracy have, until this point, saw the Democrat and Republican parties as functional vehicles to the centers of power. The organizational skills that the MA are trained with allowed the Dems and Reps to function and drained a necessary resource from the thirds, which made the thirds more dysfunctional. Feedback loop.

    So I see two possible options here:
    1) I work with others to create a functional third party. Built from the ground up with all the castoffs from the MA that I can gather.
    2) I work with an existing third party, but would have to put considerable effort into reforming and organizing.

    Thoughts? (question open to the rest of the crowd as well)



  52. On the subject of investment and retirement…

    I’m 45 now and make my living with a mixed bag of part-time self-employment and small business, and I certainly question my ability to keep doing some of those things as I age out of the physically-demanding bits.

    But the first thing I think we should recognize is that retirement – having enough money put away to pay for a decade to maybe a quarter century of dotage in old age – is a very strange idea to begin with. There aren’t many humans, in the scope of our species’ history, that have ever enjoyed such a luxury. It is a direct result of fossil fuel exploitation plain and simple. And it will go away with said industry.

    Second, most of the people I know who have retired either fall into sad, depressed, even vegetative conditions following retirement, or go back to work sooner or later. Do we really want to be useful to our families, communities, and the broader economy for several decades and then suddenly do a 180 and stop having any redeeming value to the people around us?

    And third, that begs the question “what are our elders for?” In the view of Progress the answer would seem to be – nothing. Just useless lumps of geriatric flesh that have to be kept alive because that’s the right thing to do. They can’t have any actual value because they only know about how things used to be, and we are headed places they’ve never been.

    Rubbish. In a normal society elders are valuable as repositories of wisdom and know-how, and we take good care of them because they’re valuable WE take care of our own, not the government, or strangers at a nursing home. I hope I live to see the end of nursing homes. That would definitely be a silver lining in all this.

    So how do we invest for retirement given the circs? Good question. I tend to think we use our working years to get a workable living situation for old age paid for. I think we invest in our children and neighbors. We probably come up with a way to make money that doesn’t require hard labor, especially as we reach a certain age. We plant fruit and tend chickens, and learn to forage a bit. (Morel season is almost upon us!!) We cut our needs to a saner level. You know, we make ourselves useful and do our best to not be a burden.

    Maybe I’m being a bit naive about how this works but I don’t know how many options we will actually have, as Social Security dries up over the next decade or so, the stock market gets high on its own fumes, and the value of the dollar continues to evaporate. These are novel conditions for Americans, at least, and will require novel approaches.

    Best wishes to you all in that regard!
    Tripp out.

  53. Hi Drhooves,

    Here in Upper Pogonippia, somewhere in the un-flooded midwest, in the last 50 years the seasons have shifted forward about 6 weeks, so that at the end of March we still have wet snow and few plants budding.

    I have a great Halloween sweatshirt I bought about 30 years ago from a mail-order company called Eden Lane (long out of business, unfortunately). It’s the kind of wind-stopping sweatshirt, good heavy cotton, that is no longer available in the U.S. I have been able to wear it maybe 4 or 5 times in the last 15 years because most years October is just too warm for it.

  54. Hi Violet,

    I can think of at least one site that went from far-left-but-not-evil to filled-with-demonic-hatred. It’s not Daily Kos, but maybe that site’s nickname of The Great Orange Satan was trying to tell us something!

    But there is good on the Internet too—sites like JMG’s where civilized folk gather, crowdfunding for sick Americans, free lessons in all sorts of things, and of course it’s the best joke-transmission method ever known. Why, in my day, you had to call the intended recipient of a joke to tell him to be standing by the “fax” machine at such a time, so the boss would not end up seeing that your friend was receiving a non-work fax over the Company Equipment.

    And what is it, by the way, with dr’s offices and fax machines? If you need a note showing you’re healthy enough to return to work, the doctor’s office always asks “Where should we fax it?” Um—to the 20th century? That’s when my workplace gave up on fax machines.

  55. Hi Jim W,

    Neurologist Dr. Grumpy, an overlooked national treasure whom everyone should read, often refers to a mythical medicine called Fukitol. Probably made by the makers of Enditol. His readers are intelligent, civilized, and fun. JMG’s readers would fit right in (and vice versa).

  56. I am wondering about the “raspberry jam” effect of magical workings. You talk about it and ethics in the Druid Magic Handbook. But all of the examples are of malicious workings. I know that you also consider it unethical to do any magic workings specifically aimed at another (I believe the words theurgy and thamaurgy??? we’re used), but is there an example of someone doing a magical working on another, intended for their benefit, and still polluting the magical environment. I’m guessing a big issue is thinking you know what will benefit someone and the old “the road to hell..,”.

    So the short version “Why is working magic, unasked for, but intended to benefit another, unethical, and would this still have a “raspberry jam” effect and would it be an over all negative?” (Sorry, not that much shorter). FYI. I do not intend any such workings, just curious.

    On the other hand would you recommend any magic (natural or ritual) that would be good for maintaining a healthy, happy work place?


  57. Peter, thanks for this. I look forward to seeing many of my readers there!

    Kwo, the entire mentality of “wealth preservation” is based on the mistaken idea that stockpiling the tokens we use to distribute wealth will ensure that real wealth — i.e., goods and services — will be there so long as the tokens are. It’s exactly the same logic as “I can’t be overdrawn, I still have checks left!” I’d encourage you to refocus from wealth preservation to wealth creation; invest in small enterprises that actually produce a good or a service that individual human beings need or want, and you’ve got a decent chance of an enduring return on that investment.

    Jack, human beings are human beings, and I don’t see any reason to think that they’ll suddenly start acting in a different manner just because it would be convenient for us if they did so. The political turbulence we’re seeing now is nothing out of the ordinary — thirty years ago Trump was spelled “Reagan” and Venezuela was spelled “Nicaragua.” It’s just ordinary turbulence on the way down.

    Linda, I have indeed, though it was many years ago — there was a copy in the public library in Burien, WA when I was in high school. It was a fun story, though Lanier could have benefited from talking to a scientist or two.

    Marcu, unfortunately, we’re stuck in the real world, with a decided shortage of tentacled horrors to rescue us.

    Jack, it’s continuing pretty much exactly as I predicted, which means it’s also following the reference case in The Limits to Growth very closely. Hold tight, it’s a long way down!

    Foxhands, the OBOR (One Belt One Road) project is an attempt to make sure China can maintain access to the still extensive mineral and natural gas resources of central Asia as long as possible, while also furthering China’s ability to dominate export markets across Eurasia. It won’t be viable in the long term, but over the next century or so it’s likely to be a winning move.

    Yoshi, I haven’t paid much attention to the scramble for the Democratic nomination yet; there’ll be ample time for that when we get to 2020.

    Dashui, that was an easy one. Thank you!

    Nastarana, yep. Monsanto/Bayer is in fairly deep trouble — and it couldn’t happen to a slimier bunch of poison merchants.

    AnonymousKevin, I don’t really have anything to suggest; you know what matters to you and what you can put up with, and your choices will have much more to do with your personal wants and needs than with abstract considerations.

    RMK, 1) Good question. I’d encourage you to meditate on that and find your own answer. 2) It takes quite a bit of reflective intelligence to be able to think clearly about your own thoughts, and that’s what’s required for someone to realize that their thinking is dominated by a metaphor. Unless someone’s gotten to the point where they can do this, you’re better off replacing one metaphor with another one. 3) The entire question of morality is a swamp of unexamined assumptions and false dichotomies, and I’ll leave this question until we get into that tangled issue in a series of posts here. 4) I have no idea and neither does any other human being. 5) Stevenson’s the one really good source I know of. 6) Good question. I’d encourage you to meditate on that and find your own answer.

    David, just a short foreword. Other than that, it’s word for word the same as the original; Founders House is issuing it because New Society dropped the print edition.

    Onething, I’ll keep an eye out for it and put it through as soon as I see it.

    Jim, I hope not. People are rather too prone to get caught up in the emotions of the moment.

    TJ, the same problem is all over the west coast, and while it has many causes there’s one the media isn’t talking about — local government policies that have driven up real estate prices and rents to insane levels, which benefit those who own real estate at the expense of everyone else. That was one of the reasons my wife and I left the west coast and will never come back. Our current apartment would cost us between three and four times as much to rent in Seattle as it costs here in Providence, and wages for working class jobs aren’t even remotely high enough to make that affordable. Thus you have a lot of people living on the streets because they can’t afford anything else.

    Katherine, glad to hear you’re still working at both of those! They’re not easy going, but lifting heavy ideas is as good for your mind as working out with weights is for your body.

    Bruce, I read techno-optimist stuff from time to time when I’m in need of a good laugh, so I’ll consider those.

  58. Pogonip: That’s exactly what happened to the Fourth Turning forums, and it became Troll City Central. I haven’t visited them in a decade.

  59. Violet,

    Fascinating. For myself, I’ve left my pocket knife partway open under my TV for the past several weeks. I’m not a great consumer of television or film, but video games have always held a glamour for me. I’ve given them up before, but always find myself craving them, despite knowing that generally they give me much more frustration than enjoyment.

    So far, the results have been positive, though limited. I haven’t entirely given up gaming, but I’ve gravitated toward games that I actually enjoy rather than ones I feel I’m “supposed” to be into. Soon after placing the knife down, I started an older game that I had enjoyed as a kid, played it all the way through (first time finishing it), and had a blast doing it.

    That said, I have found the glamour sneaking back in other ways: digital game sales (but what if I want it later and it’s 4x the price it is now?!?), conversations with co-workers, and another glamour-like fascination I have: epic fantasy series.

    (Interesting fact: I have never finished an epic fantasy series. Not even the Lord of the Rings.)

    Anyway, I have declared a break from video games for now. Given past performance, I expect I’ll go back eventually, but who knows?

  60. I mentioned a computer game above, Virtual Pet Cthulhu. Does anyone here play Kitty Collector/Neko Atsume? If so, and if you got the ninja, what did you put out to get him? I have all the others but the ninja eludes me (which is, I guess, what a ninja is supposed to do).

  61. With regards to Venezuela, I read recently that one of the reasons for US interest is because Venezuelan heavy crude is in greater demand thanks to fracking.

    It seems that most oil produced by fracking is an ultra light grade that refineries have difficulty processing and which is useless for making products like diesel and aviation fuel. So the usual practice is to mix it with heavy crude to produce a light blend that refineries can use. It just so happens that Venezuela has by far the world’s largest heavy crude deposits.

    In addition, there are many American refineries in the Southeastern US that are actually set up to process Venezuelan heavy crude and converting them to more conventional grades would be expensive. Hence the American interest in Venezuelan oil fields and getting their production back up and running while ensuring steady exports to Gringostan. A hostile left wing government and one that has allowed it’s oil industry to crash thanks to years of mismanagement and underinvestment is not in Gringostan’s geopolitical interests, especially as Gringostan retreats from it’s overseas empire and has to focus more on it’s “near abroad”, to borrow a term from Russian strategic thinking.

  62. RE: Warren

    RE: Multifactor productivity

    This is also known as the Solow residual:

    And it is a widely believed fiction in economics. It is attributed to technological progress, but it is actually a result of adding more energy to the system. Google Ayres and Warr with regards to energy and the economy and you will find everything that you are missing.

    The ultra short version is that economist believe that the same amount of capital and labor produce more output because of technological progress. The actual reason is that more energy has been added and the energy was very cheap compared to other capital costs.

    The long version is quite a bit longer, progress does play a role, but it is one of diminishing returns and not exponential growth as the Solow reidual would predict.


  63. RPC, yes. I set it aside because I needed to get the whole Weird of Hali done for the new publisher; now that that’s done, I look forward to returning to it. As for an official policy of euthanasia, not in the US, but I could see the EU going for that.

    Violet, interesting. Thanks for the data point.

    Mister N., I think that’s an important part of it. More broadly, the privileged Left insists on seeing itself as the wave of the future, the people who are living the way everyone else will be living once they get a clue, and the ascendancy of Trump (and the rise of the alt-right counterculture) is telling them that their wave of the future has broken and is flowing back out to sea. Thus the increasing shrillness of their insistence that something, somehow, will get rid of him so they can go back to pretending to be relevant again.

    Warren, my guess is that job-stealing technologies will turn out to be just as effective and economically viable as Tesla’s self-driving cars…

    Yorkshire, of course! Decline is literally unthinkable for most people these days. That’s a rich irony, since decline is what’s happening around us every single day.

    John, circumstances permitting, I’d be delighted to be there.

    J.L.Mc12, nope. I put up a new post every Wednesday, and assume my readers have the necessary intellectual skills to remember what day of the week it is.

    Steven, New England is better positioned to go through the next rounds of the Long Descent than most other parts of the US. I’m glad to hear that your schools haven’t collapsed as completely as many others — do you possibly live in an upper middle class neighborhood? The privileged have generally gone out of their way to preserve the schools their own children attend from the broader implosion.

    Joshua, I’ve never heard of it. Any suggestions about books to read, etc.?

    NomadicBeer, every argument I’ve seen claiming that climate change would cause sudden massive famines assumes that no farmer anywhere will notice the shifts and change what they plant accordingly. That’s kind of a dubious assumption, not least because many farmers are already making such adjustments — to the extent that here in East Providence, a local farmer whose family comes from Bangladesh is growing and selling Indian vegetables in the local farmer’s market. it’s the usual bad logic behind apocalyptic claims — which is also, by the way, the specific bad logic I’ve been critiquing in recent posts: the notion that nobody is allowed to respond creatively to whatever the one active factor is supposed to be.

    Markie, I’m not sure you’re aware of what the “meat robot” people are saying. The eliminative materialists are insisting that consciousness *does not exist* — not even as an emergent property.

    Pogonip, I don’t think that’s an egregor issue. The crazies drive out thoughtful commenters because the signal-to-noise ration becomes too low.

    Drhooves, that’s one of the common side effects of age, and used to be discussed now and again in poetry and prose. It’s not spring that’s changed, it’s you.

    Twilight, my take on the US shenanigans toward Venezuela is that Trump had to give the neocons in the GOP something to do with their spare time once he started the process of extracting the US from the Middle East, and since the only thing that neocons know how to do is to try to invade oil-rich countries, that’s what they’re doing. My guess is that it won’t get any more competent, because neoconservative ideology is floridly delusional — cue Karl Rove insisting that “we create our own reality” — and so their campaign against Venezuela will implode in the same way, and for the same reasons, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency.

    As for the different versions of reincarnation, they’re different traditions entirely. I know which one makes sense to me, but other people’s mileage may vary, of course.

    Ben, yes, it is, and as soon as the Mercury retrograde is over I’ll get something up on the Writing Contest page. I’ve been swamped getting The Weird of Hali finished, and a lot of things have been on hold while that’s happened.

    Tripp, that makes sense to me. My retirement plan is that I’m not going to retire; I enjoy what I do and live a life that works for me, and I expect to stop writing they they extract the keyboard from beneath my cold stiff fingers.

    Candace, the issue with beneficial workings come in if you’re trying to override someone else’s will, and the raspberry jam there is that you’re going to attract people who want to push you around for your own good, as they see it. If you get consent, you’re fine — and in that case, the raspberry jam works in your benefit. The people I know who do lots of healing and blessing workings generally have good health and happy lives!

    As for workings for a healthy, happy workplace, well, remind me what kind of magic you practice and we can go from there.

  64. @Violet: That’s fascinating about the hexafoils! I’ve been thinking about drawing a few and putting them up around my bedroom and study, and see if I can discern any effects.

    I’ll probably throw in some prismatic colors as well. Who knows if that’s got anything to do with anything, but that’s my instinct when I see a pattern like that.

  65. In your reading on esoteric subjects, have you come across anything regarding Russia as the next great birthplace of culture? (other than your posts here on Sobornost!) I’m not referring to the Slavophiles, although I take them seriously, but rather people like Genndy Bondarev or others, that have mentioned it. I’ve also seen a few religious prophecies crop up along these lines. China is the natural “physical” choice for a great culture, but something tells me that the suffering Bear has yet to flex the spiritual muscle that has been accruing over the millennia there. Pitrim Sorokin’s new book is in, on Russia and the United States, and I’ve flipped through it: there is some sort of inverse connection, as well as a positive one, between the fates of the two great Northern Lights. It’s the that time of night for alternative thought…

  66. In 1986, Detroit built a huge trash incinerator. 33 years and over a billion dollars of debt later, it shut down today. That may be a quantifiable difference in air pollution reaching the east coast.

  67. @Darkest Yorkshire-
    Crusader Kings 2 has a mod called After the End which allows you to play in 27th century America, though rising sea levels don’t factor in at all. If you’re a fan of historical Real Time Strategy games, Total War: Attila has a great campaign where you can play the fall of the Roman Empire as either Western or Eastern Rome. It’s maybe the only computer game out there I can think of that conveys the feeling of decline from the pinnacle of imperial might to a bitter dark age.
    And by the way, I also had the same thought about Dark Age America, the Video Game! It’s too good not to imagine it because there really isn’t any games like it out there. If I were a game designer, I would definitely take a crack at it, maybe start an entirely new genre of strategy game in the process.

  68. “I put up a new post every Wednesday, and assume my readers have the necessary intellectual skills to remember what day of the week it is.”

    Heh. Especially those of us in time zones where it’s actually every Thursday 🙂

  69. Markie and JMG,

    A more interesting rationalist view of consciousness is functionalism: that consciousness is nothing but its functions. Arguments between functionalists and those who the functionalist account is lacking something–namely, qualia–generally get bogged down when the former group accuse the latter of being obscurantists since they can’t specify exactly what qualia adds to their account, and the latter group accuse the former of being p-zombies for ignoring the obvious.

    Functionalism is well known for having the implication that, if it is correct, it is possible for a computer simulation to be conscious. I’ve only seen one other person (alas, I don’t remember the link) draw out the further implications of this theory: since any computer program can in principle be performed by a human being with pencil and paper, it is possible for a human being is generate a consciousness other than his or her own just by performing calculations on paper*. (That is, the simulation is not “borrowing” the consciousness of the human computer, in the way a character in a daydream might, but generated out of the actions of the computation.)

    To my mind, this is too farfetched to take seriously. I doubt a simulation can have consciousness except by “borrowing” it from the simulator. (Thus, for example, Roko’s Basilisk would only be torturing itself.)

    * Or a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards.

  70. Dear JMG,

    I recently had the pleasure of interacting with a professional manuscript reviewer. He told me in no uncertain terms that I would never sell a single WORD to a publisher as long I remained an amateur rather than a professional writer. I asked him how to do that exactly and he proceeded to demolish a five year old short story I’d written for a silly writing prompt. He insisted that my writer’s toolkit was severely deficient, especially since I didn’t even know the lingo. (I learned for instance that MRU’s, or Motivational-Reaction Units, are a key building block of fiction writing.)

    I thought he made some fair points, but I was definitely picking up the gatekeeper vibes he was putting out. So my questions: what does a good writer’s toolkit have in it? Is formal training essential or at the very least preferable? How many books on writing should I pick up? (He suggested three).
    I’m always looking to improve my craft and I would love to know what I should be putting in my toolkit of narrative fiction. Many thanks!

  71. JMG and all –

    JMG, re your Ecosophia post “An Educated Mind Illuminated By Revelation”: per the post’s title, you posit the idea of an occult discipline specifically crafted to open an educated mind, a philosopher’s mind, to revelation. You contrast such a system with the Steiner/seership tradition, Christian mysticism with its emphasis on union with God through love, and the Golden Dawn/ritual magic tradition. Are you saying that this new system would be designed to produce spiritual geniuses of a certain educated class, that is, a class of potential leaders and innovators, philosopher kings, so to speak? Or that the new system would more readily lead to revelation? Or both?

    I ask because revelation doesn’t seem a stranger to such disciplines as Christian mysticism or the GD tradition. I’m thinking of a spiritual genius like the Christian mystic Jacob Boehme or of an artistic (and no doubt spiritual) genius like Yeats. Aren’t these lived examples of – to quote from the post – “the order of art and science seen in a flash” — “guided by an awakening sense of the whole cosmos and the place of each individual phenomenon in it”?

    I’m also curious about revelation itself, which seems to be a rather, I dunno, *arbitrary* thing, at least as far as our limited awareness goes. As you and others have pointed out, revelation, enlightenment, can be prepared for, but the actual bestowing of revelation is out of our hands – it’s a grace from a Divine Power. In this respect, would a new system simply emphasize the preparation? Because I’m not really seeing how revelation itself can be expedited, save for the fact that the more people who are revelatory-prepared, the more actual revelatory states of consciousness there will be.

    Thanks – Will M

  72. From JMG:

    “ordinary turbulence on the way down” – and a long way down as well!

    This is why I’m interested in how people feel. I’m getting the standard things about old age and personal abilities to cope, the wack politics of the time, etc. But, this time is an inflection point unlike any we have experienced before (I would argue from the point of view of we as a species). It is not business as usual – or ordinary turbulence on the way down. It’s not the Roman Empire or the Ottomans or who-have-you. It’s a global ecological issue. We are not prepared. It is our individual job to be prepared – no institution is going to do it for us.

    In that our emotions and feelings will enter a feedback loop with events, I suggest further thought about those “things” will be of use when it comes to navigating the rapids that are ahead of us. Some days, I feel we might slalom through; some days we’ll crack up on the first rock. Worth knowing where the current leads, the rocks are and what our paddling capabilities are. Scout.

    Please don’t think I’m setting up a program, but I am suggesting some assessment of how prepared we are as individuals and as community to head into the next downstream stretch. It’s my guess that the longer and slower we can make the descent the better, within certain obvious parameters, and that, if we value the human storehouse of knowledge, we’d do better to safeguard that to the best of our abilities rather than just trust to luck and platitudes. Not that I have anything against luck. But the successful gambler knows the odds.

  73. JMG : “thirty years ago Trump was spelled “Reagan” and Venezuela was spelled “Nicaragua.” It’s just ordinary turbulence on the way down”: This comment brings a question : is there ever a time even during a civilisation’s zenith when there are no wars, no negative internal or external side effects of that civilization ?

  74. Christopher Henningsen wrote “does anyone have any insights or theories about the Christchurch terrorist? Something felt weird about that and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.”

    He was a personal trainer from Grafton, NSW. Father died of cancer seven years ago, had a big effect on him but he inherited enough to travel to multiple countries (including Islamic) since then, radicalised during that period. Family & friends describe him as a good man who went strange.

    True believer in a French ideology called Great Replacement Theory (anti-immigrant), decided to target my country (Aotearoa) because it is the one most dedicated to peaceful co-existence. His community is non-local. They are clever insofar as they use a carefully-constructed false front (simple-minded racists) about which you can get the psych warfare insights here:

    It’s all about “finding common cause on forums like 8Chan that attract an international audience of shitposting racists who view racism and white nationalism as both a worthy cause and a hilarious chance for memes.” I did see another with more profound implications that elaborated on their use of memetics – can’t find it now, sorry – but you’ll get the gist of how they would play that game from the overview here:

  75. @ Warren, regarding UBI, you said, “do these people really want to be deprived of the chance to provide for themselves, forced into idleness, and made permanent wards of the state? And I feel it would create a populace who are less capable and less resilient.”

    I just want to put a different point of view on this, because UBI proponents have put a great deal of thought into their proposals, and one of the most interesting ones (to me), is that there is no “idleness requirement” in order to qualify – qualification is based on membership of a polity, which itself will be a contentious issue, but that is not what I want to address here. Almost all current welfare systems contain an “idleness” requirement, which means that very often people who are quite willing to work, but need income supplementation, have to pretend NOT to work in order to qualify for the supplements. Depending on how strongly this requirement is policed it can actually enforce idleness on otherwise hard-working people, but in any case, it forces much work underground.

    What the UBI proposers speculate is that people are really not prone to idleness, their supposed “idleness” mostly springs from the ordinary person to work for the benefit of others without reward if they are free to refuse – and the capitalist’s feeling of entitlement to endless supplies of abject workers who will accept any terms given. And I tend to agree with this. The amount of sheer creativity and local volunteerism that often stems from among officially unemployed people is huge, and often a perennial political problem in its own right, as such people also have time to think about and reflect. (Too much time, in other words, to allow powers that be to remain comfortable).

    So, while there are some good reasons to argue with UBI, it is worth studying it better, so you know where to go with your argument. “Forcing people into idleness” is unlikely to be one of them, and in the short term, UBI is far likelier to free people up to be busy at rebuilding their own lives, their own communities, and ministering to all the human necessities that have never generated a profit for anyone. From the point of view of employment, it is likelier to give people the genuine freedom to refuse crap terms (which living on the land on a subsistence basis used to give people, which is why the first item on the agenda when “breaking open” a new market is to drive people off the land), and make employers provide the kind of terms that will interest people.

  76. I live in arguably the poorest neighborhood in western Massachusetts and the high school my daughters attended was one of only two schools in the four western counties of the state considered “failing” at that time (2004-2008) according to the NCLB rubric. Of course that is because the vast majority of students there are poor and nearly all are Black and/or Hispanic and achievement on exams is low and dropout rates are high.

    The building was renovated in the early 2000’s and is fantastic and the faculty is committed. That is my point. It’s a myth that suburban “schools” are good and poor urban schools are “bad”: Rich kids are more ready to learn than poor kids, and have a greater belief that education will be a worthwhile endeavor.

    The schools and the teachers, at least here in my corner of the world, are as good or better in the cities than in the suburbs. I teach in the suburbs but my children have attended (poor) city schools k-12 and they’ve been excellent; I’m suggesting that perhaps your analysis of education might be flawed; perhaps you are assessing the schools based on what you see in the broader society but what is happening might be a bit more nuanced and complex than it seems.

  77. Violet,
    That’s interesting. The internet being more about demonic obsession than fairy glamor makes some sense to me, as I’ve come to see the broader internet as a door left ajar for the Wendigo. Intentionally or otherwise.

    This website is quite possibly the only reason I still use the thing at all. Well, this and Magic Mondays on Dreamwidth…

    And on that note, back to sleep.


  78. Mariette Jones:

    I believe this started with science shooting its own feet. In 1998 The Lancet, which perhaps could be called THE Journal of Medicine, published a study linking the MMR vaccine with autism. It got, as it should, wide repercussion. Over time this got traction and cases of the diseases the vaccine addresses started to climb up, because people were started to not vaccinate their children.

    It turns out that the paper was fraudulent, and it was retracted by The Lancet in 2010, twelve years after its publication. By then, the damage was done.

  79. @ jackdawcorvus, Christopher H

    Re the long descent

    It is very much about doing what you can where you are with what you’ve got and letting go of everything else, particularly your expectations of others. It has been nearly two years now since I left off actively commenting on PoliticalWire and deleted my profile (after having been belittled one too many times). As I still read the posts and comments in order to keep a finger on the pulse of leftward sensibilities, I periodically get the urge to jump back in, particularly when the comments wax grandiose about the inevitability of Team Blue and/or the technotopian way of life.

    I agree with Chris about the framing with respect to the cycle of the seasons. I use that frequently myself in my own meditations or (less frequently) when having an honest conversation with someone else about our plight. But I have come to accept that, despite what we here in the US might be able to do to soften our post-imperial transition (over the next few decades) or to better prepare for the twilight of industrial civilization (over the next century or two), we likely won’t do anything effective. Because that is how humans are. And the usual trajectories of empires and of civilizations are the usual trajectories precisely because that is how humans are. This has all happened before and we are unlikely to change simply because I happen to be going through this particular round in this particular incarnation.

    Sitting in nature helps me, I find. I am fortunate to have a woodland/river-marsh conservancy right up the road (walking distance) and I go there, or else a few blocks in the other direction to sit on the shore of Lake Michigan. Particularly when she’s feisty and the waves are rolling in. I find the comparison of humanity to the breadth and depth of the natural world gives me a much better perspective on how unimportant most of our political nonsense actually is.

    (I got my latest issue of Into The Ruins yesterday. Joel has a nice editorial that talks about getting caught up in tracking the details of the ongoing collapse in real-time. I have to agree with his assessment, since I too am prone to falling into that trap.)

  80. JMG,

    Your retirement plan sounds a lot like mine! Except for the writing part. Although…I do have a submission for Love in the Ruins about half written. My story was storming forth but I suddenly picked up a serious case of writer’s block about the time Mercury went retrograde. Hopefully that will be ending very soon. Today’s efforts should wrap up the physical act of moving our household into town, and I’ll be returning my grandad’s truck Sunday and getting our car back. Maybe then my brain can shift gears back to creative endeavors.

    Meanwhile, I’m putting my efforts into manufacturing the wonderful herbal products we’ve been making and selling for 10 years now, and 2019 looks quite promising! I feel fortunate and blessed that making useful salves and sprays is something we’re good at, and that it is an effort, like yours, that we can handle until just about the day we die.

    Tripp (from, if anyone is interested!)

  81. John–

    This takes a different form, but reading through this article, I immediately thought of your comments re the transformation of the southern border into a buffer zone of some kind.

    Desalinization plants powered by wind and solar facilities appear to be one of the bright shiny objects in discussions of future development. Because the solution to complex problems produced by complex systems is more complexity 😉

  82. Hi JMG,

    Could you elaborate on your comment from the other blog that the tradition of Rudolf Steiner focuses on developing seership? I am friendly with a number of Anthroposophists and used to have my kids in a Waldorf school, but I have never heard this perspective. One of the difficulties I always had in understanding the Steiner teachings is that it seems to require taking certain teachings on faith, which never felt comfortable for me. I have heard biodynamic farmers describe Steiner as “clairvoyant”.

    I sometimes wonder if the followers of Steiner have misinterpreted his teachings, since they can come across as quite dogmatic. But, I have never taken the time to study his teachings, so I would be curious to hear a bit more from your point of view.

    Thank you!

  83. All–

    Apologies for the rapid succession of posts, but here is one more link I felt needed to be passed on for possible discussion:

    A Road Map for Rural America’s Comeback: There’s a strong case for revitalizing small cities by investing in second-tier research universities.

    Two particular quotes which caught my eye, which I provide without comment:

    “The automation of manufacturing and agriculture, and the shift to knowledge and service industries, are not trends that the government can or should even try to reverse with the stroke of a pen.”

    “By increasing research funding for second-tier universities in depressed areas, and by making it easier for high-paying foreign students to attend rural schools, the government can create a scattering of small thriving places throughout declining regions.”

  84. @One Thing, Thank You, I look forward to your reply. I reread my own reply and it was a bit more terse than I wanted, so for that, I apologise. I do want to actually explain my perspective and understand yours. We may come to agreement or we may not, but I think it’s important to get to some place of understanding.

    @Jackdawcorvus: Fantastic most pertinent question for this group. I think we do discuss that from time to time, but it is most helpful to revisit it point blank. I’ll chime in, although I know my perspective will be an unpopular pessimistic one. Sorry. No, I don’t think we humans are any wiser than humans of past collapsed civilisations. The mass of us and our ‘leaders’ are not going to come to some awakening or action before it’s too late, before they/we are forced to. I do think we’re headed for a hard fall, by and large. Of course, some will survive, a few may even thrive. You know the old joke, “After the apocalypse the only things left alive will be cockroaches, Keith Richards and Goldman Sachs”.

    For ME the feeling that most of this is going to go away is not depressing, I feel calmly resigned to it, even if it may very well mean tremendous hardship or death for me or my loved ones. That is also just a part of life. This thought on the other hand has given me a weird heightened sense of love and appreciation for the world we have now before it is all gone. It has it’s problems, but it’s an amazing time and place to be alive.

    I’d been mulling writing an open post comment about our recent move to Tampa Florida, (Florida of all places! SMH!) and what I’d wanted to say addresses this perspective of mine and your question. This is a crazy, stunning paradise. I can walk or drive down any street, no matter how urban and see 4′ heron, flocks of cranes, turkey buzzards and the occasional pelican strolling along the side of the road! There are so many weird plants, some are not even catalogued or properly named. They all seem to bloom at different times, so there’s alway SOMETHING glorious to see. When we first came, flying low over FL, it looks like a giant camouflage print of brilliant green and blue – there are so many lakes, streams, ponds….Although it’s rare to see them, (they are shy creatures), every pond, ditch, body-of-water-bigger-than-a-bathtub has a gator or three residing in it. It’s an odd mix of cultures, histories, people, architecture and nature. There is a strong conservative bent to some of our governance and popular opinion, but the state has amazing programs in place for social safety nets and public education. It’s a good balance, IMHO and seems to be reflective of the populace’s wishes and priorities.

    I could go on and on, but what I wanted to say was – for me moving here knowing this place won’t last, that within my or my children’ lifetimes, it will be under the waves – makes it feel so precious, so much more wonderful. The colours are brighter, the breezes cooler, the air sweeter. I am truly blessed to see and experience it before it’s gone. I’m starting to see that perspective on so many levels of our current ‘modern life’.

    Perhaps amidst the preparation for future hardship – take a moment to look around and feel what is good about the present. It may help keep the melancholy away.

  85. My husband was checking out the 1973 Lanier book from the library in the mountains of n.e.NC around the same time as you were in the N.W. Small world. I just read it last year. I find the post industrial fiction to be somehow hopeful.

  86. Although I continue to consider myself a liberal, generally, I have over the past two years flirted with conservative ideas. Two years ago I immersed myself in reading traditional conservative writers such as George H Nash and especially Russell Kirk. This year I’m reading prominent neo-conservatives such as Irving Kristol and Allan Bloom along with a prominent critic, the Canadian Shadia Drury. Kristol summed up the “three pillars of neo-conservatism” as “growth, religion and nationalism.” I find all three to be highly problematic. Reading these authors, along with their teacher, Leo Strauss, leads me to wonder if there’s anything the neo-cons wouldn’d do to advance their agenda. One book I’d like to find in a library (or for sale at a reasonable price) is Shadia Drury’s 2017 book called “Bleak Political Implications of Socratic Religion.” The lowest price I can find online is about 130 USD. The local university library, to which I have privileges, doesn’t have it. Alas. I suppose patience is the key.

  87. @Tripp, RE: retirement.

    I agree, it is a strange (and IMHO unhealthy) idea that we must save cash for our retirement to live on into our declining years independently, (a.k.a. alone!) that is unique to our time period. My kids were raised in Hong Kong. We lived there for 17 years. In traditional Chinese culture there are very very few retirement homes. Grandparents live with the children and grandchildren. Even today, it is horrifically shameful to neglect your elderly parents or put them in a home. Most local Hong Kong families still live all together or if they have money – very close by for daily interaction. The word “Amah” now used to describe a childminder/paid maid or helper , literally means ‘Father’s Mother / Grandmother” in Cantonese as it was HER traditional role to stay at home with the little ones and tend the home fires whilst the young health mother and father went out to work. “Apah” means Father’s Father / Grandfather who is the undisputed head of the household. Everyone defers to him, (except Amah, y’know? LOL) He may continue to work at a job, be idle or work on hobbies – as he pleases.

    My Husband and I have laughingly told our kids, (kidding, um, no- not really kidding) that we are honorary Chinese in the approach of retirement – THEY are our retirement. We are actually in the process now of opening a small business doing what I’ve done my whole life for fun in my free time – finding old junk and restoring, reviving, repurposing, transforming it into something beautiful and desirable again. This time it’s furniture and small crafts. We hope and plan to be with or near our kids (and hopefully grandkids someday) always! ; babysit, help them, pass on our ‘old ways’ of doing things. They seem good with this idea, so far. 😉

    Amongst my parent-groups/friends, (all Americans) I do hear many parents of teens and college kids complaining about being the “Sandwich Generation”, having to care for their kids as well as their aging parents due to elder-care cost and/or lack of retirement funds. I suspect as we progress down the slope, we will see more of that – a return to multi-generational families, which IMHO, is more good than bad. Complain, they may, but they’re doing it!

  88. @John Michael Greer: Your probably right, but it still gives me agita. Sometimes I feel like the only possibilities for the future are peak-oil crash or we’ll end up with a future like the one presented in Wall-E. ( Here’s a clip, for those not disinclined to watch a bit of TV: )

    As far as Tesla goes, for all their problems they do seem to be stubbornly refusing to go down. I think their latest worry is that they may be selling too many cars, causing them to lose their subsidies. Which is a problem, sure. It could even be the beginning of the end for them. But its a very different problem from what they were facing two years ago.

    @team10tim: Interesting. I am aware most economists overlook the importance of energy prices.

  89. John,

    Long time listener, first time caller. I grew up in the SF Bay Area in a blue collar family. Luckily, I took an interest in computing before it was cool, which allowed me to stay and raise a family here, even while friends and family drift away to Oregon, Texas and farther afield.

    Question #1: I’m aware that this (tech/finance/real-estate) Gold Rush state of affairs can’t last forever. But it’s had surprising staying power. What’s your best guess as to when it will deflate? What’s your prognosis for the West Coast in general?

    Question #2: My more collapse-oriented friends (who are actually quite wealthy) think having a rural bug out location in a place like Montana is gonna “save” them. It seems to me cities are there for a reason: a) walkability b) concentration of services & trade routes c) protection & shared resources. It’s been that way for a long long time. Even in the “Dark” Ages, you wanted to be a peasant farmer near the Castle walls or risk rape and pillage. Of course, when it comes to cities, your mileage may vary.

    I’ll be in New England for the first time this summer, with a stop to check out H.P. Lovecraft’s Providence. Keep up the good work!

  90. Re UBI

    The primary issues that I have with UBI are twofold. First, it is inevitably tied in with the technotopian vision where all of our labor is performed by robots. The reason UBI is being proffered in the first place is as a solution to the disappearance of living-wage human labor. The technotopian vision, in turn, is premised on our civilization’s continued ability to access cheaply-harnessed energy, which in this community at least, we would argue to be a fallacious assumption. Hence, the better long-term solution is not to provide side-payments in place of viable human labor, but to create an economy, using fewer non-renewable resources, in which human labor is needed, supported, and paid a viable wage. Returning to crafts, for example, rather than mass-production of goods. (Weavers, bakers, blacksmiths, et cetera.)

    Secondly, UBI represents an increase in mediation. One of the strategies which John has suggested for managing the descent we are facing, in addition to LESS, is that of dis-intermediation. That is, removing the layers between you and the raw production of goods and services. (Homebrewing, for example. Or vegetable gardening. Or backyard chickens.) UBI, on the other hand, makes a person dependent on the centralized system for their basic income. This is the opposite of the direction we need to be moving. We want to make the system less centralized, make economies more local, make people more self-reliant, induce more in the way of direct bartering of goods and services.

    For those reasons, plus a squeamish gut reaction, I would argue that UBI is a fundamental mistake.

  91. JMG,
    Maybe you have changed your mind about industrial agriculture in the last 5 years?
    My question was not about gardeners adapting their vegetables to the changing climate.
    It was about the industrial agriculture using long supply lines and a basically dead soil to grow huge amounts of calory-rich grains (80% of food energy used by people worldwide I think).

    If the floods continue in midwest for example, I doubt that even rice will grow this year (assuming the farmers have the seeds and the technology to plant it).

    Actually this year might be another test year of how a large agricultural producer deals with climate induced disasters. I don’t think the world will starve but we might see a replay of the cycle of food price increases followed by unrest in poor countries.

    I know that you have to fight the single-minded people that see one event as causing complete collapse or salvation. I am not in that category, just curious when the next step down will occur.

  92. @ Cliff, for whatever it’s worth I find spending time with the protractor, ruler and compass relaxing, satisfying, and thoroughly wholesome.

    @ Tripp, that’s a very good point. There’s a certain compelling emotional undertow to the internet that is greedy, demands attention, is never satisfied and always needs more. So there are dangers within the currents of surfing the web! What I’ve found so fascinating about my inadvertent hexafoil experiment is that it demonstrated that I had failed to distinguish between this nasty being and my own personal failings, viz. I thought that I just liked to engage with the internet in a certain self-defeating way. When putting some hexafoils in my life though, a space opened up and what I had confused with me suddenly differentiated into a malicious Other.

  93. About Seattle and PNW:

    I think the entire debate about real estate prices is a sideshow. Nobody cares about homeless or poor people. What I see around here is just religious obsession that treats skyscrapers like the huge head in Rapa Nui.

    There are huge buildings going up everywhere. They can finish them in a year or two while the poor excuse for public transit (light rail) took 20 years to complete one line and it will take another 20 (according to the plans) to expand to one more suburb.
    That is not just simple incompetence – the cities are owned by real estate and car companies. In my little satellite town there was a green funding proposal during the last elections. It had all the right buzzwords in the title (green, transit, parks, pedestrians). I actually read it and 85% of the money was dedicated to road construction and improvement. I think that kind of false advertising should be punishable with jail. I am completely disgusted with the so-called liberals and their “for the children” excuses to continue to pave over everything.

    JMG, you mentioned the reasons you moved to the east coast and I agree with them. But I am curious if you compared living in a small towns in PNW versus small town east coast? One thing that I noticed here is that there are almost no real small towns – just spread out villages. Are there real towns (similar to Europe) on the east coast?

  94. @JMG: Thank you for the advice, it is really helpful to reframe the question in terms of wealth creation instead of preservation. I have a few areas of interest in my life that fit your description of small enterprises that actually produce goods and services, so I will look into the best way to funnel my resources into their support.

    @Island Poet: Thanks for the advice and comments. I am already doing many of the things that you suggest, such as being debt free and investing my time and money in skills and land. I mentioned in my post briefly, but I garden pretty extensively and hope to be purchasing a good piece of land to invest in for the long term in the next 3-5 years. I also am a bread baker, which I hope to develop into a sort of “village baker” profession in the future as well. I think this ties into your ideas of investing in community as well, because the village baker used to be at the heart of the community, and I expect that this will be the case again. I’ve even considered getting into local politics, but like you said, it can really be a headache! I will remember the saying “Mindset. Skill set. Tool set.” I think it encapsulates things nicely.

    @SaraDee: Thank you for those suggestions! I will do research into any local options for CIFs. I also think you are exactly right to convert cash into real goods like tools, books, and land. Investing in social networks is something that has also been on my mind lately. I tend to be focused on my immediate family, and while I talk a lot about the value of investing in community, I have yet to take much significant action in my life to form networks. Something to work on this year for sure.

  95. @Star Ninja

    Hello. A writer’s toolkit will vary with the writer. You were right to about the ‘gatekeeper vibes.’ Now, I am a writer as well as a publisher and I’ve spent a lot of time looking at both industries and studying it. I’m still doing this.

    When it comes down to it though, you need desire first and foremost. Next, you have to read good books. Read all kinds of stories, short and long, in different genres. Study the thing you want to do. Always be learning. Yes, craft books can give insights but ultimately, it comes down to simple practice. You have to put words on the page. Let the creative side of your brain take the driver’s seat and put away that critical part that is often motivated by fear.

    Your toolkit can be quite simple: Get Busy Writing. Practice. Practice. Practice. Most important of all: Have fun!

  96. I remembered a subject I had wanted to ask about for a while…

    You mentioned in response to a comment a while back that there had been a religious conflict some time ago – to use their follower’s names for the entities in question, between the followers of Aesir and Devas. Looking at the linguistics it seems pretty self-evident, but I’ve only ever seen that one comment refer to it. So I have two questions:

    Did you work this out yourself or is it a developed theory I could learn more about? If it’s the latter, where would you suggest I start?

    And a less straightforward a question: in a case like this, do you have any thoughts on where the causes of the conflict lie? The best analogy I can think of is the European invasion of the Americas. Much of the actual killing in that conflict was done by the respective populations’ bacterial hangers-on. European explorers certainly brought these populations together, but a case could be made that it was their mono-cellular hangers-on that made mutually beneficial alliances a losing strategy.

    Bringing that analogy to our own history, is there a similar question to be asked, in a religious war of that scale, whether the conflict began with the gods and spread to their worshipers or vice versa? Do you have any thoughts as to this particular conflict?

  97. I like the concept of efficiency and resilience being logical opposites, and I find myself applying it to all kinds of examples as I go about my routine. Most of the time the rule fits fairly obviously, but one that doesn’t seem to conform is driving – driving in a fuel-efficient way seems to be both efficient and resilient (with respect to energy at least). Would you say in cases like this you need to consider multiple variables (e.g. resilient relative to fuel but inefficient relative to time)?

  98. John–

    An online poll, with all of the weaknesses thereof, but interesting results nonetheless:

    Conducted prior to the release of the Mueller report summary, the results show a 43%/43% split between people who believe Trump will win re-election and those who believe the Democratic nominee will win. Apparently, 9% believe a third-party candidate will win.

    (As a side-note, the associated comment thread on PolitcalWire is well-populated with assertions of the stupidity of the American electorate…)

    What I found more interesting, however, were the two questions at the end with suggested that most respondents found neither the gender (i.e. a female nominee) nor the race (i.e. a non-white nominee) of the possible Democratic candidate to be a compelling factor.

  99. In the context of the CGD work, it seems that Hu and Belenos both have qualities of solar deities. Is there one of them ttha should properly seen as “the Sun God,” or do both represent different aspects of th sun or sunlight as experienced by humans?

  100. @Christopher Henningsen: you said, “does anyone have any insights or theories about the Christchurch terrorist? Something felt weird about that and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.”

    Many things strike me as odd about this, including: 1. location, 2. killer was from out of the country, 3. IMHO, the most striking bit was – ” ‘You Won’t Hear Me Speak His Name.’ Jacinda Ardern [New Zealand Prime Minister] Says She Won’t Provide a Platform for Christchurch Killer”. Now, the name is ‘out there’, but the effect was certainly muted by this action.

  101. Caryn,
    Yes, spot on. Well said. All useful ideas for “retirement” in our (Gen X and beyond’s) future. I think the Chinese are onto something…

    For my part, I can’t imagine my children running off to far-flung corners of the continent like I did. Or far-flung corners of the WORLD like YOU did! I want them here. With me. They can live in my house as long as they want. Because it is THEIR house too.

    We just bought a fair sized Craftsman house (1850 s.f. – for us it’s a palace) right downtown so we can all walk where we need to go, visit friends, and have room to grow as an extended family. It’s a 3/1 that can easily become a 4/2.

    We’ll figure out what to do with the old hippie shack and orchard we built out in the sticks and lived in for the last 7 years as we go. Is it an option for one of the children to live in, a rental for extra income, an asset for sale to pay off the new house, or perhaps all of the above?

    A little advanced knowledge of the future sure pays off when you’re willing to do the unthinkable! (Like live in a wall tent without power or indoor plumbing for 2 years with a 2 and 4 y.o…) Especially considering how dirt poor we’ve been recently. I could heap mountains of praise on our host for helping us through all this, but he’ll just have to settle for a monthly donation to the Greer cheese fund…

    Life seems pretty rosy at the moment, all things considered. And I have no intention of saving a dime for “retirement.”

    Thanks for the banter!

  102. In your recent dreamwidth essay on revelation, you quote passages from Prati and Mitchell on the nature of revelation, and (as it seemed to me) as an aside mentioned that they were writing on telluric and solar currents. A very interesting essay, but it left me wondering if the study of the telluric current, either in particular, or as part of a study of telluric and solar currents together, (which may be a speciality of the druidic path?) is particularly apt for the path of preparation for revelation, or was it (as they say) “just a coincidence” that their thoughts on revelation arose in that context?

  103. As a confirmation of Tripp’s comment, I would like to mention that my own internet use, has in the course of time diminished to a selection of a few sites, Ecosophia and Ecosophia Dreamwidth among the most important, because they are unique. Otherwise, it is a bit about astronomy, some other subjects, occasionally Wikipedia, and internet shopping. The latter it is, because it has become more and more difficult to get good quality things locally.

    Then I must thank Scotlyn for the thoughtful post about UBI. The idea is often misrepresented due to a lack of knowledge, ideological inclinations and due to the fact that there are no historical experiences with UBI as such, from which one could learn. In addition to the problem of current welfare systems I would add that, in Europe, there is, depending on country, a vast welfare bureaucracy preoccupied with forcing people to find jobs that don’t exist anymore or that are in far-off cities, and training people for jobs which, too, don’t exist. UBI is one of the proposed solutions to get rid of these policies and to reduce the bureaucratic waterhead.

    Then, I have a philosophical question: Does it make sense to say that the universe must exist, so that sentient beings can perceive its existence. If the universe didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be sentient beings, and the nonexistence of the universe would not be perceivable and therefore the only way of being would be in an existing, and therefore, perceivable, universe.

  104. @Pogonip: Gods willing and if the creek don’t rise*, I will be hosting the 3rd annual Ecosophia Midsummer potluck on or around June 20, 2020. Since it coincides with the Solstice, our host may be otherwise occupied. If so, I will shift it a week. Stay tuned: I plan to announce it at the open post nearest the winter solstice.

    @ Violet & JMG: I tried the sharp pin experiment on the TV and on both my wife’s and my phones. She didn’t know about the experiment, and obviously, I did. It does not seem to have had any effect for either of us.

    I’m halfway through reading Dark Star Rising, by Gary Lachman. It’s a history of the various strands of chaos mages and alt-right that came together to support the election of Trump. Lachman treats the protagonists seriously: some of them knew what they were doing, and others were much more in the “try it for the lulz, and ended up at TSW!” mode. I feel like I’m reading an expansion of several posts here… As a companion, I keep relistening to the Neville Brother’s song Sons and Daughters. It seems appropriate to our age.

    I’m working on my retirement plan. I will ditch the current major source of income, which requires many hours in front of the computer daily, and drive a boat as long as I can see and hear. I got the license which allows me to be paid for the pleasure last summer. After that, my family can disperse my ashes in the bay.

    *since my house is about 160’ about the nearest water at sea level, that creek would have to rise a lot!

  105. @ Packshaud – I’m just commenting on your post, because it is a classic example of an “urban myth” (or maybe, a technocratic myth). It tells a simplistic story, one that, if true, should have the intended effect of shaming many people. (But, as spelled out below, it doesn’t).

    Your version says: “In 1998 The Lancet, which perhaps could be called THE Journal of Medicine, published a study linking the MMR vaccine with autism… Over time this got traction… people were started to not vaccinate their children.”

    I have heard this just-so story told so many times that I finally had to check it out for myself. The first thing to note is that the retracted paper can still be read in its entirety (albeit with the words “retracted” plastered on every page), here.

    This paper, written by clinical gastroenterologists, self-reportedly set out to explore “the hypothesis that the consequences of an inflamed or dysfunctional intestine may play a part in behavioural changes in some children” via the clinical investigation of “a consecutive series of children with chronic enterocolitis and regressive developmental disorder” in 12 children.

    When you read the paper’s conclusions, you find that the study could NOT link MMR vaccine with autism. It says this:

    “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.

    “If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to show whether there is a change in incidence or a link with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

    “A genetic predisposition to autistic-spectrum disorders is suggested by over-representation in boys and a greater concordance rate in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins. In the context of susceptibility to infection, a genetic association with autism, linked to a null allele of the complement (C)4Bgene located in the class III region of the major-histocompatibility complex, has been recorded by Warren and colleagues. C4B-gene products are crucial for the activation of the complement pathway and protection against infection: individuals inheriting one or two C4Bnull alleles may not handle certain viruses appropriately, possibly including attenuated strains.”

    Mythically, everyone knows that this paper fraudulently FOUND an association between autism and MMR. In the actual paper, the authors say plainly that they could NOT prove such an association existed. Why might they have even considered asking whether it existed?

    Well, perhaps because many of the parents of the children studied were already convinced of this? “Onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in eight of the 12 children, with measles infection in one child, and otitis media in another.” (these already existing parental suspicions are not at all inconsistent with the researcher’s far more tentative statement in their own conclusion: that individuals with certain genetic predispositions “MAY not handle certain viruses appropriately, possibly including attenuated strains”).

    Now the second part of the mythic narrative holds that this relatively low-powered, and inconclusive paper is supposed to have launched a million parents into immediate and devastating vaccination refusal.

    This is the part that really astounds me. While, presumably, some readers of The Lancet ARE parents, the vast majority of parents are not readers of the Lancet, and are unlikely to quote it or cite it as a reason for any decision at all. And yet, a million parents, are thought to have obtained and thumbed through a copy of The Lancet, noticed a teeny, insignificant study on the gut health of 12 children with behavioural issues, which made NO conclusive statements on the causation of same, and on that basis alone, decided not to vaccinate their children? It beggars belief.

    If it is true that there was increased reluctance to vaccinate around the time this paper came out, it is much likelier to have arisen from parents talking to other parents, informally, about the actual experiences they and their own children had had. But people noticing the significance of their own experience, and sharing that with other people, is NOT part of the mythic narrative. They could not have arrived at such doubts by themselves, they must have had a Big Bad Guru who led them astray.

    The subsequent martyrdom of the nominated Big Bad Guru, Andrew Wakefield, of course, may have turned that myth entirely on its head, so that instead of demonising him, as intended (or leaving him to fade into complete obscurity as he otherwise might have) it has turned him instead into a counterculture hero.

  106. @Steven Shelties,

    Another New Englander here, though I wasn’t born here and for approximately half my years I’ve lived away from New England. Usually by a mere few hundred miles, but that’s enough to notice the difference.

    I believe that a small-scale pseudomorphosis of English and native American culture took place in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century in New England, to an extent that wasn’t matched elsewhere in North America. Over the course of a century, large segments of the immigrant culture that started out rigidly hierarchical, conformist, and inimical to the native ecosystem took on completely opposite characteristics. This was not an easy or peaceful process, especially for the native peoples, and it included by far the bloodiest war (on a per capita basis) ever fought on North American soil, as well as the infamous witchcraft hysteria a generation later. But the upshot is that since the mid eighteenth century New England culture has been a half step (or a quarter step, perhaps) closer to the future “tamanous” pseudomorphosis our host anticipates for the continent’s long-term future.

    Not that New England as it runs today is some kind of collapse-resistant arcology, or immune in any way to the hazards of the future (or the present, for that matter). There never was a lot of good cropland here, and the fisheries are too depleted to take up the slack as they did in the past. What I do see are strong and durable vestiges of a can-do spirit, oriented not toward individual “prepping” but instead toward pitching in and maintaining local public infrastructure in the possible absence of central support or order. That includes schools and libraries.

    @Caryn Banker,

    Thank you for posting about your feelings about your Florida home, being aware of its transience, and appreciating it more because of that. I’ve been trying to express and explore the same kinds of feelings, here similarly close to present-day sea level next to an estuary in Massachusetts. What you said is so spot on.

  107. Your post on “en edjucated mind illuminated by revilation” reminded me of the Japanese martial arts idea of shu-ha-ri and the idea of the muses.

    Shu- memorization and mimicry of forms (look right in the mirror)
    Ha – internalization of those forms (learning the correct way to get into those forms).
    Ri – effective and spontaneous innovations. The ability to express forms that you were never taught, that still work because you have internalize the principles and can minifest them.

    Steven Pressfield has a similar idea (one I’ve heard you repeat in your own form) about how a writers first good book is at the bottom of several million words worth of garbage. And how books often seem to “write themselves “ and characters “tell you who they want to be.”

    If the mind is a receiver for a transmission coming from another plane , it stands to reason that a good deal of “tuning” and “noise filtering” is necessary before anything like a clear signal can be resolved.

    I’m curious if this is what happens over lifetimes. If the “tuning” of our perticular receiver carries over from life to life. Since we’ve already “drawn the line in space” once before.

    It also seems to relate to the higher self/ destiny, karma, will discussion from a few months ago. When we edjucate the mind to receive a perricualr form of illumination by the application of will, are we altering our destiny, or enabling our destiny to more fully express?

    Thank you for your time

  108. I’ve often found myself daydreaming about the concept of a Magical University.

    Courses included: Gardening/farming, Carpentry, Blacksmithing, Leather working, Pottery, (suggestions open), on the “Body” curriculum. Mathematics, Astrology, Music, Ecology, Botanics, Zoology, Philosophy, on the “Mind” curriculum. On the “Spirit” curriculum, Golden Dawn core (with its normal, celtic, polytheist, or heathen variants), Druidry, Raja Yoga, Santeria, Asatru, etc.

    It would have the goal of training you in the magical system of your preference, coupled with a trade that may allow you to sustain yourself in the long descent.

    Anything anyone would like to add to this thought experiment is welcome. 🙂

  109. Baboonery, that seems quite plausible.

    Arkansas, yes, that idea’s found in a lot of Theosophical literature; I think it was one of Blavatsky’s claims, though it’s been a long time since I read her works and I couldn’t swear to it at this point.

    Lunchbox, that’s good to hear. Thank you.

    Bogatyr, yes, I’m willing to load such heavy additional demands on those of you who live on the other side of the planet. I figure you can handle it. 😉

    James, that’s at least logically consistent. I don’t think it works, but the evidence I’d adduce for why it doesn’t work is evidence that materialists by and large insist isn’t real, e.g., out-of-body experiences.

    Dominique, a 80% reduction in population and an end to the use of nonrenewable resources would just about do it. No, I’m not suggesting this as a policy; it’s going to happen in due time, via the usual route of decline and fall, but that’s another matter.

    Doomandgloom, it depends. Some come from childhood programming you received from parents, schools, and the media; some come from the media you watch today (the basic message of all advertising is “your life sucks because you haven’t bought this product,” and since no one can afford every product, the takeaway you get from watching ads is “my life sucks”); some come from habits of thought you’ve picked up from various sources; some come from the thoughts of people around you — the phenomenon of the “contact high,” well known to those of us who made use of blotter paper back in the day, is matched by the phenomenon of the “contact low,” in which depressed feelings in one person communicate subliminally to others; some, if occult tradition is anything to go by, come from disembodied beings.

    StarNinja, oh dear gods. Ignore everything you hear from such a person, unless you want to become a pieceworker in a literary sweatshop, turning out interchangeable generic book-shaped objects to order for not much more than minimum wage. Take the MRUs and all the rest of the pretentious jargon and flush it down the nearest toilet. A fixation on that sort of thing is the reason why there are scores of gargantuan warehouses in the New Jersey suburbs of NYC full to the bursting with crates of books from the big publishers that were released with huge advertising campaigns and lavish reviews from all the usual paid reviewers, and had everything going for them, except that readers found nothing of interest in them, rolled their eyes, and left them on the bookstore shelves.

    You become a writer by reading books you love, reflecting on why you love them, paying attention to how the authors of those books handle prose, plotting, characterization, and all the other things that go into a novel, and then applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and the tips of your fingers to the keys on your keyboard, and trying to do something similar. It’s fine to be an amateur author; J.R.R. Tolkien was an amateur author, and he didn’t worry about MRUs, either — he studied the stories he loved, and started writing and telling stories like them, until the process of writing taught him to find his own voice and Middle-Earth came spilling out of his typewriter.

    We are in the early stages of a revolution in the publishing industry, as significant as the rise of the pulps in the early 20th century or the paperback revolution of the 1960s. Now as then, the big gatekeeper publishers are losing their grip on the market as many smaller and less spiritually constipated firms seize market share from them by scrapping the canned formulas and publishing things that haven’t been produced by way of a cookie cutter. Plan on catching that wave, and you won’t have to worry about MRUs — just about writing the stories you want to write, for the people who want to read them. That’s what I’m doing with The Weird of Hali — and if current market trends are anything to go by, I’ll get as much distribution and make more money going that way than I would have done by going with one of the big boys. You can do the same.

  110. Churrundo- what a lovely idea! A curriculum of balance, that seeks to educate body, mind, and spirit!

    I’d cast a vote for “healing arts” to be added to the “body” curriculum, as of course I practice one of them, and, like some of the others here, my “retirement plan” consists of continuing to practice it as long as eyes can see, ears can hear and hands can feel and minister, and seekers of healing come.

  111. Hi Booklover,

    The American welfare system is also obsessed with punishing people for the crime of poverty by forcing them into make-work. If there was any real work available, they wouldn’t be on welfare!

  112. Last month I got a copy of ‘The Conspiracy Book’, this month I got a copy of ‘The Occult Book’. Leaving these on my coffee table alone has been wonderful – the titles alone have inspired a lot of conversation with guests and has shown me that there are more people interested in these topics than initially let on. Always good to see that for some people – under the external image is a world hidden most of the time. Once it is let out a little it is liberating. Thank you as always.

  113. (reposted as I missed the reply window at the end of the previous one)

    Good Evening and thank you for your ongoing and interesting posting!

    What is the degree of objectivity/subjectivity involved when it comes to divinationary practices? I do not know much re mundane astrology but if a man, for example, was using Geomancy to answer a question involving finances and he sincerely believed it was a loss of poverty rather than a gain of monies and so treated Amissio (Loss) as a positive sign … would the system adjust to take into account his subjective impressions or would he just be wrong and possibly get the wrong answer?

    Would I be correct in assuming that context has a part to play in the Ingress interpretations eg since we know where all the planets etc will be for the next 1000 years can we do a Hari Seldon and get a view of the general sweep of world history from it? (although not knowing where the various capitals will be in even 100 years could be problematic). Would you be able to use forward dated ingresses to see when say the US would no longer be a single political entity etc?

  114. JMG,

    Huh. I never realized that my argument actually inadvertently committed me to accepting an overall materialist worldview. I mean, I still think there’s something distinctly wrong with the notion that a computer could simulate consciousness into existence, but that’s the not the right argument. Perhaps what I really object to is the notion that I could be such a simulation. Hmm.

    I’m reminded of Edward Feser’s criticism of various arguments for intelligent design: in order to make a probabilistic argument for the need for intervention in evolution, they had to accept a materialist account of teleology, which is a much larger concession.

  115. Re the retirement and nursing home question. My undergraduate major was cultural anthropology, so I tend to watch any specials dealing with the subject. Years ago I watched one that interviewed graduate students in anthropology at the university of Papua New Guinea. New Guinea is, of course, the subject of one of Margaret Mead’s published studies and some of the students were actually grandchildren of people who remembered having been interviewed by one of the better known figures in American anthropology. Most amusing though was the student who had done her field research in Berkeley, CA. on the topic of nursing homes. She explained to the interviewer how strange it seemed to her to see the way the elderly were treated in the US, since in her culture old people continued to live with and to be cared for by their families. I had many a chuckle at the idea that the ‘savages’ we Westerners used to study are now studying us.

    Similarly, I had a Japanese penpal who told me that he and his wife went to the local hospital each evening to help his father into his pajamas and put him to bed. The father was in the terminal stages of an illness, hence the hospitalization. It was evident that this was a social duty, not a necessity caused by lack of staff.


  116. @ churrundo

    Re the school

    May we see such a thing! I echo Scotlyn’s sentiments. For my part, I’d have to put a plug in for rhetoric, logic, and history. Sacred geometry in there somewhere? And I was always partial to the term “natural philosophy” for the sciences…

  117. Pogonip, thanks for your information on the American welfare system. In my comment I referred specifically to the situation in the wealthier European countries.

    Regarding UBI, there seem to be a variety of variations of this idea in the USA and Europe. The comment about intermediation was interesting; the fate of the rationing systems in Cuba and North Korea suggests the possibility, that a UBI would not be viable for very long.

  118. For anyone interested in the styrofoam-eating worms that came up in a previous discussion here, I have a thread at Permies (a permaculture forum) detailing the project here, with photographs:

    The short version: I have the worms, they are eating the styrofoam, it’s neat, discussion is progressing on evaluating the end product for safety and possible methods of further remediating what the worms produce to make it increasingly benign.

  119. @Peter Van Erp, since the Saker’s blog discovered and promoted Twilight’s Last Gleaming, and it has been read by lots of people with a keen interest in military strategy and positive feelings for Russia, I would not be surprised at all if they’ve read it, considered its value and decided to adopt it.
    I’m sure the Pentagon has paid attention to this too, but probably not policy makers, and I wonder if Trump knows what he risks blundering into in the case of Venezuela. If the Russians feel free to broadcast this, their intelligence is providing them a lot of confidence, and they intend this as a warning.
    But JMG might just make the history books with his novel.

  120. Will M, I’m certainly not foolish enough to fall for the philosopher king schtick; if we’ve learned anything over the last 2300 years, it’s that philosophers make lousy kings, and kings make lousy philosophers. No, the point of what I’m discussing is simply that different people are attracted to different goals. You practice one set of disciplines to attain union with God through love, a different set of disciplines for participating in the dance of magical power that holds the universe in being, and so on. If your passion is for knowledge — for “the order of art and science seen in a flash” — then a different kind of training may be more useful to you. It’s always possible to blur those distinctions, and to claim that since there are hades of green that are pretty yellow, and yellow shades into orange and orange into red, and therefore green is red — but that won’t help you read the traffic lights, you know.

    Corvus, I disagree. The only difference between this and previous examples is a difference of scale. The ecological collapses that doomed the Myceneans and the Mayans respectively were just as “global” to them — given the transport technologies of their time, their worlds were as big to them as ours is to us — nor is the current ecological shift affecting the whole globe equally. “It’s different this time” is a very popular slogan, but you know, every time I’ve made a prediction on the assumption that it’s no different this time, I’ve been right, and those who insisted that it really was different this time turned out to be dead wrong.

    Dominique, there has never been a time in human history when there were no wars and no negative internal or external side effects of any human society. Most hunter-gatherer societies, for for that matter, have a sky-high murder rate. That is to say, human beings are human beings and will reliably behave like human beings…

    Steve, interesting. All I can say is that I know a vast number of people who have had radically less positive experiences in American public schools, and very few (other than employees of the education industry) who say the sort of things you do. I admit I wonder what kind of feedback I’d get from the school where you teach if I talked to a student, rather than a teacher; still, local variations doubtless exist, and even in a corrupt and collapsing system there will be some success stories.

    Tripp, I’ll look forward to your story!

    David, true enough. I’m not surprised to see that coming from engineers — I have immense admiration for the technical skills of the engineering profession, but it’s also been my experience that if you want a crackpot proposal, get an engineer excited about something.

    Samurai_47, a lot of current Anthroposophists seem to have fallen into the trap of praising Steiner rather than listening to him. Check out Steiner’s book How To Know Higher Worlds, his fundamental handbook of spiritual training — it talks at quite some length about the goal of attaining seership.

    David, I suppose a government-funded jobs program for otherwise unemployable professors is one way to deal with unemployment… :-S

    Linda, I find it very hopeful indeed. Have you read Davy by Edgar Pangborn? You might enjoy it a great deal.

    Phutatorius, well, there’s a reason I have zero tolerance for neoconservatism…

    Warren, oh, it’s going to be a rough ride! As for Tesla, it’s going to be very interesting to see how that works out; my guess is that Musk will end up in an orange jumpsuit, but that’s just a guess. (If he gets arrested in Chicago, he can doubtless work something out…)

    Cicero, 1) It’s going to take a while for the West Coast to become the next Rust Belt. I’d give it at least another decade and more likely two or three. 2) Excellent! You’ve learned a valuable lesson from history. Life in a small to midsized city in an age of decline is much easier and safer than life in an isolated rural area, where anyone who wants what you have can get it by the simple expedient of shooting you dead from a mile off with a deer rifle.

    NomadicBeer, sure, right now industrial agriculture produces a lot of calories. Look up what happened during the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the collective farms ground to a halt and backyard gardeners stepped up to the plate and kept people fed. It’s also not a minor point that industrial agriculture can adjust to new climate conditions readily — a decision in a corner office, and ten million acres currently planted in hard red winter wheat get planted in dryland corn instead. The next step down is probably in the early 2020s, by the way, when the price of oil next goes through the ceiling.

    As for small towns in the PNW, yes, we looked into that. Those that had the amenities we wanted were all in the middle of real estate booms — and you’re quite right that most of them never quite got around to be becoming actual towns. Some parts of the east coast have actual towns; Sara and I live in one of them. We’re just across the river from a modestly sized city, but we’ve got something approximating an actual town center three blocks away, with City Hall, the post office, the library, and a variety of shops and restaurants right there. It’s quite pleasant.

    Kwo, glad to hear it.

    Christopher, I read that theory in an old book of comparative religion a long time ago, long enough that I no longer remember the details. The book pointed out in one group of Indo-European cultures, terms cognate with asura — Old Persian Ahura, Norse Aesir, etc. — are used for the good deities and terms cognate with deva are used for bad deities. In another group, it’s the other way around — deva is cognate with Deus, Theos, etc. It went on to postulate some kind of major cultural-political-religious schism among Indo-Europeans at a very early date. That’s as much as I remember at this point. As for your other questions, I don’t think anybody knows; certainly I don’t.

    Ryan, good. You also need to factor in where the efficiency and resilience comes into play — for example, a hybrid car seems both efficient and resilient if you don’t factor in the spectacular resource and energy cost of manufacturing it, which is much higher than what goes into an ordinary car.

    David, interesting. That last bit, especially — the attempt by the politically correct to insist that the color of your skin defines the content of your character doesn’t seem to be working very well.

    Steve, both are solar, and so is the goddess Sul. The sun has many aspects in Druid symbolism.

    Scotlyn, Michell argues that the fusion of the solar and telluric currents is what establishes the conditions for revelation, so I don’t think it’s accidental.

    Booklover, I don’t think that proves that the universe must exist, since it’s quite conceivable that it could not exist, and in that case neither would sentient beings. Certainly, though, you can argue that since you perceive a universe, there is at least one sentient being, because someone is perceiving the universe…

    Peter, thanks for the data points! And for the ad — I’ll see if the publisher of the forthcoming new edition will send the Russian firm a copy.

    Donnie, yes, exactly! And yes, exactly.

    Churrundo, what I’d like to add to it is that the university administration consists of a couple of secretaries and the president of the faculty senate, the cost to attend classes is low enough that nobody has to take out loans to attend, and it’s got maybe fifty teachers and a thousand students, tops.

    Forecastingintelligence, thanks for this! I don’t see how they can do anything else, since no option requiring positive action can get a majority in the House of Commons.

  121. Michael, you’re welcome and thank you!

    Warren, 1) It seems to vary from one oracle to another, but there’s a strong subjective and intuitive component in all divination. 2) That’s an intriguing question, but I don’t think anyone’s put it to the test yet.

    James, if you’re using the conceptual structures of materialism, your chance of becoming inadvertently committed to materialism goes way up! You’re right about intelligent design, too — it gives up far too much and then tries to get some of it back.

    DT, er, I don’t happen to know what a favicon is or how to get one. Yeah, I know, and when I was a kid we hiked to school three miles in the snow every morning… 😉

    Jen, thanks for this. Huzzah for the worms!

  122. @Chritopher Hennington and Patricia T,
    It struck me as weird too. Here in Japan, when some tragedy like that happens overseas, we get lots of on-the-scene footage, speculation on the suspects, perhaps a statement from the local authorities and within a day or two a certain amount of analysis from the Japanese punditry. This time, we got mostly the head of the nation crying and declaring this tragedy as some sort of doomsday, a diagramatic map of Christchurch and a few mostly still photos of the scene. I had the feeling that what they presented fit neatly with the internationalist progressive narrative. The perp reportedly had accomplices, but I’ve heard nothing about them. Instead it was all about “evil racism by a white guy.”
    I’m not a jackal, so I do not want to see snuff films and would never seek them out, but the next day or so, draconian laws were passed banning any ownership of what we have to admit is a key piece of the evidence that was available to the public. Furthermore, Zero Hedge wound up censored in New Zealand, despite never sharing the video. That site is well-known for being skeptical of the internationalist progressive narrative.
    It all stinks to high heaven.

  123. Dear JMG, I have a few questions. Sorry, I guess I’ve been saving them up.

    I wonder if you might add details to my fledgling list of things to consider for a site of possible relocation. This is different from a request for you to weigh in on any specific place.

    For instance, I recall you saying you looked at state and local laws (with an eye toward what red flags?), searched for the fraternal order(s) you associate with, investigated walkability and public transit, and medical/healthcare availability. Are there other things that were either deal-breakers (population, elevation or prevailing winds, particular ecosystems or regions, or certain local industries?) or must-haves (cool jazz joints (a la Owen Merrill), or a university library, for example). I’m curious to know what you thought to look for, or at, in your search (though I realize there was pleasant serendipity involved as well, in your most recent move).

    Speaking of Owen Merrill – I have become a loyal fan of the Weird of Hali series. As soon as I read one, I turn right back around and re-read it, they’re all that enjoyable. Thank you for those!

    And, speaking of fiction, I’m about to have my first fiction work published. Would it be in poor taste (or against your house rules) to mention it with a link to the site where it can be purchased?


  124. NomadicBeer:

    I cannot speak for all of New England, but here in our part of Vermont there are plenty of villages and small towns of the sort that you might be imagining. Eight miles east of us, Chester/Chester Depot is an irresistibly charming town of colonial and Victorian-era buildings, under a thousand residents and a walkable downtown. There’s an independent hardware store, several banks, a nice library, restaurants, a small but well-stocked grocery store where they wrap your meat up in butcher’s paper instead of plastic and foam trays, two bookstores, a feed store, post office, several churches and a smattering of professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc) along with a variety of tradespeople. Our village, Andover, is much smaller (about 470 residents) and is very rural, but we do have the Town Hall and a community church plus everybody pretty much knows everyone else. Just down the mountain to the west is the village of Weston, home of the famous Vermont Country Store, much smaller than Chester (about 550 residents), but it boasts a post office, several stores, the last pump-before-you-pay gas station around, and the Weston Playhouse with first-rate stage productions and often Broadway actors. (My son took a selfie last year with Christopher Lloyd in the lobby of the Playhouse). Weston also has an active historical society of which I am a member and volunteer. In many ways the villages near us are quite similar to the European villages I’m familiar with, mostly in Germany and Scandinavia.


    It isn’t just doctor’s offices that are in love with faxes. When my husband had to close a late relative’s utility company account, he was told that he could not email a request, could not mail it and could not even drop off the written request in person, it had to be faxed. Period. This was not some small-town power company, the relative lived about a half-hour drive from New York City. If our town clerk had not volunteered to fax it for us, we’d have had to mail the darn thing to a relative in another state who works at an office where he could fax it. Pain in the butt.

  125. Thanks for the Davy recommendation. Thriftbooks had it in stock, so it is on the way to me. Many blessings to you and Sara for all you do.

  126. How do you move on? Find hope in broken and corrupted systems….the theater of the absurd which corrals and defines our lives….everybody stuffin their hand in your pocket. How do you face the day? What do you get up and say to yourself?

  127. @Jen, that is absolutely fascinating! In Japan we have tons of plastic waste, including chunks of styrofoam in our field. Lots of litterbugs. Anything that might help reduce that load in the future is worth looking into, so I copied and pasted a lot of conversation on your web page for future reference and will look into chances to put it into practice.

  128. @ Darkest Yorkshire,

    I’m playing a game called This War of Mine, which is supposed to be a really accurate portrayal of one of the Eastern European wars (I think the Bosnian war?).

    Your characters are trapped in a war torn city and have to find food, water, and medicine while protecting themselves from other people. Your characters can become sick, injured, or depressed. They can run away or kill themselves. Yes it sounds like a terribly depressing game, but I like that it’s based on real events and I like that it offers a glimpse of collapse.

    I had already noticed the civilization-type games perpetuate the myth of eternal growth. (And I play them anyway…) There are other games out there. One I played was about drilling oil, and at the end, you drilled it all and there was no more oil left and it gave some “Congratulations, you destroyed the environment!” type message at the end, which I though was pretty cool. I played another one called “Dictator” where you have to make all these decisions as a dictator of a banana republic. It was pretty cool, too, (though terribly glitchy) pointing out that there’s always a trade-off and you can’t just do what you want, even dictators are beholden to the people who hold levers of power. (For more on that, I recommend the youtube video “Rules for Rulers” by CGP Grey).

    Jessi Thompson

  129. Discursive meditation has been a frequent theme on this blog and its precursor. Meditate is derived from Latin meditari, and as far as I can tell, that word is used by most authors in a similar way to English meditate. However, in Vergil’s Eclogues, where it occurs several times, all instances I have seen involve music, e.g. Eclogue 6,8:

    agrestem tenui meditabor harundine Musam.

    “I will meditate a country Muse on my slender reed”,

    where most translators say “I will play a country tune”. Taking the word at its face value, it seems that in addition to the time-honored meditation forms of sitting silently in a quiet room, sitting under a tree or walking in a garden, there is also a form of meditation while playing music (sitting on a meadow, in this case).

  130. JMG said “the attempt by the politically correct to insist that the color of your skin defines the content of your character doesn’t seem to be working very well.”

    For all of their professed opposition to racism, the politically correct have embraced their own brand of racist bigotry and hate speech that is for all practical purposes identical to that of the white supremacists, but simply reverses the value judgments. In the last few decades we’ve gone from Martin Luther King’s famous speech in which he said that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin to supposedly progressive liberals arguing precisely the opposite. Even more ironic is that so many of the people peddling anti-white racism and yelling about the evils of white privilege are themselves privileged whites. As the saying goes, what you hate you imitate.

    Fortunately, I think more and more people are seeing through the hypocritical rhetoric of the social justice left and its Rescue Games.

  131. Hello Mr. Greer,
    I have one quick question about something you wrote quite a long time ago that could potentially be of great personal importance to me. Previously, you wrote:
    “Organic farming is an excellent case in point. In the last century organic agriculture has made immense strides, to the point that it’s now possible to grow a spare but adequate diet year round for one person on less than 1000 square feet of soil, with only hand labor and no fossil fuel inputs at all, and do it while increasing the long term fertility of the soil. These methods may turn out to be our civilization’s greatest gift to the future, provided they survive the approaching age of decline. Today they’re covered in detail in dozens of books; whether that will be true in a hundred years depends on what we do right now.”
    On the original “long descent” post back in 2004. I have a great personal interest in living as close to self-sustainability as I can, and I was wondering if you could recommend me any of the types of books you are talking about here. I tried to look for myself but there are simply too many books on the topic, many of them being quite obviously scams, but me being not very experienced in the field I don’t quite know which of the dozens of books I should be buying if I wish to live on an adequate diet using a small plot of land. I would really appreciate it if you could just point me to some of the types of books you’re talking about here. Thanks!

  132. @ Kevin, Caryn, Tripp et al re: retirement

    “What will I do when I’m old?” is something I’ve been struggling with for some years now. Late 40s, a rolling stone with no family and little in the way of savings. I was in the HE industry, where I was an early collapse-before-the-rush participant 🙂 I’ve looked at various options – herb-raising, TCM, and some craft skills being among them, but all of them failed the “Can I do it if I get frail, or if my sight goes?” test. I *think* I’ve found a couple of possibilities, which I’m pursuing now while I still have a reasonably good income to fund the training… (but not willing to say here what they are, sorry).

    As I say, I have no family, so I can’t use that as a fall-back. Even so, I don’t recommend relying on that. Caryn’s comment about Hong Kong notwithstanding, I live in Beijing now and previously lived for some years in SIngapore, and in both countries I’ve seen plenty of more or less emaciated old people going from trash bin to trash bin collecting paper, cardboard, and plastic to sell for a few pennies. It’s not a future I look forward to.

    @Warren, Scotlyn, et al re: UBI

    One of the aspects of UBI that I haven’t seen discussed much is its role as a broad investment in creativity. As Scotlyn mentions, people get up to all kinds of positive things when they’re not obliged to chase the next meal. In the UK, many of the biggest and most famous music bands the country produced between the 60s and the 80s were only able to get started because of very lax rules about unemployment benefits. Musicians would claim the dole and use that to live while they got up to speed with their skills. Sure, most bands that did that disappeared without trace, but the ones that made it big probably repaid the entire money spent in terms of soft power, taxes, etc. Similarly, one would expect to see more garage inventors hoping to be the next Apple or Microsoft. So, there are good arguments to hope that a UBI might pay for itself.

    @Churrundo: I also love the sound of that. I know people in Russia who have informally been doing something not unlike that, and I’m hoping to get back there to study what they’re doing in more detail, and to see how it might be transferrable to other contexts. You may also want to check out West Rise Junior School in the UK, where the children raise water buffalo in marshland , and engage in archaeological reconstruction, amongst many other things ( as well as this article about a ‘Viking School’ in Norway (

  133. Violet said:

    “When putting some hexafoils in my life though, a space opened up and what I had confused with me suddenly differentiated into a malicious Other.”

    Something similar has happened to us a couple of times with feng shui. We’ll start feeling like something is out of balance and make an elemental change in our living space and suddenly! Bam! Someone I thought was a friend is unmasked as a person to get away from as quickly as possible. It’s very odd how quickly and distinctly it happens.

    That said, the hexafoil thing sounds intriguing…

  134. @ The Green Lift, I missed your comment earlier — my apologies. Something that I’ve been wondering is if television — and perhaps video games as well — operate differently than social media. Perhaps television and video games are more analogous to glamour and so can be dispelled with sharp iron, whereas social media addiction is closer to obsession and so responds better to hexafoils. Then again, perhaps the devil is in the details — maybe the subjective factor of the individual rather than the technology proves more important. Someone may be glamorized by one thing and obsessed by the other. Maybe it’s the level of consciousness that the individual resonates with that proves the most important detail for finding an appropriate tool. More research is clearly needed.

    @ Peter Van Erp, thank you!

    @ Jen, if I may, I wish to applaud your efforts. I read the thread from the link you posted, and the work you’re doing is seriously cool. It’s utterly delightful to see the pictures of the worms transform styrofoam into what appears to be something much closer soil. Many thanks for sharing your results!

  135. Hey, btw, Jessi Thompson!

    Congrats and best wishes for your life with a new little human in tow. There’s nothing quite like it…

  136. @Phutatorius–I don’t know where you live, but in my neck of the woods, I can go to any public library and order a book through inter-library loan. There is sometimes a small charge to cover shipping costs. Perhaps you could read your hard-to-find book in this way.

  137. Jen,

    Thanks for the update! The styrofoam-eating worm farm sounds amazing. I frequent on occasion, and have an apple or two to my credit (for my input on rocket mass heaters and coppice groves).

    Your worm interest sounds like very useful research!

  138. I would like to put a vote in for dissensus regarding end-of-life and multi-generational house holds. Some of the discussions in Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal” are pertinent. Not everyone wants to be in “one big happy family”.

    In the beginning of the book, Gawande talks about the common adoption of moving away from living in multi-generational homes when economics provide that option.

    He also points out that living to a very elder age is also a more common phenomenon in this era. So I think It is easier to value something that is uncommon.

    As part of my own experience, I used to interview nursing home residents as part of an annual assessment regarding how well nursing homes were doing their jobs. I met many types of people. I believe it is overly optimistic to think that everything will be hunky dorey if/when we go back to taking care of our elders in our homes. For starters it’s often traditional for the youngest daughter to be the one who ends up taking care of their parents, which can really suck when you are the youngest daughter and would like to do something like get married or go to school. And the older female regularly loses status when her spouse dies. Previously in Europe the daughter in law became mistress of the house. And even in present day India being a widow can be very difficult, the stories I’ve heard from friend from India is that the older women are expected to completely recede into the background.

    There are some seniors who out live ALL of their family, spouses, children, siblings, grandchildren so having a plan for them would be a good idea.

    There are also people who are complete jerks. So a senior being stuck with abusive children or children stuck with abusive parents…

    I’m more inclined to see the changes in society as big compromises, we may see improvements in some of the concerns we have now, but I those changes will come at a cost, and gains and loses are likely to be unevenly distributed just as they are today.

    On a personal level I am very selfishly grateful that I live in an era in which I am not required to live with my family (I love my sisters dearly, that does not mean sharing a kitchen or bathroom would be happy for any of us) I am a single woman with 5 cats and an interest in “unusual “ spirituality, but I have not been accused of being an evil doer with designs on other people’s spouses or property. I am allowed to own my own property and generally enjoy the privacy that affords. I know in other some other places, my independence would be frowned upon.

    I do agree that lower technology or “retro” does not mean we HAVE to embrace “retro” social systems or the “worst” social systems, but there really is no guarantee that what comes out in the end won’t be harsh and unjust.

    In the future how power is distributed/shared among the generations and the sexes could end up even worse than it is now.

    In that light it is a good time to appreciate things that are certainly going to experience changes in the long descent, whether that is landscapes or social structures.


    P.s. JMG I would say I practice a bare minimum of natural magic, I am more of a “prayer” than a mage, but re-reading your DMH has me thinking I should try to be braver.

  139. @Caryn Banker, I completely relate to what you said about appreciating a tenuous, temporary place. I live in New Orleans. Not only will it be underwater in my lifetime, it already WAS underwater and I experienced that up close and personal. The fragility, decay, and beauty are palpable. For three years I have been constructing my dream garden in my backyard under a canopy of ancient oak trees, filled with tropical plants. It has been the most spiritual and amazing experience of my life. Knowing it is impermanent adds a particularly poignant beauty. Heck, I don’t even own the property, I am a renter, so I could lose it for lots of mundane reasons. ps – be sure to spend time on Honeymoon Island west of Tampa.

    @Jackdawcorvus: Years ago, I panicked about the coming decline. I was a regular on the old LATOC board. I prepped a LOT – I was a full-on doomer. I was also depressed, frantic, and very unhappy. Katrina didn’t start me down this path, I was already on it, but the storm did put a rocket booster in my motivation. Eventually, it slowed, and then stopped. I don’t regret the skills I picked up during that time. I am a skilled cook, for example. But I do regret the mental imbalance. It was a waste of precious time.

    In many ways, Katrina is the best thing that could have happened for me. I have already experienced a catastrophic collapse. I’m not that afraid of it anymore, and witnessed how amazingly people showed up for it.

    Now my approach is all about spirituality, and social networks. I don’t have much in the way of material goods, but I have a rich, beautiful life filled with friends, plants, music, and lots of service work. If I don’t survive, I’m not much bothered by it. I don’t talk about what I learned with other people – they don’t know, and they don’t care. Life goes on, and I’m so much happier living it while I can.

    My question, Mr. Greer: I finally read Twilight’s Last Gleaming and I loved it – so much that I read through the night and had to call in sick the next day. Will you ever write another geo-political thriller?

  140. Hmm, I’d never heard of MRUs before tonight. It makes sense, though, that our materialist society would come up with a way to quantify and standardize storytelling, so that it all becomes so many billiard balls bouncing ’round the table, so many neutrons bouncing ’round the reaction chamber.

  141. Temporaryreality, my list also included access to certain foods — my wife has serious food allergies, and I grew up eating Japanese food and like to have a good Asian grocery nearby — as well as a decent public library system, reasonable rents, state taxes that weren’t too exorbitant, state bureaucracies that don’t load freelance authors with too many regulations and special taxes, places to live that are at least 50 feet above sea level, at least one really good used bookstore, and an assortment of other things. I’d advise you to start by taking a notebook and just writing down everything you thing you’d like in a town, then everything you really don’t want; let both lists sit for a while, add and subtract things from them as needed, and then put them in order from most to least important. That process will give you a good idea of what you personally will want to look for.

    Thank you for your enthusiasm regarding The Weird of Hali! I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of the remaining books in the series. As for your own fiction, many congratulations, and you may certainly announce the publication and include a link on a forthcoming monthly open post; that’s one of the things those are for.

    Linda, glad to hear it. Pangborn’s one of the forgotten masters of SF, and Davy is to my mind his best book.

    Dennis, I don’t let myself get bent out of shape by things that are (a) universal throughout human history, and (b) only half the story. There are also wondrous things happening, and it’s worth making an effort to remember that and orient your mind toward them.

    Pogonip, I tend to think that people who behave that way should be shown politely to the borders and told to go away and never come back. The same thing goes for those who spend all their time yammering about how awful the US is — if they think that little of it, let ’em go somewhere else.

    Matthias, fascinating! That makes a great deal of sense, too; playing a musical instrument requires much the same sort of calm focused concentration as meditation does, and of course in many Asian countries music is indeed taught as a meditative practice. Do you happen to know if that usage appears elsewhere?

    Baboonery, no argument there. It’s just possible, by the way, that when people look back on the twilight of what we might as well call the Social Injustice movement, the embarrassing collapse of the Mueller investigation will come to be seen as the turning point, the moment at which it became just that little bit too obvious that behind all the talk about justice, there was nothing but class bigotry and the hatred and rage that came out of it.

    Apocryphial, if you’ll check out my book Green Wizardry, you’ll find a resource list that includes the books I recommend from personal experience. I also highly recommend the Green Wizards forum, which has a great deal of information on the subject.

    Candace, well, prayer might be a good place to start, then. If you feel inspired to do something with the DMH, by all means, but work your way through the course of study up to the point where practical magic is introduced — don’t try to jump ahead and skip the necessary preliminaries.

    Rose, thank you! That’s high praise. I don’t know whether I’ll write another thriller; I didn’t really plan on writing that one. Still, I certainly won’t close the door to that possibility.

    Cliff, oh, there’s a whole mess of formulaic gimmicks taught by writing professors, and most of them are that sort of pseudotechnical drivel. If you want to write hackneyed, cliche-ridden prose that will be forgotten six weeks after it sees print, that’s the way to go about it.

  142. In keeping with my preparation for The Long Descent I have contracted for a hybrid offgrid solar system with a 1 kW battery bank. I have little hope the grid, which here in Australia benefits from a massive solar component, will in anywise be reliable in the decades to come so taking personal control of power, water, etc here in my local town is just common sense to me. I would miss the internet and cell networks if they failed I suppose, but they are not the only means of electronic communication to be had.

    Once the TV is turned off and a person disengages from political debate, it’s amazing what can be achieved. The world of nation states will go to hell in hand-basket regardless of any action taken so why bother with it. The Roman empires could not saved, neither any other empire in the history of the word. Don’t beat your head against a brick wall.

  143. HI JMG and everyone,
    You might find this global movement started in Sweden on flying shaming interesting:

    Working in an airline I can say they’re not at a point where they’re sweating yet. Seeing as I’m working hard on an exit strategy and also to work a set of family arragements that hopefully reduced flying as much as possible, I wish all power to it! I wouldn’t mind doing a long-haul train or sea trip anyhow.


  144. Hey jmg
    Something that has been bugging me lately is the fact that an author whose book you recommended in “green wizardry”, garret hardin writer of “filters against folly” allegedly is the guy who invented the tragedy of the commons and was a eugenicist.
    While I understand that this is probably a case of taking the best of a person and avoiding their personal flaws I just want to know if you think those claims are true or are they some kind of misunderstanding.

  145. @JMG YES! Thank you! That was the frustratingly non-explicit hint, from your essay, that I was following up. I shall be taking an interest in Mitchell’s work, then.

  146. JMG,

    Thank you for the advice. After that little encounter, I felt my self esteem flitting away but it was your words on literature and culture that reminded me that professional manuscript reviewers maybe don’t know everything. Your practical approach to writing has greatly improved my own work. Thanks again for the perspective!

  147. JMG – thanks as always for your weekly posts, Open Posts, and Magic Mondays. I have a question that is more Magic Monday but keep forgetting to ask!

    Over the past four months I’ve had good meetings and conversations with several headhunters (thanks to Ellen if the Roads!). I wanted to check in with the headhunters (partly to give a friendly nudge) and I was wondering what the right day and hour astrologically would be to do that?

    Thanks for your help.

  148. Hi John,
    I am a real big fan of Twilight’s Last Gleaming, the next edition is already on pre-order. Looking forward to read it.
    In addition to Peter’s “Ad” I found this article on Zerohedge this morning:
    Also the Chinese are now having these container-launchers for cruise missiles well in time before 2025.
    The Venezuela crisis also seems to go in the envisaged direction.
    Your predictions are really amazing, which glass-ball are you using?

  149. Apocryphial,
    One book I’ve gone back to over and over again is “Teaming With Microbes” by Lowenfels and Lewis. It’s heavy on actively aerated compost teas, which I’ve never bothered about too much, but generally chock full of the kind of useful information about building organic soil that you’re looking for.


  150. JMG, you scared me with your above comment: “at least 50 feet above sea level.” My parents live in Cape Coral and I’ve been considering moving there. I knew there was a risk but “at least 50 feet” makes it sound more like a death sentence than a risk. Do you expect SW Florida to join Atlantis and, if so, how soon?

  151. @JMG:

    Thank you for your interest in the musical meditation! My going in Latin poetry is slow, and I don’t know of other poets who use meditari in a musical sense. I will see if I can find a really good dictionary with examples of usage.

  152. @ Tripp, that’s fascinating! I’m not surprised, though. What I’ve been finding is that in the inner dimensions of self there is quite a bit of permeability. Other people are in me, and undoubtedly I am in other people. Since working to cut energetic ties to many old “friends” I’ve found that my dreams have changed in their quality of light; now they are much brighter, both in terms of luminosity and emotional tone. This leads me to conclude this thing I call “self” isn’t something that’s pure and refined like sugar, but something mixed, dark and syrupy like molasses!

    There’s a certain disturbing quality to this process, as I feel you eluded to in your comment. We don’t really know people in their depths, and they don’t know us. I imagine that setting down a spiritual path implies cutting ties with others, and it feels good to clean up other people’s messes in the Aegean Stables of my soul. Still, there’s something more than a little melancholy about the process, too. With so many people I thought I loved them — and probably did — but loved much more how much I reflected in their eyes and the dysfunctional games we played!

    The hexafoil is exciting to me for sure. A big part of it is that it’s a game learning how to draw them; doing it over and over again with the compass and protractor patterns begin to emerge. I can see the angular relationships emerging as sextiles and trines. I can think of the significance of the seven circles that comprise the finished shape. At a certain point yesterday I realized the pattern was internalized enough so I could draw them free hand. With time, I’ll be able to draw them in full detail in my mind.

    Interestingly, while drawing them a few days ago I felt that there was some sort of force attempting to prevent me; messing up the movement of my compass and making the end result look horrible. Redoubling my will I sketched out another ten in my notebook and the opposition slithered from sight. In prayer, it became clear that I should post one immediately above my altar so that while I pray it’s in my field of vision.

    @ Just the usual Baboonery,

    If I may, to my sensibility the politically correct tend to just dress up Victorian sensibilities of the White Man’s Burden in full drag. The entire discourse around cultural appropriation is a case in point. What I’ve observed is that functionally this doctrine serves to police the margins of whiteness to prevent dissident people of pale skin from going native. An example; on an herb walk I led I’ve literally gotten shade for studying Western European Herbalism because it’s “culturally appropriating” First Nations because it involves Nature in some way! No matter that literally every herb that I discussed was a European culinary herb, still I got lectured for being a little too passionate about the greenery. This implies to me that the entire political correct gestalt has nothing to do with what its stated claims. It’s a bait and switch. The prevailing practice of it has little to do with cultural sensitivity and everything to do with enforcing rigid conformity. No thanks!

  153. Re retirement

    I’d agree that “not retiring” in the traditional sense is a good plan. My goal is simply to shift from full-time work to more part-time, possibly including writing if this recent surge of creativity continues. (I’d always seen myself as teaching mathematics part-time at the local two-year UW campus, but alas, that appears to be a vanishing possibility. I could tutor, however.)

    The key, as I see it, is to moderate and manage one’s expectations and to examine very carefully what produces happiness within you. (I would suggest, contrary to the narrative of the society around us, it is *not* material consumption and possessions.) I make a good salary, I will be the first to admit, but my wife and I ruthlessly leverage that good fortune by living well within our means. (It helps that she grew up lower/working class and once had to work herself off welfare as a single mother. The woman knows money management and frugality.) We live on the working class side of a working class town and have continued to pare down our possessions. My contentment has only grown as we’ve done this, but it has also reduced the amount I will require to keep that standard of living going forward. One of the best methods of having more is to need less.

    I observe my parents, bless them, who are retired and living in a very nice gated covenant retirement community in northern FL (to be fair, a region where both of them are from) in a very, very nice house that is twice the size of mine and much, much more expensive. They also have a 30-year mortgage and will be 70 years old this fall. (I, on the other hand, have a ~$30k mortgage in my later 40s and plan on owning my d— house, thank you. Have I mentioned my community’s very affordable housing?) Years ago, my father told my brother and me, only half-jokingly, not to expect much in the way of inheritance as he planned to get buried with his last dime. I can’t fault him for that–it’s their money, after all, and I certainly don’t see myself as being owed any of it. (My brother and I have, however, gone through their house and staked our claim on the items we intend to take from their estate: I get the half-eroded/half-raw river rock we found in the stream behind the house we lived in when I was five and he was three, while my brother gets the railroad spike we found behind the house we lived in when I was eight and he was six. Everything else can go.)

    To be fair again, I once thought I wanted such things. I once yearned for the urban loft yuppie lifestyle. I know better know, having experienced small-town life and better understanding what truly makes me happy.

    So, living within more moderate means, dispensing with the narrative of this rather insane society we live within, and finding happiness rooted in things other than things.

    As two very wise individuals observed:

    “Beware all forms of greed, for one’s life does not consist of one’s possessions.” Yeshua bar Yosef (Luke 12:15)

    “He who has enough is rich.” Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching, ch. 33)

  154. Jen,
    If you find a lab that will do testing, post the cost here or on a crowd-funding site. I would chip in to cover expenses, as I’m sure would many others.


    The best books for you will be written specifically for your location. The Encyclopedia of Country Living is a great all-around reference written by a long-time homesteader and is my most recommended book. It has everything from gardening to livestock to butchering animals. Here in the NE, I would recommend anything by Eliot Coleman if you’re interested in market gardening, which is quite different from subsistence gardening. Joel Salatin is great for small livestock. Green Wizard’s forum is also awesome. I haven’t been on in a few years but there were some very smart and interesting people who were keen to help and discuss and answer questions. I keep planning to rejoin, but internet time is at a premium.

    No matter the book, the only real way to learn is to actually start growing food. I had a market garden for three years and have been producing my own dairy, eggs, meat and vegetables for 8 years, and I am still afforded plenty of opportunity to learn from my mistakes.

    And I’m nowhere near ready for the grocery stores or feed co-ops to close. My favorite advice for anybody who wants to start growing their own food is to forget all about “self-sufficiency”. That is all-or-nothing thinking. Farmers were never self-sufficient, they always supported and drew support from the community around them. Start small and slowly add as you gain experience. This is advice I did not follow btw. I moved from the city and started unmanageably large. I was completely overwhelmed before cutting way back and growing my farm more, so to speak, organically. I read a lot of books but every single thing I did, plants or livestock, required years of adjustments and tinkering before I found a system that worked at even a basic level for me on my land.


  155. Caryn,

    I posted it last night and I, too, hope it doesn’t come off too strong. It’s great you are open to talking, which is one of the very key things that has been dropped from discourse in society.

  156. John–

    Re the class tensions in this country and the counter-intuitive role Trump has played as working-class spokesman, I saw this post this morning:

    The quote, in full:

    “I’m smarter than they are, I went to better schools than they did, I have better apartments than they have, I’m better educated all around. I have a much more beautiful house, much more beautiful anything. And I’m president and they’re not.”

    — President Trump, quoted by The Hill, on “liberal elites.”

    “Liberal elites” need to understand what is going on if they want to counter him for 2020. This is a grudge match in many ways. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” as it were. Trump is able to act as champion of a despised working class despite his wealth and elite upbringing in part because he has cast himself (and is, in many ways) as someone similarly-spurned by this upper and upper-middle class liberal set. I don’t care for the man personally (similarly, I doubt I would have cared for Andrew Jackson personally, whom I see Trump as paralleling in many ways), but at a certain level I must admire his sheer audacity. He pulled off the greatest electoral upset since Truman defeated Dewey and it is entirely possible he’ll do it again if the Dems can’t get their act together.

  157. As a retired nurse I’d like to weigh in on the notion that Americans abandon their old people to homes. In fact I have often been amazed at the dedication people give for years on end to their aged relatives. Most of the time people send their old people to homes because we no longer have a society in which there is a home base, i.e., no one is home.
    We also drag out the dying process so that the period of real frailty can last many years.

    If someone needs 24 hour care someone has to be home to provide it. Quite often, everyone has a job.

    It is true, though, that less old people and their children no longer expect to live together. In my case it is because my children have moved fairly far away and my husband and I love living in rural West Virginia. But my kids did not grow up here.

  158. A regular lurker here: Random thoughts spurred by the insightful dialog above:
    1. I’ve heard two Trump jokes this week told by a normal person: someone other than late-night comedians. These are the first I can remember since he was elected………maybe this is a sign of normalization/acceptance, moving on…..In place of hair-on-hire- doom and gloom.
    2. Guaranteed minimum income: I guess this rubs me wrong….I would much rather see work programs like the 1930’s NRA/WPA. These have given the nation treasures that we value to this day (murals, national parks, lodges, trails, beautification, arts) that never would have happened otherwise, while giving otherwise unemployed “Hoe Boys” skills, self worth derived from hard work creating something beautiful and useful, a sense of belonging to something bigger than ones self.
    3. Instead of guaranteed income, I would lean toward practical health care for all. I personally know of several people remaining in crappy, make-work, soul crushing, dead end jobs who would otherwise strike out on their own and start their own business. Anecdotally, it feels like there is alot of pent-up creative energy waiting to be let loose. Maybe the “Medicare for All” movement is a start, if the medicare were reformed, and broadened to include more traditional medicine options, and less beholden to big pharma and sick-care oligarchies.
    4. Churrundo, maybe your university is how wonderful, iconoclastic places like Colonial Williamsburg can become relevant and essential.

  159. Re your response to Dominique: Back around 1960 the joke was that the planet’s human population would continue to rise until there was “standing room only” and that should solve the problem. (Snicker, snicker.) In fact various crises would be bound to arise along the way before we got to standing room only. One of which would be mass migrations, resulting in mass resistance to those migrations; just what we are seeing today. But few people want to talk about population levels. China’s one child policy was roundly condemned. Talk of limits became unfashionable decades ago so that now you are called names if you venture to speak about such things. Just the same, I don’t assume that our leaders are stupid. It’s just that the truth is “bitter, old and wrinkled” to quote a 19th Century London poet.

  160. DT, thanks for this. I’ll talk to my IT guy and see what would be involved in getting one.

    Tom, delighted to hear it. I encourage you to talk to people who’ve lived off-grid for a while — there are a lot of details they’ve learned by experience and can pass on to you. As for empires, exactly — civilizations have life spans, just like human beings, and neither one has any chance of living forever.

    YCS, now that’s a good sign. When people start realizing that real change starts by changing your own lifestyle, then real change becomes possible.

    J.L.Mc12, do the research yourself. It’ll give you some useful experience in sorting through competing claims.

    Scotlyn, you’re most welcome. It’s Michell, btw — throw in that extra T and you’ll get the wrong guy.

    StarNinja, you’re also most welcome! Right now manuscript reviewers who work for the big publishers know perfectly well that they’re on board a sinking ship, and they’re motivated to do everything they can to bully and browbeat writers into conforming to the big-publisher model of writing. That benefits the big publishers but it does not benefit authors. At this point, big-publisher contracts have gotten so predatory and the support given to authors and their works so minimal that bestselling authors are bailing out on the big firms and going into self-publishing or working with small presses, and making more money than they’d get from the big boys. So relax, have a beverage of your choice, and then sit down and get writing.

    MP, either a Wednesday during the planetary hour of Mercury or a Thursday during the planetary hour of Jupiter.

    B3rnhard, US foreign policy is so stereotyped at this point that a well-trained pigeon could predict it. As for the cruise missiles in shipping containers, I simply tried to put myself in the mindset of a Chinese military technology planner and guess, from that perspective, how to get cruise missiles to an African nation without calling attention to the fact. (Mind you, it’s just possible that somebody in Beijing read Twilight’s Last Gleaming and took a few helpful notes…

    Jason, we don’t know how fast the seas will rise as the climate continues to shift. 50 feet above sea level seemed like a prudent margin of safety to me, but of course your mileage may vary.

    Matthias, you’re most welcome. Please let me know what you find! That’s something that would be worth exploring.

    David, yep. Julius Caesar was a very rich man from a very rich family, and he became the spokesman for the interests of the Roman masses. That’s actually a standard theme at this phase in the historical cycle: you get a kleptocratic elite that’s basically running the country into the ground because it refuses to notice what its preferred policies are doing to everyone outside the privileged classes, and then you get someone from that elite who breaks ranks with it, sides with everyone outside the privileged classes, and rides that wave straight into power. Our Orange Julius is following a very familiar historical trajectory.

    Glenn, fascinating. That’s something I’ve been watching for, so thank you.

    Phutatorius, I don’t think our leaders are stupid, either, but they’ve noticed that talk of limits very often gets inflated into apocalyptic fantasy, and they’ve learned to discount it for that reason. Over the long term, that’s not going to turn out well, but no politician can afford to think in the long term these days…

  161. What do you think are the three worst places to be in the US for the long descent, why? Cultural, resources, etc.

  162. Hi JMG,

    I’m thinking of purchasing a bunch of your fiction books (including getting into the Weird of Hall series), but am unsure about whether to go with the ebook (costs less, so I could buy more books), or with the book book (which I could eventually donote to the library). Just out of curiousity, do you get paid the same for both versions?

  163. John–

    Re your reply to Phutatorius just now

    “Over the long term, that’s not going to turn out well, but no politician can afford to think in the long term these days…”

    Rather reminds me of the ending of Foundation and Empire where the hermit psychohistorian is explaining to the two envoys from the Foundation how he knew that Bel Riose’s advance against the Foundation would fail because the decay of the Empire had progressed to the point that it was impossible for a strong general to exist in the field. Either a strong general would turn his sights on the throne, if a weak Emperor ruled, or else that strong general would be removed from play (imprisoned, killed, or otherwise eliminated) if a strong Emperor ruled, as that Emperor could not afford to allow any serious rivals to develop.

    Similarly, the dynamics of our situation work to prevent the enactment of policies which might actually mitigate some of the impacts of the trajectory we are following.

  164. David by the Lake – Whereabouts in northern Florida? My children are moving me into a Gainesville retirement center that costs ~$2k/month (most economical) but includes both board and room. I’ll be living with my equally aged gentleman cat in a “deluxe efficiency” apartment in a community-oriented building with as many residents as your average village, which suits my tastes down to the ground. [And my family thinks I’m on the far out end of green-and-simple.] I did a rough estimate of my share of its energy and resource uses footprint, and it comes out better than my current 2-bdrm house in Albuquerque. For what it’s worth, in case anyone else is looking at retirement in North Atlantis.

    Oh, and there is a green burial ground within fairly easy driving distance of Gainesville. They know my wishes.

    Just for kicks, I ordered another copy of Green Wizardry and donated it to the library of the local UU Church, of which my daughter in a member, and which tries to be green in its own way. Meaning a fair amount of greenwashing, but they mean exceedingly well.

    Just FYI. Sigh – your parents want to take it all with them. I may end up having to do so, but I’m hoping not.

  165. @Churrundo – “I’ve often found myself daydreaming about the concept of a Magical University.”

    Sounds lovely! My husband’s always said if he won the lottery, he’d want to start what he calls an “artists’ colony” where people could come to study traditional artisanal skills. You could probably get both of us to come and teach for room and board, access to basic health care, and minimal cash stipend. Of course, that wouldn’t be legal – unless it were set up as a religious institution. Might be worth thinking about.

    JMG remarks on the necessity of keeping tuition and other costs low. I’d suggest having students do work-study, as one or two small private colleges today do. (New England schools, IIRC.) E.g., they could learn sustainable agriculture or horticulture and real-food cooking, arguably THE most essential subjects, while providing the chow for the dorms.

    Booker T. Washington’s short book describing the founding of Tuskegee is a good read and food for thought about higher education in a poorer society. Students built most of the buildings, and early on were taught the craft of mattress-making. This avoided the need to buy bedding, provided a source of income, and ensured that students were trained in a craft. Given the ubiquitous racism of the time, they couldn’t assume that students trained in the liberal arts would be able to get white-collar jobs. Learning manual skills ensured that they would have an alternate means of support. In today’s world, when we don’t know what will happen to the economy, every young person needs that kind of Plan B, or parachute if you will – maybe even a reserve chute on top of that.

  166. JMG: Thank you for your previous replies. I really appreciate getting your broadly informed perspective on things.

    A practical question now. I would like self-publish some creative non-fiction texts in e-book and POD form. Amazon does that for free. Would there be any more ethical options ?

  167. James Jensen,

    You said, “I’m reminded of Edward Feser’s criticism of various arguments for intelligent design: in order to make a probabilistic argument for the need for intervention in evolution, they had to accept a materialist account of teleology, which is a much larger concession.”

    Isn’t that because the evolutionists are usually full-on materialists? What other choice could they have but to try to argue the impossibility of random chance as adequate for evolution from within that paradigm?

  168. Pogonip,

    My vote goes with bi***slapping.

    This sort of thing is getting out of hand, is very dangerous. Will it die down or be part of some sort of coming conflagration? The open race hatred that is tolerated by nonwhites is just simply sad, because we as a nation had come so far in a good direction. But you can always get simple people on board for a rumble.
    My question is who is promoting this? It takes pull to get this kind of thing off the ground. It’s not grass roots. Just made to look that way.

  169. apocryphial:

    If you are a beginner in organic home food production might I suggest you take a look at Brett Markham’s books. The two we find most helpful are, “Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre” and the follow-up, “Maximizing Your Mini Farm”. They cover the basics very well, are well illustrated, and very practical. We still refer to them often even though we’ve been at this for quite a long time and we have 10 acres – there’s no reason to use more land than necessary.

    Another classic is John Jeavon’s “How to Grow More Vegetables (than you ever thought possible on less land and with less water than you can imagine)”. Really excellent information about using limited growing space efficiently for organic food production and building healthy soil.

    Two other books we use to build homestead stuff we need are “DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner” by Betsy Matheson (Creative Publishing International) and “Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency” by Chris Peterson and Philip Schmidt (Cool Springs Press).

    Some of these books include information on keeping bees, but if you want to do that I’d recommend looking around for a local beekeepers association or beginning classes at a local extension office. You can certainly try to fly by the seat of your pants, but with mites causing so much devastation it’s worth your while to have a little experienced help on hand at the start. Bees and equipment are not cheap so some advice will stack the deck in your favor. (Please don’t buy used beehives or frames to save money unless you are absolutely sure that the previous owner’s bees never had Foulbrood. The spores can survive in the wooden ware for decades.)

    I just checked and all of these books are currently available on Amazon; they’ve all been around for a few years so you may be able to pick up some of them at a used book store. Hope this helps!

  170. Insight into why a major social or political event happens can be catalysed by reading a horoscope of the exact time and place it occurs – providing one knows how to read it, and providing one gets the right data. So we can supplement info about the Christchurch mosque massacre shooter’s motive gleaned from media reports, by examining the clues that lie in the cosmic context.

    Our media reported that the shooting started at 1.40pm, so run the chart for that time to get the correct horoscope (I state the obvious due to astrologers frequently getting their data wrong). We are currently on NZST (-13hrs). It was 15 March 2019 and Christchurch is at 43S32, 172E38.

    You will get Mercury retrograde exactly on the Midheaven. Sun likewise, so it was true local noon. The Midheaven is the point of connection to holarchy – meaning hierarchy, since most folk are still in the traditional frame (rather than holism). Mercury, messenger of the gods, is signalling the message. Governance. In Pisces, this governance message points to the universal context: inclusion, multiculturalism.

    I alerted my group of old astrologer friends that this is the first major event of the current Saturn/Pluto conjunction and none disagreed. You will see it had closed to a four-degree orb at the time, and you will find it in the 8th house. Traditional meanings: sex, death, and other peoples’ money. Mass death is the obvious correlation, but sex is also correlated in an interesting way that I’ll need to explain: gender segregation, traditional in a mosque, meant that most victims were male.

    Women were not allowed in the main prayer room, which he entered. They were praying in a separate room, which he apparently didn’t know about. The few women who died were outside or in the entrance as he went in.
    There’s also a subtle correlation re finance due to the fact that his inheritance funded his seven-year sojourn in foreign countries, which radicalised him, made him anti-immigrant.

    Saturn constructs current reality, Pluto transforms it fundamentally. Conjunct, both natural archetypes operate together. The conjunction also happens to have formed on the Dragon’s tail, which is our collective orientation to the past. Ideologies preserve antique belief systems, so this will be a time of transformation of those. For Islam, it will hinge on fundamentalist adherence to the instructions of the prophet (such as the section in the Koran where he commands his follows to kill unbelievers) as opposed to peaceful coexistence.

    The massacre was fuelled by Mars trine Saturn/Pluto: Mars is energy as well as aggression, the trine forms an easy blend between the archetypes. Mars trine Saturn enables an effective warrior, Mars trine Pluto enables a powerfully transformative warrior. Mars in the 12th house often means activity in secret, as well as triggering consequences…

  171. John,

    I remember seeing Concern Agat’s marketing video for the Club-K container launched cruise missile around the same time you were publishing the series of blog posts that formed the basis for Twilight’s Last Gleaming, so I am not in the least bit surprised the Chinese copied the idea. We know the Chinese Navy already operates conventional ship and submarine launched versions of the Club (which is the export version of the Kalibr cruise missile the Russians have used so effectively in Syria) and developed their own version known as the YJ-18. The anti-ship version is a particularly nasty piece of work, flying like a conventional subsonic cruise missile until the last 20 or 30 miles, at which point a rocket propelled second stage detaches and accelerates to Mach 3 while maneuvering evasively to make it more difficult for enemy point defenses to shoot down it down. The USN has admitted it would have a very hard time defending against such a weapon.

    I also read recently the Israelis have developed a similar concept to the Club-K, a container launched version of their LORA tactical ballistic missile. Like Club-K, LORA has a four round box launcher that fits inside a standard ISO shipping container. The container launched version has already been test fired by the Israeli Navy. A truck mounted version of the same launcher is already in widespread service with the Israeli and Azerbaijani armies (Azerbaijan is one of Israel’s closest allies in the Islamic world).

  172. @Jen, Thanks for your permies link and for the study you are conducting… very interesting!

    @Tripp, thanks for the book recommendation “Teaming with Microbes”. Your description put me in mind of Elaine Ingham, whose soil nourishing video lectures are fascinating. Lo, and behold, she has written the foreward to this book. An excellent recommendation.

    @JMG your response to Churrundo’s proposal mentions a wish to keep the admin bureaucracy slim. I’d second, third, and fourth that particular proposal. I suspect almost every organisation that exists to minister to people, especially including healthcare, would benefit immediately from firing 4 of every 5 managers and administrators, and replacing them with someone with a “coalface” job description. More ministration, less administration… 🙂

    (Speaking as a person who is getting increasingly anxious to shed the ADministration job, in order to wholeheartedly pursue the ministration vocation…)

  173. Thank you Mr. Greer and Mr. Jensen. Intelligent design and plea abandonment of the materialist world view, I’ve got something to meditate upon.

  174. Since I asked quit a few questions during the last months, I would like to share some observations of my own:

    Firstly, I have thought a while about the whole subject of dating and the dating culture. If one is searching a partner for a longer-term commitment, and is successful, than that would mean that the art to, for example, talk to a woman and expressing sexual interest cannot be so difficult, because, if one does it only a few times in life, a complicated and difficult routine, as dating self help books tend to make it out, wouldn’t work, in the same way than learning a language by rehearsing it only a few times per year wouldn’t work.

    And than there is the joyless and somber vibe of modern society, where I sometimes wonder how something like flirting can exists in this cultural climate, especially given that parties, clubs and bars aren’t for everyone.

    On the other hand, today’s unspoken assumptions about dating in dating self-help books, and in certain circles, like Pick-Up Artists, is that one does it the whole time, searching for dates in clubs and bars and the like, with the expressed idea to find a partner and the implicit fact that fequent dating implies only one-night stands and short-term partners.
    Secondly, I have observed that the books which are issued nowadays are often simply superficial and uninteresting; not infrequently, there are thick books which expound at excruciating length about more or less only one pet peeve of the author, like the books of Jared Diamond. And than there are the many books written by celebrities and/or dealing mostly with celebrities and experts, and the books consisting to a not inconsiderable degree of interviews with experts. Really meaty books have become rare; in earlier times, they were more frequent and subjects besides the mainstrem got serious treatment.

    About the warehouses full of unsalable books, which J. M. Greer mentioned, I thought, maybe these books will someday used as kindling for ovens, or as packaging material for transport and shipping purposes.

  175. @Patricia Mathews: If you get the chance while you’re in Gainesville, poke around– there’s a lot that’s wonderfully worth visiting in reach of there. If you can handle the stairs, Devil’s Millhopper is amazing (though they’re rebuilding the stairs right now, so maybe wait a month or two), Watching the sunrise, or the full moon set, from the lookout on Payne’s Prarie is worth losing some sleep for. There’s a bat house on the UF campus where you can go watch the bats come out at sunset– clouds of them! If you don’t mind a three-hour drive, Wakulla Springs up toward Tallahassee is all the wonderful things you’d find at Silver Springs in S. FL, but without the inflated pricing, crowds, and tourist junk. Tubing down the Ichetuknee River is a local hot-weather tradition if you’re up for it. And be sure to check out Ward’s supermarket– they have the best local produce.

    I do hope you enjoy it there. It was home at one point in my youth. Politically and socially, it can be kind of a weird bubble, cut off from the rest of the state– drive an hour in any direction and it’s like being in another country entirely. Lots of good and weird and wacky people, and really beautiful if you can tolerate the heat and humidity that go with it.

  176. I too suspect that the Mueller investigation will prove to be the high point of political correctness and the “social injustice” movement. Far from ensuring the demise of President Trump, it turned into a embarrassing fiasco that has prompted accusations of prosecutorial misconduct and overreaching. It certainly failed to achieve what the liberal establishment hoped it would.

    James Howard Kunstler has a great look at the aftermath of the Mueller Report in his latest blog post.

    Kunstler discusses another episode that is turning into a huge mess for the “social injustice” movement, namely the Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax. Smollett is an African-American celebrity who claimed he was the victim of a racially motivated assault by two white guys wearing MAGA hats and yelling pro-Trump slogans. Only it turns out the alleged attack was a fraud and the “attackers” were two Nigerian-American brothers who Smollett paid to conduct the “assault”. Two leading Democrat presidential candidates, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, jumped on the bandwagon right after the alleged attack and denounced it as a hate crime. Harris wrote on Twatter the alleged attack was an “attempted modern day lynching”. Booker and Harris tried to use the episode to ram through new hate crimes legislation. Both Harris and Booker ended up with egg all over their faces and had to hastily backtrack when the “attack” turned out to be a hoax perpetuated by Smollett. Harris’ lame attempts at self-exculpatory excuse making didn’t help her case either.

    Well, now there’s an even bigger and more entertaining scandal. The Cook County Prosecutor, Kim Foxx, who publicly claimed she was recusing herself from the case (she had personal ties to Smollett and his family), intervened and had all charges dropped without explanation, a move the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association characterized as “highly unusual”. Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel (President Obama’s former chief of staff) and police chief Eddie Johnson (who is African-American) angrily criticized the decision to drop the charges as a travesty of justice while pointing out that hoaxes like Smollett’s do a great deal of harm to real hate crimes victims by making it more difficult for them to be taken seriously and diverting police resources that could be better used investigating actual hate crimes.

    Nor are Smollett’s and Foxx’s legal troubles over. The City of Chicago is suing Smollett and seeking to recoup the cost of the investigation, while the FBI and Department of Justice have opened an investigation into allegations that Ms. Foxx illegally interfered with a criminal investigation for political and personal reasons. Meanwhile, the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association has stated that “prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received”, indicating he might face criminal charges anyways on the grounds that Foxx’s decision to drop the charges was legally invalid.

    The circular firing squad in the Democratic Party that we were talking about is in full swing and likely to get a lot worse before the election season is over. “Own goal” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I think that barring some unexpected catastrophe, Trump and the Republicans are likely to win and win big in the 2020 elections.

  177. Jmg
    Another thing I have been wondering about is how a ecotechnic civilisation would deal with a large meteor hitting earth.
    Since colonisation of mars or the moon can’t happen the only thing I can think of is underground cities, I also read about a man investigating mushrooms as a food source for when the earth surface is cut off from sunlight due to a meteor, super volcano or nuclear winter since fungi don’t need much sunlight.
    Can you think of anything else that a ecotechnic civilisation could do?

  178. Violet,

    We need to find a way to cut through this crap. All cultures have imitated other cultures and always will. Music spreads, art spreads, religion spreads. There are no pure cultures. But who has the right to tell someone else to stop copying another culture? Whoever, ever, ever said that such a thing could be taken as some kind of insult? ??? ??? ???

    Nearly all this recent, ugly junk is done for ulterior motives. Ego stroking. Or the fun of smearing someone to their face. It’s hardly the case that the person who chided you was coming from a place of kindness and compassion.

    By the way, use of herbs is in every culture, and in fact predates the human race. Animals regularly seek out herbs when they are sick.

  179. JMG,
    Finished rereading ‘The Fires of Shalsha’ about noon. (Starseed version)

    In the mail today a copy of ‘The New View Over Atlantis’ by John Michell arrived. Came across the following in the first chapter where he is discussing the background of William Stukeley and others. Basically much the same as ‘An Educated Mind Illuminated by Revelation’. Talking about the traditions, training etc, The following is found (pg 16).
    “Its essential element consists of a method whereby certain incommunicable knowledge can be gained through a course of study in preparation for induced moments of perception, in which aspects of the hidden universe standout clear and orderly to the inner mind.”
    Tweak that with a reference to dwimmeroot and you have a good summary of of basis of your book.

    And I do remember that Avebury and some of the other stone circles and sites we visited were much more interesting than Stonehenge.

    Don’t know if you saw my reply about the ‘Five Star Beer’ last time. The time when it was soooo bad in a can was 1986-1987. The bottled versions were better than Bud (not saying much there :-).
    The first two trips to Beijing were great – still a fair bit of ‘traditional’ China all around the city. The last time in 2000 working on one of the first High Speed rail lines, for the most part I might as well have been in San Francisco.

  180. Chimp, that’s an unanswerable question because so much depends on individual skills, needs, and resources. What would be the worst possible place for me might be decent for you, and vice versa. One size certainly does not fit all!

    Anonymous, it varies slightly from book to book and from publisher to publisher, but yeah, it’s right around the same.

    David, I think that’s pretty much hardwired into the process of decline!

    Dominique, heck of a good question. I haven’t looked into self-publishing, so don’t have the knowledge to offer an answer. Anyone?

    Dennis, interesting. Thanks for this!

    Baboonery, I recall seeing something similar when I was researching the book. The Chinese missiles in TLG are supersonic throughout their trajectory, but then it’s some years in the future.

    Scotlyn, I’ve watched the metastasis of administration in way too many settings to think otherwise.

    Rabtter, you’re most welcome.

    Booklover, I consider myself very lucky that it’s been more than three decades since I’ve done any dating. I gather things have gotten very difficult out there! As for books, well, it was ever thus; there are always vast numbers of really lousy books hitting the shelves and vanishing without a trace thereafter. The warehouses are kind of new, though — back in the day publishers would do a modest print run at first, unless it was an established author with proven sales, and print more as needed. Clearly there’s a lot of hubris in the big publishers these days.

    Baboonery, that’s my guess at this point. The Mueller fiasco has shredded what remains of the credibility of the mainstream media, and the Smollett business is a gift that just keeps on giving. If Trump’s people have the brains the gods gave geese, they’ll fill the next year and a half with investigations, data leaks, juicy scandals, prosecutions — one at a time, mind you, so as to surf the news cycle and keep something new and fresh in the public’s eye every week or so. (Joe Biden seems to be next week’s big target — I understand there’s just been a complaint about his behavior toward women.) It ain’t going to be pretty…

    J.L.Mc12, er, why is that important?

    Janitor, now that’s a comparison that hadn’t occurred to me! Thank you — and I’m glad you enjoyed The Fires of Shalsha; that’s the first novel I was able to get into print, and it still has a special place in my heart.

  181. “Back around 1960 the joke was that the planet’s human population would continue to rise until there was “standing room only” and that should solve the problem.”

    I prefer the Two Ronnies version: “We calculate that by the near future each person will have only two square feet, which will make walking impossible.”

    (By the way Two Ronnies is great if you need a laugh. They don’t get as much attention as other British comedy greats like Monty Python or Rowan Atkinson, but they’re really funny and their sketches feature some really clever wordplay.)

    @Onething, re: evolution:

    I wonder, what do you guys think about Darwinian evolution? I remember when I was younger, and an atheist, I thought about evolution a lot because I had serious doubts about it which for an atheist was quite troubling. But pressing people (on the internet) on any aspect of the theory seemed to be met with responses of “That sounds like Creationist talk,” and “We don’t take kindly to your sort around here.” Eventually I became more religious and just stopped caring about it one way or the other.

    @Scotlyn: I get what your saying about UBI giving people the chance to engage with their communities, but I’m skeptical. In my experience, and I can only go off my own experiences here, having a job makes people more engaged while being out of work causes people to disengage and leads to mental problems like depression and anxiety, even when basic needs are met. I think removing the incentive to work would result in very lonely people. This is just based on my own experiences, and those of my friends. I’m not discounting your argument, I’m just saying it will take some convincing to bring me around on this.

  182. Jmg
    Well, I know it isn’t going to happen anytime soon but I have been thinking about how an ecotechnic civilisation would respond to a large meteor hitting the earth Since the presumably would not have the power to enact the usual proposed solutions of nuking it or using robots to steer it somewhere else.
    It is likely that if humanity is around for at least a few million years that this situation could occur and I was hoping for some insight on it.

  183. Dear JackRaven Corvus and others — it strikes me that the people who drive those shiny, leased SUVs and live in 4,000 square foot McMansions can’t afford those lifestyles any more than the rest of us, it’s just that they haven’t realized it yet!

  184. Patricia M

    My folks are outside of Jacksonville now, which is where they both grew up. I was never a fan of FL. Though we’d visit family occasionally in the area when I was growing up, my dad was never stationed there.

  185. Just read through the whole comment thread late at night here in the PNW. My thoughts are a bit sleepy.

    The longer I live on this planet, the more it seems to me that there is truth on every side of every argument, and the harder it becomes for me to form strong opinions – except perhaps to say that we all ought to do less shouting and more listening.

    On vaccines: I am neither pro-vax nor anti-vax. Vaccines are highly effective and have saved many lives. They also have more and more severe adverse effects than most doctors are willing to admit, and they are coupled to the religion of progress in a somewhat dangerous way. I find it amusing that the pro-vax camp keeps hammering on the idea that vaccines don’t cause autism. Most people who oppose mandatory vaccination don’t give a hoot about autism; they have had friends experience paralysis or other severe responses, or they have seen their infant children change or become less engaged with the world after a round of vaccinations. Personal experience trumps science in most cases…

    On social justice: The social justice movement is based on listening to the lived experiences of minority/disadvantaged groups, and asking the question of what needs to change in our society so their lot in life is equal to the dominant culture. Yes, it has developed some serious class blindness, and its prioritization of race/ethnicity over class is intricately connected to the relative economic privilege of the universities and cities where the movement has grown. But it does have value, and it has something to teach all of us if we will listen. Just as it is blatantly false that all Trump supporters are racists, it is equally false that all social justice warriors hate white people or poor rural communities.

    Which brings me to our dear president, which is one area where I actually have a strong opinion. I would love to hear him say some day that he has listened to arguments from both sides and come to a decision that is, in his view, the best available compromise. Or even just to toe the traditional line that he respects his opponents but is committed to upholding the ideals of his constituents. But instead it is always that his ideas are great and amazing and awesome and his opponents are bad and their ideas are stupid and terrible and they should be locked up. If there is one thing that makes me sad, it’s that his bombastic, antagonistic approach to governing is tacitly accepted by so many.

  186. Thanks, JMG, for the comment! I remember you wrote some time ago that in declining civilizations, the sexual drive in society is quite low, or some such thing. As for the books, I know there was much trash in every time, as an antiquarian, I have seen a bit of it (in this case, pulp fiction). I remember reading somewhere, maybe in Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West, that in the later stages of a civilization the amount of original literary work drops dramatically.

  187. @Onething:

    Thank you for your reply. I understand for the most part, what you are saying and where you are coming from. My experiences have been different. I have seen subtle but definite and also, but rarely, overt racially based discrimination since returning to the US in 2016. I don’t understand why you think calling it out is dangerous. (?) I know this was one push-back-sentiment that was also said at the beginning and during the civil rights upheavals. To be sure, it ended up being dangerous for some people, but then again, as you said, our country has made great strides in equal opportunity for marginalised groups of people – that didn’t happen by itself. It happened through hard fight and struggle. I see the current situation, even most of the extreme and silly Liberal conflagrations cited here, (mostly from David BTL’s PolticialWire, LOL) as far less ‘dangerous’ than back in those days.

    Why dangerous? What do you think is going to happen?

    @ Onething and everyone else, (anyone else who wants to comment):

    As far as things like “Political Correctness”, “micro-aggressions” in speech and actions, (DeSantis’ ‘monkey’ comment would fall here, IMHO) and cultural appropriation: I personally see it as simply not being a jerk, trying to be a nice civil person. If someone doesn’t want to be called a certain thing – Why would I insist on my right to continue calling them that? If someone says “That feathered war bonnet is not a halloween costume, it is sacred to me” Why would I insist on my right to keep playing with it? “I” don’t really have any, (that I can think of?) sacred objects. My own spiritual and religious beliefs don’t hinge on objects, rituals or institutions, but I recognise that for some people they do. Why would I denigrate that, whether it is the Pope’s mitre or a Native American war bonnet? To me, it is just respect.

    If someone says, “that word hurt me”, It is not my place to say, “Well, it didn’t hurt ME, so it could not have hurt you. You are obviously being too sensitive”. Furthermore, the world has always been an uneven playing field in one way or another. For the past few centuries, white, Christian, Western Europeans and their descendants have been the demographic with the upper hand. For the vast most-part, we still are: so when someone outside of that group is slighted or discriminated against by someone inside of that group, I do think it carries more weight, more hurt than when that situation is reversed. e.g. It doesn’t hurt me or change my life one jot if I am discriminated against by people who hold no sway over my life, job, rights, etc. If they DID hold sway, I imagine, I’d be a heck-a-lot more sensitive.

    I agree that the examples regularly brought up and linked here are extremes and ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure I can find just as many, similarly extreme and ridiculous examples on both sides of the political aisle. I can think of two off the top of my head, but knowing there are many conservatives here, why would I post a “Hey, look how stupid Conservatives are!” example? It’s rude and needlessly hurtful. I could also argue that since I’ve found them and there are plenty of them, that this is the aggregate, (the egregore) of Conservatives as a whole, not just a fringe extremity or ‘keyboard warriors’ mouthing off online. I may being a Pollyanna, but based on what I see, IRL, on the internet, in the MSM, I don’t think that is true either. I’m not going to work myself up into a lather to feel self-righteous about how horrible ‘they’ all are.

    I see turbulence and a “fight for the soul” of Republican party just as much as the turbulence and fight for the soul of the Democratic one. I’ve also seen examples of “Identity politics” on both sides too. They are just talking about different identities.

    And lastly, I see many of these examples of “Look how stupid and downright CrAAAzy the Dems / Liberals are” centres around college campuses and young people: Having two college kids of my own, knowing them their friends, remembering how I and my peers were at that age – going way overboard in their convictions and actions doesn’t alarm or surprise me. That is how people mature. They try on one persona that appeals to them, go into it full force and then move to the next, until they grow more comfortable in their own skin and settle down. I’ve seen it again and again and again. I’m inclined to be more indulgent with younger adults and teens in these actions.

    UGH. So, apologies for the length of this. I meant to to write just a quick response. It’s like going to the grocery store for “just that one thing and coming out with a cartful. LOL! We may never agree, but I think I understand better and I hope I have explained myself sufficiently that I am understood as well. I’m good with that. 🙂

    Now, I’m heading over to this PoliticalWire, because David BTL has me really curious! LOL.


  188. Violet said:

    “It appears that an adaptive intelligence has found some sort of work around.”

    Hey, that’s not allowed!! How dare they have a mind and plans of their own.😉

  189. Violet,
    That’s all very fascinating, and you definitely have me wanting to draw some hexafoils!

    Especially given a bit of synchronicity. I was out at the old homestead yesterday splitting firewood and saw an oracle card our caretaker had drawn for the day and left displayed in a bowl of rocks and crystals next to her armchair. It was a beautiful card that said “Unify” on it and was decorated with seven overlapping hexafoils….

  190. I really am just stopping in for just one thing this time,

    A big congratulations and very best wishes to Jessi Thompson! 🙂

  191. @ Booklover, if I may, I’ve long thought that the issues with dating in modern culture are indicative of the very point when the Cult of Prosthesis starts to hurt very, very badly. Human dating becomes increasingly impossible when people have surrendered too many of their capacities. As Darwin noted, many animals are finicky about mating in artificial surroundings, so too do humans appear unable to mate in late period of civilizations generally. More specific to the current example, how can two humans connect when they’ve surrendered their imaginations to television and their wills to their smartphones?

    Perhaps though this is why periods of decline see the rise of so many first rate mystics; the sexual energy that could have gone into human coupling instead can rises up towards the divine. This seems quite the situation of being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. The normal routes towards human happiness are cut off for more and more people, and so the mysteries become relatively more attractive.

    @ Onething, my take is that there is nothing to do. As Dion Fortune so brilliantly points out, what makes evil is that it destroys and left to its own devices it destroys itself. The SJW movement is clearly in self-destruction with more and more people walking away. Part of my personal philosophy, for whatever it’s worth, is that people have the absolute right to their own private hells. So if the rapidly diminishing college activist crowd wants to smash their heads against the brick wall of actuality until they spatter their brains all over the quad, well, I’ll just keep on ignoring them!

  192. John—

    The popular vote compact is now up to 184 out of the needed 270 votes needed to go live.

    This is a legitimate work-around of the more difficult constitutional amendment process, but not one I would suppor, as I prefer to respect our national structure as a federal republic of states and recognize that structure in some manner in the selection of the President. (I would, however, support the allocation of electoral votes for all states in the manner of MN and NE.)

    Trump’s election has certainly produced a wave of anti-electoral college sentiment!

  193. @ Caryn

    Re PoliticalWire

    It is, of course, only one blog among countless others, but one in which I happened to actively participate for a time. The posts themselves are primarily just news pieces, but of the leftward variety; it is in the comment threads where it can get interesting.

    Obviously, those commenters represent only themselves and are not necessarily representative Democrats as a whole, but many of them are “hard-core” Dems in the sense of “I will vote for the Democratic nominee regardless of who it is.” Which is their right, of course. What I found—and why I ceased commenting—is that the group was fairly intolerant of anyone offering a perspective that stepped outside the general boundaries of the party values and beliefs (including beliefs about the future—my assertions re the demise of the American empire, much less industrial civilzation in the longer term, were regularly ridiculed for example). My mixture of economic nationalism, anti-imperialism, and civil libertarianism was something of a divide-by-zero error for many and since I didn’t fit into any other box, I must be a fascist 😉

  194. UBI as the new Gold Standard
    When the US was on the gold standard their was a check on how much the money supply could grow. If you wanted to expand the economy to buy oil or finance war you had to have people dig up the earth to find more gold. These people needed picks and shovels and lumber creating numerous industries employing lots of people. The people mining were not the bankers children. This distributed wealth among the classes.

    Clearly this would not be environmentally feasible with the size of the balance sheet now, but we can get most of the benefits just by passing the new money directly into the hands of the citizens. There are many ways of doing this which we can discuss later.

    Most people see UBI as socialism when in reality it is capitalism. Capitalism only works when the majority have discretionary capital. If expanding the pie is beneficial to only a small group you can be sure that group will want to expand the pie,even if the expansion is detrimental to everyone else. If the benefits accrue to all citizens equally the pie will only expand when it is beneficial to most.

  195. I posted the following on a website where I’m a member and a moderator. The site has roughly a Dunbar’s number of active members, politically inclined and mostly liberal, from all over the Western world.

    In other words, exactly the demographic that is freaking out about Brexit, with the many UK members having a rather rough time right now. My comment is an attempt to calm them down by looking at Brexit historically. I want to know how accurate you think it is.


    Diagnosis: Constitutional crisis, acute. Different from the US, which is also having a constitutional crisis, but one with no firm-ish deadlines.

    Summary: A political gambit by the leader of a major party to win re-election backfired, resulting in a situation on a major policy issue in which there was no working majority for any of several possible outcomes. The House of Commons has no provision for this situation – all decisions must be made by majority yes-or-no vote. While under normal conditions a coalition for a government action is essentially guaranteed, this breaks down on issues of very high importance. Compounding the issue is the loss by the ruling party of a true majority in a second failed Tory gambit, making the issue even more intractable.

    Prognosis: This particular patient is extremely adept at dealing with constitutional crises, as they are a routine product of how the system is designed (i.e. no formal constitution, everything by convention). The patient will make a full recovery but will likely have a difficult if time-limited illness. Extreme anxiety is likely to be induced in a large part of the patient’s population, partly caused further self-injurious behavior as the country gropes toward a new equilibrium. However, when some kind of new equilibrium is reached, the system will stabilize again. The new equilibrium is not guaranteed to be friendly to the values and interests of people who currently run it and those in upper-middle classes who support it – in some ways – which are yet to be determined. The values matter perhaps more than the interests for a large segment of the population, which makes the issue more intractable than one of mere interest, which the political system is more equipped to handle. Still, the patient will attain a new, stable equilibrium that will be easily tolerable for the majority of the population, after a period of perhaps ten to fifteen years as a very rough estimate. The general openness of the society will be maintained on most matters when a new equilibrium is reached.

    Treatment: Supportive care is all that is indicated – these things resolve themselves in the British system, and attempts at treatment are likely to be counter-productive. Many people will try, but this is itself a part of the British political system. The results will seem like a ludicrous farce at times, which is actually part of why British people are found funny by much of the world – almost never a trait assigned to a former world hegemon. Russia is a more typical example of a former great power.

    Rx: Stiff upper lip.

    A sense of humor is very helpful – themes along these lines can be found in e.g. Kafka and Vonnegut, and the country does not lack humor. Another difference with (many of the powerful) Russians, although tales of how they have tolerated malfunctioning government systems may be useful during the shock. Any other non-fully-developed nation can provide similar guidance. But remember it will almost certainly work out much better – so don’t mistakenly think that the chaos is the way things will always be.

    Freaking out does not help, despite how dire the situation seems*. Laughing does. Sit back and enjoy, this is shaping up to be a great comedy, full of the types of problems that happen in the middle of good comedies** where things seem lost, but it still goofily ends up working out in the end.

    *I know, I know, a minor chance of a localized civil war exists. That won’t be funny if it breaks out. But it seems extremely unlikely based on how committed everyone seems to be to keeping Irish people as de-facto Britons with some kind of special status. Not the sort of thing that leads to war. Just the sort of thing that leads to bureaucratic clashes as a special status in the EU has to be carved out for Ireland. The EU can make things up as it goes along too, as it showed in the financial crisis, it’s just much more rigid and not as good at dealing with messy systems.

    **The misunderstandings and cultural differences between the EU and UK are comedy gold all by themselves.

  196. Riffing off Mark’s comments on vaccination, I would add that I am not “anti-vaxx.” What an ugly and divisive term. I am not anti- much of anything. My wife and I consider ourselves to be “pro-choice,” in the very liberal sense of the term.

    When raising children one should be free to choose whether to stick them with needles full of questionable substances dozens of times or not. We mostly choose not to. Like nearly every other human who has ever walked this planet.

    I also think our choice is both a faith-based and a scientific one. And it doesn’t have much to do with autism, no. Well spotted, Mark. We have faith that 3 billion years of co-evolution and co-habitation with the microbial world has better prepared the bodies of our children to thrive on this planet than a couple centuries of monkeys monkeying around in laboratories has.

    We also use weeds like dandelion and plantain for medicine…oh, the horror.

    I think antibiotics were great when they first hit the market, but today? The overuse and abuse of them is doing more harm than good. In my mind the presumed advantage of vaccination is following the same old curve of decline that antibiotics, and every other product of Progress, is following.

    But if you like that sort of thing go do it. I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids. I guess I’m just liberal that way…

    Tripp out.

  197. David BTL –

    So, the Democrats seem to think that, because they’ve been “beaten by the rules” (Electoral College), that changing the rules will award them more victories? I think that implies that they believe that the organization that’s beaten them will not adapt to the new rules with a new campaign strategy. The Dems may have a better chance with different rules, but… maybe not.

    I like the analogy that the Electoral College is like tallying the number of games won in a tournament, vs. counting the number of points scored in all games, to decide the champion. If the sports rule were to change, we’d see massively lop-sided scores in the early rounds, when weak teams are still playing. As a conservative-leaning voter in a mostly-liberal state (Maryland), it would be interesting to see how many more conservative voters are motivated to come out in the general election if/when their votes will actually count.

  198. Dear Just the usual Baboonery, I think Mr. Kunstler needs to be careful what he wishes for. Era of consequences is it? How about consequences for lying us into an unnecessary war in Iraq? I would dearly like to see the entire neo-con ménage, of whatever faith or background, brought to trial for instigating war crimes and possibly even crimes against humanity, and their wealth confiscated to be added to reparations for Iraq. A precedent needs to be set, that instigators are guilty of what was done as a result of their intrigues. The person who paid for the hit is also guilty, just as is the assassin.

    Dear Violet, I sympathize with you in your run in with the cultural appropriation conformity police. I would like gently to suggest that your attackers didn’t themselves know the difference between European, or circumpolar, herbs and indigenous North American herbs. Naturally, they couldn’t allow a “white person” to show up their ignorance, however inadvertently, so on the spot came up with the outrageous line you reported. I have found, after long and painful experience, that when dealing with the kinds of behavior I call cultural conformity police, which behavior is to be found on both left and right, it is essential to realize and remember that these folks usually don’t themselves believe their own rhetoric. It is just something to say to establish dominance and see how much they can get away with.

    Now there is a serious aspect to the issue of cultural appropriation. Imagine if every Brazilian citizen received a modest royalty every time a rubber plant was sold. Imagine if Mexico were fairly compensated for the commercial use of their indigenous maize genetics. The threat of commercial interests privatizing and patenting the agricultural heritage of humanity is real and on going. I myself with others in petitioning the US patent office not to allow a utility patent on the warting characteristic for genus cucurbitae. In my letter, I described a number of very old, heritage melons and cucumbers which have that characteristic. There were also many more knowledgeable and well-known people than me involved, and the patent was not granted. It is my belief that the SJW warriors, like those who confronted you, are being paid by the foundations that support them, to NOT bring up such matters and in fact to divert attention away from what ought to be called outright theft.

    UBI at the present time, is a kind of last ditch attempt to shore up housing prices, IMO. I rather think that officials at all levels of govt. are hearing from property owners who are losing money cleaning out rentals three or four times a year because the tenants can’t afford the rent. The scam of making the next tenant pay for the cleanup cost with a deposit can’t go on forever. I once was asked to pay a $1200. deposit. I pointed out to the owner that I had remained 12 years in my last residence and how much interest were they going to pay for that deposit?

    However, those here who think UBI is a bad idea, are you willing to agree that we need rent controls? Are you willing at least to concede that people ought to have a right of subsistence? What I mean that by that, for example, tenants should not be evicted or homeowners persecuted for vegetable growing. Company dress codes should allow for homemade clothing which falls within the appropriate guidelines. Are you willing to agree in principle that we need more and better public transportation which would, as former SF Mayor Willie Brown put it, “get working people out of their cars and to their jobs.”?

  199. David, BTL – PS: The “winner-take-all” results of congressional districts and Senate races might be concealing a more balanced political demographic than indicated by election results. I know of at least one political strategist here in Maryland who is “Democrat in name only”, but since Maryland only elects Democrats*, the only way to be relevant is to register as Democrat. Counting the popular vote for President might result in a surprise**.

    * Maryland’s governor, who is elected by state-wide popular vote, is a Republican, even though the Maryland is “one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.” Follow the link below to see for yourself. Each district has its own map.

    ** See * above. 😉

  200. I play a criss-cross computer game, Wordscapes, and every now & then I can’t guess the word that fits into the diagram so I have to watch ads in exchange for a hint. I just saw 4 ads in a row, all of which used as a selling point that the game was “addictive!” or “super addictive!”

    Me, I think that somebody trying to sell me something “super addictive!” is an indication to run away as fast as my aging feet will go. However, these ads are tested, so we know that Americans respond positively to a pitch for a product that is “super addictive !” Shouldn’t Congress be looking into this? Or is it OK with our owners if we’re addicted to something as long as the something doesn’t put them to the trouble and expense of hauling away our carcasses?

    I’ve had Wordscapes for 2-3 years (it’s not “super addictive!”) and I’ve only noticed this particular ad wording in the last 6 months. But it could have been being used for longer, I’ve been spending more time in waiting rooms than usual.

  201. Reposting this here (if allowed) because it was not answered in the last post (it was maybe out of topic there, though it begins with a quote from it). I’d like to add that I’ve read various posts here, as well as on the Archdruid, and while I’ve seen some arguments re: oil and fracking and such, I haven’t seen much on these questions on renewables and nuclear (at least I’ve not seen the latest efficiency claims etc answered).

    @JMG > Renewables can provide maybe 15% of the energy, and less than that of the products of energy, that we currently get from fossil fuels.

    Hello, can you please point to a breakdown of why is that? E.g. a prior post, or a book, etc.

    I pretty much suspect that’s the case, but I get all the opposite claims from their proponents, and I’d like to have some hard facts to answer. E.g.

    1) They say renewables now can survive without subsidies. True? Or is it some logistical trickery?

    2) They say renewables, expanded in deployment, can give us the same total energy we spend now (or more), even when we factor in the energy for making, installing, and maintaining those renewables. True, and if not, what are some numbers?

    3) Even ignoring renewables, they say we have more than enough nuclear materials for millennia of energy use (if we invest in nuclear reactors). Assuming we ignore the potential accidents and the safety issue of toxic byproducts, is that true?

  202. If I may, I would like to add to my observations about dating the factor that online dating sites seem to be in decline; instead it is now more smartphone apps like Tinder, for which one needs a Facebook account, a no-no for some. It really has gotten complicated.

    Then I have a question: I remember you, JMG, writing in the old Archdruid report blog, that life in some civilizations is, on the whole, quite good, in other civilizations, much less so. Can you elaborate?

  203. Should I take a job selling insurance? Every fibre of my being is telling me it is the wrong thing to do even though I have every reason to. If I take the job I’ll end up living a stones through from you in Massachusetts; just above the state’s armpit. The executive I interviewed with last week, said there is little doubt we are heading into a recession soon.

  204. @ JMG

    I read Twlight’s Last Gleaming with pleasure, it is an amazing essay about a possible future of the US empire, but I think it presuppose a very very divided US society that do not support the president in the face of many thousands of young americans dead in a “treacherous” missile attack by the chinese; because at the end this is not an attack on the chinese territory or their people….Is the US population so close to that situation?, becuase this is the key part of the chinese elite calculation to launch such attack, otherwise….

    In general I view more China as a much less resilient adversary to the US than for example Russia. China, as Japan in the 1940’s, depends on shipments from very distant countries (Middle East) for almost all of the oil she needs to maintain her military machine and the industrial output, and more and more it depends on far lands to feed her population after destroying, contaminate and occupy her agricultural lands. Some well positioned submarines and planes in Australia, NZ and the rest of “friends” around the Souht China Sea will make sailing for the chinese merchant fleet a very very dangerous experience, and after all may be China is not so “united” internally in such an event, and the following unavoidable crisis.

    I see Russia a much much more strong adversary than China, well entrenched, self-reliant and with a fight culture inside the heart of the population; it will be, as always have been, a very tough and nasty adversary that bring past empires to the end after a crushing defeat when they try to conquer their land….and they have the cointainer missile system well before the chinese (with many other “surprises” for the US Navy)
    I agree with you that with the ruskies a process similar to that of TLG could happens not very far in the future, may be in the “Western Hemisphere” as Bolton like to call ? (instead of US Backyard), as the US continue the military build-up close to the Russia’s borders


  205. All—

    Since this is an open post, I’d like to take this opportunity to describe a recent experience (as in a few hours ago) and to, well, vent a bit.

    As everyone may (or may not) be aware, I sit on my city’s council, having been elected on my second attempt two years ago (we serve three-year terms, with a third of the nine-member council elected each year). As I was leaving the public library this morning, a gentleman entering approached and proceeded to light into me regarding the special assessment he’d received for the road repair work that is finally going to be done on a stretch of street just west of where I live. The city uses special assessments to help fund roadwork, as only a portion is picked up by the associated utilities and property taxes do not provide sufficient revenues to pay for everything. These bills are not fun—I got one myself when our street was redone—but they can be paid over several years. They are not small, several thousands of dollars, and depend on the length of one’s frontage.

    I am all for getting rid of these assessments, but we would have to find an alternate means of paying for the roads. (I have an idea for a road utility, where everyone would pay into a dedicated utility fund every month, like a water bill or an electric bill, but that would require an act of council to create.)

    I tried to engage the gentleman in conversation, but he was only interested in speaking his mind and walking away, which is entirely his right to do. That, of course, does nothing to address the core issues, like the fact that roads have to be paid for somehow. As my wife just now reminded me, this man was having an emotional reaction, not a reasoned one, so facts were not immediately relevant. It is rather frustrating, however, particularly given the push we made on the public works committee (which I sit on) to make the assessment rate for that project smaller than it was originally going to be (pushing more of the costs onto the utilities) *because* we knew that the people living on those blocks are not terribly well-off. And this is what I get for that effort. I realize that stuff like this goes with the territory of being in government, but I guess I’d like to see people on a democratic system actually grappling with the reality of the issues rather than griping about having to pay for the services they receive.

  206. Violet, thanks for the interesting perspective! In declining civilisations, presumably many more things than dating get dysfunctional, so the push to mysticism and inner experiences might become quite strong. More about the subject perhaps later!

  207. Long time reader, first time poster.


    Regarding the Christchurch shootings the fact it was committed by an Australian in New Zealand becomes less surprising when you factor in Australians and New Zealanders can travel and work in each others country without a visa and the type of weapon used could not be legally obtained in Australia but could in NZ.

  208. @ Lathechuck

    Re the EC, congressional districts, and gerrymandering

    With re to the EC and the notion of the US as a federal republic of states, I’d actually prefer to take things a step further and give each state a single electoral vote: to be elected President, one would have to demonstrate support *in a maajority of states* by winning a majority in the EC. (The backup being the same system we have now.)

    I absolutely agree with your assessment of gerrymandering and congressional districts. My solution would be to do away with districts altogether and have the seats of a state’s delegation to the House (e.g. 8 seats in the case of WI) awarded proportionally. This both eliminates gerrymandering and gives minority parties a shot at some seats.

    @ Matt the Slaker

    Re UBI

    One of the key issues, however, is that we are entering into a more or less permanently shrinking-pie scenario. Systems, particularly highly complex systems, are going to increasingly break down, get slap-dash repairs, work not quite as well as before, then fall apart. UBI neither prepares us for this world we are heading into, nor builds the localized resilience we’ll be needing, nor induces the move from specialization to generalization of skills sets that would be a better strategy moving forward. What it does do is make everyone more dependent on that central system and allows us to pretend it’s all ok for just a bit longer while doing nothing to get ready for the reality ahead.

    @ Nastarana

    Re UBI and rent-controls

    I’d say the rent-controls are an entirely appropriate decision for a local government to make if and when that local government decides such things are needed and puts in place local rules accordingly. But it is a local issue, not a federal one. UBI is an attempt to put a centralized system in place, run at the federal level, which is generally a huge red flag for me, even with the other issues I’ve raised set aside. There is an appropriate (and limited) role for the federal government, but that role involves a fraction of what it does today.

  209. Hi, late to the party, but I did want to contribute something. I wrote a little ditty called Tell Me All About the Russians, Rachel, and posted it on my youtube – unlisted but shareable

    I played it at the potluck last year – thanks to our gracious host Peter Van Erp – which was a blast and I want to encourage everyone to attend – there is nothing like the feeling of meeting people face to face and attending last year was one of the highlights of my summer.

    It was nice, too, to relax with people who aren’t so obsessed about current events! I meet the nicest, coolest people who are sweet and intelligent and well-read, and then they start talking about the Trumpocalypse – and I just don’t know what to say, other than to nod and smile, so I guess this video is me letting off a little steam.

  210. Re: UBI, I’m for it. Partly, I think that a lot of things are valuable to society but hard to reliably “monetize”–raising children, providing emotional support for friends and family, creating surroundings that give pleasure to passers-by and residents, performing creative work that doesn’t fall easily into the for-pay categories, and so forth, taking care of animals who need it, etc–and that we should provide a means of letting people do those more.

    Idleness doesn’t worry me: frankly, I’ve never subscribed to the Calvinist notion that work is a virtue in and of itself.

    A post-tech economy might, and likely will, still require less labor in terms of hours regularly spent “working” than our current one: the average US worker gets fewer days off than the average medieval peasant, after all. What we did as we developed more efficient ways to work and/or developed tech that could do particular tasks for us was, generally speaking, to find more and less meaningful “work” to fill the gaps rather than decreasing the time people actually spent working, Because Calvinism. This may or may not be why I’ve spent a fair amount of my working life in meetings, pretending to listen to information that either has no relation to my life or job or could have been more quickly and productively conveyed in a memo.

    (Now I’m picturing inventing robots to go to meetings for us, which would be hilarious.)

    @JMG, re: publishing: Interestingly, this corresponds to one of the major discussions currently taking place on Romance Twitter, regarding the problems inherent when a lot of smaller publishers got smooshed together into the Giant Media Companies. A lot of people are starting to think the way you do about this, which bodes well for the future!

    (And also means that I’d better get on the ball about marketing my own stuff, at some point soon–and maybe get in touch with a good cover artist.)

    @Caryn: Yeah, that’s largely how I think of the social justice stuff. “Don’t speak of rope in houses where there’s been a hanging,” as the old proverb goes, and don’t take credit for what isn’t yours. And I wouldn’t wear my grandmother’s rosary as a necklace, so I’m not going to use other people’s sacred objects as jewelry.

    I’m not opposed to calling people names, mocking their cherished beliefs, and so on, but when I do, I want it to be *deliberate*. “A gentleman never hurts others…unintentionally,” as Wilde said, and all that: there’s no glory in crushing your enemies if you weren’t aware you were stepping on them in the first place. 🙂

    (I’m less patient with college activists etc, but I’m less patient with teens-to-early-twenties folks as a general rule. They’re very young and earnest, and I just cannot.)

  211. @apocryphial- I haven’t seen this book mentioned yet- Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. There are a couple of editions- I got mine years ago at a used book store. The author is an engineer, and put a lot of systems thinking into how to have just the right amount of vegetables for your household, starting with 4×4 foot beds, divided into 16 squares. It is a great starter book.
    I also second the John Jeavons book, and I am scurrying out now to look for the mini-farm books. Well, not scurrying. I’ll finish my tea first.

  212. @Warren, thanks, and i do not doubt you may be entirely right about loneliness. Work has certainly become the nexus for a large proportion of people’s social activities at present and retirement or unemployment is a very hazardous transition that many people do not survive.

    The bit I was pushing back on in your original comment, was the unexamined assumption that people naturally tend towards “idleness”. I dare anyone who believes this to just TRY to make anyone sit on their todd and do nothing for as long as they are able, and see how well that goes!

    In my humble opinion, the subtext behind the easy assumption that people naturally tend towards “idleness” is the fear that people would refuse the crap pay and crap conditions which are currently so widely on offer if they could. If free to refuse crap pay and conditions, of COURSE people would (but not because of inherent laziness, but because people have so many better things to be doing that lie in the centre of their own interests).

    Anyway, I was not making an argument for UBI, although I do follow a group that sends around proposals and research and such. You just succeeded in pressing one of my soapbox buttons with the word “idleness”… :).

  213. @ David, by the lake

    One of the main jobs I’ve had for my entire career in local government is working with neighborhoods to get their roads paved. I’m the guy that figures out the assessments on each property, among other job duties. So, I totally get what you’re saying. At least in the program I work with, there is a vote on whether or not to do the project. Most of these have been rejected the past few years.

    There has to be a better way to get local roads paved. The public is frustrated, the elected officials I answer to are frustrated, and the projects are too expensive for most to afford. I’m of the opinion that any new development should have ALL of the infrastructure in place (sewers, water, natural gas, paved roads) before a single building permit can be issued. For the existing unpaved roads, a road utility sounds like a good idea. Especially in an urban area, there is a lot of public benefit to getting “Alias Smith and Jones Avenue” paved, so a utility would spread the costs to that public benefit to the entire public.


  214. @Onething, as a 35-year caucasian in Japan, I’d hate to deal with an SJW. I recall in college thinking the whites who’d picked up Japanese culture looked downright pretentious. Probably the stiff posture.

  215. @Dominque, I’ve heard of Lulu for self publishing. I haven’t tried it yet, but a friend uses it and likes it. He is poor at publicizing his own work, though, which you need to do.

  216. Hi JMG (and others),

    I live in Wellington, NZ – but have several US relations and have travelled some in the US and internationally. I understand there are a few other Kiwis (and Australians) “lurking” on this blog, but here’s my 5c on Christchurch. Of course, these are my personal views and other Kiwis will have their own take on matters.

    The initial reaction was simple sheer disbelief – “this doesn’t happen in NZ”. It’s a small, quiet, relaxed, and generally safe country. Hence, to see a mass shooting is quite shocking for this country.

    The next reaction I think fairly well reflects the nature of this country and its inhabitants. The Prime Minister eloquently said, “This is not us”, referring to the beliefs of the shooter. A fairly right-wing politician, responding to the NRA (which is considered very “fringe” in NZ) – pointedly and succinctly said “Bugger off!”

    In essence, the overall response from pretty much everyone has been:
    – Overall sadness and help to the victims
    – Complete rejection of the shooter’s beliefs
    – Calm and measured discussion on appropriate responses

    There has also been a fair amount of surprise in the country about the reaction from international media and observers. In retrospect, I think what’s shocking to outside observers is that we have not “followed the script”. There appears to be only two “acceptable” responses: let everyone hold guns for personal protection, or clamour for a complete ban on firearms. The obvious point that there are many valid responses in-between appears to have been lost. As NZ explores the “middle ground”, some of these outside observers say it “feels odd” while others shout “conspiracy!” A case in cognitive dissonance perhaps?

    If people are interested, I’m happy to answer any questions on the matter. However, it’s a small country, a small government, and a fairly relaxed, informal, easy-going population. What you see, is pretty much what you get around here.


  217. Dear PoetPigeon, you might want to ask yourself how badly do you need a job right now? The answer would have to include consideration of how many other persons depend on you. It sounds rather like the interviewer might have been hinting that the job might not last very long. Is taking the insurance job, if it is offered, the only way you can finance a move to a better location than where you are now? The high cost of moving is not your fault, nor, probably, are the factors which make your present location unpleasant. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do. Is the company reputable, or is it a known lawbreaker and sharp dealer. If the latter, you would likely not last very long in any case, but how much damage will the association do your reputation?

  218. I recently got a used copy of Michio Kushi’s
    The Book of Do-In- I was expecting more of “acupressure” rather than the macrobiotic diet, daily yoga or qigong-like exercises, and much more, that I actually discovered.

    Do you have any recommendations for how to work with the material, or what you’d recommend to focus on as the heart of the practice of Do-In? And any watch outs for Dolmen Arch system practitioners?

    Thank you!


  219. @JMG – late to the party, but in the back and forths, this caught my jaundiced, and somewhat nearsighted eye – “My retirement plan is that I’m not going to retire; I enjoy what I do and live a life that works for me, and I expect to stop writing they they extract the keyboard from beneath my cold stiff fingers. ”

    Having hit the semi-official Lakota age of Eldership – 60… My value to the Dominant Culture is not to far off the horizon. But given the demotion over the last two decades of Creative Professionals (Graphic & Web Design ) from professional to working class, your retirement plan sounds a lot like mine. I will probably have to do this till they wheel my carcass from keyboard and peel the dataglove off my rigored claw. While I do have a bit of scratch squirreled away – partially due to the opportunities my parents had to convert their labor and fossil energy into stored wealth in the 70s and 80s – down the road I should like to taper off a bit and sit on the porch with an iced tea, or fine spirit, as the mood suits and watch a West Virginia sunset over the hills.

    With the current arc of decline, and the slow-motion crumbling of Federal Governance, I have very little expectation that I shall benefit from the provisions of Social Security or Medicare in any form my parents would recognize, even within the coming decade. Of course there is also the very real possibility that the traditional storage of mainstream wealth in the financial marketplace could evaporate in sudden catastrophic fashion. Of course stashing electric wealth away in Krugerrands under the bed, sacks of rice, nails, or other hard tangibles for barter does create some practical inconvenience with interacting with the current world of commerce. But I have certainly given the quandary some thought. One irritation is that the current economy seems bound and determined to not give good value for products and services of any decent quality, but rather extract wealth from us for minimal value.

    I also have a drafting table stashed in the basement. I am well aware that my profession sits uncomfortably perched on a pinnacle of a global pyramid of high technology. Most likely doomed to swift evaporation in an extended collaspe. It’s not currently competitive to abandon my digital tools now, but I did recently design a household project old-school. Pencil, paper, & drafting tools. Mostly for my own pleasure to do so. It was a surprisingly reassuring experience – not in small part due to my delight at having retained the skills, and that the build worked out well.

  220. OneThing,

    Isn’t that because the evolutionists are usually full-on materialists? What other choice could they have but to try to argue the impossibility of random chance as adequate for evolution from within that paradigm?

    (I figured you would chime in on this one!)

    Yeah, that’s the obvious criticism. I don’t know that he ever really addressed it explicitly, but he clearly believes that (a) many ID theorists really are materialist-lite types, (b) the Five Ways of Aquinas are better arguments and render the ID controversy beside the point.

    My point was simply that I’d fallen into the trap Feser described. I’d (more or less) intended to construct a reductio argument, but I accidentally ended up believing its premises.

  221. “You might find this global movement started in Sweden on flying shaming interesting…”

    Perhaps it needs to spread to the USA. I’ve shared before how I used to attend a quite liberal (in a progressive, not classical way) church. Most people are well educated and in the professional class, what I would call well-off. I recently learned that a member will be going to Europe for a cooking tour and classes. No place to learn here? New Orleans? New York City? Oh well….

    Then (talk about ironic), the church’s Social Justice Group has announced it will be focusing on climate change this month. They will be learning about The Sunrise Movement (, which advocates for the Green New Deal. In addition to taking up an offering one Sunday for the movement, the church will collect plastic bags and small electronics for recycling. I guess that balances out the foodie flight of one member? *Facepalm*

    Joy Marie

  222. In addition to the Democrats imploding over the Mueller Report and the Smollett case, there’s the current mess going on over at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Morris Dees was kicked out of the SPLC over accusations of sexual harassment and (gasp) racial and gender discrimination. Others have also resigned.

    From the New York Times–
    Morris Dees Ousted:
    Richard Cohen Exits:
    Intolerance Within:

    The New Yorker—
    The Reckoning of Morris Dees and SPLC:

    The Washington Examiner—
    SPLC Fires Co-founder:
    Wheels Come Off the SPLC:

    They were good back in the day when they were really working for Civil Rights in the 60’s and going after the Klan (although Morris Dees always did sound like a scoundrel), but somewhere they lost their way.

    Joy Marie

  223. David by the Lake and DJSpo, are you familiar with Strong Towns? You can find it with your favorite search engine, if not.

    Are your paved roads perhaps unsustainable and unaffordable?

    Where would the gentleman who spoke to David go to find out the total cost of the road project and how it is divided up, and how accessible is that? Can someone who works nights get the information from the city website or by mail, or must one get it from a city employee in person in a 9-5 office, for example?

    What options are you considering for said roads when asphalt is no longer available in some future year? If I have to pick between paved roads and sewage treatment, I know which I prefer! Is stone an option? Brick? After all, the Romans managed both indoor plumbing and stone roads, surely some future society may as well, so why not us?

    I suspect the highway in front of my house must go eventually to dirt. There’re perhaps two dozen houses fronting it in the three miles between the last side road and the national forest. It offers access for recreation, hunting, and tree harvesting, which will all be accomplished by means other than cars and trucks at some future time. But I’ve no idea how to find out the maintainence costs of the road, though am sure the few home owners are never going to be able to afford to maintain it for the urbanites’ access (and would find it monstrously unfair to be asked to). Either it must become toll, or the city dwellers must contribute to the costs in some other way, or the ice and dandylions will have their way tag-teaming it into gravel.

    I predict a call to County Roads and Bridges in my near future.

  224. @KiwiJon Thanks for that perspective! Although far away in Ireland, you confirn many of my own thoughts about what was “odd” about the NZ shooting.

    Yez flipped the script! xx

    And effectively made it into the story of how a people use a tragedy to come together. Which is a brilliant story!

    Because of yez, I have no idea of the shooters name or history (and don’t want to) NOR have I heard much of the “divide & conquer” type of suspicions that are usually expressed in such cases.

    I have seen and studied many stories told of the individuals who were murdered, and of those who have remembered them with hakas and speeches and silent collective prayers.
    One of the first eyewitnesses I saw interviewed described her caring for one of the injured & communicating his situation to his wife by phone. When the reporter suggested to her that she was a hero, she flatly rejected that saying “it’s what anybody wpuld do”.

    I see strong evidence here that NZ may have what of takes to resist being divided and conquered by the kind of action which everywhere else succeeds at sowing suspicion and fear. Much respect!

  225. Hi Caryn,

    When you say you have seen subtle racism and overt discrimination, I need examples. Overt discrimination s illegal. Were charges pressed?sWhat I think it dangerous is that we may be in the early stages of the kind of demonization of a group that leads to real violence. I get the feeling from some of my older friends that they are so secure in their assumptions that white people are in control and can give just what they want and no more, that they do not see the flames they are igniting by playing a game in which they pretend there is real reason at this time for anger, when in fact there is almost none. We are mostly talking about the bad actors who will give in to violence if they feel society gives them permission.
    Someone mentioned a candidate wanting to enact hate crimes laws. Fine. But are you prepared for when white victims also exist and stop their silence? There are plenty of them. Why wouldn’t there be? People are people. One problem white kids have in school is that European culture has this admirable ideal of the fair fight. Other groups don’t seem to have that.
    I recently met a young college graduate, quite privileged actually, who happened to be a person of color. What she said to me is that reverse discrimination is not possible. And this is what I mean by dangerous. This means only white people are bad, inherently bad, and all other groups can’t be. How is this different than the holocaust or other times when certain people have been vilified because of their group and no other questions asked? She identified with her Aztec ancestors. I find that a bit rich. What the Aztecs did with their slaves was use them for human sacrifice.
    I recall an interesting statistic from some year in the 1800s in Atlanta. There were free blacks, and their rate of slave ownership was higher than that of the white population. The only country in the world right now to have slavery is black on black. I mention these things to point out that the issue is man’s inhumanity to man, not this race or that race. Plenty of white children were nabbed by slavers and taken into the sex slave trade, castrated or put into harems as the gender decreed. In Roman times there were slaves of many nationalities.
    Too avoid excess length, I’ll make another reply on the PC stuff.

  226. Hello Caryn,

    On your PC questions. Of course, one should be polite, one should not be a jerk, one should be exquisitely sensitive to others. When someone you know says, “this would hurt my feelings,” that sounds like you’ve got a bit of a relationship. But what’s happening is quite different. Legislating speech, zero tolerance, destroying people and their livelihoods for an ever-changing goal post of standards that is virtually impossible to live up to, that is quite another thing.
    The perfect is the enemy of the good. If you want angelic perfection, and you want to use the barrel of a gun to enforce it, you’ll end up in hell.
    As I see it, you have bought into the whole never-offend maelstrom, and it is spinning out of control. The way out is to stop it with common sense rules, which by the way is what we had until recently.
    Sacredness – I grew up in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. They have such a powerful sense of the sacred that they have sometimes been secretly horrified by western Christian practices. An immigrant from the Soviet Union upon coming here and being taken to church saw a preacher, to emphasize some point, slam down the Bible. He was aghast. He could not imagine such a thing. In the Orthodox Church the Bible is kissed when it is picked up and put down. Before reading from it the priest or deacon holds it aloft and introductory hymns are sung for the reading. The communion is treated as if it were the actual blood of Christ. It is never thrown out. All of it must be drunk. Even the cloth that wipes peoples’ mouths must be washed in water that is poured on the ground. Baptismal water cannot be flushed down a drain, it must be poured on the ground.
    And yet if someone dressed as a priest for Halloween and held a chalice, there would be no grounds for insult. Why ever would there be?
    The idea that cultural appropriation is some sort of insult is unfathomable. All cultures that have ever existed since the foundation of the world have been copying one another’s alphabets, building styles, music, stories, art, gods and knowledge.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Why if someone dresses as an Indian/Native American warrior could that be considered offensive? Do you not realize that whites admired the prowess of the native warriors and this is why we have the persistent imitation? Do you know that the name for one of the tribes, given by the French, translates as “hearts of steel”? Has a greater compliment ever been paid from men to men?
    If you are referring to gender pronouns and such in your above example, I am not sure what I would do if someone I actually knew wanted me to pretend they were a different gender, I might go along out of love, but this should not be forced for a few reasons. First, it is spiraling into absurdity, second it isn’t true and it’s wrong to force people to say what they consider untrue. It becomes a tyranny of the minority. Even if you think it is true, not everyone does. Third, it is against free speech and we have free speech for some very good reasons. Not ever hurting anyone’s feelings no matter how troubled they are is simply not possible and the ante is getting upped and upped. These things are shutting down discourse, and fast.

  227. @Violet
    I have been impressed by your drawing the hexafoil.
    For what it is worth, I like the symbol anyway because of its association in my mind with a flower having an impression of transient (yet recurrent) perfection, without having to be perfect: Star of Bethlehem.

    @ Darkest Yorkshire
    Thanks a lot for Hubert Robert. I did not know of these paintings. Aristos across Europe actually constructed sham ruins in the 18th C – I suppose we would call it a conceit these days – on a par with nostalgie de la boue I suppose. Robert seems to have got his contribution in before the dam broke, but the imagination / sentiment has lingered on even into our so-called post-industrial times. I will ruminate beside the ‘lonely towers’ of dream landscapes that litter our literary and artistic heritage. Yeats actually lived in one!

    Phil H

  228. John—

    As I recall, you see Trump as a transitional figure, rather than this anacyclosis round’s dictator figure. Do you see that figure a ways off still? In the descriptions I’ve seen of the cycle, we’d have been moving already from democracy through plutocracy and now into demagarchy (the latter of which I could very much see Trump as a part). The next phases would be chiefdom and kingdom, which I’d see as the consolidation of power under the new dictator figure. This would all suggest we’ve got a bit to go through yet. My guess is that the undeniable decline and death of the US empire in the next few decades is going to be a key element in this progression, as I can’t see but that hitting the American psyche with a devastating blow, not to mention the obvious economic impacts of that loss of power.

  229. Hi there-

    I am so immensely excited to report that after a very long time of looking in used bookstores, yesterday I finally managed to acquire a copy of The Decline of the West. It’s abridged but I figure it’s a starting place.

  230. KiwiJon, on the topic of Christchurch – has there been much reflection on the fact that the reaction to the shooting has been pretty much exactly the accelerationism that the shooter stated as his intended goals? eg. Jacinta Ardern in a hijab, call to prayer broadcast nationally, semiauto ban, etc

  231. @Dominique, you might want to look into D2D (Draft 2 Digital) for self-publishing. They are a distributor. You upload your manuscript and select the markets to which you want D2D to distribute your work. They convert your file (there may be an option to upload an epub file; I can’t remember because it’s been awhile). I think they’re a popular option just now, and they have a really easy user interface. There’s also Smashwords, which has been going for over ten years IIRC, but they’re a little less user-friendly. D2D and Smashwords can get your books into Kobo, the Apple store, and all kinds of other places, and you only have to upload the one time. They take a percentage on top of what the individual vendors take, but they really reduce your workload.

  232. @Violet (continued): I am not sure that the consequences of the dysfunctionality of a declining civilization regarding dating and other phenomena of everyday life expresses itself only in a turn to mysticism; there might be other common reactions as well, of which some are pathological and some are not.

  233. As for ebook self-publishing alternatives, Barnes & Noble has their own platform, but it seems to be dying. Apple iBooks and Google Play are also alternatives, but I don’t see how the ethics of those companies are any better than Amazon’s. Smashwords has been a long-running alternative to Kindle, however the way one must create an ebook that works with their platform is convoluted and extremely specific to Smashwords. was previously mentioned — it’s pretty good, especially for print on demand paper books.

    Personally, I self-publish fiction using this excellent tutorial:

    I have a print-on-demand guitar method and a bunch of novels for which I designed my own covers and pretty much did everything myself. I publish my books and the guitar method via Amazon because it makes me the most income. I have a non-fiction book in the works that I will upload to Amazon when the time comes. I also self-publish sheet music via SMP Press which brings in a tidy sum every month. I have a self-produced music album, digital downloads only because I don’t want to create a bunch of plastic CDs, on CD Baby which distributes to pretty much every digital music reseller for a flat fee when the album is uploaded.

    Additionally, I have a silly T-shirt store on Zazzle. All things considered, my intellectual property does not pay my mortgage, though I have managed to cover utilities and grocery bills with it. I’m a music teacher and I must do that full time to put a roof overhead. I create things because creating them and putting it out there is a joy. The way I see it is this: I’m creative by nature and I’m going to make a bunch of stuff, rich or poor. Gatekeepers annoy me. I self-publish so I can bypass them and their opinions.

    If you are creative, you might as well sell it online for a reasonable price and not worry about how people perceive it. If anyone has questions about how I created any of my stuff, you are welcome to contact me via my business website.

  234. Stacy C: Thanks for your reply regarding hard to find books. I’m in Michigan where we have something called “Michigan Electronic Library” or “MEL” which I have used occasionally. This book cannot be found in the MEL catalog even though it’s published by Palgrave Macmillan, a pretty mainstream publisher as far as I know. .

  235. @ Boysmom and DJSpo

    Re paved roads,cost, etc.

    Absolutely, paved roads are unsustainable in the long run on any large scale. I expect that we will be seeing the reversion to dirt and gravel as the long descent progresses. Like most decay, it will begin at the edges and work toward the heart. We’ll see county roads go first, in all probability, then city roads at the outskirts. (The block in question here is more in the middle of things of our smaller city.)

    So the question is how to “step down” to where we’re going to be headed while 1) maintaining functional infrastructure and 2) managing public expectations which, so far at least, do not incorporate anything remotely resembling the long descent. Such is our challenge.

    (As I side note, I have occasionally considered the idea of running for a seat on the county board of supervisors, but then manage to regain my sanity.)

    I do think something akin to a utility, where everyone pays a monthly bill of $30 or $40 a month (based on frontage) rather than getting handed a bill for thousands of dollars once in 10 or 15 years in the form of a special assessment, would be a more palatable method of funding that infrastructure.

  236. Also, interesting maybe-coincidence, maybe-synchronicity thing: I ended up unexpectedly switching my AirBnB lodgings on my current trip, due to the first person I was scheduled to stay with having a pipe break and not being able to take guests. As a result, I’ve ended up with a lovely woman named Sophia, with whom I’m getting along great, and who’s been wonderful about showing me around and very cool with my meditation etc., just as I’m on the bit of the Paths of Wisdom discursive centered on the World–and the figure in the center is sometimes identified as “Sophia,” in the “wisdom” sense.

    Not that I think my landlady is a particularly mystical being or anything, but it was an amusing realization to have just now!

  237. Dear Onething, your statement that there is only one country which “has” slavery right now is “black on black”, whatever that might mean, strikes me as a disingenuous piece of special pleading. Capture, enslavement and trafficking of people by other people, for sexual and work purposes, happens all over the world, very much including in North America. Slavery may be legal in only one country–would you like to enlighten us as to what that country is?–but what is legal and what happens are two quite different things. And, I rather doubt that that country which does still legally permit slavery, if there is such a country, limits the practice to any one group of persons.

    In my opinion, here in the US, we need to strengthen our 13th Amendment to forbid not only ownership of one person by another, but also explicitly forbid the sale of one person by another. Yes, that might impact on dowries and adoptions. Too bad, as far as I am concerned.

  238. Peter Van Erp, I’ve copied your announcement for the Potluck dinner and posted it to the main page of the Green Wizards’ site. Hope that helps spread the word.

  239. Actually DFC, I think it is the Chinese, more than any other people on earth, who are the most well equipped psychologically and materially to liberate the Pacific from the American Empire. The Americans are rapidly losing their technological edge against China. They used to complain about the Chinese copying and stealing everything, but if that were true, than why is China beating them in things like 5G and quantum satellite communication?

  240. One of the signs of decline of industrial civilization is the increasing difficulty for the common person to make a profit in the market economy. Most of my aquaintances are middle class folks who are constantly on the lookout for ways to monetize yet another human interaction that doesnt need to be monetized.

    I have the same question many here have had. What is the best strategy for making money in the decline we find ourselves in. Answers ranging from mortician to farmer, and carpenter to renewables/recycler entrepreneur plagued my mind until i realized that in a time of economic contraction everyone wants to learn these skills or do it themselves.

    This may seem cliche: Trust is a currency. Bank on it well before money starts running out.

    There’s quite a bit of tension between knowing what may be coming but being required to live well today. I know many many people who are “stuck” in well paying jobs and lament to me that they dont have the mental capacity to grow some food let alone do it with only a shovel and hoe. Or they go hundreds of thousands into debt for business venture knowing how fragile the system is but rationalizing that because everyone else they admire is doing it, it is worth the risk and lost time to make a profit.

    At this juncture, it seems to me that greatest need in the modern world is a psychological one.

  241. Kwo asked: “One thing I am still unsure about how to approach sensibly is money and savings. I feel like the conventional wisdom of putting most savings in investments is so ingrained that when I try to talk about other options, all I get is blank stares.”

    I don’t know how far your financial prep has gone, so I’ll just give you a general short list of the things I recommend people first getting into Green Wizardry do concerning their money and their savings.

    I would first suggest a month long financial audit of all your expenses. That’s a fancy way of saying for a month write down every thing your spend money of and sort it into some general categories (food, car, rent, utilities, household, health, entertainment, savings, etc). That’s everything, from your large bills all the way down to coffee and a donut before work.

    Once you have that done pick up a notebook and some of those plastic pencil pouches that have the ziplock and fit in a notebook. Pick up a dozen or so. Now in each, put a piece of paper with some monthly expense, like rent, or car payments, or utilities. Divide the amount your audit found you spent on those by 4 (or 2 if you get paid every two weeks). Each time you get paid, turn the entire check into cash and then put the amount you figured into each pouch. If your rent is $500 then each week put $125 into the pouch.

    For longer term expenses like car insurance typically paid every 6 months, divide the amount by the number of weeks. In this case 24 weeks. Put 1/24th into a pouch for that expense.

    You should also have a pouch for your “Emergency Fund”. At a minimum try for 10% but try and work that up to 20-25% a week. Its advised you have at least three months total expenses saved as a emergency fund.

    This notebook/pouch method is not a budget. Its simply a way to break yourself from living paycheck to paycheck. Doing that, paying the bill due that week with most or all of your paycheck opens you to unexpected expenses and can cause you to go into ruinous debt (maxing your credit cards or payday loans).

    Paying your bills weekly also keeps you from spending a light week’s money on things you shouldn’t, like a night out or a new TV. If you want to do the occasional night out, then put a pouch in the notebook and start contributing to it each week. Don’t go into debt for fun.

    This also points out, planning for future expenses. Cars need more than just gasoline each week, they need new tires every few years and may need repair. Your audit will identify how much your fuel is but you need to start putting away money for those other expenses.

    So too for major appliances like a washer or dryer though what I do there is put a five pound coffee can next to the washer and when I wash, put a dollar into the can. You’d be surprised how quickly that adds up.

    I’m getting long in this post, so let me say this. You should only “invest” when your basic house is in order. Until that happens, stay out of the stock market, out of gold and out of any other suggestion that people tell you will make you rich.

    After we get through the Spring planting season, I intent for a series of blogs on this exact subject on Green Wizards. If you haven’t yet signup and joined us Kwo, please do.

  242. @NotAKiwi In short, no, I don’t think the actions of the NZ government are playing into the hands of the Christchurch shooter. I.e. his alleged intent of starting a culture / religious war or backlash.

    Specifically, the semi-automatic ban has been years (if not decades) in the making. Many in NZ were surprised and thought they already had been banned. Guns in NZ are not purchased or used for personal protection. It’s clearly illegal and even the idea or concept is considered “odd”. Firearms however are widely accepted here (from memory, 1 gun for every 3 people), but as tools for hunting, farming, and target shooting. I believe the general public is pretty much fully in agreement with this one. (Aside: Police, military, etc. still have access due to their roles).

    As for the PM wearing a hijab, and the country-wide “call to prayer”, that was seen by the population as what it is – i.e. a gesture of respect to the Christchurch victims and the wider community. However, I don’t think anyone seriously believes (even for an instant) that we’ve gone down a slippery slope, and are now gradually turning into an Islamic nation. Any talk of that would likely cause bafflement and require some explanation of the theory.

    It’s also worth noting that the shooter’s manifesto, while probably partially true, looks designed to “troll” it’s readers. I don’t think it’s possible to take anything he has said or written at face value. Based on his actions, rather than his words, while he probably believes much of what he said – I think he simply desires the “fame” and notoriety.

    To recap / summarise, if his intent was to start a backlash or accelerate a cultural divide or conflict – then in this country at least, that has been a complete failure and the opposite has clearly occurred. If he wished “fame” and notoriety, that he has achieved to some measure – but that goal has also been “muted” to a surprising extent.

  243. foxhands asks – “It seems to me that the Chinese government like other governments are aware of the coming Limits to growth. However, why do they keep pressing on with this gigantic One Belt One Road project? Is there any strategy behind or it’s just another Business-as-usual attempt to ignore the energy predicament?”

    NPR and BBC Radio have been devoting some segments of their shows about China’s Belt and Road. To me it seems they are choosing to use their economic power and massive reserves of money to expand their sphere of influence rather than the US’s earlier method after the Second World War of military presence and market power. They appear to be doing well BUT many of their first wave of deals are coming under scrutiny as being basically “debt traps”, where the Chinese have negotiated such a lope sided contract that the other part can’t pay it off. In which case they have to turn of hard assets like ports and land at a fraction of its price. Countries are waking up to the fact.

    The Chinese don’t seem to have intentionally planned from the start to be predator lenders, and many of their deals are not BUT the impression is starting to get out there and counties are starting to refuse any deal.

    It will be interesting if they learn from their mistakes. Someone must be the replacement to the American Empire and I’d prefer China. They at least have several thousand years of governance behind them, perhaps they will do it better than we did.

  244. JackRavenCorvus asks: “What I’m trying to ask here is, “How do you all feel about this long descent?”

    I’m not sure what you mean Jack. As a lover of cold beer and a hot shower (not the other way around), I’d rather not see the eventual collapse of industrial civilization and a return to a Dark Age. I’d like a shiny flying car and a comfortable retirement on a space station or perhaps the Moon. My wants though don’t seem to factor into the Long Descent though.

    In many ways it won’t affect me much. I’m 61 and will be retiring with little in the way of monetary savings, though Green Wizardry will give me the skills and the knowledge to live my upcoming life in poverty in some level of enjoyment and comfort. That alone would be a reason to do it.

    I do have friends and children of friends, who are going to see real change and sacrifice as this next couple of stair steps downward happen. So yes I’m going to expend a lot of time and energy perfecting those same skills and increasing that same knowledge so that they can live a better life in poverty than I will.

    Its as John has said, its a predicament that can’t be solved, only lived with.

  245. For those that are interested in the subject matter of Low-Tech Magazine, they have just announced that they will issue a large paper back book of several years worth of articles. They reason is that you don’t need a computer to access the information and that the websites don’t last forever, nor should the existence of the internet be taken for granted. Here is a link.

  246. JMG, thanks for telling of your approach to relocating (list-making) – we’re working on that! As for the upcoming short story anthology, thanks for allowing links here. I’ll aim for next month’s post!

  247. @ BoysMom

    Re roads, etc.

    I realized that I missed part of your question. Re the cost of that (or any) project, unless we are in closed session (under very specific rules in state law), all meetings and information from those meetings is public. The agendas and minutes are published on the city website, the council and committee meetings can be attended by the public (and there are agenda items for public input), and the data could be requested at city hall, either from the city manager’s office or the public works department. Now, as with most places, few people fully understand all of this, or even how our city government functions. There was a lot I learned in the years I’d been a (citizen) member of the zoning commission and particularly in these two years I’ve been on council. Heck, many people don’t fully understand how a council-manager form of municipal government even operates. (Namely, that the elected council is the ultimate decision-maker and the hired professional city manager answers to that council.). It is frustrating, but understandable to a great extent.

  248. Kimberly Steele – thanks for posting a link to your site. I was so impressed with your rendition of JMG’s “The Sleeper in the Hill.” … heading over to take a look now 🙂

  249. Thanks for the support on my worm project, everyone! The best reaction I’ve gotten in real life is bemused tolerance, so it’s much appreciated.

  250. Just the usual Baboonery said: With regards to Venezuela, I read recently that one of the reasons for US interest is because Venezuelan heavy crude is in greater demand thanks to fracking.

    Its more than that. American fraking oil products are starting to be rejected because they are so light they are soaking up cleaning fluids and other contaminates in transit while in super tanker tanks, and Asian markets are refusing to buy them. We need that Venezuelan oil.

  251. Star Ninja said: “I recently had the pleasure of interacting with a professional manuscript reviewer. He told me in no uncertain terms that I would never sell a single WORD to a publisher as long I remained an amateur rather than a professional writer.”

    Might I suggest said “professional” is full of what comes out of the north end of a south bound bull!

    Write like you want to. Polish as you can but stay true to your Muse. Develop your own voice and stick to it.

    Make friends with other writers (shout out to the Green Wizard Story Circle) and always, believe in yourself.

  252. @Tripp, that’s a cool synchronicity!

    @ Nastarana, those are excellent points, thank you. I agree that the discourse I was confronted with was simple bullying and I’m certain that the person who was giving me a hard time didn’t know much at all about plants. I’ve found it compelling that the issues that people get most worked up with regarding cultural appropriation are always the most harmless. Like dreadlocks, they are a hair style that white people are apparently not allowed to wear. And how utterly harmless, especially when compared to the egregious wealth extracted from other nations and flows into the United States. You raise a fascinating perspective that those who engage in this sort of rhetoric don’t even believe it, it’s rather more like a tool used to hurt people. And of course one doesn’t have to believe in a rhetorical weapon to derive pleasure from using it to inflict suffering.

    @ Booklover, You’re so welcome! Also, I agree’ of course mysticism isn’t the only way that people react to decline. Probably many more go the route of addiction, madness, early death, etc. Still, many also go the way of the mystics, and I imagine more than would have if pair-bonding and so much else had not going haywire.

    @ Phil Harris, I’m delighted to hear it. The inner symbolism of the hexafoil is rich; it can be equated with the Star of Bethlehem, theLily, the sextile and trine aspects of astrology, the sun, the number six and the number seven. I tend to think of it as a portal from which divine energies flow from. I’m sure that there is more symbolic content that one can derive from meditating on it, and that I am barely scratching the surface!

  253. David BTL: I’m not aware of many fictional treatments of city council meetings but I do know of one that I liked a lot. It’s Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Pacific Edge,” which is part of his “three Californias” trilogy. You might enjoy it.
    Phutatorius across-the-lake

  254. Just ordered the 10th Anniversary edition of the Long Descent, now that my April check is in. Will pre-order Weird of Hali #4 when I get another moment free (brother and sister-in-law in town half the week) and get the ebook as well. Green Wizardry already probably arrived at the Gainesville UU Church library.

  255. Electoral college:

    If states override the choice of their citizens and award their electoral college votes to the national popular vote winner, can a state resident sue? Imagine if Hillary Clinton had lost the popular vote and California (for example) had been obligated by this decision to award its votes to Donald Trump – would the woke take that sitting down or would angry mobs of Clinton voters rush to court? I suspect the people most in favor of changing the rules will be plenty upset when it ends up helping the other guy.

    A really good article about the electoral college explaining why we have the EC and why it is not a holdover from slavery as some on the Left insist it must be:

  256. James,

    If some ID types are materialists-lite, that is new to me. What is that like?
    I’m reviewing the 5 arguments. 1 and 2 I agree with. #3 doesn’t quite follow. #4 I will have to think about. Seems similar to Plato’s idea of the perfect (ethereal) forms. #5 is interesting in that life forms certainly exhibit purpose and will, so the question then becomes what is the source of that. The life force? Consciousness? And what are those and whence can such arise?
    But the problem of purpose in the inanimate world is one which Michael Denton engaged in Nature’s Destiny, a very good book. But his arguments would support #5.
    I’m not sure in what way you think the existence of God makes the ID argument moot. I might agree, in that I think if there is a God, there is no real argument for an accidental kind of evolution. However, many people do profess to believe this.

  257. Nastarana,

    I believe the country is Sudan. I’m not sure you understood that my point was that we are entering dangerous territory with vilifying white people as a special case of badness. It’s a bad idea because demonization of individuals based upon group or race leads to violence and injustice. And it’s a bad idea because it is once again lower nature rather than higher ideal of treating all individuals fairly and without prejudice.

    I don’t know too much about adoption except it does seem too expensive, but does that qualify as sale? I don’t think it does. As to dowries, aren’t they very rare in this country? If the dowry is paid to the husband, I might agree to call it a sale, especially if the bride is not part of the decision on whom to marry. But some dowries are financial insurance for the bride and is her property.

  258. Pogonip, One thing,

    It’s very dismaying to see people on this forum, people whose opinions I generally respect, fantasizing about slapping a woman to shut her up. I realize it’s partly tongue-in-cheek but it contributes to a general tone of casyal contempt for those who disagree with you that I find very counterproductive. I know I’m not the only commenter here who feels that the conversation around the ecosophia forums has started to take on an ugly tone whenever the discussion turns to leftism or liberalism. There are times when folks here seem positively gleeful at the prospect of a civil war where the second-amendment types could put the lefties in their place.

    I understand people’s frustration with the excesses of the left – in fact I share it myself – but part of what I like about these comments is that they offer a space of mutual respect and civility for people of different perspectives, so that productive conversations are possible. If we’re going to condemn liberals for dismissing the concerns of the working class and advocating violence against the alt-right, I think it’s only fair that we avoid calling for violence against liberals as well.

  259. Will M: Revelation is indeed in the same boat as enlightenment in that regard! Enlightenment *also* comes in its own time, not before and not after. (My instinct is that there should be at least one other phenomenon that follows the same basic rules as enlightenment and revelation – ternaries, you know – but while I can spit out a half-dozen possibilities I’m not sure if any of them are right.) Yes, that suggests that a system that emphasizes revelation would probably look surprisingly similar to (my impression of) the enlightenment traditions, with preparatory work and perhaps a few “what happened to you is a known phenomenon class”/”okay, you’ve had a revelation, now what?” resources where experience of the ineffable serves as a kind of gate.

    Revelation and enlightenment are, however, separate phenomena AFAICT – I’d use a video game metaphor and describe the difference between as being analogous to the difference between better understanding the rules/plot of a game and remembering that you’re playing a game in the first place.

  260. I offered a reading of the event chart of the Christchurch mosque massacre to answer this question: what correlations in the horoscope explain the archetypal nature of the event? Readers, understandably, had no basis on which to respond. Our culture relegates such intentions as `magical thinking’.

    Since I graduated BSc in physics in the early ’70s, and am sceptical by nature, when I taught myself astrology in 1980 I took a hypercritical view. How much of the antique belief system could be seen to have a real-world basis? Searching through the junk-pile, I gradually accumulated a collection of gold nuggets. I still have a library of several hundred astrological texts, but of the few worth keeping, there is only a single author who achieved a comprehensive reformulation of the system. His mid-century integration used the holism of Smuts as basis, the psychosynthesis of Assagioli as praxis, and the archetypes of Jung for reconceptualising the planets. Astrologers subsequently ran with the latter two components, but dropped the primary ball.

    Inept jugglers! So the key point they missed is that a horoscope is the diagram of an event. That is to say that it is an operational device, used for decoding. It depicts the relation between the microcosm (here & now) with the macrocosm (temporal/cosmic context). The latter is symbolised by the circle, the former by the dot in the centre – in the generic symbol of holistic relations, I mean, which is how I think of this ancient symbol. In a horoscope, the dot is expanded into a smaller circle (enclosed, concentric with the larger) into which nowadays the aspects between the key parts of the solar system are normally drawn. Then the language of astrology, reformulated by Dane Rudhyar, is used to interpret it.

    Most astrologers just do natal charts. Partly because few astrologers who ventured into event interpretations and published the results incorporated the self-discipline of collaborating with others, to establish common ground and validate the theory. And partly because they get off on entertaining self & others! Never matters how many routinely get data & chart wrong. No accountability applies, so charlatanism persists.

    The NZ Governor-General banned semi-automatic guns in this country by order-in-council at 3pm 21 March 2019. Because the state authority was thus invoked, the law changed immediately. It is a consequence of our inheritance of the British legal system (parliament is scheduled to pass accompanying legislation around April 10th). It happened on the day of the vernal equinox, in the hour of the full moon. Sun zero Aries, Moon zero Libra, Uranus zero Taurus: zap!!! Just like that. More than 120 parliamentarians, only a single dissenter!

    Jupiter trine the Midheaven in this horoscope explains the spectacular success – in the 6th house (work & health) the law change will work well, easily, via good luck with people in authority – and have healthy consequences. Mars is exactly trine Pluto, maximising powerful transformation, and with Mars in the 11th (groups) and Pluto in the 7th (relationships) we can see how personal relations in groups contexts will transform as a result – most obviously in reducing male on female gun violence.

    Can Trump’s horoscope explain his success and propensity for being erratic? You bet! Fortunately, he put his exact birth data into the public domain years ago so we have a reliable horoscope to look at. Key points:
    1. He was born a lucky guy.
    2. His luck comes primarily from being a rebel.
    3. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction has formed in opposition to his natal Venus/Saturn conjunction in his 11th – tough times ahead for his party affiliation. Extremely testing, over the next couple of years. But because the conjunction also simultaneously trines his Midheaven (status, reputation) he’s likely to evolve and grow in stature through the process.
    4. Natal Mars square Midheaven from the 12th: he’s his own worst enemy. Aggression destabilising his position in the grand scheme of things, so self-moderation is essential! Re Venezuela: don’t invade without securing as much international support as possible! Negotiate a compromise solution. If that fails, get around the Russia/China veto in the Security Council via extensive diplomacy to form the strongest Anti-Maduro coalition possible.

  261. Re dog whistles

    As an Australian I don’t really have an opinion (or significant knowledge) of US politics or culture. However, the only ‘monkey’ comment that came up on Google associated with ‘De Santis’ was a comment by the Republican nominee for Florida governor. Apparently he said something along the lines that voters shouldn’t ‘monkey it up’ by voting against him.

    If this is the comment people are objecting to, I assume it is on the basis that ‘monkey’ is a derogatory term for some minority/disadvantaged group? However, the phrase itself or or similar ones (such as ‘don’t monkey around’) is one I’ve fairly commonly heard and my understanding is that the usage refers to actual monkeys (the animals) and their habit of fiddling with and breaking things in playing with them since they don’t know what they’re doing. So, for example, an old boss of mine would tell the apprentices not to monkey around with things they didn’t understand. Googling indicates this usage of ‘monkey’ and ‘monkeying’ dates to the 1800’s.

    Although I generally agree with the ‘don’t use intentionally hurtful or racist language’ approach, it also annoys me when suddenly areas of language or commonly used and old idioms are arbitrarily defined to be racist by the SJWs just because there is some overlap with a term which some people somewhere use in a racist way. I feel that over time this significantly degrades the richness of my available language (also, in order to avoid mistakes I’d need to monitor current trends in racist language, which would be hard since I don’t interact much with tv or social media etc).

    Finally, it occurs to me that if this is in fact dog whistling (as opposed to someone using an idiom in the way I had always thought it was meant), rather than being targeted at racists it may in fact being targeted at SJWs. That is, the idiom was deliberately used in order to bait SJWs into outraged denunciations of an idiom which perhaps many people do not see as racist (since they have always heard it used the same way I had). Thus making the SJWs look ridiculous, particularly since it is actually the SJWs that are now spreading the racist meaning of the words they object to.

  262. Patriciaormsby, Victoriachronicles, KimberlySteele: Thank you very much for the ideas on firms that provide for self-publishing authors.

  263. KiwiJon, all of those points are actually addressed in the manifesto itself. I’d suggest you read it. In my opinion his evil plan went horribly right.

  264. @Steven Your plea to JMG that he rethink his criticism of public schools because of your children’s positive experience sounds an awful lot like when people say global warming can’t be happening because there’s record snow this winter where I live.

  265. In terms of more decline news – there is an active mumps outbreak in Philadelphia at the universities. Started at Temple with over a 100 cases, and now is at Penn and Drexel. They are treating it as a public health emergency and offering free vaccinations to students and staff. Considering the incubation period is two weeks to show symptoms its going to be a race to the end of the semester if they can keep these colleges open. Also all those incubating mumps cases are heading home in May. So prepare yourselves to live in the Pandemic board game.

    It is spreading just among college students because they all use Tinder for dating people outside of their schools. They’d much rather “hook up” with people they don’t have to see in class.

  266. @KiwiJon, Thank you for sharing your views on how New Zealand has been handling the tragedy there. I see that just because it is different from the reactions I’ve seen before does not mean it is wrong.

  267. Hi Fred,

    Ah, but she started it! All those people were minding their own business when she barged in and started screaming at them. Consider what would probably happen to you if you did that—a ticket at the least—but the SAP gets a pass because…because…um…

    But if it’s a concern for you—can we use earplugs instead? (For our ears, not hers.). 😄

  268. @Dewey ‘s comment caught my jaundiced and grumpy eye. “Learning manual skills ensured that they would have an alternate means of support. In today’s world, when we don’t know what will happen to the economy, every young person needs that kind of Plan B, or parachute if you will – maybe even a reserve chute on top of that.”

    I recall as a much younger person, the state of New York, issued both Vocational and Technical diplomas. The standard diploma had a Regents *OPTION* for those kids who took on a specifically college preparatory track and elected to take the Regents exams in the relevant subjects. In the intervening decades, the State eliminated vocational and technical diplomas, and decreed that all NYC HS students would be subject to a 100% Regents Endorsed College Prep curriculum. The reasoning – or excuses – behind this were two-fold. One was that the professional class in Albany looked down upon the Trades as unsuitable for the privileged children of The Empire State. “The Trades. *pifui* We spit in their general direction. Our children are *above* that. They’re not getting THEIR hands dirty, they’re going to be Doctors, Lawyers, and Financial Managers!” There was also vicious anti-labor and anti-union sentiment wrapped up in this. One way to help choke trade unions in the anti-labor post-Reagan 80’s would be to choke unions would be eliminating potential new members graduating HS and entering the Trades.

    This wolf was wrapped in the sheepskin of “increasing preparation and opportunity for Higher education” Of course at the same time, this was the beginning of funding cuts to SUNY, and rapidly spiraling tuition costs for colleges public and private. This curriculum decree, along with budget cuts in State funding forced High Schools to eliminate vocational coursework, and staples like Shop, Home Economics, Music and Art, to make room for the full Regents Curriculum. This was particular devastating to New York Citys (formerly) much admired specialized High Schools, Aviation, Maritime Trades, Grady Automotive, Music & Art – all had their specialty curriculum eviscerated to fit the Regents College Prep coursework, even though a majority of their students sought alternative career paths. Even the elite schools, Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, with already very high College entry rates, had to reduce their specialized programs to accommodate the Regents core. They too, became more like their neighborhood high schools, other than in the caliber of their students.

    But I submit that a technological civilization NEEDS its tradesmen and women and technical professionals to keep the lights on, the wheels turning, the machines humming and the toilets flushing. Carpenters, Electricians, Plumbers, Masons, Construction Workers, Auto Mechanics, Roboticists.. the list goes on. When your toilet is backing up, you are not going to pack it up and ship it to China. You want a gorram technical professional, who know’s his craft, to come to YOUR HOUSE, and STOP THE BROWN. The political, corps and media does not care to talk about the fact that colleges graduates enter the workforce as unpaid interns or underpaid drones with cruhing debt, vs the trade where workers enter at a quite respectable, often an actually-living hourly wage.

    I’ll refer the student to JMG’s hammer and tongs “Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment” back at the The Archdruid Report. “And the wage class? Over the last half century, the wage class has been destroyed. ” I still point people to this one. They get upset. Most refuse to consider it’s implciations, even while suffering it’s real-world consequences.

    Here in semi-rural Morgan County West Virginia, one of the High School buildings is replacing it’s roof and much of it’s MEP infrastructure. The foreman on the project laments the availability of even nominally skilled labor. There is hardly a man on the project under the age of forty five. He says that there AREN’T any to employ.

  269. Fred N

    Re violence, tone, etc.

    I agree with the thrust of your comment. One of the things that is notoriously difficult to manage in written forums such as this one is the appropriate conveyance of tone. What a writer may intend as a figure of speech (“slap some sense into X”), another may take a completely different way. I despise the notion of word-police–I was on the receiving end of that far too often on my 18-months actively commenting on PoliticalWire–but we do have to understand that as conversational as comment threads are, they are not the same as talking with a person face-to-face. All the subtle cues we use to express context and connotation (such as body language, inflection, and the like) are absent and we have to be aware of that fact.

    That said, I suspect that the reason that criticism of the left occurs more frequently here than criticism of the right is that many (most?) of us are leftward-leaning in one sense or another and/or are former adherents to leftward views. I know that I fall into that category. It has been quite a journey to see that my views have diverged considerably from the party I have voted for most of my adult life. And the nonsensical refusal of the party to come to grips with reality is terribly frustrating. The fact the such a one as Donald Trump was the better of the two alternatives for President in 2016 is a remarkable failure of the Democratic Party. And so far, they have learned absolutely nothing from that loss.

    Finally, I would agree that anyone looking forward to civil war needs to have his or her head examined. One of the reasons I argue for a Constitutional Convention (to have the desperately needed debate about the structure of governance of this nation) and for an amendment providing for a legal pathway for secession is precisely *because* I wish to avoid the more violent alternative. The present form of this country is a direct result of our ascent to empire and it will not survive the demise of that empire. Either we adapt to allow greater differences to coexist within our structure–up to and including the ability of a region to leave if it is unwilling to abide by those agreements–or else we go through a violent and brutal divorce at some point down the road. Personally, I’d prefer the former.

    So, yes, we should be mindful of what we say and how we say it here. Taking an extra moment to reread one’s comment, and perhaps taking a breath or two, before hitting the submit button never hurt anyone.

  270. Re my post just now

    To follow my own advice a bit and be as explicit and as clear as I can, when I say that Trump was the better of the two alternatives in 2016, I mean in the manner that he rated a D or D- but she rated an F. (Relative to my particular metric, of course. One’s assessment may well diverge to the degree that different priorities are weighted differently.)

  271. @One Thing:
    Thank You for your reply. I understand where you’re coming from. I’m coming from a different place. I think at this juncture we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I don’t think going into specifics is going to change any of that, so I’ll spare everyone, (LOL you’re right. I really don’t want to offend ANYONE! haha!) My point is simply that to find solutions or a middle ground, one needs to use one’s empathy, truly try to imagine what the feelings, and motivations of one’s ‘opponents’ are. For me, even if I still disagree with them, I can empathise and see a logic there. They are usually no longer ‘enemies’. Even the extreme ones. Sometimes the extremity can be coming from some motivation completely unrelated to the issue they are being extreme about, something as simple as “They’re young and therefore clumsy and outlandish in their arguments, they’ve gone overboard because they’re new to this, full of vim and vigour, but not full of wisdom.” It doesn’t scare me because I’m pretty sure they’ll calm down and figure things out as they mature.

    @ Kimberly Steel: I may contact you as I’m also starting a small side business, somewhat similar. Thank You for that comment!

    @Everyone: This may sound naive, but is UBI really a consideration? I’m not seeing why so much serious discussion on it. (?) It seems to me so pie-in-the-sky it could never really happen full scale as is being discussed. BUT I guess if one wanted to anticipate what societal benefits and pitfalls might occur with it, look to sub-communities who have experienced something similar. There were large pockets of a welfare class back in the 1970s, part of the 1980s that were kept afloat with Govt. welfare. Some good results, some terrible. Some people risked losing their benefits to work under the table, some cheated, (no matter what system you have, SOMEONE will spend all their energies on cheating it because…those darned humans). Some had cottage industries or developed their creative talents at home and some were idle. Overall it did not seem to make people happy, (what does?), but it kept them fed. I personally find a mixed economic system, (Capitalism with social safety nets) the most functional to keeping people fed, clothed and housed whilst allowing for opportunity. I think we’re all just trying to strike the optimal balance. But UBI? That just sounds like a pipe-dream and a techno-progress-utopian one at that.

    @David BTL: Just a weird little snippet that may or may not be helpful to contemplate: Once, when we lived in Asia, I walked down a side street, kinda gritty and dilapidated, cheap shops with a coupl’a big pot-holes in the road and saw two men come out with plastic buckets stirring steaming tar and gravel. They hunkered down and filled in the pot-holes by hand with trowels. They appeared to be shop-keepers because they were coming back and forth from the shops to help customers – then returning to finish their work on the pot-holes. It took them only a few minutes to fill it in, place a metal sheet over it and stomp on it to flatten it. Boom! They were done, talking and laughing together and went back to their two respective shops. It really struck me, Wow! Why don’t WE do that? I mean back in America or other richer countries where there seems to be difficulty getting these things fixed because they are not our personal property? The “Just fix it!” mentality was impressive. It’s a very different mindset of the distinction between public and private rights, property and responsibility, no? Interesting.

  272. Fred N,

    Point taken. I do apologize. My understanding of the b-slapping expression is that it means a verbal dressing down. Although showing her the door might have also been necessary…

  273. Furthermore, you have not seen any glorification of a coming civil clash coming from me.

  274. @ David, by the lake,

    What a coworker calculated is that, at today’s prices and over several decades, it costs at least twice as much to maintain a paved road than it does a gravel road. I think it’s actually higher than twice as much, hence the “at least”, but I would hesitate to say that it’s 3 times as much.

    This segues into another of your comments, which is that eventually local governments will allow paved roads to deteriorate into gravel, from the more rural areas inwards to the urban. That is a very true statement, based on my research and direct observation. In fact, it’s more than observation and research, it’s a policy in some locales already. We’ve been told where I work that we can’t publicly discuss this idea.

    And of course, individuals CAN’T be allowed to perform pothole maintenance, because the government agency is responsible for the road, and has the liability should the repair be done incorrectly and injury or death result. This model, too, needs change.


  275. @ SamuraiArtGuy

    re: the trades:

    This is actually one of the primary reasons we are homeschooling our kids. The school system here no longer recognizes any outcomes other than “college” or “failure”. Meanwhile, religious people like ourselves can clearly see the writing on the wall: and it says “your kind are no longer welcome in the college-degree-holding, white-collar professions”. If current trends continue long enough, my kids will have to apostatize in order to hold a “good” job.

    But we figure the world we live in could and would keep limping along without most of its lawyers, doctors, schoolteachers, bureaucrats, social workers, grant-writers, middle managers, HR professionals, telephone-sanitizers etc. Those professions can afford to police ideological purity. Our world absolutely cannot keep going without linemen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, farmers, mechanics, repairmen, septic-system installers, machinists, and the like. So the nice-manicures crowd can look down on them all they want, but we all know how hard it is to find a good mechanic, and nobody with half a functioning brain, on finding one, is going to then decide the guy’s not woke enough to fix brakes.

    I want my kids to be well-read, literate, curious, and intellectually competent, and I ALSO want them to be raised in an atmosphere where the trades are respected and going into them is encouraged. I’m already telling the second-grader that college is something he can do (if he wants), but I want him to have a real job first, so that he can pay for it without debt, and study whatever he wants, not just something that leads to a lucrative job. We talk regularly about how debt, interest, loans, and credit cards work, and the advantages, disadvantages, and common pitfalls of each.

    Whenever my parents are having work done on their house, I take the kids to watch and ask questions of the workmen (I worried at first that this would annoy them, but have found most of them delighted to have an attentive and admiring audience). I have my brother over as often as possible to teach them about tools, car maintenance, and the innards of electronic appliances (he’s a repairman). They have their own tools, and this year we’ve been watching a lot of YouTube how-to videos of people building wooden structures by hand. It is one of my great joys as a mother to watch them use outdoor playtime to try to imitate those techniques with their stash of scrap lumber in the yard. Their constructions have been getting sturdier and more complex. My seven-year-old has been lobbying for a hatchet, for his next birthday (uh, erm… how about a hand-drill?).

    Perhaps, before they reach adulthood, the higher-education bubble in the US will finally collapse and something more practical will move into that vacuum. Maybe the extreme-left will reach its inevitable implosion point, and all my worry and planning will have been unnecessary. I hope my sons reach adulthood in a saner, more ideologically-tolerant world. But I can’t count on it, and an honest man who can repair things is welcome wherever he goes. My brother, who can fix a washing machine faster than you can tell him what’s wrong with it, finds open doors and enthusiastic hospitality everywhere (“sure you can stop at our place for the week! And could you maybe look at our stove? It’s doing this weird thing…”). I want that for my kids.

  276. @SamuraiArtGuy – Yes, if I were advising a young person today who did not want a liberal education for its own sake (out of love for the life of the mind, whether as a vocation or not) I would say look for a career or source of income that suits your talents, that cannot be outsourced and cannot YET be done by a robot, and then go to college only if that is necessary to get trained in that field. Hard to know what is left that those criteria apply to. These days they have radiologists in India reading American x-rays sent via the internet. You would think that going to med school was a guarantee of not being outsourced. Apparently not.

  277. In regards to a Civil War versus a Civil Divorce, I have a number of friends who are current or former military, immigrants from the Soviet Bloc, etc. They believe very strongly that the only remaining options for the USA are the binary of Civil War and Soviet-style socialism.

    Given that binary, and given their interests, they’ve come down on the side of Civil War, because while civil wars are hideous, they are less hideous than socialism. They come down on sooner rather than later, because they aren’t getting any younger and they’ve got kids, and if it must happen, it were better to happen quickly.

    They’d all prefer a Civil Divorce. They just don’t think the entrenched interests will allow that. They cheered on the CA Secessionist movement, which unfortunately seems to have fizzled.

    They know civil wars. They’ve lived through them, they’ve seen the destruction of war personally. They know tyrany is more likely that a republic on the other side. They look at the death toll and the human suffering caused by socialist regimes and figure a civil war is a better choice, come what may.

    I’m still over here hoping for a Civil Divorce, and maybe it’ll end with just restraining orders and never talking to each other again, and that’ll be just great compared to those other two projections, and heartened that it’s been a while since my last dreams of WMD deployed.

  278. @NotAKiwi Thanks for the suggestion. The Manifesto has been censored in NZ, but if I hypothetically were to peruse it… *cough* Towards the end of the document, his suggested strategy of “Destabilization and Acceleration” was about inciting “extreme” actions on both sides of the spectrum to destabilize society and create sufficient chaos for for people (like him) to talk control. In NZ, subsequent to the shootings there has been a clear “return to the center” and general consolidation of opinion. I suspect any similar activity would promote a similar reaction. Hence, I think his strategy has had the opposite effect in this country. However, what impact / effect he has had on thinking / behavior in other countries – that I can’t comment on.

    (Aside: As for his section on NZ banning guns. I think he’s simply trolling there.)

  279. Oh, Warren,

    I missed answering you!
    “I wonder, what do you guys think about Darwinian evolution? ”

    Who is we guys? I do not buy Darwinian evolution. I think it’s a lost cause, getting more and more lost as scientific knowledge of the super small piles up. But you claim you’re no longer bitten by the bug…so I am a proponent of intelligent design, but not perhaps in quite the way that the big names are, who are too Biblically oriented.

    On one hand a kind of top down Big Mind designing things is certainly a reasonable belief based on current knowledge of how things work. I suspect something a little different. I see the divine as diffused throughout the manifest universe. As an advaitist, there is no other way things can be. There is a mind of God, a spirit of God (Holy Spirit, ether) and the entire universe is the body of God. Again, there is no other possibility as there is one source for everything that exists, thus the universe itself in some way emanates from God. Matter is therefore the body of God because the ether/spirit permeates and infuses everything. There is no place of nothingness.
    So I tend to go with a kind of endogenous intelligence in life forms that is self-purposeful. That does not address the start of life, though. But it is important to note that the inanimate setup of the physical universe underlies in many quite necessary ways such that that the life forms can use it as a platform for development. It’s all of a piece. That is what Denton’s book Nature’s Destiny is about. You might also enjoy Narby’s Cosmic Serpent.

  280. @ HMG,

    You said: “I think it is the Chinese, more than any other people on earth, who are the most well equipped psychologically and materially to liberate the Pacific from the American Empire…:”

    Well OK, I suspect what the chinese elite have in their minds may be is not exactly a “liberation”, (of course nor the american one). May be you are claiming for a new Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere?

    Anyway I have not talk about the moral implications of the chinese “liberation” of the Pacific Ocean from the claws of the American Empire, I was talking about the not so strong strategic position of China today to defeat the US Empire; and I think the military planners in the Pentagon are salivating with the prospect of a China more and more dependent from far away supplies for oil, raw mats, food and all the resources that can sustain an industrial power an his population; because at the end this was the root cause of the accelerated pace of defeat of Japan and Germany in WWII (and even in WWI), even if, for example Germany has developed a lot of die wunderwaffen (V1, V2, Me262, etc….).

    In the modern wars logistics is king, and China seems not to be a self-reliant country (as Russia or US) and has a very culturally & ethnically diverse population, with some parts of its internal empire always in the brink of revolt, controlled only by means of “reeducation” camps and other represive methods; and it is possible the internal struggle in the face of a huge external confrontation and short supplies could spark very wide revolts, not strange in the history of China.

    Normally in the past, any new empire (as the british one) before to be very dependent from foreign supplies it takes the control of the oceans by means of a naval superiority, and only after it has the means to maintain wide open the supply lines under any threat, they became dependent of foreign sources for vital supplies. Its naval superiority was the reason the british empire survive the struggles against Napoleon and the germans in WWI and WWII. This is not the case of China today.

    Now they are trying to diversify the trade by the land routes (Belt and Road) but land transport is much more inneficient, with an EROI very low, except by pipes (oil & gas), but they do not have too many (yet), and Russia know they cannot let China to be the dominant country in the world, because it will be then a much more dangerous rival. I am sure the russian military planners are aware they will have a huge problem with China in the medium term, you know, Siberia has too many resources for too few people (as someone says), and China the opposite.

    What the US empire has to do is to sink any oil tanker, any container ship, any high sea fishing boat, any merchant ship that go to or came from China, far from the chinese coasts, with planes and submarines from the “unsinkable carriers” of Australia, NZ and a lot of others small states that do not want to be “liberated” by the chinese army, and wait till the internal situation rot.

    This has nothing to do with moral arguments, I am playing with possible power struggles dynamics


  281. Caryn,
    For my part, I can’t imagine UBI as a serious initiative either. Especially as budgets continue to tighten everywhere (at least when viewed at a larger scale). Therefore I also don’t bother much about it.

    I kind of consider the “Earned Income Credit” to be a UBI at heart, though. For anyone willing to participate in the federal taxation system.

  282. I met my uncle yesterday 3 hrs south of here to exchange vehicles. He was Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2018, and currently at a Georgia Association of Educators conference, and seemed whipped up about some item on the docket he felt just HAD to get done ASAP. “Public schools are getting killed because we’re not doing…whatever it was he thought would fix all their problems.”

    It was a brief and generally pleasant conversation, but definitely had a “rearranging the deck chairs” sort of vibe to it from my perspective..

    Public schooling is another of those really great ideas that has long since passed the point of diminishing returns to my mind. The teachers are still great I’m sure, but the system is holding them back. Might be another one of those things that only a good old fashioned system collapse can fix.

    And now we have Millenials, educated under the Common Core, starting to become teachers OF the Common Core. I don’t like to think about that one too much…

    Needless to say, we homeschool our children.

  283. Re: hexafoils

    After reading the discussion on hexafoils above, I’ve drawn one and taped it to my laptop, right where the webcam would be if it had one (it doesn’t). I already have a pin taped to the back of the laptop from before, but I think this has only had a minor effect, though the pin may not really have been quite sharp enough. I’ll attempt to remember to report back on the results of the hexafoil. Thanks to Violet for bringing it up.


  284. @Caryn – I am not a champion of UBI, but it does interest me – particularly because its fans cross party lines, and there are not many proposals out there that do that. Therefore I have spent a bit of time becoming familiar with the nuts and bolts of the proposal. And once again, I am entering a reply, because you are falling into the trap of comparing UBI to a welfare system. I am extremely familiar with welfare systems from personal experience, and the biggest difference here is the matter of the gatekeeper. To qualify for welfare requires going through hoops, often including the bureaucratic version of pulling your forelock and being convincing that, yes, you are poor, but you are a “deserving” poor, and demeaning yourself while pandering to their prejudices.

    Every system of UBI I have looked at deliberately eschews this kind of gate-keeping. EVERYONE* qualifies, whether rich or poor, working or not working, sick or not sick, a parent or not a parent, and on and on across every social division you can think of.

    A better comparison would be the kind of system where everyone has a subsistence garden plot – a dacha, for example – or access to common woods and wilds – which gives enough subsistence to give one the freedom to refuse bad bargains, but not enough to satisfy ambition. Access to the kind of basic self-subsistence that the fens country people once enjoyed from bits of fishing and gathering and (no doubt) smuggling and etc. for a long time made the rising capitalists industrialists of England despair, it made them so unfit (so lacking in “work discipline”) that no work could be got out of them unless they took a fancy to doing it. This complaint was also a common one among early colonialists in the New World. Ungovernable natives with no “work discipline” (ie, with independent means of subsistence) could not be persuaded to go to work and not just run away when they got fed up.

    It is the prospect of UBI releasing people’s freedom to allocate their own time as they see fit, which unifies its proponents from what you might call the libertarian ends of both left and right. (The proposal to apply a single flat tax rate to all income, is, of course favoured by the rightward end). Both ends are also keen on the huge anticipated reduction in bureaucracy, because, in principle, with so litte gate-keeping there’d be little administration involved. And people would be, it is thought, busy using their time to do important things, like care for and beautify their surroundings, care for and minister to their families and friends, make art, tell stories, entertain one another, and such, also coming up with left field business ideas and being able to instantly gather a bunch of friends to pitch in and get it up and running just for the lark, and for the learning…

    Possibly all of that last is a bit of a stretch in comparison to what actually would happen. (As JMG says, there is a basic cussedness to things, and many a slip twixt the cup and the lip). Still, I cannot remain quiet when I see UBI inaccurately compared to a welfare system, particularly the bureaucratic kind that delights in humiliating and in grinding down the will to live of its recipients.

    *The exception being that qualitification is by membership of a polity, and I’m very conscious that this will introduce its own set of problems. But they are different problems, and certainly do not require anyone to be poor, or hungry or sick (or pretend to be any of the above) to qualify.

  285. churrundo said: I’ve often found myself daydreaming about the concept of a Magical University.

    I really should keep up on the comments because now I’m sad. Has no one heard of that little thing call “Green Wizardry“?

    and our curriculum and course of study?

    – Your Physical Health and Your Mental Welfare
    – Food and Water
    – Gardening and Composting
    – Animal Husbandry and Pests
    – Your Family and Your Children
    – Home, Shelter and Security
    – Livability, Energy and Power
    – Your Money and Your Craft
    – Recycling and Repair
    – Communication and Transportation
    – Spirituality, Magic and Religion in Green Wizardry
    – Critical Thinking and Mental Skills
    – Community Building and Whole Systems

    Realize that we’re never going to go all pagan and alternative religions on Green Wizards because we seek to attract a broad range of people concerned about the coming Collapse of civilization, I argue we do a pretty good job of filling your desire.

    Or perhaps the Greer post that founded this project

    “”Those of my readers who grew up on tales about Merlin, Gandalf et al. may be startled to learn those characters, legendary or fictional as they are, were modeled on an actual profession that flourished in the early Middle Ages and remained common until the bottom fell out of the market at the end of the Renaissance.

    By “wizard,” I don’t mean your common or garden variety fortune teller or ritual practitioner; we have those in abundance today. The wizard of the early Middle Ages was a freelance intellectual whose main stock in trade was good advice, though that came well frosted with incantation and prophecy as needed. He had a working knowledge of astrology, which filled the same role in medieval thought that physics does today, and an equally solid knowledge of ritual magic, but his training didn’t end there. A wizard needed to have a through education in agriculture; navigation; political science; military science; grammar, language and rhetoric; music theory, and astronomy; logic; medicine, including herbal medicines and poisons; the natural sciences, including meteorology, mineralogy, botany, and zoology; and metaphysics – in effect the sum total of scientific learning that has survived from the classical world.”

    I can only do so much…

  286. For those of us contemplating a “side business” with perhaps better long-term prospects than Business As Usual: I’ve just finished preparing our annual Income Tax returns. This year, my wife earned a modest $550 for proofreading (and minor editorializing) a friend’s novel (to be self-published). Not only is this $550 “taxable income” (we were expecting that), but once one earns more than $400 per year, one is a “small business”, and must also pay “payroll taxes” (Social Security and Medicare). Most of us see payroll taxes deducted from our paychecks, while our employer pays matching amounts. (Of course, this is bookkeeping fiction. Whether “they pay” it, or “we pay” it, the same amount of money bleeds out of the business, and we don’t get it. But workers are expected to feel better about it if their employer pays, too.) But, when you’re self-employed, you pay all of it. But, not to worry! The “employer share” of the tax can be deducted from your business income, so you don’t pay income tax on the employer’s share of the payroll tax. Does this sound complicated? Not to worry! You can pay an expert hundreds of dollars to make sure that you do it correctly (or use on-line software, at your leisure, to give it your best shot).

    Or, do you just say “what comes into my pocket, stays in my pocket, regardless of the law… no one will notice”? It’s tempting, but is that attitude any less corrupt than, say, our Baltimore mayor, who sold $500,000 worth of “self-published children’s books” to the hospital system of which she was serving on the Board of Directors? (Naturally, it is not clear how many of these books were even delivered.)

  287. @Tamhob:

    Yes, it’s an American thing. Throughout what we call the Jim Crow era, (just post emancipation, in the 1860’s until the civil rights era, 1960’s; Black people have been compared to monkeys or simply called monkeys as a way to dehumanise them, (and therefore make it OK to discriminate against them or treat them as inferior whilst still going to church on Sunday and considering oneself to be a fine upstanding citizen). I’m pretty sure it’s well known here amongst both black and white communities. It was a pretty indelible time in our history.

    I understand it’s not known outside of the US. When we lived in the UK people called children little monkeys as a form of endearment, because they chatter and climb on things. They’d never heard it was in any way derogatory.

    But as to your thought that the comment may have been directed to the SJWs: Yes, It certainly may have been, or directed to both.
    1) Nobody has thrown a bone to white supremacists as much as This President in decades, and all he’s done is NOT condemn or denigrate them. He’s never once said he’s FOR them. They’re a fringe group to be sure, but they do vote and as I said in my first post – we’re all on a spectrum, all of our convictions or beliefs are on a sliding scale of deep conviction to couldn’t care less. So yes, I suspect there are folks out there who are not overt racists, certainly don’t see themselves as racists but their conviction in that is less certain than in other folks.

    2) I definitely think a lot of Prez Trump’s outlandish and unhinged sounding tweets are aimed at doing precisely that and like Charlie Brown with the football, the media and left-ward pundits never. never. learn. They fall for it every single time! Run around like headless chickens trying to figure out if it’s true, why he said it? what does it mean? How outrageous is that?! Every darned time. Now, in the gubernatorial debates, DeSantis said more than once he defers to President Trump in pretty much all of his policies and he admires him. It may have been exactly that – copying Trump’s tactic, and lighting the lefties’ hair on fire just for the fun of watching them (us) get mad and run around like chickens.

  288. @Tamhob:

    Sorry, I forgot to add or clarify – DeSantis said voters shouldn’t “Monkey it up” by voting for his opponent – a black man.

    “Monkey around” is a common phrase in the US. “Throw a monkey wrench into the works” is a common phrase, “Screw it up”, “F-it up”, but “Monkey it up” is not. So PROBABLY not something that would slip off the tongue. Although, as you can see, easily defended as such.

  289. @David BTL
    If you are worried about income inequality the only 2 solutions I have heard being floated are raising minimum wage or UBI. I think raising the minimum wage will make things worse so I have been thinking alot about UBI. The other thing I have heard is Job Guarantees. Working in the construction industry these jobs usually keep work from being done.

    As transportation costs go up it will increasingly cost the govt to maintain the roads to get people to work than they make from those jobs. UBI can also help with illegal immigration if we ditch minimum would make it less affordable for them to live here.

  290. JMG, you may enjoy this: Dan Pederson is his book Top Gun, about the Navy fighter training program of the same name writes the F-35 has earned the nickname “Penguin” from its pilots, “because it flys like one”

  291. If I may, I would like to report that I’m hacking my way through my birth chart. So far, my delineation makes sense to an not inconsiderable degree, but the interpretations also yield also things which don’t seem to be the case. But probably I don’t yet understand everything.

  292. The four occurrences of meditari in Vergil’s Eclogae are the following:

    …silvestrem tenui Musam meditaris avena…

    You meditate a forest Muse on a slim (reed of) oats

    6:8 (which I had cited before)
    …agrestem tenui meditabor arundine Musam.

    I will meditate a country Muse on a slim reed.

    Omnia, quae Phoebo quondam meditante, beatus
    audiit Eurotas… ille canit.

    Everything that happy Eurotas had heard when Phoebus (Apollo) once meditated,
    he (Silenus) now sings.

    The fourth occurrence (5:60) is rather banal:
    …nec retia cervis
    ulla dolum meditantur…

    …nor do any nets plan treachery against deer…

    I have looked for other examples of musical meditation. The usual meaning of meditari is given in Lewis & Short as “(active) to think or reflect upon, to muse over, consider, meditate upon; (neutral) to think, reflect, muse, consider, meditate; to design, purpose, intend”, and the great majority of examples seem to mean simply thinking or planning, as in the fourth example above. The site permits one to search for all occurrences of the word in digitized Latin literature. Obviously I haven’t looked at all of them, but I have found at least two other musical examples. One is in the Argonautica of C. Valerius Flaccus, 1:408:

    …ut socius caro pariter meditetur Achilli
    fila lyrae…

    Which I take to mean (there was no translation):
    … to meditate as companion together with dear Achilles
    the strings of the lyre…

    The other in the third book of elegies traditionally attributed to Tibull, elegy 4, lines 71s:

    …sed perlucenti cantum meditabar auena
    ille ego Latonae filius atque Iouis.

    But I meditated song on the glimmering (reed of) oats,
    me (Apollo), the son of Latona and Jupiter.

    These examples are not independent of one another; they seem to indicate a specific association of musical meditation with (improvised) instruments, but also with song, and most of them mention either Apollo or a Muse.

  293. John–

    I understand we are at the tail-end of the cycle and so you may not have a chance to answer this, but to carry over from the Magic Monday question, I suppose I would frame my issue along the lines of: how do we promote a more orderly, managed, and over-all less-bad path going forward? I understand everything around us is going down. I also understand that our options range from very rough to horrifically awful. I’d like us to do what we can to keep to the less-bad end of that spectrum. And to me, at least, that would mean *not* following the standard path of collapse, but rather a more controlled descent. We know where where are (an over-built and unsustainable empire facing decline and decay) and we have some idea of where we are going to end up (a more loosely-confederated society based on the long-term energy flows of the natural world), so let’s map out a path from Point A to Point B (understanding said path isn’t a straight line, but must wind through the terrain we are presented) and then get moving along that path.

    Rather than haphazardly stumbling from one reactive crisis to the next–more or less the path we are presently on–I’d like us to be executing Emergency Protocol 12-307-42, with Contingency Variants A, D, and Q on-deck. And, my thinking was, we need suitable leadership in order to do this.

  294. Dennis, that is fascinating! Is Rudhyar the author you’re referring to in your second paragraph? whoever that is it sounds like a great place to start if I ever decide to learn the discipline (the I Ching’s enough for just now).

    Caryn, you wrote, “But UBI? That just sounds like a pipe-dream and a techno-progress-utopian one at that.”

    It’s worth remembering that a plurality of our political and business leaders *are* techno-progress-utopians. If you believe the information age will be as different from the industrial age as the industrial was from the agrarian, UBI becomes a very obvious solution to a very big problem. But there are good arguments even if one doesn’t, consider the following example: If you had $100 and wanted to make the maximum possible difference in the life of an impoverished subsistence farm family, would you give them the money directly or give it to an NGO active in their area?

  295. Dear Mr. Greer:

    I’m glad to have the rare opportunity to politely field you questions, this is much appreciated. I’ll try my best to keep my questions concise. First, how well do you think Dion Fortune’s concept of the Threefold Way of the West (i.e. the integrated approach of devotional mysticism, Hermetic wisdom, and Nature contacts) has weathered since its introduction, and what adjustments would you make to it given the gradual sea change of religiosity as we enter a deindustrial/ecotechnic age? Secondly, given your skepticism of utopianism how would you interpret the Reformation of the Whole Wide World spoken of in the Rosicrucian Manifestos for our day and age? Now having asked these I will of course make them subjects for my own discursive mediation. My two cents on the latter would be that said reformation should be educational in orientation rather than political; maybe in the future we’ll see Rosicrucian hedge schools emerging. Thank you very much in advance for your answers. Have a blessed and peaceful day/evening.

    Christopher Kildare.

  296. @ Matt the Slaker

    I understand your point, and I do care about extreme wealth inequality since it is rending the fabric of our society, but neither of those solutions will work in the long run, as both are dependent on a centralization (and with respect to UBI, access to cheap energy) that we will not have going forward. To put it bluntly, I would argue that those solutions being bandied about today are built on foundations of sand.

    What we need to do, I’d suggest, is 1) to create significant tariff walls to cut off the current internationalist class from their power to exploit cheap foreign labor; 2) to throttle the free flow of goods and people across our borders promoted by neoliberal economics, and 3) to create a largely self-reliant national economy, decoupling ourselves from the global economy at large. Tax extractive industries at the source–including a prohibitive carbon tax on fossil fuels at the point of extraction or import. Tax robotic labor to make it uncompetitive with human (citizen) labor. This will reduce consumption, promote skilled crafts, create more localized economies (in part, by increasing transportation costs), and bring our economy within the sustainable limits of our national resource base. No more massive military budgets. No more foreign wars to secure resource supplies. Mind our own business. Live within our means. Produce our own goods for our own consumption from our own resources using our own citizens’ labor paid a living wage.

    This is a strategy that can work in a resource-constrained, de-centralized world. UBI is, as I argued previously, a techno-cornucopian pipe-dream and will flounder on the same shoals of hard resource limits as modern industrial civilization generally. Moreover, it will not prepare us in the least for the future coming at us. We need to be thinking farther ahead than that.

  297. Okay, now I have time to get to questions and comments — between the Magic Monday open post on my Dreamwidth journal, and revisions on the Weird of Hali RPG, I’ve been hopping.

    J.L.Mc12, I’d say you have yourself another interesting research project, then.

    Mark, oh, I get that. I would also like to see a president who’s capable of listening to both sides. We didn’t have one of those on the ballot in 2016, and I’m far from sure we’ll have one in 2020 either. One of the main reasons why Trump’s in the White House right now is that the political mainstream was only willing to listen to one side of a very large number of issues.

    Booklover, right on both counts. As a civilization moves into its descending phase, creative energy — in biological as well as cultural senses — tends to decline sharply.

    David, it strikes me as a very bad idea, but nothing guarantees that only good ideas will get political traction.

    Fkarian, it’s a figure that was discussed at great length during the last two energy crises. My books The Long Descent and The Ecotechnic Future cite sources on that; you might also do some digging in Tom Murphy’s excellent blog Do The Math, which hasn’t been updated in a while now but spent the last energy crisis talking at great length about the delusions around energy in our society. As for your questions:

    1) It’s handwaving. Shut off the subsidies and the whole renewables industry would implode. (Mind you, the oil industry isn’t in much better shape just now due to rapidly declining net ehergy, but that’s true of every form of energy production right now.

    2) That’s more handwaving. If you ignore energy concentration, sure, there’s ample energy from renewables — but it takes energy to concentrate energy to the point that it becomes useful, and that’s being systematically ignored.

    3) Nuclear power never pays for itself. Every country that has nukes has to prop them up with a galaxy of overt and covert subsidies. It’s simply too much of a Rube Goldberg contraption to be economically viable.

  298. @Lathechuck: “For those of us contemplating a “side business” with perhaps better long-term prospects than Business As Usual: I’ve just finished preparing our annual Income Tax returns. This year, my wife earned a modest $550 for proofreading…. Not only is this $550 “taxable income” (we were expecting that), but once one earns more than $400 per year, one is a “small business”, and must also pay “payroll taxes” (Social Security and Medicare). … Does this sound complicated? Not to worry! You can pay an expert hundreds of dollars to make sure that you do it correctly…”

    What are you suggesting the side business be, proofreading or helping people with their taxes? The latter is legally risky if you’re not a certified professional. I make a small annual income from freelance editing, and though the two additional forms that must be filled out don’t spark joy, I don’t find them overly difficult. And I’m no math or finance whiz. However, I do not attempt to minimize my tax bill by deducting my household’s internet service and the mortgage on the floor space occupied by the chair I work in. If you settle for “satisficing” rather than “maximizing”, in taxes as in many other aspects of life, you will have a lot less agita.

    Given the piddly sum involved here and the lack of other clients, if I were your wife I’d have been tempted to practice some tax avoision by inviting the friend to pay $300 last year and $250 this year. Or just ask him for $400 with an understanding that he’ll be so appreciative he’ll likely seek an opportunity to do her a favor in future. The government claims the right to tax barter (which is a bit loony, because how do you value it? as well as immorally requiring the ownership of cash to engage in noncash transactions) but it cannot and does not tax gift economies.

  299. Booklover, Russia under Stalin was civilized, in the technical sense of the term. Would you want to live there?

    PoetPigeon, you’ve got to decide that for yourself. I don’t claim to have any kind of uniquely correct sense of what’s right and what’s wrong, you know.

    DFC, the US is a deeply divided society right now. Try saying the name “Donald Trump” out loud somewhere if you want to see how deeply divided it is…

  300. I know it’s late on Tuesday (Eastern time, anyway) but… these just in across my monitor:

    “NASA said India’s satellite destruction created so much space junk it now threatens the safety of the International Space Station”

    and wait there’s more…

    “China Is Testing the United States”

  301. On the topic of small towns, I did not particularly care for small towns as a young, single man. However, now that I am married and have children, small towns are much more appealing. I live within the Pugetopolis urban blob and none of the communities that make up this area feel like independent cities or towns.

    I would like to live in a city or town with between 10,000 and 50,000 people. Unfortunately, many of the jobs in this region are in the larger cities, and I detest long commutes (although the bus makes it more tolerable and is a decent place to read a book).

    The eastern U.S. and Europe have many of the kinds of communities I am seeking, but my family all live in the western U.S., and that connection is extremely important. I think the western U.S. will sort itself out in the coming years, but right now we are living in an awkward time.

  302. I have heard of you talking about how a lot of the US political scene right now is almost trying to replicate the era that the boomers grew up in. Now that the Russian threat, has mostly passed/become boring, there is a new push to land man on the moon again in 2025! Feels like they are trying to keep the good times rolling via retrospection.

  303. (Since there seems to be more that one Warren here I thought I have better toss in a differentiator)

    re Offence The main issue for me is that it is no longer that ‘x said something offensive’ but ‘y was offended by what x said’. The first one is objective so you can know that you are doing it and there is a sense-of-the-community as to what is and is not acceptable. The second is subjective … I can say the same thing 100 times, possibly even been praised 99 times, and one person can find it offensive/take offense on a purely subjective basis. Since I have no way of knowing what anyone else thinks is offensive (and in fact my very existence could be offensive to them) and they may be not personally offended but offended on behalf of someone else etc this effectively means that there is no justice (law yes, justice no) in the process.

    And while I am there – what is the main difference between being triggered and throwing a tantrum? The main difference I can see is where you place the agency. If I am being triggered then I am claiming that my response is caused by your words/actions and that I am a powerless against you … if I am throwing a tantrum then I am accepting that while my response may be related to your words/actions I am nevertheless responsible for my own actions/reactions. Since no one I have come across who claims to be triggered seems to also accept that either that they are powerless ciphers nor that that the other are inherently superior beings with irresistibly controlling powers there seems to be more to the difference than I am perceiving.

    Of course it could just be living in the Tantrumocracy you mentioned where whoever screams the loudest about their hurt feelings gets to rule the decision making and learned behaviour that you can use your ‘victimhood’ to bully your enemies.

    Maybe a special class for ‘triggered’ folk where they accept that they are malleable delicate creatures who need to have their psyches nursed and we take special pains to keep quiet around them and in return they lose the right to vote, drive, hold any position that requires decision making, have their money run by trusts etc …. no?

  304. I had to laugh out loud when I saw you wrote: “a lot of current Anthroposophists seem to have fallen into the trap of praising Steiner rather than listening to him.”

    Yeah, that same thing happened to a guy named Jesus, too.

  305. @ Christopher Henningsen

    Yes, Rudhyar was successful in reformulating astrological theory and philosophy (not so successful as regards practice), but did so from a position outside the scientific perspective. His perspective was theosophical. Nonetheless, I learnt primarily from his books. However the lack of follow-through from other astrologers leaves the discipline still mired in eighties thinking…

    I finally got into the I Ching early nineties, found it helpful awhile. I evolved a method of writing the key interpretive points for each cast from a collection of useful texts. The synthesis always seemed to capture the essence way better than any single text (no matter how good) – a mosaic effect, right-brain pattern recognition.

    Some astrologers use a horoscope as an oracle, but usually via magical thinking as opposed to decoding the event in archetypal terms. I’ve noticed that not all are delusional. I suspect some get valid insights via intuition, while others are psychic. I’m intuitive, but prefer to follow Rudhyar in using astrology as an interpretive language, so that intuitions arrive as a free bonus.

    Hermeneutics, interpretation, Hermes. Mercury was messenger of the gods for several extremely good reasons, which one can only discern via the study of hermetic philosophy. None are to be found in astrology books. The archetype structures the human psyche almost as much as it does society (media is Hermes in operation) – but the number archetypes are even more fundamental. Jung only ever wrote one page on them (as far as I know). One gives us holism, two gives us dualism, three provides process via time (past/present/future) and sexual reproduction (man/woman/child) etc. You can see it in brain structure: a left hemisphere that differentiates (two) and a right hemisphere that integrates (one) bridged by the corpus callosum, which channels the liaison signals from one to the other and back (three).

    So, when astrologers see the Sun as life force (one) and Moon as organic function (two), then put Mercury at three just because it is closest planet to the sun with next-fastest orbit, they are missing vital parts of the big picture…

  306. David, et al,

    In regards to the electoral college, I’m a fan and I think efforts to overturn it are misguided. I think of the electoral college as a very imperfect way to award votes to the actual land via humans who work it. All of us urban dwellers, after all, would not be able to survive on the land base on which we live; we need wide expanses of land and the humans who work them to provide the food, energy, and natural resources that provide us our literal living. Therefore, think of electoral votes as a representation of both human beings and the land base they survive on. That means that those out in the country who are working and/or caring for (or abusing, for that matter) large tracts of land get their vote weighted more on account of that land, while those in urban areas who are not working for, caring for, or abusing any significant amount of land are getting their vote weighted less.

    A very imperfect system? Absolutely. But the land and resource base deserves a vote, too, and any attempt to correct for that strikes me as worthwhile. Granted, that doesn’t mean I think everyone who holds stead over a large amount of land automatically votes in the way that is best for that land, but that’s the system we have. I still think it’s worthwhile.

    I could be open to other ideas, but not ones that just further concentrate power in urban areas. I think we’ve had enough of that as it is. And I say that as an urban dweller who sure would like to have a greater influence on our political system! But I’ve lived in rural areas and urban areas, and I’ve worked the land in the form of working on farms for multiple years, and I find that a lot (but not all!) of urban dwellers have no fracking idea how dependent they are on rural people and the land base they live and work on, and what works well in rural areas versus urban areas. (And vice versa is often true; plenty of rural people are clueless about urban realities!)

    Just another reason, to my mind, that we should have far more autonomy at the local level. But failing that (and that’s probably the reform that really makes sense) then the electoral college at least provides SOME account for that reality.

  307. On renewables/ energy collapse:

    I get there are serious reasons to question the viability of renewables. But news keeps coming out constantly about the falling prices of renewables. Yes, these sorts of claims have probably been heard before. But what should a reader like myself make of this:

    “In fact, as the new analysis released by BNEF Tuesday shows, the levelized cost of electricity (or LCOE) — the cost of power from a plant averaged over its entire lifetime — for lithium-ion batteries has fallen 35 percent since the first half of 2018 alone.

    During the same time, the LCOE for onshore wind, solar PV, and offshore wind have dropped 10 percent, 18 percent, and 24 percent respectively.”

    Even if those big gains aren’t followed by further price drops this seems like a big deal. Is this inaccurate? Irrelevant?

    Sometimes I see people say the real problem isn’t the price but the energy or resources required. But if these costs are difficult to meet, shouldn’t that be reflected in the price?

    Now on the other hand Tom Murphy (of Do The Math) was actually relatively optimistic about solar but still deeply concerned about peak oil, so even if you take these claims at face value your not totally out of the woods when it comes to energy collapse.

    On the nuclear front Tom Murphy was pretty noncommittal. While he was unwilling to endorse nuclear as a solution to our energy crunch the Do the Math blog never provided anything like a knock-down argument against it. And this was also my impression of “Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air,” a book dealing with energy that catalogues a number of defects of renewables. Which is kind of remarkable, really, because it seems to defeat the whole purpose of those works. If they’re not pessimistic about nuclear power, what are they worried about?

    On the other hand I have seen a lot of people attacking nuclear power, from different directions. I’m nowhere near familiar with all the arguments. But its hard to get a handle on it when there are so many competing claims.

  308. About SJW rage, PC idiocies and so on: For what it might be worth, I believe and suggest that this unlovely phenomenon has two intertwined causes.

    First: the folks who were calling themselves the New Left in the late 60s and early70s bet the (metaphorical) farm on increased immigration, backed up with their ideology of multiculturalism–the best and brightest from all over the world Are Coming to America)–and have lost that bet. Human nature being what it is, new arrivals were as likely to be clever con artists as best and brightest. Any human population does have it’s share of saints, heroes, geniuses, fools, knaves and simpletons. The multiculturalist project seemed more or less plausible when times were good, but in hard times, Americans do what everyone anywhere does, take care of their own first.

    Second: there is a willful failure on the part of the SJW left to understand that working folks are broke. There are simply no more easy fortunes to be made selling crap to dummies, because the dummies are out of work, and since the Housing Crisis, have no access to credit. A woman who just lost her job to downsizing and her house to foreclosure is not going to be hiring the mow and blow guys anytime soon. It was the dream of easy fortunes that attracted migrants, not some fantasy of all your cousins can go to Harvard and Stanford.

    As the money dries up, so also does the patronage, and the nice jobs in education, govt., NGOs and so on.

    Having said all that, I also think the Far, or Alt, Right is in not much better case, despite their electoral victories in 2016. This faction still clings to its’ fantasies about “free enterprise” while the natural world dies around us and “traditional marriage” even when two salaries can barely support a family. Rightists seem either unable or unwilling to understand that stubbornness is not a strategy.

  309. Hello John,

    I have been an admirer of your work for some time and I wanted to share with you an article that I wrote (under a pseudonym) for a new online journal in which I engage your analysis of what Trump means for American liberals:

    I found your take on Trump derangement syndrome to be the most insightful comment on what is happening to too many Americans. Keep up the great work!

    Peter Y. Paik

  310. Aron, thanks for this!

    Isabel, I’ve seen a couple of similar conversations among fantasy authors, so apparently it’s a fairly widespread take just now. If I was better at business I’d try self-publishing too.

    KiwiJon, thanks for this. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold from here.

    Mesosylvania, Kushi’s book is far from the best intro to Do-In; until I can find a photographer and a model and do a book on the subject myself, I tend to recommend Jacques de Langre’s The First Book of Do-In for beginners. If Kushi’s what you’ve got, though, the General Exercises are the ones to pay attention to.

    Samurai, I know. I’m very fortunate to have the kind of career where I can expect my income to increase more or less steadily over the course of my life, so my “work ’til I drop” unretirement plan won’t involve any inconveniences; I know a lot of others aren’t so lucky.

    Joy Marie, I ain’t arguing. I get the impression that in a lot of churches, the idea is that the church does the right thing so that the members of the congregation don’t have to. As for the SPLC, what you contemplate, you imitate…

    Phil K., yep. I think Baudet may be how you say “Trump” in Dutch.

    David, I’m still not certain where to put Trump in the sequence. It may be impossible to be sure until 2022 or so.

    Jess, congrats! The single-volume edition is the one I read first, and it’s well worth having.

    Kimberly, thanks for this.

    Wistermister, the more of your needs you can meet without having to involve money in the process, the better. This is one of the many reasons why doing things yourself, and just not bothering to have things you don’t actually need, are both extremely useful habits.

    Temporaryreality, you’re most welcome.

    Patricia, thank you. Enjoy!

    Denys, thanks for the heads up. Good to hear that the business is going well!

    Janitor, thanks for this.

    Glenn, hah! I’m not in the least surprised. Thanks for telling me.

    Booklover, good. That’s how you get your own sense of what a horoscope means.

    Matthias, thank you for this! I’m wondering where to look for more information, or if at this point it’s a matter for experiment.

    Ron, many thanks for this. A very solid reminder of the limits of human reason!

    David, magic has its own logic. To do effective magic, you focus on the goal, the end state you want to bring about, and let the universe provide the means. I know that’s the opposite of how you do an engineering job!

    Christopher Kildare, Fortune’s threefold way is highly relevant to those who are following her specific path — it’s rather less relevant to those doing other things within the very broad realm of Western occultism. Thus I think it’s still very much an option. As for the reformatio generalis totius orbis, I see that as a mythic narrative rather than a historical event, one of those things (to quote Sallust) that never happen but always are. Your meditative mileage may vary, though.

    Michelle, thanks for both of these.

    MichaelV, it really does look as though they’re trying to reclaim their youth as senility sets in…

    A reader, true enough.

    Warren*, yes, news stories keep insisting that the cost of renewables is falling. Do you happen to know how much of the news these days consists of unedited press releases from companies pushing their products? Look it up sometime; it’s quite revealing. Just as stories insisting that the big breakthrough on fusion power is right around the corner have been coming out steadily since before I was born, renewables firms have been talking about how the price of renewable energy is dropping since I was in my teens. it still takes whopping subsidies and a lot of fossil fuel consumption to make renewables affordable in most uses.

    That said, renewables are what we’re going to have left as fossil fuels decline toward zero net energy, and 15% of the energy we have now is still a lot more than most human societies have ever had. That’s why I very strongly support homescale renewable energy, along with conservation and efficiency, as crucial tools for the Long Descent.

  311. Nastarana, oh, granted. It’s entirely possible for both sides to be wrong — and America seems to be devoted to proving that right now.

    Peter, many thanks for this — a solid essay, and not just because it cites me. 😉 I’ll have to pay more attention to The Agonist from here on.

  312. JMG, thanks for the clarification! It occurred to me, that life in a civilization can be very different, depending when and where in one and the same civilization.

  313. RE: “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”:
    News from today:
    It more and more looks like the Empire is confronted ahead of schedule and on it’s home-turf with Russian and Chinese Army on the ground in Venezuela.
    The motives are the same as in the book: Protecting assets and thus friendly governments.
    But the actions are more in the open. Looks like China and Russia are pretty confident to call the bluff right now and right there.

  314. Hi Warren*

    My dog died last Friday, so I’m keeping a low profile.

    However, talk of cheap renewables is like waving a red flag at a bull to me.

    I actually live with this technology and it powers my house 100% of the year. However, it most certainly is not cheap and in fact I estimate that I pay about $0.85/kWh for electricity supplied entirely from the sun. And I njoy a supply during winter that is only about a third of what the average household enjoys.

    If you have questions, you can drop me a line and I’m happy to discuss the realities of this technology with you.



  315. @Warren (Aus): “Maybe a special class for ‘triggered’ folk where they accept that they are malleable delicate creatures who need to have their psyches nursed and we take special pains to keep quiet around them and in return they lose the right to vote, drive, hold any position that requires decision making, have their money run by trusts etc …. no?”

    Do you mean this to apply to the people who are “triggered by” people speaking Spanish, women wearing cover, gay people holding hands, suspected trans people trying to use a toilet, etc.? Not sure why those people aren’t universally called “snowflakes”, since they are white and melt down at a moment’s notice.

  316. @ Dewey

    “Do you mean this to apply to the people who are “triggered by” people speaking Spanish, women wearing cover, gay people holding hands, suspected trans people trying to use a toilet, etc.? Not sure why those people aren’t universally called “snowflakes”, since they are white and melt down at a moment’s notice.”

    Are you suggesting only white people melt down at gay people holding hands or suspected trans people trying to use the toilet? White people certainly don’t have a monopoly on that type of behavior.

  317. Onething, Pogonip, David by the Lake et al,

    Not sure if anyone will still be reading this thread but I just wanted to say I appreciate your responses. I was worried my comment would come across as speech policing, which is certainly not my intent. I just think it’s important to watch for the kind of postitive feedback loops of condemnation/antagonism/etc that can sometimes develop in these kinds of fora. I think that’s a big part of what hsppehap to the Left, after all! BTW i sincerely meant it when I said that I have great respect for the commentary you’ve offered over the years.

  318. RyanS – Oh sure, there are nonwhite vicious religious conservatives, as well as sexist nonwhite men and nonwhite racists. However, dark-skinned minorities relatively rarely feel free to scream at and threaten strangers in public spaces, and importantly, they very rarely try or threaten to have armed authorities help them persecute the people they hate. Can you imagine a white-hating black woman calling 911 to complain that there’s a white boy on “her” sidewalk or in “her” library or park? Minorities in this country rarely have lives that allow them to develop the presumption that the whole world should conform to their expectations that is a prerequisite for such arrogant behavior, and they know that they are more likely to face serious consequences for it.

  319. @ Dewey

    I agree with your point regarding who generally feels empowered in our society. The stories of white people calling the police on minorities in ridiculous situations are certainly objectionable. However, in some situations, such as on the campus of Cal, minorities apparently do feel free to threaten strangers in public spaces. I’ll concede college campuses may be unique in empowering minorities in this way and it does not apply to society as a whole. The conduct in both cases should be condemned. Your original comment struck me because I’m in California and remember when Proposition 8 (anti-gay marriage) was on the ballot and socially conservative black churches and the Catholic church (heavily Hispanic here) were vocal supporters that helped pass the proposition. I think your original comment was valid until it interjected a racial aspect I don’t believe is a limiting factor to the behavior you describe. Thanks for clarifying your comment.

  320. John,

    I find myself considering a somewhat large translation project a few years down the road. What was the process like for translating Lévi and others, beyond picking up the necessary reading knowledge of French and Latin?

    JMG and company,

    Anybody know where Ernst Schertel fits into the history and development of magic? I encountered him in Eric Kurlander’s research on the supernatural aspects of the Third Reich, but so far he seems to exist in the shadow of his work. He seems to have emphasized ecstatic and demonic elements, so he’s more a curiosity to me than anything practical, but I’m therefore curious about what body of tradition he might have drawn on.

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